100 years of revolution and anti-imperialist struggle! (answers)

December 3, 2017

The correct answers (for everyone except the Trump administration):

1. D

Lenin and the Bolsheviks correctly interpreted World War I as a contest between imperialist powers struggling for new territory and global power.  In such a contest, they argued, the international working class movement should unite against the war and turn against their respective imperialist governments.  Since those governments were already weakened, socialist revolution was a possibility.  The Bolsheviks implemented this strategy.  Other parties of the Second International did not, preferring instead to unite with their national ruling classes in support of the war.  This led to the discredit of the Second International and the founding of the Third, or Communist, International.

2. C

In “State and Revolution”, Lenin draws heavily on Marx’s analysis of the Paris Commune.  For Marx, the primary lesson of the Commune was that workers cannot win their emancipation within the state and governmental structures used by the capitalist class to keep them in subjection.  Lenin argues that bourgeois, or capitalist, democracy protects the interest of the capitalist class.  Therefore, socialist revolution must replace the bourgeois republic with a form of government that will allow the working class to wield state power to strip the capitalist class of its privileges and legal protections.

3. F

Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century was a hotbed of mystical sects, philosophical tendencies, nationalist groups, and socialist organizations all advocating revolution (of one form or another).  From this chaos, the Bolsheviks emerged as the leaders of a victorious revolutionary uprising, holding majorities in the workers’ councils (soviets).  Their success was due in large part to Lenin’s ability to translate the Marxist understanding of class struggle and proletarian revolution into a concrete organizational form. Owing to the low level of education among Russian workers in 1902, Lenin argued that revolutionary middle-class intellectuals would be required to provide theoretical leadership.  Today, however, wage-workers on the whole are much more educated, meaning that even the intellectual and theoretical needs of a revolutionary movement can develop within the working class itself, rather than coming from outside.

4. C

The Comintern’s approach to anti-imperialist was based on the understanding that class struggle of workers in the advanced capitalist countries is entwined with the liberation struggles of colonized people, in several ways.  First, their economic fates are linked economically and politically because the same monopolies backed by the same governments carried on the exploitation of workers in the advanced capitalist world and the pillage of colonized regions.  Their interests are linked from an ideological perspective, as well, since the capitalist class uses the division between ‘native’ and ‘foreign’ workers to obscure class conflict behind a fog of national chauvinism.  National liberation struggles in regions under imperialist domination are inseparable from the class struggle of the international working class.

5. B

The Bolshevik revolution succeeded against the most daunting obstacles.  It had to build an utterly new form of working class democracy in a country with almost no democratic tradition; it had to negotiate Russia’s immediate withdrawal from World War I; it had, in addition, to allocate resources to feed, clothe, and shelter people in a nation bled dry and starving after three years of brutal war.  Accomplishing these things alone would have been hard enough–but the capitalist powers would not give the revolution even a moment to secure its footing.  The Bolsheviks’ Red Army had to fight (and win) a civil war against reactionary forces reinforced by 50,000 well-equipped troops provided by the Great Britain, the United States, and other capitalist powers.  And still it succeeded.

Score: 1  wrong: Developed Marxist form a study group, join the party; 2 to 3 wrong: class conscious worker – study harder; 4 to 5 wrong study, study and then study some more lest you be influenced by Trump!




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