Soviet Power and the Status of Women

by Vladimir Lenin

The second anniversary of the Soviet power is a fitting occasion for us to review what has, in general, been accomplished during this period, and to probe into the significance and aims of the revolution which we accomplished.

Mao's cultural revolution-- young proletariat workers unite

Chairman Mao once said “Women hold up half the sky”

The bourgeoisie and its supporters accuse us of violating democracy. We maintain that the Soviet revolution has given an unprecedented stimulus to the development of democracy both in depth and breadth, of democracy, moreover, distinctly for the toiling masses, who had been oppressed under capitalism; consequently, of democracy for the vast majority of the people, of socialist democracy (for the toilers) as distinguished from bourgeois democracy (for the exploiters, the capitalists, the rich).

Who is right? Continue reading


The National Question in Russia: Marxism and the National Question

by Joseph Stalin

It remains for us to suggest a positive solution of the national question.

We take as our starting point that the question can be solved only in intimate connection with the present situation in Russia.

1. Russian SFSR, 2. Ukrainian SSR, 3. Byelorussian SSR, 4. Tajik SSR, 5. Kirghiz SSR, 6. Georgian SSR, 7. Azerbaijan SSR, 8. Armenian SSR, 9. Uzbek SSR, 10. Kazakh SSR, 11. Lithuanian SSR, 12. Latvian SSR, 13. Estonian SSR, 14. Moldavian SSR, 15. Turkmen SSR

Russia is in a transitional period, when “normal,” “constitutional” life has not yet been established and when the political crisis has not yet been settled. Days of storm and “complications” are ahead. And this gives rise to the movement, the present and the future movement, the aim of which is to achieve complete democratization.

It is in connection with this movement that the national question must be examined.

Thus the complete democratization of the country is the basis and condition for the solution of the national question. Continue reading

Socialism in Indian Conditions: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

8.1   Our Party Programme defines the strategy of the Indian revolution that enjoins upon us to complete the democratic stage of the revolution, i.e., people’s democratic revolution as the precursor for the socialist transformation in India.

8.2   The updated Party Programme elaborately deals with the formation of the people’s democratic front that will lead the people’s democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class and also the programme of the people’s democratic front. Crucial in achieving this is the strengthening of the ‘subjective factor’ which, in turn, amongst others, depends on the effective use of parliamentary and extra parliamentary means of struggle and the building of the worker-peasant alliance. The necessary tactics are worked out from time to time which dovetail our strategic objective of changing the correlation of forces amongst the Indian people towards strengthening the class struggles for the people’s democratic revolution. Continue reading

More Distortions About North Korea

by Rick Gunderman

A curiosity about capitalist ideology is its claim to have fully advanced the movement for the freedom to learn, to express, and to speak.

By all appearances, it has. Those who have grown up in a capitalist society are told ad nauseum that they grow up in a “free country” (often a qualifier for the concurrent claim to be the “best country”) where constraints upon pursuing information are only reasonably limited, if at all.

In their renowned work on the political economy of the mass media, Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman categorically challenge this view. Through numerous examples, including the attempted assassination of the pope and the Indochinese Wars, the authors show how the news media has five “filters” to censor certain information. Continue reading

Soviet Power and the Status of Women

by Vladimir Lenin

The second anniversary of the Soviet power is a fitting occasion for us to review what has, in general, been accomplished during this period, and to probe into the significance and aims of the revolution which we accomplished.

The bourgeoisie and its supporters accuse us of violating democracy. We maintain that the Soviet revolution has given an unprecedented stimulus to the development of democracy both in depth and breadth, of democracy, moreover, distinctly for the toiling masses, who had been oppressed under capitalism; consequently, of democracy for the vast majority of the people, of socialist democracy (for the toilers) as distinguished from bourgeois democracy (for the exploiters, the capitalists, the rich).

Who is right?

To probe deeply into this question and to understand it well will mean studying the experience of these two years and being better prepared to further follow up this experience. Continue reading

CP of Brazil (PCdoB) – 90 years for Brazil and Socialism!! A Manifest to All Workers and the Brazilian People

National Political Commission of the Communist Party of Brazil.
São Paulo, March 15, 2012.

The Communist Party of Brazil – PCdoB – turns 90 on March 25, 2012. It has had the longest life among the political organizations in the history of Brazil, connected to the workers’ longing for the socialist ideal. It envisions Brazil as a great nation, loving peace and solidarity among peoples, rejecting war and imperialist rulings.

In nine decades generations of communists joined the party ranks. In different stages, three personalities inscribed their names in the saga of communists in Brazil: Astrojildo Pereira, Luiz Carlos Prestes and João Amazonas.

Astrojildo Pereira led the foundation in 1922 and symbolizes the generation of those first days. Prestes joined the Party in 1934, already the “Hope Knight,” and led the generation until 1960. Amazonas joined the Party in 1935 and led a generation that reorganized it and conducted it until the first election of Lula.

As Renato Rabelo was acclaimed president of the Party in 2001, shortly before the passing of Amazonas, a new generation is taking position in the communist trenches.

Today PCdoB is a well-known and prestigious force, a powerful political and moral asset, a strong presence among workers, a predominant influence among the youth, with outstanding presence in the Parliament, in local governments and in the Lula and Dilma Rousseff administrations.

Without underestimating the divergences of the past, the current board of PCdoB is aware that this party is the one founded in 1922 and reorganized in 1962, built by all those generations of communists. The anniversary that we proudly celebrate is that of all those generations.

1. The legacy of the founding generation

The first expressive contribution of the Party to our history is its own foundation. It introduced in the political stage, for the first time among us, a working class party with its own organization and specific objectives, starting with socialism.

At that time, the working class already started strikes for their rights and had active unions. But, under anarchist influence, it resisted the political struggle. However, they received news from Russia, according to which workers brought down a tyrannical regime, took power and started to build socialism. And a piece of information started to circulate: such achievement was only possible because they had a communist party.

Building a party of that kind in our country was the mission started by the nine delegates that founded the Communist Party of Brazil: Astrojildo Pereira, Cristiano Cordeiro, Abílio de Nequete, Hermogênio da Silva Fernandes, João da Costa Pimenta, Joaquim Barbosa, José Elias da Silva, Luis Peres and Manuel Cendón. Astrojildo and others, such as Octávio Brandão, led the first generation of communists.

The Old Republic was entering a crisis and the dispute that led to the Revolution of 1930 eight years after was already growing. The recently founded Party introduced a new element: it led the working class to politics. It organized the Labor and Peasant Bloc, BOC, which systematized for the first time among us a platform of social and labor rights. The Party, by means of BOC, elected in 1927 two communist councilors in the city of Rio de Janeiro: Octávio Brandão and Minervino de Oliveira. In 1929 – with the banner of a unionist coalition that it has defended since 1922 – it created the General Confederation of the Workers of Brazil, CGTB.

In the elections in 1930 Júlio Prestes was the ruling candidate and Getúlio Vargas represented the opposition. The Party proposed Luiz Carlos Prestes as its candidate, which was denied. It then launched the candidacy of Minervino de Oliveira, Secretary-General of CGTB. The campaign suffered from unusual violence and the candidate was imprisoned several times. He had few votes. But the historical fact remained: in 1930 the Communist Party of Brazil launched a unionist worker, a black man, Minervino de Oliveira, as a candidate to the Presidency of the Republic.

As the Revolution of 1930 unfolded, the Party did not support it. It judged – wrongly – that mere oligarchic contradictions were at stake.

The founding generation also left a valorous legacy in divulging the ideas of the Party. The Movimento Comunista magazine was issued in 1922; the A Classe Operária newspaper was launched in 1925; in 1927 it issued the first communist daily, A Nação.

In the theoretical front, the founding generation is also credited for launching the first Brazilian edition of the Communist Manifesto, followed by other works by Marx and Lenin. Octávio Brandão published Agrarismo e Industrialismo (1926), the first essay on the Brazilian reality under the Marxist point of view.

2. Struggle for liberty, development and culture

When the Revolution of 1930 showed its limits, the Party contributed to launch the National Liberating Alliance (ANL) in March 1935. Prestes, who joined the Party in 1934, was its president of honor. ANL rapidly spread in the national territory with its motto “Bread, Land and Liberty” and with its mobilizations against Nazi fascism and its local version, integralism. Then it was banned by the Vargas administration, leading alliance groups connected to the Party to try to form a popular government with the uprising in November 1935, which was soon asphyxiated because it was fundamentally based on the barracks of the Army.

Repression was always heavy on the Party. After the uprising in 1935, it was extensive and cruel, with more than 15 thousand imprisoned. Prestes remained nine years in jail. Olga Benário, the young German connected to the Communist International, Prestes’ companion, was handed to Hitler’s Gestapo and died in a concentration camp. The repressive wave proceeded until 1937, in the dictatorship of the Estado Novo, the New State.

In the 63 years from 1922 and 1985, the Party had only two years and fourth months of legality. The dominant classes always curbed its freedom. But in several occasions repression not only victimized communists, but also the whole of society, such as during the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the military dictatorship (1964-1985). The most used pretext was the “communist threat.” Therefore, one of the Party’s legacies to the history of Brazil is its extensive fight for freedom.

During the Estado Novo the party leadership was disbanded, demanding a new restructuration that culminated with the Mantiqueira Conference (1943). That is when the second generation of communists appeared, headed by Luiz Carlos Prestes (imprisoned until 1945), Diógenes Arruda, Maurício Grabois, Pedro Pomar, João Amazonas, Amarílio Vasconcelos, Júlio Sérgio de Oliveira, Mário Alves and Carlos Marighella.

The Party fought to make Brazil enter Word War II to join the allied forces, among which the USSR, against the Nazi fascist Axis. It strived for the constitution of the Expeditionary Brazilian Force that fought in Europe, in which many communists enlisted.

After the defeat of Germany in World War II, the Estado Novo came to an end and the Party became legal for a short period. It launched Iedo Fiúza as its presidential candidate in 1945, obtaining 10% of the valid votes; and elected Prestes in the Senate with many votes and 14 deputies for the Constituent Assembly, among which the most voted for deputy in Rio de Janeiro, João Amazonas, as well as Maurício Grabois, Carlos Marighella, Gregório Bezzerra, Jorge Amado and Claudino José da Silva, the only black man in the Constituent Assembly.

At the Constituent Assembly, the Party stood out for its unyielding defense of democracy, the rights of workers, the agrarian reform and national sovereignty. And it highlighted the role of the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi fascism.

The Constituent Assembly became effective in the already poisonous climate of the Dutra administration and the Cold War. The Party lost its permit in 1947 and shortly after its elected Congress members were expelled. That was a rude and contemptible attack against democracy.

In clandestinity again, communists displayed another of their characteristics: the defense of development and national economy. The campaign “The oil is ours” was started at that time, leading to the creation of Petrobras in 1953.

During this period the communists organized great campaigns for peace, against sending Brazilian troops to fight in the Korean War and for the banishment of nuclear weapons.

In this generation the Party sought closer ties with the intellectual and artistic production. Among those directly connected to the Party were writers such as Jorge Amado and Graciliano Ramos; architects and artists such as Oscar Niemeyer, Cândido Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Carlos Scliar and Tarsila do Amaral; playwrights and actors such as Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Francisco Milani, Oduvaldo Vianna Filho, Dias Gomes and Mário Lago; musicians such as Cláudio Santoro and Guerra Peixe; directors such as Ruy Santos and Nelson Pereira dos Santos; scientists such as Mário Schenberg; sportsmen such as João Saldanha; jornalists such as Aparício Torelli, the Baron of Itararé.

3. Reorganization and the struggle in many fronts against the dictatorship in 1964

Dreadful facts affected the Communist Party of Brazil between 1956 and 1962. On the one side, the majority of the Brazilian leadership accepted opportunist trends disseminated in the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), headed by Nikita Khrushchev. On the other hand, that same majority adopted a national-reformist trend. Therefore, in 1961 a new reformist organization called Brazilian Communist Party published a new Program and Statute.

Immediately a group of experienced leaders reacted and, in February 1962, reorganized the Communist Party of Brazil, with its original name, tradition and revolutionary character, starting to use the acronym PCdoB. The Party became smaller, but revitalized. It started to think more about Brazil and defined its policies in line with the events. The organization was headed by João Amazonas, Maurício Grabois and Pedro Pomar.

After half a century, life has proven those who reorganized the Party. PCdoB has grown and stood firmly. Nobody today doubts which is the Communist Party of Brazil.

Two years after the reorganization the generals brought about the coup in 1964. The Party concluded that the dictatorship had come to stay. The doors to institutional action were closed. Therefore, it opened the way to armed resistance. In the following years, while the dictatorship became increasingly violent, PCdoB prepared and directed the Araguaia Guerilla.

The Araguaia was a heroic chapter in the history of Brazil that honors and praises PCdoB. The Guerilla resisted for almost three years. The dictatorship mobilized many troops to confront it, prohibited the press to divulge it and resorted to “dirty war.” But the alarm remained: Brazilians did not accept the dictatorship and other Araguaias could appear.

During the Guerilla, almost all of the greatest organization opposing the dictatorship, the Marxist-Leninist Popular Action (APML), joined PCdoB after a long ideological struggle: it was the most important and successful unifying process in the history of the Brazilian left.

In 1976, already in its declining stage, the dictatorship perpetrated the Lapa Massacre, in São Paulo, where three communist leaders were murdered: Pedro Pomar, Ângelo Arroyo and João Batista Drummond.

Amazonas headed a leading core recomposed with leaders from APML and young cadres, guiding a third generation of communists.

In 1975 the Party concentrated the struggle for the end of the dictatorship under three banners: broad, generalized and unrestricted amnesty; the revocation of the exceptional acts and laws; and a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly. In 1979, though distorted and incomplete, the amnesty freed political prisoners and allowed the return of exiles. The social movements started over, with strikes and other journeys such as the Movement against Destitution. And the Party took part of it. In 1984 one of the greatest mass demonstrations in the history of Brazil took place: the Diretas Já (Direct elections now) campaign. Despite its banishment, PCdoB took to the streets. But the Congress did not approve the Diretas Já.

The nation was shocked. The opposition was doubtful. Part of it attempted to form the “Direct elections only” movement. Tancredo Neves, the possible opposition candidate, would have to renounce the government of the state of Minas Gerais in order to become a candidate. Amid such confusion, would he resign?

PCdoB was not confounded. It stressed that the opposition would go to the Electoral College not to legitimate, but to put an end to the dictatorship. It also declared that if a candidate would openly make such a commitment, the Party would take to the streets to legitimize his candidacy. Amazonas went to Minas Gerais to explain that position to Tancredo Neves. He became a candidate and the great demonstrations of Diretas Já were repeated. Victory finished the College and the dictatorship.

The defeat of the Soviet experience in 1991 was another crucial moment. Capitalist proclaimed that socialist was finished. Politicians and intellectuals, even progressive ones, believed that lie. Many communist parties put their flags down, changed their names and their symbols and renounced Marxism.

PCdoB did not lower its flag, did not change its name, did not change its symbol and did not deny Marxism. It tried to learn from the defeat, studying and learning with the successes and mistakes of the Soviet experience, adjusting the struggle for socialism to the new conditions of the world. It stressed that that defeat took place when socialism was still in its infancy, taking its first steps. The Party called an Extraordinary Congress (1992) and after a substantial debate the conclusion was unanimous: “Socialism lives!”

Today it is capitalism that struggles under the claws of a systemic crisis. And its epicenter is exactly in the capitalist metropolises: in Europe and in the United States.

Much to the contrary, socialism displays its vitality. We can see that in great China – the second strongest international power – heroic Vietnam and fearless Cuba, among other experiences, including the socialist project in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. The rebellious movements in Wall Street and Europe also stood out.

It is a new struggle for socialism that is unfolding all over the world and especially in Latin America. That is a revolutionary and renovated socialism that does not copy a single model, absorbing national particularities and opening the way with courage and an open mind. That is the socialism of PCdoB.

4. A new time, democratization, the Constituent Assembly, a Party in the government

Redemocratization after the dictatorship followed an unexpected path. Tancredo Neves passed away and his vice President, José Sarney, took the decisive steps. The Party was legal once again and took part in the new Constituent Assembly in 1987-88. Its 1,003 amendments dealt with broadening democracy; labor rights; development and national sovereignty. Such as in the Constituent Assembly in 1946, one of them guaranteed religious freedom. The Communist Party of Brazil is the only party of all active organizations today that took part in the three Constituent Assemblies in the republican period.

On January 1st 2003 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was inaugurated in the presidential palace. It was not a mere change of names. A new era started in the history of the country.

PCdoB is proud of its leading role in building that cycle. It is the only party, apart from the Workers Party, that fought for it since the beginning. It supported Lula since his campaign in 1989, in his three initial defeats and in the three following victories until the election of President Dilma Rousseff in 2010. It engaged in the difficult resistance to the neoliberal era, in the great popular students’ demonstrations that led to the impeachment of the President of the Republic in 1992. In the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration it fought against the neoliberal policy, privatizations, the IMF, the Apagão (energy blackout), the diplomacy that raised its voice against Bolivia and lowered it with the USA. The Party helped to turn that tenebrous page – we hope it is forever.

The change in Brazil is part of a broader movement. It is almost all of Latin America that has rebelled in a true red, democratic, patriotic and progressive tide dyed with the Latin American blood.

Rebellion follows an original path where the main weapon is popular vote. By means of the victories of advanced candidates, backed by popular movements, the transformation progress follows its course.

To the Party, 2003 brought an unprecedented reality. It was called to take part in the government of Brazil for the first time in its history. And the offer was accepted.

PCdoB has supported and participated in the struggle and success of the democratic-popular administrations of Lula and Dilma Rousseff. It offered them some of their best cadres to work – with outstanding success and immaculate integrity – in areas such as Sports, political articulation, Oil, Culture, Science and Technology, Health and Tourism, among others. In the crucial days of the crisis of 2005, when conservative opposition thought they would “get rid of those people,” PCdoB brought the people to the streets to shout “Stay Lula!”.

At the same time, PCdoB does not mix up loyalty and support with playing second fiddle. It preserves its political independence in relation with the government. It defends the autonomy of social movements, the mobilization of the people as indispensable to change. It believes that the government needs both support and criticism in order to advance and defend itself from right-wing coup-like attempts. It believes that to criticize what is wrong is a form of support.

5. Call

The Communist Party of Brazil is a Brazilian political force engaged in pursuing objectives such as the transformation of Brazil into a prosperous, developed and free Nation, loving peace among peoples, marching towards a socialist transition. It is aware of its past of struggles that contributed – often with unprecedented sacrifices – to take Brazil to where it is today.

The world is now undergoing a great crisis of capitalism that is further aggravating growing inequalities and social crises and increasing war conflicts in the world. In such a context, the main issue is which way to follow, which alternative to choose.

That is why PCdoB, in its 90th anniversary, calls the people to embrace its Socialist Program, to apply and develop it.

The Socialist Program results from mature thinking regarding the situation of the country and the world. It went through years of elaboration and embodies a new programmatic concept.

The current Socialist Program of PCdoB takes a new step forward: it proposes a direction and a route. Socialism is the direction. Strengthening the Brazilian Nation is the route.

Strengthening the Nation is achieved by the materialization of a New National Development Project based on four principles: the struggle for sovereignty and the defense of the Nation; the democratization of society; social progress; and the solidary integration with Latin America. The Program presents a broad set of proposals that will allow directing that project.

That route could lead to a popular democracy under the hegemony of workers and the majority of the Nation, therefore creating conditions for the transition to socialism. It will represent a leap for civilization, the third in the rough but victorious history of Brazil.

It is armed with that Program and the New National Development Project that PCdoB makes this call and, certain that increasing its political representativeness will contribute to advance the achievements of the people, it will be fully committed in the elections next October, disputing city halls in many capitals and other important cities. The Party maintains its doors open and accepts in its ranks all Brazilians that are looking for an organized and transforming political activity.

Reaching 90 years of existence is a great victory of the Communist Party of Brazil. But even greater is our joy to turn 90 fully active, revitalized and confident. It remains active because it never failed to defend workers and Brazil. It is revitalized because it never had so much people in its ranks in order to face the tasks of the future. And it is confident of being in the path that will lead to a stronger Nation and socialism.

Long live March 25!

Long live PCdoB!

Long live Socialism!

Long live Brazil!

 Communist Party of Brazil

Dogmatism And “Freedom of Criticism”: What Does “Freedom of Criticism” Mean?

by Vladimir Lenin

“Freedom of criticism” is undoubtedly the most fashionable slogan at the present time, and the one most frequently employed in the controversies between socialists and democrats in all countries.

At first sight, nothing would appear to be more strange than the solemn appeals to freedom of criticism made by one of the parties to the dispute. Have voices been raised in the advanced parties against the constitutional law of the majority of European countries which guarantees freedom to science and scientific investigation?

“Something must be wrong here,” will be the comment of the onlooker who has heard this fashionable slogan repeated at every turn but has not yet penetrated the essence of the disagreement among the disputants; evidently this slogan is one of the conventional phrases which, like nicknames, become legitimised by use, and become almost generic terms.

In fact, it is no secret for anyone that two trends have taken form in present-day international Social-Democracy. The conflict between these trends now flares up in a bright flame and now dies down and smoulders under the ashes of imposing “truce resolutions”. The essence of the “new” trend, which adopts a “critical” attitude towards “obsolete dogmatic” Marxism, has been clearly enough presented by Bernstein and demonstrated by Millerand.

Social-Democracy must change from a party of social revolution into a democratic party of social reforms. Bernstein has surrounded this political demand with a whole battery of well-attuned “new” arguments and reasonings.

Denied was the possibility of putting socialism on a scientific basis and of demonstrating its necessity and inevitability from the point of view of the materialist conception of history. Denied was the fact of growing impoverishment, the process of proletarisation, and the intensification of capitalist contradictions; the very concept, “ultimate aim”, was declared to be unsound, and the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat was completely rejected. Denied was the antithesis in principle between liberalism and socialism. Denied was the theory of the class struggle, on the alleged grounds that it could not be applied to a strictly democratic society governed according to the will of the majority, etc.

Thus, the demand for a decisive turn from revolutionary Social-Democracy to bourgeois social-reformism was accompanied by a no less decisive turn towards bourgeois criticism of all the fundamental ideas of Marxism. In view of the fact that this criticism of Marxism has long been directed from the political platform, from university chairs, in numerous pamphlets and in a series of learned treatises, in view of the fact that the entire younger generation of the educated classes has been systematically reared for decades on this criticism, it is not surprising that the “new critical” trend in Social-Democracy should spring up, all complete, like Minerva from the head of Jove. The content of this new trend did not have to grow and take shape, it was transferred bodily from bourgeois to socialist literature.

To proceed. If Bernstein’s theoretical criticism and political yearnings were still unclear to anyone, the French took the trouble strikingly to demonstrate the “new method”. In this instance, too, France has justified its old reputation of being “the land where, more than anywhere else, the historical class struggles were each time fought out to a decision…” (Engels, Introduction to Marx’s Der 18 Brumaire).

The French socialists have begun, not to theorise, but to act. The democratically more highly developed political conditions in France have permitted them to put “Bernsteinism into practice” immediately, with all its consequences.

Millerand has furnished an excellent example of practical Bernsteinism; not without reason did Bernstein and Vollmar rush so zealously to defend and laud him. Indeed, if Social-Democracy, in essence, is merely a party of reform and must be bold enough to admit this openly, then not only has a socialist the right to join a bourgeois cabinet, but he must always strive to do so.

If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration? Why should he not remain in the cabinet even after the shooting-down of workers by gendarmes has exposed, for the hundredth and thousandth time, the real nature of the democratic collaboration of classes? Why should he not personally take part in greeting the tsar, for whom the French socialists now have no other name than hero of the gallows, knout, and exile (knouteur, pendeur et deportateur)?

And the reward for this utter humiliation and self-degradation of socialism in the face of the whole world, for the corruption of the socialist consciousness of the working masses – the only basis that can guarantee our victory – the reward for this is pompous projects for miserable reforms, so miserable in fact that much more has been obtained from bourgeois governments!

He who does not deliberately close his eyes cannot fail to see that the new “critical” trend in socialism is nothing more nor less than a new variety of opportunism. And if we judge people, not by the glittering uniforms they don or by the highsounding appellations they give themselves, but by their actions and by what they actually advocate, it will be clear that “freedom of criticism” means’ freedom for an opportunist trend in Social-Democracy, freedom to convert Social-Democracy into a democratic party of reform, freedom to introduce bourgeois ideas and bourgeois elements into socialism.

“Freedom” is a grand word, but under the banner of freedom for industry the most predatory wars were waged, under the banner of freedom of labour, the working people were robbed. The modern use of the term “freedom of criticism” contains the same inherent falsehood. Those who are really convinced that they have made progress in science would not demand freedom for the new views to continue side by side with the old, but the substitution of the new views for the old. The cry heard today, “Long live freedom of criticism”, is too strongly reminiscent of the fable of the empty barrel.

We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation.

And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road!

Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are “free” to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!

*note: Excerpted from Lenin’s classic 1902 work “What Is To Be Done?”, the entirety of which is available here.