First Published: In Struggle! No. 229, December 2, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Workers Communist Party (WCP) is on the war-path again. After working for years to “destroy IN STRUGGLE?”, the WCP has decided to deliver another telling blow by publishing an article by Roger Rashi, WCP chairman (“Socialism is a real alternative” in the October 3 issue of The Forge, pages 10 and 11).
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Last week, the first part of this article showed how Roger Rashi of the WCP has set out to teach us a few lessons in Leninism and, in the same fell swoop, to expose IN STRUGGLE!’s revisionism. Rashi’s article teaches us that socialist revolution will occur in the less developed countries of the world first. Further these revolution are necessarily two-stage revolutions, the first stage being a “national democratic” revolution and the second a truly socialist revolution.
This is all fine and dandy but how does our mentor explain the fact that since the First World War, very few revolutions have in practice followed the path that Rashi presents as the antidote to revisionism? More often than not, national liberation struggles, anti-colonial and anti-feudal revolutions have not respected the “principle” of a two-stage proletarian revolution. Most of these revolutions have led to,a form of State capitalism dominated by the monopoly capital of the great powers.
While Lenin could not predict the future, Rashi cannot explain the past. To be more exact, let’s say that Rashi cannot explain everything in the past but, thanks to Mao, he has managed to at least “explain” the restoration of capitalism in socialist countries.
Let’s take a closer look at the second “Rashi principle”. Since class struggle, continues even under socialism, it is possible to restore capitalism even after the proletariat has taken power. But, Rashi warns us, the return to capitalism is not “inescapable”: it can be prevented by “various economic, political and ideological measures”! Conclusion? If capitalism has had the upper hand to this day, including in the U.S.S.R. and undoubtedly China, it is simply because revolutionary leaders did not appty the correct “measures” that the situation demanded. Q.E.D.
Rashi has the gall to call this argumentation a “demonstration” of the “objective, material class basis for the degeneration of socialism”.
The full scope of this “demonstration” comes to light when one realizes that it amounts to “explaining” the birth of capitalism by the fact that a bourgeois class existed under feudalism. In other words, the “objective, material class basis” of capitalism is none other than the bourgeoisie itself? This anti-Marxist and clearly “Rashi” logic leads to declaring that the bourgeoisie overthrew the aristocracy simply by applying “various measures” of various sorts! And to think how stupid old Marx wasted his time making such complicated explanations of something so simple.
The existence of classes and class struggle under socialism is a fact. But the mere act of stating that there are social classes in socialist societies which have embarked again on the capitalist road proves nothing. The analysis of this phenomenon, including that of its economic bases (relations of production), has yet to be made.
Far from proving IN STRUGGLE!’s “revisionism” by a so-called restatement of Leninist “principles”, Rashi has on the contrary put his foot in his mouth. He has proven the necessity of the work taken up by IN STRUGGLE! to analyse the developments of the class struggle since the beginning of the struggle for socialism, whether in socialist societies, former colonies or imperialist societies. Only this work will help the working class learn from the lessons of the past and reorganize its activities so that they correspond to present conditions.
That is why Rashi’s “principles” are not only useless but also extremely harmful: under the guise of Marxism or Leninism, these principles hide the real problems that confront those who want to serve the cause of socialism today. The WCP dishes out a stew of quotes and paraphrases to answer the many legitimate questions that workers and progressives are asking...
The WCP’s attitude may not be arrogant but it is certainly contemptuous.
Charles Gagnon, Secretary General of IN STRUGGLE!