This text was made by the occasion of the questions of Raoul at the introduction of the book of Peregalli and Saggioro on Bordiga into the years 1926 - 1945. Raoul asks for attention for the positions of Bordiga on the internal policy of the Bolsheviks. Raoul notes that initially the Bolsheviks were the champions of the watchword "All power with the Soviets" and that after they were the principal craftsmen of the destruction of this power. By saying that this refers to the "refusal to wait until IIe Congres of the Soviets determined insurrection and that the Congres was placed before the fact achieved by the revolutionary military Committee of Petrograd, controlled by the Bolsheviks ". Other arguments go from the period after the insurrection and can be neglected here. The problem is that Trotsky already answered this argument, in its History of the Russian Revolution saying: if the mass is ripe to do it, it is necessary to prepare the insurrection in the greatest secrecy. The true question is to know when the mass is ripe. The following text is an effort to put within the broader framework of the position of the revolution in permanence the question of the internal policy of the Bolsheviks and its apology by Bordiga and the bordiguists. Finally Raoul seems to put the question - without explicitly stating so - if October 1917 were a coup d'etat. But if this question is answered positively, it will be difficult to defend the proletarian character that Raoul entrusts with October 1917 and with the Bolsheviks at this time.
I started to doubt the proletarian character of October 1917 since a discussion in February of this year with another comrade. After I could read the book of Willy Huhn Trotzki - Der gescheiterte Stalin (Karin Kramer Verlag, Berlin 1973, also translated into french, Cahiers Spartacus no.113) and the text of Paul Mattick Bolschwismus und Stalinismus (please send USA-original to email@example.com) my doubts became increasingly strong. I hope to find soon time to subject the work of Huhn to an analysis which I propose here in some theses.Alfredo, Geneva on July 17, 1999.
If one want to know if October 1917 was a revolution (and its nature, and succeeded or not?) it is initially necessary to highlight wat is a revolution. The bourgeois media use the term revolution for a a whole series of forms of change of power in which one bunch of exploiters follows the other. By doing that the difference between a revolution and a coup d'etat has disappeared. But to understand the future tasks of the working class the difference between revolution and a coup d'etat is vital. Each revolution in the Marxist meaning of the term - what is thus as true for the bourgeois revolution as for the proletarian revolution as well - is characterized by the seizure of the political power by a class which carries a new and progressive form of production. In the bourgeois revolution the bourgeoisie finally conquered the state power to eliminate the feudal obstacles for a continued evolution of the capitalist mode of production. In the 20th century the capitalist relations of production became an obstacle to the development of the productive forces. All the revolutionairies saw in the outburst of the First World War a clear sign that the period of the decline of capitalism and thus the period of the world revolution of the proletariat had started. But the differences between the bourgeois revolutions and the world revolution of the proletariat were not not immediately clear. The lefts in the Socialdemocrat Second International underlined in their fight against the reformism of Bernstein and the centrism of Kautsky the lessons of the Commune of Paris, at the time the top of the proletarian fight: the revolutionary proletariat does not conquer the bourgeois state but it does found the dictatorship of the proletariat by its own forms of organization of mass and it destroys the bourgeois state.
The mass actions in 1905of the proletariat in tsarist Russia confirmed the new forms of mass organization, the worker councils. At the time of the foundation of the Communist Third International , after the movements of the councils in Russia 1917 and Germany 1919, the implications in the new way of struggle for the proletarian tactics were hardly clear. The lessons of the communist lefts of October 1917 and of what followed, are very diverse.
In the light of the definition of the term "revolution" (see thesis 1) the lessons of the councilcommunists and of the bordiguists are both inacceptable.
Anton Pannekoek speaks during its council communist period about October 1917 as a bureaucratic revolution, Paul Mattick as a fascistic, state capitalist revolution. But bureaucratization, fascism or state capitalism are no expressions of a progressive way of production but of the decline of capitalism. Mattick maintains in a changed form the comprehension that the KAPD had of the decline of capitalism and admits that fascism and state capitalism are tendencies of a declining system production. But Pannekoek always refused economic theories of crisis. It is thus not by chance that its adherent, like Cajo Brendel, put forward the position that a a whole series of national " liberation" movements would be "progressive". In general the council communists repudiate the role of the Bolsheviks like ' bourgeois' from the beginning. In the majority of the cases they overlook the proletarian internationalist positions of the Bolsheviks in the First World War and they are limited to a moralist analysis of the history by neglecting the discussions and the level of knowing in the international revolutionary milieu.
Bordiga adopted a position comparable to that of the council communists. Probably already during the time under Mussolini, when he was captive in its own house - and certainly later, when he took again the role of Îhistoric leaderâ as head of the Internationalist Communist Party founded in 1943 (party ignored the work of the Left Italian in exile) he developed the idea of the double character of the revolution in Russia: proletarian and bourgeois. Bordiga permanently underlines in its idea of the revolution in permanence the positions on the role of the proletariat in bourgeois revolutions, as if it were immanentes since the positions of Marx and Engels in the German Revolution of 1848. The ignorance of the development of the revolutionary practice, carried Bordiga and the bordiguists to an apologetic defense of the jacobinist attitude of the bolsheviques. Most dreadful of this is that Bordiga after two decades of isolation accepts as his the attacks of Trotsky to the 'luxemburgism' of the German Communists of the Twenties against all that resembles a manifestation of the German-Dutch left (see Note 1).
The discussion between the Italian left and the German-Dutch left on this question is hardly developed. During the time after the Second World war the ICP and the remainders of the German-Dutch left are quickly marginalised, one completely isolated from the other. There were some rare contacts between Communistenbond ÎSpartacusâ (Netherlands) and Internationalisme which continued the work of the Italian left in exile, and which - in contradiction with Bordiga - knew well the German-Dutch left. The efforts on this subject by the International Communist Current, founded in 1978, were limited to repeat fundamental positions Internationalisme and to fight polemics against the most absurd consequences of the position of a 'double', ' state capitalist' or ' bureaucratic' revolution (see higher and further thesis 3). Follows in the form of some theses an attempt at a broader approach of October 1917.Note 1