Marxist IQ: What is the “Democratic Revolution?”

BY:Communist Party USA| October 10, 2018
Marxist IQ: What is the “Democratic Revolution?”


“Whoever wants to reach Socialism by a different road, other than that of political democracy, will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense.”  Such was Lenin’s concise explanation of why the Russian working class had to join the struggle for democracy in 1905–a struggle that would require it to work alongside democratic forces from the bourgeoisie.   Here’s a quiz on Lenin’s Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution and what lessons it has for us today.

1. Lenin wrote Two Tactics in 1905, during a period of insurrection against the autocratic regime of Tsar Nicolas II – a period that offers many parallels to our own.  Which of these features of the tsarist autocracy is NOT a defining feature of the Trump-GOP regime in the United States?

a.  Strong support from reactionary religious organizations, who represented the ruler as chosen by God;
b. State policy based on national chauvinism and persecution of national minorities;
c. Heriditary transfer of power;
d. A ruler who claimed that his decrees were the will of the people, who spoke through him;
e. Ultra-conservative groups using violence, and threats of violence, against opponents of the regime.


2. Lenin refers to the outbreak of the  1905 revolution as a democratic revolution, rather than a socialist one. What are the main aims of a democratic revolution?

a. Popular sovereignty vested in a government elected via universal suffrage;
b. Democratization of the economy;
c. Legal and political equality for all citizens;
d. All of the above;
e.  (A) and (C), but not (B).

3. In Marxist thought the “democratic revolution” refers to:

a. The bourgeois democratic revolutions of 1776 in the U. S. and after 1848 in Europe;
b. The epoch of the establishment of capitalist socioeconomic formation and the transition from capitalism to socialism worldwide;
c. Bernie Sanders “Our Revolution” and the struggle to defeat the Establishment;
d. The establishment of the constitutional republic and universal suffrage.


4. One of the questions examined in Two Tactics is the political independence of the working class, and how to win it.  How do we measure the political independence of the working class?

a. By its ability to shape the broad social movements in which it participates;
b. By its refusal to compromise its integrity through coalition work;
c. By how ready the masses seem to reject ‘politics as usual’;
d. By splits between rank-and-file and leadership in trade unions;
e. By whether or not the Communist Party proclaims that independence.


5. In Two Tactics, Lenin consistently warns about demands that sound radical, but actually concede power to the bourgeoisie.  All of the following, except one, are radical-sounding positions that actually weaken the working class. Which one of these positions accurately represents the interests of the working class?

a. Voting just gives legitimacy to this rotten system!  Withhold your vote and it will fall!
b. Only a united, organized, politically disciplined working class can overthrow capitalism;
c. The hypocrisy of the Democrats is just as dangerous as the openly reactionary agenda of the Republicans;
d. Right now, the most important thing is to run our own (Communist) candidates, to educate workers about their real interests;
e. Maybe Trump’s victory was a good thing, since it shows workers how brutal and violent capitalism really is.  People are finally waking up!


6. In the US the democratic revolution’s main content was completed by:

a. The defeat of the British;
b. The defeat of the Confederacy and the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15h amendments;
c. The New Deal;
d. The victory of women’s suffrage; the Civil Rights Movement beginning with Brown v. Board and the passing of the  Fair Housing, and Voting Rights Acts;
e. The election of Barak Obama.



Check your answers here, and register for the webinar on Lenin’s Two Tactics.  Sunday, October 14, 8 PM Eastern.



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