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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

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Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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The gravedigger of Stalinism and the hope of the future

Marx’s statement that the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class is fundamental to the socialist project. It is the working class which liberates itself. Socialism is not the Red Army marching into Eastern Europe; nor is it peasants and intellectuals leading the charge to socialism on behalf of workers.

Only the working class can liberate itself. Workers cannot rid themselves of ‘all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew’ without being the revolution.

So it was that in Russia in 1917 workers entered onto the stage of history and set up their own democratic organs of power – called workers’ councils or Soviets in Russian.

These were the most democratic institutions the world has seen – direct representation from the workplace, the right of instant recall by workers of representatives who voted against their wishes, Soviet members with their pay limited to the average wage, all with the aim of the councils making decisions about what to produce to satisfy human need.

The elected representatives would go back every day to the factories to debate and discuss issues with workers and receive instructions from them about forthcoming sessions and how to vote.

The war, foreign invasion, the destruction of industry and the working class and the failure of the revolution to spread to Germany (although it was a close run thing) and thus provide material support to help re-build the Russian economy, saw the Russian revolution isolated.

The workers’ councils, without a working class to run them, became shells, and Stalin, the gravedigger of the revolution, over time rose to power. He did so on the bodies of the old Bolsheviks, those who understood the centrality of the working class to revolution and democracy, in other words to socialism.

Stalin and the bureaucracy he represented established state capitalism in Russia. This is where the state becomes the embodiment of capital and expropriates all the surplus value its workers create. One of its historical roles is, in the name of ‘socialism’, to pull peasant countries up by the bootlaces to become fully fledged capitalist countries. As Stalin said to his managers in 1931:

We are 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us!

The first Russian five year plan in 1930, by halving wages, driving peasants off the land and into the cities and moving to build large scale industry in competition with the West, was the first step in building state capitalism in Russia. Primitive accumulation and then competition, especially military competition, imposed the law of value on the USSR and its satellites.

Having created its own gravedigger in the form of a powerful working class, is it any surprise Stalinism is merely transitory? Historically it looks as if state capitalism is a conduit or stepping stone from peasant societies to market capitalism.

The dictators can attempt to control this move to the ‘free’ market much as China and Vietnam have done and Cuba is doing by the state itself managing the transition. The fear the dictators have is that the masses will rise up against the rotten regimes as they did in Eastern Europe and the USSR and replace the state capitalist regimes and their political leadership with some form of more democratic capitalism.

The task now is for that working class which state capitalism created, especially the massive and powerful Chinese working class, to rise up against all forms of capitalism and reclaim the tasks of democratic and economic liberation begun by the Russian working class in 1917 for all of humanity.



Pingback from The gravedigger of Stalinism and the hope of the future | OzHouse
Time October 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

[…] Oct 30 2013 by admin […]

Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 31, 2013 at 9:19 am

The DLP hates Stalinists as well. I think the same may be true of Katter’s Australian Party.