Was Lenin so blind as to worker's aristocracy?

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Mon Sep 29 08:43:37 MDT 2003

One can find this impressive quote of Cecil Rhodes in _Imperialism_:

[Retranslation to English from Spanish, Spanish version probably
translating from Russian; any similitude with Rhodes's actual words -
not concepts- will be a matter of good luck.]

"The idea I am thinking about is how to solve the social problem: in
order to spare the 40 million residents of the United Kingdom a
bloody civil war, we, colonial statesmen, must obtain new lands where
to settle the excess of population, where to find new markets for the
production of our factories and mines. Empire, I have always said, is
a matter of stomach. If you want to avoid a civil war, you must
become imperialist".

So that Lenin was fully aware of what did imperialism mean from the
point of view of the working classes in the imperialist core. Now,
Lenin might have hoped Rhodes had not fulfilled his prospects, even
though as a London resident he was able to actually _see_ what was
happening (remember Trotsky's remarks on Lenin's derision about
"their" Parliament, etc.).  Who knows, maybe Lenin was already
convinced -long before October 1917- that the bourgeoisification of
the Western working classes was much deeper than he would prefer to
admit in public (there are some letters between Marx and Engels,
which Lenin probably knew, where one of them explains that "in
England, the workers think just like the bourgeoisie, quite fitting -
if you come to think of it- for a country that in a sense exploits
the whole planet" or words to that effect).

But then we have 1917: the sheer fact of history is that, during the
most brutal carnage that humankind had seen to that day, the Russian
revolutionary Marxists thought that they had an opportunity to
trigger a world socialist revolution.  They felt they could harbor
reasonable hopes in a German victorious upheaval.

Then followed Danton:  "On s'engage, et après l'on y voit" ("You get
enmeshed, and afterwards you see") Later on, it would be discovered -
or not- whether their hopes in the German proletariat had been smart.
After all, this proletariat had segregated from within itself -or
through influence on the intelligentsia- such people as Noske and
Ebert, but also others like Rosa and Liebknecht (who had _no parallel
elsewhere in the West_).  There was room for hope.  One thing the
Russian revolutionary Marxists cannot be blamed for is, then, that
they did not meet their duty: they tried to bring their hope to
reality, even through the crazy and desperate march on Warsaw in

The powderkeg, however, was still damp and the barrels wet, which was
a tragedy. not even World War I had set the place dry. But they tried
to put fire to it, anyway.  It is metaphysical to ask whether the
Russian Revolution should have waited for, say, three or four years
so the carnage became unbearable in the West.

The solid fact, whether we like to face it or not, is that in the
long run the _working masses_ in the imperialist West accepted the
solution that their bourgeoisies delicately dished to them: transfer
the carnage elsewhere, to the Third World.  But the possibility was
there, and the bourgeois could distinctly perceive it. Everyone's
impatience with Clemenceau in 1918 is, for example, an indication.
And there is another, more important one: it was the fear of
contagion from the East which moved the imperialist bourgeoisies to
co-opt their working masses into full citizenry (not only in Belgium
or Holland, but almost everywhere --even in the US, though in this
last case with qualifications).

Paradoxically enough, it is in this move by the bourgeoisie that we
observe that Lenin wasn't so wrong: without the Soviet menace, little
butter would have gone to Western workers' bread. In a sense, they
reaped the greatest gains from the Russian Revolution for almost a
whole century! The bourgeois shared Lenin's expectatives on those
trends that Rosa or Liebknecht represented best, and acted

However, for the time being, all that is music from the past. I agree
with Vadim in that the lever to world revolution lies now in the weak
hands of the wretched of the earth. And that there is an enormous
room for cdes. in the affluent West (or North) to help us by
curtailing your own bourgeoisies' criminal actions.

More yet: I have a distinct feeling that 1975 was a "hinge year" in
history.  The whole cycle of colonial revolutions that opened up
immediately after WWII (where Peronism was the first expression) came
to a close with the Angolan and Mozambican revolutions.  At the same
time, any strength from October that would endure in the fSU began to
fade away (not without a final stroke of lightning: Valery Sablin's
solitary, daring attempt which sent such a shiver of cold through the
bureaucrats' and bourgeois' spines that the location of his grave is
still a mystery, and whose responsory was that slanderous film, "The
hunt of Red October").

We are beginning to painfully leave those 30 years of worldwide
reaction behind us. It would be wonderful if we could understand how
necessary it is for the South that cdes. in the North, whose struggle
is so complex, set themselves to -for the time being- throwing sand
in the clogs of the bourgeois machine. That would be a wonderful

I heartily and fully agree with Vadim Stolz's general remarks (not
with some particulars).

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

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"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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