November 30, 2012

Revolutionary Spirit Vol. #3 Issue #3

Table of Contents

Revolutionary Spirit

November 30th, 2012

Why Socialism? by J. Bialek

An ABC of Communism: A Study Course by Tony Clark

A Brief Guide to the Ideological Differences between Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism: A Study Course by Tony Clark

Prostitution and Ways of Fighting It by Alexandra Kollontai

Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution by Janice G. Raymond

Ernesto "Che" Guevara: A Rebel Against Soviet Political Economy by Helen Yaffe

Resolution on the Situation in Syria by International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)

Resolution on the West African Region and Mali by International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)

On the International Situation by International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)

The Colonies and Oppressed Nations in the Struggle for Freedom by League Against Imperialism and for National Independence

Socialism – class struggle in the Soviet Union (1936-1953). The revolutionary trials of the 1930’s as the continuation and escalation of the class struggle by the Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55

Why Socialism?

by J. Bialek

The spectre which once haunted Europe long ago in 1848, materialized in corporeal form in 1917 and was seemingly exorcized in 1991 has returned in force. This time the “spectre of communism” is haunting the entire world. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party, also called The Communist Manifesto, in order to explain to the population at large the general beliefs of communists, and to differentiate communists from liberals and other social movements which existed during that revolutionary era.

Today it cannot be denied that we are once again living in a revolutionary era. As capitalism continues to degenerate, demonstrating with each passing day that it has outlived its usefulness to the vast majority of humankind, we see violent explosions of popular rage, ranging from peaceful demonstrations to chaotic riots. The ruling class and its “free” press would have us believe that even in these dark times progress is being made. We have the Arab Spring, a series of revolutions supposedly made possible thanks to the help of the Western-developed Twitter and Facebook. The Occupy protests, which complained of a media blackout during its infancy, soon managed to capture the attention of the world and to make its mark on the year 2011. As the media would have it, all that is necessary to solve the ills of the world are “democratic” revolutions in certain countries such as Egypt, but not in others such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Yemen, and of course maybe a little more participation for “the little guy” in American politics. While the press has in recent years admitted that there are some flaws in the global economic system, those who have been paying attention since the start of this crisis might have noticed an explosion of increasingly shrill anti-communist propaganda.

The renewed interest in Marx and his theories, along with a rising tide of dissatisfaction and nostalgia for pre-1989 life within the former Eastern Bloc nations and the ex-U.S.S.R., has clearly sent chills down the spines of Europe’s elite. Their message could not be more clear. On one hand the media concedes that something is broken with the capitalist system, but on the other hand it warns the working class not to consider alternatives to capitalism. They are once again trying to exorcize this spectre that is haunting them, and indeed terrifying them; they insist that the working class limit their protests against the system so as to fit within the boundaries established by the ruling class. For them the greatest tragedy would be the rejection of the slogan that there is no alternative to capitalism and the assumption that mankind has reached its peak of societal evolution in the system of free markets and commodity trading. So here we are again, so far from 1848, and communists are again compelled to disclose their ideas and distinguish themselves from all other factions who claim to have a solution to our present crisis.

In these times of crisis it comes as no surprise that working people find themselves faced by a large number of proselytizers from a wide spectrum of ideological backgrounds preaching the superiority and explanatory power of their ideas. Each has an explanation as to why we are in this crisis today and a set of proposals which can supposedly solve the problem. In this marketplace of ideas, Marxists cannot pretend as though we sit above the fray, treating our theory as some kind of esoteric revealed knowledge in a manner similar to many of those aforementioned ideologues. We have an explanation, a theory, but what sets us apart is not simply our assertion that these are true, but rather that what we are truly offering is not so much a set of pre-packaged answers which constitute some kind of universal truth, but rather a methodology of analysis which allows people to find what can reasonably be judged as true.  This is not to state that we do not believe in the correctness of our theories, but that Marxism is a living theory to which we add our observations and experiences year after year, rejecting that which has been found to be no longer accurate and adopting that which is relevant and observable.

Other ideologies will claim that our problems stem from lack of regulation, too much regulation, the Federal Reserve, hierarchical authority, the Illuminati, the breakdown of the family, “multiculturalism” and a whole host of other scapegoats either real or imagined. By contrast, while Marxist analysis has identified certain laws or truth about the history of human society and the capitalist system, it is up to us in modern times to apply this analysis to our changing world, and to come up with answers based on our analysis rather than simply accepting some alleged axioms and then setting about to envision our ideal world. In this sense, Marxism does not reject all ideas outside of itself; in fact it does acknowledge the validity of many other ideas or concepts. However, Marxists see in many of these other ideological strains the neglect, either by accident or design, of certain factors which, without being accounted for, cause these other ideological analyses to be lacking and one-sided.

If we consider as an example neo-classical or “mainstream” economics, we cannot fault its proponents for ignoring class struggle, denying the existence of exploitation, and not dealing with the question of creating a more egalitarian, just society. Neo-classical economics was never intended to deal with these matters, and indeed, a common answer to questions about inequality and social injustice under capitalism is that these problems are outside the realm of economics, which of course means neo-classical economics, and that these are issues for sociologists to discuss. Marxism, on the other hand, sees all things in the world as being interrelated; any effect can have potentially infinite causes and any cause can have potentially infinite effects. This is important to keep in mind when one encounters a common straw man argument against Marxism, such as the claim that Marxism is “economic determinism,” or that Marxism sees class struggle as the main focal point of all human history. Marxism sees many factors influencing human society. On the other hand, class has been, via observation of history, a crucial factor in understanding inequality within society, and thus if one wants to change society in order to eliminate inequality and exploitation, Marxist theory says we must take this into account as a crucial factor. Of course, if one is not interested in changing society in such a way that deals with these problems, then class isn’t so important. Every individual who professes a political ideology insists that they want a more just society, but justice to the worker differs greatly from the justice of the owners of capital.

For the sake of argument, let us assume a position that declares the world as it is to be unjust, and in need of a significant change. From this starting point, let us now deal with the questions, “Why socialism? Why do we need revolution and why can’t we do something else?” For practical purposes this text will deal primarily with “left-wing” objections to socialism under the assumption that bearers of such arguments are at least sympathetic to ideals such as social justice and equality. However, while they really deserve to be dealt with in separate articles, we will have a look at some objections coming from the right and even the far-right. Right-wing reactionaries have a history of clothing their arguments in populist language so as to propagate their message among otherwise unsuspecting people who would never give them the time of day if they knew exactly who they were dealing with.

A word of caution - the reader should not assume that what follows is a false dichotomy insisting that Marxism is the only path out of the current crisis. Crisis is both inherent and cyclical in capitalism, and thus we can assume that the current crisis will eventually work itself out. This process may be violent, and in the end yesterday’s winners may be tomorrow’s losers, but the system will go on. It is important to understand that a system’s ability to perpetuate itself isn’t necessarily a merit; it only means that humans simply do not give up and resign control over their society. What this text argues is not simply “socialism or else,” but rather that while other solutions may have progressive and positive outcomes, so long as capitalism and its core contradictions are not dealt with these same painful effects will only return a few years down the road. Furthermore, these ad hoc solutions will not resolve some of capitalism’s cruelest effects such as starvation, war, imperialism, death due to preventable diseases, and the like. The second thing this text will not attempt to do is try to play a logical game so as to lead the reader to the idea that Marxism is “right” based on formal reason alone. If one does not see inequality or exploitation as morally wrong or at worst a necessary evil, no amount of logical arguments can convince them that socialist revolution is necessary. Logic dictates that those who stand to benefit from the system as it is are likely to defend it.

Why do we need revolution? Why can’t we fix the problem through the electoral system? You have to work within the system to make changes otherwise you’re just a dreamer who’s wasting everyone’s time.

Here we have typical arguments from lifelong supporters of the Democratic Party. They acknowledge that they too are disappointed in their hero Obama, but they warn us that things will be much worse under a Republican president. When we express our disapproval of Obama, they accuse us of being dreamers and spoiled children who are now throwing a fit because we didn’t get everything we wanted from the president. Communists find this argument somewhat amusing, seeing as how we never expected anything from Barack Obama. Communists do not see Obama in a vacuum, but rather as part of a clear and obvious rightward trend within the Democratic Party. The truth about “what Obama has done so far” is not a matter for this article. Media outlets such as the outstanding Black Agenda Report have easily cut through the excuses and lies of Obama and his party lackeys. For those pressed for time, sites like catalogue nearly every hard right turn this supposedly “progressive” president has made, complete with sources for each item. Mainstream leftists often label Obama’s compromises with the radical right as “disappointments” at best and “betrayals” at worst. To communists on the other hand, everything is going as intended, not because these actions are part of some secret plan, but because the state is merely carrying out the very function it was designed to do. In other words, our opposition to supporting Obama has nothing to do with Obama himself; it is in fact opposition to voting for anybody. The state is designed to provide a foundation for a capitalist society, and however much “freedom” it may permit in its best moments, it will never permit the freedom to abolish capitalism and its relations of production. The system is meant to self-perpetuate, and the system inevitably favors the wealthy.

To some this might sound like political cynicism, but this is a readily observable fact throughout history. Let us first consider the remedies that liberals have offered us thus far in the endeavor to limit the influence of wealth in American society. Some demands will simply never be fulfilled. Congressmen are not going to consciously eliminate their own perks, including those which they gain from courting lobbyists both when they are in office and after they leave or retire from public service. The idea that politicians can be convinced to give up the vast privileges they gain from their relations with corporations and lobbyists simply based on an appeal to their conscience about “fairness” is simply laughable, and even more so when it comes from the mouth of an Obama supporter who chides leftists for not being realistic.

What of regulation, which will supposedly keep banks and corporations in line? Any attempt to pass such regulation through Congress will inevitably be met with a massive blitzkrieg by lobbyists, but for the sake of argument let’s say they somehow pass. What comes next? The advocates of regulation are fond of referring back to some earlier period in American history when various regulations of industry and banking still existed. The massive trend of deregulation since the 1980s is responsible for our problems, these people say. In this case we are forced to ask, if regulations can solve our economic problems, how did this deregulation take place to begin with? Perhaps more importantly, what will ensure that the new regulations won’t be overturned ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road? How can we be sure the exact same thing won’t happen again? As to why the regulations failed, we are again faced with the reality that the republican system we live under in the United States of America favors those with money, which inevitably means corporations and wealthy individuals. It cannot do otherwise. Some have suggested measures such as ending corporate personhood, but this is about as realistic as limiting or abolishing access for lobbyists. The politicians are not going to cut their own throats.

There are some on the so-called “left” who accuse us of being unrealistic, overly-cynical, and counter-productive by not working within the system. We are accused of wanting our way or no way, and that if we were really serious about change we would participate in the political process and then perhaps we would get the change we wanted, if only incrementally. First, the change we seek is radical; it is revolutionary and not a matter of reforms. Does this mean that we totally reject any participation in the political system as it is, or that we reject any reform in favor of total revolution? Absolutely not; every reform that the working class can squeeze out of the state for their benefit is a small victory. On the other hand, we will not cede massive ground to the right in exchange for a few crumbs from the table, nor will we line up to support candidates that do not represent our interests. To those who say we should stop complaining and vote “our people” into office, we may respond thusly: we would happily cast our vote for “our people,” that is candidates who represent our working class interests, but we will not vote your people into office. Moreover, if we somehow manage to find “our people” to vote for, we will reject all your attempts to blame us for the failure of your people if they should fail. You cannot accuse us of being unrealistic contrarians for not using the choices we supposedly have, and then condemn us when our choice differs from yours.

Getting to the bottom line, we must acknowledge that if we dare to say our problems stem from capitalism, as an increasingly larger segment of mainstream liberals and “leftists” are, we must set about finding a way to abolish capitalism, the root of the problem. By extension, we cannot expect to abolish capitalism via the very same state structure which serves as its foundation and defense. On this point we must agree with the anarchists who say “smash the state.” Politics can be likened to a sort of game, wherein players are permitted to make various decisions and perform actions so long as they do not violate the rules of the game. You can make many moves in chess but you cannot substitute its rules for those of another game, and you must make your moves on the chessboard. If for any reason we can achieve meaningful goals within the rules of the game, we will happily use these opportunities so long as they do not compromise our end goals. What we will not do, is accept the assumption that the game cannot be changed entirely and that we must forever struggle to achieve our gains within the confines of a system which is stacked against us.

Why can’t we fix capitalism? Can we not eliminate the negative effects of capitalism while keeping its benefits?

This is a relatively easy question, which has been somewhat answered in the previous section.  However, it is worth taking a closer look at this argument because one can propose a radical change in government without necessarily eliminating capitalism and its trappings, or as we call them, its relations of production. Here we won’t bother debunking the efficacy of reforms or regulations, but rather we will pose a question ourselves, along with a novel answer. People have been working against the ills of capitalism ever since its emergence in human society, yet to this day we still experience the same problems, oftentimes on a worse scale than before. Awareness of poverty, super-exploitation of workers in developing countries, and even modern-day slavery is higher today than it was in previous decades, but has any of this actually solved these problems? It is simply untrue that the resources necessary to solve these ills do not exist; rather it is one of capitalism’s hallmarks that resources necessary for life can be created in abundance, yet those who are in charge of their creation will not do so unless it proves profitable to them. In fact “relief” is often itself a very profitable industry, to the point that experienced relief workers often warn donors to carefully evaluate charity organizations before handing over their money. In any case, the solution to these problems lies not in increasing charity, but rather eliminating the conditions which make charity necessary.

Finally on this point, when we speak of eliminating the ills of capitalism while preserving its benefits, we would assert that this does describe socialism to an extent. We seek to create a society in which the great productive power brought into being by capitalism is put to use by the masses, for the benefit of the masses, as opposed to a minority of owners and investors. So long as these means of production are owned by a minority of individuals driven by the quest for profits, this cannot happen. Socialism is a synthesis which arises from the struggle to eliminate the contradictions inherent to capitalism, and when it triumphs, we will ultimately be left with capitalism’s benefits without its disadvantages. This may be a long, arduous process, but we have no reason to assume that it cannot be done. And if our struggle for a better, more just world never achieves our highest ideals, what does it matter so long as we strove to achieve all that we could?

The problem isn’t capitalism! We don’t live in a capitalist society! Our society is corporatist, or even socialist!

This kind of objection is as absurd as it is common in today’s discourse. It has often been propagated by Libertarians (typically followers of the Ron Paul cult), fellow admirers of the Austrian school of economics, and all manner of right-wing populists. We might ignore such absurd claims were they only espoused by such reactionaries, but because of their propensity for attempting to inject their ideas into left-wing movements, and the mainstream left’s susceptibility toward superficially radical attacks on everything “corporate,” we cannot avoid addressing such claims. Granted, this is a subject which demands its own article, and in fact many on this subject already exist. Here we will deal with it for the benefit of an audience which sees itself as left-wing or progressive, and we will do so in an abbreviated manner.

If capitalism is not the system under which we live now, then we must ask not only what capitalism is, but also when it has existed. If one asserts that it has never existed, as a few fanatical libertarians will occasionally admit under pressure, this is in itself an indictment of capitalism. Who can fault the U.S.S.R. for not achieving communism in seventy years if people have been championing the idea of capitalism for several centuries without ever having established it anywhere? But we need not concern ourselves with this rarer, ludicrous argument. Instead we will deal with the assertion that our modern system has transformed from some kind of “good” capitalism into something more grotesque. This assertion is especially troubling for those progressives and even more “radical” leftists who assert this argument, as it logically implies that there was some better time in the past, which is remarkably similar to the claims of right-wing ideologues.

The corporation, which earns so much hatred from the mainstream left, did not fall out of the sky one morning. It came into being through a natural process of capitalism’s evolution. The claim that our system is different than it was thirty, forty, or fifty years ago, regardless of who is making the argument, is based on a wholly metaphysical view of the world and in particular of capitalism. It presents capitalism as defined by a particular ideal, and then asserts that if reality should differ from this ideal, then reality must then be something other than capitalism. This way of thinking does not allow one to see capitalism as a system which went through changes from its inception to the present day. It is essential to deal with capitalism as it exists today, and as it has existed hitherto, as opposed to some abstract ideal.

In limiting our objections to this argument only as it is asserted by “leftists” as opposed to reactionary free market fanatics, then we find that we have come full circle back to the idea of “fixing capitalism.” To attack corporations and champion small and local business amounts to attacking the weeds without pulling up the roots. Again, these corporations did not fall from the sky one day, fully formed. To deny the connection between small businesses and multi-national corporations is akin to an economic Intelligent Design theory, as though the latter were once called into existence as they appear today. Even small local businesses will put their money into banks which will loan it out all over the country, if not the world. Communists seek not to cut the weeds of capitalism, but rather to uproot it entirely.

Can’t we subvert capitalism by changing our lifestyle and choices as consumers?

From the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s emerged an idea which began as a bastardization of Marxist thought, one that has recently gained popularity again, stripped of any hint of Marxism whatsoever. The gist of this idea goes like this: capitalists and by extension the capitalist system itself are compelled to sell their products in the market, and thus must ensure that consumers will continue to spend money on an ever-increasing array of products. Many of these products are not necessary to human life, and some wholly unnecessary, making it essential to somehow convince people they need such products. The conclusion of these observations is that capitalism requires conformity in order to survive. Via aggressive and seemingly omnipresent advertising, people are encouraged to follow trends and buy what other people are buying. This leads to the rise of what is generally termed “consumerism,” a lust for ever more material goods that always seems to afflict other people, as opposed to the person decrying it.

From this argument it follows that this system can be subverted via a revolt against consumerism, and in particular, the “jamming” of cultural messages which promote this lifestyle, namely advertisements. We allege that these theories are nothing but idealistic nonsense, wholly divorced from even a superficial analysis of how capitalism works. Capitalism does not require that people act alike and have the same tastes; on the contrary, it thrives when people seek to express their individuality via their lifestyle and purchases. There will always be a capitalist willing to fulfill some desire so long as there is profit to be had. Decades of counter-cultural rebellion have failed to put a dent in the capitalist machine, and there is no reason to believe that “fair trade” products, defaced advertisements, and the occasional street rave will succeed at overthrowing capitalism in the future. Moreover, making the struggle against capitalism a matter of purchases is little more than funneling money from big capitalists to small or medium-sized capitalists.

Aren’t you reducing everything down to economics? What about feminism, the struggle for people of color, and so on?

Marxists fight for an egalitarian society which means we fight against racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, and all other social ills which create division and conflict within the working class. Despite this, we are still continually accused of reducing all matters to economics or class struggle, which is a woefully bad interpretation of Marxist theory. This accusation comes from a variety of directions but occasionally it is voiced by some die-hard followers of certain identity politics movements. Some, but by no means all or even a majority, put the struggle of their particular group above all others. History has shown identity politics to be largely a failure when it comes to achieving equality, much less overthrowing capitalism and its systematic division and oppression of people based on ethnicity, gender, sex, and so on. While many recognize the role of class in the oppression of their particular group, there are those who prefer to spend their time bickering over redefinitions of what it means to be a part of this or that group, who is more oppressed and how, and tit-for-tat arguments about who is “co-opting” their movement.

Marxists on the other hand recognize a historically observable fact that oppression of women, ideas of race, caste systems, and other forms of systematic oppression are very much rooted in class society. They all serve the purpose of maintaining, in one form or another, a system whereby one class exploits another. We may liken class society to a disease, and things like sexism, racism, and so on represent symptoms of that disease. History has shown that struggles for civil rights and the liberation of women have often failed because they focused on symptoms without having any kind of historical material analysis of that which they were struggling against. In many cases, this often led dedicated fighters into alliances with their class enemies, all in the name of liberation for a particular repressed group. The promised liberation has yet to come. Marxists do not reduce every issue down to class struggle, but if we are analyzing two particular subjects, specifically the history of human society and formulating a way to build a better one, we see that class plays a major role in relation to both.

Of course this should not be taken to mean that problems like racism or patriarchy will simply disappear once the capitalist class is overthrown. Some forms of oppression are quite old; patriarchy, in particular, dates back to the dawn of class-based society.  And while a struggle must be waged during and after the revolution to right these wrongs, one thing is clear- we simply cannot ultimately triumph over these social ills until we overthrow that system and its ruling class which has a vested interest in maintaining a complex society of privileges designed to divide the exploited class and incite them against one another.  This having been said, Marxists have an obligation to set the standard for the kind of society they wish to live in by waging the day-to-day struggle against forms of oppression such as racism and patriarchy both inside and outside of their organizations and parties.  Those who feel that this question can be put off till  “after the revolution” are shirking their responsibility and not setting a good example of what could be possible once the system of class-based organization is overthrown.

An ABC of Communism

by Tony Clark


Class society is thousands of years old. Basically class society exists when one part of society exploits, robs and cheats the other part. In class society one part of society works for another part who own the conditions, or means of production. In simple terms class society is the form taken by the exploitation of the many by the few.

Class society is basically about the exploitation of the many by the few. It is organised exploitation and robbery of the working people for the benefit of the few. We can say quite definitely that class society is synonymous with exploitation, i.e., robbery.



When classes are formed, when exploiters and exploited become a feature of society, when one part of society lives by exploiting, robbing and cheating another part of society, they cannot do so without force, that is, a means of coercion.

In a society founded on exploitation and robbery, that is to say class society, the state emerges out of the contradiction between the robbers and the working people. Thus the exploiters use the state to keep themselves in power. The role of the state in this case is to suppress, curb the resistance of the working people to exploitation which they face daily. The state, therefore, is a machine for the domination of one class by another class.
In a society divided into exploiters and exploited, into robbers and their victims, i.e., the working people, the state serves the interests of those who live by exploiting the working people.

Capitalist society is the latest, and Marxists believe, the last form of exploitation. Like previous class societies, such as slave society or feudal society, capitalism is also based on the exploitation of the many by the few. Under capitalism, like former class society, one part of society lives by exploiting, and robbing the other part of society.

The essence of capitalist exploitation is that workers are only paid for part of the labour service they provide to the capitalist employers. The other part of the labour provided goes unpaid. The proceeds from this end up in the pockets of the capitalists. So in the working day the worker is engaged in earning money for him/herself, i.e., wages, and also earning money for the capitalists from which profits are derived.


In the historical sequence of things communist society comes after capitalism. The basic difference between capitalism and communism is that in a capitalist society the few exploit and rob the many, i.e., the working people. In this society the state actually defends the robbery and exploitation of the working class people by the capitalists. It is therefore called a capitalist state.

In a communist society people do work, but they work for the community (themselves) instead of working for a class of exploiters and robbers. In a communist society one section of society does not live by exploiting and robbing another section. In a communist society productive property comes under social ownership and serves the interest of all the members of society, not just a few.

Communist society, that is when people work for the community instead of a robber class, as under capitalism, is divided into two stages: i.e., a lower stage and a higher stage. The first, lower stage of communist society is usually called socialism. This is the stage of communist society as it emerges from capitalist society, its traditions and habits. At the socialist stage of communist society people take from society the equivalent of the amount of labour they give to it minus deductions for the common good. At the higher stage of communist society, simply referred to as ‘communism’, people take from society according to their needs.

When there is no more capitalism, that is, when people no longer work for exploiters and robbers, but instead work for the community, profit will also cease to be the goal of production. With increasingly advanced technology society’s labour time can be reduced, giving people the time to spend on other pursuits.


The ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ is the form taken by working class political power in the transition to communist society. A period of transition is needed to make the change from a society based on robbery and exploitation to a society where people no longer exploit other people. Many if not the majority, of those who live by exploiting the working people, will resist the change to a society where people simply work for the community. If they are able to, they will do everything to undermine the new society. What they fight for is a return to the old society based on exploitation and robbing the working people. In order to stop these enemies of the people from achieving their selfish aims, they must be resisted and fought. Iron dictatorship against the counterrevolutionaries is called for. This dictatorship is against those who support robbing and exploiting working people. Those who oppose the dictatorship of the working people against the robbers and exploiters are in fact servants of the latter. The dictatorship of the proletariat itself will fade away when exploitation and robbery are things of the past.



The Communist Movement, which exists in every country, is a political movement made up of all those people who are against a society based on one group, or class of people living by the exploitation of another group or class. In short, Communists are against societies based on robbery and exploitation. In the struggle between communism and exploitation, Communists follow the teachings of Karl Marx, 1818-1883, whom they regard as the father of modern, scientific communist ideas. A notable ally of Marx was Frederick Engels.
Marx taught that the forms of society were determined by the level of development of the productive forces it contained. This explanation is called by Marxists ‘historical materialism’. What Marx argued was that as the productive forces developed, they broke down the old forms of society. That is to say the new productive forces begin to clash with the old forms of society. The growing contradiction between the new and the old eventually erupts into revolution. The revolution leads to a new society adapted to the new level of the productive forces. For instance, feudalism gave way to capitalism. Eventually capitalism must give way to communism, which is the most rational, most modern adaptation to the new, enormous productive forces which now exist in the world. The present contradictions in the world cannot be resolved by capitalism. Society’s enormous productive capabilities are utilised by the capitalist class to make wars. For many capitalists war is good business, so is the environmental destruction of the planet.

The old society proves the point of Marx that it no longer deserves to exist when it uses the colossal productive power at its disposal, science and technology, to make wars and impose incalculable misery on humanity, misery imposed by the few on the many.


Lenin described revisionism as the struggle against Marxism within the Marxist movement itself. The revisionists strive to revise Marxism in the direction of serving the interest of the capitalist class, who want the working people to continue working for exploiters. Revisionists are the ideological representatives of the bourgeoisie in the communist movement. The revisionists wear a ‘communist’ mask so that they can better divert the communist movement from accomplishing its historical mission of destroying capitalism.

In short, revisionism is the bourgeoisie inside the communist movement. They seek to undermine the principles on which the Marxist-Leninist movement is founded. What the revisionists seek more than anything else is to remove Marxism-Leninism from the leadership of the communist movement. The struggle against revisionism is therefore a class struggle; it is the highest form of the ideological struggle against the bourgeoisie because in this case their representatives disguise themselves as communists.

The former Soviet Union is a good example of this. In this case, after the death of Stalin, the Soviet revisionists, the servants of the capitalist class, concealing themselves behind a communist mask, gained control of the leading positions in the Communist Party and state and opened the door to the restoration of capitalism. Stalin was continually denounced by the revisionists as the people were returned to exploitation and robbery.

The supporters of imperialist exploitation will do everything in their power to preserve exploitation and robbery. This means doing whatever is necessary to oppose Communism. Acting through the revisionists, the supporters of capitalist exploitation seek to gain control of the Communist movement and use it to serve their own class interests. The revisionists, the concealed representatives of the capitalist class in the Communist movement, must be unmasked and driven out of our movement.



Social Democracy is the ideology of class collaboration. It is a petty-bourgeois ideology in the working class movement. The adherents of this ideology use the support of the working class to defend capitalism. The historical role of the representatives of Social Democracy is to defend capitalism by making certain concessions to the working class where this is possible. Social Democracy is therefore a petty-bourgeois movement that preaches class collaboration to the working class. Social-Democracy serves the interests of the upper strata of the petty-bourgeoisie, and the relatively privileged upper sections of the working class, the ‘labour aristocracy’, who fuse to form a party on the basis of defending capitalism by making some concessions to the working class.



Lenin defined Imperialism as monopoly capitalism, the highest and final stage reached by capitalist society. In the imperialist epoch, giant transnational corporations dominate the world economy.

Originating in the developed capitalist countries, these giant companies are able to rob and exploit the poor countries. They make superprofits and use part of this to create and bribe an upper section of the working class, who come to form a labour aristocracy, which renounces the revolutionary struggle against capitalism. Imperialism facilitates the domination of the working class movement by the gang of class collaborators who lead the Social-Democratic movement, which we have seen defends capitalism by making some concessions to the working class. Imperialism makes it possible for these Social-Democratic people to hold back the working class from destroying capitalism by revolution, although capitalism is now a threat to humanity and the planet we live on.

Imperialism, because it makes life easier for large masses of people in the advanced capitalist countries, is one of the main factors holding back the world revolution against capitalism. However, imperialism is nearing its end. This was signalled by the 1914-1918 war, which led to the Russian revolution of 1917, and subsequent events. Marxism-Leninism teaches that the downfall of imperialism will usher in the world revolution.



Marxists put forward the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!". But this is no sentimental slogan, pious dream or wish. This slogan reflects the actual state of the present day world economy, which is based on interdependence. The world economy forms an uneven integral unity. Take for example the construction of a motor car, it is made up of hundreds or thousands of components which are imported from different countries. This is internationalism; countries trading with each other. Proletarian internationalism is a slogan, which expresses objective reality. Lenin argued that true internationalism is fighting for the revolution in our own countries. Only in this way can we really support the revolutions in other countries.



Bureaucracy, it is often said, can be a good servant but a bad master. The Russian socialist revolution certainly raised the issue of bureaucracy in the communist movement, as the writings of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky show. While both Lenin and Stalin recognised that the struggle against bureaucracy was a long-term affair, Trotsky put forward a pseudo-left, (i.e., ultra-left) slogan calling for a ‘political’ revolution to overthrow the Soviet bureaucracy. By a pseudo-left slogan we mean a slogan, or policy which on the surface seems left and rather militant, but in its content would serve the interest of the enemies of communism, i.e., those who believe in the exploitation and robbing of the working people.

However, on the basis of social ownership of the means of production the contradiction between the bureaucracy and the working class was not irresolvable, or rather could be resolved without revolution, which often entails civil war. For Marxist-Leninists there are two basic types of contradictions, namely:

Antagonistic contradictions and non-antagonistic contradictions. In a country building socialism, the contradiction between the working class and bureaucracy is of the latter type of contradiction.

Bureaucracy will not vanish overnight, or on the morrow of the socialist revolution, bureaucracy fades away with the progress of socialism, the first stage of communist society. However, a bureaucracy in any society, including a socialist society, is in a strategically powerful position to arrogate power and privilege to itself. The working class and its communist party must remain constantly vigilant, and be ready to purge bureaucrats if they seek to feather their own nests. There is no doubt that communists must fight against bureaucracy, beginning by opposing its negative features.

That it is necessary to combat the elements of bureaucracy, and that this task will confront us all the time, as long as we have state power, as long as the state exists, is also a fact’. (J. V. Stalin. Works, 10; p.327)

The fight against bureaucracy is a long term affair. This was recognised by both Lenin and Stalin. In the transition to socialism, which is the first stage of communist society, the working class, led by the communist party, must remain vigilant and be ready to purge bureaucrats who deviate from socialism. At the same time, a pseudo-left approach to fighting bureaucracy can only serve the interests of those who want to exploit the working people, i.e. the counterrevolution, and must be resisted. Marxism-leninism teaches that Trotskyism represented a pseudo-left approach to fighting bureaucracy.


The two conflicting principles are: exploitation of the working people versus Communism. The choice today is either to embrace the principle of exploitation, that is, Capitalism, or to rally behind the principle of Communism, in which people work for the community instead of working for exploiters.


A Brief Guide to the Ideological Differences Between Marxism-Leninism and Revisionism

by Tony Clark

EVER since Lenin died in 1924, Trotskyism has challenged Marxism-Leninism for the ideological leadership of the international communist movement. J.V. Stalin, 1879-1953, was able to meet and saw off this challenge, to the extent that Trotskyism became a marginal, exterior tendency in relation to the communist movement. However, the attacks on Stalin by the Khrushchevite leadership in the Soviet Union, and the consequent rise of revisionism in some of the most influential parties of the communist movement, served to breathe new life into the project inspired by Trotsky. 

This creed, Trotskyism, gained a substantial intellectual following in all the main imperialist countries due to its attacks on what they and the bourgeoisie call ‘Stalinism’. In attacking Stalin, and in fact, every country of socialist orientation, and regarding themselves as representing authentic Marxism, the activities of these pseudo-left sectarians promoted the propaganda interest of the imperialist bourgeoisie. However, the claims of Trotskyism rest not only on attacking Stalin and the countries of socialist orientation. These claims rest also on convincing certain intellectuals that Trotskyism is the continuation of Leninism. This is why it may be considered useful for us to present a synoptic exposition of the main ideological differences between Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism as a guide for those who seek to examine this matter more deeply. 


Trotskyites argue that the October, Russian revolution of 1917 was the realisation of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. The Marxist-Leninist position is that the revolution was made possible by the peculiar circumstances created by the 1914-1918 war and that without these conditions the transition to the socialist revolution would not have been possible. 


Following the revolution and civil war, Trotskyites argued for the militarisation of the trade unions, that is a policy of coercion towards the unions. Marxist-Leninists around Lenin, including Stalin, opposed the Trotskyite militarisation policy, arguing instead that emphasis must be placed on persuasion rather than coercion. This led to a serious factional dispute in the communist party between the Marxist-Leninists and the Trotskyites between 1920-1921. Lenin himself regarded Trotsky’s policy on the trade unions as representing a ‘reactionary movement’.(See: Lenin: Collected Works, Vol.32) 


For Marxist-Leninists, socialism in one or several countries is a stage in the world revolution. Trotskyites argued that the policy of building socialism in one country was opposed to Marxism. The Marxist-Leninists argued building socialism in one country was an integral part of world revolution and, in fact would serve this process, in aiding the development of the latter. Since Trotsky did not raise the issue with Lenin, Marxist-Leninists can only assume that Trotsky’s real motives were of a factional nature. Or, with Lenin out of the way, following his death in 1924, Trotsky sought to impose his Permanent Revolution theory on the party. 


The Trotskyites sought to impose an industrialisation and collectivisation policy on the communist party at a time when the party and the dictatorship of the proletariat were in a weak position. Marxist-Leninists around Stalin wanted to wait until the party and the state had gathered enough strength to oversee such a policy. This meant defending the mixed economy of the NEP period until the party had strengthened itself in the working class and in the countryside. 


Trotskyites argue that after the death of Lenin a “Stalinist bureaucracy” emerged in the Soviet Union. This bureaucracy would undermine the revolution and to forestall this a political revolution would be necessary to remove the bureaucracy from power. Marxist-Leninists argue that the Soviet bureaucracy was more anti-Stalinist than ‘Stalinist’, a fact underlined by the frequent purges directed against it. In addition, Marxist-Leninists rejected the Trotskyite theory of a counterrevolutionary bureaucracy as completely one-sided, and argued that what was needed was not a political revolution to overthrow a supposedly counterrevolutionary bureaucracy, but rather there was a need to expose and purge the counterrevolutionary elements from the bureaucracy. The Trotskyite talk about a 'political' revolution to overthrow bureauracy represented a break from Marxism to Anarchism. 


Soon after coming to power the Bolshevik communists, led by Lenin pursued a policy of peaceful coexistence with the capitalist states. The thinking behind this was to force the capitalist States, particularly the imperialists States, to live in peace with socialism, as far as foreign relations were concerned. This was not only based on the recognition that combined the imperialists States were by far stronger than the Socialist State, it was also because socialism, unlike capitalism, is not a warlike system. It is capitalism which needs war to increase profits for the monopolists, not socialism. While it is true that, on the one hand, the Khrushchevite revisionists distorted the communist policy of peaceful coexistence, it is also true, on the other hand, that the Trotskyites, and other pseudo-leftists rejected Lenin’s policy, wanting the socialist countries to act like capitalists and embroil the world into war. 


Trotskyites claim that the counterrevolution in the Soviet Union was the work of a supposedly “Stalinist bureaucracy”. Such a claim made no sense because not only was there no entity which could be called the “Stalinist bureaucracy”, but the Stalinists, i.e., supporters of Stalin, had been purged by the Khrushchevites in the 1950s. Marxist-Leninists maintain that the Soviet counterrevolution was led by the revisionists who had come to power after Stalin’s death. This counterrevolution was begun by Khrushchev and completed by Gorbachev. 


Trotskyites blame the defeat of revolutions in China, Germany, France and Spain on Stalin’s leadership of the Communist International. Marxist-Leninists have long argued that Stalin was in a minority in the Comintern. Therefore, the defeats experienced by the communist movement cannot simply be dumped at Stalin’s door. Only a concrete analysis, based on Marxism-Leninism, can throw light on how individual defeats came about. 


One of the slanders aimed at Stalin by the open and concealed Trotskyites is that he led the international communist movement into the camp of revisionism. However, neither now or in the past, have they been able to provide any documentary evidence to support these claims based on Marxism-Leninism. The truth is, that any study of the writings of Stalin shows, without any shadow of doubt that he remained a committed Marxist-Leninist all his life. 


Trotskyites argue that Stalin betrayed the 1917 socialist revolution. However, in 1936, stunned by the gains that the Soviet Union had made under Stalin’s leadership, Trotsky had to pretend that this had nothing to do with Stalin. Marxist-Leninists argue that Stalin was a defender of the socialist revolution in the most inauspicious of circumstances. Furthermore, in his time Stalin successfully defended the socialist orientation of the Soviet Union against revisionists and other two-faced elements posing as communists in the party and State. When these concealed enemies of socialism were found out they were unfailingly purged by Stalin. 


Trotsky and his followers joined the bourgeoisie and their henchmen, the Mensheviks, in a campaign to convince the workers, peasants and communists that socialism was impossible in the Soviet Union. They tried to undermine the confidence of the working people using an argument opposed to Lenin’s standpoint. The only conclusion is that Trotskyism played a counterrevolutionary role, hiding behind pseudo-left rhetoric. Promoting defeatism was the essential role of Trotskyism in regard to the Soviet Union. 

Prostitution and Ways of Fighting It

by Alexandra Kollontai

Comrades, the question of prostitution is a difficult and thorny subject that has received too little attention in Soviet Russia. This sinister legacy of our bourgeois capitalist past continues to poison the atmosphere of the workers’ republic and affects the physical and moral health of the working people of Soviet Russia. It is true that in the three years of the revolution the nature of prostitution has, under the pressure of the changing economic and social conditions altered somewhat. But we are still far from being rid of this evil. Prostitution continues to exist and threatens the feeling of solidarity and comradeship between working men and women, the members of the workers’ republic. And this feeling is the foundation and the basis of the communist society we are building and making a reality. It is time that we faced up to this problem. It is time that we gave thought and attention to the reasons behind prostitution. It is time that we found ways and means of ridding ourselves once and for all of this evil, which has no place in a workers’ republic.

Our workers’ republic has so far passed no laws directed at the elimination of prostitution, and has not even issued a dear and scientific formulation of the view that prostitution is something that injures the collective. We know that prostitution is an evil, we even acknowledge that at the moment, in this transitional period with its many problems, prostitution has become extremely widespread. But we have brushed the issue aside, we have been silent about it. Partly this is because of the hypocritical attitudes we have inherited from the bourgeoisie, and partly it is because of our reluctance to consider and come to terms with the harm which the widespread mass scale of prostitution does to the work collective. And our lack of enthusiasm in the struggle against prostitution has been reflected in our legislation.

We have so far passed no statutes recognising prostitution as a harmful social phenomenon. When the old tsarist laws were revoked by the Council of People’s Commissars, all the statutes concerning prostitution were abolished. But no new measures based on the interests of the work collective were introduced. Thus the politics of the Soviet authorities towards prostitutes and prostitution has been characterised by diversity and contradictions. In some areas the police still help to round up prostitutes just as in the old days. In other places, brothels exist quite openly. (The Interdepartmental Commission on the Struggle against Prostitution has data on this.) And there are yet other areas where prostitutes are considered criminals and thrown into forced labour camps. The different attitudes of the local authorities thus highlight the absence of a dearly worded statute. Our vague attitude to this complex social phenomenon is responsible, for a number of distortions of and diversions from the principles underlying our legislation and morality.

We must therefore not only confront the problem of prostitution but seek a solution that is in line with our basic principles and the programme of social and economic change adhered to by the party of the communists. We must, above all, clearly define what prostitution is. Prostitution is a phenomenon which is closely linked with unearned income, and it thrives in the epoch dominated by capital and private property. Prostitutes, from our point of view, are those women who sell their bodies for material benefit – for decent food, for clothes and other advantages; prostitutes are all those who avoid the necessity of working by giving themselves to a man, either on a temporary basis or for life.

Our Soviet workers’ republic has inherited prostitution from the bourgeois capitalist past, when only a small number of women were involved in work within the national economy and the majority relied on the “male breadwinner”, on the father or the husband. Prostitution arose with the first states as the inevitable shadow of the official institution of marriage, which was designed to preserve the rights of private property and to guarantee property inheritance through a line of lawful heirs. The institution of marriage made it possible to prevent the wealth that had been accumulated from being scattered amongst a vast number of “heirs”. But there is a great difference between the prostitution of Greece and Rome and the prostitution we know today. In ancient times the number of prostitutes was small, and there was not that hypocrisy which colours the morality of the bourgeois world and compels bourgeois society to raise its hat respectfully to the ‘lawful wife” of an industrial magnate who has obviously sold herself to a husband she does not love, and, to turn away in disgust from a girl forced into the streets by poverty, homelessness, unemployment and other social circumstances which derive from the existence of capitalism and private property. The ancient world regarded prostitution as the legal complement to exclusive family relationships. Aspasia [the mistress of Pericles] was respected by her contemporaries far more than the colourless wives of the breeding apparatus.

In the Middle Ages, when artisan, production predominated, prostitution was accepted as something natural and lawful. Prostitutes had their own guilds and took part in festivals and local events just like the other guilds. The prostitute guaranteed that the daughters of the respectable citizens remained chaste and their wives faithful, since single men could (for a consideration) turn to the members of the guild for comfort. Prostitution was thus to the advantage of the worthy propertied citizens and was openly accepted by them.

With the rise of capitalism, the picture changes. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries prostitution assumes threatening proportions for the first time. The sale of women’s labour, which is closely and inseparably connected with the sale of the female, body, steadily increases, leading to a situation where the respected wife of a worker, and not just the abandoned and “dishonoured” girl, joins the ranks of the prostitutes: a mother for the sake of her children, or a young girl like Sonya Marmeladova for the sake of her family. This is the horror and hopelessness that results from the exploitation of labour by capital. When a woman’s wages are insufficient to keep her alive, the sale of favours seems a possible subsidiary occupation. The hypocritical morality of bourgeois society encourages prostitution by the structure of its exploitative economy, while at the same time mercilessly covering with contempt any girl or woman who is forced to take this path.

The black shadow of prostitution stalks the legal marriage of bourgeois society. History has never before witnessed such a growth of prostitution as occurred in the last part of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. In Berlin there is one prostitute for every twenty so-called honest women. In Paris the ratio is one to eighteen and in London one to nine. There are different types of prostitution: there is open prostitution that is legal and subject to regulation, and there is the secret, “seasonal” type, All forms of prostitution flourish like a poisonous flower in the swamps of the bourgeois way of life.

The world of the bourgeoisie does not even spare children, forcing young girls of nine and ten into the sordid embraces of wealthy and depraved old men. In the capitalist countries there are brothels which specialise exclusively in very young girls. In this present post-war period every woman faces the possibility of unemployment. Unemployment hits women in particular, and causes an enormous increase in the army of “street women”. Hungry crowds of women seeking out the buyers of “white slaves” flood the evening streets of Berlin. Paris and the other civilised centres of the capitalist states. The trade in women’s flesh is conducted quite openly, which is not surprising when you consider that the whole bourgeois way of life is based on buying and selling. There is an undeniable element of material and economic, considerations even the most legal of marriages. Prostitution is the way out for the woman who fails to find herself a permanent breadwinner. Prostitution, under capitalism provides men with the opportunity of having sexual relationships without having to take upon themselves the responsibility of caring materially for the women until the grave.

But if prostitution has such a hold and is so widespread even in Russia, how are we to struggle against it? In order to answer this question we must first analyse in more detail the factors giving rise to prostitution. Bourgeois science and its academics love to prove to the world, that prostitution is a pathological phenomenon, i.e. that it is the result of the abnormalities of certain women, just as some people are criminal by nature, some women, it is argued, are prostitutes by nature. Regardless of where or how such women might have lived, they would have turned to a life of sin. Marxists and the more conscientious scholars, doctors and statisticians have shown clearly that the idea of “inborn disposition” is false. Prostitution is above all a social phenomenon; it is closely connected to the needy position of woman and her economic dependence on man in marriage and the family. The roots of prostitution are m economics. Woman is on the one hand placed in an economically vulnerable position, and on the other hand has been conditioned by centuries of education to expect material favours from a man in return for sexual favours – whether these are given within or outside the marriage tie. This is the root of the problem. Here is the reason for prostitution.

If the bourgeois academics of the Lombroso-Tarnovsky school were correct in maintaining that prostitutes are born with the marks of corruption and sexual abnormality, how would one explain the well-known fact that in a time of crisis and unemployment the number of prostitutes immediately increases? How would one explain the fact that the purveyors of “living merchandise” who travelled to tsarist Russia from the other countries of western Europe always found a rich harvest in areas where crops had failed and the population was suffering from famine, whereas they came away with few recruits from areas of plenty? Why do so many of the women who are allegedly doomed by nature to ruin only take to prostitution in years of hunger and unemployment?

It is also significant that in the capitalist countries prostitution recruits its servants from the propertyless sections of the population. Low-paid work, homelessness, acute poverty and the need to support younger brothers and sisters: these are the factors that produce the largest percentage of prostitutes. If the bourgeois theories about the corrupt and criminal disposition were true, then all classes of the population ought to contribute equally to prostitution. There ought to he the same proportion of corrupt women among the rich as among the poor. But professional prostitutes, women who live by their bodies, are with rare exceptions recruited from the poorer classes. Poverty, hunger, deprivation and the glaring social inequalities that are the basis of the bourgeois system drive these women to prostitution.

Or again one might point to the fact that prostitutes in the capitalist countries are drawn, according to the statistics, from the thirteen to twenty-three age-group. Children and young women, in other words. And the majority of these girls are alone and without a home. Girls from wealthy backgrounds who have the excellent bourgeois family to protect them turn to prostitution only very occasionally. The exceptions are usually victims of tragic circumstances. More often than not they are victims of the hypocritical “double morality”. The bourgeois family abandons the girl who has “sinned” and she – alone, without support and branded by the scorn of society – sees prostitution as the only way out.

We can therefore list as factors responsible for prostitution: low wages, social inequalities, the economic dependence of women upon men, and the unhealthy custom by which women expect to he supported in return for sexual favours instead of in return for their labour.

The workers’ revolution in Russia has shattered the basis of capitalism and has struck a blow at the former dependence of women upon men. All citizens are equal before the work collective. They are equally obliged to work for the common good and are equally eligible to the support of the collective when they need it. A woman provides for herself not by marriage but by the part she plays in production and the contribution she makes to the people’s wealth.

Relations between the sexes are being transformed. But we are still bound by the old ideas. Furthermore, the economic structure is far from being completely re-arranged in the new way, and communism is still a long way off. In this transitional period prostitution naturally enough keeps a strong hold. After all, even though the main sources of prostitution – private property and the policy of strengthening the family – have been eliminated, other factors are still in force. Homelessness, neglect, had housing conditions, loneliness and low wages for women are still with us. Our productive apparatus is still in a state of collapse, and the dislocation of the national economy continues. These and other economic and social conditions lead women to prostitute their bodies.

To struggle against prostitution chiefly means to struggle against these conditions – in other words, it means to support the general policy of the Soviet government – which is directed towards strengthening the basis of communism and the organisation of production.

Some people might say that since prostitution will have no place once the power of the workers and the basis of communism are strengthened, no special campaign is necessary. This type of argument fails to take into account the harmful and disuniting effect that prostitution has on the construction of a new communist society.

The correct slogan was formulated at the first All-Russian Congress of Peasant and Working Woman: “A woman of the Soviet labour republic is a free citizen with equal rights, and cannot and must not be the object of buying and selling.” The slogan was proclaimed, but nothing was done. Above all, prostitution harms the national economy and hinders the further development of the productive forces. We know that we can only overcome chaos and improve industry if we harness the efforts and energies of the workers and if we organise the available labour power of both men and women in the most rational way. Down with the unproductive labour of housework and child-minding! Make way for work that is organised and productive and serves the work collective! These are the slogans we must take up.

And what, after all, is the professional prostitute? She is a person whose energy is not used for the collective; a person who lives off others, by taking from the rations of others. Can this sort of thing be allowed in a workers’ republic? No, it cannot. It cannot be allowed, because it reduces the reserves of energy and the number of working hands that are creating the national wealth and the general welfare, from the point of view of the national economy the professional prostitute is a labour deserter. For this reason we must ruthlessly oppose prostitution. In the interests of the economy we must start an immediate fight to reduce the number of prostitutes and eliminate prostitution in all its forms.

It is time we understood that the existence of prostitution contradicts the basic principles of a workers’ republic which fights all forms of unearned wages. In the three years of the revolution our ideas on this subject have changed greatly. A new philosophy, which has little m common with the old ideas, is in the making. Three years ago we regarded a merchant as a completely respectable person. Provided his accounts were in order and he did not cheat or dupe his customer too obviously, he was rewarded with the title of “merchant of the first guild”, “respected citizen”, etc.

Since the revolution attitudes, to trade and merchants have changed radically. We now call the “honest merchant” a speculator, and instead of awarding him honorary tides we drag him before a special committee and put him in a forced labour camp. Why do we do this?’ Because we know that we can only build a new communist economy if all adult citizens are involved in productive labour. The person who does not work and who lives off someone else or on an unearned wage harms the collective and the republic. We, therefore, hunt down the speculators, the traders and the hoarders who all live off unearned income. We must fight prostitution as another form of labour desertion.

We do not, therefore, condemn prostitution and fight against it as a special category but as an aspect of labour desertion. To us in the workers’ republic it is not important whether a woman sells herself to one man or to many, whether she is classed as a professional prostitute selling her favours to a succession of clients or as a wife selling herself to her husband. All women who avoid work and do not take part in production or in caring for children are liable, on the same basis as prostitutes, to be forced to work. We cannot make a difference between a prostitute and a lawful wife kept by her husband, whoever her husband is – even if he is a “commissar”. It is failure to take part in productive work that is the common thread connecting all labour deserters. The workers’ collective condemns the prostitute not because she gives her body to many men but because, like the legal wife who stays at home, she does no useful work for the society.

The second reason for organising a deliberate and well-planned campaign against prostitution is in order to safeguard the people’s health. Soviet Russia does not want illness and disease to cripple and weaken its citizens and reduce their work capacity. And prostitution spreads venereal disease. Of course, it is not the only means by which the disease is transmitted. Crowded living conditions, the absence of standards of hygiene, communal crockery and towels also play a part. Furthermore, in this time of changing moral norms and particularly when there is also a continual movement of troops from place to place, a sharp rise in the number of cases of venereal disease occurs independently of commercial prostitution. The civil war, for example, is raging in the fertile southern regions. The Cossack men have been beaten and have retreated with the Whites. Only the women are left behind in the villages. They have plenty of everything except husbands. The Red Army troops enter the village They are billeted out and stay several weeks. Free relationships develop between the soldiers and the women. These relationships have nothing to do with prostitution: the woman goes with the man voluntarily because she is attracted to him, and there is no thought on her part of material gain. It is not the Red Army soldier who provides for the woman but rather the opposite. The woman looks after him for the period that the troops are quartered in the village. The troops move away, but they leave venereal disease behind. Infection spreads. The diseases develop, multiply, and threaten to maim the younger generation.

At a joint meeting of the department of maternity protection and the women’s department, Professor Kol’tsov spoke about eugenics, the science of maintaining and improving the health of humanity. Prostitution is closely connected with this problem, since it is one of the main ways in which infections are spread. The theses of the interdepartmental commission on the struggle against prostitution point out that the development of special measures to fight venereal diseases is an urgent task. Steps must of course be taken to deal with all sources of the diseases, and not solely with prostitution in the way that hypocritical bourgeois society does. But although the diseases are spread to some extent by everyday circumstances, it is nevertheless essential to give everyone a clear idea of the role prostitution plays. The correct organisation of sexual education for young people is especially important. We must arm young people with accurate information allowing them to enter life with their eyes open. We must not remain silent any longer over questions connected with sexual life; we must break with false and bigoted bourgeois morality.

Prostitution is not compatible with the Soviet workers’ republic for a third reason: it does not contribute to the development and strengthening of the basic class character and of the proletariat and its new morality.

What is the fundamental quality of the working class? What is its strongest moral weapon in the struggle? Solidarity and comradeship is the basis of communism. Unless this sense is strongly developed amongst working people, the building of a truly communist society is inconceivable. Politically conscious communists should therefore logically be encouraging the development of solidarity in every way and fighting against all that hinders its development – Prostitution destroys the equality, solidarity and comradeship of the two halves of the working class. A man who buys the favours of a woman does not see her as a comrade or as a person with equal rights. He sees the woman as dependent upon himself and as an unequal creature of a lower order who is of less worth to the workers’ state. The contempt he has for the prostitute, whose favours he has bought, affects his attitude to all women. The further development of prostitution, instead of allowing for the growth of comradely feeling and solidarity, strengthens the inequality of the relationships between the sexes.

Prostitution is alien and harmful to the new communist morality which is in the process of forming. The task of the party as a whole and of the women’s departments in particular must he to launch a broad and resolute campaign against this legacy from the past. In bourgeois capitalist society all attempts at fighting prostitution were a useless waste of energy, since the two circumstances which gave rise to the phenomenon – private property and the direct material dependence of the majority of women upon men – were firmly established. In a workers’ republic the situation has changed. Private property has been abolished and all citizens of the republic are obliged to work. Marriage has ceased to be a method by which a woman can find herself a “breadwinner” and thus avoid the necessity of working or providing for herself by her own labour. The major social factors giving rise to prostitution are, in Soviet Russia, being eliminated. A number of secondary economic and social reasons remain with which it is easier to come to terms. The women’s departments must approach the struggle energetically, and they will find a wide field for activity.

On the Central Department’s initiative, an interdepartmental commission for the struggle against prostitution was organised last year. For a number of reasons the work of the commission was neglected for a time, but since the autumn of this year there have been signs of life, and with the co-operation of Dr Gol'man and the Central (Women’s) Department some work has been planned and organised. Representatives from the People’s Commissariats of health, labour, social security and industry, the women’s department and the union of communist youth are all involved. The commission has printed the theses in bulletin no. 4, distributes circulars to all regional departments of social security outlining a plan to establish similar commissions all over the country, and has set about working out a number of concrete measures to tackle the circumstances which give rise to prostitution.

The interdepartmental commission considers it necessary that the women’s departments take an active part in this work, since prostitution affects the propertyless women of the working class. It is our job it is the job of the women’s departments – to organise a mass campaign around the question of prostitution. We must approach this issue with the interests of the work collective in mind and ensure that the revolution within the family is completed, and that relationships between the sexes are put on a more human footing.

The interdepartmental commission, as the theses make clear, takes the view that the struggle against prostitution is connected in a fundamental way with the realisation of our Soviet politics in the sphere of economics and general construction. Prostitution will he finally eliminated when the basis of communism is strengthened. This is the truth which determines our actions. But we also need to understand the importance of creating a communist morality. The two tasks are closely connected: the new morality is created by a new economy, but we will not build a new communist economy without the support of a new morality. Clarity and precise thinking are essential in this matter, and we have nothing to fear from the truth. Communists must openly accept that unprecedented changes in the nature of sexual relationships are taking place. This revolution is called into being by the change in the economic structure and by the new role which women play in the productive activity of the workers’ state. In this difficult transition period, when the old is being destroyed and the new is in the process of being created, relations between the sexes sometimes develop that are not compatible with the interests of the collective. But there is also something healthy m the variety of relationships practised.

Our party and the women’s departments in particular must analyse the different forms in order to ascertain which are compatible with the general tasks of the revolutionary class and serve to strengthen the collective and its interests. Behaviour that is harmful to the collective must he rejected and condemned by communists. This is how the Central Women’s Department has understood the task of the interdepartmental commission. It is not only necessary to take practical measures to fight the situation and the circumstances that nourish prostitution and to solve the problems of housing and loneliness etc., but also to help the working class to establish its morality alongside its dictatorship.

The interdepartmental commission points to the fact that in Soviet Russia prostitution is practised (a) as a profession and (b) as a means of earning supplementary income. The first form of prostitution is less common and in Petrograd, for example, the number of prostitutes has not been significantly reduced by round-ups of the professionals. The second type of prostitution is widespread in bourgeois capitalist countries (in Petrograd; before the revolution, out of a total of fifty thousand prostitutes only about six or seven thousand were registered), and continues under various guises in our Russia, Soviet ladies exchange their favours for a pair of high-heeled boots; working women and mothers of families sell their favours for flour. Peasant women sleep with the heads of the anti-profiteer detachments in the hope of saving their boarded food, and office workers sleep with their bosses in return for rations, shoes and in the hope of promotion.

How should we fight this situation? The interdepartmental commission had to tackle the important question of whether or not prostitution should be made a criminal offence. Many of the representatives of the commission were inclined to the view that prostitution should be an offence, arguing that professional prostitutes are dearly labour deserters. If such a law were passed, the round-up and placing of prostitutes in forced labour camps would become accepted policy.

The Central Department spoke in firm and absolute opposition to such, a step, pointing out that if prostitutes were to be arrested on such grounds, then so ought all legal wives who are maintained by their husbands and do not contribute to society. The prostitute and the house-wife are both labour deserters, and you cannot send one to a forced labour camp without sending the other. This was the position the Central Department took, and it was supported by the representative of the Commissariat of justice. If we take labour desertion as our criterion, we cannot help punishing all forms of labour desertion. Marriage or the existence of certain relationships between the sexes is of no significance and can play no role in defining criminal offences in a labour republic.

In bourgeois society a woman is condemned to persecution not when she does no work that is useful to the collective or because she sells herself for material gain (two-thirds of women in bourgeois society sell themselves to their legal husbands), but when her sexual relationships are informal and of short duration. Marriage in bourgeois society is characterised by its duration and by the official nature of its registration. Property inheritance is preserved in this way. Relationships that are of a temporary nature and lack official sanction are considered by the bigots and hypocritical upholders of bourgeois morality to be shameful.

Can we who uphold the interests of working people define relationships that are temporary and unregistered as criminal? Of course we cannot. Freedom in relationships between the sexes does not contradict communist ideology. The interests of the work collective are not affected by the temporary or lasting nature of a relationship or by its basis in love, passion or passing physical attraction.

A relationship is harmful and alien to the collective only if material bargaining between the sexes is involved, only when worldly calculations are a substitute for mutual attraction. Whether the bargaining takes the form of prostitution or of a legal marriage relationship is not important. Such unhealthy relationships cannot be permitted, since they threaten equality and solidarity. We must therefore condemn all prostitution, and go as far as explaining to these legal wives are “kept women” what a sad and intolerable part they are playing in the worker’s state.

Can the presence or otherwise of material bargaining be used as a criterion in determining what is and what is not a criminal offence? can we really persuade a couple to admit whether or not there is an element of calculation in their relationship? Would such a law be workable, particularly in view of the fact that at the present time a great variety of relationships are practised among working people and ideas on sexual morality are in constant flux? Where does prostitution end and the marriage of convenience begin? The interdepartmental commission opposed the suggestion that prostitutes be punished for prostituting, i.e. for buying and selling. They confined themselves to suggesting that all people convicted of work desertion be directed to the social security network and from there either to the section of the Commissariat that deals with the deployment of the labour force or to sanatoria and hospitals. A prostitute is not a special case; as with other categories of deserter, she is only sent to do forced labour if she repeatedly avoids work. Prostitutes are not treated any differently from other labour deserters. This is an important and courageous step, worthy of the world’s first labour republic.

The question of prostitution as an offence was set out in thesis no. 15. The next problem that had to be tackled was whether or not the law should punish the prostitute’s clients. There were some on the commission who were in favour of this, but they had to give up the idea, which did not follow on logically from our basic premises. How is a client to be defined? Is he someone who buys a woman’s favours? In that case the husbands of many legal wives will be guilty. Who is to decide who is a client and who is not? It was suggested that this problem be studied further before a decision was made, but the Central Department and the majority of the commission were against this. As the representative of the Commissariat of justice, admitted, if it were not possible to define exactly when a crime had been committed, then the idea of punishing clients was untenable. The position of the Central Department was once again adopted.

But while the commission accepted that clients cannot he punished by the law, it spoke out for the moral condemnation of those who visit prostitutes or in any way make a business out of prostitution. In fact the commission’s theses point out that all go-betweens who make money out of prostitution can be prosecuted as persons making money other than by their own labour. Legislative proposals to this effect have been drawn up by the interdepartmental commission and put before the Council, of People’s Commissars. They will come into force in the neat future.

It remain for me to indicate the purely practical measures which can help to reduce prostitution, and in the implementation of which the women’s departments can play an active role. It cannot be doubted that the poor and inadequate wages that women receive continue to serve as one of the real factors pushing women into prostitution. According to the law the Wages of male and female workers are equal, but in practice most women are engaged in unskilled work. The problem of improving their skills through the development of a network of special courses must he tackled. The task of the women’s departments must be to bring influence to bear on, the education authorities to step up the provision of vocational training for working women.

The political backwardness of women and their lack of social awareness is a second reason for prostitution. The women’s departments should increase their work amongst proletarian women. The best way to fight prostitution is to raise the political consciousness of the broad masses of women and to draw them into the revolutionary struggle to build communism.

The fact that the housing situation is still not solved also encourages prostitution. The women’s department and the commission for the struggle against prostitution can and must have their say over the solution of this problem. The interdepartmental commission is working out a project on the provision of house communes for young working people and on the establishment of houses that will provide accommodation for women when they are newly arrived in any area, However, unless the women’s departments and the komsomols in the provinces show some initiative and take independent action in this matter, all the directives of the commission will remain beautiful and benevolent resolutions – but they will remain on paper. And there is so much we can and must do. The local women’s departments must work in conjunction with the education commissions to raise the issue of the correct organisation of sex education in schools. They could also hold a series of discussions and lectures on marriage, the family and the history of relationships between the sexes, highlighting the dependence of these phenomena and of sexual morality itself on economic factors.

It is time we were clear on the question of sexual relationships. It is time we approached this question in a spirit of ruthless and scientific criticism. I already said that the interdepartmental commission has accepted that professional prostitutes are to be treated in the same way as labour deserters It therefore follows that women who have a work- book but are practising prostitution as a secondary source of income cannot he prosecuted. But this does not mean that we do not fight against prostitution. We are aware, as I have already pointed out more than once today, that prostitution harm the work collective, negatively affecting the psychology of men and women and distorting feelings of equality and solidarity. Our task is to re-educate the work collective and to bring its psychology into line with the economic tasks of the working class. We must ruthlessly discard the old ideas and attitudes to which we cling through habit Economics has outstripped ideology. The old economic structure is disintegrating and with it the old type of marriage, but we cling to bourgeois life styles. We are ready to reject all the aspects of the old system and welcome the revolution in all spheres of life, only . . . don’t touch the family, don’t try to change the family! Even politically aware communists are afraid to look squarely at the truth, they brush aside the evidence which dearly shows that the old family ties are weakening and that new forms of economy dictate new forms of relationships between the sexes. Soviet power recognises that woman has a part to play in the national economy and has placed her on an equal footing with the man in this respect, but in everyday life we still hold to the “old ways” and are prepared to accept as normal marriages which are based on the material dependency of a woman on a man. In our struggle against prostitution we must clarify our attitude to marital relations that are based on the same principles of “buying and selling”. We must learn to be ruthless over this issue; we must not be deflected from our purpose by sentimental complaints that “by your criticism and scientific preaching you encroach on sacred family ties”. We have to explain unequivocally that the old form of the family has been outstripped. Communist, society has no need of it. The bourgeois world gave its blessing to the exclusiveness and isolation of the married couple from the collective; in the atomised and individualistic bourgeois society, the family was the only protection from the storm of life, a quiet harbour in a sea of hostility and competition. The family was an independent and enclosed collective. In communist society this cannot be. Communist society presupposes such a strong sense of the collective that any possibility of the existence of the isolated, introspective family group is excluded. At the present moment ties of kinship, family and even of married life can be seen to be weakening. New ties between working people are being forged and comradeship, common interests, collective responsibility and faith in the collective are establishing themselves as the highest principles of morality.

I will not take it upon myself to prophesy the form that marriage or relationships between the sexes will assume in the future. But of one thing there is no doubt: under communism all dependence of women upon men and all the elements of material calculation found m modem marriage will be absent. Sexual relationships will be based on a healthy instinct for reproduction prompted by the abandon of young love, or by fervent passion, or by a blaze of physical attraction or by a soft light of intellectual and emotional harmony. Such sexual relationships have nothing in common with prostitution. Prostitution is terrible because it is an act of violence by the woman upon herself in the name of material gain. Prostitution is I naked act of material calculation which leaves no room for considerations of love and passion. Where passion and attraction begin, prostitution ends. Under communism, prostitution and the contemporary family will disappear. Healthy, joyful and free relationships between the sexes will develop. A new generation will come into being, independent and courageous and with a strong sense of the collective: a generation which places the good of the collective above all else.

Comrades! We are laying the foundations for this communist future. It is in our power to hasten the advent of this future. We must strengthen the sense of solidarity within the working class. We must encourage this sense of togetherness. Prostitution hinders the development of solidarity, and we therefore call upon the women’s departments to begin an immediate campaign to root out his evil.

Comrades! Our task is to cut out the roots that feed prostitution. Our task is to wage a merciless struggle against all the remnants of individualism and of the former, type of marriage. Our task is to revolutionise, attitudes in the sphere of sexual relationships, to bring them into line with the interest of the working collective. When the communist collective has eliminated the contemporary forms of marriage and the family, the problem of prostitution will cease to exist.

Let us get to work, comrades. The new family is already in the process of creation, and the great family of the triumphant world proletariat is developing and growing stronger.