Like a fast car on a collision course with a bridge abutment, the new Russia is moving forward. The signs are everywhere. Eight years ago, the Arbat in Moscow boasted a single cafe, one restaurant and two antique shops. Today there are dozens of each! More Mercedes, more BMWs; more of all those charming little comforts that amuse the bourgeoisie. Superficially, you might be in New York City, London, Paris or Rome. Yet a nagging sense of dislocation tears at this familiar picture. What is its source?
Step on a train from the Kazan Station for Samara and the dislocation overpowers the familiar. The simple act of travelling 1150 km from the metropolis produces an overpowering impression of time travel. Have you jumped back 60 years? Or is it really 1000? In my imagination, this experience has much in common with travelling down the Danube in the year 1000. Yet how can this be? The train is electric, the landscape includes all the evidence of a modern industrial power in addition to the quaintly rural; so why is it so easy to believe that you are on an adventure at the time of the Crusades, that you are at the mercy of every local feudal lord?
Because you are! The railway staff, three to a car, and the militia play the role of those who, in times of old, in the service of their feudal masters, lowered the chain on each boat passing up or down the Danube. The "new" Russia is really a vast battleground between the rising bourgeoisie and the feudal lords who were born as a class out of the errors of the first world wave of proletarian revolution. The "Soviet Union" which this new ruling class built was actually a society firmly based on feudal relations, in which the working class played the role of the serfs. Still today, it is feudal relations which dominate Russia. And while, historically, the Feudals may be doomed, it is far too early to give the palm of victory to the new bourgeoisie.
So, arriving in Samara, you have jumped back, not just a few
easy decades, but an entire era in social relations. Making a
mental adjustment for this is not easy. These feudal lords are
armed not with lances but with ICBMs, they even boast the
planet's only orbiting space station. Appearances are deceptive.
A casual glance at the lobby of a Moscow hotel reveals the same
computer technology as virtually defines advanced capitalism in
the consciousness of many Westerners. But pay attention and you
will see that these are feudal computers. They serve the
predominant social and production relations in the land. They
support, perpetuate and reproduce feudal and not capitalist
Samara! Why am I here today, a thousand years ago? Well, though Hollywood and Disney love to forget it, feudalism was not all lords, ladies and glittering court balls. It was predominately, vassals and serfs and grinding poverty and oppression. I was here now/then, at the invitation of the some of the most advanced and militant representatives that any serfs ever had! Two janitors from the ZIM plant had turned up to meet me. They were Grigorii Isaev, Chairman and Victor Kotelnikov Vice-Chairman of the Stachkom (Strike Committee) of the City of Samara and leaders of the Party of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (PDP).
How had such an unlikely meeting, such an improbable
juxtaposition of cultures and eras and classes, come to pass?
The late founder of the PDP, Alexei Borisovitch Razlatzky, was a unique individual. He was an independent Marxist who struggled with and for the working class under the extreme conditions of political repression in the pre-Perestroika USSR, and who paid with a long prison stretch for this privilege. He was a Marxist theoretician and dialectician of extraordinary abilities. Beyond the PDP, his legacy is a remarkable body of theoretical writings, much of which was created in the late 1970's, on the burning issues of the international movement of the working class and of Marxism.
About six months ago, in the course of trying to improve both my Russian and my understanding of the failure of the USSR, I stumbled across these works of Razlatzky on the Internet. They were like a revelation to me.
Neither as a Marxist, nor as an intellectual, had I ever been able to reconcile myself to either of the two most popular left-wing characterizations of the USSR. To say nothing of the CPSU line that it was a "state of the entire people" happily on the interminable road to communism. Both the neo-Stalinist line that it was state-capitalism and Trotsky's view that it was a deformed worker's state, fail to fit the facts.
Having visited Russia myself, shortly after the collapse of the USSR, I knew that, with even one good eye, anyone could see that the USSR had been a class society. Moreover, the idea that it was a form of state-capitalism was patently false. Were that the case, the victory of the new Russian bourgeoisie would have been as simple as changing the names on some share certificates, a Thatcherite privatization on a grand scale. No, production relations in the USSR were never mediated primarily by money and thus genuine capitalist social relations had never really emerged.
And those who would still hew to Trotsky's line are faced with the insuperable task of explaining how, for nearly four generations, the working class was unable to eliminate the deformations from its own state. Why did they continue to endure, for more than 50 years, conditions of political and economic oppression far worse than those borne by their class brothers in the West? And why, when the system was on the point of collapse from sheer exhaustion, were the workers ready, at least with their passivity, to hand power to the radical bourgeoisie? No, if Brezhnev's USSR was a deformed worker's state then there is no reason not to call the USA a deformed small farmer's state!
Finally, in the works of Razlatzky, there lay a fresh view! Here, at long last, was a materialist explanation of the fate of the October Revolution. Not a series of obfuscations in terms of personalities and dates; Kronstadt, the NEP, Trotsky, Stalin, the purges, Dimitrov's speech, Kruschev's secret speech, the 20th Party Congress etc. But a profoundly dialectical and materialist understanding of the inescapable consequence of the development of production and the social relations created by it - in a worker's state with one fatal flaw. The fatal flaw in question is the belief that a party of the working class can also be the ruling party. This assumption which even Lenin himself was unable to see through, was the basis on which all the countries of the "Socialist Camp" rose, rotted and fell. In every case, it produced a feudal, dynastic order. From Brezhnev to Mao to Ceaucescu to Kim Il Sung, the leaders were in power for life and presided like emperors over the feudal court, vassals and serfs. It fell to Alexei Borisovitch Razlatzky in Samara to reveal this demand of history: "THE PARTY OF THE PROLETARIAT MUST NOT BE THE RULING PARTY!"
That is why I was in Samara!
The work of A.B. Razlatzky, is of course, vastly richer than a catchy slogan or two. Yet it is in a small number of such slogans, or, more precisely, in their embodyment in the work of the Samara Stachkom and the PDP that the radical ideas of Razlatzky find their practical expression and confirmation. For Marxists this is vital. The interpretation of the world by philosophers is nice, but the point, as Marx said, is to change it! The PDP has set out to do exactly that. And from my brief experience of them and their work, they are doing an amazing job.
Though Grigorii Isaev himself sometimes likes to apologize for the slow progress that Razlatzky's ideas have made on a national or world scale, and he presents many valid arguments in doing so, I think he may be selling himself and the workers of Samara a bit short. The power of the Samara example is extremely compelling. Firmly basing themselves on the working class and on the ideas of Razlatzky, the PDP and Samara Stachkom have built a fighting detachment of the workers which has successfully challenged and to a significant extent beaten back the economic attacks of the regional administration. This organization has raised the consciousness of workers and even commands the grudging respect of their class enemies. It is utterly unlike any organization that I have encountered in thirty years of participation in and study of the radical left in Europe and North America. Now it is certainly true, and for reasons worth examining, that the ideas of Razlatzky have not yet achieved the currency or respect that they doubtless merit; but the power of the example set by the Samara Stachkom and the large fraction of the workers who actively support it, proves the power of these ideas more effectively than a thousand intellectuals singing their praises ever could.
So what are the reason's which have delayed the spread of
Razlatzky's theoretical insights nationally and internationally
since the initial, hand-copied, underground, distributions of his
chef d'oeuvre "The Second Communist Manifesto"
in 1979. The first reason Grigorii explained to me this way, "Why
do people in Russia and in the Socialist camp not easily
understand Razlatzky? For this we have the CPSU to thank. For the
seventy years during which it was the ruling party, it was like a
mangle crushing the consciousness of people. For generations, it
stole from them the right to think and consider. At the beginning
it was like this, "Stalin thinks for us!" Later it was
our Leninist Central Committee, then Leonid Brezhnev and all the
rest. They simply beat out of people the capacity for
thought." And the second is explained in the 1999
introduction to the "Second Communist Manifesto"
as follows "If the open enemy of the working class, the
bourgeoisie, conducts its struggle using the normal means of
repression, then our "Marxists,"
"Trotskyists," "communists" and other
"friends" of the workers have chosen a different path.
Although they are enemies and frequently compete among
themselves, they have, without discussion, organized an
information blockade, a conspiracy of silence around the ideas of
"The Second Communist Manifesto," the
like of which has never before been seen in history."
This second problem is clearly the more crucial on a world scale. All ruling classes endeavour to limit, constrain and deform the creative, intellectual potential of their subjects, and with good reason; class societies always conceal the fundamental contradiction between the rulers and the ruled, and with too much thought these antagonisms will be revealed. Moreover, it is far from clear to me that new feudals in the USSR were vastly more successful at "beating out of people the capacity for thought" than the capitalists in the West - although they certainly chose different tools for the task.
As to the second problem, on a world scale, the verdict is not yet in. The "Second Communist Manifesto" has been available in English for not quite half a year. It has now appeared, in serialized form, in French, Spanish and Catalan with complete versions to be available soon. There is also a German translation in preparation. So the friends of the workers, from among the world intelligentsia, have a little time left before they can be justly accused of organizing a blockade of silence.
Yet the early signs are not terribly encouraging. At least in the English speaking world, there seems to be a marked desire to avoid grappling with the crucial issues addressed by Razlatzky. And so far, frenzied denunciations outnumber reasoned criticism among the small number who are willing to respond at all. Here again there is an eerie feeling of convergence. How is this to be explained? While the specific circumstances of the "friends" of the workers vary widely around the world, from the countries of the collapsed Socialist Camp to the third world to the capitalist heartlands, the class position outlook of the intelligentsia is a world wide factor. As Razlaztky states in his incisive analysis of the bourgeois intelligentsia, "At the heart of every intellectual is his completed model for restructuring society, which consists of the removal of such obstacles as he has experienced in his personal relations with society, and the illogicality of whose existence appears self-evident to him."
All too frequently, this characterization applies equally well to intellectuals of the radical left as to the purely bourgeois intelligentsia. The former have at least tried to sublate their personal antagonisms with society in a critique at the level of classes, but are still left with their own "completed model" for social restructuring and with it their own "approved history" of the workers movement. And it is this which leads them into sectarian isolation. There can be no "completed model." Life is always richer than any model. This is precisely why the hegemony of the working class is everything on the road to a classless society.
However, believing that they posses the completed model and the approved history, such people must defend it against all comers. Razlatsky, in their minds, cannot be an authentic Marxist because he touches on questions and develops ideas not raised in the classic works of Marxism; he is not on their list of authorities.
I urgently appeal to the readers of this article to not side, in this way, with those bourgeois philosophers who want an end to history. For if the list of Marxist classics is closed for all time then we are doomed to repeat the tragedies of history endlessly.
If there are errors in the works of Razlatzky then they are the errors of genius. And it is the responsibility of the international movement of the working class to clarify such questions. It is a certainty that the questions Razlatzky addresses are the right questions. Who, in their right mind, now wishes to repeat the path of October? No, the PDP is right! What is needed is a NEW October. This is how Grigorii Isaev put it to me, "We are not blindly repeating the historical experience. We move forward consciously. We are not the Bolsheviks. We are not Stalin, nor Anpilov, Zhyuganov nor Makashov. We are the new proletarian revolution, the NEW OCTOBER."
Without a clue as to how to avoid the tragedy of the first Socialist Camp, what workers in their right minds will fight to build a second socialist camp. The lessons of the first October are stark, as are those of the Chinese Revolution, Albania and the rest of the Socialist Camp! They must be assimilated into the consciousness of the international workers movement. This assimilation is the legacy of Razlatzky.
The test for those of the intelligentsia who want to stand
with the proletariat is clear. Please cease your knitting with
classic texts of Marxism and answer two simple questions of the
And if your answer to the first question involves a lot of detail about Soviet history (e.g. "If only Dimitrov had given quite a different speech at the 7th Congress of the Comintern, everything would have turned out quite differently ... " or the shorter, more popular, version "Stalin was INSANE!!", or "Trotsky was the only man for the job!") then the sad truth is that you can have no answer to the second question! And therefore no right to appeal to the working class.
Yet there is an answer to both questions!
"THE PARTY OF THE PROLETARIAT MUST NOT BE THE RULING PARTY!"
And we owe this answer to Alexsei Borisovitch Razlatzky!
But it is not my purpose here to speak for Razlatzky or to summarize his enormous theoretical contribution. He pleads very effectively in his own defense and his works are now increasingly available on-line in an growing list of languages. They can be found at;
Though the ideas of Razlatzky can be judged quite well without leaving home, today, the practical power of this revolutionary theory is to be found only in Samara.
And truly it presents a remarkable picture, one certainly worthy of the attention of the international movement of the working class. The Samara City Stachkom and the emerging Stachkoms of the All Russia Union of Stachkoms, represent a new form in the struggles of the international working class.
The following question, put to me by a young journalist from a
local newspaper, at a press-conference in the Bunker, Stachkom
headquarters, gives a hint of the power of the Stachkom
Well, I'll ask my question, and then perhaps you can translate. Here we have Grigorii Zinovievitch (Isaev) who has, in his time organized the Stachkom to block Novaya Sadovaya Street and the Moscow Prospekt. Because the factory workers didn't get paid for a very long time, in fact, in general, they didn't receive their pay, he organized the Stachkom to block these streets, some of the busiest and most important routes through the city. So I ask you, can you imagine that, for example, in your country, some union in a company, even quite a powerful one, could organize to block some ... well, I don't know the names of the streets there ... Main Street in New York City?
I must confess, I was at a loss as to where to even begin to answer this question.
However, in order to understand the Stachkoms better,
it is important to have a general political picture of Russia,
and an understanding of the current conditions in the worker's
movement. Who better to present this material than Grigorii
Zinovievitch Isaev, chairman of the Samara Stachkom. [The following quotations are taken from rough
transcripts of an interview I conducted with Grigorii in Samara.
The complete transcript of this interview will shortly be
available on the Stachkom page.] First, on the
general political picture;
Well it is very simple. Outwardly, there are two forces, the Democrats and the Communists, and they are naturally competitive, they struggle in the Duma, they enter the presidential elections separately. But this is only from the outside. At the same time, (here I'm expressing the point of view of a worker, of the working class) both the Communists and the Democrats are one and the same exploiters, there is only some minor distinction between them. The Communists are the old defeated Communists from before Perestroika, we call them the Feudals, that have hung on until now. Such a one is Zhyuganov, so too is Anpilov, also Makashov, who is an old Brezhnevite Party general; but the Democrats are the camouflaged Bourgeoisie, there essence is bourgeois while their clothing, their camouflage is democratic. The essence of the Communists is feudal, while their clothing is communist.
So today even a blind man can see that in the Duma, when there are boycotts and disorder, that in fact this is only competition in the struggle for power. For us, for the workers, whether it is the old exploiters or the new exploiters, nothing whatsoever will change.
What I want to say is that the Communists, the feudals will not return to power. They get fewer and fewer votes in the elections. Today the word "communist" can be used to scare small children. This is a terrible picture but it is a given, such are the circumstances. But what constitutes another force in its infancy, also a political force, is the striking workers. >From time to time mass strikes flare up and are fought out, whether it's the miner's or the transport workers cutting the roads, or us here in Samara or let's say the Urals, the Kuzbass or other regions of Russia. This third force, of its own accord, obstructs the other two, the Communists and the Democrats, the Feudals and the Bourgeoisie.
They try to lead us when we begin to struggle, when we go onto the streets; to lead us so that we will be headless. We ourselves, long since understood that we can fight only under our own banner, only under our own direction. We don't ask who should we go with, but who will come with us!
The political picture is such that these first two forces, the Communists and the Democrats, in their struggle for power have completely ignored the economy, they are not concerned with it at all, and this is why the economic crisis deepens. And the economic crisis unavoidably leads to the political crisis and with it to a social crisis. So what Putin is saying to today, and Yeltsin also said, that our economy is coming to life, that there is economic growth, of course, this is lie, it is not true. The factories remain as they were, and the stoppages continue, the agricultural situations only gets worse, the fields are neither sown nor harvested, livestock is not looked after, prices rise; the crisis continues.
And what is their answer to this, these two linked forces, the Communists and the Democrats, or, according to us, the Feudals and the Bourgeoisie? The crisis will only continue and lead to an explosion, or, as we say, a revolution. Well, there is your picture of the political situation in Russia. All the rest is trivia, and not worth taking account of.
To translate these general remarks into a more concrete picture it may be useful to offer some facts. The average Russian worker may be paid between $45 and $55 per month! Often, (though not so often in Samara!) wages are not paid for months and even years at a time. The working class in Russia has been almost decimated. At many Samara plants, today's workforce is one seventh of what it was under the USSR. What has become of these workers? Grigorii explained to me "We have become a nation that hardly produces anything, so we have also become a nation of traders! You see all the markets full of a little traders that have popped up everywhere like mushrooms, the bulk of these people used to be workers? There were probably twice as many of them before the financial collapse. Those, who were squeezed out then, are today living at the margin of existence. There are many millions of people who are barely existing, they are driven to rummage through the garbage with the dogs."
Without the relatively cheap bread which is available, there
would certainly be starvation. For example a worker might easily
have to give 4 hours pay for a blister pack with 150 grams of
sliced salami - I do not, of course, mean to suggest that a
worker would actually spend his money in this way! The point
however is clear! The standard of living available to a skilled
worker in Russia is extremely poor. To stretch the example above
slightly, this would mean that in New York City (using just the
minimum wage as the equivalent) a similar blister pack would have
to sell for $24, whereas the half-kilo of bread to put under it
would be only $1.50!
So now let us listen to Grigorii Isaev's view on the
contemporary labour movement in Russia and the situation it
The working class, the proletariat, is powerful only when it is organized. The organizers of the working class are those worker's structures, workers organizations which already exist, and those which are developing now. ... Here in Russia we have, left over from the Communists, from socialism, a very powerful and global structure such as the FNPR (Federatsia Nezavisimie Profsoyuzi Rossii, or, in English, the 'Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia'.) This formerly was called the XXXX, the trade unions which were in the back pocket of the former CPSU. Still today, these trade unions include 80-90% of all workers. This is not a production branch trade union. Everyone is in it; there are workers, the administration, the intelligentsia, everybody!
[At this point Grigorii begins to draw a diagram to illustrate ...] Concerning the 80-90% in these old trade unions; let's say that here we have the entire proletariat, as a single entity. Here, lets say, are the old unions, with Mikhail Shmakov as chairman, well then lets designate this as No. I, the FNPR, the old communist trade unions. In them are 80-90% of the working population of Russia. Small independent trades unions started coming up after Perestroika, they are still coming up today. The remaining 10-20% are in such trade unions; they are also called "independent". Like the Union of Foundry Workers the NPG, I'll write that down, NPG, there are many of them "Zaschita" (Defense), "Solidarnost" (Solidarity), "Edinstvo" (Unity), the Union of Foundry Workers. In these there are 10-15% of all workers. We'll mark them down as No. II. Then there are the Stachkoms thats No. III.
In the West, the trades unions organize and call strikes. Here that doesn't happen. Here strikes arise spontaneously, unexpectedly, of their own accord. This makes the unions sweat; so they have to unite with them, they try to climb on their shoulders and direct them into their own direction. Here's the point, the point is that for the old unions, for Shmakov's unions such activity is, in general, unwanted; they are the loyal slaves of the bosses, the authorities and the enterprises. Now, these little independent trades unions are not large; they arise in strikes and at the start they are militant and active. That is how they start out, but they very quickly loose this revolutionary character, and as I am now, they sit in their office or in their armchair, and quickly forget who they were yesterday. They become ... they restrain themselves, and loosing their link with the collective, they cut themselves off and no longer play any sort of revolutionary role. But to the extent that strikes happen, people go out into the street, onto the railways, the strikers themselves organize and elect their own Strike Committees (Stachkom), workers committees; these are the most lively, most militant, most active people. They lead the strike. They formulate the demands, conduct discussions with the bosses, create the slogans and maintain relations with the press. They are the commanders, the genuine militant leadership.
Well we need to notice that between these [points at I and II the diagram] trade union structures, there is clearly competition. But at the same time, and I saw this very clearly in Moscow on the Gorbat Bridge, all such people just want to talk everything to death. On the other hand, there are the Stachkoms (Strike Committees). These are angry, militant, active people. Yes, they can be subordinated, they can even be roped in by the trades unions. Yet still, there is the outburst in which the Stachkom arises. Of course then, things move on and everything collapses again. And so there is a pulsation, like the temperature of someone sick with malaria. And so naturally, the question arises at the scale of the class, not in one mine, not in one factory, not in a single city, but at the scale of the entire class; how to achieve genuine, united, conscious activity? For this a party is needed.
These [pointing at I and II on the diagram] are not capable of anything! Whereas, the Stachkoms arise and then, immediately after the strike, collapse again; thus in order that this, the whole proletariat, can be drawn together with a single goal, standing behind a single banner, a workers party is necessary. Exactly that, a party! And it must work, party people must work, both here and here and here. [draws arrows to each of the three elements in the diagram]
The party expresses class interests. Not personal interests, not the interests of a particular mine or particular factory, but class interests. With the creation by the proletariat of its party, the class can achieve its own aims. The trades unions, in the end, the unions are from Marx's period, they represent a lower level of struggle, they are not revolutionary, they are purely economist. But our slogan is, "From the economic struggle to victory in the political struggle" and this can be carried out only by the workers party, by nothing and no one else; this is shown by history and is confirmed in the present day.
This puts the Stachkoms in some perspective within the broad sweep of the labour movement in Russia. But I think does not sufficiently bring out the power of the Samara example. In Samara, in addition to the factory Stachkoms, in which only workers participate, there is the Samara City Stachkom - a more permanent city-wide organization which has drawn in not only workers from many factories and enterprises, but also a number of supporters from a wide range of non-proletarian strata. Thus on my visits to the Bunker I met workers from the ZIM plant, from the Railways, from a truck fueling station and from a number of other factories and enterprises. I also encountered supporters of the Samara Stachkom who were lawyers, journalists, computer salesmen, page layout workers, a pediatrician and others. This permanence and broadness of the Stachkom together with its firm and unashamed working class politics gives the organization a profile and presence in the region which I have never seen in another radical left organization.
As one small example of the profile of the Samara Stachkom, my visit to the Bunker was covered as a minor item in the nightly news on both local television stations.
Of course this is not entirely surprising when we remember that it was precisely the Samara Stachkom which organized the blockade of two of the principle city thoroughfares for a period of two and one half months in 1998, in a successful struggle to get payment of the workers wages. In the course of this struggle the Governor of the Samara Oblast, Titov, now a maverick presidential candidate, was forced to come and talk to Stachkom at the barricades.
This model of an extra-union organizing and strike force of
the working class, surely bears careful examination by the
international movement. Of course, the situation in Russia is
unique in many aspects. It is not easy to imagine what the effect
on the middle classes in Europe or North America might be if
those currently making $100,000 a year suddenly had to make do
with $1,400! Or if average workers wages hovered around $600 per
year! What is certain is that as capital continues to tighten the
screws on the working class around the planet, as it is at
present and as, in the wake of the demise of the Socialist Camp,
it will inevitably continue to do, the international working
class badly needs to learn the lessons of struggle that Samara
has to teach.
"What the Samara Stachkom has", Grigorii said to me on many occasions, "is the Force of Example!" There is no doubt in my mind that he is right. But it is also painfully obvious that what the movement lacks is resources. The extreme conditions for workers and indeed for the vast bulk of Russians mean that apparently minor problems can become serious obstacles. For example in attempting to organize the recent All-Russia Congress of Stachkoms the issue of transporting the delegates to the meeting was a major hurdle to be overcome.
Fortunately, you can help with this problem yourself. The vast
differential between living standards in the capitalist West and
those in Russia cuts both ways. If you are working a minimum wage
job in the US, just 2 hours wages would be a weeks pay for
average Russian workers. Stachkom is currently working
on ways to make such donations easy and convenient. Please
watch their page for further
There is another reason to help now, today! The situation is urgent. Time is running out! As Grigorii said;
We Russians start slowly but move forward quickly, so said Bismarck the Iron Chancellor. But the situation is such that the crisis can be resolved in one of only two variants, (for history offers us no other variants, and we must always keep this in mind); the first of these is that everything will be crowned with a fascist coup, such that Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet will all look like schoolboys. In Russia things proceed severely, without limits, and the world must hold its breath if Russia sours with a fascist coup.
And this, today, is the most practical of the variants because we can fall into it spontaneously. People are tired! Millions of Russian people simply can not even live the way things are. And many of them commonly talk this way, "They are all the same. Who will bring order? Our authorities are thieves! The crisis continues. Everything is going to the devil! We need order!!"
But order can be brought only either by the first variant, a fascist coup, or the second variant which history also offers, and which is also a realistic alternative, although, today, much less so than the first, that is a new proletarian revolution in Russia, a New October. But this New October is not what, Anpilov, Nina Adreeva or Makeshov have in mind. No! That is false communism. They are not communists; they are feudals. We always write NEW OCTOBER in capital letters in order to indicate that this is not a repetition of the Stalin experiment, it is not a repetition of the Bolshevik experience. It is a stock taking of all the lessons learned from and after October 1917, in order not to repeat what happened then.
I will repeat this once again, the crisis which Russia is living through today can be resolved only in one of two ways; fascism, the most genuine fascism of the cruelest sort, or a new proletarian revolution. But the second variant is, for the moment, much less practicable - for the moment. The proletarian revolution must be organized, must be conscious; and for this a big propaganda organization is required. This is the work that we occupy ourselves with, both our Stachkom and our party the Party of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
But the opportunities we have are very, very limited because of our material circumstances. Thanks to the contemporary means of communication in society, thanks to the Internet and so on, we have a method, though not yet as powerful as it could be. We act practically, we struggle, we strike, we block the roads. And the mass media cover this, the newspapers, the radio and the television, they report on the force of our example. We will do it all and we won't stop, because we understand that if fascism is established in Russia, it is not only Russia, it will be have echoes around the world.
So all people on the planet, who look soberly at the world, must assess for themselves how to be and how to act. Everyone should keep in mind that at any moment the crisis can reach its final phase. We must hurry for this will be terrible, it will be evil. History has given a chance. We must not lose it! And I am expressing not just my own ideas but the ideas of so many workers, and not just in Samara but in all of Russia. So I have the right to speak in this way. That's the way it is!
To help the Russian and International movement of the working class, help Samara first! Grigorii compares this to the military doctrine of concentrating your forces where they have the most chance of success. Pick your battles where you can make a breakthrough. And for the working class struggle, "This breakthrough already took place, long ago, here in Samara, thanks to the late Alexei Razlatzky. This cannot be shared with other cities, because this is where Alexei Borisovitch lived and worked. So we are the revolutionary Marxist, or orthodox Marxists, or however you would like to say it."
The workers of Samara have created a new proletarian trend. Inspired by the theoretical contributions of A. B. Razlatzky, they have forged a new type of organization which has had amazing successes under extraordinarily difficult conditions.
I challenge those in the West and indeed around
the world who want to serve the international working class and
to build a classless future, to study, assimilate, develop and
criticize the works of Razlatzky, and the example of the fighting
proletariat of Samara.
February 29th, 2000