June 2, 2018

THE VULGARIZATION OF MARXISM BY THE OPPORTUNISTS

CHAPTER VI

THE VULGARIZATION OF MARXISM BY THE OPPORTUNISTS

The question of the relation of the state to the social revolution, and of the social revolution to the state, like the question of revolution generally, troubled the leading theoreticians and publicists of the Second International (1889-1914) very little. But the most characteristic thing about the process of the gradual growth of opportunism which led to the collapse of the Second International in 1914, is the fact that even when these people actually came right up against this question they tried to evade it or else failed to notice it.

In general, it may be said that evasiveness as regards the question of the relation of the proletarian revolution to the state -- an evasiveness which was to the advantage of opportunism and fostered it -- resulted in the distortion of Marxism and in its complete vulgarization.

To characterize this lamentable process, if only briefly, we shall take the most prominent theoreticians of Marxism: Plekhanov and Kautsky.


1. PLEKHANOV'S CONTROVERSY WITH THE ANARCHISTS

Plekhanov wrote a special pamphlet on the relation of anarchism to Socialism, entitled Anarchism and Socialism and published in German in 1894.

In treating this subject Plekhanov contrived completely to ignore the most urgent, burning, and politically most essential issue in the struggle against anarchism, viz., the relation of the revolution to the state, and the question of the state in general! Two sections of his pamphlet stand out: one of them is historical and literary, and contains valuable material on the history of the ideas of Stirner, Proudhon and others; the other is philistine, and contains a clumsy dissertation on the theme that an anarchist cannot be distinguished from a bandit.

A most amusing combination of subjects and most characteristic of Plekhanov's whole activity on the eve of the revolution and during the revolutionary period in Russia. Indeed, in the years 1905 to 1917, Plekhanov revealed himself as a semi-doctrinaire and semi-philistine who, in politics, trailed in the wake of the bourgeoisie.

We have seen how, in their controversy with the anarchists, Marx and Engels with the utmost thoroughness explained their views on the relation of revolution to the state. In 1891, in his foreword to Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program, Engels wrote that "we" -- that is, Engels and Marx -- "were at that time, hardly two years after the Hague Congress of the (First) International,[30] engaged in the most violent struggle against Bakunin and his anarchists."

The anarchists had tried to claim the Paris Commune as their "own," so to say, as a corroboration of their doctrine;and they utterly failed to understand its lessons and Marx's analysis of these lessons. Anarchism has failed to give anything even approximating a true solution of the concrete political problems, viz., must the old state machine be smashed ? and what should be put in its place?

But to speak of "anarchism and Socialism" while completely evading the question of the state, and failing to take note of the whole development of Marxism before and after the Commune, meant inevitably slipping into opportunism. For what opportunism needs most of all is that the two questions just mentioned should not be raised at all. That in itself is a victory for opportunism.


2. KAUTSKY'S CONTROVERSY WITH THE OPPORTUNISTS

Undoubtedly an immeasurably larger number of Kautsky's works have been translated into Russian than into any other language. It is not without reason that some German Social-Democrats say in jest that Kautsky is read more in Russia than in Germany (let us say, parenthetically, that there is a far deeper historical significance in this jest than those who first made it suspect: the Russian workers, by advancing in 1905 an extraordinarily great and unprecedented demand for the best works of the best Social-Democratic literature in the world, and by receiving translations and editions of these works in quantities unheard of in other countries, transplanted, so to speak, at an accelerated pace the enormous experience of a neighbouring, more advanced country to the young soil of our proletarian movement).

Besides his popularization of Marxism, Kautsky is particularly known in our country for his controversy with the opportunists, and with Bernstein at their head. But one fact is almost unknown, one which cannot be overlooked if we set ourselves the task of investigating how Kautsky drifted into the morass of unbelievably disgraceful confusion and defence of social-chauvinism during the supreme crisis of 1914-15.This fact is the following: shortly before he came out against the most prominent representatives of opportunism in France (Millerand and Jaurès) and in Germany (Bernstein), Kautsky betrayed very considerable vacillation. The Marxist journal, Zarya, which was published in Stuttgart in 1901-02, and advocated revolutionary proletarian views, was forced to enter into controversy with Kautsky, to characterize as "elastic" the half-hearted, evasive resolution, conciliatory towards the opportunists, that he proposed at the International Socialist Congress in Paris in 1900. Kautsky's letters published in Germany reveal no less hesitancy on his part before he took the field against Bernstein.

Of immeasurably greater significance, however, is the fact that, in his very controversy with the opportunists, in his for mulation of the question and his manner of treating it, we can now observe, as we investigate the history of Kautsky's latest betrayal of Marxism, his systematic gravitation towards opportunism precisely on the question of the state.

Let us take Kautsky's first important work against opportunism, his Bernstein and the Social-Democratic Program. Kautsky refutes Bernstein in detail, but here is a characteristic thing:

Bernstein, in his Premises of Socialism, of Herostratean fame, accuses Marxism of "Blanquism " (an accusation since repeated thousands of times by the opportunists and liberal bourgeois in Russia against the representatives of revolutionary Marxism, the Bolsheviks). In this connection Bernstein dwells particularly on Marx's The Civil War in France, and tries, quite unsuccessfully, as we have seen, to identify Marx's views on the lessons of the Commune with those of Proudhon. Bernstein pays particular attention to the conclusion which Marx emphasized in his 1872 preface to the Communist Manfesto, viz., that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes."

This utterance "pleased" Bernstein so much that he repeated it no less than three times in his book -- interpreting it in the most distorted, opportunist sense.

As we have seen, Marx meant that the working class must smash, break, shatter (Sprengung -- explosion, the expression used by Engels) the whole state machine. But according to Bernstein it would appear as though Marx in these words warned the working class against excessive revolutionary zeal when seizing power.

A cruder and more hideous distortion of Marx's idea can not be imagined.

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' introduction to Marx's Civil War and said that according to Marx the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machine, but that, generally speaking, it can lay hold of it -- and that was all. Not a word does Kautsky utter about the fact that Bernstein attributed to Marx the v e r y o p p o s i t e of Marx's real views, about the fact that since 1852 Marx had formulated the task of the proletarian revolution as being to "smash" the state machine.

The result was that the most essential difference between Marxism and opportunism on the subject of the tasks of the proletarian revolution was slurred over by Kautsky!

"We can safely leave the solution of the problem of the proletarian dictatorship to the future," said Kautsky, writing "against " Bernstein. (P. 172, German edition.)

This is not a polemic against Bernstein, but, in essence, a concession to him, a surrender to opportunism; for at present the opportunists ask nothing better than to "safely leave to the future" all fundamental questions of the tasks of the proletarian revolution.

From 1852 to 1891, for forty years, Marx and Engels taught the proletariat that it must smash the state machine. Yet, in 1899, Kautsky, confronted with the complete betrayal of Marxism by the opportunists on this point fraudulently substituted for the question of whether it is necessary to smash this machine the question of the concrete forms in which it is to be smashed, and then sought refuge behind the "indisputable" (and barren) philistine truth that concrete forms can not be known in advance!!

A gulf separates Marx and Kautsky as regards their attitudes towards the proletarian party's task of preparing the working class for revolution.

Let us take the next, more mature, work by Kautsky, which was also, to a considerable extent, devoted to a refutation of opportunist errors. This is his pamphlet, The Social Revolution. In this pamphlet the author chose as his special theme the question of "the proletarian revolution" and "the proletarian regime." In dealing with it he gave much that was exceedingly valuable, but as for the question of the state, he avoided it. Throughout the pamphlet the author speaks of the winning of state power -- and no more; that is, he chooses a formula which makes a concession to the opportunists, inasmuch as it admits the possibility of power being seized without destroying the state machine. The very thing which Marx, in 1872, declared to be "obsolete" in the program of the Communist Manifesto is revived by Kautsky in 1902!

A special paragraph in the pamphlet is devoted to "the forms and the weapons of the social revolution." Here Kautsky speaks of the mass political strike, of civil war, and of the "instruments of the might of the modern large state, such as the bureaucracy and the army"; but not a word does he say about what the Commune had already taught the workers. Evidently, it was not without reason that Engels issued a warning particularly to the German socialists against "superstitious reverence" for the state.

Kautsky treats the matter as follows: the victorious proletariat "will carry out the democratic program," and he goes on to formulate its clauses. But not a word does he utter about the new material provided by the year 1871 on the subject of the supersession of bourgeois democracy by proletarian democracy. Kautsky disposes of the question by uttering such "solid" banalities as:

"Still, it goes without saying that we shall not achieve supremacy under the present conditions. Revolution itself presupposes a long and deep-going struggle, which, as it proceeds, will change our present political and social structure."

Undoubtedly, this "goes without saying," just as does the truth that horses eat oats, or that the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea. Only it is a pity that an empty and bombastic phrase about "deep-going" struggle is used as a means of avoiding a question of vital interest to the revolutionary proletariat, namely, whereinis expressed the "deep-going" nature of its revolution in relation to the state, in relation to democracy, as distinct from previous, non-proletarian revolutions.

By avoiding this question, Kautsky in practice makes a concession to opportunism on this most essential point, although in words he declares stern war against it and emphasizes the importance of the "idea of revolution" (how much is this "idea" worth when one is afraid to teach the workers the concrete lessons of revolution?), or says, "revolutionary idealism before everything else," or announces that the English workers are now "hardly more than petty bourgeois."

"The most varied forms of enterprises -- bureaucratic (??), trade unionist, cooperative, private . . . can exist side by side in socialist society," Kautsky writes. ". . . There are enterprises which cannot do without a bureaucratic (??) organization, for example, the railways. Here the democratic organization may take the following shape: the workers elect delegates who form a sort of parliament, which draws up the working regulations and supervises the management of the bureaucratic apparatus. The management of other enterprises may be transferred to the trade unions, and still others may become cooperative enterprises." (Pp. 148 and 115, Russian translation, published in Geneva, 1903.)

This reasoning is erroneous, it is a step backward compared with the explanations Marx and Engels gave in the seventies, using the lessons of the Commune as an example.

As far as the supposedly necessary "bureaucratic" organization is concerned, there is no difference whatever between railways and any other enterprise in large-scale machine industry, any factory, large store, or large-scale capitalist agricultural enterprise. The technique of all such enterprises makes absolutely imperative the strictest discipline, the utmost precision on the part of everyone in carrying out his allotted task, for otherwise the whole enterprise may come to a stop, or machinery or the finished product may be damaged. In all such enterprises the workers will, of course, "elect delegates who will form a sort of parliament."

But the whole point is that this "sort of parliament" will n o t be a parliament in the sense in which we understand bourgeois-parliamentary institutions. The whole point is that this "sort of parliament" will n o t merely "draw up the working regulations and supervise the management of the bureaucratic apparatus," as Kautsky, whose ideas do not go beyond the bounds of bourgeois parliamentarism, imagines. In socialist society the "sort of parliament" consisting of workers' deputies will, of course, "draw up the working regulations and supervise the management" of the "apparatus" -- b u t this apparatus will n o t be "bureaucratic." The workers, having conquered political power, will smash the old bureaucratic apparatus, they will shatter it to its very foundations, they will destroy it to the very roots; and they will replace it by a new one, consisting of the very same workers and office employees,
a g a i n s t whose transformation into bureaucrats the measures will at once be taken which were specified in detail by Marx and Engels: 1) not only election, but also recall at any time; 2) pay not exceeding that of a workman; 3) immediate introduction of control and supervision by all, so that all shall become "bureaucrats" for a time and that, therefore, n o b o d y may be able to become a "bureaucrat."

Kautsky has not reflected at all on Marx's words: "The Commune was a working, not a parliamentary body, legislative and executive at the same time."

Kautsky has not understood at all the difference between bourgeois parliamentarism, which combines democracy (n o t f o r t h e p e o p l e ) with bureaucracy (a g a i n s t t h e p e o p I e ), and proletarian democracy, which will take immediate steps to cut bureaucracy down to the roots, and which will be able to carry out these measures to the end, to the complete abolition of bureaucracy, to the introduction of complete democracy for the people.

Kautsky here displays the same old "superstitious reverence" for the state, and "superstitious belief" in bureaucracy.

Let us now pass on to the last and best of Kautsky's works against the opportunists, his pamphlet The Road to Power (which, I believe, has not been translated into Russian, for it was published at the time when the reaction was at its height here, in 1909). This pamphlet marks a considerable step forward, inasmuch as it does not deal with the revolutionary program in general, as in the pamphlet of 1899 against Bernstein, or with the tasks of the social revolution irrespective of the time of its occurrence, as in the 1902 pamphlet, The Social Revolution; it deals with the concrete conditions which compel us to recognize that the "era of revolutions" is approaching.

The author definitely points to the intensification of class antagonisms in general and to imperialism, which plays a particularly important part in this connection. After the "revolutionary period of 1789-1871" in Western Europe, he says, a similar period began in the East in 1905. A world war is approaching with menacing rapidity. "The proletariat can no longer talk of premature revolution." "We have entered a revolutionary period." The "revolutionary era is beginning."

These declarations are perfectly clear. This pamphlet of Kautsky's should serve as a measure of comparison between what German Social-Democracy promised to be before the imperialist war and the depth of degradation to which it -- Kautsky himself included -- sank when the war broke out. "The present situation," Kautsky wrote in the pamphlet we are examining, "is fraught with the danger that we (i.e., German Social-Democracy) may easily appear to be more moderate than we really are." It turned out that in reality the German Social-Democratic Party was much more moderate and opportunist than it appeared to be!

The more characteristic is it, therefore, that although Kautsky so definitely declared that the era of revolutions had already begun, in the pamphlet which he himself said was devoted precisely to an analysis of the "political revolution," he again completely avoided the question of the state.

These evasions of the question, these omissions and equivocations, inevitably led in their sum total to that complete swing-over to opportunism with which we shall now have to deal.

German Social-Democracy, in the person of Kautsky, seems to have declared: I adhere to revolutionary views (1899), I recognize, in particular, the inevitability of the social revolution of the proletariat (1902), I recognize the advent of a new era of revolutions (1909). Still, I am going back on what Marx said as early as 1852 now that the question of the tasks of the proletarian revolution in relation to the state is being raised (1912).

It was precisely in this direct form that the question was put in Kautsky's controversy with Pannekoek.

3. KAUTSKY'S CONTROVERSY WITH PANNEKOEK

On opposing Kautsky, Pannekoek came out as one of the representatives of the "left radical" trend which counted in its ranks Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Radek and others. Advocating revolutionary tactics, they were united in the conviction that Kautsky was going over to the position of the "centre," which wavered in an unprincipled manner between Marxism and opportunism. The correctness of this view was fully confirmed by the war, when this "centrist" (wrongly called Marxist) trend, or Kautskyism, revealed itself in all its repulsive wretchedness.

In an article touching on the question of the state, entitled "Mass Action and Revolution" (Neue Zeit, I912, Vol. XXX, 2), Pannekoek described Kautsky's attitude as one of "passive radicalism," as "a theory of inactive expectancy." "Kautsky refuses to see the process of revolution," wrote Pannekoek (p. 6I6). In presenting the matter in this way, Pannekoek approached the subject which interests us, namely, the tasks of the proletarian revolution in relation to the state.

"The struggle of the proletariat," he wrote, "is not merely a struggle against the bourgeoisie for state power, but a struggle against state power. . . . The content of the proletarian revolution is the destruction and dissolution (Auflösung) of the instruments of power of the state with the aid of the instruments of power of the proletariat. . . . The struggle will cease only when, as the result of it, the state organization is utterly destroyed. The organization of the majority will then have demonstrated its superiority by destroying the organization of the ruling minority." (P. 548.)

The formulation in which Pannekoek presented his ideas suffers from serious defects, but its meaning is clear nonetheless; and it is interesting to note how Kautsky combated it.

"Up to now," he wrote, "the difference between the Social-Democrats and the anarchists has been that the former wished to conquer state power while the latter wished to destroy it. Pannekoek wants to do both." (P. 724.)

Although Pannekoek's exposition lacks precision and concreteness -- not to speak of other shortcomings of his article which have no bearing on the present subject -- Kautsky seized precisely on the point of principle raised by Pannekoek; and on this fundamental point of principle Kautsky completely abandoned the Marxian position and went over wholly to opportunism. His definition of the difference between the Social-Democrats and the anarchists is absolutely wrong, and he utterly vulgarizes and distorts Marxism.

The difference between the Marxists and the anarchists is this: (1) The former, while aiming at the complete abolition of the state, recognize that this aim can only be achieved after classes have been abolished by the socialist revolution, as the result of the establishment of Socialism, which leads to the withering away of the state; the latter want to abolish the state completely overnight, failing to understand the conditions under which the state can be abolished. (2) The former recognize that after the proletariat has conquered political power it must utterly destroy the old state machine and substitute for it a new one consisting of an organization of the armed workers, after the type of the Commune; the latter, while insisting on the destruction of the state machine, have absolutely no clear idea of what the proletariat will put in its place and how it will use its revolutionary power; the anarchists even deny that the revolutionary proletariat should use the state power, they deny its revolutionary dictatorship. (3) The former demand that the proletariat be prepared for revolution by utilizing the present state; the anarchists reject this.

In this controversy it is not Kautsky but Pannekoek who represents Marxism, for it was Marx who taught that the proletariat cannot simply conquer state power in the sense that the old state apparatus passes into new hands, but must smash, break this apparatus and replace it by a new one.

Kautsky abandons Marxism for the camp of the opportunists, for this destruction of the state machine, which is utterly unacceptable to the opportunists, completely disappears from his argument, and he leaves a loophole for them in that "conquest" may be interpreted as a simple acquisition of a majority.

To cover up his distortion of Marxism, Kautsky behaves like a textman: he puts forward a "quotation" from Marx himself. In 1850 Marx wrote that "a determined centralization of power in the hands of the state authority" was necessary, and Kautsky triumphantly asks: does Pannekoek want to destroy "centralism"?

This is simply a trick, similar to Bernstein's identification of the views of Marxism and Proudhonism on the subject of federalism as against centralism.

Kautsky's "quotation" is neither here nor there. Centralism is possible with both the old and the new state machine. If the workers voluntarily unite their armed forces, this will be centralism, but it will be based on the "complete destruction" of the centralized state apparatus -- the standing army, the police and the bureaucracy. Kautsky acts like an outright swindler when he ignores the perfectly well-known arguments of Marx and Engels on the Commune and plucks out a quotation which has nothing to do with the case.

". . . Perhaps Pannekoek," Kautsky continues, "wants to abolish the state functions of the officials? But we do not get along without officials even in the party and the trade unions, much less in the state administration. Our program does not demand the abolition of state officials, but that they be elected by the people. . . . We are discussing here not the form the administrative apparatus of the 'future state' will assume, but whether our political struggle abolishes (literally dissolves -- auflöst ) the state power before we bave captured it (Kautsky's italics). Which ministry with its officials could be abolished?" Then follows an enumeration of the ministries of education, justice, finance and war. "No, not one of the present ministries will be removed by our political struggle against the government. . . . I repeat, in order to avoid misunderstanding: we are not discussing here the form the 'future state' will be given by victorious Social-Democracy, but how the present state is changed by our opposition." (P. 725.)

This is an obvious trick: Pannekoek raised the question of revolution. Both the title of his article and the passages quoted above clearly indicate this. In skipping to the question of "opposition" Kautsky replaces the revolutionary by the opportunist point of view. What he says means: at present we are an opposition; what we shall be after we have captured power, that we shall see. Revolution has vanished! And that is exactly what the opportunists wanted.

What is at issue is neither opposition nor political struggle in general but revolution. Revolution consists in the proletariat
d e s t r o y i n g the "administrative apparatus" and the w h o l e state machine, replacing it with a new one, consisting of the armed workers. Kautsky displays a "superstitious reverence" for "ministries"; but why can they not be replaced, say, by committees of specialists, working under sovereign, all-powerful Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies?

The point is not at all whether the "ministries" will remain, or whether "committees of specialists" or some other institutions will be set up; that is quite unimportant. The point is whether the old state machine (bound by thousands of threads to the bourgeoisie and permeated through and through with routine and inertia) shall remain, or be destroyed and replaced by a new one. Revolution consists not in the new class commanding, governing with the aid of the old state machine, but in this class smashing this machine and commanding, governing with the aid of a new machine. Kautsky slurs over this basic idea of Marxism, or he had utterly failed to understand it.

His question about officials clearly shows that he does not understand the lessons of the Commune or the teachings of Marx. "We do not get along without officials even in the party and the trade unions. . . ."

We do not get along without officials under capitalism, under the rule of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat is oppressed, the toiling masses are enslaved by capitalism. Under capitalism democracy is restricted, cramped, curtailed, mutilated by all the conditions of wage slavery, and the poverty and misery of the masses. This and this alone is the reason why the functionaries of our political organizations and trade unions are corrupted -- or, more precisely, tend to be corrupted -- by the conditions of capitalism and betray a tendency to become bureaucrats, i.e., privileged persons divorced from the masses and standing above the masses.

That is the essence of bureaucracy; and until the capitalists have been expropriated and the bourgeoisie overthrown, even proletarian functionaries will inevitably be "bureaucratized" to a certain extent.

According to Kautsky, since elected functionaries will remain under Socialism, officials will remain, bureaucracy will remain! This is exactly where he is wrong. It was precisely the example of the Commune that Marx used to show that under Socialism functionaries will cease to be "bureaucrats," to be "officials," they will cease to be so in proportion as, in addition to the principle of election of officials, the principle of recall at any time is also introduced, and as salaries are reduced to the level of the wages of the average worker, and, too, as parliamentary institutions are replaced by "working bodies, legislative and executive at the same time."

In essence, the whole of Kautsky's argument against Pannekoek, and particularly the former's wonderful point that we do not get along without officials even in our party and trade union organizations, is merely a repetition of Bernstein's old "arguments" against Marxism in general. In his renegade book, The Premises of Socialism, Bernstein combats the ideas of "primitive" democracy, combats what he calls "doctrinaire democracy": imperative mandates, unpaid officials, impotent central representative bodies, etc. To prove that this "primitive democracy" is unsound, Bernstein refers to the experience of the British trade unions, as interpreted by the Webbs. Seventy years of development "in absolute freedom," he avers (p. 137, German edition), convinced the trade unions that primitive democracy was useless, and they replaced it with ordinary democracy, i.e., parliamentarism combined with bureaucracy.

As a matter of fact the trade unions did not develop "in absolute freedom" but in absolute capitalist slavery, under which, it goes without saying, a number of concessions to the prevailing evil, violence, falsehood, exclusion of the poor from the affairs of the "higher" administration, "cannot be avoided." Under Socialism much of the "primitive" democracy will inevitably be revived, since, for the first time in the history of civilized society, the mass of the population will rise to the level of taking an independent part, not only in voting and elections, but also in the everyday administration of afairs. Under Socialism a l l will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing.

Marx's critico-analytical genius perceived in the practical measures of the Commune the turning point, which the opportunists fear and do not want to recognize because of their cowardice, because they do not want to break irrevocably with the bourgeoisie, and which the anarchists do not want to perceive, either because they are in a hurry or because they do not understand at all the conditions of great social changes. "We must not even think of destroying the old state machine; how can we get along without ministries and officials?" argues the opportunist who is completely saturated with philistinism, and who, at bottom, not only does not believe in revolution, in the creative power of revolution, but lives in mortal dread of it (like our Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries).

"We must think only of destroying the old state machine; it is no use probing into the concrete lessons of earlier proletarian revolutions and analyzing what to put in the place of what has been destroyed, and how " -- argues the anarchist (the best of the anarchists, of course, and not those who, following Messrs. Kropotkin and Co., trail in the wake of the bourgeoisie); consequently, the tactics of the anarchist become the tactics of despair instead of a ruthlessly bold revolutionary effort to solve concrete problems while taking into account the practical conditions of the mass movement.

Marx teaches us to avoid both errors; he teaches us to act with supreme boldness in destroying the entire old state machine, and at the same time he teaches us to put the question concretely: the Commune was able in the space of a few weeks to startbuilding a new, proletarian state machine by introducing such-and-such measures to secure wider democracy and to uproot bureaucracy. Let us learn revolutionary boldness from the Communards; let us see in their practical measures the outline of urgently practical and immediately possible measures, and then, pursuing this road, we shall achieve the complete destruction of bureaucracy.

The possibility of this destruction is guaranteed by the fact that Socialism will shorten the working day, will raise the masses to a new life, will create such conditions for the majority of the population as will enable e v e r y b o d y, without exception, to perform "state functions," and this will lead to the complete withering away of every form of state in general.

". . . The object of the mass strike," Kautsky continues, "can never be to destroy the state power; its only object can be to wring concessions from the government on some particular question, or to replace a hostile government by one that would be more yielding (entgegen kommende) to the proletariat. . . . But never, under any conditions, can it" (that is, the proletarian victory over a hostile government) "lead to the destruction of the state power; it can lead only to a certain shifting(Verschiebung) of the relation of forces within the state power. . . . The aim of our political struggle remains, as hitherto, the conquest of state power by winning a majority in parliament and by converting parliament into the master of the government." (Pp. 726, 727, 732.)

This is nothing but the purest and the most vulgar opportunism: repudiating revolution in deeds, while accepting it in words. Kautsky's thoughts go no further than a "government . . . that would be more yielding to the proletariat" -- a step backward to philistinism compared with 1847, when the Communist Manifesto proclaimed "the organization of the proletariat as the ruling class."

Kautsky will have to achieve his beloved "unity" with the Scheidemanns, Plekhanovs and Vanderveldes, all of whom agree to fight for a government "that would be more yielding to the proletariat."

But we shall break with these traitors to Socialism, and we shall fight for the complete destruction of the old state machine, in order that the armed proletariat itself shall become the government. These are two vastly different things.

Kautsky will have to enjoy the pleasant company of the Legiens and Davids, Plekhanovs, Potresovs, Tseretelis and Chernovs, who are quite willing to work for the "shifting of the relation of forces within the state power," for "winning a majority in parliament," and converting parliament into the "master of the government." A most worthy object, which is wholly acceptable to the opportunists and which keeps everything within the bounds of the bourgeois parliamentary republic.

But we shall break with the opportunists; and the entire class-conscious proletariat will be with us in the fight -- not to "shift the relation of forces," but to overthrow the bourgeoisie, to destroy bourgeois parliamentarism, for a democratic republic after the type of the Commune, or a republic of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, for the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

* * *

To the right of Kautsky in international Socialism, there are trends such as the Socialist Monthlyin Germany (Legien, David, Kolb and many others, including the Scandinavians Stauning and Branting); the followere of Jaurès and Vandervelde in France and Belgium; Turati, Treves and other representatives of the Right wing of the Italian Party; the Fabians and "Independents" (the Independent Labour Party, which, in fact, has always been dependent on the Liberals) in England[; and the like. All these gentry, who play a tremendous, very often a predominant role in the parliamentary work and the press of the party, repudiate outright the dictatorship of the proletariat and pursue a policy of un concealed opportunism. In the eyes of these gentry, the "dictatorship" of the proletariat "contradicts" democracy!! There is really no essential difference between them and the petty-bourgeois democrats.

Taking this circumstance into consideration, we are justified in drawing the conclusion that the Second International, in the case of the overwhelming majority of its official representatives, has completely sunk into opportunism. The experience of the Commune has been not only forgotten, but distorted. Far from inculcating in the workers' minds the idea that the time is nearing when they must take action, smash the old state machine, replace it by a new one, and in this way make their political rule the foundation for the socialist reconstruction of society, they have actually preached to the masses the very opposite and have depicted the "conquest of power" in a way that has left thousands of loopholes for opportunism.

The distortion and hushing up of the question of the relation of the proletarian revolution to the state could not but play an immense role at a time when states, which possess a military apparatus expanded as a consequence of imperialist rivalry, have turned into military monsters which are exterminating millions of people in order to settle the issue as to whether England or Germany -- this or that finance capital -- is to rule the world.*