A Letter to Comrade Wei

Christian harlowc at tidepool.com
Mon Feb 12 17:41:40 MST 1996


Vladamir, as usual you are a joy to read and a precious pond of clarity in this
sometimes swampy list.  My point in writing this letter is more to receive
clarification than make my own arguement regarding the historical project and
trajectory of socialism.  In addition though I should make a few brief comments
regarding my own interest in this disscussion.

Not too long ago I read Trotsky's Revolution Betrayed,  and it seemed that in his
analysis of the Soviet Union, before the revolution and before Stalin, that he had
brought a number of contradictions too light that were the result of internal
preconditions of Russian society.  Namely, Russia was a historical backwater in an
economic sense compared to the capitalist european countries.  Didn't the
contradications which eventually arose (made themselves obvious) between the
kulaks and the peasant, for instance, create a situation that made the building of
a classless society much more difficult than it would have been in England, for
example?  I

To put in more clearly, Isn't a planned economy without a very high level of labor
productivity very difficult to create much less maintain?  I am well aware that
the productive power of a socialist economy would far surpass that of the greatest
capitalist, yet, I had always been under the impression that the economy would
have to reach a very high level of productivity for a socialist planned economy to
be successful, nothwithstanding the validity of your point that a socialism, per
se, (ownership of the means or production by the proletariat) is possible without
going through a bourgeois revolution.  It just seems to me that if China didn't
incorporate some method of increasing their productivity they would be swallowed
whole by the capitalist world-system.

I don't beleive in stage theories either but can we really depend on the
dialectics of uneven global development to bring revolution to peripheral
countries considering that this dialectic often leads to the nationalism as
oppossed to proletarian revolution?

Comradely,

Christian Harlow

P.S.

I used to argue, here in America, that increasing the productive level in China
was imperative for its socialist development, as long as its eye was always
fixated on completing the PROJECT.  Can the men and women of China except this as
their historical mission though, or is this a truly counter-revolutionry position?
My guess is that most of this depends on if the bureaucracy in China wants
socialism or, do they merely aspire to be the next USA?


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