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

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Tue Jun 8 11:59:54 MDT 2004

From: Waistline2 at aol.com

cbrown at michiganlegal.org writes:

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

Melvin P: 

My dear brother, I trust you had been well. Your material on auto touched my
heart and China is to enter the US market and speed up the contradictions
latent in bourgeois production. I still hope to get at least ten years of
pension or seven more years. 

CB: Thanks, Comrade. Salutations to you in your travels and new adventures.


The above point is really philosophic. Socialist production does not
"negate" bourgeois production because on the level of society a transition
from one form of property to another is not the meaning of negation. Public
property is a transition to negation of all forms of property. The emergence
of property negates private communism. Communism is the negation of the
negation. A change in form does not constitute negation. 

CB: I said "negation of capitalist anarchy of production" not  "capitalist
production" .  I am referring to the opposition between "anarchy" and

Here I use "negation" as simply "get rid of", replace.  


In the context of Marxmail the issues of Soviet Power are posed a certain
way, given a historic anti-Soviet political trend. On another list I would
address the issue different. Nevertheless, the property relations and its
political expressions is the distinguishing fact of socialism and not
planning or a Five 
Year plan. To locate planning as the fundamental distinguishing attribute of
public property is absolutely incorrect and the repudiation of what Marx
clearly writes in his famous Critique of the Gotha Program.


CB: I said planning of the economy is a fundamental change from capitalist
anarchy of production. I didn't say it is "the fundamental distinguishing
attribute of public property. " The fundamental would be something like "no
private appropriation, private expropriation."


Those who subscribe to a theroy of bureaucracy growing out of the state and
the whole "degenerate workers state thesis" must make planning the heart of
socialism, because an industrial society requires an industrial bureaucracy
to allocate - plan, the movement of labor and resources. On Marxmail the
issue of Soviet socialism is posed as "planning" versus the public form of

CB: The bureaucracy's commands would be ignored if not backed by the state
with its repressive apparatus. The bureaucracy is nothing without the state.


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.

Melvin P. 

Capitalism is an "ism" and it would help clarify matters to the readers if
we spoke in precise terms. The bourgeois property relations creates a a
specific framework of reproduction. What governs what is reproduced is
profits and not 
human needs. The idea of socialism is not really an idea of socialism,
because socialism is not a negation of the bourgeois property relations. 

The idea is communism or the radical abolition of all forms of property. 

CB: Marx and Engels seem to contradict you in The Manifesto when they say :
"The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property
generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property"

Fuller context of this quote follows.

They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an
existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very
eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a
distinctive feature of communism. 

All property relations in the past have continually been subject to
historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions. 

The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of
bourgeois property. 

_The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property
generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property_ ( emphasis CB). But
modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression
of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class
antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. 

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single
sentence: Abolition of _private_ property. ( emphasis, CB; not "property" in
general; _private_ property)

We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right
of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man's own labor, which
property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity
and independence. 

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of
petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the
bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of
industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying
it daily. 

Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property? 

But does wage labor create any property for the laborer? Not a bit. It
creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labor, and
which cannot increase except upon conditions of begetting a new supply of
wage labor for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based
on the antagonism of capital and wage labor. Let us examine both sides of
this antagonism. 

To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social
status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the
united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united
action of all members of society, can it be set in motion. 

Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power. 

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the
property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby
transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the
property that is changed. It loses its class character. 


Melvin P."
 The distinction between industrial society as a specific combination of
human labor and electromechanical process is important. Planning under an
industrial mode of production - (yes, - not capitalist mode of production,
but an industrial mode of production) conforms to industrial logic or
industrial processes. Planning under the emergent system of computerization,
production process and advance robotics, cannot give rise to an industrial

Planning is no abstraction. Planning at a micro level has certain 
efficiencies that planning at a macro level by definition cannot have. Under
industrial conditions the combining of the macro and micro demands the
growth of an industrial bureaucracy. 

We must remember the context of this discussion which is an environment that
has stated for 50 years that bureaucracy and the Soviet bureaucracy grew out
of police action or the state as the embodiment of armed bodies of men. 


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


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.

CB: No it doesn't. Almost nobody has this attitude. Almost nobody says
democracy is the working class as the ruling class/dicatorship of the


Melvin P. :To a large degree the reason for this is anti-Sovietism and a
fundamental misunderstanding of the political economy of Marx.

CB: It's pro-Sovietism and certainly not a fundamental misunderstanding of
Marx's political economy.


 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. 

CB: Do you get this from Marx ? Where does Marx discuss "bureaucracy" ?
Where is it in the fundamentals of his political economy


What if not the feudal bureaucracy, were the revolutionaries of the past two
hundred years fighting? 


CB: Come on . Where is that in Marx ?


A radical return to the political economy of Marx is necessary to make
senseof 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
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: "The social revolution" is not some non-human thing that creates
revolutionaries. The social revolution is a way of referring to certain
activities of people. Those who carry out the social revolution are (social)
revolutionaries.  Proto-social revolutionary activities by people prepare
the ground for direct social revolutionary activities by people.



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 thissense, 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. 



CB: Doesn't the working class overthrow capitalism ?

Melvin P.

Here is where we hit the wall with immature formulations.

CB: Watch it. We'll see who has "immature formulations".

 Melvin: What did Marx say?

CB: Exactly. What did he say ?


Melvin: Throw the word capitalism out of your vocabulary. What causes the
bourgeois property relations to be overthrown is the same process that
caused feudalism or rather, landed property relations to be overthrown. 

CB: Yes, careful, you have backed yourself into a corner where you can't use
"feudalism".  Did Marx use the terms "feudalism" and "capitalism" ? Yes. Did
he mean by this the same thing as "landed property " and "wage-labor and
capital" or "bourgeois property" ? Yes.  

"Capitalism" is a word in the Marxist vocabulary.


Melvin: We glorify the workers and cling to our anarcho syndicalist history.
Did the "workers overthrow capitalism in Russia" or did Lenin and the
Bolsheviks successfully carry out insurrection amid Imperial war and
economic collapse of the Russian feudal state? Lenin said the Bolsheviks
abolished bourgeois property with the stroke of a pen. 

Level two: The working class is stratified. What workers are one referring
to? Are unemployed workers really workers? Are those locked outside the
active system of buying and selling of labor power really proletarians? What
sector of the workers are in active combat with the state? Why have
communists in the advanced imperial centers had as their strategic line of
march activity amongst 
the most poverty stricken workers and not the best paid workers - although
we avoid no arena of the social struggle? 

CB: I said "working class" , but Marx and Engels emphasize the working class


In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians _as a whole_ (
emphasis CB) ? The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the
other working-class parties. 

They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat _as
a whole_ (emphasis CB). 

They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape
and mold the proletarian movement. 

The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by
this only: 

(1) In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different
countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the
entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 

(2) In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working
class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and
everywhere represent the interests of the movement _as a whole_ ( emphasis
CB) . 


Level Three: Show me in history where the serf overthrew feudalism of where
one of the basis components of a class relationship on which a social system
operates, successfully overthrow the social system it was a part of. The
process was described accurately concerning how a social system is
overthrown and why it becomes possible. 


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

Melvin P.

You must think through the process and read what was written.

CB: What makes you think I didn't ?


Melvin P: Who said there were only two classses in feudalism? 

CB: The point is part of the reason it was not only the serfs who overthrew
feudalism is that the bourgeois were also a partially oppressed class who
participated in overthrowing feudalism. That's the pertinence of more than
two classes ( unlike capitalism).


Here is what was written and I speak of the two basic classes stabilizing a
social system of wealth creation and its form. 

"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. 

"All of history clearly shows that the basic classes of a social system
cannot overthrow the system they compose." 


CB: Where is this from ?  Where does Marx use "basic classes of a social
system" ?

The working class abolishes itself in overthrowing capitalism , if that's
what you mean. All classes are abolished. The socialist revolution begins
the abolition of exploiting and exploited classes.


Melvin P.:
It was stated is simple terms that the bourgeoisie and the working class
represented new classes that emerged from a development in the means of
production and a transition in the form of wealth that makes the universal
emergence of exchange possible. The bourgeoisie and working class expressed
a new economic law system not governed by the property relations - form of
wealth and production, implied in landed property and this is obvious. 

On this particular list it has a political tradition foreign to my 
understanding of real history. The Russian Revolution is not understood and
spoken of in the most narrow and ideological sense. What you had in Russia
was the rebellion of a newly formed working class in the vanguard of of
about a hundred million semi-sefrs and semi-slaves who were in absolute
rebellion against the feudal 
property, economic and social relations. They were demanding a fairer
distribution of the social products and political liberaties. They were not
and could not demand the abolition of property because they were property
holders in the last instance. 

All this took place within the unprecendented slaughter of eleven million
Russian soldiers at the front. There was a huge revolution going on in
Russia but the social revolution was from agriculture to industrial
relations - not capitalism to socialism. Communist seized power and said we
do not have to have private property relations to build industrial social
relations in Russia. 

CB: Sort of. Russia in this period went through two levels of revolution, as
is commonly known by Marxists. The bourgeois revolution against the feudal
order crysalized, and then a leap at socialist overthrow of the infant
bourgeois state.

In Lenin's speech in October (November new calendar) 1917, he said now we
begin to build the socialist order. The name of the new thing was the Union
of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics.



The communist said "we cannot last forever in a hostile world but we have
lasted this long and fuck a negative mutherfucker who says we cannot build
an industrial infrastructure with laws that prevent anything other than
means of consumption passing into the hands of the individual." 

That is what happened and this whole insane ideology called "socialism in
one country" is philosophic insanity. The final triumph of socialism could
never happen in one country because socialism by definition is not a
negation of property but a transition to communism.


CB: Yes, and it is a world system , too. 


I drove to Detroit from freaking Texas - round trip, in five days. 
Brother, the best thing I did in life was to leave Detroit. 
At least you can see everyday the evolution of industrial society and how
the automobile configured our industrial property relations. 
Me, I had enough of Detroit, its segregation and the attitude of the Yankee


Melvin P. 


Yes, glad you like your new life. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we

Bread and Roses !


More information about the Marxism mailing list