Ted Grant

Russia: reform or political revolution?

Source: Militant pamphlet (February 13, 1987)
Transcription: Francesco 2010
Proofread: Fred 2010
Markup: Niklas 2010

Gorbachev’s speech last year at the 27th congress of the Communist Party and now his speech to the January 1987 plenum of the party Central Committee, mark a new stage in the development of “soviet” Russia. It requires attentive analysis by Marxists in order to understand the processes taking place in Soviet society.

While speeches attacking corruption, waste, inefficiency etc. are nothing new in Russia, Gorbachev’s “reforms” go beyond anything in the last 30 years, calling for more democracy, election under certain conditions of factory managers, elections within the “Communist” Party, etc.

These proposals are an attempt to remove the worst logjams in the economy which is nearly stagnant. However, precisely because of this stagnation, Gorbachev faces the risk of even the talk of reforms encouraging a movement developing among the discontented workers and youth.

The crisis in the Soviet economy, Gorbachev’s “reforms”, and the split in the bureaucracy that they represent are an indication that the era of the political revolution is beginning to unfold in Russia.

It is now seventy years since the overthrow of capitalism and landlordism in Russia in October 1917. The Russian revolution changed the history of the world, and marked an entire new stage in the development of mankind. Russia has moved from a position where industry and society were at a lower level than India today, to the position of the second industrial and world power. In 1985 Russia was the world’s leading producer of oil (25 percent of world production), gas (35 percent), and steel (24 percent, almost double the USA). Its electricity output is equivalent to that of the whole EEC, and accounts for 17 percent of world production. Its achievements with the nationalised means of production, distribution and exchange are gigantic and imperishable. State ownership has demonstrated its right to superiority over capitalism, not in the language of Marx’s Capital, as Trotsky once said, but in the language of steel, cement and production.

But the isolation of the revolution and the backwardness of Russia led to the victory of the bureaucracy over the democracy of the revolution. Stalin was able to seize control in the interests and to serve the needs of the bureaucratic elite.

However, history always proceeds in a dialectical way, in contradictions, never in a smooth and straight path of development. Seventy years after the revolution there is more inequality, and no genuine democracy as there was in the years 1917-23.

Now not only in social relations but in the development of industry too, the contradictions between the economic basis of the Soviet Union and the role of its bureaucratic leadership have become extreme. From being a relative means of developing the Soviet Union the bureaucracy has now become a reactionary brake on development.

During the last twenty years, Russia has developed only at a tortoise pace, no longer hurtling forward as in the years before the war, and the first decade or two after the war. Thus, from 1913 (the highest pre-revolution figures) to 1963 industrial output rocketed by 52 times in Russia, while in the USA it increased six times and in Britain doubled. In the 1950s the economy in Russia grew by an average of 12 percent a year, a rate easily outstripping almost every capitalist power even at the peak of the boom.

In the last period, however, the rate of development of the economy has been lower than that of capitalism in the period of the economic upswing or even in some years of economic decline. In 1979 the gross national product grew by 0.9 percent, in 1980 1.5 percent, and about 2.5 percent in 1981 and 1982.

In the sixties Khrushchev had predicted that by 1980 the Soviet Union would succeed in overtaking the United States in productivity of labour, in output and in standards of living.

This would have been entirely possible if the bureaucracy had not become an enormous fetter on the further development of the Russian economy. It was no idle boast by Khrushchev. The level of culture; the level of education and the numbers of the working class; the resources of Russia; had they all been used in a scientific and planned way with control over society by the mass of the population, this aim could have been realised. Under the conditions of totalitarian Stalinism it was an impossible dream.

Marx explained that the transition of one society to another is determined by the development of the productive forces. So why, despite the colossal advantages of the elimination of private ownership of the means of production, has there been this very slow development in the last few decades in Russia? A workers’ state moving towards socialism requires democracy and control by the workers of industry, the state and of the economic plan. It is impossible to run a hundred thousand industrial enterprises, many employing more than 100,000 people, a hundred thousand construction works, in turn employing up to 300,000 people, by command of bureaucrats at the top.

When it was a question in the pre-war and the first decade or two of the post-war period of translating the achievements of science and technique of the West to a relatively primitive economy, the bureaucracy could be relatively successful, although Trotsky pointed out that this was at three times the cost of the development of industry in capitalist society. Now the role of the bureaucracy in Russian society has become completely reactionary. The bureaucrats had dreams of ruling for a thousand years. Now after mere decades the regime of political counter-revolution on the basis of a planned economy has reached its limits. It can no longer rule in the old way.

According to the arguments of Marxism, the state is a machine for the oppression of one class by another class. It is the guardian of inequality and privilege. The Soviet Union was not and still is not a harmonious society, although it is more harmonious than capitalist society.

The bureaucratic caste of millions is clogging the state machinery and the economy. Every section of the state machine—the army, the police and the “Communist” Party—is moulded for the purpose of defending the interests of the ruling elite. It is true the bureaucracy defends state ownership and the plan, but it does so not in the interests of society as a whole but because this is the source of privilege for itself. Under a system of totalitarian rule, as the whole of history has demonstrated, corruption, theft, swindling, embezzling, speculation, nepotism and all the other phenomena of bureaucratic command and control are inevitable.

Now Gorbachev has given a glimpse of what is really going on within Soviet society. He has lifted the lid off a seething cauldron of corruption and crime in all the republics and throughout the Soviet Union.

As an intelligent representative of the bureaucratic caste, he realises that the present situation cannot be continued without the danger of explosions within the masses. Enormous discontent has been accumulating within Soviet society. Telling examples of corruption have been given in the Soviet press in the course of the last year. Some bureaucrats actually looted millions of roubles, which is the equivalent of millions of pounds. Their greed and corruption threaten to devour all the fruits of the revolution.

In his report to the 27th congress, Gorbachev justifiably boasted that in the last 25 years:

“The fixed production assets of our economy have increased seven times over. Thousands of enterprises have been built and new industries created. The national income has gone up nearly 300 percent, industrial production 400 percent and agriculture 70 percent.

“Before the war, and in early post-war years, the level of the US economy appeared to us hard to attain, but it was really in the seventies that we have come substantially close to it in terms of our scientific, technical and economic potential and had even surpassed it in the output of certain key items.

“These achievements are the result of tremendous effort by the people. They enabled us to enhance considerably the well being of Soviet citizens. In a quarter of a century real per capita incomes have gone up by 160 percent and the social consumption funds more than 400 percent. Fifty-four million flats have been built which enabled us to improve the living conditions of the majority of families. The transition has been completed to universal secondary education. The number of people who have finished higher educational establishments has increased four-fold. The successes of science, medicine and culture are universally recognised.”

However, Gorbachev is compelled to admit:

“…at the same time difficulties began to build up in the economy in the 1970s, with the rates of economic growth declining visibly. As a result the targets for economic development set in the CPSU programme and even the lower targets of the 9th and 10th five-year plans were not attained. Neither did we manage to carry out fully the social programme charted for this period. A lag ensued in the material basis of science, education, health protection, culture and every day services…the economy, which has enormous resources at its disposal, ran into shortages. A gap appeared between the needs of society and the attained level of production, between the effective demand and supply of goods.

“The success of any undertaking depends to a decisive degree on how actively and consciously the masses take part in it. To convince broad sections of the working people that the chosen path is correct, to win their interest morally and materially, and restructure the psychology of the cadre—those are crucial conditions for the acceleration of our growth. The advance will be all the more rapid, the tighter our discipline and organisation will be, and the higher the responsibility of each for his job and its results.

“Today the prime task of the party and the entire people is to resolutely reverse the unfavourable tendencies in the developing of the economy, to impart to it the due dynamism and to give scope to the initiative and creativity of the masses, to truly revolutionary change.”

Gorbachev is a consummate representative of the ruling caste, and has all the limitations of a bureaucrat. He wants to transform Russian society without altering the basic structure of bureaucratic control. Like the top layers of the bureaucracy, his conditions of living are vastly different to those of the working class in the Soviet Union. His wife wears clothes from the expensive fashion houses in France like Cardin. She buys the most expensive perfumes.

Gorbachev lives like a millionaire or an American ruling politician. But alarmed by the economic stagnation and its threat to Russian society, fearful of the workers’ inevitable reaction, he is trying, on the basis of bureaucratic rule, to change the situation. The mass movement of the Polish workers around Solidarity and its revolutionary potential was an ominous warning of the processes that would inevitably take place in Russia. Even Brezhnev was stirred into panic and berated the so-called “trade union leaders” for not representing the interests of the Russian workers, exposing the lie that the trade unions in the Stalinist states have any independence.

Gorbachev is trying to introduce reform from the top to prevent political revolution from the bottom, and also in an endeavour to find a way out of the bureaucratic straitjacket imposed on the progress of the Russian economy.

Real Marxist-Leninists could explain all this in advance. Trotsky’s book The Revolution Betrayed, 50 years after it was written, is still the most fresh document explaining the processes taking place in the Soviet Union.

Stalin, in the past, as a Bonapartist military-police dictator on occasions leaned on the working class to strike blows at the most corrupt section of the bureaucracy. Bonapartism is a system of balancing between different groups and classes—between the workers, the peasants, and the bureaucrats themselves. So in the same way, Gorbachev is compelled to lean on the working class, to strike blows at a section of the bureaucratic caste which has gained enormously in influence and in its standard of living and its parasitism on the economy. Gorbachev wants “controlled reforms” but it will not be possible to continue on this road.

Stalin specifically abandoned reforms and was compelled to launch a one-sided civil war in the purge of the old Bolsheviks, and completely abandoned reforms for the fear of overthrow of the bureaucratic elite. However, Gorbachev, once embarked on the road of “reforms”, will not find it so easy to reverse and to clamp down once more. Whereas in the thirties the working class was about 20 percent of Russian society, the figure today is nearer to 70 percent. Though a reaction as in China today is inevitable, Russia is no longer a backward country but a sophisticated economy with the largest working class in the world, and a highly cultured working class. These “reforms” will still enormously encourage the workers. They could set the masses in motion, despite Gorbachev’s limited aims.

Inevitably, once the workers get a certain measure of control they will begin to ask questions and demand why the bureaucracy gets more than the wages of superintendence. Why they maintain their perks of country houses, cars, of special food shops which can only be used by officials.

Like Stalin, Gorbachev can take measures against the lower and middle bureaucrats, even some of the higher bureaucrats as scapegoats for the sins of the entire system. Thus in his first 11 months he has removed 46 out of 156 regional party bosses. But in his endeavour to improve things, Gorbachev has given some glaring examples of the role of the bureaucracy in impeding the development of soviet society:

“The non-wear and tear effect which soviet scientists discovered three decades ago, led to the development of fundamentally new lubricants that greatly increase the service life of the machine parts subjected to friction and sharply reduce labour outlays. This discovery, which yields savings of many millions of roubles, has to this day not yet been applied on a broad scale, because of the blinkers worn by some of the high ranking executives of the USSR Ministry of petrochemical industry and also of a number of other ministries and departments.

“The Ministry of the motor vehicle industry and planning bodies are to blame for the fact that for about ten years now a newly invented anti-friction bearing, which makes machines more reliable and failure-safe under the most rigorous operational conditions has not been applied on a large scale.

“We cannot reach our targets in accelerating scientific and technological progress unless we find levers that will guarantee priority only to those research establishments and industrial enterprises whose work collectives actually introduce whatever is new and progressive and seek ways and means of manufacturing articles of high quality and efficiency.”

Gorbachev also exposes some of the bureaucratic waste in the agricultural sector:

“Reducing crop and livestock produce losses during harvesting, transportation, storage and processing is the most immediate source of augmenting food stocks. We have no small potentialities in this respect; the addition to consumption resources could amount to as much as 20 percent, and in the case of some products, to as much as 30 percent. Besides, eliminating the losses would cost only between a third and one half as much as raising the same amount of produce.”

Gorbachev’s solution is “carrying out all-round democratisation of management, heightening the part played in it by work collectives, strengthening control from below, and ensuring accountability and publicity in the work of economic bodies.”

In reality, this could only be accomplished by a genuine control by the mass of the working class. This Gorbachev and the bureaucracy have no intention of introducing. Their democratic changes are cosmetic although a certain “consultation” will be allowed with the workers in an endeavour to involve them in the decisions, without introducing workers’ control and management as existed in the days of Lenin and Trotsky. Gorbachev then goes on:

“The elective bodies should be more exacting and strict towards their own apparatus. One cannot overlook the fact that executives who remain in offices for long periods tend to lose their feel for the new, to shut themselves off from the people by institutions they have concocted themselves, and sometimes even hold back the work of elective bodies. It is obviously time to work out a procedure which enables soviets, and all social bodies in general, to evaluate and certify the work of responsible executives of their apparatus after each election making desirable personnel changes.

“Ever more active involvement of social organisations in governing the country is needed in our time. When the work of our social organisations is considered from this angle, however, it becomes obvious that many of them are lacking in sufficient initiative. Some of them try to operate above all through their regular staff, in a bureaucratic way, and lean only a little on the masses. In other words, the popular, collective, independent nature of social organisations is not being fully realised by far.”

Gorbachev even came out in his speech to the 27th congress for the “electivity principle for all team leaders and then gradually to some other categories of managerial personnel-foremen, shift, sector or shop superintendents, and state-farm department managers.”

The fact that he was compelled to raise the question in his January 1987 speech of the election of all the posts in the Communist Party is an indication that not much success was achieved for this idea of electing foremen, etc. The bureaucracy has suppressed and prevented the development of this so-called principle. Delegations of Russian politicians and scientists to Britain and America in the last few weeks have revealed that there is enormous resistance to Gorbachev’s programme of “democracy”.

The so-called Russian Communist Party, 19 million strong, is part of a totalitarian one party machine and is a tool of the bureaucracy. It is not even a “party” in the sense of the European “communist” parties. So now he has advocated secret elections of party officials as a whip against the bureaucracy within the party itself. This is a desperate measure to try and break their resistance to change.

Of course his proposals have nothing in common with the democracy of Lenin and the four conditions laid down for the beginning of workers’ rule, not for socialism. Seventy years later none of them are in existence. The election of officials by genuine soviets of workers with the right of recall was the first condition for workers’ democracy. The second was that no official was to receive a higher wage than a skilled worker. Lenin limited the differential he was forced to introduce between workers and specialists to four to one—and this to him was a “capitalist differential”. Now the differences in standards of living between the bureaucrats, managers, technicians, army generals and the ordinary workers is possibly as great or nearly as great as in capitalist countries, even the USA.

The third condition was no special standing army but an armed people. The fourth was that in order to prevent a bureaucracy from developing all the official tasks should be done gradually in turn. When everyone is a bureaucrat, then no one could be a bureaucrat, or in Lenin’s aphorism: “Every cook should be able to be Prime Minister.” Now under the conditions of enormous economic development and where the working class is now the majority of the population of the Soviet Union, Marxists would add a fifth condition—the right of all parties to put forward their point of view. It would be possible to allow even pro-capitalist parties to develop. They would have so little support as it would be entirely ludicrous to consider the idea of going back to capitalism or the conditions that existed under Tsarism.

The bureaucracy through Gorbachev reveals its fear of all classes—workers, peasants. The bureaucratic caste itself, feels things cannot continue as they were under Brezhnev. Consequently Gorbachev wants to eliminate many of the worst abuses of the bureaucracy, the illegal and nominally illegal bribery, theft and other bureaucratic perks.

However, he does not want to fundamentally interfere with the privileges of the bureaucracy. The “legitimate” privileges must be maintained. In fact he is very careful to put forward the idea of Stalin that socialism means “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work”. As explained by Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed this concept is false from beginning to end.

It is precisely because they get more than they are entitled to—which should only be wages of superintendence as Marx explained—that the bureaucracy maintains its rule, because they are interested in the defence and extension of their income, power and privileges. As Trotsky explained:

“Wage labour does not cease, even under the Soviet regime, to wear the humiliating label of slavery. Payment ‘according to work’—in reality payment to the advantage of ‘intellectual’ at the expense of the physical, and especially unskilled, work—is a source of injustice, oppression and compulsions for the majority, privileges and a ‘happy life’ for the few.

“Instead of frankly acknowledging that bourgeois norms of labour and distribution still prevail in the Soviet Union, the authors of the constitution [the new constitution introduced by Stalin in 1936—EG] have cut this integral communist principle in two halves, postponed the second half to an indefinite future, declared the first half already realised, mechanically hitched on to it the capitalist norm of piecework payment, named the whole thing ‘principle of socialism’ and upon this falsification erected the structure of their constitution!” [Source: Revolution Betrayed, chapter 10.1 - Here]

Trotsky went on to comment:

“At the same time—and this is of no small importance—a protection by law of the hut, cow and home furnishings of the peasant, worker or clerical worker, also legalises the town house of the bureaucrat, his summer home, his automobile and all the other ‘objects of personal consumption and comfort’, appropriated by him on the basis of the ‘socialist’ principle: ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his work.’ The bureaucrat’s automobile will certainly be protected by the new fundamental law more effectively than the peasant’s wagon.” [Source: Revolution Betrayed, chapter 10.1 - Here]

The real situation in Soviet society is indicated by the desperate attempt of Gorbachev to use the secret ballot in elections from lower to higher levels of the Communist Party, as a means to break the will of the more degenerate and reactionary sections of the bureaucracy, who want to continue untrammelled in their looting of the Soviet state.

Trotsky explained:

“In a capitalist society, the secret ballot is meant to defend the exploited from the terror of the exploiters. If the bourgeoisie finally adopted such a reform, obviously under pressure from the masses, it was only because it became interested in protecting its state at least partially from the demoralisation introduced by itself. But in a socialist society there can be, it would seem, no terror of the exploiters.

“From whom is it necessary to defend the Soviet citizens? The answer is clear: from the bureaucracy. Stalin is frank enough to recognise this. To the question: Why are secret elections necessary? He answered verbatim: ‘Because we intend to give the Soviet people full freedom to vote for those they want to elect’. Thus humanity learns from an authoritative source that today the ‘Soviet people’ cannot yet vote for those whom they want to elect. It would be hasty to conclude from this that the new constitution will really tender them this opportunity in the future.” [Source: Revolution Betrayed, chapter 10.2 - Here]

In the early days when there were economic successes during the course of the first two five year plans Stalin was compelled to try and curb the rapacity and greed of the bureaucrats. Now the same process is taking place. However, Stalin did not dare to introduce these reforms in reality. Elections remained with only one candidate. Although even if there had been more than one candidate, it would have been only the candidates vetted and agreed by the party which is representative of the bureaucracy, and of course with the KGB in the background. Stalin intended this as a “whip” against the officialdom he represented.

The system in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev remains fundamentally what it has been during the course of the rule of the bureaucracy since 1927. Trotsky goes on to say:

“The promise to give the Soviet people freedom to vote ‘for those whom they want to elect’ is rather a poetic figure than a political formula. The Soviet people will have the right to choose their ‘representatives’ only from among candidates whom the central and local leaders present to them under the flag of the party.” [Source: Revolution Betrayed, chapter 10.3 - http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/ch10.htm]

That will be exactly the same now in the elections for the party from the bottom to the top. Thus this attempt at a whip over the bureaucracy in the long term will fail. As Trotsky went on further to explain: “It is not a question of sociology, but a material interest.”

The economy cannot develop without the participation and control of the working class, so Gorbachev is gambling on maintaining control with some elements of participation and control by the workers. However, there is no such thing as a partial control by the mass of the population, all history demonstrates that either the workers get control or control is taken back from them.

Partial control will not work. It cannot work without the control from top to bottom of society by the working class and the peasants. Fine art and technique can only blossom with full freedom of discussion and debate. But that cannot be maintained in a bureaucratic structure like that of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev wants to introduce a new aristocracy of labour on whom the bureaucracy can lean, a return, on entirely different conditions, to the Stakhanovite principle of separating out a layer of workers from the rest of the working class, who would be showered with privileges in order to have a basis within the working class. By creating a new privileged layer of labour aristocrats, the bureaucrats hope to have a basis in Soviet society which would frustrate any endeavour of the workers to really take control into their hands.

Marx and Lenin believed that the state would begin to wither away almost immediately once the working class came to power. This, from the very first day of workers’ power. This was impossible in a backward country like Russia of 1917-23. Now there are no economic reasons why this does not begin except the vested interests of the almighty bureaucracy itself.

Russia has the productive forces now to begin the movement towards real socialism. Well within ten years Russia could surpass American capitalism if it were not for the impediment of the bureaucracy. Under conditions of developing super-abundance of the necessities of life, the state, divisions in society, money etc. would all begin to wither away. But the bureaucracy would not be prepared to give up power, any more than the capitalists in the West, without a struggle. The bureaucracy will do anything for the working class except get off their backs.

In the speech at the 27th congress Gorbachev referred to subversion by imperialist agents. As if in a really democratic workers’ state going forward in the direction of socialism, subversion by imperialist agents would have any effect! These words are a reassurance to the bureaucratic caste that their privileged position is secure, there will be no withering away of the state—if workers challenged the fundamental basis of the bureaucracy in inequality, they would soon receive short shrift, and be accused of acting as subversive agents of imperialism.

This was the formula with which Stalin started to carry out the purge against the Old Bolsheviks, against hundreds of thousands of the best layers of Soviet society who had threatened the privileges of the bureaucracy. They were accused of being the agents of whatever power Stalin was in conflict with at that particular moment: British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and of course American imperialism.

Moving towards socialism would mean a lessening of inequality, not a reinforcement of inequality as Gorbachev is trying to carry out. Thus the argument that socialism has been achieved at a time when the state has reached monstrous proportions in the Soviet Union, probably greater than any other country in the world, is a mockery.

In addition to this, not by accident he made a reference in his speech to the views of the “left communists” and the Trotskyites, “who championed the theory of ‘revolutionary war’ which, they claimed, would carry socialism to other countries…Today, too, we are firmly convinced that pushing revolutions from outside, and doubly so by military means, is futile and inadmissible.” It is not the intention here to go into these questions. Suffice to say that Trotsky and Lenin in 1918 were opposed to the idea of Bukharin of revolutionary war at that particular time. This ritual denunciation of Trotskyists is an additional reassurance to the bureaucracy that Gorbachev in no way intends to undermine the position of the privileged elite.

At the same time it is reassurance to the capitalist powers, in particular the imperialists of the United States that the bureaucrats have no intention of supporting revolutionary developments in other countries. Like his predecessors Gorbachev is firmly against the development of revolution in the West, because that would result in a genuine workers’ democracy which in turn would have an enormous effect on the masses internationally, and especially the masses in Russia, Eastern Europe and China. For the bureaucracy, as for all ruling classes, foreign policy is a continuation of home policy, and home policy a continuation of foreign policy. Gorbachev is endeavouring to come to some agreement with the imperialists. Even though temporary agreements are possible, the fundamental basis of the Russian state is incompatible with the development of capitalism on a world scale.

The real meaning of the reforms is shown by the fact that far from assuring the national minorities of untrammelled development, in all the republics Gorbachev is pushing in Russians to guarantee the positions of the Great Russian bureaucracy. The dangers of this were shown in December 1986, when riots followed the removal of the Communist Party [leader] (a Kazakh) in Kazakhstan and replaced him with a Great Russian.

Despite this unrest, or because of it, the bureaucracy, including Gorbachev, is determined to make sure that in all the republics of the national minorities Russians still have key positions.

However, in a sense a political revolution has begun. It will be a protracted process with many sharp turns and sudden changes. Gorbachev wanted to eliminate the worst excesses of the bureaucracy. For a temporary period he may succeed in doing this. The lifting of the long suppressed lid of criticism will have an effect in all areas of Soviet society. Half a reform will get results economically, as it already appears to have done, for one or two years perhaps more or less as the case might be.

Science, art, philosophy will receive a spurt for a temporary period of time. But the fundamental privileged role of the bureaucracy is the main fetter on the development of Soviet society and this remains intact. Not evolution but political revolution preparing the way for the rule of the working class is inevitable.

Gorbachev’s reforms far from solving the problems of the bureaucracy will exacerbate and intensify them. Movements from the top will inevitably provoke an enormous movement from the bottom which will end in political revolution. He gave unprecedented warnings at a Soviet press conference on 13th February 1987 that he would step down if his reforms were blocked. At present this is intended as a warning to the more conservative layers of the bureaucracy. But at a certain stage he will be forced to retreat or face being removed from within the bureaucracy.

Only by abolishing the privileges of the bureaucracy and restoring control into the hands of the workers and peasants can all the contradictions in Russian society be overcome. Only a Marxist tendency standing on the programme of Lenin and Trotsky can solve this problem of the revolution. There is no way forward for any length of time in Soviet society except through political revolution. The bureaucracy will never de-bureaucratise itself. On the contrary even in the course of the reforms they are trying to reinforce their position of privilege. Now with a modern Soviet society they are coming more and more in conflict with the development of society and the development of production. That is the reason why they are doomed. But over the next five to ten years the way will be cleared for the beginning of the movement in the direction of socialism.

Victory for the Soviet workers under modern conditions would have a far greater effect than even the Russian revolution of 1917. The advantages of state ownership and of a plan will become so overwhelming that it will have an effect not only on the working class but on the intellectuals, the middle class, and other layers in society, leading to a complete overthrow of capitalism on a world scale.

[BOX:] The Morning Star

After lying for decades about the situation in “idyllic socialism” in the Soviet Union, the Morning Star and other papers of the so-called Communist Party are compelled to quote from the Soviet media itself instances of bureaucratic control, of arbitrariness, of corruption and of speculation: stones upturned, showing the horrible slime of bureaucracy lying underneath.

The “communist” parties of the world justified, endorsed, lied about Stalin’s claims, then endorsed without blinking Khrushchev’s denunciations of Stalin. They accepted the ousting of Khrushchev and fawned on Brezhnev. Now, without batting an eyelid, they accept Gorbachev’s strictures on the last two decades of Brezhnev’s rule.