In the year 1789, the revolution of the French bourgeoisie against feudal society was a class struggle. Under the successors of Louis XIV, the eminent position that France occupied in the world crumbled, bit by bit. France lost its empire in America. In Europe, it was surpassed by Prussia and Austria. The indebtedness of the state paralyzed its freedom of external action. The feudal ruling class squandered a splendid historical heritage. It was in the process of lowering France into complete ruin. This class was a bad administrator of the vital needs of the country.
Was there a better administrator of these vital needs? The bourgeoisie claimed it had this competence. The emigres, who since Coblence, excited the foreigner against France, to betray their country, subsequently confirmed this claim.
Pushed by their instincts of class struggle, the bourgeoisie drove out the nobility. For reasons of national politics, it deserved to be driven out. This overthrow was much more than a social event: the idea of class struggle was based here in an inflamed national passion. The French bourgeoisie saved the country from Europe first by decapitating its king and its aristocracy. The reversal of the established social order gave it an import social gain. But all together, this upheaval had fulfilled a national function. In the conditions of the epoch, the class struggle, under the bourgeois form, was the only means permitting France to lead the combat to affirm itself well, as a nation. The class struggle was the means of national combat. National war and not the class struggle gave its true meaning to the events. The difference of classes was stirred and thus transformed into class struggle to make it a political motive force in order to satisfy a national requirement. The French bourgeoisie became the ruling class, because its class struggle was subordinated to the law of political and national life of France. The true meaning of the French Revolution was not limited to the class struggle. Because the French bourgeoisie knew to give new bases to the national and political power of France, it was equally able take social direction. It left victorious from the class struggle because it knew to lead the national combat well.
As the French bourgeoisie saved France from political powerlessness, the Russian worker saved Russia from tearing itself apart and colonization. The Russian ruling class, feudal and bourgeois, had conspired with the enemy. It had sacrificed independence and national integrity, so they could be given the assurance of maintaining their privileges. Thus even the existence of superior classes became a danger for Russia. If the country would want to guard its autonomy and material freedom from foreign politics, it was necessarily to annihilate these classes. They were secret agents and allies of Western powers. The defense of their privileges was a treason. Consequently, they were submitted to the punishment reserved for traitors to their country. Eternal Russia found on its side groups of partisans and workers’ brigades. Overnight, Lenin was named the administrator of this Russia. The idea of class struggle could not have inflamed the masses, if it had not been charged with this explosive that is the national mission. Certainly, this idea already existed, but under a less acute form and without vitality. It smoldered in its cinders. The idea became a fire devouring the decay and purifying the indestructible substance at the moment where it discharged this national mission for which Russia, in the paroxysms of suffering, had searched for an instrument willing and ready to sacrifice. The Russian Revolution was equally a national revolution. The will to struggle of the laboring classes had a political function. It was, in some way, military morality, which the worker immediately obeyed when he was called to make world history.