From the "International Center for the Formation of Modern Communist Doctrine"
Dyachenko, V. J.
October 15, 1996
My report is going to be of adjusting character. That's why I will have to greatly quote Marx, Engels and Lenin. Nevertheless I consider it necessary not to distort Marxist-Leninist teachings. Moreover, I would like to remind you of the main points of Marxist theory regarding classes and class struggle.
Now let's consider the term " class approach. " I think it is appropriate to remind you that in communist theory the class approach is considered to be a method of examining and analyzing social phenomenon, historic events, the behavior and activities of people on the basis of the scientific theory of classes and class struggle.
Marx, Engels, and Lenin used dialectical materialist analysis of history and the law of the correspondence of productive forces to the relations of production in providing a scientific understanding of classes, their origin and nature.
In 1878 of the main works of F. Engels, "Anti-Duhring," was published. In this work Engels brilliantly and on the deepest scientific level, founded and defended the revolutionary essence of Marxist theory from right opportunism and social reformism, which under " the wise" leadership of post-Stalin CPSU affected almost the whole communist movement a hundred years later. We consider the above one of the causes leading to the restoration of capitalist relations of production in the former socialist countries. Now the peoples of these countries are suffering under the capitalist yoke. It is this reason that keeps the thoroughly rotten chain of world-wide imperialism still alive.
I quote "Anti-Dühring: "The separation of society into an exploiting and an exploited class, a ruling and an oppressed class, was the necessary consequence of the deficient and restricted development of production in former times. So long as the total social labor only yields a produce which but slightly exceeds that barely necessary for the existence of all; so long, therefore, as labor engages all or almost all the time of the great majority of the members of society -- so long, of necessity, this society is divided into classes. Side by side with the great majority, exclusively bond slaves to labor, arises a class freed from directly productive labor, which looks after the general affairs of society: the direction of labor, state business, law, science, art, etc. It is, therefore, the law of division of labor that lies at the basis of the division into classes. But this does not prevent this division into classes from being carried out by means of violence and robbery, trickery and fraud. It does not prevent the ruling class, once having the upper hand, from consolidating its power at the expense of the working class, from turning its social leadership into an exploitation of the masses." This is very much like what has happened to our society.
"But if, upon this showing, division into classes," Engels goes on to stress, "has a certain historical justification, it has this only for a given period, only under given social conditions. It was based upon the insufficiency of production. It will be swept away by the complete development of modern productive forces. And, in fact, the abolition of classes in society presupposes a degree of historical evolution at which the existence, not simply of this or that particular ruling class, but of any ruling class at all, and, therefore, the existence of class distinction itself has become an obsolete anachronism. It presupposes, therefore, the development of production carried out to a degree at which appropriation of the means of production and of the products, and, with this, of political domination, of the monopoly of culture, and of intellectual leadership by a particular class of society, has become not only superfluous but economically, politically, intellectually a hindrance to development. This point," Engels concludes, "is now reached." (F. Engels, Anti-Dühring, Part III: Socialism, Chapter II: Theoretical, in Marx/Engels Collected Works, vol. 25, p. 268-269, English edition.)
I would like to remind you that these words were pronounced by Engels in 1876-78.
In his work "A Great Beginning" Lenin further formulates and develops the concept of classes in the following way: "Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it." (Lenin Collected Works, vol. 29, p. 421, English edition.)
Classes as well as class struggle were recognized before the foundation of communism as a science, but Marx scientifically grounded the historic development and results of this struggle.
Using the dialectical materialist method of cognition; through the objective economic law of the accordance of the relations of production to quickly developing production forces; through the dialectical laws of unity and struggle of opposites, the negation of the negation and the transformation of quantitative changes into qualitative ones in a revolutionary-evolutionary way; analyzing the development of the bourgeois society of the middle of the 19th century, which was born in feudalism, Marx came to the conclusion that the bourgeois epoch had simplified class contradictions. Society was split into two large and antagonistic parts-the bourgeoisie and, as Marx pointed out, "the modern workers, the proletariat." In connection with this he wrote in a letter to Weydemeyer of March 5, 1852: "My own contribution was 1. to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production; 2. that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; 3. that this dictatorship itself constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society." (Marx/Engels Collected Works, vol. 39, p. 64-65, English edition.) In the same year 1852 in his work "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" Marx concludes that the dictatorship of the proletariat can only be established by a revolution breaking up the bourgeois state machine, and the industrial proletariat united with peasant workers is the moving force of this revolution. Later in 1875 in his article "The Critique of the Gotha Programme" Marx stressed: "Between capitalist and communist society 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." (Marx/Engels Collected Works, vol. 24, p. 95, English edition.)
Here or the basic social science discoveries of the nineteenth century. They are based on discoveries in philosophy, political economy, and historical materialism. We consider it necessary to remind you of these discoveries which are the essence of the theory of classes and class struggle, the soul of revolutionary Marxism.
What did the social and historical practice of the 20th century show if we consider it from the point of view of the class struggle? Did it disprove Marxist foresight, as our opponents are trying to prove? These opponents are trying to refute Marxism because of the collapse of the "pseudo-socialist " system of the 1960s-1980s. No it did not. Life proves the scientific correctness of Marxist ideas.
The analysis of the historical development after the scientific discoveries made by Marx, Engels and their followers, including the transitional period to communists relations in our country and in the former socialist countries, evidently proved, I think, the correctness of the class theory and of the theory of class struggle as well.
The law of the division of labor was and continues to be the basis of the class division in society. This law was concluded by communist science. This law remains true despite the considerable development of production caused by the achievements of the scientific and technical progress, despite the fact that the joint public product can already provide production to satisfy the reasonable human needs of all the members of society.
I think that the division of socialist society into antagonistic classes during the post-Stalin period was caused by the untimely negation of the principles of the dictatorship of the proletariat, followed by the simultaneous broadening of the elements of the capitalist relations of production in the form of commodity-money relations.
What classes countervail in Russia in the conditions of scientific and technical progress? This problem demands a thorough analysis, as there is the widest variety opinions in the modern communist movement. Some people think that all Soviet people, all working people as a class countervail the comprador bourgeoisie. Others consider the industrial worker to be the only revolutionary force. Certain changes have taken place in the bourgeois class structure also. The administrative bureaucratic class has gained major priority in this structure. And we must reveal the new veiled forms of bourgeois exploitation. All this should be taken into consideration while analyzing if we don't want to be treated as not being dialectitions. Along side of this, to my mind, it is necessary to carry out the dialectical analysis of the terms "proletariat," " dictatorship of the proletariat," " working class" and other categories of the class approach method. However we can not allow the revision of Marxism.
The division of society into antagonistic classes in capitalist countries or into non-antagonistic classes, strata and sections in the states in the transition from capitalism to communism entails class struggle in its open or concealed form. Marxism teaches that class struggle is the main mechanism of the development of class society. It is the class struggle that results in revolutionary or counter-revolutionary coups. However, the fact that the exploited classes, who form the majority in a society, deny exploitation [?] and exploiting classes is certain to show that social development is directed at a revolutionary transition to a society without classes at all. The experience of the former socialist countries showed that ignoring the laws of class struggle, deviating from the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat (during the period of the transition to communist relations) leads to the sharpening of capitalist contradictions still existing under socialism, the contradiction between the public character of production and the private form of appropriation of the result of public joint labor; the contradiction between the forces and the relations of production. All this leads to the sharpening of the class struggle and may result in counter-revolutionary coups and temporary restoration of the former capitalist relations. We believe this was the case in the former socialist countries.
Alongside of this public development in the 20th century proved Marx's conclusion that the dictatorship of the proletariat can not be established without smashing the whole bourgeois state machine.
Also we would to attract the reader's attention to a thesis that is widespread in the communist movement but is, we think, erroneous and contrary to Marxism. This thesis stipulates that socialism is not a transitional period of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, but is an independent social and economic structure, or consists of two phases, that it is a primary and developed socialism which moves forward on its own basis. Hence the following conclusions, though doubtful, are made. First, there is stated the necessity of the communist revolution entailing the establishment of the communist relations of production; second, there is proclaimed the necessity of preparing the national-liberation struggle of the Soviet people against the comprador bourgeoisie. All this is unlikely to meet the demands of Marxism and the class approach. The above-mentioned delusions grounded in the developed socialism revisionism concept of Khrushchevism-Brezhnevism, resulting from unrealized projects to build communism by the 1980s, are used by Russian theorists as well. But they present multi-structured socialism with private ownership of the means of production to be the perspective bright future for all mankind. With this the communist prospect is put off for an indefinite time. (The Socialism of the 20th century, Moscow, Paleya, 1995)
The revision of Marxism, ignoring the class approach method, always results in the deformation of social consciousness, chauvinism, nationalism and fascism or this can lead a vast majority of people deceived by anti-communist propaganda to a deadlock. That is why the communists have concluded that the class approach method is of paramount importance when analyzing social phenomenon and for the communist movement itself. The above stands true despite the attempt of the right forces to disavow this method. In these attempts the right forces are supported by some organizations which call themselves socialist, social-democratic or even communist. By the way our class enemy is well aware of this method and makes use of it but the wrong way around.
Disavowing the class approach method was started immediately after it had been discovered. Marx and Engels were still alive. The right forces together with social-reformist groups inside the communist movement have always been trying either to deny class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat, propagated class collaboration or to defame this method. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin paid great attention to the trouble with them. However, immediately after Stalin's death this method was revived. Under Khrushchev and later the notion "class society " conformably to socialist countries was substituted by Bukharin's "social [words missing]. Comrades [?] noticed this fact in his work "On the Problem of Political Economy or on the roots of the revisionism of Khrushchev-Brezhnev" in 1996. Essentially a blow was delivered to the class approach in communist theory and to the dictatorship of the proletariat as well. Since the mid-70s there has been widespread the thesis that, as the Short Glossary of Scientific Communism of 1989 states, " in our atomic age the class approach is in the background as the problem of the survival of mankind comes to the forefront. The classes of the proletariat and bourgeoisie are struggling. But we can not let the class struggle in this or that country lead to nuclear war. " (Short Glossary of Scientific Communism, Moscow, 1989, p. 142). Now Zyuganov and his supporters advocate the same idea, calling for social agreement and denying class struggle, revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. We think it is time to put an end to this revisionism in the communist and working class movement.
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