TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT SOCIALISM:
ON THE SOCIALIST POWER.
Central Council of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE).
Published by Synchroni Epochi, 2013.
PART II: THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT: A HIGHER FORM OF DEMOCRACY.
The leap that takes place during the socialist construction, i.e. during the transition from capitalism to communism, is qualitatively higher than any previous one, since communist relations, as non-exploitative, cannot be formed in capitalism. The political revolution is the precondition for these new relations to be imposed and dominate, i.e. the conquest of power by the working class and the establishment of its own state, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This is a basic difference in the transition to the communist socioeconomic formation in relation with the previous. In the framework of the transition from an exploitative socioeconomic formation to another, the new relations could be developed and dominate first in the confines of the previous socioeconomic formation and then, as the last part of this process, the class that was the bearer of the new relations struggled for and took power. This happened for example in relation to capitalism.
Capitalist relations were first developed and dominated within the confines of feudalism, which brought about an unavoidable conflict between the rising bourgeois class and the class of the feudalnobility that was declining. The great bourgeois revolutions completed the absolute domination of the bourgeoisie through the seizure of political power, which of course was necessary in order for the capitalist relations to dominate everywhere and become fully developed.
But, communist relations are non-exploitative relations. Only their preconditions are developed within capitalism. Their appearance and domination requires the abolition of capitalist ownership of the means of production, which can only be done after having overthrown capitalist power and its state.
Thus, the dictatorship of the proletariat has a ‘’double’’ duty. On the one hand to suppress and overcome the efforts of capitalists to retake the power, on the other to form and develop the new relations, a task that is longterm and includes the whole period of the socialist construction, which is the period of the social revolution.
The task of the revolutionary workers’ power is to deepen and expand the communist relations in production and distribution, to form the new communist consciousness, the new man. This task is complex and long-term and includes economic, political, cultural, educational activity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, under the guidance of the Communist Party.
The core of power and the character of the organs of power.
Revolutionary workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, expresses a higher form of democracy, having as a basic feature the active participation of the working class in the construction of the socialist society.
Democratic centralism is a fundamental principle in the formation and functioning of the socialist state the direction of the production unit, every social service. That is, the united will and action of society in the direction of socialist construction, the active participation in making and implementing decisions, the subordination of the will of the minority to the will of the majority, the ability to elect and recall the organs of power. Revolutionary workers’ power will be based on institutions that will be born from the revolutionary struggle of the working class and its allies. The bourgeois institutions will be replaced, after being overturned, by the new institutions of workers’ power.
The Communist Party of Greece through its resolutions has set some basic principles regarding the characteristics of the workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The representatives in the organs of power will be elected and recalled (if necessary) by the assemblies of the workers in the production unit, decisions will be made, control will be exercised . The representatives for the intermediate institutions will be elected and recalled directly ; there will be indirect representation through the assemblies of the representatives of the highest organs of power (i.e. the representatives to the intermediate organs will elect the representatives to the highest organs of power). The representatives will not have privileges, they will have responsibilities and they will be accountable ‘’to those below’’.
The organs of power that are elected by the workers in the production units have as their tasks the specialization of the central planning, the implementation of the tasks of social production, the social services, the cultural development, the protection of the revolution. There, at the level of the production unit, the participation of the working class is established and ensured, from the ‘’bottom’’ to the ‘’top’’, as is the exercise of workers’ control, the criticism of decisions and decrees, complaints about arbitrary and subjective attitudes, bureaucratic attitudes, weaknesses and deficiencies that can appear during the socialist period.
The workers’ collectives are accountable and monitored in order to promote the collective decisions of the higher organs of the workers’ power, which have the overall responsibility of guidance, specifying the goals of each project that is decided on in the context of central planning. The effectiveness or otherwise of each project is associated with the ability to understand the scientific laws in order to produce for the expanded satisfaction of social needs. The effectiveness of the project is tested in life itself, by practical experience itself. It is confirmed by the participation of the working masses in the control and the management of power.
Workers’ participation in the control and the management of the power is guaranteed by the reduction of working time, which enables the development of the cultural and educational level of the workers. Besides, the dictatorship of the proletariat means just that: The state of the workers is based on the organization of the working masses and their participation in the management, the organisation of the production and all services, the control of the administrative machinery, planning and its implementation.
With special provisions, it the participation in the organs of power for sections of the population who are not in the process of the production will also be ensured. For example, young men and women who are still out of production because they are in the educational process will take part in the election of representatives through the educational units. In a similar manner the participation of the non-working women, the pensioners, will be guaranteed etc.
The highest organ of workers’ power is an organ of workers. It legislates and administers at the same time, within its framework there is a division between legislative, executive, supervisory and disciplinary powers. It is not a parliament. The representatives that participate are not permanent but subject to recall, they don’t have financial or other benefits, they are not cut off from production, from their work, but they are detached for the duration of their term.
On the basis of the new relations of production, social ownership, central planning, workers’ control, a new revolutionary constitution and legislation is formed to correspond to these new social relations and defend them. Similarly the entire legal system, all the legal establishment of the new social relations is also formed. A new judicial system is established, which is based on revolutionary popular institutions of justice. The new courts are under the direct responsibility of the organs of the workers’ power. They consist of people’s judges that will be elected and recalled by the people itself, and by a permanent judicial staff that will be accountable to the institutions of workers’ power.
The revolutionary workers’ power replaces all the old mechanisms of administration that receives with new ones, corresponding to the character of the proletarian state.
The new organs of the revolutionary protection and defence are based on the workers’ and peoples’ participation, but also on permanent professional personnel. In place of the bourgeois army and the repressive forces new institutions are created on the basis of the armed revolutionary struggle in order to crush the resistance of the exploiters and to defend the revolution and socialist construction.
Historical experience of the USSR.
The new state power that emerged from the October Revolution had to face a lot of problems and complex conditions; the working class was a minority within a population of farmers that were in a state of political and cultural backwardness. It was from the very first moment encircled by the counter-revolutionary activity and imperialist attack. A huge part of the vanguard of the working class was lost because of the imperialist intervention and the civil war. Initially, it had to utilize sections of the old bureaucracy and bourgeois specialists in sectors of the economy, production and administration, while the kulaks (the bourgeoisie in the villages) maintained great power in the countryside; they even had the control of the rural soviets. The establishment and stabilization of soviet power was not an easy or quick task.
The new power was based on the institutions that were borne from its revolutionary struggle. The institutions of socialist power were the soviets, the councils of the workers representatives, the representatives of military and afterward the farmers’ soviets, hence the name Soviet Union.
The new state that was constructed was the revolutionary workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat. Based on the social ownership of the concentrated means of production and on the cooperative of peasants from the 1930’s onwards, it expressed the interests of the majority of the exploited that overthrew the power of the minority of the exploiters. The dictatorship of the proletariat proved to be a superior form of democracy, since workers’ power led the working masses into participation, control and administration of the power and of the social life in general, it drew the masses from the sidelines. Through the organization of power in the production unit, the working class was able to develop organization and discipline. Through participation in the control and administration of the production unit, there had been steps in order to change the consciousness, in order to put the social interest above the individual.
Apart from the institutions of the workers’ power, the soviets, a vast number of mass organizations were also developed; trade unions, cultural, educational, women’s, youth, where the majority of the population was organized and participated.
The direct participation of workers took place until 1936 through the nuclei of the workers’ power at the factory, the production unit, the village, but also through the function of a series of mass organizations. During the procedures for the approval of significant state laws, i.e. the constitutional amendments, assemblies of the nuclei of the workers’ power were held, where the workers expressed their opinion and, through voting, their position.
The direct participation of workers was accompanied by the indirect election in the representative bodies as was established in the first Constitution of the USSR in 1924. The representatives were accountable and the collective unit had the right to recall them and elect others in their position. The indirect electoral representation ensured the will and participation of workers in the institutions of the soviet power. In that way the will of the majority was established.
The soviets were not only responsible for the decision making but also for their application. During the assemblies, the nuclei of the workers’ power discussed the central and particular plans of the branches, the decisions that they made, they implemented them as working organs, with delegates that were not cut off from production.
In the Constitution of 1936, direct electoral representation was established through geographical electoral wards (and not through the production unit). As it is stated in the Resolution of the 18th Congress of the KKE: “The critical approach to these changes focuses on the need to study further the functional downgrading of the production unit as the nucleus of organisation of workers’ power, due to the abolition of the production unit principle and of the indirect election of delegates through congresses and assemblies. We need to study its negative impact on the class composition of the higher state organs and on the application of the right of recall of delegates (which according to Lenin constitutes a basic element of democracy in the dictatorship of the proletariat).”
After the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 and under the weight of more general weaknesses, a deviation, a retreat in the Party’s perception was expressed, regarding the class-oriented revolutionary character of the state and the rejection of the scientific law for the continuation of the class struggle during socialist construction.
Nevertheless, in the USSR the institutions’ functioning expressed an unprecedented participation of the masses in political action. According to statistical data of 1977, the local organs of state-power (i.e. the soviets of representatives) were more than 50,000 all over the country. In these soviets there were more than 2,200,000 elected representatives, namely around 1% of total population of the Soviet Union. It is also estimated that within 41 years, from the Constitution of 1936, more than 25 million people participa- ted in the soviets. In addition, it is estimated that in the organs of people’s control, at the production units, the services and the kolkhozes (production cooperatives) were elected every 2 years at the workers’ assemblies and that about 9.2 million workers participated in these organs. Comparing to this, the bourgeois parliamentary democracy seems like a joke…
In the soviet constitution, despite any criticism that may be made, the nature of the organs was safeguarded. For example, even in the Constitution of 1977 (a period in which the opportunist turn of the CPSU was already a fact and there are serious problems in its strategic and the socialist construction), article 104 described the non-professional nature for the elected delegates and their exclusion from privileges: “Deputies shall exercise their powers without discontinuing their regular employment or duties”. In addition, article 107 specified the obligation of the deputies to report on their work and the possibility to be recalled; “Deputies shall report on their work and on that of the Soviet to their constituents, and to the work collectives and public organisations that nominated them. Deputies who have not justified the confidence of their constituents may be recalled at any time by decision of a majority of the electors in accordance with the procedure established by law.”
However, in that process there were some weaknesses. The procedure of the socialist construction constantly creates new problems that seek new solutions, and this is when the ability of the workers’ power is judged. First of all, is judged the ability of the CP to lead in accordance with the scientific laws.
In the Soviet Union, the legacy of the old social system weigh heavy, as the new one Assembly of women in a village of the Soviet Union. 1920. Soviet power had been proved a superior form of democracy. It drew the masses from the sidelines and led them to participation, control and administration. 44 emerged from its bowels For example, from the first years of the social construction problems of detachment from the interests of the working class arose re employees of the state mechanism and especially by those who came from the old, tsarist state mechanism.
The adoption of the thesis concerning the “state of the whole people” (consolidated in the constitutional revision of 1977) cancelled out the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat as workers’ power, rejected the vanguard role of the working class as the bearer of communist relations.
The sharpening of the problems in soviet power was a consequence of the weakening of the socialist economy through the adoption of the market reforms (q.v. first part of the publication “Truths and Lies About Socialism”), which led to the reinforcement of the individual and group interests vis-a-vis the overall interests of society. As a result, the forces that had an interest in the overthrow of socialism and the restoration of capitalism gained strength.
This development influenced the structures of power and the workers’ control which had attained a formal character. In the decade of the 1980s, through perestroika, which was the final attack by the counter-revolution, the soviet system degenerated into a bourgeois parliamentary organ with a division of the executive and legislative functions, a permanence of office holders, an undermining of the right to recall, high remuneration, etc. I.e. everything negative that was developed was an element of the forms of the bourgeois power.