Typescript of the speech made by the delegation of the Organisation for the Construction of the Proletarian Party of Italy at the seminar "Stalin Today" held in Moscow on 4-6 November 1994.
History follows its course relentlessly erasing from memory or marking with infamy everything which hinders human progress. Notwithstanding, there are events and personalities which stand out as giants in history even though the dark forces of reaction have tried to obliterate them from our collective consciousness under a barrage of lies.
With the passage of time, Stalin's works and thought have gained the esteem of Spartacists and the Paris Commune and can be rightly placed alongside those of other thinkers and revolutionaries such as Robespierre, Marx and Lenin.
The gathering clouds of revolutionary storm bring to mind the teaching and practices of Stalin. The whole of Stalin's works, without exception, are an invaluable source from which communists, revolutionaries and patriots should take example.
There is no field of social science to which Stalin has not contributed, to which he has not rigorously and scientifically applied Marxism-Leninism to hugely successful result.
A study of Stalin's works confirm his status as a classical theoretician of Marxism, applying Marxism for decades along the then as yet undiscovered road to socialism and communism.
The task left by Lenin was so huge that only a man of exceptional capabilities and will power could have succeeded. Stalin was this man. He represented the banner of proletarians throughout the world and showed that a brave new world could be built. He was the scourge of capitalists and opportunists. For the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeois "revolutionaries," their attacks on Stalin and their lies are an integral part of their current fight against socialism and communism. In philosophy, in economics, in politics, in linguistics, in military sciences, in diplomacy, in questions of strategy and tactics, in the organisation of party, state and trade unions, Stalin has been the Great Helmsman of the Communist Movement. He was the builder and unrivalled leader of the Communist International. Thanks to his lead the Movement became a world force, present in every corner of the earth, ideologically sound, monolithic in its aspiration and inspired by the highest of ideals. In the name of Stalin, millions of men have borne sacrifices of every nature and even given up their lives. Stalin embodied the best and noblest in us communists.
With Stalin as head of the Soviet Communist Party, the forces of socialism defeated the imperialistic forces of Nazi fascism in the Great Patriotic War. Thus, he created the conditions for the formation of the Communist Bloc and the collapse of old style colonialism throughout the world. These are the facts. This is the truth that history teaches us.
Stalin's works are very relevant today. However, in this period of general malaise in modern Titoist-Kruschevite revisionism, are there impacts of Stalinist thought which could be explored further? Are there aspects which could help explain the temporary defeat of the Communist Movement?
We Italian Marxist-Leninists, propose a few aspects to this group, knowing well that no one knows Soviet history and the works of Stalin as well as our Soviet comrades. As well known, the fight against revisionism marks the whole history of our Movement from Karl Marx onwards. However, it is with the death of Stalin and the advent of Kruschevism that the struggle becomes one against a modern type of revisionism firmly placed in power. A revisionism which saw its birth in Titoist Yugoslavia. (See comrade Enver Hoxha's historic contribution to the Moscow Conference in 1960, foretelling this danger.)
Thirty years have passed from the Moscow Conference and throughout this period the International Marxist-Leninist Movement has defended and built on revolutionary theories and practice and today leads important class battles across the globe. They have been years of harsh and complex struggle, a struggle which has prevented the complete victory of revisionism. It is during these years that Marxist-Leninist theory has developed as regards to its analysis of revisionism, especially in reference to the new forms of revisionism of the first countries to experience socialism.
Our conclusion is that history shows that Stalin had brought to the attention of the Party the question related to the restoration of capitalism within the Soviet Union.
The most important points of our conclusion are these:
- For a country which builds a socialist society, the contradictions between it and imperialism are not merely secondary and external but are dependent upon the contradictions and struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the struggle on which final victory depends. These contradictions are reflected within a socialist society and express themselves in their highest and purest form in the political infighting within the ranks of the governing Party.
- The class struggle continues in a socialist society even though the exploiting classes, at least in the economic sense, no longer exist. Stalin points out that the ideological struggle is not only a cultural struggle, i.e. a struggle against bourgeois psychology, but a class struggle, a political struggle, a concrete and acute struggle which confirms the Marxist principle that thought is a form of matter. It is for this reason that the International Marxist-Leninist Movement affirms that revisionism in power is the bourgeoisie in power.
- Stalin highlights how the proletarian revolution, introducing the collectivisation of the means of production, creates the form of a socialist society but how this form can have a non-socialist content. This confirms the Marxist theory that property is a function of effective de facto ownership, of consumption. Therefore the real question one has to ask is who does this ownership benefit. Stalin explained to the Party that the creation of the Sovhos and Kolhos could become sand-castles if the class struggle, both internally and internationally, was not placed at the centre of the struggle for communism.
- To the end of his life Stalin warned the party of the danger of counter-revolution, as, for example, in his polemic against the economist Yaroshenko in 1952. "The relations of production lag behind the development of productive forces. If the directing bodies pursue a correct policy, it is possible to prevent these contradictions from becoming antagonistic. A wrong policy, on the other hand, would inevitably lead to an antagonism and to the relations of production becoming a brake on the development of productive forces."
We believe that Stalinism is the most advanced form of Marxism-Leninism, a sound base for analysis, understanding and defeat of modern revisionism. Stalinism (that is Leninism or Bolshevism) was not the only current of thought within the Soviet Communist Party. Already, during the last years of Stalin's life, right-wing tendencies managed clearly to influence the men surrounding him. There is no other explanation for the failure of the Party to react to Stalin's repeated warnings of counter-revolution and to the limited exposure given to his warnings.
Just one example: Internationally, Stalin's report and closing speech to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Soviet Party in 1937 are unknown. These warnings are of fundamental importance and should have been inserted in his collected works "Problems of Leninism".
Your contributions will undoubtedly deal more specifically with other matters such as those relating to the transition phase of socialist society, the limitations of every revolution, the bureaucratisation of the apparatus, the role of the market, the division of manual and intellectual labour, the dictatorship of the proletariat and its march towards communism, and the counter-revolution. Naturally, we as communists, reject the bourgeois theory that socialism in one country is impossible, that communism can be built without the guidance of the party, that the USSR was not a socialist country and other foolishness.
We condemn the conclusions of the XXth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party on the role of the state and the party, on the peaceful road to socialism and on peaceful competition and co-existence, theories which went relatively unnoticed because of the controversy surrounding Kruschev's criticism of the Stalinist cult of personality and general demagogy concerning greater democracy and such like.
Proletarian democracy is expressed by the dictatorship of the proletariat by the Marxist-Leninist party and by the leadership of eminent personalities like Lenin and Stalin. It is the lowest stage of a superior political form which is communism.
The advent of revisionism in the USSR has been a great national and international tragedy which has now come to its natural end. By its capitulation to imperialism, the clique of Kruschev, Brejnev and Gorbachev has shown its true nature, which is the political tool of a new bourgeoisie which has been forming in the last few decades. The collapse of the Soviet Union represents both the defeat of this new bourgeoisie by international imperialism and a deeper crisis in world capitalism. However, it is the task of our Soviet comrades above all to analyse the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union more deeply. To understand why and how, after the death of Stalin, his brothers-in-arms did not fully understand the dangers of nascent Kruschevism? Why did they allow the formation of a class of bureaucrats and technocrats which became the backbone of Kruschevism? Why were property relations, distribution and the exchange of goods totally transformed? We Marxist-Leninists know that the counter-revolutionary transformation of the super-structure leads to the alteration of the economic base. We also know that the nature of state property is modified according to the socio-economic organisation and class structure of the state. The question how collective ownership in the USSR was transformed into the form of capitalistic private property with a high degree of concentration of production and capital will have to be explained. As will the affirmation of the laws of capitalist economics such as profit and value in the USSR and the transformation of the means of production into saleable commodities.
We have to ask ourselves the question how labour could have peacefully been transformed into a commodity, while at the same time describing Soviet society as a socialist society and knowing all too well (as Lenin teaches us) that when the producers are deprived of the means of production the economic system becomes bourgeois. The bureaucrats and technocrats (the new bourgeoisie) had the right to sack workers, to decide their pay levels and could determine how much profit to keep to themselves. Price levels were fixed by these bureaucrats as a function of the relationship with other monopolistic state companies.
Marxist-Leninist theory teaches us that capital is nothing without waged labour, without value, without money and without prices. Marx, in analysing the essence of capitalist production, noted two specific aspects: The relationship between commodities and money and that the fundamental goal of production is surplus value. Now, were these two essential requisites of a capitalist economy at the base of the Kruschev-Brejnev mode of production? What effect have the economic reforms of the last decades had? To answer the last question these meant unlimited freedom of action for state companies in production, distribution, accumulation and fixed investment. Huge powers were given to state managers in the management of the means of production and in the distribution of products, the goal being the accumulation of profits.
Can a society whose fundamental aim is profit be classified as socialist? Profits which are divided down a social pyramid. All decisions concerning investments, employment and strategic management were motivated by profit. The new bourgeoisie ensured maximum profit above all with the exploitation of the working class. With this in mind, capitalist terms such as production bonuses, profit levels and interest rates were reintroduced. The laws of competition and the anarchy of production were foremost.
An analysis of figures provided by the official Soviet press in the 1970s and 80s is based on the concepts of profit levels and surplus value.
Profit levels in 1971 reached 27.3% and 36% in 1976. In the period 1971-1976 profits reached 500 billion rouble, 1.5 times that of 1966-70.
The "Planovoje Hozjistvo" nr.7, - 1976, p.124 concluded that private capital had reached 90 billion rouble earning an interest of 3-4 billion rouble a year. At the same time in 1975 the level of exploitation of the Soviet working class had increased by 25% from its 1960 level.
During the same period unemployment, underemployment and the number of female redundancies increased exponentially.
The working classes, deprived of the means of production by state managers, only received a capitalist wage for their labour while the remaining part of the value produced by their labour became surplus value for the bourgeois revisionists. The bourgeoisie converted a large part of this surplus value into capital in effect corresponding to a form of monopolistic state capitalism. Another part of the surplus value was distributed among the bureaucrats and managers of this new bourgeois class in the form of fringe benefits and bonus payments. The salaries and bonuses of these managers and of the state and party elite, e.g. KGB, scientists, army officers, etc. were 15-20 times that of ordinary working men's wages.
As already mentioned above, this analysis, only touched upon here, will have to be deepened enormously by our Soviet comrades.
Other facts will also have to be explained. For example, how the growth in the Kolhoz system (as a function of land cultivated and the growth of the volume of production) was not mirrored by the growth in consumption of the average Soviet citizen, with, in some cases, the level of consumption being merely above subsistence levels.
The total degeneration of socialism into a capitalist system was due to the lack of centralised planning and management of the economy. In its place state companies had complete autonomy and the system of retributing workers was based on levels of production. Profit was at the base of the wage system.
The value of labour also depended upon the volume of sales. These depended upon the levels of demand in the market at any one time. So, in effect, it was the market which determined levels of production. At the same time, the level and choice of investment was determined by the normative coefficient of capital investment, it too determined by levels of profit.
Price formation was decentralised and fixed by the market. Throughout the USSR, interest, as an instrument of capitalism, was earned on capital. State companies autonomously decided pricing policy to ensure the highest profit possible. The price of goods was determined in the following way, current costs were added to average earnings, that is according to the formula of the average cost of production in a capitalist system. This ensures equal profits for equal amount of capital invested.
Pricing policy was used by state companies as a form of open competition. Some prices were centrally fixed but even these were determined by demand and supply. The outcome was, as comrade Enver Hoxha stated, that the modern revisionists transformed socialism, in their respective countries, into a capitalist system.
Comrades! Changes in the social structure of the USSR could not but be reflected on its foreign policy. The Kruschevite clique exported its model to various democratic republics. It set up official and secret pacts with US imperialism, it tied itself hand and foot to foreign economies, heavily indebting the Soviet people to multinational financial oligarchies, Furthermore, it exerted its influence as a great power without favoring the growth of authentic socialism and, in so doing, attempted to impose revisionism on world communism. It became one of the major exporters of arms. It favoured opportunism and sabotaged the revolution. The USSR, the great example of socialism, was transformed into an enormous prison of peoples and nationalities, a socio-imperialistic power. Kruschev's politics favoured the restoration and not progress. It favoured the destruction of communism's historic victories.
Comrades! We believe the rebirth of the International Communist Movement can begin again from the experiences of the October Revolution and from the enormous practical and theoretical patrimony which provides a sure base on which to build our struggle for revolution and against imperialism. It also provides us with the base for a solution to all tactical and strategic questions, for the creation of a new International and for the future building of new socialist societies.
Stalinist thought is the most powerful weapon against the most sophisticated modern forms of revisionism. The works and figure of Stalin must act as a great demarcation line between us and all our enemies and false communists.
Comrades! We wholeheartedly hope that Soviet communists and the Soviet people will unite with us in a great world revolutionary front. We hope the revolutionary process initiated by Lenin's coming to power in October 1917 will reawaken in the ex-USSR and lead to the setting up of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the reconstruction of socialism.
Today, as conditions stand, the advantage in the struggle between world revolution and reaction lies firmly and completely with the proletariat. Imperialism is weak and dying and revolution, as a real possibility, is being considered throughout the world.
The collapse of revisionism is the first stage to revolution.
Long live the Soviet working class!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Long live the immortal revolutionary doctrine, Marxism-Leninism!
Eternal glory to great Stalin, the victorious figure head of communists all over the world!
Organisation for the Construction of the Proletarian Party of Italy
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