The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution (was Re: Many Vietnam Vets were Red as a Baboon's Ass (was Re: [Marxism]ISO: "For...

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at
Tue May 17 22:16:58 MDT 2005

From: "Carl Webb" <carlwebb at>

> Bolsheviks organized Soldier's soviets but did they have a slogan like
> "Support the Czarist troop?"

Nope. They had soemthing more correct: "All power to the Soldier's 
Councils[Soviets]!", and these strucutres resulted not, as some have argued, 
from a demoralization of the troop due to war. After all, before the 1917 
revolutions, the greatest Bolshevik military uprising was done with 
Soldier's Soviets who had not seen direct action in the 1905 war.

The revolutionary orientation to the armed forces must be a dialectical one, 
but must not include spitting on them (or calling for their deaths or 
whatever) when you represent a little middle class sect facing the greatest 
force of armed proletarians in society, even if their class conciousness is 

Attacking soldiers in an army, when this army is not directing attacks 
towards you is like attacking a gas station attendant for the price of gas.

Or if you like gung-ho, 

You don't fight frontline actions in the rearguard. You fight rearguard 
actions in the rear guard. You go and organize workers to hot cargo stuff. 
You befriend soldiers and their families and fill their heads with ideas, 
usually good them. You reveal to them that communists are not the devil 
incarnate. In other words, you trust the capacity of the people to 
self-emancipate once lead on that path by the us vanguardists.

If you spit on them, you will:

1) Get your ass kicked pretty bad. I have yet to see buffed up commies in 
the USA, outside of a few skinheads and a couple three sports people.

2) Make it personal, not political. These soldiers might think all the right 
things about the war and imperialism. They might even be Stan Goffs in the 
making. THe minute you spit on them, they might still think the same, but 
won't admit it out of spite for you spitting on them.

3) Get your ass kicked again.

4) Rinse and repeat.

In other words, this is a question of orientation, not ideology. I have yet 
to see anyone here advocating victory to the US Army.

We advocate that simple human value, solidarity, and try to contrast that in 
the eyes of soldiers to the structure built by the US Army. Chavez was a 
paratrooper, and he is the hope of millions. While I am not sure a Chavez 
will likely emerge in the USA, I am 100% sure this chance will disappear if 
we start spitting on soldiers.

Not to mention the strong racist/classist content of spitting on soldiers in 
the economic draft era. This are the children of the working class, and are 
on proportion more black than the rest of the population, in general forced 
not by patriotic zeal but economic necessity into their position. Their 
industry is death, their commodity sorrow, but they are as alienated, for 
the most part, as any McDonald's burger flipper is from selling hot, great 
tasting heart disease.

Since we got away from the Proyect Cheka and managed to sneak the Bolshevik 
samizdat in, lets quote Lenin, in 1916, before the revolutions, but during 
the Great War, "The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution":

In section II:
"The whole of social life is now being militarized. Imperialism is a fierce 
struggle of the Great Powers for the division and redivision of the world. 
It is therefore bound to lead to further militarization in all countries, 
even in neutral and small ones. How will proletarian women oppose this? Only 
by cursing all war and everything military, only be demanding disarmament? 
The women of an oppressed and really revolutionary class will never accept 
that shameful role. They will say to their sons: "You will soon be grown up. 
You will be given a gun. Take it and learn the military art properly. The 
proletarians need this knowledge not to shoot your brothers, the workers of 
other countries, as is being done in the   present war, and as the traitors 
to socialism are telling you to do. They need it to fight the bourgeoisie of 
their own country, to put an end to exploitation, poverty and war, and not 
by pious wishes, but by defeating and disarming the bourgeoisie."

If we are to shun such propaganda, precisely such propaganda, in connection 
with the present war, then we had better stop using fine words about 
international revolutionary Social-Democracy, the socialist revolution and 
war against war."

In section III:

"To proceed. We are by no means opposed to the fight for reforms. And we do 
not wish to ignore the sad possibility-if the worst comes to the worst-of 
mankind going through a second imperialist war, if revolution does not come 
out of the present war, in spite of our efforts. We favor a programme of 
reforms directed also against the opportunists. They would be only too glad 
if we left the struggle for reforms entirely to them and sought escape from 
sad reality in a nebulous "disarmament" fantasy. "Disarmament" means simply 
running away from unpleasant reality, not fighting it."

[he predicted WWII, by the way]

"On the question of a militia, we should say: We are not in favor of a 
bourgeois militia; we are in favor only of a proletarian militia. Therefore, 
"not a penny, not a man", not only for a standing army, but even for a 
bourgeois militia, even in countries like the United States, or Switzerland, 
Norway, etc. The more so that in the freest republican countries (e.g., 
Switzerland) we see that the militia is being increasingly Prussianized, 
particularly in 1907 and 1911, and prostituted by being used against 
strikers. We can demand popular election of officers, abolition of all 
military law, equal rights for foreign and native-born workers (a point 
particularly important for those imperialist states which, like Switzerland, 
are more and more blatantly exploiting larger numbers of foreign workers, 
while denying them all rights). Further, we can demand the right of every 
hundred, say, inhabitants of a given country to form voluntary 
military-training associations, with free election of instructors paid by 
the state, etc. Only under these conditions could the proletariat acquire 
military training for itself and not for its slaveowners; and the need for 
such training is imperatively dictated by the interests of the proletariat. 
The Russian revolution [the failed one of 1905] showed that every success of 
the revolutionary movement, even a partial success like the seizure of a 
certain city, a certain factory town, or *winning over a certain section of 
the army*, inevitably compels the victorious proletariat to carry out just 
such a programme. [my emphasis]

Lastly, it stands to reason that opportunism can never be defeated by mere 
programmes; it can only be defeated by deeds. The greatest, and fatal, error 
of the bankrupt Second International was that its words did not correspond 
to its deeds, that it cultivated the habit of hypocritical and unscrupulous 
revolutionary phrase-mongering[...]"

Let me re-quote:

"Lastly, it stands to reason that opportunism can never be defeated by mere 
programmes; it can only be defeated by deeds."

Of course, you might argue spitting on a soldier is a "deed". And in terms 
of the decontextualized meaning of the word, yes, it is a "deed". But the 
"deeds" Lenin talks about here are not those deeds. They are the slow 
grueling organizing work. It is the drugery of propaganda and the boring 
meetings. It is holding the hand of  a military widow, and helping here turn 
that anger in the right direction.

You want victory to the resistance? Well, do domething about it. Like 
turning the widow of someone killed by the resistance into a concious 
advocate of their righteous victory. You should as hell don't do that by 
spitting on her dead husband's grave, literally or metaphoraically.

The rest is chest-humping, as opportunist as the UP&J's (or the pre-WWI 
Social-Democrat in its time) right-wing call for "disarmament".


More information about the Marxism mailing list