CLASS WARRIOR CLASS WARRIOR Theoretical Journal Of the

18 May

Theoretical Journal Of the Liaison Committee of Communists
Volume 1 Number 1 Spring 2013 Labor Donated $3.00


The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly
declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow
of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble
at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose
but their chains. They have a world to win.” Marx and Engels, Manifesto
of the Communist Party.

Lenin or Kautsky?

Today we are facing a massive
retreat from Leninism
on the left. Under attack from
the global crisis the working
class and the oppressed are
moving to the left in opposing
its effects – austerity, ‘precarity’,
mass unemployment
and political repression – and
launching Arab Springs, riots,
occupations and armed struggles
against bourgeois dictators.
The masses are hungry
for ideas on how to challenge
and overcome capitalism. Yet
there is no revolutionary mass

party to turn to. The ostensible
revolutionary left moves to offer this leadership. However this left is
afraid to be identified with what is perceived as a failure of 20th century
socialism and communism. It runs a mile from the ‘Dictatorship of
the Proletariat’. To appease the radicalised masses most of the left is

re-inventing its Marxism along the lines of the Chavista 21st century
socialism, or the broad Marxist party of the 2nd International ‘democratic
socialism’ associated with Karl Kautsky. It either renounces
Bolshevism as an historic dead-end, or attempts to make the Bolsheviks
and Lenin in particular, no more than Russian Kautskys. Trotsky
is also a target because he renounced his conciliation with the Men

sheviks and Kautsky to join Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1917. Trotsky

stands or falls with Lenin.

As we will see with bourgeois professors professing Marxism, the
WSJ Roubini interview, TIME magazine cover story ‘Rethinking
Marx’ , Hugo Chavez painted as ‘Marxist’ with links to Cuba and China,
the left has no credibility unless its stakes a claim to the Marx

Cont. pg 14

The Restoration of Capitalism in China:
A Marxist critique of the process of the
CCP’s counter-revolution


History is unforgiving. In revolutionary politics denying the
historical record puts you at disadvantages that in time become
a metastasizing methodological cancer. Tendencies whose
reason for being discrete groups were shaky to begin with
make bigger and bigger po

litical mistakes. A whopper
for the ages, and a damning
one, is the failure of the
Robertsonian groups to recognize
capitalist restoration
in China!

Capitalist restoration in
China is in fact impacting
the lives of every wage
worker everywhere. The
Robertson and post-International
Communist League
(ICL) tendencies now defend
the rule of the Chinese
workers’ exploiters as
maintainers of a variant of
a Deformed Workers State

(DWS). Worse mistakes lie
in wait for these tendencies when US imperialism decides to
launch its inter-imperialist war with China. Far from promoting
the Trotskyist program for political revolution (nowadays
itself a mistake,) these tendencies will defend the Stalinist Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) regime when it is already high
time to make the socialist revolution in China and the US and
prevent WWIII instead! History is on the march, time is flying
like warplanes; now is the time every militant worker must
decide ‘which side are you on?’

For the workers movement the class character of the Peoples
Republic of China, the counter-revolutionary capitalist restoration
and political dominance by a class of “princelings,”
stockholders, and entrepreneurs propagated by and hatched
upon the top of society by the Communist Party’s cadres, technocrats
and bureaucracy, has dire consequences for the international
working class’ historic mission–the abolition of

Cont pg 2

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

capitalism and the building of a classless society.

The ascendancy of counter-revolutionary capitalist restorationist
forces inside the CCP and the dismantling of the social gains of
the Chinese Revolution are a major setback for the Chinese and

international working class and confirm a change in both the class

character of the CCP and the state it administers. Alongside the
counter-revolution in the degenerated (USSR) and deformed (the
eastern bloc, China, Vietnam, North Korea*, Cuba*)1 workers’
states (DWS) the reintegration of China into the capitalist orbit
and the submission of the Chinese workers social relations to the
demands of the Law of Value (LOV) at the expense of the gains-
the social guarantees– previously protected by the central plan,
represents a historic setback.

As the size of the working class swells in China so does the wealth
gap. The GINI coefficient ratio has the “gloriously wealthy” hiding
their opulence as Prime Minister Xi maneuvers to defend the
rule of the CCP from the righteous indignation of the masses, who
see the Party, the Bureaucracy and the new capitalists (often one
and the same–think “Comrade CEO”) bathing in expensive perfume
and driving Maybachs. The promise of socialism and the
social guarantees, “the three irons” were disassembled in a generation.
Social guarantees have been replaced with Dickensian superexploitation,
sprawling polluted industrial centers, oppressive
company housing and massive dislocation of a surplus migrant
army of labor. These conditions fuel a class-wide frustration that
erupts in thousands of strikes annually as the workers struggle
against the implementation and consequences of the capitalist restoration
imposed by the “Communist Party.”

Capitalist restoration has altered the conditions of production for
the worse for the world working class; in just a few years hundreds
of millions of workers were made to subject to the rule of the LOV,
and at rock bottom wages, permitting the “Wal Mart” phenomenon
to metastasize across the world’s consumer markets and permitting
the rise of the Peter Schiff investment strategy model (“buy

Chinese stocks!”) in the lead-up to the september, 2008 crash.
Needless to say a terrific international siphoning off of manufacturing
jobs followed this flight of capital to China. We can’t imagine
seeing this change through the ICL’s rose colored glasses. Just
because the social weight of the proletariat in China has increased
and theoretically prepares to dig the grave of Stalinism, in reality
this has produced a world-wide increase in the misery of the proletariat;
joblessness in the west and increased super-exploitation
in the east and only theoretically and at some later someday and
only if a Chinese Leninist party should arise will the proletariat be
digging any graves for Stalinism.

The 1949 Revolution

The gains of the revolution of 1949, which were achieved thorough

the defeat and exile of the big bourgeoisie, established a DWS,
which itself was driven forward by the power of the armed workers
and peasants, were concretized by carrying out the economic
changes that followed. These changes correspond to the tasks
outlined in the historical program for the socialist revolution the
Transitional Program. The socialist tasks include the expropriation
of big capital, the nationalization of the land, the nationalization of

finance, industry and manufacturing, the institution of centralized

planning, the dominance of the plan over the market, the suppres

sion of the law of value (LOV), the institution and maintenance
of a monopoly of foreign trade (which acted as a buffer against
world capital–abating the pressures of the international LOV.) The
loss of these core economic features of the workers’ states (healthy,
degenerated or deformed,) constitutes a historic defeat for workers,
both in terms of the toiling masses’ daily survival as well as
propelling humanity further along the road of capitalist-driven economic
and environmental crisis; as well as the barbarism of wars of
domination and inter-imperialist wars. It is a grave error to confuse
these tasks of the socialist revolution with the very different tasks
of the political revolution. We will show how the ICL and derivative
tendencies make this tragic error further below.

The core elements of post-capitalist economic organization have
the capacity to maximize the socially-produced surplus available
for social consumption. Socialist production can eliminate poverty,
shorten the work week, and reduce work-related fatalities and hazardous
working conditions, and end fear of want and need, while
providing jobs, health care, education, and cultural development
for all. To one extent or another, all the DWS’s which had time to

consolidate their relative independence from imperialism benefited

from implementing these changes in social and economic relations.
Both military spending and the consequences of bureaucratic parasitism
limited the social gains made available by the unfettering
of the forces of production from the enslaving constraints of the
LOV. Material deprivation, imperialist intervention, encirclement
and isolation from the world market elevated the bureaucracy’s and
military’s appropriation of large portions of the social surplus in
proportions that elevated these functionaries as a materially privileged
caste. Due to the economic backwardness and isolation of the
countries which abolished capitalism, the bureaucracies became
Bonapartist parasitic castes mediating the pressure from imperialism,
from the native bourgeois and petty bourgeois interests (the
reinstitution of the LOV through the mechanism of market rationalizations,)
on one side and the interests of the workers and poor
peasants on the other side (the plan, the social guarantees, etc.)
This contradiction inside the DWS’s was not static; social relations
and class forces pushed the bureaucracy in one direction or the
other, advancing the economic foundations of proletarian power or
toward capitalist counter-revolution.

To claim as the ICL (a.k.a. the Spartacists) does that the state
has not dismantled the basic gains of the 1949 revolution and
is not leading China’s rise as a capitalist and imperialist superpower
is to take the side of the “Princelings” against the
worker masses and even as we shall show to take the “Princelings”
side against the workers of the world. The workers have
resisted, in countless thousands of “industrial actions” and political
actions. From Tiananmen to Foxcom’s suicides, to the militant

Tonghua steel workers anti-privatizations fight in 2009, and to the
Wuhan Commune of 2012, wave after wave of independent workers
actions fought the attacks on the gains of the 1949 revolution!

Hidden until recently, under the control of state censorship, are the
multi-millions of new proletarians who, driven by the same market
forces introduced and promoted by the CCP, have become underemployed
itinerants (migrant armies of labor) with little chance of
life-long employment, pensions, health insurance and other bene

fits enjoyed by industrial proletarians and with few rights respected

by the police.

Cont. page 3 column 1

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The pressures of the global capitalist crisis inevitably drives
emergent Chinese imperialism on a collision course with US
imperialism’s military might, the avoidance of inter-imperialist
warfare depends on the American and Chinese workers defeating
the rule of their own bourgeoisie in China and the USA in
order to avert and end the threat of inter-imperialist wars.

Workers Democracy is the key

Chinese workers never experienced democratic control of their rev

olution. Unlike the workers who seized power in the 1917 russian

Revolution, the Chinese working class never experienced soviet
democracy, shop floor democracy or workers control of the Communist
party. These experiences and organizational forms are the
key components that distinguish a healthy from a deformed or degenerated
workers state. Where Trotsky considered the revolution

ary generation to be a force in the mid 1930’s which would recall
the democratic workers councils and fight to rebuild their power, in
China of the 1990’s soviet democracy was a concept far removed

from most workers experience. Once experienced, workers democ

racy is not easily forgotten. Thus 1905 prepared the generation of
1917. Lost from the living memory of the working class, these

experiences become abstractions–revolutionary history and theory.
They can become a guide to program, but without a revolutionary
vanguard party popularizing revolutionary theory and asserting
those historic lessons during subsequent upsurges the moment is
assured to be lost and the workers’ uprising, heroic as it may be,
will be defeated.

The democracy of the workers’ commune in Shanghai was defeated
in 1927 because of the treacherous CCP-led bloc with the Kuomintang.
Thousands of communist workers were sacrificed. since

then workers democracy was suppressed by the Communist Party
itself, whenever it emerged, both inside the party with the attack on
the revolutionary Marxists of the Left Opposition (Trotskyists,) and
outside the party in the workplaces and unions. Deformed from
birth, the Chinese revolution’s ‘permanence,’ it’s growing over
from an anti-imperialist ‘bloc of four classes’ to a social revolution

was more a reflex and consequence of the escape of the Chinese

bourgeoisie to Taiwan than the intention of the CCP. Because of
the CCP’s adherence to the stagist theory of revolution the party
hesitated when it ascended to power, for three to four years before
taking up the economic tools of the workers’ state. The Chinese revolution
threw the Trotskyist movement into a tailspin as it sought to
equate reality with its varied understandings of the Marxist theory
of the state.

Sam Marcy of the SWP explained that the “…bourgeois-landlord-
merchant-comprador class alliance, the main and fundamental
prop of imperialism in China, has been broken and shattered, and a
new class power erected…. A new class power, basing itself fundamentally
on the workers and peasants, has seized the reins of
power, and is…attempting to shape the destiny of China in a new
direction.” Marcy argued that although “…bourgeois relations still
predominate in industry and agriculture…,” the crux of the matter
was the “…political power of the former ruling class has been shattered,
their ‘body of armed men’ disarmed or destroyed, and their
nexus to and dependence upon imperialism, shattered….” (Memorandum
on the Unfolding War and the Tasks of the Proletariat in
the New Phase of the World Permanent Revolution—Marcy, SWP

Internal Bulletin November 1950.)2

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Determining the Class Character of the State

“When the Third Estate seized power, society for a period of years

remained feudal. In the first months of Soviet rule, the proletariat
reigned on the basis of bourgeois economy. In the field of agriculture,
the dictatorship of the proletariat operated for a number of
years on the basis of petty bourgeois economy. (To a considerable

degree it does so even now.) Should the bourgeois counter-revolution
succeed in Russia, the new government for a lengthy
period would have to base itself on nationalized economy.(our
emphasis) But what does such a type of temporary conflict between
economy and state mean? It means a revolution or a count-
er-revolution. The victory of one class over another signifies that
it will reconstruct the economy in the interest of the victors….”

(Emphasis in original.) (Leon Trotsky 1937, Not a Workers’ and
Not a Bourgeois state Fourth International 1951)3

The conundrum faced by the Trotskyists in the post-war era is
adequately dealt with in the Leninist- Trotskyist Tendency’s June,
1995 document, The Marxist Theory of the State and the Collapse
of Stalinism.4 The LRCI/Worker’s Power’s untenable position
dating the formation of the workers state in China, from
the institution of the plan and the monopoly of foreign trade is
dismissed if not by Trotsky’s quote above, then it is done in in
the LTT document. The post-war transformations in Eastern Europe
were carried out, in all cases (except Yugoslavia), under the
occupation of the Red Army and direction from Moscow, not by
the masses themselves via their own revolutionary workers party,
but because Moscow was losing control of its project to maintain
bourgeois “Peoples Republics,” which were increasingly being at

tracted to the benefits offered by the Marshall plan. The material

contradiction between the world market guided by the LOV and
the economy of the USSR guided by the plan had to be resolved
in one direction or the other. The USSR’s bureaucracy, adhering
to the theory of “Socialism in One Country,” required a geographic
buffer for defensive purposes and occupied Eastern Europe
was made to serve as this buffer. To consolidate their sphere of

influence, after attempts to incorporate the bourgeoisie into the

governance of the “Peoples Republics,” Moscow changed course
and ‘extended the revolution.’ ‘Socialism’ was born in Eastern
Europe by imposing the economic mechanisms of the degenerated
workers state (the USSR) onto the occupied nations, accomplishing
revolution (transformation of the class character of the
state) from above, denying the rightful agency of the proletarian
revolution-the proletariat itself-actual power, yet establishing
deformed workers states in the image of, yet subservient to, the
Soviet planned economy.

The Soviet bloc and imperialism made a deal to partition the
world after WWII based on the economic power of the USSR,
given its successful defense of the gain of workers’ property. This
was still, in a degenerated way the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
in the USSR forcing imperialism to accept ‘co-existence’ for
the time being. But the bureaucracy was Bonapartist and balanced
between workers and capitalists and defended workers’
property only so long as it provided their privileges. Isolated
and forced to compete with the capitalist world economy restored

to profitability by depression and war, the ‘planned’ economies

stagnated and with them so did the privileges of the bureaucracies.
They re-introduced the LOV as “market reforms” to overcome

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

In Russia the point at which the state became bourgeois was obvious5
when Yeltsin seized power from Gorbachev and eliminated
the weak opposition within the bureaucracy to the fast road to the
‘free market’. Residual opposition to the state coming out openly
to restore capitalism was eliminated. This was a world-historic
defeat that the Spartacists and their offspring haven’t and won’t
recover from.

In China, when Deng dissolved the village communes and introduced
the LOV in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) this was
a gradual preparation for restoration under the ‘plan’ of the CCP.
As Trotsky predicted, this ‘plan’ was actually a plan to restore the
LOV, and capitalism was sold as ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics,’
but inevitably the LOV would become dominant unless
overthrown by political revolution.

When did quantity turn into quality? Tiananmen was the smashing
of workers resistance to restoration and the CCP Congress in

1992 was the now-dominant ‘reform’ faction’s dressing up of the
LOV as ‘state socialism.’ This is confirmed because there is no

way that a healthy workers state, let alone a degenerate one, can
develop the forces of production in one country (albeit with in

ternal colonies,) accumulate capital over 20 years and become an

emerging imperialist state in competition with existing imperialist
states, unless the LOV is dominant.

History does not care which social layer carries out transitions
from one mode of production to another. Dogmatists were among

the non-dialectical thinkers who were flummoxed by the fact that

the working class had not carried out the post-war transitions in
their own name, through their own organizations. If a reluctant
bureaucracy, proponents of the theory of “Socialism in One Country,”
committed not to internationalism but to their own material
interests derived from their position as a parasitic caste upon the
workers state, and maneuvering between the pressure from the
workers and oppressed toilers from below and from the imperialists’
stranglehold besieging from all sides, can abolish capitalism,
advance the revolution in the mode of production and establish
an albeit “Deformed Workers State,” the question is posed does
the working class have an independent role in the tasks of the
social overturn or can a “Socialism from above” be established
and sustained?

Stalinophilia and Pabloism

This contradiction opened the Stalinophilic path for layers of
Trotskyism leading to liquidationism. Some joined the Stalinist
parties, some maintained their external groups. In one form or
another most Trotskyists abandoned the understanding that the
political revolution was not simply the optimal road forward, that
the political revolution by bringing workers themselves to power
through the (re-)establishment of democratic workers councils
and their absolute rule of the socialist transition is itself the only
means to defend the workers state. While the crisis of the death
agony of capitalism and the long bloody transition period of revolutionary
stillbirths, abortions and infanticide that accompanied
the transition to a post-capitalist mode of production wore on, the
theory came to be entertained that the DWS may be the most advanced
transitional form humanity can develop at this point, and
as consequence of the extended duration (from decades to possibly
centuries) of the proletariat’s struggle against imperialism, the

Bonapartist layer that Stalinism represented might indeed rule for
an extended duration.

The Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) took this logic almost as far
as the Marcyites of the Workers World Party and the Party of So

cialism and Liberation (WWP&PsL) would. The FsP only in 2003

took up the call for political revolution in China6 and later on produced
a new waffle for Cuba.7 The FSP now calls for a new revolutionary
party to contest for power with the Castroists, but says
it is “premature” to call for a political revolution! Will they adopt
the Robersonian method and wait until all the gains of the Cuban
Revolution are gone before “then” incorrectly calling for the polit

ical revolution? The PsL still sees no reason to fight for political

revolution in China. And most, in the trajectories spun off from
the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (U.Sec) and the
U.Sec. itself, while identifying the capitalist restoration in China,
have a blind spot in recognizing the restorationist process led by
the Castroists in Cuba and still do not call for political revolution
there. When the U.Sec. and the American SWP taught generations
of militants internationally that Cuba was a healthy worker’s state,
they themselves were already theoretically disoriented by the rise

of the DWs’s. When they were revived numerically by the 1960’s

upsurge, they disarmed a generation by abandoning Leninism and
Trotskyism, and then collapsed into a Menshevik stages methodology.
They abandoned the Transitional Program, the anti-imperialist
principle of opposing the imperialists both at home and militarily
in all their interventions, and the permanent revolution. This led to
capitulation to semi-colonial ‘anti-imperialist’ national bourgeois
leaderships and popular fronts (from Bolivia through Sri-Lanka and
later Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Grenada and South Africa,) while their
pretense to building the Fourth International as founded by Trotsky
vanished from the world of material reality.

For Trotskyism the DWS could only be defended by the establishment
of a healthy workers state. The parasitic caste has to be
negated–abolished or incorporated-by one mode of production or
the other resolving the contradiction between imperialism and the
proletariat. The abandonment of the conviction that the working
class itself is the only reliable agency of the permanent revolution

is to make a wreck of Marxism and to trivialize the sacrifices of the

revolutionary generations.

Murray Weiss, a spokesman for the Trotskyist majority led by
James P. Cannon, wrote in answer to the “Third Camp” minority:

“[I]t was this slight misconception as to who was the main enemy

that helped to bury the German revolution. “For the Marxists, the

main enemy of the Russian working class, as well as the interna

tional working class, is the class enemy…. The Bolshevik-Leninists
in the U.S.S.R. will be the best fighters and because of that they

will tell the Russian workers the truth: In order to win this war
against imperialism we must overthrow the traitor Stalin and appeal
to the revolutionary working class of the world to come to our
aid.”(our emphasis)
–“Marxist Criteria and the Character of the War,” [SWP] Internal

Bulletin, February, 1940”8

Thus for Trotskyism the defense of the USSR has never been anything
less than the full on struggle by the proletariat for their healthy

workers state, if not by reform (until 1933,) then by political revolu

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tion, not some half-way formulation or schema to defend the DWS.
By the workers and not by any jumped-up Reiss faction. Even
when Trotsky advanced tactical military blocs with the Stalinists
against imperialism the message to the workers was clear. The
defeat of imperialism would require the defeat of the Bonapartist
bureaucracy–Stalinism. And vice versa, the defeat the Bonapartist
bureaucracy would

require the defeat of imperialism.
This seems an
important link between
the open Pabloists (i.e.,
the Stalinophilic membership
described above),
and the covert Pabloists
we describe below who
try to hide their Stalinophilia
in a formal recognition
of political revolution
by workers from below,
even while the workers

MaY 2013

capitalist-imperialist. They ascribe a pro-capitalist motive to forces
in and around the bureaucracy and in and around the party but
not to their central directorates. They see China as “On the Brink”
of capitalist restoration and have seen China on this brink since
1997, as fantastic as that may seem!15 Much of the continuity of
their present position falls back on Trotsky’s formulation in 1933:

are being turned into wage
slaves by a regime and a state they defend! Their Stalinophilia is
the obverse of their phobia of the proletariat! The Spartacist ilk
want the Stalinists to rescue the workers states without having to
defeat imperialism at home, which would destroy their cozy la-

bor-aristocratic positions, which finds expression in their social
chauvinism, such as their initial confusion over the 1967 “six-Day

War”9, their refusal to defend Argentina during the Malvinas War10
and their initial applause for the so-called “humanitarian mission”
of the US Forces in Haiti11. Being sure does seem to determine
consciousness and over and over critics have had to correct them.

There is nothing accidental about theses mistakes and they are not
only to be put down to the social origins of the membership of
the Spartacist League. Like Cannon before him, Robertson, the
spiritual-political guide of Spartacism never did make a comprehensive
political nor methodological break with Pabloism.
They have not understood the way posts of the capitalist restoration
in the degenerated and deformed workers states any
better than the SWP US12 understood the Eastern European
transformations13 in the 1940’s.

Spartacism on China…Yet another Pabloism!

The most exercised proponents today for the idea that China remains
a bureaucratically deformed workers state are the various
groups of the Spartacist current: the International Communist
League (ICL), the Internationalist Group (IG), and the International
Bolshevik Tendency (IBT) are the most exercised proponents
today for the idea that China remains a DWS. The method of these
groups is the same in regard to the class nature of the Chinese state,
although the ICL has written the most material through the years

in a zigzagging and contradictory manner trying to fit the Chinese
reality into successively redefined criteria for a deformed workers

state. For the Spartacists, what is left of the nationalized property,
the political rule of the CCP and the absence of openly capitalist
counterrevolutionary political forces provoking working class defense
of the workers state and splitting the bureaucracy into opposing
camps in a civil war, are the empiricist criteria of their static
position on China.14 They do not see beneath these criteria that the
interests of the bureaucracy and the program of the CCP are now

“He who asserts
that the Soviet government
has been
gradually changed
from proletarian to
bourgeois is only,
so to speak, running

backwards the film
of reformism.” (The
Class Nature of the
Soviet State, October

1, 1933)

The ICL runs from
the fact that the Stalinist bureaucracy, in order to preserve its privileges,
has been the force that capitulated to imperialism in the
USSR,16 the Eastern bloc and now, in China, that initiated and led
the gradual restoration of capitalist property relations. The ICL did
in fact finally admit that the stalinist Bureaucracy led the counter
revolution in the USSR. Yet the ICL still believes that a bourgeois
party would have to come to power in China by some means to be
able to carry through the restoration.17 In this they ignore Trotsky
who advanced this possibility:

“…Thus, as long as the European revolution has not conquered,

the possibilities of bourgeois restoration in our country cannot be
denied. Which of the two possible paths is the more likely under

our circumstances: the path of an abrupt counter-revolutionary
overturn or the path of successive shiftings, with a bit of a shake-
up at every stage and a Thermidorian shift as the most imminent
stage? This question can be answered, I think, only in an extremely
conditional way….” (The Challenge of the Left Opposition,

“…Two opposite tendencies are growing up out of the depth of the
Soviet regime. To the extent that, in contrast to a decaying capitalism,
it develops the productive forces, it is preparing the economic
basis of socialism. To the extent that, for the benefit of an upper
stratum, it carries to more and more extreme expression bourgeois

norms of distribution, it is preparing a capitalist restoration. This
contrast between forms of property and norms of distribution can

not grow indefinitely. Either the bourgeois norm must in one form

or another spread to the means of production, or the norms of
distribution must be brought into correspondence with the social

ist property system….” Trotsky Chapter 9 Revolution Betrayed 18

The ICL claims that in the wake of capitalist counterrevolution in
the soviet Union in 1991 led by Yeltsin, that “Trotsky had overdrawn
the analogy between a social revolution in a capitalist society
and social counterrevolution in a deformed workers state…,”
and that the “…preservation of proletarian power depends principally
on the consciousness and organization of the working class.”
(ICL, How the soviet Workers state was strangled, 1993).19 They

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have not understood the process yet.

“…In contradistinction to capitalism, socialism is built not automatically
but consciously. Progress towards socialism is inseparable
from that state power that is desirous of socialism or that is

constrained to desire it.” (those constrained to desire it would be
the parasitic bureaucrats, ed. note) (Trotsky, The Workers’ State,

Thermidor and Bonapartism, 1935).20

In the absence of the Chinese working class, organized by its revolutionary
party, sweeping away the bureaucracy, capitalism was
restored in China and the state became a defender of capitalist
property relations, a process that began in the 1970’s but accelerated
decisively during the 1989-1993 pe
MaY 2013

DOP; it had to be for one end or the other. Along with the fact that
the CCP and bureaucracy smashed the resistance of the working
class in order to change the project of the state, against the planned
economy, they opened China to imperialist exploitation of the proletarians
being driven off the land in the wake of the destruction of
the rural communes. They elevated the LOV to be the determining
factor in most social relations and midwifed into existence from
their own excrescence a new class of capitalists, entrepreneurs and
managerial elite to work the process of exploitation and primitive

The Search for the Reiss faction

For the variety of Spartacist currents the existence or non-existence
of or even the dialectical necessity for

riod. And this certainly did not happen

the existence of a “Reiss” faction is a

“peacefully” as the resistance and the

big deal, perhaps of the first order of

repression of the workers and students

importance. For us the shop floor of

after the Tiananmen Square massacre

vanguard workers is of the first order

demonstrate. The political expressions

of importance. Whether any Reiss

of the workers movement were crushed

faction exists should be determined

alongside and after the suppression of

by observation–the first requirement

the pro-democracy student elements in

of the scientific method. For the po-

Tiananmen Square. Thousands were

litical revolution the Reiss faction is

shot and tens of thousands of workers

not essential. What is essential is the

were arrested, clearing the road for the

revolutionary vanguard of the work-

final consolidation of political power by

ing class, its program and its Lenin

the “capitalist roaders” in the CCP.

ist party. How much of a civil war
there is during a capitalist restoration

The ICL also sometimes contradict their
position that a civil war is necessary and on occasion call on Karl
Marx to the effect that counterrevolutions do not always require a
military component or a military repression of the revolutionary

The fear of the possibility of a Reiss faction inspired the CCP
leadership to send the army against the Party apartment houses in

Muxidi in 1989. In Michael Fathers and andrew Higgins book

The Rape of Peking, they show the decision to send the army was

“…not merely to disperse the mobs from the barricades, but to

create a spectacle of forceful repression so shocking that it could
not fail to cow anyone within the party who had dared to sympa

thize with such defiance”. One incident underlines this fact, when
troops opened fire on ‘one of the best addresses in China’, numbers
22 and 24 in Muxidi, which were home to some of the most
senior officials in the CCP. “Soldiers shot indiscriminately into
Buildings 22 and 24, terrorizing their inhabitants as effectively as
they did those on the streets”. (Tiananmen – The Rape of Peking)
“At least two servants were killed and several relatives of top officials
were injured in this episode.” (socialism Today, Issue #129
June 2009, “Tiananmen and the working class”)22

The resistance of the Chinese workers in 1989 was heroic but

short-lived. The repression was very sharp, casualties were enor

mous, but the ICL and associated currents are not satisfied that this

constituted or met their expectations of a civil war which forcefully
crushes the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (DOP). But by
admitting the military ends of the bureaucracy were to cement the

“reforms” the entire edifice of the enduring DWs falls alongside

the slaughtered at Tienanmen. The only other course is to revise
Marxism and claim the slaughter of Tienanmen was to defend the

has more to do more with the level of
resistance the working class can muster than the emergence of any
left wing of the bureaucracy. With or without a “Reiss faction”
the political revolution requires the army to break ranks from the
Bonapartists of the bureaucracy and form up democratic soldiers
councils who arm the workers and defend the workers councils.

As a matter of method the Robertson-inspired currents are looking
for a substitute vanguard instead of a vanguard that rises from the
shop floor. They are looking for a vanguard among the bureaucracy
although Trotsky said this layer would be more or less passive.
This is most clearly displayed in the IBT with their military support
for Zanayev, whose faction did not oppose capitalist restoration but
only the shock therapy tempo of the Yeltsin wing.23 The ICL did
not support the coup, but only because they considered the coup
leaders an inept ‘gang of 8 that couldn’t shoot straight’24 The IBT
knew Zanayev was for restoration and considered the coup to be
Stalinism’s last desperate stand and called on the working class to
make a military bloc with one restorationist wing against another.25

To be fair the IBT in september 1991 came to see that the end had

come to the workers state in August with the triumph of Yeltsin.
But they nevertheless put their faith in the Zanayev coup to stand
at the head of the revolutionary workers in the initial stage of the
political revolution.

The Robersonians oversubscribe the Stalinist party to be defenders
of post capitalist property relations and when they see the bureaucracy
ridden with class enemy capitalist roader consciousness the
Internationalist Group and the ICL suddenly26 have an argument
over whether to be clinging to or appealing to a Reiss faction as a
necessary leadership element for a political revolution to defend the

CLass War

gains of the DWS’s. Substituting a Reiss faction for the working
class to defend the revolution is a Utopian schema.

Following the blood bath at Tienanmen the restorationist wing was
freed to carry its program forward. The property relations the state

defends or strives to develop defines the class character of the state

to paraphrase Trotsky (see above). The project of the state had
changed. When the masses and their uprising to advance workers
rights and workers democracy was militarily defeated, just as
embryonic workers self-defense guards and councils were prying
open the road to political revolution, this road was snapped shut
by the repression and another opened presenting an obstacle-free
path for the restorationists. The state became nothing other than
a vehicle for the building of capitalism, primitive capital accumulation
and the building of a capitalist class from within the cadres,
the technocratic layers, from expatriate capitalists, from capitalists
who survived the red purges inside the party, and through nepotism,
corruption, malfeasance, speculation and labor brokering.

Reviewing the ICL material on China shows they deny very little
that others on the left cite as proof of the restoration. The transformations
that have been carried out in the mode of production and
the wealth accumulation by and under the direction of the parasitic
bureaucracy are all accepted as within the defined economic activities
of the “DWS.” It appears that for the ICL the Rubicon is not
crossed until a distinctly bourgeois party challenges the CCP politically
and smashes the remnants of the DWS, throwing up forms
of bourgeois governance, whether multi-party democracy, or one
of their more authoritarian or fascist variants as a result of civil
war. We have evidence27 that ICL leader Joseph Seymour held that
a civil war is not requisite for capitalist restoration.

Alongside the CCP, the Bolivarians, Green-Left and the Castroists,
the ICL contends that the Chinese CCP has not restored capitalism.
They see all the intrusions of the market into the economy and the

integration of the economy into the world of international finance

capital, directed by the Bureaucracy-Leadership-Party as the result
of material restrictions imposed on the emerging post-capital

ist world fighting within the old world economy for its liberation

from Western and Japanese imperialism. Their analogy positing

the ‘market reforms’ that began in 1978 as an extended version of
the 1920’s New Economic Policy (NEP) comes to mind. We reject

all this self-delusional thinking.

They are creating a fictitious chasm between the party and the bureaucracy.
Not taking account that the bureaucracy is shot through
with capitalist roaders and the class enemy consciousness has triumphed
in the bureaucracy and the party and that the bureaucracy
doesn’t have a separate existence from the state or the party and
the rise of bourgeois consciousness has been an evolutionary process,
initiated by the party and not imperceptible at all. Capitalist
restoration has been a conscious goal of the CCP and bureaucracy
since the triumph of the capitalist roaders at Tiananmen. That they
still take in ostensible Trotskyists with their claims to be building

“market” and “21st c. socialism” more than twenty years later is

only a gauge of the credulity of methodological Pabloites.

Trotsky gave some guidance on the question of restoration pointing
to the nationalization of big capital in the hands of the workers

MaY 2013

state, the monopoly of foreign trade and the increasing dominance
of socialist planning over the anarchy of production. Marxists
are not static thinkers, they understand that revolution and count-
er-revolution are processes dependent on the relationship of class
forces, the level of cultural, political and organizational development
of the counter-posed classes. They understand that during
transitions from one mode of production to another the econom

ic forms that fortify the emergent class are yet in flux and that

the state power is wielded to crush the remaining obstacles to the
emergent class’ sustained power. The dominance of the rule of the
LOV on the world stage and the military power of the imperialist
states are the two main obstacles to the transition to a socialist
mode of production. Even now the dominance of the LOV is
being further extended into central China as the CCP and the bureaucracy
organize the industrialization of the Chinese interior.

The ICL conflates the Political Revolution and the

Socialist Revolution

The ICL states “…A proletarian political revolution would implement
a centrally planned and managed economy to eliminate
unemployment and provide basic economic security for all workers…”

And furthermore that, “…It would expropriate the new class of

domestic capitalist entrepreneurs and renegotiate the terms of

foreign investment in the interests of the working people. It would

create a centrally planned and managed economy under conditions
of workers democracy—not the autarkic, bureaucratic com

mandism of the Mao years.”29

This remarkable statement comes from the political tendency
that wants to believe and wants the world to believe they are the
champions of Trotsky’s Transitional program. But each of these
concepts listed above correspond directly to the slogans and demands
of the socialist revolution and its tasks, not the political
revolution. For Trotskyists who read the Transitional Program the
political revolution presupposes that the expropriation of the capitalist
class and foreign imperialist enterprises has taken place, it
further presupposes the planned economy and the monopoly of
foreign trade which would be incompatible with the existence of
large property holdings by native capitalists, never mind the existence
of SEZs. At this point all that is really planned in China
is the state foreign investment policy and the fostering of private
enterprises across the country and not only in SEZ’s. This was
made explicit in changes to the constitution.

“But the pupa is not the butterfly”

Even while Andreyev the Secretary of the Central Committee of
the USSR was announcing that the relative weight of the socialist

production reached to 98.6% in 1936, Trotsky warned:

“The enormous and wholly indubitable statistical superiority of

the state and collective forms of economy, important though it
is for the future, does not remove another and no less important
question: that of the strength of bourgeois tendencies within
the ‘socialist’ sector itself, and this not only in agriculture but in
industry….A bare antithesis between individual proprietors and
collective farmers, between private craftsmen and state indus

CLass WarrIOr

tries, does not give the slightest idea of the explosive power of

these appetites, which imbue the whole economy of the country,

and express themselves, generally speaking , in the desire of each
and every one to give as little as possible to society and receive as
much as possible from it.”30 Chapter 9 Trotsky (The revolution


Who would deny that these appetites have not only been explosively
proliferated across China but have been promoted by the
leading bodies of the party, the state, the army and the bureaucracy?
The sum result of this dynamic is to kill Trotsky’s metaphorical

“…In order to become social, private property must as inevitably

pass through the state stage as the caterpillar in order to become

a butterfly must pass through the pupal stage. But the pupa is not
a butterfly. Myriads of pupae perish without ever becoming butterflies.
State property becomes the property of ‘the whole people’
only to the degree that social privilege and differentiation disappear,
and therewith the necessity of the state. In other words:

state property is converted into socialist property in proportion as

it ceases to be state property. And the contrary is true: the high

er the Soviet state rises above the people, and the more fiercely

it opposes itself as the guardian of property to the people as its

squanderer, the more obviously does it testify against the socialist
character of this state property….”31

What influences the life and death of our pupa?

“…To the extent that, in contrast to a decaying capitalism, it (the
soviet state) develops the productive forces, it is preparing the

economic basis of socialism. To the extent that, for the benefit of
an upper stratum, it carries to more and more extreme expression
bourgeois norms of distribution, it is preparing a capitalist
restoration. This contrast between forms of property and norms
of distribution cannot grow indefinitely.(our emphasis) Either
the bourgeois norm must in one form or another spread to the
means of production, or the norms of distribution must be brought
into correspondence with the socialist property system….”32

Not even the ICL denies that the state is developing bourgeois
property norms, is participating in the growth of bourgeois consciousness
by writing capitalist laws and that the state is administering
the capitalist transformation by the selling off of and

abandonment of the state sectors of the economy, to the benefit

of private, foreign, domestic and corporate ownership and control
of the means of production. The ICL has chronicled the death
by a thousand cuts of the DWS, yet still clings to fallacy that the
state administered by the CCP is not a capitalist state because the
privileged bureaucracy still derives its parasitic privilege from the
core of the Chinese economy, which they claim is still the state
sector. The bureaucracy, they say is not the new bourgeoisie and
the new bourgeois as a class are denied political power. Yet what
is political power except the ability of a class to utilize the state in
its own self-interest at the expense of other classes whose ascendancy
would negate theirs?

In the 1937 Trotsky argued that the proletarian state is defined and

established by these relations:

MaY 2013

“The nationalization of the land, the means of industrial production,
transport and exchange, together with the monopoly of foreign

The bureaucracy was not a ruling class because even though they
had, “expropriated the proletariat politically in order by methods
of its own to defend the social conquests. …the very fact of its

appropriation of political power in a country were the principle
means of production are in the hands of the state , creates a new
and hitherto unknown relation between the bureaucracy and the
riches of the nation. The means of production belong to the state.

But the state so to speak, ‘belongs” to the bureaucracy. If these
as yet wholly new relations should solidify, become the norm
and be legalized, whether with or without resistance from the
workers, they would, in the long run lead to a complete liquidation
of the social conquests of the proletarian revolution.” (our
emphasis) At that point in history the bureaucracy had, “not yet
created social supports for its domination in the form of special
types of property.” It was compelled, “to defend state property
as the source of its power and its income. In this aspect of its

activity it still remains a weapon of proletarian dictatorship”.

One crucial aspect of the lack of special property forms that for
a whole period and across the DWS’s was that: the “individual
bureaucrat cannot transmit to his heirs his rights in the exploitation
of the state apparatus. The bureaucracy enjoys its privileges
under the form of an abuse of power. It conceals its income; it
pretends that as a special social group it does not even exist.”
(The Revolution Betrayed)

In China today an entirely different picture emerges when we
seek to determine class nature of the state based on which proper

ty relations the state defends or strives to develop. In 1992, while
in the revolutionary Trotskyist League (rTL), we identified the
Chinese road to restoration as the slow road compared to the 500

day shock treatment employed by the Yeltsinites in the former
USSR. The slow road, while just as counter-revolutionary as the
fast road, afforded the working class many opportunities to resist
even after the Communist Party’s slaughter of workers and
students in 1989. since ‘89 the workers have resisted the implementation
of the privatizations and the superexploitation imposed
with the integration into the world economy. But without
a revolutionary party the class’ resistance failed to coalesce into a
political revolution during the survival of the DWS. The contradiction
between world imperialism and the proletarian revolution
as mediated by the Bonapartist bureaucracy was resolved in favor
of imperialism. Today the tasks of the workers revolution are no
longer limited to the political overthrow of a privileged bureaucratic
caste via the formation of democratic workers councils and
armed workers detachments. Today those workers deputies must
take up again the socialist tasks of establishing a centralized plan
and a monopoly of foreign trade through the expropriation of the
native bourgeoisie and foreign imperialist holdings as opposed to
the ICL claim that the task would be to renegotiate (!!!) terms of
exploitation with these foreign bosses.33 The Spartacist insistence
that the task is to renegotiate with foreign capital abandons in
concrete terms the internationalist nature of the proletarian revolution.

Today worker revolutionists must revisit the social conquests

completed between 1949-1953, the expropriation of the bour

Cont. pg. 9

CLass WarrIOr

geoisie and of the foreign capitalists, the formation of worker-run

communal enterprises, the suppression of the influence of the

LOV in social relations, and the institution of a revolutionary
foreign policy (as short lived as that was). At some point quantity
does turn into quality and vise versa. When the quality—the
class character of the state—changed, the quantity–the pace of
the implementation of capitalist mechanisms accelerated!

Trajectory of Capitalist Restoration in China

Lets look at this trajectory down the road of capitalist restoration
in China and at the consequences, that concrete material and legal
programmatic changes have had on the nature of the state, the
introduction of capitalism, the integration into the world capitalist
economy and then determine if the parameters of the DWS
that Trotsky applied to the USSR apply to China today:

1972 Mao and Nixon meet. The great opening of China to
western imperialism begins. China further distances itself from

Ussr, and it invades Vietnam in 1978.

1974 Relief of threat from USA,

freeing surplus slated for military
for “The four modernizations.”

1976 Hua Gou Feng defeats the
Gang of Four. As Premier he is
the ‘stalking horse’ for Deng Xiao
Ping and the Capitalist Roaders.
He rehabilitates Deng for the second

The ICL is mystified by changes at

the top; tells the working class that
they are “murky and personality

In 1978 Deng becomes Premier
and worked to free the bureaucra

cy from Maoist policy of “putting
politics in command.” Deng attacked Maoism after the defeat
of the “Gang of Four” with his “Emancipation of the Mind,”
“Opening to the Western World” and “Getting rich is Glorious”
concepts. He said that the state sector would remain the core of
the “socialist economy” and that although individual capitalists
existed the bourgeois class as a whole no longer existed so the socialist
project would be secure despite the foray into the market.
This period embraced the “Four Modernizations” resulting not
only in the opening of four Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) but
the closing of the “Democracy Wall.”35 (English People Daily)

It appears the ICL believed him until at least 1997 when they introduced
that contradictory position that China is on the Brink of

restoration, however they maintain that the state sector remains
the core of the Chinese economy and the bureaucracy’s privileges
to this day.

1979 Following the signing of friendship treaty between Vietnam
and the USSR Vietnam invades Cambodia which was endangering
the Vietnamese revolution. The autarky that was in Cambodia
was the furthest thing from internationalism with massacres

MaY 2013

of Vietnamese. China in turn told Jimmy Carter they would be
invading Vietnam. The Vietnamese deported many Han Chinese
who were running big black market operations. They took a tremendous
amount of material goods with them. China saw the
USSR as trying to encircle them on their southern border. Not
only was China not defending the Soviet Union it was making
common cause with imperialism against the Vietnamese revolution
and even served as its proxy.

Concrete changes in the economy and the condition of the masses

•The state share of the economy which in 1978 was 78% dropped
to 42% by 1996.
•The Value added to the economy through Industry by the state
Owned Enterprise (sOE’s) was 100% in 1978 and was reduced
to 54.8% in 1998 and to 41.9?% by 2003
•The state share of producer goods transactions 1978 was 100%
and this was reduced to 10% by 2003 (everything from ores and
diamonds to specialized machine tools–everything that industry
consumes to do business.)
•The share of prices set by the state for all commodities in 1978
was 97% and this was reduced
to 2.6% by 2003.

While these market reforms
were touted by the largest
Communist Party in the world
as proof of their method and
by the biggest capitalists in the
world as proof of theirs, the
workers and peasant masses of
China were suffering its consequences
as the GINI coefficient
ratio, which in 1978 was

0.2% would jump to 0.46%
by 1998 peaking at 0.491%
in 2008 and stood at 0.474 in
2012. a GINI coefficient ra

tion over 0.4% is widely considered
the threshold that incites social unrest.37

The GINI coefficient ratio has stayed at a relatively high level
of between 0.47 and 0.49 during the past decade, indicating that

China must accelerate its income distribution reform to narrow
the rich-poor gap, Ma said.”38 (English News)

The ICL and the Committee for a Workers International (CWI,)

as well as the Freedom socialist Party (until 1999) buried their

heads in the sand claiming these changes were enacted somewhere
along the trajectory of an intact DWS and that either reform
of the party (the FSP) or political revolution (CWI/ICL)
were the objective task of the working class, as the class nature of
the state had not changed. So if we look at the class nature of the
state asking what class interests it serves and which class’ social
conditions it advances in society, we have to look at the social and
economic policies enacted by the state. We steal liberally without
citation from their publications, as these policies we are reviewing
are well known and easily referenced.

Every worker knows that without the right to strike workers have

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

no power. In 1982 the right to strike and the “Four Bigs” (to speak
out freely, air views fully, hold great debates, and write big character
posters) were abolished.

Workers know that if our organizations are controlled from the top
down and that if those organizations are not independently run by

active rank and file, by shop floor action committees, they have

a tendency to negate workers power and enforce the control over
the work and/or our lives rather than liberate them. What kind
of union can you have without the right to assembly, to speak out
and to write large posters? They are the mainstay of workers self

“Chinese labor law gives workers the right to form unions. Trade
unions are an arm of the state, and are controlled by and provide

funding for the Communist Party. The party tells unions which
leaders to elect. According to Chinese law a union can be creat

ed at any place with 25 or more employees. The approval of the
employer is not required. The unions do not negotiate and make
agreements with state-controlled management.”39(Facts and Details)

Along side the abolition of the right to strike

in 1982 was the promotion of the growth of

private capital in the form of “self employed
labor.”40(English People)

“5 second paragraph of article 11:”The

State protects the lawful rights and interests
of the individual and private sectors of the
economy, and exercises guidance, supervision
and control over individual and the pri

vate sectors of the economy.”

(In 1982 this was revised to): “The State protects the lawful rights
and interests of the non-public sectors of the economy such as
the individual and private sectors of the economy. The State encourages,
supports and guides the development of the non-public
sectors of the economy and, in accordance with law, exercises supervision
and control over the non-public sectors of the economy.”

1985 Reduction of public provisions.
1986 The Law of Gestation of Land opens land leases for 30 years.
1986 Deng message “Do not follow socialism”
1987 The legal introduction of a system to allow SOE’s to make
contracts and directly negotiate with overseas companies is the tip
of the wedge breaking the state monopoly of foreign trade.

1988 The law of gestation of land extended land leases to a possible

60 years, making millions of surplus agricultural laborers who then
leave the land for the cities. Waves of internal migration fill the labor
camps of every major city, suppression and exploitation of this
migrant reserve army of labor fed the market’s quest for surplus

value accumulation. Inflation, previously unknown in the DWss
and before 1978 in China, jumps to 19%!

1989 General “liberalization of prices.” Social resistance breaks
out at Tienanmen, University of Beijing, the Beijing Autonomous
Workers Assn. is formed; millions of workers join student strike.
Demonstrations spread across the country. Li Peng declares martial

law. The Communist Party-led Peoples Liberation Army (PLA)
crushes workers resistance, murders students and workers, signifying
the use of the state to militarily enforce the program of
restoration upon the masses.

1991 The law allowing the transfer of land leases marketizes the
state “owned” property, promoting private agriculture over com

munal. This completes the privatization process begun in 1978

with the dissolution of the village communes. Even though nominally
the state owns all land in China today.

1992 14th Party Congress eliminates sectors where public investment
is limited. The privatization of the SOE’s begins as they

must survive the rationalization of the market; 40 million workers

are sacked and strikes and protests break out to stop the Commu

nist Party from eliminating the “3 Irons”.

From a peak of 145.1 million in 1992, the number of jobs in China’s
state sector fell to 82.8 million in 2002.41

1993 revision of constitution promoted “household responsibility

system” to replace the people’s communes.

1994 Labor law changes implement
salaried labor, the “iron rice bowl”
rusts through. The Communist Party
carries out a Thatcherite wet dream as
education and health care are privatized
and the right to life-long employment
replaced with “performance based contracts;”
the “iron rice bowl” is eliminat

ed. Deng takes his victory lap to celebrate
the integration into the world of capitalism in his touted
“Tour to the South.”

1995-2002 45 workers million were sacked of which 36 million

were state sector.

1995-2002 state sector employment peaked at 113 million (1995),
down to 71 million by 2002

By all accounts unemployment doubled during this period though
government data paints a much rosier picture than academic research

state share of employment declined from 60.5% (1998) to 19.4%

While the informal labor employment for migrant workers
dropped from 87.3% in 2001 to 60.7% in 2010 the rise in informal
employment for local workers jumped from 13.4% to 25.8%

while the total informal employment for all workers hovered be

tween 29-37% over the decade. (rCIT pg11)

The distribution of workers protests in SOE’s vs. private enter

prises between 2000-2010 made a complete turnaround; with 80%
of the protests being at SOE’s in 2000, in 2010 80% of the job
actions were at private enterprises.45

Who does the banking system serve?

Cont. pg 11

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

The banking sector is totally dominated by the state banks while
foreign banks hardly play any role. This may come as a great surprise
to the Munzerite FLTI who see Chinese capitalism as an offshore
operation of US imperialism. Far from being a Yankee tool
Chinese state banks own large percentages of Morgan Stanley and
Barclay’s Bank.

The banking sector is also responsible for half of the whole financial
system. If one combines this figure with the government
bonds, the state sector provides nearly 2/3 of the financial system.

Since Lenin developed the category of “state monopoly capitalism”,
there has never been a more pure form of state monopoly
capitalism than in Chinese banking in the last two decades.

Chinese banks have emerged as a major financier over the past few

years. It is already lending more money to so-called developing
countries than the World Bank. The China Export Import Bank and

China Development Bank signed loans of at least $110 billion to
other developing country governments and companies in 2009 and
2010 (the World Bank made commitments of $100.3 billion from
mid-2008 to mid-2010). The purpose of these loans is – as it is usually
the case with state loans to foreign governments – to support
Chinese exports and businesses overseas.

the China sovereign wealth fund to purchase 10% of Morgan


These banks and financial institutions that the Chinese state has

purchased shares of are major exploiters of proletarians worldwide
and super-exploiters of workers in China itself and the
semi-colonies across the planet. This makes the Chinese state
participants in capitalist exploitation in the advanced industrial
countries and super-exploiting imperialists in the semi-colonies,
not only through direct SOE investments abroad but as large percentage
shareholders in some of Western Imperialism’s biggest

It is our view that the exposition of the emergence of Chinese imperialism
has been well documented both in our struggle with the
FLTI in 2009-201050 (FLTI minority report, later a CWG/HWRS
pamphlet The Truth is Concrete: The Rise of Chinese Imperialism,
March 2010 and in the rCIT’s book The Great Robbery of
the South (2013) Chapter 10, “China’s Transformation into an
Imperialist Power.”51

Is the state sector the core of the economy?

Despite Trotsky’s admonition that
It is therefore not surprising that Chi-

the restorationist state would for a
na is today close to being the biggest

time base itself on the state sector,
Net Capital Exporter, only slightly be-

for the reductionist and economist
hind Germany.

schools, continued existence of the

DWS hinges on the core of the econ-
However China’s capital is not only

omy remaining in the state’s hands.
active on the international loan and

since we first heard this argument

bond market but also as a foreign in

20 years ago we have seen that core

vestor in the industrial and raw mate-

of the economy diminished signifirials

cantly, proving concretely the trajec

tory we identified in 1992. This is

One can see that Chinese imperialism

the very heart of the matter; the

has already surpassed rivals like Can-

Stalinophiles hide behind the state

ada or Italy in Foreign Direct Invest-

as an abstraction when Trotsky has
ment and has already reached the level of Zhengzhou Crisis of over production in housing explained that the state is the concrete

countries like Germany.46

While it is outside the scope of this investigation to fully record the
role of the Chinese state banking sector and state foreign direct investments,
it is notable that the ICL,, loathe all discussion of
the role of the Chinese banking sectors’ OFDI and the relationship
that creates between the Chinese state and the world proletariat.
We offer only three examples but many more are available to the
interested investigator with time and access to the Internet. As we
noted (elsewhere in this article pg??) China began moving out of
the “safe haven” of US Treasury bills. It redirected these funds, it

sought and received permission to purchase a $3billion stake worth
roughly 8 percent in “…Blackstone, which owns companies that
have 375,000 employees…”47

In July of 2007 The Guardian reported that “another bank, controlled
by the Chinese government has become a major shareholder

in Barclay’s, and could soon own 8% of the UK bank.

Barclay’s announced this morning that China Development Bank
is spending €2.2bn (£1.5bn) on a 3.1% stake…”48 And Reuters reported
in august 2010 that the FED approved a request to allow

armed force of the class whose social relations
it is imposing or defending. after 1989 the state smashed
resistance to full-scale restoration, and by 1992 imposed major
restructuring of the state enterprises to consolidate wage-slave
capitalist relations. The LOV then determined value as opposed
to planned prices. By 1992 the state is everywhere enforcing and
reproducing capitalist social relations and the results (see data below)
show how they transform themselves from state capitalist
administrators to privately rich bourgeois. The reductionist and
economist schools (or empiricists) make a false distinction between
market and state when the qualitative criterion is that the
state is imposing LOV to revalue production in place of the plan.

Comrade Richard C. of the IBT does not realize that he has supported
the true picture of the economic state of affairs operating in
China when he said “In imperialist countries at the present time,

the tendency is deflationary and increasing the money supply will
not (right now) generate hyperinflation. It has instead created
asset bubbles in less developed countries such as the BRICS.”

The “C” in BRICS being China we have to wonder what kind of
workers state comrade C thinks China is to be vulnerable to ma

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nipulation by the printing of money in the imperialist countries.

Ergo our timeline continues…,

1998-2010 State share of total number of industrial enterprises

(with annual sales over 5mnrMB) fell from 39.2% to 4.5% (!!!)
state share of total industrial assets fell from 68.8% (‘98) to
42.4% (2010)

1997-2010 state share of nation’s exports fell from 57% to 15%

1999 Private enterprise is lifted from playing a “supplementary
role” to being an “important constituent component” of the new
“market socialism.”

2000-2009 China’s share of global manufacturing exports grew

from 4% to15%54

2008 Surpasses the USA as the world’s largest manufacturer.

2010 Becomes the world’s second largest net exporter behind

While China’s foreign-exchange reserves have grown from

$250bn in 2002 to over $3 trillion in 2011, the percentage held in
Us securities has dropped from 75% to 54%.55

Chinas Outward Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) jumped from

between $10-12bn in 2005 to between $70-73bn in 201156

Strong national research and development infrastructure was in
place before the ‘market reforms.’ Without these prior accomplishments
of state planning the ‘market reforms’ are unlikely to
have produced the gains they did.

With the ‘reforms,’ R&D by the state was defunded, forcing alternative
funding and profit-seeking. as a result, LENOVO, started
by the Chinese academy of Sciences, was privatized. Then it

purchased the IBM PC division in 2005 and is now a major world

player in consumer electronics.

The Chinese bourgeoisie: spawn of the bureaucracy
born with their hands on the levers of power

In the Workers Vanguard #814 of 2003 we read the following

fantasy: “Of the 1,240 companies listed on China’s two main stock
exchanges, in some cases the government holds a majority of
shares, in others a substantial minority. But even the latter remain
effectively government-controlled because the CCP has retained

a monopoly of political power. There is no workers democracy in
China—but neither is there shareholders’ democracy. A disgruntled
shareholder brash enough to organize a revolt to oust the

incumbent management, typically politically well-connected CCP

cadre, would likely find himself in a very bad place very rapidly.

Shareholders in China’s corporations do not have ownership
rights in the Western capitalist sense. They have the right to income
from their financial assets and they can sell their shares, if
they are smart or lucky enough, for a net gain over the purchase
price. But they cannot determine or even influence the management
and corporate policies. These are determined by various and

MaY 2013

often conflicting political as well as economic pressures.”

What do the Spartacist suppose they are describing if not State
Capitalist property and hybrid forms of it, shares of which by

2003 had already long since been for sale. Why do they suppose

the lack of shareholders democracy is a qualitative distinction and
somehow indicates the survival of the DWS. Do they ever acknowledge
what Trotsky said about state capitalism? Or state monopoly
capitalism in the epoch of imperialism? So it’s OK for all
the Western imperialism to take the form of state monopoly capitalism,
but not for capitalist restoration in a DWS. In the DWS the
ICL insists that capitalism be competitive market capitalism based
on individual shareholders. This is theoretical bankruptcy. Obviously
the bureaucracy preferred to use state power to ensure that
state monopolies that were stagnating could switch from planned
prices to market prices and to position themselves as the new Red

“The Chinese Stalinist bureaucracy created a new indigenous

bourgeoisie out of its own ranks the old Chinese capitalist class

was expelled after 1949-52…. Of course it also tried to attract the
old Diaspora bourgeoisie but it has no appetite to withdraw from
the scene and to hand the economy over to the latter. For this
reason a process of rapid primitive accumulation was initiated
with the result of a growing private capitalist sector as the figures
above indicate. However given the huge size of the country’s

economy and the –in relation to this-small size of the new Chinese
capitalist class, the ruling class made sure that a strong state cap

italist sector ensures that China avoids the fate of the economic
collapse like the former Soviet Union after 1991.”57

Not every millionaire is a member of the ruling elite, but class has
its privileges a lesson many of the fourteen million millionaires in

the United states have learned. In China, figures show that by 2011

over one million Chinese are now dollar millionaires, and for every
one identifiable
there are
estimated to

be two flying

beneath the

The opening
of the CCP in
2002 to entrepreneurs
and capitalists
with the
“Three Represents Theory,” an ideological throwback to bourgeois
political economy which paints the upper-middle classes as
the most advanced productive forces in the economy, was more a
recognition of the fact that the party is a capitalist party than an
invitation. The properly-positioned party members and bureau

crats, not a billionaire among them or in all of China in 2002, were
able to propel at least 100 capitalists to billionaire status (Forbes
claims there may be another 100 harder to identify,) while according
to the Hurun report there are 317 billionaires in China and
that for every one identifiable billionaire there are two additional
unidentifiable due to hidden assets.

Mr. Yung, 70, emerged from obscurity after the Cultural Revo-
lution to become the first tycoon among China’s ‘princelings,’
the children and grandchildren of the party elite. (BOBBY

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Take for example Zong Qinghou, the CEO of the Hangzhou Wahaha
Group. The Company began as a local government owned
sales company (an SOE) which through “rationalizing” into private
and Joint Ventures (JV’s), and then through mergers, acquisitions,
offshoring, spinning out and sharing out to family members,

etc., has amassed a Us$20.1 billion fortune. This makes Zong
the third richest man in China. Nowadays 80% of Wahaha group

buisness is controled by Zong Qinghou’s wife Shi Youzhen and
daughter Kelly Zong. Unlike in Trotsky’s time, this fortune, this
ownership, these property forms, and these managerial relations
are not secret and are public knowledge, openly acknowledged.
This is not illegal, it is not corruption, it is not invisible nor does
the party pretend that it does not exist.
Or take the capitalist success story of the Fosun group. The ‘reforms’
enabled four University graduates to enter buisiness
through market research, extend their business into health care
and real estate, list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, and today
their CEO Guo Guangchang is considered China’s Warren Buffet,

although he had only amassed Us$4.1 billion as of 2007. In 2008
Guo controlled a portfolio valued at $200bn in assets in the Us,
(Business Week, 8/08) and these Us assets were once again valued
at $200bn when he was interviewed on “60 Minutes.” Guo
Guangchang was a representative of the 10th National Peoples

Congress (NPC). The NPC, although touted in the constitution
as the highest state body of people’s democracy, is widely recognized
to be a rubberstamp body following the lead of the CCP.
having no real power to legislate or intervene on behalf of their

Huang Nubo was a party member and Department Chief in The
Central Propaganda Department. He formed the Zhongkun Investment
Group to subsidize his paltry pay as a party hack and

today is listed as a billionaire Forbes ranks129th among China’s

richest people.

The recent storm over ex-Premier Wen Jiabao’s “hidden wealth”
reported as up to $2.7bn is far more than the skimmings of “corrupt”

Bloomberg reports that now Prime Minister Xi’s family members

own an 18% stake of a $1.7bn rare earths company.59

In the two main legislative bodies the 70 wealthiest NPC delegates
in 2011 had a combined wealth of Us$90bn and among the

Chinese Peoples’ Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) the
top 70 had a combined wealth of Us$100 billion.60 This level of
wealth accumulation by the members of the CPPCC dwarfs that
of the total assets of the members of congress of the USA.

The current developments reveal a crack in the ICL’s crystal ball.

“The aims of China’s would-be exploiters—centrally to secure

the right to buy and sell property and hand it down to their off

spring—can only be achieved through smashing the existing state

apparatus by one means or another and replacing it with a new

one based on the principle of private ownership of the means of

Today the bureaucracy has found a way to buy and sell off state
property; with the selling of shares and the listing of privatized

MaY 2013

companies and joint ventures on the stock markets they have
found a means to hand property down to their offspring. Indeed
the remnants of the deformed workers state were smashed by the
Communist Party, the army changed sides, turning against the

workers in 1989, and despite reporting on the event, the ICL/
IBT/IG/FsP/PsL and the like all missed its significance.

Out of the darkness and up to Lenin

We have concentrated on delineating the process of capitalist restoration
in China, somewhat at the one- sided expense of detailing
the rise of Chinese imperialism. So we need to warn worker
militants everywhere about Neo-Kautskyianism and Stalinophile
Pabloism at this same historical crossroads. US imperialism is in

decline and is taking its lumps badly. With the “Pacific pivot”

and US diplomacy and the treaty provisions of the TPPA (The

Trans Pacific Partnership alliance) and war-mongering against

the DPRK, Washington aims to encircle and cordon off the expansionism
of emergent Chinese imperialism.

This policy shift has already led to international incidents on the
high seas, as each of Washington’s allies takes a turn as proxy and
each presses its own territorial claims. Additionally, China threatens
the economic survival of Vietnam and Vietnam is buying arms
as fast as it can, including submarines and anti-shipping missiles.
The world crisis of capitalism is driving this collision to determine
who will win the lion’s share of redistributed world markets
sometime in this century, and perhaps very soon. This would be a
world war, make no mistake. The capitalists must destroy capitals

which they can not profitably employ(just as they did in WWI and
WWII) as a result of the Tendency of the rate of Profit to Decline.

To prevent this outcome workers in the imperialist countries and

in the first place China and in the Usa need to recognize that their

main enemy is their own bourgeoisie. To embrace the truth that
the only anti-war program is ultimately but urgently the socialist
revolution, a Leninist party is required to pursue this program
with single-minded devotion and discipline. Workers of the world
unite! Forward to the world party of socialist revolution; forward
to its transitional program, based on the demands and method of
Trotsky’s 1938 Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the
Fourth International! We have a world to win and nothing to lose
but our chains!


1We consider the North Korea and Cuba to still be bureaucratically Deformed
Workers States (DWS), although with the process towards capitalist restoration,

led by the Castro brothers and the PCC is far along in Cuba, North Korea is un

der attack from all sides its former supporters the USSR and China both support
restoration in DPRK.

2Memorandum on the Unfolding War and the Tasks of the Proletariat in the New
Phase of the World Permanent Revolution—Marcy, SWP Internal Bulletin November

3Leon Trotsky 1937, Not a Workers’ and Not a Bourgeois State/ Fourth International
4The Marxist Theory of the State and the Collapse of Stalinism http://www.marxists.

5For Socialist Action, as late as 1993 the continued existence of the economic
plan equaled the survival of the DWS; The ICL took two years to decide that restorations
it took place in 1991-2. This bizarre analysis meant that the workers’
state, the state and not just some surviving economic organizational form, was
maintained by the Yeltsin forces for many months after they banned the Commu

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

nist Party! This is more than a bit disingenuous and over-the-shoulder on their
part. In fact in the January, 1992 Workers Vanguard (pg.8) they said, “The dismembering
of the USSR does not leave a consolidated capitalist counterrevolution
but a bloody mess.” So a, “series of ‘governments’ that are counterrevolutionary
through and through, intent on dismantling the Soviet degenerated workers state”,
nevertheless maintained it. As for the Spartacists the hour for the political revolution
was getting late, until at last they conceded that it was not coming. Which

for the ICL was the Rubicon.

6 Freedom Socialist, July 2003, Capitalism’s Brutal Comeback in China

7Freedom Socialism, To save the Cuban Revolution, a new socialist party is needed,
volume 31 issue 4, October 2010

8“Marxist Criteria and the Character of the War,” [SWP] Internal Bulletin, February,

9Spartacist March-April 1968, Turn the Guns the Other Way
Also see LRP’s Proletarian Revolution No. 67 (Spring 2003), Movements, Misleaders
and the Role of Revolutionaries
“Thus not only did the SL take a neutral stance on the 1967 war, in which the
West Bank and Gaza Strip were put under Israeli military occupation; they even
retrospectively took the side of Israel in its 1948 war of ethnic cleansing, in which
500,000 Palestinians were put to flight. (Spartacist, March-April 1968). They later
“corrected” their stance on the 1948 war—to the same neutrality as in 1967.”

10Workers Vanguard No. 1013 23 November 2012 Britain and Argentina: Between
Some Rocks and Losing Face

11Workers Vanguard No. 958 7 May 2010 A Capitulation to U.S. Imperialism

12James P. Cannonism By Owen Gager From Spartacist:A Marxist Journal Vol 3
No1 1973

13In Defense of Marxism June 1995, Marxist Theory of the State and the Collapse
of Stalinism

14Spartacist No. 61 Spring 2009 Women Workers and the Contradictions of China
Workers Hammer No. 202 Spring 2008 China is not capitalist

15Workers Vanguard Nos. 814 and 815, 21 November 2003 and 5 December
2003, Defeat Imperialist Drive for Counterrevolution!

16The Internationalist, Stalinists Led the Counterrevolution? ICL Between
Shachtman and Trotsky, August 2000

17Australasian Spartacist No. 198, Defend, Extend the Gains of the 1949 Chinese

18Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed

19ICL, How the Soviet Workers State Was Strangled, August 1993

20Trotsky, The Workers’ State, Thermidor and Bonapartism, 1935

21Spartacist, #45-46, Winter 1990-91

22Socialism Today, Issue #129 June 2009, “Tiananmen and the working class”

231917, #11, Counterrevolution Triumphs in USSR , September 1991, http://www.

24Workers Vanguard No. 533, 30 August 1991, Defeat Yeltsin-Bush Counterrevo

lution! 1993/Spart


251917, #12, ICL/LRCI: False Assertions and Foolish Consistencies

261917, #11, Counterrevolution Triumphs in USSR , September 1991, http://www.
also see: The Internationalist, March 2001, ICL Decrees: No More “Reiss Factions”,

27Spartacist, #45-46, Winter 1990-91,

28Australasian Spartacist No. 198, Defend, Extend the Gains of the 1949 Chinese

29Spartacist Canada No. 166, Fall 2010

30Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, Chapter 9



33Spartacist No. 61 Spring 2009 Women Workers and the Contradictions of China

34 WV Dec 2 1976 pg. 5 Myths of Maoism Exposed


Cont pg 23 col 1

Rebooting Lenin Cont from pg 1

is this Marx with or without Lenin? That is the question. How do
we know? Who was the real Lenin? Was he the heir of Marx and a
proponent of fusing theory and practice, or was he a renegade from
‘authentic’ Marxism rather than the ‘renegade Kautsky’? Was the
Marxist party a vanguard party in Marx’s sense of not being ‘separated
from the working class’? Was the ‘democratic centralism’
Lenin practiced democratic or was it a precursor to Stalin’s dictatorship.
Was Lenin responsible for the degeneration of today’s
political sects and their isolation from the masses? It sounds confusing
but it’s not really. We don’t have to ‘rediscover’ or ‘reload’
Lenin, his history is written by the Bolshevik Revolution.

Without the Bolsheviks and their undisputed leader Lenin, there
would have been no Russian revolution so the left as we know it

today would not exist. The history of the 20th century would be
very different. Marxism would not have been kept alive in the 20th

century and remain a powerful class ideology today. There would
be no Marx revival, symbolic or real. But because the Bolsheviks
and Lenin did exist they and he will continue to inspire the masses
today in the belief that socialist revolution is not only possible
but necessary. If we do not defeat the all out attack on Lenin and
Bolshevism, reactionaries ranging from centrists who claim to be
Marxists (the new batch of Mensheviks) to reformists and anarchists,
in the name of ‘democracy’, horizontalism, of ‘not taking
power’, and so on, will lead new layers or revolutionaries back

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into the swamp of reformism, reaction and climate catastrophe.
Against all anti-Leninists our task is to Reboot Lenin. This means
restoring Lenin as the leading champion of Marx (and Engels) in

the 20th century.

For Marx Program came first

“The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class

parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians

of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the
common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all na

tionality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle

of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through,
they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement
as a whole.” Manifesto of the Communist Party
The Communist Manifesto competed in the workers movement of
its time with the rival programs of the Bakuninists, Proudhonists

and the Blanquists. For Marx the program was a fusion of scientific

theory and socialist practice. Marx’s critique of capitalism revealed
its laws of development and provided a programmatic guide to the
development of the proletariat as the revolutionary class. Marx
was almost alone as the drafter of Communist program and of de

veloping that program on the basis of class struggle. In his 18th
Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte written 4 years after the Manifesto,

Marx revealed the class interests of the bourgeoisie which despite
its factions united to maintain its class rule by concentrating state

power in the figure of a Bonapartist dictator. But as the Bonaparte
personified state power as ‘above classes’, he also represented its

fallibility, as the state became ripe for ‘smashing’ and replacement
by a proletarian state –the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.

MaY 2013

Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue Napoleon will crash from the
top of the Vendome Column”. This was now put into practice by
the Communards as they took steps to ‘smash the state’.
As Engels puts it:

From the outset the Commune was compelled to recognize that
the working class, once come to power, could not manage with
the old state machine; that in order not to lose again its only just
conquered supremacy, this working class must, on the one hand,
do away with all the old repressive machinery previously used
against it itself, and, on the other, safeguard itself against its own

deputies and officials, by declaring them all, without exception,

subject to recall at any moment.

Engels describes this process as the “shattering of former state
power and its replacement by a new really democratic state”.

(Engels, Introduction to The Civil War in France.)

The Commune was a watershed that tested the Marxist program
in the throes of civil war and proved that the smashing of the state
and its replacement by a workers state was necessary to complete
the proletarian revolution, and to defend it from the bourgeois
counter-revolution. The failure to smash the state would inevitably
mean defeat. The program proved its superiority in practice
over the Proudhonists, Blanquists, and the Anarchists in front of
the world working class. All had a program that would lead to defeat.
The Proudhonists had no conception of organising the proletariat
as a class to smash the state and take power. The Blanquists
organised as a conspiratorial elite separate from the proletariat.
The Anarchists thought that capital-

This development of the Marxist pro

ist exploitation derived from its state

gram was based on Marx’s observa

power and once the state was smashed

tions derived from his theory of the

the proletariat did not need a state to

class nature of the state as the state of

defend its class rule. (Engels, Introduc

the ruling class. But as a guide to rev

tion to The Civil War in France)

olutionary practice it had to be tested
in the class struggle with the active

Marx found two weaknesses in the

collaboration of the members of the

Commune in its failure to implement

party. Unless the Marxist program won

the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ful

the support of a majority of politically

ly. Despite forming a popular militia,

active workers there could be no revo

it failed to march on Versailles to take

lution. Its first major test came with the
Paris Commune of 1871.

Marx wrote later in a Letter to Krugelmann during the days of the
Paris Commune:

If you look at the last chapter of my Eighteenth Brumaire you will

find that I say that the next attempt of the French revolution will
be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine
from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is essential
for every real people’s revolution on the Continent. And this
is what our heroic Party comrades in Paris are attempting. What

elasticity, what historical initiative, what a capacity for sacrifice in
these Parisians! After six months of hunger and ruin, caused rather
by internal treachery than by the external enemy, they rise, beneath
Prussian bayonets, as if there had never been a war between
France and Germany and the enemy were not at the gates of Paris.
History has no like example of a like greatness [Our emphasis]
Marx had written 20 years earlier at the conclusion of the 18th Brumaire
“…when the imperial mantle finally falls on the shoulders of

advantage of the enemy retreat. “They
did not want to start a civil war, as if that mischievous abortion
Thiers had not already started a civil war with his attempt to disarm
Paris!” .“The Central Committee surrendered its power” to
the Commune too soon. [Letter to Krugelman].

In The Civil War in France Marx explains that the Central Committee
(made up of a Blanquist majority and Proudhonist minority)
was not prepared for an insurrection and tried to compromise

with the bourgeois regime. It lacked a firm Marxist leadership and

did not understand the necessity to take power. That is why it
failed to march on Versailles.

Lenin writing on the Lessons of the Commune comes to the same
conclusion – the absence of a Marxist party in the leadership
meant the reformists prevailed:

But two mistakes destroyed the fruits of the splendid victory. The
proletariat stopped half-way: instead of setting about “expro

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

priating the expropriators”, it allowed itself to be led astray by
dreams of establishing a higher justice in the country united
by a common national task; such institutions as the banks, for
example, were not taken over, and Proudhonist theories about
a “just exchange”, etc., still prevailed among the socialists. The
second mistake was excessive magnanimity on the part of the proletariat:
instead of destroying its enemies it sought to exert moral
influence on them; it underestimated the significance of direct

military operations in civil war, and instead of launching a resolute
offensive against Versailles that would have crowned its
victory in Paris, it tarried and gave the Versailles government
time to gather the dark forces and prepare for the blood-soaked
week of May. [Our emphasis]

Even in defeat the Commune proved the fundamental correctness
of the Marxist program; only the working class organised by a
Marxist vanguard was capable of smashing the state and introducing
the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (the “really new democratic

20 years later in his Introduction to The Civil War in France, referring
to the ‘opportunism’ trend in the 2nd International, Engels


Of late, the Social Democratic

philistine has once more been

filled with wholesome terror
at the words: Dictatorship of

the Proletariat. Well and good
gentlemen, do you want to
know what this dictatorship
looks like? Look at the Paris
Commune. That was the Dictatorship
of the Proletariat. [Our

Though the Marxist program
was proven correct in by the
Commune, the International
Workingmen’s Association (the
‘First International’) did not

survive long. In the ebb in the
class struggle that followed, two Marxist tendencies emerged
both drawing on the Paris Commune, one to advance to revolution
and the other to retreat to reformism. In the Second International
the revolutionary wing came to be associated with Lenin, Trotsky
and Luxemburg. The reformist wing was associated with Bern-
stein and Kautsky. Both trace their Marxist credentials back to the
Commune and the revised Communist Manifesto. (Karl Korsch,
Introduction to the Critique of the Gotha Program)

Lenin and Trotsky: Kautsky and the Paris Commune

It is no accident that both Lenin and Trotsky went back to the Paris
Commune and Marx and Engels for guidance during and after
the Bolshevik seizure of power. Lenin did so to get to the roots of
the Kautsky’s ‘centrism’ and betrayal of revolution in Russia and
Germany. Trotsky did so during the height of the civil war in response
to Kautsky’s attack on the ‘Red Terror’. They both traced
the ultimate split in the Marxist movement over the question of
the proletariat’s ‘authority’ to impose a Dictatorship of the Prole

tariat back to the Paris Commune.

Engels writing in the immediate aftermath of the Commune’s
defeat in 1873 put his finger on the fear that held back the proto-
Mensheviks from the military seizure of power:

Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly
the most authoritarian thing there is; it is an act whereby

one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part

of the population by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon, all of
which are highly authoritarian means. And the victorious party

must maintain its rule by means of the terror which it arms inspire

in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted more

than a day if it had not used the authority of the armed people
against the bourgeoisie? Cannot we, on the contrary, blame it for

having made too little use of that authority? [On Authority]

Both Lenin and Trotsky follow Marx and Engels’ view that the
leaders of the Communards made “too little use of that authority”
and “stopped halfway” (Lenin’s phrase) because they lacked

a Marxist leadership and were still influenced by petty bourgeois

socialism (Proudhon’s reforms, Blanqui’s adventurism) and Bakunin’s
petty bourgeois hostility to the proletarian dictatorship.
They shared the view that conditions were not ripe for revolution,
but that once the armed

workers were forced to defend
Paris from the Prussian and
French armies, it was necessary
to pursue the civil war to
the end. They agreed with Marx
and Engels that the failure to
do this was due to the absence
of Marxist majority in the Central
Committee of the National

In drafting The State and Revolution,
Lenin traces Kautsky’s
break from the Marxist program
back to the Commune. While
Marx and Engels amended the

Manifesto to incorporate the
“smashing of the state” and the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”,
Kautsky is opposed the “destruction of state power” and instead
speaks of “shifting the balance of forces within state power”.

Lenin exclaims:

This is a complete wreck of Marxism!! All the lessons and teachings
of Marx and Engels of 1852-1891 are forgotten and distorted.
“The military-bureaucratic state machine must be smashed”,
Marx and Engels taught. Not a word about this. The philistine

utopia of reform struggle is substituted for the dictatorship of the

proletariat. [Lenin, Marxism on the State: preparatory Material
for the book The State and Revolution. 78 [Not online]

Lenin goes on to point out that the old bourgeois state has to be
replaced by a new proletarian state so that the proletariat as a class
can “suppress the bourgeoisie and crush their resistance.” While
the Commune immediately took on the form of a proletarian state

cont. pg. 17

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by replacing the standing army with armed workers, it could not

complete its task of workers democracy (in which all officials

were elective, responsible and revocable) because it failed to crush
the resistance of the bourgeoisie. The Central Committee feared
imposing the ‘terror’ of their class authority on the class enemy. It
sought ‘compromise’ instead. As Trotsky found, Kautsky writing
on the Commune agreed with the Central Committee!

Trotsky, onboard his military train in 1921 replying to Kautsky’s

attack on Red Terror [the Red Army putting down counter-revolution
ruthlessly], found Kautsky’s fear of the ‘authority’ of the
proletarian dictatorship in Russia during the Civil War was already
rooted in his fear of the ‘Red terror’ of the Civil War in France.

Kautsky could easily agree with Marx that in 1871 the revolution

was premature because the conditions were not ripe and the workers
unprepared. Yet when facing an actual civil war, instead of following
Marx and Engels into battle to defeat the non-Marxist leadership
and impose a strong central military command, Kautsky
would have sided with the ‘compromisers’ who hoped to do a deal
with Thiers by holding an election to make the Commune ‘legal’!

As Trotsky argues, Kautsky put the ‘democracy’ of the Commune
ahead of the Central Committee’s military campaign to defeat the
National Assembly:

In supporting the democracy of the Commune, and at the same

time accusing it of an insufficiently decisive note in its attitude to

Versailles, Kautsky does not understand that the Communal elections,
carried out with the ambiguous help of the “lawful” mayors
and deputies, reflected the hope of a peaceful agreement with
Versailles. This is the whole point. The leaders were anxious for
a compromise, not for a struggle. The masses had not yet outlived

their illusions.

Nor had Kautsky , whose pacifist confusion would have done

nothing to help smash those illusions. Trotsky ‘gets’ Kautsky:

When one considered the execution of counter-revolutionary generals
as an indelible “crime”, one could not develop energy in
pursuing troops who were under the direction of counter-revolutionary
generals. [The Paris Commune and Soviet Russia],

In other words Kautsky was already a ‘centrist’. He quoted
Marx in theory but then drew reformist practical conclusions. He
put bourgeois democracy ahead of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat,
because the “workers were not prepared”. His centrism was

to go unchallenged for decades by Engels and others in the 2nd

International though Engels selected Bebel in his place as literary
executor of Marx and Engels after the latter’s death.
Gotha Program abandons Marxist program

Four years after the defeat of the heroic Communards which put

the Marxist program to its first test in a revolutionary situation,

Marx was forced to come to the defence of the Communist Manifesto
in his Critique of the Gotha program in 1875. Having dispensed
with the Proudhonists who rapidly declined, and split with

Bakunin in 1873, Marx was now facing a split with the German

‘Marxists’ the Eisenarchers, who at the unity congress with the
Lassalleans turn out to be more followers of Lassalle than Marx.
Marx argued that the resulting United Workers Party of Germany

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abandoned the “Communist” program for that of Lassalle which
ignored social relations, surplus-value, internationalism, and the
class nature of the state, and “returned” to a reformist view of the
German state redistributing ‘aid’ to workers on the basis of ‘equal
right’. It was an “extremely disorganized, confused, fragmented,
illogical and disreputable Programme”, and had it been perceived
as such by the enemies of the proletariat, Marx and Engels stated
they would have been forced to dissociate themselves from it. (cited
in Korsch, Introduction to the Critique of the Gotha Program)

Marx writes in the Critique:

Since Lassalle’s death, there has asserted itself in our party the
scientific understanding that wages are not what they appear to
be — namely, the value, or price, of labor—but only a masked form
for the value, or price, of labor power… And after this understanding
has gained more and more ground in our party, some return

to Lassalle’s dogma although they must have known that Lassalle

did not know what wages were, but, following in the wake of the
bourgeois economists, took the appearance for the essence of the
matter. [Our emphasis]

Marx reveals here that against his own dialectic science, Lassalle’s
theory is pre-Marxist ideology going back to Malthus and Ricardo.
Wages are the price of labor (not labor power) so the basis of exploitation
is the underpaying of the exchange value of labor. This
is the ‘appearance’ since the ‘essence’ of capitalist social relations
of production ‘appear’ (are inverted) as relations of exchange. If
exploitation occurs by paying labor less than its value, then it can

be rectified by ‘equalising exchange’ through state aid. Howev

er, Marx had already proven scientifically that this cannot be

the case in Capital, and more popularly in Wages, Prices and

Profits. Exploitation occurs when the commodity labor power

is bought at its value, and yet because it is the only commodity
with a use value that can produce more than its own value, the
capitalist appropriates a ‘surplus-value’. Hence the state cannot
become the basis of reforms that guarantee the “undiminished
proceeds of labour” by means of a “fair distribution” of
income based on an ideal of “equal right”. It is necessary to
overthrow the state and expropriate the expropriators!

Thus, Marx makes clear in his Critique that the Gotha Program is
a retreat from his Marxism to the petty bourgeois reformist utopia
of a ‘vulgar socialism’:

Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only
a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production
themselves. The latter distribution, however, is a feature of the

mode of production itself. The capitalist mode of production, for
example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of production
are in the hands of non-workers in the form of property in
capital and land, while the masses are only owners of the personal
condition of production, of labor power. If the elements of
production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution
of the means of consumption results automatically. If the mate

rial conditions of production are the co-operative property of the
workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of

the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar
socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democrats) has
taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and

CLass War

treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production
and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on
distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why
retrogress again? [Our emphasis]

Lenin recognised that Marx’ Critique was a powerful analysis that
developed the program of the Communist Manifesto on the transition
from capitalism to communism. Not only did he critique Lassalleanism
as a vulgar socialism tied to the German capitalist state, he
showed how the capitalist state must be overthrown and give way to
a period of transition to socialism (the Dictatorship of the Proletariat)
that creates the conditions for communism and the withering away
of the state.

“The whole theory of Marx is the application of the theory of development
– in its most consistent, complete, considered and pithy
form – to modern capitalism. Naturally, Marx was faced with the

problem of applying this theory both to the forthcoming collapse of

capitalism and to the future development of future communism…it is

possible to determine more precisely how democracy changes in the

transition…” (The state and revolution Chapter 5)

Thus Marx in his Critique, destroys all possibility of a peaceful transition
from bourgeois to proletarian democracy at the very time when
German Social Democracy is opportunistically vulgarising Marxism
into a reformist utopian program. First, Marx shows how bourgeois
democracy is a formality for the big majority (the working class)
because bourgeois democracy can only be a bourgeois dictatorship
of the minority over the majority. Second, to bring about proletarian
democracy the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is necessary to smash
the bourgeois dictatorship.

“Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists
has been completely crushed, when the capitalists have disappeared,

when there are no classes (i.e. when there is no distinction between
the members of society as regards their relations to the social means
of production), only then “the state…ceases to exist” and “it becomes
possible to speak of freedom”. Only then will a truly complete
democracy become possible and be realised…Only then will democracy
begin to wither away.” (ibid)

Korsch spells out the wider reasons why Marx and Engels took their
critique so seriously:

“In the middle of the 1870s, then, Marx and Engels thought it was

far more possible than they had ten years earlier for the socialist

and communist movement in the advanced countries to return to the
‘old audacity’ of the 1847-8 Manifesto by exhibiting a ‘declaration
of principles’. In any case, they thought that the movement had developed
to an extent that any retreat from what was said in 1864 must
appear to be an unforgivable crime against the future of the workers’
movement. Thus Marx himself says in the note accompanying
his Critique of the Gotha Programme: there was no need to make a
‘declaration of principles’when conditions did not allow it, but when

conditions had progressed so much since 1864, it was utterly imper

missible to ‘demoralize’ the party with a shallow and unprincipled


This illustrates some of Marx’s preoccupations when writing the Critique
of the Gotha Programme. He demanded from the ‘Declaration

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of Principles’ of the most advanced Socialist Democratic party
as a minimum the same level of principle and concrete demands

as he himself had been able to insert into another declaration
of principles, ten years earlier. This had been drafted under

much less favourable circumstances and was designed for the
common programme of the various socialist, half-socialist and
quarter-socialist tendencies in Europe and America. Wherever

the Gotha Programme failed to meet this minimum condition,

Marx considers it to have fallen below the level already reached
by the movement. Hence, even if it appeared to suit the state of

the Party in Germany, it was bound to harm the future histori

cal development of the movement.”

Yet, neither Marx’s ruthless critique nor his development of the
Marxist theory of transition to communism was understood.
It was ignored and the Gotha Program emerged virtually unchanged
in a rising tide of opportunism. The ‘vulgar’ Marxist
program that mistook exchange relations for production re

lations and was to lead to the betrayal of 1914 was adopted.

“Why retrogress”? Marx asked. Engels and Lenin provided the
explanation later. The emergence of German imperialism could
now afford to create a labor aristocracy bought off by rising liv

ing standards paid for by colonial super-profits. German social

Democracy was adapting to the formation of a labour aristocracy
which voted for state reforms paid for by the super-exploitation
of colonial workers and peasants. If the Gotha Program
turned it’s back on the Communist Manifesto and founded German
social-democracy as pre-Marxist ‘vulgar socialism’, was

the Erfurt Program of 1891 any better?

Engels and Lenin critique the Centrist Erfurt
Program of 1891

The Erfurt program in 1891 fails to break completely from the

Gotha Program in its central aspects. It is a centrist program
at best. Engels’s letter ‘On the Critique of the Social Democratic
Draft Programme of 1891 (the Erfurt Programme)’ is
a continuation of Marx and Engels critique of the Gotha Pro

gram. Engels was clearly prepared to continue the fight for the

Communist program against the emerging opportunist German
Social Democracy and its main theoretician, Karl Kautsky.

He published for the first time Marx’s Critique of the Gotha

Program alongside his own Introduction to Marx’s: The Civil
War in France in 1891 to publicly champion the lessons of
programmatic development since 1947, yet his Critique of the
Erfurt program was not published by Kautsky until 1901! The

substance of Engels critique, like that of Marx at Gotha, was
ignored. The gulf between the Communist Manifesto and the reformist
German SPD, behind the hollow Marxist phrases, was
growing wider.

Engels main critique is of the “opportunism” of the political

These are attempts to convince oneself and the party that
“present-day society is developing towards socialism” without

asking oneself whether it does not thereby just as necessarily

outgrow the old social order and whether it will not have to
burst this old shell by force, as a crab breaks its shell, and also
whether in Germany, in addition, it will not have to smash

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the fetters of the still semi-absolutist, and moreover indescribably
confused political order… In the long run such a policy can only
lead one’s own party astray. They push general, abstract political
questions into the foreground, thereby concealing the immediate
concrete questions, which at the moment of the first great
events, the first political crisis, automatically pose themselves.
What can result from this except that at the decisive moment the
party suddenly proves helpless and that uncertainty and discord
on the most decisive issues reign in it because these issues have
never been discussed? … This forgetting of the great, the principal
considerations for the momentary interests of the day, this
struggling and striving for the success of the

moment regardless of later consequences,

this sacrifice of the future of the movement

for its present may be ‘honestly’ meant, but
it is and remains opportunism, and ‘honest’
opportunism is perhaps the most dangerous
of all… [Our emphasis]

Kautsky evades the critique. He claims that

Engels critique was of the first draft and not

of his draft which was the one adopted. Yet a
comparison of the two shows that Kautsky’s

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went back searching for the material roots of the degeneration of
German social-democracy. State and Revolution and the Renegade
Kautsky were the result. In this process Lenin revisits Engel’s sup

pressed critique of Erfurt and in the process finds that Kautsky,

the German leader who bases his authority on Erfurt, actually rejects
all the decisive developments in the Marxist program since

1847. referring to Kautsky, Lenin exclaims in marginal notes in

his drafting of State and Revolution “This is as a complete wreck
of Marxism…a step back from 1852-91 to 1847”! [Marxism on the
State: Preparatory Material for the book The State and Revolution.
Not online]

version does not reflect Engels critique of the

political demands. Kautsky’s book Class Struggle, an extended
commentary on his Erfurt draft, was published in 1892. It becomes
the popular presentation of the Erfurt Program. Do Engels
criticisms still hold of Kautsky’s book?

Kautsky’s book, Class Struggle, expounds ‘orthodox’ Marxist
‘economics’ from surplus-value to crises of overproduction which
create the conditions for the transition to socialism. But there are
no dialectics, only an evolutionary schema of capitalist development.
The proletarian side of the class struggle is rendered
‘objective’ as the subjective agency of the proletariat is suppressed
and replaced by the petty bourgeois socialist intelligentsia.
Capitalist ‘development’ is expressed by Vulgar Marxist
intellectuals who lecture the workers on their level of development.
The transition to socialism is managed by a socialist bureaucracy
that by means of reforms brings about the transition of the
capitalist state into the socialist state.

“From the recognition of this fact is born the aim which the Socialist
Party has set before it: to call the working-class to conquer

the political power to the end that, with its aid, they may change

the state into a self-sufficing co-operative commonwealth.” [Our

So for Kautsky, “conquering political power” means “change
the state”. How? There is no armed insurrection or ‘smashing of
the state’ but rather a relatively peaceful transition through the
gradual take-over of the state or as Marx put it the “transfer the

bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another” (18th

Brumaire). Therefore the political demands of Erfurt as presented
by Kautsky for the transition to socialism fall far short of the
Communist Manifesto and the critical development of the pro

gram in the period 1852- 1875 spanning the Commune to Gotha.

Lenin’s recognition that the Erfurt program was centrist did not

come until after the great betrayal of 1914. From that point he

Why was Lenin taken in by
Kautsky’s centrism for so long?
The short answer is, first centrism
itself, and second, Tsarism.
It is the nature of centrism
that it disguises its treachery
with hollow phrases. While
Engels chided the German So-
cial-Democracy as ‘opportunist’
he thought this was an aberration
probably resulting from

self-censorship to avoid triggering
Bismarck’s anti-socialist law. However, centrist opportunism
is not exposed as a counter-revolutionary retreat from Marxism
until it is tested in revolutionary conditions and is exposed by its
treacherous actions. So the revolutionary phrases carefully qualified
by vague euphemisms such as “conquering political power” in
Kautsky’s program were not put to the revolutionary test of practice
in Germany until 1914.

Second, developments in the SPD were not central to the class
struggle that was developing in Tsarist Russia. The SPD was a

legal party with millions of members, a large official apparatus,

and many elected MPs in the Reichstag. Formally, it was standing
on the Erfurt program and the “conquest of political power”. In
Russia however, the pressing task for the Marxists was the smashing
of the Tsarist state bringing with it a whole set of challenges
to the program and to the form of revolutionary party needed to
overcome these challenges. The necessary debates over theory and
tactics became the focus of the factional disputes and machinations
in the RSDWP. This is evident in the fact that the RSDWP
leaders while in exile in Europe conducted disputes in their own
papers and congresses almost independently from the 2nd International
parties in their host countries.

Currently there is a debate around whether the RSDWP was a
Marxist party in the mould of the SPD of Kautsky, the ‘mother’

party in the 2nd International, or a party of a ‘new type’ as a result
of Lenin winning a majority in 1902. The sPD was a ‘mass’ party

but it was also a ‘broad’ party of Marxists, centrists, and reformists
where the Marxist faction was marginalised by the centrists and
was unable to defend the Marxist program of the dictatorship of
the proletariat against the opportunists. This question was glossed
over since workers were experiencing rising living standards via
parliamentary reforms and the program was watered down by the
reformist wing of Bernstein under the cover of Kautsky’s centrist
wing. So while the reformist wing was critiqued by the centrist
Kautsky at the same time he opens the door to the retreat from

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‘smashing the state’.

Lenin asks: How, then, did Kautsky proceed in his most detailed
refutation of Bernsteinism? He refrained from analyzing the utter

distortion of Marxism by opportunism on this point. He cited the
above-quoted passage from Engels’ preface to Marx’ s Civil War
and said that according to Marx the working class cannot simply
take over the ready-made state machinery, but that, generally
speaking, it can take it over—and that was all. Kautsky did not say
a word about the fact that Bernstein attributed to Marx the very
opposite of Marx’ s real idea, that since 1852 Marx had formulated
the task of the proletarian revolution as being to “smash” the

state machine. (Lenin Chapter 6, State and Revolution)

In Russia the “task” of the RSDWP was not the working class
“conquering political power” from the bourgeoisie, but that of
leading all the oppressed masses in the overthrow of the Tsar. The
RSDWPbegan as ‘broad’party like the SPD but its Marxist faction

(Bolsheviks) from 1902 dominated the opportunists (Mensheviks)

and the conciliators (Centrists) in its militant defence and development
of the Marxist program. The showdown between Marxist
and opportunist factions came to the surface in Russia even before

1905 as theoretical differences on strategy and tactics had life or

death practical consequences in combating the Tsarist autocracy.

Lenin and ‘What is to be Done?’

Unlike the SPD which could vote its representatives into Parliament,
the Russian party faced a Tsarist autocracy. The immediate
task was that of ‘political freedom’, that is the bourgeois revolution,
in which the proletariat would be the leading class. Lenin’s
conception of the party was not as a professional elite separated
from the mass membership, but of both intellectuals and workers
who took the Marxist program to the workers already organising
against the Tsarist regime. The differences in the RSDWP didn’t
arise over the program to overthrow of the Tsar but over the role
of the proletariat in this revolution. For Lenin and the Bolshevik
faction the proletariat must be independent of the bourgeoisie and
lead all the oppressed classes. For the Mensheviks, like the centrists
of the SPD including Kautsky, the proletariat was not capable
of taking the place of the bourgeoisie in leading the bourgeois
revolution alone.

Thus between 1902 and 1917, the main fight inside the rsDWP

was between those who argued over whether that working class
was ready or not to take the place of the bourgeoisie in overthrowing
the Tsar. The Bolsheviks thought it was ready, the Mensheviks
thought that the workers would have to ‘compromise’ with the

On the question of the nature of the vanguard party, this is determined
by the Marxist program in which the proletariat is the
only revolutionary class capable of fusing Marxist theory and
practice as the agency of revolution. specific national conditions

are the immediate concrete workings of this historic and international
class dialectic. The Tsarist regime oppressed not only workers
but poor and middle peasants. It also oppressed elements of the
bourgeoisie. Lenin argues that the working class will lead the revolution
bringing behind it the poor and middle peasants. The rich
peasants are becoming capitalist and they and the weak bourgeoi
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sie cannot lead a revolution against the Tsar. Thus the proletariat
will be ‘hegemonic’ in leading all the oppressed classes. For that
to happen the Marxist party must include the vanguard of workers
who have a ‘socialist consciousness’ and not those who are only
‘trade union’ conscious.

In What is to be Done (WITBD) Lenin famously says that this
‘socialist consciousness’ is brought from outside to the workers.
Rather than an admission that the Marxist party is separate from
the workers, the so-called ‘dictatorship of the Party’ criticised by
Luxemburg and Trotsky, it’s the opposite. Both the workers movement
and the Marxist intellectuals must ‘converge’ and ‘fuse’ for
the revolution to happen.

That is why the Bolsheviks split organisationally from the Men

sheviks in 1912, while the Marxists in the sDP failed to build a
Bolshevik type party until the KDP (spartacists) in 1919. The party

that would lead the overthrow of the Tsar and organise the socialist
insurrection became a ‘mass’ Marxist party in which the members
were in agreement with the Bolshevik program for Russia. Tragically,
in Germany the Spartacists founded the KDP too late in

1919 and were ‘smashed’ by the sDP reformists and by Kautsky’s

USDP who joined a popular front bourgeois government in the
‘peaceful transition to socialism’ that was neither peaceful nor a

so in 1902 Lenin is already providing answers to the questions

posed above: the RSDWP is not yet a vanguard party. Its leaders
and members are Marxists but there are differences on how to

overthrow the Tsar. after 1905 the party fragments into numerous
weak factions but around 1909 the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks reform
and their differences deepen over strategy and tactics. A split
looms and comes to a head over whether the working class will
lead the overthrow of the Tsar or do so in a political coalition with
the bourgeoisie. Lenin mobilises to reorganise the RSDWP on a
Marxist program of a worker-led revolution, against Mensheviks
and others who want a cross class coalition. The program comes

first and the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks split in 1912. From this

point on both factions organise and meet separately presenting a
clear choice for Russian workers. They enter the period of rising
struggles and prove to the masses which program is correct and
which class will lead the revolution against the Tsar. This will hap

pen first in 1914 when the Bolshevik faction becomes the core of

the Zimmerwald Left and an embryonic new international. It will
come to the ultimate test when the Bolsheviks convince Russian
workers to make a revolution, and the Mensheviks side with the
peasant petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie to oppose the revolution.
This is democratic centralism in practice, tested in its
presence, and in its absence, with positive and negative results
in the Russian and German Revolutions.

Some neo-Kautskyites today who want to recruit Lenin to the
‘broad’ party fail to grasp that while the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks
did not form separate parties in 1912, they split as factions
over a fundamental principle of the Marxist program. The
RSDWP that resulted contained two parties, except in name, the
Bolsheviks standing on the principle of worker ‘hegemony’, the
Mensheviks on ‘class conciliation’ (what is called today the popular
front with the bourgeoisie) in the Russian revolution. Far from
being a ‘broad’ party that tolerated all political differences, a split

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over this question was a matter of life and death. The failure
to form the Bolsheviks as a separate political organisation
would have wrecked its ability to implement democratic centralism
and prevented it from rapidly developing its program
and winning the masses’ support in the Soviets for a workers’

Even so, in the Bolshevik faction in april 1917 all the leadership

apart from Lenin were conciliating with the Provisional Government
– that is, proposing a popular front with the bourgeoisie!
The situation was rescued by Lenin because he could appeal to the

mass base of the Bolsheviks won to the faction/party since 1912

on a Marxist program, and convince them of the correct strategy
and tactics. Had the RSDWP not split and stayed as a ‘broad’ party
of Marxists and class collaborationists like Kautsky’s SPD the
outcome would have been a defeat for the Russian revolution at
the hands of Kerensky and Korni

lov! The outcomes of the Russian
and German revolutions are the ultimate
testimony to this fact.

Bolshevism and the
Russian and German

In april 1917 Lenin proved that

the RSDWP were two factions
in name only while in reality two
separate parties. Moreover he
proved that the Bolshevik ‘faction’

was not free of would-be Mensheviks
in the leadership ready to
‘conciliate’ with the bourgeoisie. It was necessary to go to the
mass membership of the RSDWP. He read his April Theses to the
Bolsheviks and then to both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks together.
Lenin then goes outside the Party Leadership and addressed
the Petrograd branch of the party directly. He won them to the socialist
insurrection. (Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution,
(HRR) Chap 15).

Again in October Lenin is in a minority of one in the Central
Committee. He demands an insurrection and the Central Committee
burns his letter. Accusing the Central Committee of ‘Fabianism’
he then goes to the Petrograd soviet and the Regional
Conference of Northern soviets and speaking on his own authority
demands “an immediate move on Petrograd”. (Trotsky, HRR,

Chap 24.). Then when the Central Committee finally agrees to the

insurrection, Zinoviev and Kamenev disclose these plans in Pravda,
the Menshevik newspaper. Lenin calls for their expulsion but
is defeated on the Central Committee. This was how the Bolshe

viks under Lenin’s leadership, and organised as a de-fact0 mass

vanguard party, were able not only to survive a revolutionary crisis,
but to win the leadership of the workers and peasants, defeat
the counter-revolution and make the first socialist revolution in
history. Not so in Germany.

as we have noted, not till august 4, 1914 was the theoretical
bankruptcy of 2nd International and in particular its main party,

the German SDP put to the test and exposed as a ‘stinking corpse’
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(Luxemburg cited in Lenin). The centrists around Kautsky and
the Zimmerwald Left revolutionaries around Luxemburg and Liebknecht
split to form the united SDP (USPD) but the left Spartakustbund
faction inside the USPD failed to break away to found

an independent Bolshevik-type party until December 1918. Only
in 1917 did the paths of the russian and German revolutions converge
in a Marxist leadership that understood the two revolutions
must unite as one to succeed. But the German ‘old guard’ around
Luxemburg lacked the experience in organising a mass base.
Their reliance of on worker ‘spontaneity’ against Lenin’s ‘centralism’
meant that when the soldiers and sailors rose up against the
Junker regime there was no Bolshevik-type democratic centralist
party at its head to ‘smash the state’.

Like Lenin, Luxemburg facing a revolutionary crisis in Germany,
returned to Marx and Engel’s to draw the lessons about the
‘smashing of the state in or

der to refound the Communist

“…Down to the collapse of

August 4, 1914, the German

Social Democracy took its

stand upon the Erfurt programme,
and by this programme
the so-called immediate
minimal aims were
placed in the foreground,
whilst socialism was no
more than a distant guiding

star. Far more important,

however, than what is written
in a programme is the way in which that programme is interpreted
in action. From this point of view, great importance must
be attached to one of the historical documents of the German
labour movement: the Preface written by Fredrick Engels for
the 1895 re-issue of Marx’s Class Struggles in France. It is not
merely upon historical grounds that I now reopen this question.
The matter is one of extreme actuality. It has become our urgent
duty today to replace our programme upon the foundation laid
by Marx and Engels in 1848. In view of the changes effected
since then by the historical process of development, it is incumbent
upon us to undertake a deliberate revision of the views that
guided the German Social Democracy down to the collapse of August
4th. Upon such a revision we are officially engaged today….”
(On the Spartacus Program [our emphasis]

Too late! The delay of the revolutionary Marxists in splitting organisationally
from the USPD was fatal. It meant that they did
not have time to build a Marxist vanguard and win a mass base
before the revolutionary crisis came to a head. By the time the

spartacists founded the KPD in 1919, the sPD and UsDP were

collaborating in a Bourgeois government led by the SPD leader,
Ebert! The revolution was betrayed, its main social democrat
leaders were murdered and its armed workers’ militia ‘smashed’
by the Freikorps.

So the problem of the party is not that Lenin abandoned the
‘broad’ party for an elitist party, but that without a revolutionary
program tested in the struggle the vanguard party is

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sucked back into opportunism and conciliation with the bourgeoisie.
The problem is not therefore historic Bolshevik/Leninism
but its absence. Russia and Germany are the test cases. The
Bolsheviks won the masses in Russia because they split from
the Mensheviks, but in Germany where they failed to split from
the Kautskyites until too late, the revolution was defeated.

For both Marx and Lenin the vanguard party is the party of the
Marxist workers not the party of non-Marxist workers. This was
true even when the vanguard was of no more than one; Marx on
Gotha, Lenin on the April Theses. But at the same time the Marxist
vanguard is obliged to fight to win the non-Marxists to the vanguard.
But to do this the backsliding conciliators, compromisers,
opportunists, centrists, Mensheviks etc have to be defeated. This
is what the Russian revolution proves. Like Marx confronting the

retreat to Lassalleanism at Gotha, Lenin also finds himself alone in
april 1917 carrying the banner of the Marxist vanguard.

As the crisis of war and revolution unfolded Lenin drew further

conclusions. after 1914 he writes a series of articles and pamphlets
accusing Kautsky of reneging on the 1912 Basle Manifesto on war.

(See Preface to …Renegade Kautsky). In his Imperialism written
in 1915 Lenin shows that Kautsky’s opportunism explains his theory
of ‘ultra-imperialism’. During the 1917 July Days when he is

in hiding, he drafts the State and Revolution. He now shows that

Kautsky abandoned the theory of ‘smashing the state’ in 1871. He
“wrecks Marxism” and goes back to 1847. Then in 1918 Kautsky’s

condemnation of the Bolshevik revolution in his pamphlet ‘The
Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ provokes Lenin’s brilliant The Proletarian
Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, in which he sums
up Kautsky in the phrase “How Kautsky turned Marx into a Common
Liberal” by reducing the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ in
the Paris Commune to ‘bourgeois (i.e. pure) democracy’ i.e. and
electoral majority! The final nail in Kautsky’s coffin is that his centrism
is exposed as the key to the defeat of the German Revolution.
It is Kautsky and the USPD that delays the founding of the German
KDP until it is too late, then takes responsibility for the state
repression of the Communists, defeating the revolution and thus
preventing the Russian revolution from spreading to the world. Yet
this is the Kautsky of the Erfurt program that the neo-Kautskyists
like the CPGB wants to return to today!

The Party embodies the Program

For Marx the proletarian party is the Marxist party. The Gotha Program
retreated from Marx’s method and his critique of Capitalism
to Lassalle’s pre-Marxist exchange theory. The Erfurt Program
restored the Marxist critique of Capital formally by returning to
the production of surplus-value, but didn’t escape the Gotha Program
in its reformist approach to the capitalist state. In the SPD
the ‘broad’ party submerged the revolutionaries in a swamp of opportunism.
Engels critique of Erfurt was ignored as was Marx’s at
Gotha. Kautsky vulgarised Marx, ignoring the laws of capitalist
development, the crises of overproduction and the growing
competition between the imperialist powers. The approaching
imperialist war was something that could be stopped by a SPD
majority in the Reichstag acting with ‘legality’! The betrayal of

august 1, 1914, had tragic practical consequences for millions of
workers the world over 1000 times the scale of the defeat of the

Paris Commune. And this time it was done in the name of Marx


Today against the program and party of Kautsky, we need the

program and party of Marx. From Marx and Engels in 1847
to Lenin in 1924 the Marxist mass party was always based on

workers who understood that to escape inevitable capitalist crises
and imperialist wars they had to smash the bourgeois state
and impose the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. If it fell short of

that when its leadership adapted to imperialist super-profits and

the labor aristocracy then it’s ‘party’ would end up being used
by the bourgeoisie to destroy the revolution. Such a retreat into
vulgar socialism was inevitable unless a Marxist vanguard was
built capable drawing the important lessons of organising and
arming the proletariat to smash the state and replace the crisis
and war ridden capitalist system with socialism. The German
Revolution was defeated because it abandoned the development

of the Marxist program from 1847 and so lacked a revolutionary

program and party. Marx and Engels fought to test and develop
the communist program all of their lives against non-Marxist
and then revisionist Marxist currents. Lenin and Trotsky took
on the responsibility of defending and developing that program

after Engel’s death. Lenin in particular took the lead in the fight
against opportunism in the period before WW1. That is why the

RCP (Bolshevik) under Lenin and later Trotsky, and not the German
SPD under Kautsky and Co. was the only Marxist party to
defeat reformism and centrism and make a revolution.

Let Lenin have the last word on Kautsky: “Kautsky takes from

Marxism what is acceptable to the liberals, to the bourgeoisie
(the criticism of the Middle Ages, and the progressive historical
role of capitalism in general and of capitalist democracy in

particular), and discards, passes over in silence, glosses over
all that in Marxism which is unacceptable to the bourgeoisie
(the revolutionary violence of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie
for the latter’s destruction). That; is why Kautsky, by
virtue of his objective position and irrespective of what his subjective
convictions may be, inevitably proves to be a lackey of
the bourgeoisie.” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade

Who is the renegade, Lenin or Kautsky! The renegades of Marxism
are those who abandon the program for the Dictatorship of
the Proletariat. Most of what passes for the revolutionary left
today are longstanding centrists known for their revolutionary

phrases and reformist practice! They emerged out of WW2 with
stalinism intact and a ‘2nd world’ opposed to the imperialist 1st

world. The Trotskyist Fourth International lacked roots in the
working class and its efforts at keeping the Leninist/Trotskyist
program alive founded on the long boom and reformism of
Stalinist and Social democratic parties. Most revised Marx’s
Capital into some form of exchange theory and drew the practical
consequence of a minimal program of ‘equal rights’ via ‘state
aid’. Thus most became adjuncts of social democracy, Stalinism,
or 3rd World freedom fighters. The restoration of capitalism
in the Soviet Union and other former ‘degenerate workers
states’ has deprived them of their defence of workers property.
Some like the Spartacist family insist that hope lives on in China.
Others liquidate into ‘anti-capitalist’ formations which are
‘broad parties’ including reformists and revolutionaries. Those
who still pay lip service to Leninism (and/or Trotskyism), and

CLass WarrIOr

SOCIALISM November 26, 1979

36Spartacist No. 53, Summer 1997, China on the
Brink: Workers Political Revolution or Capitalist

37Reuters, China lets Gini out of the bottle; wide
wealth gap, 01/18/2013

38English News, China Gini coefficient at 0.474 in
2012, 1/18/2013

39Facts and Details, CHINESE LABOR RIGHTS:




41Wall Street Journal, Chinese Survey Shows a Higher
Jobless Rate, 12/08/2012

42China Economic Review, What is China’s True Unemployment
Rate?, October 2004 http://economics.

43RCIT, China‘s transformation into an imperialist
power, pg.7

44Ibid., RCIT pg.11

45Ibid., RCIT pg.16

46Entire section above is reprinted from RCIT, China‘s
transformation into an imperialist power http://www.

47New York Times, China to Buy $3 Billion Stake in
Blackstone , 05/20/2007

48Guardian, China takes £1.5bn stake in Barclays,


49Reuters, Fed lets China firm buy Morgan Stanley
shares, 08/31/2010

50redrave, China: FLTI Minority Report on the Current
World Situation, 12/2009

51HWRS, The Rise of Chinese Imperialism, March


….and in the RCIT’s book The Great Robbery of the
South (2013) Chapter 10 China’s Transformation

into an Imperialist Power

52Online discussion of the Occupy Oakland Labor
Solidarity Debate:1570, Yahoo Groups

53RCIT, China‘s transformation into an imperialist
power, pg.7

54Ibid., RCIT pg.5

55Ibid., RCIT pg.17

56Ibid., RCIT pg.19

57Ibid, RCIT pg.7

58World Socialist Website,China’s red aristocracy,
31 December 2012


59The Guardian, Friday 29 June 2012 , China
blocks Bloomberg for exposing financial affairs of
Xi Jinping’s family
See also “Heirs of Mao’s Comrades Rise as New
Capitalist Nobility”

60The Hindu, March 1 2012, In China’s parliament,

a long list of millionaires
Also see Bloomberg, March 7, 2013, China’s
Richer-Than-Romney Lawmakers Reveal Reform

61Spartacist No. 53, Summer 1997, China on the
Brink: Workers Political Revolution or Capitalist
MaY 2013

Rebooting Lenin Cont. from pg 22

are openly anti-Leninist, all end up on the
same centrist swamp. They are a new batch
of Mensheviks with minimum programs and
petty bourgeois leaderships that they substitute
for the Marxist vanguard. For example,
the Spartacists substitute the Maoist bureaucracy
in China; the Morenoists substitute

the trade union bureaucracy; the Cliffites,

the student intellectuals; and the Woodites,
populist demagogues like Chavez–all trapping
the proletariat in popular fronts with the

Yet these petty bourgeois pretenders cannot
suppress the class contradictions as they reemerge
in current and future crises, wars,
revolutions and counter-revolutions. Revolutionaries
have to act as a vanguard of hundreds
and thousands to expose the centrists
by building militant internationalist united
fronts everywhere with demands that advance
the workers cause and force the centrists
to declare themselves as class traitors.
In the process the embryonic vanguard will
like Lenin’s Bolsheviks, converge, and fuse
with the millions of rising militants to build
a new world party of revolution. A Marxist
revolutionary international will be reborn as
the terminal crisis of capitalism exposes the
new batch of Mensheviks as class traitors.
Arising out of the ashes of historic betrayals

and defeats of the 20th century marked by

the first Bolshevik revolution will be the rev

olutionary Marxists based on the Leninist/

Trotskyist program of 1938 who go into the

working class to build the Marxist vanguard
to make the second Bolshevik Revolution in

the 21st century.

“The victory of communism is inevitable,
Communism will triumph!” Lenin, ‘Greetings
to the Italian, French and German Communists’.
October 1919

For hyperlinks and notes view article at :



Class Struggle (Paper of the CWGNZ)
Communist Workers Group –
New Zealand/Aotearoa (CWG-NZ)

CLass WarrIOr MaY 2013

What we Fight For

We fight to overthrow Capitalism

Historically, capitalism expanded world-wide to free much of humanity
from the bonds of feudal or tribal society, and developed
the economy, society and culture to a new higher level. But it could
only do this by exploiting the labour of the productive classes to
make its profits. To survive, capitalism became increasingly destructive
of “nature” and humanity. In the early 20th century it

entered the epoch of imperialism in which successive crises un

leashed wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Today we fight

to end capitalism’s wars, famine, oppression and injustice, by mobilising
workers to overthrow their own ruling classes and bring
to an end the rotten, exploitative and oppressive society that has
exceeded its use-by date.

We fight for Socialism.

By the 20th century, capitalism had created the pre-conditions for

socialism –a world-wide working class and modern industry capable
of meeting all our basic needs. The potential to eliminate
poverty, starvation, disease and war has long existed. The October
Revolution proved this to be true, bringing peace, bread and land
to millions. But it became the victim of the combined assault of

imperialism and stalinism. after 1924 the Ussr, along with its

deformed offspring in Europe, degenerated back towards capitalism.
In the absence of a workers political revolution, capitalism
was restored between 1990 and 1992. Vietnam and China then followed.
In the 21sst century only Cuba and North Korea survive as

degenerate workers states. We unconditionally defend these states

against capitalism and fight for political revolution to overthrow

the bureaucracy as part of world socialist revolution.

We fight to defend Marxism

While the economic conditions for socialism exist today, standing
between the working class and socialism are political, social and
cultural barriers. They are the capitalist state and bourgeois ideology
and its agents. These agents claim that Marxism is dead and
capitalism need not be exploitative. We say that Marxism is a living
science that explains both capitalism’s continued exploitation
and its attempts to hide class exploitation behind the appearance
of individual “freedom” and “equality”. It reveals how and why
the reformist, Stalinist and centrist misleaders of the working class
tie workers to bourgeois ideas of nationalism, racism, sexism and
equality. Such false beliefs will be exploded when the struggle
against the inequality, injustice, anarchy and barbarism of capitalism
in crisis, led by a revolutionary Marxist party, produces a
revolutionary class-consciousness.

We fight for a Revolutionary Party

The bourgeois and its agents condemn the Marxist party as
totalitarian. We say that without a democratic and a centrally organised
party there can be no revolution. We base our beliefs on
the revolutionary tradition of Bolshevism and Trotskyism. Such a
party, armed with a transitional program, forms a bridge that joins

the daily fight to defend all the past and present gains won from

capitalism to the victorious socialist revolution. Defensive
struggles for bourgeois rights and freedoms, for decent wages and
conditions, will link up the struggles of workers of all nationalities,
genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations, bringing about
movements for workers control, political strikes and the arming
of the working class, as necessary steps to workers’ power and the
smashing of the bourgeois state. Along the way, workers will learn
that each new step is one of many in a long march to revolutionize
every barrier put in the path to their victorious revolution.

We fight for Communism.

Communism stands for the creation of a classless, stateless society
beyond socialism that is capable of meeting all human needs.
Against the ruling class lies that capitalism can be made “fair” for
all, that nature can be “conserved”, that socialism and communism
are “dead”, we raise the red flag of communism to keep alive the
revolutionary tradition of the Communist Manifesto of 1848, the
Bolshevik-led October Revolution, the Third Communist International
until 1924, and the revolutionary Fourth International up to
its collapse into centrism, with the closing of the International center.
We fight to build a new Communist International, as a world
party of socialism capable of leading workers to a victorious struggle
for socialism.

Join us: where overthrowing capitalism is all in a days work !!

Subscribe to Periodicals of the Liaison Committee of Communists:
Class War (Paper of the CWG-US)
Class Warrior (Theoretical Journal of the Liaison Committee of
Communist Workers Group – USA (CWG-US):
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Communist Workers Group -New Zealand/Aotearoa (CWG-NZ)



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