This statement was submitted to the International May Day Rally from the Young Guard of the Bolshevik-Leninists in Russia. It was delivered at the rally in Russian with English subtitles. To view all the speeches, visit wsws.org/mayday
Today, on the great historical day of the Workers’ International and International Workers’ Solidarity, despite all obstacles and prohibitions, thousands of hands across the globe will raise the red banners illuminated in the rays of the May sun, the banners that are stained with the blood of the fighters for socialism. Throughout the history of capitalism, they have waged an implacable war against a society of oppression, against a system of exploitation of man by man for the sake of an increased rate of profit.
Among these hands are we, the Bolshevik-Leninists, who know our place in the history of this struggle and understand the necessity of this struggle for the future of all mankind. The Bolshevik-Leninists were the real socialist alternative to the reactionary Stalinist course of developing “socialism in one country” in the USSR. They waged their struggle against the revision of Marxism by the Thermidorian Stalinist bureaucracy, whose activities later led to the restoration of capitalism in the USSR. A special place among the Bolshevik-Leninists was held by one of the outstanding revolutionary figures, Lev Davidovich Trotsky. His inflexible will to win and his desire to overthrow capitalist society helped him in accomplishing the greatest event of the 20th century—the October Revolution of 1917.
The Bolshevik Party, not without Lenin’s famous intervention in April, was able then to make a truly great event, the consequences of which are felt even today. The strength of the Bolshevik Party lay not only in its rapid adaptation to great historical events, but also in the traditions they defended.
The traditions established by Marx and Engels were adopted and defended by Lenin and Trotsky. They have been and continue to be defended by today’s Bolshevik-Leninists and consist in an understanding of the historically revolutionary role of the proletariat. This understanding has been gained through enormous theoretical and practical work done with the aid of materialist dialectics in the fields of scientific socialism, history, political economy and philosophy. It is these traditions that we continue to defend against any revision that inevitably ends in a rejection of the revolutionary role of the working class, a rejection of materialist dialectics.
If we look at every attempt to revise Marxism involving a revision of such fundamentals as historical materialism, dialectics, scientific socialism, and the labor theory of value, every such attempt was doomed to roll back to a pre-Marxist understanding of philosophy, history and political economy. This rollback inevitably meant that the revisionists moved into the camp of opportunism, into the camp of defending capitalism.
The view of the Marxist tradition held by Lenin and Trotsky, and by us after them, led us inevitably to the International Committee of the Fourth International as the only international organization still defending the historical traditions of October, defending the personality and ideas of Lenin and Trotsky against Stalinist slander. An organization that has not lost its proletarian character.
The International Committee, which supports the struggle for socialism on an international basis, has become for us the beacon to which all ships of Marxist revolutionaries must aspire in order to unite in their struggle for the overthrow of the capitalist order and the establishment of socialism throughout the world.
We understand the importance and complexity of the struggle for a socialist future. It is inextricably linked to the unification of the workers in an international organization which is sincerely and with great zeal carrying out its activities in an effort to overthrow the society of the oppressors. We believe that it is the unification of all the advanced elements of the working class and youth around the International Committee that will enable the workers of the world to realize the cherished goal of constructing a classless society.
The logical arrival in the camp of the International Committee was due, among other things, to an analysis of the current political situation in the world and in Russia. The development of the international crisis of the capitalist system, caused by the contradiction between the level of productive forces and the prevailing capitalist relations of production in society, has led to an aggravation of world tensions. The coronavirus pandemic was a trigger event for the deepening of this crisis, its further escalation worldwide.
After the collapse of the USSR, US imperialism decided to establish a “unipolar” world order. Its gradual advance to the East led to supporting the coup d’état against the pro-Russian President Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. The further development of the internal crisis of American capitalism, the arming of Ukraine, the adoption of the “Crimea Platform,” and the sharpening of relations between NATO and the Putin regime, led to Putin’s reactionary invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
This invasion only exacerbated the world situation. The sanctions directed in retaliation against Russia hit not only underdeveloped but also developed countries. Underdeveloped countries are now facing an ever sharper problem of hunger, while developed countries are confronting record increases in the cost of living and rising poverty rates.
The invasion has shown that the Putin regime has no adequate solution to the problems facing not only Russia, but the entire world. The consolidation of Western imperialism’s domination at the expense of China and Russia cannot bring about a solution to problems of international, let alone national-limited, importance. Nor can the Putin regime in Russia or the Xi regime in China do so with retaliatory aggression based on Russian chauvinism or Chinese nationalism.
This is not surprising, because the capitalist regimes of Russia and China, established in the course of the betrayal by the Stalinist bureaucracy, are based on private ownership of the means of production. They seek to solve all problems within a national framework, and are therefore incapable of dealing with a crisis of international importance, which requires an international solution of its own.
In our world there is only one social and historical force capable of uniting humanity on an international basis, and that is the working class. It is the only social force that increases and strengthens with the development of capitalism. It is its product, and therefore has a real opportunity to overthrow capitalism and replace it with a new classless society based on the conscious planning of production, and a distribution of resources that meets the needs of society as a whole.
Only by uniting around this revolutionary force, in whose interests the ICFI fights, the Socialist Equality Parties and the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists, will we be able to translate into reality the socialism for which Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and many others, though little known to us, but no less important for our cause, fought in such an inspiring way for a bright future.
A correct Marxist leadership will harden and unite the working class and help it to fulfill its revolutionary role. But for the correct leadership to remain so, it must not forget the principles on which the Bolsheviks stood and the Bolshevik-Leninists of the world continue to stand.
Against the reactionary invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s regime!
For the mobilization of Ukrainian and Russian workers against war!
Against the military escalation of Western imperialism against Russia and China!
For the unification of the international working class!