[Marxism] RE: Notes on bureaucracy (Was USSR, . . .etc)
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Sun May 23 15:48:10 MDT 2004
In a message dated 5/17/2004 12:40:53 AM Central Standard Time, stolz at left.ru
>In the end, Soviet workers did built socialist housing for themselves, but
it was too late. The little girl died some time in the process.<
Today, more than a decade after the collapse of Soviet Power, no section of
the Marxist and communist movement can point an accusing finger at anyone other
than themselves. The Marx standpoint demands that we learn how to pose every
question in its historically concrete setting and unravel the social process
to conform to our revolutionary line of march.
The Soviet proletariat and peasantry has written the most glorious chapter in
the history of the world working class movement. Its victories are
monumental, its defeats painful and its errors historical. Marx of course stated that
the proletariat would have to fight 50, 100, 200 years of civil wars and
international wars to make ourselves fit as ruling class. The Soviet proletariat - as
the advanced detachment of the world proletariat, led us through more than
half of the Marx prophecy, as it attempted to weld the best and brightest of
humanity into a strike force against bourgeois property.
What the Soviet proletariat accomplished was to build an industrial society
without the bourgeois property relation. I would venture to say that the
majority of humanity in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the so-called Middle East,
have to this day not attain the high standard of living, scientific and
artistic pursuits and happiness created by the Soviets. This elementary truth is not
understood by the ideologists.
The former citizens of the Soviet Union are discovering this truth as they
slowly emerge from one of the most complex class and political struggle in human
history. Lenin described this complexity with his characteristic acute
"Why do we do these absurd things? The reason is clear: firstly, because ours
is a backwards country; secondly, education in our country is at its lowest
level; and thirdly because we are receiving no assistance. Not a single
civilized state is helping us. On the contrary, they are all working against us. We
took over the old state apparatus, and this was unfortunate for us. In 1917,
after we captured power, the situation was that the apparatus sabotaged us. This
frightened us very much and we pleaded with the state officials: 'Please come
back,' They all came back, but this was unfortunate for us."
The danger to the communist revolution, as with the case of Cuba and North
Korea today, has many sides. In the historical sense the danger of
counterrevolution is rooted in the development of the material power of production or the
productive forces. In history the danger to the bourgeois revolution during the
transition from agriculture to industry was abated once society achieved a
degree of development - a technological regime, that made it impossible to go
back to landed property relations and its political expression as feudalism.
Here is the political and theory context to understand the "internal danger"
that emerged within the Soviet Power during the time of Lenin and the
complexity of the social struggle that led to the collapse of Soviet Power, the
dismantling of the Soviet State and finally the overthrow of its socialist property
relations in the industrial infrastructure. The "internal danger" is placed in
quotes because one has to fight along a line of march when confronted with a
social question that can only be solved historically.
The danger of restoration of a decaying and dying class can only be abated
and finally overcome, when its economic basis is liquidated by history. Society
cannot return to economic or political feudalism because there no longer
exists anything to go back to.
One is of course referring to the question of the bureaucracy. Lenin of
course makes it clear that the danger to the revolution was the revolutions own
weakness or why call back the old state officials and place bureaucrats in
positions of responsibility? One must treat this question as historical and not from
the standpoint of the ideologists. The bureaucracy - according to the
ideologists, grows out of the state power, specifically police action and organs of
Marxists of course know that bureaucracy has its genesis in the evolution of
the division of labor in society (not the state) and is recast throughout
history on the basis of changes in the technological regime. The industrial
bureaucracy, whether in America or the Soviet Union is radically different from the
feudal bureaucracy and nothing can explain this difference other than the
standpoint of the development of the technological regime.
The industrial bureaucracy is not the state and any worker (or college
professor) who has labored in an institution of 50 or more people understands the
elementary truth. There is nothing on earth more bureaucratic than an industrial
facility or the sum total of the industrial infrastructure. The state itself
is bureaucratic by definition but the industrial bureaucracy is infinitely
broader than the state.
The dispute with the petty bourgeois ideologist is that they explain
bureaucracy on the basis of calling the police to restore order amongst outraged
citizens seeking consumer goods or the state coercion used to implement labor
discipline. The ideologists "forget" that the Soviet State was different from the
bourgeois state and involved infinitely more than the armed bodies of men. The
entire system of the dictatorship of the proletariat - Soviet Power, was in
fact the emergence of a new kind of state.
The technological revolution - not the state power, is creating the objective
(not simply the subjective) material basis for the liquidation of bureaucracy
as a characteristic administrative feature of production and social
The complexity of the social struggle in the Soviet Union was not limited
solely to the struggle against the backwash of the practices of the old State
apparatus. A "new bureaucracy" sprung up during the time of Lenin in the new
political environment created by the affirmation of Soviet Power. Thus,
bureaucracy did not evolve into a grave danger and obstacle to the Revolution as the
result of the "degeneration of the Soviet State." Rather it was present -
according to Lenin, as the weakness within the revolution itself. From day one
bureaucracy was the most dangerous enemy of the Revolution.
The number of bureaucrats in the Soviet Union - throughout its history, was
not limited to the species directly related to the old classes, to the old
state apparatus. Soviet conditions enshrined in law prevented the formation and
emergence of a bourgeoisie. What emerged after the puny buffoon Nitika
Khrushchev disoriented the world communist movement and was removed from power was a
caricature of the bourgeoisie in tune and political alignment with the world
Conditions were such that even good Communists who did not possess the
necessary revolutionary stamina and ideological firmness to sustain them through
such a long historical process were drawn into the reactionary vortex of
bureaucratic practices. Therefore, the Leninists method of dealing with the
bureaucrats demanded that it be applied even more firmly and forcefully to the
Communists themselves who degenerated. To this very day the hallmarks of communists
insurgents is ideological commitment and the unyielding demand for centralization
of task and adherence to a strategic line of march.
Men and women have of course fought for the ideas of communism two thousand
years before Marx was born and when political and economic communism was not
possible. Folks have fought for and dreamed of various kinds of socialist
societies before Marx and Engels were a gleam in their mothers eye. One must have
the manliness and courage to fight along the historical line of march and the
societal advance at each juncture in the development and evolution of commodity
production . . . and its decay.
What this means is that one must fight even when a decisive victory cannot be
attained. The history of the abolitionists movement in America proves the
wisdom of such a line of march and this movement took shape at least 70 years
before the overthrow of the slave power.
The struggle against the bourgeoisie in Russia has had a particularly violent
character, and was accompanied by certain inevitable errors. The struggle
currently unfolding in Russia - as the social movement seeks its new forms of
expression, promises to be even more violent. These painful experiences have to
be assimilated and understood.
It is a fact that the growth of bureaucratism gradually formed a bureaucratic
center that divided the revolutionary center from the people and prevented
them from functioning in harmony. While setting up and consolidating the Soviet
State apparatus and the building the industrial infrastructure and thus
carrying out a historical task, that made possible the economic success of the
Soviet Union, Stalin had to do two mutually exclusive task at the same time: use
the bureaucracy as an organ of administration and fight it simultaneously. This
explains why it was impossible to decisively defeat the bureaucracy.
The question of the bureaucracy is historically concrete and no human agency
is going to defeat the bureaucracy because like the law of value and the
commodity form, it is a product of history. Something fundamental to history - the
material power of production or the mode of production in material life, has
to change to render bureaucracy obsolete along with the state as the state.
It was not for nothing that Comrade Stalin stated, "the greatest enemy of the
Soviet people holds a party card." What the ideologists and Western liberal
call paranoia was in fact an acute understanding of the historical process.
What emerged in the Soviet Union was a complex social struggle where every
segment of Soviet society attacked the bureaucracy - reactionaries, progressives
and communists alike. The bureaucracy blocked the next stage of the
technological advance as the bottom line. This is in fact the revolutionary process and
reaction seized power or carried out the insurrection.
All the various progressive social elements involved in this struggle should
understand the complexity of what took place and prepare for the final assault
on bourgeois property. In this regard one comrade wrote that the Soviet Union
exhausted its historical potential in 1944/1945. This is nothing more than
rotten bourgeois ideology. Historical potential according to Marx means all the
room the productive forces contain within itself before it begins its leap -
transition, to a new level based on the injection into the production process
of a new qualitative ingredient.
One can disprove this absurd proposition that the Soviet Union has exhausted
its historical potential by tracing its industrial development between
1944/1945 and say 1970.
That is to say that industrial society would reach the limits of its boundary
expansion more than forty years later, with the injection into the production
process of computers, digitalized process and advanced robotics and
industrial socialism hit the wall in the historical sense or exhausted its historical
The subjective political factors in the form of policy, ushering in the
collapse of the Soviet Power is another story for later.
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