FW: Marx and Lenin
mfeldman at mmm.edu
Wed Jul 16 09:24:12 MDT 2003
This is the rubbish sent out by the CPUSA to justify its support for the
Democrats. Notice how this article completely ignores any discussion of
principles and only speaks of strategy, tactics and "marxist
analysis"--based on what?
From: Dan Margolis
To: Michael Feldman
Sent: 7/16/03 11:20 AM
Subject: Fwd: Marx and Lenin
Let me know what you think.
Our Party feels that participation in the electoral process and carrying
out working class struggle in all areas of public life including
elections is carrying out a Marxist approach geared to our
In State and Revolution, Lenin discussed questions of understanding the
class nature of power, and the class nature of the state. He also was
writing in a situation in which limiting the struggle to a strictly
electoral approach would have led to defeat. He did not reject
participation in electoral and parlimentary srtuggles, in many cases he
argued for full participation in such arenas of struggle. He argued
against illusions about bourgeois democracy, but also argued for
fighting to the fullest to make every aspect of that democracy real.
There are several specific chapters of Lenin's "Left-Wing Communism, an
infantile disorder" that address the ultra-left rejection of electoral
struggle. This is a useful companion piece to the arguments made in
"State and Revolution."
Marx argued against illusions in bourgeois democracy also, and described
the many revolutionary struggles that were violent. We feel that those
passages in Marx, especially in the Communist Manifesto, are
descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, they describe what the
situation often has been but don't limit revolutionary tactics to
In fact, most often the violence in revolutions comes from the response
of the ruling class and its armed forces to a popular uprising. Faced
with violence which seeks to restore class priviledge, workers and
revolutionary parties must respond with revolutionary violence. But that
necessarily our prefered method of operation--we seek the most peaceful,
most democratic transition to socialism, and seek to prevent the
violence of the capitalist class.
Revolutionary strategy and tactics must be adapted to the specific
historical and political situation in each country. They can't be listed
and memorized, they must be creatively worked out by revolutionary
For example, in South Africa, the Party supported and participated in
and led the armed struggle engaged in by the African National Congress
and its military wing, Spear of the Nation. When, after decades of armed
struggle as well as massive international solidarity and internal
political struggle, the situation began to fundamentally change in South
Africa, both the ANC and the South African Communist PArty fully
participated in the electoral process--the answers for them lay not in
some dogma supposedly laid out by Marx or Lenin but in using Marxist
analysis to develop tactics and strategies which fit their specific
The is more on these and similar issues on our national web site,
www.cpusa.org, on the FAQs page under "Who We Are' on the right side of
the web page.
I hope this response is helpful. Thanks for your question.
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