A core principle of socialism with national characteristics

While working on another project, I came across a couple of statements that embody one of the core principles of socialism with national characteristics:

Hence, in order not to err in policy, in order not to find itself in the position of idle dreamers, the party of the proletariat must not base its activities on abstract “principles of human reason,” but on the concrete conditions of the material life of society, as the determining force of social development; not on the good wishes of “great men,” but on the real needs of development of the material life of society.

The result:

Hence Socialism is converted from a dream of a better future for humanity into a science.

As Losurdo often puts it: the move from utopia to science is the move from populism to socialism.

Footnote: the quotations come from none other than an interesting and under-studied work called History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): Short Course.

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6 thoughts on “A core principle of socialism with national characteristics

  1. If the movement totally lack utopian ideas/projectes/hints, like today’s socialist movement, then what good is a science? I have never been persuaded by socialist anti-utopianism. And I like populism, the heart of politics. But the qoute was nice to read anyway!

    1. Good point, since one can develop a more dialectical reading of populism, but even more utopianism (as Bloch did). The warm stream can never be lost, but the danger alluded to in the quotations is that it takes over and leads to disaster. The implicit distinction that fascinates me is between the time leading up to a successful revolution and the actual exercise of power – socialism in power is for me far more interesting, Hence my engagement in China. And in this context a good deal of careful science and planning is needed, without losing touch with the warm stream.

  2. 100% Pure Marxism. As Lenin put it “‘Onze leer is geen dogma, maar een leidraad voor het handelen, zo hebben Marx en Engels steeds gesproken en terecht de spot gedreven met het van buiten leren en het domweg herhalen van formules, die in het beste geval slechts kunnen dienen om een algemene taak aan te wijzen, die noodzakelijk door de concrete economische en politieke situatie in elke afzonderlijke etappe van het historische proces wijzigingen ondergaat… Men moet zich die onbetwistbare waarheid inprenten, dat een Marxist met het levende leven, met de precieze feiten van de werkelijkheid rekening moet houden en zich niet aan de theorie van de dag van gisteren moet blijven vastklampen’…
    W.I. Lenin, Tegen het dogmatisme en sectarisme in de arbeidersbeweging, uitgeverij Progres, Moskou, 1991, blz. 93-97.” (Sorry for the not-English quote). I don’t see anything about national characteristics in these quote(‘s).

    1. ‘Our business is to help get everything possible done to make sure the “last” chance for a peaceful development of the revolution, to help by the presentation of our programme, by making clear its national character, its absolute accord with the interests and demands of a vast majority of the population’ (Lenin, 1917 [1964]. “The Tasks of the Revolution.” In Collected Works, Vol. 26, 59-68. Moscow: Progress Publishers, p. 60).

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