[Marxism] Cubans see hope for change in Obama
Jscotlive at aol.com
Jscotlive at aol.com
Mon Jun 16 11:33:11 MDT 2008
Yet when the Stalinist regime collapsed in the early 1990s and East Europe
earlier it came as a shock for all of the same people who argued that the
USSR was a socialist or at least a degenerated workers state. The same
bureaucracy simply replaced the form of ownership.
The economic base of the old SU is significantly different to that of Russia
today. The SU was demonstratively NOT an economy which ran according to
capitalist norms of production, distribution, and exchange. It was a planned
economy in which the internal contradictions between primary and secondary
production led to its inability to satisfy the needs of its people for consumer
goods, with the bureaucracy focused instead on keep pace with the US and its
allies in arms production and new technologies. The SU existed in a permanent
state of imperialist and capitalist encirclement, which kept it in a state of
crisis. Of course, the bureaucracy had long since abandoned socialist norms of
distribution, with rising levels of social inequality and privileges for
party functionaries which were out of reach for the vast majority of the
population. In this they resembled a corrupt and bloated labour union bureaucracy,
but not a new social class given the country's economic base and its planned
Since the 1917 revolution was a workers revolution when did the counter
revolution happened? In 1991? This is a reformist theory since the state was
not over thrown by a counter revolution at that time. So was it a gradual
This is a schematic analysis. A socialist transformation of society within
the SU never took place, largely due to unfavourable material conditions
combined with the pressure exerted against it by the West. It was able only to
effect a change in its economic base from a primitive stage of capitalist
development to state ownership of the means of production. The means of production,
the development of productive forces, was at a very low level, which is why
both Lenin and Trotsky saw the revolution in 1917 as a catalyst for world
revolution, else, they both felt, it would be destroyed. Trotsky and later,
Ernest Mandel, provided a Marxist analysis of the SU which I recommend you should
study. What your analysis completely lacks is the transitional nature of a
given society from capitalism to socialism.
The new society comes into being bearing the birth marks of the old. The
length of time this transition takes varies according to conjunctive factors.
Too, this transition can work both ways and if the pressure arrayed against
said society is not alleviated or becomes overwhelming it can slip back. This is
what occurred in the SU. It was a society stuck halfway between socialism
and capitalism. The bureaucracy lost any semblance of Leninist consciousness
and as a consequence of its corrupt nature had become politically divorced from
With respect to China, the Chinese Communist Party, as with the Bolsheviks
in Russia in 1917, sought to unite China's nascent proletariat with its
peasants. The only difference was that in the case of China it was a peasant-led
revolution rather than a revolution led by the proletariat. This difference in
emphasis was significant in terms of method but not in terms of the
development of productive forces. Mao saw the peasants as China's future working
class, given the development of a planned economy and industrialisation which he
attempted with the Great Leap Forward.
Different modes of production can give rise to different superstructures.
Under capitalism we've had both fascism and parliamentary democracy. Socialism
has only ever existed in societies of scarcity, where capitalism was still at
a primitive stage of development. This led, inevitably, to bureaucratic
deformity in POST capitalist societies. The ability of these societies to develop
beyond this stage was/is contingent upon the huge pressure arrayed against
them by capitalist encirclement being alleviated or not.
The first stage of socialism is state ownership of the means of production.
During the Great Depression, the Soviet Union's productive capacity grew
exponentially year on year, almost completely unaffected by the global economic
crisis afflicting the capitalist economies of Europe and the US. If the SU
was in any way shape or form capitalist, operating under capitalist laws of
production, distribution, and exchange, it would inevitably have been affected
by such a global economic crisis.
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