The social and political reality of the modern world is immanent in the process of permanent confrontation between political entities, a considerable part of which have no institutional legitimacy and carry out the intention to gain it. Speaking of countries traditionally referred to the “West”, we see this process as a crisis of the legitimacy of the dominant political institutions. Increased pressure from migrants (including in the form of terrorist attacks) and the growing need for direct military participation in conflicts led by forces that are not legitimized by the UN and often oppose the very principle of legitimacy of nation-states as a form of political domination. The process mentioned above is also clearly manifested in the Middle East, where the collapse of ideocratic dictatorships, which had the design of modern states and were former members of the UN, leads to the formation of large but not internationally legitimate political actors, carrying out a revolution not only against modern political regimes, but also against the principle itself the legitimacy of international political structures and the national state in its modern sense. Some regions and states that proved to be insufficiently resistant to opposing revolutionary processes within society become a place of permanent confrontation of illegitimate political actors, a place of permanent chaos and civil war, and successful examples of the opposition of the state to revolutionary gravitations of a part of society indicate that the political defeat of modern political structures does not predetermined, and, therefore, the state seeking to avoid revolution and its collapse, has the ability and the need to study the revolutionary processes in other countries and to study oneself, one’s society in order to prevent events that could bring down the institutional framework of the state.
Russia is a country that is also threatened by the above-described revolutionary processes carried out and coordinated by outside political actors. Such dangers are aggravated by the fact that the real life of Russian society is poorly understood, social processes that can acquire political significance often become a public fact only after sudden breakthroughs in the media environment. Therefore, there is a great need to build methods and forms of analysis of revolutionary sentiments that are suitable specifically for Russian society and the state, which, in turn, requires independent and creative work on the synthesis of classical concepts of revolution and the creation of distinctive, but adequate methods for analyzing the dangers of the revolutionary plan.
The research problem is as follows. In the presence of a definite and rather voluminous corpus of texts devoted to the study of the revolution (Goldstone, etc.), at the moment there is no high-quality academic work that reduces the methods to proportional, on the one hand, and has a strong theoretical basis, on the other hand, of labor giving a complete understanding of the specifics of studying social and political processes of such a plan. Also unknown are the qualitative analytical works that would allow the formation of adequate tools for studying the revolution in the Russian social and political context.
Object of study: a set of forms of revolutionary processes in society.
Subject of research: methodology for studying the revolutionary process.
The purpose of the study: to form an adequate toolkit and methodology for studying the revolution in the modern social and political context.
1. To study the types and forms of the revolutionary process in postmodern society.
2. To formulate the concept of Russian society as a postmodern society.
3. To study the classical theory of revolution V. Lenin, A. Gramsci.
4. Synthesize the learned concepts of revolution.
5. To study the factors of instability of Russian society.
6. To form a set of adequate methods for studying revolutionary situations for the Russian social and political context.
Research Methods: In our work, we use a secondary analysis of scientific works, deductive and inductive research methods, aimed at constructing a picture of the mosaic of the social and political life of society. We also use a comparative analysis of the concepts of revolution.
Materials used in the study: We study the classics of revolutionary and conflictological thought, military thought of the 20th century: V. Lenin, A. Gramsci, B. Smyslovsky. We also use in our work modern materials on the study of revolution, such as the work of J. Goldstone “Revolution. A very short introduction”, works by P. Turchin, other works of theoreticians of the revolution. Marxist works make it possible to determine the basic conditions for the emergence of a revolutionary situation. The concept of P. Turchin will allow us to introduce the understanding of revolution into the context of historical cycles experienced by society, the work of B. Smyslovsky “War and Politics” will allow us to form a clear and adequate idea of military logic in the revolutionary process.
In studying the revolutionary process in modern society, we study the works of R. Barthes, M. Foucault, J. Schwarzmantel, D. Matison, and other works.
The book of R. Barthes “Mythology” will allow us to form a clear idea of the role of myth in modern society, which directly leads to an understanding of the mobilization mechanisms of the revolutionary process in modern society. The works of M. Foucault give a deep idea of the essence of relations of power in modern society. “The Ideology and politics” of J. Schwarzmantel allows us to determine the role of ideology in the revolutionary mobilization of political actors, the work of D. Matison “Media Discourse” allows you to study the place of media resources, media streams in the development of revolutionary processes and their actualization.
In terms of studying the factors of instability in the life of society, we use the works of V. V. Shiller on extremism, S. Caspe’s work “Political Theology and Nation-building: General Provisions, the Russian Case” and other works.
The origins of the theory of revolution
The earliest thinker who wondered about revolutions was Aristotle. He identified the main revolutionary dangers and described how they can be avoided.
They are as follows:
1. Corruption assumes that government officials are trying to make illegal profits at the expense of a person or the public.
2. Rebellions occur when people are dishonored, and when people see others receive honors that they do not deserve. If like-minded people join the movement, the government cannot escape the crisis.
3. Revolutions occur when arrogance or disrespect is manifested by other members. Revolutionary danger arises when officials become arrogant, drunk from the power or do not pay attention to people’s problems. This leads to a deep gap in society, especially between the state and the people. Over time, people’s complaints about corrupt officials increase, which culminates in revolutions.
4. Fear is the worst enemy of human institutions. This disturbs calm and other emotions. Revolutions can arise either from fear of punishment for committing any wrong action, or from fear of the expected incorrect outcome of a case from a person who fears injustice.
5. Contempt for citizens is connected with the revolution. This contempt may be due to rules, laws, political and economic situations, social and economic order. Contempt is also associated with inequality, injustice, lack of certain privileges, etc.
6. Finally, revolutions are also the result of an imbalance in the disproportionate increase in state power, which creates a gap between the constitution and society. As a result, the constitution reflects social realities, the balances of social and economic forces.
If this balance is violated, the political order collapses and will either be changed or perish. For example, if the number of poor people increases, the state may collapse. Similarly, if there are too many rich people in government, this can lead to oligarchic rule.
Regarding political factors, issues such as electoral intrigue, carelessness, neglect of small changes, the growth of the reputation and power of a party or union of parties, lead to a deadlock and, finally, foreign invasion.
A brief explanation of these factors is as follows:
1. Manipulation of votes violates people’s faith in the constitutional process. Electoral manipulation not only destroys society, but also destroys virtue and a good life, and gives rise to new social problems, such as corruption, bribery, nepotism, favoritism, etc.
2. The foundations of the state may be destroyed due to willful negligence leading to revolutions. If rulers are careless in choosing officials, antisocial elements will undermine all politics. In such circumstances, the trivial issue of selecting suitable officials without due care is the deadliest.
3. A statesman should never neglect any small issue related to governance. If decisions are made in a hurry without considering its consequences, such actions are likely to cause a storm. It is for this reason that Aristotle stated that the need for a complete overhaul of the entire system appears when the need for small changes is ignored.
In addition to the general causes of the revolution, Aristotle also identified their specific causes in various types of states. For example, in democracies, discontent is caused by demagogues who attack the rich and incite hatred among people, and this situation leads to conflict.
Revolutions occur in the oligarchies when the masses are unpleasantly affected by officials, which leads to contention within the ruling class. Personal disputes can contribute to inciting social discord and, although this is invisible, changes in the class structure of society can imperceptibly change the ethos.
Aristotle further believed that it was not necessary for the oligarchy to become a democracy or vice versa, but they could completely turn into a completely different system. In the aristocracy, revolutions occur when the circle of rulers is unacceptably narrowed. This imbalance in the balance of various elements of state power causes a revolution.
As for monarchies and tyrannies, the revolutions, according to Aristotle, are caused by arrogance, resentment, fears, disrespect, the desire for glory, the influence of neighboring states, sexual crimes, and physical ailments.
Aristotle, to ensure security from revolutions, proposed the following ways to prevent them:
He urged the rulers to believe in the principle of “prevention is better than cure”. This principle consists primarily in the desire to ensure that rulers obey the laws even in the smallest matters. He believed that a violation, even in small amounts, sooner or later lead to complete disrespect and violation of the law. Further, if people begin to break the laws, following the example of the rulers, the entire public order will be in jeopardy.
The thinker also strongly advised the rulers to believe that they could either constantly deceive a few people, or all people for some time, but never — all people and always. An attempt to constantly deceive the whole state, according to Aristotle, will inevitably end in a revolution.
He also said that rulers should exercise due care in relation to their subjects: they should not distinguish between an officer and a commoner, between leading and non-leading, etc. To prevent a revolution, according to Aristotle, it is necessary to observe the principle of democratic equality.
In addition, each citizen, according to the philosopher, should be given a chance to express his opinion about the government, and the length of time officials should be short. If, according to Aristotle, the state is built in this way, the oligarchs and aristocrats will not get too much power.
Since internal hostility between rulers would destroy the strength and unity of the state, the ruler should always be vigilant and keep in control all the quarrels and discords between the rulers. No citizen or official should be promoted to the highest position or suddenly dismissed.
Those who have gained too much wealth should be ostracized or exiled, and no society should be allowed to establish its dominance over another. Aristotle also wrote that government institutions should not be profitable. In this case, public office will not attract the poor, and will not give a big advantage to the rich.
The poor in this format of state activity are working and getting richer, while the rich are holding positions and are not getting rich from it. Under these conditions, the poor are satisfied that they have a job, and the rich are satisfied that they occupy high positions.
He further stated that the rich should not show their wealth, since it arouses envy, among others. Finally, a statesman interested in preventing revolution must prevent the extremes of poverty and wealth, since it is this extreme that leads to conflict. He should encourage colonization as a way out to solve the problem of overpopulation, and the leader should cultivate religion, which, according to the philosopher, also prevents revolution.
Aristotle also suggested that an unworthy ruler could never stop the revolution. To ensure their official compliance, rulers must first be faithful to the constitution, and secondly, they must be competent, capable, worthy and fulfill their duties; thirdly, they must be kind and fair.
Finally, Aristotle argues that the right education system is the most effective tool to deter revolutionary instinct and maintain public order.
Traditionally, the concept of the origin of the “theory of revolution” is associated with a study by Lyford Edwards “The Natural History of the Revolution” (1927), followed by the writings of Crane Brinton and George Petty (1938). “The Sociology of Revolution” (1925) by Pitirim Sorokin also belongs to this galaxy. The works of Edwards, Brinton and Petty are presented in historiography as the “first wave” of researchers in the theory of revolution — an approach that has been around since the 60s. XX century moves from work to work, but this approach is not entirely correct. A century before Sorokin, Edwards, Petty, and Brinton, several small works were published aimed at identifying and studying the general features and conditions of all revolutions and creating a theory of revolution.
In 1861—62 there are two more works aimed at the general theory of revolutions: a lecture on revolutions by G. Jiman (1861) and “History and Theory of Revolutions” (1862) by Joseph Clark. If we add to this the works of K. Marx and F. Engels “Manifesto of the Communist Party” (1848), separate works of Marx: “The Class Struggle in France” (1850), “18 Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (1852), “Civil War in France” (1871), and Engels — “Revolution and counter-revolution in Germany” (1852), — then for a forty-year period we get a fairly large amount of work devoted to the theory of revolution (for the middle of the 19th century, a dozen books on one topic over 40 years are a very high indicator). Thus, in the period between the two French revolutions — the revolution of 1830 and the Paris Commune of 1871, the first real “wave” of special interest in problems (rather than a separate national revolution) is observed.
The next such surge of interest in the theory of revolution appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, in which the most striking works were Lenin’s articles “May Day Action by the Revolutionary Proletariat” (1913) and “The Collapse of the Second International” (1915), “State and Revolution” (1917). And only the next “wave” of interest in the development of the topic came in 20—30s XX century and is associated with the names mentioned Sorokin, Edwards, Petty, and Brinton.
The end of the 50s — beginning of the 60s of the 20th century gave a new wave of interest in revolutions. The Soviet Union, contrary to forecasts, not only failed, but also emerged from the Second World War as a superpower, Eastern Europe turned into a “socialist camp”, and the people’s democratic revolutions proclaimed socialist took place in China and Cuba. This wave swept through the 60s and 70s and presented us with books such as “On Revolution” by Hannah Arendt (1963), “Revolution and the Social System” by Chalmers Johnson (1964), “Political Order in Changing Societies” by Samuel Huntington (1968), “Revolution” and “The Study of the Revolution” by Peter Calvert (1970), “Why People Rebel” by Ted Garr (1970), “Autopsy of Revolution” by Jacques Ellul (1971), “Modern Revolutions” by John Dunne (1972), “The Strategy of the Political Revolution” by Mostafa Rejai (1973), “The Phenomenon of the Revolution” by Mark Hagopian (1975), “The Revolution and the transformation of societies: a comparative study of civilizations” by Shmuel Eisenstadt (1978), “States and Social Revolutions” by Theda Skocpol (1979) and many others.
Perhaps this was the most powerful wave of interest in revolutions and the time of creating a systematic scientific approach to this social phenomenon, which continued to nourish the enthusiasm of researchers, slowly fading in the 80s. A new explosion of interest arose along with the “revolutions” of the late 80s — early 90s in Eastern Europe, causing new thoughts and discussions about the phenomenon of revolution in the history of mankind. After 2004, this interest was fueled by new events and data for the analysis of the so-called. “Color revolutions” in several states of the post-Soviet space, and so on. “Arab spring”, which, of course, will bring to life new generalizing work.
The most common approach to systematizing historiography to date has been proposed by Jack Goldstone, an American political scientist. This classification, of course, is not the only one and did not appear from scratch, combining and reworking existing among researchers, however, it is the most influential. This systematization is based on the so-called generations of researchers of the theory of revolution and has gained popularity and developed independently by many authors. The division of these generations occurs not only on a temporal basis, but also based on certain methodological principles that are attributed to the authors. In connection with this division, some representatives of the generation of the 60s fell into the group of the 20—30s, and P. Sorokin was attributed to the second generation. Thus, the first generation is associated with a historical approach and philosophical-historical interpretation. The second is with modernization theory and structural-functional analysis. The third generation, according to the developers of this approach, distinguishes state-centric models.
The first generation, from the point of view of adherents of this concept, refers to the 1920—30s. — “The generation of the natural history of the revolution” (after the title of Edwards’s work “The Natural History of Revolution”), to which belonged Edwards, Brinton, and Petty. To the second generation, Jack Goldstone ranked Ted Garr, Chalmers Johnson, Samuel Huntington, Charles Tilly (“From Mobilization to Revolution” (1978). To the third generation — Harry Eckstein “The Etiology of Internal Wars” (1965), Anthony Oberschall “Growing Expectations and Political Disorder” (1969), Edward Muller “Applicability of the Theory of Opportunity to the Analysis of Political Violence” (1972), Barbara Salert “Revolutions and revolutionaries” (1976), Theda Skocpol. J. Goldstone called last work “the crown of the third generation” [Goldstone, 59].
In the 90s Jack Goldstone said that “the third generation of theories of revolution is leaving the scene”: “not a single generally accepted theory of the fourth generation has yet been created, but the contours of such a theory are clear” [Goldstone, 99]. As targets for this fourth generation, Goldstone proposed revising all Skocpol’s key assumptions. “The stability of the regime in it will be considered as an unobvious state and substantial attention will be paid to the conditions for the existence of regimes for a long time; issues of identity and ideology, connections and leadership will occupy an important place; revolutionary processes and consequences will be seen as the result of the interaction of numerous forces. More importantly, it is possible that the fourth generation theories will combine the results of case studies, rational choice models and quantitative data analysis, and a generalization of these theories will cover situations and events that were not even mentioned in theories of the revolution of past generations” [Goldstone, 103].
It should be noted that any systematization should be based on homogeneous principles — criteria of one level. At the basis of the classification under consideration, all criteria (definitives) are in different planes. How can one compare the “historical approach” of a researcher with the idea of the modernization functions of the revolution or the basic principle of the model? You can only compare comparable categories. For example, those who invest in modernization functions and regressive functions, who place the principle of the role of state structures or demos organization at the forefront of revolution, those with a historical or mathematical approach (or any other), those who use structural-functional analysis and those who, for example, are repelled by form, quantity and strength, etc.
In many ways, the essence of the approaches of the entire XX and beginning of the XXI centuries. It boils down to the development of a theory of the revolution of Marxism or to the desire to oppose something to this theory. On the first side, revolutions are considered only in connection with a change in formations, on the second side, any massive radical forms of protest and coup d’etat fall into the revolution. It should be recognized that the Marxist approach is still more systematic and holistic, which constantly attracts adherents, and many of its provisions, one way or another, have been borrowed to this day. “The Marxist theory of society, often refined to the theory of revolution, remains one of the most stimulating models for the analysis of revolutionary processes of transformation” — a conclusion that many researchers have come to. The Marxist approach is more systemic, but sins with schematism. The three biggest shortcomings are the understanding of the revolution as a mandatory transition between formations, the inevitability of the proletarian revolution, which should lead to the emergence of the last formation (higher), economic determinism. The disadvantages of all opponents are more numerous. The lack of a clear definition of revolution (which allows “ripping” any riot, any significant social protest, ordinary coup d’etat into the term “revolution”), the causes of the emergence, the confusion of the causes of the revolution and what became the “trigger” — the reason for the first mass demonstrations.
A lot of research and criticism led to the fact that, regardless of the vulnerability of many of the formulations and provisions that came in the XX century, and were developed in its first third, in the subsequent XX century introduced little new. Most attempts to create something new lead to the same situation. The situation that has developed since the 80s. XX century can be classified as a methodological crisis: existing methodologies and research methods do not satisfy, new ones do not appear. The shortage of new developments leads to the fact that analytical models of researchers, the same definitions, and schemes with small modifications wander from research to research.
If we summarize the current state of the theory of revolution, today there is no single definition of revolution that is satisfactory and accepted by the majority. Not a single concept gives an answer to why revolutions are characteristic only of the era of capitalism and are unknown until the first bourgeois revolutions. There is no agreement on the causes or consequences of revolutions. The problem of typology (classification) of revolutions is one of the most difficult to develop a theory of revolution, where two extremes dominate: the simple division of revolutions into “western” and “eastern” or the promotion of a whole set of types, types and subspecies that suffer from a methodological point of view and in no way do not bring final clarity to the subject under study, in addition, a characteristic feature is the attempt to modernize various established theories and approaches and their resuscitation. The new generation of researchers in the theory of revolution will have to answer all the same questions and to break the movement in the circle of the same ideas and concepts, to look for fundamentally different approaches.
1.2 Marxist paradigm.
Studying this area of our analysis, we rely overall on a Marxist theoretical background, also involving other concepts for analysis. Marxism in this context acts as a conceptual basis, therefore we pay special attention to the theses of Lenin, as the author who was most involved in the process of the formation of a revolutionary subject.
Marxism gave the revolution the role of the locomotive of history, the substantial meaning in history, and deprived the idea of the sacred halo’s social processes. The Marxist understanding of the revolution has become the most important paradigm for any way of studying them, therefore it seems important to consider the theory of revolution of V. Lenin as the most classical, orthodox and free from prejudice, and the theory of A. Gramsci as a vivid revisionist theory.
In his works, V. I. Lenin proved that the development and aggravation of the contradictions of imperialism — internal (economic crises, unemployment, intensification of the class and national liberation struggles, etc.) and external (intensification of the competitive struggle of international monopolistic associations, war, etc.). e.) — have as their natural consequence both bourgeois-democratic and socialist revolutions. Lenin developed an integral, harmonious theory of various types of revolutions in the era of imperialism. Unlike the Mensheviks and opportunists of the Second International, who mechanically transferred to the new conditions the characteristic features of bourgeois revolutions that took place in Western countries in past centuries, Lenin, on the basis of concrete historical analysis, showed that in the era of imperialism bourgeois revolutions have their own specific features and laws.
On the experience of the First Revolution of 1905—1907 and the February Revolution of 1917 it was possible to make sure that the bourgeois-democratic revolution is significantly different from the previous bourgeois revolutions, firstly, in its driving forces and, secondly, in the forms and objectives of the struggle. The driving forces of the bourgeois-democratic revolution are the working class and the peasantry. The enemies of the revolution were not only the landowners, but also the big bourgeoisie. Revealing the dialectics of the first bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia, Lenin wrote: “The peculiarity of the Russian revolution lies precisely in the fact that it was bourgeois-democratic in its social content, but proletarian in its means of struggle.” In the new historical conditions, the issue of the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one has become urgent. The Mensheviks metaphysically divorced the socialist revolution from the bourgeois-democratic revolution; they did not see the dialectic of one growing into another. Lenin thoroughly criticized the Menshevik dogmas and contrasted them with the scientifically based theory of the transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one. “The proletariat must carry out the democratic revolution to the end, joining the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and paralyze the instability of the bourgeoisie” [Сталин, 117].
The proletariat must accomplish a socialist revolution, joining a mass of semi-proletarian elements of the population to crush the resistance of the bourgeoisie by force and paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. An analysis of the peculiarities and patterns of imperialism led Lenin to a new conclusion regarding the ways of realizing the socialist revolution.
As you know, Marx and Engels believed that a socialist revolution can only triumph simultaneously in all the major capitalist countries or in most of them and cannot win in a single country. This position of Marx and Engels stemmed from an analysis of the laws governing the development of pre-monopoly capitalism.
In the era of imperialism, its omnipotence is undermined by the aggravation of contradictions and the growth of the labor and national liberation movement. The contradictions between the imperialist countries have grown significantly, which creates the possibility of a split in the combined forces of imperialism. Creating a new theory of the socialist revolution, Lenin primarily proceeded from the law of uneven economic and political development in the era of imperialism. “The unevenness of economic and political development,” wrote Lenin, “is the absolute law of capitalism. It follows that the victory of socialism is possible initially in a few or even in one, separately taken, capitalist country” [Ленин, 65].
Since the victory of the socialist revolution in one country, taken separately, inevitably provokes the desire on the part of the bourgeoisie of the imperialist states to defeat the victorious proletariat, the possibility of a new type of war follows from here. During them, the victorious proletariat in alliance with the working masses of the peasantry, with the support of the proletarians of other countries, must defend their socialist fatherland with arms. Summarizing the experience of revolutions in Russia and in other countries, Lenin developed the question of the ways and forms of development of the socialist revolution. Depending on the specific historical conditions, on the correlation of class forces, the socialist revolution takes place in a non-peaceful way, i.e. in the form of the armed struggle of the proletariat and the workers following it with the exploiters, or peacefully, that is, without an armed uprising, without a civil war, or in a dialectical connection and mutual transitions of both forms of development of the revolution.
To ensure such a development of the revolution, the Bolsheviks considered it possible to agree to a temporary agreement with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. Lenin wrote: “Only in the name of this peaceful development of the revolution — an opportunity extremely rare in history and extremely valuable, an opportunity extremely rare, only in the name of its Bolsheviks, supporters of the world revolution, advocates of revolutionary methods, can and should, in my opinion, go to such a compromise” [Ленин, 41]. The new theory of the socialist revolution developed by V. I. Lenin was a vivid example of the creative development of Marxism, a classic example of scientific foresight. All the provisions of the Leninist theory of the socialist revolution, developed during the First World War, were confirmed by the course of events. Initially, the socialist revolution triumphed in one single country, in Russia. The revolutionary proletariat of Russia had to endure a long war against internal reaction and the imperialist states.
The victorious country of socialism has become a stronghold of the world labor movement, the success of which is evidenced by the existence of a mighty camp of socialist countries.
An examination of the complex of views of Lenin on the state and power must begin with the question of the class nature of the state. The very first paragraph of the first chapter of “The State and the Revolution” is devoted to this question — admittedly the main work that contains a theoretically systematic exposition of the corresponding Leninist ideas.
Pure classiness is an innate, inalienable and all determining, according to Lenin, feature of such a social establishment as the state acts. It is intrinsic to him for several reasons.
The first reason, of these, is the embodiment in the state of the antagonism of classes that has split society since the establishment in it of private property and public groups with conflicting economic interests. Lenin calls the most important and fundamental point the thesis that “the state is a product and a manifestation of the intransigence of class contradictions” [Ленин, 55]. The second half of this thesis (“the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class contradictions”) is highly characteristic of Lenin’s understanding of the state as a different being (in special institutional forms) of a class-antagonistic society.
The second reason, under the influence of which the state is by its nature a class establishment, is the acquisition of the state apparatus (and above all of the upper echelons of state power) by people from the ruling class. At the same time, Lenin notes that by no means the entire state apparatus is filled entirely by people from this class. The composition of the administration of the Russian autocracy serves as an example to him that the bureaucracy (especially the bureaucracy occupied with the discharge of executive functions) can also be recruited from other social strata.
The third reason, making the state, according to Lenin, an organization through and through with the class (or rather, the organization of the ruling class) is the implementation by the state machine of a policy that is pleasing and advantageous mainly to the ruling class, which meets its fundamental economic, political and ideological interests. Lenin very rarely notes that the activity of the state satisfies many of the needs of society, is also aimed at solving national problems, etc. Such restraint is due not to the absence of such activity itself. Simply, Lenin recognizes it as insignificant, tertiary, not typical of the state. Indisputable, although extremely specific, Lenin’s contribution to the interpretation of the named Marxist idea. He insisted: “The essence of Marx’s teachings on the state is learned only by those who understand that the dictatorship of one class is necessary… for any class society in general…” [Ленин, 58] The essence of all states, without the slightest exception, is no matter how diverse (including democratic) their forms may be, in the final analysis, one is the dictatorship of the class. This (if you like) is the “iron law” of the state’s existence, which under no circumstances can be canceled, mitigated, or outwitted.
Lenin sees the concrete content of the phenomenon of “class dictatorship” as follows. Firstly, the dictatorship of a class is its power, i.e. his domination over all other social groups, uncontested submission to his will and interests of behavior, actions of all members of society. Secondly, such a dictatorship includes the support of the power of the ruling class directly on the violence used in a variety of forms. Lenin especially singles out the moment of violence as one of the necessary components of a dictatorship. Thirdly, an indispensable sign of the dictatorship of the class is its complete “emancipation”, perfect incoherence by any laws. Here are his words: “Dictatorship is power based directly on violence, not bound by any laws”. “The scientific concept of dictatorship means nothing but unlimited, no laws, absolutely no rules constrained, based on violence based on power” [Сорокин, 67]. Lenin thereby on behalf of Marxism gives past, modern and future states indulgence to be anti-legal and even illegal social institutions.
The flip side of the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of the essence of the state as a class dictatorship is the perception and appreciation of democracy, freedom, law, the principles of humanism, in particular those established in the pre-socialist era, as insignificant components of socio-political life. From Lenin’s point of view, almost all that they are capable of is being agents of the dictatorship of the class, covering it with externally attractive attributes and thereby misleading the working people, the masses, hiding the oppressive nature of the state from them.
In the days of Lenin, they were, first and foremost, the institutions and norms of democracy prevailing in the developed capitalist countries. “Bourgeois democracy,” he wrote, “being a great historical progress compared to the Middle Ages, it always remains — and under capitalism it cannot but remain: narrow, trimmed, false, hypocritical, a haven for the rich, a trap and a deceit for the exploited, for the poor”.
Lenin believes in a capitalist society, democracy is democracy for the rich because it does not ensure the de facto equality of the exploiter with the exploited, because in this society the representative of the oppressed mass is deprived of such material opportunities to practically enjoy freedom of speech and assembly, the right to participate in state affairs, etc., which the wealthy have people.
It is significant that the question of freedom, taken in all its aspects and realized only through the institutions of democracy and law, Lenin throughout his revolutionary activities remained generally indifferent. He was generally an anti-liberal. Despised liberalism rejected it. All of this was probably due to the weakness of Russian democratic traditions; instrumental, service-class approach to democracy made itself felt; probably influenced by the understanding of democracy on the Russo-Jacobin spirit — as the supremacy, sovereignty of the people, and not as the political and legal space necessary for the realization of the rights and freedoms of the individual, each individual.
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