Book Worship for Dogmatists

Long live Marxism-Leninism! (1980) by P. Bendel

Book worship is not my style, given that I am a Marxist. Marxism is not a checklist, a superstructure, but a living, dynamic method. However, some communists have taken to book worship in the place of historical analysis. Since these communists cannot get their noses out of their books, it is necessary to give them something that challenges their dogmatic, liturgical views on their own front.

If they wish to dismiss real projects of building socialism on the basis of holy books, I will show how the books which they grant the status of Divine Law themselves disagree with their views. Their claims are pushed in discourses about Marxism in media, academia, public discourse, and elsewhere. It is unsurprising, given that it creates an excuse to ignore real projects to build socialism such as the Soviet Union in favor of book worship.

To give an idea of what I am arguing for, I am using these quotes to demonstrate that Marx and Engels had the following conception of the process of socialist revolution:

  • The proletariat seizes power in revolution, which may also include the participation of other classes such as the peasantry and intelligentsia.
  • The proletariat abolishes the bourgeois state and replaces it with its own state as a means of its class rule, otherwise called the dictatorship of the proletariat. This state is a republic, meaning, it has administrators, officials, police, etc, but is under the control of the working class and takes on characteristics corresponding to that
  • Proletariat, in a drawn out process, socializes control of the means of production by means of its proletarian republic. Socialism is essentially a process, this is extremely key. It is not a checklist. Once the essential attributes of “lower-stage communism,” AKA socialism are fulfilled, the process is superseded
  • Higher-stage communism is established when class distinctions and commodity production are abolished in favor of social production for direct, immediate consumption. The state briefly exists until it withers away, the basis for its existence in class struggle being destroyed and thus leaving it no way to be reproduced.

Marx, Engels, and Lenin were not anarchists. They considered the class rule of the proletariat to necessarily be by medium of the state, rather than through some form of direct democracy. They did not believe socialism was stateless. They did not believe socialism was its own mode of production, free of commodity production, but merely the growing sprout of fully-developed communism.

In short, they conceived of the building of a new society as a process, one wherein the key thing is the proletariat being the ruling class and consciously expanding and deepening its grasp on society through its organs of rule. With this conception, we return to the real history of socialist revolutions, and can return to the question of real, concrete revolutionary practice.

All emphasis my own

Karl Marx

“We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries[…]

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848)

“This socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.”

— Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France (1850)

“What I did that was new was (1) to show that the existence of classes is simply bound up with certain historical phases of the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

— Karl Marx, March 5, 1852 letter to J. Weydemeyer

“Let us now picture to ourselves, by way of change, a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community. All the characteristics of Robinson [Crusoe]’s labour are here repeated, but with this difference, that they are social, instead of individual.

Everything produced by him was exclusively the result of his own personal labour, and therefore simply an object of use for himself. The total product of our community is a social product. One portion serves as fresh means of production and remains social. But another portion is consumed by the members as means of subsistence. A distribution of this portion amongst them is consequently necessary.

The mode of this distribution will vary with the productive organisation of the community, and the degree of historical development attained by the producers. We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labour time.

Labour time would, in that case, play a double part. Its apportionment in accordance with a definite social plan maintains the proper proportion between the different kinds of work to be done and the various wants of the community. On the other hand, it also serves as a measure of the portion of the common labour borne by each individual, and of his share in the part of the total product destined for individual consumption. The social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution.”

— Karl Marx, Capital: Volume One (1867)

“The direct antithesis to the empire was the Commune. The cry of ‘social republic,’ with which the February Revolution was ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a vague aspiration after a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself. The Commune was the positive form of that republic.”

— Karl Marx, The Civil War in France (1871)

“The unity of the nation was not to be broken, but, on the contrary, to be organized by Communal Constitution, and to become a reality by the destruction of the state power which claimed to be the embodiment of that unity independent of, and superior to, the nation itself, from which it was but a parasitic excrescence.

While the merely repressive organs of the old governmental power were to be amputated, its legitimate functions were to be wrested from an authority usurping pre-eminence over society itself, and restored to the responsible agents of society.”

— Karl Marx, The Civil War in France (1871)

“The political rule of the producer cannot co-exist with the perpetuation of his social slavery. The Commune was therefore to serve as a lever for uprooting the economical foundation upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule. With labor emancipated, every man becomes a working man, and productive labor ceases to be a class attribute.”

— Karl Marx, The Civil War in France (1871)

“If co-operative production is not to remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the capitalist system; if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon common plan, thus taking it under their own control, and putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of capitalist production — what else, gentlemen, would it be but communism, ‘possible’ communism?”

— Karl Marx, The Civil War in France (1871)

“One thing especially was proved by the [Paris] Commune, viz., that ‘the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.’”

— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Preface to the 1872 German Edition of the Communist Manifesto (1872)

“[…]so long as the other classes, especially the capitalist class, still exist, so long as the proletariat struggles with it (for when it attains government power its enemies and the old organization of society have not yet vanished), it must employ forcible means, hence governmental means. It is itself still a class and the economic conditions from which the class struggle and the existence of classes derive have still not disappeared and must forcibly be either removed out of the way or transformed, this transformation process being forcibly hastened.”

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

“[The proletariat organized as the ruling class] means that the proletariat, instead of struggling sectionally against the economically privileged class, has attained a sufficient strength and organization to employ general means of coercion in this struggle. It can however only use such economic means as abolish its own character as salariat, hence as class. With its complete victory its own rule thus also ends, as its class character has disappeared.”

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

“[On class leadership of the state] In a trade union, for example, does the whole union form its executive committee? Will all division of labour in the factory, and the various functions that correspond to this, cease? And in Bakunin’s constitution, will all ‘from bottom to top’ be ‘at the top’? Then there will certainly be no one ‘at the bottom’. Will all members of the commune simultaneously manage the interests of its territory? Then there will be no distinction between commune and territory.

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

“[On the idea that administrators will become their own class] If Mr Bakunin only knew something about the position of a manager in a workers’ cooperative factory, all his dreams of domination would go to the devil. He should have asked himself what form the administrative function can take on the basis of this workers’ state, if he wants to call it that.”

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

“That the class rule of the workers over the strata of the old world whom they have been fighting can only exist as long as the economic basis of class existence is not destroyed.”

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

“[On why he did not advocate immediate abolition of the state] Aside from the harping of Liebknecht’s Volksstaat [People’s State], which is nonsense, counter to the Communist Manifesto etc., it only means that, as the proletariat still acts, during the period of struggle for the overthrow of the old society, on the basis of that old society, and hence also still moves within political forms which more or less belong to it, it has not yet, during this period of struggle, attained its final constitution, and employs means for its liberation which after this liberation fall aside.”

— Karl Marx, Conspectus of Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy (1874)

Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor. The phrase ‘proceeds of labor,’ objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all meaning.

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society — after the deductions have been made — exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another[…]

But one man is superior to another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right. Right, by its very nature, can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable only by an equal standard insofar as they are brought under an equal point of view, are taken from one definite side only — for instance, in the present case, are regarded only as workers and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married, another is not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, right, instead of being equal, would have to be unequal.

But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantlyonly then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”

— Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875)

“Quite apart from the analysis so far given, it was in general a mistake to make a fuss about so-called distribution and put the principal stress on it.

Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves. The latter distribution, however, is a feature of the mode of production itself. The capitalist mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of production are in the hands of nonworkers in the form of property in capital and land, while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of labor power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democrats) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again?”

— Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875)

“Nevertheless, the different states of the different civilized countries, in spite or their motley diversity of form, all have this in common: that they are based on modern bourgeois society, only one more or less capitalistically developed. They have, therefore, also certain essential characteristics in common. In this sense, it is possible to speak of the “present-day state” in contrast with the future, in which its present root, bourgeois society, will have died off.

The question then arises: What transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present state functions? This question can only be answered scientifically, and one does not get a flea-hop nearer to the problem by a thousand-fold combination of the word ‘people’ with the word ‘state’.

Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

— Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875)

“In stock companies the function [of surplus-labor appropriation, profit] is divorced from capital ownership, hence also labour is entirely divorced from ownership of means of production and surplus-labour. This result of the ultimate development of capitalist production is a necessary transitional phase towards the reconversion of capital into the property of producers, although no longer as the private property of the individual producers, but rather as the property of associated producers, as outright social property. On the other hand, the stock company is a transition toward the conversion of all functions in the reproduction process which still remain linked with capitalist property, into mere functions of associated producers, into social functions[…]

This is the abolition of the capitalist mode of production within the capitalist mode of production itself, and hence a self-dissolving contradiction, which prima facie represents a mere phase of transition to a new form of production. It manifests itself as such a contradiction in its effects. It establishes a monopoly in certain spheres and thereby requires state interference. It reproduces a new financial aristocracy, a new variety of parasites in the shape of promoters, speculators and simply nominal directors; a whole system of swindling and cheating by means of corporation promotion, stock issuance, and stock speculation. It is private production without the control of private property.”

— Karl Marx, Capital: Volume Three (1894)

Friedrich Engels

“Will it be possible for private property to be abolished at one stroke? No, no more than existing forces of production can at one stroke be multiplied to the extent necessary for the creation of a communal society. In all probability, the proletarian revolution will transform existing society gradually and will be able to abolish private property only when the means of production are available in sufficient quantity.”

— Friedrich Engels, Principles of Communism (1847)

“The proletariat seizes the public power, and by means of this transforms the socialized means of production, slipping from the hands of the bourgeoisie, into public property. By this act, the proletariat frees the means of production from the character of capital they have thus far borne, and gives their socialized character complete freedom to work itself out.

Socialized production upon a predetermined plan becomes henceforth possible. The development of production makes the existence of different classes of society thenceforth an anachronism. In proportion as anarchy in social production vanishes, the political authority of the State dies out. Man, at last the master of his own form of social organization, becomes at the same time the lord over Nature, his own master — free.

To accomplish this act of universal emancipation is the historical mission of the modern proletariat. To thoroughly comprehend the historical conditions and this the very nature of this act, to impart to the now oppressed proletarian class a full knowledge of the conditions and of the meaning of the momentous act it is called upon to accomplish, this is the task of the theoretical expression of the proletarian movement, scientific Socialism.”

— Friedrich Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)

“But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution.

This solution can only consist in the practical recognition of the social nature of the modern forces of production, and therefore in the harmonizing with the socialized character of the means of production. And this can only come about by society openly and directly taking possession of the productive forces which have outgrown all control, except that of society as a whole. The social character of the means of production and of the products today reacts against the producers, periodically disrupts all production and exchange, acts only like a law of Nature working blindly, forcibly, destructively. But, with the taking over by society of the productive forces, the social character of the means of production and of the products will be utilized by the producers with a perfect understanding of its nature, and instead of being a source of disturbance and periodical collapse, will become the most powerful lever of production itself.”

— Friedrich Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)

“Whilst the capitalist mode of production more and more completely transforms the great majority of the population into proletarians, it creates the power which, under penalty of its own destruction, is forced to accomplish this revolution. Whilst it forces on more and more of the transformation of the vast means of production, already socialized, into State property, it shows itself the way to accomplishing this revolution. The proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into State property.

But, in doing this, it abolishes itself as proletariat, abolishes all class distinction and class antagonisms, abolishes also the State as State. Society, thus far, based upon class antagonisms, had need of the State. That is, of an organization of the particular class which was, pro tempore, the exploiting class, an organization for the purpose of preventing any interference from without with the existing conditions of production, and, therefore, especially, for the purpose of forcibly keeping the exploited classes in the condition of oppression corresponding with the given mode of production (slavery, serfdom, wage-labor). The State was the official representative of society as a whole; the gathering of it together into a visible embodiment. But, it was this only in so far as it was the State of that class which itself represented, for the time being, society as a whole:

in ancient times, the State of slaveowning citizens;
in the Middle Ages, the feudal lords;
in our own times, the bourgeoisie.

When, at last, it becomes the real representative of the whole of society, it renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection; as soon as class rule, and the individual struggle for existence based upon our present anarchy in production, with the collisions and excesses arising from these, are removed, nothing more remains to be repressed, and a special repressive force, a State, is no longer necessary. The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not “abolished”. It dies out. This gives the measure of the value of the phrase: “a free State”, both as to its justifiable use at times by agitators, and as to its ultimate scientific insufficiency; and also of the demands of the so-called anarchists for the abolition of the State out of hand.”

— Friedrich Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)

“Marx and I, ever since 1845, have held the view that one of the final results of the future proletarian revolution will be the gradual dissolution and ultimate disappearance of that political organisation called the State; an organisation the main object of which has ever been to secure, by armed force, the economical subjection of the working majority to the wealthy minority. With the disappearance of a wealthy minority the necessity for an armed repressive State-force disappears also. At the same time we have always held, that in order to arrive at this and the other, far more important ends of the social revolution of the future, the proletarian class will first have to possess itself of the organised political force of the State and with its aid stamp out the resistance of the Capitalist class and re-organise society. This is stated already in the Communist Manifesto of 1847, end of Chapter II.”

— Friedrich Engels, in a April 18, 1883 letter to Philipp van Patten

“In possession of the public power and the right of taxation, the [state] officials now present themselves as organs of society standing above society. The free, willing respect accorded to the organs of the gentile constitution is not enough for them, even if they could have it. Representatives of a power which estranges them from society, they have to be given prestige by means of special decrees, which invest them with a peculiar sanctity and inviolability. The lowest police officer of the civilized state has more “authority” than all the organs of gentile society put together; but the mightiest prince and the greatest statesman or general of civilization might envy the humblest of the gentile chiefs the unforced and unquestioned respect accorded to him. For the one stands in the midst of society; the other is forced to pose as something outside and above it[…]

The state, therefore, has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies which have managed without it, which had no notion of the state or state power. At a definite stage of economic development, which necessarily involved the cleavage of society into classes, the state became a necessity because of this cleavage. We are now rapidly approaching a stage in the development of production at which the existence of these classes has not only ceased to be a necessity, but becomes a positive hindrance to production. They will fall as inevitably as they once arose. The state inevitably falls with them. The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong–into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax.”

— Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884)

“If one thing is certain it is that our party and the working class can only come to power under the form of a democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the Great French Revolution [Paris Commune] has already shown.”

— Friedrich Engels, A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891 (1891)

Vladimir Lenin

“A United States of the World (not of Europe alone) is the state form of the unification and freedom of nations which we associate with socialism — about the total disappearance of the state, including the democratic. As a separate slogan, however, the slogan of a United States of the World would hardly be a correct one, first, because it merges with socialism; second, because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible, and it may also create misconceptions as to the relations of such a country to the others.

Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world — the capitalist world — attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states. The political form of a society wherein the proletariat is victorious in overthrowing the bourgeoisie will be a democratic republic, which will more and more concentrate the forces of the proletariat of a given nation or nations, in the struggle against states that have not yet gone over to socialism.

The abolition of classes is impossible without a dictatorship of the oppressed class, of the proletariat. A free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states.”

— V.I. Lenin, On the Slogan for a United States of Europe (1915)

“The state is a special organization of force: it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class. What class must the proletariat suppress? Naturally, only the exploiting class, i.e., the bourgeoisie. The working people need the state only to suppress the resistance of the exploiters, and only the proletariat can direct this suppression, can carry it out.”

— VI Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)

“Until the ‘higher’ phase of communism arrives, the socialists demand the strictest control by society and by the state over the measure of labor and the measure of consumption, but this control must start with the expropriation of the capitalists, with the establishment of workers’ control over the capitalists, and must be exercised not by a state of bureaucrats but by a state of armed workers.”

— VI Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)

“The exploiter and the exploited cannot be equal.

This truth, however unpleasant it may be to Kautsky, nevertheless forms the essence of socialism.

Another truth: there can be no real, actual equality until all possibility of the exploitation of one class by another has been totally destroyed.

— V.I. Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918)

Russia has started to achieve socialism in the right way — by the nationalisation of the banks and the transfer of all the land entirely to the working people. We are well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead, but we are convinced, by comparing our revolution with previous revolutions, that we shall achieve enormous successes and that we are on the road that guarantees complete victory.

And with us will go the masses of the more advanced countries, countries which have been divided by a predatory war, whose workers have passed through a longer period of training in democracy. When people depict the difficulties of our task, when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and of its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth. The final victory of socialism in a single country is of course impossible.”

— V.I. Lenin, Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers’, Soldiers’ And Peasants’ Deputies (1918)

“The question of the co-operatives and consumers’ communes (see Izvestia, February 2) recently discussed in the Council of People’s Commissars involves the most vital problem of the day, measures of transition from the bourgeois co-operatives to a communist consumers’ and producers’ union of the whole population.

Let us imagine co-operatives embrace 98 per cent of the population. This happens in the countryside.

Does this make them communes?

No, if the co-operative (1) gives advantages (dividends on shares, etc.) to a group of special shareholders; (2) preserves its own special apparatus which shuts out the population at large, in particular the proletariat and semi-proletariat; (3) does not give preference in produce distribution to the semi-proletariat over the middle peasants, to the middle peasants over the rich; (4) does not confiscate the surplus produce first from the rich, then from the middle peasants, and does not rely on the proletariat and semi-proletariat. And so on and so forth.”

— V.I. Lenin, Measures Governing the Transition From Bourgeois-Co-Operative to, Proletarian-Communist Supply and Distribution (1919)

“If we were to ask ourselves what the present economic system of Soviet Russia is, we should have to say that it consists in laying the foundations of socialism in large-scale industry, in reorganising the old capitalist economy with the capitalists putting up a stubborn resistance in millions and millions of different ways. The countries of Western Europe that have emerged from the war as badly off as we are — Austria, for instance — differ from us only in that the disintegration of capitalism and speculation are more pronounced there than in our country and that there are no germs of socialist organisation to offer resistance to capitalism.

There is, however, not yet anything communist in our economic system. The “communist” begins when subbotniks (i. e., unpaid labour with no quota set by any authority or any state) make their appearance; they constitute the labour of individuals on an extensive scale for the public good. This is not helping one’s neighbour in the way that has always been customary in the countryside; it is work done to meet the needs of the country as a whole, and it is organised on a broad scale and is unpaid. It would, therefore, be more correct if the word “communist” were applied not only to the name of the Party but also to those economic manifestations in our reality that are actually communist in character.

If there is anything communist at all in the prevailing system in Russia, it is only the subbotniks, and everything else is nothing but the struggle against capitalism for the consolidation of socialism out of which, after the full victory of socialism, there should grow that communism that we see at subbotniks, not with the aid of a book, but in living reality.”

— V.I. Lenin, Report On Subbotniks (1919)

“Our newspaper is devoted to the problem of communist labour.

This is the paramount problem in the building of socialism. First of all, we must make it quite clear to ourselves that this question could be raised in a practical way only after the proletariat had captured political power, only after the landowners and capitalists had been expropriated, only after the proletariat, having captured state power, had achieved decisive victories over the exploiters who put up a desperate resistance and organised counter-revolutionary rebellions and civil war[…]

During these two years we have acquired some experience in organisation on the basis of socialism. That is why we can, and should, get right down to the problem of communist labour, or rather, it would be more correct to say, not communist, but socialist labour; for we are dealing not with the higher, but the lower, the primary stage of development of the new social system that is growing out of capitalism.

Communist labour in the narrower and stricter sense of the term is labour performed gratis for the benefit of society, labour performed not as a definite duty, not for the purpose of obtaining a right to certain products, not according to previously established and legally fixed quotas, but voluntary labour, irrespective of quotas; it is labour performed without expectation of reward, without reward as a condition, labour performed because it has become a habit to work for the common good, and because of a conscious realisation (that has become a habit) of the necessity of working for the common good — labour as the requirement of a healthy organism.

It must be clear to everybody that we, i.e., our society, our social system, are still a very long way from the application of this form of labour on a broad, really mass scale.”

— V.I. Lenin, From The Destruction Of The Old Social System To The Creation Of The New (1920)

“Since the spring of 1921, instead of this approach, plan, method, or mode of action, we have been adopting (we have not yet “adopted” but are still “adopting”, and have not yet fully realised it) a totally different method, a reformist type of method: not to break up the old social economic system — trade, petty production, petty proprietorship, capitalism — but to revive trade, petty proprietorship, capitalism, while cautiously and gradually getting the upper hand over them, or making it possible to subject them to state regulation only to the extent that they revive.”

— V.I. Lenin, The Importance Of Gold Now And After The Complete Victory Of Socialism (1921)

“Indeed, if the reign of the workers and peasants would last for ever, we should never have socialism, for it implies the abolition of classes; and as long as there are workers and peasants, there will be different classes and, therefore, no full socialism.

— V.I. Lenin, The All-Russia Congress of Transport Workers (1921)

It will take decades to overcome the evils of bureaucracy. It is a very difficult struggle, and anyone who says we can rid ourselves of bureaucratic practices overnight by adopting anti-bureaucratic platforms is nothing but a quack with a bent for fine words. Bureaucratic excesses must be rectified right away. We must detect and rectify them without calling bad good, or black white. The workers and peasants realize that they have still to learn the art of government, but they are also very well aware that there are bureaucratic excesses, and it is a double fault to refuse to correct them. This must be done in good time, as the water transport workers have pointed out, and not only when your attention is called to it.”

— V.I. Lenin, The Second All-Russia Congress of Miners (1921)

“In conclusion: a number of economic, financial and banking privileges must be granted to the cooperatives — this is the way our socialist state must promote the new principle on which the population must be organized. But this is only the general outline of the task; it does not define and depict in detail the entire content of the practical task, i.e., we must find what form of “bonus” to give for joining the cooperatives (and the terms on which we should give it), the form of bonus by which we shall assist the cooperative sufficiently, the form of bonus that will produce the civilized cooperator. And given social ownership of the means of production, given the class victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, the system of civilized cooperators is the system of socialism.”

— V.I. Lenin, On Cooperation (1923)

“In the capitalist state, cooperatives are no doubt collective capitalist institutions. Nor is there any doubt that under our present economic conditions, when we combine private capitalist enterprises — but in no other way than nationalized land and in no other way than under the control of the working-class state — with enterprises of the consistently socialist type (the means of production, the land on which the enterprises are situated, and the enterprises as a whole belonging to the state), the question arises about a third type of enterprise, the cooperatives, which were not formally regarded as an independent type differing fundamentally from the others. Under private capitalism, cooperative enterprises differ from capitalist enterprises as collective enterprises differ from private enterprises.

Under state capitalism, cooperative enterprises differ from state capitalist enterprises, firstly, because they are private enterprises, and, secondly, because they are collective enterprises. Under our present system, cooperative enterprises differ from private capitalist enterprises because they are collective enterprises, but do not differ from socialist enterprises if the land on which they are situated and means of production belong to the state, i.e., the working-class.

This circumstance is not considered sufficiently when cooperatives are discussed. It is forgotten that owing to the special features of our political system, our cooperatives acquire an altogether exceptional significance. If we exclude concessions, which, incidentally, have not developed on any considerable scale, cooperation under our conditions nearly always coincides fully with socialism.”

— V.I. Lenin, On Cooperation (1923)

I’m influenced by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and social reproduction theory. Follow Line Struggle Collective linestruggle.medium.com

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