A creeping revolution

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  • Publicado : 5 de julio de 2010
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The Russian working class which accomplished its October Revolution was bequeathed by the previous epoch a priceless legacy in the shape of a centralized revolutionary party. The pilgrimages of the Narodnik (Populist) intelligentsia among the peasantry; the terrorist struggle of the Narodovoltsi [4]; the underground agitation of the pioneer Marxists; the revolutionary manifestation during theearly years of this century, the October general strike and the barricades of 1905; the revolutionary “parliamentarianism” of the Stolypin epoch [5], most intimately bound up with the underground movement – all this prepared a large personnel of revolutionary leaders, tempered in struggle and bound together by the unity of the social-revolutionary program.

History bequeathed nothing like this tothe German working class. It is compelled not only to fight for power but to create its organization and train future leaders in the very course of this struggle. True, in the conditions of the revolutionary epoch this work of education is being done at a feverish pace, but time is nevertheless needed to accomplish it. In the absence of a centralized revolutionary party with a combat leadershipwhose authority is universally accepted by the working masses; in the absence of leading combat nuclei and leaders, tried in action and tested in experience throughout the various centers and regions of the proletarian movement; this movement upon breaking out into the streets became of necessity intermittent, chaotic, creeping in character. These erupting strikes, insurrections and battles representat present the only form accessible for the purpose of openly mobilizing the forces of the German proletariat, freed from the old party’s yoke; and at the same time they represent under the given conditions the sole means of educating new leaders and building the new party. It is quite self-evident that such a road calls for enormous exertions and demands countless sacrifices. But there is nochoice. It is the one and only road along which the class uprising of the German proletariat can unfold till final victory.

After Bloody Sunday, January 9, 1905, when the workers of Petrograd and after them the workers throughout the country came gradually to understand the necessity of struggle and concurrently sensed how dispersed their forces were, there ensued in the land a powerful butextremely chaotic strike movement. Sages then arose to shed tears over the expenditure of energy by the Russian working class and to foretell its exhaustion and the defeat of the revolution attendant on this. In reality, however, the spontaneous, creeping strikes in the spring and summer months of 1905 were the only possible form of revolutionary mobilization and of organizational education. Thesestrikes laid the groundwork for the great October strike and for the building of the first Soviets.

There is a certain analogy between what is now occurring in Germany and the period of the first Russian revolution I have just indicated. But the German revolutionary movement is, of course, developing on incomparably higher and mightier foundations. While the old official party has suffered completebankruptcy and has become converted into an instrument of reaction, this naturally doesn’t mean that the work accomplished by it in the preceding epoch has disappeared without a trace. The political and cultural level of the German workers, their organizational habits and capabilities are superlative. Tens and hundreds of thousands of worker-leaders, who had been absorbed during the previous epochby the political and trade union organizations and seemingly assimilated by the latter, in reality endured the violence done to their revolutionary conscience only up to a certain point. Today in the course of partial open clashes, through the hardships of this revolutionary mobilization, in the harsh experience of this creeping revolution, tens of thousands of temporarily blinded, deceived and...