Translated and Edited by Mike Baker: published by the
Movement for Workers' Councils, London 1990.
Marked up by Jonas Holmgren for the Marxists Internet Archive.
The economic control of the proletariat - what a dreaded spectre this conjures up for so many brave petit-bourgeois - and even for large numbers of the proletariat itself! They forget that the capitalist class exercises its power with the most brutal ruthlessness. History, however, does not revolve around the terrors of the petit-bourgeois, it was and remains a history of class struggles, and for this reason the proletarian class, whose very well-springs of meaningful life are continually threatened, will be compelled to raise itself up against the dictatorship of capital in order that it might establish its own social order, the order of labour, against the resistance of all bourgeois elements. The decisive force necessary for this act must from necessity proceed from the masses of workers who are concentrated in large and middle industry. It is they who will seize hold of the civil power in society, and it is also they to whom will fall the task of laying down the new order which the rest of society, the non-proletarian elements, will have to follow. This cannot be made effective by means of decrees or, still less, with the tip of the bayonet, but must be made reality through the organised activity of the broadest masses of the workers.
The course of revolutionary events in Western Europe will be such that the proletariat takes possession of the factories and other productive establishments and declares them to be social property. In this way the State itself is progressively undermined and finally destroyed. Having achieved this, however, the workers will then have to decide whether they will follow the Russian example and, bowing to the influence of long-established social-democratic doctrines, help to set up a new apparatus of oppression exercised through the State, which will thereafter function as the manager and administrator of production; or, on the other hand, if a communist consciousness among the workers is so strong as to make revolutionary action both possible and necessary, to take the factories and industrial elements forcibly under their own administration, using for this purpose the factory organisations or Councils as the essential organs of their power. Should the latter course occur, then this will only be possible if the principles of communist economy, as sketched in this book, come to form the foundation of the system of social production. By this means the most important part of the total social product will be taken outside the scope of free uncontrolled circulation within the orbit of the market. The lesser remaining part of social production, that of small peasant agriculture, will then be persuaded by the objective conditions themselves to associate itself with collectively organised industry. In this way there would come into being the "economic dictatorship of the proletariat", the strongest weapon of the victorious working-class.
It can be readily perceived that the carrying through of the social revolution in the sphere of the economy is a task which to a considerable extent falls to the system of general social book-keeping. The new economic laws which would then have validity make the fulfilment of this task possible.
Communist industrial life knows nothing of the circulation of money and has no market. It administers the stream of recorded exchanges by means of the office of social book-keeping (Giro-Centre). By this means all those producers who are not associated with the office of social book-keeping are brought into a situation of negative persuasion. They are unable to procure any raw materials and means of production for their establishments. Should they wish those establishments to continue in industrial activity, then the circulation of their manufactured goods must take place through the exchange control (Giro Centre) established by the OSB. They must subordinate themselves to and participate in the general system of social production and must place that production under the discipline of the general system of control implemented through the prescribed formula (p + c) + L, the instrument through which their production is placed under social control.
By this means socially scattered and fragmented small-scale industry is compelled by purely economic means to bring its production into line with the general proletarian order. The necessary consequence of this will be that industrial establishments of a similar scale and size will. join together in production groups. If for no other reason, this will be necessary in order that the various Average Social Production Times (ASPT's) and the respective Productivity Factors associated with them may be determined, as well as for reasons relating to the planned procurement of materials, etc. This method of group cartelisation, however, need not deprive the small industrial or agricultural establishments in any way of their right to self-administration; on the contrary, practice will show that the organisation of production by the producers themselves will develop in an exemplary way in this sphere also.
It is by this means that the Association of Free and Equal Producers exercises its economic might. It rejects all recognition of the right to exploitation, and excludes from its society each and every element which does not recognise this first principle of communism. Small-scale production, however, is compelled to join itself to the communist system of production. Nevertheless, it is directly by means of this joining that the proletarian economic might transforms itself into its opposite. So soon as the producers themselves take the reigns of management and administration of their industrial establishments into their own hands and place production under social control, by that very act the 'dictatorship' has abolished itself and all producers have become equal members within the great community of their Association.