[OPE-L:5617] Some questions from Moscow workers

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 06:21:17 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 23:12:14 +0000
From: vladimir bilenkin <achekhov@unity.ncsu.edu>
Subject: [OPE-L:5617] M-G: Some questions from Moscow workers


I've received a fresh issue of "Workers' Council" from Moscow. Below is
an abridged translation of an article on the anniversary of the
"Communist Manifesto" written by two workers-activists. In the end,
you'll find some of their questions to "leaders." I doubt very much
that they'll receive any answers since I totally agree with their
scathing portrait of the Russian Left. But I plan to share with them my
own thoughts, even if uncalled. I also believe that it will be very
interesting to these workers (who are also editors of this issue; this
is a genuine workers' publication) to hear what you, foreign communists
think about these issues. So I invite you to send me your "answers".
I'll translate them and send to Moscow together with my own views.
Please, remember that the workers ask not for your advice but your
opinion and try to avoid unnecessary jargon, rhetoric, and etc. Be as
plain and brief as possible. Also, feel free to forward this invitation
to any list that you find appropriate for this.


Hundred fifty years have passed since the first publication of the
"Manifesto." How different is our world today!

What Russian Left look like on the eve of this anniversary? What all
these years have taught our communists and workers?

A multitude of multicolored parties. All of them are ghostly. They are
labor parties IN GENERAL of the working class IN GENERAL. They are
labor movements that have nothing in common with the "proletarian
workers' party." They are active IN GENERAL. The slogans they throw at
us are also GENERAL, and their GENERAL demands are directed at power IN

There is a complete absence of any feeling of comradeship and mutual
support; complete lack of any will for unity on the basis of
self-discipline and for solidarity on the basis of autonomy and
ideological clarity! On the contrary, what thrives everywhere are petty
leaderism, bureaucratism, narcissism, hostility to everything that is
slightly above the intellectual capacity of this or that "leader"; petty
ideological bickering, joyous flaunting of the political underwear of
one's rivals. And above all this, there rises the mediocre
pseudo-theoretical noise punctuated, from time to time, by a forced howl
of yet another overheated "theoretician": "Proletarians of all
countries, unite!"...

What a sacrilege to flaunt the great final words of the "Manifesto" in
order to satisfy one's political lust!

According to the "Manifesto," "the proletariat is the modern working
class -- a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work,
and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital." Well,
the time has come when the worker "in general" has to put on the worn
robe of the PROLETARIAN. One has to recognize a proletarian in oneself
to realize the great truths of the "Manifesto." It is rightly said:
"There is good lesson in every misfortune."

What is to be done? In the 2nd section of the "Manifesto", its authors
emphasize that the most essential step for the abolition of the very
conditions for the existence of antagonistic classes and classes in
is exactly the proletarian objective we have to posit today: class
self-consciousness, class identity, so that on this basis we could reach
CLASS SELF-ORGANIZATION. This is our road from a desire to unite with
the proletarians of all countries to its realization. But on this road
will have to find clear answers to some hard questions: With whom to
unite? On which ideological platform? When? But let's leave it to our
mellifluous "leaders" and their theoreticians to answer these and other
questions. And keeping in mind that "Wisdom is slow," let's tell those
who are rushing to unify with the proletarians of all countries:
"However often one repeats "candy! candy!" -- it doesn't taste sweeter
in the mouth."

Anyway, we, the workers, who have become aware of being proletarians,
want the leaders of the left movement to answer the following questions:

1. What are the objectives of the unity between the workers of all

2. Who is the "proletarian" today, in the end of the 20th century, and
what is his/her social-political character in Japan, China, Near,
Middle, and Far East, Australia, Africa, Central and South America, and
in Russia?

2. What the united proletarians of all countries will do in the end of
the 20th and early 21st century?

4. Is there any information about the strategy and tactics of the
proletarians of all countries?

5. What is the difference between the contemporary proletarians and
- proletarians of the period of Marx's Capital

- proletarians of the early XX century (the eve of revolutions in

6. What will be the difference, if only hypothetically, between the
proletarian of the early XXI century from the contemporary proletarian?

7. What is "capitalist" today, in the end of XX century; what is his
social-political character (in the parts of the world listed in 2)?

8. What is the difference between the contemporary "capitalist" from

-the capitalist of Marx's period

-the capitalist of the early XX century?

9. What will be the difference, if only hypothetically, between the
"capitalist" of the early XXI century from the contemporary


15. Is the formation of a new "international association of workers" (a
kind of the fifth "International") possible?

16. When will the Russian proletariat be able to join the proletarians
of all countries?

I. Panov and B. Makarychev

Members of the Moscow Union of Workers
Translated V. Bilenkin