This troublesome phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat” is a messy lump of several poorly defined concepts. To understand the word “dictatorship” as we do now – as the opposite of democracy, an authoritarian regime in which an individual or minority group exerts violent and absolute power – is an anachronistic projection which totally distorts Marx’s usage.
If we want to call the “Lenin question” the problem of organization opened in the 1970s and today newly again before us, we can certainly do so, provided that it is understood that the watchword of Lenin does not mean nostalgia or organizational fetishism, but is rather a new solution for the problems that he had posed and victoriously resolved.
Only a radical change in the whole existence of the working class woman, in the conditions of her home and family life, as she acquires equal status with men in civil law will wipe out once and for all the barrier which to this day prevents the woman worker letting her forces flow freely into the class struggle.
Kollontai’s life reflected the political turns of the revolution, just as her fame since her death has fluctuated. Our organizational reality is not hers, yet her works continue to pose key questions for women’s liberation and the revolutionary movement.
What might “All Power to the Soviets” mean in the present moment? I sense that it means: to build a movement, to unite forces where we find them, to form coalitions, elaborate material goals to organize all those who work and are exploited, to constitute power, to articulate a hegemonic strategy.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, and those of us who fight to end capitalism find ourselves at a unique crossroads.