Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League for Proletarian Revolution

The International Significance of the Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR


I. Historical Basis for the Restoration

In order to correctly understand the process of capitalist restoration we must examine the history of the first socialist state. Three points stand out:
1) the qualitative difference between the socialist revolution and any previous revolution;
2) the role of the CPSU(B) in building the socialist state;
3) the role of the international bourgeoisie and its almost continual attack from both outside and inside the Soviet Union.

First we must recognize the fundamental difference between the socialist revolution and those that preceded it. As Stalin outlined it:

l) The bourgeois revolution usually begins when there exist more or less finished forms of the capitalist order, forms which have grown and ripened within the womb of feudal society prior to the open revolution; whereas proletarian revolution begins when finished forms of the socialist order are either absent or almost completely absent.
2) The main task of bourgeois revolution consists in seizing power and making it conform to the already existing bourgeois economy, whereas the main task of the proletarian revolution consists in seizing power in order to build a new socialist economy.
3) The bourgeois revolution is usually consummated with the seizure of power, whereas in the proletarian revolution the seizure of power is only the beginning, and power is used as a lever for transforming the old economy and organizing a new one . . . (Works, Vol. 8, p. 22)

The reason for these differences is clear. A new form of private ownership of the means of production can come into being spontaneously on the basis of an old one, whereas socialist public ownership of the means of production can never come into being on the basis of capitalist ownership. Thus, the task of the proletariat was not only to smash the bourgeois state, but to use the dictatorship of the proletariat to erect a socialist economic base.

With no experience to learn from, with no help from any friendly state, the building of the first socialist state was no easy task. As Lenin said, “We began our revolution in unusually difficult conditions, such as no other workers’ revolution will ever have to face.” (Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 137). As Lenin pointed out, the defeated exploiters would remain stronger than the victorious proletariat for some-time. He pointed out that they had money, moveable property, superior education, a mastery of the methods of management, close connection with petit-bourgeois lackeys such as the engineers, scientists, etc. and thousands of connections to the imperialists. Moreover, the overthrown exploiters had the force of habit – small production – on their side.

It is a thousand times easier to vanquish the centralised big bourgeoisie than to ’vanquish’ the millions and millions of small owners; yet they by their ordinary, everyday, imperceptible, elusive, demoralizing activity, achieve the very results which the bourgeoisie need and tend to restore the bourgeoisie. (Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder, Peking Edition, p. 33).

The situation was further complicated by the fact that in a backward country such as the Soviet Union, lacking the skills and advanced productive forces of the advanced capitalist countries, the new Soviet State had to rely on the skills of their class enemies – the bourgeois experts – in order to even begin building socialism, the same overthrown exploiters who were unreconciled to defeat and who had thrown themselves into a furious battle for the recovery of their lest “paradise”. Faced however with the armed power of the masses, these elements had already begun to disguise themselves under the signboard of support for socialism. All of these forces, as we shall see, formed the internal basis of revisionism.

It was with this human material that Lenin and the CPSU set about to build the socialist economic base. The role of the CPSU and its leadership during this period of socialist construction was central. For this reason, the revisionists – agents for the International bourgeoisie – were forced to attack the Party from within in order to attack the socialist economic base.

In describing the dictatorship of the proletariat, Stalin wrote:

Therefore, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the transition from capitalism to communism, must not be regarded as a fleeting period of ’super-revolutionary’ acts and decrees, but as an entire historical era, replete with civil wars and external conflicts, with persistent organizational work and economic construction, with advances and retreats, victories and defeats. This historical era is needed not only to create the economic and cultural prerequisites for the complete victory of socialism, but also to enable the proletariat, firstly, to educate itself and become steeled as a force capable of governing the country, and secondly to re-educate and remould the petty-bourgeois strata along such lines as will assure the organization of socialist production. (Foundations of Leninism, Peking Edition, pp.43-44).

The proletariat, however, could not have educated itself, let alone become a force capable of governing the country, without a disciplined and centralized party to lead It. It was the role of the Party to instill socialist consciousness in the masses, to imbue them with the spirit of discipline and organization. The Party was the cementing force of the proletariat, the bulwark against the corrosive influences of petty-bourgeois thinking. It is in this light that Lenin wrote:

Certainly, almost everyone knows that the Bolsheviks could not have maintained themselves in power for two-and-a-half months, let alone two-and-a-half years without the strictest, truly iron discipline in our party... (Stalin quoting Lenin in Foundations of Leninism, p. 122). And further, “Without an iron party tempered in the struggle, without a party enjoying the confidence of all that is honest in the given class, without a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, it is impossible to conduct such a struggle successfully.” (Ibid., p. 113).

The chief task of the Soviet state was to institute a planned economy – to keep account of everything produced, to exercise control over the distribution of all products, and to apply the slogan, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” Here the Party took the lead. It was the Party that formed the vanguard detachment of the campaign for Soviet discipline waged against profiteers, idlers, and speculators – all those who wanted to “do their own thing” at the expense of the working class and the peasantry.

With Stalin at the helm and the Party in the lead, the masses of Soviet people were mobilized to build the socialist economic base. By the middle of 1930 the principal grain-growing regions embraced 40-50% of the peasant house-holds as against 2-3% in 1928.

By 1937, 93% of the total number of peasant households had joined collective farms and were enjoying the benefits of a mechanized agriculture. The consolidation of the collective farm system put an end to poverty and insecurity among the rural population. It also wiped out the greedy kulaks as a class. In addition, by the end of 1937, when another economic crisis was racking the working class of the. capitalist countries, industry in the USSR had attained 428% of the output of 1929 , or 700% of the pre-war output. The Soviet Union had been converted from an agrarian country into an industrial country, with over 89% of the industry being socialist industry. Labor had been transformed from the involuntary servitude under capitalism into a “matter of honor”. Hence the attitude toward labor had changed. With the socialist emulation campaigns of the 16th Party Congress of 192S and the Stakhanovite movement of the 1930’s, the masses of workers and peasants created their own innovations in industry and agriculture. It was these mass movements on the part of workers and collective farmers that created the tremendous leaps in agriculture and industrial productivity. Finally, a free universal educational system was enjoyed for the first time by the working class and peasantry. The only people suffering in the USSR by 1935 were capitalist-roaders and Nazi agents.

But the Soviet people, under the leadership of the CPSU, were faced not only with the task of building socialism. In addition, they were forced to defend the first socialist state from imperialist aggression. The continued existence of imperialism posed not only the threat of external attack, but also of sabotage and subversion within the Soviet Union organized from abroad. No sooner had the first socialist state declared itself in existence than it was attacked by a counter-revolutionary alliance of landlords, capitalists, and generals from the old regime on the one hand, and the combined military forces of Poland, Japan, France and Britain and military contingents from the USNA, on the other. When the civil war concluded in 1920, the gross output of agriculture was one-half the prewar level, while the industrial output was only one-seventh of the same. And the fighting against foreign intervention continued for two more years.

With the rise to power of the Nazis, the Soviet Union again faced the threat of imperialist invasion. It was the strength and heroism of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War that saved the Soviet Union and the rest of the world from total fascist domination.

In addition, the Soviet Union faced the threat of sabotage from within, particularly by Trotskyites and revisionists who became agents for the Nazis. Realizing full well that they could not mobilize a mass movement to restore capitalism, this traitorous scum hid themselves within the Party and the State. Comrade Stalin was well aware that since 1928, Trotskyism had ceased to be a political trend in the working class movement and had become an advanced detachment of the Nazi fifth column, hoping to restore capitalism to the USSR and bring fascism along with it. After the murder of the outstanding Bolshevik leader Comrade Kirov, Stalin pointed out that “enemies of the people will practice duplicity... will disguise themselves as Bolsheviks so as to worm their way into our confidence and open a path for themselves into our organization.” (Mastering Bolshevism, p. 4) Late in 1927, after having been overwhelmingly defeated inside the Party and the working class, Trotskyite forces decided to get back into the Party by deception, “to renounce their politics in public while continuing subversive activities in secret.” (Sayers and Kahn, The Great Conspiracy). Stalin pointed out that political keenness and vigilance were the truest means of defeating such renegades. He constantly cautioned against political carelessness, complacency, and the ”narcotic atmosphere” of success. On January 18, 1935 the CPSU(B) sent out a letter to Party organizations:

We must put an end to opportunist complacency arising from the mistaken presupposition that in proportion to the growth of our forces the enemy will grow ever tamer and more inoffensive. Such a presupposition it basically wrong. It is a belch of the Right deviation, which assured everyone that the enemies would quietly creep into socialism, that in the long run they would become real socialists. It is not the business of the Bolsheviks to rest on their laurels and stand around gaping. It is not complacency that we need but vigilance, real Bolshevik revolutionary vigilance. It must be remembered that the more desperate the position of the enemies, the more willing they will be to seize on extreme measures as the only measures of doomed people in their struggle against Soviet power. We must remember this and be vigilant.” (Mastering Bolshevism, p. 5)

Without the incredible growth of large industry, and the purging of these counter-revolutionary traitors inside the USSR, the international victory against the fascists would have been impossible. The Soviet Union, which delivered the main blew against Nazi aggression, was the only country in all of Europe that did not have a fifth column. Moreover, following the strategy of Stalin, the peoples of the world defeated fascism, Nazism, and Japanese imperialism. In Europe, the strategy of underground resistance movements based on the working clans and led by communists, led to the formation of People’s Republics in Eastern Europe and the emergence of large communist parties in France and Italy. In Asia, using the strategy of the united front against imperialism, Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi Minh and Kim II Sung led their peoples through this successful struggle to the next stage – the struggle for socialism under the dictatorship of the proletariat. By the time of Stalin’s death, particularly because of the establishment of a socialist state in the world’s most populous country, the People’s Republic of China, the balance of power was shifting in favor of the socialist countries and their allies, the oppressed nations.

The sacrifice and cost of World War II to the Soviet people and to the world communist movement was tremendous. Between 20 and 25 million Soviet citizens died in defense of their country and socialism , Many of the finest communists the world over died fighting fascism. Forced into even deeper hiding by the vigilance of the Bolsheviks and the policies of Stalin, the revisionists again waited for an opportunity to attack from within. The weakening of the international communist movement after the struggle against fascism and the death of Stalin provided such an opportunity:

During the heady moment of victory over fascism we sadly observed our international ranks and. realised the price of victory. The ranks of the international Communist movement were soon replenished by new militants. However, enthusiasm and willingness to struggle could not, in a short time, fill the places of those who had fallen. They were comrades who had raised the banners of ’revolution from San Francisco to Vladivostok. They were comrades who had been educated under the Comintern and steeled in the trenches of Spain, in the mines of South Africa, in the prisons of Hungary and Brazil. The traitors Khrushchev and Co. realised the weakness of the Communist movement more than the revolutionaries did. While Stalin lived, they were Impotent. The enormous prestige of Stalin was a shield protecting the movement. Waiting in the shadows of history, the vultures Khrushchev, Togliatti, and on down to such puny satraps as Dennis, Gates and Gus Hall, bided their time.

The death of Stalin was the international signal to attack. Stalin, the creative disciple of Lenin, was not the target. The target was Lenin and Leninism, even though the attack was against Stalin. The world Communist movement, split and disorganized, fell back in confusion. No counter-revolutionary tactic was beneath the revisionists. The horror of the counter-revolution, abetted by the international Khrushchev gang, was written in the blood of Hungarian Bolsheviks, of Lumumba and Karmin Kassim, an outstanding Iraqi revolutionary. (People’s Tribune, Vol. 4, No. 2)