Memorandum Appendix XVII. World Revolution.
[Bolshevist Program, from Chapter XIX of Pamphlet entitled "Program of Communists," by N. Bukharin; July 24,1918.
The program of the Communist Party is the program not only of liberating the proletariat of one country; it is the program of liberating the proletariat of the world, for such is the program of the "International Revolution." At the same time it is the program of liberating all smaller, oppressed countries and peoples. Those robbers, the "Great Powers" (England, Germany, Japan, and America) have stolen an immense quantity of lands and peoples. They divided the world between themselves. It is not surprising that in these stolen countries the workmen and toilers are suffering under double pressure, under the pressure of their own bourgeois as well as under the pressure of the conquerors. The Tsar's Russia also stole many countries and peoples; that is why our "empire" is so enormous. Therefore among many of our so-called "aliens" and also among some of the non-Russian proletariat there was no faith in the Great-Russians. * * * For the definite victory of the workmen's revolution a complete mutual confidence between the different parts of the proletariat is all important. It must be pointed out and proved that the proletariat of the oppressing nation was a faithful ally of the proletariat of other nations. In Russia the dominant nation was the Great-Russian, who conquered the Finns, Tartars, Little-Russians, Armenians, Georgians, Poles, and many other peoples. It is natural that even among the proletariat of these peoples there exists a wrong conception concerning every Russian. They have been accustomed to see how the Tsar forcibly used Russians, and because of that have believed all Russians, even the members of the proletariat, to be of the kind.
Therefore, in order to create a brotherly union between the different divisions of the proletariat, the communist program announces the right of working classes of every nation to complete separation. That is to say, the Russian workman who has the power, says to workmen of other peoples living in Russia: "Comrades, if you do not care to become members of our Soviet Republic, if you desire to form your own Soviet Republic, do so. We give you the full right to do so. We do not wish to hold you by force a single minute."
Only by such tactics it is possible to win the confidence of the whole proletariat. We have only to imagine what would happen in case the Great-Russian Soviets should keep in subjection the working classes of other nations, and the latter should protect themselves with arms. It is evident that this would mean the entire failure of the proletarian movement, the complete collapse of the revolution. It is impossible to act in this way, for, we repeat, a brotherly union of proletarians is the one guarantee of victory.
We do not speak of the right of self-determination of nations (i. e., of their bourgeoise and their workmen), but only of the right of the working classes. Therefore, the so-called "will of the nation" is not sacred for us. Should we wish to learn the will of the nation, we would be forced to call a Constituent Assembly of the nation. For us, the will of the proletariat and of the semiproletarian masses is sacred. * * * During the dictatorship of the proletariat, not the will of the Constituent Assembly, but the will of the Soviets of the working people decides the question. And if at the same time in two different parts of Russia two assemblies should be called, a Constituent Assembly and a Congress of Soviets, and the former should against the will of the latter proclaim a "separation," we will defend the latter with all means, using armed force if necessary.
That is the manner in which the proletarian party decides the question of different peoples of the same country. But then comes up the broader question of its international program. The way is clear here. It is the way of the world-wide support of the international revolution, of revolutionary propaganda, of strikes and rebellions in imperialistic countries, of uprisings in the colonies of these countries.
In the imperialistic countries (and such are all of them, except Russia, where the workmen have smashed the rule of capital) that section of the Social-Democrats which stands for the defense of the country is one of the most serious obstacles. It is even now setting forth the idea of defending the country (robbers' country), telling different lies to the wide working classes. It pursues our friends, the German, Austrian, and English Bolsheviks, who are the only ones who contemptuously reject the idea of defending the bourgeoise countries. It wails over the decomposition of the (robber) army. The situation of the Soviet Republic is quite an exceptional one. It is the only state organization of the proletariat in the whole world, among the robber organizations of the bourgeoise. Therefore it alone has the right to be defended. Moreover, it must be regarded as the fighting weapon of the universal proletariat against the universal bourgeoise. The fighting slogan of this struggle is quite clear now. It is the International Soviet Republic.
The overthrowing of imperialistic governments by armed uprisings and the organization of an International Soviet Republic is the way of the international dictatorship of the working class.
The most forceful way to maintain the international revolution is by the organization of the armed forces of revolution. All workmen of all countries, who are not blinded by traitor Socialists, by their Socialist Revolutionaries and their Mensheviks (and these are found in each country) see in the workmen's revolution in Russia and in the Soviet authority their own cause. Why? Because they see that the Soviet authority is the authority of the workmen themselves. It would be quite different if the bourgeoisie, assisted by the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, should overthrow the Soviets, should call the Constituent Assembly and through it should recreate the bourgeois authority, for example, as it existed before the October revolution. Then the working class would lose its country for it would lose its power. Then inevitably the banks would be returned to bankers, the factories to manufacturers, the land to the landowners. The land of "profits" would then revive. And the workmen would have no interest to protect such a country. On the other hand, the workmen of Western Europe would be unable to find in bourgeois Russia a lighthouse, which lights them in their hard struggle. The development of the international revolution would be checked.
On the other hand, the strengthening of the Soviet authority, the organization of armed forces of the workmen and poorest peasants, the organization of resistance to international robbers who are going against Soviet Russia as enemies, because they are members of different classes, such as landowners and capitalists, like a band of "hangmen of the workmen's revolution," and finally the organization of the Red Army would strengthen the revolutionary movement in European countries. The better we are organized, the stronger the armed detachments of workmen and peasants, the more powerful the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia, the more quickly will the international revolution come.
This revolution will inevitably come, despite the efforts of German, Austrian, French and English Mensheviks. The working masses in Russia have cut all relations with the compromisers. The workmen of all Europe will do, and in fact are already doing, the same. The slogan of overthrowing robber governments and of the dictatorship of workmen is winning more and more sympathy. Sooner or later we will have the International Republic of Soviets.
This International Soviet Republic will liberate from oppression hundreds of millions of inhabitants of colonies. The "civilized" robber powers tortured the population of colonial countries by a regime of terror. European civilization was maintained by exploitation and by stealing small peoples in distant countries. The latter will be liberated only by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Just as the Russian Soviet authority has actually proved that it is not willing to continue the colonial policy (for instance Persia) so the European workmen, after overthrowing the rule of the bankers, will give complete freedom to the exploited and oppressed classes. Therefore, the program of our party, which is the program of international revolution, is at the same time the program of complete liberation of the weak and oppressed. The great class - the working class - sets itself great tasks. It also is solving these tasks in a bloody, torturing and heroic fight.