[Marxism] Why didn't Lenin go capitalist-Marx political

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Fri Jun 4 16:01:14 MDT 2004

From: Waistline2 at aol.com


It is absolutely incorrect to define socialism as a command economy or
planned economy or define socialism's essence as planning. There is nothing
in the economic writings of Marx to justify defining socialism outside of
the ownership rights or "property relations within." 

CB: Why not "relatively incorrect" ? What of the socialist negation of
capitalist anarchy of production , which can be termed "planning" ?


Planning is an attribute of industrial economy by definition. One cannot run
their household or get to work on time without planning. When Marxists speak
of the planning of socialism what is meant is that capital is no longer in
the hands of private individuals as opposed to what ever the specific form
of organization of resources and allocation of labor prevails. 

CB: In capitalism individual enterprises plan, but the economy as a whole is
anarchic. The idea is that socialism would have planning on a scale of the
economy as a whole.


What distinguished Soviet Socialism was its property relations. What
distinguishes bourgeois America is its property relations and not its
specific form of bourgeois democracy. The form of bourgeois democracy is
important but Marxists that offered an economic unraveling of American
society and focused on incarceration rates and the domination of the
industrial bureaucracy in America would be the laughing stock of the Marxist

CB: What of the significance of the difference between bourgeois "democracy"
and real democracy or the working class as the ruling class, the
revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat ?


This exact attitude prevails in discussions of Soviet socialism. To a large
degree the reason for this is anti-Sovietism and a fundamental
misunderstanding of the political economy of Marx. The fact of the matter is
that the bureaucracy is the most dangerous enemy of the social revolution in
all countries during all periods of human history after the division of
labor has been realized in society. What if not the feudal bureaucracy, were
the revolutionaries of the past two hundred years fighting? 

A radical return to the political economy of Marx is necessary to make sense
of history. Revolutionaries do not create or make social revolution. In fact
it is the social revolution that creates the revolutionaries. What began to
unravel and undermine feudal economic relations was not the bourgeoisie, but
rather the transition in the form of wealth from landed property relations
to gold or what Engels calls "movable wealth." It is the ascendency of gold
and the growth and spread of metallic money that sets the stage for the
universal emergence of exchange and accelerates the advent of commodity
production. This process - this economic logic, accelerates the development
of the new classes within the feudal property relations called the
bourgeoisie and proletariat. These new classes run directly into the feudal
economic, social and political bureaucracy.

CB: "this process " or "economic logic" is not an abstract thing in the air.
Its content is people acting. Gold does not ascend on its own. Its ascension
is constituted by people's conduct and exchange with each other. In this
sense, it _was_ the activity of a class , the bourgeoisie, that contributed
to undermining feudalism. 

Perhaps you mean that the bourgeois were not consciously trying to make a
revolution by their activities with gold, etc.

The "new" classes or the changing bourgeoisie (see below) and nascent
proletariat run into the feudal ruling class and state apparatus. 


The feudal order was not overthrown by the serf and could not be overthrown
by the serf. The feudal ruling class and its bureaucracy were overthrown by
economic classes outside political and economic feudalism. This is very
important to understand if we are to locate our moment in history. The basic
economic classes of any social system are never free to overthrow the system
that they make up and this is an economic and political law abstracted by
American Marxists by carefully reading what Marx wrote. 

CB: Doesn't the working class overthrow capitalism ?


All of history clearly shows that the basic classes of a social system
cannot overthrow the system they compose. All that can happen is a reform
struggle or an intense fight over the division of the social product and
political liberties. The feudal order and the agrarian system it stood upon
were overthrown by classes outside the system - the bourgeoisie and the
modern working class.


CB: There were more than two classes in feudalism. The bourgeoisie were a
class within the division of labor of feudalism.


We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a
long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of
production and of exchange. 

Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a
corresponding political advance in that class. An oppressed class under the
sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association of
medieval commune(4): here independent urban republic (as in Italy and
Germany); there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France);
afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the
semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility,
and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general - the
bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of
the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative state,
exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a
committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. 


What regulates bureaucracy to the ash bin of history - as a property
relation manifesting itself as domination over the individual, is not the
consciousness of men or the purity of their hearts, but the technological
revolution or social revolution. Social revolution is the result of changes
in the means of production or the emergence of new economic laws that compel
society to leap forward to a new political basis. 

CB: The socialist revolution is to be qualitatively different than previous
revolutions in the mode of production in that it is to be carried out by
class and socialist _conscious_ masses. So, it is conscious political
activity that makes the socialist revolution, _not_ the unconscious,
objective byproduct of economic processes , unlike the bourgeois revolution
which had less conscious actors.


What in God's name is "socialist relations of production?" 

CB: Why are you arguing that there is no such thing as "socialist relations
of production, i.e. socialist property relations ? Relations of production
_are_ property relations. They are the same thing , synonymous. Relations of
production are economic class relationships.


What existed in the Soviet Union was the emergence of industrial production
relations or social relations characteristic of industrial society - with
the property relations within. 

CB: The SU had "emergent" socialist relations of production/property
relations with an modern industrial/factory technological regime.


These indisputable industrial social relations manifested a specific
combination of human labor and electromechanical process. Who but the
anti-Soviet petty bourgeois ideologue cannot understand this simple
formulation any industrial worker in America and the world can immediately

Can human beings overthrow an industrial bureaucracy? "Regime Change" or
changing the political players and political grouping dominating a system of
production, can never overthrow an industrial bureaucracy. Human being can
never decisively defeat the industrial bureaucracy, until a development
takes place within the material power of production that renders the
industrial bureaucracy superfluous. We have finally arrived at the start of
this historical process, that is being driven by the injection into the
production process of computers, digitalized processes and advance robotics.

The Soviet proletariat arrived hit this historical barrier first - on a wave
of change in front of the workers in the imperial centers. The entrenched
interest of the real people in various departments of the industrial
bureaucracy - not simply the state authority, blocked the need to
revolutionize the industrial means of production. The state power is not the
industrial bureaucracy and the CPSU was not the industrial bureaucracy. 

Nevertheless, one must oppose and fight this material domination over the
individual with full awareness of the limits and framework of transition.
This accounts for the intense and complex ideological struggle in the Soviet
Union, without simply relaying on the personalities of the Russian

A radical return to the political economy of Marx is need to understand our
own history as well as that of the Soviets. 


Melvin P. 

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