Perestroika - More Proof of Russia's Phony Socialism

This is the text of a leaflet published
by the De Leonist Society of Canada.
It was published during the Soviet administration of Gorbachev.
Date of publication: to be determined.

"PERESTROIKA"

More Proof of Russia's Phony Socialism

The De Leonist Society

The following articles are reproduced from The De Leonist Society Bulletin.

*****

From Soviet Russia, on the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik-led proletarian revolution, comes news of Communist Party general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's live televised speech to "millions of Soviets" confirming and denouncing "crimes" and "abuses of power" committed by the Stalin regime. What was said? What was left unsaid?

According to Stephen Handleman, Toronto Star correspondent in Moscow:

"Gorbachev believes that without a public re-assessment of the Stalin era the Soviet Union will be weakened both domestically and Internationally.

"'Those years are at the centre of the everlasting discussions both In our country and abroad, where, along with a search for the truth [sic!], attempts are often made to discredit socialism (slcll as a new social system, as a realistic alternative to capitalism,' he said....

"Turning to his own reform program, known as perestrolka (restructuring), Gorbachev said it was 'the surest guarantee against changes, both political and economic, which would lead us backward.'

"He said the essence of his reforms Is to clear up the damage created by the excesses of the past-not to change the system which produced them....

"...he tied his revision of history to promises of an increased democratization' of Soviet life."

On the other hand --

"Gorbachev's approach to many of the stiI I-controversial figures and events surrounding the October 1917 Revolution...reflects the doublespeak that still passes for official historical accounts.... "To Western ears, the Gorbachev 'history lesson' was still riddled with evasions and bias."

Handleman is one of those kettles that call the pot black. For though he charges Gorbachev with evasion and bias anent the "figures and events surrounding the October 1917 Revolution," nowhere In his report does he nail the obviously fraudulent Gorbachev claim that is both implicit and explicit In the above-quoted passages.

It must be assumed that the general secretary of the Communist Party Is at least somewhat familiar with the history of his native country- not excepting the political philosophy behind the revolution. The same must surely hold true of the "Western ears" that were and are attuned to that Immense land. How Is It, then, that Gorbachev permits himself to equate the wage-slave economy of the U.S.S.R. with Socialism? And how Is It that capitalist journalism permits him to get away with it?

The reason is as obvious as Is the lie and the covei-up. The record discloses a proletarian revolution aborted and the rise of a new czardom under Stalin in the shape of a bureaucracy in absolute control of the state. It also discloses that the "approaches" to these events by capitalist as well as by Russian rulers (or their henchmen) were and are approaches crafted to help shore up their rule-approaches that evade, Ignore, becloud and falsify the revolutionary Issue that was and remains at the heart of the matter. Thus on the one hand we find a Gorbachev sugar-coating Russian absolutism with the good name of Socialism and on the other, a Reagan, eagerly seizing and spreading the lie In order to prejudice American workers against Inquiry Into what is at stake.

Students of Socialism are necessarily students of Marx, are therefore well aware that the heart and soul of the socialist movement Is the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wages system!" And In that context they cannot be ignorant of Socialism's philosophy that class possession of the Industrial means of life, with its unavoidable train of harsh social consequences, becomes an immoral possession the moment those means are sufficiently developed to enable the wage working class to institute a socialist society. Therefore, honor to Lenin, who publicly acknowledged that the revolution confronted an economic base just emerging from Feudalism therefore totally unprepared for an Immediate transition to Socialism-but dishonor to Stalin and his successors who entrenched themselves as a ruling elite, palmed off state despotism as a "socialist" (I) system, and today claim the perestrolka of their rule Is "socialist" (!) reform.

The truth, suppressed alike by myopic ruling class Interests In both east and west hemispheres, will one day out that Lenin himself paid tribute to the great American Marxist, Daniel De Leon, father of Socialist Industrial Unionism and the Socialist Industrial Union-the one program and the one form whereby the wage working majority can throw the exploiting class off its back and found Socialist Industrial Democracy, the one real hope of mankind, the sine qua non for universal peace, security and freedom in our industrial age.

"Socialism Is that social system under which the necessaries of production [factories, tools, land, etc.l are owned, controlled and administered by the people, for the people, and under which, accordingly, the cause of political and economic despotism having been abolished, class rule Is at an end. That Is Socialism, nothing short of that."

-- Daniel De Leon

*****

De Leonists have never shied away from the all-important task of deal- Ing the air of the dust that enemies of Socialism have thrown around the word In order to obscure its true meaning. Over the years'they have shown that both Russian and capitalist rulers and their henchmen have repeatedly misrepresented Marx and Socialism the better to strengthen their rule. And In these pages, just last month, we stated the following anent Communist Party general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's recent televised speech:

"Handleman is one of those kettles that call the pot black. For though he charges Gorbachev with evasion and bias anent the 'figures and events surrounding the October 1917 Revolution," nowhere In his report does he nail the obviously fraudulent Gorbachev claim (of Socialism) that Is both implicit and explicit In the above-quoted passages."

But were we mistaken In this Instance? For how, It might be asked, could Gorbachev ally himself as he did with a "search for the truth" yet lend credence to falsehood?

We were not mistaken! Before us now Is not merely a report of the speech but three full pages from the November 3, 1987, New York Times whose contents are Identified by the Times as "key sections of Mikhail S. Gorbachev's speech In Moscow yesterday, as distributed in translation by the Soviet press agency Tass." The evidence is unimpeachable. Here is no slip of the tongue but a dyed-In-the-wooI falsification of Socialism that permeates the address. Consider merely the following illustrations:

* "Those years [of countel-revolution) brought severe trials for the newly established Soviet RepublIc....The party mobilized the people to defend the socialist (!) motherland, the gains of the October Revolution."

Question: Born socialist?

* "The measures of the New Economic Policy were directed to building socialism's III material foundation."

Question: If the newly established Soviet Republic was indeed born "socialist," why the subsequent need to "build socialism's material foundation"?

* "To be sure, we are interested not in its [the New Economic Policy's) forms of those days that had been meant to secure a bond between workers and peasants, but the potentialities of the food tax Idea In loosening the creative energy of the masses, enhancing the Initiative of the Individual, and removing the bureaucratic trammels that limited the operation of socialism's basic principle, 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his work.'"

Question: WHAT "initiative of the individual" (enhanced by the New Economic Policy) does Gorbachev Imply Is now requisite for the unfettered operation of Socialism? According to Bowden, Karpovlch and Usher ("An Economic History of Europe Since 1750," American Book Company, 1937):

"In his plea for the adoption of the NEP, made at the tenth convention of the Communist party in March, 1921, Lenin emphasized the danger of the peasant revolt....Consequently, the first aim of the NEP was to placate the peasants.

"Instead of the food levy, which forcibly deprived each peasant of all his surplus produce, there was introduced a definite tax In kind, later on replaced by one In money. The rest of his surplus was left the property of the peasant, who could now sell It on the market....

"The scope of the NEP, however, was not limited to agrarian relations....

"As far as small Industry was concerned, a limited participation of private Initiative was admitted: some of the plants were returned to their former owners, and IIcenses were granted to start new enterprises....^ Increase the efficiency of the nationalized factories, Individual management was given preference over the committee system, and capitalistic wage Incentives, such as piece-rates and payments of bonuses, were Introduced to supplement the devices of 'socialist I!) competition,1 and to replace those of compulsory labor....

"The New Economic Policy was an Ingenious compromise....Under this system, which Lenin on occasions called 'state capitalism,' socialist [!) and private 'sectors' co-existed In the national economy....The NEP was declared to be a temporary retreat only, but Lenin Insisted that the retreat was undertaken 'In all earnestness and for a long period of time.'" (Our emphasis.)

The Initiative of the individual peasant producer to produce! (restored by Implementation of "the food tax Idea"); the initiative of the individual exploiter of wage labor to exploit! (restored by reintroduc-tlon of a "private enterprise" sector); the Initiative of the Individual wage worker to work! (restored by abrogation of forced labor and by Introduction of "capitalist wage Incentives")-THIS? Is Socialism?

* "The changes taking place In the country today probably constitute the biggest step In developing socialist 111 democracy since the October Revolution. In reorganizing our economic and political system, it Is our duty to create, first of all, a dependable and flexible mechanism for the genuine involvement of all the people In deciding state Ml and social matters."

Questions: After 70 years of "Socialism," socialist democracy Is not yet developed? Despite 70 years of "Socialism," a mechanism still awaits creation for the "genuine involvement of all the people"?-a genuine involvement of all the people "In deciding state III and social matters"? As to the state: Marx and Engels having made it abundantly clear that the state is a class organ-an organ incompatible with socialist (classless!) government-by what reasoning does an avowed socialist equate socialist democracy with democratic decision-making on matters of the state?

* "The purpose of the radical economic reform begun in the country is to assure...a transition from an overly centralized command system of management to a democratic system....This presupposes a sharp expansion of the autonomy of enterprises and associations, their transition to the principle of profitability (!) and self-financing (!), and the investment of work collectives with all the powers necessary for this."

Questions: When Gorbachev proposes "a transition from an overly centralized command system of management to a democratic system," does he not thereby confess that the U.S.S.R. has never yet been a socialist country? that the name U.S.S.R. has all along been a misnomer? Moreover, if socialist management of the economy does indeed "presuppose a sharp expansion of the autonomy of enterprises and associations, their transition to the principle of profitability..." etc., where then is the essential difference between Socialism and "free enterprise" Capitalism?

No doubt about It! their masters have sold the world's workers a false bill of fare. The important thing now, however, is not merely that workers should become aware of the fact but that they should also grasp the essence of what Socialism really Is!

________________________________________

"We Socialists brace ourselves against all Tower of Babel confusion. When we say 'wages,1 we mean the thing that is so styled by scientific political economy, and we won't allow Its well-marked and sharply drawn character to be blurred."

"The case Is proved: Labor alone produces all wealth. Wages are that part of Labor's own product that the workingman is allowed to keep; profits are the present and running stealings perpetrated by the capitalist [and by the Kremlin rulers! upon the workingman...."

-- De Leon

*****

We have had Mikhail Gorbachev on the carpet for abysmal falsification of Socialism throughout his November 2, 1987 televised speech-his promotion of the anti-Marxist, Stalinist subterfuge that falsely identifies "wages" and "state" with a socialist society. But there is also a third monstrous legacy kept alive in the Gorbachev speech that like the aforementioned has persistently helped block the path to Socialism In both the east and the west, and that must be knocked out of the way. It is contained in the following:

"In October 1917 we parted with the Old World, rejecting it once and for all. We are moving (from "Socialism"! toward a new world, the world of Communism."

Socialism Is not Communism? Communism Is not Socialism? On the contrary, In the necessarily articulate language of scientific political economy the two terms mean the same thing! The roots of "Socialism" and "Communism" (communal Ism) establish both as synonyms that are accurately Interchangeable In our Industrial age to signify social or communal possession, or possession In common (as opposed to class possession), of the socially-operated Industries and services of an Industrial society. And neither Marx nor Engels differentiated between the two terms. Goi- bachev's ridiculous socialist claims and his equally ridiculous assertion that Russia Is moving from Socialism toward Communism-these are obviously not Marxist but an echo of the brazen soporific spooned out by Stalin:

"The proletariat of the U.S.S.R. has become transformed Into an entirely new class Ml, Into the working class III of the U.S.S.R., which has abolished the capitalist system of economy and has established the socialist (II ownership of Implements and the means of production and Is directing Soviet society along the path to communism III." (J. Stalin, "On the New Soviet Constitution," as quoted by Eugene Varga In "Two Systems," International Publishers, 1939.)

So, the working class having established "socialist ownership"-that Is, having established classless! (therefore also stateless!) ownership- nevertheless remains a working class! does It? But as to the differentiation between Socialism and Communism-did this myth start with Stalin? No, here we have to look back to Lenin, who, though unlike Stalin et al was unquestionably dedicated to the socialist goal, nevertheless when touching on "The Gotha Program" Inexplicably "falsely claimed that Marx had described 'Socialism' and 'Communism' as two separate phases In the development of society" (See Arnold Petersen, "Marxism versus Soviet Despotism")-and so doing wtlly-nllly handed the Stalin regime the muddle in which It was able to breed the monstrous deception of an extant "socialist" Russia! All this notwithstanding that Marx had stated:

"What we are dealing with here is a Communist society, not as it has developed on Its own basis, but, on the contrary, as it Is just Issuing out of capitalist society....The same quantity of labor that (the producer! has given to society In one form, he receives back in another form."

Also:

"In the higher phase of Communist society...Iwhenl all the springs of social wealth flow more abundantly-only then may the limited horizon of capitalist right be left behind entirely, and society inscribe on its banners: "From everyone according to his faculties, to everyone according to his needs!1"

But while allegedly "moving toward a new world," what kind of world have the Russians meanwhile really enjoyed? Gorbachev says:

"We are Interested...[In] removing the bureaucratic trammels that limited Ml the operation of socialism's basic principle, 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his work.'"

"Limited"? Here's a sly use of the word! The question is: Did this "basic principle" Irlumph over some other? The facts speak otherwise. The conclusion is inescapable that the "bureaucratic trammels" that Goi- bachev targets have to be mere officialism since there is a proven primary obstacle about which Gorbachev and Company are constrained to remain silent-a fetter that instead of "limiting," absolutely prevents, the operation of Socialism's "basic principle," namely "bureaucratic trammels" that comprise a wage-exploiting bureaucratic state despotism in control of those now long-developed "springs of social wealth"-a class-divided social order that no less than Capitalism is the very antithesis of socialist democracy. It is a fraudulent claim that Socialism has been operating in Russia or anywhere else. Obviously Socialism's basic principles can have nothing in common with economic class or class rule, the "basic principle" of which is, "To a working class the work, to their rulers the spoils!"

*****

Finally, we must probe into a passage from Gorbachev's concluding remarks, to wit:

"It is our duty to preserve our Inimitable civilization and life on earth, to help reason win over nuclear insanity and to create all the necessary conditions for the free and all-round development of the individual and the whole of humanity."

Now on the face of it no one will fault this expression of concern for the future. But what is back of the face? If reason is to "win over nuclear insanity," and the necessary conditions created for "the free and all-round development" of the individual and humanity, then surely any and all relevant advances in thought should be brought to bear on the problem, and this as widely and immediately as possible. There was an advance made at the beginning of this century whose importance to the future of civilization and life on earth can not be exaggerated. It is an advance second only to that made by Marx, an advance previously referred to as having been highly praised by Lenin himself. It is the concept of a Socialist Industrial Union and Its functions formulated by the great American Marxist, Daniel De Leon-a concept born of industrial society that is both the FORM of the needed "lever of emancipation" from wages servitude and the FORM of government needed to replace the state (organ of class rule)-an integrally organized union of the nation's producers with democratic representation from Industrial constituencies that upon a political victory for Socialism will "take and hold" Industry and the services and administer these for the good of the nation. Did Gorbachev, a presumed student of Socialism, bring Socialist Industrial Unionism or even the name of De Leon to light? No trace of either can be found In the "key sections" of the Gorbachev speech distributed In translation by the Soviet press agency Tass.

There Is no dodging the Issue! "Our civilization" will continue to be threatened by "nuclear Insanity" and will continue to thwart "the free and all-round development of the Individual and the whole of humanity" until such time as the workers (the producers of wealth) themselves build a new world-a Socialist Industrial Commonwealth!

*****

"Premier Lenin is a great admirer of Daniel De Leon, considering him the greatest of modern Socialists-the only one who has added anything to Socialist thought since Marx." (John Reed, author of "Ten Days That Shook the World.")

"The constituency of future society shall be defined, not upon geographical lines, but upon the lines of Industrial unIon Ism...With central (enforced) authority It would amount to the program of the American Socialist Labor Party as set forth by Daniel De Leon." (Premier Lenin, as reported by Robert Minor In the New York Call.)

"Civilized society will know no such ridiculous thing as geographic constituencies. It will only know Industrial constituencies. The parliament of civilization In America will consist, not of Congressmen from geographic districts, but of representatives of trades throughout the land, and their legislative work will not be the complicated one which a society of conflicting Interests, such as capitalism, requires but the easy one which can be summed up In the statistics of the wealth needed, the wealth producible, and the work required-and that any average set of worklngmen's representatives are fully able to ascertain. Infinitely better than our modern rhetoricians In Congress." (Daniel De Leon, "The Burning Question of Trades Unionism.")

THE DE LEONIST SOCIETY OF CANADA