LENIN’S definition of a revolutionary situation is one in which the ruling class is unable to rule in the old way – and has to try to advance to new untried forms of rule – while the working class is unable to live in the old way, and consequently a collision between the classes takes place.
Lenin also held that not every revolutionary situation necessarily leads to a revolution.
For that to happen, the politicisation of the working class has to reach the point where it would rather endure death than accept the capitalist order.
The February and October 1917 revolutions proved that the working class had the ‘heart’, the force to bring down the ruling order, but that to advance to workers’ power it had to have in place, at its head, its revolutionary party, which had prepared over a number of years for this revolutionary situation, and had even had a dress rehearsal for it in 1905.
Today, the greatest industrial giant in the history of capitalism, General Motors has applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its demise will create millions more unemployed in the US and Europe. This giant of capitalism can no longer stand on its own two feet. It is to be taken over by the US administration, which is to have a 72 per cent share in it. The greatest capitalist firm in the world is to be nationalised.
GM Europe is going to be stripped bare by the vultures that are already gathering.
This collapse of industry follows on from the collapse of the banks, plunging the whole world into a deeper slump.
Everywhere, bourgeois leaders plan to make the working class and the middle class pay for this crisis, to preserve the bosses and the capitalists.
Everywhere, the working class and the middle class are angry at the bankers, the bosses and their parliaments, that have been just a front for capitalism peopled by MPs, many of whom were just lining their pockets.
Now from the frightened bourgeoisie the cry goes up – we must go forward to a new form of rule, and quickly. Its media lash the very parliamentary system that they previously lauded.
In place of the old constitutional ways, the cry goes up for rapid change, the sooner the better, if the country (the ruling class) is to survive the crisis.
The worthy Gordon Brown declares that his ‘Presbyterian conscience’ is affronted by the criminal conduct of his MPs.
But workers are not idiots. They see that this same ‘Presbyterian conscience’ was not affronted by the criminal activities of the bankers, to whom the worthy Brown handed over billions, doubling the national debt, despite the colossal crimes that they had committed.
This same ‘Presbyterian conscience’ can cope with three million unemployed, or the slaughter in Iraq quite admirably, as well as with the way that the masses of the people are being pauperised by the crisis.
His is, in fact, a thoroughly bourgeois conscience!
Meanwhile, the trade union leaders, who have not lifted a finger to defend a single worker’s job, and who refuse to demand the nationalisation of GM Vauxhall, are getting more and more desperate and frightened that the masses are getting out of control.
They too start jumping on the bandwagon of rapid constitutional change.
However, what is coming here is not a new form of capitalist rule, but a revolutionary upheaval of the working class and the middle class who are not going to allow their Welfare State to be abolished by the ruling class.
There is no doubt that this is the time to build up the revolutionary leadership of the WRP and the Fourth International since the socialist revolution to put an end to out-of-date world capitalism is approaching at breakneck speed.