Why has the corpse sprouted so much hair?

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Fri Oct 4 08:52:49 MDT 1996

Gary writes:
> But perhaps it is my Trotskyism which makes me reject such commentaries as
> fundamentally un dialectical. If State Capitalist theory and the anarchist
> formulas were so totally correct why has not the lot of the workers improved
> with the collapse of the Soviet Empire?

Talk about undialectical !

Capitalism changes all the time, and the state organisation changes as
the needs of capitalism changes. The concentration of capital reached
a point where as Bukharin noted, there was an increasing synthesis beyween
state + capital, and economic competition between capitals was negated
in one sense, only to be recreated as military competition between capitalist
states. The synthesis of state and capital facilitated a tremendous boost to
capitalist accumulation in many states from the 1930s through to the 1970s.

But, as the concentration of capital continued to increase, the
limitation of units of capital to one state's territory, or even one
super state's Empire, became an impediment to further accumulation.
The resources and market within any one state became too small for the
bounds of the international division of Labour necessary to keep up
with the competition.

The reason the bosses offensive against workers in the USSR has been on
a greater scale than, say, the offensive of Thatcher against UK workers
or Reagan, Bush and Clinton against US workers, is that precisely because
the Russian state and capital had been merged to a greater extent than
anywhere else, the extent and depth of the restructuring required from
the capitalists' point of view was necessarily greater.

A political revolution, ie a significant change in the state organisation
which leaves the underlying social relations the same, may or may not
bring about improvements to the mass of workers. The arrival of multi
party democracy across Africa, South Africa included, has by and large
led to a decline in the living standards of most workers, since it
coincided with a period of economic crisis.

But, the reason Marxists welcome, and actively work for, the introduction
of capitalist democracy ie the change from one form of capitalist rule
to another form of capitalist rule, is not that workers will be economically
better  off. In many respects, capitalist democracy is the most efficient
of the various mechanisms for extracting surplus from workers. We do it
because in the struggle for democracy, the masses, and the working class
in particular, move onto the stage of history. The mass mobilisation allows
the free exchange of ideas, and gives the opportunity for workers to organise
 - as, eg in the workers corner of Tiannamen square. Without such a period of
open clarification and large scale sifting through of different individuals,
ideas, and organisation, revolutionaries can never win over the mojority of
the working class, there can be no revolution.

Gary also writes:
> Now let me briefly try and answer the question why Stalinism?  and why has
> the corpse sprouted so much hair?  Well the answer is:-  because  it is not
> a corpse.  Where "Stalinist" views have currency they are linked to a real
> struggle.  That of the PCP for instance.  It is this commitment to struggle
> which is at the heart of the continued relevance of much of what people like
> Richard B. and Louis G. have to say.  It is this that I respect.

It used to be the case that all the best working class militants were in the
relevant CP in practically every country outside the "Eastern Block". Except
for a very few cases ( most obviously South Africa ) , this is not true.
[ It certainly is NOT true in Peru ]. And even where it is true, these CP's
have rejected the sort of nonsense where an Imperialist backed murdering
dictator like Najibullah gets dribbling "death of our father Joseph Stalin"
style obituaries.

All power to Chris Bambery !


[ the Cliff supporting Leninist disciplinarian centralist, with big
red horns and a pointed tail ].

PS the stuff about nationalisation == socialism ? , was Luxembourg a
greater Marxist than Lenin ? is all quite interesting.

Adam Rose


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