Comrades, friends! Excuse us that we have not been participating properly in the STACHKOM and PROLETARISM list’s discussions, though we should be one of the activest participants of the common conversation. Is it not there would be no these lists without us, without our ideas. There is one reason of our "passivity": we are overburdened with affairs. If you keep up with Russia you can see by yourself, that our situation becomes sharper day after day. We are preparing for the serious events, which can begin to develop at any moment. Our town’s strike committee, and it firmly becomes a basis, a core of Russian strike committee, works literally day and night.
However we have decided that it will be quite wrong to look at your discussion from the outside any longer. Therefore we apply to you with more detailed explanations of our views, which are reflected in the Program of PPD and, first of all, of maybe such a strange not Marxian statement, that the social order, the regime in the former USSR was not socialist, not bourgeois, namely feudal.
In the beginning here are some general explanations.
First, we want to remind, that for us socialism is primarily a firm working authority – then everything else. In this connection here are some words about a new term "proletarism". Proletarism is that Marx and all of his faithful following understood by "the lowest phase" of communism or "socialism", in other words, it is a transition of society from capitalism to communism, from the classness of transition to classless. It seems, all is clear... But the term "socialism" in it self does not reflect in any way obvious class essence of the transition of society from one condition into another, it rather even blurs over, veils the essence. It is not accidentally that the most reactionary regimes, but not the working authority by itself, can quietly exist under a beautiful mask of socialism.
I remember, even Hitler had not any but "a National-socialist Working party"... Socialism is so strange thing! It will endure everything, cover everything – hardly keep from telling: there is one step from socialisms up to fascism.
That is I want to say, whether it is everything in order in Marxism with such important thing as a conceptual apparatus, with terms, which we use, even if monstrous degenerate Hitler dared to place "nazism" and "socialism" side by side? The term "socialism" is not accurate, and not accurate means wrong, so there is a mass of problems from here. Proletarism, on the contrary, directly speaks, that it is not an authority of a Party (let even three times proletarian), not an authority of the leaders (even selflessly devoted to the proletariat), not an authority of the state, - but an authority of the class. The authority political and economic, authority in the center and at the local level, absolute authority, divided with nobody. In essence, proletarism is a synonym of dictatorship of the proletariat.
It follows from the logic of the history. When the slave-owners were the masters of the society, it was slave-owning system, when the feudal lords - feudalism, capitalists - capitalism, so the society was named by the name of the master, of the ruling class. So why after the revolution, after the taking authority by the proletariat the society, the social order should not be named proletarian? Namely proletarian! If to sum up, "communism" is the purpose, and "proletarism" is the road to the purpose. But what is the purpose worth, let even great, without a right road to it? Already Hodge Nasreddin has noticed, that you can shout as you might: "Halva-Halva"... there will be no sweet in your mouth. If we take a right road, we shall reach the purpose, if not - we shall be harshly plunged in the past. It, in particular, means, that it is necessary to introduce into practice and custom the term “proletarism” immediately and resolutely. And it is wrongly to be afraid, that this term will distract "benighted masses", on the contrary, we were quite convinced, that the workers quietly perceived an unusual term as their after some explanations.
It is because this term is simple, accurate and clear. Besides, phonetics, sounding of the new word by itself will not let anybody to forget what authority, regime and society we have. And mainly, who is the master of this society! And the master should be " the the proletariat, organized in a ruling class".
Secondly, we consider, that the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR, and all of the world was historically doomed to an unavoidable defeat, what could not be foresaw in any way by the Marxian theory, which was existing at that time. Could not, because this theory is a product of understanding of revolutionary experience of the proletariat, so the son, as is known, cannot be born before the father.
Thirdly, it is important to note, that counter-revolutionary overturn in the USSR took place not as an unconcealed putsch or rebellion of bourgeoisie, that could be evident and clear for everybody, but it was quiet, noiseless, highly stretched in time, and so unexpected, that nobody had noticed it. It is explicitly reviewed in the Second Communist Manifesto (SCM) of Raslatzkiy. As a result even after full completion of the overturn (time of Khrushchev government) the Soviet Union inside and outside continued to be perceived as a socialist state, though there were no any socialist features in it, except the name, what is explicitly spoken about in SCM. Here I’d like to cite a quotation from the SCM concerning the question opened by me.
"Counter-revolutionary overturn took place. Under a profound capitalists essence of the social and economic structure generated by this overturn, form of society, it’s structure acquired very peculiar features. The relation between Administration and workers instantly degraded to a feudal level. Absolute power in distribution of the boons, absolute possession of all national economy released Administration from the threat of whatever competitive economic pressure, - and so the pursuit to maximum profit and development of production, accompanying it, had become not necessary.
The anxiety of Administration came to so as to it’s serfs could somehow feed themselves, provide reproduction of a labor force, and the main - completely satisfied needs of the master - Administration.
At the same time distribution of the boons expropriated from the the proletariat inside the apex, among the dictatorial Administration is complicated by a heap of already meaningless formal requirement, which have remained as a heritage from the previous stages of state development. By virtue of it the inevitable struggle for distribution of the boons in the administrative milieu has petty-bourgeois, hairsplitting nature, when millions and millions are wasted for the sake of personal twopenny-halfpenny gain, just because they are no one's and cannot turn into personal property. This unnatural situation fraught with inevitable crises, solution of which every time step by step conducts to detection and legalization of a capitalist essence, i.e. to brining the form in the correspondence with the matter.
This strange, unprecedented form of capitalism misleads many people - both in the country and abroad. This is vastly promoted by absence of a genuine socialist pattern for comparison, by broad propagation (fully overwhelming inside the country) of pseudomarxian theoretical deceptions of the apex and by isolation, remoteness of the socialist world from capitalist problems, which is interpreted as a feature of socialism, but actually is predetermined by a feudal structure ".
This is how matters stood in 1979. By the end of the eighties general (economic, political, social) crisis in the USSR became so acute, that it was urgently needed to substitute feudal relations, feudal structures of society for capitalist ones, and it was made by Gorbachev’s (bourgeois) reconstruction. But in contrast to our communists-marxists-trozkists who perceive the reconstruction as a REACTIONARY turnover from socialisms to capitalism, Party of The proletariat Dictatorship considers that this reconstruction is undoubtedly a REVOLUTIONARY turning-point from feudal relations to bourgeois.
For us the reconstruction is not a modification in the basis, that is in productive forces and productive relations; the reconstruction has resulted in drastic changes just in a superstructure: in legal, legislative, ideological, moral, spiritual spheres of life of society, in the whole system of social relations. I shall explain it on an example.
Let's suppose, that fascist overturn has happened somewhere today. It is clear, that with all this going on there will be former owners of means of production, at whose factories the hired workers will work, as well as yesterday. It is obvious, as well as that the proletariat and the society will be loaded in brown night of a fascist terror from the moment of the overturn. There is a question from this: should workers and people in general be pleased, that capitalism as a social and economic structure has remained unshakable? Probably, it is more important nevertheless the system, the order, the regime, in which people found oneself.
And another. Let's imagine, that the slaves in Ancient Rome would work in a quarry, on a plantation... not manually under baking sun, but on the current technology with conditioners, with electronics, but at the same time they would be still chained to this technology and a whip of the slave-driver would whistle over them.
Tell, whether their position as slaves was changed very much? Just so, but only there were workers of the USSR in the position of serfs in the last decades of the USSR’s existence. And secretaries of regional committees, town committees, district committees of CPSU at that time were evident tsar's deputes, governors, real feudal lords each at his the level.
That is why it is necessary to consider Gorbachev’s reconstruction as an analog of February revolution of 1917 in Russia. So, since full completion of the reconstruction, i.e. since the prohibition of C.P.S.U. in August 1991 and fusillade of the old, still quite "communist" Supreme Soviet in October 1993 Russia began it’s way from February to New October again as at the beginning of the century.
Here is one more moment about that. Today it is widely exaggerated the opinion that in the USSR there was not socialism, but state capitalism, that is the highest, complete stage of capitalism development. But how to explain in this case, that the state capitalism degraded not in any but namely in the lowest, the first stage of capitalism as a result of the BOURGEOIS reconstruction? You see there is practically no capitalist competitiveness in Russia even now, and according to Marx it is a stage of primary, free accumulation of the capital, the stage that historically went after a ruin of the feudal relations. It is all the same as if a modern jet airplane, having crashed, suddenly has turned not into a train, not into an automobile, not into a steam-engine, namely into a cart with a horse, isn’t it? How to explain it, referring to Marx-Lenin? But this question simply does not exist for our "sharp-sighted" Marxists, they do not notice it.
Generally it is necessary to speak about state capitalism rather more minutely.
"A witty German Social-Democrat of the seventies of the last century called the postal service an example of the socialist economic system. This is very true. At the present the postal service is a business organized on the lines of state-capitalist monopoly… We have a splendidly-equipped mechanism which can very well be set going by the united workers themselves". (State and revolution, chapter 3 items 3) "In Germany we have the last word of modern capitalist engineering and planned organization subjugated to junker-bourgeois imperialism.
Set instead of a military, junker, bourgeois state a state of another social type, another class matter, soviet state, i.e. proletarian state and you will receive whole sum of conditions, which gives us socialism". We read it in the work "About "left" childishness and petty-bourgeois essence". In "Impendent catastrophe and how to struggle with it" Lenin speaks more laconically: "Socialism is nothing else than the nearest step forwards from state-socialist monopoly ". What step does Lenin speak about? Probably, only about one: about proletarian revolution, about establishment of revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat in the society. It is the alphabet of Marxism.
But the alphabet is unfamiliar for modern philosophers – they only reason and find out whether there was state capitalism in the USSR or not. But is it necessary to find out it, sirs "scientists"? Isn’t it clear, that the elements of state capitalism began to appear already in ÕIÕ century as a natural, essential stage in historical development of productive forces, and since that time these elements have been pressing private-owner capital? Isn’t it clear, that it is important not state capitalism in itself, but in whose hands state is, because, everything, that happens in society, is always completely determined by will and interests of a prevailing class. And isn’t it clear from this that any research of the Soviet society should begin with clearing up of a main question: what was namely ruling class in the USSR? Where from did it appear (if bourgeoisie was overthrown and destroyed by the revolution), how was it transformed in time, what was it’s internal nature? It is senselessly to start any researches at all without the answers to these questions.
But thinkers continue to search not there, where have lost. All of them: both "admirers" and "opponents" of state capitalism, and nobody should be misled that they carry on irreconcilable polemic among themselves: either of them equally pull the wool over worker’s eyes with their empty words.
At the same time all of the debaters, surely, sincerely consider themselves as the best protectors, friends of the workers... It is said, once Stalin was asked concerning something: " And which of two variants is better? ". Stalin, having kept silent, answered: "Both are worse". It completely relates to our supporters and opponents of state capitalism. So, “friends” of the workers carry on discussions in a wrong way, wrong at all.
The proletariat is poor, worker, unlike capitalists, have nothing to pay for work of the state, of the officialdom. The workers are strong because of their organization, readiness to collective activity and activity by itself - only in this case proletarians and a whole class become veritable masters of the situation in the brigade, in the workshop, in the town, in the country. And this is what is called socialism, Soviet authority, dictatorship of the proletariat, proletarism. It is unlikely that there is somebody who will declare, that our working class has ever had such a highest organization, i.e. it has never been the master actually. In connection with it I’d like to repeat my question once again: who was practically a ruling class in the USSR?
Following exploiter classes are known: slaveholders, feudal lords, bourgeoisie. There are simply no others. And here we reach a deadlock because it is impossible to show precisely, which from these classes was the master in the USSR. "Partocracy", "bureaucracy", "the party-state nomenclature"... is not the answer here in any way, because it represents ordinary officialdom, state machinery, i.e. state in essence, and state, as is known, is only a tool in the hands of a real master: a prevailing class of society.
To find the correct answer, let’s pay attention to one more "strangeness" of state capitalism in the USSR. It is known, that the economy of the Soviet Union was almost unprofitable in the last decades, it practically existed at the expense of sale of petroleum, gas, coal, timber, and other natural resources. Besides, and not many people remember it now, up to 20 % of the Union’s budget at that time were made up with so-called "drunk" money, i.e. money obtained from realization of alcoholic production. (We shall remark in brackets, that already communists-feudalists began to make drunk people. Today bourgeois-democrats have driven it up to monstrous size, having added to this drug addiction imported from the West. That is how authorities cared and are caring now for spiritual rise of people!) And meanwhile huge country with two hundred millionth population was working with full exertion of forces: plants, factories, mines... were working day and night three shifts. Add to this numerous working Saturdays, Sundays, increased plans, socialist obligations, shock Komsomol constructions and other supernormal, not paid, as a rule, toil of millions of serfs... And prices were growing, people were standing in lines, necessary products and goods were being distributed on ration cards.
It was a strange state capitalism, wasn’t it? For some reason it didn’t need profit. But is it possible to imagine for example that in Germany in Bismark time mail or railways yielded losses to the state? And in the USSR it was normal. Why? Ours thinkers don’t burden themselves with such questions! Whether we like or not, but the Soviet Union with it’s social and economic structure doesn’t confine itself at all in Procrustean bed of petrified conceptions of worker’s "friends". Judge: happened counter-revolutionary overturn was properly deeply capitalist, and relations between a ruling class (Administration as a whole) and the proletariat were found frankly feudal; besides, inside the administrative milieu the distribution of the blessings, expropriated from the proletariat, had pronounced petty-bourgeois, hairsplitting character, when millions and millions were wasted for the sake of personal twopenny-halfpenny gain. Let’s enumerate the main characteristics of the social and economic structure once again: capitalist, feudal, petty-bourgeois - such a fantastical, unprecedented in a former history, cocktail from features and characteristics was after-October socialism. Such are the facts; we cannot wave off from them.
Triumph and tragedy of world socialism have brought up a lot of questions before us - their solution is a work of huge complexity and scales. Fortunately, it has been already made in Marxism. A.B. Raslatzky has made it. Everyone, who will read calmly at least three works: " Who have to answer? ", "Second Communist Manifesto", "Notes on margins of history ", will see a harmonious completed system of sights in the analysis of historical experience since October, 1917 up to now. The evaluations are given purely from class positions of the proletariat, i.e. from positions of Marxism.
Being afraid to appear didactic, however I have to say: I am surprised, that as a rule discussions in the lists STACHKOM and PROLETARISM are quite not about they should to be. And you see, from a broad, constantly shifting circle of tasks facing to the proletariat Marxists always should be able to determine the main task, without solution of which it is impossible to solve anything. At present I consider the following as the main task.
The proletariat is powerful only when it is organized; and who is the organizer, leader of a class? A party! And it is necessary to speak about it first of all. Everything is important here: from the title of the party to right understanding of a role, place, significance of the party in a general system of dictatorship of the proletariat. What mutual relations of the Party and class, Party and society should be? What is the Party: a brain and a voice of the proletariat, or quite another matter? What kind of dialectics of internal life of the Party should be, for example, in order to the Party wouldn’t lose it’s revolutionary features in the case of leader’s death (people are mortal), but would find rapidly, put forward new Marxismly thinking leader from it’s ranks? It is also necessary in the case of possible general secretary’s disparity to new historical conditions, to new tasks of the next stage of socialist building.
And here is the most important question: should the party take power into it’s own hands or, on the contrary, do everything by all it’s activity, all work, with the purpose of the proletariat, organized workers by themselves would be and always stay single real authority in the society during the whole movement to communism. Always, everywhere, in all! You see, it and only it is the only guarantee and condition of nonstop movement of the human race into classless society - condition, which has never and nowhere been realized in practice yet.
This is about what we should hold a mutual heated conversation. But instead of it there are more and more fathomless in "depth" and "novelty" conversations of the thinkers: "Trozky, Stalin, state capitalism, bureaucracy, trade unions, centrism and etc." These questions are also important, but they are secondary, i.e. even their brilliant solution never will raise, mobilize the proletariat to truly revolutionary struggle.
The society can be considered socialist only in the event of the MAIN law of socialism works in this society: " Distribution of labour and production in the interests of the society as a whole, stimulating growth of common weal and public consciousness ". ("SCM", chapter II) Only due to this Law the society is able to move irrevocably to the future, to communism. Having known it, we can say firmly: whether socialism was in the USSR and, if it was , in what measure, in what forms, how long? It is undoubtedly that under Stalin the Main law of socialism was executed – how did Stalin achieve it, what were his mistakes, what did it cost to society – this is a separate conversation. But since Khrushchev and further everything had been turning to another side party down to full break-up of socialism. If to take into account that similar process (even with different features) has taken place in all countries of socialist camp, then whether it means, that after-October socialism was defective in the sense that it was initially fraught with the latent danger of regeneration, mutation in some feudal-bourgeois chimera with Jesuitical mimicry a la socialism? Only one formal circumstance was the reason of such a turn of things: a RULING status of the party.
Namely. Having seized authority strongly, finished off the opposition, got rid of whatever competitiveness, the party naturally turned into COLLECTIVE monarch, stood above the proletariat and the whole society. Being built inside itself also in the strict vassal way, the party inevitably puts forward, raises above itself a monarch-leader: Stalin, Mao, Tito, Hodge, Chaoshesku... Most of them was even proclaimed perpetual Presidents. The circle becomes locked, there is no way out from it. I.e. the life has demonstrated inevitably, that a ruling, dictatorial Party is unavoidably converts the workers, all working-people into real serfs. Almost secular world experience from October up to now is a graphic evidence of it.
Theorists do not notice it! Not a party, but the proletariat by itself should be ruling - it is the very essence and idea of socialism! And if a Party doesn’t understand it then it is prepared beforehand for the same inglorious end which finished the history of amazing in it’s revolutionary character, legendary in former times RSDWP (b), turned into C.P.S.U. The ancients spoke: " If the gods want to deprive someone of reason, they give him authority ". Marx speaks even stricter, more precisely: "Authority corrupts, absolute authority corrupts absolutely!" It is really true concerning everybody and everything, but not only the organized working class, because "Authority is such a privilege, which can not corrupt, make bourgeois only the proletariat ". (The Second Communist Manifesto).
Sunday, March 5, 2000.