CHANGE of the CHARACTER of PRODUCTION in the PROCESS OF construction AND DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIALISM
Mikhail V. Popov1
As is well known, production is the process of appropriation of natural resources within and through the framework of a certain form of society. Theory and History have known the following modes of production which replaced each other: primitive communism, slave societies, feudalism, capitalist production and communist production. Initially commodity production appeared with the decay of primitive communism, however only capitalism can be characterized as generalized commodity production, i.e. commodity production at such a stage of its development, when human labour power also becomes a commodity. Capitalism is an economy, the nature of which is commodity production,
Every form of production has as its precondition its needs and as its final result its consumption. But the direct purpose of commodity production is not use-value, but value, as commodities are the goods produced for exchange. The direct purpose of capitalist commodity production is surplus value. The fact that capitalist production has a developed social character gives rise to contradictions between the socialized character of production and the private capitalist character of appropriation. The relations of exchange contradict the social character of production, and as the result of socialist revolution during the transition period from capitalism to communism these relations die out and are replaced with direct social relations. In communist production, the socialized character of labour appears not through exchange, but directly, and communist production itself has a direct social character both at its highest and at its lowest (socialism) stages.
The dialectic approach to the historical experience of the Socialist revolution in Russia as well as to the experience of the construction and development of socialism in the USSR allows us to follow the changes in the character of production during the process of transition to communism. It also allows us to follow how the character of production is reproduced in the process of the development of socialism as the first stage of communism.
Transition of power to the working class and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat itself do not on their own change the character of production. The socialist structure begins to be created only after nationalization. Within the framework of such a structure, production has a directly social character. During the transition period this structure (socialist structure) co-exists with other structures. In Russia such structures were state-capitalistic structure, private-capitalist structure, petty (small-scale) commodity structure and the patriarchal structure.
Patriarchal production is production for self-consumption and has the character of a natural economy.
Petty commodity production is production for exchange and has the commodity character.
Private-capitalist production is production of value (surplus value) and should be characterized as the production of commodity character as well.
The state capitalism which was used during the New Economic Policy in Russia is especially worthy of mention. The thing is that for a specific period after nationalization only a part of the nationalized enterprises can be successfully oriented in a planned way to directly satisfy the needs of society. This – and only this - part of enterprises actually forms a socialist structure. All the other nationalized enterprises, although being state-owned, act not according to plan, but according to the fundamental law of any commodity (and, thus, capitalist) production – the law of value. Therefore the production within the framework of state capitalist structure has a commodity character.
During the transition period the socialist structure, in the course of its development, gradually ousts all other structures. Directly social and centrally-planned socialist production becomes at first the pre-dominant mode of production, and then the only mode of production. What happened in the USSR was predicted by V. I. Lenin in his Speech at a Plenary Session of the Moscow Soviet on November, 20th, 1922, when Lenin said: “NEP Russia will become socialist”. (Lenin’s Collected works, 2nd English edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, page 443).
The process of replacement of non-socialist structures during the transition period could be characterized with the phrase: “More socialism!” However to socialism as the first stage of communism this phrase is actually unacceptable since after the end of the transition period socialist production became not only the pre-dominant one, but also the only one and, hence, there cannot be more socialism, socialism can be more or less developed. Development is not reduced to increase or reduction – development proceeds through the struggle of opposites. This also applies to socialist production which is developing through the struggle of its direct social character with its commodity feature (the commodity feature is the negative feature of socialist production due to the fact that socialist production comes out of capitalism). In the centrally-planned economy this struggle directly depends on theoretical positions and political directions of the state and the party in power.
The analysis of the lessons of formation, development and temporary defeat of socialism shows that the major reasons for the weakening of socialism and the temporary loss of its achievements were as follows:
The majority of the party in power, the majority of working class and the majority of people had not realized that the Soviet power is the power formed in workers’ (labour) collectives. It had not been understood that the Soviets is the organization form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Soviet character of power seemed to be legally fixed, however it was fixed only in form, but not in substance. The word “Soviets’ was used both in the 1918 Constitution of the RSFSR, and in the 1924 Constitution of the USSR, however the election of deputies through workers’ collectives (which is the essence of the Soviets) had not been fixed in these basic documents.
The organization of power has not been coordinated with the organization of economic life of society in order to establish with the development of socialist economy the material conditions for workers (direct producers) to shape and exercise their power.
By acceptance of the USSR Constitution of 1936 the principle of election and recall of deputies by workers’ collectives, which was valid before 1936, was replaced with the territorial principle, contradictory to the essence of the Soviets. Only the nomination of candidates remained within the authority of workers’ collectives,
After the XX and XXII Congresses of the CPSU - the turning points which ensured the domination of opportunism and the revisionism in the politics and economics of the USSR - the economic reforms of 1965 replaced the principle of working for society to satisfy the needs of all its members by the principle of reaching maximum profit by certain enterprises. Thereby the economic basis of socialism started to be corroded and undermined. In many respects all this is the reason why the scale of active resistance to the liquidation of the workers’ power was so inadequate.
Socialism finally collapsed because the so-called course to the market and privatization was taken and consistently carried out. This course, as a matter of fact, was the anti-Soviet and anti-party course accepted in 1991 by the April Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, which led to liquidation of the CPSU and the USSR.
To the honour of the Soviet economic science this course had been never approved by any scientific economic conference. Moreover, voices of those economists who defended the direct social character of socialist production sounded loudly and distinctly enough. They warned that the attempts to construct socialism on the commodity basis are equivalent to the socialism’s destruction. It has been clearly enough shown in works of N.V.Hessin, A.M.Eremin, N.A.Tsagolov, N.A.Moiseenko, A.K.Pokrytan, A.A.Sergeev, V.J.Elmeev, V.G.Dolgov, R.I.Kosolapov and others. Therefore the treacherous party leadership of Gorbachev and Jakovlev could rely only on a few economic-science rascals in their attempts to dictate to the party and the country scientifically baseless and destructive course.
The path to the market economy accepted by the XXVIII Congress of the CPSU was in outrageous contradiction to the communist nature of the CPSU and in practice meant its suicide. Therefore the illegal suspension of the CPSU activity by a presidential decree only summed up the CPSU degeneration. (Moreover the decree was signed by a double-dyed privileged functionary, the former first secretary of the CPSU regional committee in Sverdlovsk, then the first secretary of CPSU Moscow Committee, the candidate members of the Political Bureau of the CPSU Central Committee, who had grown up in the depths of the party apparatus.)
Now after the bitter experience of the country’s destruction and people’s impoverishment we wholly realize the incorrectness of the widely spread allegation that a socialist society may be built on the basis of the commodity production and the law of value.
Karl Marx has thoroughly explained more than once that on the basis of value and money the control of united individuals over their production is impossible, we must have production which is diametrically opposite to commodity production.
Friedrich Engels derided attempts of Dühring to construct socialism on the basis of a "fair" exchange of commodities and the constituted value.
In remarks on Bukharin's book "Economics of Transition Period" (XI Lenin's collection) V. I. Lenin deliberately emphasized that the product at socialism goes to consumption not through the market. In the “STO Order to local Soviet establishments” he explained that the state product, the product of socialist factory exchanged for the foodstuffs produced by peasantry, is not a commodity in political-economical sense. Anyway, it is not only commodity, not a commodity already, it ceases to be commodity.
After collectivization was implemented we had not two kinds of property but two forms of one, public property, i.e. two forms of the subordination of production to the unified social interests. Thus, the exchange of products between town and village already could not be brought, strictly speaking, under a category of commodity exchange (i.e. mutual alienation of products of labour and other property objects on the basis of a free contract or agreement). The essence of production became opposite to the essence of commodity. The essence of production became directly social. Regardless of any forms adopted in many respects from the commodity past, the features as well as the attributes of commodity content, at that time production as a whole could be characterized as the direct social production, in which product and labour are socializied not through exchange, but directly, and from the very beginning appear as social.
I. Stalin’s position on the whole was in line with these Marxist-Leninist positions. He developed his views in his work “Economic problems of socialism in the USSR”. However in this work he has also showed inconsistency. He emphasized that the means of production are not commodities, but nevertheless declared that the articles of consumption are commodities, thus making the essence of the socialist production dual (non-commodity and commodity at the same time). If we assume that the articles of consumption are the commodities they are produced not for satisfaction of needs, but for exchange. In exchange for the articles of consumption a worker may provide only his labour power. His labour power is then also a commodity, but such a commodity production where the labour power also is considered a commodity is called capitalism. Therefore the return to capitalism logically follows from the presumption that the consumer goods under socialism are commodities. The statement that the law of value is valid for socialism is also wrong. After all the law and essence are categories of the same level. Therefore the statement that the law of value is valid for socialism is equal to the statement that socialist production has commodity nature. It is not mere chance that Kronrod, Liberman, Rakitsky, Petrakov, Abalkin and other “pushers” of the commodity production under socialism have picked out of Stalin's work these deviations from strict Marxist theory, made them a principle and through market-oriented economic discussions were preparing the liquidation of socialism.
Counter-revolutionary events in the USSR have confirmed that either we have socialism as direct production, i.e. the production of use values regulated by the law of the use value, or we have the production of value, i.e. the commodity production which naturally shall be developed in the commodity capitalist production. It is possible to say of course that under socialism there is a commodity production in the form of an individual production for a collective-farm market. It is correct. But the prices of a collective-farm market are regulated not by the notorious law of value, but by the prices for the products of state-owned enterprises. The prices for the products of state-owned enterprises in their turn are defined systematically on the basis of labour expended on the production taking into account the use value of direct social products.
Socialist production is direct social production. It is a production of the use value, not of the value. The commodity features of socialist production only constitute its negative attributes. It is the truth proved by science. Attempts to build socialist commodity economy, which means a return to the production of value, inevitably entail the destruction of socialism. Now it is not only the fact established theoretically, but, alas, the fact proved by history.
Socialism therefore is an economy which is directly social. Socialism is not the production of commodities, values, but the production of direct social products, use-values. Accordingly, it is not the law of value, but the law of use-value which regulates socialist production.
What does it mean as applied to socialism as the first stage of communist formation? It means that the purpose of socialist production is to secure welfare and free all-round development of all members of society. Thus the development of working people as members of society is dictated by the purpose of production. Whereas capitalist commodity production as a production of surplus values aims to take away the free time and other conditions of free development of working people, socialist production as directly social production aims to transform the decrease in working hours achieved by means of technical progress not only into additional material benefits for workers, but also into the additional free time for all-round development of working people, including their development as participants of the state life and the state government and administration. Unfortunately, the above did not take place in the USSR during the last decades of its existence.
The task of the socialism is not only to proclaim a power of the working people, but to ensure that the working people do have real, practical possibility to exercise this power. If a worker stands eight hours at a machine and can take part in state governing only after the end of a working day when the doors of Soviets, executive committees, district committees and city committees are closed, the workers’ power remains on paper. The only thing left then is to hope that the paid apparatus of hired civil servants will nevertheless operate (for some unknown reason) not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the working class and the whole society. However, being beyond any control, the management apparatus becomes so much infected by the bureaucracy disease that it inevitably degenerates into an opposition to its original purpose. Instead of the mechanism of governing in the interests of working people such an apparatus becomes the mechanism of governing in its own interests. Sorrowful and tragic events in our country showed to us an example of such degeneration.
Now, speculating on the ways to revive the Soviet power, we should not think only of how to revive the Soviets and how to restore the Soviet power. It is possible to put this question in a different way: is it worth establishing it again if it will degenerate again into the nomenclature power and people, having lived decently for a short while, will be plunged again into the abyss of deprivations and poverty with the help of new Gorbachevs and Yakovlevs. The thing is that if we want to revive the Soviet power we must revive it on a such economic basis which would strengthen the Soviet power and the Soviet state, would broaden the working people’s participation in the state governing, would bring the disappearance of any state and transition to the communist public self-government.
We should raise and solve the problem of participation of working people in exercising their own Soviet power being materialists, not idealists. It is not the question of calling upon working people to participate in the state governance, but the question of actually providing working people with enough time for participation in the state governance, this time being not after the end of their working hours and, which is also important, being paid at the rate of the average wages. All this would mean that the working people are not wage workers but, in fact, the fully legitimate owners of the social means of production.
The history of revolution and counter-revolution in Russia has shown that the progress in the development of productive forces and in the growth of labour productivity should be accompanied not by the decrease in the number of direct producers and the respective increase in a number of employees of non-productive sphere, but by the increase of the free time of the workers and peasants, including time for participation in the state governance. The number of workers and peasants may stay unchanged until the elimination of classes and the establishment of communism. The only important thing is that the development of production should be followed not merely by the increase of the wealth of society but also by the increase of working people’s free time that could be used for the free development of their abilities. As soon as the amount of free time exceeds the number of working hours, the main characteristics of individuals become their free time activities and not their activities during working hours. This will mean the full elimination of classes, i.e. the elimination of classification of people, based on their position in the social production.
Thus, what is needed for the development of socialism and the strengthening of Soviet power is not production that increases the working hours and creates the value, but production that creates the use-value and provides the saving of working hours, transfering such saved time into free time for the workers (direct producers). The purpose of such production is the maintenance of full welfare and free all-around development of all members of society. It is not mere chance that this purpose of socialist production has been recorded both in the first and in the second program of the Lenin’ Bolshevik Party. Lenin’s definition of the purpose of socialist production disappeared in the course of drawing up the third - Khrushchev’s - revisionist party program accepted by the XXII congress of the CPSU in 1961. By acceptance of this program a foundation was laid for the appearance inside the party of the class of nomenclature proprietors.
In a directly social economy there are considerable differences between the production of consumer articles and the production of the means of production. Though both the consumer goods and the means of production are not commodities, but direct social products, their social role is not the same. A production of consumer goods creates material-substantive conditions for more and more full development of members of society and for reduction of social inequality between them. Production of the means of production helps directly to save working hours and can be considered as a production of free time for free development of all members of society. As to consumer goods, a decrease of the labour expended to produce them is the result of implementation of labour-saving technologies, and consumers benefit from the labour savings through the decrease in prices.
It is possible to say that from the point of view of economics the only aim of technical development is to save working time. To put it differently, any progress in technology should result in the working hours’ decrease. In socialist, directly social economy the means of production are produced not for the purpose to sell them and to get a certain value, but for the purpose to spare the labour of those who will use those means of production. The use-value of machinery is equal to the saving of labour of those who use such machinery instead of the previous less effective machinery.
The saved labour can be used in two ways – not only to produce an additional amount of consumer goods, but also to reduce working hours and to increase free time.
The situation when the amount of labour for manufacturing advanced machinery increases should not be ruled out. But only the machinery which can secure that the labour saving is greater than the increase of costs of production may be considered (by the use-value criterion) really new, progressive. In other words, the total, resultant, net savings achieved by change of machinery (i.e. the gross savings without the expenditures of the labour to produce and to operate machinery) should be positive.
It is possible to say that nowadays a commodity capitalist production which is directly a production of surplus value in some way or another follows the path of production of use-value. But the point is that it takes place not in the conformity, but in the contradiction with its commodity, value nature. A capitalist always seeks to increase the value of the produced product for the sake of the increase of surplus value. Consequently, capitalist production as production of absolute surplus value tends to absorb all the time of the direct producers. As production of relative surplus value capitalist production tends to move the border between the necessary and the surplus labour so that the surplus value would be increasing. The above is achieved by the development of productive forces based on technical progress. However a capitalist uses the saved labour not to increase free time of all members of society, but to increase the value of wealth and free time of owners of the means of production, i.e. capitalists. For workers the only way to reduce their working hours and to increase their free time is to take part in the strike struggle. Nowadays the 35-hour working week is on agenda in Europe – the requirement to implement the 35-hour working week has been put forward by some trade unions. It is possible to say that the demand to reduce the working time without the reduction of wages is the issue of the material clash between capitalist forces and the class oriented trade-union movement. Besides, it is also the issue of struggle between communists and social-democrats as well as the opportunists.
With the expansion of monopolies grows the number of those islands where a value principle does not act and a use-value principle dominates. Certainly, such islands are not the islands of socialism as the planning is performed inside monopolies and the monopolist transfer prices are set by monopolies. Nevertheless, commodity-capitalistic production in the course of its development is gradually dragged into another world – the world of use-value (although it still continues to belong to the world where the value dominates). The progress of productive forces within the framework of capitalism and the latent on-going work to save social labour create the preconditions which enable the working class (together with its allies) first to take back enough free time for the organization of revolutionary struggle and then to seize the power and to use it for an economic revolution.. Such revolution will mean socialization of the means of production concentrated by monopolies, transition from the production of value to the production of use-value and, finally, consolidation of the use-value orientation of production.
Under socialism the criterion of a state-owned enterprise’s efficiency should not be profit, but the opposite of it –the amount of saved labour. For enterprises which produce consumer goods the indicator of their efficiency should be a reduction of prices of produced goods as it allows the consumer to receive the same amount of benefits with the less labour efforts. As for producers of the means of production their respective efficiency should be estimated on the basis of amount of labour saved by the users of such means of production.
Thus, manufacturers of consumer goods would be financially encouraged to reduce the price of products and to increase their quantity. Any new consumer article which better satisfies current or new requirements, as soon as its manufacturing is mastered, would enter the sphere of the price reduction and the increase in quantity. Manufacturers of the means of production would be encouraged in direct proportion to the economy reached in the process of their application. Let the manufacturers grow rich but through the enrichment of the whole society, all members of it.
The basis for participation in formation and implementation of the Soviet power will become more solid, if the wealth of society grows and t free time of members of society increases. The economy itself will help to strengthen and to consolidate the Soviet power.
Thus, the economic basis for the development and the consolidation of the Soviet power is the direct social production – production of use value.
Counter-revolutionary events in Russia and the temporary loss of power by workers make us to approach the issue of the revival of the people's power a little bit differently than before. How should the power of the working people be organized so that no one could undermine or break it, neither right after its establishment, nor in decades later, so that there would be no more counter-revolution at the time when even the opportunity of such counter-revolution seems to have been disappeared long ago?
Socialist power, in its essence, should be the dictatorship of the proletariat. This a general answer to the question that was put, and classics of Marxism considered this answer to be their particular contribution. The answer to this question divides Marxists and Revisionists. To deny the necessity of the dictatorship of the working class is the same as to deny Marxism and socialism. History, including the history of the Soviet Union, has proved it. The revisionist counter-revolution took place at the XXII party congress. It was that congress which threw out the dictatorship of the proletariat - the main thesis of Marxist theory - from the party’s program. But we should also remember the conclusion which has cost us too much - without the Soviet form of organization of the workers’ dictatorship it is difficult to keep the power.
One could say that nowadays, after the period of the revisionist epidemic (the main catalyst of which was the Khrushchev’s policy) new communist and workers parties are successfully being established all over the world. These are the parties which have understood the consequences of refusal to follow the main Marxist principles and have made the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat basis of their programs and of all their theoretical and practical political activities.
Still, it is too early to be optimistic. As merely acceptance of the dictatorship of the proletariat is not enough. It is also necessary to accept the organizational form of such dictatorship, the organization form that prevents the proletarian dictatorship from destruction and helps to strengthen and develop communist public self-government, which provides the elimination of society’s division into classes and therefore the disappearance of the state as the organized violence of one part of society over another.
History has proved that organizational form of power which answers the purposes of the dictatorship of the working class is not the power elected according to the territorial principle but the power formed in working collectives. When the proletarian dictatorship was established for the first time in France in 1871, the adequate form of power yet not had been born. In 1871 in Paris the essence of the proletarian dictatorship as the dictatorship of urban, factory, industrial workers briefly appeared for the first time and vanished from the historic scene to become a prologue to the Russian Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. It was the Russian Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 which established the dictatorship of the working class in the form of Soviet power.
The Russian revolution has become an exemplary illustration of the long historic work of the working class and its party in order to create a new power in the depths of the old regime. First the Soviets appeared in 1905, thanks to the workers of Ivanovo-Vosznesensk. The Soviets became not only the bodies of the strike struggle management, but also the bodies of the people's power, as a matter of fact of the dictatorship of the working class. If the working class in Russia had not made this world-wide historical discovery, the question of the establishment and development of socialism would have been on shaky ground.
The main point is that the only material basis of the socialism is large-scale machine industry. If the people's power is not connected with such industry, if it does not take from such industry the energy for self-strengthening and self-development, that people’s power will be sooner or later swept off by the superior forces of the class enemy. On the contrary, if such people’s power is strongly based on factories and plants, if it grows and strengthens itself simultaneously with the economic development, the idea of Soviet government, the idea of the dictatorship of the working class and the idea of the socialism become historically unconquerable.
Thus, the dictatorship of the working class is opposite to the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, not only in its essence, but also in the forms of its organization.
The bourgeoisie only pretends that its power is people’s power. It organizes parliamentary elections on the basis of the universal suffrage. However the election is carried out according to the territorial principle whereas the territories are dominated by the power of money. Although it is possible that some representatives of workers are elected in parliament under such system, generally territorial elections make the power of working people impossible.
It is worthwhile to consider the philosophical aspects of this problem. According to historical materialism social being determines social consciousness. This means that an economic basis of the society determines its ideological superstructure. Domination of bourgeois ideology in the public consciousness is based on domination of bourgeoisie in the economy. People, while voting, are guided by their consciousness, and, hence, the universal suffrage predetermines the election of bourgeois candidates. It is proved by experience, there are practically no exceptions. It is also known from experience that if the election machine malfunctions, the ruling class uses alternative methods to strengthen its power, including violence. The ruling class can do this because it possesses state-power, and the ruling class will not give up its power other than through a fierce struggle.
So what should be done in this situation? Does it mean that the participation in election campaigns should be given up? It does not. But the participation in elections of representative bodies and in their activity should be considered to be only one of several means of organizing the workers. The main activity should be the establishment of Soviets based on factories and plants and support of such Soviets. The support of the Soviets’ activities should be carried out not only with the help of trade unions and the working class party, but also with the help of the deputies that have the right and the possibility to work in workers’ collectives. It should be noted that for a really revolutionary party election and parliamentary activity should not be the core of its political activity. The core of activity of a revolutionary party should be organizing the working class trade-union movement, the struggle of the working class not only for short-term interests but for main, long-term perspectives. A revolutionary party should be aimed at the establishment of Soviets in perspective. The Soviets shall become the future bodies of the new socialist power and, at the same time, bodies of collective self-government of workers, bodies of workers’ struggle for their most vital interests.
Only in the time when under the circumstances of the revolutionary situation strike committees or other authoritative bodies of working self-government start functioning in large-scale machine industry, when such committees or bodies are connected through city and regional councils at the city and regional level and through all-over-the-country councils or committees of workers at the country level, when the workers form their own workers’ militia, only then a transition to the Soviet power (regardless whether it will be called Soviet or other power) can be realized in practice. Without all this, any speculation concerning the seizure of power is nothing but idle talk.
It is worth mentioning that in 1917 in Russia there were two kinds of elections held at the same time: the elections to the Constituent Assembly and the elections to the Soviets. The elections to the Constituent Assembly gave the majority to petty-bourgeois parties of Mensheviks and Esers whereas the elections to the Soviets in Moscow and Petrograd gave the majority to the Bolsheviks, the working class party. The Bolsheviks were right when they did not to refuse to take part in the elections to the bourgeois parliament and used the possibilities of the election campaign for their propaganda. But the main purpose of their propaganda was to promote the establishment of the Soviets and the transition of the whole power to the Soviets.
The experience of our revolution teaches us that socialist revolution is preceded by a period of diarchy within which there are two powers that exist simultaneously: bourgeois parliament (a body of bourgeois domination) and a body of a future new government - the Soviets, and the congress, the assembly or the committee of the representatives of the Soviets are to establish a new power.
Provided that the Soviets (as future power bodies that are ready to perform the functions of a new state apparatus) are established, the transition of power from bourgeoisie to working class and from bourgeois parliament to Soviet power should be much easier. If there are no Soviets supported by workers’ militia, even when as a result of demands of a general strike a government or even the president would resign, the nature of power would not change. After all, the change of some persons does not mean the change of the class in power. Marx, Engels and Lenin explained, made it clear again and again that it is impossible to take the old state machine and tailor it for the new purposes. On the contrary, such a machine must be broken, and a new state apparatus able to defend the working class interests should be built. The Soviets elected in workers’ collectives (in other countries the Soviets may be called differently but it does not change their essence) represent the new apparatus which should substitute the old bourgeois one.
The above, however, for many is difficult to understand. A lot of people still believe in the fairy-tales of election of a new good president and appointment of a new good government. As for the lawmakers, a lot of them are infected by so-called parliamentary cretinism expressed in the naive belief that the core problems of people’s life could be solved within the walls of parliament. In reality, all such problems were solved without involvement of parliament – through the fiercest class struggle, and even by means of a civil war. The less parliamentary illusions the workers and the peasants who create the Soviets have, the better such workers and peasants are organized to break the inevitable resistance of bourgeoisie, the less the danger of a civil war. On the contrary, if the workers are disarmed and are lulled with the fairy-tales about a respectable and fair bourgeoisie, the most brutal massacre of the people should be expected. The examples of Chile and Russia should be enough to prove that.
Thus, the organizational form of the dictatorship of the working class is Soviet power executed through workers’ collectives. This is true not only for the initial period of establishment and formation of a new power, but it is also true for the whole period of socialism, until the classes are eliminated and the state dies off. The Party program drawn up by V.I.Lenin and accepted at the VIII congress of RCP (b) says that "it is not the territorial district, but a productive unit (factory, plant) which become the basic election unit and the basic unit of the state".
How it should be organized in practice? For example, workers’ collectives of each enterprise’s subdivision elect the respective Soviet. The collectives shall have the right to recall and (or) change any member of the Soviet at any time. Such Soviets are to form Soviets at city and regional levels (also with the right to recall and replace the deputies). The Congress of the Soviets or the Committee of city and country councils’ representatives constitutes the highest legislative body of the state. Such body shall have the right to appoint the government and to determine both internal and foreign policy of the state. The time spent by workers for organization of the Soviets and the time spent by deputies to fulfill their obligations must be paid in accordance to the average wages.
How should equal representation under such conditions be ensured? A number of workers of main enterprises may be taken as the base unit to establish a uniform rate of representation in a city. For example, if one person is delegated to a city Soviet by one thousand workers, five thousand people are entitled to delegate five deputies. If there are less than one thousand peoples in a workers’ collective such collective should unite with other small collectives until one thousand threshold of the industrial district is achieved. For those working in small units the rate of representation can be based on a certain number of trade union members.
The inactive citizens can either join any industrial district (for example according to their former work place or according to territorial principle), or elect their representatives from committees of inactive citizens at the common rate of representation (so that each respective deputy would represent, for example, one thousand inactive citizens). Thereby the universal suffrage is provided.
If a Soviet of a basic unit of the state structure (a factory or a plant) recalls its representative from a city council, the deputy automatically loses his/her mandate and, in addition, his/her deputy’s rights to represent the city council in the government’s supreme body (if such right was granted to the deputy) shall be considered void. Practical feasibility and ease of recall of deputies elected by workers’ collectives allow conducting effective struggle against careerism and bureaucracy. Besides, with the help of such recall system and based on the relevant experience it will be possible to carry out gradually the selection (not only through programs and promises) of the representative bodies’ members that will defend the working people in the best way.
Thus it is desirable to make deputies to be semi-free. If a worker acts as the deputy 3 days in a 5 day working week such worker would cease being a worker, would lose connection with the collective. Plus such worker would be neither intellectual nor professional and easily could become an object of manipulation by corrupt politicians. On the other hand, if a deputy-worker does not have at all free days for his deputy activities, he/she would become a dummy seated at the presidium table on feast days to demonstrate the unity of the authority and the people. The most correct way for the deputy would be to continue his/her work in accordance with his or her profession and also to have enough time to get professional skills in the field of the state governing. For example, if a worker stands by a machine 3 days a week and spends 2 days to organize the workers as a deputy of the Soviet, he/she will not loose the contact with his/her collective, and, at the same time, will gradually acquire the skills of administration (including the skills of using personal computers and modern communication facilities). Certainly, these 2 days on which the worker is not engaged in productive work, should be paid.
By the way, something similar to the described above has been implemented in the practice of modern capitalism. According to the law "On Enterprise’s Legal Regime" of the Federal Republic of Germany at each enterprise employing five and more workers an industrial Council should be elected. The employees’ activities within the framework of the industrial Council are performed during the working hours and are paid in accordance with the average wages. The progressive bourgeoisie understands that nowadays, when the most important point in economy is implementation of scientific and technical innovations, the scientific and technical progress and the economy as a whole will make no headway unless the direct producers actively participate in this progress. It should be noted that the role of the industrial Councils in Germany is strictly limited to the specific productive matters. Such Councils neither have any connection with similar Councils, nor with any unified coordinating Council. Thus, the Councils are deprived of the possibility to perform political work. The bourgeoisie uses the Councils to spread out the opportunist ideas among the working people (the ideas of “society’s consensus”, “social partnership”, “world of labour”, “class cooperation” that obscure class struggle).
The use-value basis of production provides for and assumes granting to the deputies of the workers’ collectives the time to exercise their administrative functions. However, as soon as the deputies become full-time they lose contact with their collectives, and, hence, workers’ collectives cease to play the key role. After all it is necessary to control the deputies, it is necessary to give them orders and it is necessary to recall those deputies who do not carry out the will of the workers’ collectives that elected them. The above activities (giving orders to the deputies and recalling them) take time, and such time shall be paid in accordance to the average wages. Each worker shall be provided with a free paid time at least for the participation in the monthly meeting of workers’ collective to which the respective deputy provides his/her report.
Soviet power may be called the power of the workers and peasants only when the working people will have the control over their deputy and when the direct producers will participate in the activity of the state bodies. If the activity of workers, peasants, intellectuals would be substituted with the activity of wage workers (the professionals whose involvement is, of course, necessary) we will again find ourselves in the situation when the real power is passed from the legislative bodies to the executive bodies, the Soviets being the cover for those who use power for personal advantage. Such situation may result again in return of a private ownership system, the system which is the cause of all the suffering of our people.
Therefore the possibilities to create more and more favorable conditions for all members of society to take part in the state governance (the above possibilities broaden with the development of use-value production) should be used effectively, which in its turn could help the development of use-value production. The main wealth of society - free time – will gradually be increased and will be distributed fairly since it will not be usurped by the management or intellectual elite. At this stage the process of the gradual annihilation of classes will start and, thus, we will approach to the state, when all members of the society become working people. Everyone will be a unique person and everyone will be judged not by the things he/she does at work but by the things he/she has done and is doing in free time (the time for free development). This will be the quantum jump from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.
There are three types of slaves known. The slave belonging to the first type is an ordinary slave. He lives his poor life obeying his fate. The slave of the second type has got used to his servile submission so much that he is even enchanted every time when he thinks of how good his master, his lord is. The above slave is not simply a slave but he is a lackey, a swine. There is also a slave belonging to the third type, the slave who rises to fight the whole system of slavery and, although slavery is not destroyed yet, he/she is not a slave any more, as he/she is a revolutionary. Till now we discussed only material conditions and bases of participation of workers in management and self-management, as well as the structure of t Soviet power, but nobody will free us from the old bourgeois power, “neither god, nor the tsar, nor the hero” will set us free. Nobody will grant the freedom to the working people unless the working people conquer the freedom to themselves. Fortunately, the juststruggle of the working people is supported by the general logic of historical progress as well as by the progressive workers of science and culture. However, without active, conscious, firm and persistent struggle for its interests the working class could neither establish nor preserve the Soviet power. Furthermore, without such a struggle neither the creation, nor the preservation of the socialist economy is possible. This struggle is in progress. It will continue and it will be victorious, provided that the communist parties will ensure the correct leadership of this struggle.
1 Professor of Economics and Law, The President of the Fund of Workers Academy, Representative of Sovetskiy Soyus Magazine of the Russian Communist Workers’ Party