Arthur MacManus

The Third Anniversary

Source: The Communist, August 19, 1920.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

This week is the third anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and the occasion has a special interest for the Communist Party. It sees in the Revolution the circumstances which caused its coming into being, and in observing the progress made since that time it can, to a certain extent at least, visualise the paths that lie ahead of it, and the difficulties which it will have to overcome. The history of the events of the Revolution contain for us not only the lessons derived from the actions of the masses, but the experiences undergone and the tactics pursued by the Communist Party in Russia, hold many lessons which we in this country would be foolish to ignore.

The destructive character of such a revolution may be said to be determined according to the impulse of the revolutionary surge, but its constructive character and extent are in the main determined by the mental clarity in both vision and tactics of the minority in its vanguard. As a Communist Party, this latter has for us more that is of ultimate value and importance than even the former may be said to contain, as innumerable causes may lead to the initial steps of the revolution, but only the clear-sightedness of the Communist Party can ensure that it will consummate in a successful social revolution. In so far, therefore, as the Russian Communist Party was the advance guard of the revolution, and the only organisation to be found in Russia capable either in policy or courage to stand at the head of the greatest event in history, the Socialist Movement internationally will fail in its most onerous duty if it neglects to profit from the experiences of that country. The acid test of a political party is not its theoretical correctness when subjected to abstract logical examination, but the extent to which its political theories, can be harnessed and adapted to such rapidly changing economic conditions as generally mark periods of social revolution. In the past we in this country have been victims to the grave error in historic reasoning, of first shaping out in terms of principles the goal we were aiming at, and then endeavouring to construct the machinery of the new order in terms of these principles, instead of according to the nature of the social conditions of the period. This of course does not mean the period previous to, or even the first outbreak of the destructive side of the revolution, as some of our schools of political thought in this country would assume, but the period when the first protective step of the revolution is called for. A study of the circumstances of the Russian Revolution reveals that the most essential equipment of any revolutionary party is a policy which will guide and co-ordinate the forces of the mass during the task of destroying the vital threads and sinews of capitalism, and which will enable the taking of such protective measures by the mass as will ward off the forces of counter-revolution, while setting about the work of reconstruction. It is the aggregate social conditions existing during this period of transition which should, and will, determine the character of the constructive machinery, in accordance with, of course, the goal in mind. In forcibly bringing this lesson home to the Socialist vanguard of the working class the world over, and in insisting upon its appreciation before affiliation to the Third International will be accepted, the Communist Party of Russia has done more to ensure the ultimate success of the world revolution than those at present snarling at that Party have the wit to perceive. The working class itself, when it awakens to the realities of the long and arduous march to emancipation will not fail to give full recognition and place to the Communist Party, of Russia for its contribution to the consummation of an International Working-Class Republic.

Greetings and Salutations to the Communist Party of Russia, is not the least obligation of the movement of this country in commemoration of the Revolution.