Bruno Rizzi 1939

The Bureaucratisation of the World

book

First Published: in April 1939;
Translated: from the French for Marxists.org by Adam Buick;
Proofread: by Chris Clayton 2006.


Preface

In this first part we make a Marxist analysis of Soviet society, with some mention of the Fascist and Nazi regimes which are in the process of rapid bureaucratisation and which have already acquired an anti-capitalist character. even though Capital there has not been radically suppressed as in the USSR.

Recent political events will awaken even the dullest of minds: the black, brown and red dictators are recognising, perhaps even officially, that the social character of their countries is the same.

The world is on the eve of a tremendous historical turning point.

We believe that Stalin will remember having been a revolutionary before having become a dictator and will understand the terrible responsibility which links him to the international proletariat. We will judge solely on the facts and we advise workers to do the same.

Europe and the world must either become fascist or socialist. There is no longer any possibility of life for capitalism. The USSR has become the pivot of world politics and will either be the bastion of the proletarian revolution or a trap for the world proletariat.

If it wants Revolution it will carry the revolutionary centre into the midst of the English-French-American working masses; if it does not do so then it will help the fascisation of Europe and the World.

The bourgeoisie is a dead social force and, politically, can no longer take the offensive: it resists, but surrenders day after day! Manchuria, China, Abyssinia, Austria, Sudetenland, Bohemia, Spain, Albania and so on already amount to a political synthesis. In reality the forces in play in present-day Society, which is a single whole, are not called France, England, Germany, Italy, USSR, Japan, etc., but are called Capitalism, Bureaucratic Collectivism and Socialism. These are not empty words, nor social abstractions, nor politico-administrative fictions: they have their social bases.

Capitalism is based on the class of those to whom belong the means of production of the whole world. These are linked together by connections of business and interest and by a political solidarity which revealed itself immediately after the First World War with the collective strangling of the Revolution, and which has been continued by the events of Munich. This International has always functioned; it is now creating a capitalist bloc to oppose the invasion of Bureaucratic Collectivism. In this bloc they seek to suppress proletarian forces as much as possible in order to maintain the old privileges.

Bureaucratic Collectivism too has its social base in dominant classes which have established their headquarters in the States in Russia, Italy. Germany, Japan and the smaller States weak from the capitalist point of view which come within the radius of action of the big totalitarian States.

This new social form is degenerate, but nevertheless active, and is more and more imposing itself on a capitalism which is dead as a dynamic system and in a state of physical disintegration. This bloc has also formed its International in the Anti-Comintern, in which the USSR will soon appear, in order to swallow up by threats or deeds the areas dominated by the old capitalist World.

Socialism has its social base in the working masses of the whole world. They are the real living force of the new Society which must replace Capitalism, but they continue to be tricked by their ignorant or treacherous leaders who do not give them a political line of their own and who have lined them up behind the patriotic backs of the bourgeois and the fascists.

Socialism sings the “Internationale” but does not apply it in practice, as do its two rivals; in reality it is the butcher’s meat in the struggle between them. It is the object of their exploitation: the good and peaceful ox which drags the cart and even goes to the slaughterhouse. The lesson of 1914-18 was not enough. At that time the various imperialisms thought they would solve the capitalist crisis by a victory which would give hegemony to some of them, but, twenty years later at Munich, they have signed their defeat by confirming the senselessness of the past carnage carried on under the banner of Peace, of the true Civilisation, of Progress, of the War to end Wars, of the fight against barbarians, etc., etc.

The social forces in play are three in number, there are three political movements and three classes which correspond to them. And it is precisely that class which has the greatest social and historical rights which is suppressed, partly by a world which is dying and partly by a new monstrous world which is being born and so badly that it has revived slavery after two thousands years of history.

It is not a question of an “indivisible Peace” but of an indivisible Struggle. It is not on the basis of Nations that the proletarians must recognise their friends and their enemies.

As Marx said, it is from classes, from the struggle between classes, from the dialectic and the class struggle that Socialism must derive its politics, even in this period of decaying capitalism. Workers, think about this.

We will soon be publishing the second part of La bureaucratisation du monde which will deal with the totalitarian State and with Fascism in particular (analysis of decaying capitalism).

Wars have always been carried on for the benefit of the dominant classes. The only workers’ war is the Revolution.

The workers must struggle against Capitalism and against Fascism and must extricate themselves from their grasp; they must have their own independent policy. In flattering ourselves on having found this, we only ask to be refuted, corrected or helped by all comrades, workers and those who wish to live in honour and freedom and want to spare the world the insu1t of a new slavery.

The Author
Paris, 15 July 1939.

I. The nature of the Soviet State

It was in 1917 towards the end of October (Russian calendar) that there occurred a political event of great importance whose date is engraved in indelible characters in the book of history. The proletariat of St. Petersburg and Moscow, led by the Bolshevik party, seized power. Two leaders arose in this great historical event as giants: Lenin, the incomparable master of the revolutionary movement, and Trotsky, the soul and genius of the proletarian insurrection.

The raging world stopped its savage work of destruction for a moment and cast an unbelieving and astonished glance at the endless plains of Russia. Over the snow unfurled a red flag, adorned with a hammer and sickle. But, once this moment of perplexity was over, people again looked straight ahead, as if to say “we will see later,” and recommenced their annihilating struggle.

Meanwhile a sigh of hope passed through the impoverished and decimated masses. In the midst of all this obscurantism, of all this madness, a light had flashed very brightly; it did really have some significance for all these poor blighters: “It is from the East that a light will come”; here was the new Word. For the second time in history the downtrodden apathetic masses raised their heads from their toil and scanned the horizon, scenting the air like animals of prey emerging from their den. It seemed to them to be good and that the opportune moment had arrived. A hundred and forty years previously, these masses had been aroused by the gunfire of Valmy and even the men of the mountains, armed with pikes and axes, had descended from their remote valleys. But on arriving at the opening of the valleys, they saw rising on the plain in the distance some small white clouds; then a shower of fire came down on their ranks: it was the guns of the Third Estate welcoming them. The good highlanders had been tricked, they turned round and regained their valley which they had left with an age-long hope that had suddenly ripened. The highlanders behaved wisely, they understood that their time had not yet come and they again enclosed themselves in their mountains for a new, long wait.

This time the men of the mountains no longer stopped where the valleys opened out onto the plaint; they no longer met fire from the artillery barrage of the bourgeoisie, but overran the fields of the lords as masters. The workers’ and peasants’ State was proclaimed; from the Kremlin towers, the signal of the revolution spread in waves and the red guards camped in the courts in the palace of Ivan the Terrible.

The people, the poorest strata, awakened from their age-long torpor, left their hovels, displayed their rags in the main streets of the big towns and brought to them the mental state appropriate to the eve of a revolution.

For three of four years this mounting tide nearly breached the powerful dikes of capitalism; then the waters receded, gurgling. From time to time the water had, as it were, some jumps; these were waves which came from afar like those produced by the passing of a steamship, but they did not come from the deep movements of the sea. So, either the potential force of this mounting revolutionary tide had been badly employed or it had not been brought into play. Indeed, the technicians of the revolution, where they had been able to transform this potential force into energy later found it dry, isolated and powerless since the waters had receded all around. The opportunism of the proletarian parties of October isolated the Russian revolution like an oasis in the desert, so that there was no longer any question of socialism, i.e. of an international proletarian economy. However capitalism must not even be mentioned as the nature of the State called Soviet. So what is it? That is the question.

The Russian Revolution is over twenty years old and it is strange that nobody has got down to studying the social outcome of this great event. The USSR provides subjects for discussions, commentaries, reports; its supporters and opponents speak of it only from the political aspect and always neglect the social aspect. However, we do not think that after twenty years the Russian Revolution can still be considered as being in a period of transition or transformation. By now it must surely have had some positive outcome, acquired for the future and fixed in a social crystallisation.

Some have seen in the Russian revolution “The Empire of Forced Labour” or “The Revolution Betrayed,” others have described it as “The Triumph of Fascism,” others as “The Land of the Great Lie.” Some sigh when lamenting “The Destiny of the Revolution”; there are others also who have made “An Assessment of the Revolution.” Writers of all political shades, from communists to fascists passing by the centre parties, have written works of great merit, either as regards arguments or as regards information. Researchers have interested themselves in the subject and have gone to make their observations directly on the spot. French, German and American workers rushed enthusiastically to the country where their social hopes were to be realised. They returned from it their hearts overflowing with sadness, their souls poisoned, and have left us objective, practical and very interesting information on life, work and liberty in the land of the Soviets.

This enormous mass of publications does not deal at all with the social crystallisation of the USSR and even less offers us any conclusion. Certainly here and there a few passing references stand out; these are more of a natural fruit, occasioned by polemic, than the systematic result of a sociological study. Trotsky himself, who we consider to have the deepest knowledge of the present conditions and evolution of the Soviet State, admits to having taken nine paragraphs in an attempt to give a definition of this State. What has been lacking up till now, is a panoramic view of the whole, a synthesis, a crystallised representation of what the USSR is from a social point of view.

We ourselves did not succeed in giving an answer two years ago in our modest work Where is the USSR going? The question mark was there precisely to ask what we were asking; but while we did not succeed in giving an answer at least we posed the question. In 1938 our mind ceased to be tormented, for we had no further doubts. What was happening in the social field in other countries confirmed what we had ended up by considering as established in the social sphere of the Soviet State.

Since the world is from now on reduced to a single form of civilisation, the capitalist, it follows that the social transformation of any State has a great interest for the rest of the planet, since it is in a premature and localised transformation that the world can see reflected the image of its own future social form.

All sorts of things have artificially obscured the problem instead of making it clearer. The paid press and hired speakers have artificially obscured the problem instead of making it clear. The greatest stupidities have been uttered and, also, the greatest cowardice has been shown.

The social phenomenon is in fact very difficult to understand, especially for all those journalists who visit Russia knowing very little or nothing about Marx, Lenin and their theories. In addition the social phenomenon in formation started off in the beginning in a communist direction; then the cessation of the proletarian revolution in the world produced a degeneration whose social forms have in recent years become fixed. Today the social edifice of the Soviet State has clear, almost completed lines. We at least recognise these lines as such even if the specialists on the problem insist on a different theory. These specialists, reduced to a small number, must be sought in the groups of revolutionaries who have abandoned the Third International, holding that it has long since become completely and definitively opportunist. Also, these specialists have come to the question of the nature of the Soviet State solely as a result of internal diatribes in their political factions about the tactics and strategy of the proletarian revolution. They do not even suspect that there could be the possibility of a social crystallisation situated between capitalism and socialism; but in the fire of their polemics the problem of this crystallisation is categorically posed and maintains those doctrinal differences which are the basis of the political impotence of these specialists.

What is the USSR today? To begin with we will be expressly imprecise in our diagnosis of this society; we will move on later to the details. First of all we want to establish only what is unanimously accepted. It is certainly not a democratic, but clearly an authoritarian State. Its economy is not capitalist; it is not based on private property but on the collective ownership of the means of production. From Citrine to Trotsky and from Roosevelt to Mussolini, it is admitted that, generically, the Soviet economy is not socialist. Only Stalin’s opinion is different for obvious reasons; consequently we will not pay much attention to it. Dozens of writers have made him eat his socialism and his “most democratic Constitution in the world.” Stalin does not flinch and naturally bans these publications in the land of the “happy life” and the most “democratic in the world.” There is no doubt about another feature documented by Trotsky, Citrine, Victor Serge, Ciliga and by a host of writers of the most different nationalities and political theories: in no capitalist or fascist country is the proletariat in such bad conditions as in Soviet Russia. There is no freedom of speech, of meeting or of the press. Informing is widespread and the State very much a police State. All these writers are agreed on this: the exploitation of man still exists in the country of the “happy life,” being embodied in the famous surplus value which Messieurs the Capitalists extract from the workers. (The divergences appear only when it comes to identifying who monopolises it.) Another characteristic which must not be ignored is that the State demonstrations are only a grandiose theatrical advertisement, as in the totalitarian States of the West; likewise, the veneration, real or pretended, for the almost deified Leader is equal and perhaps even greater. Hierarchy enjoys great prestige there and servility is pushed to the extreme limit. The population lives in an atmosphere of fear as if the walls could hear and speak; they have a face for the public different from that as a private individual.

The political and social physiognomy of the Soviet State comes out well defined from these generally admitted facts supplemented by our distinctions and it is this physiognomy that we now propose to explain to the reader.

The principal aim of the October revolution was to serve as a lever for the revolution in the West. But measures for a socialist economic policy were taken at the same time. Basically private ownership of the land and large industrial enterprises was abolished. The economic control of this property passed from the hands of the defeated bourgeois class into that of the triumphant proletariat.

The economic conditions for a social transformation in the USSR were certainly not very good; the country was composed essentially of agricultural labourers and illiterates, its industry was very inferior to the needs of an advanced economy.

The Bolsheviks, as soon as they had seized power, straightway used the radio to incite the various proletariats to follow their example because they understood the necessity of grafting on to the Russian revolution the Western nations with their developed technology and their immense and cultured proletarian class. If this did not occur, then this Revolution was fatally destined to failure in the economic-social field even if its arms succeeded in heroically resisting the assaults of the old world.

The German proletariat was the natural ally of the Bolshevik revolution. Its bourgeoisie, emerging from the war defeated and broken, offered them power almost without striking a blow. But, except for the Spartacist riots and the sacrifice of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, the German proletariat went without honour from defeat to defeat. In 1923 power was once again offered them, but this proletariat deserted the camp and abandoned it without a struggle even to the Hitlerite bands. Was this the fault of the leaders? Of the Third International? No, it was the fault of everybody together, including the German proletariat who were too cold, too attached to order and of a not very revolutionary nature. Fifty years previously, after the collapse of the French bourgeoisie in 1870, the workers of Paris proclaimed the Commune and 100,000 of them, who had fought with only a slight hope of victory and in premature economic circumstances, let themselves stoically be beaten on the ramparts of Paris. Messieurs the Marxists, who deal solely with economics and who make politics only with statistics, may well get angry, but we state that the weak revolutionary spirit of the German proletariat had a lot to do with the defeat of the European and world working class. Similarly the strong revolutionary spirit of the Russian proletariat had a lot to do with the October victory. The German people have never made a revolution; in their political evolution they have always followed the other nations and then at least a century later. France, on the other hand, has always spilled its blood for the world.

Economic conditions are certainly the conditions sine qua non on which depends the possibility of transforming society. But once these conditions exist and have ripened, the success of the Revolution is a question only of revolutionary spirit as far as those who have to do the fighting are concerned, and of revolutionary ability as far as the leaders are concerned. Let Messieurs the Marxists explain, if they can, the defeat of the European proletariat according to historical materialism as it is understood by the orthodox! Was not the German economy over-ripe for the change?

To conclude and to repeat what has been said in a thousand ways, we state that, following the defeat of the German and European proletarian revolution, the dictatorship of the Russian proletariat found itself isolated in a hostile capitalist world. There was a general ebbing of the revolutionary wave that had frightened the bourgeoisie immediately after the war. It followed for any observer with common sense that the perspective of revolution had been postponed indefinitely. Capitalism in the meantime regained its breath and until 1929 increased production, particularly as a result of repair work in the zones ravaged by the war and of the reconstitution of stocks.

The Russian revolution faced the alternative of either living sparsely while waiting for the proletarian revolution in Western Europe or of coming to terms with the external world and consequently changing its internal policy. It was the second solution which was chosen; Stalin was first the inspirer of this and then its pitiless executor. This radical change of policy had naturally to be disguised, at least on the surface, both from the Russian proletariat and from the proletariat of all nations. This was not very difficult since for nearly a century workers have been systematically tricked by the “reds” of all the parties, and of all shades, who have appeared on the political scene. The Russian proletariat and the proletariat of other nations have suffered this enormous mystification and have given only too few signs of anger against their leaders, the real traitors. It could be said that these proletariats have become accustomed to, and indeed have become hardened to mystification.

With Lenin dead a successor was needed; the most worthy figure just as much from the moral as from the intellectual point of view was Trotsky. His revolutionary integrity and his genius would certainly have very well defended the first and only proletarian State in the world. But Trotsky was cast aside and unanimously ostracised and boycotted by the epigones of the revolution. Those who know a little about socialist and communist parties will not be at all surprised at a phenomenon like this.

In Lenin’s entourage Trotsky rose lie a giant, so they undertook to neutralise him in order to remove a great obstacle which would have hindered their national and international brainwashing campaign. The reality is still this: the real dictatorship was that of the Bolshevik party, a dictatorship centred on the Party cells not the soviets. Thus was how the Bolshevik party not of the proletariat, the only one not to have betrayed the workers before the revolution, betrayed them as soon as it achieved victory, i.e. when it believed that there were no longer any dangers.

The theorists of the dictatorship over the proletariat who envisaged the Bolshevik party as, so to speak, a guide within the democratic soviet regime in effect envisaged it as having a monopoly of proletarian social control. These theorists provided an opening for the bureaucratic degeneration which a combination of circumstances much facilitated.

The proletariat was dispossessed by men who enjoyed their confidence, by those who had led them in the assault and to victory, and above all by those who made up the great mass of parvenus.

A political party with a far-reaching social programme which calls for participation and control by all the workers should not aim to set itself up as dictator. The only guarantee is the proletarian class with all power to the soviets. Various writers have recounted in a general way all that has happened since the death of Lenin, but what is of interest for us in this book is to determine the outcome. The officials of the State and Bolshevik party, in socialising the land an in industrialising the country, more and more undermined the power of the workers and ended up having a monopoly of the State. To do this they had to ally themselves with the technical specialists who were indispensable to them; thus occurred the first great welding in the process of the formation of the new ruling class in Russia. The Stakhanovite campaign is an expression of this and at the same time a new method of spurring on the mass of workers to greater productivity. Other weldings were to follow with the regime’s sycophants through the purchase of high posts in the army and semi-State bureaucracy.

We have thus now reached a point where economic and political control is monopolised by the bureaucracy and has been authorised by the new Constitution. Within this bureaucracy there is simply a division of labour which, taken as a whole, has the aim of maintaining political domination and economic privileges. The bureaucrats with their families form a mass of about 15 million people. There are enough of them to form a class and, since Trotsky assures us that 40 per cent of production is grabbed by the bureaucracy, we can say that this class is privileged too!

This class is all-powerful for it controls the economic levers, which an expressly trained police State protects. It determines wages and selling prices to the public as it thinks fit, with mark-ups over the cost price such that the “bloodsucking” capitalists of long ago appear to us as “honest traders.” The few facts we have allow us to state that the mark-ups on the cost price of primary necessities are two or three times greater than the mark-ups employed in the reviled capitalist countries.

Citrine provides us with unchallengeable information. Sometimes the bureaucrats buy corn from the peasants at a very low price and then re-sell it to the workers at a price ten times higher. The economic plan is of course the province of the bureaucracy and investments naturally go to the projects which most benefit the interests of the new class. The Soviet press itself documents the miserable housing conditions of the workers to whom on average 5 square metres of accommodation is allocated. Well, instead of building new houses for the workers, they plan to build for instance a “House of the Soviets,” 360 metres high, since in reality this is not the House of the Soviets but the House of the bureaucracy. If called upon to justify this misadministration of public money the bureaucrat always replies that the workers did not object, as they could have done since the workers of the USSR are allowed to give their opinion and even to oppose the wishes of their masters. There is a solidarity among the bureaucrats (officials, technical specialists, policemen, officers, journalists, writers, trade union bigwigs and finally the whole communist party) so that mistakes are blamed on the workers, who are tied like slaves to the economic machine of the State, which the bureaucrats describe with crowning derision as an organ of the proletarian class.

The officials govern and the technical specialists are also their industrial representatives. The police have the task of protecting the new property and of keeping the citizens’ conduct on the political line decided by the top hierarchs. Journalists and writers have the task of “scientifically” tricking the general public. The trade union bosses have become veritable officials, placed right in the midst of the workers in order to sound out their mood and to trick them, as has been and still is done in all workers’ organisations, yellow or red, in all capitalist countries. There is not much difference between the Soviet and American trade union bureaucracies as far as aims are concerned. But there is an essential difference since, whereas the trade union bureaucracy in the capitalist countries serves the bourgeoisie, in the Soviet State they serve the State bureaucracy and thereby themselves.

The Russian communist party has become a victim to the bureaucrats and the workers are virtually no longer present in its midst. This party is nothing else but the dog which keeps the sheep in order; Stalin, following behind with his crook on his shoulder and his bag slung across his back, is the “great shepherd.” If some sheep leaves the ranks, the dog barks and Stalin hits it. The flock takes heed, stands afraid of the dog and addresses its plaintive bleatings to the “great shepherd.”

The proletariat has the right only to work in the enterprises whose ownership is still mockingly attributed to them even though they do not have the least controlling function. Theirs is only to sweat blood and water since they are spurred on by systems which not only are not socialist, but which are also worse than those in fashion in the never-so-reviled capitalist countries.

This sketch is not our invention, but is only the conclusion drawn from the treatment of this question by the “specialists” whose views we will later be discussing. It can be seen clearly from this sketch that this society has nothing to do with socialism. Everybody is agreed on this point, except of course Stalin and the Soviet bureaucracy.

The ownership of the means of production has been socialised and the economy is planned — this is the big argument of Trotsky and company and all shades of anti-Third International revolutionary sects.

According to Trotsky, despite everything else the Soviet State remains working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat is still in force! We will deal with this question later, now we merely wish to work out with the aid of common sense the nature of the Soviet State; we will then go on to examine the arguments which are said to be “scientific.”

In our opinion, another ruling class, the bureaucracy, has emerged from the October revolution and its receding, while the bourgeoisie has been dispensed with and, consequently, has no possibility of returning.

The possession of the State gives the bureaucracy possession of all movable and immovable goods which, although socialised, do not less belong in toto to this new ruling class. It goes without saying that the new class takes good care not to officially declare that it enjoys this possession, but it in fact controls all the economic levers and has its property guarded by the GPU and the bayonets of the “purged” army. Each enterprise has its GPU corps which mounts guard, but in the large enterprises there is even a soldier of the regular army who mounts guard, bayonet on his gun. He checks those who go in, examines documents and follows the visitor step by step, even if he is an important person with whom care should be taken like the trade unionist Walter Citrine.

The Soviet State is becoming bureaucratic rather than socialist; indeed, instead of gradually disappearing into a classless society, it is inflated beyond measure. Fifteen million individuals are already stuck to the trunk of the State and are sucking its sap. The proletarian class is exploited en bloc in accord with the transformation of property. The bureaucratic class exploit’s the proletariat and, through fixing wages and the selling prices of commodities in the State shops, determines the standard at which this class shall live. The new dominant class has bought the proletariat en bloc. The workers no longer even have the freedom to offer their “labour power” to different enterprises: it is the monopolising bureaucracy which has perfected this system of exploitation. The Russian proletarians have fallen out of the frying pan into the fire.

Socially this new form of society resolves the untenable contradiction which has made capitalist society incapable of any progress. In capitalist society the form of production has long since been collective, for everybody participates directly or indirectly in the production of no matter what commodity. But the ownership of commodities is individual precisely as a consequence of the maintenance of private property. Through the socialisation of property and in its being effectively placed under the control of a class which acts as a harmonious whole, the contradiction existing in the capitalist system of production is made to disappear and is replaced by a new system. In the beginning this system exploits the workers ferociously just as capitalism did at one time. To the extent that the system strengthens and perfects itself production increases and the ruling class will then be in a position to distribute a bigger ration to those it exploits. In a normal international environment production on a collective basis should with certainty grow even though directed by the bureaucracy, since today’s enormous expenditure on armaments would be eliminated or at least much reduced. Armaments always do well and States are changed into thoroughly militarist organisms. This enormous waste of labour can neutralise, and even negate, the impulse which production incontestably receives following the collectivisation of property and organisation of the economy according to a pre-established plan.

This new social system arises in the evolution of human history as a parasitic phenomenon. Power should logically have passed from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat, but this has not occurred clearly because of the political immaturity of the proletariat. In fact, it has passed to a social control which is neither bourgeois nor proletarian. The person of the bourgeois capitalist has become superfluous in large-scale production and he is automatically pushed aside. The former official, the pen-pusher for the bourgeoisie, by allying himself with the trade union bureaucracy and that of the totalitarian State, acquires a status: a new class rises on the horizon. Only the near future can tell if this new class, which is springing up all over the world, will be able to first smooth out all the difficulties left over from imperialism and then to increase the volume of production by employing the new method of economic and political organisation. It will also be seen if this class is able to improve the living conditions of the masses; it is here that it will give the proof of its “virtuosity.”

The political symptoms tally with the nascent bureaucratisation of the world. Munich was only a first coagulation of the bureaucratic consciousness. The capitalists and the representatives of the new regimes, after having reciprocally pushed each other to the edge of the abyss, suddenly came to an agreement; they were certainly spurred on by a premonition of the coming evolution of society. The old imperialisms, French, English and American, realise that it is useless and impossible to maintain their hegemony over a world which, if it wants to survive, can remain imperialist no longer and which is visibly changing in a bureaucratic direction.

The old democracies play out the role of an anti-fascist policy so as not to awake sleeping dogs. The proletarians have to be kept quiet while the transformation of society in the meantime surreptitiously takes place in their countries. At the same time, and at every moment, the old democracies feed their workers on anti-fascism. It is the doing of these democracies, in order to appease the revolutionary ardour of the workers and to sell the products of their heavy industry, that Spain has meanwhile become a veritable slaughterhouse for proletarians of all nations. In China the workers are urged on to an anti-Japanese policy precisely under the leadership of the notorious Chiang Kai-Chek, he who still has hands sullied with the blood of the flower of the Chinese proletariat. It goes without saying that this time too the workers swallow all this and go single file, without knowing anything, almost resigned. The workers of France, England and America will gradually lose their status of citizens and will become simply the “subjects” of a bureaucratic regime which will nationalise property and take many other measures with a “socialist” imprint. The regime will not call itself fascism or national-socialism, it will certainly have another name, but its basis will still be the same, i.e.: property collectivised in the hands of the State, with a bureaucracy as the ruling class; collective and planned organisation of production; finally, the exploitation of the worker will pass from the sphere of the individual to that of the class.

At this point the Marxist Trotsky will cry at the top of his voice that, contrary to what he tells us about Russia, not only are the conditions of distribution not socialist but neither are the conditions of production; then he will go further and carry on revolutionary propaganda against the bureaucracy of the whole world!

The consolidation of this bureaucracy is, according to him, “a historic possibility and not an already accomplished fact.” [1] Thus we must wait until the fact is accomplished to give Trotsky the material for his analysis! Then the proletariat, already under the tutelage of bureaucratic governments, will have to be called upon to act; imagine the result!

Trotsky’s study may well be scientific and 100 per cent Marxist, but this will come too late when there is no longer any possibility of doing anything! He may even be able to convince the bureaucratic leaders who, in reply, will call him a fascist; I don’t care.

The accomplished fact exists in Russia and it must be examined more deeply. This fact is visibly in the course of being accomplished in Italy and Germany. And the first signs of this fact are sprouting up everywhere, even in the big democracies.

There remains one card for precisely Trotsky to play, but we are convinced that he has no desire at all to use it. His great figure is slowly declining in a grey sky, while at the same time the memory of a sunny day is fading, blotted out by the rising twilight. Before committing suicide, Joffre wrote Trotsky a letter in which he recommended him not to be afraid of isolation as long as he maintained the Leninist line intact. It seems to us that Trotsky has followed this advice to the letter, but that he certainly has not followed Lenin’s way. When the Russian Social Democratic party split, when Plekhanov was thrown out of the window, Lenin many times begged Trotsky to stay with him. He did not succeed, but when in 1917 Leon Trotsky returned to St. Petersburg and recognised that he had been wrong, then Lenin welcomed him into the ranks of the Bolsheviks since he understood that a political mistake was not a betrayal. Trotsky, on the other hand, has broken off relations with those who do not think like him. He has trained in his school young people who follow “the line” according to his system. The Danton of the October revolution does not even suspect that he could be wrong. He is too sure of himself. This is alright up to a certain point, but it is a real calamity when the reasoning is based on doubtful polemical methods. This means that one does not have enough confidence in the strength of one’s case. If this is so, it should prompt the taking into consideration of the other person’s reasons and the recognition of one’s own faults without fear since any other solution will lead to much worse results.

In our opinion, the USSR is a new type of society, ruled by a new social class: that is our conclusion. Property has been collectivised and belongs effectively to this class which has set up a new — and superior — system of production. Exploitation passes from the sphere of the individual to that of the class.

The political struggles which have taken place in the USSR since 1923 were all battles in which the new class in formation fought the proletariat; it is not important that in the beginning these struggles did not have a clearly-defined aim. The massacre of the Leninist Old Guard, and of all those who might offend the bureaucracy, which has been the delight of the Soviet Union since the death of Kirov is only the civil war needed by the new class to consolidate its power. It is not a sign of weakness, but a demonstration of the strength of this class.

The USSR has long since abandoned all revolutionary tendencies and has fallen at the feet of the Franco-English bourgeoisie. The capitalists are fully convinced that there exists in Russia today the appearance only, intended for simpletons, of revolution and socialism; that is why they have invited and accepted the Soviet Union into their Geneva sanctuary. At home the capitalists protest against the revolutionary manoeuvrings of the Comintern but only to trick the proletarians. What is important are the facts which tell us that from now on and for many years the USSR has been coupled to the bourgeois train of capitalism. In fact Paris, London and New York have clearly recognised in the so-called Soviet Republic a State which exploits and oppresses the workers.

Despite the real political and social situation in Stalin’s land, Leon Trotsky and his disciples claim that the USSR is still a Workers’ State with a regime of proletarian dictatorship. They, and those who follow the current of ideas which rejects the policy of the Third International, are the only ones who in their discussions are interested in the nature of the Soviet State, even if only indirectly. We go on to polemic with Trotsky and his disciples because we have now definitively formed our judgement on the present social nature of the Soviet Republic.

II. In the Camp of Agramant

Discord among the fugitives and exiles from the Third International is as great as that which reigned in the camp of Agramant. Trotsky no longer even replies to his ultra-left opponents since, he says, “they replace scientific analysis by noisy shouting.”[2] Splits, expulsions, fins de non recevoir, orders to maintain the discussion on the pre-established line, all these have not however been able to stifle the question. It barely appears but it does appear all the time, even though the circle of members is narrowing, and acts like an axe which from time to time comes down on the trunk of the Fourth International before it has gained strength.

Trotsky replies to comrades B and C — not better identified — in an article entitled “A non-proletarian and non-bourgeois State?”

This is the reply, superfluous for a Marxist who follows the Master’s thought to the letter: “The bourgeois State must be swept away by the proletarian revolution and replaced by the workers’ State. There is no middle way for history” [3].

It is true that Marx always said this, just as he said other things which have not come about since. We don’t hold this against him; on the contrary we believe that his greatest merit was to have taught the study of social facts and to have provided the researcher with a wonderful means for interpreting history. It seems to us that the Marxists should study the facts which exist in the light of the Marxist method and that they should not confine themselves to checking to see if these facts correspond to one of the catalogue headings of the forecasts of the greater thinker or his greatest disciples. Such a method is hopeless and the Marxists, in adopting it, change themselves into Jesuits, who when they run short of arguments inundate you with quotes from some saint or other in order to oppose your view. If you dare to reply that even these blessed ones could be wrong, the Jesuit loses his temper and simply tells you that you doubt the divinations of the saints so that it is quite pointless to prolong the discussion. You are not a Catholic, you are among the damned, just as your spirit is damned since it is deprived of grace!

Marx has in a sense been sanctified, and if by your reasoning you happen to come to conclusions different from the forecasts of the Jew of Trier, your place is among the damned, even if in your study of today’s social facts you made use of the Marxist method of research.

Comrades B and C state that the USSR has ceased to be a Workers’ State “in the traditional sense given to this expression by Marxism.” They deny that it is either a bourgeois State or a proletarian State — we wonder, in passing, what kind of State it in fact is. Then these comrades admit that the rule of the proletariat “ can . . . be expressed in a considerable number of government forms” and go on to proclaim later that “the conception of the dictatorship of the proletariat is in the first place not economic, but above all a political category . . . All forms, organs, institutions of the class rule of the proletariat are today destroyed; but this means that the class rule of the proletariat is destroyed” [4].

There is also much confusion in the ideas of B and C, reflecting a state of mind where ideas are in the process of formation.

Trotsky concedes fully that the dictatorship of the proletariat is a completely political category and declares that politics is only concentrated economics and so the “regime that defends expropriated and nationalised property against imperialism is, independent of the political forms, a dictatorship of the proletariat.” That’s it except, we would add, the bureaucracy would not have to be a class which found expropriated and nationalised property to be in its interest.

Can the nature of a State be judged without taking into account its political forms? Are the forms of property and relations of production already completely changed when a State consolidates itself by overthrowing another? Is not this, on the contrary, the task of the new ruling class? Did the government of the Third Estate in France not support itself for a few years on a feudal economy? During such periods concentrated economics clearly cannot be politics; politics is rather concentrated potentially in the social class which has its hands on the levers of control and in the programme which it is putting into practice.

Trotsky even admits that “during the first few months of the Soviet regime the proletariat administered a bourgeois economy.” This admission was certainly not made to support our theory, but with the aim of illustrating a case of class contradiction between the political form and the economic reality in order to conclude that:

“the concentration of power in the hands of the bureaucracy and even the encroachment upon the development of the productive forces does not of itself alter the class nature of the society and of its State.”

But, in our view, the main point is to see with what end in view the expropriated and nationalised property in Soviet Russia is defended from imperialism, supposing this imperialism still to be an effective force. Who can assure us that an invader, whoever it be, imperialist or not, would change the form of property in the USSR?

If it is true that in the first months of the Soviet regime the proletariat administered a bourgeois economy and that now there exists an opposite case of class contradiction between the economy and the State, well, is this a good reason for validating the theory that the dictatorship of the proletariat is still a reality in the land of the Soviets? And, finally, for attaching no value to the reverse contradiction? Decidedly, this is a strange way of reasoning! In other words, if a proletarian State has existed with a bourgeois economy, why could not a non-proletarian State exist with a nationalised economy? Perhaps this cannot be admitted only because a phenomenon of this kind has never been seen or because Marx did not envisage it? It seems to us that our theory is the most logical since all the other factors which serve to characterise the nature of a State have been turned upside down in Stalin’s land. Not in the least, considers Trotsky, even the second and inverse proposition must help prove his theory. (Let us point out that this second proposition ought not to come about in a regime aiming at socialism, while the first is understandable and clear to everybody.)

In the first months following the October revolution, the proletarian dictatorship was a true, real fact; if everybody is agreed on this point, even though there was no nationalised property, this means that the dictatorship of the proletariat is in the first place a question of political and not economic forms, at least during the phase of transition between the bourgeois economy and the socialist economy.

From what we know it follows that the proletarian dictatorship is the political form of the working class during this phase, that of social construction. But when its specific products cease it is logical to consider that the phase itself has ceased to exist. Until the day when, on socialism being achieved, the proletarian dictatorship disappears, political factors will have their word to say in the classification of the type of power. As it is true, as everyone admits, that not even as a result of the nationalisation of property is socialism an accomplished fact in the USSR, it seems evident to us that the nationalisation of property and the planned economy are not sufficient reasons to prove the existence of the proletarian dictatorship. For this the proletariat must also hold power — that’s a self-evident truth. This condition is so important that, whereas we have seen a genuine proletarian dictatorship while the economy was still bourgeois, or a Third Estate ruling over a feudal economy, we have not yet seen the opposite case appearing in history. The USSR of today is far from convincing us. It has to be a form of society which is neither capitalist nor socialist, and a form of State which is neither proletarian nor bourgeois. We still consider that the dictatorship of the proletariat, after realising the nationalisation of property, should continue its way, following the socialist programme. However everybody, and Trotsky first of all, accepts that this way was not subsequently followed in the land of the Soviets. Thus of what dictatorship of the proletariat are we speaking? Of the dictatorship of the proletariat which has wiped out the revolutionaries and which organises, with the help of murders and sell-outs, the sabotage of the proletarian revolution in the world? Or is it perhaps that one which makes the difference between the classes ever wider?

“The USSR does not correspond to the criterion of a Workers’ State that is advanced in our programme ... History ... gave us the process of the degeneration of the Workers’ State,” Trotsky tells us. But what is left for us, then, after this degeneration of the workers’ State and of the dictatorship of the proletariat? “Nationalised property and the planned economy,” replies Trotsky. That’s very well, but what is their aim? Is it the realisation of socialism? Obviously not, and even Trotsky denies that it is. So? So, if nationalised property and the planned economy remain, this happens because they both suit the interests of the regime in power. In fact, the Soviet bureaucracy has no reason to eliminate these innovations of the October revolution but, on the contrary, has political and social reasons for maintaining them. From the political point of view, the Soviet bureaucracy tricks the workers by telling them that the nationalised property is theirs and, from the social point of view, it cannot go against the current, i.e. against the development of production. Even the bourgeois States themselves are proceeding more and more to the nationalisation of property and the planning of the economy. In doing this, they are undermining the sacred right of private property, but where this work has already been accomplished does this right need to be destroyed? If only for this, a new reverse transformation of property in Russia is not to be feared.

All the facts prove to us that this domination of the bureaucracy in the late land of the Soviets is real. This has lasted for so long that a clear differentiation of classes has been established. All the political and social acts are those of a dominant class concerned with maintaining and strengthening its power. Well, according to Trotsky, it is not scientific to consider that the Soviet bureaucracy, which monopolises the government, can be a new class!

“It is not a question of a new bourgeoisie,” we are told; or “it is not yet” and so it is not a class but a “clerk"! Although tradition, even at home, teaches us that many “clerks” have ended up by becoming masters, in the camp of Agramant they are unable to envisage a new class apart from the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, even if the latter is well dead and the former is whipped by a new master. It has to be a case of a simple clerk, almost an ordinary bureaucrat, who in the case of the USSR becomes the valet of world imperialism, including, at least one would say, Italo-Japano-German imperialism!

We do not think that Marxism can lead to such nonsense. Simplification has always been a vice of Marxists, even though the essence of the doctrine of their master is universal. Marx could not foresee the coming of the totalitarian State, dominated first by a clique and then by a social stratum which later consolidated itself definitively as a class. But the facts are there to examine and ideas do not fall from the sky. Even in the camp of Agramant these ideas fall in rare and large flakes, real signs of a coming snowstorm.

The Marxists, who claim to be orthodox, are not content to examine the facts in a Marxist way, they enquire about what’s beneath them! They have discovered that whoever reasons like us is a victim of a mirage, whereas in reality it is they who put the world on its head like the idealist philosophers of the past. They serve us their knowledge on plates garnished with Marxist dialectic, a dialectic which we hold to be based on the class struggle, but they, the Marxists, do not see that all over the world a new class is crystallising. Trotsky, wishing to disregard or ignore the bureaucratic class in power, tells us in order to explain what is now happening in the land of the Soviets:

“With full justification one can say: the ruling proletariat in a backward and isolated country remains still an oppressed class. The source of this oppression is world imperialism, the transmission machinery is the bureaucracy.”

Trotsky, thanks to his mind and skill, knows how to make the most extravagant theories seem realistic and a superficial observer is easily taken in by the beauty of the explanations of this well-established thinker. That may be, but we are not affected. It is a fact that if the international proletariat had beaten imperialism as it emerged laden with crimes from the bloodbath of 1914-18 we would now have a world soviet republic developing in a socialist direction. Up to a certain point, therefore, we can ourselves also hold that the origin of the oppression comes from imperialism; but the most important question is to establish whether the Soviet bureaucracy is something other than a transmission machinery.

The USSR, besieged by capitalism, has degenerated more and more, while the machinery of this process is embodied in the Soviet bureaucracy. But what is the social outcome of this regression? Perhaps it is not the all-powerfulness of this “transmission machinery"? Perhaps it is not the defenestrating of proletarian power to make way for what is called the agent of imperialism? Perhaps even this supposed valet of imperialism can be envisaged as defending the conquests of the October revolution? We think, on the contrary, that such a valet would obey a new master and that it would give the revolutionary conquests a third-class burial. We see it in fact emptying the soviets of their class content, enchaining the proletariat, physically destroying the Marxists and, finally, distinguishing between imperialisms in order to join the strongest and oldest clique. We also see it playing roles in the international arena which are prompted not with a view to re-introducing capitalism into their country, but in exchange for the protection it receives for its present regime of slavery. If it becomes patriotic and warlike this is only for reasons of self-preservation.

Trotsky does not deny these facts, but he adds that the Soviet regime maintains and defends nationalised property:

“As long as this contradiction is not taken out of the sphere of distribution into the sphere of production . . . the State remains proletarian.”

Trotsky and all the Marxists cannot envisage a society which is neither bourgeois nor socialist. A new social form which organises production on the basis of nationalised property and the planned economy must be basically proletarian, even if the measures applied in the sphere of distribution are anti-socialist! As far as we are concerned, in Russia the proletariat after a short period of power has only changed masters. The bureaucratic State of today maintains the forms of collective property and a planned economy only because these forms accord with its nature, just as the Roman Empire absorbed the religion of Christ and the One God in place of the innumerable pagan gods because this suited its interest. These new economic forces are growing up everywhere on Earth, beginning in the weak capitalist countries which are least able to resist the general disappearance of capitalism. Since the latter has accomplished its historic task and the proletarian revolution has not triumphed, the world has been obliged to continue its evolution with a new social form, even if Marx did not foresee this form and if Messieurs the Marxists have not noticed it!

The “clerk” who according to Trotsky is only the transmission machinery of imperialism has dominated Russia for twenty years and rules a country which is a sixth of the world, with a population of 180 million inhabitants. Clearly, the clerk has alarming proportions, much greater than those of its masters themselves. A domination of this kind needs a “staff” which for us is, on the national scale, a class. To strengthen this domination, this class extends into all social spheres and, where it encounters resistance, overcomes it by climbing over mountains of bodies. The bureaucratic regime in the USSR has sacrificed first the Communist Party and the Third International and then the Red Army itself. Work of this magnitude cannot be done by “cliques” or “staffs” or “clerks,” but only by classes.

III. Class Property

Since Trotsky attaches an inordinate importance to the fact that the contradiction has not passed from the sphere of distribution into that of production, he can be considered as conceiving Soviet production to have a proletarian character. It seems to us that, here again, there is a mirage and that it is not us who are its victims.

Production is considered to have a sufficiently socialist character to assure us that the continuation of the Workers’ State from the sole fact that property is nationalised and the economy planned. In reality, the whole system of production remains collective, as in the organisation of large capitalist enterprises, while property passes from the private to the collective form. It follows, therefore, that if economic characteristics are the only determining factors of the nature of a State, we are reduced as far as the USSR is concerned to nationalisation and State planning.

It remains for us to see what the nationalisation of property in the USSR in fact means. It is here that we also, without claiming to be orthodox Marxists, will allow ourselves to look beneath the facts. The nationalisation of property was certainly the first revolutionary measure that the proletarian class in power decreed with a view to constructing socialism. But, with the Stalinist degeneration, this construction stopped; since this nationalisation should have been followed by the socialisation of property, it is logical to ask what it has become from the sociological point of view. Everybody in the camp of Agramant is agreed on this point. Trotsky adds that the distribution of products is done in such a way that the bureaucracy allocates itself the lion’s share. We wonder what sort of “nationalised” property this is where the property is exclusively directed by a class which then lays hold of the products with as much effrontery as the old bourgeoisie. There exists in Russia in fact an exploiting class which controls the means of production and which behaves as their owner. The members of this class do not share this property out but are themselves, in a bloc constituting a class, the real owners of the whole nationalised property.

Property, after having been everybody’s and non-existent for the men of distant times, passed collectively to the communities to be transformed afterwards into private property. Now it seems that, as class property, it is again taking on a collective form.

In Russia the exploiting class has become an owning class, and so realised its legal-social nature. To avoid the assault of the workers, they fool them with the “nationalisation” of property as if in fact such property belonged to everybody. Despite this they are afraid and, being unable to carry on their work in a democratic environment, are condemned, at least for the moment, to construct a police State. Property forms must go in line with the system of production. If the exploiting class is not up to the task which history has assigned it, it will break up and a new class will emerge which we can describe as historically parasitic. Perhaps it is thus that the judgment of history is realised. The contradiction, peculiar to capitalist society, between the method of production and the form of property has been resolved in the USSR, even without establishing socialism and without raising the proletariat to be the ruling class. Exploitation remains but, instead of being exercised by individuals on individuals, is exercised by one social class on another. The exploitation of man, under the pressure of inevitable economic development, has taken a new form. Private property has become collective, but of a class. We know of no other way of defining this “national” property which does not belong to everybody, which is neither bourgeois nor proletarian, is not private nor socialist either.

Trotsky is unable to see the new exploiting class in Russia, he cannot see the progressive extinction of the bourgeoisie in the world, he does not observe the more and more noticeable establishment of class property not only in Russia but in the totalitarian countries as well. He sees the world “as a decaying bourgeois society.” This is very little for a Marxist with pretensions to scientific analysis. From Mussolini to Labriola, from Tardieu to Wallace, all the literature of this quarter of a century is only an accusation and a sarcasm directed against old bourgeois society. The De Profundis has been sung for capitalism in every language. It seems to us that the task of scientific Marxists, the trustees of the dialectic of the class struggle, is not to extricate themselves from this difficulty by a commonplace definition. Their task is precisely to see what changes are taking place in classes in this epoch where capitalism is ending and then to identify the new property forms and new social relationships. We thus see that not even the famous surplus value has disappeared in this enigmatic State which is the Soviet Union. Everyone is agreed on this, but dissension arises when it comes to determining where this surplus value finally goes. Does it go to the non-existent bourgeoisie? No. Perhaps it goes to the workers? Not at all, since, if it did, socialism in a single country would have been established and it is precisely this that is “the big lie.” Perhaps we should consider that the surplus value goes to the Workers’ State? For the reason just mentioned this would be the triumph of Stalinism whose N° 1 enemy is Trotsky. If someone claims that surplus value has disappeared in the land of the Soviets, it would then have to be deduced that labour power is no longer bought. Then socialism would be a reality, which is against all the evidence.

In fact there is only one possible reply that can be admitted: the surplus value goes to the new exploiting class, to the bureaucracy en bloc. When bourgeois society is seen as decaying, this means that it is losing its economic characteristics; this means also that the particular characteristics of the dominant class are disappearing and that society is changing. The phenomenon, completed in the so-called Soviet State, is taking shape everywhere in the world. The class property which in Russia is a fact is certainly not registered with any lawyer or in any register of property. The new Soviet exploiting class has no need of such nonsense. It has the force of the State in its hands and that is worth much more than the old registrations of the bourgeoisie. It defends its property with machine-guns, with which its all-powerful oppressive apparatus is provided, and not with lawyers’ deeds.

If the thesis that nationalised property really belongs to everybody can be supported by fascism with its concept of class collaboration and of the State above classes, we do not understand how Marxists, even scientific Marxists, can extricate themselves on this point. According to Marx and Lenin, the State is only the dominant class’s organ of oppression. As long as the State exists in fact, classes remain and property, under the aegis of the State, is managed by the dominant class using its apparatus of domination.

Speaking like the Marxist, the concept of nationalised property is nonsense, it is anti-scientific and anti-Marxist. According to Marx, property from being private should become socialist and he understood it to be socialist, or at least potentially, even during the period of the proletarian dictatorship. According to the Marxist theory, behind the State there is always a class, and if the possibility of an intermediate form of property (class property) was not foreseen, this comes almost certainly from the miscalculation of assuming as certain the rapid disappearance of classes after the proletariat takes power. In reality, during the dictatorship of the proletariat property has a class character, it belongs to the workers who manage it, so it shows its socialist character only potentially. If property is nationalised in a non-proletarian regime, it loses its character as potential socialist property and remains class property only.

In the case of the USSR, a State where the bourgeoisie has scarcely any weight, if the State remains, this means that at least two classes are still in existence and are effective. If common sense refuses to hold that the Soviet workers are the owners of the means of production, it is logical to consider that the ownership of the means of production belongs effectively to the bureaucracy. A clerk! Far from it, it is a well-established owner! The fact which is very probably at the origin not only of the discord in the camp of Agramant but also of the political confusion in the world is that a transitional form of property between private property and socialist property was not foreseen. In addition, the work of Stalin, Mussolini or Hitler is everywhere described either as socialism or as capitalism, whereas in reality it is only bureaucratic collectivism.

In the camp of Agramant terrific efforts are made to avoid these logical deductions: it could be said that there is a chorus of cats in the mating season there, spending the nights of March tearing apart our soul with their mournful bawling.

Lieutenant Naville, who had been asked “what was the difference between private property and collective property if a bureaucracy only was able to benefit from the latter,” replies “that there would only be a difference of degree between capitalist private property and the gigantic ‘private’ property of the ‘bureaucracy’.” [5] What a discovery! The property of many millions of citizens, considered as a social group, would still remain private property. But will this scientific Marxist then tell us what he understands by collective property? Perhaps this Solon takes human society for a limited company with shares? Human societies must be considered as single wholes and not as aggregations. Private property remains such as long as continual “Statisation” does not change its characteristics. Even capital is not such until it has attained a certain size. Hegel’s dialectical law of the transformation of quantity into quality is valid for property also, we say so with or without the permission of the whole camp of Agramant. The first crystallisation of collective property was identified with class property, even under the proletariat. The Marxists have not foreseen nor seen this, but that’s another matter.

If, according to Naville, the property of the fascist State take-overs remains private — even if this process is going to totally swamp capitalism — we do not see the reason why we should not also consider Soviet nationalised property as private, seeing that in Russia the process has been completed and the bureaucracy is its great beneficiary! This deduction is logical on Naville’s reasoning, even if it is false. In reality, the nationalisation of the means of production in Russia has created a collective, though class, form of property which resolves the capitalist contradiction between collective production and private appropriation. We cannot use two measures when studying social facts. We also state that the basic economic acts of the totalitarian States, involving nationalisation and economic planning, are leading to the disappearance of the same contradiction. This has social consequences, viz: the appearance of class property and the domination of the bureaucracy, the extinction of the bourgeoisie, and the transformation of the proletarians into State subjects.

Referring to bureaucracy in general, Naville goes on:

“Whether it has property titles or not (and it has not), the bureaucracy cannot freely control the use of (distribute) either the accumulated capital or the surplus value produced. Theirs is not a case of capitalist private property, even in its State monopoly stage.”

It seems to us that the opposite is true. The Soviet bureaucracy in particular controls the use of the amassed capital and distributes the surplus value. Trotsky goes so far as to say:

“What was only a ‘bureaucratic distortion’ is preparing to swallow up the Workers’ State, skin, hair and all, and on the ruins of nationalised economy to build up a new possessing class” [6].

We add: who directs the economy? Who draws up the five-year plans? Who fixes the selling prices? And wages? Who decides the public works, industrial installations, etc., if not the Soviet bureaucracy? And if they do not control the use of this property who then does? Who has responsibility for distributing the surplus value? Perhaps the dead Tsarist bourgeoisie or world imperialism or the Russian proletarian? Naville does not give us any explanations and continues:

“Is it then a question of a new form of property, of historically established relations on the basis of collective appropriation but for the benefit of a particular class, the bureaucracy? In this case, the bureaucracy would have to be seen as benefiting from the system like a capitalist class because it would expropriate surplus value like a capitalist enterprise.”

Heavens, yes, that’s precisely it! However, the bureaucracy must be seen as benefiting from the class-divided system of society not as a capitalist class, but as a bureaucratic class. It grabs the surplus value not as a capitalist enterprise, but as a class exploiting en bloc.

Naville, on the other hand, replies thus to the question he timidly posed:

“History shows that the phenomenon of the production and appropriation of surplus value is not peculiar and limited to liberal capitalism or private monopoly. Ground rent and surplus value, which existed at the time of feudalism, became fully significant with the commodity economy and then industrial development. They continue to exist in the USSR, despite the denials of Stalin, Bukharin and their school. Only they are nationalised and therein lies the essential difference. If one wants to clarify the nature of present Soviet society, it is on this point also that one must avoid making errors.”

Driven into a corner, finding himself under the ineluctable necessity to admit that surplus value is “fully significant” in bureaucratic collectivism too, Trotsky’s disciple avoids the obstacle in a hardly scientific manner. He supports the ambiguous, anti-Marxist and reactionary position according to which ground rent and surplus value are nationalised in Soviet society. He sees some essential difference in this!

We are going to reply with the words of his master who, in The Revolution Betrayed, expressed himself thus:

“It is perfectly true that Marxists, beginning with Marx himself, have employed in relation to the workers’ state the terms state, national and socialist property as simple synonyms. On a large historic scale, such a mode of speech involves no special inconveniences. But it becomes the source of crude mistakes, and of downright deceit, when applied to the first and still unassured stages of the development of a new society, and one moreover isolated and economically lagging behind the capitalist countries.

“In order to become social, private property must as inevitably pass through the state stage as the caterpillar in order to become a butterfly must pass through the pupal stage. But the pupa is not a butterfly. Myriads of pupae perish without ever becoming butterflies. State property becomes the property of ‘the whole people’ only to the degree that social privilege and differentiation disappear, and therewith the necessity of the state. In other words: state property is converted into socialist property in proportion as it ceases to be state property. And the contrary is true: the higher the Soviet state rises above the people, and the more fiercely it opposes itself as the guardian of property to the people as its squanderer, the more obviously does it testify against the socialist character of this state property.” [7]

Thus it does not seem that so-called nationalisation of property leads to ground rent and surplus value being effectively nationalised, i.e. belonging to the whole people. There is no essential difference, except that the bourgeoisie is no longer the exploiting class that receives the surplus value, but it is the bureaucracy which is granted this honour. Naville identifies nationalised property with socialist property, which seems to us neither too scientific, nor too Marxist.

Such a mistake was excusable in Marx’s time, but the same mistake amongst his disciples is unpardonable since now the forecasts of the Master are becoming real, even if unclearly.

If one wants to assess “the nature of present Soviet society” errors on this point precisely must be avoided and what nationalised property is, sociologically speaking, must be gone into more deeply. Of course this work must be done in a scientific Marxist way if that pleases the knights of Agramant better. We do not claim that our answer is complete, we have only given the outlines.

If they pursue this line of reasoning, the coming of the totalitarian State in the world will also become clearer to those who up till now have shown us a complete incomprehension with regard to fascism, holding it to be the preserver and continuer of capitalism.

In these regimes a new ruling class in formation declares that capital serves the State, and then makes the facts conform. This class already largely fixes the prices of commodities and the wages of the workers and organises the national economy according to a pre-established plan.

Obviously, ownership of the means of production cannot be identified as easily as that of the means of consumption. The latter are for personal use, while the former are as immovable as mountains. There is no owner, nor any class, nor any State which can put them on its back and drag them where it wants. It is thus not surprising that there are times when it is difficult to determine who is their owner.

In our opinion, in the USSR the owners are the bureaucrats since it is they who have power in their hands. It is they who direct the economy, just as was normal amongst the bourgeois. It is they who reap the benefits, just as is normal for any exploiting class; those who fix wages and the selling prices of commodities are, once again, the bureaucrats.

The workers count for nothing in the control of society; further, they have no share in the receipts of surplus value and, what is still worse, have no interest in defending this alien nationalised property. The Russian workers are still exploited and the bureaucrats are their exploiters.

The nationalised property of the October revolution now belongs as a “whole” to the class which directs, exploits and ... defends it: it is class property.

In the course of the development of capitalism the system of production became collectivised; as a result private property could not escape collectivisation. This collective property is not however under the protection of the proletarian class; but under the protection of a new class which in the USSR is an accomplished fact and which in the totalitarian countries is in the course of formation.

IV. Bureaucratic Exploitation

“If it is true that the USSR has become settled in a new stable social form other than capitalism or socialism and that instead of the bourgeoisie another dominant class has arisen, will you also explain to us what is the new form of exploitation and by what means the surplus value is pumped out of the workers?”

Scientific Marxists have the right to speak like this, or something like it, and we will do our best to meet their wishes. While Trotsky agrees with Naville on the question of nationalised property as the characteristic of a Workers’ State, it does not seem that the Master is of the same opinion as the discipline when it comes to considering ground rent and surplus value as nationalised in Stalin’s land. Here’s what he tells us in The Revolution Betrayed:

“If we translate socialist relations, for illustration, into the language of the market, we may represent the citizen as a stockholder in a company which owns the wealth of the country. If the property belonged to all the people, that would presume an equal distribution of ‘shares’, and consequently a right to the same dividend for all ‘shareholders’. The citizens participate in the national enterprise, however, not only as “shareholders,” but also as producers. On the lower stage of communism, which we have agreed to call socialism, payments for labour are still made according to bourgeois norms — that is, in dependence upon skill, intensity, etc. The theoretical income of each citizen is thus composed of two parts, a + b — that is, dividend + wages. The higher the technique and the more complete the organization of industry, the greater is the place occupied by a as against b, and the less is the influence of individual differences of labour upon standard of living. From the fact that wage differences in the Soviet Union are not less, but greater than in capitalist countries, it must be inferred that the shares of the Soviet citizen are not equally distributed, and that in his income the dividend as well as the wage payment is unequal. Whereas the unskilled labourer receives only b, the minimum payment which under similar conditions he would receive in a capitalist enterprise, the Stakhanovist or bureaucrat receives 2a + b, or 3a + b, etc., while b also in its turn may become 2b, 3b, etc. The differences in income are determined, in other words, not only by differences of individual productiveness, but also by a masked appropriation of the products of the labour of others. The privileged minority of shareholders is living at the expense of the deprived majority.

“If you assume that the Soviet unskilled worker receives more than he would under a similar level of technique and culture in a capitalist enterprise — that is to say, that he is still a small shareholder — it is necessary to consider his wages as equal to a + b. The wages of the higher categories would be expressed with the formula: 3a + 2b, 10a + 15b, etc. This means that the unskilled worker has one share, the Stakhanovist three, the specialist ten. Moreover, their wages in the proper sense are related as 1:2:15. Hymns to the sacred socialist property sound under these conditions a good deal more convincing to the manager or the Stakhanovist, than to the rank-and-file worker or collective peasant. The rank-and-file workers, however, are the overwhelming majority of society. It was they, and not the new aristocracy, that socialism had in mind.”

We endorse this entirely, and if Trotsky says that a privileged minority lives at the expense of a deprived majority, we think Naville too should be convinced of it!

We do not even dare hope that we will be listened to, but it seems to us in passing that, if the nationalisation of surplus value and ground rent benefits only the bureaucrats, it is permissible to consider that the “nationalised” property is also the province of these bureaucrats and that it does not belong to the whole of society, for then it would be genuinely socialist. The French lieutenant, as a good disciple, has drawn from the concept of the Master conclusions regarding Soviet property. The deduction is exact but it is the premise that is not, so the result could only be wrong. Let him be annoyed with Trotsky if he wants or let him understand that in this world geniuses are only men and therefore fallible, and that even mediocrities can sometimes notice the mistakes of great men. Naville submits to us in this connection an interesting extract from Capital:

“The specific economic form, in which unpaid surplus-labour is pumped out of direct producers, determines the relationship of rulers and ruled, as it grows directly out of production itself and, in turn, reacts upon it as a determining element. Upon this, however, is founded the entire formation of the economic community which grows up out of the production relations themselves, thereby simultaneously its specific political form. It is always the direct relationship of the owners of the conditions of production to the direct producers — a relation always naturally corresponding to a definite stage in the development of the methods of labour and thereby its social productivity — which reveals the innermost secret, the hidden basis of the entire social structure and with it the political form of the relation of sovereignty and dependence, in short, the corresponding specific form of the state. This does not prevent the same economic basis — the same from the standpoint of its main conditions — due to innumerable different empirical circumstances, natural environment, racial relations, external historical influences, etc. from showing infinite variations and gradations in appearance, which can be ascertained only by analysis of the empirically given circumstances.” [8]

One would say that Marx had just written all this. We also fully consider that the innermost secret of a social edifice is revealed by the specific economic form in which surplus value is pumped out of the direct producers. But if this surplus value goes to a privileged class and if the ground rent of the collective farmers takes the same road (as Trotsky shows) and does not go to the State as Naville wants to prove with a naÔve example about a collective farm, that proves that the Soviet bureaucratic class is not an illusion but that it has the qualifications of a ruling and exploiting class.

Here is Naville’s example of the collective farm with which he shows us how only 37 per cent of production goes to the workers and the remainder to the State, only part of which goes directly to the bureaucracy:

“An example. Here is how ground rent goes back to the State. The distribution of products and money in a collective farm is carried on in accordance with regulations laid down by the government. First of all, a deduction is made for the benefit of the State whose amount varies according to the fertility of the region and with a maximum of 41 per cent of the crop. Then 2 to 3 per cent is deducted for administrative expenses and 13 to 25 per cent for the depreciation of the tractors and agricultural machinery and, finally, 10.5 per cent for the reserve fund. The rest is divided amongst the workers in proportion to the quantity and quality of work carried out by each of them.”

The essential point is to see if, through the percentages paid directly for the costs of administration, the bureaucrats are paid in line with the average wage of a worker; but it is still more interesting to see what the Soviet State does with the 60 per cent of production it corners. Does it totally put back this surplus value into circulation, in the interests of the mass of the people not in the government, or does it channel it in ways particularly dear to its specific qualities as a class State? The reply is almost pointless: Jesus Christ also first washed his feet so as to then leave the Apostles their turn. All the literature of the knights of Agramant, all of it we repeat, is there to make the accusation: “the extreme differentiation of income between Soviet citizens,” “the growing class differences,” “the new bureaucracy,” “the Soviet aristocracy,” “the lion’s share,” “the 40 per cent of production swallowed up by the bureaucracy,” “the growth of social antagonisms, of inequality,” and so on. It needs only the candid naivety of the philistine Naville to suppose that the surplus value extracted from the Soviet workers largely comes back to them via a so-called “Workers’ State.”

In reality, the bureaucratic State pays the surplus value in different ways to its officials who form a privileged class, directly installed in the State. We too have never seen a dominant class without a bureaucracy to directly control the State, nor a bureaucracy which was also a ruling class. But we see this today and we are also convinced that we are not taking illusions for reality. We are sorry for the knights of Agramant who today tilt at windmills or, better still, we are sorry for the Don Quixotes invading the camp cursed with the discord which a vindictive archangel has thrown there; but we believe this precisely is the social reality. These are the jokes of history, little revolutionary inconveniences for great scientific Marxists and philistines. To be fair, we must agree that Naville himself realises that the Soviet bureaucrats do not remain indifferent before the mountains of surplus value amassed by the Workers’ State; this is what he says:

“The Stalinists repeat that surplus value no longer exists in the USSR since ‘the factories belong to the workers’. But there is no point in opposing this absurdity with an absurdity just as great, viz., that the surplus value is produced and distributed as in the capitalist system and that consequently the relations of domination and servitude, as Marx put it, are the same as in capitalism. In reality, the specific form in which a part of the unpaid surplus labour is appropriated gives it the role and function of a semi-parasitic caste and, in certain of these strata, the direct tendency to push through as owners.

“The extreme differentiation of wages, a striking phenomenon full of significance, does not however exhaust the ‘innermost secret, the hidden foundation of the entire social edifice!'; the secret of the transitional State which is the USSR and the new contradictions which it conceals is revealed if the real meaning of the nationalisation measures is not lost sight of and if their real character is not masked by superficial analogies with the fascist Statism of Mussolini or Hitler.”

See how modest Naville finds these Soviet bureaucrats, precisely he who is always heaping insults on them.

These bureaucrats appropriate only a “part” of the unpaid surplus labour. Who knows with what instrument he can measure this? Then he sees in the bureaucracy a “semi-parasitic” caste. This is amusing, this “semi"! Similarly this caste should also be semi-ruling, semi-exploiting and semi-owning! It is true that the “innermost” secret is not at all exhausted by the “extreme differentiation of wages,” this is only an indicator. The innermost secret resides in the relation between the masters of the conditions of production and the direct producers: in algebraic form: masters/producers = innermost secret.

The denominator of this ratio is known since the direct producers are a known constant in social evolution (labour). The numerator, on the other hand, varies since the form of property varies in the course of economic development. It is precisely this term which must be identified and we have found it to be the bureaucracy, the owner, as a class, of the means of production en bloc. So we go on to write the relationship like this: bureaucrats/producers = innermost secret.

Without the new identification of property the innermost secret will remain a mystery!

If one wants to know the relations of domination and servitude, the way in which the surplus value is pumped out of direct producers must be sought.

In Soviet society the exploiters do not appropriate the surplus value directly, as the capitalist does in cashing the dividends of his enterprise, but they do so indirectly, through the State which appropriates the whole national surplus value and then shares it out amongst the officials themselves. A good part of the bureaucracy, viz., technical specialists, managers, Stakhanovites, etc., etc., are to a certain extent authorised to deduct directly their very high salaries at the enterprise they control. In addition, they also enjoy, as do all the bureaucrats, the State “services” paid from surplus value which, in honour of the forms of “socialist” life, are very important and very numerous in the USSR.

The bureaucracy as a whole pumps out the surplus value from the direct producers through a colossal inflation of the general expenses in the “nationalised” enterprises. It is a question, not of the 2 to 3 per cent for administrative expenses observed in Naville’s famous collective farm, but of enormous percentages which make the hairs of the most brazen capitalism stand on end and which are mentioned in the works of Trotsky himself.

We see then that exploitation passes from its individual form to a collective form, in accordance with the transformation of property. There is a class which en bloc exploits another in accordance with class property, and which then goes on to distribute through the State the proceeds internally amongst its members. (The inheritance of bureaucratic posts is to be expected.) The new privileged swallow up the surplus value through the State machine, which is not just a machine for political oppression but is also a machine for administering the nation’s economy. The machine for exploitation and for the maintenance of social privileges has been united in a single organ; a perfect apparatus, it could be said!

Labour power is no longer bought by the capitalists, but is monopolised by a single master: the State. The workers no longer go to offer their labour to different employers and chose the one who suits them the best. The law of supply and demand no longer functions: the workers are at the mercy of the State.

The general expenses of enterprises increase very considerably in the totalitarian States and even the big democracies are not spared this; these increasing expenses show us that Bureaucratic Collectivism is forming and class property crystallising everywhere in the world.

In the USSR wages are fixed by the “Planning” Commission, viz., the top bureaucracy. The selling prices to the public follow the same course. This allows us to realise by intuition that it is in the difference between the price of production of commodities and their selling price to the public that the bureaucracy makes its fortune.

The bureaucracy costs a lot, so it increases the price of production and in order to cover its salaries — more or less hidden — it goes on to include enormous mark-ups in the selling prices. The trade unionist Citrine, when he visited a shoe-making factory, was unable to obtain from the manager the selling price to the public of the shoes he was shown. But he was able to discover that in the shop situated inside the factory itself the price of the shoes was 32 roubles, whereas in other shops he found the same shoes at 70 roubles. It must be pointed out that the sale of articles in the factories where they are manufactured is very limited: the bureaucracy treats the workers as customers and sends them out to buy in the “State shops.”

In a regime with “socialist tendencies” a mark-up of 120 per cent seems to us outrageous, all the more so since capitalist shopkeepers limit themselves for the same article to an average of 40 per cent.

It is the bureaucracy which does the accounts of enterprises and of the State, and while it does not receive dividends as the old capitalists did, it freely arranges the investment of the sums accumulated. The whole meaning of the “happy life” which Stalin has announced lies in the mark-up of cost and selling prices imposed by the bureaucracy and in the investment of the reserve capital in “public works” that are useful to the bureaucratic class.

Mr. Naville will tell us that capital is accumulated for the State too, and for the future, through the establishment of large factories, power stations, etc., etc., but what exploiting class has not been obliged to do the same? The bourgeois also, while exploiting the proletarian, was able to lead a happy life and at the same time accumulate capital for mankind. He has left us the most perfect structure the world has ever seen. The bourgeois did not do all this as a gift to mankind, but because the imperatives of the development of production pushed him to perfect his machines, to rationalise work scientifically and to create model factories. Thus it was not philanthropy; the Soviet bureaucracy is obliged by the same laws to accumulate capital for the future, even though it still has an especially exploitative nature.

V. The Proletariat

What has become of this class in the USSR? Everybody takes it to be cheated, oppressed, exploited; but not a voice is raised to see if by chance the legal status of the workers, which was changed following the October revolution has not undergone a new change. Yet the direct producers have often changed their legal form: they have been slaves, serfs, proletarians, pariahs, etc. Not a voice has been raised of course because “it is written” that the proletariat will be the last exploited class to have the dishonour of appearing on the scene of History; then classes will disappear into a humanity of equals.

However observations are not lacking: “The worker in our country is not a wage slave and is not the seller of a commodity called labour power” says Pravda. Trotsky’s reply:

“For the present period this unctuous formula is impermissible bragging. The transfer of the factories to the state changed the situation of the worker only juridically. In reality, he is compelled to live in want and work a definite number of hours for a definite wage. Those hopes which the worker formerly had placed in the party and the trade unions, he transferred after the revolution to the state created by him. But the useful functioning of this implement turned out to be limited by the level of technique and culture. In order to raise this level, the new state resorted to the old methods of pressure upon the muscles and nerves of the worker. There grew up a corps of slave drivers. The management of industry became superbureaucratic. The workers lost all influence whatever upon the management of the factory. With piecework payment, hard conditions of material existence, lack of free movement, with terrible police repression penetrating the life of every factory, it is hard indeed for the worker to feel himself a ‘free workman’. In the bureaucracy he sees the manager, in the state, the employer. Free labour is incompatible with the existence of a bureaucratic state.

“With the necessary changes, what has been said above relates also to the country.” [9]

But if the State is the employer and the bureaucracy a manager, given that the State is an apparatus and that, from a Marxist point of view, behind the State there is always a class, is it not true that the bureaucrat-manager is also the employer and that the State is only his organ of oppression?

Further on Trotsky adds:

“When the new constitution announces that in the Soviet Union ‘abolition of the exploitation of man by man’ has been attained, it is not telling the truth. The new social differentiation has created conditions for the revival of the exploitation of man in its most barbarous form — that of buying man into slavery for personal service of another.” [10]

Is this agreed? Yes, “the buying of man for the personal service of another,” but then say it in a single word: slavery!

What in fact is meant by proletarian on the capitalist free market if not the free seller of his labour power? The proletarian is in the end someone who gets his food solely from the use of his muscles in a private enterprise. His wage is governed by the relation between supply and demand in a free market.

This law is not valid in the USSR. With the market closed and competition abolished it is the State which determines wages by using means which completely wipe out the law of supply and demand. To cast aside this law definitively the State has monopolised labour power. There is only one employer: it!

In the past the proletarian used to offer his services to whoever he preferred; he discharged himself at any moment and left when he pleased, he enjoyed trade union freedom and freedom of thought, the press, meeting and religion. The proletarian had to suffer the uncertainties of the market; he was like a free bird soaring high and able to nest anywhere on Earth.

The Soviet worker has only one master, he can no longer offer his commodity-labour, he is a prisoner with no choice. He has been put on “short rations,” he has been uprooted from his village and transplanted where it suits the State better and, finally, he needs a passport to travel internally. He is regarded by the State as a function of the national economy, his individuality disappears. The proletarian has become merely a small cog in an immense machine and only has social significance when placed in this machine.

The social relation between proletarians and capitalists was reduced to the simple expression of an act of buying and selling and the outcome consisted in the payment once a week of the wage. Beyond this simple and rapid gesture there was no other social link; each went his own way according to his tastes.

In contrast, the Russian worker is now continually and directly in contact with his master at the factory, at home, in school, in the trade union, at the theatre, in the country. He has to participate in political “meetings” and always says yes; whether he wants to or not he must pay his subscription, buy the paper and listen to the claptrap which his master lovingly prepares as daily food for his mind. If he wants to take part in politics, there is only one party to choose from; he enters it not as a free thinker but as a soldier. The Soviet bureaucracy is everywhere, like a divinity.

The State, the sole employer of labour, cannot permit itself the capitalist luxury of paying for labour power and from then on taking no interest at all in the human being who produces it. As a monopoly it can no longer restrict itself to the purchase of a certain amount of labour for a given period. In monopolising labour power without any time limit it in fact also becomes the owner of those who produce it. In the final analysis, today’s Soviet State has purchased en bloc the whole proletariat and the relation between employers and lenders of labour has completely changed. the worker of Russia today has ceased to be a proletarian and has taken on the characteristic of a slave.

Exploitation takes place just like in slave society, the State subject works only for the master who has bought him, he becomes his capital, he is the livestock which must be looked after and housed, in whose reproduction the master is greatly interested. Even the part-payment of the so-called wage in goods and State services must not deceive us and lead us to assume a socialist form of distribution: this represents in fact only the upkeep of a slave! The only fundamental difference is that in the past slaves were not given the honour of bearing arms, whereas the modern slaves are very ably taught the art of war.

They must be ready to let themselves be shot through by a machine-gun or shot to pieces by a cannon in the interests of our bureaucracy. From the cradle to the grave the Soviet worker belongs to the State.

It is the bureaucratic class that is the master of the working class, they decide the use of its labour power and of its blood; they give it the possibility of living at a “standard” superior to that of the slaves of Antiquity since everything is relative. But the Russian working class is no longer proletarian, it is only a slave. It is a slave both in its economic sense and in its social manifestation; it goes down on its knees when the “little father” passes and it deifies him, it takes on all the characteristics of servility and lets itself be driven from one end of the immense Empire to the other. It digs navigable canals, builds roads and railways just as in the past this same class put up the Pyramids and the Coliseum.

There is a small part of this class which is not yet lost in the most complete apathy; since it keeps the faith, it meets to discuss in cellars just as in the past the Christians prayed in the catacombs. From time to time the praetorian guards carry out a raid and round up everybody. “Monster” trials in the manner of Nero are prepared and the accused make their “mea culpa” instead of defending themselves. All the characteristics of the Russian worker contrast with those of the proletarian, he has become a State subject and has acquired nearly all the characteristics of the slave.

He has no longer anything in common with the free worker except the sweat of his brow. The Marxists may as well arm themselves with Diogenes’ lantern if they intend to look for some proletarian in the Soviet towns.

The Russian worker, together with his trade union, has been incorporated bag and baggage into the State. In the past he heard the pamphlets which Lenin wrote read in the Duma by his representative; now, in contrast, he is obliged to take part in political meetings to which he goes as a sheep; he is only an unconscious element in a manipulable mass which the bureaucracy alone controls.

A single great slave master has arisen on the plains of Russia: the State. The descendants of Marius can well sharpen their weapons! Marx had not foreseen such an end for the proletarians, but that is not a sufficient reason for denying it. We don’t worship the saints!

Just as each year the Jews go out beyond the ramparts to await the Messiah so the philistine Marxists await the rescue of the proletariat in Russia; they will have to wait as long as for the Messiah. When the Soviet bureaucracy falls stone dead at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum it will be the sword of Marius that will have pierced its heart. The Fourth International Squadron of the Camp of Agramant states, still scientifically, that from now on there is no need for a social revolution in the USSR and that any change will reduce itself to a purely political proclamation. Well, let them invoke in order to question them the souls of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Tomsky, etc., the whole infinite number of obscure martyrs! These will reply in chorus: “We died in the class war needed by the bureaucracy to consolidate its social domination; we wanted something quote different. Saddle the horses and brandish the lances!” What crowning irony: the lances do not come grasped in hand, but broken for the “defence of the USSR"!

VI. Nationalisation

The nationalisation of the means of production in Russia is the highest “trump” the knights of Agramant have played in support of their theory of the Workers’ State.

According to Trotsky, state capitalism means the partial substitution of State property for private property. Statism, on the other hand, means State intervention on the basis of private property. While the former is “one of the signs that the productive forces have outgrown capitalism and are bringing it to a partial self-negation in practice” [11], the latter is only the economic result of the intervention of the bourgeois State forced to save private property. Trotsky does not deny that state capitalism and statism have points of contact but, taken as systems, he considers them as opposites. We are not convinced that there is such an opposition. In our opinion, it is only a case of two different manifestations of the same phenomenon and in a sense of an internal reaction; an almost natural reaction of the sick social organism that clearly shows both the collective form which property must take and the necessity of introducing a planned economy. Statism comes into play to save it as an unconscious reaction of the capitalist organism. But from the sociological point of view, it cannot be seen as having as its aim the “preservation of private property at the expense of the productive forces” [12]. As long as the bureaucratic or socialist doctor does not intervene, the sick person treats himself.

In our opinion, state capitalism and statism correspond in miniature, and respectively together, to nationalisation and the planned economy. As long as they remained restricted to having a sporadic nature, they keep the same social characteristics as the economy in which they appear, but when the phenomenon becomes general it is the type of economy itself which changes completely. Then the dialectical law of the transformation of quantity into quality enters on to the scene, ignorance of which has led some ultra-lefts to tax Trotsky with the epithet “juggler.”

In our opinion, Trotsky’s mistake lies precisely in the fact that he does not apply this law to the phenomenon of fascism. If the bourgeois State belongs to the bureaucracy only “in some respect” [13] there must consequently come a given moment when the economy, as a result of the progressive development of State intervention and state capitalism, is no longer capitalist and when the bourgeois State no longer belongs “in some respect” to the fascist bureaucracy. The State becomes specifically fascist and the bureaucracy the class on which it is socially based. In the USSR the “nationalisation” of property came in one swoop following the October revolution, but, since the concept of nationalisation has no scientific validity in Russia, in effect this was the generalisation in one swoop of state capitalism and its foster brother statism.

What has happened to the economy? Has it become socialist? No, says Trotsky. Is it still capitalist? No, we say, precisely because of the law of the transformation of quantity into quality; it is Bureaucratic Collectivism.

Trotsky considers that “the foundations of society can [not] be changed without revolution and counter-revolution” [14] and we are in full agreement. However, we would ask: what was the struggle which he himself waged and endured? Was it not the class struggle between the proletariat and the nascent bureaucracy? And is not, perhaps, the storm of crimes which has strained Russia with blood for some years the last phase of this struggle? A real class war in which the new ruling class is consolidating its power? Does not Trotsky know about the struggle between the Italian bourgeoisie and fascism?

At the time of the birth of their movement, the Blackshirts freed themselves from the proletariat with a few club blows. What has followed since has been a fierce struggle, even undercover, an implacable struggle between the old ruling class and the new ruling class in formation. Once they are beaten, it will be difficult for the bourgeoisie to again gather the strength necessary for “violent opposition,” especially not so as to “open up great revolutionary possibilities for the workers” [15].

“Better the worse than the worst” say the Italian bourgeoisie and instinctively the most crafty invade the State and change themselves into bureaucrats. The friction between the original fascists and the recent arrivals has its origin in just this phenomenon.

It is quite true that the fascist State is only subordinate to the bureaucracy “in some respect”; it does not yet belong to it entirely, but will happen with the complete coming of the totalitarian State.

Since Trotsky admits that the fascist bureaucracy could transform itself into a new ruling class, why does he not admit this has already happened in Russia where the totalitarian State has already been established? He continues to delude himself if he thinks that Hitler and Mussolini would bump up against the violent opposition of the capitalists if they tried to completely nationalise property. It would be too late and for information on this it suffices to ask Von Schleicher, Amendola, Nitti or Senator Albertini.

Unfortunately abroad, and particularly in the Marxist camp, the fascist phenomenon has been little understood. It was defined first as a petty bourgeois phenomenon, whereas it was clearly a capitalist force which only later, when it was organising its consolidation as a class, turned to the petty bourgeois. The Marxists have seen fascism fling itself on the workers’ organisations; and have seen in this only a phenomenon of social reaction. Blinded by the bourgeoisie-proletariat binomy they have been unable to admit that, due to the disintegration of the capitalist economy and the failure of the attempt by the proletariat to seize power, another class has risen to solve, at least in the sphere of production, the great contradiction of capitalist society. Without much noise, as moreover in England during the bourgeois revolution which preceded the French by a century and a half, a handful of determined men have imposed themselves on the ruling class which had invested them with temporary power. These men were soon made to understand that, to stay in power, they would have to follow a direction opposed to the immortal principles of the liberal economy. A direction they did not hesitate to follow.

It cannot be denied that fascism came to power by violence even if with the consent of the Crown. It suffices to re-read Corriere della Sera of those days to be convinced of this. The great journal of the liberal bourgeoisie was not only anti-fascist; one would have said that it was edited by revolutionaries. The Matteotti affair itself, on whose body one of the most disguising spectacles of History was made, is only one of the manifestations of this struggle between the bourgeois and the fascists. It is of no significance that the so-called socialist parties are to be found on the side of the bourgeoisie, for these parties are only in the tow of the old ruling class. The proletariat had no other road to take but to go into the streets and fight, but they followed a false direction. The various Turatis, Treves, Modiglianis, Nennis, etc. advised them to remain calm, not to provoke anyone and to have the courage of cowardice. Today fascism is so strong that the bourgeoisie is at its mercy. It is possible that some upset could still overthrow it, but the struggle has been over for some years now. The “putsches” made in their time against Hitler had the same bourgeois basis, but they were stifled in blood, just as any resistance to the domination of the Soviet bureaucracy is stifled in blood in Russia today.

The question of nationalisation was already dealt with in passing by Engels. In 1878 he put it precisely:

“The transformation . . . into State-ownership, does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces . . . And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution.” [16]

The nationalisation of the Railways, Posts and Telegraphs or Tobacco, which took place at the height of capitalist development, shows us the inevitable and ineluctable transformation of private property into collective property. These nationalisation measures also began the process of State intervention into which capitalism is sinking more and more, and which is becoming more and more frequent in the present phase of the liquidation of the old society.

The process of involvement and over-development of the State is a consequence of the failure of the proletarian revolution, but the nationalisation measures about which Engels spoke with such foresight in 1878 take on a quite different aspect in this period, which is a period not only of the decay of capitalism but also of its liquidation. In 1878, at the height of capitalist development, nationalisation was the non plus ultra of the capitalist creation, i.e. the “ideal personification of the total national capital” as Engels put it. Today nationalisation is not confined to tobacco or railways but it besieges industry, commerce, banking, insurance, foreign trade and even the land; finally, these nationalisation measures in “nationalising” private property destroy it and, consequently, extinguish the bourgeoisie as a class.

It seems to us that Engels clearly saw the social upheaval which is brought about when the State pushes nationalisation to its furthest limit. “Brought to a head, it topples over. State ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict.” It topples over, we too say; but what Engels only wrote about is today a social reality whose nature must be identified. It has always been thought that the seizure of power by the proletariat was the key to the solution, but in reality the proletariat has been deprived of power in the USSR, and in the rest of the world has been defeated politically. Meanwhile, the phenomenon occurs and, in the absence of the proletariat, who has taken power? The bureaucracy, we reply.

The officials and technical specialists, who carry out this task, join together and form a new ruling class. In the USSR the collectivisation of the means of production occurred suddenly and was a collectivisation tending in a socialist direction, but the cessation of the revolution in the world stopped this process. Only the collective form of property remains but has passed from the aegis of the proletariat to that of a new social class which was born following the social disintegration.

Moreover, there is no new historical phenomenon here; History does not insist that a new ruling class should coincide with a former exploited class. It is sufficient that the economic programme is, in no matter what way, progressive. After the French Revolution too, it was not the people with their sansculottes who took power but the bourgeoisie which Napoleon Bonaparte embodied.

VII. Bourgeois Restoration

Bourgeois restoration is the bÍte noire of the orthodox scientific Marxists. It roams like a ghost in the camp of Agramant, upsetting the sleep of these Marxists and filling their dreams with anguish. They are all obsessed by the fear of seeing the bourgeois reappear as a result of a metamorphosis of the bureaucracy. It is an excellent argument suitable as a bogey against those who do not want to defend the USSR; but it seems to us somewhat difficult to sustain as this argument assumes that economic development can go back on its tracks. Marx never made any reference of this sort and history records a constant growth of the volume of production accompanied by the driving out of old methods of economic organisation by progressive ones. Our knights declare that the present productive system in the USSR is better than the bourgeois system, yet continue to invoke their ghost.

There is no point in giving a series of quotations: their whole literature is full of it, Trotsky’s above all. However Naville goes further and must be quoted, even if we regret wasting time on such a trivial argument:

“The wave of counter-revolutionary terror which the bureaucracy has unfurled on the railways, in the factories and fields, by shooting hundreds of recalcitrant workers and officials, is the consequence of the new Constitution and of the hope which it opens for a series of social strata behind whom world capitalism stands on the look out. The bureaucracy, the equerry of this restoration, however risks not mounting into the saddle. It is this which reveals the contradictory and ambiguous function of the Soviet bureaucracy which itself undermines the basis of its existence: collective State ownership of the land, means of production, large-scale industry, houses and trade.”

Capitalism is on the look out and the bureaucracy is committing hara-kiri! Sleep peacefully, gallant knight, the bureaucracy has quite other intentions! Further on Naville adds:

“The bureaucracy has voted a new Constitution which guarantees a series of its privileges, it has murdered nearly all the old Bolshevik leaders whose loyalty to it was suspect, it has given unparalleled guarantees to the diplomacy of the League of Nations: despite all this it remains linked to the property framework established at the time of the October revolution, not only by its origins but also by its present method of functioning, recruitment, reproduction and consumption.”

These two quotations alone are enough to make any ordinary worker purse his lips and refuse to risk even the nail of a finger for the land of the “happy life”; but scientific Marxists die hard. They hold themselves upright and impassive on a dummy breach and slash the air invaded by ghosts. The October revolution needs a second edition.

Naville’s foresight goes to the extent of detailing the specific form which the economy will take following the restoration:

“Given the fundamental difference which exists between the State industry of the USSR and monopoly capitalism in the imperialist system, it is clear that to return to private capitalism in the fundamental branches of production, the bureaucracy would have to break up too: one would then see arising in the USSR social classes which by their whole mode of existence would be the victim of the bourgeoisie and even of European fascism.”

The bureaucracy, because of its mode of economic existence, is already a descendant of the bourgeoisie and fascism is nothing else but its twin. Calm yourself, Mr. Naville, the Soviet bureaucracy will never break up and particularly not into monopolies. State capitalism has already been reached for a long time; it is more or less widely applied in all countries and its application is always increasing. It does not seem logical to us that there should be a return to monopolies, a capitalist economic form prior to state capitalism!

Trotsky has taught that the Soviet bureaucracy is the clerk of imperialism, but his pupils go further in the march against the course of History: they arrive at monopolies!

Even if the USSR is overthrown by the Anti-Comintern it is difficult to understand why the conquerors should destroy the very economic system which is being constructed in their own countries at the price of enormous sacrifices nationally and internationally. Besides, it is this very system which explains to us the conquerors’ appearance in history and their success. If the totalitarian States overthrow the USSR we think that the political form will be maintained and that the Soviet bureaucracy this time really would become a Japano-Italo-German “clerk.”

Did feudalism ever have the intention of going back to slavery? Did capitalism ever have any nostalgia for feudalism? And did not the celebrated French Restoration establish the uncontrolled domination of the bourgeoisie? This was precisely its reason for existence, its historic task. It benefited from Napoleon’s insane megalomanic plans, but on condition that it remanded the defender and propagandist of the “Immortal Principles.”

The whole analogy which Trotsky draws between the authoritarian regimes and the bonapartist regimes is not very appropriate. The bonapartist phenomena of the 19th century have nothing to do with what is happening in Russia, Germany and Italy. The bonapartism of Napoleon I and Napoleon III left the social-economic basis intact, whereas the alleged bonapartism of the 20th century uproots precisely the connecting tissues of society. The bureaucracy found property already nationalised in the USSR and till now has maintained it; if all this is mistakenly described as bonapartism there is a danger of historically justifying the phenomenon of Stalinism.

Trotsky always has a fortunate hand for choosing “slogans”; he has an innate skill and succeeds even when his skill causes confusion. He has found an uplifting analogy in order to justify the description “Workers’ State” which is thrown at Stalin’s bureaucratic collectivism. Here it is:

“Is the USSR a Workers’ State? The USSR is a state which is based on the property relations created by the proletarian revolution and which is led by a workers’ bureaucracy in the interests of new privileged strata. The USSR can be called a workers’ State in more or less the same way — in spite of the enormous difference in scale — that a trade union led and betrayed by opportunists, i.e., by the agents of capital, can be called a workers’ organisation.” [17]

It follows from this that a workers’ bureaucracy economically exploits its master, which has never occurred under the arch of heaven. And to give body to the ghosts recourse is had precisely to that “noisy shouting” of which Trotsky has great horror, i.e., the State is compared to a trade union! It occurs to us to think of that racist whose name we don’t recall who, to prevent the crossing of Aryans and Semites, tells us that dogs make love to dogs, cats to cats, lions to lions, consequently . . .

Throughout his article Craipeau[18] is rightly indignant and champs at the bit. It was a pleasure for us to discover this five-footed sheep, a pleasure comparable to that which Robinson Crusoe felt when he finally found a companion. However we consider that his concept of a Soviet bourgeoisie smells too much of the “bourgeois.” That the new class abandons itself to pleasures of all sorts is logical, since this is to be found in the programme of all dominant and exploiting classes. But Craipeau should not be afraid of the accumulation of wealth nor its hereditary nature: it is a matter here of property over the means of consumption not of production.

The bureaucracy is not like an individual bourgeois owner. The latter displays his goods; but today property is so close (in the evolution of history) to socialisation, i.e. to its disappearance as restricted property, preserving only its character as a means of production, and besides having taken a collective form it is also disguised and denied by its present possessors. What is important to the bureaucrat above all is the surplus value; but he is obliged to consume it in secret!

And why does Craipeau consider that the bourgeoisie has returned? Since he admits the existence of a new class which is non-bourgeois or at least not yet bourgeois, why does he want it to transform itself straightaway into a bourgeoisie again? If a new class forms it is because, historically or as a matter of fact, it must develop a role to play in the historic rise of mankind. Our conclusion on this point is that the bureaucracy has the task, or has assumed the task, of organising production on the basis of collective property by planning the economy within the framework of the State, while only international “nationalisation” and the problem of the socialist distribution of the products remain for socialism.

Craipeau also judges the nature of fascism wrongly. Fascism was at the service of the bourgeoisie and also tried to continue with the capitalist economy but it found, in the imperatives of economic development, conditions even more authoritarian than its own political movement which obliged it to rapidly take the road to the totalitarian State.

To be afraid of these facts is to help the opposite aim; somebody else’s game is played, the film of reformism is wound in reverse. Since you have noticed precisely this in Trotsky, why do you not do so in yourself? Has the hypothesis of the Revolution Betrayed which you quoted[19] really any historical sense? Especially since the author added the following phrases to this hypothesis: “But to speak of that now is at least premature,” “the proletariat has not yet said its last word” (it is we who have underline the word premature).

Once the existence of a new class in the USSR is admitted a yawning chasm opens up before the Marxist mentality, but this chasm will not go away by closing one’s eyes. The cup of bitterness must be drunk to the dregs, only then will it be possible to take up the wire again and follow it to safety.

VIII. The definition of the USSR

Here is what Trotsky says[20] followed by our observations:

“To define the Soviet regime as transitional, or intermediate, means to abandon such finished social categories as capitalism (and therewith ‘state capitalism’) and also socialism. But besides being completely inadequate in itself, such a definition is capable of producing the mistaken idea that from the present Soviet regime only a transition to socialism is possible. In reality a backslide to capitalism is wholly possible. A more complete definition will of necessity be complicated and ponderous.

The Soviet Union is a contradictory society halfway between capitalism and socialism, in which: (a) the productive forces are still far from adequate to give the state property a socialist character;”

These forces are not only inadequate for this, but the State property is a class property; it is bureaucratic property.

“(b) the tendency toward primitive accumulation created by want breaks out through innumerable pores of the planned economy;”

This is quite natural, but this does not mean that the planned economy is going to be submerged: economic development does not go backwards.

“(c) norms of distribution preserving a bourgeois character lie at the basis of a new differentiation of society;”

It is not a question of bourgeois norms, but of the norms of a new exploiting class.

“(d) the economic growth, while slowly bettering the situation of the toilers, promotes a swift formation of privileged strata;”

Thus we have two features which prove the existence of a new exploiting society: the economic system is progressive and the privileges remain. In place of “strata” we would read “class.”

“(e) exploiting the social antagonisms, a bureaucracy has converted itself into an uncontrolled caste alien to socialism;”

Yes, but it has become not only a caste or a stratum or a clique, but a class. Its character is stable and, from now on, clearly fixed.

“(f) the social revolution, betrayed by the ruling party, still exists in property relations and in the consciousness of the toiling masses;”

A party which governs a State can only be the expression of a class which finds the established property relations in its interest.

“(g) a further development of the accumulating contradictions can as well lead to socialism as back to capitalism;”

Left to itself development will never bring society back to capitalism, but towards the accomplishment of the historic task based on planned production and collective property.

“(h) on the road to capitalism the counterrevolution would have to break the resistance of the workers;”

The counterrevolution is not on the road to capitalism, but has settled at bureaucratic collectivism. The workers have already been defeated.

“(i) on the road to socialism the workers would have to overthrow the bureaucracy. In the last analysis, the question will be decided by a struggle of living social forces, both on the national and the world arena.”

Full agreement. Here however a “new question” arises. To defend the USSR means to defend the new exploiting system which is imposing itself on the whole world.

In our opinion, the Stalinist regime is intermediate, it throws aside outdated capitalism but it does not rule out socialism for the future. It is a new social form, based on class property and class exploitation.

The inadequacy which Trotsky notes of describing this society as transitional on the grounds that it could lead us back to capitalism has no justification; it is an intermediate society viz., stable until it accomplishes its historic task. Given that this task is only a matter of fact, national or international events could prevent its accomplishment; then the working class would again take up its historic task.

Meanwhile this new society is a fact. As a result of all its political and moral manifestations it finds itself enclosed in the old world instead of that of the hoped-for workers’ international. Its character as a society ruled by a national class will always make it opposed to internationalist “fantasies,” while it will join various “Leagues of Nations” according to the particular interests of its ruling class.

Once again the workers of the world are being tricked when they are pushed to fight against Fascism and in defence of the USSR. Precisely the proletariat was the only class capable of holding up its head against fascism, but it should have been a proletariat which led and not one in tow to the old carcase of capitalism. The examples of China and Spain are unambiguous in this respect, and other still more harsh examples are being prepared.

IX. The Rule of the Petty Bourgeoisie

This is our definition, for this phenomenon, for this phenomenon is general and not just Russian. In the USSR this phenomenon is principally bureaucratic because it was born from the bureaucracy; but in the totalitarian countries it flourishes naturally among engineers, specialists, trade union and party officials of all kinds and all colours. Its raw material is drawn from the large army of the State and semi-State bureaucracy, the management of limited companies, the Army, the liberal professions and from the workers’ aristocracy itself.

The so-called subversive parties, displaying a complete lack of political skill, pushed the middle class into the arms of capitalism. The time has now come for this class to give free rein to its grudge against the old masters and those who were unable to close their eyes to their inevitable organic weakness. The proletariat should have conciliated the middle class and made use of their talents while leaving some satisfaction to their petty-bourgeois mentality, but instead they see them lined up against them as the ruling class. The whole economic, political, moral and cultural world reflects the mentality of the middle class.

Nationalisation is restricted to the large enterprises; this point is being reached in Russia from an opposite direction. Ownership of the means of consumption becomes sacred and has been re-established in Russia. They proceed not to the accumulation of capital but to the conquest of the happy life, this of course in bureaucratic terms. There is levelling down but a differentiation is made halfway and, in order to stabilise the situation, the State is taken over and possessed with a firm hand. Its cult begins to appear; this State is made omnipotent, all-seeing, all-powerful. The economy becomes hierarchical from the top downwards, as happens in all bureaucracies.

On the political side parties are reduced to a single one which is not even a party but an organ of State. The petty bourgeoisie, opposed to both capitalist and socialist democracy, is intransigent and absolute since it has no well-defined programme. The nationalist concepts of heroism, devotion to the leader, etc. have been exacerbated or brought back into fashion in Russia too.

The morality of the petty bourgeois family returns together with its idol, God; as well as the authority of the father, and of the man over the woman, the practice of abortion for those who can pay, etc., has come back. The Russian bureaucracy feels itself boss and master, its inner contempt for the workers is the logical consequence. “You are born to work,” that’s what it says to itself of them.

We are not too surprised by this whole phenomenon. For what are the great majority of trade union and party bosses if not petty bourgeois who in their shop flatter the proletarian customer whose dossier has been put under an inkpot to sleep? So when the colleagues of these bosses come to power they straightaway put themselves at their disposal, happy to have found a solid fund which does not undergo the fluctuations of the capitalist market and which is well-provided and open on the sole condition of clear bureaucratic obedience. It was not difficult for them to come to agreement but where, may we ask, was and is the proletariat? Its misfortune merits a little something, since in history a class which aspires to become dominant should not show itself weak to the point of being subjugated by its own bureaucracy, even in the pre-revolutionary period.

Instead of a State which dissolves itself into an economic administration from below, there is a State which has been inflated by the bureaucratisation of the economy controlled from above.

The House of the Soviets, 360 metres high, will remain a symbol of this period and the “Bastille” of the bureaucratic world.


Footnotes

1. Once Again, the USSR, and its Defence.

2. The USSR: Non-Proletarian and Non-Bourgeois State? All the other quotes from Trotsky in this chapter come from this same article.

3. This seems not to be a direct quote from Trotsky but rather Rizzi’s summary of Trotsky’s position.

4. Quoted by Trotsky in his article.

5. All the quotes in Rizzi’s book from Pierre Naville come from Naville’s “Rapport sur la Question russe” to the congress of the Parti Ouvrier Internationaliste in October 1937.

6. The USSR: Non-Proletarian and Non-Bourgeois State?

7. All Rizzi’s quotes from Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed are from chapter IX on ‘Social Relations in the Soviet Union’.

8. Capital, Volume III, Chapter XLVII, section II.

9. The Revolution Betrayed.

10. English version slightly altered to fit in with Rizzi’s comment which follows.

11. The Revolution Betrayed.

12. Ibid.

13. Once Again, the USSR, and its Defence.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, part III, Historical Materialism.

17. This is not a quote from Trotsky, but from a thesis on the “Fourth International and the USSR” adopted at a conference in July 1936 and quoted by Naville in his report above.

18. Trotsky’s article Once Again, the USSR, and its Defence was directed against the views put forward by Yvan Craipeau.

19. The passage from The Revolution Betrayed that Craipeau had quoted reads: “The means of production belong to the state. But the state, so to speak, ‘belongs’ to the bureaucracy. If these as yet wholly new relations should solidify, become the norm and be legalized, whether with or without resistance from the workers, they would, in the long run, lead to a complete liquidation of the social conquests of the proletarian revolution.”

20. The Revolution Betrayed.