Monday, February 27, 2006

Why Socialism Is Not Enough

Excerpt of the article “Contradicting Marxism”
From The Communist, Issue No. 5, Fall, 1991.

Socialism is a way of organizing society in which a proletarian class dictatorship administers a capitalist economy. In socialist society private capitalism, and the private capitalist class, are both basically replaced by a state-owned capitalism. Class relationships change, certain economic laws change and a redistribution of wealth initially takes place, but production for sale continues, labor remains a commodity, surplus value continues to be produced by the working class and a hierarchical social structure, in which the working class continues to be dominated by its bosses (now state officials) remains.

The class-conscious, pro-communist workers put up with this only because they are persuaded it will soon end. They are convinced their sacrifices are the way to communism in the near future. As long as they think this, production zooms upward.

Meanwhile the institution they are relying on to move society out of socialism and into communism, the revolutionary party, which controls the proletarian dictatorship, is changing its members and its focus. The new managers and intellectuals (who are coalescing into the state capitalist class) are leading the revolution into a new phase--“the battle for production.” As leaders of the revolution they have great prestige, and they come to dominate the party, and make it an instrument of their concerns and needs. The revolution is redefined. Instead of being a working class movement for an egalitarian society, it becomes a movement to expand and increase state capitalist production. Communism is something for the remote future--when there is enough production to justify it.

To keep the support of the working class, the state capitalist class, through the party which is now its own, continues to pump out the old pro-communist slogans, which the workers find increasingly false and nauseating, and finally meaningless, since communist ideas are being used to consolidate oppressive state capitalism. Any organized pro-communist opposition is crushed, and its organizers arrested, by the state capitalist-controlled police. With no actual communist leadership to oppose this oppressive situation and to counter the lying official ideology with a revolutionary movement for a proletarian dictatorship, the working class moves to defend itself in the primitive way of every social group in capitalist society--by refusing to sell its commodity unless it gets a higher price--that is, by refusing to work until it gets higher pay and more commodities to buy, and also by turning against the official institutions of its oppressor, the official state capitalist “Marxism,” and against the ruling “Marxist” party.

Based on this analysis, PL concluded that it is impossible for socialism to lead, much less “grow into,” classless communism, as Marx and Lenin hoped it might. These hopes were the product of the fact that they were writing in the period before socialism was born, and before any practical experience could show how socialism would actually develop. The revolutionary Marxist program no longer contains socialism. It has proven as helpful to the cause of working class emancipation from wage slavery as a sore throat is to a singer.

[Other “communist” parties] ignore history. These “defenders of Marxism” believe socialism is an irreplaceable keystone of Marxism. This makes them defenders not of Marxism, but of the conspiracy theory of history. They think the socialist countries were doing just fine until they were all victims, one after another, of conspiratorial coups. The coup makers then simply “restored” capitalism. Where did these plotters come from? How was this restoration possible? [These groups] don’t bother to say. They don’t seem too interested in how socialism really worked.

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