THE MARXIAN principle holds true that the prevailing mode of production and exchange determines the character of the general organization in a given society. Thus the pioneer British capitalist society, based upon the private ownership of industry and the exploitation of the workers, forecast the type which, with only minor variations, came later to be developed by the whole capitalist world. Its parliamentary democracy, rampant patriotism, robot-like education of the masses, reformist trade unionism, etc., fitted naturally into the capitalist scheme of things everywhere.
By the same principle, the Soviet Union now forecasts the general outlines of the new social order that the world is approaching. The Soviet system was not an invention. Its basic institutions arose naturally from the economic and political necessities of workers and peasants freeing themselves from capitalist exploitation. Thus, for the United States as well as other countries, the Soviet Union is a plain indicator of the society that is to be, taking into account minor variations for special conditions in the several lands. It foreshadows the broad lines along which the future Soviet America will develop. Here our task is not to work out all the details of an American Soviet system, as that would exceed the scope of this book, but to trace out, upon the basis of actual experience to date, the general structure and workings of such a regime.
From capitalism to Communism, through the intermediary stage of Socialism; that is the way American society, like society in general, is headed. It represents the main line of march of the human race to the next higher social stage in its historical advance. It is the trend to which all the economic, political and social forces of today are contributing. The American revolution, when the workers have finally seized power, will develop even more swiftly in all its phases than has the Russian revolution. This is because in the United States objective conditions are more ripe for revolution than they were in old Russia. In his work, Imperialism, Lenin states:
“Capitalism, in its imperialist phase, arrives at the threshold of the complete socialization of production. To some extent it causes the capitalists, whether they like it or no, to enter a new social order, which marks the transition from free competition to the socialization of production. Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few.”
This means that in such a highly-industrialized country as the United States the industrial base for Socialism is already at hand. The great problem before the workers is to get the political power. The Russian workers, however, not only had to conquer power but also to build a great industrial system. At the Eighth Congress of Soviets, in 1920, Lenin declared that, “Communism is the Soviet power plus the electrification of the country.” In the United States, the problem of the American working class in achieving Socialism may be summed up, as Browder has put it, as the present American industrial technique plus Soviets.
Besides this more favorable industrial base, American workers, once in control, will have other advantages which will greatly speed the tempo of revolutionary development. These are, first, the vast experience accumulated in the Russian revolution, and, second, the practical assistance of the Soviet governments existing at the time of the American revolution. These are enormous advantages. As for the Russian workers, they were pioneers blazing the revolutionary trail. They had to work out for themselves a maze of unique problems and to struggle against a whole hostile capitalist world. The sum of all which is that the period of transition from capitalism to Socialism in the United Soviet States will be much shorter and easier than in the U.S.S.R.
WHEN the American working class actively enters the revolutionary path of abolishing capitalism it will orientate upon the building of Soviets, not upon the adaptation of the existing capitalist government. Capitalist governments have nothing in common with proletarian governments. They are especially constructed throughout to maintain the rulership of the bourgeoisie. In the revolutionary struggle they are smashed and Soviet governments established, built according to the requirements of the toiling masses.
The building of Soviets is begun not after the revolution but before. When the eventual revolutionary crisis becomes acute the workers begin the establishment of Soviets. The Soviets are not only the foundation of the future Workers’ State, but also the main instruments to mobilize the masses for revolutionary struggle. The decisions of the Soviets are enforced by the armed Red Guard of the workers and peasants and by the direct seizure of the industry through factory committees. A revolutionary American working class will follow this general course, which is the way of proletarian revolution.
The American Soviet government will be organized along the broad lines of the Russian Soviets. Local Soviets, the base of the whole Soviet State, will be established in all cities, towns and villages. Local Soviets combine in themselves the legislative, executive and judicial functions. Representation, based on occupation instead of residence and property, comes directly from the shops, mines, farms, schools, workers’ organizations, army, navy, etc. The principle of recall of representatives applies throughout. Citizenship is restricted to those who do useful work, capitalists, landlords, clericals and other non-producers being disfranchised.
The local Soviets will be combined by direct representation into county, state, and national Soviets. The national Soviet government, with its capital in Chicago or some other great industrial center, will consist of a Soviet Congress, made up of local delegates and meeting annually, or as often as need be, to work out the general policies of the government. Between its meetings the government will be carried on by a broad Central Executive Committee, meeting every few months. This C.E.C. will elect a small Presidium and a Council of Commissars, made up of the heads of the various government departments, who will carry on the day-to-day work.
The American Soviet government will join with the other Soviet governments in a world Soviet Union. There will also be, very probably, some form of continental union. The American revolution will doubtless carry with it all those countries of the three Americas that have not previously accomplished the revolution.
The Soviet court system will be simple, speedy and direct. The judges, chosen by the corresponding Soviets, will be responsible to them. The Supreme Court, instead of being dictatorial and virtually legislative, as in the United States, will be purely juridical and entirely under the control of the C.E.C. The civil and criminal codes will be simplified, the aim being to proceed directly and quickly to a correct decision. In the acute stages of the revolutionary struggle special courts to fight the counter-revolution will probably be necessary. The pest of lawyers will be abolished. The courts will be class-courts, definitely warring against the class enemies of the toilers. They will make no hypocrisy like capitalist courts, which, while pretending to deal out equal justice to all classes, in reality are instruments of the capitalist State for the repression and exploitation of the toiling masses.
The American Soviet government will be the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Chapter II we explained this dictatorship as the revolutionary government of the workers and toiling farmers. In the proletarian dictatorship the working class is the leader by virtue of its revolutionary program, superior organization and greater numbers. Towards the farmers, the attitude of the government will vary from an open alliance with the poor farmers and cooperation with the middle farmers, to open hostility against the big, exploiting landowners. Towards the city intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie generally, its attitude will be one of friendliness and cooperation, insofar as these elements break with the old order and support the new. The new Workers’ government, as part of its task of building Socialism, necessarily will have to hold firmly in check the counter-revolutionary elements who seek to overthrow or sabotage the new regime. To suppose that the powerful American capitalist class and its vast numbers of hangers-on will tamely submit to the loss of their power to the workers would be to ignore the whole history of that class. The mildness or severity of the repressive measures used by the workers to liquidate this class politically will depend directly upon the character of the latter’s resistance. While the whole trend of the revolutionary workers is against violence, they always have an iron fist for counter-revolution.
In order to defeat the class enemies of the revolution, the counter-revolutionary intrigues within the United States and the attacks of foreign capitalist countries from without, the proletarian dictatorship must be supported by the organized armed might of the workers, soldiers, local militia, etc. In the early stages of the revolution, even before the seizure of power, the workers will organize the Red Guard. Later on this loosely constructed body becomes developed into a firmly-knit, well-disciplined Red Army.
The leader of the revolution in all its stages is the Communist party. With its main base among the industrial workers, the Party makes a bloc with the revolutionary farmers and impoverished city petty bourgeoisie, drawing under its general leadership such revolutionary groups and organizations as these classes may have. Under the dictatorship all the capitalist parties—Republican, Democratic, Progressive, Socialist, etc.—will be liquidated, the Communist party functioning alone as the Party of the toiling masses. Likewise, will be dissolved all other organizations that are political props of the bourgeois rule, including chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, rotary clubs, American Legion, Y.M.C.A., and such fraternal orders as the Masons, Odd Fellows, Elks, Knights of Columbus, etc.
A Soviet government will provide the workers and poor farmers with the political instrument necessary to defend their interests. The whole purpose of such a government will be to advance the welfare of those who do useful work. This is not the case with the present government of the United States. It is dominated by the Morgans, Mellons and other big bankers and industrialists. Its function is to protect the interests of the capitalist class—in first line finance capital—at the expense of the working masses. Every piece of legislation, every strike, every demonstration of the unemployed illustrates this afresh. In no matter what field, wherever the interests of the workers are involved, they find the powers of the government arrayed against them. The American government is as much the property of the capitalists as their mills, mines, factories and land. Only a Soviet government can and will represent the will of the workers.
The establishment of an American Soviet government will mark the birth of real democracy in the United States. For the first time the toilers will be free, with industry and the government in their own hands. Now they are enslaved: the industries and the government are the property of the ruling class. The right to vote and all the current talk about democracy are only so many screens to hide the capitalist autocracy and to make it more palatable to the masses. Consider the economic and political gulf between the Southern textile workers slaving for $5 a week and the rich Southern capitalists; between the hungry unemployed workers in the Northern cities and the fat capitalist parasite masters lolling the Winters through at Palm Beach; between the semi-slave Negroes in the South and their exploiters; between the outrageous treatment visited upon Mooney and Billings, Sacco and Vanzetti and many other class war prisoners and the protection given to the Falls, Daughertys and the whole clique of capitalist robbers of the poor—then one gets the true measure of the American capitalist “democracy” and “freedom.” Ambassador Gerard blurted out the truth that the American government is a capitalist dictatorship when he declared that 59 bankers and captains of industry are the real rulers of the United States.
“The victorious proletariat utilizes the conquest of power as a lever of economic revolution, i.e., the revolutionary transformation of the property relations of capitalism into relations of the Socialist mode of production. The starting point of this great economic revolution is the expropriation of the landlords and capitalists, i.e., the conversion of the monopolistic property of the bourgeoisie into the property of the proletarian State.”1
After providing for the emergency defense and provisioning requirements, the first steps of an American Workers’ and Farmers’ government, which is the dictatorship of the proletariat, will be directed towards the revolutionary nationalization or socialization of the large privately-owned and State capitalist undertakings.
In industry, transport and communication this will mean the immediate taking over by the State of all large factories, mines and power plants, together with all municipal and State industries; the whole transport services of railroads, waterways, airways, electric car lines, hus lines, etc.; the entire communication organization, including telegraphs, telephones, post office, radio, etc.
In agriculture it will involve the early confiscation of the large landed estates in town and country, including church property, together with their buildings, factories, live stock, etc., and also the whole body of forests, mineral deposits, lakes, rivers, etc. In finance it will mean the nationalization of the banking system and its concentration around a central State bank; the taking over of the department stores, chain stores, and other large wholesale and retail trading organizations; the setting up of a State monopoly of foreign trade; the cancellation of all government debts, reparations, war loans, etc., to the big foreign and home capitalists.
The socialization program will be carried through on the basis of confiscation without remuneration, except for special consideration to small investors. Such a program naturally evokes loud protest from capitalists and the defenders of private property, especially the Social Fascists. The latter’s idea, again expressed by Norman Thomas in his book, America’s Way Out, is for the workers to buy the industries and land from their capitalist owners. Thomas even proposes the absurd plan that, through holding companies, the workers can secure control with a minority of the stock.
Such Social Fascist proposals have nothing in common with Socialism. They represent a definite support of the capitalist class and the landlords in their claims for the right to exploit the workers; they seek to conserve the dominant position of these classes in a new form, State capitalism. The workers will never buy out the capitalists, nor could they if they would. There is no warrant in common-sense or historical precedent for the workers to buy the industries and natural resources from the present ruling class. In confiscating this property of the big landlords and capitalists, the workers and poor farmers will simply be taking back that which has been ruthlessly stolen from them. This lesson of expropriation without compensation by a revolutionary class has been amply taught in the British, French, Russian and many other revolutions. The revolutionary American colonists did not compensate the British landlords; the Northern capitalists did not pay the Southern planters when they transformed the Negro chattel slaves into wage slaves; and the working class will follow the same course of revolutionary confiscation.
The socialization of the key sections of industry, commerce, agriculture and finance will lay a solid economic foundation for the building of Socialism. Doubtless, private property will survive in small farms, in petty industry and in trade. But this will be only temporary. With the consolidation and growth of Socialism and the general spread of well-being all the land will eventually and without serious difficulty be nationalized, and all industry will be concentrated into the Socialist Soviet economy.
THE CENTRAL purpose of the revolution is to conquer political power for the workers and to fundamentally improve the economic and social conditions of the producing masses. Immediately an American Soviet government is established, the shut-down factories will be opened. Production will be started to relieve the impoverished workers and farmers. The great stores of necessities, now piled up and unsaleable, will be released to the masses. The unemployed will be fed, housed and given work. Pending any delay in putting the industries into full operation, the unemployed will be paid social insurance on the basis of full wages. The general policy of the Soviet government will be to at once put into effect at least the immediate demands that the workers are now demanding of capitalism, and which we have discussed in the previous chapter. Wages will be sharply raised, especially for the lower-paid categories; then there will be established the 7-hour day or, very probably, less, with a correspondingly still shorter workday for young workers and those engaged in dangerous occupations; there will also be the development of the system of social insurance against unemployment, old age, sickness, accidents, etc., on a full wage basis; the abolition of the many discriminations against Negroes, women, and young workers in industry; the establishment of free medical services, vacations for workers, etc.
The Soviet government will initiate at once a vast housing program. All houses and other buildings will be socialized. The great hotels, apartments, city palaces, country homes, country clubs, etc., of the rich will be taken over and utilized by the workers for dwellings, rest homes, children’s clubs, sanatoria, etc. The best of the skyscrapers, emptied of their thousand and one brands of parasites, will be used to house the new government institutions, the trade unions, cooperatives, Communist party, etc. The fleets of automobiles and steam yachts of the rich will be placed at the disposition of the workers’ organizations. A great drive will be made to demolish the present collection of miserable shacks and tenements and build homes fit for the workers to live in.
The Soviet government will immediately free the poor farmers from the onerous burdens of mortgages and other debts which now hold them in slavery. Of the total income of all farmers in 1927, 17% went for loans and mortgages.2 Land rent will be abolished, both in the form of cash and share-crops. The land will be to the users. The present monopolistic prices for agricultural machinery, fertilizer, etc., will be drastically cut. Taxes will be slashed and shifted off the backs of the poor farmers. For the millions of “one-horse” farmers now living at the verge of starvation in many states, more land will be allotted; they will also be furnished with the necessary seed, machinery, fertilizer and expert instruction. Food and other necessities of life will be given to those in need. Production of foodstuffs will not be curtailed, but greatly stimulated.
Such a program is not a matter of mere speculation. This is the line that developed in the Soviet Union and it is the one that will develop here. Even in the face of their gigantic tasks, the necessity to build industry from the ground up in the teeth of world capitalist opposition, the Russians, as we have seen in Chapter II, have been able vastly to improve the conditions of the toilers of factory and farm. In the United States, however, the revolution, because of the superior industrial equipment here, will be able to advance the American workers’ standards of living much more quickly and drastically. It will also make it possible to lend assistance to the more undeveloped countries. It is true that the powerful and ruthless American capitalist class will seek to prevent all this by destroying the industries during the revolution, which only emphasizes the need for breaking their resistance the sooner.
The above measures of improvement for the workers and farmers will represent only a bare beginning. Already the material conditions are at hand in the United States for an enormous increase in the well-being of the masses. The barriers to this advancement are the incredible robberies, wastes and the general idiocies of the capitalist system. The revolution will clear away this mass of exploitation, inefficiency and reaction, and will open the road for such an industrial development and general rise in material and cultural standards of the masses as now seems only the stuff of dreams.
THE REVOLUTION will put a stop to the whole series of capitalist leaks, wastes and thieveries which now prevent the rise in standards of the masses. It is the marvel of the capitalist world how the Soviet government, with virtually no foreign credits, manages to raise the many billions necessary to finance the Five-Year Plan. The explanation is to be found in the gigantic economies inherent in the Socialist system as against the inefficiencies and grafts of capitalism. These economies will be much greater in the United Soviet States of America.
First of all, the American Soviet government, by taking over the ownership of industry and the land, will put a sudden stop to the manifold forms of robbing the workers and farmers of monster masses of value on the basis of private ownership of the social means of livelihood. All forms of capitalist interest, rent and profit will be abolished. Capitalists, mortgage holders, landowners and coupon clippers perform no useful function in society. Their rake-off from industry and the land is sheer robbery. This is one of the great lessons of the Russian revolution. They are a deadly detriment. The first requirement for further social progress is to abolish this class of parasites. Veblen states the case very mildly when he says that “the capitalist financier has come to be no better than an idle wheel in the economic mechanism, serving only to take up some of the lubricant.”3 In reality, the capitalists, with their program of mass poverty, exploitation and war, are a menace to the human race.
Ending the gigantic robbery which is the very base of the capitalist system will at once release vast values for useful social ends. How vast may be realized from the fact that in 1928 the total national income in the United States was approximately 90 billion dollars, of which, it is estimated by Varga that no less than 46% was taken by capitalist exploiters in the shape of corporation profits, ground rents, interest on mortgages, official salaries and bonuses, etc. An American Soviet government, stopping this monstrous expropriation of the toilers, will turn these great sums to the improvement of the living and cultural standards of the producing masses.
Secondly, the setting up of a Socialist system will greatly increase the productive forces and production itself. By liquidating the contradiction between the modes of production and exchange, it does away with economic crises, with all their waste and loss. Where there is no capitalist class to demand its profit before production and distribution take place, and where the producers as a whole receive the full product of their labor, there can be no economic over-production and crisis. Consequently, unemployment, with its terrible misery and suffering, will become a thing of the past. The many millions who now walk the streets unemployed will have fruitful work to do, to the benefit of all society. With the deadly limitations of the capitalist market removed, the road will be opened to virtually unlimited expansion of industry and mass consumption.
Thirdly, Socialism will result in an enormous increase in industrial and agricultural efficiency. It is the proud boast of the capitalists, particularly the Americans, that their system represents the acme of economy and efficiency. But this is so untrue as to be grotesque. The Socialist system of planned production, based upon social ownership of industry and the land, is incomparably more efficient than the anarchic capitalist system founded upon private property, competition and the exploitation of the workers. In his book, The Tragedy of Waste, Stuart Chase estimates that of the 40,000,000 “gainfully employed” in the United States about 20,500,000, or 50%, waste their labor totally. Recently Iron Age stated that by putting all the industrial plants in the United States on the basis of modern technique it would be possible to shorten the working day to one-third of the present, while at the same time doubling the output. Socialism will wipe out these great wastes, inherent in the planless, competitive capitalist system. It will liquidate the hundreds of useless and parasitic occupations, such as wholesalers, jobbers, and the entire crew of “middlemen,” real estate sharks, stock brokers, prohibition agents, bootleggers, advertising specialists, traveling salesmen, lawyers, whole rafts of government bureaucrats, police, clericals, and sundry capitalist quacks, fakers, and grafters. It will turn to useful social purposes the immense values consumed by these socially useless elements.
Socialism will also conserve the natural resources of the country which are now being ruthlessly wasted in the mad capitalist race for profits. Chase points out, among many examples of such criminal waste, that by wrong production methods 16 billion barrels of petroleum have been lost; every year 5 billion feet of lumber are likewise wasted; and although as yet only 2% of the total coal in this country has been mined, 33% of the best beds has been gutted. Natural gas and the various minerals are being similarly wasted. A Soviet government will, of course, put a stop to this criminal recklessness and have as one of its principal aims the careful conservation of all the natural resources.
Finally, the eventual victory of the workers on a world scale will liquidate the monster, War, with all its agonies and social losses. The ghastly bill of the World War comprised, in terms of human life, 12,990,000 dead and a total casualty list of 33,288,000, not counting the thirty millions more who died in various countries from famine and pestilence as a result of the war. The direct property loss and general financial cost of the war is estimated at 340 billion dollars.
It is along these broad channels that the American Soviet government will find the means for the early and far-reaching improvement of the toilers’ standards. The abolition of the monumental robbery of the workers by the capitalists in all its myriad forms; the liquidation of the capitalist economic crisis, with its mass unemployment and general crippling of the productive forces; the development of an industrial efficiency and a volume of production now hardly dreamed of; the careful conservation of natural resources; the abolition of war;—these revolutionary measures will provide the material bases for a well-being of the toiling masses of field and factory now quite unknown in the world.
AMONG the first tasks of the American Soviet government will be the reorganization of the chaotic capitalist industries upon Socialist lines. To do this the banks will all be centralized in one great system. The railroads will be completely consolidated; duplicate lines will be eliminated; bus, truck, airplane, interurban electric and steamship lines will be scientifically coordinated with the railroads, thereby making a saving of at least 50% in transportation efficiency. The scattered units of the other industries will be similarly organized, with an eventual program of rebuilding industry into larger units, regrouping of plants at more strategic points, elimination of small and uneconomic plants, etc.
The industrial system as a whole will be headed by a body analogous to the Supreme Economic Council of the U.S.S.R. The S.E.C. is made up of a series of “united industries,” “trusts,” and “combines.” There is the necessary sub-division for the special character of the industry, local conditions, etc. Each industrial unit, with an established budget and allocated capital and credit, operates upon the principles of cost accountancy and individual and collective responsibility. The whole industrial apparatus—production, distribution, financing—while each part retains the necessary organization, specialization and initiative required for the fulfillment for its particular functions, constitutes a great industrial machine, each cog of which fits into and works harmoniously with the rest.
The superiority of such an organized Socialist industry over the present piece-meal and anarchic American industrial system is evident at a glance. Compare this scientific industrial organization, as a coordinated and cooperating whole, with the present maze of 206,556 separate American manufacturing concerns, including coal mining 6,000; textiles (cotton, wool, silk, rayon) 5,833; metal (main branches) 23,000, etc.,4 not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of separate retailing, jobbing and financing concerns. And all these multitudinous units are engaged in a dog-eat-dog competition with each other, blindly producing and throwing their products aimlessly into the markets. Socialist industry means system, cooperation, efficiency; capitalist industry means chaos, conflict, waste.
Naturally, American Socialist industry will be operated upon the basis of a planned economy. The aim of the whole industrial machine will be to achieve the highest possible standards for the producing masses, not the welfare of a few capitalists. Production will be scientifically calculated in advance. The needs of the people and the possibilities of the industries will be carefully studied and met. With a thoroughly organized industrial system the carrying out of the production plans will be easy and natural. A Socialist society without a planned economy is unthinkable, even as it is unthinkable that a capitalist society should work on the basis of scientific planning.
Under the American Soviet government with such an organized industrial system, economic crises, clogging of the markets through over-production, cannot take place. The toilers as a whole receiving the values they produce and there being no parasitic capitalists whose special class interests have to be preserved, gains in production will express themselves automatically and immediately in higher wages, shorter working hours and generally improved conditions. In a Soviet America there could not possibly exist the present hideous anomaly of millions of workers and their families unemployed and starving while the markets are glutted with commodities and the great industries stand idle.
The operation of Socialist nationalized industry is, of course, not to be compared with governmentoperated industry under capitalism. This is because the capitalists, fearing to endanger their beloved system of private ownership, always see to it that industries operated by their governments are thoroughly sabotaged, mismanaged and generally discredited. But under Socialism the whole interest of the government is to manage the industries efficiently and to eliminate bureaucratism, and this is done to a degree quite unknown in the capitalist world.
In Socialist society the trade unions play a fundamental role. They are a gigantic factor in the Soviet Union. They draw the masses directly into the work of Socialist construction, in the building of the new society. They attend to the protection of the immediate needs of the workers. They constitute the mass basis for the Soviets. They are the great schools for Communism. No important activities are embarked upon without their consent and cooperation. No labor law can go into effect without their endorsement. Their representatives occupy key positions in every stage of the economic, political and social organization. Compared to these great mass bodies, the American Federation of Labor, which presumes to sneer at the Russian unions, plays an insignificant role in the life of the working class.
The Russian trade unions base their organization directly upon the industries through shop committees. Their general structure follows the lines of the economic organization of their industries. There are 45 national industrial unions in the U.S.S.R. They are not State organs, being based entirely upon the principles of voluntary membership.
The trade unions look after the formulation and enforcement of the whole elaborate body of social insurance (unemployment, sickness, old age, maternity, accident, etc.). They enforce the government sanitary and safety regulations. And especially they work out the wage scales jointly with the government economic organs. This is not a matter for strikes and struggles, there being no ruling, owning class to contend with; it is a question of amicable arrangement upon the scientific basis of the general returns from industry and agriculture, taking into account the needs for the further expansion of industry, the upkeep of the government, etc.
In industry the trade unions perform a very important part. But they do not of themselves actually lead the production, this being the task of the government economic organs, with close local and national supervision from the Party and the unions. The Syndicalist theory that the trade unions could directly carry on production is one of the many theories that were proven false by the actual practice in the Russian revolution. The unions, locally and nationally, hold periodic production conferences with the technical heads of the industries, hearing reports from them and checking up on their work. They have representatives in all the higher economic organs, as well as in the Soviets proper. The trade unions are the very basis of the vast mobilization of the working class in the industries for the carrying through of the Five-Year Plan.
The trade unions are also a vital means in the education of the masses. They have a great network of factory schools, newspapers, libraries and theatres. They have thousands of rest homes, clubs, sanatoria, hospitals, gymnasiums, etc. They swell in many directions the great wave of enlightenment, organization and prosperity among the toilers.
In building Socialism in this country the trade unions will play essentially the same role as in the U.S.S.R. The revolutionary unions of the Trade Union Unity League are the nucleus of the eventual great labor organizations of Soviet America. Whatever remnants of the present A.F. of L. may exist at the time of the revolution will be merged into the series of industrial unions based on allinclusive factory committees. The revolutionary workers, both before and during the revolutionary crisis, will ruthlessly drive from office the reactionary A.F. of L. leaders as the most servile and dangerous of all tools of the bourgeoisie.
The cooperatives are also a foundation stone in the Socialist economic system. The cooperatives form the great retail distributing mechanism; they are directly connected with the factories, thus cutting out all useless and parasitic middlemen. Entering into every city and village, they constitute a gigantic distributing agency, beside which even the biggest American chain stores and mail order houses are only small potatoes. The cooperatives also play a very important role in production, especially in agriculture. The tremendous collective farm movement in the U.S.S.R. represents the cooperative grown to revolutionary maturity.
As in the case of the American trade unions, the existing cooperatives in this country will have to be profoundly reorganized and rebuilt to perform their new tasks. They will be developed from the skeleton organizations they are today into a gigantic mass movement. This will be one of the first and most urgent tasks of a revolutionary American government.
In building Socialist industry the greatest problem the workers will have to solve, as the Russian experience shows, is to secure mastery over industrial technique. Although the great industrial base will be on hand, despite capitalist efforts to destroy it in the revolutionary struggle, there will remain the task of giving the industries Socialist form and leadership. It will be impossible to take over, as is, the capitalist economic organs and personnel and start them off running as Socialist institutions.
But in the United States this problem of developing the new Socialist forms and cadres will not be so acute as in the Soviet Union. This is because of the general reasons previously cited: the greater ripeness of the objective situation and the existence of Soviet countries and a great body of revolutionary experience. Inasmuch as American industry is much more developed, the workers have more skill and experience than the Russians had; the trusts and the advanced industrial technique will lend themselves more readily to Socialist reorganization, and besides there will not be the need for such swift industrial expansion as in the U.S.S.R. Also the American capitalist engineers do not form such an air-tight clique as the Russians did and they will not be so strategically situated to sabotage the industries; in the existing surplus of technicians doubtless large numbers of them, suffering from unemployment and generally bad conditions, will go along with the revolution and they will be given every opportunity to use their skill in the industries. Besides, and this is of decisive importance, the American Soviet government will have at its disposal the vast experience of the Russian workers in the building of Socialist industry and also, if necessary, actual help from their engineers.
The American Soviet government will immediately proceed with the difficult task of creating an adequate supply of reliable technicians and managers for the industries. The scattered technical institutes, trade schools, correspondence schools, etc., will be organized, expanded and linked up directly with the industries. Technical schools will be established at all factories. Workers and their children will be given the preference in the study of industrial technique.
THE SOVIET system provides a scientific method of organizing agriculture as well as industry. Stalin says: “To create an economic basis of Socialism—that means to unite agriculture with Socialist industry into a single economy, and to place agriculture under the leadership of Socialized industry.” Private property, production for profit, competition and all the rest of the capitalist chaos and robbery, have no more place on Soviet farms than in the factories. An immediate and fundamental problem to confront the American Soviet government, therefore, will be to carry through the Socialist collectivization of the land. This, for the poor and middle farmers, will be done upon a voluntary basis.
In the agrarian question the experience in the Soviet Union is of the most fundamental importance. In their vast movement of collectivization, described in Chapter II, the Russians have developed several forms of farm organization. Chief among these are the “kolkoz,” or artel, with land, draft animals and implements pooled and the joint returns distributed upon the basis of the work done, and the State farm, (“sovkhoz”), with the land farmed directly by the State, (State Farm Trust), and the workers paid upon a wage basis. There are also the societies for the joint cultivation of the land (TSOS), with private property in draft animals, crops, etc., and finally, there are the communes, with common property in tools, horses, products and dwellings. In all cases the land is owned by the government. The State agriculture organization is grouped under the Commissariat of Agriculture, and is formed into trusts for various crops and geographical divisions of the industry; such as Grain Trust, Cotton Trust, Flax Trust, Livestock Trust, Hemp Trust, Tea Trust, etc. Crops are sold either directly to the government, to the cooperatives, or, in a very rapidly lessening extent, upon the open local markets.
All these forms have been widely applied. But the most adaptable and basic are the artels and the State farms. The State farms are an unquestioned success, but it is especially along the lines of the artel that the many millions of Russian peasants are now regrouping themselves. The collectives and State farms, despite the still existing shortage of machinery, etc., have already proved, by greatly increased output, their vast advance over the old forms of farming.
The superiority of such an organized agriculture over the present unorganized American system is evident at a glance. It is like comparing a modern automobile with an ox cart. The Russian farmers, with their vast farms, are producing crops under increasingly scientific conditions and then disposing of them to a government which they, together with the industrial workers, completely control. American farmers, on the other hand, in 6,300,000 separate units destitute of organization except for a few cooperatives and other associations largely controlled by the bankers, capitalist politicians and rich farmers, are all producing, helter-skelter, and then, harassed by capitalist loan sharks, industrial trusts, and a hostile government, are selling their crops in open competition with each other and the whole world. It is no surprise, therefore, that while the Russian farmers are blazing ahead to progress and prosperity, the American farmers slump deeper into poverty, stagnation and crisis.
The central policy of the American Soviet government in agriculture will be to reorganize the farming system primarily upon the basis of State farms. The position of American agricultural technique and the experience in the U.S.S.R. will justify such a policy. The great ranches of the Far West, the big corporation farms of the Middle West, the huge private estates of the millionaires in the East—all confiscated by the new government—will provide immediate bases for many such great State farms. These will be vast model farms, equipped with the most modern machinery and technique. They will raise the level of agriculture production generally to a new and higher stage. But, doubtless, the artel type of collective farm will also be widely organized. It will be the policy of the government to stimulate the collectivization movement, furnishing the poor farmers with the necessary implements, etc. The artel form of farm will provide a convenient bridge, leading away from individualist, competitive farming and towards the State farm.
Once the political power is in the hands of the workers and peasants the collectivization of American agriculture, the winning of the poorer categories of farmers for the building of Socialism, will proceed very rapidly. It is true that the American farmer on the average has a bigger farm than the Russian peasant had and that the private property idea is perhaps more deeply ingrained in him, but he is, as we have already seen, caught between the millstones of capitalist exploitation and is being crushed. The vast majority of the farmers will have everything to gain from the outset by a Socialized agriculture. Today, despite popular notions to the contrary, the average farmer seriously lacks machinery. The one million American tractors, not to speak of other costly machines, are now concentrated very largely in the hands of the well-to-do and rich farmers. The poor farmer also lacks fertilizers and has little or no chance to apply modern methods.
Collectivization under a Soviet system will radically change all this. Not only will it furnish the farmer with a boundless market for his products, but it will also provide him with machinery, fertilizers, selected seed and general scientific methods on a scale entirely unknown even on the largest present-day American farms. The marginal mountain and rocky farms in the South, New England, etc., will be abandoned and the farming industry concentrated and intensified in the most adaptable sections. The revolutionary collectivization of the land will effect a profound advance in American agriculture and cause a veritable leap forward in the living standards of the farmer.
THE CAPITALIST class not only robs the workers as a whole, but it visits special exploitation upon those sections of the working class—Negroes, foreign-born, women, youth, the aged, etc.—who, for one reason or another, are the least able to defend themselves in the class struggle. The American Soviet government will drastically eliminate such special discrimination, along with capitalist exploitation generally.
Above all, as we have remarked, it is the Negro who is singled out for the bitterest exploitation and persecution by the capitalists. His condition is comparable only to that of the “untouchables” of India and is the most crying outrage of American capitalism. He is set apart as a pariah, an object of contempt and scorn, a victim of the most systematic suppression and enslavement to be found anywhere in the modern industrial world.
The purpose of all this tyranny and repression is, of course, the most intense robbery of the Negro toilers; for the vast majority of Negroes are either poor farmers or workers. The Jim-Crow system, with all its cultivated snobbery of race, is a device of the ruling classes to whip extra profits out of the hides of the oppressed Negroes by splitting them off from the rest of the toilers.
The Republican party, boasted friend of the Negro, is equally responsible with the Democratic party for the maintenance of this criminal outrage. Such Negro organizations as the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, dominated by the white and Negro capitalists and petty bourgeoisie, also have this responsibility; they live by cultivating segregationalism; they sabotage every real fight for the liberation of the Negro. In the case of the framedup nine Scottsboro Negro boys, the attorney of the N.A.A.C.P. made a purely formal defense, practically coinciding with the prosecution.
As for the American Federation of Labor, its record on the Negro question is one of shame and treachery; it falls into step with the whole capitalist policy by barring Negroes from its unions, by blocking their entry into the better-paid jobs, by refusing to fight for their burning demands, by cultivating the insidious white chauvinism. The measure of the policy of the A.F. of L. on the Negro question is to be seen, for example, in Atlanta, where Negroes are not even allowed to enter the local labor temple.
The Socialist party, despite all its parade of radicalism and alleged friendship of the Negro, follows the same basic Jim-Crow line as the A.F. of L. This was clearly shown by Heywood Broun, Socialist leader, when he said:
“If I were a candidate for high executive office, or judiciary office, I would say, even without being cornered, that I would not now sanction the efforts to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”5
The Communist party, alone of all the political parties, fights for the liberation of the Negro, both in the present-day struggle and as an ultimate goal. The American Soviet government, immediately it takes power, will deal a shattering blow to the whole monstrous Jim-Crowism. To destroy it ruthlessly will be one of the real joys of the victorious proletarian revolution. Every remnant of slavery will be abolished. In a Soviet system, the Negro will have the most complete equality—economically, politically, socially. The doors to every occupation, to every social activity, will be wide open for him. He will have ample land, confiscated from the great white landlords. He will be free to do and go as any other citizen, without let or hindrance. Attempts to maintain the capitalist white chauvinism and ostracism of the Negroes will be punished as a serious crime against society. Socialism will mean the first real freedom for the Negro. He is beginning to realize this, hence his mass turning to the Communist party for leadership, and the consequent deep alarm of the capitalists and big landowners at this growing unity of white and black toilers.
The status of the American Negro is that of an oppressed national minority, and only a Soviet system can solve the question of such minorities. This it does, in addition to setting up real equality in the general political and social life, by establishing the right of self-determination for national minorities in those parts of the country where they constitute the bulk of the population. The constitution of the Soviet Union provides that, “Each united republic retains the right of free withdrawal from the Union.” The Program of the Communist International declares for:
“The recognition of the right of all nations, irrespective of race, to complete self-determination, that is, self-determination inclusive of the right to State separation.”
Accordingly, the right of self-determination will apply to Negroes in the American Soviet system. In the so-called Black Belt of the South, where the Negroes are in the majority, they will have the fullest right to govern themselves and also such white minorities as may live in this section. The same principle will apply to all the colonial and semi-colonial peoples now dominated by American imperialism in Cuba, the Philippines, Central and South America, etc.
And logically, foreign-born workers, now denied the right to vote and ruthlessly deported, will enjoy the fullest rights of citizenship. One of the most monstrous features of the present attack upon the working class is the deportation of tens of thousands of foreign-born workers by Doak’s Department of Labor. These masses of workers, torn away from home and families, are sent back to countries with which they have lost all touch. Doak’s deportation campaign, part of the capitalist offensive, is an attempt to terrorize the foreign-born workers, to crush every semblance of resistance among them, to split them off from the American-born workers. The wholesale deportation of radical workers and leaders is an attempt to illegalize the Communist party and the TUUL.
The experience with self-determination of national minorities in the Soviet Union shows that the Russians have solved this problem with the revolution. The many national minorities have the right of self-determination; they have their own languages, their own culture. Yet they all live together in the strongest unity under the general constitution of the U.S.S.R. Where there is no capitalist or feudal exploitation there can be no suppression of weaker nationalities. The radical liquidation of the “insoluble” Jewish problem in the U.S.S.R. testifies to the completeness of the Bolshevik cure. Murderous pogroms, a curse of old Russia, are now totally eradicated. The Jews enjoy absolute equality with all other nationalities. The solution of the question of suppressed nationalities, a question which causes untold misery in the capitalist world, is one of the greatest achievements of the Russian revolution.
The American Soviet will, of course, abolish all restrictions upon racial intermarriage. The arguments of Ku Klux Klanners and the like that Negroes are an inferior race and that “mongrel” peoples are less capable, have no justification in science and social experience. Those “scientists” who endorse such “white supremacy” theories are only so many bought-and-paid-for upholders of the prevailing mode of exploitation. The facts are that all the big peoples of today are already hopelessly “mongrel” and that wherever Negroes have half a chance they demonstrate their intellectual equality with the whites. Geographic isolation of the early human stock into widely separated groups brought about its differentiation into individual races; contact between these various races, bred of modern industrialization, is just as irresistibly breaking down these racial differences and bringing about racial amalgamation. The revolution will only hasten this process of integration, already proceeding throughout the world with increasing tempo.
WHEN woman emerged historically from feudalism she was burdened with a whole series of customs, prejudices and restrictions enslaving her in her work, her personal life and her political status. Characteristically capitalism, which respects nothing in its greed for profits, quickly seized upon all these handicaps of woman and used them to doubly exploit her. This is true of the United States as well as other capitalist countries. The so-called freedom of the American woman is a myth. Either she is a gilded butterfly bourgeois parasite or she is an oppressed slave.
The life of the working class woman and poor farmer’s wife is one of drudgery and exploitation. Capitalism sees in her mainly a breeder of wage slaves and soldiers. The boasted American home, enslaving the woman through her economic inferiority and her children, makes her dependent upon her husband. On all sides she confronts medieval sex taboos, assiduously cultivated by the church, State and bourgeois moralists. When she goes into industry she has to toil for from a third to a half less than the male worker; she works at a killing pace under unhealthful conditions and she is barred from many occupations under the hypocritical and reactionary slogan, “The woman’s place is in the home”; the A.F. of L. betrays her every attempt to organize and to defend her interests. Politically, she is practically a zero, having little or no opportunity to educate herself or to function in an organized manner. Finally, to cap the climax of woman’s enslavement, capitalism maintains in full blast the “oldest profession,” prostitution.
The proletarian revolution will profoundly change all this. The American Soviet government will immediately set about liquidating the elaborate network of slavery in which woman is enmeshed. She will be freed economically, politically and socially. The U.S.S.R. shows the general lines along which the emancipation of woman will also proceed in a Soviet America.
The Russian woman is free economically, and this is the foundation of all her freedom. Every field of activity is open to her. She is to be found even in such occupations as locomotive engineer, electrical crane operator, machinist, factory director, etc. There are women generals in the Red Army, women ambassadors, etc. Two-thirds of the medical students are women. In industry the women are thoroughly organized in the trade unions. They get the same pay as men, and are protected by an elaborate system of maternity and other social insurance. In politics the women of the Soviet Union are a major and militant factor.
The Russian woman is also free in her sex life. When married life becomes unwelcome for a couple they are not barbarously compelled to live together. Divorce is to be had for the asking by one or both parties. The woman’s children are recognized as legitimate by the State and society, whether born in official wedlock or not. The free American woman, like her Russian sister, will eventually scorn the whole fabric of bourgeois sex hypocrisy and prudery.
In freeing the woman, Socialism liquidates the drudgery of housework. So important do Communists consider this question that the Communist International deals with it in its world program. In the Soviet Union the attack upon housework slavery is delivered from every possible angle. Great factory kitchens are being set up to prepare hot, well-balanced meals for home consumption by the millions; communal kitchens in apartment houses are organized widespread. Every device to simplify and reduce housework is spread among the masses with all possible dispatch.
To free the woman from the enslavement of the perpetual care of her children is also a major object of Socialism. To this end in the Soviet Union there is being developed the most elaborate system of kindergartens and playgrounds in the world—in the cities and villages, in the neighborhoods and around the factories. Of this development, Anna Razamova says:
“All these institutions for child welfare mean a great deal in the life of the working woman. They free her from the necessity of spending all her time at home, cleaning, cooking and mending. While she is at work she can be sure that her child is being well taken care of, and that it is supervized by trained nurses and teachers, and gets wholesome food at regular hours.”6
The free Russian woman is the trail blazer for the toiling women of the world. She is beating out a path which, ere long, her American sister will begin to follow.
A RULING class which did not hesitate to send more than twelve million young men to their death in the World War to further its greed for wealth and power, naturally does not stick at the most ruthless exploitation of the youth at all other times. Capitalism, whose great god is profit, poisons society at its source; it destroys the seed corn of the human race, the young.
The condition of the children of the American working class is a damning indictment of capitalism. Recently even President Hoover admitted that in the United States, the richest country in the world, 6,000,000 children are chronically undernourished. The starved masses of workers, harassed by low wages and unemployment, are unable to feed their children properly, and the State callously shrugs its shoulders at the problem. Great masses of them slave in the industries, while their parents go around jobless. The position of the workers’ children has naturally grown immeasurably worse during the present industrial crisis. The Nation, (Mar. 23, 1932), exposes a typical condition when it declares: “5,000 to 10,000 children in Detroit are daily in child bread lines.” Regarding a recent investigation of conditions among continuation school boys in New York, Grace Hutchens states:
“Of 2,700 working boys, less than one in seven was found free from physical defects. One-fifth of them were under-weight from under-nourishment. Three-fifths needed dental care. Defective eyesight, adenoids, undeveloped chest, poor muscle tone, diseased tonsils, anemia, heart conditions, and tuberculosis scars were common. Most of these difficulties could have been prevented.”7
The Labour Research Association says in its Bulletin of Nov. 9, 1931:
“In Detroit, in a single school in the working class district, 500 children refused to report for classes. Investigation showed that more than half of them lacked even clothes and shoes. In Chicago, children are fainting from lack of food and 15,000 are starving. In Cleveland, the number of under-nourished children in the elementary schools will reach 15,000 before the end of the present term. A recent study of 290 typical children in West Virginia coal towns by Dr. Ruth Fox of the Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, showed that in Ward, W. Va., their average weight was 12% below the standard.”
The generally disastrous effects of such conditions may be better imagined than described. Capitalism, besides thus feeding, vampire-like upon children, no less ruthlessly exploits the youth, who are becoming an ever-greater factor in industry. It drives their immature bodies at a pace in production which even adult workers cannot endure; it forces them to work at lower wages than grownups; child labor laws are “more honored in the breach than in the observance.” Special victims in this raw exploitation are the Negro youth.
Such barbarous conditions for the youth are, of course, utterly alien to Socialism. Just as inevitably as a profit-seeking, anarchic, socially-irresponsible capitalism ruins the young of the people, so inevitably, does an ordered and responsible Socialism take the greatest care of its youth. In the very center of the whole Communist program stands the systematic protection and development of the children and young workers. Even the sharpest enemies of the Soviet Union have to admit the truth of this. Not even in the darkest days of the civil war, when hunger and pestilence were rampant, was the welfare of the youth ever lost sight of in the U.S.S.R. They always had plenty, although often their parents were semi-starved. A bourgeois correspondent, Julia Blanshard, says:
“Youth is one of the first concerns of Soviet Russia. You, as an elder, might live on cabbage soup, but your children would have meat stews and even sweets. Russia looks to the future, not the past. . . The children look clean, well-nourished, neatly dressed and alert.”8
Under Socialism the care of the children rests directly with the parents—stories of the nationalization of children in the Soviet Union are ridiculous. But the State does not let matters rest entirely with the parents. It throws such additional safeguards around the children in the schools, kindergartens, etc., of city and village that none can possibly go hungry, be denied medical care or lack education.
The Soviet government, the trade unions and the Communist Youth League, as well as the Party and other organizations, vigilantly protect the youth employed in Russian industry. The general conditions they have set up indicate the lines of development in the United States. There is no industrial child labor. And such driving as exists among the millions of young workers in American industries is unheard of. The Russian young workers work only six hours daily; they are shielded from night work and especially dangerous or heavy toil. The Soviet Union is the only country in the world where the youth are paid equal wage rates with adults for similar work. The health and education of the young workers is promoted by vast sport and cultural organizations. In politics the youth are a real factor, the franchise being based upon the principle, “Old enough to work, old enough to vote.” In every walk in life the antiquated prejudices that the “elders” alone must lead have been broken down and the path is clear for the development of full leadership on the basis of ability and regardless of age. In the United States, as in the U.S.S.R., the Soviet system will open up a new world for the youth.
PRESENT-DAY culture in this country is an instrument by which the capitalist class consolidates its dominant position. The prevailing systems of education, morality, ethics, science, art, patriotism, religion, etc., are as definitely parts of capitalist exploitation as the stock exchange. The schools, churches, newspapers, motion pictures, radio, theatres and various other avenues of publicity and mass instruction are the organized propaganda machinery of the ruling class.
The chief aims of bourgeois culture, so far as it is directed towards the working class, are to develop the workers into, (1) slave-like robots who will accept uncomplainingly whatever standards of life and work the owners of industry see fit to grant them; (2) unthinking soldiers who will enthusiastically get themselves killed off in defense of their masters’ rulership; (3) superstitious dolts who will satisfy themselves with a promise of paradise after death as a substitute for a decent life here on earth. To these ends the workers are regimented in the schools, poisoned by the militaristic Boy Scouts and C.M.T.C., enmeshed in fascist-like sport organizations, herded into the strike-breaking Y.M.C.A., stuffed with endless rot in the newspapers and movies, jammed into religious training before they are able to think for themselves, etc. As for real education, about all the workers get of it in school is the minimum of the three R’s required to enable them to perform the tasks allotted them in industry.
So far as this culture is directed to the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, it results in a mass production of capitalist intellectual robots. The schools and colleges, firmly in the grip of finance capital, as Upton Sinclair so completely showed in his book, The Goose Step, are great manufactories of Babbitts. In no country is culture so debased by capitalism as in the United States. Essentially a gigantic effort to perpetuate the robbery of the workers, it is sterile, hypocritical, colorless, lifeless. America’s capitalistic writers are engaged in trying to convince the working class what a glorious thing it is to be a wage slave; her artists and poets are busy glorifying Heinz’s pickles and the advertising pages of The Saturday Evening Post; her dramatists and musicians are cooking up patriotic slush and idiotic sex stories to divert the masses from their troubles and the hopeless boredom of capitalist life; her scientists are trying to prove the unity of science and religion, etc., etc.
The proletarian revolution in the United States will at once make a devastating slash into this maze of hypocrisy and intellectual rubbish. Not less than in the Soviet Union, it will usher in a profound cultural revolution. For the first time in history the toiling masses will have the opportunity to know and enjoy the good things of life. With prosperity assured for all, with no slave class to stultify intellectually and with no system of exploitation to defend, Communist culture will have a mass base and will flourish luxuriantly and free. It will call forth the artistic and intellectual powers of the masses, always hitherto repressed by chattel slavery, feudalism and capitalism. Superstition, and ignorance will vanish in a realm of science; “Culture will become the acquirement of all and the class ideologies of the past will give place to scientific materialist philosophy.”9
Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following; the schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society. Present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy.
The churches will remain free to continue their services, but their special tax and other privileges will be liquidated. Their buildings will revert to the State. Religious schools will be abolished and organized religious training for minors prohibited. Freedom will be established for anti-religious propaganda.
The whole basis and organization of capitalist science will be revolutionized. Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific; God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools. Science will be thoroughly organized and will work according to plan; instead of the present individualistic hit-or-miss scientific dabbling, there will be a great organization of science, backed by the full power of the government. This organization will make concerted attacks upon the central problems, concrete and abstract, that confront science.
The press, the motion picture, the radio, the theatre, will be taken over by the government. They will be cleansed of their present trash of sex, crime, sensationalism and general babbitry, and developed into institutions of real education and art; into purveyors of the interesting, dramatic, and amusing in life. The press will, through workers’ correspondents on the Russian lines, become the actual voice of the people, not simply the forum of professional writers.
The American Soviet government will, of course, give the greatest possible stimulus to art in every form, seeking to cultivate the latent powers of the masses. Painting, sculpture, literature, music—every form of artistic expression—will flourish as never before. The great art treasures of the rich will be confiscated and assembled in museums for the enjoyment and instruction of the toiling masses. Cultural societies of all kinds will be developed energetically.
One of the basic concerns of the workers’ government will be, naturally, the conservation of the health of the masses. To this end a national Department of Health will be set up, with the necessary local and State sub-divisions. A free medical service, based upon the most scientific principles, will be established. The people will be taught how to live correctly. They will be given mass instruction in diet, physical culture, etc. A last end will be put to capitalist medical quackery and the adulteration of food.
A main task of the American Soviet government will be to make the cities liveable. This will involve not only the wholesale destruction of the shacks that millions of workers now call homes, but the building over of the congested capitalist cities into roomy Socialist towns. These will develop towards the decentralization of industry and population, the breaking down of the differences between city and country. There will be no great landed, financial, and transportation interests to maintain the monstrous congestion typical of capitalist cities. The present “city beautiful” plans of capitalism will seem puny and trivial to the future city builders of Socialism.
Only a few years ago many of the foregoing proposals would have seemed fantastic, merely Utopian dreams. But now we can see them growing into actuality in the Soviet Union. In making the cultural revolution in the United States, the workers and farmers, facing the same general problems as the Russians, will solve them along similar lines.
CAPITALISM, by its very nature, is a prolific breeder of crime. It is a system of legalized robbery of the working class. The whole process of capitalist business is a swindle and an armed hold-up. In capitalist society what constitutes crime and what does not is a purely arbitrary distinction. The capitalists do not recognize any line of demarcation for themselves. They do whatever they can “get away with.” The record of every large fortune and big corporation in this country is smeared not only with brutal robbery of the workers but also statutory crime of every description, from the bribery of legislatures to plain murder. Wall Street is full of uncaught Kreugers.
In a society where each grabs what he can at the expense of the rest, naturally the government offers a wide field of corruption. It is a well-known fact, emphasized afresh by the Seabury investigation in New York, that every city and State in this country is controlled by grafting politicians, allied with the criminal underworld. The Teapot Dome scandal, not to mention numerous others, shows that the national government is also permeated with this gross corruption. Such corruption is not a special condition, but of the very tissue of capitalism.
It is not surprising that in a system of society where the aim is to get rich by any means, crime of every kind should flourish. Faced by low wages and other impossible economic conditions on the one hand and by the corrupt example of capitalism generally on the other, many naturally take to lives of open crime and try to seize at the point of a gun what the capitalist “big shots” steal through exploiting the workers, by a corner on the stock exchange, or by corrupting the government. The main difference between their operations is primarily one of dimension. Al Capone is an altogether legitimate child of American capitalism, and it is no accident that he is an object of such widespread admiration.
The American Soviet government will liquidate the mounting crime wave which, according to the Wickersham committee, costs the government a billion dollars yearly. Socialism, by putting an end to capitalist exploitation, deals a mortal blow at crime of every description. The economic base of crime is destroyed. The worker is enabled to live and work under the best possible conditions. There is no place for human sharks to prey upon their fellow men. Not only does the abolition of capitalism destroy the basis of the so-called crimes against property, but the revolutionized economic and social conditions, involving an intelligent moral code and effective educational system, also greatly diminish the “crimes of passion.”
These facts are already demonstrated in the Soviet Union, which is fast becoming a crimeless country. While the exigencies of the revolutionary struggle against the counter-revolution made it necessary, from time to time, to confine a considerable number of political prisoners, this need is now fast passing with the consolidation of the Socialist regime and the liquidation of the last remnants of the exploiting classes in the Soviet Union. Life and property are safer now in the U.S.S.R. than in any other country in the world. Crime is rapidly sinking into abeyance and this will be more and more the case as the new society becomes strengthened.
Capitalism blames crime upon the individual, instead of upon the bad social conditions which produce it. Hence its treatment of crime is essentially one of punishment. But the failure of its prisons, with their terrible sex-starvation, graft, over-crowding, idleness, stupid discipline, ferociously long sentences and general brutality, is overwhelmingly demonstrated by the rapidly mounting numbers of prisoners and the long list of terrible prison riots. Capitalist prisons are actually schools of crime. Even the standpat Wickersham committee had to condemn the atrocious American prison system as brutal, medieval and fruitless.
Socialist criminology, on the other hand, attacks the bad social conditions. While the American Soviet government will ruthlessly break up the underworld gangs that brazenly infest all American cities and will also give short shrift to grafting politicians, its prison system will be essentially educational in character. In the new Russian prisons, for example, the prisoners have the right to marry and to live with their families; they are taught useful trades and are paid full union wages for their work; there are no guards or walls or bars; the discipline is organized entirely by the prisoners themselves. The prisoners are also allowed freely to visit their friends in other towns. The lengths of the terms to be served are determined by the prisoners’ committees, on the basis of the fitness of the given prisoners to resume their places in society. The whole terminology of crime, criminal, prison, etc., has been abandoned in such institutions. Upon release, a prisoner is not only able to make his way in society but is welcomed. He is eligible to belong to the Communist party. It requires very little imagination to see the great advantages of this Socialist system over the barbarous prisons of capitalist countries. Congressman W. I. Sirovich, (Dem., N. Y.), said, after a recent visit to the Soviet Union, “The Russian prison system sets an example that is worthy of emulation by any nation in the world.”10
Prohibition, based upon a criminal alliance between capitalists, crooked politicians and gangsters, has bred a growth of criminals such as the world has never seen before. And the “best minds” of the country stand powerless before the problem. The American Soviet government will deal with this question by eliminating prohibition, by establishing government control of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors; these measures to be supported by an energetic campaign among the masses against excessive drinking.
This way of handling the prohibition question is working successfully in the Soviet Union. Shortly after the October revolution the Soviet government prohibited the sale or manufacture of alcoholic drinks. But soon bootlegging began, with familiar demoralizing consequences: poisonous liquor was made, much badly-needed grain was wasted, open violation of the law existed on all sides. Then, with characteristic vigor and clarity of purpose, the government legalized the making and selling of intoxicating beverages. At the same time, a big campaign was initiated by the government, the Party, the trade unions, etc., to educate the workers against alcoholism. This program is succeeding; the evils of alcoholism are definitely on the decline. Doubtless, the Russians have found the real solution of the liquor question. Just as Socialism is abolishing so many other evils, it is also rapidly wiping out alcoholism and the mass of misery and degradation that accompanies it.
ONE OF the revolutionary achievements of victorious world Communism will be the ending of war. In Chapter I we have seen the great and growing danger of a new world war and also the utter futility of all the capitalist peace pacts and disarmament schemes as war preventives. We have also seen the economic forces of imperialism behind the war danger. So long as capitalism lasts war must continue to curse the human race. It is the historical task of the proletariat to put an end to this hoary monster. This it will do by destroying the capitalist system and with it the economic causes that bring about war.
It is characteristic of capitalism to justify all the robbery and misery and terrors of its system by seeking to create the impression that they are caused by basic traits in human nature, or even by “acts of god.” Thus we find current many metaphysical and mysterious explanations of the present crisis and unemployment. These preventable disasters are made to appear almost as natural phenomena over which mankind has no control, like tornadoes and earthquakes. The same general attitude is taken with regard to war. War is put forth as arising out of the very nature of humanity. Man is pictured as a war-like animal, and therefore capitalism escapes responsibility. War becomes more or less inevitable.
This is all nonsense, of course. Man is by nature a gregarious and friendly animal. He does not make war because he dislikes others of his own species, differing from him in language, religion, geographical location, etc. His wars have always arisen out of struggles over the very material things of wealth and power. This is true, whether he has been living in a tribal, slave, feudal or capitalist economy, and whether he has obscured the true cause of his wars with an intense religious garb or with slogans about making the world safe for democracy. The cause of modern war is, as we have already seen, the imperialistic policies of the capitalist nations to rob the colonial peoples, to smash back the growing revolutionary movement, to crush each other in the world struggle for markets, raw materials and territory. In a society in which there is no private property in industry and land, in which no exploitation of the workers takes place and where plenty is produced for all, there can be no grounds for war. The interests of a Socialist society are fundamentally opposed to the murderous and unnatural struggle of international war.
Under capitalism the workers, by militant and well-organized struggle, can check the development of war. By the threat of revolution they can, for a time, force the capitalists to hold in leash their dogs of war. This fear has contributed basically to holding the capitalist governments so long from making another open armed attack upon the Soviet Union. But pressure from the workers can only delay the war, not stop it permanently. The irresistible and incurable antagonisms of the capitalist countries inevitably force them into war, revolution or no revolution. Only the proletarian revolution itself can solve these war-breeding contradictions and put a final end to war. Not Christianity but Communism will bring peace on earth.
A Communist world will be a unified, organized world. The economic system will be one great organization, based upon the principle of planning now dawning in the U.S.S.R. The American Soviet government will be an important section in this world organization. In such a society there will be no tariffs or the many other barriers erected by capitalism against a free world interchange of goods. The raw material supplies of the world will be at the disposition of the peoples of the world.
Politically, the world will be organized. There will be no colonies, no “spheres of influence,” no hypocritical “open doors.” The toilers will then have fully realized Marx’s famous slogan, “Workingmen of the World, Unite!” The interests of the toiling masses in the various countries will not be in conflict, but in harmony with each other. Those who speak of “red imperialism” repeat the calumnies of capitalism. Once the power of the bourgeoisie is broken internationally and its States destroyed, the world Soviet Union will develop towards a scientific administration of things, as Engels describes. There will be no place for the present narrow patriotism, the bigoted nationalist chauvinism that serves so well the capitalist warmakers. Armies and navies, rendered obsolete, will be disbanded. Grim war will meet its Waterloo.
At the meeting of the League of Nations’ Preparatory Commission for Disarmament at Geneva in November, 1927, the representatives of the Soviet Union presented a proposal for complete world disarmament. It was later re-enforced by the Soviet Union’s proposal for a general economic non-aggression pact, by its non-aggression treaties with individual governments, and by its generally firm peace policy in the face of imperialist provocation.
But, of course, the imperialist capitalist nations did not accept the Soviet Union’s plan for doing away with war. The U.S.S.R. is the only country that genuinely struggles for peace; the capitalist powers need war in their business. War is not to be ended in capitalist peace conferences, but by revolutionary struggle of the toiling masses against capitalism itself. Hence, inevitably, the capitaists at Geneva ridiculed the Soviet 1927 proposals and shortly afterwards adopted as a substitute the supremely hypocritical Kellogg Peace Pact, meanwhile intensifying their own war preparations. They have again rejected the Soviet Union’s disarmament proposal at the present Geneva conference. Thereby they expose afresh to the workers of the world the fact that they do not want peace, but war. It will be only when the workers and peasants have finally defeated international capitalism and are assembled to re-organize the world on a Socialist basis that a proposal for general disarmament will be adopted and carried into effect. This event, being irresistibly prepared by the deepening capitalist crisis and the growing mobilization of the world’s toilers under the leadership of the Communist International, will take place sooner than the world bourgeoisie dare think and it will be one of the very greatest steps forward ever taken by the human race.
ONE OF the classical capitalist arguments against Socialism is that it would destroy incentive; that is, if private property in industry and the right to exploit the workers were abolished the urge for social progress, and even for day-to-day production, would be killed.
But the Russian revolution has shattered this contention irreparably. The Russian workers and peasants are building Socialism with a mass energy and enthusiasm quite unparalleled in history. Manifestly, they are propelled by a great incentive. This is a marvel to the bourgeois newspaper correspondents. But it is just as Marx, three gen erations ago, said it would be under Socialism.
The incentive of the Russian toilers is easily explained. They own the country and everything in it. There is no exploiting class to rob them of the fruits of their toil. They welcome better production methods because they get the full benefit of them. They have broken the chain of capitalist slavery and are building a new world of liberty, prosperity and happiness for themselves and families. It is equally understandable why the producing masses in capitalist countries betray no such enthusiasm in their work. The latter are robbed of what they produce; for them improvements in production mean wage-cuts and unemployment. Incentive under capitalism is confined practically to the exploiting classes and their hangers-on. It is only with the advent of Socialism that the great masses develop real incentive.
Socialist incentive in the Soviet Union explains why the workers so militantly defended the revolution against the many capitalist armies in 1918-20, and why they have endured famine and pestilence for the revolution. In the industries it is an intelligent mass incentive that provides the basis for the keen Socialist competition, for shock-brigades to speed production, for the self-imposed labor discipline, for the heroic present-day selfdenial in putting the Five-Year Plan into effect so that a solid base of heavy industry may be quickly laid for the Socialist prosperity.
In view of all this mass interest and initiative of the workers in Soviet industry current capitalist charges about “forced labor” in the U.S.S.R. stand exposed as ridiculous. Forced labor is native to capitalism, not Socialism. The whole Socialist system is utterly antagonistic to any enslavement of the workers. Even bourgeois writers and politicians are beginning to admit this. H. R. Mussey says: “If anybody wants a bargain in forced labor, or any other kind of labor, I should advise him not to look for it in Russia just now, as far as I have seen it; for it is a seller’s market in labor if ever there was one.”11 Rep. H. T. Rainey, Democratic House leader, declares: “Labor is freer in Russia than in any other country in the world.”12
The differentiated wage scales, including piecework, in the Soviet Union constitute no contradiction to the prevalent strong mass incentive. Temporarily, they must serve to stimulate the less conscious elements to acquire skill and to produce. The wage system as a whole is a hang-over from capitalism, part of the baggage that has to be discarded during the transition from capitalism to Communism. Improved production methods and general education will solve that problem. Recently Stalin said, in polemizing against tendencies to at once equalize wages:
“Marx and Lenin said that the differences between skilled and unskilled work would continue to exist even under Socialism and even after the classes had been annihilated, that only under Communism would this difference disappear, that therefore, even under Socialism Vages* must be paid according to the labor performed and not according to need.”13
Besides the revolutionary enthusiasm and initiative of the masses and many other indications already present of the eventual wageless system there is the “Party maximum.” That is, the members of the Communist party have a set wage limit above which they cannot go. Thus Stalin gets the same wages, as many hundreds of thousands of other workers and much less than large numbers of non- Party mechanics and engineers. “Russia,” says Stuart Chase, “has achieved more progress and developed more initiative on $150 a month, the official Party salary, than any other nation has ever dreamed of in an equal period.”14
It is exactly in the incentive of the workers and poor farmers that the proletarian revolution has its great motive force. This is what gains it the support of the masses, what carries it through a thousand trials and tribulations, what is driving through the Five-Year Plan successfully and what will eventually build a world system of Communism. Mussey, in the above-quoted article from The Nation, issues the following warning to the capitalist class:
“If the rulers of the western world would retain their leadership, even in part, then I am persuaded that they and their apologists would do well without further delay to recognize the profound significance of that combination of motives on the basis of which the Russians have accomplished the impossibilities of the past 14 years and to cease their parrot-like iteration of the impossibility of successful appeal in industry to anything except individual cupidity. The Russian construction marvels of 1931—and they are marvels—are not built on individual cupidity.”
DEFENDERS of capitalism declare that Socialism destroys individualism. But when they speak of individualism they have in mind the right of freely exploiting the workers. They mean that the antisocial individualism of capitalism will go. Under Socialism no one will have the right to exploit another; no longer will a profit-hungry employer be able to shut his factory gates and sentence thousands to starvation; no more will it be possible for a little clique of capitalists and their political henchmen to plunge the world into a blood-bath of war.
Yes, such deadly individualism is doomed. But the revolution will create in its stead a new and better development of the individual. The collectivist society of Socialism, by freeing the masses from economic and political slavery will, for the first time in history, give the masses an opportunity to fully develop and express their personalities. Theirs will be an individuality growing out of and harmonizing with the interests of all. It will not have the objective of one’s getting rich by robbing the toilers, but will develop itself in the direction of achievement in science, industrial technique, art, sports, etc. A typical example of this new motive was the case of Lensky, a worker in the “Pneumatics” factory of Leningrad who recently invented a very valuable electric-pneumatic meter: given 120,000 rubles as a reward, he immediately presented the money to various cultural organizations.
The boast of capitalist apologists about the equal opportunity which their society affords, that it is a case of the survival of the fittest, is a tissue of lies. What equality is there between a Vanderbilt and a poor miner? And as for the fittest surviving, under capitalism, this means those strongest financially. Harry K. Thaw is a glowing example of capitalist survival of the fittest. Only Socialism can provide equality of opportunity, which means a genuine occasion for the masses to enjoy life and to develop their latent personalities.
Socialism, it is also argued, kills the spirit of competition in society. That is more nonsense. Under Socialism men and women strive for superiority in achievement just as naturally as boys do in a foot race. But not on the basis of privatelyowned, competitive industry. Indeed, Socialism will introduce the first real competition since the days of primitive Communism. Lenin, in an article written in 1918, says:
“Socialism does not only not extinguish competition but on the contrary for the first time creates possibilities to apply competition widely, on a real mass scale, to draw the majority of the workers into the field of this work, where they can really show themselves, where they can develop their abilities, disclose their talents which are an untouched source among the masses and which capitalism trampled upon, crushed and strangled by thousands and millions.”
Stalin thus describes the basically different capitalist and Socialist competition:
“The principle of capitalist competition is defeat and death for some and victory for others. The principle of Socialist competition is, comradely assistance to those lagging behind the more advanced, with the purpose to reach general advancement.”
The history of the Russian revolution to date entirely bears out these statements of Lenin and Stalin. Socialist competition is one of the main driving forces of the revolutionary development. In view of the basic tasks now confronting the Soviet Union, it is inevitable that the most striking manifestation of the new Socialist competition should relate to the buildng and operation of the industries. This, which we have described in Chapter II, is a gigantic factor in carrying through the Five-Year Plan. But Socialist competition runs into every other field of endeavor as well, and it will play an increasing role as the new Socialist system gets a more solid foundation.
The existence of a strong mass incentive and a lively spirit of competition under Socialism effectually disposes of the time-worn “dead level of Socialism” theory. Not Socialism, but capitalism, with its exploitation, terrorism, war, superstition, and cultivated illiteracy, creates a dead level in its poverty and ignorance for the uncounted millions of toilers of field and factory. It is precisely Socialism that will destroy this dead level.
But the capitalists, as is their wont, seek to justify their destructive type of competition by asserting that it is rooted firmly in human nature. Such appeals to “human nature,” however, must be taken cautiously. By that method of reasoning it would be quite easy to conclude that the rich capitalist who heartlessly casts workers out of his shops penniless and gives no thought as to their future has quite a different “human nature” than the African Negro hunter who, with his high sense of clan solidarity, before eating his kill, calls loudly in the four directions in case perchance there may be another hungry hunter nearby. Changed social conditions develop different “human natures.” Thus competition, a ruinous, anti-social thing under capitalism, becomes, under Socialism, highly beneficent.
In recent years the argument against the approaching “dead level” of Socialism has taken on a new development. Now machinery itself is being roundly denounced as a “dead leveller.” Wide fear is expressed that we are going into a regime of such standardization and mechanization that life is becoming merely a machine-like process and the people so many robots.
This fear is essentially a class fear. The petty bourgeoisie, including their writers and poets, dread the machine because it wipes out their class base, small industry; because it brings the further subjugation of their class to the bankers and big industrialists. Many capitalist economists, like Foster and Catchings, Tugwell, Chase,15 etc., also fear the machine and modern methods of mass production, because they sense their revolutionary consequences. They see the growing volume of production, the shrinking markets, the increasing unemployment, the radicalization of the producing masses, the growing revolutionary struggle, and they tremble at the prospect. In Montreal, according to a United Press dispatch of Feb. 23, 1932, the Canadian government buried a toy steamshovel ceremoniously, declaring that its “future policy will be to engage manual laborers and to scrap machinery wherever advisable.”
Anti-machine propaganda like that of Gandhi, Spengler, etc., is the absurdity of capitalism in despair and decline. None such will be found in the Soviet Union. The Soviet workers do not fear the machine. They see in it an emancipator from the drudgery and poverty of the past. They have no dread of ensuing industrial crises and unemployment. They will control the machine; not let it enslave them as it has done under capitalism. Nor do they fear that it will create a “dead level,” standardized, uninteresting world. Such conditions can only develop under capitalism where everything is made for profit’s sake. Capitalism naturally develops a hopeless babbittry in every direction; but Socialism produces inevitably the intelligent and the beautiful.
Under Socialism the machine will be used on the broadest scale possible to produce the necessities of life in the great industries, transport systems and communication services. It would be the sheerest nonsense and quite impossible not to take advantage of every labor and time-saving device. But Socialist society will also know how to develop the variegated and artistic. Where the creative impulses of the masses are not checked by poverty and slavery, where the arts and sciences are not hamstrung by the profit-making motive, where the masses are not poisoned by anti-social codes of morals and ethics, and where every assistance of the free community is given to the maximum cultivation of the intellectual and artistic powers of the masses—there we need have no fear that society will be robotized by the machine.
Life under a Communist society will be varied and interesting. Individual will vie with individual, as never before, to create the useful and the beautiful. Locality will compete with locality in the beauty of their architecture. The impress of individuality and originality will be upon everything. The world will become a place well worth living in, and what is the most important, its joys will not be the niggardly monopoly of a privileged ruling class but the heritage of the great producing masses.
THE PROLETARIAN revolution is the most profound of all revolutions in history. It initiates changes more rapid and far-reaching than any in the whole experience of mankind. The hundreds of millions of workers and peasants, striking off their age-old chains of slavery, will construct a society of liberty and prosperity and intelligence. Communism will inaugurate a new era for the human race, the building of a new world.
The overthrow of capitalism and the development of Communism will bring about the immediate or eventual solution of many great social problems. Some of these originate in capitalism, and others have plagued the human race for scores of centuries. Among them are war, religious superstition, prostitution, famine, pestilence, crime, poverty, alcoholism, unemployment, illiteracy, race and national chauvinism, the suppression of woman, and every form of slavery and exploitation of one class by another. Already in the Soviet Union, with the revolution still in its initial stages, the forces are distinctly to be seen at work that will eventually liquidate these handicaps to the happiness and progress of the human race. But, of course, only a system of developed world Communism can fully uproot and destroy all these evils.
The objective conditions, in the shape of scientific knowledge and the means of creating material wealth, are already at hand in sufficient measure to do away with these menaces to humanity. But the trouble lies with the subjective factor, the capitalist order of society. Capitalism, based upon human exploitation, stands as the great barrier to social progress. Communism, by abolishing the capitalist system, liquidates this subjective difficulty. It releases thereby productive forces strong enough to provide plenty for all and it destroys the whole accompanying capitalist baggage of cultivated ignorance, strife and misery. Communism frees humanity from the stultifying effects of the present essentially animal struggle for existence and opens up before it new horizons of joys and tasks. The day is not so far distant when our children, immersed in this new life, will look back with horror upon capitalism and marvel how we tolerated it so long.
Communist society, in its battle onward and upward, will attack and carry through many profound measures besides those mentioned. Among these will be the organization of the economics of the world upon a rational and planned basis, the systematic conservation and increase of the world’s natural resources, the development of a vast concentration upon all the great problems now confronting science, the beautification of the world by a new and richer artistry, the liquidation of congested cities and the combination of the joys and conveniences of country and urban life, and the solution of many other great problems and tasks now hardly even imagined.
Communist society, however, will not confine itself simply to thus developing the objective conditions for a better life. Especially will it turn its attention to the subjective factor, to the fundamental improvement of man himself. Capitalism, with its wars, wage slavery, slums, crooked doctors, etc., undermines the health of the race and destroys its physique. Communism, with its healthful dwellings and working conditions, its pure food, physical culture, etc., will make good health, like thorough education, the property of all. Already this is becoming so in the Soviet Union. But this will be only a beginning. Communist society will go farther. It will scientifically regulate the growth of population. It will especially speed up the very evolution of man himself, his brain and body. Capitalism has checked the evolution of the human species, if it has not actually brought about a process of race degeneration. But Communism will systematically breed up mankind. Already the scientific knowledge is at hand to do this, but it is at present inapplicable because of the idiocy of the capitalist system, its planlessness, its antiquated moral codes, its warp and woof of exploitation.
For many generations the long list of Utopians, the Platos, Mores, Fouriers, Owens, and Bellamys, have dreamed and planned ideal states of society. Their strong point was that they sensed mankind’s capacity for a higher social life than the existing wild scramble. But their weak point, and this was decisive, was that they did not know what was the matter with society nor how to cure it. They had not the slightest conception of either the objective or subjective conditions necessary for social revolution. Their Utopias, mere speculations disconnected from actual life, fell upon deaf ears.
It has remained for the modern proletariat, under the brilliant leadership of Marx and Lenin, to find the revolutionary way to the higher social order, on the basis of the industrial and social conditions set up by capitalism. Marxians have been able to analyze capitalism scientifically, to work out a correct program and strategy of struggle, to establish effective organization among the workers and peasants, to master generally the laws of social development. Consequently, with the objective situation becoming ever more ripe, the revolution no longer appears as an abstraction, a mere theory. Today, Socialism is a great living world reality. As Polakov says, “The Russian ‘experiment’ is an experiment no more.” In the Soviet Union the first great breach has been made in the walls of capitalism. The rest will follow apace. And we may be sure that the revolution, in its upward course, will carry humanity to heights of happiness and achievement far beyond the dreams of even the most hopeful utopians.
American imperialism is now strong. Its champions ridicule the idea of a revolution. But their assurance is not now quite so sure as it was a couple of years ago, before the great industrial collapse. They are beginning to feel a deadly fear. The Russian revolution is to them such a terrible reality. But they console themselves with the thought that “it can never happen in this country,” and they scorn the at-present weak Communist party. But they overlook the detail that the same attitude was taken towards the pre-revolution Bolsheviki. Especially did the Socialist Moguls of the Second International look upon them as narrow sectarians and upon Lenin as a fanatical dreamer. But one thing is certain, American capitalism is part and parcel of the world capitalist system and is subject to all its basic weaknesses and contradictions; it travels the same way to its destruction as capitalism in general.
The world capitalist system is in decay. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot save it. Its general crisis deepens; the masses develop revolutionary consciousness; the international revolutionary storm forces gather. Capitalism, it is true, makes a strong and stubborn resistance. The advance of the revolution is difficult, its pace is slow, and it varies from country to country, but its direction is sure and its movement irresistible. Under the leadership of the Communist International the toilers of the world are organizing to put a final end to the long, long ages of ignorance and slavery, of which capitalist imperialism is the last stage, and to begin building a prosperous and intelligent society commensurate with the levels to which social knowledge and production possibilities have reached.
1. Program of the Communist International.
2. Recent Economic Changes, Vol. II, p. 784.
3. The Price System and the Engineers, p. 66.
4. Figures based on U. S. Department of Commerce Census Bulletin, Dec. 31, 1930.
5. New York Telegram, Apr. 28, 1930.
6. Russian Women in the Building of Socialism, p. 13.
7. Youth in Industry, p. 14.
8. New York Telegram, Nov. 8, 1931.
9. Program of the Communist International.
10. New York Journal, Dec. 1, 1931.
11. The Nation, Nov. 4, 1931.
12. New York World-Telegram, Apr. 8, 1932.
13. Speech delivered on June 23, 1931.
14. The Philadelphia Record, Nov. 22, 1931.
15. Chase, although stating that, on the whole, the effect of the machine has been progressive, is manifestly alarmed. In Men and Machines, p. 348, his fear and confusion are expressed by his empty program of meeting the problem of the machine without a plan, “with nothing to guide us but our naked intelligence and a will to conquer.”