Discussion:
State capitalism
(too old to reply)
Ken Ellis
2010-03-28 12:56:30 UTC
Permalink
There is a chronological list of state capitalist quotes from Lenin below;
Very good, you did your homework well, and it looks like the Soviet Union
could have been categorized as 'state capitalist' from the getgo.

So, what did all that capitalism signify with regard to the nature of the
Soviet state? The question is pertinent, because, state capitalism may be a
form of capitalism, but try abolishing capitalism, no matter which class is
running it. During this era of human labor, with billions trying to create a
little private property for themselves, abolishing private property is
inconceivable except as the abolition of labor.

Capitalism grew in Russia well before Lenin analyzed it in his first major
work over a century ago. The Romanovs dominated the state back then, and in
the first Russian Revolution, the state was taken over by Kerensky and the
bourgeoisie, and in the October Revolution control over the state again
switched hands, and the Bolsheviks took control.

So, my question is: From your perspective, which class interests did the
Bolsheviks represent? Even though they established state capitalism early
on, I hope not to hear that 'because the Bolsheviks established state
capitalism, the Bolsheviks therefore represented the capitalist class.' That
would ignore the fact that revolutions represent changes in the classes that
run the state.

Control over the state can change overnight, but, on coming to power, could
the Bolsheviks have done anything to end capitalism?

KE
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WSM_Forum/message/41415
As can be seen he first `suggested' it in September 1917, if not a bit
earlier.
Or as Adam said even before they seized power.
The Trotskyists as well as Trotsky knew that Russia was state Capitalist.
Eg;
Leon Trotsky The Position of the Republic and the Tasks of Young Workers
(Report to the 5th All-Russian Congress of the Russian Communist League of
Youth 1922)
"this is explicable in part by an incomprehension of an expression frequently
used by us, that we now have state capitalism. I shall not enter into an
evaluation of this term; for in any case we need only to qualify what we
understand by it. By state capitalism we all understood property belonging to
the state which itself was in the hands of the bourgeoisie, which exploited
the working class. Our state undertakings operate along commercial lines based
on the market. But who stands in power here? The working class. Herein lies
the principled distinction of our state `capitalism' in inverted commas from
state capitalism without inverted commas."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1922/youth/youth.htm
In fact it was something that was generally accepted until probably after
Uncle Joe's denial around 1925 and later from Trotsky after his further
`evaluation' of the term.
There is also the quote from Lenin where he admits that Russia is a backward
capitalist country, and which is interesting for other reasons as well;
page 21
"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"
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TUTM20.html
I feel like chilling out a bit now so I may leave a response to your larger
post until later.
Have a nice vacation,

KE





------------------------------------
JAMES NORTH
2010-03-28 13:34:53 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ken,

"Control over the state can change overnight, but, on coming to power, could
the Bolsheviks have done anything to end capitalism?"
 
No. The working class can't be led to socialism even if the Bolsheviks intended to.

Could the working class in Russia have done anything to end capitalism?

No. Not without a socialist conscious majority.

No. Not in one country.

Could the working class worldwide have done anything to end capitalism in 1917 if there had been a socialist conscious majority?

I think so.
JimN
http://freetimes3x.blogspot.com/
twitter freetimes3x




________________________________
From: Ken Ellis <***@earthlink.net>
To: "***@yahoogroups.com" <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, 28 March, 2010 13:56:30
Subject: [WSM_Forum] Re: State capitalism

 
There is a chronological list of state capitalist quotes from Lenin below;
Very good, you did your homework well, and it looks like the Soviet Union
could have been categorized as 'state capitalist' from the getgo.

So, what did all that capitalism signify with regard to the nature of the
Soviet state? The question is pertinent, because, state capitalism may be a
form of capitalism, but try abolishing capitalism, no matter which class is
running it. During this era of human labor, with billions trying to create a
little private property for themselves, abolishing private property is
inconceivable except as the abolition of labor.

Capitalism grew in Russia well before Lenin analyzed it in his first major
work over a century ago. The Romanovs dominated the state back then, and in
the first Russian Revolution, the state was taken over by Kerensky and the
bourgeoisie, and in the October Revolution control over the state again
switched hands, and the Bolsheviks took control.

So, my question is: From your perspective, which class interests did the
Bolsheviks represent? Even though they established state capitalism early
on, I hope not to hear that 'because the Bolsheviks established state
capitalism, the Bolsheviks therefore represented the capitalist class.' That
would ignore the fact that revolutions represent changes in the classes that
run the state.

Control over the state can change overnight, but, on coming to power, could
the Bolsheviks have done anything to end capitalism?

KE
http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ WSM_Forum/ message/41415
As can be seen he first `suggested' it in September 1917, if not a bit
earlier.
Or as Adam said even before they seized power.
The Trotskyists as well as Trotsky knew that Russia was state Capitalist.
Eg;
Leon Trotsky The Position of the Republic and the Tasks of Young Workers
(Report to the 5th All-Russian Congress of the Russian Communist League of
Youth 1922)
"this is explicable in part by an incomprehension of an expression frequently
used by us, that we now have state capitalism. I shall not enter into an
evaluation of this term; for in any case we need only to qualify what we
understand by it. By state capitalism we all understood property belonging to
the state which itself was in the hands of the bourgeoisie, which exploited
the working class. Our state undertakings operate along commercial lines based
on the market. But who stands in power here? The working class. Herein lies
the principled distinction of our state `capitalism' in inverted commas from
state capitalism without inverted commas."
http://www.marxists .org/archive/ trotsky/1922/ youth/youth. htm
In fact it was something that was generally accepted until probably after
Uncle Joe's denial around 1925 and later from Trotsky after his further
`evaluation' of the term.
There is also the quote from Lenin where he admits that Russia is a backward
capitalist country, and which is interesting for other reasons as well;
page 21
"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"
http://www.marx2mao .net/Lenin/ TUTM20.html
I feel like chilling out a bit now so I may leave a response to your larger
post until later.
Have a nice vacation,

KE




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-28 14:35:13 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ken

Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state capitalism' or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.

So from Lenin;

" But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the foundations of such state capitalism were established in Russia, Soviet Russia, everyone who is not out of his senses and has not stuffed his head with fragments of book learning, would have to say that state capitalism would be our salvation."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/apr/29.htm

And again;


"As regards state capitalism, we ought to know what should be the slogan for agitation and propaganda, what must be explained, what we must get everyone to understand practically. And that is that the state capitalism that we have now is not the state capitalism that the Germans wrote about. It is capitalism that we ourselves have permitted. Is that true or not? Everybody knows that it is true!"


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm


By the way there is a little complication with this as Lenin introduced an ambiguity or more like sophistry that is illustrated below I think.

As early as 1918, he said;

"State capitalism would be a gigantic step forward…….."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/may/09.htm

Whilst in 1922, he said;


"Now that I have emphasised the fact that as early as 1918 we regarded state capitalism as a possible line of retreat,"

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/nov/04b.htm


Reminding us of Orwells 1984 where;

`gigantic steps forward are lines of retreat'.

Actually what was happening was that Lenin was calling the capitalist concession thing `state capitalism' as well, which really does need to go into inverted comma's, in order to make it more acceptable.


The argument was taken up by Stalin in 1925;

page 375


7. CONCERNING STATE CAPITALISM

http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/FC25.html#p4s7


I think that is the right one, I can't be bothered spending 2 minutes scanning it to tell you the truth.

Led Zeppelin tried it on me on Revleft but I was already prepared.

Perhaps you can find for me someone that can be taken half seriously like Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Sokolnikov; who thought Russia wasn't state capitalist before say 1925?


Sokolnikov;

Educated in economics at the Sorbonne, a bit handy on Marxist theory and the peoples commissar for finance.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigory_Sokolnikov
Post by Ken Ellis
There is a chronological list of state capitalist quotes from Lenin below;
Very good, you did your homework well, and it looks like the
------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-28 15:09:01 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ken

In the interests of open handed honesty you might want to read the following from Trotsky, 1922. As I suspect it is the kind of line you want to follow, it is towards the end to help you, as your eyes must be getting tired by now as you try to catch up with us;


Leon Trotsky The First Five Years of the Communist International
Volume 2


"The alleged "capitulation" of the Soviet power to capitalism is deduced by the Social Democrats not from an analysis of facts and figures, but from vague generalities, as often as not from the term "state capitalism" which we employ in referring to our state economy. In my own opinion this term is neither exact nor happy. Comrade Lenin has already underscored in his report the need of enclosing this term in quotation marks, that is, of using it with the greatest caution. This is a very important injunction because not everybody is cautious enough. In Europe this term was interpreted quite erroneously even by Communists. There are many who imagine that our state industry represents genuine state capitalism, in the strict sense of this term as universally accepted among Marxists. That is no
t at all the case, If one does speak of state capitalism, then this is done in very big quotation marks, so big that they overshadow the term itself. Why? For a very obvious reason. In using this term it is impermissible to ignore the class character of the state."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-2/20.htm
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state capitalism' or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
So from Lenin;
" But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the
------------------------------------
Marcos
2010-03-28 15:17:09 UTC
Permalink
One of the few Russians that understood the concept of socialism was Martov,
and Joseph Stalin at the very beginning also understood the real concept
and definition of socialism, and the biggest distorters of socialism were
Lenin and Trotsky
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
In the interests of open handed honesty you might want to read the
following from Trotsky, 1922. As I suspect it is the kind of line you want
to follow, it is towards the end to help you, as your eyes must be getting
tired by now as you try to catch up with us;
Leon Trotsky The First Five Years of the Communist International
Volume 2
"The alleged "capitulation" of the Soviet power to capitalism is deduced by
the Social Democrats not from an analysis of facts and figures, but from
vague generalities, as often as not from the term "state capitalism" which
we employ in referring to our state economy. In my own opinion this term is
neither exact nor happy. Comrade Lenin has already underscored in his report
the need of enclosing this term in quotation marks, that is, of using it
with the greatest caution. This is a very important injunction because not
everybody is cautious enough. In Europe this term was interpreted quite
erroneously even by Communists. There are many who imagine that our state
industry represents genuine state capitalism, in the strict sense of this
term as universally accepted among Marxists. That is not at all the case, If
one does speak of state capitalism, then this is done in very big quotation
marks, so big that they overshadow the term itself. Why? For a very obvious
reason. In using this term it is impermissible to ignore the class character
of the state."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-2/20.htm
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out
of your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state
capitalism' or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
Post by JAMES NORTH
So from Lenin;
" But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
alan johnstone
2010-03-28 17:00:09 UTC
Permalink
AHHHHHHAH ,now we know where Hillel Tiktin gets his source for the claim he makes that Trotsky and Lenin always used ".." apostrophes for describing "socialism" , it is probably stems from this article's "state-capitalism"....

alan johnstone

--- On Sun, 28/3/10, balmer_dave <***@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:


From: balmer_dave <***@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: [WSM_Forum] Re: State capitalism
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Date: Sunday, 28 March, 2010, 16:09


 


 




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
Marcos
2010-03-28 15:13:20 UTC
Permalink
We do not have to look for any statistic or any writers about state
capitalism, the idea is well expressed in Capital, that the law of value is
only applicable to the capitalist society, and Russia was a society guided
for the law of value. The capitalist nature of the Soviet Union since its
very beginning have been proven hundred of times by differents
personalities, to deny it is to continue in the old arguments of Trotsky
about the so called degenerated workers' state, that even if the workers
were oppressed, killed, taking to jail, and exploited, it was still
a socialist state, because the means of productions were in the hands of the
state. Ken is developing and supporting the theory of the permanent
revolution adopted by Lenin also, even more, we have defined Bolshevism as a
hybrid, of Kaustsky's vanguard party concept, and Trotsky's theory of the
permanent revolution
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of
your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state
capitalism' or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
So from Lenin;
" But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the foundations
of such state capitalism were established in Russia, Soviet Russia, everyone
who is not out of his senses and has not stuffed his head with fragments of
book learning, would have to say that state capitalism would be our
salvation."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/apr/29.htm
And again;
"As regards state capitalism, we ought to know what should be the slogan
for agitation and propaganda, what must be explained, what we must get
everyone to understand practically. And that is that the state capitalism
that we have now is not the state capitalism that the Germans wrote about.
It is capitalism that we ourselves have permitted. Is that true or not?
Everybody knows that it is true!"
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
By the way there is a little complication with this as Lenin introduced an
ambiguity or more like sophistry that is illustrated below I think.
As early as 1918, he said;
"State capitalism would be a gigantic step forward…….."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/may/09.htm
Whilst in 1922, he said;
"Now that I have emphasised the fact that as early as 1918 we regarded
state capitalism as a possible line of retreat,"
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/nov/04b.htm
Reminding us of Orwells 1984 where;
`gigantic steps forward are lines of retreat'.
Actually what was happening was that Lenin was calling the capitalist
concession thing `state capitalism' as well, which really does need to go
into inverted comma's, in order to make it more acceptable.
The argument was taken up by Stalin in 1925;
page 375
7. CONCERNING STATE CAPITALISM
http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/FC25.html#p4s7
I think that is the right one, I can't be bothered spending 2 minutes
scanning it to tell you the truth.
Led Zeppelin tried it on me on Revleft but I was already prepared.
Perhaps you can find for me someone that can be taken half seriously like
Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Sokolnikov; who thought Russia wasn't state
capitalist before say 1925?
Sokolnikov;
Educated in economics at the Sorbonne, a bit handy on Marxist theory and
the peoples commissar for finance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigory_Sokolnikov
Post by Ken Ellis
There is a chronological list of state capitalist quotes from Lenin
below;
Post by Ken Ellis
Very good, you did your homework well, and it looks like the
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
petergbryant
2010-03-29 03:02:43 UTC
Permalink
Marcos

What exactly do you mean when you say that "Russia was a society guided (by) the law of value"? The law of value says that commodities exchange according to the labour time expended in their production.
It can only enforce itself in a market economy where prices are set by "market forces" which determine what and how much is produced, what fraction of profit is accumulated and in what branches of industry, the allocation of the labour force to these various branches etc . The autonomy of these market forces constitute the decisive characteristic of a capitalist economy. The Soviet Union never had a market economy in this sense, at least not after c. 1928 when Stalin became absolute ruler. In the Soviet system prices and wages were set by a central planning commission which determined what was produced and how. Prices and wages were means of distributing products to consumers. They had no role in regulating the economy as occurs in a capitalist economy. The central planners may have
tried to set prices according to their value (embodied labour time) but if they did this was not due to the operation of the "law of value", merely evidence of its absence.

I think you are wrong about Kautsky. He never had a "vanguard party concept". He was a consistent opponent of vanguard parties in any form, for much the same reason as the SPGB has been a consistent opponent of vanguardism - that a socialist revolution can only be the work of the workers themselves and that socialism can only be built on democracy. Likewise, he made much the same criticism of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as the SPGB - that Russia was an economically backward country with a small politically immature working class that had not developed a socialist consciousness and therefore any attempt at making a socialist revolution prematurely would inevitably fail. However, Kautsky did believe that socialism ("scientific socialism") was a body of thought that could not spring spontane
ously from the working class but would be carried to them by scholars and intellectuals (socialism was a "science" after all!). So while you could say that Kautsky's views were consistent with Lenin's argument that workers would not on their own get beyond a trade union consciousness, you can't use this to turn Kautsky into a supporter of vanguardism. He believed that a party of scientific socialists would provide the theory for workers but once workers adopted it as part of their political armory in making a socialist revolution it was entirely their property. The workers alone still have to make the revolution themselves. Lenin's concept of the vanguard party did not come from Kautsky but from the Russian revolutionary Jacobin/Blanquist tradition expounded by people like Chernysh
evsky, Tkachev, et al.

Peter (in Oz)
Post by Marcos
We do not have to look for any statistic or any writers about state
capitalism, the idea is well expressed in Capital, that the law of value is
only applicable to the capitalist society, and Russia was a society guided
for the law of value. The capitalist nature of the Soviet Union since its
very beginning have been proven hundred of times by differents
personalities, to deny it is to continue in the old arguments of Trotsky
about the so called degenerated workers' state, that even if the workers
were oppressed, killed, taking to jail, and exploited, it was still
a socialist state, because the means of productions were in the hands of the
state. Ken is developing and supporting the theory of the permanent
revolution adopted by Lenin also, even more, we have defined Bolshevism as a
hybrid, of Kaustsky's vanguard party concept, and Trotsky's theory of the
permanent revolution
------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-29 11:22:40 UTC
Permalink
Hi Peter

As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification for the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;



WHAT IS TO BE DONE?


we shall quote the following profoundly just and important utterances by Karl Kautsky on the new draft program of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party:


"Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic development and the class struggle create not only the conditions for socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness (K. K.'s italics) of its necessity. And these critics aver that England, the country most highly developed capitalistically, is more remote than any other from this consciousness. Judging from the draft, one might assume that this allegedly orthodox-Marxist view, which is thus refuted, was shared by the committee that drafted the Austrian program. In the draft program it is stated:

'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the proletariat, the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight against capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'


of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course, Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses.


But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge. Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so; both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.

Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and not something that arose within it spontaneously (urwüchsig). Accordingly, the old Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of Social-Democracy is to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the proletariat) with the consciousness of its position and the consciousness of its task There would be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself from the class struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old program, and attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this completely broke the line of thought. . . ."


Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.


http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html


You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would be the case to be proved rather than asserted.


I wouldn't be surprised if he had a bit, I don't know, not being much of a Kautsky reader.

However in 1924 Kautsky does appear to putting an argument forward that seems to be vaguely similar to the one given in Lenin's quote but obviously the context is somewhat different.


It is a bit long but not a bad read, apart from the last bit, and covers some interesting ground on the Bolshevik revolution and the Marxist stagist theory, that may be of interest to Ken.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch02_b.htm


By 1934 he appears to have moderated that opinion a bit as well



"Quite early in his career Marx realized, and in this he proved superior to the other Socialists of his day, that the liberation of the working class could be achieved only by the working class itself, that no paternalistic friend from the bourgeoisie, nor a select proletarian vanguard could accomplish this task for the masses.

But like other Socialists he had to admit that the masses were not yet ripe for the struggle. How was this ripeness to be achieved? Through well meaning tutors from above? Grown-up people will not submit to the guardianship of tutors. Where this attempt is made either by Christians or by atheists it usually degenerates into a loathsome, priestly presumptuousness on the part of the tutor and a hypocritical submission of the tutored.


Grown-ups can be taught by life alone. Marx expected the education of the proletariat to come from life, that is to say, he expected it to come from capitalist development and its effect upon the proletariat. Marx pointed this out already in the Communist Manifesto. Industry draws the workers together in large numbers and thereby increases their class consciousness."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/bolshevism/ch02.htm


That is worth a read as well, ditto.
Post by petergbryant
Marcos
What exactly do you mean when you say that "Russia was a society guided (by) the law of value"? The law of value says that commodities exchange according to the labour time expended in their production.
------------------------------------
Marcos
2010-03-29 16:16:05 UTC
Permalink
Balmer, thanks for the explanation, I am not going to repeat the same
argument, and also Lenin on his book about Kautsky, ( The proletarian
revolution and the renegade Kaustky ) he was lying when he tried to destroy
him, due to the fact that Kaustky had already abandoned his socialist ideas
since 1900, and Lenin wrote his book on 1914, he was only an opportunist,
when he needed Kautsky he cited him, but when he did not need him he was
ready to attack him, another personality that also had the same conception
of controlling the workers from the top was Ferdinand Lasalle. What is to
be done? of Lenin is the Prince Machiavelli of Russia, as Comrade Adam wrote
several years ago, the world did not know ( or still does not know ) about
socialism, or Marxism, the world knew about Leninism and Stalinism
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov02/whatnot2.html What we should not
do

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/1905-1985/20Kautsky-Lenin.htm
The Russian dictatorship. The polemic between Lenin and Kautsky, this
article really shows that Kautsky had more socialist basis than Vladimir
Lenin . Leninism became famous and popular due to the Russian revolution


About the law of value concept that I have explained before to Peter is
that, the main figure of the law of value is human being, one of the
problem of the school of David Ricard was that they were not able to see
living subject producing wealth, it was Karl Marx who brought to the
political economy the main commodity of the law of value which is the
working class, the biggest commodity in the Soviet Union was the working
class, and the workers were exploited like in any capitalist nation, and
they produced surplus value like in any other capitalist nation, they were
wages slaves, it is not only a problem of exchange of commodities , that is
the fetishism of the commodity, which only shows us the exchange among
things, but it does not show the buying and selling of living labor, the
whole Soviet soviet was based on the law of buying and selling, and
socialism is the elimination of that law. The capitalist character of the
soviet union has been demonstrated hundred or may thousands of times
Post by balmer_dave
Hi Peter
As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification for
the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
we shall quote the following profoundly just and important utterances by
Karl Kautsky on the new draft program of the Austrian Social-Democratic
"Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic
development and the class struggle create not only the conditions for
socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness (K. K.'s
italics) of its necessity. And these critics aver that England, the country
most highly developed capitalistically, is more remote than any other from
this consciousness. Judging from the draft, one might assume that this
allegedly orthodox-Marxist view, which is thus refuted, was shared by the
committee that drafted the Austrian program. In the draft program it is
'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the proletariat,
the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight against
capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'
of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection
socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the
proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course,
Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships
just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter,
emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery
of the masses.
But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out of
the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist
consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge.
Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist
production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create
neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so;
both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not
the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was
in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism
originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually
developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian
class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.
Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian
class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and not something
that arose within it spontaneously (urwüchsig). Accordingly, the old
Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of Social-Democracy is
to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the proletariat) with the
consciousness of its position and the consciousness of its task There would
be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself from the class
struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old program, and
attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this completely broke
the line of thought. . . ."
Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by
the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the
only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no
middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and,
moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class
or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any
way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen
bourgeois ideology.
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html
You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping
Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would
be the case to be proved rather than asserted.
I wouldn't be surprised if he had a bit, I don't know, not being much of a Kautsky reader.
However in 1924 Kautsky does appear to putting an argument forward that
seems to be vaguely similar to the one given in Lenin's quote but obviously
the context is somewhat different.
It is a bit long but not a bad read, apart from the last bit, and covers
some interesting ground on the Bolshevik revolution and the Marxist stagist
theory, that may be of interest to Ken.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch02_b.htm
By 1934 he appears to have moderated that opinion a bit as well
"Quite early in his career Marx realized, and in this he proved superior to
the other Socialists of his day, that the liberation of the working class
could be achieved only by the working class itself, that no paternalistic
friend from the bourgeoisie, nor a select proletarian vanguard could
accomplish this task for the masses.
But like other Socialists he had to admit that the masses were not yet ripe
for the struggle. How was this ripeness to be achieved? Through well meaning
tutors from above? Grown-up people will not submit to the guardianship of
tutors. Where this attempt is made either by Christians or by atheists it
usually degenerates into a loathsome, priestly presumptuousness on the part
of the tutor and a hypocritical submission of the tutored.
Grown-ups can be taught by life alone. Marx expected the education of the
proletariat to come from life, that is to say, he expected it to come from
capitalist development and its effect upon the proletariat. Marx pointed
this out already in the Communist Manifesto. Industry draws the workers
together in large numbers and thereby increases their class consciousness."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/bolshevism/ch02.htm
That is worth a read as well, ditto.
Post by petergbryant
Marcos
What exactly do you mean when you say that "Russia was a society guided
(by) the law of value"? The law of value says that commodities exchange
according to the labour time expended in their production.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
petergbryant
2010-03-30 16:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Hi Dave

Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view that socialism, as a "science" of evolutionary historical development, was indeed brought to the working class from without - typically by a middle class intelligentsia. But I think what is more significant about Lenin's tactics as enunciated in What is to be Done? is that they don't demonstrate very much about Bolshevik practice. Eg. in the wake of the 1905 revolution Lenin said that "the working class is instinctively, spontaneously, Social Democrat". This implies a clear rejection of Kautsky's 1901 (and Lenin's 1902) position. No doubt Marcos would see in this yet further proof that Lenin was a "liar" and an "opportunist". I see him quite differently. He was a clever tactician who changed his mind from time to time relative to changes in Russian political conditions. That seems a lot like common sense to me.

The 1924 Kautsky article you posted might be, as you say, "vaguely similar" to Kautsky's 1901 commentary (as quoted by Lenin) but I think you would really be pushing it to show that Kautsky supported a vanguard conception of the revolutionary party or (at least) that he was an elitist who wanted to manipulate the workers. I take it that you read the part where he says "if a strong party rooted firmly in democratic institutions fails to win a majority, this fact is an incentive to enlighten and train the backward masses in order to embark on the next attempt with increased strength and better prospect of success". OK, we can all squirm at the phrase "train the backward masses" but it sounds pretty weak to me if used as an attack on Kautsky's credentials as a democratic socialist. The most that can be said against Kautsky's view that a socialist consciousness takes shape outside the working class is that it can provide a theoretical justification for a socialist party transforming itself into a party of professional politicians and manipulators. But it is still only a theoretical justification. I haven't seen hard evidence that Kautsky, and other politicians in the SPD and (later) the USPD, acted accordingly. The transformed, reformist character of the SPD after 1914 was more a reflection of the reformist consciousness of its trade union base in the German working class, rather than a consequence of SPD leaders' manipulative politics.
Post by balmer_dave
Hi Peter
As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification for the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the proletariat, the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight against capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'
of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course, Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses.
But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge. Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so; both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.
Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and not something that arose within it spontaneously (urwüchsig). Accordingly, the old Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of Social-Democracy is to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the proletariat) with the consciousness of its position and the consciousness of its task There would be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself from the class struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old program, and attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this completely broke the line of thought. . . ."
Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html
You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would be the case to be proved rather than asserted.
------------------------------------
Marcos
2010-03-30 18:55:12 UTC
Permalink
I am not basing my ideas about on Lenin, from the thin air, I studied
Leninism and Bolshevism for several years. He was not only a tactician,
anybody can be a tactician, he was a politician like any other capitalist
politician, and he was one of the first commissars that give the order for
the shooting of the first workers protests, and the killing of the
anarchists, therefore, the work carried by Joseph Stalin was part of the
unfinished work of the Bolsheviks. When Leon Trotsky was head of the red
army, he was also party of that despotism, even more, Stalin was able to
take his posts because he lost popularity among the Russian workers. There
are hundred of evidence that shows that the vanguard party was copied from
Kautsky and Lasalle, and there are many evidences that show that four of the
major works of Lenin have been copied from others thinkers. Leninism is
still a danger trend, and ideological poison within the working class
movement. What is to be done ? It is total aberration of the most basic
ideas of socialism. Kautsky started to abandon his socialist ideas around
the 1900, and several of the ideas adopted by the Bolsheviks they already
existed within the second international, the third international was created
in order for the Bolshevik to take control of the so called communist
movement, and socialism was transformed form a revolutionary movement into a
reformist movement and an appendix of the bourgeoisie.
Post by petergbryant
Hi Dave
Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?"
taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard
quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without"
position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky
did hold to the view that socialism, as a "science" of evolutionary
historical development, was indeed brought to the working class from without
- typically by a middle class intelligentsia. But I think what is more
significant about Lenin's tactics as enunciated in What is to be Done? is
that they don't demonstrate very much about Bolshevik practice. Eg. in the
wake of the 1905 revolution Lenin said that "the working class is
instinctively, spontaneously, Social Democrat". This implies a clear
rejection of Kautsky's 1901 (and Lenin's 1902) position. No doubt Marcos
would see in this yet further proof that Lenin was a "liar" and an
"opportunist". I see him quite differently. He was a clever tactician who
changed his mind from time to time relative to changes in Russian political
conditions. That seems a lot like common sense to me.
The 1924 Kautsky article you posted might be, as you say, "vaguely similar"
to Kautsky's 1901 commentary (as quoted by Lenin) but I think you would
really be pushing it to show that Kautsky supported a vanguard conception of
the revolutionary party or (at least) that he was an elitist who wanted to
manipulate the workers. I take it that you read the part where he says "if a
strong party rooted firmly in democratic institutions fails to win a
majority, this fact is an incentive to enlighten and train the backward
masses in order to embark on the next attempt with increased strength and
better prospect of success". OK, we can all squirm at the phrase "train the
backward masses" but it sounds pretty weak to me if used as an attack on
Kautsky's credentials as a democratic socialist. The most that can be said
against Kautsky's view that a socialist consciousness takes shape outside
the working class is that it can provide a theoretical justification for a
socialist party transforming itself into a party of professional politicians
and manipulators. But it is still only a theoretical justification. I
haven't seen hard evidence that Kautsky, and other politicians in the SPD
and (later) the USPD, acted accordingly. The transformed, reformist
character of the SPD after 1914 was more a reflection of the reformist
consciousness of its trade union base in the German working class, rather
than a consequence of SPD leaders' manipulative politics.
Post by balmer_dave
Hi Peter
As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification
for the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;
Post by balmer_dave
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
we shall quote the following profoundly just and important utterances by
Karl Kautsky on the new draft program of the Austrian Social-Democratic
Post by balmer_dave
"Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic
development and the class struggle create not only the conditions for
socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness (K. K.'s
italics) of its necessity. And these critics aver that England, the country
most highly developed capitalistically, is more remote than any other from
this consciousness. Judging from the draft, one might assume that this
allegedly orthodox-Marxist view, which is thus refuted, was shared by the
committee that drafted the Austrian program. In the draft program it is
Post by balmer_dave
'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the
proletariat, the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight
against capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'
Post by balmer_dave
of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection
socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the
proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course,
Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships
just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter,
emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery
of the masses.
Post by balmer_dave
But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out
of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist
consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge.
Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist
production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create
neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so;
both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not
the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was
in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism
originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually
developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian
class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.
Post by balmer_dave
Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the
proletarian class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and
not something that arose within it spontaneously (urwüchsig). Accordingly,
the old Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of
Social-Democracy is to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the
proletariat) with the consciousness of its position and the consciousness of
its task There would be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself
from the class struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old
program, and attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this
completely broke the line of thought. . . ."
Post by balmer_dave
Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by
the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the
only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no
middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and,
moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class
or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any
way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen
bourgeois ideology.
Post by balmer_dave
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html
You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping
Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would
be the case to be proved rather than asserted.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
petergbryant
2010-03-31 03:24:23 UTC
Permalink
Where is the "hundreds of evidence that shows that the vanguard party concept was copied from Kautsky and Lasalle"?
I've never seen it. On Lenin's own admission, the greatest influence on his ideas after Marx was the Russian Chernyshevsky. He even took the name of his pamphlet What is to be Done? from Chernyshevsky. Chernyshevsky's main ideas flow all the way through Bolshevism from 1902 on: the necessity of violent revolution, the leadership of an elite group of dedicated revolutionaries, the pernicious nature of liberalism and political democracy, the ends justifies the means. You can add in other revolutionaries like Tkachev and Nechaev and you've got the full pantheon of Bolshevik revolutionary heroes. They didn't need a Kautsky to teach them! Kautsky was only influential because he was regarded as the leading Marxist in Europe and the intellectual head of its largest revolutionary socialist
party. Kautsky gave the imprimatur of Marxist orthodoxy to Lenin's work, at least up to 1914.

I don't believe that Kautsky "started to abandon his socialist ideas around 1900". As a rigid economic determinist, he remained a firm believer in the inevitability of socialism to the end of his days. He arguably compromised his commitment to revolutionary socialism because of his stress on unity and organisation, but then as a leading light of the SPD , the biggest socialist party around, and with representatives in the Reichstag, and with a mass base dominated by a trade union consciousness (reformism), he didn't have the luxury of being able to ignore political/tactical questions like: should we vote with the bourgeois parties on a particular issue? and should we join a coalition which includes our parliamentary opponents? etc etc. If, as I am sure you believe, Kautsky failed a
s a socialist, I think should ask yourself whether Kautsky's failure was also the failure of democratic socialism everywhere.


Peter (in Oz)
Post by Marcos
I am not basing my ideas about on Lenin, from the thin air, I studied
Leninism and Bolshevism for several years. He was not only a tactician,
anybody can be a tactician, he was a politician like any other capitalist
politician, and he was one of the first commissars that give the order for
the shooting of the first workers protests, and the killing of the
anarchists, therefore, the work carried by Joseph Stalin was part of the
unfinished work of the Bolsheviks. When Leon Trotsky was head of the red
army, he was also party of that despotism, even more, Stalin was able to
take his posts because he lost popularity among the Russian workers. There
are hundred of evidence that shows that the vanguard party was copied from
Kautsky and Lasalle, and there are many evidences that show that four of the
major works of Lenin have been copied from others thinkers. Leninism is
still a danger trend, and ideological poison within the working class
movement. What is to be done ? It is total aberration of the most basic
ideas of socialism. Kautsky started to abandon his socialist ideas around
the 1900, and several of the ideas adopted by the Bolsheviks they already
existed within the second international, the third international was created
in order for the Bolshevik to take control of the so called communist
movement, and socialism was transformed form a revolutionary movement into a
reformist movement and an appendix of the bourgeoisie.
------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-30 20:52:30 UTC
Permalink
Hi Peter

I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.

Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.




page 37
"We have said that there could not yet be Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It could only be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[*]

The theory of Socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical and economic theories that were elaborated by the educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals. According to their social status, the founders of modern scientific Socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose quite independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement, it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of ideas among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia."

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html



This is of course is described by `orthodox' Leninists and the likes of the ICC as his 1902 position, which he is supposed to have recanted in his two steps back pamphlet and bending the stick the other way to counter economists arguments etc.

However in power he returned to the exactly the same argument;


THESES ON THE FUNDAMENTAL TASKS OF THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

Published in July, 1920

page 187



"On the other hand, the idea, common among the old parties and the old leaders of the Second International, that the majority of the exploited toilers can achieve complete clarity of socialist consciousness and firm socialist convictions and character under capitalist slavery, under the yoke of the bourgeoisie (which assumes an inIinite variety of forms that become more subtle and at the same time more brutal and ruthless the higher the cultural level in a given capitalist country) is also idealisation of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy, as well as deception of the workers.

In fact, it is only after the vanguard of the proletariat, supported by the whole or the majority of this, the only revolutionary class, overthrows the exploiters, suppresses them, emancipates the exploited from their state of slavery and-immediately improves their conditions of life at the expense of the expropriated capitalists --

it is only after this, and only in the actual process of an acute class strugg]e, that the masses of the toilers and exploited can be educated, trained and organised around the proletariat under whose influence and guidance, they can get rid of the selfishness, disunity, vices and weaknesses engendered by private property; only then will they be converted into a free union of free workers."

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TSCI20.html


Trotsky, his Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist.


In fact the Mensheviks/Trotsky thought that what the Bernstienian reformists and the Bolsheviks had in common was that they were both opportunists, but located in different stages of economic development.

And an opportunist in a pre capitalist society was a Bolshevik, and in capitalism a reformer of capitalism (and state capitalism) on behalf of and in the interest of the workers of course.

And gradually improving capitalism (and state capitalism) in a series of steps or rungs on a ladder to communism.



http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WSM_Forum/message/41418


On Kautsky etc, there is probably always going to be a spectrum or scale of views on vanguardism so making an absolute yes or no analysis is not that useful I think.
Post by petergbryant
Hi Dave
Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view
------------------------------------
petergbryant
2010-03-31 01:27:21 UTC
Permalink
Dave

I was a bit confused about your latest post because I thought the quote you gave from What is to be Done? (p37) was Kautsky's words but now I see it is Lenin. I don't find his words unexceptionable. The first para is the standard "consciousness comes from without" argument, and the second para gives an historical account of the social origins of the theory of socialism. I don't find this second para fundamentally at odds with the historical evidence. Theoretical socialism did indeed grow out of the "philosophic &c. theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals". Do you disagree with Lenin saying that Marx and Engels belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia? Russia provides the clearest example of social democracy as a theoretical doctrin
e growing out of the intelligentsia. Without the intelligentsia in Russia there would never have been a Bolshevik revolution. I don't disagree with anything which shows Lenin as a vanguardist. I am only criticising the argument that he got it from Kautsky and that, by implication, Kautsky was a sort of supporter of vanguardism himself. Or at least an elitist who was a political manipulator of the working class.

You say that "Trotsky, (Lenin's) Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist." Yes, he also thought Lenin was brutal and ruthless, which he certainly was. But in 1917 (as I am sure you already know) Trotsky presented a totally different view of Lenin: "...His (Lenin's) behaviour seemed to me inadmissible, terrible, shocking. Yet at the same time it was politically correct and therefore indispensable from the point of view of organisation." What Trotsky was recognising was that to survive as a disciplined revolutionary party in Tsarist Russia at the time, you had to be hard otherwise you'd end up in Siberia or in Switzerland. I don't think it gets to the heart of the matter at all to simply dismiss Lenin as a rank opportunist or a M
achiavellian.

The problem with Kautsky is that he was a rigid determinist (which he got from Engels) who believed that in the course of time, the evolution of the productive forces of capitalism along with the parallel growth of working class consciousness would lead inevitably to socialism. He became an exemplar of the "unripe time" doctrine, castigating people like Rosa Luxemburg who, eg. advocated the use of the mass strike as a lever of revolution. Kautsky would always say that "the time was not yet ripe". The moment for revolution never arrived. Inevitably, he became a passive political figure at a time when voluntarism, not determinism, was in the ascendancy in European Marxism. But I broadly agree with you that there will always be a spectrum of opinion on his views, making an absolute yes o
r no analysis unuseful.

Peter (in Oz)
Post by balmer_dave
Hi Peter
I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.
Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.
------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-31 13:55:56 UTC
Permalink
Hi Peter

Well the debate is beginning to spread out a bit so I will try to deal with all points without missing any.

On Kautsky.

His 1924 piece does as you said make you `squirm' a bit here and there as below, however there are worse examples of that kind of thing.



"In the Labour Revolution the entire working class is freed from middle class leadership, and the struggle of radicals against moderates is a struggle of the ignorant, unorganized, inexperienced, in other words, the most backward members of the working class against the trained, experienced, and most highly developed sections of the workers."

And;

"Consequently economic knowledge was only to be found amongst the bourgeoisie. This word is constantly used as if it were synonymous with the capitalist class, but this is a mistake. Bourgeois signifies the municipal citizen as distinct from citoyen, the citizen of the State. We understand by the term bourgeoisie the whole of the educated and comfortable section of the urban population, in contradistinction to the whole of the country population, the large landowners as well as the peasantry, and the poorer section of the urban population.

The bourgeoisie does not form a class in the economic sense; it is, like the "Third Estate," a collective name, which comprises various elements, intellectuals as well as capitalists, and in addition many sections that live, not from the exploitation of alien labour, but merely from their own labours, being frequently exploited themselves. The intellectuals among the bourgeoisie are perhaps more numerous than the capitalists."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch02_b.htm


However like I said Vanguardism is a matter of scale and degree and often within the less egregious variations of it there are pernicious little seeds which if sown into the wrong kind of places are liable to develop into something else.

However that requires foresight or the benefit retrospective analysis. As we have the later, I think we should be fair when criticising others for lack of foresight on the basis of our retrospective analysis.

Although perhaps by in 1924 somebody like Kautsky could have been more critical of the vanguardist approach than he was and should have by that time already reached his 1934 position that we ourselves could cheer along to;

"that the liberation of the working class could be achieved only by the working class itself, that no paternalistic friend from the bourgeoisie, nor a select proletarian vanguard could accomplish this task for the masses. But like other Socialists he had to admit that the masses were not yet ripe for the struggle. How was this ripeness to be achieved? Through well meaning tutors from above? Grown-up people will not submit to the guardianship of tutors. Where this attempt is made either by Christians or by atheists it usually degenerates into a loathsome, priestly presumptuousness on the part of the tutor and a hypocritical submission of the tutored."

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/bolshevism/ch02.htm



As far as retrospective analysis is concerned re vanguardism and Blanquism etc, and as Kautsky noted, M&E had held vanguardist positions circa 1850 and later rejected them as a consequence of retrospective analysis.

Blanquism, jacobinism and vanguardism when used by most are just generic terms used to describe general approaches and are derived from historical examples. What they are were well described by Engels, so to save myself the effort I will adopt that description.


"If, in all the longer revolutionary periods, it was so easy to win the great masses of the people by the merely plausible and delusive views of the minorities thrusting themselves forward, how could they be less susceptible to ideas which were the truest reflex of their economic position, which were nothing but the clear, comprehensible expression of their needs, of needs not yet understood by themselves, but only vaguely felt?

To be sure, this revolutionary mood of the masses had almost always, and usually very speedily, given way to lassitude or even to a revulsion to its opposite, so soon as illusion evaporated and disappointment set in. But here it was not a question of delusive views, but of giving effect to the very special interests of the great majority itself, interests, which at that time were certainly by no means clear to this great majority, but which must soon enough become clear in the course of giving practical effect to them, by their convincing obviousness."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/class-struggles-france/intro.htm


They obviously rejected this position as is made clear in the same article.


There are then two lines of argument with this kind of thing I think.

A) We believe we have better understanding of what is good for you than you do yourselves and we will tell you what you need to do.

B) We believe we have a better understanding of what is good for you and will endeavour to try and make you understand that as we do so you can freely act on it yourselves.

I think the position of bourgeois intellectuals like M&E in this process a 100 years ago was a difficult one.

As the likes of M&E were the only ones to some extent that had the ability to have an enlightened and scientific understanding of capitalism and to counter the sophisticated and apparently informed and rational ideology of the capitalist class.

And you couldn't blame the working class for wanting to take into consideration rational arguments to inform action and not act by instinct alone.

For our bourgeois intellectuals, who may be corrupted and degraded themselves, drifting too far away from criticism and analysis in order that the working class can make up its own mind can lead to telling the workers what to do.

Which is one reason why we have no blue print from them probably,

In fact the whole of the `petty bourgeois or middle class' tends to be corrupted and degraded with ideas and `rights' of meritocratic hierarchy based on innate gifts or talents that deserve deference and reward.


And we see this reflected in the leadership organisational principles of Leninist organisations.

--------------


The problem of socialist consciousness coming out of the working class or out of the bourgeois intellectuals is always going to be a difficult one. As I think to some extent one informs the other both ways around. But if anything it did originate from the working class themselves and M&E picked it up from the League of the Just etc, and not the other way around.

And although this movement was `primitive' and full of `illusions' then so were the ideas of M&E at the time.

The Shakers and Whinstanley etc who knew what communism was were not informed by bourgeois intellectuals. And the absence of evidence of a deeper understanding of communism by the semi-literate working class is not evidence of absence.

Marx and Engels were unaware of the writings of Whinstanley.

----------------

A justification for Lenin's principal of centralised organisation was undoubtedly the oppressive state in which it was forced to operate. But people are and were entitled to suspect that it was a cover story or `rationalisation' for a more deeply felt sublimated attraction to a more self serving petty bourgeois modus operandi.

Only now can we suspect to what extent Tony Bliar really believed that what he did was for the Iraqi people.

Where a particular kind self interest, that is best kept out of public and introspective gaze, influenced your reasoning.

And again it is entirely reasonable to view the ideas on the organisation within party holistically along with the general vanguardist approach of the party itself.

Which is what Trotsky, and Rosa did I think.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1904/questions-rsd/ch01.htm


------------


There is no doubt that Trotsky later recanted his Our Political tasks, he did it in his My Life and before the Dewey Commission hearings I think without checking that out.

Actually I think he just penned it as a gifted scribbler from a draft written probably by Plekanov and Axelrod, it was a bit too clever for him and he was probably 'led astray'.

What makes it interesting is that it is rare example of Menshevik literature that has probably only survived thanks to Stalinist and Trotskyist feuding. And it is somewhat ironic that Trotsky later said that the Mensheviks would go into the dustbin of history.


There is another article by Kautsky were he starts to draw parallels between fascism and `Bolshevism'. It is probably interesting as a precursor to ideas that appeared a bit later from Bruno Rizi and Burnham.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/hitler/ch05.htm



If my posts seem a bit disjointed it is because it takes time and effort to weave these ideas seamlessly together and I am feeling lazy.
Post by petergbryant
Dave
I was a bit confused about your latest post because I thought the quote you gave from What is to be Done? (p37) was Kautsky's words but now I see it is Lenin. I don't find his words unexceptionable. The first para is the standard "consciousness comes from without" argument, and the second para gives an historical account of the
------------------------------------
JAMES NORTH
2010-03-31 14:19:30 UTC
Permalink
Hi fellow workers,

Well, I suppose the bourgeois intellectuals had the time on their hands to develop theories and dominate what needed to be working class movements. Their families weren't exactly going to starve if they decided not to go down the pit one day because they had some reading to do at the library instead.

Having said that, the working class didn't do such a bad job of achieving socialist consciousness without their economic-betters-but-intellectual-equals. I think the workers of the Paris Commune may even have taught Marx and Engels a thing or two. Why? Because, for all their knowledge, studying, theorising and arrogance working class emancipation was merely academic to them.

The bourgeois intellectuals had their day and where did it end up? Not socialism, that's for sure. What remains to be seen is what we workers can achieve ourselves.
  JimN
http://freetimes3x.blogspot.com/
twitter freetimes3x




________________________________
From: balmer_dave <***@yahoo.co.uk>
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 21:52:30
Subject: [WSM_Forum] Re: Kautsky & Vanguardism

 
Hi Peter

I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.

Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.

page 37
"We have said that there could not yet be Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It could only be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[*]

The theory of Socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical and economic theories that were elaborated by the educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals. According to their social status, the founders of modern scientific Socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose quite independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement, it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of ideas among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia. "

http://www.marx2mao .net/Lenin/ WD02i.html

This is of course is described by `orthodox' Leninists and the likes of the ICC as his 1902 position, which he is supposed to have recanted in his two steps back pamphlet and bending the stick the other way to counter economists arguments etc.

However in power he returned to the exactly the same argument;

THESES ON THE FUNDAMENTAL TASKS OF THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

Published in July, 1920

page 187

"On the other hand, the idea, common among the old parties and the old leaders of the Second International, that the majority of the exploited toilers can achieve complete clarity of socialist consciousness and firm socialist convictions and character under capitalist slavery, under the yoke of the bourgeoisie (which assumes an inIinite variety of forms that become more subtle and at the same time more brutal and ruthless the higher the cultural level in a given capitalist country) is also idealisation of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy, as well as deception of the workers.

In fact, it is only after the vanguard of the proletariat, supported by the whole or the majority of this, the only revolutionary class, overthrows the exploiters, suppresses them, emancipates the exploited from their state of slavery and-immediately improves their conditions of life at the expense of the expropriated capitalists --

it is only after this, and only in the actual process of an acute class strugg]e, that the masses of the toilers and exploited can be educated, trained and organised around the proletariat under whose influence and guidance, they can get rid of the selfishness, disunity, vices and weaknesses engendered by private property; only then will they be converted into a free union of free workers."

http://www.marx2mao .net/Lenin/ TSCI20.html

Trotsky, his Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist.

In fact the Mensheviks/Trotsky thought that what the Bernstienian reformists and the Bolsheviks had in common was that they were both opportunists, but located in different stages of economic development.

And an opportunist in a pre capitalist society was a Bolshevik, and in capitalism a reformer of capitalism (and state capitalism) on behalf of and in the interest of the workers of course.

And gradually improving capitalism (and state capitalism) in a series of steps or rungs on a ladder to communism.

http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ WSM_Forum/ message/41418

On Kautsky etc, there is probably always going to be a spectrum or scale of views on vanguardism so making an absolute yes or no analysis is not that useful I think.
Post by petergbryant
Hi Dave
Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
alb1342
2010-03-31 19:15:29 UTC
Permalink
This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned socialism from workers (and didn't claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin) who hadn't been to college like him:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
Adam






------------------------------------
Marcos
2010-03-31 20:02:23 UTC
Permalink
Many of the concepts that were written in the Communist Manifesto they
already existed prior within the class movement. Marx and Engels were not
the teachers of the working class as was propagated by the Leninists, ( The
teachers and leaders of the proletariat ) it was the opposite,,
Lenin was not going to republish What is to be done ? because he
considered that it was only applicable to Russia, but, then ,they need it in
order to control the workers, and it became part of most of the
Marxist-Leninist parties of the world who were members of the Third
International, most of them did not know that they were teaching to their
members about the Prince Machiavelli of Russia
Post by alb1342
This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned
socialism from workers (and didn't claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin)
http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
Adam
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-31 22:04:15 UTC
Permalink
As Bray is mentioned he was one of the first to put Ricardo's labour theory of value and the nature of surplus value as part of a `communist' theory.

Frederick Engels The Poverty of Philosophy – Preface;



Insofar as modern socialism, no matter of what tendency, starts out from bourgeois political economy, it almost without exception takes up the Ricardian theory of value. The two propositions which Ricardo proclaimed in 1817 right at the beginning of his Principles,

1) that the value of any commodity is purely and solely determined by the quantity of labour required for its production, and

2) that the product of the entire social labour is divided among the three classes: landowners (rent), capitalists (profit) and workers (wages)

These two propositions had ever since 1821 been utilised in England for socialist conclusions, and in part with such pointedness and resolution that this literature, which had then almost been forgotten and was to a large extent only rediscovered by Marx, remained unsurpassed until the appearance of Capital.

About this another time. If, therefore, in 1842 Rodbertus for his part drew socialist conclusions from the above propositions, that was certainly a very considerable step forward for a German at that time, but it could rank as a new discovery only for Germany at best. That such an application of the Ricardian theory was far from new was proved by Marx against Proudhon, who suffered from a similar conceit.

"Anyone who is in any way familiar with the trend of political economy in England cannot fail to know that almost all the socialists in that country have, at different periods, proposed the equalitarian (i.e. socialist) application of Ricardian theory. We could quote for M. Proudhon: Hodgskin, Political Economy, 1827; William Thompson, An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness, 1824; T. R. Edmonds, Practical Moral and Political Economy, 1828, etc., etc., and four pages more of etc.

We shall content ourselves with listening to an English Communist, Mr. Bray ... in his remarkable work, Labour's Wrongs and Labour's Remedy, Leeds, 1839."


And the quotations given here from Bray on their own put an end to a good part of the priority claimed by Rodbertus.


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/pre-1885.htm

discussed in more detail below.




http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch01b.htm
Post by alb1342
http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
Adam
------------------------------------

Ken Ellis
2010-03-29 12:18:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of
your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state capitalism'
or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
That sentence appears like a personal attack, while I've been thinking we
were having fun with theory and history, and I was enjoying learning new
tricks from you. Now this, and I don't know how to make heads nor tails out
of it.

In the meantime, we can probably agree that capitalism survived Romanov
rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule.

Capitalism is only an economic system. The Romanovs represented feudal
monarchical rule, Kerensky represented bourgeois rule, and the Bolsheviks
represented the rule of the xxxxx. To me, 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 tamed.

I'd like to find common ground on the class basis of Bolshevik rule. We know
that Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks claimed it was proletarian rule, but
was it? Does a near century of hindsight better inform us?

Thank you for the Trotsky essay, very revealing. I have read all too little
of Trotsky in the past, mostly because the refutations I was doing were
primarily focused on M, E, and L.

Always willing to be set straight,

KE





------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2010-03-29 16:56:09 UTC
Permalink
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;

"capitalism survived Romanov rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule"


You sort of asked a sensible question;

"the Bolsheviks represented the rule of the xxxxx."

And;

"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 tamed."

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.

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 proletariat."

http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works//1919/aug/05.htm


"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."


http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TPC21.html



"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."



http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm


I have obviously dotted stuff out there for clarity as Lenin is being disingenuous.

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 peasant one."


http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TUTM20.html


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."



http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm


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."


http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SCM21.html



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 climbers etc.



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 borrowed language."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm



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."


http://www.tedgrant.org/archive/grant/1949/cliff.htm

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."

Eg;


Can "Jacobinism" Frighten the Working Class?

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/jul/07a.htm


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 compromise 'solution'.

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 Bukharin, wrote the following:

" 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 become invincible."

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti02.htm
Post by Ken Ellis
Post by JAMES NORTH
Hi Ken
Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of
your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state capitalism'
or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
That sentence appears like a personal attack, while I've been thinking we
were having fun with theory and history, and I was enjoying learning new
tricks from you. Now this, and I don't know how to make heads nor tails out
of it.
In the meantime, we can probably agree that capitalism survived Romanov
rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule.
Capitalism is only an economic system. The Romanovs represented feudal
monarchical rule, Kerensky represented bourgeois rule, and the Bolsheviks
represented the rule of the xxxxx. To me, 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 tamed.
KE
------------------------------------
Ken Ellis
2010-03-31 12:39:31 UTC
Permalink
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."
And;
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
tamed."
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
proletariat."
http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works//1919/aug/05.htm
"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."
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TPC21.html
"We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselvesŠŠŠ. 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 stateŠŠŠŠ.. the advanced section of the
workers, the vanguard. We are the state."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
I have obviously dotted stuff out there for clarity as Lenin is being
disingenuous.
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
peasant one."
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TUTM20.html
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."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
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."
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SCM21.html
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
climbers etc.
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
borrowed language."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm
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."
http://www.tedgrant.org/archive/grant/1949/cliff.htm
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."
Eg;
Can "Jacobinism" Frighten the Working Class?
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/jul/07a.htm
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
compromise 'solution'.
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
become invincible."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti02.htm
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
error: expropriation.

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.

KE

http://www.critiquejournal.net/uri35.pdf

"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."






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