Introduction:

Roque Dalton is an unparalleled figure in the the histories of both Latin American Marxism and Poetry whose biography would be unbelievable as a work of fiction.

After a childhood in El Salvador he studied abroad in Chile and first came in contact with Marxist ideas. On his return he began to collaborate with El Salvador's Communist Party and traveled to the Soviet Union in 1957. The impact of the Cuban revolution drastically accelerated his revolutionary commitment, one which he upheld not only through his literary work but actively in the streets. In 1960 while participating in protests against El Salvador's government, he was arrested and was only released after going on a hunger strike.

A few months later he was back in jail on trumped up charges which could have resulted in the death penalty. He was saved by the overthrow of the government. As a conservative Junta consolidated power afterwards, he went into exile passing through Cuba. He returned in 1964, only to be captured, interrogated by the CIA, and ultimately escaping when an earthquake broke down the wall of his cell.

He went to Czechoslovakia, where he remained until the Soviet invasion in 1968 which provoked his split from the Communist Party and his return to Cuba. In this period he dedicated himself more to writing, and it was from this intellectually fruitful period in Cuba that A Red Book for Lenin was born.

A Red Book for Lenin was composed as a collage, mixing original works of the author with political reflections and a large number of direct quotations from Lenin and a smaller number of other Marxist authors. Dalton relies strongly on irony, sometimes leaving a certain amount of playfulness or doubt around the seriousness of his claims. Yet it is an irony and artistic talent which is employed clearly and untiringly within the revolutionary camp.

Dalton's criticism of the official Communist Parties grew, including the Cuban Party's handling of writers in this period, and he more firmly planted himself on the side of the armed struggle. He attempted to join the Popular Forces of Liberation (FPL) but was rejected on the basis of him serving the revolution better as a poet and writer. In 1973 he succeeded through Cuban contacts in returning to El Salvador and joining the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP, unrelated to the Argentinian ERP)

Within the ERP however he was quickly involved in a political and polemical struggle with the authoritarian leadership of the group. Dalton was first accused of being petty-bourgeois, than an agent of "Cuban revisionism", than an agent of the CIA. Dalton was urged by some of his close friends to flee, but he refused on the principal that he still had faith in his revolutionary comrades. The leadership of the ERP ordered his execution.

Having survived prison, interrogation and exile, closely escaping death and living clandestinely in El Salvador, he was killed by the bureaucratic mania of a leftist organization. The kind of unthinking bureaucratic mania against which this work stands as one of the most eloquent denunciations.

What has been translated here are primarily his original works in the book, as well as a few citations which seemed key. The work as a whole is far more extensive and is filled with excerpts from Lenin. It is hoped however that what we present here can provide a broader window for the English speaking world to see the literary, political and theoretical talent of Dalton.

The editorial board takes on full responsibility for any clumsiness of prose. Political poetry is hard, and translating poetry is hard. Dalton however provides a unique vision into the political world of our revolutionary movement; even if imperfectly rendered, his most actively political work deserves to be available to a world audience.

6

The Law of Life 
The mighty tree begins in a seed
Though love may be both daunting and deep
The seed of mankind is also tiny
The birth of a stream, pollen
the tiny egg of a dove
the pebble surrounded by snowy mountains
from their smallness they arrive at the sea,
at the sunflower, at unending flight
at an unstoppable planet of snow

In the social struggle too the great rivers
are born from tiny streams
they walk far and they grow
until they reach the ocean

In the social struggle as well the seed
becomes fruit
becomes the tree
becomes the endless forest which the wind makes sing

15

But…

When I entered the Party (through a cell meeting I’ve already written of in a poem), the first study material they put in my hands was “Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder”. The comrades said that it was what best suited us to learn and use: the centrality of tactics, the limits on a party which still has yet to take power. I didn’t know then that there are persons who have always defined the Communist Party as a “Party which has yet to take power” and inclusive as a “Party which accumulates forces”, something which elevates every tactic and maneuver to a sphere of metaphysical existence which not even the reverend Berkeley could imagine.

Clearly, a few months later, we arrived at the all important conclusion: the petty bourgeois and their outrageous ultra-leftism were the number one enemy of the Communist Party-which-continues-surviving-for-more-than-forty-years-without-taking-power. They didn’t warn us that we found ourselves in the tiny capital of a tiny Latin American country. Nor did they tell us that in his book Lenin talked of a concrete historical experience, a concrete theoretical analysis and a concrete type of a petty-bourgeois: the experience, the analysis of the petty-bourgeois of Europe.

“For the Marxists it is clearly established from the theoretical point of view — and the experience of all the revolutions and revolutionary movements of Europe confirm this completely — that the small property owner, the small boss (A social type that is very common and has a mass character in many Euopean countries) which suffers under capitalism a continuous pressure, a frequent and incredibly rapid degradation of its conditions of existence into ruin. This social stratum falls easily into an extreme revolutionism, but it is incapable of expressing the steadiness, the spirit of sacrifice, discipline and hardness. The petty bourgeois enraged by the horrors of capitalism is, like Anarchism, a social phenomenon produced by the capitalist country itself.”

How do we translate the just and correct labels of Lenin, applied to the shopkeepers, the landlords, the small business owners of France and Czechoslovakia, how will we apply this to the Latin American students who for more than 50 years have died in the streets for the revolution? How will we apply this to the professional revolutionaries (From Mariategui to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara), to the priests who have joined the guerillas, to the poets, to the employees of the “Development of under-development” who die of hunger while wearing a suit and tie?

Years later, I had to speak in the capital of a certain country of the socialist world in front a public which was a majority university students from my country. I talked about some of the problems of the armed struggle in the Latin American revolution. After I finished my speech and after the students showed agreement with what I said, an experienced cadre member began to quickly distribute Spanish copies of Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, in order to avoid — in his words — these youthful communists being misled by my words.

I don't believe in an anecdotal basis for revolutionary culture, and every day I flee faster from such subtle (or crass) types of arguments. If I remember these situations today it is because I have come back to read the book of Lenin to which they all referred me, and I'm sure that like all the rest of his work, it is a book of “The Lefts”. The Senile Sickness of the Latin America Right also reveals itself — without mentioning the colds, the clogged arteries, vertigo in the mountains and a number of juicy paranoias — in this color blindness which insists on seeing green in a red book like Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. A color blindness like this I'm certain he wouldn't permit anyone to maintain with impunity. Not even me, with the last name I carry [Dalton, daltonismo is the spanish term for color blindness].

16

Taking Power (And Leninism)
For the Pages

You say:
“The problem of power is that you have to take it”

The adventurer says:
“Then there's no problem”

The Anarchist:
“Taking power or not taking power! What is important is destroying power, all power…”

The Right-winger who doesn't know how to hear his own name:
“What did you say? What do you have to take? The problem or power? The meaning of the phrase isn't clear…”

The bureaucrat of under-development:
“This is an anti-party reflection which reveals petty-bourgeois pressures. It is necessary to understand that for now what our party has is enough, a vision built up over almost 50 years: a perspective of power.”

The most consistent link that they have with Leninism is their shared certainty that you are not a Leninist.

25

The Unedited Lenin

Question: — Could you say that the “Infantile Disorders” are an expression of revolutionary romanticism?

Lenin: Yes this is absolutely correct. But we could in no way do without romanticism. It’s excess is far better than the lack of it. We have always sympathized with the romantic revolutionaries including when we disagree with them. In this way, for example, we have always abstained from resorting to individual terrorism. However we have invariably expressed our admiration for the personal courage of the terrorists, their disposition to sacrifice. Here we have our criteria: first do a rigorous analysis of the economic relations and only afterwards show a personal example of ones convictions…

Question: ….?

Lenin: — It’s necessary to take advantage of the legal path wherever it is possible. On the other hand, we must consider the “Communist Party” which limits itself exclusively to legal activity is one which has lost the right to the name which it bears. What you have to do in each concrete situation is a practical question….

Interview of Lenin with the Archivist J. Friis, a Leader of the Norwegian Communist Party in the era of the Comintern. Published in Berlin, in Die Rote Fahne, number 96, July 5th 1920 [Translator’s note, all this has been translated from Spanish, the original interview is not available or not easily found in English]

26

About the Travelers
of Other Paths

They say that when Lenin faced
the execution of his brother Alexander
(accused of trying to kill the Czar)
He reflected and loudly declared something like:
“This will not be our path”.
To be sure to learn the just essence
Of this attributed reflection
We should remember
That Lenin did not betray his brother
Nor did he denounce him before the masses as an adventurer or anarchist
Nor did he leave him alone in the mountains facing all his enemies
(Enemies, because he would have said in his day to the reformists “This will not be our path”.)
Nor did he make the reasons for not following the path of his brother
Into a flag against the revolution

I would say that Lenin critically assimilated
The experience of his brother Alexander
And its a fact that he did not enjoy his brother's death
At the same time as the assassins

52

Lenin and the revolution
in El Salvador (I)

More than a hundred years from your birth
and 50 from your physical death
they work to hide you, compatriot
your life and the life of your thought
They have made you believe that the world ends at the border
of this small country and that all of the pain
that devours us is life, the only one possible
they hide that throughout the world spring is being born from the
struggle
They hide from you that the poor, your brothers, are advancing; That what they conquer
The rich will never be able to take back;
That in the words of Lenin there is an inheritance which belongs to you:
It will teach you to fight like those who win.
We will be socialists because we are patriots

The world doesn't end in our country but we are in
the world:
As Salvadoreans, under the same banner of Lenin and
Farabundo Marti,
We will launch ourselves from our smallness with broken chains

66

In 1957 I saw Lenin in Moscow (II)

“I am worried that 
processions
statues
tributes
will replace the simplicity of Lenin,
I fear it, as if it were for my own pupils:
Don’t profane his beauty
with candy-store stamps!”
-Mayakovsky

The pigeons, the summer and it's dusts, the Red Plaza. We formed a line with more seriousness than we had expected. It gave us time to think over many things. From how to measure each of our gestures and steps to show how concentrated we were to the eyes of everyone else, to the more profound question which came to us more or less like this: What the hell am I doing in Russia, with how relaxed I could be at home waiting for an easy future, as a brilliant lawyer — the son of an American millionaire and the favorite student of Jesuits?

Inside it was cold, they told us this was for technical reasons. Despite the fact that, I repeat once more, I was a central-American catholic and I had a true adoration for any sacred location I found, I left there with mixed ideas and a kind of small feeling of awe. However, between the Bolshoi ballet, the multinational circus of the Dinamo Stadium and a girl named Claudia, I quickly forgot that strange sensation. I can't quite recreate the scene or my feelings back then. The few pieces that I can use to try are measured by my current political convictions. Something which would not be just, even if it would have some value.

For example, I will not now say that it was all because in that location Comrade Lenin was the only one that appeared truly dead, a corpse, and comrade Stalin had a freshness which made you expect at any moment a “puff” and the wiggling of his huge mustache. Nor that all of that presentation with undoubtedly laudable ends of veneration, seemed to me the excessive, counter-productive objectification of a historic personality. Nor that my uneasiness then was the germ of a grandiose final proposition that I would more or less express like this: “We must dynamite the Mausoleum, so that Lenin can fly out from the thick marble walls, to once again walk among the world, hand in hand with the specter of communism.”

Lenin, 21 (8) October 1917

70

The beautiful boxes
(Thesis)
We refuse to baptize ourselves
As Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Ho-Chi-Minhist-
Kim-Il-Sungist-Fidelist-Guevarists
We only
think of taking the first steps
But
What swelling pride,
what immense joy,
if tomorrow,
some day,
those who aren't afraid of words
regard us as such

71

Another Raises Their Hand

A Reader: Comrade Poet….

Poet: I beg you to have a little more patience, since…

A Reader: Its essential. Sorry. I say that my interruption is essential. Because some immediate clarification on your part is needed. We're going between thesis and all respectable discourse isn't afraid to return to itself to…

Poet: Remember that, before anything else, what I do is write a poem. A very particular poem if you like, because of its form as a collage, something which supposes the incorporation of a huge quantity of materials, journalistic, documentary, essays, etc.; and for the direct character of the political content which aims to convince others of my point of view. I believe it shouldn't come to you to request that I renounce all of a certain minimum ambiguity which poetic expression implies. The elm tree does not make pears. But the poetic elm of poetic pears is a pleasure. In this case, I pursue pears from an epic which is committed to a concrete political line. On the basis of this I work on reality, no longer with “the poetic” but now with the “ideological-political” which arrives to us through poetic discourse.

Reader: I beg you emphatically that you don’t try to be clever, entangling things in the process. If it makes you happy I have to tell you certainly that you have already been abundantly clever and these emphasized changes of tone are unnecessary. The problem is this: reading your… “poem”, I have come to certain political conclusions about Leninism and Lenin himself. Above all through what you have omitted of Lenin’s work. But also from the authors that you have gone to to highlight Lenin. I don't know if my conclusions coincide with your intentions. I don't know if I have understood the thesis introduced by the… “poem”. Because I insist, even accepting that this verbal world in which we are swimming is a poem, (not just for the abundant inclusion of successive texts by Lenin and other authors), juicy and well seasoned thesis, whose dorsal fins and scales, whose rows of avid teeth and in whose phosphorescence I don't find to my satisfaction. Because I am not — I Confess — bathing in this new oceanography. Remember that I am simply a traditional reader of traditional Latin American poetry and that the waters familiar to me are tame and soft, from the swaying deepness between Farewell and Jose Angel Buesea, passing onwards to Juan de Ibarborou and Carlos Pellicer, without abyssal depths or sea serpents capable of sinking transatlantic ships and fleets of transatlantic ships.

On the other hand, my daily bread of political activity is the essay, the informative article or the polemic. In whose stream the analysis doesn't surprise me. The essay is for me fundamentally an analytical genre. As a communist militant and to find useful truths I read essays and articles. To find emotions and nostalgic moments I read poems. However in this case these relations are completely mixed up. The rational weight of your “poem” is far too obvious to me and it is a cheating trick. You are taking advantage, as you have practically admitted before, of the qualities of poetic expression and above all its ambiguity (which I don't know where it fits to call it a “quality” instead of a “defect”); you take advantage of this, in order to pass off in an almost contraband way ideological material which is only allowed in the category of the essay…

Poet:— And therefor you affirm that in the face of this situation, the duty of all revolutionaries is to convert themselves into customs agents.

Reader: — I'm sure you have already chosen in advance the wittiest phrase for every possible death. That is you prerogative. However, in general, the joking Latin American is everyday more a wandering counter-cultural figure who causes disgust. If you like, you can seize me by the hair for the rest of the poem, make me appear unfriendly or sectarian. In the end, you are the one who writes and I can do nothing in the face of this. However let's go to the facts. In this “poem” of your Lenin, until this moment that which you affirm and negate, for the objectives which you defend you attack and also for what you omit - following my limited capacity of learning of “poetic discourse” - has as a basic thesis the following (more or less):

(a) There are various Leninism
(b) The Leninism that you must accept as contemporary Leninism is that of the “Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Ho-Chi-Minhist-Kim-Il-Sungist-Fidelist-Guevarists”, excluding the rest.
(c) That you have to practice a deep “left revisionism” around the work of Lenin, a practice which you exemplify through presenting us with only one facet of Lenin's work.
(d) That only the armed struggle is Leninist in terms of the road to power.
(e) That the only revolutionary that has read, understood in its profoundness, memorized and applied the texts of Lenin is you and that the rest who come close in merit are the physical and verbal guerillas, the intellectuals (that you call “poets”) in the process of decolonization or de-alienation, the peasantophiles obsessed with the rural who exclusively bear love for the country, trying to outflank from the left the industrial working class…

Beyond these pointed details, I will not conceal my belief that, very subtly I accept, you have created a certain environment which has traveled a long ways towards a sort of incipient Trotskyism. More evidently a sort of pro-chineseness which I will go ahead and qualify as hypocritical, in so far as it is typically intellectual and petty-bourgeois. Will you respond with another brilliant little joke?

Poet: — (With forced laughter, in El Salvador called “Rabbit's Laughter”) — Well, the truth….

Reader: — Do you feel bad? You have begun with regret…

Poet: — I can't hide that you have managed to enrage me. For a simple reason. In the name of intelligibility you ask that I use an obsolete language which I abhor and which I have invested so much work and time in abandoning. Asking for stereotypical explanations you have already noted an initial triumph in taking me out of my boxes. Which is, for its part, the worst thing that can happen to an ironic poet. You should let the poem flow even though in a poem like this things do not flow like in the world of angels. I will have to do a sort of opening towards this scheme and even towards its reiteration. But I warn you that this is a tactical opening, as to a comrade no matter how exhausting and endearing, like yourself. I believe the poem could have continued without this excretion that your doubts have forced on me, but I will not run any further risk on this point.

Let us go then, to the problems. First: Are there two Leninisms? I believe not. I also believe that this is a conception which has not come from my poem. There is only one Leninism. In this case I will not venture to correct the declaration of comrade Suslov when he said “Marxism-Leninism is a whole and indivisible doctrine, which scientifically expresses the ideology of the world working class”. (Although the angel at my side scratches his head when he reads the same comrade Suslov add that the unity of Marxism-Leninism lies in its “Scientific focus, Dialectical-Materialist with which the communist take on social phenomenon… however distinct the concrete questions are with which the sibling parties have to act”, since it is a fact that every approach is a world, every approach returns to become specific in accord precisely with the concrete reality in which a party or group of parties act; in this way there are, and this is not only good but natural, around the social problems of today, Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Chilean, etc. approaches. What is true is that Leninism, complete and indivisible, as a dialectical unity of thought, is susceptible (precisely for its unity) to be considered for its elements, moments, stages, predominant problems in accord with the succession of historical events, matrices, etc. Leninism is a complex result of history, not an impenetrable ball of iron.

As an example we can go to the essential problem of political power. It is important to consider in the essence of Lenin's thought or in the development of his thought, the stage which takes on the necessity of popular revolutionary organization, the clarification of the road to power, the preparation of the armed insurrection and its execution; all of this directed as it is important to underline, in order to take political power for the proletariat through the destruction of the bourgeois state apparatus, creating the conditions to begin the construction of socialism. Then there is the stage which begins precisely when political power has been obtained, the stage of the defense and consolidation of popular power in the face of economic problems, in the face of chaos and hunger, in the face of political, social and organizational problems of the new nation: the stage as it is, of the construction of socialism. If we accept the essential unity of Leninism we can see these stages as such and so avoid mental judgments which lead nowhere in theory and practice. More importantly, we can understand that both stages are revolutionary and are not antagonistically contradictory between themselves: one makes possible the other, they are part of one thought confronting distinct realities within the same historic revolutionary process.

Reader — And what is new that you're saying with all of this? This is all elementary….

Poet: — (Gazing into the background of the theoretical location where the dialog leaves, a poetic space-time which seethes with tropical heat despite the air conditioning):- The unequal historical development of contemporary national societies and the fact that the world revolution advances by stages, which is to say, that the seizure of power at the world level is progressive and not simultaneous, means that in the world there is a coexistence of countries with different economic and social regimes. States whose power is exercised by the working class as well as bourgeois and imperialist states, states of dominant minority classes. More than this, in the very heart of the world revolutionary movement there is a coexistence of revolutionary organizations which struggle for power.

It is natural that in these conditions there are conflicts of interest and diverse points of view (and a diverse capability to understand ones own points of view) within the conglomeration which is called Leninist. It is also natural, although not right, that with the objective of putting greater emphasis on the aspect of Leninist thought that interests each, there has emerged this other visual sickness of seeing two Lenins where there is only one: A Lenin to take power and a Lenin for the conservation and development of power. The sickness does not end there: they go so far as to pit both Lenins against one another, like puppets whose strings are pulled on the one end by the Leninist states, and on the other by “revolutionaries in countries who have still not been liberated from imperialism”. When we say and we accept that Leninist thought in its entirety is a decisive revolutionary legacy for humanity, when we affirm that there are not two Lenins fighting amongst each other, this does not make it any less necessary to emphasize the aspects of Leninist thought which most interest us in the state of the revolutionary process in Latin America.
 
For this reason we highlight Marxism-leninism-maoism-ho-chi-minhism-guevarism-fidelism, which is modern Leninism for the seizure of power, under the conditions in which the road to revolution is the armed struggle against the oligarchical-imperialist forces, outside of exceptional circumstances (the defeat of fascism in WW2, the presence of the Red Army, etc.) which made the seizure of power in Eastern Europe extremely specific. We are not however unnecessarily raising up a banner with which to oppose “Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-Khrushchevism-Kadarism-Gonlulkism-Titoism-Novotnyism-Brezhnevism-Kosyginism-etc.” Although it must be said that the Leninism of socialist construction could only be properly born, in the 7 years that Lenin lived after the seizure of power, the great majority of which were in conditions which drastically reduced the possibility to theorize, in a debilitating state of health after the attempt on his life, etc.

With all of this, the poem does not exclude anyone from the revolutionary camp. This is not for brotherly love or any reconciliatory spirit. Rather I have a very well tuned sense of the ridiculous and beyond that, there are one or two poets in Latin America who have taught me how ugly poetic voices are which expel people from God's chosen. They do so from a heaven in which they were admitted by a hairs breadth and for the construction of which they do add nothing but whispers and grimaces. As a consolidated force, without exclusions based on mutual discrepancies, the social world of the economy and military power fundamental to opposing imperialism. This is elemental. However in my country, in order to bring the revolution closer to the radical urban sectors (including the working class) and the rural masses, in order to confront the counter-revolutionary war which silently, without the thundering of cannons and passage of tanks (although every day more frequently, bursts of machine guns and G-3 rifles from helicopters above cities and villages) the exploiters are leading against our people - for this we are much more interested in the Lenin of the seizure of power and the Lenin who arrives to us through Che Guevara and General Giap, than the Lenin (undoubtedly great) of the NEP or that arrives at us through reports about the success of the latest wheat planting in the Ukraine.

It is a problem of priorities, one which is historically fleeting. In no moment however have I talked of “revising” Lenin. In the sphere of revolutionary thought, the encompassing character of the existence of Leninism makes it so that very often “Left-wing revision” (Understand this well: “The displacement of the revolutionary kernel of Leninism from supposedly more revolutionary positions”) ends in the extreme right, as in the case of the serpent who unexpectedly swallows its own tail. What is advisable however is to read Lenin, an extremely rare activity among wide sections of modern revolutionaries. A reading which is in the best cases, very insufficient. It's important to say though that reading Lenin is not to purchase Lenin, acquiring Lenin as exclusive property. Lenin does not become the sacred drum of our church, whose sounds can only be deciphered by us chosen few, putting it to the test of all our understanding and our external interpretation. I read Lenin, therefor Lenin is mine and no-one else has a right to him, access to him must pass through me, his new and definitive Muhammed. On the contrary, Lenin is more open to life than ever. These are not merely words lost on the wind, but rather a practical experience for all. Is only the armed struggle Leninist? We do not fall in the trap of abstract generalizations. On this terrain almost everything is false: you know that even the phrase “All generalizations are false” expresses a falsehood.

In this poem we talk of the armed struggle to take political power in Latin America. There is a concrete reality which signals a defined strategy for the revolutionary path in the continent. The conceptions of this strategy coincide with the conceptions of Lenin around violence as a solution to the problem of power. They are part of the real continuity in our history of a totality of concrete experiences towards the realization of the socialist revolution which have taken place up to the present. When you have an example of the first socialist revolution made by a “peaceful path”, I beg you to please give me a call. If I'm not at home, leave an urgent message with my youngest son, who will by then already know much of political problems. I beg you to read what Commander Guevara says in chapter 45 of this poem. Now that we've gone over that, within the general area of a strategy based primarily on the violent, armed revolutionary offensive to take power in Latin America, we can consider some possible exceptions, tactical moments in which other less violent forms of struggle take on great importance, mixed situations in this or that zone. This is the case of the current enrichment of the revolutionary perspective, with the unfolding of diverse processes in a series of countries (Peru, Argentina, Panama etc.), whose elements should be taken together in a realistic politics, which without sacrificing the strategy, and refining the tactic, gives the proletariat a capacity to ride out storms, advance after retreating, march in a zig-zag, etc.

Reader: — Yes, all of this is very well. At this level I almost feel comfortable, independently of the fact that my previous intervention planted other problems which you haven't even touch upon, not to mention resolved. However we will leave this. In your last words there is still a problem which bothers me. For example, this about the stages and periods of Marxism-Leninism and above all this about dividing Marxist-Leninism in accord with the fundamental interests of each and every one in each moment. In 1973 we are obligated to see the legacy of Lenin as a infragmentable whole, dialectically inter-related, each part of which illuminates, explains, limits and complements the others, and vice versa. It appears to me that you have taken a… I will say pragmatic position, so as not to say opportunist. If we stick with just the Leninism that Lenin wrote up until the seizure of power, we lose among other things the light which the brilliant Lenin of the NEP casts on the experience of the seizure of power. Is that a Leninist attitude?

Poet: — One can emphasize a particular aspect of a whole without this signifying making a cut. However we are arriving at the end of the poem and I wont fall into the trap again of solemn speeches which throw away everything to be lost through the path of sleep. Examine yourself the following cite extracted from the article “Those who deny us” signed by Lenin with the pseudonym “V.Ilin” and appearing in the magazine Misl in February 1911:

“Given the richness and variety of the ideological content of Marxism, there is nothing strange that in Russia, the same as in other countries, the different historical periods emphasize in a particular mode one or another aspects of Marxism. In Germany, before 1848, there was a particular emphasis on the Philosophical development of Marxism; in 1848, the political ideas; in the 50s and 60s, the economic doctrine of Marx. In Russia, before the revolution, what was emphasized above all was the application of the economic doctrine of Marx to our reality; during the revolution, Marxist politics; after the revolution, Marxist philosophy. This is not to say that you can omitt one of the aspects of Marxism, but rather that the predominant interest for one or another aspect does depend on subjective desires, but rather the conjuncture of historical conditions” (The emphasis is Lenin's).

Reader: — It is acceptable that… That is to say, it is undoubtable that… In any case, there are various responses…

Poet: — And why don't you try to give some of them?

Reader: — I knew from the beginning. As I am your character, you can make me shut up when it's convenient or when you feel like it. You are a…

Poet: (With an ethereal and, to tell the truth, unfriendly gesture from the left hand): I have simply put together an invitation to think. An unwelcome gesture, if we take into account that you are a product of my imagination…

82

Dialectic of Genesis, Crisis and Rebirth

I
For you we will not put the Party on an altar
Because you taught us that the Party
is an organism which lives in the real world
and it's sickness is the same as bankruptcy
Because of you we know, Lenin
That the best crib for the Party
Is fire

II
Because of you we understand that the Party can accept
Any clandestine conditions
Except for a moral clandestinity.
Because of you we know that the Party is built
in the image and semblance of men
and when it is not the image and semblance of the best
men
It's time to start over

92

Thesis

I
Poster
THE DUTY OF EVERY LATIN AMERICAN TODAY

MORE THAN EVER
WITH SOCIALISM IN CUBA
THE PROCESS UNFOLDING IN CHILE
THE SITUATIONS IN ARGENTINA PERU AND

PANAMA
THE ARMED STRUGGLE IN GUATEMALA URUGUAY

BOLIVIA
COLOMBIA THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BRAZIL
THE ARMED RESISTANCE TO THE DICTATORSHIPS

IN NICARAGUA
HAITI, EL SALVADOR, PARAGUAY
THE STRUGGLE OF THE MASSES IN HONDURAS

VENEZUELA ECUADOR
THE ANTI-COLONIAL PROCESS IN THE COUNTRIES

OF THE ANTILLES AND THE CARIBBEAN
THE STRUGGLE OF PUERTO RICO
IS
M A K E T H E R E V O L U T I O N
AND IN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE CASES
A PERMANENT STATE OF ALERT AGAINST

FASCISM
THE CONTAGIOUS FRANKENSTEIN
WHICH STALKS EACH OF THESE COUNTRIES
DO NOT DISARM THE MASSES
WITH PRO-BOURGEOIS IDEAS OF

CONCILIATION
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE NEGOTIATED
IT IS NOT AN OBJECT FOR TRANSACTIONS
IT IS IMPOSED WITH FORCE
IT IS CONQUERED BY FORCE

MAKING THE REVOLUTION IS PREPARING IT
ACCELERATE IT WITH ORGANIZATION
EXECUTE REVOLUTIONARY ACTIONS
ADEQUATE FOR EACH MOMENT
UNITE ALL THE REVOLUTIONARIES
UNITE THE MASSES AROUND COMMON OBJECTIVES
THE OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS EXIST

OBJECTIVELY
WORKING IN SUBJECTIVE CONDITIONS
IS TO ALREADY BE MAKING THE REVOLUTION
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE

OBJECTIVE
CONDITIONS
HAVE ONLY ONE MEANING
THEIR TRANSFORMATION
HISTORY IS MADE OF A METAL
FROM WHICH YOU CAN ONLY FORGE
RIFLES
OR CHAINS
THE PRESENT IS STRUGGLE
THE FUTURE IS OURS

II
In a balanced summary…
Contemporary Leninism is summarized and exemplified for modern practice in Latin America through a 
dialectical relationship
between

the ardent revolutionary realism of the Cuban Revolution and its Socialist State,

the activity of the armed vanguard and the popular masses in the countries where the only revolutionary option is the development of people's revolutionary war, countries which are the immense majority of the continent,

and the action of the real revolutionary vanguard and the popular masses in those countries where they have obtained important position in the government and the bourgeois state apparatus.

It is necessary to immediately expel everyone who is against this struggle. However after this we will not simply dedicated ourselves to phrasemongering, rather we must immediately learn from the errors already committed the best method of organizing the struggle. We should not hide our errors before the enemy. Whoever fears this is not a revolutionary. On the contrary, if we declare openly before the worker: “Yes, we have made mistakes”, this means that going forward we will not have to repeat these errors and we will know better how to choose the moment to act. If during this struggle the grand majority of the workers — not only the majority of the workers but also the majority of the exploited and oppressed —come over to our side, then we will truly win.

Lenin would say it like this.

III
Definition of Leninism from a 
Strategic and Tactical Point of View
To be a Leninist
You need
One big staircase
and a thousand small ones…