File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 17

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 20:48:24 +0100 (MET)
Subject: M-I: so-called "deformed workers states"

Dave McMullen writes on M-G:

>The simplest refutation of the Trotkyist position on the Soviet Union
>being socialist, is the fact that Western capitalism is obviously a more
>advanced stage of social development than Soviet "socialism".   A
>"socialism" that is inferior to capitalism aint socialism. With the
>demise of the old Soviet state capitalism, we are now seeing the messy
>transition to this more advanced western form of capitalism.

This is the Real McCoy of State Cap vulgar sociology and history (not to
mention Marxism).

The State Cap dogma refuses to distinguish between the economic foundations
of a state and its superstructure. All or nothing. At least where states in
a transition to socialism are concerned. It sees a million shades of
regimes under capitalism, including of course Stalinism which it labels as
State Capitalism, but as for the necessary transition to socialism which
Lenin attempted to get into Bolshevik and worker heads in the State and
Revolution, no shades at all.

In the first place, what does Dave mean by Western capitalism? The whole
wide world under the imperialist system? The richest 30, 20 or seven
countries? The suburban "middle classes" in these countries?

Depending on the answer to this, he could try giving us concrete examples
of how this capitalism is better for working class people (a more advanced
! stage of social development than Soviet "socialism") than the child care
facilities of the Soviet Union, the education set-up there, the right to
employment, access to and availability of culture etc -- and this even
given the distortions of a degenerated workers' state and the brutal
oppression of Stalinist bureaucratic rule!

Go to Russia and stand on the street preaching this line, and people will
fall over themselves to bless you for reminding them of the benefits of
"this more advanced western form of capitalism".

The Trotskyist perspective on the Soviet Union is not that it was
socialist, but that it was in the throes of a transition to socialism from
a very backward and isolated capitalist starting point. In the Transitional
Programme it is very clearly stated that the development can go two ways:
either the working class will take power for socialism or the bureaucrats
will hand power back to the bourgeoisie. Here is the original:

        The USSR thus embodies terrific contradictions. But it still remains a
        *degenerated workers' state*. Such is the social diagnosis. The
        political prognosis has an alternative character: either the
        bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in
        the workers' state, will overthrow the new forms of property and
        the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the
        bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.

(The USSR and Problems of the Transitional Epoch)

Keep it coming, Dave!



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