[Marxism] Cubans see hope for change in Obama

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Mon Jun 16 11:33:11 MDT 2008


Yossi:
 
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.

Reply:
 
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 
economy.
 
Yossie:
 
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
process? 
 
Reply:
 
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 
the masses.
 
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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