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OBJECTIVE PLUS SUBJECTIVE FACTORS OF SOCIALIST REVOLUTION [introduction.

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A major difference between the Marxist-Leninist theory of revolution and any type of non-Marxist conception is that the former regards social revolution as a natural and necessary consequence of the development of class society.
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The well-known British historian Arnold Toynbee begins his article devoted to the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution "Looking Back Fifty Years" with the following characteristic phrase: "Revolutions, like wars, are abnormal disturbances of the course of life." [571 Toynbee does not accept the objective need for socialist revolution in Russia; he sees it merely as a means of overcoming age-old backwardness for a country that had rubbed shoulders with more advanced states of the West. Applying his favourite ploy of historical parallel, he writes, "Lenins mission has been a continuation of Peters mission, and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was a resumption of the revolution that had been started by Peter at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries". [572
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This unscientific method of investigation that rejects the law-governed process of social revolution makes it impossible to understand the whole raison detre of revolution, and especially a revolution that heralds a new era in world history; such an unscientific approach divorces revolution from the natural course of human history.
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As opposed to the bourgeois philosophy of history which sees social revolutions as an aberration of the normal path of social development, Marxism regards revolutions as vital turning-points in history. This scientific approach stems primarily from a recognition of the objective cause of social revolution.
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The principal reason for revolution lies in the development and intensification of conflict between the productive forces and relations of production, between the requirements for economic and social progress and a societys social, political and legal superstructure, conflicts which are independent of peoples will and consciousness. At the same time, revolution takes place and can only resolve its tasks successfully when objective conditions that make it necessary radically to reform society are combined with the activity of people and classes fighting to implement these reforms.
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This question of the relationship between the two facets of revolutionobjective and subjectiveis central to the Marxist-Leninist theory of revolution, particularly the theory ofsocialist revolution. It has to be correctly resolved in order to explain the conditions in which revolution arises, is successful or fails, for the revolutionary party to work out a correct line of action and successfully to guide the revolutionary reconstruction of society. ***
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Notes [571] A. T- Toynbee, The Impact of the Russian Revolution 19171967, London, O.U.P., 1967, p. 1.

[572] Ibid., p. 7.

1. Marx and Lenin: Objective and Subjective Conditions for Revolution


The attitude of Marxism-Leninism to the relationship between objective and subjective conditions of revolution is to be found in the very fundamentals of a Marxist understanding of history. According to the materialist view of history, all history is the result of the practical activity of people who, whether they are aware of it or not, create it in the given historical circumstances, not in circumstances of their own choosing. The sum total of these circumstances, irrespective of the will or mind of the subject of historical action, comprises the objective conditions for peoples actions. Since this human action is of a conscious nature, it acts as a subjective factor in history. The subjective factor includes the59")) level of consciousness, conscious actions, organisation, the will and energy of people, classes and parties fighting to resolve certain historical tasks or, conversely, trying to oppose their resolution. p Both objective and subjective conditions are formed historically and are not ready-made. Furthermore, the maturation of the conditions necessary for resolving certain historical tasks does not take place evenly. Thus, objective conditions for revolution mature quicker than do subjective conditions and therefore do not always lead to revolution or, particularly, to its triumph. Lenin wrote that "it would be a mistake to think that the revolutionary classes are invariably strong enough to effect a revolution whenever such a revolution has fully matured by virtue of the conditions of social and economic development. No, human society is not constituted so rationally or so conveniently for progressive elements. A revolution may be ripe, and yet the forces of its creators may prove insufficient to carry it out." [591 p What role do the objective and subjective conditions play in carrying out social changes that have matured? Objective conditions play the main role in so far as they point, first, to the very need for resolving the various historical tasks and, consequently, to directions of peoples activity and, second, to the actual opportunities for resolving these tasks. Objective conditions determine ultimately also the development of the subjective factor, since the latter is a reflection of living conditions and the requirements for the development of the various social forces. The subjective factor, however, possesses a relative independence and may be out of step with the objective conditions. p If no objective conditions for revolution exist, no revolutionary efforts can provoke revolution and no revolutionary ardour will change society. If, on the other hand, objective conditions for revolution do exist, its fate wholly (or almost wholly) depends upon the subjective factor which then becomes decisive. Thus, the subjective factor may play a decisive part, although it can only do so when the objective conditions for changing society have matured. Whether it is possible to realise the potential created by objective60conditions depends on the subjective factor; it is of major significance in so far as it accelerates or decelerates historical development. p One must also bear in mind that the results of peoples activitywhether it be deliberate or spontaneousalways become part of the objective conditions of further social development. After reading Hegels Science of Logic, Lenin noted that "the thought of the ideal passing into the real isprofound: very important for history". [601 p Lenin underlined the importance of this idea in opposing vulgar materialism that reduced the importance of the subjective factor and its role in social development. Vulgar materialism lies behind the opportunist theories of " spontaneity" which present social development as automatic and a fateordained process. This is particularly typical of Rightwing opportunism which dooms the party to be in the rear of spontaneous development. Lenin often criticised the passive attitude to revolution of the Mensheviks and Second International leaders. He emphasised that the partys active functioningboth
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ideological and organisationalcomprised an inalienable part of preparation for revolution. When at the time of a new revolutionary upsurge in Russia the reformists justified their passivity and unwillingness to prepare the people for revolution by mundane arguments about it not being clear whether revolution was in the cards or not, Lenin pointed out that party activity was a determinant of revolution. He wrote, "whether or not there will be a revolution does not depend on us alone. But we shall do our work, and this work will never be in vain. It will sow the seeds of democracy and proletarian independence deep among the masses, and these seeds will certainly sprout and produce either a democratic revolution tomorrow, or a socialist revolution the day after." [602 p Opportunist passivity becomes particularly dangerous at a time when revolution is approaching. The revolution will fail and the proletarian cause will be betrayed if revolutionaries leave things to take their own course and refrain from mobilising all revolutionary forces and workers61organisations, if they refrain from preparing and gathering the militant forces of revolution. Such are the practical results of thespontaneity theory that lies behind Right-wing opportunism. pLeft-wing opportunism, on the other hand, usually suffers from a subjective and voluntaristic deficiency by ignoring the importance of objective conditions in social development. Subjectivism ascribes the decisive role in history to the subjective factor, especially revolutionary will and revolutionary violence, irrespective of objective conditions. That is the attitude taken by pettybourgeois revolutionaries like the anarchists, Blanquists, Bakuninists and the ultra-Left elements in the communist movement. Some of them maintain that the common people are natural rebels who only have to be roused to carry out the boldest changes in line with their aspirations; an energetic revolutionary minority, they aver, can rouse the people. p This attitude leads in practice to adventurism in politics, to attempts to rouse the masses to revolution without regard for the presence of a revolutionary situation, and this dooms revolution to failure. Left-wing opportunism tends to make a party sectarian, divorce it from the people, replace popular struggle by the actions of a group of conspirators. This whole conception of revolution is false and saturated with idealism. Social history is not amenable to any changes atany particular time; it is only amenable to those which are naturally prepared by preceding developments and for which there are objective prerequisites. p Any attempt to separate objective from subjective conditions, to counterpose these two aspects of the historical process inevitably leads either to Right-wing or to Left-wing opportunism. p Those hostile to Marxism-Leninism often differentiate between Marxs and Lenins views of revolution. It is wrong, however, to maintain that Marx emphasised economic evolution while Lenin stressed will or consciousness. Some critics attempt, on this basis, to liken Lenin to Bakunin, Nechaev and Tkachev. The professional Marxologist, Nikolaus Lobkowicz, for example, maintains that "the Leninist thesis on the need for an elite of professional revolutionaries was in the Russian tradition that went back to philosophers like62Bakunin and Herzen, who were in their youth close to the Berlin Left-Hegelians". [621 p However, anyone acquainted with the works of Marx and Lenin knows that to depict Marx as an "economic materialist" and Lenin as a voluntarist is. to falsify their views. Both Marx and Lenin essentially coincide in their attitude towards the vital issue of the relationship between objective and subjective conditions. Whatever differences they had are attributable merely to the different historical conditions in which they lived. p The objective prerequisites for socialist revolution had not yet fully matured at the time of Marx and Engels. This is evident, for example, by the downfall of the Paris Commune due not only to the errors of the Communards and to the proletariats insufficient preparedness, but to the absence of a number of objective conditions necessary for a successful social revolution. As Lenin pointed out, "French capitalism was still poorly developed and France was at that time mainly a petty-bourgeois country". [622

When imperialism arrived, the world capitalist system had completely matured for socialist revolution. Lenin showed that imperialism was the eve of socialist revolution and that proletarian revolution would become a practical inevitability in the imperialist era. p In this situation, the role of the subjective factor was enhanced due, first, to the complete maturation of the objective conditions for socialist revolution and, second, to the increasing activity of the bourgeois political and ideological superstructure through which the bourgeoisie tried to prolong its rule as all the conflicts of imperialism intensified. This demanded from the working class an even greater concentration and organisation of forces to oppose the bourgeois state. p In the new historical circumstances, Lenin gave all-round treatment to the part played by the subjective factor in the struggle to bring about socialist revolution. He developed the idea of the proletarian dictatorship, the working-class party,63its strategy and tactics, and emphasised the importance for the working class and its allies to organise well. p The new circumstances of ideological struggle were another ingredient that turned Lenins attention to the role of the subjective factor. Marx and Engels had had to fight mainly against adherents to the pre-Marxist forms of socialism and the philosophy of the anarchists and Blanquists who had adopted their idealist views. Only at the end of their lives did a new enemyreformism and Right-wing opportunism, whose theoretical basis was vulgar economic materialismappear on the scene. p The situation had altered by the time Lenin had started his work. A fashionable theory was that of spontaneity propagated by the Russian economists, Mensheviks and the followers of Bernstein and Kautsky whose views began to hold sway in the Second International. And although Lenin initially had to do battle with the subjectivism of the Populists and later with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, anarchists and ultra-Leftists, nonetheless the principal enemies of Bolshevism were the reformists, those proponents of the spontaneity theory who perverted Marxism in a vulgar materialist way. The need to criticise these opponents also required a further elucidation of the place of the subjective factor in history. p In his Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, Lenin reminded the Mensheviks of Marxs reference to the old materialism which was alien to dialectics and which suffered by being too contemplative and was unable to justify in a materialist way the path of and need for world change. Lenin wrote: "Similarly, the new Iskragroup can give a tolerable description and explanation of the process of struggle taking place before their eyes, but they are altogether incapable of giving a correct slogan for this struggle. Good marchers but poor leaders, they disparage the materialist conception of history by ignoring the active, leading, and guiding part which can and must be played in history by parties that have realised the material prerequisites of a revolution and have placed themselves at the head of the progressive classes." [631
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is particularly noted for his recognition of the partys leading and directing role in the revolutionary process, his elucidation of the conditions for the success of its reforming activity and the development of historical popular initiative. He has no peer in making a strictly objective analysis of the economic processes of the development of Russia and other countries. At the same time, he was always able to use this analysis for revealing forces in the world capable of transforming it and forging weapons that were necessary for revolutionary practice. He saw the distinction of Marxist theory precisely in combining "complete scientific sobriety in the analysis of the objective state of affairs and the objective course of evolution with the most emphatic recognition of the importance of the revolutionary energy, revolutionary creative genius, and revolutionary initiative of the massesand also, of course, of individuals, groups, organisations and parties that are able to discover and achieve contact with one or another class". [641 The strength of the Bolshevik Party lay in this very combination of objective scientific analysis and great fervour and revolutionary initiative in battle. It was thanks to this combination that the Party was

able to play such an outstanding part in preparing for and carrying through the Great October Socialist Revolution, achieving a solid victory and thereby changing the whole course of human history. ***
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Notes [591] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 368. [601] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 114. [602] Ibid., Vol. 18, p. 384. [621] N. Lobkowicz, Permanente Revolution von Marx bis Marcuse, Verlag Georg D. W. Callwey, Miinchen, 1969, S. 20. [622] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 17, p. 141. [631] Ibid., Vol. 9, pp. 4344. [641] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 36.

3. Lenin: Revolutionary Situation as an Objective Condition for Revolution


Lenin propounded a notion of revolutionary situation which was an important part of the theory of revolution. A revolutionary situation is an aggregate of social and political conditions without which revolution is impossible. It is necessary not only for a socialist revolution; its necessity is, in fact, a general historical law. The presence of a revolutionary situation on the eve of every social revolution is evident from the experience of all the foremost revolutions of the last four centuriesboth bourgeois and socialist (the Dutch, English and French; the bourgeois revolutions79of 1848 and 1849 in France, Germany and Italy; the Paris Commune; the three Russian revolutions; and the revolutions which occurred after the October Revolution of 1917). p This experience has been summed up in the concept of "revolutionary situation. Drawing on the experience of the bourgeois revolutions, in particular those of 1848 and 1849, Marx and Engels carefully studied the typical economic and socio-political features of the pre-revolutionary situations in France and Germany which led to "an outburst of general discontent" in these states. [791 p Somewhat later, in the 1870s and especially the 1880s, Marx and Engels eagerly followed the developing political situation in Europe anticipating the oncoming of a new round of European revolutions. In his letters during the 1880s and early 1890s (written just after the death of Marx) Engels summed up the development of revolutionary situations in several European states, particularly in Germany, Russia and Italy. In these letters we find the term "revolutionary Situation". [792 p Lenin, relying on the initial ideas of revolutionary theory formulated by Marx and Engels, summed up the revolutionary experience of the new epoch, and gave comprehensive treatment to the concept of revolutionary situation. He answered the question of when and how transition is made from a peaceful state of society to revolution and what objective changes in social development bring about revolution. p By itself, the presence of objective material conditions for revolutionary changes, for example, the maturity of the capitalist system as a whole for socialist revolution, does not automatically bring about conditions for revolution in any country. The roots of revolution lie in the contradictions of the mode of production. But before they can become the direct cause of revolution, economic conditions for revolutionary change must acquire an appropriate political expression and be refracted in relations between classes and in politics. "Revolutions are never born ready-made, Lenin80wrote, "they do not spring out of Jupiters head; they do not kindle at once. They are always preceded by a process of
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unrest, crises, movements, revolts, the beginnings of revolution, the latter not always developing to the very end (if, for instance, the revolutionary class is not strong enough)." [801 p While developing on the basis of conflict between the forces and relations of production, the revolutionary situation is directly dependent upon the balance of power of classes in conflict, including that in the international arena. It forms and matures in the course of historical development and is caused by a whole complex of internal and external reasons. The moment of emergence, the rate of development and the forms of social movement of the period of the revolutionary situation depend on the degree of acuteness of contradictions, on the state of the government machine, on the force of attack of the revolutionary class and on the scale and depth of the popular movement, on the international situation, etc. p The world imperialist war considerably changed the whole international situation. It began to urge people to revolution both in Russia and throughout Europe. Both theoretically and practically the problem of the revolutionary situation now became alive through the whole course of world history. p Lenin provided a classical definition of a revolutionary situation in his well-known work "The Collapse of the Second International" written in 1915: "To the Marxist it is indisputable that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the upper classes, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for the lower81classes not to want to live in the old way; it is also necessary that the upper classes should be unable to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (5) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in peace time, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the upper classes themselves into independent historical action. p "Without these objective changes, which are independent of the will, not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible. The totality of all these objective changes is called a revolutionary situation." [811 p Lenin elaborated further on his ideas of a revolutionary situation in. the period of preparation for and carrying through the Great October Socialist Revolution and then in the post-revolutionary period, especially in his book "LeftWing" CommunismAn Infantile Disorder. p He listed the revolutionary situation among the objective conditions for revolution although it included elements typical of a shift of a subjective nature such as the degree of political awareness of the people (their enhanced activity). This is due to the fact that changes of this kind, while registering in the human mind, are objective, i.e., independent of human will. They cannot be instigated from without or by the desire of any individual groups, parties or even classes, inasmuch as they are attributable to the objective conditions of a revolutionary crisis. p Lenin included in the signs of a revolutionary situation above all the crisis in the policy of the ruling class. The essence of this crisis of the "upper classes, their inability "to live and govern in the old way" is expressed in the ruling class, organised as a state force, being unable to retain its rule and the existing political regime without substantial modifications. This situation results in a loss of political stability, in a lack of confidence and often in a split in the ranks of the upper classes.
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for such a situation arising may be various. The political bankruptcy of the ruling class may be caused and directly hastened and intensified by internal or external crises of an economic or political nature. They may be military or other foreign policy setbacks that vitally affect national

interests and cause serious economic and social consequences. They may be economic and financial crises with their social consequences, such as a sharp decline in the workers living standards, unemployment and poverty. They may be national or social conflicts. p Political events that are not necessarily global can bring the country to the brink of revolution. p In his work "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination" written in 1916, Lenin wrote that "the socialist revolution may flare up not only through some big strike, street demonstration or hunger riot or a military insurrection or colonial revolt, but also as a result of a political crisis such as the Dreyfus Case or the Zabern incident, or in connection with a referendum on the secession of an oppressed nation, etc.". [821 He referred, too, in "LeftWing" CommunismAn Infantile Disorder, written in 1920, to Britain, also pointing out the various possible motives for the beginning of revolutionary events. p "We cannot tellno one can tell in advancehow soon a real proletarian revolution will flare up there, and what immediate cause will most serve to rouse, kindle, and impel into the struggle the very wide masses, who are still dormant. Hence, it is our duty to carry on all our preparatory work in such a way as to be well shod on all four feet(as the late Plekhanov, when he was a Marxist and revolutionary, was fond of saying). It is possible that the breach will be forced, the ice broken, by a parliamentary crisis, or by a crisis arising from colonial and imperialist contradictions, which are hopelessly entangled and are becoming increasingly painful and acute, or perhaps by some third cause, etc. Let us not forget that in the French bourgeois republic, for example, in a situation which, from both the international and the national viewpoints, was a hundred times less revolutionary than it is today, such an unexpected83and petty cause as one of the many thousands of fraudulent machinations of the reactionary military caste (the Dreyfus Case) was enough to bring the people to the brink of civil war." [831 p The crisis "of the upper classes" is a crisis of the political superstructure, the appearance in it of fissures in which the discontent and aggravation of the oppressed classes force their way to the surface. Every revolutionary situation is noted for the ubiquitous growth in discontent and anger which seizes not only the proletariat but literally all sections of the population and causes an extraordinary intensification of social antagonisms. A revolutionary situation is primarily due to the inability of the ruling classes to resolve the prime economic and political problems because they continue their bankrupt policy, as Lenin put it, "by following the present course and by the means available to the government and the exploiting classes". [832 p The situation that existed in Russia during World War I is extremely instructive. The unpopular tsarist policy that sought salvation from revolution by embroiling itself in an imperialist war suffered complete fiasco. The extreme degree of economic exhaustion, the heavy losses at the front, the devastation and creeping famine, unbearable working conditions and the political disenfranchisement of the people led to a revolutionary situation. The crisis of the autocratic policy went so far that it could not control events either at the top or at the bottom of society and demonstrated an extreme degree of helplessness and confusion. Military defeats shook and disorganised the entire ruling mechanism and the old regime, incited the bulk of the people against it and antagonised the army. Being completely bankrupt, tsarism forfeited the trust and support both of the Russian bourgeoisie, the ConstitutionalDemocrats and the Octobrists, and the Entente imperialistsits military and political allies and creditors. p In order to maintain the political status quo and retain power, the ruling classes resort to every possible ploy to prevent the revolutionary development of a political crisis.84Hence the sharp political contrasts and great sweep of political vacillations typical of a revolutionary situation. All the measuresfrom extreme political terror to manifestations of liberalismare aimed at providing a safety valve, quelling discontent, pacifying the masses and paralysing their will for struggle. p During the first world imperialist war, Lenin noted the presence of a profound economic and political crisis and the onset of a revolutionary situation not for Russia alone but for the European powers; he

regarded the revolutionary situation as European. He wrote that "a political crisis exists; no government is sure of the morrow, not one is secure against the danger of financial collapse, loss of territory, expulsion from its country (in the way the Belgian Government was expelled). All governments are sleeping on a volcano...". [841 p This unstable situation frequently forces governments to manoeuvre and sometimes even to appeal to the common people so that it might somehow hold on to power. The crisis of the upper classes, consequently, is not merely a factor debilitating the political power of the ruling classes, but, in several instances, also a factor objectively encouraging popular revolt. p The general atmosphere of a deep-going economic and political crisis leads to an intensification of relations also within the ruling class, to its further debilitation and division. Certain sections of the social and political elite which but recently supported the government now begin to oppose it. The inner conflicts, growth of opposition and confrontations with the government force both the government and opposition, various groups and ruling factions increasingly to seek popular support. They, thereby, objectively increase even more the split in the ruling class and attract more and more people to politics, to participation in the political struggle and they make the situation even more critical and revolutionary. p A revolutionary situation invariably affects state power. It is linked with a marked weakening of the old state regime and produces a deep-going political crisis and bankruptcy85of the ruling policy. Not every political crisis or crisis in government policy, however, produces a revolutionary situation. It has to be a profound political crisis which attains national scope and "affects the very foundation of the state system and not just parts of it, which affects thefoundation of the edifice and not an outbuilding, not merely one of its storeys". [851 p Lenin said that the growth of popular activity is spasmodic "...when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual". [852 This he described as the second sign of a revolutionary situation indissolubly connected with the crisis of the upper classes. It is this worsening need and poverty that creates that turning point in the popular mood, which changes their unwillingness to live in the old way into open protest and open battle. Social and economic factors play a decisive role here. Economic motives and economic interests incite the people to revolutionary struggle; "a revolution can only be made by the masses, actuated by profound economic needs". [853 p How the signs of a revolutionary situation are changing today is a topic for discussion in contemporary Marxist literature, and several writers have expressed the opinion that in certain advanced countries revolutionary situations may arise without a great increase in the need and poverty of the oppressed masses. p One should bear in mind that in a scientific Marxist understanding, the "worsening of the need and poverty of the oppressed classes" is not identical with the hunger and impoverishment of the people. Only from a vulgar economic viewpoint can poverty and hunger be regarded as the only reasons for a popular revolutionary mood. Back in 1899, Lenin made the point that poverty in capitalist society "grows, not in the physical but in the social sense, i.e., in the sense of the disparity between the increasing level of consumption by the bourgeoisie and consumption by society as a whole, and the level of the living standards of the working people". [854 At the same time, this does not exclude86the poverty and starvation of masses of people in countries drawn into the orbit of capitalism and in regions of even advanced capitalist states. p According to UNESCO statistics, 2,000,000,000 people throughout the world permanently surfer from malnutrition. Despite the vast material wealth accumulated in the country, poverty and even starvation of considerable proportions are permanent features of even American capitalist society which is described by its apologists as a welfare state. According to official American statistics, no fewer than 30,000,000 Americans live below poverty line; many writers assert that hunger and poverty exist on a shameful scale in the United States of America.

One must see in a broad social sense the increasing need and destitution of the working people as a sign of a revolutionary situation. Social conflicts associated with scientific and technological change in capitalist society can lead to increasing distress among the common people even when they are not accompanied by an increase and extension of absolute impoverishment. Rationalisation of industry and agriculture under capitalism, for example, always produces new recruits for the army of jobless and the impoverishment of working people. p The various forms of social oppression like political repression and social disenfranchisement, the threat of fascism and national enslavement can engender a revolutionary mood and lead to a worsening situation. p The specific reasons for a revolutionary situation may be various, but behind them all stands a real threat to the vital interests and social aspirations of the people. Lenin once said that "tens of millions of people will not make a revolution to order, but will do so when driven to it by dire need, when their position is an impossible one, when the joint pressure and determination of tens of millions of people break down the old barriers and are actually capable of creating a new way of life. [861 p Discontent and indignation among "the lower classes,however, does not create a revolutionary situation by itself. Only a coincidence of crisis of policy among the upper87classes and a sharp downturn in the living conditions of the people and a growth in their discontenti.e., the involvement in crisis of both the rulers and the ruled, the upper and lower classes, comprise a revolutionary situation. Lenin said on this point, "oppression alone, no matter how great, does not always give rise to a revolutionary situation in a country. In most cases it is not enough for revolution thatthe lower classes should not want to live in the old way.It is also necessary that the upper classes should be unableto rule and govern in the old way." [871 p A crisis in the policy of the ruling classes and a worsening in the position of the working classes constitute the source of a sharp spasmodic increase in political activity among the working people which comprises a third aspect of a revolutionary situation. The revolutionary classes in such periods cast aside their passivity and inertia typical of quiet, stable periods. The universal growth in discontent and anger is expressed in an upsurge in the revolutionary mood of advanced detachments of the working class and in growing rumblings among other sections of the population. Even people who, in a normal peaceful period, are politically inactive and indifferent to politics become involved. A manifest sign of a revolutionary situation, therefore, is a sharp rise in popular political activity. p At such a moment, the people have an increasing desire to overturn the bankrupt political regime. This is manifest in various facts of economic and political affairs, such as increasing outbursts of mass worker protests, wide-ranging political demonstrations, an extensive and stubborn nationwide strike movement, spontaneous peasant demonstrations, a mounting national liberation movement, open demonstrations by nationally oppressed minorities, mutinies in the armed forces, etc. In 1915, Lenin drew on the facts of a growth in popular revolutionary discontent, strikes and demonstrations in Russia, Italy, Great Britain and Germany to conclude that a revolutionary situation existed in Europe. p The crisis in the policy of the exploiting classes and the political activity of the "lower classes" are interconnected. The growing crisis of ruling policy provokes popular88activity which increases in pace with the deepening crisis. As a result, a socially charged atmosphere is created, a situation which Lenin regarded as the forerunner of revolution. He said: "The most sceptical of the sceptics are beginning to believe in the revolution. General belief in revolution is already the beginning of revolution." [881 This is a real sign of deep-going changes in peoples minds. p In other words, a revolutionary situation is a state of social life when the objective worthlessness of the old superstructure becomes obvious to everyone. The compelling demand for social change and appreciation of the march of time permeate the entire social pyramid of class society from the base to the apex. Mounting political indignation among the most varied sections of the population and popular discontent sooner or later spill over into action and are necessary for revolution.
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A sign of a revolutionary situation can, of course, manifest itself in a differing degree of acuteness depending upon historical circumstances (on general conditions of the epoch or period, a given international situation or national peculiarity, etc.). While each of these signs has to be present, only their aggregation provides a revolutionary situation. p The present epoch contributes much that is new to the maturation of a revolutionary situation. It is greatly influenced by the overall shift in the international class balance of power in favour of socialism, the growing strength of the socialist community, the weakening of world capitalism, the disintegration of its colonial empires and the upsurge in the national liberation movement. As noted at the 24th Party Congress, capitalist attempts to come to cope with the new situation are not making it any more stable as a social system. p The conditions for a revolutionary situation take shape not only as a result of the increasing contradictions within individual bourgeois countries and the further deepening of the general crisis of the world capitalist system as a whole, but also under the socialist impact on world development and the battle between socialism and capitalism.
p 89 p The revolutionary situations

in the 1940s that preceded popular democratic- revolutions in parts of central and South-Eastern Europe were particularly characteristic. The principal factors encouraging the revolutionary situation in those states included growing popular discontent and distress caused by war and fascist occupation, the defeat and expulsion of the German invaders, a crisis of the social elite of the national bourgeoisie due to their abject inability to safeguard and defend national interests or due to their direct national betrayal and quisling collaboration with the occupational forces, a growth in the authority of socialism as a result of the decisive Soviet, contribution to World War II. p The very existence of the world socialist community and the growth in its power objectively militates against capitalism and thereby encourages revolutionary situations. On the other hand, socialism, by force of example of its political, economic and social attainments contributes to the development of the subjective factor for revolution. The appearance of revolutionary situations in individual states, however, is a result primarily of their own internal and external class contradictions. p In the past, revolutionary situations have in many cases been connected with wars that have debilitated the capitalist system. Yet even when the world imperialist war became a fact, Lenin underlined that "nobody in the world has ever linked expectations of a revolutionary situation exclusively with the beginning of a war". [891 Furthermore, there have been examples in history when wars launched by imperialists for predatory purposes have been used by ruling circles to undermine a ripening revolutionary situation and only in the course of events, due to military disasters and increasing contradictions in capitalism, and an extraordinary worsening in popular distress, revolutionary situations have been born of these wars. Nevertheless, the fact that two world wars launched by the imperialists in the first half of the twentieth century have resulted in socialist revolutions does not imply that war is a necessary condition for revolution.
90 p Revolutionary situations

have arisen in a number of countries when they were not involved in any wars. A revolutionary situation, for example, matured in Russia during the revolutionary upsurge of 19121914. The entry of Russia into the world war, incidentally, postponed its maturation for a time. A revolutionary situation matured without war in the early 1930s in Spain, which then developed into a popular revolution. It was the military intervention of German and Italian fascists drawing on support from international imperialism that enabled the counter-revolutionaries to gain victory. The possibility of a revolutionary situation arising and developing without war is substantiated by the experience of the Cuban revolution which also showed that today both a revolutionary situation and a socialist revolution are not necessarily linked with geographical proximity of the country concerned to other socialist states.

In todays rapidly changing world, the ruling classes of capitalist states are finding it increasingly difficult to save their doomed capitalist regimes. The downfall of the colonial system greatly weakened imperialism and restricted its economic and political opportunities for stifling the revolutionary movement. At the same time, a scientific analysis demands that we must consider also unfavourable political factors which hamper the development of a revolutionary situation. As the world balance of power changes further in favour of socialism and the revolutionary and national liberation struggle increases, imperialism strives to find new ways and means of defending its doomed social system. p The working class and all exploited masses in advanced capitalist states are today opposed by a huge economic and political forcethe combined might of the contemporary exploiting state and the tentacular monopolies. The monopolies control the press, radio and television, the cinema and other mass media; they control all sections of the industry known as "mass culture" and this enables them to shape public opinion and carry out an intensive ideological brainwashing of the population. p The monopolies strive might and main to assimilate the trade unionsthe most mass organisations of the working classinto the state-monopoly capitalist system, to split the trade unions from within and to subordinate their interests91to monopoly domination. The dominance of large capitalist monopolies in national affairs finds its expression also in the use of anti-democratic dictatorial administrative methods for repressing the people, militarisation, anti-labour legislation, the eroding and corroding of popular democratic liberties, such as the right to strike and collective bargaining, including the instigation of emergency legislation specified forextraordinary and crisis situations, i.e., primarily when the power of capital is weakened in the event of a revolutionary situation. One must also bear in mind the power of the international class solidarity of the bourgeoisie which always is resuscitated when the domination of its class confreres is under threat. p The post-war military and political alliances of capitalist states like NATO and SEATO with explicit imperialist aims represent class alliances of the capitalist ruling classes. p Meanwhile, the growing power of the world socialist system is a serious obstacle to the imperialist policy of " containing communism" (i.e., of the revolutionary and liberation movement) and exporting counter-revolution. The example of Cuba and its socialist revolution which is successfully developing less than a hundred miles from the major bastion of imperialismthe USA, demonstrates the effective force of the international solidarity of the proletariat, the support from fraternal socialist states, above all the Soviet Union, which has helped to fend off the encroachments of imperialism upon peoples who have taken the path of revolution. p The objective changes that comprise a revolutionary situation, which are a prelude to the downfall of the outmoded system, are necessary for social revolution to occur, irrespective of the form it takes peaceful or non-peaceful, or whether it triumphs at one blow or over a comparatively protracted period. History provides us with sufficient proof of this. Out of the revolutionary situation associated with the first world imperialist war, there grew, for example, the Hungarian proletarian revolution in March 1919, which was achieved comparatively peacefully, yet the revolution then fell under the onslaught of counter-revolution and intervention. p A worsening of class contradictions is a sign of a revolutionary situation at all times. This applies also to instances92when revolution develops relatively peacefully. It would be wrong to imagine that with a peaceful development of revolution its growth could take place in an evolutionary way. There are bound to be moments when resistance from reactionaries will grow and when various crises will mature and the revolution will go ahead riding over these crises. p In order to become a reality, revolution must pass through a certain process of growth. A revolutionary situation represents a period when revolution matures; the path of a revolutionary situation starts from spontaneous protest, individual demonstrations and outbursts on various grounds that are repeated in various places, and ends with a revolutionary crisis on a nation-wide scale. The development of a revolutionary situation is a process of accumulating and condensing the revolutionary energy of the working class and all exploited people which, in certain circumstances, is manifest and
p

spills over into mass revolutionary action. A leap signifies the transition from a revolutionary situation to revolution. Revolutionary energy bursts through, comes out into the open and is apparent in direct popular movement. Lenin said that "a revolution becomes a real revolution only when tens of millions of people rise up with one accord, as one man". [921 A direct popular revolutionary struggle is what basically distinguishes a revolution from a revolutionary situation. p A revolutionary situation is, therefore, the sum total of objective conditions for revolution, but is not yet revolution itself. A revolutionary situation may not result in a revolution, and, as Lenin warned, a revolution, especially a triumphant revolution, does not follow automatically from every revolutionary situation. p Revolutionary situations where the popular revolutionary mood has not ended in revolutionary action have occurred several times, in particular in the 1860s in Germany, in the 1860s and 1880s in Russia, in the 1860s in Austria and in the 1890s in France. Marx and Engels noted the presence of revolutionary situations in Europe between 1860 and 1880. Engels, for example, summed up the situation in Russia in 1881 to 1883 in the following way: "It is a marvellous revolutionary situation which is quite unprecedented." [922
93 p Later,

in a letter to Salo Faerber dated 22 October 1885 Engels wrote that "a so-called peasant emancipation had created a real revolutionary situation" in Russia which intensified even more twenty years later. "Russia, Engels concluded, "is on the eve of its 1789." [931 As Lenin demonstrated, these revolutionary situations both in Russia and elsewhere did not lead to revolution due to the weakness of classconscious revolutionary elements and to the immaturity of the revolutionary class of workers. p A revolutionary situation depends on objective changes in relations between classes, and a revolution is unthinkable without the subjective conditions, without conscious revolutionary actions by the advanced class. Lenin wrote that "neither the oppression of the lower classes nor a crisis among the upper classes can cause a revolution; they can only cause the decay of a country, unless that country has a revolutionary class capable of transforming the passive state of oppression into an active state of revolt and insurrection. [932 A revolutionary situation precedes revolution and direct popular revolutionary struggle as a distinct historical period characterised by the absence of direct popular struggle for power. At the start of revolutionary outburst no one knows whether the given revolutionary situation will result in a real revolution or not. Whether the objective potential for revolution is realised depends on the presence both of objective and of subjective changes in society. The unity, interpenetration and interaction of the objective and subjective factors of revolution, expressed in the people moving to a new stage of struggle and direct revolutionary movement is the turning point for the commencement of revolution. It is the border which separates the period of a revolutionary situation and the entire pre-revolutionary epoch from a period of revolution. Only mass revolutionary action by the advanced class turns a state of discontent, anger and protest into open revolt against the old regimei.e., into revolution. ***
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Notes [791] See Marx, The Class Struggles in France from 1848 to 1850; Engels, Revolution and CounterRevolution in Germany, etc. [792] See, for example, Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 35, Berlin, 1967, S. 281283, Bd. 39, Berlin, 1968, S. 229. [801] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 451. [811] Ibid., pp. 21314. [821] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 145. [831] Ibid., Vol. 31, pp. 9798. [832] Ibid., Vol. 19, p. 223.

[841] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, pp. 21415. [851] Ibid., Vol. 19, p. 222. [852] Ibid., Vol. 21, p. 214. [853] Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 432. [854] Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 201. [861] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 503. [871] Ibid., Vol. 19, pp. 22122. [881] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8, pp. 5455. [891] Ibid., Vol. 21, p. 215. [921] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 27, p. 510. [922] Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 35, Berlin, 1967, S. 283. [931] Ibid., Bd. 36, Berlin, 1967, S. 374. [932] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 223.