The Latest Deception by Gabriel Miasnikov 1930

6. The program of bureaucratic mystification

The bureaucracy, led by Stalin and Bukharin, announces that its power is the power of the bureaucracy and its party, and that this consists in the dictatorship of the proletariat in alliance with the peasantry. Anyone who dares to audibly express doubts about this will be invited to visit the dungeons of the GPU, where he will be able to experience for himself the warm “camaraderie” of the bureaucrats. The bureaucracy is augmenting its power and its rule and is savagely eliminating all the workers who dare to raise their voices against its omnipotence and in favor of a workers State. This whole program of “self-criticism”, the “limits” set by the bureaucracy to its “self-criticism”, are the limits of the defense and the reinforcement of bureaucratic rule, which accompany the one-party dictatorship and are inherent to the rule of the bureaucracy. In its message “To all the members of the party, to all workers”, the Central Committee of the CPSU(b), after the usual introductory boilerplate, explains the practical measures that it seeks to implement. With respect to the Soviet apparatus:

1. “The struggle against bureaucratism and therefore a bold streamlining of its apparatus!” Neither more no less! These audacious initiatives are terribly shocking! They plan to eliminate themselves! But let us examine the ways they have in mind for combating bureaucratism.

2. “The promotion of workers to positions in the State and the economic apparatus of the State; this promotion will have to be compulsory, systematic, immediate and carried out on a daily basis.” What? It is a revolution! “The promotion of workers to positions in the State and the economic apparatus of the State.” Nothing could be more simple: we shall allow the workers to organize themselves in Councils and transform them into organizations that will control the economy and production while they also become the “foundation of State power”. All of this coincides with Marx and Engels and with the Program of the CPSU(b) (although not with that of the Komintern, since this demand, which is the very essence of the program of the proletarian revolution, has been totally abolished). In this way, the proletariat organized in Councils, integrally, day after day, systematically and without any restrictions, will participate in all the affairs of the State and its economic tasks, from the most trivial to the most important. And this means the disappearance of all the bureaucrats, of bureaucratism and of the rule of the bureaucracy over the workers, since it would mean the power of the workers over the bureaucrats. And in order to put an end to bureaucratism once and for all, it is necessary to evict from the sphere of exchange all the commercial commissars and State agents who come from the ranks of the bureaucrats, and hand over all the capital, the organizations, the rights and responsibilities of these State bodies to the cooperatives, which is what the bureaucracy has been so insistently proclaiming every day in the newspapers. And in order to cause the bureaucracy—which for the purposes of deceiving the workers and peasants has created the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate (WPI)—to disappear totally from the sphere of State control, all the tasks previously carried out by the WPI must be transferred to the trade unions, to all the proletarians organized as one man in their organizations, which are the trade unions. Then we shall see what workers control really is!

Not so fast, implores the bureaucrat: how can you transform the integral organization of the proletariat—the Councils—into a State organization? This is unprecedented! Even Kautsky said that it was impossible. But let us see just what it is that Kautsky himself says. “The Soviets of 1905 were local organisations confined to single towns. Those of 1917 were not only more numerous, but closely knit together. Single Soviets were affiliated to a greater body, which in its turn was part of an organisation comprehending the whole Empire, its organ being the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and a permanent Central Executive Committee.” Kautsky continues: “Already the Soviet organisation can look back on a great and glorious history. A more important period lies before it, and not in Russia alone.” And Kautsky concludes: “The Soviet organisation is, therefore, one of the most important phenomena of our time. It promises to acquire an outstanding significance in the great decisive struggles between Capital and Labour which are before us. Can we ask even more than this of the Soviets? The Bolshevists, who, together with the left-wing Social Revolutionaries, obtained a majority in the Russian Workers’ Councils after the November Revolution of 1917, after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, proceeded to make an organ of government of the Soviets, which hitherto had been the fighting organisation of a class.”

What councils is he talking about? The rural Soviet of peasant delegates? No. He is talking about the Councils, the integral organizations that include, as if it were one man, the wage workers of all the enterprises.

“Marvelous! Form up in Soviets, you proletarians and poor peasants! But, for God’s sake, don’t you dare win! Don’t even think of winning! The moment you win and vanquish the bourgeoisie, that will be the end of you; for you must not be ‘state’ organisations in a proletarian state. In fact, as soon as you have won you must break up!”

“What a marvelous Marxist this man Kautsky is! What an inimitable ‘theoretician’ of renegacy!”, Lenin says (see The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky). This “inimitable ‘theoretician’ of renegacy” is opposed to the transformation of the Councils into the directive organs of production and the “foundation of the State”. He requests that they dissolve themselves. But what about the bureaucracy? What do the Stalins and the Bukharins have to say? They agree, they also demand that the Councils must dissolve. If Kautsky is the “inimitable ‘theoretician’ of renegacy”, what are our Stalins and Bukharins? According to Marx and Engels the Councils are “the political form at last discovered [without which] the Communal Constitution would have been an impossibility and a delusion”. Just who are Stalin and Bukharin the disciples of with regard to this central question of the proletarian revolution, concerning the theme of the proletarian State, the question of knowing the form by which the proletariat organizes as the ruling class? Are they Kautskyists or Marxists?

The bureaucracy not only opposes the transformation of the Councils into the directive organs of production and the organization of the State, but also attacks with an animal ferocity and an implacable savagery any proletarian who dares to speak of creating workers Councils. We have already explained what kind of “workerism” it is that they want in the State apparatus: the same kind as the bourgeoisie. For the bourgeoisie also recruits its high functionaries and its cadres from among the workers, which helps it to more effectively maintain its rule over the proletariat. The bureaucracy does exactly the same thing and constantly appeals to the working class origin of certain bureaucrats.

But that is a lie! It is calumny! Miserable insinuations and slanders against our “cohorts” and our “old guard” who defend the assemblies of production! Listen to this, for example: “Take an active part in the production assemblies. Ensure that the practical proposals of the workers are implemented as thoroughly as possible.”

That is really what is supposed to happen! But let us cast a glance back in time and acquaint ourselves with a little history. When were the production assemblies legalized? After the campaign led by the Workers Group of the CPSU in 1923. In order to prevent the formation of Workers Councils, which the Workers Group was calling for with the support of the workers, it was alleged that such a project posed too many difficulties, and the bureaucracy decided to replace them with “production assemblies”. These assemblies were created solely for the purpose of serving as tools of the bureaucracy to hoodwink the proletarians and to disorganize their struggle for the formation of real Workers Councils. These workers assemblies have no rights, they are nothing but a useless appendage of the omnipotent bureaucracy: the directors, the foremen, the managers of the enterprises, etc., and they enjoy practically the same prerogatives as the Bulygin Duma.[15] Moreover, Bukharin has let the cat out of the bag with respect to these “production assemblies”. It would seem that in the United States, the bourgeoisie has also established production assemblies. There is only a slight difference between our assemblies and those in the United States, that is, in the United States 85% of the assemblies’ proposals are approved while here only 35-40% are authorized (see Bukharin’s speech at the 15th Congress). This is the only difference. On the other hand, just as in the United States the assemblies of production not only do not weaken the power of the bourgeoisie, but lower the costs of exploitation, here, not only do they not weaken the power of the bureaucracy, but they reduce the costs of its rule over the working class: for it is the bureaucracy and no one else that benefits from the councils and the experience of the workers to improve the production process and it is the bureaucracy that uses this apparent proletarian participation in order to direct production and to keep the workers compliant and submissive.

What the American bourgeoisie fears and always will fear is the prospect of these assemblies being transformed into Councils that would seize control of production and the State. This is anathema to the American bourgeoisie and always will be. Why? Because this would amount to its social extinction, the death sentence for the bourgeoisie.

So is it true that our bureaucrats want us, the workers, to transform these production assemblies into Councils and take over production and the State? Of course not! They are disseminating all this confusion, these malevolent lies and slanders, in order to frighten and disorient the proletariat. But the proletariat nonetheless continues to demand the creation of Councils, in the face of all the forces of the GPU. The bureaucracy will not hesitate to launch a bloody repression against the workers to defend its State. But even if it does, the proletariat will not desist from its efforts and will win in the end.

Why does the bureaucracy want to prevent these production assemblies from being transformed into Councils? For the same reason as the American bourgeoisie: because this would mean its social extinction and its death sentence.

Besides these production assemblies, however, there are also the control commissions. The Central Committee of the CPSU(b) decrees: “Extend the control commissions to all the sectors of production and transport.” Once again, let us cast a glance back in time, and review a little history. The control commissions were formed in 1925 in response to a slogan of the Workers Groups: “Trade Union Control!”, a slogan that reflected the demand to transfer all the functions of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate to the trade unions. In order to divert the attention of the workers from this slogan, in order to deceive them without conceding them any rights, the bureaucracy created the provisional control commissions, which had the same rights as the production assemblies, that is, none at all, and of course it opposed with all its powers and all the means at its disposal any transfer of the rights and responsibilities of the Rabkrin [The Workers and Peasants Inspectorate] to the trade unions. Tomsky, Dogadov[16] & Co. played on this occasion the same role that the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries played in the Councils of Workers and Soldiers prior to October 1917, rejecting the transfer of power to the Councils and dissuading the proletariat from pursuing such a course of action. The difference between them lies in the fact that Skobelev, Chkheidze[17] & Co. refused to yield power to the Councils in order to help the bourgeoisie, while Tomsky, Dogadov & Co. refused to do so in order to support the bureaucracy. Tomsky, Dogadov and the other trade union bureaucrats deceitfully encouraged the workers, not to transfer State power to the hands of their general organizations, the trade unions, but to hand over this power to the bureaucracy, in the form of the Rabkrin. Even more passionately, the trade union bureaucracy insisted that the workers must not organize themselves in Councils and transform the Councils into organs of the State and directive organs over production. They used every means at their disposal: pressure, bribery, calumny, secret repression on the part of the GPU, and all of it was dissimulated behind a torrent of vapid speeches about the workers’ State, the dictatorship of the proletariat and proletarian democracy.

That is how they fought the bureaucratization of the State apparatus and “rejuvenated” the trade unions.

Now let us see how they “rejuvenated” the party. Everyone knows that once a year, or sometimes a little more frequently, they devote themselves to the task of encouraging the work of the Soviets, the trade unions, the cooperatives and the party. We find nothing particularly “self-critical” about this type of “cheerleading” which is so fashionable. It is just the same old bureaucratic fakery to which we have all become accustomed and with whose value we are so well acquainted. We have already seen how the bureaucracy rejuvenates the work of the Soviets and the trade unions. This “rejuvenation” also has other aspects, but since they are nothing new we may omit examining them. This is how the bureaucracy decided to rejuvenate the party: 1) “guarantee complete liberty of internal criticism”; and 2) “ensure the election of responsible party members”.

If we take the trouble to examine the decrees on the structure and the life of the party since 1921, we will not find a single decree in which internal party democracy, freedom of criticism, election of responsible members, etc., are not mentioned.

And we always find the same old song: “rejuvenation” thanks to “freedom of criticism” and by way of “the election of all responsible party members”. Why? Because the bureaucracy, by its very nature, is incapable of basing the living party on proletarian democracy. To ask the bureaucracy to rejuvenate its own party on the basis of proletarian democracy is to ask it to do the impossible. Our task consists in revealing all the lies that are concealed behind these words and these Marxist speeches devoted to fooling the proletariat and the peasantry. In an attempt to legitimize its rule, the bureaucracy is attempting to cause its State form to be perceived as a workers State, a perfect State. In this respect it is acting no differently than all previous ruling classes, who justified their rule as “the kingdom of God on Earth”, an absolute ideal that could not be more perfect. The bureaucracy has to justify this dogma, which is why it formulates the theory that the proletariat is incapable of establishing its dictatorship with its own organizations, the workers Councils, and therefore must establish it by way of the bureaucracy and its party. This is how the original notion of the dictatorship of a class was resolved into the power of a single party that does not permit the existence of any other parties. This nefarious theory is ridiculous. We all know that the capitalist States have various parties besides the one that controls the government. Furthermore, in all the bourgeois States various parties can share power and govern at the same time, by forming a coalition government: the left coalition in France, the Müller government in Germany, Branting in Sweden, etc. Pravda itself has announced that in the elections to the German Reichstag, thirty parties participated, ten parties competed in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies in France, etc., including the Communist Parties, whose goal is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie. Does this mean, however, that these countries are not ruled by dictatorships? Not at all. If there is a State, then democracy and dictatorship also exist, side by side. These are characteristics inherent to every State. (See the illegal pamphlet by Borisov, On the Workers State.) The multi-party form of bourgeois rule does not rule out the existence of a dictatorship, just as one-party rule in the petty-bourgeois bureaucratic Russian State does not rule out the fact that the ruling class, the bureaucracy, enjoys the benefits of democracy.

One-party rule is not the only patrimony of the bureaucracy: one-party rule also existed under the rule of the nobility, the feudal lords, in the Middle Ages. At that time, the dictatorship of a class, the nobility, was the dictatorship of a party, just as today the dictatorship and the power of the party in Russia is the dictatorship of the bureaucracy. We may even say that the old system of clans and tribal elites, which was replaced by the slave-holding Republics of Athens and Rome, was also a system of one-party rule. Human history has experienced two forms, two systems of rule: one-party rule and multi-party rule. In both systems, however, we can find dictatorship and democracy at the same time. Currently, in Russia, we have one party, and the dictatorship of one party is equivalent to the dictatorship of one class, the bureaucracy, which is the master of production, distribution and the State, and which concentrates in its hands economic and political power at the same time. The bureaucracy preaches to the proletariat that its rule is a workers State. Here it is guided purely by its egoistic class interests, seeking to fool the proletariat and subject it to its spiritual influence in order to thus fortify and defend its rule. By defending its rule and its State by means of one-party rule, the bureaucracy does not want to, and cannot, allow any criticism of its policies, which might serve as the basis for a program for another party. Even if this criticism takes the form of the most peaceful, the most moderate and most temperate propaganda (such as the criticism of the autocracy of the Octobrists), or of the most “moderate” and “fair” program advocated by some people (such as Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev), its supporters cannot be allowed to organize and transform their criticism into an organized criticism, criticism leveled by a group (“the counterrevolutionary mob”), or a party, or an organization, a consistent and everyday criticism that fights day after day to influence the proletarian masses, the peasantry and the intelligentsia in electoral campaigns for the leadership of the trade unions, the cooperatives, the institutions of public security, the workers Councils, etc., a criticism that would enter into conflict everywhere with the ruling party and would present its own programs and its own candidates.

If the bureaucracy were to allow this, it would have to expend more efforts to defend its rule. It will therefore not make this concession unless it is forced to do so. But even if it is forced to concede such liberties, however, it will not want to abandon its dictatorship. To do so would be the beginning of the end. For then the proletariat would rapidly come to understand that it is necessary to organize Councils and transform them into the directive organs of production and organs of the State, to transfer to the cooperatives all the functions of the State institutions of commerce and the People’s Commissariats for Commerce, and to transfer all the rights and responsibilities of the Rabkrin to the trade unions. This would put an end to the hopes of the bureaucrats to retain their hold on power, violence and dictatorship. All of this means that, remaining faithful to its class interests, the bureaucracy will not tolerate any organized criticism—the only kind of criticism to which the proletariat aspires—or any criticism of its political line, the line of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b), the line of its party and its committees. But if the bureaucracy will not tolerate any “critical program”, a criticism that would propose its own point of view, with its own base and its own program, this means that it will tolerate absolutely no criticism at all, since criticism without a basis, without a point of view or its own program, is no criticism at all. And if criticism of that kind is expressed, it would be nothing but hollow phrases, wishful thinking, a fake “criticism” expressed by fake people. Even the most tyrannical States allow this kind of criticism. Where there is no freedom to form parties (freedom of association), there is not nor can there be any freedom of criticism. We learned this elementary lesson during the time of the illegal “circles” of 1906, but now they are trying to make us forget it, and they are sparing no efforts in their attempt to make the proletariat forget it, too.

The bureaucratic dictatorship is totally guaranteed by the one-party system, since there is only one party, that of the bureaucracy. It will therefore stop at nothing to prevent the creation of other legal parties. In other words, the bureaucracy will not tolerate nor will it permit any criticism of its political line. All criticism of the party’s policy will be considered to be counterrevolutionary and Menshevik, and anyone who expresses the least degree of disagreement, heresy or disbelief will be threatened with the most draconian punishments. And if this is not enough, the GPU will come to its aid with all its very special methods, in order to persuade the proletarians, peasants and intellectuals that the speeches of the Central Committee of the CPSU are the truth.

Would the bureaucracy be faithful to its interests if it were to allow criticism within the party? Of course not. Internal criticism of the party is, first and foremost, criticism of the policies of the committees, including the Central Committee. By criticizing its policy and proposing a different policy inevitably leads to posing the question of the formation of groups and fractions. A fraction is potentially, as a dormant possibility, another party. And those who prohibit the existence of other parties cannot allow the existence of groups or fractions within their party. Therefore, those who prohibit criticism outside of the party cannot allow criticism within the party, either. That is why they have eliminated all internal opposition, regardless of its political line, by availing themselves of the methods of the GPU. And after each wave of repression, when the bureaucracy announces for the thousandth time that its desire is “to guarantee freedom of criticism within the party”, the conscious proletarians will understand that this is nothing but bureaucratic sophistry to fool the proletariat and the peasantry.


[15] Alexander Bulygin (1851-1919) was the Russian Minister of the Interior between February and October 1905. In response to the Revolution of 1905 he promulgated a Constitution and a Duma that was subsequently referred to as the Bulygin Duma.

[16] Alexander Dogadov (1888-1937/38), trade union militant, Bolshevik after 1905, member of the Party Central Committee from 1924 to 1930 and Secretary of the Central Council of the Trade Unions from 1921 to 1929. In the late 1920s he moved closer to the Bukharin-Rykov tendency. He fell victim to the Stalinist repression. Mikhail Tomsky (1880-1936), a Bolshevik since 1904, leader of the trade unions before and after the revolution, member of the Central Committee of the Party since 1919, an ally of the Bukharin-Rykov tendency, he was compelled to resign from his positions in the Central Council of Trade Unions in 1929 and committed suicide after being accused of terrorism in 1936.

[17] Matvey Skobelev (1885-1938), a social democrat, a Minister in the Kerensky government and subsequently vice president of the Central Executive Committee after June 1917. He resigned from the Menshevik party in November 1917. A critic of the Bolsheviks, he ended up joining the party in 1922, despite Lenin’s and Trotsky’s doubts. Nikolay Chkheidze (1864-1926), Menshevik, deputy in the Third and Fourth Dumas, refused to vote for war credits and propagated the resolutions of Zimmerwald. President of the Executive Committee of the Councils after June 1917, he supported the Provisional Government and criticized the October Revolution. Went into exile in France in 1921.