Thursday, September 24, 2009

Repudiating Ultra-Left Deception about Socialism

When reading discussions on the Internet about the Soviet Union, or other socialist countries, you might see the claim that they were “not really socialist” or that “socialism in one country is impossible.” The same individuals will likely try to tell you that Josef Stalin invented the concept of constructing socialism in a single country and that Lenin did not support it. Other ultra-leftists might even try to tell you that nationalization of the means of production and distribution is “not Marxist” and that Marx was actually “an anarchist!” Such absurd claims are debunked in this post with quotes directly from Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

V. I. Lenin, on numerous occasions, explained that it is possible to construct socialism in a single country:

"The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in different countries. It cannot be otherwise under commodity production. From this it follows irrefutably - that socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will for some time remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois." V. I. Lenin, The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution

“A United States of the World (not of Europe alone) is the state form of the unification and freedom of nations which we associate with socialism -- until the time when the complete victory of communism brings about the total disappearance of the state, including the democratic. As a separate slogan, however, the slogan of a United States of the World would hardly be a correct one, first, because it merges with socialism; second, because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible, and it may also create misconceptions as to the relations of such a country to the others.

Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organizing their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world -- the capitalist world -- attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states. The political form of a society wherein the proletariat is victorious in overthrowing the bourgeoisie will be a democratic republic, which will more and more concentrate the forces of the proletariat of a given nation or nations, in the struggle against states that have not yet gone over to socialism. The abolition of classes is impossible without a dictatorship of the oppressed class, of the proletariat. A free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states.”
V. I. Lenin, On the Slogan for a United States of Europe

After reading these two Lenin quotes it should now be clear that anyone saying, “Lenin didn’t believe in socialism in one country!” has obviously not read much Lenin!

Even more peculiar than the previous group are ideologically confused individuals who claim that “Marx was an anarchist.” They desperately need to study the classic works of Marx and Engels, which clearly explain that a proletarian state comes into existence once the proletariat has achieved political power. Marx said, in Critique of the Gotha Programme, that, "Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." In addition, The Communist Manifesto also outlines that public ownership of the means of production and distribution is an integral part of economic life then as well:

“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i. e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.”

And further on, in points five through seven (bolded):

“Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.”

Now ask yourself what kind of society comes to mind after reading these quotes from The Communist Manifesto. An absolutely flawless “utopia” as immediately expected by ultra-leftists? Or does it much more so resemble a currently existing socialist country like Cuba? The answer should be obvious: the latter.

Studying and reflecting upon these quotes from the classics should not only make clear the nature of socialism but also why it is so important to defend the socialist revolutions and socialist states of the 20th and 21st centuries. Construction of the Soviet Union and other socialist states in the 20th century and the survival of some into the 21st (e.g. Cuba and the DPRK) has been the highest achievement of the working class political movement to date and of human societal development in general. We should always vigilantly defend these accomplishments from the attacks of anti-communist slander, regardless if they come from open rightists or ultra-left minions of the bourgeoisie.