[Marxism] Proletarians, peasants, and polemics
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Mon Mar 23 14:32:25 MDT 2009
How do you propose to defeat the bureaucracy?
I will try to add something different and distinct to this dialogue. It is
agreed that Mao did not create the Chinese Revolution; neither did Lenin,
Trotsky or Stalin create the Russian revolutions, although all played fundamental
- history altering, roles in the overthrow of a decrepit ruling class and
the establishment of Soviet Power.
Actually the bureaucracy, any bureaucracy, does in fact generate something
independently and on its own, as it embody the property relations and state in
a society. What the bureaucracy generates, spontaneously, is self
reproducing cycles of ritual behavior, as society reproduction, which is the organic
reason for its conservatism. Bureaucrats arise on the basis of this ritual self
reproducing logic. Bureaucrats never try and change their own habits and
proverbial stupidity. "Bad thinking" or a "lack of revolutionary fervor," or
bureaucrats do not create "the Bureaucracy."
The bureaucracy creates the bureaucrats because it can only become
operational on the basis of flesh.
Here is what is being responded to:
>> The bureaucracy is not the bearer of a new system of economy, peculiar to
itself and impossible without itself, but is merely a parasitic growth over
the body of an organisation or society. And you say it should have a
Comrade, stating the bureaucracy is "merely a parasitic growth over the body
of an organisation or society," is a classless ideological statement of ones
belief. Nor does such an ideological statement disclose the self reproducing
inherent nature of bureaucracy.
In other words if a comrade said the state is "merely a parasitic growth
over the body of an organisation or society," all of Marxism would raise an
eyebrow of concern. Is not the most important function of the bureaucracy
expressed as the functions of the state power?
To the degree that bureaucracy, can only be expressed in real life as the
centralization of power and authority it is best to "connect it" to the Marxist
conception of the state as a historical artifact. The history of the
bureaucracy mirrors the history of the state.
The bureaucracy, any bureaucracy, is also an agency of administration . . .
of something. Bureaucratic function also means administration to guarantee
self reproducing function.
To the degree that the bureaucracy, any bureaucracy, is an agency of
administration . . . . of something, marks it as a historical phenomena, rooted in
class and specific stages of development of the productive forces. If we can
agree that the bureaucracy, any bureaucracy is posed as a historical
phenomenon, one can properly speak of a socialist bureaucracy, a bourgeois
bureaucracy, a feudal bureaucracy, a precapital bureaucracy of slave society, all the
way back to the emergence of class as a property relation and the state as
it arises as an expression of the irreconcilability of class antagonism.
If this approach is valid and within the general Marxist framework,
bureaucracy is bound up with the emergence of the state and class but not identical
to the state. The actual - material, organization of the state power is as a
bureaucratic instrument. In the context of Soviet society this bureaucratic
organization of violence existed in collusion and colliding with highly
militarized bourgeois states. Here I do not argue over the correctness or
incorrectness of any particular policy of the Soviet state.
Bureaucracy, as the self reproducing logic of administration must embody and
express each stage in the development of the means of production, property
relations; the division of labor in society and with the emergence of a social
division of labor, bureaucracy appears to dominate the totality of society.
Bureaucracy conforms to and expresses the self reproducing act of
administration and as such is impossible to overthrow. What can be overthrown, jailed
or put on trial is the organization of people - individuals, carrying out
certain bureaucratic task and functions in society. Then bureaucracy springs
back to life more powerful than ever, with new people.
In my youth this logic was called "the revolution eats its children." But no
one could disclose its inner logic and history until the decay of industrial
Bureaucracy is also rooted in the division of labor in society.
This aspect of bureaucracy cannot be overthrown or discarded at the
industrial state of development and its corresponding division of labor. No
democratic organization of the masses can overthrow or fundamentally defeat
bureaucracy at the industrial stage of the productive forces. The ritualized character
and nature of industrial production and the value system, even when value
production is restricted, defeats all forms of democratic organization of the
Look close . . . very close . . . see the value relations at work now
driving the historical phenomenon of "the bureaucracy" and reproducing it in a
The bureaucracy in correspondence with the state withers away.
The withering away of the state is predicated on the withering away of the
value relations. Don't forget your Engels. Remember in a footnote in Anti
Duhring where he mentions what will be left of the state is the residual
aftermath of value?
Since the bureaucracy represents the embodiment of the centralization of
power, and the centralization of power is a class thing and express property
relations, in the material act of production/administration, is it possible to
overthrow administration and the ritual of value production?
Stated another way, the bureaucracy is the indispensable condition for the
maintenance of the revolution - any revolution, and more importantly
revolutionary reconstruction and simultaneously the most powerful enemy of the
revolution. In real life this means the revolution has to fight the bureaucracy
with the bureaucracy on the basis of the vanguard of the proletariat, and
whatever state of development of the productive forces and ritual culture of the
people, allows successive layers of bureaucracy, to be systematically stripped
- purged, from society.
During the rising curve of industrialization in the Soviet Union, an
industrial form of bureaucracy takes shape, with the property relations within, in
which it - the property relations, begins to work. This scared everyone. But
there was no way out of this predicament.
How do you propose to defeat the bureaucracy?
Here is why the political struggle within Soviet Power assumed such sharp
and bloody dimensions, with various political tendencies seeking to use the
bureaucracy to defeat their opponents in the bureaucracy. Add to this seemingly
bizarre struggle, the individual subjective dimensions of Stalin the person
and the Stalin regime, say in the form of Beria the person, and one has a
blood purge of the revolutionary organism as the party. The Red Terror spilled
unto the streets of Soviet society but without question its location and
concentration was within the state organs and the party itself.
This is also the reason political Trotskyism, with its anti-bureaucracy
ideology and political orientation evolved and emerged outside the sphere of
Soviet Power, with all its political consequences. The Soviet bureaucracy, called
the Stalinist bureaucracy, could not be overthrown outside of overthrowing
the Soviet state and Soviet Power. The Soviet Power refused to be overthrown
and could not be overthrown until a new revolution - qualitative change, in
the productive forces began, compelling Soviet society to leap to a new basis.
During this process of leap - transition from one qualitative state to
another, the bourgeois counterrevolution won out.
Interestingly, the leaders of the counterrevolution appeared from the party
and state organs of violence. In America we need to understand why this
happened and what it means for us, given the massive bureaucracy we face.
On the chain of history the bureaucracy cannot be fundamentally defeated
until a development of the productive forces cause the decay of class and
property and allows for the withering away of the state itself.
Here is why Mao's attempt to cleanse the bureaucracy, through the Great
Proletarian Cultural Revolution, did in fact lead to a certain dislocation of
Chinese society. Add to this Mao's mistaken notions of large scale social
production. Ten thousand or a hundred thousand peasants producing steel in small
furnaces does not equal a steel mill. Mao did publicly criticize himself
before 600 million Chinese and the International Communist Movement, and the steel
mill fiasco did not harm the Chinese Revolution irreparably.
Whatever Mao's mistakes, real, alleged or perceived does not diminish his
stature on the scale of history.
The Chinese Revolution was what it was and what it openly stated it was. A
victorious anti-colonial and anti-imperialist revolution, crowned with a
Peoples Democracy as a state form. That is why the Chinese communists called their
country The People's Republic of China, rather than the Soviet Republic of
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