Category: Anarchism
Operation “Atlantic Resolve”: How Greece’s SYRIZA government facilitate the imperialists

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Operation “Atlantic Resolve”: How Greece’s SYRIZA government facilitate the imperialists

Back in 1999, during the bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO’s imperialists, the port of Thessaloniki in northern Greece had been a major gateway for U.S. army. The then Greek government of Kostas Simitis, leader of the social democratic PASOK party, had been proved a valuable ally of the U.S-led coalition thus providing the country’s ports and bases to the imperialists. 

Today’s Greek coalition SYRIZA-ANEL government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, walks on the same path; it does anything in order to facilitate its imperialist “allies”. 

Thessaloniki’s port, a significant cargo entry point in the Balkans, has been turned again into a focus point for U.S. Army’s equipment deployment, within the framework of the Operation “Atlantic Resolve”. According to the official website of the U.S. Army in Europe, “Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.”
As the U.S Army’s report from Thessaloniki writes, eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and more than 70 other pieces of equipment arrived at the Port of Thessaloniki as part of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade nine month rotational deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve Feb. 25. 
The report continues as follows:
U.S. ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt with
U.S. and Greek Army officials.

The arrival of 10th CAB adds to the aviation capabilities to train with our allies and partners as well as responding to crises should it be required. This is the first full aviation regionally allocated force to support OAR and U.S. Army Europe. 

“This is a great opportunity for interactions between Greek and American Soldiers in order to develop capacity, share lessons, and hone expertise,” said U.S. Ambassador to Greece, the Honorable Geoffrey Pyatt who visited the port to observe and talk with U.S. Army and Greek military leaders and the Soldiers of the 10th CAB.

U.S. military units are working with NATO allies and partners in Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for rotational deployments focusing on training, exercises and maintenance purposes. “This is the most successful alliance in the history of the world,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commanding general. “The port of Thessaloniki is a gateway into Europe and Atlantic armies could not prosper without our allies.” 

U.S. Army Europe’s preparation for an increased presence across the European theater contributes to and strengthens the alliance’s deterrence and defense. The forward presence of U.S. troops is essential to assure allies, deter adversaries and be postured to act in a timely manner if deterrence fails.

“Deterrence is about the agility of the United States Army. These helicopters came from Fort Drum, New York and just hours after the aircraft are coming off of the ship they are going to fly away from here and in about three days they are going to conduct an air assault operation in Romania,” Hodges said. “In such a short amount of time, that kind of agility is central to what we do.” 

The 10th CAB is arriving at three seaports and three airports throughout February and early March. This facilitation of movement has been assisted by multiple agencies ranging from military logistics units to civilian counterparts and in this instance, Greek Allies.

“This operation is the first time in recent years that the U.S. Army has used the port of Thessaloniki,” Lt. Col. Jason Alvis, 839th Transportation Battalion commander said.

The port was a primary Kosovo Force (KFOR) cargo entry point between 1998 and the early 2000’s. During that time, NATO Allies processed over 557 ships between 1999-2001.

Greek military aviators and key leaders welcomed their military Allies and expressed aspiration in looking forward to working together more often. During the assembly of helicopters, U.S. crew chiefs and pilots invited their Greek counterparts to engage in the action and medics from both countries exchanged knowledge of tactics, techniques and procedures.

“This is great opportunity to enhance our cooperation,” Lt. Gen. Alkiviadis Stefanis, Greek Army chief of staff said. “The Greek position offers stability, and we also offer the Alliance and the professionalism of our Soldiers. We are very proud to have you here and we are looking forward to enhancing our cooperation.” 

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Communist Party of Mexico- The class character of interstate unions in America

Class character of interstate unions in America.
By Pável Blanco Cabrera & Angel Chávez Mancilla*.
Source: International Communist Review, Issue 6, 2015.
A class approach that puts aside populist criteria is necessary, and this is done on a scientific basis, using the Marxist method of analysing reality, considering the degree of development of capitalism, the process of concentration and centralization in the imperialist phase, emphasizing what is general, without neglecting the peculiarities, and avoiding to place the part above the all. Marxist doctrine establishes the mutual connection between the phenomena of nature and society rather than analyse them in isolation. As V.S. Molodtsov noted “to deny the interdependence of phenomena goes against the possibility of knowledge as a single whole, as opposed to metaphysics Marxism-Leninism developed a truly scientific method of knowledge and transformation of reality. This method requires, first of all, considering all the phenomena of nature and society in mutual connection and interdependence“[1].
These features of Marxist-Leninist analysis are not always followed and dogmatic approaches remain, for example, with regard to the study of imperialism. For example, the relationships of economic dependences are considered fixed, immovable. In addition it neglects an essential quality of imperialism, that Lenin clarified, that it is monopoly capitalism, beating away free competition[2]; five traits are expressed in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and they only cling to one, dodging other traits of critical importance. This leads to distortions in the analysis of contemporary interstate unions and the anti-imperialist struggle itself, strictly limiting it to the conception of weak countries versus foreign powers, or economic subordination relations, without considering that capital is developing and there are constant changes, and interdependence phenomena.
Since the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada, USA , Mexico) in 1994, interstate unions are being promoted in America, bilateral, multilateral and even those of continental character, with economic, trade, customs, immigration, regional integration, police and military collaboration.
Latin America is not an exclusive “backyard ” of US monopolies, though its economic and political interests are still dominant, there is an increasingly growing presence of capitals from the European Union, China, and even the coordinated presence of monopolies of South America, and monopolies of each the countries involved, which are benefitted and who will occupy key places in the economic areas in which they participate.
Approaches on the class character of these interstate unions are plagued by confusion, because perceptions are mechanically supported by previous elaborations, dogmatically, as corresponding to a different time of development of capitalism rather that in its imperialist stage, and even to historical analogies such as colonial domination. This leads to ambiguity in strategic development by several communist and workers’ parties, and to the marsh in the class struggle, tasks and allies are mistaken, and promoting class collaboration, ideological misrepresentation, postponing the historic goal that was already mapped out in 1848 in the program for the communists which Marx and Engels wrote.
A first issue, is the way the Leninist theory of imperialism is assumed. Reductively it is focused as a relation of domination, and not the highest and final stage of capitalism, as monopoly capitalism. Imperialism is thus identified with “Yankee imperialism”, as a new colonial power, and maintains that the first task of the Communists is to fight for national independence, a task in which a spectrum of cross-class alliances is designed and the bourgeoisie is divided between “national” and “pro-imperialist”; by anti-imperialist sectors they mean anti-American, not necessarily antimonopoly because that would be involving many “national” monopolies, with which opposition platforms are forged against “foreign” monopolies. It is clear to the Communists, that regardless of nationality, whether they hold a higher or lower place, any monopoly is an essential component of the international imperialist system.
The main conclusion of this misperception is that Latin American countries are dependent, neo-colonies of American imperialism, and this conclusion is signed by a significant number of communist and labour parties of the region, and shared by reformist, opportunistic, and even political expressions of the bourgeoisie, not only at national scale but regional and seeking a continental character, plus it is no coincidence that these formations[3] have correspondence with projects or mechanisms of some interstate unions, claiming its alternative nature to the American imperialist centre.
It is assumed that the dominant role of the US is static, without considering the inter-imperialist contradictions and intense battle between sharks to occupy the top of the pyramid. True, today in America the monopolies from US are dominant, but they are not as much as 50, 25 or even 10 years ago, because every time they are losing ground to competitors on the rise of other nationalities. Leninist law of uneven development is checked.
When influencing the strategy and tactics, the opportunist character that contains class struggle manifests itself for it sections capital, considering that the national capital must be protected from abroad and leads to loss of class independence of the workers, placing them at the tail of the bourgeoisie.
Let us take the case of NAFTA, against which the Communists have been fighting since 1994, and even before, when it was a project proposed by the government of George Bush. Overall popular class forces, including us[4], subscribed that Mexico being a dependent country the free trade area meant that Mexico went from being a semi colony into a process of direct annexation by the United States. The struggle perspective stood with the flag of national independence and sovereignty and conceived a broad front with part of the bourgeoisie of the country. If you see the resolutions, declarations issued by PCM then you will find that we had more concern for the future of the industrial manufacturing, textiles, agriculture, small industry, bourgeois facing foreseeable ruin, and you will notice very little reference to the situation of Mexican, Canadian, American and migrant working class. More than two decades later the assessment that history provides allows us to confirm that this approach was wrong, because not only the American monopolies made huge profits, but also Canadian and Mexican monopolies, which strengthened and absorbed the weaker ones in the USA, in the field of telephony, America Movil, and in the mining branch, Industrial Minera Mexico, both dominant Mexican monopolies that plunder, export capital to and exploit workers of the in the US and in Latin America, and have a multifaceted character as they have expanded their investments from telephony to the press, and in general communication services, food, pharmaceuticals, etc. In the case of Industrial Minera Mexico it absorbed several monopolies in the mining and metal-mechanical branch in the US, Peru and Chile. Other instructive examples are the monopoly of the Mexican Bimbo, the food industry, which already dominates the sector in Spain and ventures into China; Construction monopoly ICA, in competition with Brazilian Odebrecht dispute monopoly control of the sector in building roads, bridges and infrastructure; a sobering example is the state monopoly Pemex also locks in that direction, it expanded its line of control in ports and shipyards in Spain. They are not exceptions, you could list other, and check that regardless of nationality monopolies increased their profits, advanced concentrating and centralizing in their field and expanding to others, likewise workers, regardless of nationality, are exploited, impoverished, and are affected by the measures taken by the interstate unions – in this case the NAFTA, to affect their labour rights, reducing them to ashes, devaluing the work and sharpening the capital / labour contradiction, in addition to other measures such as privatization and cutting public sectors of education, health, etc. But not only in the case of NAFTA, Plan Puebla-Panama, bilateral treaties, tried and failed in the FTAA, but also in agreements with the EU, and even in the “alternative” called as MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA, where monopolies of these countries have consolidated as dominant in important branches of agriculture, construction, energy, and also concatenated with blocks, which in the inter dispute with the US, as the case of the BRICS, consider them strategic partners climbing the imperialist pyramid.
Is it correct to speak of Mexico as a dependent and semicolonial country when it ranks 11th in the gross world product? When monopolies are consolidated after a long process of concentration and centralization? According to our findings, set out in the program adopted by the V Congress of the PCM, Mexico is a country of average development in which capitalist relations are fully consolidated, intermediate in the imperialist pyramid, with interdependent relationships that ensure the development of monopolies.
As the Communist Party of Greece states: “History has shown that monopoly as a result of the concentration of capital, as a fundamental law of the present stage of capitalism is a general trend worldwide and can coexist with forms of pre-capitalist economy and property.[5]” That is, in Mexico there are characteristics of economic backwardness, though it is not dominant, as is usually intense and growing capitalist development; there are relationships of dependence and interdependence, stronger with the US economy, and growing with the European Union. We reiterate, there are very strong, dominant Mexican monopolies.
We are convinced of the fight against interstate unions, because these are unfavourable to the people and the working class, and that it has to start from a rigorous class analysis, otherwise, if wrong analyses and perceptions prevail, a wrong strategy will lead to the delay of antimonopoly, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist objectives.
Among the ideological components of non-class analysis we find the following:
a) Placing the fundamental contradiction as dependence / independence and erroneously displacing the essence of the era which is capital / labour antagonism.
b) Overideologizing the independence and anti-colonialist struggle of the nineteenth century, looking to extract out poetry of the past, and not from the future[6]. The action and the program of Hidalgo, Bolivar, Juarez, San Martin, Sucre, etc., corresponding to a particular time, two centuries ago, when the rising bourgeoisie found in favour of their class interests the need to form their States freeing them from the colonial domination of the Spanish crown, moving immediately to establish domination of the bourgeois class over the exploited and oppressed. Recognizing the revolutionary-democratic struggles and characterizing these as progressive in its time, is downright insufficient wanting to find in the programs of old the flags that workers must now take up to achieve their emancipation. Concepts such as “Monroeism vs bolivarianism” for example, contribute to conceal that at the time the antagonist is socialism vs. capitalism, and the same applies to projects of “Gran Colombia”, etc, etc, today raised by political forces that do not fight against monopolies, but on behalf of those of their respective nationalities.
c) By placing independence as the immediate objective and broad cross-class alliances as the political subject to obtain it, intermediate stages are set, and although those who advocate them may adhere to the socialist-communist goal, they only do so formally for siding with any specific section of the bourgeoisie contributes to the prolongation of capitalist society.
d) Categories such as neoliberalism, globalization, multipolarity, which provide space to the improvement and “humanization” of capitalism, managing it differently, hiding the class conflict in international relations and leading the working class and peoples to take sides in the inter dispute by a block opposite to the US, a more “friendly” one.
e) When considering imperialism as a metropolis, the class struggle in each country is left aside, for the sake of “national unity”, to focus on the struggle against foreign domination.
Another important issue is the following. There is a consensus among the opportunist forces that interstate agreements promoted by the US imperialist centre must be fought in favour of national sections of the bourgeoisie. However when these intergovernmental agreements are with other imperialist centres the position changes, they are presented as the passage of a unipolar to a multipolar world, wording which hides the need to fight for a new world, where other social relationships exist, where workers’ power imposes new conditions favourable to the peoples in open dispute against imperialism. The same is true when the State Union is e.g. MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA-TCP. The equation is simple, the sum of capitalist economies results in an inter-block and cannot result in a popular alliance opposed to monopolies. Where is the alternative there? Let us go to the case of ALBA-TCP that arouses expectations; the presence of Cuba, qualitatively, the economic weight, due to the difficulties it had as a result of the imperialist blockade, has no decisive economic weight relative to the other participating countries that are qualitatively capitalist countries. The ALBA-TCP also recommends capital investment in Latin America itself; true, the Bolivarian political processes of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, arouses expectation on the course they can take; but until today, in the Venezuelan case, after 16 years, the bottom line is that the capitalist structure remains intact and monopolies still dominate. Just as wrong is “socialism of the XXI century” (market socialism, bourgeois state, multi-class party, defence of private property and profits of monopolies), as thinking that these processes have a nature distinct of the capitalist one.
ALBA actually functions as a supranational structure just as the EU, and has established an economic base in capitalist relations of production that leads them to undertake joint economic projects as the development of monopoly enterprises with state investment from member countries of ALBA, and private investment to a lesser extent, as are the so called grand-national projects and grand-national companies that have raised venture in mining and metallurgy of aluminum, iron and steel. The boost they propose to give the cement industry with the construction of a cement plant with portland type production capacity of 1,000,000 tons / year, in the departments of Oruro and Potosi with the participation of Cuba and Venezuela is also significant, as it makes clear that the expropriation of CEMEX[7] in Venezuela responds to capitalist economic interests such as the creation of a cement monopoly.[8]
Although the ALBA declares that “The concept of grand-national companies emerged in opposition to transnational companies, therefore, its economic dynamics will be directed to favour the production of goods and services to satisfy human needs” and believes that opposes the logic of capital accumulation, the reality is that economic cooperation does not change the basis of the economic system, so the Grannacional projects are actually a way to develop the industrialization of the countries participating in the ALBA which will lead to the development and strengthening of monopolies, consolidating the ALBA as an imperialist bloc.[9]
Let us recall that Lenin in Imperialism, Highest Stage of Capitalism, warned that “the monopolies have never pursued as an end, nor have resulted, in providing benefits to consumers or, at least, make available to the state a part of employer benefits, rather they have served for the State to bailout private industry, which has come almost to bankruptcy”, in this case the states of the ALBA alliance are seeking to encourage monopolies.
Another example that interstate alliances are of inter-imperialist nature is that for example the special ALBA 2014 Communiqué on states affected by transnational interests does not pronounce against the power of monopolies in general but against those most closely linked to US capital, promoting indirectly with the Southern Observatory on Investment and Transnationals that monopolies that exploit workers in the region respond to the interests of the ALBA, i.e. the exploitation of the working class of the ALBA countries enrich the grand-national companies.[10]
The economic alliance takes ALBA to close military links to defend their economic interests, as NATO is the armed wing of the member countries of the EU, which is why it counts with a defence and sovereignty committee composed of the defence ministers of the member countries seeking “popular joint comprehensive defence strategy and to establish a school of dignity and sovereignty of the armed forces” behind the popular sovereignty and integral defence is the defence of monopoly interests.
Appreciated in their economic characteristics, interstate agreements in the Americas, without exception, have a capitalist class nature and cannot be presented as alternatives to the working class and peoples.
In the fight against them, i.e. in the struggle against the international imperialist system Communists must always specify the antimonopoly and anti-capitalist content and take into account that the struggle is national in form and international for its content. That is, to put a current example, part of the anti-imperialist struggle for the Mexican proletariat is fighting the monopoly Industrial Minera Mexico that now exploits the Peruvian and American proletariat through the Southern Cooper Company. Of very little use it is to break with NAFTA if it is to benefit the monopolies of national origin. Fighting interstate agreements, in our conception and strategic analysis, is linked to the struggle for socialism and workers’ and people’s power, i.e. with a clear anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist vision.
The overthrow of capitalism, of monopoly power is the basic condition to break the plundering of peoples and the exploitation of the proletariat, to forge relations of equality among peoples and ensuring development with socialism-communism will bring welfare of the working class and popular sectors.
[1] V.S. Molodotsov; Marxist dialectics and the mutual connection and interdependence of nature and society phenomena, in Dialectic Materialism; Science Academy of the USSR, under the editing of  V. P. Tchertkov, V. S. Molodtsov, D.M. Trochin, K.V. Moroz, F.I. Kalochin, etc; Moscow 1954.
[2] Let us remember that the features that Lenin assigns to imperialism are the follwing: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopoly capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.”
Lenin, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, LCW Volume 22
[3] For example the Conference of Organizations and Political Parties of Latin America (COPPAL), the forum of Sao Paulo, which has strong ties with the Left European Party, and that to a great extent are functional for the collaboration of Latin American capitals with European, fundamentally between the MERCOSUR-EU agreements. Organizations that in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of the XX century, led armed struggles in Central America and that have evolved towards social-democracy, and not as a degeneration, rather a logical result of its class origin and its program, are also inscribed in this analysis. It is in general the position denominated as left, concept that the PCM does not use for it does not express with clarity the class position and it does cloud ideologically, for it misleads, as for left today is also understood liberal formations, socialdemocrats and even capitalist options of neokeynesian management.
[4] The Communist Party of Mexico kept from 1994 and until the year 1999 a platform of struggle against NAFTA baseed on the misleading position that it was an anticolonial struggle for independence to break chains of imperialist domination, from 1999 the focus of struggle acquired a class character, and the rupture with monopolies that exploited the working class not only of Mexico, but also of USA and Canada. It was however until the IV Congress in the year 2010, when the position of rupture with NAFTA and any inter-state agreement was linked with the struggle for socialism-communism and for workers and people’s power.
[5] The Leninist approach of KKE on imperialism and the imperialist pyramid. Written Contribution of KKE to the 9th International Conference “Lenin and the contemporary world”
[6] As Marx well emphasized in the 18th Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte
[7] Mexican monopoly expropriated by the bolivarian government of Venezuela, ¿Do we the working class communist have to choose between the monopoly of the mexican bourgeoisie, or the monopoly of southamerican monopoly? For none, for our duty is to propose the socialization of the means of production and change.
[10] Approved communiqué of the XIV Political Council of ALBA, New York, September 26, 2014.
* Pável Blanco Cabrera is the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico and Angel Chávez Mancilla is Responsible for the Ideology Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico, Director of El Machete.
Message of the KKE to the people for the New Year

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Message of the KKE to the people for the New Year
The KKE wishes a good and militant year to the working people, the unemployed and self-employed ones, the poor farmers, the young people and the women of the popular strata, to the refugees and immigrants, who live or remain trapped in our country.
The new year 2017, which starts with new burdens for our people, can leave a strong imprint on the effort for the recasting of the labour movement, building of the social alliance, strengthening of the KKE, in order to pave the way for a better future for our people.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government, as well as the other parties of the system, despite their disagreements for the governmental chair, cultivate to the people the false explectation that the recovery of the capitalist economy will supposedly put an end to the people’s sacrifices, will stop the deterioration process of his life.
The reality is completely different. Even if there is some kind of recovery, it will be for the profits of the few, it will be uncertain, because the developments themselves in the global and european economy are inauspicious. Above all, it will be a recovery which not only will not replenish the huge losses for the people, but will be accompanied by new masures, “bloody” surpluses, sustained “cutters” of working-peoples’ rights.
Capitalism does not give birth only to crises, poverty and unemployment, but also wars. The developments in the broader region, the competitions among powerful states and regional powers for the raw materials and the transportation roads, bring the threat of a more generalized war closer.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government actively participates in all NATO plans. Along with the other bourgeois political forces, it reassures the Greek people that the participation of Greece in NATO consists a factor of “peace and security in the region”. It has legitimized the presence of NATO, which does not recognize the maritime borders and encourages the aggressive stratety of Turkey, in the Aegean Sea. At the same time, in the unsolved for 42 years problem of invasion-occupation of Cyprus they propose as a solution the de facto partition, through a new “Annan” plan.
Against this situation, the KKE gives all its forces in order to strengthen the working-people’s struggle and solidarity, for a real relief of the people, recover of losses, satisfaction of the contemporary needs.
It prepares its 20th Congress, which will be held in Spring 2017, with the ambition to become more powerful, more capable towards the development of the working-people’s movement and the promotion of the alliance of the popular strata in a direction of rupture and overthrow against the capitalist system. This is even more urgent in the current circumstances, when everything seems immovable or move slowly.
Today there is much experience in the people and more evidence for them to see that no government which serves the capitalist path of development can put a end to the major impasses.
What is needed is that the popular struggle for the acute problems must look forward, must not be trapped in the “clashing rocks” of the governmental change of antipeople governments and of a utopian, supposedly pro-people, management of the system. For the maturation of thinking, of discussion, of reflection regarding the fact that the current exploitative system, which, despite the achievements of science and technology, forces people to live in barbarity, cannot be the future of humanity.
The capitalist ownership and power, the economy of anarchism and profit for the few, must be replaced by the social ownership of the concentrated means of production, the scientific central planning of the economy, the production for the satisfaction of contemporary needs.
With the weight of this responsibility, the KKE continues even more decisively in order to respond successfully to the tasks of the time, for the cause of Socialism, which today, 100 years since the “storm to the sky”- the Great Socialist October Revolution- is timely more than ever.
Source: Rizospastis / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin- The State and Revolution (1917) Part V “The Economic Basis of the Withering Away of the State”

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin- The State and Revolution (1917) Part V “The Economic Basis of the Withering Away of the State”

The State and Revolution.
By Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
First Published: 1918.
Source: V.I.Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 25, p.381-492.
Marx explains this question most thoroughly in his Critique of the Gotha Programme (letter to Bracke, May 5, 1875, which was not published until 1891 when it was printed in Neue Zeit, vol. IX, 1, and which has appeared in Russian in a special edition). The polemical part of this remarkable work, which contains a criticism of Lassalleanism, has, so to speak, overshadowed its positive part, namely, the analysis of the connection between the development of communism and the withering away of the state.
1. Presentation of the Question by Marx
From a superficial comparison of Marx’s letter to Bracke of May 5, 1875, with Engels’ letter to Bebel of March 28, 1875, which we examined above, it might appear that Marx was much more of a “champion of the state” than Engels, and that the difference of opinion between the two writers on the question of the state was very considerable.
Engels suggested to Bebel that all chatter about the state be dropped altogether, that the word “state” be eliminated from the programme altogether and the word “community” substituted for it. Engels even declared that the Commune was long a state in the proper sense of the word. Yet Marx even spoke of the “future state in communist society”, i.e., he would seem to recognize the need for the state even under communism.
But such a view would be fundamentally wrong. A closer examination shows that Marx’s and Engels’ views on the state and its withering away were completely identical, and that Marx’s expression quoted above refers to the state in the process of withering away.
Clearly, there can be no question of specifying the moment of the future “withering away”, the more so since it will obviously be a lengthy process. The apparent difference between Marx and Engels is due to the fact that they wealth with different subject and pursued different aims. Engels set out to show Bebel graphically, sharply, and in broad outline the utter absurdity of the current prejudices concerning the state (shared to no small degree by Lassalle). Marx only touched upon this question in passing, being interested in another subject, namely, the development of communist society.
The whole theory of Marx is the application of the theory of development–in its most consistent, complete, considered and pithy form–to modern capitalism. Naturally, Marx was faced with the problem of applying this theory both to the forthcoming collapse of capitalism and to the future development of future communism.
On the basis of what facts, then, can the question of the future development of future communism be dealt with?
On the basis of the fact that it has its origin in capitalism, that it develops historically from capitalism, that it is the result of the action of a social force to which capitalism gave birth. There is no trace of an attempt on Marx’s part to make up a utopia, to indulge in idle guess-work about what cannot be known. Marx treated the question of communism in the same way as a naturalist would treat the question of the development of, say, a new biological variety, once he knew that it had originated in such and such a way and was changing in such and such a definite direction.
To begin with, Marx brushed aside the confusion the Gotha Programme brought into the question of the relationship between state and society. He wrote:
“‘Present-day society’ is capitalist society, which exists in all civilized countries, being more or less free from medieval admixture, more or less modified by the particular historical development of each country, more or less developed. On the other hand, the ‘present-day state’ changes with a country’s frontier. It is different in the Prusso-German Empire from what it is in Switzerland, and different in England from what it is in the United States. ‘The present-day state’ is, therefore, a fiction.
“Nevertheless, the different states of the different civilized countries, in spite of their motley diversity of form, all have this in common, that they are based on modern bourgeois society, only one more or less capitalistically developed. The have, therefore, also certain essential characteristics in common. In this sense it is possible to speak of the ‘present-day state’, in contrast with the future, in which its present root, bourgeois society, will have died off.
“The question then arises: what transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present state functions? This question can only be answered scientifically, and one does not get a flea-hop nearer to the problem by a thousandfold combination of the word people with the word state.”
After thus ridiculing all talk about a “people’s state”, Marx formulated the question and gave warning, as it were, that those seeking a scientific answer to it should use only firmly-established scientific data.
The first fact that has been established most accurately by the whole theory of development, by science as a whole–a fact that was ignored by the utopians, and is ignored by the present-day opportunists, who are afraid of the socialist revolution–is that, historically, there must undoubtedly be a special stage, or a special phase, of transition from capitalism to communism.
2. The Transition from Capitalism to Communism
Marx continued:
“Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Marx bases this conclusion on an analysis of the role played by the proletariat in modern capitalist society, on the data concerning the development of this society, and on the irreconcilability of the antagonistic interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
Previously the question was put as follows: to achieve its emancipation, the proletariat must overthrow the bourgeoisie, win political power and establish its revolutionary dictatorship.
Now the question is put somewhat differently: the transition from capitalist society–which is developing towards communism–to communist society is impossible without a “political transition period”, and the state in this period can only be the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
What, then, is the relation of this dictatorship to democracy?
We have seen that the Communist Manifesto simply places side by side the two concepts: “to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class” and “to win the battle of democracy”. On the basis of all that has been said above, it is possible to determine more precisely how democracy changes in the transition from capitalism to communism.
In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favourable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that “they cannot be bothered with democracy”, “cannot be bothered with politics”; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life.
The correctness of this statement is perhaps most clearly confirmed by Germany, because constitutional legality steadily endured there for a remarkably long time–nearly half a century (1871-1914)–and during this period the Social-Democrats were able to achieve far more than in other countries in the way of “utilizing legality”, and organized a larger proportion of the workers into a political party than anywhere else in the world.
What is this largest proportion of politically conscious and active wage slaves that has so far been recorded in capitalist society? One million members of the Social-Democratic Party – out of 15,000,000 wage-workers! Three million organized in trade unions–out of 15,000,000!
Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich–that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the “petty”–supposedly petty–details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for “paupers”!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc.,–we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been inclose contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.
Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in analyzing the experience of the Commune, he said that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!
But from this capitalist democracy–that is inevitably narrow and stealthily pushes aside the poor, and is therefore hypocritical and false through and through–forward development does not proceed simply, directly and smoothly, towards “greater and greater democracy”, as the liberal professors and petty-bourgeois opportunists would have us believe. No, forward development, i.e., development towards communism, proceeds through the dictatorship of the proletariat, and cannot do otherwise, for the resistance of the capitalist exploiters cannot be broken by anyone else or in any other way.
And the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery, their resistance must be crushed by force; it is clear that there is no freedom and no democracy where there is suppression and where there is violence.
Engels expressed this splendidly in his letter to Bebel when he said, as the reader will remember, that “the proletariat needs the state, not in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist”.
Democracy for the vast majority of the people, and suppression by force, i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the exploiters and oppressors of the people–this is the change democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to communism.
Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes (i.e., when there is no distinction between the members of society as regards their relation to the social means of production), only then “the state… ceases to exist”, and “it becomes possible to speak of freedom”. Only then will a truly complete democracy become possible and be realized, a democracy without any exceptions whatever. And only then will democracy begin to wither away, owing to the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities, and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social intercourse that have been known for centuries and repeated for thousands of years in all copy-book maxims. They will become accustomed to observing them without force, without coercion, without subordination, without the special apparatus for coercion called the state.
The expression “the state withers away” is very well-chosen, for it indicates both the gradual and the spontaneous nature of the process. Only habit can, and undoubtedly will, have such an effect; for we see around us on millions of occassions how readily people become accustomed to observing the necessary rules of social intercourse when there is no exploitation, when there is nothing that arouses indignation, evokes protest and revolt, and creates the need for suppression.
And so in capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to communism, will for the first time create democracy for the people, for the majority, along with the necessary suppression of the exploiters, of the minority. Communism alone is capable of providing really complete democracy, and the more complete it is, the sooner it will become unnecessary and wither away of its own accord.
In other words, under capitalism we have the state in the proper sense of the word, that is, a special machine for the suppression of one class by another, and, what is more, of the majority by the minority. Naturally, to be successful, such an undertaking as the systematic suppression of the exploited majority by the exploiting minority calls for the utmost ferocity and savagery in the matter of suppressing, it calls for seas of blood, through which mankind is actually wading its way in slavery, serfdom and wage labor.
Furthermore, during the transition from capitalism to communism suppression is still necessary, but it is now the suppression of the exploiting minority by the exploited majority. A special apparatus, a special machine for suppression, the “state”, is still necessary, but this is now a transitional state. It is no longer a state in the proper sense of the word; for the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the wage slaves of yesterday is comparatively so easy, simple and natural a task that it will entail far less bloodshed than the suppression of the risings of slaves, serfs or wage-laborers, and it will cost mankind far less. And it is compatible with the extension of democracy to such an overwhelming majority of the population that the need for a special machine of suppression will begin to disappear. Naturally, the exploiters are unable to suppress the people without a highly complex machine for performing this task, but the people can suppress the exploiters even with a very simple “machine”, almost without a “machine”, without a special apparatus, by the simple organization of the armed people (such as the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, we would remark, running ahead).
Lastly, only communism makes the state absolutely unnecessary, for there is nobody to be suppressed–“nobody” in the sense of a class, of a systematic struggle against a definite section of the population. We are not utopians, and do not in the least deny the possibility and inevitability of excesses on the part of individual persons, or the need to stop such excesses. In the first place, however, no special machine, no special apparatus of suppression, is needed for this: this will be done by the armed people themselves, as simply and as readily as any crowd of civilized people, even in modern society, interferes to put a stop to a scuffle or to prevent a woman from being assaulted. And, secondly, we know that the fundamental social cause of excesses, which consist in the violation of the rules of social intercourse, is the exploitation of the people, their want and their poverty. With the removal of this chief cause, excesses will inevitably begin to “wither away”. We do not know how quickly and in what succession, but we do know they will wither away. With their withering away the state will also wither away.
Without building utopias, Marx defined more fully what can be defined now regarding this future, namely, the differences between the lower and higher phases (levels, stages) of communist society.
3. The First Phase of Communist Society
In the Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx goes into detail to disprove Lassalle’s idea that under socialism the worker will receive the “undiminished” or “full product of his labor”. Marx shows that from the whole of the social labor of society there must be deducted a reserve fund, a fund for the expansion of production, a fund for the replacement of the “wear and tear” of machinery, and so on. Then, from the means of consumption must be deducted a fund for administrative expenses, for schools, hospitals, old people’s homes, and so on.
Instead of Lassalle’s hazy, obscure, general phrase (“the full product of his labor to the worker”), Marx makes a sober estimate of exactly how socialist society will have to manage its affairs. Marx proceeds to make a concrete analysis of the conditions of life of a society in which there will be no capitalism, and says:
“What we have to deal with here [in analyzing the programme of the workers’ party] is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it comes.”
It is this communist society, which has just emerged into the light of day out of the womb of capitalism and which is in every respect stamped with the birthmarks of the old society, that Marx terms the “first”, or lower, phase of communist society.
The means of production are no longer the private property of individuals. The means of production belong to the whole of society. Every member of society, performing a certain part of the socially-necessary work, receives a certificate from society to the effect that he has done a certain amount of work. And with this certificate he receives from the public store of consumer goods a corresponding quantity of products. After a deduction is made of the amount of labor which goes to the public fund, every worker, therefore, receives from society as much as he has given to it.
“Equality” apparently reigns supreme.
But when Lassalle, having in view such a social order (usually called socialism, but termed by Marx the first phase of communism), says that this is “equitable distribution”, that this is “the equal right of all to an equal product of labor”, Lassalle is mistaken and Marx exposes the mistake.
“Hence, the equal right,” says Marx, in this case still certainly conforms to “bourgeois law”, which,like all law, implies inequality. All law is an application of an equal measure to different people who in fact are not alike, are not equal to one another. That is why the “equal right” is violation of equality and an injustice. In fact, everyone, having performed as much social labor as another, receives an equal share of the social product (after the above-mentioned deductions).
But people are not alike: one is strong, another is weak; one is married, another is not; one has more children, another has less, and so on. And the conclusion Marx draws is:
“… With an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, the right instead of being equal would have to be unequal.”
The first phase of communism, therefore, cannot yet provide justice and equality; differences, and unjust differences, in wealth will still persist, but the exploitation of man by man will have become impossible because it will be impossible to seize the means of production–the factories, machines, land, etc.–and make them private property. In smashing Lassalle’s petty-bourgeois, vague phrases about “equality” and “justice” in general, Marx shows the course of development of communist society, which is compelled to abolish at first only the “injustice” of the means of production seized by individuals, and which is unable at once to eliminate the other injustice, which consists in the distribution of consumer goods “according to the amount of labor performed” (and not according to needs).
The vulgar economists, including the bourgeois professors and “our” Tugan, constantly reproach the socialists with forgetting the inequality of people and with “dreaming” of eliminating this inequality. Such a reproach, as we see, only proves the extreme ignorance of the bourgeois ideologists.
Marx not only most scrupulously takes account of the inevitable inequality of men, but he also takes into account the fact that the mere conversion of the means of production into the common property of the whole society (commonly called “socialism”) does not remove the defects of distribution and the inequality of “bourgeois laws” which continues to prevail so long as products are divided “according to the amount of labor performed”. Continuing, Marx says:
“But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged, after prolonged birth pangs, from capitalist society. Law can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.”
And so, in the first phase of communist society (usually called socialism) “bourgeois law” is not abolished in its entirety, but only in part, only in proportion to the economic revolution so far attained, i.e., only in respect of the means of production. “Bourgeois law” recognizes them as the private property of individuals. Socialism converts them into common property. To that extent–and to that extent alone–“bourgeois law” disappears.
However, it persists as far as its other part is concerned; it persists in the capacity of regulator (determining factor) in the distribution of products and the allotment of labor among the members of society. The socialist principle, “He who does not work shall not eat”, is already realized; the other socialist principle, “An equal amount of products for an equal amount of labor”, is also already realized. But this is not yet communism, and it does not yet abolish “bourgeois law”, which gives unequal individuals, in return for unequal (really unequal) amounts of labor, equal amounts of products.
This is a “defect”, says Marx, but it is unavoidable in the first phase of communism; for if we are not to indulge in utopianism, we must not think that having overthrown capitalism people will at once learn to work for society without any rules of law. Besides, the abolition of capitalism does not immediately create the economic prerequisites for such a change.
Now, there are no other rules than those of “bourgeois law”. To this extent, therefore, there still remains the need for a state, which, while safeguarding the common ownership of the means of production, would safeguard equality in labor and in the distribution of products.
The state withers away insofar as there are no longer any capitalists, any classes, and, consequently, no class can be suppressed.
But the state has not yet completely withered away, since the still remains the safeguarding of “bourgeois law”, which sanctifies actual inequality. For the state to wither away completely, complete communism is necessary.
4. The Higher Phase of Communist Society
Marx continues:
“In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and with it also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished, after labor has become not only a livelihood but life’s prime want, after the productive forces have increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly–only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois law be left behind in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”
Only now can we fully appreciate the correctness of Engels’ remarks mercilessly ridiculing the absurdity of combining the words “freedom” and “state”. So long as the state exists there is no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state.
The economic basis for the complete withering away of the state is such a high state of development of communism at which the antithesis between mental and physical labor disappears, at which there consequently disappears one of the principal sources of modern social inequality–a source, moreover, which cannot on any account be removed immediately by the mere conversion of the means of production into public property, by the mere expropriation of the capitalists.
This expropriation will make it possible for the productive forces to develop to a tremendous extent. And when we see how incredibly capitalism is already retarding this development, when we see how much progress could be achieved on the basis of the level of technique already attained, we are entitled to say with the fullest confidence that the expropriation of the capitalists will inevitably result in an enormous development of the productive forces of human society. But how rapidly this development will proceed, how soon it will reach the point of breaking away from the division of labor, of doing away with the antithesis between mental and physical labor, of transforming labor into “life’s prime want”–we do not and cannot know.
That is why we are entitled to speak only of the inevitable withering away of the state, emphasizing the protracted nature of this process and its dependence upon the rapidity of development of the higher phase of communism, and leaving the question of the time required for, or the concrete forms of, the withering away quite open, because there is no material for answering these questions.
The state will be able to wither away completely when society adopts the rule: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, i.e., when people have become so accustomed to observing the fundamental rules of social intercourse and when their labor has become so productive that they will voluntarily work according to their ability. “The narrow horizon of bourgeois law”, which compels one to calculate with the heartlessness of a Shylock whether one has not worked half an hour more than anybody else–this narrow horizon will then be left behind. There will then be no need for society, in distributing the products, to regulate the quantity to be received by each; each will take freely “according to his needs”.
From the bourgeois point of view, it is easy to declare that such a social order is “sheer utopia” and to sneer at the socialists for promising everyone the right to receive from society, without any control over the labor of the individual citizen, any quantity of truffles, cars, pianos, etc. Even to this day, most bourgeois “savants” confine themselves to sneering in this way, thereby betraying both their ignorance and their selfish defence of capitalism.
Ignorance–for it has never entered the head of any socialist to “promise” that the higher phase of the development of communism will arrive; as for the greatest socialists’ forecast that it will arrive, it presupposes not the present ordinary run of people, who, like the seminary students in Pomyalovsky’s stories, are capable of damaging the stocks of public wealth “just for fun”, and of demanding the impossible.
Until the “higher” phase of communism arrives, the socialists demand the strictest control by society and by the state over the measure of labor and the measure of consumption; but this control must start with the expropriation of the capitalists, with the establishment of workers’ control over the capitalists, and must be exercised not by a state of bureaucrats, but by a state of armed workers.
The selfish defence of capitalism by the bourgeois ideologists (and their hangers-on, like the Tseretelis, Chernovs, and Co.) consists in that they substitute arguing and talk about the distant future for the vital and burning question of present-day politics, namely, the expropriation of the capitalists, the conversion of all citizens into workers and other employees of one huge “syndicate”–the whole state–and the complete subordination of the entire work of this syndicate to a genuinely democratic state, the state of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
In fact, when a learned professor, followed by the philistine, followed in turn by the Tseretelis and Chernovs, talks of wild utopias, of the demagogic promises of the Bolsheviks, of the impossibility of “introducing” socialism, it is the higher stage, or phase, of communism he has in mind, which no one has ever promised or even thought to “introduce”, because, generally speaking, it cannot be “introduced”.
And this brings us to the question of the scientific distinction between socialism and communism which Engels touched on in his above-quoted argument about the incorrectness of the name “Social-Democrat”. Politically, the distinction between the first, or lower, and the higher phase of communism will in time, probably, be tremendous. But it would be ridiculous to recognize this distinction now, under capitalism, and only individual anarchists, perhaps, could invest it with primary importance (if there still are people among the anarchists who have learned nothing from the “Plekhanov” conversion of the Kropotkins, of Grave, Corneliseen, and other “stars” of anarchism into social- chauvinists or “anarcho-trenchists”, as Ghe, one of the few anarchists who have still preserved a sense of humor and a conscience, has put it).
But the scientific distinction between socialism and communism is clear. What is usually called socialism was termed by Marx the “first”, or lower, phase of communist society. Insofar as the means of production becomes common property, the word “communism” is also applicable here, providing we do not forget that this is not complete communism. The great significance of Marx’s explanations is that here, too, he consistently applies materialist dialectics, the theory of development, and regards communism as something which develops out of capitalism. Instead of scholastically invented, “concocted” definitions and fruitless disputes over words (What is socialism? What is communism?), Marx gives an analysis of what might be called the stages of the economic maturity of communism.
In its first phase, or first stage, communism cannot as yet be fully mature economically and entirely free from traditions or vestiges of capitalism. Hence the interesting phenomenon that communism in its first phase retains “the narrow horizon of bourgeois law”. Of course, bourgeois law in regard to the distribution of consumer goods inevitably presupposes the existence of the bourgeois state, for law is nothing without an apparatus capable of enforcing the observance of the rules of law.
It follows that under communism there remains for a time not only bourgeois law, but even the bourgeois state, without the bourgeoisie!
This may sound like a paradox or simply a dialectical conundrum of which Marxism is often accused by people who have not taken the slightest trouble to study its extraordinarily profound content.
But in fact, remnants of the old, surviving in the new, confront us in life at every step, both in nature and in society. And Marx did not arbitrarily insert a scrap of “bourgeois” law into communism, but indicated what is economically and politically inevitable in a society emerging out of the womb of capitalism.
Democracy means equality. The great significance of the proletariat’s struggle for equality and of equality as a slogan will be clear if we correctly interpret it as meaning the abolition of classes. But democracy means only formal equality. And as soon as equality is achieved for all members of society in relation to ownership of the means of production, that is, equality of labor and wages, humanity will inevitably be confronted with the question of advancing father, from formal equality to actual equality, i.e., to the operation of the rule “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. By what stages, by means of what practical measures humanity will proceed to this supreme aim we do not and cannot know. But it is important to realize how infinitely mendacious is the ordinary bourgeois conception of socialism as something lifeless, rigid, fixed once and for all, whereas in reality only socialism will be the beginning of a rapid, genuine, truly mass forward movement, embracing first the majority and then the whole of the population, in all spheres of public and private life.
Democracy is of enormous importance to the working class in its struggle against the capitalists for its emancipation. But democracy is by no means a boundary not to be overstepped; it is only one of the stages on the road from feudalism to capitalism, and from capitalism to communism.
Democracy is a form of the state, it represents, on the one hand, the organized, systematic use of force against persons; but, on the other hand, it signifies the formal recognition of equality of citizens, the equal right of all to determine the structure of, and to administer, the state. This, in turn, results in the fact that, at a certain stage in the development of democracy, it first welds together the class that wages a revolutionary struggle against capitalism–the proletariat, and enables it to crush, smash to atoms, wipe off the face of the earth the bourgeois, even the republican-bourgeois, state machine, the standing army, the police and the bureaucracy and to substitute for them a more democratic state machine, but a state machine nevertheless, in the shape of armed workers who proceed to form a militia involving the entire population.
Here “quantity turns into quality”: such a degree of democracy implies overstepping the boundaries of bourgeois society and beginning its socialist reorganization. If really all take part in the administration of the state, capitalism cannot retain its hold. The development of capitalism, in turn, creates the preconditions that enable really “all” to take part in the administration of the state. Some of these preconditions are: universal literacy, which has already been achieved in a number of the most advanced capitalist countries, then the “training and disciplining” of millions of workers by the huge, complex, socialized apparatus of the postal service, railways, big factories, large-scale commerce, banking, etc., etc.
Given these economic preconditions, it is quite possible, after the overthrow of the capitalists and the bureaucrats, to proceed immediately, overnight, to replace them in the control over production and distribution, in the work of keeping account of labor and products, by the armed workers, by the whole of the armed population. (The question of control and accounting should not be confused with the question of the scientifically trained staff of engineers, agronomists, and so on. These gentlemen are working today in obedience to the wishes of the capitalists and will work even better tomorrow in obedience to the wishes of the armed workers.)
Accounting and control–that is mainly what is needed for the “smooth working”, for the proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society. All citizens are transformed into hired employees of the state, which consists of the armed workers. All citizens becomes employees and workers of a single countrywide state “syndicate”. All that is required is that they should work equally, do their proper share of work, and get equal pay; the accounting and control necessary for this have been simplified by capitalism to the utmost and reduced to the extraordinarily simple operations–which any literate person can perform–of supervising and recording, knowledge of the four rules of arithmetic, and issuing appropriate receipts.[1]
When the majority of the people begin independently and everywhere to keep such accounts and exercise such control over the capitalists (now converted into employees) and over the intellectual gentry who preserve their capitalist habits, this control will really become universal, general, and popular; and there will be no getting away from it, there will be “nowhere to go”.
The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory, with equality of labor and pay.
But this “factory” discipline, which the proletariat, after defeating the capitalists, after overthrowing the exploiters, will extend to the whole of society, is by no means our ideal, or our ultimate goal. It is only a necessary step for thoroughly cleansing society of all the infamies and abominations of capitalist exploitation, and for further progress.
From the moment all members of society, or at least the vast majority, have learned to administer the state themselves, have taken this work into their own hands, have organized control over the insignificant capitalist minority, over the gentry who wish to preserve their capitalist habits and over the workers who have been thoroughly corrupted by capitalism–from this moment the need for government of any kind begins to disappear altogether. The more complete the democracy, the nearer the moment when it becomes unnecessary. The more democratic the “state” which consists of the armed workers, and which is “no longer a state in the proper sense of the word”, the more rapidly every form of state begins to wither away.
For when all have learned to administer and actually to independently administer social production, independently keep accounts and exercise control over the parasites, the sons of the wealthy, the swindlers and other “guardians of capitalist traditions”, the escape from this popular accounting and control will inevitably become so incredibly difficult, such a rare exception, and will probably be accompanied by such swift and severe punishment (for the armed workers are practical men and not sentimental intellectuals, and they scarcely allow anyone to trifle with them), that the necessity of observing the simple, fundamental rules of the community will very soon become a habit.
Then the door will be thrown wide open for the transition from the first phase of communist society to its higher phase, and with it to the complete withering away of the state.
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    When most of the functions of the state are reduced to such accounting and control by the workers themselves, it will cease to be a “political state” and the “public functions will lose their political character and be transformed into simple administrative functions” (cf. above. Chapter IV, § 2, Engels’ “Controversy with the Anarchists”).
Letter to the Peace Movement
| September 13, 2016 | 8:10 pm | Anarchism, Syria, World Peace Council | No comments

By: Alfred Marder, President of the U.S. Peace Council

The U.S. Peace Council, recognizing the dangers of World War 3, organized a DELEGATION OF PEACE LEADERS to Syria. We reached out far and wide, inviting participation. The only stipulation was the desire to bring peace to that area, to see for themselves the situation, and to determine for themselves how to bring the facts back to the US peace movement. The participants had to pay their own way. We invited participation from peace organizations, faith-based groups, and outstanding peace activists. We realized from the start that there would be hesitation to go to a war zone, but we hoped that an understanding for the need to break the silence on the issue of Syria would motivate delegates.

Upon return, even prior to any of the participants reporting on their findings, the attack campaign began. Articles impugning the integrity and role of the U.S. Peace Council and the delegation appeared. They dredged up essays in the progressive press, maligning the U.S. Peace Council and accusing the delegation of serving as spokespersons for the Assad regime.

To this date, to the best of my understanding, not one of these outlets has requested an article or statement from a member of the delegation nor from the U.S. Peace Council. Shades of McCarthy in the progressive media. No requests for interviews despite the historic nature of the delegation!

Instead of welcoming the delegates and sharing their insights as a contribution to the struggle for peace, the so-called self-appointed leaders of some of the peace organizations continue the campaign against the delegation, trying to isolate it and the U.S. Peace Council.

In a moment of history, when it is vital that the U.S. peace movement come together in one voice, to mobilize our neighbors against the dangers of World War 3, these attacks are playing into the hands of the Obama / State Department / CIA policies of aggression.

We earnestly hope that all sincere advocates for peace will reject this McCarthy tactic and come together, in our tradition, for peace.

Yours in Peace,

Alfred L Marder
U.S. Peace Council

P.O. Box 3105

New Haven, CT 06515-0205


Cruz May Have Hurt Political Career Failing to Endorse Trump


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Former Republican presidential candidate and US Senator Ted Cruz may have damaged his political career when he failed to endorse the party’s nominee Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, US Congressman from Texas, John Carter told Sputnik.

CLEVELAND (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Cruz delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention, where he failed to clearly endorse the party’s nominee. After the speech telling Republicans to “vote their conscience,” he was booed off the stage.

“I think he made a mistake,” Carter said on Thursday of Cruz’s speech at the Republican National Convention where he failed to endorse Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee. “I think it is harmful to his career.”

Earlier on Thursday, Cruz addressed the Texas delegation, which Carter described as “contentious” meeting. Carter added that he is most disturbed that Cruz was “supposed to keep his word” in signing the 2015 pledge to endorse the nominee.

In 2015, the slate of 17 Republican presidential candidates assembled in Cleveland to sign a “loyalty pledge,” affirming they would support the Republican Party candidate, regardless of who won the ticket.

Rage, Rebellion and Revolution: Left Forum in New York Wraps Up
| May 24, 2016 | 8:51 pm | Anarchism, political struggle | No comments
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign stop on Sunday, March 13, 2016, at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Rage, Rebellion and Revolution: Left Forum in New York Wraps Up

© AP Photo/ Matt Rourke
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“It is our job to make the powerful frightened of us,” stated Chris Hedges, author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist to an auditorium packed with hundreds of people at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York over the weekend.

“That is what movements do. Movements keep power in check, and as any good anarchist will tell you, power is always the problem, no matter who holds it,” he continued.

He was speaking at 12th annual Left Forum conference, the largest annual gathering of leftists in North America, being held this weekend in New York City. This year’s forum adopted the theme, “Rage, Rebellion and Revolution,” reflecting topics that included police brutality, movement building, and how to galvanize the spirit behind the Bernie Sanders campaign to go beyond the election.“The cost of running the primaries is paid for by the taxpayers,” Hedges said. “And yet, the primary rules are determined by the Democratic Party, so that they can manipulate a system as they did in Nevada, to steal the vote.”

He concluded that Sanders would have won the nomination if independents weren’t excluded from the process, and super PAC’s and super delegates weren’t so domineering of the outcome. He even went so far as to say that there is “palpable evidence that democracy within the United States is a fraud.”

Other activists, authors and thinkers offered their reflections on the current state of American political affairs as well.

“Very glad to be here especially at this time because though we’re talking about the presidential candidates, Senator Clinton and Donald Trump, what has really been exciting, watching what is going on from afar in the United States, has been these huge mobilizations of young people,” said Tariq Ali, an editor of The New Left Review, at the opening plenary on Friday.Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an activist involved with the Black Lives Matter Movement and Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, said, “Police are an invasive species that are unleashed by the capitalist class to maintain social control… and to maintain the disorder that is this society.”

Meanwhile, Kshama Sawant, who sits on the Seattle City Council member and is a member of the Socialist Alternative, stated, “Obama may have similar skin color to me and Keeanga but he’s not on our side because he’s not of our class, he’s not fighting for us.”

Other prominent speakers included Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher, and Dr. Jill Stein, presidential candidate for the Green Party, among many others.

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