First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 26, July 4, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
The publication of a new constitution in the USSR is the latest attempt by the Brezhnev clique to cover up its fascist rule in the cloak of “socialism” and “democracy.” The new constitution will replace the 1936 one, drafted under the supervision of Joseph Stalin when the Soviet Union was still a socialist country.
The new constitution also coincides with other efforts by Brezhnev to shore up his dictatorship. Having dumped Nicolai Podgorny and taken on the position of president, Brezhnev is turning himself into a “super-czar,” holding all the top party and state positions personally.
This road is reminiscent of the one traveled by Hitler before World War II. Hitler became Chancellor as well as the top Nazi chief and then presented the German people with a new constitution to legitimize his fascist rule.
At the heart of the new Soviet constitution is the myth that, “Having fulfilled the tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Soviet state has become a state of the whole people.”
This concept, which runs throughout the constitution, violates the Marxist-Leninist principle that as long as the state exists, it represents the dictatorship of one class over another. As Lenin put it: “The state is an organ for the oppression of one class by another...” Therefore, the state cannot stand above classes as a “state of the whole people.”
With the 1917 revolution, the Soviet Union established the dictatorship of the proletariat, where the state was in the hands of the working class.
The Soviet state today, however, has been turned back into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. First Khruschev and then Brezhnev led a counter-revolution which transformed the first great socialist state into a capitalist country, controlled by a ruthless fascist dictatorship.
Far from being run in the interests of the “whole people,” the USSR is run in the interests of a handful of capitalists.
By claiming that the Soviet Union is a “state of the whole people,” the Soviet rulers are trying to explain away the demise of the proletarian dictatorship and cover over the intense class oppression and struggle that exists in the country.
What kind of “socialist” state is it where thousands of workers and people of all Soviet nationalities are thrown into concentration camps while others find themselves committed to “psychiatric hospitals” for opposing the social-fascist dictatorship? At the same time, resistance to these fascist attacks is steadily mounting throughout the country with workers participating in strikes, demonstrations and slowdowns.
The severe repression faced by the Soviet people shatters Brezhnev’s claim that the “human rights” provided for in the constitution “broaden and deepen socialist democracy.” Like the U.S. constitution, the Soviet one “guarantees” the freedom of speech, press, assembly, conscience, etc. But these rights are really only reserved for the ruling elite, not for the masses. As Mao Tsetung said, there can only be class democracy, there cannot be “democracy for the whole people.”
The new constitution is fully designed to give a “legal” cover to the exploitative capitalist relations of production in the USSR.
While it lauds “collective” ownership of farms and property belonging to the “state,” it is the state monopoly capitalists who in fact own and control the factories, farms and all other forms of property in the Soviet Union. Through the state apparatus, these capitalists control all aspects of the national economy, including production, distribution and consumption. The workers who, under socialism, owned the state’s wealth, now once again have nothing but their labor power to sell.
Despite its socialist rhetoric, in reality the constitution will be used to ensure that the sole purpose of production is to maximize profits at the cost of the misery and exploitation of the working class. The profit goal is even written into the language of the constitution.
The chapter on foreign policy is a flimsy attempt to portray the social-imperialists as the greatest promoters of peace internationally.
Brezhnev, in his report to the Central Committee of the CPSU on May 24, 1977, said, “Our new constitution will show most convincingly that the first state of victorious socialism has forever inscribed on its banner the word ’peace’ as the highest principle of its foreign policy.”
But no matter how much the constitution talks of “peace,” the people of the world are witnessing the growth of Soviet aggression and expansion every day, from its mercenary invasion of Zaire to its illegal domination of Japan’s four northern islands.
A hallmark of any socialist constitution is its position on nations and national minorities. But the purpose of the new constitution’s policy of drawing together all nations and nationalities of the USSR is to suppress the national struggle.
Genuine Marxist-Leninists stand for the unity of all nations based on equality. But this is not what the Soviet revisionists have in mind. Their “drawing together” is based on national oppression, the obliteration of nations and national distinctions. Their promotion of Russian “racial superiority,” like Hitler with his great Germanism, is designed to justify the fascist aggression and domination of other nations.
The constitution pays lipservice to guaranteeing the right of nations to secede—a guarantee that was always made in the days of Lenin and Stalin. But, like the other rights “guaranteed” by the social-fascist constitution, many minority people have been shot simply for putting up slogans upholding their right to self-determination.
The 1936 constitution, unlike the present one, was a genuine charter of proletarian democracy to be enjoyed by the broad masses of people. Its language was not empty rhetoric because the workers were in power implementing it.
At the time the 1936 constitution was drafted, Nazi aggression and world war were on the rise. Acutely aware of this, Stalin called the constitution an “indictment against fascism, an indictment which says that socialism and democracy are inevitable.”
But the world has changed greatly since then. Today it is Brezhnev and Co. who are the biggest fascists and aggressors in the world, and their constitution is nothing but a prettification of fascism.
Just as Stalin and the revolutionary Soviet people unmasked Hitler, who was also fond of rhetoric about “socialism,” the people of the world must join with the Soviet workers today in tearing the “socialist” mask from Brezhnev’s face to expose the fascist reality that lies behind it.