RE: Why does Marxist-Leninist Socialism fail?
I love that interview. 3 hours of Q&A. lol
(11-20-2011 03:55 AM)shakur420 Wrote: Lenin, taking it further, actually stripped economic freedom by killing the workers committees, workers control over production, when he got in.
That's pretty much the basis for the whole post, so I'll stick to that.
Quote:"Unless permission is given by the elected representatives of the workers and office employees, the suspension of work of an enterprise or an industrial establishment of state importance (see Clause 7), or any change in its operation is strictly prohibited....
...In all enterprises of state importance all owners and all representatives of the workers and office employees elected for the purpose of exercising workers’ control shall be answerable to the state for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property...
That was in Lenin's "draft decree" on workers control from 1917. I mean, it's pretty clear to me, just reading through his shit, Marx and Engels' shit, I just see the bullshit. But that's me. You seem to have looked through these discussions before but there's a bunch of shit in there that supports many of things I said above, so maybe give them a second look.
Now, some people will question whether someone is really authoritarian, or that they reject workers control simply because you can provide evidence that they stated it loud and clear. Some people say "who cares if Lenin said fuck workers control, look at what happened". Ok, so here's basically the same story, recited by 2 different perspectives. One, sympathetic to Lenin, a "party management" perspective, the other, sympathetic to Democracy, is a "workers management" perspective. It's really interesting to hear the same thing described pretty much identically, but with minor differences. We weren't there, we aren't scholars of the 1915-1922 Russian period who have studied this shit for 20, 30 years. All we have is our best judgment, so we have to see what makes sense to us. But I think there is enough for us to read, discuss, and sift through to formulate some kind of opinion.
Quote:"The Bolsheviks also faced the disintegration of central authority. In fact, between November 1917 and June 1918, many factories and mills were run under 'workers’ self-management', that is the syndicalist idea of self-management. This particularism and parochialism reflected the backwardness of Russia, her low level of development, and a largely rural petty-bourgeois economy.
Many Bolsheviks and other labour leaders recognized that the local pride of individual factory committees might damage the national economy beyond repair, and that many were selfishly absorbed in the needs of their own enterprises, and as one labour leader said 'this could result in the same sort of atomisation as under the capitalist system'(Avrich, The Russian Anarchists, pg 164).
Another labour leader wrote, 'workers’ control had turned into an anarchistic attempt to achieve socialism in one enterprise, but actually leads to clashes among the workers themselves, and to the refusal of fuel, metal, etc., to one another'(Avrich, The Russian Anarchists, pg 164).
Trotsky had explained some of the dangers inherent in this set-up in late 1917. When asked whether the workers’ committees or elected managers of a factory should be free to run the factory as they saw fit, he replied, 'No, they will be subject to policies laid down by the local council of workmen’s deputies… [and] their range of discretion will be limited in turn by regulations made for each class of industry by the boards or bureaux of the central government.'(In Defence of the Russian Revolution, Workers’ Control and Nationalisation by Leon Trotsky)
He was then asked about the idea of Kroptkin and some of the Anarchists, which was that each centre be autonomous with respect to the industries carried within it.
'Kroptkin’s communalism would work in a simple society based on agriculture and household industries, but it isn’t at all suited to the state of things in modern industrial society. The coal from the Donets basin goes all over Russia and is indispensable in all sorts of industries. Now, don’t you see if the organised people of that district could do as they pleased with the coal mines, they could hold up all the rest of Russia if they chose? Entire independence of each locality respecting its industries would result in endless friction and difficulties in a society that has reached the stage of local specialisation of industry. It might even bring on civil war. Kropotkin has in mind the Russia of 60 years ago, the Russia of his youth.' (In Defence of the Russian Revolution, Workers’ Control and Nationalisation by Leon Trotsky)"
Quote:"Common to both Marxism and Leninism is the idea that the working class is incapable of bringing about a social revolution or constructing a new society. What is needed is a revolutionary party to organise the working class before a revolution and then take and enforce decisions on behalf of the working class after the revolution. The revolutionary party can do this because it organises the most advanced section of the working class and this section along with intellectuals is capable of making decisions about with a greater insight than the class as a whole.
This essentially is the theoretical core of Leninism and it is this section of Marxism that the anarchists struggled against in the first international when they warned against a socialist's dictatorship of scientists. The particular conditions found in Russia only exasperated the worst points of this theoretical analysis. The secrecy needed as a protection against the Czarist police reduced the level of political debate both within the party and the opportunity to discuss these issues in public. The comparable weakness of the working class and the destruction of that class during the civil war greatly undermined any resistance to the growth of the new state...
...In the period between the February revolution and that in October a new form of worker's organisation developed in the factories. In a small number of factories initially the workers elected a committee to supervise and watch the way the boss was running the factory. The delegates to these committees were elected on a mandate basis; they were still workers on the factory floor and were recallable. Each section of workers in the factory would elect one of their numbers as a delegate and that delegate would report back to that section.
Initially these bodies sought to prevent the boss sabotaging production or withdrawing the company assets. As time passed however they took on more and more functions so that by the time of the October revolution the committees were running production in a large number of Moscow and Petrograd factories. From May 30th to June 5th some 4 months before the October revolution the factory committees came together in a Petrograd conference, this demonstrates that already they were looking towards running the economy rather than parochially looking after their own interests alone.
After the revolution the factory committee movement grew. You cannot of course have socialism in one factory. Each factory was dependant on many others for a list of goods and services. Already in October of 1917 the factory committees had held a conference conveyed by the syndicalist magazine New Path. There were 137 delegates and according to Bolshevik sources this broke down to 86 Bolsheviks, 22 SR's, 11 Anarchist-Syndicalists, 6 Maximalists and 4 'non-party'. Among other resolutions passed was one reading 'the seizure of factories by the workers and their operation for personnel profit was incompatible with the aims of the proletariat'. This was a highly significant step, it would have led to the situation where the Russian workers were directly in control of their economy at every level. Among other resolutions passed was one reading 'the seizure of factories by the workers and their operation for personnel profit was incompatible with the aims of the proletariat'.
As you know this is not what happened, the USSR instead ended up as a state run economy where workers had as little say about priorities as those in the west had. The key point for socialists in 20th century history lies in those first deciding weeks of 1917. What happened.
The explanation most of the left has given for years is that Stalin destroyed workers control of the economy sometime in the mid 20's to early 30's. When arguing with libertarian communists who know that workers control existed in no form from 1920 onwards a second argument is fallen back on, the harsh conditions of the civil war destroyed workers control. The Civil war however became serious in the Summer of 1918, but by that stage workers control was already under attack and one man management was being introduced.
Immediately after the revolution the Bolsheviks legalised the gains workers had won in the factories. Pravda published Lenin's draft decree on workers' control on Nov. 3rd 1917 which also undermined some of these gains, decisions could be annulled by the trade unions and delegates of 'important enterprises' were answerable to the state for 'the maintenance of strict order and discipline and for the protection of property'. Already the beginnings of a situation where the state could limit the decisions reached by the workers rather than the reverse was being engineered.
The factory committees had tried to hold a second 'All Russian Congress of Factory Committees' but the Bolsheviks had used their control in the trade unions to block this. Instead they set up the All Russian council of workers control which included only 5 out of 21 factory committee delegates This body itself met only once before its powers were assumed by the VESENKA on December the 5th. This body was almost entirely made up of representatives from the Commissariats (Ministries) and experts. This represented the removal of the last elements of national control the workers had over the economy.
Over the next two years any elements of local control of conditions was destroyed so by the 9th party congress of 1920 what was left of the Factory Committees were instructed to 'devote themselves to the questions of labour discipline, of propaganda and of education of the workers. Lenin in 'The trade unions, and their tasks' referred to collective management as "utopian, impractical and injurious".
And here's some more you can check out.
"...If the rhetoric is essential to the philosophy, then there is something wrong with the philosophy. Your massive intellect should be able to describe your philosophy without continually referring to your special rhetoric..."
- Yael The Great