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WHAT FELT? REMARKS ON THE ONTOLOGY OF COMMUNISM

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WHAT FELT? REMARKS ON THE ONTOLOGY OF COMMUNISM

 

Ana Bazac

Professor

Politehnica University

 

The paper, only an introduction to the theme, intends to make out some different discourses about communism in order to suggest its ontology. But this one means a structure of concepts related to both the static and dynamic (principles) of communism, as well as to its position in space and time, and to its realisation. Ontology of communism appears in this way to be challenged by the intertwined and complex levels of practice.

However, ontology itself is a discourse: concepts as possibility, readiness, necessity, conjunctures, identity, forms, essence, transformation, accidents, universals and particulars, factors and forces of communism issue from discourses as active positions of the transmitters (including from their desire to form reality according to theirs representations about it). Thusly, the relationship between discourses and existence is not one of exteriority, but of inclusion of the former into the given reality. Even the given character of reality is the result of interferences between discourses (and the intertwining of many types of discourses) and existence: in this way, discourses could exclude elements of the existence, or construct new ones, generally alternative virtual existences.

The remarks in this paper are made in a traditional philosophical view: not starting from practice which does criticise itself, so deducing ontological properties of communism from this critique (as I should be tempted to do), but going from some concepts to reality, for grasping how and if they are reciprocally fit. In other words: I suggest the questioning of the theoretical representation that the concepts would be a Procrustean bed for the communist ‘reality’ (as process and discourses), just researching the framework of concepts and somehow postponing the problem of the pressure of ‘reality’, issuing from its ontological essence, for new interpretations (discourses).

The rhetorical lecture of some discourses about communism sends to an ideological one. The paper gives some definitions of the presuppositions used here: rhetorical lecture, ideology, ideological lecture. The discursive theory appears to be not an alternative to the ideological one, but a part, also an antecedent of this one.

Therefore, after an introduction about the above-mentioned aspects, the paper summarises the logic of Marx’s and Lenin’s theory on communism from the standpoint of some of the above-mentioned concepts of ontology. The same outlook is affected to the concept of communism as revolution in Lenin and Trotsky and some Trotskyites. By this token, the problems: the correspondence of the discursive properties of communism and the real process, and the essential and accidental features of ‘communism’ remain open. As a consequence, a non-conformist opinion concerning what felt is suggested.

Introduction

 

Especially when one comes nearer to a ticklish problem like communism one is somehow embarrassed in front of so many viewpoints. Could these ones arrive at the ontos every philosopher, if not every man, desire to “touch” on?

For this reason, a first necessary moment of the research is to uncover its standpoint. A manner is to assert that the rhetorical lecture of the theories about communism does not remain as neutral as some ones think.

But what is a rhetorical lecture? It is a study about “the use of discourse, either spoken or written, to inform or persuade or motivate an audience”1. If rhetoric is the art of persuasion, the rhetorical lecture offers an explanation of the means used by a discourse for persuade. For the discourse about communism is about a political phenomenon – that has valences of a total phenomenon, because of the becoming of the social system, i.e. because of the new criteria of this becoming –, this discourse is situated in different positions toward the phenomenon of communism. Assuming these positions is necessary, not only for the theory corresponds to the rationalist requirements – as that of transparency – put and presumed by the entire tradition of the Western philosophy, that of zoon logon echon, but also in order to allow the comparative examination of the criteria of the chosen theory and of those of the phenomenon of communism. In fact one must have the guarantee that the reading of these ones does not take place by the prism of a vulgar parti pris, but really permit to clear the phenomenon and its characteristics.

That means that the rhetorical lecture ought to has au fond a transparent attitude toward its own presumptions, videlicet, before analysing if and how (on the basis of which formal and material suppositions) and toward which direction has a discourse a persuasive role, this lecture ought to declare and justify these presumptions. Thus if it is crucial to grasp the intended purpose of a text (so what is the author attempting to do with his work), it is also important to understand from which viewpoint is the entire research undertaken.

Therefore if the rhetorical lecture implies to emphasize the significances of the discourse had in view for the receivers but also for the person who analyses the discourse and its trajectory, it’s hard to make an absolute separation between the rhetorical and the ideological lecture. The features of the rhetorical lecture are the proof of the intimate relationship between the rhetorical lecture and the ideological one. These features are: to show the theses of the discourse about the subject/the problem raised; so how the discourse interprets the problem: what are the arguments, how are they arranged, what they are driving at, how they fit together, what is the main idea these lines of reasoning serve. But for evaluate the impact of the discourse, one has to research the political culture and values of both people that would produce this discourse and people meant for its audience.

In many texts about communism the controversial character of the subject would not only lead to the enlarging of the rhetorical analysis, but also to the need to consider the circumstances, times, and audience and how and if the discourses are fit to them. What is the historical occasion that would give rise to the composition of the texts, as well as to the need for persuasion?

But what is more obvious is that a political text could not be understood without taking into account the responses of historical or contemporary audiences. Who are and/or who represent all these audiences, means already to transcend the frame of the rhetorical lecture. As well as the values held by the audience and that the author appeals. The rhetorical reading, or rhetorical criticism, is thereby “that mode of internal criticism which considers the interaction between the work, the author and the audience”2.

Just for there is a pluralism of discourses over communism, they have to be analysed in a rhetorical key, according to the same criteria. Between these ones, the rationalist argumentation seems to be the most important; but anyway the texts concerning communism involve a strong emotional component.

However, as we already saw, not (only) this pathos is related to the ideological lecture of the texts about communism. The above-mentioned interaction between the author, the work and the audience is in fact a complex relation between the conjunctures and the human actions, and these relations, conjunctures, and human actions and relations require the concrete analysis. The rhetorical lecture leads to an ideological one.

What is, at its turn, the ideological lecture? It is the making of visibility of the ideology the texts behave and support3, i.e. the fact that the ideas about society reflect the social positions of the authors, or some social positions the authors support. As it was already mentioned, this lecture also implies that the researcher makes visible his own ideology. In this respect, a consistent ideological reading does not emphasise only the dominant ideology within the text, but the game of ideologies which confront each other as response of the text to the complex ideological milieu.

Concerning this paper, it only sketches some philosophical concepts that could be deduced from the texts, concepts as designing the ontology of communism. The texts were written for a rationalist, intellectual reading: thus supplying arguments in a rationalist, scientific manner. Here not the author is important, his psychology, conditions and evolution, but the discourse as such, that is an appeal to logos, and only in subsidiary to pathos (emotion) and ethos (ethical credibility).

(If ontology spokes about existence qua existence, what exists is given by the means of discourses about it. At their turn, discourses are not a neutral situating in front of a neutral existence, but active positions issued from the desire to form reality upon the representations of those emitting discourses. The relationship between discourses and existence involves the inclusion of the former in the given reality. This given character of reality is thus the result of interferences between many types of discourses and existence: but it’s possible that discourses could exclude elements of existence from the images they draw).

 

Ontology…of communism

 

If one could define ontology as a coherent structure of categories concerning the being and its becoming – or the ontological as the theoretical level of interpretation of the ontos –, the result would be the ontological order: that which has to be following the interpretation of existence. The stake of philosophy as ontology is just this ontological order. If so, the problem is related not only to the theory of knowledge but at the same time to the researches uncovering society.

Consequently, ontology appears to be no more a static collection of concepts corresponding to an ideal status quo of the existence: it presupposes intended contextual assumptions and implications taken over by and within already dynamic notions. Ontology configures an appropriate hypothesis about an implicit content declared or not by the philosopher.

The attitude toward length is itself depending on the social position and worldview shared by the philosopher. For his/her reasoning is not about a flat, motionless, neutral object, but just about the most ardent one for a living being: existence. And for existence is always “here”4, i.e. is the one of a particular historic man, it is a concrete historical social existence, be this one consciously assumed, or not, by the philosopher. So albeit the traditional philosophical ideal has had in view an impartial inquiry of the universal a-temporal being, this inquiry belongs to the man (Dasein) thrown into the world and manifesting his care (Heidegger).

But the man and his care reflect and answer not only the time they have/exist within, but also the concrete conditions of the human existential. To respond to these problems issued from the social character of the relation of man to the time seems to be a more provocative object of ontology: the one of the social space where the man is part of. And if it is about a specific and extraordinary period – i.e. time –, a specific and extraordinary social historical period like communism, the challenge of ontology and that made to ontology is greater than ever before.

The problem posed by this paper is thus ontology of a new (social) object, a level of the ontology of the social being but also something more than that. What kind of social object? It is a political one, and a new political one: a purpose being to be realised (in the manner of Derrida’s la démocratie à venir) – or not –, a purpose joining together the intellectual and emotional levels of existence (to use Nicolai Harmann’s notions) with the objective material (that meaning also institutional) domain where determinism seems to be the strongest characteristic and where this determinism seems to be the most inimical toward the expectations and representations of an absolutely new social alternative.

What kind of ontology could thus be imagined – for theory is always imagination, irrespective of the scientific tools used and of the scientific results – in order to grasp this specific, contradictory and mobile juncture of positive intentions, relative intellectual instruments and powerful emotions with a mostly lack of conditions for the communist social transformation?

This ontology could obviously prefer the concept of beginning5, describing the intention to construct – first of all, in mente – an alternative, a political course even though there are not yet “aged” the objective conditions of the realisation of these intentions. Could the interpretation of this contradiction be resumed only as voluntarism6? At a philosophical level, the new intention and the above-mentioned contradiction constitute only the deviation, the clinamen (Epicurus, Lucretius) that would change the “normal” trajectory of the social facts forming the social order; or, because there already are some objective trends and especially the intellectual construction as well as the popular ideal of emancipation (as the sole positive anticipation of the movement), the clinamen could be understood as “the original determination of the direction of movement, the synthesis of movement and its direction which relates one atom to another”7.

Letting apart the bifurcation role8 of the/especially some human acts, just these acts – thus the concrete social human being – become the new political subject of the social practice, and thus of ontology. For the problem is just to articulate and assemble the acts, wills, intentions, conditions. This assemblage is the practice and theory of communism, and a philosophical reflection on this practice and theory would be a (mobile) ontology of communism. Indeed, (the concept of) communism as change of the social order whose relations of power are not normally questioned but considered as constitutive represents, as clinamen, a “subterraneous stream of materialism of the encounter”9: the concept of communism does not confirm the fait accompli (the accomplished fact/fact already done), but interrogates the teleology and the “Necessity”10. “On the contrary, this accomplishment of the fact is only a pure effect of contingency since it depends on the accidental encounter of atoms generated by the deviation of clinamen. Before the accomplishment of the fact, before the world, there is only the non-accomplishment of the fact, the non-world that is but the unreal existence of atoms”11. As deviation from the ‘Necessity” and “Reason” supposed by the intellectuals who have the privileges generated and given to them by the relations of power – and who deny the ideological character of the concepts they use (as Necessity and Reason) – communism appears as unnecessary and irrational accident. But as accidental encounter of elements which at the beginning had no connection each other, as nothing pre-established – “it is in the political vacuum where the encounter has to be realised”12 – , thus “where nothing ever warrants that the reality of the fait accompli would be the guarantee of its perennial”13, communism appears just as possibility of the encounter of conjunctures and wills (conscience), as freedom.

The conjuncture – favourable for a human project – is not a univocal determinism of the objective conditions (in the manner where the result would be that of these conditions only), but a contradictory complex of these conditions and of the subjective positions of people, from all the social categories, point that complicates the things. Then, the conjuncture always changes.

The motif of fortuna labilis, never used by the communist writers, is nevertheless different from that of the decline (corruption, in Aristotle’s meaning). The decay of communism is constitutive in the process of communism not as in every thing that born, lives and then declines (as Gibbon explained the ancient era), but as constitutive feature even for its constitution. Thus, at the first hand, in the communist texts opposing Stalinism, communism appears thereby not as simple necessity – as in the Stalinist dogma – but as a consequence of the unique freedom of the fitting of the objective and subjective conditions, therefore as an attempt toward the mass social emancipation. At the second hand, the importance of the conjuncture leads to the understanding of the events, of the radical contingency. And from this standpoint, communism does not differ from the other systems, from the entire history: the hazard is at the origin of society, the association of the always new historical elements, necessary and unpredictable at the same time.

Ontology of communism is thus rather a theory of the subject constituting itself through the “praxis constructing the political object, and collective action as force of liberation. It is the effective truth of the thing…that can introduce us in a new movement…”14

At the same time, ontology of communism is not only the theoretical description of the constitution of communism – where the beginning is so important – but the standpoint, new in principle, about society/history. Its truth is given by the permanent ontology of the process (with its zigzags, springs and decays), and not only by the truth of the beginning.

 

The concept of communism

 

The discourses chosen for the problem of “what is communism” are Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, chapter Private Property and Communism15, and Marx and Engels’ The German Ideology, 1845. Briefly here, the texts were not written for an audience, but for the author/authors himself/themselves as a draft of his/their early social critical representation, although he/they should have wanted to publish them in, let’s say, Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. For this reason, no one can deny that the texts are very sincere: they contain only arguments, as deductions not only from the philosophical concepts taken over from Hegel – as the self-estrangement – but also from the economic analysis, and, though the idea of communism winged at that time the soul of young rebels in front of the crisis preceding the 1848 year, it is described as a long and difficult process, with phases and possible avatars. Therefore, although an intellectual construction first of all, communism already appears in the young Marx as distant phenomenon from the utopian tradition.

Communism is a form of organisation of society. It appears first of all as a consequence of the development of the structural – i.e. economic and social – relations of capitalism as these ones are understood from the analysis of the economists and philosophers (Mill, Ricardo, Proudhon, Sismondi, Fourier, Saint-Simon etc.). According to Marx, the constitutive relation of the (modern) social system is that between capital and labour, or private property and labour, not as “indifferent antithesis”, but as “internal active relation”, as “contradiction”16.

Marx (still) mixes the analysis in a Hegelian philosophical manner with the facts the political economy emphasised: the above-mentioned contradiction could be seen either from the point of view of the realisation of capital (as “greed, war amongst the greedy and competition”17) or the one of the realisation of the labour force (which in capitalism manifests through the estranged labour, through the objectification-estrangement dialectics). The realisation of the labour force takes part through the “clash of mutual contradictions” and therefore leads to a social organisation that tends to annul private property. But, just for capital “in its objective aspect” and labour are so intertwined, the cancellation of the private property is not a simple negation of it, but a transformation of the entire relation, the more so this transformation is not an abstract moment of the dialectical cycle but the entire upstream and the results of labour are involved into it. These upstream and results are the productive forces, and, for “individuals have always built on themselves, but naturally on themselves within their given historical conditions and relationships, not on the “pure” individual in the sense of the ideologists”18, just the productive forces are in a mutual influence with the relations of production and intercourse and form together the ground of society, its evolution and its understanding.

The conception of history sketched by Marx considers every social system, including capitalism, as historical. “In the development of productive forces there comes a stage when productive forces and means of intercourse are brought into being, which, under the existing relationships, only cause mischief, and are no longer productive but destructive forces (machinery and money); and connected with this a class is called forth, which has to bear all the burdens of society without enjoying its advantages, which, ousted from society, is forced into the most decided antagonism to all other classes; a class which forms the majority of all members of society, and from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness, which may, of course, arise among the other classes too through the contemplation of the situation of this class”19.

This is the historical and, at the same time, theoretical frame of communism. The “development of productive forces (which itself implies the actual empirical existence of men in their world-historical, instead of local, being) is an absolutely necessary practical premise because without it want is merely made general, and with destitution the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced”20.

But the development of both productive forces and intercourses of the logic of capitalism (competition) is global, as capitalism is the first world system, and its evolution through the reciprocal negations of labour and capital involves obviously a global interdependency. For this reason, communism cannot be established on a local level, if not but temporarily and generating its own defeat. And, if “each extension of intercourse would abolish local communism”21, this process is grievous.

But for capitalism is felt as growing estrangement, as „intolerable power”22, people try to change it without the above-mentioned objective conditions exist. For this reason, the effort to innovate within the social field transposes into some phases before “the positive expression of annulled private property”23. The first is “only a generalisation and consummation of” the capitalist relations (i.e. between capital and the labour force). As Marx describes it, this phase rather looks like capitalism itself and, also, like Stalinism (the first practical attempt to change capitalism). “As such it appears in a two-fold form: on the one hand, the dominion of material property bulks so large that it wants to destroy everything which is not capable of being possessed by all as private property. It wants to disregard talent, etc., in an arbitrary manner. For it the sole purpose of life and existence is direct, physical possession. The category of the worker is not done away with, but extended to all men. The relationship of private property persists as the relationship of the community to the world of things… This type of communism – since it negates the personality of man in every sphere – is but the logical expression of private property, which is this negation. General envy constituting itself as a power is the disguise in which greed re-establishes itself and satisfies itself, only in another way. The thought of every piece of private property as such is at least turned against wealthier private property in the form of envy and the urge to reduce things to a common level, so that this envy and urge even constitute the essence of competition. Crude communism is only the culmination of this envy and of this levelling-down proceeding from the preconceived minimum. It has a definite, limited standard. How little this annulment of private property is really an appropriation is in fact proved by the abstract negation of the entire world of culture and civilisation, the regression to the unnatural simplicity of the poor and crude man who has few needs and who has not only failed to go beyond private property, but has not yet even reached it… The community is only a community of labour, and equality of wages paid out by communal capital – by the community as the universal capitalist. Both sides of the relationship are raised to an imagined universality – labour as the category in which every person is placed, and capital as the acknowledged universality and power of the community”24.

This long quote nevertheless summarises the features of this first attempt of communism, obviously “in a single country”, as Trotsky characterised it later.

It is important to note that this phase is a result of the political will, certainly in propitious conditions. Thus the political regime could be “democratic or despotic”25, with a relative/lesser repressive character of the state towards the labour force than in the explicit capitalism (Marx names this disappearance of the individual private property, or the lesser repressive character of the state towards the labour force because of the disappearance of the individual private property – “abolition of the state, yet still incomplete”. In fact, Marx separates the first moment of revolution, certainly political, from the next one, when the repressive character of the state could diminish. But these moments reflect the same persistence of the private property.) Thus even though this abolition took place, in fact there still are “private property, i.e., by the estrangement of man”.

At the same time, the situation is complex (as Stalinism was): there is a coexistence of these political and economical features with the communist legitimating values, thus the conscience of “return of man to himself, the transcendence of human self-estrangement”. From this coexistence so obvious antagonisms follow that Marx, interested about the explanation of the historical character of capitalism and objective possibility of communism, formulates this stage of the transition to communism as having grasped the concept, but not the essence of the “human nature” of communism.

Only the next phase is the one of communism as such: “as the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement, and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man; communism therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being – a return accomplished consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous development”26.

Therefore, in these texts communism is a logical result of the internal functioning of capitalism. It is not an ethical concept, so it no more abbreviates the expectations of the oppressed. “Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence”27.

The concept is not a Procrustean bed for reality, but it reflects the tendencies of reality. Thus it bunches the notions of necessity and possibility: it collects information concerning the objective conditions that in principle leads to communism, so concerning a realist, and not fictive determinism but, at the same time, information concerning the subjective conditions that only they realise (this last word – in its philosophical, Hegelian sense) the determinism. Marx resumes here the novelty given by one of the founding fathers of the “subterraneous stream of materialism” (Althusser), Machiavelli: the event (transition to communism/revolution) is the encounter of the objective conjunctures and the subjective virtù (ability to realise the ends had in view); for this reason, communism is not a mere accident within history, but an encounter of precise factors and social forces. Communism describes in this way a process of transformation that is philosophically transposable with the notions of form and essence, stage and core.

Communism is considered from the standpoint of social philosophy, i.e. of the “connected whole” through the interrelationships of separate parts, the “interconnection between political economy and the state, law, ethics, civil life, etc.”28, mainly between political economy and philosophy. The method is thusly new, as the image itself29 is: they both are supporting the theoretical observation concerning the “beginning”30 as philosophical concept and significance. The constitution of communism is not only a temporal process, thus a beginning, but a new standpoint about society. For this reason, the theoretical constitution is so important: but related to the practical evolution, thus depending on the concrete practical manner where the logic, arguments, reasons constitute this new standpoint.

In Marx, ontology of communism is the result of the synthesis and, at the same time, radical critique of Hegel and Feuerbach, of their speculative and abstract character. This critique issues from the “encounter of Marx with the political economy”31, “encounter of philosophy with the political economy”32. From this viewpoint, the phenomenological levels of the subjectivity, referring to objectification and alienation, are transformed: this entire transformation is coming to pass in the light of the concrete social contradictions of modernity. The key concept that rules this process is the aliened labour. The apparently speculative Hegelian problems get a huge practical significance.

As possibility generated by the (theoretical) solving of the contradictions of capitalism, the making of communism requires certainly the encounter of objective and subjective conditions. If this encounter is missing, communism cannot be. More, the attempts could generate phases, full of contradictions and thus only temporary. Only these phases felt/could fall. But these phases themselves are not accidents – for there always are specific conjunctures – but attempts to quicken the encounters facilitating the realisation of a human society for all.

The concept of communism is emphasised by practice. In this respect, the ‘essence” of communism realises itself within the process of attempts, phases, critiques, struggles: including the ideological battles.

Starting from Marx, we already can grasp the problem of difference between aspiration (desire) and action, reality.

 

Lenin: communism as revolution

 

What could say a discourse written in the same spirit but in new historical conjunctures? It could question these conjunctures as well as the possibility of encounters of the subjective will and ability to change these conjunctures, the virtù – as named it Machiavelli, with these conjunctures.

The next theoretical moment of communism is Lenin and the texts I chose are The State and Revolution, September 1917, chapter The economic basis of the withering away of the state, “The April Theses” – i.e. The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution – April 1917, and How to Organise Competition?, December 1917. They are written for the main social and political force of the anti-capitalist and communist movement in Russia, the advanced workers, the nucleus of the proletariat, as it is considered by Lenin. Certainly, the texts serve also as instruments of self-clarification, but what is important is that they are not simple works of propaganda, but a supply of theoretical arguments.

These ones respond to the new historical conditions and complexity of practice. Communism is thusly a concrete task assumed by the advanced workers in the concrete class struggle. Is it not a utopia, not an illusionary confidence in the power of the oppressed, but a step by step movement of concrete conquest of political and economic power. The time when communism appeared as a consequence of the logical treatment of the Hegelian concepts stricken by the real economic contradictions resumed by the aliened labour had already passed. Not from the concepts – as the young Marx had at the beginning begun to do – is communism resulting, but from the analysis of the social practice. Assumed as urgent political project, communism is drawn out from an improbable distant future and this drawing out becomes at the same time a positive act: that to give a topos to the utopian dream.

When one reads the works of Lenin, one wonders about the logical consistence of the theoretical theses in front of a so difficult and changing social reality. And once theory begins – theory in the communist key –, it could no more be left for practice has inimical turns. Communism is a task allowed by some real tendencies, and all the theoretical and practical efforts are subordinated to this task.

This task is that questions the conjunctures and the subjective data (and shortcomings): could these ones meet? Could these objective and subjective conditions encounter as a beginning of a radical social transformation? The name of the encounter is again revolution, the long but politically and economically coherent transition to communism. Thus communism tout court signifies the goal, involved in every step and aspect of the process, of the revolution.

Communism or rather the Bolshevik revolution appears to be the result of the choice of this goal – the choice of the leaders and of a certain majority of the people33 – but also of the situation of the social conscience of this certain majority. For this reason, Lenin arrives at the idea of necessity of the revolution (for not disappoint people, for not lost the revolutionary situation: “It would be a mistake to think that the revolutionary classes are invariably strong enough to effect a revolution whenever such a revolution has fully matured by virtue of the conditions of social and economic development. No, human society is not constituted so rationally or so “conveniently” for progressive elements. A revolution may be ripe, and yet the forces of its creators may prove insufficient to carry it out, in which case society decays, and this process of decay sometimes drags on for very many years”)34.

The April Theses (after more than 20 years when Lenin has participated to the debates on the kinds of way of modernisation of Russia, thus analysing the objective and subjective conditions of this process) expose the historical moment Russia lied in: “The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution—which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie — to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants”. Consequently, the main problem now is related to the subjective conditions. And, in order to politically educate the broad layers of masses, Lenin insists on a fundamental aspect, raised before by Marx: that politics – concretely, the political regime –must not be seen as autonomous from the economic relations, but intertwined35. “The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation… especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses”36.

The image of the goal has in view not a far off social organisation, but an immediate one. “It is not our immediate task to “introduce” socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies”. Here “the salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker”37, and, together with the nationalisation of all lands in the country and the immediate next step of nationalisation of industry, these radical reforms are the ground of a specific political regime. “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”38.

Interpreting Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, Lenin gives the representation of communism as two phases process/social organisation. “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”. While “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)… will a truly complete democracy become possible and be realized, a democracy without any exceptions whatever”. That means that “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”.

Insisting that the process as a whole will last long time, Lenin shows 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”.

By anticipating the social state based on the destruction of the individual capitalist private property, Lenin deduces from the already existing capitalist technological progress 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 labour, of doing away with the antithesis between mental and physical labour, of transforming labour into ‘life’s prime want’ – we do not and cannot know”.

Revolution is not an abstract intellectual dream: it is a question of distribution, organisation, and efficient management. If so, it supposes a new political power and the control of the bureaucratic strata (whose occupation is just distribution etc.) by this new political power: “Until the “higher” phase of communism arrives, the socialists demand the strictest control by society and by the state over the measure of labour 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”.

Thus virtù is certainly created by the new type of education, but perhaps as a first instance by the objective milieu now re-formed. For people make the favourable conjunctures, they have to be conscious that they have to transform the material conditions as well as the institutions toward their own end. This transformation is prosaic, and philosophy can but retain that social practice has to not be separated from theory39.

The main part of Lenin’s works is devoted just to the prosaic character of the revolution. Perhaps for this reason some ones say that Lenin could not be philosophically analysed and that he did not make any philosophy at all. In fact, if we reflect only on the huge problem of the encounter never accomplished, as well as on the backward virtù, we can conclude that the above-mentioned opinion is rash.

The relations of power had generated/framed the attitudes toward labour and, generally, toward life. If one speaks about the social transformation, then one has to know – by differentiating – the main purposes, as well as the main aspects and steps of this process. Everything seems to be too prosaic, but just this everything is the flesh of philosophy. “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 become 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”.

Yes, there are many contradictions within this prosaic purpose and programme of action. People have to be conscious of them. But Lenin, following Marx, shows that they are the only alternative for the liberation of the aliened labour. “For there is enough bread, iron, timber, wool, cotton and flax in Russia to satisfy the needs of everyone, if only labour and its products are properly distributed, if only a business-like, practical control over this distribution by the entire people is established…The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory, with equality of labour 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… from this moment the need for government of any kind begins to disappear altogether”40. Governing means relations of power, i.e. of domination, and certainly not only administration, technical management.

The communist – or revolutionary – programme begins with the primary, and human, needs of man: “The programme of this accounting and control is simple, clear and intelligible to all — everyone to have bread; everyone to have sound footwear and good clothing; everyone to have warm dwellings; everyone to work conscientiously; not a single rogue (including those who shirk their work) to be allowed to be at liberty, but kept in prison, or serve his sentence of compulsory labour of the hardest kind”41. Just the presence of these primary (and, generally, human) needs is difficult to be transfigured within philosophy: these needs are rather missing from philosophy.

The new prosaic construction42 of the social environment is at the same the construction of the human behaviour, just for now is so habitual “this slovenliness, this carelessness, untidiness, unpunctuality, nervous haste, the inclination to substitute discussion for action, talk for work, the inclination to undertake everything under the sun without finishing anything… due to all their habits of life, the conditions of their work, to fatigue, to the abnormal separation of mental from manual labour, and so on, and so forth”. The construction of the social behaviour appears thus as necessary and realised through “the great change from working under compulsion to working for oneself, to labour planned and organised on a gigantic, national (and to a certain extent international, world) scale”.

The new type of competition is understood as between the workers working for themselves. “Competition must be arranged between practical organisers from among the workers and peasants. Every attempt to establish stereotyped forms and to impose uniformity from above, as intellectuals are so inclined to do, must be combated. Stereotyped forms and uniformity imposed from above have nothing in common with democratic and socialist centralism. The unity of essentials, of fundamentals, of the substance, is not disturbed but ensured by variety in details, in specific local features, in methods of approach, in methods of exercising control, in ways of exterminating and rendering harmless the parasites”. Competition puts together “the advice, the instruction of educated people, of intellectuals and specialists” and the “leading role of the practical organisers from among the ‘people’, from among the factory workers and working peasants”: au fond, they have to learn from each other, and never transform into dogma the political requirements or the intellectual presuppositions. But certainly from this mutual learning has to issue the “independent initiative of the workers, and of all the working and exploited people generally” developed “as widely as possible in creative organisational work”. Here the communist programme meets philosophy halfway: is there not the autonomy of the subject, its essence as individual, one of the main problems of this one?

Finally here, already in the moments preparing revolution the deep preoccupation of Lenin is for the length of revolution. As for Machiavelli who was obsessed by the duration of the desirable new state of the unified Italy, the problem of resistance of the new proletarian organisation of the Russian state is for Lenin the organising factor of its entire theory about communism. The beginning itself, the steps, the intertwining between the objective and the subjective conditions, the importance of the will, of the mass spontaneous initiative and enthusiasm as well as of the cold reasoning are all of them debated from the standpoint to not transform communism into an adventure, to make it a victorious attempt to realise mass social emancipation.

The texts discussed here are not academic papers. They offer only the logic of the revolution in a simple language, understandable by their presumed audience. This logic seems to be persuasive, but the real life seemed also to deny it. And still remaining a little bit at the level of discourse, it is important to note that, if a big part of the constitutive antagonisms of communism is mentioned within the works of Lenin, at the same time the preoccupation for these antagonisms is subordinated to the one of the defence and promotion of ‘communism’, so of the new worker state. The discourse is put versus the real existence. But it is not the single case: philosophy itself should be more self-reflexive from this standpoint.

 

Trotsky as critique of Stalinism and defender of USSR, and some alternatives of “Trotskyism”

 

Trotsky is situated in the same pattern as Lenin. The philosophical concept he develops is that of event. Events as encounters, but also as causes – as ground of desirable and undesirable events –, events as signs of the human freedom and of the human dependence, events as obstacles and as stimuli, all of these constitute the favourite object of Trotsky’s thinking.

At the same time, Trotsky develops the tragic aspect of the theory of communism: that which insists on the “disfigured”43 encounter of the revolutionary conjunctures with the lack of virtù (so a typical Machiavellian theme). Communism or revolution is thus “betrayed” by the party and state bureaucracy and, for everything is a question of relation of forces, communism could be reversed if this bureaucracy proves to be strongest than the “proletariat”, although this one is profoundly “differentiated”44.

This evolution of communism is not the inherent result of the “human nature”, but of the phase of capitalism on international level and of the evolution of bureaucracy on the internal level. Analysing the relation of forces, Trotsky arrives at the conclusion that a new revolution would be inevitable. For this reason, he defends the former socialist state for its values of a worker state: those of liberation of the workers from exploitation, with all the brakes put against this liberation.

Therefore, Trotsky emphasises the difference between the socialist/communist values – which have to be defended – and the degeneration induced by the political bureaucracy that has confiscated, for its own sake, the direction of the revolution. He asserts that the constitutive processes of revolution – nationalisation and the collective property in the countryside – would have been socialist in their own nature, as he presumes about the party as such. The fact that Trotsky does not insist on the contradictory nature of the above-mentioned means to construct communism could be explained by pointing out the historical moment he had to answer. The urgency is for him to save the elements of socialism/communism existing in USSR, at the same time saving the future of the Soviet revolution: through a possible new revolution of the betrayed proletariat against the Stalinist bureaucracy. But he warns against the same possibility of a capitalist restoration if the relation of forces would be favourable to bureaucracy: this one is to restore (the explicit) capitalism and to become bourgeoisie.

A main theoretical element in Trotsky is also the accent on the responsibility of the leaders in this entire process of bureaucratisation, betrayal of revolution and restoration of capitalism. Although the treachery of the leaders toward the revolution has a historical determination within the objective conditions of scarcity and the level of productive forces45, this aspect – the betrayal of the leaders – has a strong relevance, including today.

 

*

 

The discursive properties of communism are not denied by the existence as such: rather they are realised together with theirs own contradictions. Communism does not appear as a beautiful ideal – so impossible to be blamed – nor as a malign political regime and organisation, since it is the contradictory mixture/encounter between the communist expectations and the communist theory, with the inherent Stalinist turn because of the objective level of the productive forces (the level of rarity, Sartre) and the objective social structure and functions of the party and state bureaucracy.

For this reason, the research of ontology of communism helps us to precise the object of our discourse. If we equate communism only with the non-democratic political regime, we omit at least the values that stimulate the communitarian behaviour for the sake of society as a whole and of every and all the individuals. If we equate communism only with these values, we show an intolerable blindness not only toward the consequences of the Stalinist totalitarianism, but also toward the nature of communism (as well as even of Stalinism): that to frontally fight the complex contradictions of totality. It seems rather that communism contains all these aspects, so theirs multiple manifestations of complexity and intertwining. Therefore, a unique characterisation of communism has to be regarded more attentively than nowadays is.

If so, and if communism was an unaccomplished encounter of the objective and subjective conditions it needs, and if this un-accomplishment manifested in the historical forms mixing the sublime and the abjection in the 20th century, one can assert that what felt are just these historical forms. Consequently, communism is not only a ghost of the past: it still remains in front of us.

 

The nature of the first attempt to realise a mass social emancipation was ardently questioned by left-wing communist dissidents contemporary with Trotsky or by his different type successors. The intention, the presumption of the beginning was to construct the means of this social emancipation: but the worker state proved to be the old model of the organisation of a community in the framework of an inimical environment. Trotsky observed that the Stalinist worker state was a deviation from the Marxian genuine outlook concerning an international revolution – capitalism being a world system – and an internationalist system of relations between different communities: instead of being socialism in the world (so revolutionising the world capitalism, or at least its core), Stalinism was “socialism in a single country”. Indeed, it was the epoch of the national capital and the nation-state, and Stalinism could not be an exception.

But in a single country being, was it socialism at all? Ernest Mandel considered the “transitional societies in conditions of socio-economic underdevelopment (with an insufficient degree of development of the productive forces), which therefore show, in various ways, severe or extreme forms of bureaucratic deformation and degeneration”46. He criticised an entire school of thinking about the capitalist character of the system issued from the October revolution (“the Russian Mensheviks, Western European social-democratic Marxists such as Otto Bauer, the adherents of the state capitalism theory who broke with Trotskyist and other oppositional communist movements, and lately the Bettleheim school among the Maoists”47)

At his turn, Yvan Craipeau48 thought that the nature of the Stalinist state was that of bureaucratic collectivism, and not of an, even degenerated, worker state. Amadeo Bordiga49, as well as Karl Korsch50 explained that it was a state capitalism – it’s true, after the first years of the revolution, while Paul Mattick, from the standpoint of the communism of the councils51, insisted that it was not an involution from the beginning of the revolution toward the Stalinist years, but a bureaucratic regime already strengthened by Lenin to rise the efficiency of bureaucracy within a state capitalism52. Thusly, “it is only possible to speak about ‘really existing socialism’ at present”53.

Therefore, the intellectual experience to criticise the practical communism was and is larger than that of the right-wing type. While this one considers that the communist values (social equality as condition of freedom, dignity and recognition of everyone and all the human beings) have to be repudiated, the critique from the left challenges the simple cancellation of the idea of communism54.

The fall of the first lasting attempt to create a more human social organisation for all and everyone does shut neither the dream concerning the communist values nor the effort to critique and innovate within society. The temporary avatars only challenge us. On the ground of the present world crisis, the scientific research of elements somehow related to the communist values illustrates this fact55.

 

Instead of conclusion

 

The above-mentioned theoretical pages send to more reflect about the instruments we use for grasping the human existence. These instruments are, among other ones, the concepts through which we do explain it. As we know, the cultural (historical and social) pattern is forged by these concepts, at the same time framing and determining them. And for the cultural pattern is contradictory, there is also a game of the concepts, marked by recessivity56, as named the Romanian philosopher Mircea Florian the unequal coexistence of a couple of concepts in a cultural pattern where the explaining paradigm is now one of them then the other, they do not annulling each other: on the contrary, they obtain from their dissymmetry a biggest capacity to point out the complexity. They form a balance between autonomous anti-theses, the dependency of each of them being just their connection57.

The ontology of communism contains at least couples as: individual – society, interest – altruism, macro-planning – micro-planning, macro-planning – spontaneity, social equality – freedom, democracy – administrative efficiency, compulsion of the labour force – incentive of the labour force, state/nationwide welfare – worldwide welfare, which are always treated on the basis of some tacit suppositions. These ones are uncovered by an ideological lecture58.

Ontology of communism poses some philosophical problems related to the novelty of its idea and fact: from this point of view, the novelty itself, opposed to the usual, the common, the ordinary that constituted the habit of thinking, appears as the unexpected that hits not only the usual relations of domination but also the human conscience. The novelty concerns all the tacit suppositions as well as the reflections on the causes and consequences of the novelty: thus not only on the upturn and beginning of communism but also on its downturn. Consequently, the analysis of communism is made from the viewpoint of the tasks and emphasises its unfinished being.

Finally here, ontology of communism, by raising problems as continuity/discontinuity and similarities/differences between capitalism and communism, in fact between the idea of capitalism and the idea of communism, sends to the questioning of the concept of (social) normalcy. What are the features of a “normal” capitalist society and how can philosophy to unveil the attitudes toward institutions, traditions and non-conformism?

 

 

1 Edward P.J. Corbett, Robert J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (1965), fourth edition, Oxford, New York.., Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 1.

2 Edward P. J. Corbett, “Introduction”, to Edward P. J. Corbett (ed.), Rhetorical Analyses of Litterary Works, New York, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. XXII.

 

3 Sonja K. Foss, Rhetorical criticism: exploration and practice, Long Grove, Illinois, Waveland Press, 2004, 295-296.

4 Karl Marx, Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte [Privateigentum und Kommunismus], http://www.marxists.org/deutsch/archiv/marx-engels/1844/oek-phil/3-2_prkm.htm: „In diesem Verhältnis zeigt sich auch, in[wie]weit das Bedürfnis des Menschen zum menschlichen Bedürfnis, inwieweit ihm also der andre Mensch als Mensch zum Bedürfnis geworden ist, inwieweit er in seinem individuellsten Dasein zugleich Gemeinwesen ist… denn erst hier ist sie für ihn da als Band mit dem Menschen, als Dasein seiner für den andren und des <538>andren für ihn, wie als Lebenselement der menschlichen Wirklichkeit, erst hier ist sie da als Grundlage seines eignen menschlichen Daseins. Erst hier ist ihm sein natürliches Dasein sein menschliches Dasein und die Natur für ihn zum Menschen geworden“.

Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, 3, Private Property and Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm: „This relationship also reveals the extent to which man’s need has become a human need; the extent to which, therefore, the other person as a person has become for him a need – the extent to which he in his individual existence is at the same time a social being…The human aspect of nature exists only for social man; for only then does nature exist for him as a bond with man – as his existence for the other and the other’s existence for him – and as the life-element of human reality. Only then does nature exist as the foundation of his own human existence. Only here has what is to him his natural existence become his human existence, and nature become man for him”.

5 This concept was theorised in Louis Althusser, « Machiavel et nous », in Louis Althusser, Écrits philosophiques et politiques, Tome II, Textes réunis et présentés par François Matheron, Paris, Stock / Imec, 1995, 1997.

6 Voluntarism is a political concept referring to the opposition between the interests/views of a certain majority and the ones of the leaders, thus referring rather to the will of the later. Therefore, this concept reflects the relations of power issued from the social hierarchy; from this standpoint, there are different types of majorities – within the political elite, within the dominant class, within the people as such –. As we know and letting aside the slogans/discourses as such, the leaders ordinarily reflect first of all some interests of the dominant class, thus they represent a part of the political class; in this manner they could manifest voluntarism toward the other parts of the political elite, and also of the dominant class as such. When the political relationships arrive at this situation, the respective leaders are changed. (Sometimes, the leaders represent correctly the lasting of class domination but, for they disturb the specific interests of a part or another of the dominant class, they are accused to be tyrants and changed too. Concerning the will of the people, the mainstream political science considers that it could be imposed through the periodical voting within the representative system. The mainstream political science assumes Karl Popper’s standpoint (not to question “who should rule” but “how could we minimise misrule” through representative democracy procedures). Obviously, this standpoint is ideological and is criticised by the praxis of representative democracy as such.

7 Gilles Deleuze, Différence et Répétition, Paris, PUF, 1968, p. 232.

8 The concept is from the chaos theory.

9 Louis Althusser, « Le courrant souterrain du matérialisme de la rencontre » (1982), in Louis Althusser, Écrits philosophiques et politiques, Tome I, Textes réunis et présentés par François Matheron, Paris, Stock / Imec, 1994.

10 Ibidem, p. 554: „in these interpretations a certain logocentrical philosophy and history of philosophy triumphs …, for it identifies philosophy with a function of Logos charged with the thinking of the antecedence of the Sense over the entire reality”.

11 Ibidem, p. 556.

12 Ibidem, p. 560.

13 Ibidem, p. 561.

14 Toni Negri, Machiavel selon Althusser, avril 1997, http://multitudes.samizdat.net/article.php3?id_article=1144

15 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

16 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Private Property and Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

17 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Estranged Labour, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm

18 Karl Marx, The German Ideology, I Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook. D. Proletarians and Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm#d1

19 Ibidem, The Necessity of the Communist Revolution.

20 Ibidem, 5. Development of the Productive Forces as a Material Premise of Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm#a4

21 Ibidem.

22 Ibidem.

23 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Private Property and Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

24 Ibidem.

25 Ibidem.

26 Ibidem.

27 Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 5. Development of the Productive Forces as a Material Premise of Communism, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm#a4

28 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Preface, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/preface.htm#Preface

29 „Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse, and for the first time consciously treats all natural premises as the creatures of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals. Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity; it turns existing conditions into conditions of unity”, Karl Marx, The German Ideology, I Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook. D. Proletarians and Communism, Forms of intercourse, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm#d1. „In all revolutions up till now the mode of activity always remained unscathed and it was only a question of a different distribution of this activity, a new distribution of labour to other persons, whilst the communist revolution is directed against the preceding mode of activity”, ibidem, The necessity of the Communist Revolution.

30 Louis Althusser, “La transformation de la philosophie” (1976), in Louis Althusser, Sur la philosophie, Paris, Gallimard, 1994, p. 155, 161, 173.

31 Louis Althusser, Pour Marx, Paris, Fr. Maspero, 1973, p. 56.

32 Ibidem, p. 57-58.

33 See the victory of The Red in the Civil War.

34 Lenin, „The Latest in Iskra Tactics, or Mock Elections as a New Incentive to an Uprising”, (October 17 (4), 19O5), Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 356-373, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/oct/17b.htm.

35 See also Lenin, The State and Revolution, September 1917, chapter The economic basis of the withering away of the state, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch05.htm#s2: “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”.

36 Quotes from Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (The April theses), April 1917, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/apr/04.htm

37 This is the famous Lenin’s „partmaximum”.

Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution, ibidem.

38 Lenin, The State and Revolution, September 1917, chapter The economic basis of the withering away of the state, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch05.htm#s2

 

39 See Lenin’s quote from Dietzgen, about the “integral people, people who do not separate theory from practice”, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, 1909, ( Chapter Six: Empirio-Criticism and Historical Materialism), 4. Parties in Philosophy and Philosophical Blockheads, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mec/six4.htm#v14pp72h-335.

 

40 Quotes from Lenin, The State and Revolution, September 1917, chapter The economic basis of the withering away of the state, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch05.htm#s2

41 Lenin, How to Organise Competition?, December 1917, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/dec/25.htm

42 Ibidem: „In order to render these parasites harmless to socialist society we must organise the accounting and control of the amount of work done and of production and distribution by the entire people, by millions and millions of workers and peasants, participating voluntarily, energetically and with revolutionary enthusiasm. And in order to organise this accounting and control, which is fully within the ability of every honest, intelligent and efficient worker and peasant, we must rouse their organising talent, the talent that is to be found in their midst; we must rouse among them—and organise on a national scale – competition in the sphere of organisational achievement”.

43 Léon Trotsky, La révolution défigurée, Paris, Rieder, 1929.

44 Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, 1936, Chapter 6
The Growth of Inequality and Social Antagonisms, 2. The Differentiation of the Proletariat, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/ch06.htm#ch06-2

45 Ana Bazac, “The historical crisis of the left”, B S C, vol. 2nd Conference, Athens, March 15-19, 2001, p. 37-48.

 

46 Ernest Mandel, Ten Theses on the Social and Economic Laws Governing the Society Transitional Between Capitalism and Socialism, 1973, http://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1973/xx/10theses.htm, and he added: “It is, therefore, at least possible, if not probable, that what today seem to be “general” features of this transitional society are in reality peculiarities having less to do with the internal logic of such a society than with the conditions of socio-economic underdevelopment”.

47 Ibidem.

48 http://www.democratie-socialisme.org/spip.php?article27

49 See Amadeo Bordiga: in Letter from Amadeo Bordiga to Karl Korsch, 1926, http://www.sinistra.net/lib/upt/comlef/cota/cotascucae.html, he pointed out that in USSR “the Stalinists renounced to the communist programme…and that the party could lead to a restoration of capitalism, while in La Russia sovietica dalla rivoluzione a oggi, 1946, (see the chapter La involuzione dei caratteri proletari del regime russo, http://www.sinistra.net/lib/bas/promet/veje/vejeibeboi.html#u7), he said: “the definition of the Russian economy is not the one of socialism, but of a large and powerful state capitalism…the degenerative process of the transformation of the Soviet Russia from the proletarian regime from the first years to the present state was a long involution, not a sudden one, because of some specific historical factors as the collaboration with the international bourgeoisie…”

50 Karl Korsch, Position on Russia and the Communist Party, 1935, http://www.marxists.org/archive/korsch/1935/position.htm: “Everything that the workers are told about the state-capitalist continuation, restoration and sharpening of already developed forms of capitalist oppression and exploitation in Russia, comes either from the mouths of their old well-known enemies, capitalists, fascists, and social democrats or it unavoidably remains extremely vague, abstract, incomprehensible, and unsympathetic. All these critiques do not contain and cannot at this time contain any sort of call to action for revolutionary workers. For all these reasons it is unavoidable that up until the rise of a new, independent class movement of the international proletariat, even the working class itself and precisely its most revolutionary components can look at today’s Soviet Russia as the real and thence revolutionary rational implementation of the posited goals that are today still not implemented in their own countries”.

51 See Herman Gorter, Lettre ouverte au camarade Lénine, 1920, http://www.marxists.org/francais/gorter/works/1920/00/gorter_19200000_4.html, where he insist son the strong tendency of opportunism even within the communist parties and the III International, as Roberto Michels wrote before about even the social-democratic parties (Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie. Untersuchungen über die oligarchischen Tendenzen des Gruppenlebens, 1911, translated, as Sociologia del partito politico nella democrazia moderna : studi sulle tendenze oligarchiche degli aggregati politici, revised and expanded, 1912).

52 Paul Mattick, Stalinisme et bolchévisme, 1947, http://infokiosques.net/imprimersans2.php?id_article=12: “the concrete result of the 1917 revolution was neither socialist nor bourgeois but a state capitalism…socialism is not equal with state capitalism”.

I myself sketched a theory about communism as an isotope of capitalism: Ana Bazac, “Nehány gondolat az álamszocializmus-vitához (A few ideas to the state socialism debate)”, Eszmélet, Hungary, nr. 62, iunie 2004, p. 27-46, also on http://eszmelet.freeweb.hu/62/bazac62.html, when I united some presumptions from Mandel and the representatives of the state capitalism theory.

53 Ernest Mandel, Communism, 1990, http://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/19xx/xx/communism.htm

54 From this standpoint, Venezuela’s experiment has to not be obscured.

55 See the 2009 Nobel Prize in economy, Elisabeth Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990.

56 From the Latin verb recedo –ere –essi –essum, to go back, to fall back, to withdraw, and noun recessus –us, recession, return, withdrawal. And recido -ere –idi –asum, to re-fall, to belonging to, to re-come, to become.

57 Mircea Florian, Recesivitatea ca structură a lumii, vol. 1, Bucureşti, Editura Eminescu, 1983, p. 71.

58 See, for example, the concept of revolution that reflects different tacit suppositions (as the one that revolution would be a malign phenomenon, resulting from the Masonic conspiracy or for Germany paid Lenin to begin it etc.). The ideological lecture shows the covered motives of these tacit suppositions and the ground of their reasoning.