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On the construction of socialism – Nikolai Osinsky (Valerian V. Obolensky)

In this text first published in the journal of the Bolshevik left communists, The Communist, in April 1918, Osinsky attacks Lenin’s economic policies (which he attributes to Lenin’s erroneous support for the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty) from a “left” perspective that champions working class supremacy in the “organization of production” (in the economic councils, etc.), advocates a policy of rigorous nationalization and promotion of “heavy industry” (coal, steel, railroads), and concludes that economic reconstruction cannot be directed towards Russian “self-sufficiency”, but must be oriented towards the goal of the victory of the international proletarian revolution. Translated in August 2014 from...

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World Revolution and Communist Tactics. Anton Pannekoek 1920

I The transformation of capitalism into communism is brought about by two forces, one material and the other mental, the latter having its origins in the former. The material development of the economy generates consciousness, and this activates the will to revolution. Marxist science, arising as a function of the general tendencies of capitalist development, forms first the theory of the socialist party and subsequently that of the communist party, and it endows the revolutionary movement with a profound and vigorous intellectual unity. While this theory is gradually penetrating one section of the proletariat, the masses’ own experiences are bound to foster practical recognition that capitalism is no longer viable to an increasing extent. World war and rapid economic collapse now make revolution objectively necessary before the masses have grasped communism intellectually: and this contradiction is at the root of the contradictions, hesitations and setbacks which make the revolution a long and painful process. Nevertheless, theory itself now gains new momentum and rapidly takes a hold on the masses; but both these processes are inevitably held up by the practical problems which have suddenly risen up so massively. As far as Western Europe is concerned, the development of the revolution is mainly determined by two forces: the collapse of the capitalist economy and the example of Soviet Russia. The reasons why the proletariat was able to achieve victory so...

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Ottorino Perrone, “Fascism? Democracy? Communism” (Bilan no. 13, December 1934)

“[T]here is an irreconcilable opposition between the democratic system and working-class positions. Every time the workers have been able to impose – through heroic struggles and sacrificing their own lives – their class demands on capitalism, they have dealt a serious blow to democracy, a blow of the kind only capitalism necessitates. On the contrary, the proletariat finds the reason for its historic mission by denouncing the lie of the democratic principle in its own nature and in the need to suppress the differences of classes and the classes themselves. At the end of the path traveled by the proletariat through the class struggle, there is no regime of pure democracy because the principle on which communist society will be based is that of the non-existence of a state power directing society, while democracy is absolutely inspired by it. In its most liberal expression, it continually strives to exclude the exploited who dare to defend their interests with the help of their organizations instead of remaining submissive to the democratic institutions created with the sole aim of maintaining class exploitation.” – Ottorino Perrone, “Fascism? Democracy? Communism” (Bilan no. 13, December...

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Order Prevails in Berlin – Rosa Luxemburg

Written just after the defeat of German Revolution and hours before she and other leaders of the struggle would be arrested and killed by the Friekorps. It details the ebb and flow of recent class struggles and is the last known work of Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg. “Order prevails in Warsaw!” declared Minister Sebastiani to the Paris Chamber of Deputies in 1831, when after having stormed the suburb of Praga, Paskevich’s marauding troops invaded the Polish capital to begin their butchery of the rebels. “Order prevails in Berlin!” So proclaims the bourgeois press triumphantly, so proclaim Ebert and Noske,...

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