Lenin's Microsoft

tlmkr at tlug.reptiles.org tlmkr at tlug.reptiles.org
Mon Oct 23 07:48:25 MDT 1995

	My copy of Lenin's " Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism"
contains the following passages:

	From chapter 7-

	...But capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at a definite
and very high stage of its development... when the features of the period of
transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system began to
take shape and reveal themselves...The fundamental economic factor in this
process is the substitution of capitalist monopolies for capitalist free
competition...Monopoly is the transition from capitalism to a higher system.

	and from chapter 10-

	Lenin repeats: ...for monopoly that grew up on the basis of free
competition...is the transition from the capitalist system to a higher
social economic order...

	and continues later in the chapter-

	... When a big enterprise assume gigantic proportions,...,organizes
according to plan the supply of raw materials,...,when these raw materials
are transported to the most suitable place of production,..., when a single
center directs all the successive stages of work... then it becomes evident
that we have socialization of production...

	Lenin then describes how private property is no longer suitable for
the highly "socialized" creature that is monopoly capital, and that all
that remains to be done is to change the relations of property.

	It appears to me that Lenin imagines that socialism and the
proletarian dictatorship will develop in a linear fashion out of the normal
progress of capitalist development. I have a number of questions:

	1) Would Lenin view Microsoft as a transitional form between
capitalism and socialism. And consequently, do Microsoft and other
monopolies(or monopolies to be) have a place in a socialist(proletarian)
	2) Lenin does not seem to think that commodities themselves have a
class character. For example, what is the class character of Windows 95?
Should workers embrace Windows 95? If they do not then what of Microsoft's
alleged "transitional" character?

	3) What is to be said about other industries, their pending
monopolies, and the commodities they produce? For example in the auto
industry, is a pending monopoly also an example of the development of a
transitional form? Does this imply that the proletarian revolution will
preserve the highly "socialized" character of this industry including the
massive (and highly inefficient) distribution of production, the auto parts
industry and the manner that it has developed under free trade?
	What is the class character of the automobile itself? Will it
be preserved as is into a proletarian future? Or will it be changed? If
it is changed how can it be changed while preserving the monopolized form of
the industry (this is implied by Lenin's thesis), that developed under the
technical/social system of values of advanced capitalism?

	Lenin's' analyses I would suggest, suffers from the weakness of HIS
class.  It is rooted in the inability to understand that the economy of the
transition period(between bourgeois and proletarian) is not just about
"socializing" the means of production (ie the monopolies) and substituting
socialist plan for capitalist profit, it is about replacing bourgeois
techniques that have now dominated the shop floor and are destroying any
foundation for technical/social competence.
	I would also suggest that the proletarian revolution will NOT
preserve the monopolies, but will rebuild the economy "from the ground up",
taking the fundamental tools of industry that it will inherit from a
moribund bourgeoisie, using uniquely proletarian techniques.

	 Lenin's thesis of a linear ascension from capitalism to
socialism is a non dialectical analyses of advanced capitalism and the
transition period. Remember these things:

	1) The Russian revolution had many bourgeois tasks required of it.

	2) While the Bolshevik contained many rank and file proletarians,
	   the leadership of the Bolshevik were largely NOT proletarian.

	3) The main instrument used to usurp power and eliminate the threat
	   of proletarian dictatorship was descended(dialectically) from
	   the Bolshevik, the very party that had previously taken the power
	   in their name.

	Finally, I suggest that the revolution that defeated feudalism in
19th century Russia will be quite different than the proletarian revolution
that will defeat capitalism in the 21'st.

	What do you think?

			toolmaker :-)	

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