Soviet Working Class – Deprived of the Means of Production

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Soviet Working Class – Deprived of the Means of Production

From Albania Today, 1973, 4

Soviet Working Class – Deprived of the Means of Production

By Veniamin Toçi and Kiço Kapetani, economists

As a consequence of the great treachery of the Khrushchevite revisionist clique, as a consequence of this clique’s negation of, and open departure from, the theory and practice of the revolution and socialist construction, the Soviet Union has today been transformed into a bourgeois state of a special kind. It has been transformed into an imperialist power which pursues an expansionist policy and competes with other capitalist countries for the division and domination of the world for hegemonistic positions. This counterrevolutionary process, which is continually deepening, began with the bourgeois degeneration of the socialist superstructure, the party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, with their bureaucratization and that of the cadres.

Distorting the Marxist-Leninist theory of proletarian revolution and the building of socialism, the Khrushchevite revisionists created great ideological confusion and disarmed the working class in the face of bourgeois and reformist ideology. They paved the way for the ideological counterrevolution which Served as a prelude to the counterrevolution in politics and in the socio-economic order. The banners of this counterrevolution became the Khrushchevite “peaceful coexistence”, “the peaceful road of transition to socialism”, “the transition to socialism under the leadership of a non-proletarian party”, the export of revolution and socialism through “economic competition” with capitalism, “the state of the entire people”, etc.

The working class and the revolutionary peoples of the world are witnesses of this counterrevolutionary course of the Soviet revisionist leadership, both in its internal and foreign policies. A new expression of the revisionist treachery, and a grave challenge to all the peoples ofthe world, are the new Soviet-U.S. agreements which were concluded recently between the two superpowers as a result of Brezhnev’s visit to the U.S.A. Through these agreements the two sides aim at jointly establishing an international counterrevolutionary dictatorship, taking the fate and future of mankind into their hands, jointly judging and dealing blows to the national liberation uprisings and struggles of the peoples, strangling the labour movements and revolution everywhere in the world, using the olive branch as well as savage military violence for this aim. These agreements once more show that, despite the inevitable contradictions between them, the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists have aligned themselves in a common front against the peoples, they support and incite each other in their predatory and aggressive aims.

The degeneration of the state power in the Soviet Union, the change of the internal and external functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the liquidation of socialist ownership and the degeneration of the socialist relations of production, the change of the class composition of Soviet society and the creation of the new revisionist bourgeoisie have expelled the Soviet working class from running the country, transforming it into an exploited class

1. As a result of the bourgeois degeneration, the Soviet working class has been deprived of its historic mission as the class in power, as the leading hegemonic class. It has remained a mere productive force in a situation similar to that of the working class inthe capitalist countries. In reality it is constantly being proletarianised, in the political and ideological sense, as well as in the economic and social one.

First and foremost the Soviet working class was deprived of revolutionary ideology; it was ideologically disarmed. It no longer gives ideological leadership to the social life of the country. For demagogical purposes the revisionists speak about the “development”, “enrichment” and “creative application” of Marxism-Leninism. They did this at the 24th Congress of their revisionist party and in later manifestations of their political and social life. The Soviet revisionists have changed the ideological, political and organisational bases of the communist party into their opposites. As a consequence, the working class has not only remained without its own ideology, but also without its political vanguard – a genuine communist party. The revisionist party has become an asylum for bourgeois and degenerate elements, for the working class aristocracy, the bureaucrats and technocrats. At the 24th Congress of their party the Soviet modern revisionists announced that 44.8 per cent of the Party effective are white-collar workers and only 40.1 per cent are workers, at a time when the workers make up 58 per cent of the total number of the country’s working people. From among the members and alternate members of the party committees in districts and towns (thus, it is a matter of the basic organisations), only about 40 per cent are workers and peasants taken together. This means that 60 per cent are white-collar workers. These data show that the revisionist party is in fact a party of the white-collar workers, a party of the intellectuals, a party of the bureaucrats, and not a real party of the working class.

However, the Khrushchevite revisionists are seeking to preserve the “worker” appearance of their party, still keeping a comparatively large number of workers and peasants in its ranks, although the law in the party is made by the bourgeois elite in power. On the other hand it must be borne in mind that the percentage of workers should be viewed with reservation in the sense that some of them are aristocratized elements who do not represent either the working class or its real ideological, political, social and economic interests.

For the sake of demagogy and deception, the Soviet revisionists continue to preserve the name of “communist party”. But in the final account it is not the name which defines the real character of a Marxist-Leninist party. This is defined by the tasks and aims the party sets itself, the ideology for which it militates, its internal and foreign policies, its social composition and the position it occupies in society and in the whole system of running the socio-economic life of the country.

The exclusion of the working class from running the country’s life is expressed on a large scale in the degeneration of the state power, the change of the internal and external functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and of its class composition. The Soviet revisionists have loudly proclaimed the thesis of the so-called state of the entire people. In reality, we are faced here with a utopia, in the internal as well as in the external framework of the ratio of social forces. The state, as an historical category, cannot be anything but a dictatorship of the class in power. The capitalist state is a dictatorship of the big monopoly bourgeoisie. The socialist state is a dictatorship of the proletariat, a dictatorship of the working class. On the basis of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, this state will wither away without it being necessary to transform it into a “state of the entire people”. It will wither way when classes themselves wither away and when communism finally triumphs on a world scale.

The state power in the Soviet Union is in fact in the hands of the revisionist bourgeoisie, in the hands of the bureaucrats and technocrats, in the hands of privileged persons, detached from the working class and from the interests of the working people. This was the basis for the emergence of the great inflation and the fetishising of the apparatuses, as well as of everything coming from them. The Soviet state is gradually being deproletarianized from the standpoint of its class composition and from the standpoint of the internal and external functions it has assumed.

Physically, too, the Soviet working class is deprived of the right of running the state. According .to official data, in the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union the specific weight of white-collar workers and intellectuals is over 8 percent greater than that of the workers and collective farmers taken together (See “SSSR i zarubezhnije strani posle pobedi velikoj socialisticeskoj revolucii”, Statisticeskij sbornik, Moskva 1970).

Bureaucrats, white-collar workers and intellectuals constitute the absolute majority in the revisionist state organs, elected or appointed. It is precisely these men with unlimited power who impose their will on the legislative organs, who dictate and establish the laws and regulations. They trample underfoot the democratic rights and freedoms of the working masses, although they loudly propagate their so-called socialist democracy. It is known that not only the broad working masses, but even the so-called elected organs do not take part in formulating policy and stands, whether on internal or external questions, in formulating the main laws and decisions, or in their examination and application. These are decided upon by the narrow circle of the clique in power, while the working class and the other working people are presented with an accomplished fact.

Moreover, the legislative organs are under the effective control of the executive organs, of the bureaucratized and bourgeoisified apparatuses. There can be few countries in the world where bureaucracy has concentrated such great and uncontrolled powers in its hands as in the Soviet Union. Bureaucracy in that country holds in its hands not only ideological monopoly but also political and economic power. Bureaucracy and bureaucratism have been raised to a system, they have been turned into a method and style of judgement, of action and life. The bureaucratic machine at all levels exploits the working class and the other labouring masses, exercises political and economic violence against them and has become an obstacle to the rational use of natural resources and manpower.

2.  The bourgeois degeneration of the Soviet party and state inevitably brought about the degeneration of ownership of the means of production, which is the basic element of the relations of production. Speaking about this question at the 6th Congress of the PLA, comrade Enver Hoxha said: “The change in the character of the party and the state, the counterrevolutionary transformation in the field of political and ideological superstructure could not fail to lead to the changing of the economic base of socialism too. The economic reforms undertaken by the Khrushchevites, in compliance with their anti-Marxist ideological concepts, led to the radical change of the relations of production”. (Enver Hoxha, Report to the 6th Congress of the PLA, page 236).

The most concentrated expression of the separation of the working class from the effective running of the state and the economy is no doubt its deprivation of the principal means of production, the liquidation of socialist ownership and the degeneration of the socialist relations of production. It was clear that after the degeneration of the superstructure the degeneration of the economic base itself would also follow without fail. The degenerated superstructure must without fail have a corresponding degenerated structure. On this question the modern revisionists have acted and continue to act demagogically because it was not and it is not easy for them to come out openly against socialist ownership.

The economic reform carried out by the Soviet revisionists has in essence changed the entire system of possession and administration of the former socialist property; it changed ownership by the socialist state as direct representative of the working class and of the other labouring masses, gradually passing ownership into the hands of the new revisionist bourgeoisie.

Due to many political, economic, historical and psychological factors, ownership could not be made to degenerate through the capitalist partition of ownership in the classical form of passing over to individual capitalist possession. It was done by preserving the appearance of state ownership and giving it the character of state monopoly ownership. In the final account, it is of no importance to the working class whether the property is in the hands of individual capitalists or in the hands of joint capital in the form of state monopolies. In both cases exploitation is present, whether individual capitalist or collective capitalist exploitation.

The character of ownership and of the relations of production, also defines the very character of the state. But the latter, too, expresses and defines the character of ownership and of the relations of production. Those who have the state machine in their hands also possess the principal means of production and they use the state machine as a powerful weapon to increase their capitalist wealth and profit. The classics of Marxism-Leninism have pointed out that the character of ownership depends on the nature of the economic-social order and of the state.

Speaking of nationalizations, K. Marx said:

“‘…as long as the rich classes remain in power, any nationalization represents not the liquidation of exploitation, but only the change of its form…” (K. Marx, F. Engels, Works, vol. 28, Russian edit., pages 301-302).

Proceeding from this thesis of Marx’s, we can also define the character of the state ownership in the Soviet Union. The new Soviet bourgeoisie seized state power not as an aim in itself, but as a powerful means to enrich itself and to draw material profits. Through the state it also seized the state property and changed it into capitalist property of a special type.

Formally and in external appearance the state property in the Soviet Union is called socialist property, but in reality it has lost its one-time socialist character. With the working class divorced from running the country’s life, the state property is being used by the new Soviet bourgeoisie as a means of capitalist enrichment and profit, appropriating the surplus value created by the working class.

With the change of the character of ownership, the aim of production and the destination of the results of the work also changed. The system of running and planning also changed fundamentally. Depriving the working class of the means of production brought about, as a consequence, its separation from the effective management of the economy and production. With economic reform, the Khrushchevite revisionists replaced the system of the socialist planning of the economy with a “flexible” system of planning, giving complete self-administration to enterprises, in order to act in an unrestrained way in the fields of production, distribution, accumulation, capital investments, etc. The right that has been given to the managers of enterprises for the use, administration, sale of the products produced, etc., their rights in the field of the relations of exchange and distribution of products, clearly show the capitalist personal use of property and of the results of work in the economic enterprises of the Soviet Union. Herein lies the source of competition for the largestpossible profits, which has swept over all the country’s economic enterprises. From this stems the lack of some commodities in one area or district of the country and their surplus in other areasand districts, or also the phenomenon that the same commodity of the same quality is sold at different prices within one and the same market.

In the process of the degeneration of ownership, the Soviet revisionists have made important changes in the criteria of the building of the economic enterprises in their economic and juridical features, in their ties with the mechanism of the reproduction of social production, as well as in their geographical distribution. They have created monopoly unions of a capitalist type in industry, agriculture, transport and in other economic branches, unions which continually swallow up the small and middle-sized enterprises and which bring about great displacement of labour reserves and supply. A motivating factor of this spontaneous process is the ensurance of capitalist profits. The fact that the working class is deprived of ownership of the means of production is also dearly seen in the way funds created in the enterprise are used. It is calculated that 80-85 per cent of the material incentive funds go into the pockets of the managers. According to official s:atistics in the last 4-5 years engineering-technical personnel have been given an average of 12 times more bonuses a month than the workers, and the white-collar workers 6-7 times more (See: Seria Ekonomicheskaja, Nr. 2, year ,1972, page 47).

3. The capitalist degeneration of ownership could not fail to lead to a capitalist degeneration of the principle of remuneration too. The Soviet revisionists have in fact replaced remuneration according to. the work done with a whole system of division of incomes, which provides the new bourgeoisie with every possibility of appropriating the work and sweat of the working class and of the other labouring masses, ensuring incomes many times larger than those of the workers and peasants. As a result, a market differentiation in incomes has been created, which favours in the first place the managers of the bureaucratic apparatus of the .party, of the state and of the economy. This has inevitably brought about the growing capitalist polarization of the present-day Soviet ‘society and on this basis, the aggravation of social antagonism. Stressing the need and importance of narrowing the differences between wages in socialism, V. I. Lenin pointed out among other things: “Under the socialist regime officials cease being ‘bureaucrats’, or ‘white-collar workers’ to the extent that payment is reduced to the average wage of the working people” (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II page 235). At present, however, there is a great discrepancy in the Soviet Union in the incomes of different groups and sections of the population. Suffice it to mention that the managers in economic enterprises, when the indices of the plan are fulfilled, may receive an annual supplementary bonus of up to 7 months salary, without including other kinds of material incentive.

Through fat bonuses to the managing personnel of the party and state apparatuses and of the economy, in the Soviet Union the caste of new bosses has been created and is getting fat by exploiting the workers’ toil. The wages and bonuses these bosses receive are by no means in direct proportion to their work and by no means represent remuneration according to work. Many Soviet enterprises have implemented and are expanding a bonus system by which 50 per cent of the funds acquired from the reduction of the number of workers as a result of increased work intensity are put into the supplementary material incentive fund, which mainly profits the bureaucratic and technocratic managers who direct this “rationalizing operation”.

In the Soviet Union, with the implementation of economic reform, there has been a great increase in work intensity and the fluctuation of the labour force which often assumes the form of a “concealed market” of the unemployed. These two phenomena develop parallel with the very process of decentralization of the economy and in general with the process of degeneration of the relations of distribution, exchange and consumption of the social product. Using the thesis of raising labour productivity and the efficiency of production as a mask a series of “scientific” methods have been applied to increase the scale of intensity of the workers’ labour, with the aim of increasing profits and the supplementary material incentive funds.

It is not by chance that in the Soviet economy, just as in the economies of the capitalist countries, the phenomenon of unemployment exists, operating in specific conditions and mainly in the form of concealed unemployment. According to the admissions of the revisionist circles themselves, in the Soviet Union, every year, an average of 3 million of the urban population alone (not including the peasant population) move around the country looking for jobs. If we take into consideration that 80 per cent of this internal migration is made up of people of working age, and without calculating here movements within the countryside and from the countryside to the town, it turns out that 10 per cent of the workers take practically no part in production (See Ekonomika i Organizacija Promishlenovo Proisvodstva Nr. 3, 1972, page 29-30).

Along with its deprivation of the means of production the working class has been divorced from all the functions of management and administration. These functions have been concentrated in the hands of the bureaucratized cadres who direct production in their own interests, increasing the exploitation of the working people by every method.

The Soviet bureaucrats and technocrats, transformed into a class in themselves, are continually increasing. This is shown by data concerning the class structure of the present-day Soviet society. Thus, white in 1939 white-collar workers and their families accounted for 17.7 per cent of the population of the Soviet Union, in 1970 they represented 25 per cent of this population (See: “Ekonomicheskaja Gazeta” Nr. 4, 1972, page 3). Similar changes also occurred in the structure of the Soviet working people. While in 1960 white-collar workers accounted for 21 per cent of the total number of the Soviet working people, in 1970 their specific weight reached 26.4 per cent (See: “Ekonomicheskaja Gazeta” Nr. 5, 1972, page 1).

In order to realize their objectives as “quietly” as possible, the modern revisionists have submerged the working class in the swamp of indifferentism and apoliticism. Numerous facts testify to this indifference and to the divorcing of the Soviet working class from the management of production. In a public opinion poll organized in a metallurgical assembly plant in Siberia, in which 1000 workers were questioned, over 70 per cent of them answered that they did not know, and were not concerned to know, how the production programme was realized, that they never spoke at meetings and that it was useless to speak when their opinion was not taken into consideration. This is symptomatic of the indifference and apathy of the Soviet workers about the problems of organization and running of production, whichof course is a result of their being deprived of the running of the country’s life and of the right of ownership of the means of production.

Parallel with the bureaucratising of the revisionist apparatuses, one notices inthe present-day Soviet society marked tendencies of bourgeois parasitism, of a growingnumber of people living by exploiting the toil of the working class and of the labouring peasantry. This phenomenon negatively influences the country’s social structure, it distorts it and causes it to degenerate, and increases social parasitism. One of the manifestations of this parasitism is the growth of the non-productive sphere at an unjustified rate. According to official statistics, while in 1950 13.8 per cent of the total number of the working people (excluding school children and the military) were engaged in the non-productive sphere of the Soviet economy, and in 1960 17 per cent of the working people were engaged in this sphere, at the beginning of the 70’s the non-productive sphere absorbed about 22 per cent of able-bodied persons.

In the Sovieteconomy the number of working people in the non-productive sphere is increasing at a much higher rate than the number in the productive sphere. This tendency keeps deepening. We are faced here with an explosion of economicand social parasitism.

Of course, with the increase of social production the activity of the non-productive branches which serve production and the population must also be increased. But the increase of the non-productive sphere should be in direct proportion to the productive sphere, otherwise the rates of extended socialist reproduction would slow down. The Marxist-Leninist theory of socialist extended reproduction teaches this, and it is being proved, every day by the practice of socialist construction.

Life has proved and is daily providing further proof of the departure of the Soviet revisionists from the principles of Marxism-Leninism on the party and the proletarian state, on the role of the working class in revolution and the building of socialism. “The turning back of the Soviet Union and of some other countries, – as comrade Enver Hoxha has said, – is connected precisely with the fact that there the teachings of Marxism-Leninism were abandoned, and they gave up the fundamental principles of socialist construction, they destroyed the victories of the revolution and paved the way to the restoration of capitalism”.