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AUSTRALIAN
MARXIST
REVIEW

Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 35NOVEMBER 1995

The ┬Źdialectical materialist method is crucial

Communist Party of Sudan

Many thanks to our Greek comrades for organising this international forum and for inviting us to participate in it.

The question we are here to discuss is of utmost importance. The collapse of the Soviet model of socialism, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the East European countries, dealt a stunning blow to all who dreamed of and fought for a just social system free from the exploitation of man and the subordination of peoples. The world has changed to the worse for a long time to come.

The leaders and ideologues of capitalism launched a gleeful campaign to besmirch Marxism and socialism, to prove them baseless. Their aim is to confuse us, and to prevent us from coolly examining what exactly went wrong and from learning the necessary lessons.

Many of those formerly counted as communists, socialists or leftists have joined this vicious campaign. This is to their shame.

We should not be daunted. But in all probability it will take much time and effort from serious thinkers and revolutionaries to arrive at a convincing explanation of what happened, why and how.

It is probably not possible for us to add to the list of defects, mistakes, difficulties, external pressures, crimes, lack of democracy, etc, which led to the defeat of the Soviet model of socialism and the disintegration of the socialist community.

But we deem it necessary to say that the October Revolution was a historic feat whose significance and influence shall never be obliterated. It blazed a new trail for mankind.

History does not provide straight paths for great revolutions. They have to commit mistakes and know victories and defeats. But the trails they blaze remain. Such was the fate of the French Revolution. Such is the fate of the October Revolution.

The working and toiling people of the Soviet Union proved that they can do without capitalists, that they can build a new life without exploitation – unknown before to mankind – and that they can make great achievements.

For about 70 years, a very short period in the history of humanity, the Soviets were able, among other achievements, to build a state of a new type, a state that was not predatory, that had no vested interests in other countries, that helped other peoples liberate themselves from domination and to build a new life.

The Soviet Union rendered tremendous assistance to the national liberation movement. The alliance between these two great movements in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism was genuine and historically necessary.

The enemies say that the alliance was motivated by the state interests of the USSR. Undoubtedly, even socialist states have state interests, but it was the genuine interests of billions of people which formed the solid foundation for the alliance of socialism and the national liberation movement against their common enemy.

For us Sudanese, the Soviet Union supported our struggle since the 1920s. It was among the first to recognise our independence in 1956 and to establish diplomatic relations with us. Trade relations on the basis of mutual benefit, the first in our history, followed. The Soviets built several factories and handed them over to us as gifts.

They granted us free scholarships. Now, thousands of physicians, engineers, agriculturists, technicians and experts in many fields working in our country are graduates from Soviet and other socialist countries' universities and technical institutes.

Capitalist countries and institutions attach different kinds of strings to their aid and loans which turn in time into huge debts. But the Soviet Union left no interests behind that can serve as a pretext for meddling into our internal affairs.

This is a salient characteristic of the socialist type of state, of the new type of international and inter-state relations, radically different from and opposed to the colonial and neo- colonial relations to which we were and still are subjected.

The Soviet state was built by the October Revolution when the workers and other toilers of Russia rose up to put an end to exploitation and backwardness, to put an end to the enslavement of nations, classes and women.

We leave it to unprejudiced historians to enumerate the achievements and failures of the October Revolution and the social system it ushered in.

Suffice it to say here that in a very short interval, socialism raised a number of states, with over 1.5 billion inhabitants, from economic and cultural backwardness to high levels of progress, relieving them of endemic diseases and famines, transforming them into beacons of culture and defenders of national freedom and international peace.

The question now is how did all that end up into such dismal disintegration?

We should dismiss the  "conspiracy theory", not because no conspiracies were hatched, but because such a theory cannot explain the indifference, apathy and finally the complete disintegration of such giant organisations as the CPSU, the Komsomol, the trade unions, the Soviets, the Red Army and the KGB.

Erosion must have eaten into these organisations for many years, perhaps decades, while bureaucrat careerists wormed their way to the top posts. Leadership was replaced by regimentation. Life was sapped out of organisations which should have been vigilant. The catastrophe approached but everybody looked passively on. The  "conspiracy theory" does not explain this total lack of resistance.

Two points seem to be relevant here:

  1. That democracy suffered to the point of systematic violation of human rights and even state crimes against groups and individuals. No need to mention here that political democracy is a must for achieving social democracy.
  2. That Marxism lagged a long way behind new epochal achievements and discoveries in science and technology. Marxism was originally introduced as a revolutionary theory that loses all value if it is not used as a guide and if it is not subjected to critical evaluation and development with each new step forward in science and each change in society.

These behests were not heeded by us contemporary Marxists. We paid and shall continue to pay dearly for that.

What is the way out? What do we figure our contribution to be?

We are a small party in one of the most backward and isolated countries of the world. Our access to data and our ability to address the complex problems of advanced societies are limited.

We do not want to repeat the mistake of forming our ideas according to those of our  "big brothers", since it has been proved that they also make mistakes.

We do not believe that the way out is of a political nature, such as the  "evaluation" of the events in Eastern Europe or agreeing on a program of action. Nor can the way out be the result of an international or regional meeting, We are not opposed to either. But we believe that each party should first fully work out its viewpoints.

Concerning us, for example, we should produce an outlook based on Sudanese political practice, with such originality and independence that shall enable it to withstand the political and ideological storms of the contemporary world and to grow into maturity.

For that the central task is to formulate a theory of the Sudanese Revolution, including the theory of building the revolutionary party which is to lead, with other forces and parties, that revolution.

The formulation of this theory should be looked upon as a process which begins by drawing conclusions from past practices, in order to tackle new questions and problems.

The crucial thing here is to master the dialectical materialist method. The theory of the Sudanese revolution, though a revolutionary theory that loses all value if it is not based on Marxism – acquires its own self independence, since it would not be a Sudanisation of Marxism.

Those who envision Marxism as texts, talk about its  "application". But since our theory is essentially a guide, it cannot be transformed into an applied science.

Hence it is wrong to justify the crisis of Marxism by saying that the fault is not in theory, but is in its application. We have to admit here that the conclusions drawn by Marx and Lenin actually lag behind the requirements of the present realities.

Marxism is not a collection of static slogans. Party strategy and tactics should be governed by reality, and not be formulated to conform with those of another country.

The dialectical materialist method is scientific and revolutionary, though its use is not a guarantee against mistakes. By applying it correctly to the study of Sudanese, regional and international changes, we can draw conclusions that lead to a unified theoretical structure.

This is how we view our contribution to the way out from the crisis of Marxism – from the inside to the outside, from the particular to the general, exchanging views not only with other communist parties but as well with all who search for the objective truth.

We have initiated an inner-party and public discussion on the theme: How to renovate our party, its theoretical platform, its program and rules, and even its name, through the critical evaluation of our past history, the crisis of Marxism and the failure of the Soviet model of socialism.

After the discussion is closed, a suitable representative party gathering will convene to draw out and implement the conclusions.

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