Originally published in 1937 by International Publishers of New York
History of Anarchism in Russia
by E. Yaroslavsky
We have already dealt with Russian anarcho-syndicalism, which has gone down in the history of the Bolshevik Party as the Workers' Opposition. We saw that in the opinion of the anarchists it was not the Party but the trade unions that were the principal and fundamental organization of the working class. European and American anarcho-syndicalists also regard the trade unions as the principal organization of the working class. Many anarcho-syndicalists do not openly proclaim themselves such, but call themselves "revolutionary" syndicalists, "pure" syndicalists, or plain syndicalists, combining the idea that the trade unions (syndicates) are the principal organizations, or indeed the only organizations that are capable of revolutionary action, with the doctrine of anarchism, which is certainly a party doctrine, the theory of a definite party.
As we know, anarchism is based on the doctrine of a nongovernment, non-state society, of the destruction of all authority, of all state organization. The anarcho-syndicalists maintain that the trade unions by themselves are capable of effecting the socialist revolution (or the social revolution, as they call it), and of substituting socialist organization for capitalist organization. The anarcho-syndicalists tell the workers that they must be free of the influence of all parties and must act independently of them. They maintain that the only party among the working class should be the anarchist party.
The anarcho-syndicalists may object to the words "anarchist party." But E. Puget, the well-known French anarcho-syndicalist, in his book, The Foundations of Syndicalism, speaks of a party of labor, which, he explains, is an "autonomous organization of the working class, united on economic grounds and having as its basic cell the syndicate, i.e., the trade or industrial union." Hence, according to Puget, the anarchosyndicalist organization is a special party, "The Party of Labor." True, this is a special kind of party, which, in Puget's words, "pursues no political aims. It is a party social and revolutionary in nature. Its principal basis is the class interest of the proletariat, and therefore it can under no circumstances become a party of politicians."
Unfortunately, Puget is not the only anarcho-syndicalist theoretician to stuff the workers' heads with this kind of jumble about the class struggle of the proletariat. But every class conscious worker knows that the consistent class struggle is a political struggle, for it affects not only the economic but also the political interests of the classes concerned. If the working class wages the economic struggle against the capitalist class and is successful, it thereby not only improves its material position, but displays its political (i.e., social) force. It forces the capitalists to make concessions, thereby undermining the political power of the capitalist class. A party cannot be "social and revolutionary in nature," as Puget says, without pursuing political aims. The struggle for anarchist society, the struggle for the abolition of all authority, is an acute political struggle. A spade should be called a spade but the anarcho-syndicalists, unfortunately, do not adhere to this rule.
Let us take an example. The strongest anarchist organization in Spain is the I.A.F. (the Iberian Anarchist Federation). No one will attempt to deny that the I.A.F. leads the National Labor Federation, enjoying great influence within it and directing its activities in nearly every locality, though not all members of the N.L.F. are anarchists. Therefore the N.L.F. is directed by the Spanish anarchist party. Call a spade a spade. This party has its own program, its own tactics, its own organization. And however different our ideas of party discipline may be, however the anarchists may deny the need for discipline, the I.A.F. has its own discipline, which by written and unwritten law is binding on the members of the organization.
Although there are certain differences among the anarchosyndicalists in the various countries, although there is a reformist wing and a more revolutionary Left wing among them, they are everywhere distinguished by the combination of these two basic features-the anarchist doctrine of the abolition of all forms of state, all authority, and the view that the trade unions are the principal and fundamental organizations of the working class.
The shades of anarchist doctrine adopted by the anarchosyndicalists in various countries differ widely. Some take Mikhail Bakunin as their principal theoretician, others take the fairly peaceable professor A. Labriola, and still others take Puget. At the first congress of the Red International of Labor Unions, held in June, 1921, some syndicalists on the Tactics Commission declared that revolutionary syndicalism is the attempt to reconcile Marx with Proudhon. We thus see how varied and. contradictory are the views of the anarcho-syndicalists themselves.
However, all anarcho-syndicalists accept, as a fundamental document laying down the principles of anarcho-syndicalist activities, the resolution adopted by the Amiens Congress of the General Confederation of Labor on the motion of the syndicalist Griffuel. This document is known as the Amiens Charter. Here is its full text:
This Confederation Congress at Amiens endorses the fundamental second clause of the rules of the G.C.L., which states: "The G.C.L. unites all workers, irrespective of their political views, who recognize the need for fighting to abolish the wage system." This Congress is of the opinion that its declaration is equivalent to the recognition of the class struggle, in which, on economic grounds the rebel workers stand opposed to all forms of exploitation and oppression, both material and spiritual, practiced by the capitalist class against the working class. The Congress adds the following points to make this theoretical declaration more precise:
In its struggle for everyday demands, syndicalism strives to coordinate the forces of the working class, to raise the standard of living of the working people by means of immediate palliatives, such as the reduction of the working day, increase of wages, and so on.
But this work represents only part of the functions of syndicalism: it paves the way for complete emancipation, which can be achieved only by the expropriation of the capitalists; it presupposes the general strike as the method of struggle, and holds that the trade unions, which at present are organizations for resistance, will in the future become organizations for production and distribution, the basis of the reorganization of society.
This Congress declares that this work-both everyday work and work directed to the final goal-follows logically from the very position of wage workers, which oppresses the working class, and makes it the duty of all workers, regardless of their political and philosophical convictions, to join the trade union, which is the principal organization.
In conformity with this view, as regards individuals, the Congress declares that outside of the unions every member is quite free to take part in the forms of struggle that correspond to this philosophical or political views, and all that is demanded of him is that he shall refrain from introducing into the union the views he advocates outside the trade union movement.
As regards organization, the Congress declares that in order that syndicalism may achieve the greatest results, the economic struggle must be waged against the employers directly, since the federated organizations, being trade unions, should ignore parties and sects, which, outside or alongside the trade unions, may freely strive for the reorganization of society in their own way.
Why cannot a Communist accept this charter? Every Communist realizes that it is necessary to fight to abolish the wage system. Every Communist recognizes the need for the class struggle. More than that, he takes the class struggle as his starting point. But these are practically the only points on which he agrees with this charter.
Subsequent resolutions of various organizations and congresses of the anarcho-syndicalists supplement this anarchosyndicalist gospel. Let us examine the main features of this charter and of present day anarcho-syndicalism. The anarchosyndicalists recognize the class struggle, but that is not their particular merit. The class struggle was recognized long before the anarcho-syndicalists made their appearance. The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, written in 1847--ninety years ago-contained the statement:
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
The entire revolutionary movement of our time is a class struggle. Thus the recognition of the class struggle is not a distinguishing feature of anarcho-syndicalism, for the Communist Party is guided in its activities by an analysis of class society and leads the class struggle of the proletariat for its complete emancipation. The great service that Marx rendered was to prove that the class struggle going on in present-day society must lead to the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is essential for the suppression of the enemies of the revolution, for the abolition of all classes, and the establishment of socialist society.
In his letter to Weydemeyer, dated March 5, 1852, Marx explained:
What I did that was new was to prove: (1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with the particular, historic phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
Thus a much more important question is how the division of society into classes is to be abolished. As we know, Bakunin's answer is absolutely utopian. Bakunin demanded the leveling of classes. But several decades of working class struggle in present-clay society have shown that the levelling of classes is out of the question. Proletarians cannot be levelled with capitalists, or peasants with landlords. As the whole course of the socialist revolution in Russia has proved, classless society is achieved not by the levelling of classes, which is impossible, but by the elimination of the exploiting classes and the transformation of the peasants into people working in socialist society on equal terms with the workers. The abolition of classes cannot be accomplished in a day, for classes remain even after the social revolution. The parasite classes must be ruthlessly combatted, they must be deprived of the implements and means of production which they use to exploit the masses. As for the classes of small producers peasants and handicraftsmen-they cannot be abolished and leveled with the class of industrial workers in one day. A way must be found of living side by side with these classes. Numerous measures must be taken to efface the distinction , between town and country, between manual labor and intellectual labor. Only when labor is organized socialistically will it be possible to abolish classes and establish classless society. The force to perform this great historic task is the dictatorship of the proletariat, which arises after the socialist revolution and as a result of the latter, and not before the socialist revolution.
The anarcho-syndicalists maintain that the trade unions are the embryo of the future society and will be able to undertake the organization and administration of production. We shall not dwell on the fact that in many countries the trade unions include only manual workers; intellectual workers-teachers, physicians, actors, writers and others-do not belong to them (although recently the anarcho-syndicalists have begun to realize that intellectual workers must also be organized). But the anarcho-syndicalists imagine that the trade unions existing under capitalism can serve as the basis of the future socialist society, that they are a ready-made apparatus capable of taking over and administering the economic system on social principles as soon as the revolution takes place.
Nothing could be more pernicious than such a theory. It is true that capitalism has created the technical base on which the socialist economic system begins to develop after the socialist revolution. It is true that under capitalism the proletariat is not only exploited but is also trained and united into a mighty force which overthrows capitalism by armed force-- wrests power from its grasp, confiscates the implements and means of production and organizes the socialist system of economy. Without the socialist revolution a socialist system of economy is out of the question.
The Russian Narodniks, who, after their revolutionary attempts had failed, adopted the road of liberalism, believed that the workers' and peasants' producing cooperative societies existing under tsarism, under capitalists, were the embryo of the future communist society. Lenin violently opposed this self-deception, this utopian idea that the production cells of socialism could be formed within the framework of tsarism and capitalism. This idea is a survival of Proudhon's old anarchist doctrine that producers' cooperative societies, producers' associations growing up under capitalism, would absorb the capitalist system and thus abolish capitalism without a socialist revolution. These are illusions injurious to the working class, for they prevent it from seeing things as they really are and finding the road to the victory of socialism.
The socialist system of economy requires higher labor productivity than capitalism. No trade unions, no associations, no handicraft cooperatives under capitalism can produce the labor discipline, the higher technical methods and the higher labor productivity that will demonstrate the superiority of socialist economy over capitalist economy. The proletariat will be able to organize the socialist system of economy only after it accomplishes the socialist revolution, after it overthrows the power of capital, after it takes over all the implements and means of production. But even then elements of capitalism and of other systems will survive for a certain time, as has been shown by the experience of the Soviet state. Years and years of persistent, systematic, coordinated work are necessary to oust these elements, to eliminate them, to replace them by socialist elements, to conquer the anarchy of the market, to develop planned economy. No trade unions can pave the way for this in capitalist society. Without the socialist revolution, without the socialist organization of state power, no trade unions will be capable of performing this task.
There are some peaceable socialists who advocate what is known as constructive socialism. These peaceable constructive socialists who dream of building "bits of the future" that will exist peacefully under capitalism are twin brothers of the anarcho-syndicalists.
To organize production as the anarcho-syndicalists plan to organize it through the trade unions and cooperative societies-would not only fail to eliminate anarchy in production, the overproduction of some commodities and underproduction of others, but might even accentuate all these, since the issue would be determined by the means and machinery at the disposal of the various unions.
We shall now deal with one of the principal problems in the theory of anarcho-syndicalism and of anarchism in general. The anarchist Bakunin wrote:
The social revolution and the political revolution will in reality be inseparable. And that is as it should be, for the former is impossible without the latter, while the latter without the former is a deception. The political revolution, which is simultaneously the social revolution, will not bring about a change in the state, but its sweeping destruction and the dissolution of all political and judicial institutions.
As the revolutionary movement in Russia and other countries has shown, the anarcho-syndicalists do not take the trouble seriously to discuss the nature of the revolution. They skip the stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, proclaiming the bourgeois-democratic revolution to be the social, i.e., socialist revolution, and begin to put into effect measures suitable only for the socialist revolution. As a result they cause damage to the movement.
The socialist revolution in Russia has deprived the landlords and capitalists of power, it has deprived them of the implements and means of production, confiscated their capital, their factories, land, means of transport, etc., and has turned over all this to the working class and the peasantry, making it the property of the entire people.
The first four articles of the New Stalin Constitution,* recently adopted by the Soviet Union, state:
1. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a socialist state of workers and peasants.
2. The political foundation of the U.S.S.R. is the Soviets of Toilers' Deputies, which developed and grew strong as a result of the overthrow of the power of the landlords and capitalists and the winning of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
3. All power in the U.S.S.R. belongs to the toilers of town and country as represented by the Soviets of Toilers' Deputies.
4. The economic foundation of the U.S.S.R. is the socialist system of economy and the socialist ownership of the implements and means of production firmly established as a result of the liquidation of the capitalist system of economy, the abolition of private property in the implements and means of production and the abolition of exploitation of man by man.
Article 6 of the Constitution states:
The land, mineral deposits, waters, forests, mills, factories, mines, railways, water and air transport, banks, means of communication, large state-organized agricultural enterprises such as state farms (sovkhoz), machine and tractor stations and the like, as well as municipal enterprises and the principal dwelling house properties in the cities and industrial localities, are state property, that is, the property oŁ the whole people.
Could all this have been accomplished if the working class oŁ tsarist Russia, after overthrowing the power of the tsar, the landlords and the capitalists, had followed the anarchists and refrained from establishing its organ of power-the dictatorship of the proletariat-for the purpose of crushing the counterrevolution, repulsing foreign intervention, laying the foundations of the socialist economic system and carrying out its political and economic measures? If it had not been for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the counter-revolutionary classes, supported by world imperialism, would have overthrown the working class and perhaps imposed upon it shackles even heavier than it bore before, as has been the fate of the workers of Germany, Austria, Poland and certain other states.
For decades the anarchist leaders reiterated that the proletariat must establish no authority, no state, after overthrowing the power of capitalism. Such was the teaching of Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Puget, Reclus and other anarchist leaders.
Taking as their basis the experience of all bourgeois revolutions-for up to October 1917 there had been no genuine proletarian socialist revolution-the anarchists maintained that "all governments, whatever their name, have always taken the part of the rich" (E. Puget). This is true: all bourgeois revolutions gave rise to governments which took the part of the rich. But then Puget goes on to make another statement, which is not true: "However the form of property and government may change in the course of time, their future remains the same."
The October Revolution established an absolutely new form of government. But many anarchists fail to understand this fact, or else they lose sight of it. The government of the Soviets had as its predecessor the government of the Paris Commune of 1871. But the Paris Commune existed for only a few weeks. It did not succeed in applying its constructive energies, it could not reconstruct society on a new basis. In our own century the proletariat has found a new form of state, the proletarian, Soviet state.
It is not true to say that collective farm property in the U.S.S.R., where all land is national property, does not differ essentially from the small peasants' property in capitalist society. It is not true to say that the socialist ownership of the implements and means of production, of the mills, factories, forests, mineral deposits, land, waters, banks, and so on, in no way differs from capitalist ownership. Capitalist property serves as an instrument for the exploitation of the masses of workers and peasants for the sake of enriching the capitalists. Socialist property in the Soviet state serves the working class and the peasantry as a means for improving their material and cultural standard of living, a means for creating new conditions, the like of which history has never known. The proletarian, socialist revolution in Russia has infused a totally new meaning into the forms of property and the forms of government, for it has established forms of property and forms of government such as mankind has never known before. These forms of property and government do not serve the purpose of enriching the exploiters, but the purpose of enriching the working people themselves. And just as a beacon shines forth in the darkness, dispelling the phantoms of the night and lighting up the path to the goal, so the socialist revolution in the U.S.S.R. dispelled the phantom raised by all anti-proletarian doctrines, including anarcho-syndicalism, about all government and all property being pernicious, and lit up a new path of struggle for the workers of the whole world.
The anarchists said, "property is theft." It is true that capitalist property has always been theft. The capitalists have always stolen the labor of the working class, appropriating part of it in the form of surplus value. But the property of a collective farmer is not theft. A working peasant, a collective farmer, takes nothing that does not belong to him, he exploits no one and appropriates no one's labor. The workers and office employees of the Soviet socialist state take nothing that does not belong to them, they appropriate no labor of others. The workers, peasants and intellectuals of the U.S.S.R. have their wages, their dwelling houses and furniture, the right to rest and leisure, guaranteed by the state, the right to education, guaranteed by the state, the right to social maintenance, guaranteed by the state, the right to work, guaranteed by the state, and other material, political and moral benefits won in the revolution. But they have all this not because they are appropriating something that is not their own, or are exploiting someone, but because these are their gains in their struggle for socialism; it is their sacred property, which has nothing in common with the right of private property of the capitalists, landlords and other exploiters in capitalist society.
The experience of the Russian revolution has shown that even after the proletariat comes into power as a result of the socialist revolution, years may elapse before the foundation of the socialist economic system is laid and the system itself built up. In Russia, a country that proved strong enough to put down whiteguard counter-revolution and foreign intervention during the first four years of the revolution, nearly twenty years were required to build up the socialist system of economy. Therefore it is wrong to say, as the anarchists do, that the socialist revolution comes to an end the moment the political power of the bourgeoisie is overthrown. It is wrong to think that the state withers away immediately after the revolution. The proletariat needs the proletarian state in order to smash its enemies and to build up its socialist system of economy.
This point is of enormous importance, for unless it correctly analyzes events, unless it correctly determines the nature of the revolution that is taking place, the proletariat cannot determine the proper policy to pursue.
We shall discuss the abolition, or rather the withering away of the state in the chapter on "The Criticism of Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in the Works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin." For this reason we shall not dwell at present on the most important criticism of the anarchist theories of the state contained in the works of these authors.
Let us take up the anarcho-syndicalist conception of the method of accomplishing the revolution. The anarcho-syndicalist doctrine on this point advocated by the anarchists in the First International is that the only effective means of bringing about a revolution is a general strike. The Communists have never denied the importance of the general strike. On the contrary, it was the Bolshevik Communists who during the revolution of 1905 defended the general strike in their controversies with the opportunists. The history of the first Russian revolution showed the enormous importance of a general strike of all workers, but it showed that a general strike alone cannot succeed in overthrowing capitalism, or even in overthrowing the tsarist government. Present-day capitalist governments have sufficiently effective means at their disposal to counter the workers' general strike. Under certain conditions -as was the case in 1905--the workers are forced to resort to the highest form of struggle of the working class, the armed insurrection. During the 1905 revolution it was the general strike in October that forced the tsar to issue a manifesto with promises of freedom for the workers. But in December 1905 the workers were compelled to resort to armed insurrection. It was not a general strike but armed insurrection that secured the victory of the proletariat in October, 1917. Consequently, a general strike not intended to develop into an armed insurrection may end in the defeat of the workers, as was shown by the British general strike of 1926, in which the workers were defeated-although they were very well organized from the trade union, syndicalist, point of view-because they were not led by a sufficiently strong political party, the Communist Party.
During the last few years events have compelled the anarcho-syndicalists to admit that the general strike is not the only means of revolutionary struggle of the working class. This idea has collapsed, as has also another anarchist theory --that the workers should abstain from the political struggle, from voting in elections. The actual result of this theory has been that many workers belonging to the trade unions vote for the bourgeois parties and thus strengthen the bourgeoisie.
Again, many anarcho-syndicalists have become convinced that the general strike must not be made the sole and universal method of struggle, for this blunts the weapon of the general strike and renders it ineffectual.
Let us deal with another question of the greatest importance for the working class-the party. Are the anarcho-syndicalists right in asserting that a party based on the similarity of views of its members is not a class organization, that it cannot be the vanguard of the working class, or, in any case, the principal and fundamental organization of the working class, and that the principal organizations of the working class are the trade unions? Why do the anarcho-syndicalists make this assertion Because, they claim, through the medium of trade unions the workers defend their economic interests, and it is economics that determine the consciousness of people; whereas a political party is only an organization of people having similar views and ideas.
But, in the first place, these ideas do not drop from the skies. They are determined by the actual life of the class. Socialist, Communist ideas are determined primarily by the life and interests of the proletariat. Secondly, what distinguishes the Communist Party as the vanguard of the working class from all other organizations? The resolution of the Second Congress of the Comintern on the role of the Communist Party in the proletarian revolution states:
The Communist Party is created by the selection of the best and most class-conscious, most self-sacrificing and most far-sighted workers. The Communist Party has no interests differing from the interests of the working class. The Communist Party is distinguished from the entire mass of workers in that it reviews the entire historical road covered by the working class as a whole and at all crises on this road strives to defend not the interests of individual groups or trades but the interests of the working class as a whole. The Communist Party is the organizational and political means with which the more advanced section of the working class leads the entire mass of the proletariat and semi-proletariat along the right road.
In his remarkable work, Problems of Leninism, Comrade Stalin points out in the chapter on the Party that the revolutionary party of the working class, the Bolshevik, Communist Party, is distinguished from all other parties by a number of features. It is first and foremost the vanguard of the working class. But in order really to be the vanguard, the working class party must be well armed with revolutionary theory-understanding of the laws of the movement, the laws of revolution. Otherwise the party will be incapable of leading the struggle of the entire proletarian class, of leading it onward. The party must see ahead, it must march in the van and not drag at the tail of the spontaneous movement of the working class; it must not allow itself to be carried away by the interests of the moment, but must see far ahead, and at every given point, in every given locality, raise the masses to the level of the class interests of the entire proletariat.
This vanguard must be in close contact with the non-party masses, with the entire working class, with all the working people, for "the party is an inseparable part of the working class, the party is the organized unit of the proletariat." Being an organized unit, the party demands discipline-the subordination of all party organizations to the Central Committee elected by them, and subordination of every party member to the decisions of the organization to which he belongs. For the Bolshevik Party is not simply the sum total of the party organizations, but their unified system. These organizations are not only formally united as a party-they are built up on the principle of democratic centralism: lower party organizations are subordinate to superior bodies, the minority is subordinate to the majority. Otherwise there can be no organized whole.
The working class can and must have trade union, cooperative, and various other kinds of organizations. It may have some kind of parliamentary organization; in the Soviet, socialist state it establishes Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies (Soviets of the Toilers in the U.S.S.R. at the present time), non-Party associations of women, youth leagues, and other mass organizations. None of these is the principal, supreme organization of the working class. These organizations may include people with different views and political convictions. For instance, the rules of the Union of Educational Workers of the U.S.S.R. grant the right of membership to all employees of institutions and bodies engaged in educational work or scientific research, the press and also to employees in the union's own offices, regardless of their nationality and religious or political convictions.
The rules of other trade unions follow the same principle. The nationality or religious and political convictions of employees cannot serve as an obstacle to becoming members of these trade unions. What are the objects of a trade union? The rules of the Educational Workers' Union, adopted at the Fifth Congress oŁ the Union, in February, 1925, state:
Striving towards its final goal of completely emancipating the working people from economic and spiritual bondage, the Union of Educational Workers of the U.S. S.R. directs all its activities towards serving the general class interests of the proletariat, educating and training its members to perform the task confronting the working class-the realization of communism through the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The party of the working class, however, leads the struggle not only oŁ the workers of a given trade, but of the entire working class, coordinating the leadership of individual organizations and helping them to conduct the struggle in a single direction; for it unites all the best elements of the entire working class and is in close contact with all the non-party organizations and with the masses. It trains professional revolutionaries capable of guiding all forms of the struggle of the working class. That is why the party is the highest form of class organization of the proletariat.
The party is the instrument of struggle of the working class; in the socialist state it is the instrument of its proletarian dictatorship. The proletariat has to wage the struggle along various lines-cultural, economic, military and commercial; it has to guide the foreign policy of the socialist state. The party is the headquarters staff of the working class, which not only helps it to capture power but also to retain it until the final victory of socialism is achieved. To fulfill this purpose the party must be united, it cannot permit groups to exist in its midst which do not follow the opinion of the party. That is why the Bolshevik Party combats all factions, for which it is branded as intolerant by the opportunists. That is why it expelled the Trotskyites-those agents of fascism, who have caused great damage to the international working class movement.
It has been established that Trotsky and the Trotskyites entered into agreements regarding mutual assistance with the German fascists and the Japanese imperialists, and that the Trotskyites rendered the fascists important services. On their instructions the Trotskyites in the U.S.S.R. killed Comrade Kirov, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.; on their instructions they caused explosions at the Kemerovo mine as a result of which many miners were killed; on their instructions they organized several train-wrecks including the wreck of a troop train at Shumikha station, in which 29 Red Army men were killed and 29 injured. On the instructions of the enemies of the proletariat the Trotskyites undertook to undermine the defense capacity of the U.S.S.R. They were provocateurs and instigators of war against the U.S.S.R. In Spain the Trotskyite organization known as the P.O.U.M. is also a provocateurs' organization. There can be no doubt that the Trotskyites acted in agreement with the German and Italian fascists in prompting the Spanish anarchists to actions injurious to the revolution. It is clear that they made use of their connections with the fascists to injure the movement of the proletariat not only in the U.S.S.R., but in other countries as well.
The Bolshevik, Communist Party is also liable to the penetration of alien, hostile elements; it is not immune against individual careerists, self-seekers and degenerates. The Communist Party ruthlessly drives them out of its ranks by means of systematic party purgings.
In fighting against party spirit. and discipline, the anarchosyndicalists lose sight of the fact that anarcho-syndicalism is itself a party trend, that, as we pointed out above, what actually exists is an anarcho-syndicalist party. The anarcho-syndicalist organization was not sincere when it stated in the Amiens Charter that parties and sects must be ignored and that opinions held by individual members outside the trade union movement should not be introduced into the union, for within the trade unions they themselves pursue the policy of their anarchist party. Thus they have no right to demand that the Communists should refrain from advocating their views and opinions in the trade unions. Has not a trade union a program? According to Clause 2 of its rules, the French General Confederation of Labor unites all workers, irrespective of their political views, who recognize the need for fighting to abolish the wage system. This is a political program, for the abolition of the wage system is the most important political demand of the proletariat as a whole.
The history of the working class struggle has proved that the anarcho-syndicalist views on the political struggle and on the forms of the state are altogether unsound. We congratulate those anarcho-syndicalists in Spain and France who have grasped this fact and have joined with the Communists and Socialists in a united front of struggle against fascism. This struggle is a thoroughly political struggle, to refrain from which would greatly injure the working class. The working class, the trade unions, cannot and must not adopt the position of "neutrality" in the political struggle so recently advocated by the anarcho-syndicalists. The working class must have definite views on every problem and it must advocate these views.
Finally, are the anarcho-syndicalists right in their assertion that all centralized organizations are pernicious?
We have quoted the opinion of the revolutionary anarchist Puget, who opposed syndicalism to democracy, maintaining that "the laws of syndicalism have nothing in common with the laws of democracy," and that "democracy, with its universal suffrage and the political rule of the people, serves to perpetuate the economic bondage of the working class." Puget countered democracy with syndicalism, which, he argued, "is based on the recognition of the individual."
At a conference held in London in 1906 the anarchists discussed forms of organization. They denied that it was necessary to establish a Central Committee and any kind of centralized organization. They rejected the adoption of decisions by a majority vote.'- Among the anarchists, decisions are followed only by those who agree with them of their own free will. What is the result? The result is that instead of a collective opinion binding on all members of the organization and carried out in practice, every member is "his own master," free to follow any view he chooses. The result is the cult of the individual, an aristocratic cult; the result is that at the critical moment, when the working class must act without delay, an endless discussion ensues, to the advantage of the enemy. The enemy gains if the working class has no one opinion binding on all who take part in the struggle. The enemy gains if every man acts for himself, as he thinks fit, and not as the general interests of the working class demand. The enemy gains if there is no discipline, no decision binding upon all; the enemy gains by such anarchy in the organization, which causes untold damage to the working class The entire history of working class struggles, and particularly of struggles during recent years, including the struggle of the working people of Spain, demonstrates the enormous damage caused by this doctrine to the working class.