Post by balmer_dave
It wasn't a personal attack, much, apart from I was beginning to think you
were deliberately denying the obvious, but you have `redeemed' yourself as you
appear to have admitted that;
Post by balmer_dave
"capitalism survived Romanov rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule"
You sort of asked a sensible question;
Post by balmer_dave
"the Bolsheviks represented the rule of the xxxxx."
Post by balmer_dave
"the class that rules is going to determine whether the capitalists are going
to exploit mercilessly, or whether their gluttony stands a chance of being
On the second point I don't think there was that much in the way of
`bourgeois' or `private capitalism', as in the concession system etc, after
1925; it was probably only marginal before that.
If that is sort of what you meant.
Close enough to what I meant, and I'm glad to see you write that private
capitalism played an insignificant role in the Soviet Union.
Post by balmer_dave
So (State) capitalism was being operated by the state which was the Bolshevik
party alone, or a one party state.
So a few examples of that;
V. I. Lenin Speech At The First All-Russia Congress Of Workers In Education
and Socialist Culture July 31, 1919
"When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party
and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it
is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not
shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course
of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial
"Why have a Party, if industrial management is to be appointed ("mandatory
nomination") by the trade unions nine-tenths of whose members are non-Party
workers? Bukharin has talked himself into a logical, theoretical and practical
implication of a split in the Party, or, rather, a breakaway of the
syndicalists from the Party."
"We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselves. the
vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall
be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This
state capitalism is connected with the state.. the advanced section of the
workers, the vanguard. We are the state."
I have obviously dotted stuff out there for clarity as Lenin is being
First of all the membership of Bolshevik party under Lenin never went above
about 700,00, I think, and it was eventually purged down to about 400,000 ish.
(I can probably find that kind of stuff if you want.)
The Mensheviks after being banned attempted entryism, but then they were
banned from joining and were expelled.
With a few amazing exceptions.
So it was never more than 1% of the population or probably even 10% of the
working class population.
It certainly, as Lenin said, didn't represent the entire proletariat.
"But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through an
organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all capitalist
countries (and not only over here, in one of the most backward) the
proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in parts (by
imperialism in some countries) that an organisation taking in the whole
proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship. It can be
exercised only by a vanguard
for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass
proletarian organisation. It cannot work without a number of "transmission
belts" running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from
the latter to the mass of the working people. In Russia, this mass is a
Not only that but `real proletarians' didn't go to work in factories, they
went into the Bolshevik party and government presumably, and people who worked
in factories weren't workers etc.
"There we have to deal with workers. Very often the word "workers" is taken to
mean the factory proletariat. But it does not mean that at all. During the war
people who were by no means proletarians went into the factories; they went
into the factories to dodge the war. Are the social and economic conditions in
our country today such as to induce real proletarians to go into the
factories? No. It would be true according to Marx; but Marx did not write
about Russia; he wrote about capitalism as a whole, beginning with the
fifteenth century. It held true over a period of six hundred years, but it is
not true for present-day Russia. Very often those who go into the factories
are not proletarians; they are casual elements of every description."
Despite the hazard of not being sure what a worker was according to Lenin, he
did occasionally give us an idea of the numbers of workers in the Bolshevik
party and government.
"Does every worker know how to run the state? People working in the practical
sphere know that this is not true, that millions of our organised workers are
going through what we always said the trade unions were, namely, a school of
communism and administration. When they have attended this school for a number
of years they will have learned to administer, but the going is slow. We have
not even abolished illiteracy. We know that workers in touch with peasants are
liable to fall for non-proletarian slogans. How many of the workers have been
engaged in government? A few thousand throughout Russia and no more."
Again and again we get same idea that the workers en mass and in general are
not fit to participate in the running of state capitalism.
As to who the Bolsheviks were etc and who they represented etc etc it is not a
particularly important point from a Marxist historical materialist analysis.
But they were probably the Bourgeois intelligentsia and ambitious social
The point is that given the same basic set of circumstances history repeats
itself, somewhat comically in the sense that the actors imitate their
predecessors and their failures. Thus from Karl;
"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages
appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the
second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the
Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the
uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second
edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do
not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances
existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all
dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just
as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things,
creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of
revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to
their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in
order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and
This is the theoretical substance of Ted Grant's analysis, although I could
quibble with the details;
"If Cliff's argument is correct, one could only conclude that the same thing
happened with the Russian as with the French Revolution. Marx was the prophet
of the new state capitalism. Lenin and Trotsky were the Robespierres and
Carnots of the Russian Revolution. The fact that Lenin and Trotsky had good
intentions is beside the point, as were the good intentions of the leaders of
the bourgeois revolution. They merely paved the way for the rule of the new
state capitalist class."
That's pretty cold, but maybe he has a point there, especially while
considering apparatchiks like Khrushchev and Brezhnev.
Post by balmer_dave
Lenin never pretended much that he wasn't "borrowing from them names, battle
slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in
time-honored disguise and borrowed language."
Can "Jacobinism" Frighten the Working Class?
Marx prophesised that capitalism would follow feudalism with the rule of a
capitalist class, in this case a state capitalist class.
With basic similarities to previous capitalist revolutions.
The Bolsheviks set themselves up as a class apart to run state capitalism.
Theoretically it wouldn't be long before the ideological `superstructure' of
the Bolsheviks would become modified by its own economic `base'.
And they would become state capitalists in spirit as well as in name.
And the Bolsheviks would inevitably represent their own state capitalist
interests, just as the capitalists ordinary do.
People like Grant knew that Russia was State Capitalist and the theoretical
analysis about what had happened was thrashed out behind closed doors.
And we see it in Ted's article, following Cliff breaking ranks with a
The devastating State Capitalism stuff is of course in (Left wing childishness
and the petty-bourgeois mentality, Collected Works, Volume 27, page 335)
That Ted `accidentally' mentions.
Incidentally they probably picked that up from Trotsky himself;
I. The Program of the International Revolution or a Program of Socialism in
One Country? (Part 2) 1928
At the beginning of the same year, i.e., 1918, Lenin, in his article entitled
"On Left Wing Childishness and Petty Bourgeois Tendencies," directed against
" If, let us say, state capitalism could be established in our country within
six months, that would be a tremendous achievement and the surest guarantee
that within a year socialism will be definitely established and will have
Very good! The state capitalism point has been well made. Maybe now an
unresolved issue from the recent past can be reconsidered.
I had earlier blamed the failure of the Russian and other so-called
communist revolutions on what I consider a rather universal major tactical
In Capital, Marx advocated the expropriation of the expropriators, but, in
his early writings, he seemed to have written differently. He knew that
'human labor creates private property', which immediately raises the
question of how to abolish private property while billions of people are
toiling every day to create private property for themselves and their
exploiters. Marx even brought wages into the definition of private property.
So, that's our first serious socialist problem to solve: How to abolish
something that's in the constant process of being created.
Marx early on wrote about the inconceivability of abolishing private
property except as the abolition of labor, thereby providing us with one
plausible way of abolishing it. The other way, from the Communist Manifesto,
would have been if enough European monarchies were simultaneously replaced
with democracies with universal suffrage, and people insisted on using their
new proletarian dictatorship to enact the CM program, which 'by degrees'
wrests all capital from the bourgeoisie and converts it into state property.
However, the Paris Commune had little interest in expropriation, but Lenin
must have thought that the Bolsheviks could work miracles, and accomplish in
Russia what the Communards had little to no interest in doing. We have seen
the tragi-comic results. People taking expropriation to heart as a goal
seems to have been the cause of the failure of the Russian experiment, and
more than one country has re-privatized its means of production.
It should be pretty clear that no one is going to make that mistake ever
again in the future, i.e., prematurely try to abolish private property, only
to have it boomerang back on them in the form of gangster capitalism. People
seem to have learned at least one good lesson.
But soon there will be a time when property will no longer be property any
more, i.e., when everything reasonable anybody ever needs or wants can be
created on the spot with zero toil, and in little time, thanks to the
upcoming nanotech revolution. Finally, a decisive end to scarcity could
arrive in a very few decades. Popular interest in accumulating property will
fade away, and socialism will arrive, but there's nothing anyone can do in
the meantime to speed its arrival except by being good scientists and
engineers and further accelerating the productivity of labor.
"At the core of the highest phase of communist society, as described in
Marx¹s early writings, is the abolition of labour. The more famous abolition
of private property, the well-known abolition of the state, and the
lesser-known abolition of the division of labour are all conditional upon
the abolition of labour itself."