Bolshevism vs Menshevism?

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu Jun 6 11:38:09 MDT 1996


On Thu, 6 Jun 1996, Adam Rose wrote:

>
> But . . . the Mensheviks also called themselves Marxists, even though
> in fact they had moved away from the centrality of the working class.
>

Louis: Everybody calls themselves Marxist, but so what. This list proves
how difficult it is to establish someone's bona fide Marxism. Even the
Bolshevik party that everybody on this list cheers for (in the way normal
people cheer for apple pie, motherhood and the flag) seems all too
imperfect if you look at the actions of the Bolshevik Central Committee
prior to 1917. Kamenev, Zinoviev, Stalin all opposed Lenin's call for
Soviets to power.

Does this mean that they had become bourgeoisified or sold out their
revolutionary principles? What if the train carrying Lenin to the Finland
Station had run into a moose and derailed killing everybody? Would there
have been a Russian Revolution?

The point is that there are no guarantees of any party staying on course
until the final seizure of power. There are certainly things you can do in
a relative manner to not stray. Most important of these is having a
working-class membership and a willingness not to bow to the prejudices of
bourgeois society, including national chauvinism, racism and sexism. Other
than that, all you can really do is struggle along the general principles
of Marxism.

What I am sure about is what won't work. To take that a step forward, what
is *guaranteed* not to work. That is establishing a party on the basis of
some program that is an interpretation of *history* and which excludes any
other historical version of what took place as rotten opportunism, etc.
This has been a deadly obstacle.



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