Women and the Permanent Revolution
[First Printed in Workers Vanguard No. 17, March 1973]
For Marxists the emancipation of women from their special oppression is a precise gauge of the degree to which a society has been purged of social oppression as a whole. This interrelationship was first formulated by the utopian socialist Fourier:
"The change in a historical epoch can always be determined by the progress of women towards freedom, because in the relations of woman to man, of the weak to the strong, the victory of human nature over brutality is most evident. The degree of emancipation of women.is the natural measure of general emancipation."
- Theorie des Quatre Mouvements
Fourier was paraphrased by Marx in The Holy Family
"The relation of man to woman, is the most natural relation of human being to human being. It indicates therefore, how far man's natural behavior has become human, and how far his human essence has become a natural essence for him, how far his human nature has become nature for him."
In a blunter and more succinct fashion, Marx repeated the same point 23 years later in a letter to Kugelmann: "social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, (the ugly ones included)."
Monogamous Family Emerges
One of the ironies of history is that the origin of the special oppression of women is rooted in one of the earliest social advances-the development of human technology beyond the day-to-day struggle for bare subsistence characteristic of hunting and gathering societies. With the introduction of cattle breeding, metal working, weaving and, lastly, agriculture, human labor power became capable of producing a substantial social surplus. Under the impact of these technological developments, the institution under which labor power is reproduced, the family, underwent a profound transformation. As Marx and Engels pointed out in The German Ideology, the propagation of the species engendered the first division of labor between man and woman. Because of women's procreative functions, the lot of childbearing, child rearing and general domestic tasks fell to them. The household was the general sphere of woman's activity. However, the development of technology, domestication of animals (including other humans, usually war prisoners or slaves) and the land, and the development of tools took place in the general sphere of man's activity, and it was he that appropriated the concomitant expansion in social wealth. Thus, the advent of private property and the need to transfer this property through inheritance gave rise to the patriarchal law of inheritance and law of descent. The monogamous family was developed to ensure the paternity of the children, with the incumbent seclusion of the wife to ensure her fidelity. Seclusion meant an exclusion from public life and social production.
"Monogamous marriage was a great historical step forward; nevertheless, together with slavery and private wealth, it opens the period that has lasted until today in which every step forward is also relatively a step backward, in which prosperity and development for some is won through the misery and frustration of others."
-Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
Prior to the growth of private property and the monogamous family, arms, like tools and property, were held in common. However, with the development of private ownership in the means of production and procreation, and the polarization of society into economic classes, weapons became monopolized by bodies of men separated from the rest of society. These armed bodies of men constituted the essence of the state. While appearing to stand above classes, the state is in reality the instrument whereby the dominant economic class in each epoch maintains its hegemony. The ancient state was the state of the slaveowners for holding down the slaves, the feudal state was the organ of the nobility for holding down the peasant serfs and bondsmen, and the modern, "democratic" state is the instrument of the capitalist class to maintain its dominance and ability to exploit labor.
In each epoch the family, like the state, has been principally an institution for perpetuating the dominant property form and the dominant economic class. For the slave, serf and wage slave-i.e., for those social classes without property to inherit or defend-the social institutions of inheritance and defense, the family and the gendarme, are principally institutions of subjugation.
Limitations of Bourgeois Progressivism
With the advent of industrial capitalism, the family entered a state of relative dissolution. In order to drive down wages, capitalism sought to lower the cost of producing and reproducing labor power through drawing the entire family into the labor process. This meant breaking down the guild structure, at first through "piecing out" work to individual families, and then by concentrating them into industrial sites and company towns. In countries with belated capitalist development, such as tsarist Russia, guilds and the development of home industry were skipped, and serfs drawn directly into large, bleak company towns.
The return of women to social production provides the precondition to their social emancipation, but under capitalism it meant the further enslavement and degradation of women, as they were forced to take on wage slavery in addition to their domestic slavery. Unable and unwilling to provide social substitutes for the economic role of the family, however, the capitalists encouraged women to return to the domicile and kitchen with consciously generated propaganda in favor of the family and religion. Thus capitalism expanded the productive forces and laid the technological basis for the socialization of domestic work and the replacement of the family as an economic unit, but was and is unable to accomplish this replacement, just as it laid the basis for the international socialization of the means of production, but still cannot eliminate national boundaries.
Capitalism depends for its survival on the traditional, archaic social institutions of class rule: private property, the monogamous family and the nation-state. As the productive forces generated by capitalism increase, they strain against the bounds set up by the social institutions upon which the system depends, and the capitalist class becomes more vi rulent in trying to shore .up and reinforce institutions which become increasingly more reactionary. The capitalist- backed trend of women out of the plants and back to the domicile reached its zenith in the Nazi campaign for woman's enslavement to "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche,"" children, kitchen, church."
The bourgeois revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries, which cleared away feudal institutions from the path of capitalist development, replaced social relations based on obligations and privileges with those based on contractual equality, and thus had a profound effect on the family. Equality of rights between the sexes was given expression by the bourgeois revolution's most radical ideological advocates, especially in regard to the ownership and inheritance of property. But even in the realm of formal legality, the bourgeoisie was frightened by the consequences of its own revolution and immediately dug into the medieval past for archaic institutions with which to stabilize its rule. Thus, the French Revolution was followed by a further political counterrevolution, a Thermidor in which the agents of the bourgeois revolution, the rural poor and the urban sans-culottes, were disinherited. Thermidor in terms of the family and the special oppression of women was provided by the Code Napoleon, which made women the property of their husbands, requiring a woman to obtain her husband's permission in order, for example, to obtain a passport, make a will or sign a contract.
In a similar fashion the equality of nations proclaimed by the bourgeois revolution was subordinated to the drive of the industrially advanced nations to subjugate less developed nations in the struggle for markets and raw materials. The interrelationship between the subordination of the equality of the sexes and the equality of nations is graphically demonstrated by French imperialism. When Napoleon III thought that a higher birthrate was essential to provide workers and soldiers for expanding the French Empire, he appealed to Rome and won from the Pope a redefinition of when life begins from the traditional Catholic view that it begins when the fetus can survive outside of the womb, to the present immediatelyfollowing- conception view. This transformed abortion from a venial into a mortal sin, and on this basis Napoleon III drew up the restrictive abortion law which France has today.
Women Under Decaying Capitalism
Thus the bourgeoisie was never consistently democratic, even when the democratic tasks necessary to consolidating its class rule were on the agenda. In the epoch of imperialism, the imperialist countries have a further direct interest in suppressing the democratic and national aspirations of the colonial and semicolonial masses. Had the imperialist powers in China supported the T'ai-p'ing Rebellion (in which armed women's brigades played an important part), a modern Protestant nation might have emerged there in the last century. Instead they backed the Manchus, upon whom they were already dependent to ensure stability. The road to imperialist subjection lay through bolstering the most reactionary and repressive aspects of semi-feudal society combined with the penetration of that society by the most advanced capitalist technique.
The inability of the "national bourgeoisies" of these colonial countries to shatter the feudal past and carry through a bourgeois-democratic revolution was conclusively demonstrated in the course of the last century. The national bourgeoisie, generally recruited straight from the old nobility, and dependent on relics of the feudal past for its survival (e.g., latifundia in South America), developed as the dependent broker for imperialism. The native bourgeois classes in the colonial world were unable to separate themselves from the entanglement with imperialist domination for fear of setting off forces-principally the anti-capitalist struggle of the workers, in alliance with the peasantry-which would sweep them from power as well.
Analyzing the tasks of a revolution in tsarist Russia and their means of accomplishment, Trotsky formulated the theory of the permanent revolution. He concluded not only that proletarian leadership would be required to accomplish the basic bourgeois-democratic goals of the revolution-since the bourgeoisie was unable to take a revolutionary path against the autocracy-but also that the proletariat would have to place its own, socialist goals immediately on the agenda if the revolution were to be successful. In order to uproot feudal autocracy and colonial domination, the working class would have to uproot the bourgeois order which had grown up within, and now propped up, these institutions.
The question of women's emancipation in the Third World continues to demonstrate the truth of Trotsky's conclusions and the lessons of the Russian Revolution which they anticipated. Equal rights for women is a basic democratic right, avowed by all democracies and accepted as a goal by all "national liberation" movements. Yet the special oppression of women is grounded in the very basis of the property system itself. Just as the anti-colonial struggle which limits its goals to the establishment of an independent state fails to provide real independence from imperialist domination, so the "revolution" which stops short of overturning capitalism has proven unable to uproot women's oppression.
Bangladesh provides such shocking examples of inhuman imperialist behavior that the complete domination of the "national liberation" struggle against Pakistan by the equally reactionary, rival Indian imperialists is forgotten. Yet this fact absolutely precluded the accomplishment of any democratic tasks by that movement. Among the victims of the struggle over Bangladesh were 200,000 Bengali women who were systematically gang-raped by the West Pakistani army. Marshal Khan's troops then had the heads of these women shorn, a mark of disgrace in Bengali society. The women were then turned loose, only to be rejected and massacred by their husbands, brothers and fathers as Sheik Rahman, former feminist Indira Gandhi's faithful seneschal, came to power. The state that emerged behind the bayonets of the Indian army proved no more liberating for the women of Bangladesh than the regime which perpetrated bestial gang rape. The vengeful persecution of the Biharis under the new state is no consolation.
Algerian Independence Little Gain for Women
When "national liberation" does not simply replace one imperialist suzerain for another, as in Bangladesh, but results in a measure of real political independence within the context of continued imperialist economic domination-viz., lgeria-the unimproved condition of women reflects the continued failure to accomplish basic democratic tasks of the revolution for the masses. The Tripoli Program, basic manifesto of the Algerian Revolution, vaguely promised formal equality, but even the law of the new regime codifies sexual inequality for women, many of whom fought in the FLN as both auxiliaries and commandos. For example, the maximum punishment for adultery committed by men is one year-for women, two. And the reality is much worse than the letter of the law expresses-while forced marriage is now illegal, every year even the government is forced to admit that many suicides take place to avoid forced marriages. This could be attributed to the difficulty in overcomiflg tradition, yet the attitude of the Algerian regime is one that is hostile to overcoming tradition. Boumedienne, president of Algeria's "Revolutionary" Council, said:
"We say 'no' to this [Western] type of evolution, for our society is an Islamic and a socialist society. A problem exists here. It involves respect for morality .... For we have seen among several peoples who have been recently liberated, that woman, once free, hastens to think of things which one need not cite here.... The evolution of Algerian woman and the enjoyment of her rights must be in the framework of the morality of our society."
-8 March 1966
And this speech was given on International Women's Day! The speech inspired the walkout of a number of women. In "socialist" Algeria, where every student receives religious education, women have been kept out of politics, generally out of higher education, and under the veil as well.
Algerian society has not been without some democratic reforms, even reforms which touch upon the family. But each reform is elaborately justified only after tortuous religious debate and tedious reinterpretation of the Koran.
Modern imperialism has not forgotten its Rudyard Kipling, has not forgotten how to wrap itself in the mantle of a "civilizing mission," especially regarding the "weaker sex"-as it rapes both the women and the natural resources of the subjugated nations. French imperialists, whose Code Napoleon did not allow a woman to open a bank account or take a job without her husband's permission until 1966, paraded themselves in Algeria as the defenders and liberators of Muslim womanhood. Perhaps the most ludicrous expression of this pious hypocrisy was the socalled "Battle of the Veils." After 13 May 1958, when the French colons ransacked the Governor General's headquarters, bringing down the Fourth Republic, a leading colon woman organized the Feminine Solidarity Movement, which paraded de-veiled Muslim women around to give eulogistic speeches on how good it was to be liberated by the society of liberte, egaIite, fraternite-the complete marriage of feminism and imperialism! In reaction, the veil became a symbol of the resistance to French imperialism, as did the Muslim family, the traditional customs, etc. Thus, not only were centuries-old customs of domestic slavery and oppression not abolished, but the symbols of these very customs were adopted by the "Revolution"! Thus Boumedienne says "no" not to French imperialist hypocrisy-his hatred of which is a sham-but to the basic achievements of the French Revolution.
The most articulate expression of Third World nationalism which, like the Russian Narodniks, reduces "socialism" and "revolution" to feudalistic revivalism, is ,to be found in that darling of the cafe revolutionaries, Frantz Fanon-the official ideologue of the Algerian FLN. While his L'An Cinq de la Revolution Algerienne (translated as A Dying Colonialism) is a testament to the courage and fortitude of the Algerian revolutionary woman-showing how involvement in the FLN revolutionized her social standing-Fanon finds her strength not in the liberating experience of equality imposed by commando life, but in patriarchal Muslim tradition:
"What is true is that under normal conditions, an interaction must exist between the family and society at large. The home is the basis of the truth of society, but society authenticates and legitimizes the family. The colonial structure is the very negation ofthis reciprocal justification. The Algerian woman, in imposing such a restriction on herself, in choosing a form of existence limited in scope, was deepening her consciousness of struggle and preparing for combat."
Fanon is quite correct when he states that after participating in the national liberation struggle the Algerian woman "could not put herself back into her former state of mind and relive her behavior of the past." But for Fanon, as for the Narodniks, the very cultural and social backwardness of the masses is itself a source of their revolutionary capacity. The Narodniks, the supreme petty-bourgeois radical democrats, denied the bourgeois character of the democratic revolution, i.e., agrarian revolution, national independence and democratic rights, which constituted the parameters of their program. For the Narodniks, for Fanon and for the official Algerian regime and its sundry Stalinist-Maoist-Pabloite apologists, such regimes are "socialist" despite their incapacity to carry through even the basic democratic tasks of bourgeois revolution. What emerges is a Third World nationalism, profoundly anti-democratic, feudalistic and in this case Muslim fundamentalist.
Women and the Russian Revolution
If the Algerian experience is the negative confirmation of the permanent revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was both positive and negative confirmation. The Russian Revolution emerged from the cataclysmic experience of world war in a country which, like the colonial countries, combined the latest in capitalist technology-industries that were totally merged with finance capital and as such ultimately controlled by the Bourses of Western Europe-with the most backward medieval institutions. At the same time Russia was the "chattel-house" of nations, itself an imperialist power with expansionist appetites in Asia Minor and the Balkans. Given Russia's belated bourgeois development, it skipped over that stage which nurtures a strong urban petty bourgeoisie with strong democratic institutions and illusions. When the radicalized female of the intelligentsia entered politics, it was not as a feminist or suffragette, but as a terrorist. According to the reports of the tsarist Minister of Justice, Count Pahlen, of the 620 people summoned before the courts for revolutionary activities during the 1870s 158 were women. The 29-member Central Executive Committee of Narodnaya Volya (People's Freedom) in 1879 had ten women. One of the members of this group, Sofya Perovskaya, directed the assassination of Alexander II.
The terrorist activity of the radicalized middle-class women was the prelude to the militant class battles of Russia's working women. Concentrated primarily in textile industries, they were in the vanguard of the strike struggles of the late 1890s. After the turn of the century bourgeois feminists organized "Women's Political Clubs" in St. Petersburg. In the winter of 1907-08 the Russian Social Democrats organized the "Society for Mutual Help Among Working Women" and issued the publication The Working Woman. When the bourgeois feminists organized the first All-Russian Women's Congress in 1908 the "social-democratic women were represented by their own separate class group, numbering 45 women. Having passed their own independent resolutions on all questions, the women workers finally walked out of this 'ladies' congress" (A. Kollontai, Women Workers Struggle for Their Rights, 1918).
One of the differences between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks was over whether to organize an independent proletarian women's group or participate in the bourgeois feminist groups. After the final split between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in 1912 the Bolsheviks distinguished themselves by continuing to struggle to draw proletarian women into the revolutionary movement. The Bolsheviks resumed publication of The Working Woman in 1914 for International Women's Day. This holiday, which had originated in 1908 in Manhattan's Lower East Side (Rutgers Square) by women in the needle trades, was adopted by the Second International under the leadership of Clara Zetkin in 1911. It was first celebrated in Russia at the instigation of the St. Petersburg textile workers in 1913 and celebrated again in 1914 complete with processional, mass meeting and the first appearance of the red flag in St. Petersburg. The next celebration was in 1917 and marked the opening of the Russian Revolution.
The Stalinists who try to fit the Russian Revolution into their two-stage schema claim that the February Revolution was the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution. While the February Revolution was bourgeois in that it put the bourgeoisie into power, there was very little democracy about it, especially in relation to the emancipation of women. Taking the church and ecclesiastical courts out of the private affairs of marriage and divorce was achieved only later, by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Likewise, it was only after the Bolshevik Revolution that a real effort was made to alleviate the domestic slavery of women through the establishment of nurseries, creches, maternity care, public dining halls and laundries.
The Bolshevik Revolution established another basic tenet of the permanent revolution-the need for proletarian leadership over the peasant movement. While the agrarian revolution was spontaneous, the struggle to summon peasant women to a full public and political life was not. The political mobilization of the peasant women required the courageous and persistent efforts of the Bolshevik party women, many of whom were recruited from the St. Petersburg textile factories which had been in the vanguard of the Russian <;lass struggle for three decades prior to the revolution. Organized in the special Communist Party sections dedicated to drawing in the oppressed women masses behind the revolution, party cadre, often disguised in paranyas and eluchvons (the veiled clothing worn by the women in Muslim territories of the Soviet Union) would carry the message of the revolution to the most backward areas of Russia. In order to reach women in nomadic tribes the CP's women's sections would organize Red Yurtas, or large tents which dispensed medical as well as political propaganda. Their efforts culminated in the First All-Russian Conference of Proletarian and Peasant Women in November 1918, attended by 1,700 delegates. One of the participants described the conference as follows:
"In 1918, when the civil war was raging, when we still had to struggle against hunger, cold and unprecedented devastation, when it was still necessary to defeat the enemy on countless fronts, at th is juncture the conference of proletarian and peasant women was summoned. Hundreds of working women, from the remotest factories and villages, had come to Moscow with their complaints, grievances and doubts, with all their cares great and small."
~F.W. Halle, Women in Soviet Russia (1933)
Thermidor Reverses Gains
But the Soviet Union, an economically backward country to begin with, ravaged by imperialist intervention and civil war, encircled and blockaded by hostile capitalist powers, was unable to provide the economic basis for the construction of socialism; it could only "generalize the want." Lenin and Trotsky realized that just as the democratic revolution must grow into the socialist revolution if the democratic tasks of the revolution are to be solved, so must socialist revolution grow directly into world revolution. The failure of the revolution to spread led to the seizure of power by the conservative state bureaucracy under Stalin in 1923 which converted the Soviet Union's isolation from a profound defeat into a rhetorical "victory" with the anti-Marxist, nationalist "socialism in one country" doctrine. As Stalin consolidated power, the new ruling elite also required the revival of the monogamous family as the bulwark of this national "socialism"-just as it was a bulwark of the fascist political counterrevolution in capitalist countries.
The Stalinist political counterrevolution simply ran the film of the revolution backward in the realm of women's rights. The party women's sections were liquidated in 1929; homosexuality was made a crime in 1934; abortion, which had been legalized in 1920, was illegalized in 1936; from 1935 through 1944 divorce was made increasingly expensive and complicated; and in 1944 even coeducation was abolished. To accomplish these measures, Stalin relied on the conservatizing influence of the peasantry, which generally was alone in welcoming them.
Of course, at each stage Stalinist apologists could find economic and social reasons for each of Stalin's counterrevolutionary measures. As Trotsky said in The Revolution Betrayed, "You cannot 'abolish' the family; you have to replace it. The actual emancipation of women is unrealizable on the basis of 'generalized want'!" Thus, even the revolutionary government of Lenin and Trotsky had to face horrendous problems, especially in terms of the family and women's emancipation. For example, in 1922 Lenin's wife Krupskaya estimated that there were seven million homeless children, while Lunacharsky, Commissar of Education, estimated nine million. Adoption had to be illegalized in 1926 to prevent the exploitation of child labor by the peasantry! The chief "accomplishment" of Stalin was to turn difficult conditions into a rationale for entrusting all power to a conservative, counterrevolutionary ruling clique which adapted to the backwardness in order to survive.
Women Under "Third World" Stalinism
In Yugoslavia, China, North Vietnam and Cuba, petty-bourgeois leaderships commanding peasant-based armies succeeded, because of exceptional historical circumstances, in overturning capitalism despite their completely pro-capitalist, "democratic" programs. This fact alone has enabled these countries to play a role free of direct economic and political subservience to imperialism; that is, enabled them to fulfill the basic task of the anti-colonial revolution. But these victories took place as military confrontations which were lost by the imperialist and allied native bourgeois forces despite the best efforts of the "revolutionary" leaderships to sell out the struggle in exchange for a "revolution" safely contained under capitalism (such as did happen in Algeria and most similar situations). The proletariat, a victim of earlier defeats, lacked leadership and failed to playa role as an active contender for power in these revolutions.
As a consequence, what emerged was not proletarian democracy, but regimes as bureaucratically deformed as that which emerged from the degeneration of the revolution in the Soviet Union-i.e., deformed workers states. Within these regimes, once again the emancipation of women is a most accurate gauge of the general emancipation. While women have been granted formal equality, no consistent, concerted effort has been made to liberate them from domestic slavery. While women have increased their access to socially productive roles, they are generally restricted to those areas which are a simple extension of domestic work, such as textiles and nursing. In North Vietnam, after 26 years of war, women are still not permitted to play a combat role in the regular army. And only the exigencies of war have forced the North Vietnamese bureaucracy to establish nurseries and creches. Birth control and abortion are legalized and illegalized at the whim of the bureaucracy.
Politically, women are no more or less disenfranchised than their husbands in the absence of proletarian democracy. In the absence of special party sections for women, there are no special vehicles to train and equip them to enter the party. The recruitment of women is generally done through moral exhortation. Most women are shunted off to the local Women's Democratic Federation where they can circulate petitions for peace, justice and equality. In China, the Women's Democratic Federation, which once claimed a membership of 70 million, was headed by Liu Shao-chi's wife; it was therefore abolished by the Cultural Revolution!
In backward and colonial countries, petty-bourgeois classes oppressed by feudalism and imperialism, particularly the peasantry, are more numerous than the proletariat. In order to come to power, the proletariat must mobilize these classes behind it in the struggle against imperialism and for basic democratic rights. Yet the proletariat is the only consistently revolutionary, anti-capitalist force in these countries. In order to overthrow capitalism and begin an unobstructed path toward socialism, the revolution must be made on the proletariat's terms and with its program. The family as an economic unit enslaving women could then be replaced through socialization of the means of production and reproduction of labor power. But the revolution which rests on the peasantry or on a specious amalgamation of the interests of peasants and workers (that is, on a modified program of a section of the petty bourgeoisie) finds that for the peasantry, the family is the existing economic unit of small-scale agriculture, as opposed to the factories and socialized industries of the workers. Unlike the workers, the class interests of the peasants are based on deepening private ownership of small plots, which means retaining the family structure. But the peasants are incapable of reorganizing society. Their conservatizing influence can only be overcome through the leadership of the workers.
Thus, the interrelationship between the land question and the family is a key to understanding the zigzags of the degenerated and deformed workers states. For industrialization requires a food surplus; a food surplus requires mechanization; mechanization requires industrialization, etc. How to break out of this vicious cycle? The New Economic Policy (NEP), primitive socialist accumulation (the tax in kind), persuasion and example were the methods of Lenin and Trotsky. Bureaucratic fiat, whose parameters are only the precipices of catastrophe, is the method of Stalinism, which veers from Stalin's "Kulaks, enrich yourselves" and Mao's New Democracy to forced collectivization and the Great Leap Forward. During the Great Leap Forward and Stalin's forced collectivization, women were encouraged to participate in social production, and the family tended to be subordinated. But these measures did not correspond to the real tempo of economic development, and no substitutes for the family as an economic unit were developed. Stalinist regimes were thus forced to strengthen the family structure as the only non-revolutionary way out of the chaos they had created and to conciliate the enraged peasantry. The proletariat, precisely the class for whom the family plays no economic role, is destined by history to lead the struggle for women's' emancipation.
Women and Permanent Revolution
While class exploitation is the main axis of social struggle, it is not the only form of social oppression. Insensitivity to the special forms of oppression, national, racial and generational as well as sexual, is a form of opportunism. Economism, the ideology of trade-union bureaucrats and their hangers-on like the [then leftist] Labor Committee and the Workers League, thrives on such opportunism. However, refusal to see the interlocked nature of special oppression and the class struggle, to posit roads (e.g., bourgeois feminism) other than the class struggle for dealing with special oppression, is both reactionary and utopian. Because the question of women's oppression and the family is fundamental to class society, the solution can only be a global uprooting of capitalist property and the preparation for a classless communist society. Only an international proletarian party, conscious of its tasks and mission, can provide the necessary leadership for such an upheaval.