In the social production which, men carry on they enter into definite relations which are indispensable and independent of their will. – MARX.
Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist. His very staunchness and consistency as a Marxist made him a pioneer in the struggle against modern revisionism.
Stalin resolutely opposed modern revisionism in all its forms, from the ideological errors of a section of the Soviet leadership which culminated in Khruschev’s policy, to the revisionist programmes and policies of several Communist Parties, including the British Communist Party.
His major work against modern revisionism is his “Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.,” written in 1952..
Stalin’s main purpose in this work was to oppose, from the standpoint of Marxism, various false theories prevalent in the Soviet leadership.
It is worth noting also that the work was written after the British and other Communist Parties had publicly adopted revisionist programmes.
A genuine study of this work reveals Stalin’s understanding of the international character of modern revisionism and his determination to oppose it.
If this is not clear at first sight, it is only because the work was written as part of a discussion on a proposed textbook on political economy.
All available evidence shows that at this time Stalin was not in a position to make more direct declarations on these matters, and was compelled by circumstances to cast his criticism in this form.
But Marxists who are to be worthy of the name must learn to look below the surface on such decisive questions, in order to discover the essence of the matter.
What is the starting-point of “Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.”? What is the whole meaning of its first main section?.
It is that with superb clarity Stalin has exposed the ideological error that lies at the root of all modern revisionism: the illusion that economic laws are subject to the will of man.
How does this false theory that men can alter or ignore economic laws reveal itself in modern revisionism?
First, the point of controversy expressly described by Stalin. The Soviet revisionists have the illusion that the Soviet government can abolish or ignore the laws of development of Soviet society.
Stalin points out that this is impossible, that they can act correctly only by taking these laws into account. This of course is in line with Marxism.
As part of his repudiation of Marxism, Khruschev has ignored Stalin’s warning. This has led to Khruschev’s narrowly “practical” attitude to the Soviet economy, and especially to the failure of his policy in agriculture.
Second, the equally false British revisionist illusion that to end capitalism in Britain, what is decisive is the bourgeois Parliament, which can make laws introducing socialism.
Stalin’s remark on the Soviet revisionists completely undermines all Parliamentary illusions also:
These comrades are profoundly mistaken. It is evident that they confuse laws of science, which reflect objective processes in nature or society, processes which take place independently of the will of man, with the laws which are issued by governments, which are made by the will of man, and which have only juridical validity. But they must not be confused.
Third, the false idea on which Khruschev and all modern revisionists base their incorrect attitude to imperialism. when Khruschev and his supporters praise imperialist politicians like Kennedy and Johnson for their “peaceful” intentions, what is this but the illusion that imperialist politicians can alter the very nature of imperialism, can decide to remove from imperialism its drive towards war? In other words, that the economic laws governing imperialism are subject to the will of the President of the United States.
The illusion that the Soviet government can act as if fundamental economic laws did not exist.
In Britain the illusion that the economic laws of capitalism can be abolished by the capitalist legislative assembly.
The illusion that the head of the United States government can decide to alter the fundamental laws of imperialism if he so wishes.
Is not the striking similarity of these revisionist illusions obvious?.
Is it not clear that the similarity of these false conceptions is due to their common basis in one fundamental error?.
Is it not clear that this fundamental error is the basic revisionist illusion that economic laws can be altered or ignored by men?.
Was not Stalin perfectly correct, therefore, to put his analysis of this fundamental error in the forefront of his last published work?.
In so doing, was he not a pioneer in the fight against modern revisionism?.
Did he not thereby provide the Marxists of today with a sharp weapon in the struggle against modern revisionism?.
Is it not clear that Khruschev’s revisionist policy runs counter to the fundamental laws of class society?.
For this reason Khruschev’s ultimate fate will closely resemble that analysed by Stalin in his short history of the Bolshevik Party:.
Outstanding individuals may become nonentities if their ideas and wishes run counter to the economic development of society, to the needs of the foremost class ... outstanding individuals may become ridiculous and useless failures if they do not correctly understand the conditions of development of society and go counter to the historical needs of society in the conceited belief that they are ’makers’ of history...
Is it not now incumbent upon all genuine Marxists to master this weapon bequeathed to them by Stalin, and to make good use of it to expose the modern revisionists?.