IV. THE PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION AND THE
DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
What are the characteristic features of the proletarian revolution as distinct from the bourgeois revolution?
The distinction between the proletarian revolution and the bourgeois revolution may be reduced to five main points.
1) The bourgeois revolution usually begins when there already exist more or less ready-made forms belonging to the capitalist order, forms which have grown and matured within the womb of feudal society prior to the open revolution, whereas the proletarian revolution begins when ready made forms belonging to the socialist order are either absent, or almost absent.
2) The main task of the bourgeois revolution consists in seizing power and making it conform to the already existing bourgeois economy, whereas the main task of the proletarian revolution consists, after seizing power, in building a new, socialist economy.
3) The bourgeois revolution is usually consummated with the seizure of power, whereas in the proletarian revolution the seizure of power is only the beginning, and power is used as a lever for transforming the old economy and organizing the new one.
4) The bourgeois revolution limits itself to replacing one group of exploiters in power by another group of exploiters, in view of which it need not smash the old state machine; whereas the proletarian revolution removes all exploiting groups from power and places in power the leader of all the toilers and exploited, the class of proletarians, in view of which it cannot manage without smashing the old state machine and substituting a new one for it.
5) The bourgeois revolution cannot rally the millions of the toiling and exploited masses around the bourgeoisie for any length of time, for the very reason that they are toilers and exploited; whereas the proletarian revolution can and must link them, precisely as toilers and exploited, in a durable alliance with the proletariat, if it wishes to carry out its main task of consolidating the power of the proletariat and build ing a new, socialist economy.
Here are some of Lenin's main theses on this subject:
"One of the fundamental differences between bourgeois revolution and socialist revolution," says Lenin, "is that for the bourgeois revolution, which arises out of feudalism, the new economic organizations are grad ually created in the womb of the old order, gradually changing all the aspects of feudal society. Bourgeois revolution was confronted by only one task -- to sweep away, to cast aside, to destroy all the fetters of the preceding society. By fulfilling this task every bourgeois revolution ful fils all that is required of it: it accelerates the growth of capitalism.
"The socialist revolution is in an altogether different position. The more backward the country which, owing to the zigzags of history, has proved to be the one to start the socialist revolution, the more difficult it is for it to pass from the old capitalist relations to socialist relations. To the tasks of destruction are added new tasks of unprecedented difficulty -- organizational tasks." (See Vol. XXII, p. 315.)
 Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), March 6-8, 1918. "1. Report on War and Peace."
"Had not the popular creative spirit of the Russian revolution." continues Lenin, "which had gone through the great experience of the year 1905, given rise to the Soviets as early as February 1917, they could not under any circumstances have seized power in October, because succcss depended entirely upon the existence of ready-made organizational forms of a movement embracing millions. These ready-made forms were the Soviets, and that is why in the political sphere there awaited us those brilliant successes, the continuous triumphant march, that we experienccd; for the new form of political power was ready to hand, and all we had to do was, by passing a few decrees, to transform the power of the Soviets from the embryonic state in which it existed in the first months of the revolution into a legally recognized form which has become established in the Russian state -- i.e., into the Russian Soviet Republic." (Ibid.)
"But two problems of enormous difficulty still remained," says Lenin, "the solution of which could not possibly be the triumphant march which our revolution experienced in the first months. . . ." (Ibid.)
"Firstly, there were the problems of internal organization, which confront every socialist revolution. The difference between socialist revolution and bourgeois revolution lies precisely in the fact that the latter finds ready-made forms of capitalist relationships, while Soviet power -- proletarian power -- does not inherit such ready-made relationships, if we leave out of account the most developed forms of capitalism, which, strictly speaking, extended to but a small top layer of industry and hardly touched agriculture. The organization of accounting, the control of large enterprises, the transformation of the whole of the state economic mechanism into a single huge machine, into an economic organism that works in such a way that hundreds of millions of people are guided by a single plan -- such was the enormous organizational problem that rested on our shoulders. Under the present conditions of labour this problem could not possibly be solved by the 'hurrah' methods by which we were able to solve the problems of the Civil War." (Ibid., p. 316.)
"The second enormous difficulty . . . was the international question. The reason why we were able to cope so easily with Kerensky's gangs, why we so easily established our power and without the slightest difficulty passed the decrees on the socialization of the land and on workers' control, the reason why we achieved all this so easily was only that a fortunate combination of circumstances protected us for a short time from international imperialism. International imperialism, with the entire might of its capital, with its highly organized military technique, which is a real force, a real fortress of international capital, could in no case, under no circumstances, live side by side with the Soviet Republic, both because of its objective
position and because of the economic interests of the capitalist class which is embodied in it -- it could not do so because of commercial connections, of international financial relations. In this sphere a conflict is inevitable. Therein lies the greatest difficulty of the Russian revolution, its greatest historical problem: the necessity of solving the international tasks, the necessity of calling forth an international revolution." (See Vol. XXII, p. 317.)