Why is the Working Class Not Up to a Decisive Struggle?

By Felix Gorelik, Northstar Compass, August 1998

Why is the Soviet working class accommodating its masters, when for more than 6–8 months, they do not receive pay for work done? I'm a street agitator. Many times, I tried to explain and agitate the workers at enterprises and mines. My impressions are very negative and disappointing. My understanding at the moment is the Soviet workers are not ready for a political, revolutionary struggle. Why is this so?

1. Under Soviet times, they were helped by the party, governmental agencies. They did not have to struggle or protest, since all things were done in order to help the working class achieve a good standard of living, health care, vacations, culture. They just had to approach any district office of CPSU or other agencies and their requests were fulfilled as well as possible. Therefore, the working class lost all manner of experience to struggle, to have to organize to defend their rights. At the present, there is no outright determination as yet for struggle on the country-wide scale that is needed to achieve their goals. The Soviet workers did not yet learn what is meant to be in a class struggle!

2. The working class still cannot overcome the shock of the traitorous acts by the top leadership of the CPSU and to the new changes that have taken place. The favourite saying is this: “All this was done by the Communists! The present government that is ruling is Communist as before!” Formally, the workers are correct. Was it not the General Secretary of the CPSU (Gorbachev) that dismembered the USSR and CPSU? Gorbachev, members of the Politburo of CPSU, secretaries of CC CPSU in all of the former Soviet Republics … they all dismembered the Soviet Union … they all were the leaders of the counter-revolution who are now instigating the “reforms”; and today, they are presidents, heads of government, heads of banks, private enterprises, stock exchanges, etc., etc. Workers now have a hard time to realize who is a Communist and who is pretending to be a “Communist”. The workers know that after 1953, these “Communists” got themselves all sorts of privileges, and then they sold the Motherland and became again the “owners with privileges”. “We do not believe any more, anyone!”—these are words often heard spoken by the workers.

When you try to agitate them to take part in political actions for socialism, they say: “If you come to power, you shall be the same as the present regime!”

We need personalities, leaders like Victor Anpilov, who, by his personal courage and example, is dedicated, brave, who will again make this noble word “Communist” clean from the dirt that was and is being piled on it. Present government leaders are trying by all means to diminish the effectiveness of Anpilov. They bribe some leaders with high pay, privileges, they get them elected into the Russian Duma or Supreme Soviet of Ukraine … thus, the effectiveness of these deputies (communists) is undermined in the eyes of the workers.

The opportunistic position of Gennady Zyuganov and many deputies-communists, who vote to support the present regime of Yeltsin, voting for approval of the devastating Financial Budget in Russia or to accept the unconstitutional Constitution of Ukraine—this is another blow to the authority of communists.

Therefore, the lack of personal or class history of struggle, not being able to throw off the constantly promoted mirage of “market reforms,” illusions promoted by daily TV and press, loss of workers' authority—all this gives an image of communists as unreliable—this is the first step.

Former leaders of trade unions, who were very ably accommodating the former directors of enterprises, are now also co-operating with the present capitalist class, selling the working class down the economic tube. The new labour leaders who came to the fore during 1980's are sick with anti-communism, do not want to co-operate with honest dedicated communists. What is needed is to get on our side the lower ranks of trade unions, on the factory floor of enterprises, the activists and to change the top leadership of most of these so-called “trade union leaders”.

With the threat of unemployment, these leaders play on the fears of the workers. Due to this situation of fear, uncertainty, each worker tries to save his job in order to feed his family, the workers are now so disoriented that they do not trust one another; amongst them are constant spies for the private and government sectors—these stool pigeons report back to the head of the trade union committee, to the owners (many foreign) about any plans for demonstrations or work stoppages and strikes.

But in spite of the above, the workers are beginning to think about the present situation … all these factors are beginning to dispel the built-up illusions, they start to think as to why this catastrophe happened; realizing the difference between careerists in the trade union leadership who were the main army inside the CPSU after 1953 … these underground “communists-Leninists,” who were the ones who dismembered and sold out, liquidated the CPSU and the USSR.

Is there no other road to bring up the revolutionary spirit of the working class except agitation and constant explanation?

Yes, there is!

There is another reserve of people who, together with the working class, can accomplish greatness! This is work among the army! V.I. Lenin was able to be successful because the Bolsheviks were able to agitate, work amongst and convince soldiers and sailors.

Today, there is a mass elimination of educated Officers in the Army and Navy; between 600,000-800,000 officers are being eliminated! Officers sometimes do not get paid, when the army is in a critical situation, when the officers' wives are forced to demonstrate to feed the family and close off roads to the army bases รพ it is the officers who are capable of starting a revolution as was done in many countries such as Portugal when the “Movement of Captains” was successful.

It is no wonder that Yeltsin is constantly removing, changing Generals and high ranking Officers … he is afraid of the army. Yeltsin is dismembering the army as such, forming “Palace Guards” who are loyal to him and his administration. They also kill officers who are known to be agitating by arranging “Manoeuver Accidents”.

The new generals that he appoints he buys off with pay and perks, giving medals indiscriminately. But the middle officer cadres are solid. It is from this section that future “Decembrists” must come from. These officers must choose either the present regime or the Motherland; support the present traitors or put their lot with the working class and a revolutionary outburst to help the people. If they shall await better days, or if they are still under an illusion that they too might receive a higher rank, they shall find themselves more likely on the streets without any defense, housing, money, profession or medical help.

Bolsheviks must organize amongst the middle officers their cells, who will be prepared at the right moment to help the working class regain socialism and the resurrection of the Soviet Union. This movement shall immediately be supported by the working class who will see their allies!

Of course, those “communists” who now support the present regime shall not support the actions of the officers and workers. This then shall be seen by the working class as a traitorous act and the lessons will be learnt as to who is who!

I can truthfully state that talking among many, many officers, there are many who are ready to take resolute action, if there was such an organization amongst the officers. The position and speeches by present General Rokhlin shows the correctness of this method of action—and action such as this is finding more and more receptive understanding amongst the officers!