In order to get rid of exploitation and national oppression, unemployment and poverty, the proletariat has to destroy capitalism and establish socialist society. This can be achieved only through a socialist revolution. A socialist revolution radically differs from all the preceding types of social revolution. What is the difference?
Firstly, all previous revolutions did not aim to abolish exploitation, but merely modified its forms. A socialist revolution, however, abolishes every exploitation for all time and ushers in the era of construction of a classless society.
Secondly, previous revolutions did not have to create a new economy. They only brought political power into line with the new economic relations which arose within the old society. One of the principal tasks of a socialist revolution is to create a new economy, the economy of socialism which does not arise within the womb of capitalism. Thirdly, no revolution is marked by as much great activity of the people as a socialist revolution. In the course of it the proletariat rallies around itself the broad sections of the working people and the democratic forces to fight against capitalism and for socialism.
The working class is the decisive force of a socialist revolution. Headed by the Marxist-Leninist Party, the proletariat, being the most advanced and revolutionary class, leads all the working people who are fighting against the old capitalist society. It organizes the attack on capitalism, which holds political sway, and establishes its own rule. Having seized political power, the working class continues to guide all working people along the socialist road.
The main question of a socialist revolution is the winning of political power by the proletariat and its further development and consolidation. We know that the working class can discharge its mission, abolish capitalism and build a new society, only by creating its own proletarian state. The destruction of the bourgeois state machine and building of a new proletarian state are the principal tasks of the socialist revolution.
Reformists have always opposed the socialist revolution. They are particularly obstinate in their attempts to refute the Marxist-Leninist theory of the socialist revolution at the present time, when mankind’s movement from capitalism to socialism is the main feature of history. In order to prevent this law-governed process at all costs, preserve capitalism and divert the working class from revolutionary struggle, the reformists claim that in present-day conditions there is no need for a socialist revolution, that the possibility has arisen for the evolution from capitalism to socialism through reforms. Contemporary capitalism, they maintain, has ceased to be the capitalism of which Marx wrote in Capital; it has become “people”s capitalism”, a society without exploiters and exploited. The bourgeois state, too, has changed: they claim that it has lost its class nature and has become a “welfare state” capable of bringing about socialism by reforms within the framework-of the existing political system.
The views of the reformists who deny the need for a socialist revolution have been taken up by contemporary revisionists. The growth of state-monopoly planning and regulation of economy in a number of capitalist countries is their main argument attesting to the conversion of contemporary capitalism into socialism. They regard the mounting state-monopoly tendencies in capitalist countries as graphic proof that mankind has entered the era of socialism.
Revisionists do not even toy with the idea of destroying the cornerstone of capitalism, private property; they refuse to see that state-monopoly capitalism which they extol, far from abolishing, only concentrates property in the hands of the capitalist state, and even if it has any plans they are designed solely to sweat the working people even more “systematically”. They deny the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution and the need for a proletarian state.
Facts show that no “people’s capitalism”, capitalism without exploiters, no “welfare state” exists under imperialism, nor could there be any. Imperialism possesses an extremely reactionary nature expressed in greater exploitation of the working class, a frenzied drive on the standard of living and democratic rights of the working people, the arms race and preparations for another world war. All this inevitably deepens the antagonism between the working class and all the working people, on the one hand, and the bourgeoisie, on the other, which is expressed in sharper class struggles, wider popular movements against imperialism, for an improvement of their standard of living, for peace, democracy and socialism. This struggle naturally leads to the victorious socialist revolution, to the abolition of capitalism and to the victory of socialism.
The socialist revolution is inevitable in the epoch of imperialism. Only the proletarian revolution is capable of removing capitalist production relations, the formidable obstacle to the development of the modern productive forces, to mankind’s progress, and of meeting the most pressing requirements of historical development. And although imperialism is still strong enough and superprofits enable it to bribe the upper crust of the working class, although bourgeois ideologists and their revisionist aides so far succeed in addling the minds of part of the working people, capitalism is historically doomed.