Lukacs on the Leninist vanguard party

Georg Lukacs tr. Nicholas Jacobs
Verso, 2009 p. 30

Lenin’s idea of party organization therefore contains as fixed poles: the strictest selection of  party members on the basis of their proletarian class-consciousness, and total solidarity with and support for all the oppressed and exploited within capitalist society. Thus he dialectically united exclusive singleness of purpose, and universality — the leadership of the revolution in strictly proletarian terms and its general national (and international) character. The Menshevik concept of party organization weakened both these poles, confused them, reduced them to compromises, and united them within the party itself. The Mensheviks shut themselves off from broad strata of the exploited masses (for example, from the peasants), but united in the party the most diverse interest groups, thus preventing any homogeneity of thought and action. During the chaotic melee of the class struggle — for all revolutionary periods are characterized by the deeply disturbed, chaotic state of society as a whole — instead of helping to establish the proletarian unity against the bourgeoisie so essential for victory, and of rallying other hesitant oppressed groups to the proletariat, a party so organized becomes a confused tangle of different interest groups. Only through inner compromise does it ever manage to take any action and, even then, either follows in the wake of the more clear-minded or more instinctive groups within it, or remains forced to look on fatalistically while events pass it by.

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