the degenerated workers state and yugoslavia

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Tue Nov 1 22:46:13 MST 1994


Ok: I'll do this by hand.

I do not agree with Justin that even this part of Trotskyism, his
theory of the ol' Soviet Union as a degenerted workers' state during
Stalinism, is either wrong are irrelevant today (we are, however, in a
great deal of agreement about Trotsky's messed up ideas on a one-party state)

The concept is still very important to understand, especially vis Yugoslavia
as well as Cuba, China, etc.  I'll focus on Yugoslavia in this piece.
While Yugoslavia is no longer a workers' state, unless we understand the
concept, as the "third camp" does not, we tend to fall for the part or the
whole of imperialist propaganda, villifying the Serbs as the new evil empire
in the region, because it formerly was the last part of Yugoslavia to be
a workers state.  Anxious to prove their "independence" from
Trotskyism, the Third Camp accepts that Stalinism can quickly switch over into
fascism, or something like it.

THE DEGENERATED WORKERS STATE THEORY:
A revolution occurred in Russian, one which overthrew capitalism, or at least
the capitallist class, was led by the workers, which collectivized the economy,
and threatened the interests of the imperialists.  It could not be
called socialist, because as Marx and Engels say in several places,
communism must become the new world system, supplanting the world market.
But did it degenerate into a society whose ruling class was no longer
proletarian?  Clearly, the bureaucracy usurped political power from the
working class.  Was the bureaucracy a new, "bureaucratic collectivist" class,
or a new "state capitalist" class, as the Third Camp maintained?

A solid grasp of historical materialist method leads one to reject these
alternatives.  The collectivized property relations had not been overthrown:
merely bureaucratized from within.  In the past, there has been a mode
of production where the bureaucracy was the ruling class.  But this is
thousands of years ago: the so-called "Oriental" mode, which arose where
large-scale irrigation projects required a bureaucracy, and a bureaucracy
could serve a progressive function vis the forces of production.  As
Trotsky discusses in IN DEFENSE OF MARXISM, the Stalinist bureaucracy
contributed NOTHING to the expansion of the forces of production.  All
it could show for itself were the TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS from advanced
capitalist countries: neither it nor its guiding principle could be held
responsible for these technologies transferred.  A new class, a new mode
of production, can only come to power and survive if it serves to expand
the forces of production. Even if the bureaucracy were a new capitalist class, they

The Third Camp can thus offer nothey would still need to show evidence of this. via such expansion.


Bereft of any such arguments from within the doctrine of historical materialism;
the Third Camp must search outside it: toward Weber.  This is what theories largely

gely consist of: comparisons between political structures which they gather
from freewheeloing impressionism.  To the state-cappers, the Soviet Union seems
in its relation between labor and the bureaucracy "like" the alienated
labor-capitalist relation; for the ISO, the centralized bureaucracy, in
Kautsky's "super-imperialist" fashion, looks "like"the endpoint of the
concentration of capital.  Schachtman compared the Soviet Union with Nazi
Germany during the Hitler-Stalin pact: both countries were carving up Finland,
both  were therefore "imperialist", there is a new type of society which
is "bureaucratic imperialist."  End of analysis.

YUGOSLAVIA
The most extreme Serbophobia comes out of the Schachtmanites today: the State
cappers are a bit less extreme in that they do NOT support intervention (yet
still villify the Serbs as the cause of the conflict in the region)
Bogdan Denitch of DSA, Dave Finkel, Branka Mangas, and Manuela Dobos, are
simply and purely raving maniacs who compare the Serbs to the Nazis in order
to bring down upon them a reign of smart  bombs which will kill countless
civilians.

The fact is that Serbia is not the aggressor: the aggressors are the CIA
and the German imperialists, who worked very hard funding right-wing
extremists, reactionary broadcastss from Radio Free Europe (sic!), neo-
Nazi mercenaries, and the neo-Nazi governemtn of Croatia and the Muslim
fundamentalist Bosnian Muslim state.  Their goal was to carve out the
Yugoslav workers state for neo-imperial conquest, and in this, they have
pretty much succeeded.  Serbia has been the natural target, for it was the
last to dismantle its workers state, its peoples are interpenetrated through
out the region, and it has not historical sponsor among the imperialist
powers (Russia is a very poor substitute).  The region as a whole is one
of intepenetrated peoples.  when the Germans recognized Croatia, Croatia
immediately BEGAN the process of ethnic cleansing, which provoked Serbia to
do likewise.

I'm not apologizing for former Stalinist and now nationalist bureaucrat
Milosevic any more than I'm apologizing for the other creeps.  But to
blame Serbia for these horrors is to fall right into the imperialists'
snares.  And it is because the Third Camp rejects the workers' state
analysis that they don't see this, because they don't see the goal of imperialist
in the region, which was to destroy the workers state.  the Schachmanites
especially think that the inner affinity which they have always intuited
mysteriously between Stalinism and fascism means that it is Serbia, not the
imperialists, who are the fascists or proto-fascists in the region.  This is
absolute lunacy.  I hope that the members of this service will discuss this
issue with me, find out about the issue, before it is too late.  You can
do not better than to start with Sean Gervasi's article on GERMANY, THE US,
AND THE YUGOSLAV CRISIS, in COVERT ACTION, Winter 92/93. See also many fine
back issues of LIVING MARXISM and of WORKERS VANGUARD. If you are in DSA,
talk to John Ranz, concentration camp survivor and defender of the Serbs, today,.  Thank you.


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