This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A mazdoor mukti publication
PART-I Is Socialism Dead?
A Call A Critical Assessment On China The Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese State and the Chinese Society: A Proletarian Query The Chinese Cultural Revolution From Mao to Deng On Eastern Europe How the Revolution Was made to Order Glimpses of Class Struggle The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Democracy The Socialist State and Socialism
PART-II More on Is Socialism Dead?
Lessons of the Defeat (A Critical Assessment of the Development in Soviet Russia)
[Note: This is an abridged version of “Is Socialism dead?” published (English edition) in 11 January 2004. In the previous unabridged edition, Part I was reprinted from the booklet (English version) published in 1991. Part II was reprinted from the booklet “More on Is Socialism Dead?” (English version) published in 1992. The English version of Part-1, in its turn was basically a translation of articles published in Mazdoor Mukti (“Workers’ Emancipation”, a Bengali periodical) in two special bulletins; first one, immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, and another, after the radical changes in Eastern European countries. Gautam Sen edited previous editions.] Internet Edition 13 August 2008 Edited by: Gautam Sen
More than a decade has passed since we published our assessment on i) the cause and background of Tiananmen Square massacre; ii) the fall of ‘socialist’ citadel of Soviet Russia and East Europe. However precise our assessment was, we not only welcomed the fall of Berlin Wall and collapse of soviet system, we categorically stated in those countries the system which died historically was not socialism, because as a system, socialism is yet to born. We reiterated that socialism means abolition of classes and as a corollary, there is no question of existence of state in socialism. According to our analysis, though the October Revolution in Russia was initiation of the proletarian socialist revolution, the working class of Russia and over the world failed to continue the revolution. As a result, the revolution was defeated and thanks to the theoreticians of the victorious side, this, in turn, paved the path for the dictatorship of the Communist Party and cosequently gave credential to substitutionism. In case of the Chinese and East European revolution, there was not even an attempt for proletarian socialist revolution. The Party took power and that was the beginning and end of the revolution. The events during the last decade have vindicated our theorisation. The disintegrated states of erstwhile Soviet Russia took a radical turn towards private capitalism (of course from state capitalism), thereby giving birth of much pain and bloodshed. Some states of ‘Warsaw Pact’ have enthusiastically joined NATO to get their share of imperialist booties. And the ‘Socialist’ China has boastfully and successfully introduced ‘market socialism’ ! In the meantime, we, the rank and file communists have to pay more than a lot for the glorious performances and articulations of our fore-communists! Let us dare to question and challenge all the settled facts and theorisation. There is no other way for the emancipation of the workers and society! Kolkata, India January 11, 2004
Call to Communist Activists and Supporters: CAST OFF HESITATIONS AND ILLUSIONS Stand by the bleeding comrades fighting for democracy
DEFEND THE DIGNITY OF COMMUNIST IDENTITY
Alas! The hands of communists are again stained with the blood of fighters of Democracy. The ‘socialist’ repression has been unleashed upon the peaceful and unarmed demonstration. Our hearts are contracting in abhorrence, heads are hanging down in shame. Our conscience is burning in anger. We too introduce ourselves as communist. We too fight to establish a socialist state and society. Is it the culmination of socialism? Is it the future of communists? No, it is a fraud. It is a lie. It is not socialism. They are not communists. Through the bloody experience of the fighting student-comrades, we have again realised the very painful truth. They have expunged the spirit and essence of democracy and liberty from the notion of communism. They have ‘transformed it into a practice of subjugation, exploitation, repression and oppression. The communists have to go forward through rebellion against this anti-worker, antiprogress culture prevailing in the name of communist movement.
The powerful rulers have resorted to traditional path of monstrous insanity. The struggle for democracy in China has been flooded in a stream of blood. Yet the communists and lefts, who were active to protest against the barbarous attack of America on Vietnam, or the massacre in Indonesia and Chille, and are loud to free Nelson Mandela, are silent at this historical moment. The official communist parties had termed the fight for democracy as ‘internal affairs of China’ and tried to evade the issue prior to the 4th June massacre. Some of them are now singing on the same tune as the Chinese leadership, designating the Chinese student movement as ‘imperialist manipulation’ and reactionary’. Some others consider this massacre ‘unnecessary’ and ‘an excess’. Yet they consider the movement detrimental and dangerous to the socialist system. So they are not loud enough. Even those, who are loud enough, are very cautious in their steps. They are getting nervous. They are not ready to face the series of questions, which may come out once the door is opened. There are some more who are yet to complete their political analysis about the Chinese ruler. They are putting a grand alibi. The picture is not completely clear. How can we depend on the bourgeois newspapers? We need not support but try to find explanations in the specific attitude and behavior of the majority of communist leadership in India, regarding the Chinese student movement and the massacre. Some may harp the same tune as the Chinese leadership to maintain party-to-party relationship. Some others may find similarity of their own culture and mission with the activities of the Chinese leadership. The rest may be afraid and apprehensive that all the subtle and meticulous analyses upon which the leadership has been built, might be jeopardized if they condemn the Chinese episode. But hundreds of thousands of activists and communist supporters, you have nothing to lose! Why don’t you protest vehemently against one of the most heinous massacre of the 20th century? Why is not your conscience and humanity not surging up? Why don’t you cross the barrier of vested interest of the party leadership to brighten your communist identity? Comrades and friends, communism or Marxism, whatever term we use, everything is for mankind, to lead humanity to a higher culture and society. So, whatever be the old analyses regarding China, we have to designate this monstrous killing and brutal jubilation as anti-people, anti-democracy and
anti-humanity. And then only we can acquire minimum qualification to call ourselves communists. If we are not able to do this, comrades, all our theories, our fights and our practice of life, everything is a lie. Not only the cry and wailing is echoed in China today, the song sung by the students on the bloody Sunday is still being heard. Just before leaving Tiananmen Square, amidst exhaustion, hardship and anguish, the last group of students was singing the international in presence of their bleeding comrades Arise! ye prisoner of starvation, Arise! wretched of the earth. Let us declare our solidarity with the aspirations of those communist students and march forward in search of a new path.
Between capitalist and Communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can he nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
LET THE DECADE OF ’90 BEGIN FROM THE END OF THE DECADE OF ’80
We welcome the commencement of the fall of autocratic regimes in the countries of Eastern Europe, at the close of the 80’s. We also welcome the emergence of democratic forces in China and Russia... Let these revolutionary changes make the diehard anti-communist forces and patrons of capitalism throughout the world joyful. Let the turn of these countries towards a market-economy encourage them to declare the death of socialism in the 75 years’ fight between capitalism and socialism. Let them propagate the so-called great historic lesson that socialism is rejected by the masses. We firmly decline to accept all these novel and highly-publicized declarations and lessons. We know very well that the international capitalist forces and media have designated the socio-economic system of these countries as socialist, so that socialism as an ideal can be degraded, and socialism as a goal diverted. We know that the rulers of these countries have declared these societies as socialist, so as to hide the real heinous character of their rule and exploitation. We also know, that owing to the noisy propaganda of these two powerful establishments (along with the full-fledged support of their followers worldwide) the broad section of the masses have recognized these societies as socialist. But, in the name of communism, they built a society where broad masses live in poverty and a handful of rulers and small coterie around them live a luxurious life. They built a society where the direct producers have no command over production and distribution and everything is decided in exclusion of them, over them, (indeed, against them). In the name of proletarian democracy, they built a state, where masses of the people are deprived of the minimum
democratic rights: right to express dissenting views, right to organise independently and the country is ruled by a bureaucratic-military clique in the guise of a self-declared advance section of the working class’. To declare that system as socialist or even to attempt to measure that system along a socialist yard-stick (that where and how far they are deviated from socialism) is not only false and hypocritical, but also the most cruel and painful myth of the human civilization. Because socialism means the social ownership of all the wealth of society; socialism means the collective control of all the production and distribution by the direct producers from below. Socialism means classless, exploitation-less and therefore stateless society. Socialism means a step ahead of capitalism, in material, cultural, human and all other aspects. Rather, the overall dynamics of its production and distribution, its position as an integral part (instead of an opponent) of international capitalist economy, especially the relationship between the direct producers and the bosses and the differences in their income and standard of life... all these compel us to judge this type of socio-economic system (of course, with some of its unique characteristics) that how far it was tallying with the traditional capitalism and due to the present economic reforms, especially the open-door policy towards western capitalism and turn towards conventional market economy, how far it is merging in the main stream of capitalism. So, we firmly believe the system, which died historically along with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, was not socialism, because as a system, socialism is yet to be born. We believe the people of Eastern Europe, China or Russia have never rejected socialism because they did not get the opportunity to experience socialism. On the contrary, we believe the initial victory in their struggle for democracy will give a decisive blow to the fake socialism, will open the door of class struggle further, and in the process will create the best conditions and potentialities for the struggle towards socialism. Taking advantage of the situation arisen through the fall of the so-called socialist system, let the lackeys of capitalism highlight the brightness of capitalism and bourgeois democracy. Let them try to project their system as ideal and attractive. We do not and cannot forget the blessings of capitalism: starvation, poverty, homelessness, unemployment...; we cannot forget the horror of war and the insane competition for deadly weapons ... we cannot forget the fraud of their democracy, where the money bag continuously make it truncated and crippled. We want to remind them that the death of the so-called socialism in those countries is in no way transforming the nasty dying capitalism to a healthy and beautiful system. Rather the tendency to go beyond the bourgeois limit is inherent in each and every fight for democracy and the revolt against this so-called socialist system is giving birth to the socialist elements every hour, every moment, Let the experiences earned through struggle, sacrifice and bloodshed of the last decade illuminate our path of struggle in the coming decade. Let the decade of ’90 begin from the end of the decade ’80.
THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY, THE CHINESE STATE AND THE CHINESE SOCIETY — A PROLETARIAN QUERY
China was a semi-feudal semi-colonial country. It was, on the one hand, controlled and dominated by the imperialists, on the other, it was ruled by the feudal lords involved in mutual warfare. The life of the Chinese people was unbearable due to the abject poverty, oppression and
backwardness. In this situation, crossing a long and tortuous bloody path and passing through the historical Long March, the Chinese Communist Party first won the Anti-Japanese Resistance War to complete the national liberation. They then defeated the Kuomintang forces led by Chiang-KaiShek to seize power. The main form of the struggle was armed guerilla warfare; the main strategy was to establish bases in the countryside and to encircle the city gradually. The credit of the success of the political and military expedition of the Chinese revolution, of course, goes to the C.P.C. and its leader Mao-Tse-Tung. The Chinese Communist Party and Its Class Base Being inspired by the anti-imperialist student movement of 1919 and the great Russian November Revolution, the C.P.C. was formed in 1921. At that time its membership was 57 only. The party gained its working class base quickly through its active participation in the growing working class movement and its intervention in the great strike of 30th May 1925, and transformed itself into a mass-workers party. As the C.P.C. abandoned its independent and separate identity on the pretext of forming the Anti-Japanese United Front and thereby reducing itself to an appendage of the Kuomintang (this line was approved by the Communist International) and in want of independent initiative, necessary preparations and vigilance of the working class, infamous Sanghai massacre took place in 1927, when the Kuomintang forces killed thousands of Communists and workers. During 1926-27 about 40,000 workers and communist activists were killed, more then 20,000 were arrested and the workers organisations were smashed. This repression not only reduced the party membership from 57,900 to 10,000 but also isolated the party from the working class. The rest of the party took shelter in the remote countryside and forests or mountains. The C.P.C. could never regain its class base, nor did it even try to get it back. From then on the liberation of China had become the first and last aim of the C.P.C., the guerilla warfare the only form to mobilise the people. For the party, the working class had no role other than to participate individually in this resistance war. It is also true that the working class, on its behalf, could not make any significant imprint in political process through its own struggle and initiative. As a result, the temporary isolation of the Communist Party had become permanent and final. The name and declaration of the Chinese Communist Party remained same, though its essence changed. The Communist Party was made synonymous with the working class to adjust the theory of ‘revolution under the leadership of the working class’ with the reality. Moreover, there was no significant and active revolutionary role of the working class on the eve of the seizure of power in 1949. Rather, when the Communist Party took power with the help of the People’s Liberation Army, composed mainly of the peasants, the overwhelming majority members of the party were of peasant origin. Who Seized Power? In a nutshell, it was the Chinese Communist Party. But which class seized the power? It is not possible to answer the question straight way. In the direct point of view, the C.P.C did not represent either the working class, or the peasantry, or the bourgeoisie. Because, from 1927 onward the C.P.C. never tried to build itself in the working class or to represent the working class struggle; it also never attempted to develop the independent working class current, though the party tried to represent the peasantry in the anti-feudal struggle and recruit its members from this strata, yet it had no such programme to rule the country serving the peasantry. It was not possible also, for any attempt in this direction would (deprive the C.P.C. to develop itself as the leader of the nation in the Anti-Japanese Liberation War. On the contrary, there were sufficient hints of collectivization of agriculture (for
building socialism!) and steps were taken to implement that in post-revolutionary China. This programme is anything but a peasant programme, though it declared to protect the interest of the national bourgeoisie, its programme (following the Russian model) had elements of nationalization of industry and commerce, and the post-revolutionary China took such steps. But at the same time, while leading the Anti-Japanese War successfully, the C.P.C. tried to project itself as the representative of all classes, and declared that the new revolutionary power : would lessen the degree of exploitation of the working class and protect the interest of workers through welfare measures and finally bring socialism (i.e. nationalization) in the interest of the workers, would help to protect and develop the national bourgeoisie, would confiscate the land of the feudal lords and distribute it to the peasants, would confiscate capital and property of, the imperialists and their lackeys and thereby serve the aspiration of the nation as a whole. Moreover, the task of liberating China from the Japanese colonists was itself an expression of the immediate aspiration of all the sections of the oppressed Chinese nation. In fact, though it proclaimed to defend the interests of all the classes of the Chinese society, the Chinese Communist Party was not a party of any particular class. Rather it may be said that the Chinese Communist Party rose above all the classes and became a separate force to seize power by its own acquired strength. Though it was above class interest, the limits of the programme of the C.P.C. never went beyond the national and capitalist boundary, and never attained the plane of fighting the international capitalism. Rather in the specific situation of China the C.P.C. become the most ideal and successful champion of the national and self-reliant economy. And their attempt to develop a national self-reliant economy within the international capitalist surroundings finally developed a capitalist economy in all senses of the term, in spite of all the socialist rhetoric, and unique contributions. The most important point is that the primary precondition of building socialism was absent in China; i.e. the dictatorship-cum-democracy of the working class, the sole platform through which the masses of the workers can continue their war against capitalism on international scale and can take resolute yet flexible steps towards social control of production and distribution. The Character of the Chinese State Did the Chinese state ever attain the character of the dictatorship of the proletariat, in any sense of the term? According to the declaration and formulation of the C.P.C, People’s Democratic Dictatorship was established in China in 1949. Those who designate the Chinese state as socialist, we may assume, that either they want to mean that the dictatorship of the proletariat was established in 1949, or they want to indicate that there was a class shift of the Chinese state in some historical junction in course of the development of the People’s Democratic Dictatorship. However, if we refuse to judge proletarian state only through the declarations, then we may attempt to verify the validity of the existence of the proletarian-cum-socialist character of the Chinese state by examining at least the following questions : was any organ of workers’ power like Soviet or Commune formed in China in 1949 or afterwards? Do we find any such democratic organ in local, regional or central level?
(The institution called as the People’s Commune of China is not an organ of power, it is just a name of collective agricultural farm), what is the character of the army in post-revolutionary China? It is a special and permanent type like all other state systems hitherto being existed. Are the chiefs of the army elected or nominated? Are their salaries and standard of living equal to or higher than those of the workers? is there any better sovereign people’s organ than parliament which control all the important political and economic policies of the Chinese society? has there ever been formed a countrywide organ to take decisions collectively from below, to implement decisions and to keep constant vigilance over state administration in any stage of the Chinese revolution? There is a dire need to search in detail the proper answers to these questions with respect to the theory and practice of seizure of power by the working class. We eagerly welcome all suggestions that would throw more light on the subject — but after studying the history of the Chinese state and society of the last forty years we have unequivocally come to the only and single conclusion:
No, there is not and there was never any symptom of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the post-revolutionary China.
Who is governing the Country? Really it is most difficult to answer the question very clearly. In black and white, National People’s Congress is the supreme policy-making body in China, and constitutionally the Communist Party of China is in the leadership of the Chinese state. Are these two organisations governing the country? How far are they democratic? National People’s Congress: This body was formed after four years of seizing power. The election of this Congress was to be held after every four years, and the Congress was to be convened once in a year. The representatives of this Congress are not to be recalled at any time by the electorate. The structure of this Congress clearly proves, it is neither an organisation like Soviet or Commune to hold and exercise power by the people or the working class, nor a democratic institution developed through the revolution. Though all-important policies were supposed to be discussed and decided; the President, the Prime Minister and others were to be elected in this Congress that has never been considered as an executive body; not even any attempt has been taken towards that. How far was even that declared power of this Congress exercised? First Congress met in its lifetime twice — 1954, 1956. Second Congress was elected in April 1959, six months after its scheduled time and had only two sessions. Third Congress was elected 2 years after its scheduled time (’64-’65). Only one session was held. Thereafter, for ten years there were no sessions of National People’s Congress. Fourth Congress met in January 1974. This Congress approved the removal of the President, implemented seven years before. In 1978, Fifth Congress was convened. Session met for fifteen days only. From 1954-78, for next 25 years, the National Peopele’s Congress has become mere rubber stamp. It has been deprived of getting the chance of exercising minimum democratic influence to
control the Chinese policy. All-important decisions, such as — the Korean War, First Five Year Plan, Great Leap Forward, severing of links with Soviet Union, healthy relation with America, Cultural Revolution, removal of President Liu-Shou-Chi and Defence Minister Lin-Piao were decided without having any scope of discussion in the National People’s Congress. Communist Party: The Chinese Communist Party does not have a glorious record of democracy in the post-revolutionary China, First Party Congress (8th Congress) was held in 1956. The Congress met only once more in 1958. The Ninth Congress was held in 1969. In this Congress, it was admitted that the representatives are not elected from lower conferences, rather selected on the basis of ‘democratic discussions.’ In this Ninth Congress, the removal of the Deputy Chairman Liu-Shou-Chi and the General Secretary Teng-Shiao-Ping and other members of the Central Committee had been approved. Ignoring all democratic norms and principals, this Congress declared the Vice-Chairman Lin-Piao officially as heir of Chairman Mao. The Tenth Congress was held in 1973, where Lin-Piao was branded renegade ... etc. etc.? (According to 1956 Party Constitution, the meeting which is to be convened at least twice a year, met 12 times only in 13 years from 56 to 59). In fact, there is no question for National People’s Congress to govern the country. The Communist Party also (as a whole) does not rule this country, even with respect to the important and final decisions, the Central Committee of the Party is not sovereign. A clique of a few individuals at the crest of power rules the country. Where at the meeting of the Central Committee, the party Chairman declares “Don’t divide, be united; don’t be sectarian, be above board; practice Marxism, not revisionism,” and the Central Committee hear this oracle, as a sincere disciple, there anything but the practice of democratic culture is possible inside that party. Where, from the platform of the party Congress, it is declared, at any time, under any circumstances, whoever opposes Chairman Mao, whoever opposes Mao-Tse-Tung thought, would be condemned and punished by the whole party and the nation, what sorts of internal democracy remains! The question of ideological dispute, conflict between the various lines and opinions, the question of deciding right and wrong — all these become not only irrelevant, but objectionable. Following this declaration the Party Congress also transforms itself mere as an ornamental showpiece.
But with the repression of political life in the land as a whole, life in the soviets must also become more and more crippled. Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously — at bottom, then, a clique affair — a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, but only the dictatorship of handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins. Rosa Luxemburg The Russian Revolution
THE CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION Its Character and Limits
“The Cultural Revolution is solely responsible for all the serious disasters and massive loss of the Chinese state and people”, — this is the assessment of the present leadership of China, regarding the Cultural Revolution. On the contrary, champions and supporters of the Cultural Revolution consider it as a guarantee of continuing socialism. It was also considered as a mass revolt against the persons at the crest of power, following the capitalists path of development. While assessing the Cultural Revolution from the working class standpoint, let us consider the following important aspects going beyond the above-mentioned diametrically opposite assessments: However glorifies itself as Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, it was neither proletarian nor a revolution. Firstly, there was no immediate task of transforming the state or the society. Secondly, in this revolution, there was neither any direct workers participation nor any step taken towards that direction. The significance or target of the slogan ‘Bombard the Headquarter’, was never directed to establish a progressive-democratic structure destroying the undemocratic Chinese state. It was only limited to drive out Liu-Shou-Chi and his followers from the helm of power and thereby to wipe out all the obstacles on the way to implement Mao’s line regarding the development of Chinese national economy. Initially, the backbone of this revolution was Red Guard composed of students and youths, though subsequently the People’s Liberation Army had to be called to get rid of chaos and civil war. Whatsoever the calculated and limited aim of the revolution might be, it contained elements of anti-establishment. So, on the one hand, it inspired the workers and people of China to revolt against the oppressive system, and, on the other, roused the people of various countries to fight against the establishments. The Other Cultural Revolution There was no direct call to the workers to participate in the Cultural Revolution. Yet, owing to the impact of the Cultural Revolution, there were sporadic fights of workers for wage hike and improvement of the working condition. However, the workers strike was discouraged in the guise of the slogan ‘Grasp Revolution, Promote Production’. In spite of these and along with these the Hunan Provincial Great Proletariat Revolutionary Friendship Organisation (Sheng-ui-lien), grown through the workers struggle of Hunan, became the only luminous torch of the Cultural Revolution. It was stamped as a counter-revolutionary movement by the rulers. It was possible to isolate and suppress the movement due to lack of popular support. Yet, in those days of hurrah for “victorious advancement of socialism” and Mao-Tse-Tung thought, what a marvelous class instinct was expressed in their analysis, when they declared ... “as a result, the fruits of the revolution is finally grabbed by the capitalist class ... The revolution limited to the act of resignation of a few bosses is mere bourgeois reformism.” They clearly identified the Chinese ruling class as ‘red-capitalist’ and ‘bureaucratic bourgeoisie’. They continued, “The real revolution, which would negate the last seventeen years, is yet to be started!” In conclusion, they called “to overthrow this new bureaucratic bourgeois class rule by force”, and declared, “we have
to accomplish the social revolution, the re-distribution of all wealth and power. We have to build a new society, Chinese people’s commune”.
Yes dictatorship! But this dictatorship consists in the manner of applying democracy, not in the elimination; in energetic resolute attacks upon the well-entrenched rights and economic relationships of bourgeois society, without which a socialist transformation cannot be accomplished. Rosa Luxemburg
The Russian Revolution
THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION OF CHINA A Self-contradiction
The act of the seizure of power by the Chinese Communist Party has been termed by the CPC now as the dictatorship of four classes and then as dictatorship of the proletariat. Moreover, the task of the state had also been variable: capitalism, socialism or people’s democratic society. There is no scope to discuss the point in details. Yet, let us try to explain this self-contradiction with the aid of following quotations: “There is a limit in the struggle between labour and capital in the stage of the People’s Democratic Revolution. The labour laws of the People's Republic of China would protect the interest of workers, but will not oppose the national bourgeoisie to make profit or to develop their industrial and commercial institutions ... It is obviously true that the Chinese revolution is still bourgeois democratic, not proletarian socialist.” (Mao-Tse-Tung) “The People’s Democratic Dictatorship has in essence, become a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat... The establishment of the People’s Republic of China signifies the virtual completion of the stage of bourgeois democratic revolution in our country and the beginning of the stage of proletarian-socialist revolution, the beginning of the transition from capitalism to socialism.”(The Eighth Party Congress of the CPC) This self-contradiction of the theory of the People’s Democratic Revolution is missed by many. Some Marxists even recognise this as a great contribution in the theory of Marxism. The only logical way of doing this is to put the basic Marxist notion about state and revolution upside down. For instance — when a communist party seizes power declaring itself as a champion of the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie to complete the anti-imperialist anti-feudal democratic tasks, then the state becomes a dictatorship of the concerning classes, the communist party will take ‘socialist steps’ (i.e. the nationalization of commerce and industry and collectivization of agriculture) according to its relative increase in strength. And more it will be able to do this, the more the state will acquire proletarian character,
when it will be found that the state has taken such ‘socialist’ steps sufficiently, then the very state, previously termed as the state of four classes will be termed as a dictatorship of the proletariat in essence. Along with these, one has to accept the unique notion of people’s democracy. It is neither a bourgeois democracy, nor a proletarian democracy; it is a democracy of all the classes. Really, the People’s Democratic Dictatorship was not a dictatorship of the proletariat, in any sense of the term, for it never attained any of its characteristics. Also, it was not a bourgeois democracy, because they have abhorred the features of existing bourgeoisie democracy. There is, of course, one and only way out to complete the circle of this unique contribution. That is, this dictatorship, devoid of democracy, will look after the interests of all the classes. It will protect the right of the capitalists to exploit and make profit. At the same time, it will take care so that the workers are not exploited much. This benevolent dictatorship, has glorified itself as a people’s democratic state shouldering the responsibility for and on behalf of the masses of the people. Of Course, ‘democratic discussion,’ ‘going to the masses’ and learning from the masses’, everything is there for the people except the sovereign right or organ to decide their own matters. When at last it (the state) becomes the real representative of the whole society, it renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection; as soon as class-rule, and the individual struggle for existence based upon our present anarchy in production, with the collisions and excesses arising from these, are removed, nothing more remains to be repressed, and a special repressive force, a state, is no longer necessary. The first act by virtue of which the state really constitutes itself the representative of the whole society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — this is, at the same time its last independent act as state. State interference in social relations becomes in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of process of production. The state is not ‘abolished’. It dies out. F. Engels Selected Works
Vol. 11, page-150-51
IN QUEST OF A THIRD LINE
In the history of the C.P.C. of post-revolutionary China, there have been repeated references of the struggle of two lines. Sometimes it transformed to a life and death struggle. The struggles between Mao and Lieu, Mao and Teng, Mao and Lin, Teng and Chiang were full of fierce conflicts and histrionic events. Study of these struggles and their results lead us to note the following characteristics There is no scope to be acquainted with the differences of opinion in the leadership, till they acquire extreme character. Let alone the masses of the people, the rank-and-file party members and activists do not get any opportunity to have an idea of these differences. As a result,
one has to depend upon some hazy assumptions and the history depicted by the victorious sides, and of course, on some circumstantial evidences. The rest have to depend on scanty information leaked through ‘personal sources’. Though the people are being involved, the final decisions are always taken at the top level. The victory or defeat finally depends on power to strike and its judicious application. To consolidate its position, the victorious side designates the opposition as imperialist agent and born-wicked (of course with proof and evidence!). As a corollary, the defeated side is rewarded with expulsion, harassment or imprisonment. Following the history of the C.P.C. it can be concluded with guarantee that if Lin or Chiang fraction would win the struggle, the Teng fraction would have been paid by the same coin. We are unable to take any side in these struggles, because, we are not at all convinced by the evidences placed by the victorious sides. Moreover, these struggles of two lines have been conducted on the same anti-working class plane and from the same anti-working class plane and position, is that; these struggles of two lines were, at best, the struggles between two lines for introduction of socialist model from above. They are bound to be subjective. Obviously everyone is assuming his/her opinion to be correct and therefore socialist and as its logical conclusion, opponent’s opinion incorrect and therefore capitalist. So, it is quite natural that there will be honest attempts from either side to drive the followers of capitalist out from the helm of power, of course, for proper implementation of socialism. Transcending the limits of this subjective and benevolent attempts, if we enter into the depth of the subject, we will find that these struggles of two lines are nothing but conflicts between two opinions, two paths of developing Chinese economy within the limits of capitalism. And devoid of any conscious activity of the masses of the people, these conflicts, knowingly or unknowingly are bound to associate with crude power struggle. Though the working class of China should try to utilise every conflict or contradiction of the Chinese ruling class for its own benefit and development of struggle, it should never integrate itself with any side. We too can not take any side of these great(!) ideological debates. We are rather eagerly waiting to welcome the emergence of the third line when the working class of China would develop its independent movement, surpassing the limits of building socialism from above.
FROM MAO TO TENG
Socialism of Austerity to Socialism of Self-enjoyment When the Chinese Communist Party assumed power emancipating China from the yoke of colonialism and the rule of feudal lords, contending each other, then the only task before it was to build up a self-sufficient and strong national economy. Of course, it had the model of Soviet Russia in front of it and the teachings to follow how the gradual nationalisation of trade and industry might be termed as socialism. No doubt, this path to national prosperity was ideal for backward capitalism of China and was acceptable, at the beginning, to all concerned. Responsibility to lead the restructuring of the post-revolutionary China went to none but MaoTse-Tung, the undisputed leader of the Chinese revolution. The new ruling clique tried to use the very authority of Mao for the unhindered development of Chinese prosperity. In comparison to pre-revolutionary period, there was a striking improvement in the rate of economic growth and uplift of living standard of the people of China. In the mean time, this new material prosperity
was added to the experience of the liberated Chinese people from colonial and feudal fetters. As a result, the Chinese Communist Party and Mao attained a new height of prestige. However, the Chinese revolution was by no means a socialist one. Therefore neither the Communist Party nor the working class set itself the task of keeping ablaze the socialist revolution within the country or devoting itself to the cause of promoting international socialism. This revolution was an end in itself. In the name of socialism, it was a call and attempt for an allround national development. Obviously, success of this attempt had to be judged by the standard of international capitalist growth, and its dynamics had to be specified and determined by the impact of the competition of international capitalism. It happened accordingly. There was also the pressure of defence expenditure to be paid off. In order to accumulate necessary capital to form the proper industrial base in backward China for competing in the international market, — the only road open was to intensify the exploitation of workers and peasants, pushing down their relative standard of living. But this road was not harmonious with the professed ideals of ‘Revolutionary China’, or ‘Red China’. As an escape from this dilemma, Mao-Tse-Tung raised the slogans of voluntary labour, sacrifice and self-reliance. In spite of the initial craziness, thousands of people could not undertake inhuman labour for long only to promote production or for the sake of the nation. So, the call for ‘Great Leap Forward’ failed and the ruling party started pressurizing Mao to open his close door, to introduce traditional methods of bonus and incentives for promoting production. Mao, thus being cornered, brought forth his counter onslaught on the followers of capitalist road through the cultural revolution, and at last with the assistance of Lin Piao and Chiang-Ching managed to retain his position ... Liu-Shao-Chi was expelled, TengTsiao-Ping was denounced and removed from his post. However, in spite of all these, Mao’s victory was not decisive. The Cultural revolution itself added two more problems to the recession of economy that followed a temporary phase of sudden growth. Those were, firstly, loss of production due to chaos and anarchy during revolution, secondly, the disadvantageous condition caused by the neglect of science and technology in the name of cultural revolution. Meanwhile, the breach with Russia made the situation more alarming. Fresh pressure under the initiative of Chou-En-Lie came for abandoning close-door economic policy. It was specially recommended to open the door unto the western capitalism for import of developed technology and machinery. The Chiang-Ching faction as the follower of old ‘revolutionary’ line, opposed the capitalist line of Chou and Teng, keeping Mao at the forefront. None of the faction was able to consolidate its position. This uncertain and unstable condition persisted for almost two years. Meanwhile, Lin Piao died mysteriously. Chou-En-Lie’s demise was followed by the removal of Teng, known as a close associate of Chou. He reappeared within a short time. Amidst such stormy ideological struggle and the struggle for power, in September 1976, Mao-Tse-Tung died. The struggle became more fierce and open. Only within a month, the gang of four including Chiang-Ching, the central figure of the Cultural Revolution, were put behind the bars. By 1979 all the Chiang’s followers were removed from their posts. Teng-Tsiao-Ping consolidated his power. Henceforth began Teng era, unleashing the triumphant march of modernization. Foreign capital was invited cordially. In agriculture, the state-controlled commune system was replaced by the reintroduction of privatised family land-holding right. In trade and industry, individual initiative and competition were encouraged. Competition was brought forth through market economy as a remedy of economic stagnation. In brief, it was the liberalization towards classical commodity market economy under state control. The result was instantaneous. The agricultural production rapidly increased twice. In fact the target of rate of economic growth increased 17-18% where it was 7-8% in previous three years. But new problems and crises appeared hand in hand with this prosperity. Prices of agricultural commodities were tending to increase and, being dissatisfied with the prices the farmers were resorting to produce less cash crops like tobacco etc. At the same time, rising cost of living was creating discontent among the
workers. Apart from that, the intensity of exploitation of workers had increased due to the introduction of the policy of competition. The threat of retrenchment and unemployment had also been enhanced. :Result of encouragement to competition, profit and individual entrepreneurship was inflation on the one hand, and corruption and nepotism, on the other. Therefore the gulf between rich and poor was increasing. Meanwhile, since electricity and transport could not keep pace with the increased production, Chaos prevailed in the distribution system leading to wastage of produce. Thus in short, the economic policy followed by Teng has invited a lot of new problems. But the people affected by those problems are not getting any democratic platform to intervene in state policies. So the demand and desire for democracy are being voiced. The students have come forward as spokesman of democracy. Meanwhile, the Failure of Teng’s policy had gone a long way to abate his authority and popularity, and within his own camp appeared the opposition. Once again, the famous two lines struggle of the C.P.C. had been initiated behind the veil of mystery and secrecy. While some may develop their opinion by guess-work, the rest have to depend upon information from personal sources. The maximum one can understand is that the struggle is going on two issues : whether the state-control over economy would be more relaxed and whether the political structure would be more liberalised. Whatever may be the result of the struggle, it is beyond doubt that the unquestionable authority of Teng has collapsed. In short, while Mao’s policy was statised (capitalist) economy, Teng’s was state controlled private (capitalist) economy. In order to encourage, Mao had given the call to make more sacrifice, Teng to be more rich. Thus, the struggle between Mao and Teng is not one between socialism and capitalism, but one between the two forms of capitalism.
The working class and its spokesmen, on the contrary realise that the new communist aspirations can be obtained only through the collective efforts of the workers themselves. The more the masses are developed in the expression of their collective will and common thought, the quicker and more complete will be the realisation of working class aspirations, for it will create a new, homogeneous, unified, perfectly-arranged communist industry. Only those who are directly bound to industry can introduce into it animating innovations.
Alexandra Kollontai The Workers’ HOW THE REVOLUTIONS IN EAST EUROPE Opposition
HOW THE REVOLUTIONS IN EAST EUROPE WERE MADE TO ORDER
Soviet Russia: a compulsive ordainer
In the post-war period the countries of Eastern Europe were dislocated, distressed with poverty and devastation. The old system fell apart completely. After the withdrawal of German forces, the Russians found themselves in the determining position, because the old rulers were completely discredited and no national force evolved to steer those countries. In most of the cases communist
parties too were insignificantly small. The Russians had no dependable ally to hand over the power. They had to steal time to build up the system of their choice. Obviously, they didn’t depend on the class struggle to do this. Besides, almost everywhere, more or less, there was a revolutionary wave. They used it till the German forces were driven out and the old regimes dethroned. After that they tried to suppress all revolutionary initiatives and put the countries back to order. It was pronounced in Bulgaria. Soldier's councils were set up. There were demands for democratisation and red flags were hoisted. Order was rapidly restored by the Russian troops. Molotov declared, “You must retain all valuable army officers... You should reinstate in service all officers who have been dismissed”. A stern order was issued to return immediately to discipline, to abolish soldier’s councils and to hoist no more red flags. Similar incidents occurred in Rumania and Hungary to a lesser extent. In Poland the situation was again very similar at the time of German occupation in mid1944. Peasant Party and Polish Socialist party played important roles to build the insurrection and the Communist Party stated that the armed uprising had found the support of the broadest masses of the Warsaw people. The role of the Red Army here was passive to let the revolutionary wave suppress. The Russian forces were close to Warsaw, but gave no help. After 63 days Warsaw fell and the city was destroyed by the German forces with 2,40,000 of its inhabitants killed and 6,30,000 deported. Democracy through party dictatorship As the Communist Parties were small, so they made up a unique plan in league with Kremlin to put them to Power. Everywhere coalition government was formed with the local bourgeois, peasant and socialist parties. The declared aim was, according to Dimitrov; “ ... neither the realization of socialism, nor the introduction of soviet system, but the consolidation of a truly democratic and parliamentary system.” But things happened along some different way. Leading bourgeois figures were arrested or executed and their organisations smashed. It was not so easy to crush the Peasant and the socialist parties. They had gained considerable popularity through antifascist struggle. The obstacles they posed to communist takeover were removed in a different manner. Forcible measures were taken to compel them to join the communist parties. Of course, the fate of their opposing factions was same as that of the bourgeois leaders. In Poland, Peasant. Party -leader Mikolajeryk fled, in Bulgaria, Agrarian Party leader Petkov was executed, in Hungary, Smallholder Party leader Kovacs was arrested and the Prime Minister fled. How the merger was performed In Poland the communist leaders tried to break the independence of the Socialist Party (PPS). A new pro-communist leadership was imposed on the PPS at a non-representative congress in Levin, with a view to unification. The rank and file was continuously refusing to endorse it. So in 1947 it was done away with. Twelve leaders were removed and 82,000 members expelled. In Hungary the pattern was again very similar. Persistent resistance from the Hungarian Socialist Party (SDP) was finally overcome in February 1948, when the Pro-Moscow minority in the SDP convened a congress without the central committee, under the Protection of the secret police. Merger was announced in June 1948. Behind the mass base of the Communist Parties: The Polish party grew from 30,000 members to 300,000 between January and April 1945, the Czechoslovak party membership from 27,000 to 1,159,164 between May 1945 and the beginning of 1946, the Rumanian party from about 1,000, members to 800,000 between mid-1944 and October 1945.
What was the process underlying this stupendous growth? Simply because the doors of the parties were thrown open to all who were willing to join. Anyone who did it got considerable advantages. Of course, the parties’ education and idealism played a vital role. In particular, the policy of nationalization corresponded to the traditional demand of the labour movement. Also the popular demands like freedom of religion, land to the peasant etc., were also upheld by the communist parties. The Red Army ended the war and as a result the people heaved a sigh of relief. Living standard was also rising from a miserable condition. These, on the one hand, roused high expectation among the masses of the people, and on the other, aimed at serving the weak national capitalism.
Communist Party Power + Nationalization = Socialism!
To expropriate the bourgeoisie, there was no workers’ revolt from below in actual sense of the term. Everywhere it was done, from above, bureaucratically. Only in Czechoslovakia, there was a working class movement that too restricted. Never were there formed any revolutionary proletarian organ to replace the existing state structure. Everywhere the old state machines were handed over wholesale to the communists. It was not class struggle but intimidation, bribery and manipulation, which took the communist to power. Though strength of the communist parties were very poor, they managed to obtain key positions in the ministries under the auspicious of the Russian forces. Rakosi, the head of the Hungarian state said, “There was one position, control of which was claimed by our party from the first minute. One position where the party was not inclined to consider any distribution of posts according to the strength of the parties in the coalition. This was the State Security Authority. We kept this organisation in our hands from the first day of its establishment”. Along with this, media and defence ministries were also usually under their control. But the communist parties could not control the countries by forcible measures only. They required a mass base to control the social life. By 1946, party membership increased considerably. Along with this, a thoroughly bureaucratic hierarchical system was introduced to take hold of the total economic and social affairs by 1947. In this way within 1948, all the communist parties of the eastern Europe found themselves as the omnipotent helmsmen of national development. The communist parties then moved on to extensive nationalization for monolithic development. But even before communist takeover those countries already had to take similar steps. In Czechoslovakia 80% of the industries were nationalised before. Benes, the bourgeois president at that time, wrote in Manchester Guardian, “The Germans simply took control of all main industries and all banks ... In this way they automatically prepared the economic and financial capital of our country for nationalization. To return this property and the banks into hands of Czech individuals ... was simply impossible. The state had to step in.” Everywhere similar situation arose to a lesser extent. In this way, the communist parties did not need any mass insurrection, nor they had to go through any perilous path of class struggle. They reached socialism from above, under the protection of the Russian Communist Party. Fate of the Dissident Communists In Poland, general secretary and vice-premier Gomulka and four other ministers were imprisoned. In Bulgaria the acting Prime Minister Kostov was executed. Ten out of sixteen ministers and six out of nine members of the politbureau were dismissed. In Hungary Laszlo Rajk, foreign minister and ex-minister of interior, was executed. The next replacement of Rajk, interior minister Kadar was imprisoned. In Czechoslovakia, ten ministers and secretary general of the communist party, Slansky were sentenced to death.
GLIMPSES OF CLASS STRUGGLE IN EASTERN EUROPE ’53 – ’68
East Germany 1953 15 June 1953, Friedrichshain building workers stopped work in protest of an extra workload. The number of workers was only 60. Next day they assembled outside the building site to send a delegation. A few moment later, 300 determined workers set off for government offices. The whole building site was electrified, stopped work and joined the procession. The number of the demonstrators reached a 10,000. On its way to government building, procession was being continuously swollen by streams of workers and a vast sea of people reached the government building roaring: Down with the 10 per cent rise in the norms. We are workers, not slaves. We want free election etc. Government agreed to remove 10% workload, but it was too late. Demand of the workers had already changed to free election, freedom etc. East German police had become disintegrated. A portion of it had joined the insurgents or had been passive. 25,000 Russian soldiers and 300 tanks moved into Berlin to tackle the situation. Martial law was declared, demonstration and meeting banned. Next day a strike wave started. Majority of the industries were in the grip of general strike. There were flood of demonstrators in the street. They were calling the fall of the government and free election. Troops moved in to break up the demonstration. Workers fought back but only heroism could not cope with the heavily armed Russian troops and tanks. Insurrection was defeated with a toll of about 300 lives. Poland 1956 After three years of Berlin insurrection, workers of Poznan in Poland revolted. On 23rd June 1956, workers of ZISPO factory sent representatives to the government demanding wage hike. The authority refused and a rumour spread that members of delegation were arrested. 16000 workers marched together towards the centre of the city with slogans, We want bread. We want higher wages. Poznan had not seen such a procession for ten years. A spark immediately transformed into a conflagration. Thousands of people joined the procession from factories, offices, shops etc. Spontaneously the procession grew and the demand changed thoroughly. A vast wave of people flared and raised the demands like, We want freedom, Down with the fake socialism, Down with Russians etc. The revolt did spread throughout the city. Prisoners were freed from gaol and arms of the prison-guards seized. Radio station was destroyed and the crowd attacked the police station. Trams and cars were transformed into barricades. Government responded promptly with pouring special units of army into the city. The armed resistance of the workers was effectively put down. Party admitted that Poznan strike had been caused by bureaucratic distortion of the proletarian state. A section of the party and the bureaucracy started a movement for economic and political reform. As a result, Russian tanks took position near Warsaw. Almost the total Politbureau with Khruschev flew to Warsaw. The reformers shrunk back. Hungary 1956 Wave of Warsaw uprising splashed on the ground of Hungary with a thousand times intensity. A procession in solidarity with the struggling masses of Warsaw inflamed Hungary where the situation had already been explosive. Mass demonstrations raised the demands like, Out with the Russians, Death to Rakosi, Free and secret election as well as Nagy to power. Nagy was the reformer and premier of 1953. A 100,000 strong mass was moving towards the parliament square. In City Park they reduced a statue of Stalin to dust. The crowd was infuriated by a firing incident by AVH (Political Police). The workers totally participated and began to fight back. Hungarian
state apparatus collapsed completely. Civilian police handed over their weapons to insurgents. Workers rushed to the soldiers barrack for more weapon. After a reluctant resistance, officers of the barrack opened the gate. Budapest arms factory was taken, and machine-guns, even light infantry appeared in the streets. Russian troops were present in Hungary. They replied with incomparable brutality. The national army had become impatient due to Russian presence and joined the side of the insurgent furiously. Revolution started with open fight. Russia retreated and agreed to discuss about the withdrawal of Russian forces. Authorities declared the reinstatement of Nagy, the end of Rokosi-age. Mentioning the name of Nagy, they appealed for keeping peace. Meanwhile workers councils were being established. In the fretful and stormy Budapest they were taking over the system of food and supply, treatment of the wounded, health, law and order etc. Revolution aroused the unbelievable working power and latent genius for organisation of the people. Discussion for withdrawal of Russian troops started, but late at night Russian police force arrested the delegation. And next morning the whole of Budapest awakened by the sound of Russian tanks. 3000 tanks and 200,000 soldiers rushed with blind ferocity. Workers fought back but the Russians met all the resistances with barbarous fury. On that day the unbelievable heroism and will-force, of the Hungarian people were defeated by the betrayal of the authorities. Turning Budapest into a crematory of 20,000 workers, Russian troops maintained peace in Hungary. Later they killed the leadership. After that a massive strike wave brought the Budapest, as well as Hungary to a standstill. Central Workers’ Council was formed and partially dual power established. But it was not possible to go on indefinite strike in this wretched situation. As a result, after a period of extensive arrests the heroic resistance of the workers broke down. In those days the stream of blood of the Hungarian people made the world acquainted with the real character of that socialism. Czechoslovakia 1968 A growing wave of unrest was spread over Czechoslovakia in 1968. But that Prague Spring was crushed under the tanks and infantry of the WARSAW PACT. Moscow pretended that Czechoslovakia was under the threat of counter-revolution and West Germany might intervene. But the actual threat came from the ruling stratum, when they called a central committee meeting and decided to atomise a pro-Moscow faction. The newly elected central committee took steps for democratisation of the media and to call a party congress to ratify the decisions. It explained the reform programme as Socialism with a human face, and an action programme produced by the party leaders, said, “The Communist Party ... does not realize its leading role by ruling over society ... The party can not impose its authority: this has to be won again and again by party activity”. The Soviet leaders applied pressure to change the course. National leadership tried its utmost to restrain the wave of discontent, but they could not. May day demonstration in Prague was unprecedented in the annals of communist Czechoslovakia. So the Russian leadership was getting impatient more and more by the happenings. They wanted to stop the extra-ordinary congress. On August 20, 1968, at 11 P.M. armoured cars, tanks and hundreds of thousands of soldiers of East Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to prevent counter-revolution (!). However, there was little armed resistance to the WARSAW PACT troops and casualties did not exceed a hundred. A meeting of the presidium of central committee was in progress. Some of the soldiers broke into the room. They hit Dubcek, the first secretary of the communist party, with a revolver butt and handcuffed him together with the prime minister and other leaders. They were taken to the airport and thrown into a cargo plane to be transported to a military airport in Ukraine. Thus the gentle breeze of reform, under the control of the communist party, was stopped.
Socialism means the abolition of classes. The dictatorship of the proletariat has done all it could to abolish classes. But classes can not be abolished at one stroke. And classes still remain and will remain in the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The dictatorship will become unnecessary when classes disappear. Without the dictatorship of the proletariat they will not disappear. V. I. Lenin Collected Works
Vol. 30, page-114
From the very outset the Commune was compelled to recognise that the working class, once come to power, could not go on managing with the old state machine; that in order not to lose again its only just conquered supremacy, this working class must, on the one hand, do away with all the old repressive machinery previously used against it itself, and, on the other, safeguard itself against its own deputies and officials, by declaring them all, without exception, subject to recall at any moment. F. Engels, Introduction to K. Marx’s Work
The Civil War in France
THE SOCIALIST STATE AND SOCIALISM
The practice, theorisation and propaganda of the ruling communist parties for the last 70 years had created a series of confused ideas about socialist state and socialist society. In a nut shell, they are : seizure of state-power by a communist party is equivalent to taking power by an ‘advanced section of the working class’, which is again equal to the dictatorship of the proletariat, the gradual nationalisation of commerce and industry by such a state (however small, backward and isolated the country be) is equivalent to socialist step, whatever be the parasitic, alien and monstrous character of the state at the moment of consideration, the completion of the tasks of nationalization means attainment of socialism. On the contrary, our evaluation on this moot question is : mere nationalisation is not step towards socialism. The socialist steps mean, on the one hand, introduction of series of control over capitalist production by the working class and, on the other, to aid both morally and materially, to build international socialist revolution. Though the relative class-relations in the definite national and international situation may influence the pace of these steps, a socialist state has to move in this very direction. The elements of the ‘withering away of state’ will increase proportionately,
socialism, as a socio-economic system, means establishment of social control over production and distribution by the direct producers themselves. Socialism means social ownership. Socialism means a step ahead of capitalism in all aspects. Socialism means a classless exploitation-less society. Socialism makes political democracy and the state redundant. In Socialism, state ‘withers away’.
We are not among those communists who are out to destroy personal liberty, who wish to turn the world into one huge barrack or into a gigantic workhouse. There certainly are some communists who, with an easy conscience, refuse to countenance personal liberty and would like to shuffle it out of the world because they consider that it is a hindrance to complete harmony. But we have no desire to exchange freedom for equality. We are convinced that in no social order will freedom be assured as in a society based upon communal ownership.
THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT AND DEMOCRACY
The Dictatorship of the Proletariat does not negate the concept of democracy, rather gives it more expanded and complete form. More specifically, the dictatorship of the proletariat strikes the very conditions and causes, which make democracy in a capitalist society, restricted and truncated and transform it to a paradise for the rich and a fraud for the poor. And thus it turns itself into a democratic rule of the workers and exploiters. The socialist democracy is not a subject to be provided by the ruling party (however correct and communist it may be) after establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is rather a two-fold expression of the one and the same phenomenon established through destruction of the bourgeois state and its class rule. This concept of democracy is neither a fetish, nor an expression of eternal justice, but a precondition for socialist reconstruction. Because though a socialist revolution creates necessary conditions for socialist reconstruction and though the newly acquired state power undertakes the general task of abolition of capitalism, there is no detailed and readymade formula to follow. It is not possible also. Socialist reconstruction demands creative initiative of thousands of workers and the experience of the working class itself. And it presupposes the most expanded and liberal form of democracy. Only a dictatorship-cum-democracy of the proletariat can provide it, Only such a developed democratic system and platform can free the society from utopian attempt to impose socialist model by a handful of wise persons. So the dictatorship of the proletariat should not be viewed only from the angle of oppressing the bourgeois or suppressing their resistance. It should be viewed simultaneously from the standpoint of proletarian democracy. This concept of proletarian democracy is an integrated notion and practice of the proletarian revolution and state.
DOES NATIONALISATION MEAN SOCIALISM
Vulgar Marxists and bourgeois pundits try to equate socialism with the introduction of stateownership abolishing private-ownership. Thus expunging the revolutionary role of the proletariat from building socialism, they want to realise their own interest. The rulers of the East-European countries too have tried to project their attempts to introduce the state-ownership as socialism. But the nationalisation by the state without the democracy of the proletariat, and without the workers’ control over production is nothing but a capitalist production relation. Lenin wrote in late September, 1917, “The chief difficulty facing the proletarian revolution is the establishment on a countrywide scale of the most precise and most conscientious accounting and control, of workers’ control of the production and distribution of goods ... If we simply say in unison with the Novaya Zhizn writers, not workers’ control, but state control, it is, simply a bourgeois-reformist phrase. It is in essence, a purely cadet formula, because cadets, have no objection to the workers participating in ‘State control’.
Lenin/CW/ Vol. 26/P-105
Even in 1880, Engels showed that, a capitalist state, where private property is accepted, may ultimately take steps towards nationalisation discarding private ownership : “In any case, with trusts or without, the official representative of capitalist society — the state — will ultimately have to undertake the direction of production. This necessity for conversion into state property is felt first in the great institution for intercourse and communication — the post office, the telegraphs, the railways. If the crises demonstrate the incapacity of the bourgeoisie for managing any longer modern productive forces, the transformation of the great establishment for production and distribution into joint-stock companies, [trusts], and state property shows how unnecessary the bourgeoisie are for that purpose. All the social functions of the capitalist are now performed by salaried employees. The capitalist has no further social function than that of pocketing dividends, steering off coupons, and gambling on the Stock Exchange, where the different capitalists despoil one another of their capital. At first the capitalist mode of production forces out the workers. Now it forces out the capitalists, and reduces them, just as it reduced the workers, to the ranks of the surplus population, although not immediately into those of the industrial reserve army. But the transformation, either into joint-stock companies [and trusts], or into state ownership, does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the jointstock companies [and trusts this is obvious. And the modern-state, again, is only the organisation that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the general external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine, the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalists, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is rather brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution.” Nationalisation without workers’ control may be reasonably included in the capitalist framework. Because, here production is managed by a very few persons and working class can
not use it according to its own will, for its own purpose. The workers do not produce to achieve their own goal, but have to produce according to the target decided by the state. The rate of growth of these countries had to beset up very high to vie with the advanced capitalist countries and to take part in the competition in the world market. As a result, a very high rate of capital accumulation by the state, had to be maintained at the cost of exploitation and oppression of the workers, sometimes even forcibly lowering their real wages. The situation can well be delineated in the language of Marx in Capital. “... Fanatically bent on making value expand itself, he ruthlessly forces the human race to produce for productions sake ... Therefore save, save, save, i.e. reconvert the greatest possible portion of surplus value, or surplus product into capital! Accumulation for accumulation’s sake, production for production’s sake.”
PART-II LESSONS OF THE DEFEAT
And now it is the turn of Soviet Russia. Not only has the communist power fallen into pieces, the edifice of United States of Soviet Russia has literally collapsed. The red flag has been brought down from the Kremlin. The tri-colour flag of Tsarist Russia is now fluttering there to declare boldly that the future lies with the conservatives, with the die-hard anti-communists! The capitalists and their patrons as well as lackeys are rejoicing throughout the world. The old-style communists have become bewildered. They are either busy tackling their demoralized rank-and-file activists with hotchpotch theoretical mending or prompt enough in liquidating their identity itself. Still, thousands and thousands of communist activists, supporters and sympathisers and the advanced section of the masses of the people, daily suffering in and cheated by capitalism and bourgeois democracy are searching for the answer to: What went wrong? How have all these things happened? What was the starting point of the degeneration? And last but not the least : Is capitalism really the solution, or the last and final stage of human civilisation? Actually, the fall of Soviet Russia is not the fall of socialism. Socialism has not died in Soviet Russia, because it was never born. Soviet people did not reject socialism, because they did not get any scope to experience it1. The system that collapsed in Soviet Russia is a totalitarian regime, a party-autocratic rule, a state capitalist economy and a ‘Prison of nations’. The capitalists and the ruling communists alike created a myth that there was socialism in Soviet Russia. Now again, they are fabricating a second myth that socialism has died there. The great lie is supplemented by a greater lie! Let us revisit the developments in Soviet Russia in a nutshell.
The revolution that took place in October 1917 was undoubtedly a proletarian revolution. It was proletarian not only due to the objective leading role played by the thousands of the proletariats, it was more so for the immediate proletarian imprint made on the revolution. The democratic content of the soviet, which was the primary organ of the revolution, surpassed the boundaries of even the most democratic bourgeois state hitherto established. It was a legislative as well as an executive body. All its members were not only elected but also made revokable at any time. It was not like a parliament, where people are made ‘active’ only to participate in elections and are kept outside the orbit of political power for the rest of the period. The soviet was not only for and by the people; it was a lively democratic organ of the people themselves. Though it is now deliberately forgotten, the soviet was not a one-party system; it was at the outset, open for all soviet parties and non-party people. That the then Soviet democracy was qualitatively a different and higher type of democracy in real life can be ascertained from any historical account, noted by pro and anti-Bolsheviks alike, There were lively discussions, open debates, a free press and a wide spectra of newspapers and periodicals; and above all, active participation of the masses in everyday political life. The initial proclamations and decrees were revolutionary as well as far-reaching. There were decrees on land and peace. The right of nations to self-determination was not only accepted in words but practiced in deeds. A decree on workers’ control was issued and positive steps were taken towards it. Attempts were also made to abolish the standing army, to replace it by the peoples’ militia and to bring the salaries of all officials down to that of the average skilled worker. Radical steps were taken to uplift and implement equality of men and women; marriage and divorce were made simple, children born outside wedlock were given the same right as the offspring of marriage. The complete separation of church from state and school from church was decreed. Religious ceremonies were forbidden in connection with any state function. There were other such decrees, which though they did not cross the bourgeois limit theoretically, were not implemented even by the then advanced capitalist countries of Europe and America; they were now issued as a by-product of a revolution which had dared to cross the bourgeois limit. Still, the proletarian revolution of 1917 was weak in its socialist content. Firstly, it took place in a backward country, where the proletariat was not even in a majority; and it had to make an alliance with the peasantry as a whole, who was constantly pulling back the revolution. Secondly, as we all know, the revolution took place with the slogan: land, peace and bread. Of these, ‘land’ was purely a bourgeois question, which the Russian ruling bourgeois was not ready to solve in a revolutionary way; ‘peace’ had both connotations, bourgeois democratic, in the short-term perspective, and proletarian socialist, in the long term perspective. Only ‘bread’ was a proletarian question, with an expanding dimension, In other words, the October Revolution was not the culmination and full maturation of the working class aspiration for social control over production and distribution. Finally, the revolution did not spread internationally. Rather, a developing European revolution was defeated, only to keep the Russian revolution in isolation, that too in a hostile world capitalist environment. In spite of and along with all the aforesaid weaknesses, the Russian proletarians gained sufficient socialist consciousness through the revolution itself to put its imprint in the new state and revolution. The revolution not only fulfilled immediate democratic tasks, it also put the reorganisation of the economy as an immediate agenda, And this agenda regarding how the economy would be transformed towards social control was debated and discussed in every available forum. But it was only the beginning; in the dynamics of the revolution, the weaknesses proved to be sufficiently strong to discontinue the revolution. There were, of course, many reasons why the Russian proletariat could not overcome the weaknesses, which are beyond our discussion. We will just mention the two most important reasons: the international revolution, on which all the revolutionary leaders correctly bet the fate of the revolution, did not take place, and
a large section of the advanced section of the revolutionary proletariat was physically exhausted and liquidated, due to war, civil war, famine and epidemic2. Here we have to restate the basic dynamics of a socialist revolution: a political revolution (to smash the bourgeois state ard establish working class rule) is only the beginning of a socialist revolution; the ruling working class has to continue the revolution (nationally and internationally) to transform the socioeconomic system. Anyway, the Russian proletariat, which led the revolution, attempted to establish its own class rule. And the revolutionary proletariat was asserting its power not only through the nonparty mass organs, e.g. the soviets, the factory committees, the trade unions, but also through the party. But, it could neither consolidate its power, nor continue the revolution. In the meantime, the internal and external enemies were not sitting idle. They correctly understood their danger in the event of the spread and success of the Russian revolution. They were active, through white guard conspiracies from within and imperialist encirclement from without. The Russian revolution was facing a counter-revolution, where neither force was capable of winning directly and immediately. In this situation, there evolved a solution, rather the Bolshevik leadership found a solution to counter the counter-revolution and continue the revolution. Let the workers’ power be temporarily substituted by a power of the most dedicated and resolute section of the class’ i.e. the communist party.3 Let there be compromises and compromises on both the state-political and the socio-economic front. Let there be a neo-Jacobin dictatorship, which would gradually educate and revitalise the workers while safeguarding the revolution. The fort was seized from within for the sake of saving it. The ball thus once rolled, gained its momentum and determined the path of building socialism, both in practice and theory. Some sections of the workers protested and tried to prevent the process here and there, a few working class leaders and theoreticians even warned about the danger of making ‘a virtue of necessity’4. But the party was determined to save the ‘socialist’ state, not only from the bourgeoisie but also from the ‘passing moods of the workers’ democracy.’5 From then on, socialism was viewed not as the creativity of the masses of the workers, but as a successful implementation of the blue-print of ‘the advanced section of the proletariat,’ i.e. the communist party. And it was taken for granted that the masses of the workers can make a revolution (i.e. the overthrow of the old ruling class) but they are too uneducated to continue it and thereby liberate themselves. The responsibility lies with the party. The self-declared permanent advanced section of the class, the communist party turns out to be the Leader, the Guardian, the Saviour and the Emancipator of the working class. This general orientation followed its own course. On the one hand, to avoid any impact of the ‘wavering’ working class or ‘disruption’ from the nonplussed section of the workers, public life was throttled. All systems of elections and representative institution were bade good-bye, or at best they were turned into a simple rubber stamp. On the other hand, all other parties were outlawed, factions within the party were prohibited. Thereby all avenues of expressing dissent were closed. Thus socialism was deprived of its very motive force: class struggle and democracy of the working class. Class power was substituted by party power; the creativity of the masses was replaced by the wisdom of the party. The corollary followed. If the masses of the workers are too uneducated with respect to the party to build socialism, the party rank-and-file are also uneducated with respect to the party leadership in grasping the path of socialism. (After all if they were as judicious as the leaders, there would not be any leader!). And finally, all the central committee members of the party are not equally wise to grasp Marxism and thereby to invent the correct path of socialism. When the fate of socialism is thus solely made dependent on the correct implementation of Marxism, it is not only a luxury, but a crime (of course, against socialism!) to allow the masses or even the party
as a whole to decide the course of socialist transformation. So, here appears the Leader, the Helmsman, the authority who has always been correct and whose sermons are never refutable. The tasks of the rank-and-file activists and even the party congress are to welcome the leader with standing ovations, listen to his speech and finally applaud with great hurrah! The objective political set up also is in conformity with this substitutionist culture. As there is no scope of forming any party other than the ruling C.P. and any forum or faction inside the party, there isno objective threat to the party leadership. If they do not provide democracy within the party or if the dissentions are not allowed to be expressed and solved in the proper party forums, or, if any section of the party is not satisfied with the existing party orientation in political or organisational questions, there is no way to redress the problem. One has to either stop his/her political activity or stay within the Organisation as a yes-person. Any dissention expressed within the party would be obviously treated as a deviation from the correct and unique contribution and thereby liable to be punished as a capitalist-road seeker. He/she would be expelled and/or imprisoned or executed with or without trial. On the socio-economic front, this omnipotent party hierarchy actively took the path of building socialism which was made equivalent to gradual take-over of the means of production by the very party-state. Every step towards nationalisation was hailed as a step towards socialism. In real life, the workers were deprived of controlling the production and distribution; what, how much and how the production would be organised were decided by a handful of bosses from above, as before. Moreover, glaring and daring plans were introduced to compete with world capitalism, with the rhythm of the latter. Under the guise of building socialism, the so-called socialist state set the simple but famous motto of ‘accumulatfon for accumulation’s sake’, and finally developed an economy, which is nothing but state-capitalism. It is true that in the initial years, the economic revolution made by the party-state nexus unleashed the productive forces (restricted by feudalism and Tsarism) and thereby made a tremendous success in promoting the national economy. As a result, the standard of living of the masses was raised substantially. Added to this were some welfare measures, which were again possible for the immediate result of the development of productive forces. But, in the long run, the economy was crippled by its in-built limitations. The planning had neither any scope of correcting through market mechanism, nor could be supplemented by the voluntary and conscious activities of the masses from below. In the process, the inefficiency of the system asserted itself and made its presence felt in every sphere of life. Gorbachov tried to mend the system with glasnost and perestroika, with the then famous, now discredited battle-cry of adding human values to socialism. But not withstanding his own design, the reform unleased unprecedented and unexpected forces. He could neither throttle it, nor cope with the rhythm and pace of the changes. So, finally, he was set aside. Once the most powerful President of United States of Soviet Russia, suddenly found that there was no land remaining to rule. He was forced to accept the reality and finally resigned from a virtually non-existing post. Literally, there was no forum to accept the resignation! At the time of writing this article Yeltsin, the unequivocal champion of ‘free’ capitalism, is at the helm of affairs. For how long, nobody knows. The redrawing of the geopolitical map of the erstwhile Soviet Russia is still in process. In the present situation, it is undergoing a strong intervention from western capitalism, especially the U.S.A. So it is becoming more complex and unstable. Anyway the new map is redrawn, at least two things are certain: The old Soviet Russia is disintegrating and it is turning towards traditional a form of capitalism. It is true that the working class of Soviet Russia, by and large, has welcomed the changes towards liberalisation and democratisation, taking place since the days of glasnost and perestroika, But it is also true that they have refused to integrate their aspirations with the evolving system. The prices are getting high, the essential things are becoming scarce ... the
working class has already noted its dissention with protests, rallies and strikes. We, too, welcome the changes so far as they give a better and wider scope to the masses of the people to develop their own struggle and organisations. The working class of Soviet Russia has gone through the horrors of state capitalism; they are now experiencing the bitter and bloody fruits of market capitalism. For how long the workers would swing from one form of capitalist rule to the other, from one form of capitalism to the other, or how soon they would strive for the alternative, the proletarian solution, only the future can reply assertively. We can only hope and work for the best. In lieu of conclusion The defeat of the Russian Revolution has taught many lessons to the Marxists and the communists. If the posing of the problem of the defeat is half-way towards solution, these lessons, though mainly in the form of what ought not to be done, contribute positively to add some significant signposts in the general direction of building socialism and thereby to reassert the basic tenet of Marxism regarding the theory and practice of socialist revolution. They may be summed up as: 1. While the bourgeois democratic revolution is basically the culmination of the social revolution which precedes it, the proletarian political revolution is the beginning of the socialist revolution which follows it. The bourgeois-democratic revolution ends with the attainment of the bourgeoisie as a class to the position of the ruling class, the proletarian-socialist revolution ends only by attaining socialism i.e. a classless society, thereby abolishing the very class that initiates and leads the revolution. Therefore. historically speaking, proletarian democracy is not counterposing bourgeois democracy as such; it is the proletarian socialist revolution, in its entirety, which is counterposing the bourgeois democracy along with its base capitalism. In other words, while the bourgeois democratic revolution is an end-in-itself, the proletarian socialist revolution is a revolution in permanence’. The emergence and dynamics of a proletarian socialist revolution and a proletarian state must be viewed in this perspective only. 2. Though there is a general orientation of the path in building socislism, there is not and there can not be any concrete blueprint for it. ‘It is something which lies completely hidden in the mists of future’. Only the masses of the proletariat can cross through this unknown path to open, discover and rediscover new ways by their own creativity. This path cannot be directed by the ‘great, glorious and always-correct’ leadership. Rather mistakes and learning from the mistakes is part and parcel of this creativity. This is, of course, not a shortcoming but the very characteristic of a genuine socialist revolution. And it is the proletarian democracy, the unrestricted freedom for the masses of the workers, the free and open debates among all the shades of the revolutionary proletariat, which is capable of providing the class, the all-important mechanism for socialist transformation. 3. However ‘correct’ its line may be, a communist party can never replace the working class; communist party power cannot substitute working class power. Working class power is working class power, undivided authority of the working class. It is the dictatorship as well as democracy of the working class. It is dictatorship against the bourgeoisie and democracy for the working class. Socialist democracy is not a subject to be provided by the victorious party after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is rather a two-fold expression of one and the same phenomenon established through the destruction of the bourgeois state and its class-rule. There cannot be a guardian party to decide the course of developments, there cannot be a granted-for-ever leading party also, constitutionally or otherwise. Leadership is a
dynamic process, which is to be earned continuously, with the chance of losing it. Otherwise it turns out to be a dictatorial concept and practice. In other words, there should literally be ‘let a hundred flowers blossom,’ of course, within the domain of working class power. 4. Elections, representative institutions, freedom of press, right to organise etc. cannot be rejected in a proletarian democracy, by castigating them as bourgeois; rather they should be elevated to a higher phase by expunging the bourgeois vices from them. Here also we do not know the exact form. We have only seen how the proletariat tried to evolve the appropriate democratic forms through the Paris Commune and October Revolution (till the usurping of power by the party). The workers of the world have gained further rich experiences, both positive and negative, in the last seventy years or more. Let them evolve the appropriate form of proleletarian democracy to carry out their own revolution. 5. One cannot build up socialism with the communist party power, for the simple reason that it deprives the socialist revolution of its basic motive force, the working class. In this scheme, the working class is turned into the object, rather than the subject of the history. Socialism is thus redefined as the brain-child of the genius and made out of the product of the great decrees from above. If benevolent at the beginning, the so-called socialist state gradually transforms itself into the master of the proletariat. Inner-party struggle takes the form of intrigue and conspiracy. And finally a great revolution turns into a heinous counter-revolution. 6. The simple but profound truth has reasserted itself. Workers’ emancipation is really the act of the workers themselves. No leader, no agent, no mediator can liberate the workers. You communists can try to hasten the process, you can even try to lead the process, but in the final analysis, you have to wait till the working class develops its own urge to transform society! No one can short-circuit the process. And so, the workers’ emancipation has to be conquered by the workers themselves. There is no other way.
1. Socialism by its very definition and connotation, means the social ownership of all the wealth of society; socialism means the collective control over all the production and distribution by the direct producers from below. Socialism means a classless, exploitationless and thereby a stateless society. Even the most ardent supporters of soviet socialism would feel ashamed to claim that Soviet Russia has ever acquired these characteristics. 2. In 1919, the production of industrial goods fell down to one-thirteenth of that of 1913. The fuel to be supplied to industry fell to one-tenth of the normal supply. A shortage of raw materials, fuel and food continued to bring about a disastrous fall in industrial activity. Starvation or semi-starvation, gravely affected workers’ efficiency. Hunger stalked the towns. Shortage of food forced millions to take refuge in the countryside. Petrograd, the center of the revolution lost 57.5% of its population, Moscow lost 44.5%. Absenteeism reached unprecedented levels. In the footstep of hunger came epidemic, above all typhus. Deaths from typhus alone in the years 1918-20 numbered 1.6 million, and typhoid, dysentery and cholera caused another 700,000. The number of premature deaths is estimated for the period from 1 January 1918 to 1 July 1920 at seven million i.e. at 7 percent of the total population. According to one estimate, the total number of premature deaths must have been more
than nine million. This far surpasses, the number of deaths in combat — estimated at about 350,000. 3. Lenin, declared on the day after the October Revolution, to the 2nd Congress of the Soviets : We must be guided by experience; we must allow complete freedom to the creative faculties of the. masses. Lenin further stated,
Creative activity at the grassroots is the basic factor of the new public life ... ‘living creative socialism is the product of the masses themselves..... ‘One should not worry at all about mistakes. The mistakes of the masses were in themselves creative, Let there be mistakes — they would be the mistakes of a new class creating a new way of life ... ... There was not and could not be a definite plan for the oiganisation of economic life. Nobody could provide one. But it could be done from below, by the masses, through their own experience.
The same Lenin had admitted in the 8th Congress of the Party in March 1919,
the Soviets, which by virtue of their programme are organs of govt, by the working people, are in fact organs of govt. for the working people by the advanced section of the proletariat butnot by the working people as a whole.
Lenin later attempted to rationalise the dictatorship of the Communist Party as that of the working class by saying,
The dictatorship of the working class is being implemented by the Bolshevik party, the party which as far back as 1905 and even earlier merged with the entire revolutionary proletariat.’
And finally Lenin had to put his case more blatantly, for example, in a letter to D. J. Kursky, in February, 1922 :
We conscious workers, we communists — who are the state.
4. The danger that would follow from the idea of replacing the working class by the party in building socialism had been posed by a grouping of advanced workers, Workers’ Opposition, One of its prominent, members, Alexandra Kollontai wrote:
Distrust towards the working class (not in the sphere of politics, but in the sphere of economic creative abilities) is the whole essence of the theses signed by our pary leaders. They do not believe that by the rough hands of workers, untrained technically, can be created those foundations of the economic forms which, in the course of time, shall develop into a harmonious system of communist production. To all of them — Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Bukharin — it seems that production is “such a delicate thing” that it is impossible to get along without the assistance of “directors”. First of all we shall “bring up” the workers, “teach them”, and only when they have grown up shall we remove from them all the teachers of the Supreme Council of the National Economy and let the industrial unions take control over production. It is, after all, significant that all the theses written by the party leaders coincide in one essential feature: for the present, we shall not give control over production to the trade unions: for the present “we shall wait”. It is doubtless true that Trotsky, Lenin, Zinoviev and Bukharin differ in their reasons as to why the workers should not be entrusted with running the industries just at present. But they unanimously agree that just at the present time, the management of production must be carried on over the workers’ heads by means of a bureaucratic system inherited from the past. And Rosa Luxenburg warned emphatically: The danger begins only when they make a virtue of necessity and want to freeze into a complete theoretical system all the tactics forced upon them by these fatal circumstances, and want to recommended them to the international proletariat as a model of socialist tactics. When they get
in their own light in this way, and hide their genuine, unquestionable historical service under the bushel of false steps forced upon them by necessity, they render a poor service to international socialism for the sake of which they have fought and suffered; for they want to place in its storehouse as new discoveries all the distortions prescribed in Russia by necessity and compulsion — in the last analysis only by-products of the bankruptcy of international socialism in the present world war.
5. While arguing against the Workers’ Opposition, Trotsky put his logic in the following way:
‘The Workers’ Opposition has come out with dangerous slogans, making a fetish of the principles of democracy. They seem to have placed the workers’ right to elect their representatives above the party, as though the party did not have the right to defend its dictatorship even if that dictatorship were to clash for a time with the passing moods of the workers’ democracy... What is indispensable is the awareness, so to speak, of the revolutionary historical birthright of the party, which is obliged to maintain its dictatorship in spite of the temporary wavering in the spontaneous moods of the masses, in spite of the temporary vacillation even in the working classes. SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND QUOTATIONS
l. Lenin ( Revolution Besieged - Tony Cliff 2. Trotsky ( Vol 2 ) - Tony Cliff 3. The Workers’ Opposition - Alexandra Kollontai 4. The Russian Revolution - Rosa Luxemburg
1. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific - F. Engels 2. States and Revolution - Lenin 3. State Capitalism in Russia - T. Cliff
Published (Internet Edition): 13 August 2008 Contact: email@example.com [This is an abridged and Internet edition of the book titled Is Socialism Dead published by Mazdoor Mukti in 2004]
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.