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Ten Theses on the Social and Economic Laws Governing the Society Transitional Between Capitalism and Socialism

Ernest Ezra Mandel was an outstanding revolutionary Marxist of his age. Born in Frankfurt, he moved with his parents, who were Jewish socialists, to Belgium after the Nazi rise to power. Recruited to the Belgian Section of the Fourth International, he fought against the Nazis during World War II, was arrested and escaped twice, and survived the Dora Concentration Camp. In 1946, he was elected the youngest member of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International. During the decade long split he was one of the principal leaders of the International Secretariat, ad he was among those who pushed for unification. From Unification in 1963 till his death in 1995, Mandel was a key leader of the Fourth International. Mandel was an activist and a theorist and a populariser.

Mandel died on 20th July 1995. Many of his writings remain extremely relevant. We are putting up a few over the next few days, beginning with the one below.

 

 

n  Administrator, Radical Socialist website

 

Ten Theses on the Social and Economic Laws Governing the Society Transitional Between Capitalism and Socialism

 

Originally published in Peter Hennicke (ed.), Probleme des Sozialismus und der Übergangsgesellschaften, Frankfurt/M. 1973. Translated from German by Iain L. Fraser, January 1974. Published in Critique, No.3, Autumn 1974, pp.5-21. Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

 

 

1. Every socio-economic formation is characterized by a particular set of relations of production. This applies not only to the great historical periods of human history, called modes of production (primitive communism, slave-owning society, the ancient Asiatic mode of production, feudalism, capitalism, communism), but to each particular social formation, in each phase of its development. To deny that a particular social formation has production relations specific to it would be to deny a basic principle of historical materialism.

In the famous passage of the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy in which Karl Marx gives the basic definition of historical materialism, he does not say that it is only in each mode of production that men enter into particular relations of production. He says, on the contrary, that “in the social production of their life men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces” (MEW, Vol.13, p.8, Berlin 1961). [1*] From the point of view of historical materialism there can be no society without specific relations of production. That would amount to a society without social production. Thus, from the standpoint of historical materialism, the first step in understanding any social formation, including a transitional society, and, therefore, including also the society transitional between capitalism and socialism, is to reach an analysis of the relations of production which prevail in it and determine it.
 

2. The decisive difference between one of the historically progressive modes of production, one of the great “progressive epochs of the economic formation of society” (Marx), and a transitional society, lies in the different degree of structural stability, or fixity, of the existing relations of production. The difference does not lie in a mode of production having specific relations of production and a transitional society lacking them. The same applies to the transitional society between capitalism and socialism as it formerly applied to the transitional epoch between the slave-owning regime and feudalism (the 4th to 7th centuries in Western and Southern Europe), and to the transitional society between feudalism and capitalism (15th to 17th centuries in the Low Countries, the North Italian cities, and England). All these are cases of not yet fully “established social systems”, to use Walter Ulbricht’s mistaken formula. To return to the old system remains just as possible as the advance to the new one. The victory of the new, higher mode of production is not yet economically safeguarded. It is only politically and socially facilitated.

This becomes especially clear if one looks at the development of the capitalist mode of production. The first great bourgeois revolutions of the 16th and 17th centuries broke the political and social class power of the feudal nobility, which was the chief hindrance to the appearance and growth of capitalism. They did not, however, ensure direct exercise of power by the bourgeoisie. Far less did they ensure the final and definitive breakthrough of the capitalist mode of production as a predominant one. That did not take place until the industrial revolution unfolded all its results. In order to have prevented the victory of the capitalist mode of production, the power of the feudal nobility would have had to have been restored. But to ensure the final establishment of the capitalist mode of production, it was necessary but not sufficient to smash this class power. The reason for this is that the prevailing relations of production in that transitional period were not those of capitalism (i.e. the relations of capital and wage labour in the production process), nor those of feudalism (serf labour, feudal rent, guilds), but those of simple commodity production, as a transition from feudalism to capitalism.

The transitional society is characterized by specific relations of production. These are not simply a combination of the old mode of production which is to be overcome and the new one which is gradually developing. Thus the production relations characterising the society transitional from feudalism to capitalism were not a “combination” of feudal and capitalist modes of production, but the relations peculiar to this epoch: relations of simple commodity production. The mass of producers consisted neither of villeins nor of wage labourers, but of free farmers and free manual workers, producing with their own means of production. Such production relations are different from both those of feudalism and those of capitalism. They are a result of the dissolution of feudalism before capitalism could fully develop in the sphere of production (capital “rules”, but in areas outside production, such as banking and merchant capital).

One could make a similar analysis for the transitional epoch from slave-owning society to feudalism, say from Diocletian’s reforms to the final subjection of the formerly free German settlers and colonists in the western Roman area of rule. This is not the place to work out the parallel in detail. But there is an analogy to be found in the specific development of that transitional society. The political and social power of the slave-owning class is broken. Slave labour is on the decline in the production process. But between prevalent slave labour and prevalent serf labour there intervenes an intermediate phase of semi-free and free peasant labour linked with the emancipation of slaves, which exists while slave production is dissolving to make possible the full development of feudalism. [1]

The problem of the society transitional between capitalism and socialism must be treated according to the same method. The collapse of bourgeois class society (and of the bourgeois state), and the setting up of the dictatorship of the proletariat, create only the possibility of constructing a socialist and then a communist society. They do not ensure this automatically. Consciousness plays a considerably greater part in the socialist revolution, and in the process of constructing a socialist social order, than it did in the development of any earlier historical mode of production. Nevertheless, even here analysis cannot simply abstract from the existing production relations. It cannot regard them as immaterial, as insignificant for the further development of the society, or as secondary in comparison with the factors of “political leadership” and “prevailing consciousness”. To do this is to retreat from historical materialism into historical idealism, and turn Marxism upon its head into a hypothesis based on the assumption that social consciousness determines social being and not vice versa. 

3. At present, we are unable to analyse the production relations specific to the society transitional from capitalism to socialism in an exact way, because we as yet lack the decisive historical material. At this point, we are faced with a similar difficulty as if we were trying to explain simple commodity production on the basis of the economic relations of the cities of Venice or Florence in the 14th century, or the economy of the capitalist mode of production on the basis of the manufacture production in the Low Countries in the 16th century.

All the “models” that we have of the society transitional between capitalism and socialism are characterised by the relative immaturity of their production relations, as are the historical comparative cases of simple commodity production and of capitalism mentioned above. The history of the social sciences for half a century has emphatically confirmed Marx’s assertion that only when the abstraction from the concrete form of labour extended into practice, could economic theory develop a “pure” labour theory of value {Marx: Introduction to the Grundrisse, p.24-25, Berlin, 1953). [2*] Only when we have had actual experience of a mature transitional society between capitalism and socialism will a “pure” socio-economic theory of such a society be possible. What we have experienced hitherto - from the USSR through Jugoslavia to China and Cuba - are transitional societies in conditions of socio-economic underdevelopment (with an insufficient degree of development of the productive forces), which therefore show, in various ways, severe or extreme forms of bureaucratic deformation and degeneration. It is, therefore, at least possible, if not probable, that what today seem to be “general” features of this transitional society are in reality peculiarities having less to do with the internal logic of such a society than with the conditions of socio-economic underdevelopment.

These ideas are relevant to the debate on the social structure of the Soviet Union which has been going on for more than half a century. The historical possibility, or justification, of the socialist October revolution can only be correctly estimated on an international scale. That revolution was historically necessary because the world had been “ripe” for socialist revolution since the height of the imperialist age (since the inclusion of China in the imperialist world market), and because the continuance of the rule of the possessing classes in Russia would have meant the continuance of its integration into the international imperialist system (with all the consequences of that as we know them from the cases of Turkey, Persia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and India). However, the forces of production in Russia were not sufficiently developed at the national level to make possible the development of a “mature” transitional society between capitalism and socialism, i.e. one in which production is controlled by the associated producers. The isolation of the October revolution in an economically underdeveloped country (with the resulting compulsion to “primitive socialist accumulation”) thereby produced a whole series of distortions from a more mature model of transitional society which were enormously increased by the peculiar development of the subjective factor (the self-identification of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with the Soviet bureaucracy, the bureaucratization of the party, Stalinism, etc.).

But the alternative must be seen on both sides. It is a mistake to conclude from these distortions that, even though the economy of the USSR has not been reabsorbed by the imperialist world market and its economic development is still not regulated by the law of value, nevertheless capitalism has already been restored there. The mistake lies in a failure to recognise the historical significance of the October revolution, and to construct, instead of a dialectic between productive forces and production relations, a mechanical identity of both. There then follows an argument after the pattern: “On the basis of the productive forces which exist (then and now!) in the USSR, only capitalism was and is possible”, without going through an exact scientific analysis of the prevailing relations of production. An error essentially identical to this was committed in succession by the Russian Mensheviks, Western European social-democratic Marxists such as Otto Bauer, the adherents of the state capitalism theory who broke with Trotskyist and other oppositional communist movements, and lately the Bettleheim school among the Maoists. 

4. To the extent that one can discover general laws for the existing societies in transition between capitalism and socialism, which are characterised by extreme bureaucratic deformation or degeneration, they would have to be formulated more or less as follows:

After the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and the transition to a socialized, planned economy, and given a certain level in the development of the productive forces, the spontaneous distribution of economic resources among the various branches of production through the law of value (i.e. by deviations from the average rate of profit and by subsequent corrections through inflow and outflow of capital, or economic resources, into and out of these branches) can be superseded. Conscious distribution of economic resources through the plan is now the decisive characteristic of the new production relations. On the other hand, however, exchange value cannot be fully suppressed all at once. The commodity – money relationships survive in the first place because the distribution of the producers’ share in the given consumption fund by means of a general equivalent remains indispensable. This then makes the consumer goods retain the form of commodities with all the corresponding consequences. [2]

This commodity form of consumer goods reacts in its turn both economically and socially on the production relations. The economic order of the society transitional between capitalism and socialism is therefore governed by the conflict of two antagonistic economic logics: the logic of the plan and the logic of the market (distribution of the economic resources according to priorities consciously set by the society, or distribution of these resources according to objective market laws which hold sway behind the backs of the producers). The two sets of laws evidently correspond to two class interests which are in the broadest historical sense antagonistic: the first, the interest of the proletariat, and the second the interests of the bourgeoisie and of the classes and strata working on the basis of private enterprise and private profit.

The main driving force tending to put through the planning principle (which in the last analysis can only fully conquer under the democratic rule of associated producers, as Marx formulated it) is the proletariat’s interest in a maximum economy of the work effort, with a simultaneous increase of self-realisation of its human needs. [3] The main driving forces tending xo the triumph of the law of value are the insufficient level of development of the productive forces (i.e. widespread shortage), the pressure of the capitalist world market, the reactions of the commodity-money relationships on the total organisation of the economy, the consequences of the social inequality connected therewith for the consciousness of the proletariat on the one hand, and the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia and the bureaucracy on the other hand, etc. The production relations specific to the transitional society are thus a hybrid combination of essentially non-capitalist economic planning and the elements of commodity production (with their drive towards private appropriation and private enrichment) which arise from the basically still bourgeois distribution relations. This combination is specific to this social formation and can be reduced neither to regulation of the economy by the law of value (capitalism) nor to regulation of the economy by associated producers under conditions of a withering away of commodity-money relations (socialism). It marks the historical transition from the first social formation to the second, the result of the suppression of capitalism before socialism can fully mature. 

5. Charles Bettelheim has put forward the thesis (subsequent to a formulation by Nico Poulantzas [4]), that the technical integration of the enterprises is not yet possible in the USSR and the other “socialist” states, that this is the reason why the commodity-money relationships survive there, and that, therefore, these relations, though not an unimportant factor for the determination of the class nature and the exact production relations of the transitional society, are in no way the decisive factor for this determination. This thesis is based on a misunderstanding of the Marxist category of production relations, i.e. on their impermissible relocation. Production relations are never simply “technical”. They are not simply relations between men and things, but are always social relations between men. The assertion that without “complete technical integration of all enterprises”, the immediately and directly social character of labour cannot be realised, amounts to putting the reified appearance of bourgeois relations in the place of their social reality. [5] If labour under capitalism does not have an immediately social character, this is not because of a lack of “technical” integration between enterprises. It is because there is private ownership of the means of production; because there is private power of disposal over economic resources by productive units which are independently active and compete with one another; because of the private character of firms and of labour.

Certainly, the overcoming of this private character of labour is also linked to a particular stage of development of the productive forces. By reason of their low technical standard, very small enterprises cannot be socialised efficiently. But in capitalist industry, the objective degree of socialisation is without doubt sufficiently developed for efficient control of production by associated producers. Marx and Engels held this view as long as a hundred years ago, when the degree of objective socialisation of labour in the West was far below its present state in the USSR. The assertion that present day big industry is insufficiently “technically integrated” to guarantee a directly social character of labour, and that the survival of the commodity-money relationships corresponds to this “technical compulsion”, amounts to questioning the objective possibility of socialist revolution and the construction of a socialist society altogether.

If the private ownership of the means of production is overcome, and the economic resources are distributed by a plan on a national (and tomorrow an international) scale, then the immediately social character of the labour employed in the various units of production under these social relations of production is made possible by fiat of the proletariat’s power. The existence of different levels of productivity of labour in the various production units does not change this possibility in any way. The differing productivity of labour in modern industry is only to a vanishingly small degree a function of differing individual or collective levels of work effort (work load) by the producers, and is to a much larger extent an expression of differing production techniques, of differing material means of production put at the disposal of those units. Since it is, however, society that distributes these means of production among those units, it is not evident at all why the workers of the under-equipped units should be punished for the society’s decision by a reduction of their income. If, however, all living labour is measured by its quantitative input only (reducing the skilled labour to simple labour by the use of a set of coefficients) and rewarded irrespective of the different labour productivity of the different productive units in which it is performed, this then expresses the social fact that it is directly recognized as social labour, and that it is not only after the sale of the products it has created (which would then be commodities), and depending on the yield of this sale, that it has this social character recognized fully, partially, or (if sale is not effected) not at all.

6. Bettelheim confuses the power to dispose of the means of production with “full appropriation of all produced goods”. The former concerns investment activities, i.e. the distribution of the economic resources available to society. The latter concerns the forms and degrees of direct acquisition and distribution of goods, which is admittedly connected with the former, but is in no way identical with it. In the USSR and the other Eastern bloc countries, the overwhelming majority of the major investment decisions are taken centrally and not at enterprise level. It is, therefore, false to assert that the social ownership of means of production as an economic category (as distinct from a purely formal and legal one) has already disappeared there. It would only disappear if investment took place at enterprise level, and if enterprises could freely buy and sell machines, according to their own profitability calculations. Incomplete social acquisition of all goods, which can certainly be combined with a socialist planned economy and social ownership of means of production, is not to be explained by a lack of technical integration of the enterprises. Its explanation lies in scarcity phenomena and the objective effects of the commodity-money relationships (which can also go on working in cases of perfect technical integration), and in the lack of social control, i.e. of actual political rule, by the mass of producers.

The fact that many products, contrary to the dictates of the plan, are hoarded and distributed on the black market, and in general escape the net of the planned economy, is made possible because production, distribution and plan are not under constant, open democratic control by the workers, organised in councils and exercising direct public supervision. The system of individual enterprise profitability, already introduced by Stalin (khozraschot), does not correspond to any “technological compulsion” or “insufficient technical integration of the enterprises”, but to a deliberate socio-political option. Because the relations between thousands of productive units no longer run via the market, and because the rule of the privileged bureaucratic stratum is irreconcilable with conscious control, through planned democratic association of self-managing producers (democratic centralisation), the long way round must be taken via an ineffective and top-heavy administrative bureaucratic centralisation. And, in order to attain even a minimum of economic results such a system of management must necessarily rest on the foundation of individual enterprise profitability.

The institution and dogma of individual enterprise profitability are not objective results of the given state of development of the productive forces, but of a social state of affairs: the monopoly of management of the economy and of the state in the hands of a privileged upper stratum; the use of the maximization of private consumption interests of the management bureaucracy as the main motor for the realization of the plan. All these institutions, conditioned by special social interests, could be abolished within the given state of development of the productive forces, and be replaced by forms of organisation and management which correspond to the control of associated producers, producing directly and immediately recognized social labour. [6] 

7. The thesis that capitalism has already been restored in the USSR and other countries of the Eastern bloc, is based on a complete revision of the Marxist concept of capital ism. The capitalist mode of production is based on generalised commodity production, which exists neither in the USSR nor in the other countries of the Eastern bloc. The fact that the official economic “science” of these countries characterises the existing economic order by the absurd formula of “socialist market economy” [7], is just as little proof of the existence of generalized commodity production as the fact that the official capitalist political economy proclaims the equality of all economic subjects under the capitalist market economy is a proof of the existence of such an equality. In both cases, these are obviously ideological theses, not the results of a scientific analysis or of a scientifically checked and proved hypothesis.

In fact, the mass of the big means of production in industry, transport, communications, trade, etc., has no commodity character. They cannot be freely bought and sold by the management units (productive units). Nor is their production and distribution the result of “private” decisions by the enterprises, but of central planning decisions; they are not products of “independently operating private labour” (Marx, Das Kapital, Vol.1, MEW, Vol.23, p.87), i.e. they are not commodities.

The consumer goods industrially produced according to the plan have a commodity form only in as much as they are produced for an anonymous market and must be exchanged against money. They do not have that form in the sense that they are products of private labour. Certainly, the degree of socialisation of labour in the consumer goods sector is smaller than in the producer goods sector. In order not to deviate from the decisive aspects of the production relations in the state sector, we have deliberately left out the problem of combining socialised planned economy with private or co-operative simple commodity production in agriculture and handicrafts, which without doubt complicates even further the hybrid combination of planning, bourgeois norms of distribution and (in the Eastern bloc countries) individual enterprise profitability.

The capitalist mode of production is characterized by particular laws of motion, which in no way determine the dynamics of the Soviet economy. None of these laws can be observed in the history of the USSR over the past fifty years: neither the falling rate of profit nor the to-and-fro flux of economic resources between the branches of production in accordance with the variations of the rate of prof it in these branches, nor the periodic crises of overproduction,-laws of motion which are everywhere constantly confirmed in the whole history of the capitalist mode of production. Still more exactly: the thesis that capitalism] has recently been restored in the USSR after 1956 leads to the conclusion, ridiculous in terms of Marxism, that non-capitalist and capitalist societies could have identical production relations. For it is not hard to see that the production relations in the USSR have not changed in any important respect since 1930-32. It is incompatible with Marxism to assert that there was “socialism” in 1938 and 1949 under Stalin, but “capitalism” in 1958 under Krushchev and in 1969 under Brezhnev, when there has been no change in production relations.

If it is asserted that “capitalist” production relations in the USSR can be deduced from the Soviet proletariat’s lack of power to dispose of the means of production, and from the management technique of Soviet enterprises, (the adoption of capitalist incentive and wage determination methods), then the following answer must be made:

  1. All these characteristics have been present since the introduction of “one-man-management” into Soviet enterprises in 1930. They were at least as widespread under Stalin as they are today, if not more so.
  2. It is impermissible to reduce capitalist production relations to hierarchical relationships inside the enterprise. Among the most fundamental of production relations are the relations that obtain between different enterprises, and between enterprises and labour. These relations are shaped quite differently by generalized commodity production, than they are in a socialised economy.
  3. In the People’s Republic of China the same organisation, labour, and wage forms, are gradually being introduced into big industry. Supporters of the thesis that the introduction of these forms has restored capitalism in the USSR, if they are to be consistent, should therefore conclude that the same process of restoration is in full swing in the People’s Republic of China.
     

8. In reality, the Maoist supporters of this old Menshevik thesis base themselves on an historical-idealist identification of production relations, state power, evaluation of the political “general line” and prevailing ideology. This is standing historical materialism on its head. Since the Maoists declare the revision of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR to be the expression of the triumph of a capitalist ideology, they assert that the “general line” of the state leadership in the USSR is that of a bourgeoisie; therefore the state is a bourgeois state, and therefore the economy is a capitalist one.

Historical materialism demands that the problem be defined in the opposite way. First of all the objective laws of motion of the Soviet economy, or the prevailing production relations and their dynamic, must be scientifically analysed. Then it must be clarified whether there is a capitalist mode of production and a ruling capitalist class. If there are no proofs for the existence either of a capitalist mode of production or of a ruling capitalist class, then the state cannot be a bourgeois state. If, on the basis of this socio-economic analysis, the state is recognized as a deformed workers’ state, - that is, the ruling bureaucracy is recognized as a privileged petty-bourgeois upper stratum of the proletariat and not as a new socially ruling class - then the ideological revisionism and the deviations of the “general line” from the Marxist-Leninist tradition (“deviations” which are obviously at least as evident in Stalin’s time as today) are disclosed not as the expression of a new class rule, but as the expression of the special interests of the bureaucracy and at most as results of objective pressure from social classes and strata which are under the influence of capitalism. To say that the Catholic church in France, after the 1815 restoration, won for its semi-feudal ideology a dominating ideological influence in society is not to say that feudalism was then restored in France as a social system. To say that the trade union bureaucracy is subject to the pressures of petty-bourgeois or sometimes even capitalist ideologies, is not to say that the trade unions are objectively no longer instruments of proletarian class struggle, but have become instruments of the capitalist employers.

If direct rule (exercise of power) by the associated producers is genuinely established, then the transition from first phase communism to communism itself may certainly take place in a gradual and evolutionary manner. But if such rule is not so established, as it is not in the USSR and other state forms similar to it, and if a hardened monopoly in the exercise of power has been formed in the hands of a privileged upper layer, then this must be corrected by a political revolution so that power can be established in, or returned to, the Soviets. This is a political revolution, because the basic non-capitalist production relations are not overturned, but are allowed for the first time to develop fully. (This does not, of course, mean that the transition to the direct exercise of power by the associated producers would not bring with it great changes in the organisation of the economy, especially in enterprise management, in planning, in work organisation, in wage determination, etc.). On the other hand, a social counter-revolution would be unavoidable in order to re-establish a capitalist mode of production and bourgeois class rule in the USSR and the Eastern bloc countries. A gradual restoration of capitalism is excluded simply because the distribution of economic resources over the various branches of industry can be realised neither “simultaneously” through the plan and through the law of value, nor “a bit” through the plan and “a bit” through the law of value. The preconditions for the restoration of capitalism would be on the one hand a new capitalist class forming (there is no capitalism without a capitalist class), and on the other hand the destruction of the resistance of the working class to such a restoration. To assume that these preconditions are already given, is to proclaim one’s own class’s battle lost before it has even begun. 

9. The weakness of the thesis of the restoration of capitalism in the USSR (including that of “state capitalism” [8]) can be seen most clearly in the inability of its representatives for over fifty years to set up any historically confirmed law of development for this peculiar “capitalism”. The advantage of our analysis of the transitional society, on the other hand, is that it puts us in a position at least to sketch out some such laws of motion. Here the exact evaluation of the social nature of the bureaucracy, and its specific place in the production relations of the transitional society, play an important role.

The bureaucracy is neither in the juridical nor in the economic sense of the word the owner of the means of production. It cannot use the control over these means of production, which it monopolizes, for the acquisition of private property, nor for any other specific economic purpose outside the consumption sphere. Its privileges are limited to the extension or conservation of advantages in income and direct acquisition in the consumer goods sector. The assertion that the “collective bureaucracy” represents the “principle” of investment maximization, or of the “maximum extortion of surplus value”, or of the “growth of production for production’s sake”, which would correspond in the Soviet economy to the “principle” of “capital accumulation”, is merely a mystification of the compulsion to accumulation peculiar to the capitalist class, and the capitalist mode of production. This compulsion does not flow directly from the material or technical conditions of big industry or of factory production, but from production relations peculiar to capitalism (and only capitalism).

It is private property, i.e. competition, that conditions the compulsion to reduce production costs, to extend production and technology, and to expand reproduction and accumulate capital. Marx expressly says that without competition, i.e. without “many capitals”, the growth in capitalism would become extinguished. Too low a level of unemployment, it is true, could also lead to a compulsion for capital to reduce employment by massive investments in fixed capital and rationalization, in order to increase the rate of surplus value. But in the absence of competition, this would be a unique occurrence, and once unemployment was restored, it would eventually lead back to relative stagnation. The Soviet bureaucracy cannot in any way be subject to a “compulsion” to accumulation since there is no capital competition there. Still less is the bureaucracy subject to any compulsion to a lasting reconstitution of the industrial reserve army. On the contrary, it “hoards” labour power and has hardly had any significant unemployment since the first Five Year Plan. Why it should be interested in “investment maximization”, therefore, remains a theoretical riddle. [9]

Practice entirely corresponds to these provisional theoretical conclusions. One of the main conflicts, which, for decades, has characterized the Soviet society as a bureaucratically deformed [10] workers’ state, is precisely that between (1) potential optimization of economic growth and use of economic resources which flows from planning and expresses the conditions of production of socialized property, and (2) the actual indifference to such optimization by the individual bureaucrats, whose aims are only those of maximizing their own consumption. Since the economic resources are managed exclusively by the bureaucracy and since there is no broad democratic control of the management by the workers (this is impossible without broad socialist democracy in general), the economic growth remains permanently below the optimum, bringing huge losses or waste with it.

For forty years, the central state and party organs, as representatives of the collective interests of the bureaucracy, have been striving to overcome this contradiction, at least partly. That was the “rational” core both of the Stalinist terror and of the wage differences linked to the bonus system. This is the “rational” core of the Leiberman reforms of yesteryear. But the successive stages of the management reforms or of the management forms of the bureaucracy, are all proofs that optimization of the economy is excluded under bureaucratic management. Every reform of this kind merely replaces one category of contradiction and waste by another.

The fact that the consistent defence of the private interests of the bureaucrats collides with the immanent logic of the socialized planned economy, instead of being congruent with it, is the clearest proof that the bureaucracy is not a new ruling class. In every class society there is a congruence between the private interests of the ruling class and the immanent logic of the given mode of production (slave-owner interests consolidated the slave-owning society; the feudal nobility consolidated feudalism, by defending its own private interests; the capitalist class consolidates the capitalist mode of production, by trying to obtain profit maximization, etc.). The lack of a class ideology specific to the bureaucracy – the fact that it remains incapable of independent ideological production, and has to limit itself to “ideologizing” Marxism, which expresses the class interests of the proletariat, that is to revising and castrating it - is only the reflection of this basic state of affairs of the transitional society in the sphere of social superstructure.

There is, to be sure, an interesting parallel to this special position of the bureaucracy in the society transitional from capitalism to socialism; the position of the officials, the “mandarins”, in the old Asiatic mode of production, e.g. in China. But this parallel case confirms our characterization of the Soviet bureaucracy. The Chinese officials, just like the Soviet bureaucrats, owed their privileges exclusively to their position in the state apparatus and not to their property. Accordingly, they did not form a possessing class. However, since they could not ensure their privileges without possession, they regularly strove towards the acquisition of property in land, so as to rise into the landed gentry. To the extent that they became landowners, they could no longer fulfil the main socio-economic function in the given mode of production - the assurance of agriculture reproduction against, among other things, the landed gentry. They undermined the existing social order and laid the groundwork for a violent peasant rising, which, in the course of a dynastic change, re-established the rights of the peasants, pressed back the gentry, and replaced the corrupt, self-seeking mandarins by officials devoted to the state and to the reproduction of the mode of production – until the cycle started again. Here too, the conflict between private interest and state or management function comes clearly to the fore, confirming that the Chinese officials were effective officials only as long as they did not form part of a possessing class, and could only become part of a possessing class by negating their official function.

The parallel with the Soviet bureaucracy, or with the bureaucracy in the Eastern bloc, can be carried still further. Without doubt there are forces within the bureaucracy which objectively press in the direction of a restoration of capitalism. The demand that more powers be given to the enterprise directors; the demand for the power to dismiss workers; the demand in the context of Leiberman reforms for the power to “negotiate” “free prices” for raw materials and manufactured goods; all these tendencies objectively correspond to a pressure towards putting the law of value back into command.

Can such a tendency of development, however, realise its logical conclusions in the context of state ownership of the means of production? This seems less than probable. Linking the income of the director to the “profit” of “his” enterprise, must lead as a logical consequence to a lasting link of the enterprise to the director, i.e. to the restoration of private ownership. High incomes fromcorruption (especially in foreign trade), the acquisition of bank accounts and property abroad, and the reappearance of a large private sector of the economy (especially in the service sector) with private exploitation of labour power, would be additional factors in such a development. They would all point towards a restoration of classical private property, which alone could guarantee the bureaucrats the security of a new ruling class, not at all towards some mythical “state capitalism” with a “state bourgeoisie”.

In Jugoslavia, after the economic reforms of 1965, the tendencies in this direction were much further advanced than in the USSR, Hungary or Rumania. But, as we had predicted, what followed was their unavoidable collision with the planned economy, with social ownership of the means of production, with the elements of worker self-management which exist in Jugoslavia, and with the forces of the state and party bureaucracy which are linked to this mechanism. The working class, too, which in Jugoslavia is more independent than in the other Eastern bloc countries, actively intervened in this process, and clearly did so against the privileged and restorative groups. This confirms that a gradual restoration of capitalism “on the quiet” in the Eastern bloc is not possible, and that it is the living conflict of social forces, national and international, which will decide the outcome of this process. 

10. Provided there is no privileged bureaucracy monopolizing power and management, or after such a monopoly has collapsed, a transitional society may grow into a socialist society. Such a growth requires in principle the simultaneous operation of six factors:

  1. The growth of the productive forces, of the standards of living, qualifications and culture of the workers, which overcomes the objective conditions of the social division of labour between managers and managed, and which by a radical shortening of the working day, among other things, gives the immediate producers the material possibility of self-management in the state and the economy;
  2. Worker self-management, which is not exclusively or mainly limited to enterprise level. An articulated worker self-management of general assemblies, workers’ councils, and democratically elected local, regional, national and international congresses of workers’ councils (with revocability of delegates, prescribed rotation, and large majorities guaranteed to members who are directly occupied in production); in which the associated producers freely plan production on the basis of various plan alternatives, determine priorities in the satisfaction of needs, and decide the extent of postponed consumption (“socialist accumulation”).
  3. Political council democracy with full political freedom within the framework of the socialist constitution, (freedom of organisation, including different political parties, freedom of the press, freedom of demonstration, right to strike, etc.) in order to guarantee in practice a democratic process in which to choose between plan alternatives, priorities and postponed consumption. With the present high degree of centralization of the productive forces (objective socialisation of labour), self-management which is limited to the enterprise or to the economic level does not allow the actual power of disposing of the social surplus product to lie in the hands of the workers, i.e. it does not permit any real deproletarianization process. This can come about only by the direct exercise of political and economic power by the working class. A democracy of workers’ councils also means the beginning of the “withering away of the state”, by handing over more and more spheres of administration to direct democracy -i.e. the immediate self-management of those concerned;
  4. Development and deliberate furtherance of the withering away of the commodity-money relationship. A growing number of services and consumer goods will be distributed according to the principle of satisfaction of needs and not in exchange for money. The radical reduction of income differentials works in the same direction.
  5. Development and deliberate furtherance of a continuous revolution in daily habits, morals, ideology and culture, by which means the tendencies of the individual “struggle for existence”, of individual enrichment and egoism are systematically pressed back, and the driving forces of voluntary co-operation and solidarity are promoted, not by state pressure, but by persuasion, education, and, above all, by the altered social conditions, through example and experience in day today life;
  6. Orientation towards, and furtherance of, the international development of the revolution, which alone in the last analysis is capable of creating the necessary preconditions for a successful conclusion to the process of constructing a socialist society, by extending the international division of labour and removing of the pressure from the surrounding capitalist world (including the compulsion to arm).

These processes cannot be looked at separately from each other. It is, above all, erroneous to take one or some of them and regard it or them as solely decisive. The basis of Khrushchev’s revisionism was the conception that only the development of the productive forces was decisive, and that it would automatically create new production relations. Mao’s revisionism rests on the assumption that political leadership and “cultural revolution” are decisive; it fails to realise that on the basis of an insufficient development of the productive forces, social reality as the main source of the education of the “socialist man” must remain ineffective. Growing productive forces with growing commodity-money relationships can in fact move a society farther from the socialist goal instead of bringing it closer. But increasing abolition of the commodity-money relationships without sufficient growth of the productive forces decays into rationalisation of scarcity, which in turn moves socialism farther off, both objectively and subjectively.

Worker self-management without the political democracy of workers’ councils can, especially in combination with “socialist market economy”, raise new objective and subjective barriers on the road to socialism. But even worker self-management and political council democracy will not automatically produce a new attitude towards society and towards-work. Conscious intervention of the “subjective factor”, i.e. education and a permanent cultural revolution, are ‘indispensable for that. In order to be effective, however, these must be able to rest on a rapid growth of the productive forces, which can make possible in practice an extension of distribution according to the principle of satisfying need, and a withering away of the commodity-money relationships (without which the private sphere of enrichment and alienated labour cannot wither away).

We can summarize laws of the society transitional between capitalism and socialism by stating that, in the last analysis, it is a matter of creating the necessary economic, political, social and cultural preconditions for the withering away of commodity production, of money, of classes, and of the state, i.e. the construction of a classless society: “Socialism is the abolition of classes” (Lenin).


Footnotes

1. See on this inter alia, from a non-Marxist point of view, Bloch’s La Societe Feodale, and from the Marxist side, the discussion between the Soviet authors E.M. Shtaerman and S.I. Kovaliev. Friedrich Engels expressed the same viewpoint in the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.

2. Among other things the consequence of unsaleability, of overproduction, of non-realisation of their exchange-value.

3. We do not, of course, use the notorious Stalinist formula of the “unlimited rising need”, which in reality implies the impossibility of communism. One can formulate the law that from a particular stage of saturation and from a particular cultural level onward, the need for additional material goods rapidly declines, the needs grow more and more in the direction of self-realisation of the personality (i.e. the possibility of creative activity) and in the direction of further development of social and human relationships.

4. Nico Poulantzas distinguishes in his book Pouvoir Politique et Classes Sociales between technical and social relations of production.

5. See inter alia Charles Bettelheim, Calcul Economique et Formes de Proprieté (Paris, Maspero), and also his correspondence with Paul M. Sweezy, On the Transition to Socialism (New York, Monthly Review Press).

6. Contrary to the reproach which Bernard Jobie directs against us (La revolution culturelle et la critique de l’economisme, in Critique de l’Economie Politique, No.7-8, April, September, 1972), we in no way support the view that planned economy “by itself” implies socialist production relations. What we emphasize is rather the fact that planned economy represents production relations specific to the transitional phase from capitalism to socialism. - The rejection of the dogma of “individual enterprise profitability” does not entail a rejection of the most exact cost accounting. On the contrary: it is only when the accounting is separated from material income and consumption interests and placed under open, democratic social control, that it can develop objectively, irreproachably and completely. Workers’ councils, which no longer have any kind of interest in the “hoarding” of supplies or in systematic under-evaluation of production capacities, because their income is no longer directly bound up with any sort of “plan fulfilment”, will not practise such extravagances but will radically eliminate them because they imply additional work requirements, or additional postponed consumption, in which workers’ councils can have no interest.

7. Marx in his Critique of the Gotha Programme expressly emphasized that even in the first phase of communism, the phase of actual socialism, commodity production no longer occurs: “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 labour 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 labour no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of the total labour. The phrase “proceeds of labour”, 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 birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges”. (MEW, Vol.19, p.19-20). [3*]

8. There are, to be sure, some representatives of the thesis that state capitalism prevails in the USSR who avoid the difficulty by asserting that “state capitalism” is a different mode of production from “private capitalism”. They are, however, incapable of analysing any key laws of motion of this “mode of production”.

9. Many supporters of this thesis assert that “foreign competition” compels investment maximization. If this means competition in commodity production on the world market with the imperialist countries, this thesis is nonsense: such exchange of commodities involves less than 1% of the Soviet gross social product. How this is supposed to bring about a general compulsion to “investment maximization” remains obscure. If it is “military competition” that is meant, then the only objective compulsion would be more in the direction of growth optimization than in that of an “investment maximization”, which is both militarily, politically, and economically ineffective.

10. After 1920, Lenin coined the formula that Soviet Russia was a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state. 


Notes

1*. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, p.181 (Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1970).

2*. Karl Marx, The Grundrisse, pp.103-105. (Penguin Books, London, 1973).

3*. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, p.319 (Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1970).

 

Statement on Cuba by Executive Bureau of the Fourth International

In view of the popular mobilizations in Cuba

and imperialist aggressions

 

 

- End the imperialist economic blockade of Cuba now!

- For a free and sovereign Cuba

- Down with imperialist interference in Cuba!

- For socialist democracy in Cuba!

On July 11 we witnessed protests driven by the tremendous shortages that Cuba has been suffering since Trump placed it on the list of terrorist countries, cutting off remittances from the US to the island, worsened by the pandemic and the loss of income from tourism.

This is taking place on an island that has to import a large part of what it consumes, without any international support (the enormous difficulties that Venezuela is going through have also had a negative impact on Cuba), something that in some respects is reminiscent of the worst times of the “special period”. This blockade also impedes the production of Covid-19 vaccines for Cubans, and this despite the aid that Cuba has given to other countries during the pandemic.

This is compounded by a deep-seated malaise on the island: social differentiation has greatly increased over the last thirty years, while the government has sought to attract foreign investment, the tourism sector has developed, allowing for an increase in private initiative employing wage labour. In a situation of scarcity of goods, unequal access to US dollars has further amplified inequalities, which have nevertheless remained much lower than in countries that have restored capitalism, such as China, Vietnam and the former Eastern European bloc. A large local capitalist sector able to exploit wage labour has not developed in Cuba. The local capitalist sector is certainly growing, but not to the same extent as the countries mentioned above. The 2019 amendments to the constitution made it clear that there are still legal barriers to the free development of the capitalist sector, in particular the limitation on the number of wage earners the local capitalist sector can hire. 

In addition to the worrying effects of increasing inequality, the blockade and the increase in domestic production to meet the needs of the population; there is the development of evangelical religious sects that put pressure on the government to limit, for example, the full recognition of LGBTQI+ rights.

It is also worth mentioning the activity of new generations, closely connected to global social networks, in the midst of which a new generation of artists developed, who do not feel at all concerned by the legacy of the revolution. At the same time, an important part of the previous generation that participated directly in the revolutionary process of the 1960s and 70s is dying out.

This cocktail is exploding in a context in which the government has very little room for manoeuvre to mitigate the short-term effects of scarcity and great resistance to opening a democratic decision-making process that would re-engage the new generations (the constituent process was an attempt in this direction, but it has clearly been insufficient). By favouring bureaucratic methods, the government is making no effort to increase workers’ participation, in particular for the development of workers’ control in enterprises and citizens’ control in society.

This explains the recourse to repression and mobilization of the sectors that remain loyal to the government, in order to stop the protests and try to recover at least a certain amount of tourist income during the summer season, which would give them room for improvement in order to combat certain aspects of popular disaffection. President Miguel Díaz Canel’s speech on Sunday 11 July, following the wave of protests that have affected more than a dozen cities across the country from east to west, is not an adequate response to the situation. Although Díaz Canel acknowledged that a large part of the demonstrators were genuinely concerned about the hardships of life, he did not make any self-criticism of his handling of the situation and only emphasized the manipulations of the counterrevolutionary sector - which is clearly in favour of US intervention - which must be condemned. The government’s call to revolutionaries to mobilize on the streets in response to the threats of the counterrevolutionaries risks provoking clashes and increased repression.

We cannot separate the protests in Cuba from what is happening in other Latin American countries where the high cost of living aggravated by the pandemic and ultra-liberal measures, is, with different motivations, behind social outbursts like the recent Colombian movement, or those in Ecuador and Chile in 2019. The pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated all social contradictions internationally and in Latin America in particular, leading to growing social exclusion and increasing inequalities. Despite exemplary health care in many respects, Cuba is also unable to escape the most perverse economic and social effects of the global crisis and the pandemic. However, rising social resistances in Latin America, in confronting imperialism’s economic and political plans for the region, work in favour of breaking Cuba’s isolation and maintaining its political independence.

Unfortunately, important sectors of the left do not make any critical analysis of the situation in Cuba, the deterioration of its political system and the despair of the younger generations. On the contrary, we see in many countries an uncritical closing of ranks in which everything is a conspiracy of imperialism, where the legitimacy of popular mobilization is not recognized and is attributed exclusively to “agents of imperialism”. It is obvious that imperialism seeks to interpret the meaning of social protests in its interests in the different international conflicts of an increasingly convulsive world, particularly in a country that stands as an example of sovereign resistance for the whole region… And that it does so increasingly by intense campaigns on social networks, through which it tries to steer social discontent from the outside, in order to channel it towards the bringing down of the Cuban government. But to say that it is all the product of the interference of the great powers is far removed from the complex and contradictory reality. In addition, this response dismisses the participation of the popular sectors in social conflicts, as if everything were a chess game to which the people are never invited and where they are considered to be a kind of minors incapable of recognizing and defending their own interests.

Although the situation is complex and contradictory, we of the Fourth International, which from the earliest times has unconditionally supported the Cuban Revolution, defend some fundamental ideas:

-First, we condemn and demand an immediate end to the illegal and inhuman blockade to which the Cuban people are subjected.

- We call for solidarity mobilizations to alleviate the situation of shortage of basic products suffered by the island and to oppose the blockade decreed by the USA.

-We demand that the Biden Administration remove Cuba from its list of countries that harbour and favour terrorism, which is essential, for obvious reasons, to alleviate the country’s economic situation. We reject the threats of intervention with which Biden seeks to encourage the Cuban ultra-right abroad and the most reactionary Republican sectors.

- We denounce the international mainstream media campaign that falsely claims that the entire Cuban people are rising up against the government and that the government would respond with great brutality, while the mainstream media have turned a blind eye to the much more violent anti-people repressive forms of repression used in countries like France during the Yellow Vests movement in 2018-2019, in the United States during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, or in Colombia in 2021, to name but a few examples from a long list.

-We demand that the Cuban authorities respect the democratic right to protest, the development of independent social movements, political pluralism and democratic debate, the only way to prevent the Revolution from ceasing to be an example for the peoples of Latin America and the world.

-We call for the truth about the conditions of detention and repression in order to stop the abuse of force and bring to justice those responsible for cases of abuse.

-We call for the immediate release of those arrested in the 11 July demonstrations, provided that they have not committed actions that have threatened the lives of others.

-We defend a sovereign, independent Cuba with real democratic-popular participation of the workers in the destiny of the island. For a socialist and democratic Cuba.

 

21 July 2021

Executive Bureau of the Fourth International

কিউবা প্রসঙ্গে র‍্যাডিক্যাল সোশ্যালিস্টের বিবৃতি

 

সাম্রাজ্যবাদের বিরোধিতা করুন, জনগণের গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকারের পক্ষে দাঁড়ান, যে সব রাষ্ট্রীয় নীতি সংকট বাড়ায় সেগুলি সম্পর্কে প্রশ্ন করুন

 

১৯৯২ সাল থেকে, কিউবা প্রতি বছর রাষ্ট্রসংঘের সামনে মার্কিন আরোধ শেষ করার দাবী এনেছে, এবং প্রতিবছর আন্তর্জাতিক সম্প্রদায়ের ব্যাপক সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ অংশ সেটা সমর্থনও করেছে। সবসময়ে নীরব থেকেছে মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র আর তার ঘনিষ্ঠতম সহচর ইজরায়েল। এই আবেদন কোনো বাধ্যবাধকতা আরোপ করে না। মাসখানে আগেই এবছরও এটা আনা হয়েছিল, এবং ১৮৪ ভোট পক্ষে পড়েছিল, ২টি বিপক্ষে (মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র ও ইজরায়েল) আর তিনটি দেশ ভোটদানে বিরত থাকে (কলম্বিয়া, ইউক্রেন আর সংযুক্ত আরব আমীরশাহী)।

বছরের পর বছর মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র কিউবাতে ‘গণতন্ত্র’ ও ‘স্বাধীনতা’ র জন্য লড়াই করার অজুহাত দিয়ে চলেছে, অথচ তারা এমন এক অবরোধ চালিয়ে গেছে, যা তারা যে মানুষগুলোকে নাকি মুক্ত করার কথা তুলে থাকে তাদেরই অভুক্ত রেখে দিচ্ছে। এই দাবীটা গত এক সপ্তাহে মার্কিন কংগ্রেসের দুপক্ষের রাজনীতিবিদরাই আবার করে তুলেছে। ১১ জুলাই এক প্রেস কনফারেন্স ডেকে মায়ামির মেয়র ফ্রান্সিস সুয়ারেজ আহ্বান করেছে, মার্কিন নেতৃত্বে কিউবাতে এক আন্তর্জাতিক হস্তক্ষেপ হোক।

ভারতীয় বামপন্থীদের বৃহদাংশের কাছে তথাকথিত সমাজতান্ত্রিক রাষ্ট্রদের বিরুদ্ধে যে কোনো সময়ে, যে কোনো প্রতিবাদই অন্যায্য এবং সাম্রাজ্যবাদের তৈরী। এটা স্তালিনবাদের মৌলিক ধারণা থেকেই আসে। কিউবার ক্ষেত্রে, ভারতীয় স্তালিনবাদীরা সমগ্র দায় রেখেছে সাম্রাজ্যবাদের উপরে, যে কাজে তারা কিউবার কমিউনিস্ট পার্টিকেই অনুসরণ করছে।

নিঃসন্দেহে দীর্ঘমেয়াদী দায়ের সিংহভাগ মার্কিন সাম্রাজ্যবাদের উপরেই পড়বে। কিউবারে এবারের প্রতিবাদ ঘটেছে বিগত ত্রিশ বছরের সবচেয়ে খারাপ অর্থনৈতিক মন্দার মধ্যে। গত কয়েক মাস ধরে ভিডিও ঘুরেছে সোশ্যাল মিডিয়াতে,যেখানে দেখা গেছে মানুষ নিত্যপ্রয়োজনীয় দ্রব্যের ঘাটতির ফলে ক্ষোভ প্রকাশ করছে,খাদ্যের জন্য লম্বা লম্বা লাইন পড়েছে, এবং অতিমারীকে সরকার যেভাবে মোকাবিলা করতে চাইছে তার প্রতি অসন্তোষ আছে। অতিমারির বিশ্বে অবরোধের প্রভাবে বিপর্যয়কর পরিস্থিতি তৈরি হয়েছে। সাম্প্রতিকতম প্রতিবেদন থেকে জানা যায় যে  ২০১৯-এর মার্চ থেকে ২০২০-র মার্চে মার্কিন অর্থনৈতিক অবরোধ কিউবার অর্থনীতির ৫.৫৭ বিলিয়ন ডলার ক্ষতি করেছে। অতিমারী যত পৃথিবী জুড়ে ছড়িয়ে পড়ে, অর্থনৈতিক নিষেধাজ্ঞার ফল তত মারাত্মক হতে বাধ্য।। এই কথা বিশেষ করে বলতে হবে, কারণ দেশের প্রধান শিল্প হল পর্যটন, এবং সেই ক্ষেত্রটি ভীষণভাবে আঘাত পেয়েছে। দেশের মোট আভ্যন্তরীণ উৎপাদন কমেছিল ১১ শতাংশ। ব্যবসা এবং রেস্তোঁরাগুলি বন্ধ, ফলে বহু কিউবান এখন কাজ পাচ্ছেন না। সেপ্টেম্বরের মধ্যে টিকাকরণ দেশের সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠের মধ্যে ছড়িয়ে পড়বে, কিউবার এই পরিকল্পনা ধাক্কা খেয়েছে কারণ ইঞ্জেকশনের ছুঁচ পর্যন্ত নিষেধাজ্ঞার ফলে যথেষ্ট পরিমাণে  উৎপন্ন হয় নি।  

কিন্তু এখানে থেমে যাওয়ার অর্থ হবে, কিউবার কমিউনিস্ট পার্টি যা করেছে তার সবকিছুই নিঃশর্তে মেনে নেওয়া। কিউবার বিপ্লবের প্রতি সমর্থনের মানে এই না, যে বর্তমান (বা পূর্বতন) নেতৃত্বের ভূমিকা সম্পর্কে নীরব থাকা। কোনো আমলাতান্ত্রিক রাষ্ট্রযন্ত্র, যা কেবল জনগণকে ‘সংগঠিত’ করতে চায়, কিন্তু প্রতিবাদী কন্ঠদের রোধ করে, তার পক্ষে সাম্রাজ্যবাদের চাপ সহ্য করা সম্ভব নয়। ভূতপূর্ব রাষ্ট্রপতি রাউল কাস্ত্রো সরকার যে উদারীকরণ প্রক্রিয়া আরম্ভ করেছিল, সেটা এখন দিয়াজ-ক্যানেল সরকারের তত্ত্বাবধানে দ্রুতগতিতে এগোচ্ছে। মুদ্রাস্ফীতি, এবং সরকারের ভাষায় ‘অপ্রয়োজনীয় ভর্তুকি ও বিনামূল্যে পরিষেবা’ কেটে বাদ দেওয়ায় জনগণের উপর এক কঠোর ব্যয়সংকোচ নীতি চেপে বসেছে। এটা শুরু হয়েছে ১ জানুয়ারি থেকে ডলারের সঙ্গে বিনিময়যোগ্য পেসো বন্ধ করে দেওয়া এবং পেসোর দাম ২৪ পেসোতে ১ ডলার করে বেঁধে দেওয়া থেকে, যার ফলে মুদ্রার ২৪০০ শতাংশ অবমূল্যায়ন হয়েছে। অন্যদিকে, বিদেশী বিনিয়োগকারীদের আকৃষ্ট করতে এবং ব্যক্তিগত ক্ষেত্রকে (অর্থাৎ কয়েক ডজনের বেশি না, এমন অল্প মানুষকে নিয়োগ করে যে ছোটো ও মাঝারি ব্যবসায়ীরা, তাদের ) সতেজ করে তুলতে একগুচ্ছ পদক্ষেপ নেওয়া হয়েছে। এই সব পদক্ষেপের উদ্দেশ্য ৫০০টির বেশি প্রকল্প যা প্রধানত ভ্রমণশিল্প ও খনিজ তেলের ক্ষেত্রে “সুবিধার পোর্টফোলিও” আনার আশা প্রকাশ করেছে, যাতে নাকি ১২ বিলিয়ন ডলার আনবে। কিন্তু সবচেয়ে বড় ঘোষণা হল যে ভ্রমণ, বায়োটেকনোলজি এবং পাইকারী ব্যবসাতে রাষ্ট্রের সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ অংশগ্রহণ বাধ্যতামূলক থাকবে, এই ব্যবস্থার অবসান। 

যে প্রতিবাদগুলি দেখা দিয়েছে তা ভালমন্দ মেশানো এবং এখন অবধি বেশ সীমিত। কিন্তু সরকার তাদের উপর ঝাঁপিয়ে পড়ল, ঘোষণা করল সবটাই সাম্রাজ্যবাদের মদতপুষ্ট। প্রেস কনফারেন্সে দিয়াজ-ক্যানেল মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রকে নিন্দা করলেন, সমস্ত প্রতিবাদীকে প্রতিবিপ্লবী বলে চিত্রায়িত করলেন এবং ‘বিপ্লবীদের’ আহ্বান করলেন রাস্তায় নেমে ‘বিপ্লবকে রক্ষা করতে’। অবশ্যই আমরা দক্ষিণপন্থীদের, চার্চকে এবং ‘পাত্রিয়া ই ভিদা’ আন্দোলনকে প্রত্যাখ্যান করি। এরা কিউবার পরিস্থিতির ফলে যে ক্ষোভ দানা বেধেছে, সেটাকে পুঁজি করে কিউবার বিপ্লবের অর্জিত অধিকারগুলি মুছে ফেলতে চায় এবং ধনতন্ত্র ফিরিয়ে আনতে চায়। কিন্তু এটাই পুরো গল্পটা নয়। প্রতিবাদগুলি শুরু হয়েছিল শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে, কিন্তু প্রায় প্রতিটি প্রতিবাদ-বিক্ষোভই শেষ অবধি হিংসাত্মক ঘটনা দেখেছিল। আর সেই কাজটা কিন্তু দুপক্ষই করেছিল। আর,একই সময়ে একের পর এক শহরে সরকার বিরোধী বিক্ষোভ দেখা দিয়েছিল, এটা সমাজতন্ত্রী কিউবাতে অভূতপূর্ব। ঘটনাগুলি বোঝার সময়ে এই কথাটাও মনে রাখতে হবে।

 ১১ জুলাই কিউবাতে কী ঘটেছিল, তার তিনরকম ব্যাখ্যা করা হয়েছে। সরকার দাবী করেছে, এটা ছিল প্রতিবিপ্লবীদের সঙ্গে কমিউনিস্টদের সংঘাত। বুর্জোয়া প্রচারমাধ্যম পৃথিবীজুড়ে বলছে এটা ছিল স্বৈরাচারের বিরুদ্ধে নিপীড়িতের বিদ্রোহ। আবার কেউ কেউ বলেছেন, এটা ছিল অবক্ষয়ী আমলাতন্ত্রের বিরুদ্ধে বিপ্লবী শ্রমিক শ্রেণীর উত্থান। বাস্তবে ১১ জুলাইয়ে এই তিনটি বাখ্যারই কিছু কিছু উপাদান দেখা যায়। মার্কিন অর্থপুষ্ট প্রতিবিপ্লবী সংগঠনরা কমিউনিস্ট পার্টিকে আক্রমণ করেছিল। কিছু বুদ্ধিজীবী গোষ্ঠী, যাঁরা মনে করেছেন তাঁদের নাগরিক অধিকার ভীষণভাবে সংকুচিত, তাঁরা সেন্সরশীপের সামনে পড়ছেন, তারাও প্রতিবাদ করেছেন। আর শ্রমিক শ্রেণীর সদস্যরা দাবী করেছেন, সরকার তাঁদের জীবন যাপনের অবস্থা ফেরাক। কিন্তু যদিও প্রতিবাদীদের ব্যাপক সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ ওই তৃতীয় পর্যায়ে পড়েন তবু এঁদের কোনোভাবে এক সচেতন সমাজতন্ত্রী জনতা হিসেবে দেখা যাবে না, যারা  এক স্থবির আমলাতন্ত্রের বিরুদ্ধে আরো সমাজতান্ত্রিক দিকে যেতে চাইছেন।  

প্রতিবাদের মূল বৈশিষ্ট্যসমূহ

·        অধিকাংশ প্রতিবাদীই কোনো প্রতিবিপ্লবী সংগঠনের সঙ্গে যুক্ত না। প্রতিবাদগুলি প্রতিবিপ্লবীদের নেতৃত্বে ঘটেও নি।

·        প্রতিবাদীদের মধ্যে ব্যাপক সংখ্যক যে তরুণ ছিলেন, সেটা দেখায়, সরকারের ন্যায্যতা মানুষের চোখে কমছে।

·        প্রতিবাদগুলি প্রাথমিকভাবে দানা বেধেছিল শ্রমিক মহল্লাতে, যেখানে সামাজিক সমস্যা সবচেয়ে বেশী। আজকের কিউবার সমাজে সামাজিক অসাম্য একটি ক্রমবর্ধমান সমস্যা। দারিদ্র, সামাজিক অবহেলা, সামাজিক নীতিদের অনিশ্চয়তা, রাষ্ট্রীয় উদ্যোগে খাদ্য ও অন্য নিত্যপ্রয়োজনীয় দ্রব্যের সরবরাহের সীমাবদ্ধতা এবং নিম্নমানের সাংস্কৃতিক নীতি এই সব প্রান্তিক ও নিম্ন-আয় মহল্লাগুলির জীবনের বৈশিষ্ট্য।

·        প্রতিবাদ কোথাও সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠের সমর্থন পায় নি। কিউবার জনগনের বড় অংশ এখনো সরকারকেই সমর্থন করেন।

·        প্রতিবাদগুলিতে প্রায় কোনো সমাজতন্ত্রী স্লোগান ছিল না।

·        অল্পসংখ্যক বুদ্ধিজীবী প্রতিবাদগুলির সঙ্গে যুক্ত ছিলেন কিন্তু অবাধ মতপ্রকাশের দাবী, সেন্সরশীপ ছাড়া অবাধে শিল্প সৃজনের দাবী সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠের মধ্যে সাড়া জাগায় নি কারণ তারা চাইছিলেন জীবনজীবিকার মৌলিক উন্নতি।

·        হাভানার শান্তিপূর্ণ মিছিলের বিকৃতি ঘটিয়ে লুঠ ও ভাঙ্গচুরের জন্য দায়ী লুম্পেনরা

 

মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র থেকে সোশ্যাল মিডিয়া মারফত আসা প্রতিবিপ্লবী প্রচার অবশ্যই একটা ভূমিকা পালন করেছিল, কিন্তু এইগুলি প্রতিবাদের জন্ম দেয় নি।    

 

সামনে এগোনোর পথঃ

বিপ্লবকে রক্ষা করা আর রাষ্ট্রে গভীরভাবে গেঁথে থাকা কমিউনিস্ট পার্টির আমলাতন্ত্রকে রক্ষা করা সমার্থক নয়পুঁজিবাদীদের উচ্ছেদ করার দিকে শ্রমিক শ্রেণী যে অগ্রগতি ঘটিয়েছেন তাকে রক্ষা করা। সাম্রাজ্যবাদ বিপ্লবদের উল্টে দিতে পারে। কিন্তু একদলীয় পার্টি-রাষ্ট্রের আমলাতন্ত্ররাও বিপ্লবদের প্রতি অন্তর্ঘাত করতে পারে যার ফলে ধনতন্ত্র পুনঃপ্রতিষ্ঠা হতে পারে।   

যারা কিউবার বিপ্লবের অর্জিত জয়গুলি রক্ষা করতে ও তাদের এগিয়ে নিয়ে যেতে লড়াই করছেন, আমরা তাঁদের স্বাধীনভাবে মিছিল করার, ইউনিয়ন গঠন করার অধিকারের পক্ষে ।

যে কোনো রাজনৈতিক বন্দী তিনি যদি  অন্য কোনো মানুষের জীবন বিপন্ন না করে থাকেন, তবে তাঁদের প্রত্যেকের অবিলম্বে মুক্তি দাবী করি।

সামনে এগোনোর একমাত্র পথ হল গণপ্রতিরোধে অংশ নেওয়া, তার মধ্যে স্বাধীন সমাজতন্ত্রী কর্মসূচীর পক্ষে মত রাখা, মার্কিন সাম্রাজ্যবাদ এবং প্রতিক্রিয়াশীলদের সরকার উচ্ছেদের প্রয়াসের বিরোধিতা করার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে জনগণের প্রত্যক্ষ গণতন্ত্রের প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক রূপ কায়েম করার জন্য লড়াই করা এবং উপর থেকে আমলাতান্ত্রিক শাসনের প্রবক্তা হতে অস্বীকার করা।

১৯ জুলাই ২০২১

Does solidarity with Palestine equal ‘anti-Semitism?’

By COOPER BARD

Let’s not confuse the issue. What is happening in Palestine is not a conflict that exists between “Islam and the West” or between “Judaism and Islam.” It is a conflict between oppressor and oppressed—a conflict between a settler-colonial state engaging in ethnic cleansing, and the people whose land they are stealing. When the Israeli Defense Force deliberately targets hospitals and civilian homes, and the Israeli government actively encourages Jewish settlement on lands recently stolen from Palestinians who are told to demolish their own homes, this couldn’t be more clear. For over 70 years, Palestinians have been fighting for their freedom.

Unfortunately, Zionists and their allies (including real anti-Semites) will deliberately foster the notion that the free Palestine movement is anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish)—for different purposes, of course. Movement activists need to discredit the lie that Israel defends Jews, and therefore that countering Israeli policy is inherently anti-Semitic. Dismantling this falsehood is important for achieving Palestinian liberation; at the same time, it necessitates combating anti-Semitism whenever it flares up around the world.

Anti-Semitism must not be tolerated

Agitators have and will come to Palestine solidarity rallies and meetings with the intention of exploiting justified anger against mass murder and turning it into “anti-Semitism.” They try to catch the movement off guard, occasionally taking poorly conceived statements out of context and then publishing the “evidence” far and wide. Sometimes they go much further in their actions, such as accusing Palestine supporters of seeking a second Holocaust.

The “anti-Semitism” label was recently employed against the Palestine solidarity movement by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who reintroduced legislation that would effectively allow state and local governments to implement laws targeting firms that boycott Israel. “The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is the single most destructive campaign of economic warfare facing the Jewish state of Israel today,” said Rubio. “Amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism, it’s critical that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our closest democratic ally in the Middle East.”

Of course, real anti-Semitism must be crushed wherever it rears its ugly head. Anti-Semitism is designed, like all forms of racism and prejudice, to divide the working class. The longer that Jewish workers are fooled into thinking Palestinians are their enemies, and the longer that some Palestinians put blame on Jews in general, makes it longer until they realize that their common enemy is capitalism. This works to the benefit of the Israeli capitalists and their sponsors in the United States and other imperialist countries.

This is the same dynamic that white supremacy plays in the United States, and it is thus no surprise that Trump rallies fly the flag of Israel, while Black Lives Matter rallies have often embraced the cause of the Palestinians. Many U.S. police and border patrol agents receive training from Israeli security experts or receive training directly in Israel. The same methods of police terrorism are applied globally, and therefore it is easy for both BLM activists and Palestinians to see that their oppression takes similar forms. The racists and anti-racists alike are well aware of their allies and enemies.

Israel will not protect Jews from oppression

One of the reasons used to defend the existence of Israel (by arch-Zionists as well as by supporters of a “two-state solution”) is that Jewish people, being persecuted globally, need a homeland of their own, an ethnic Jewish state for their own protection. Never mind that to secure this Promised Land requires theft from the Palestinian people, with their persecution and murder.

For one to believe that Jewish people require a hermetically sealed special box for their protection is to cede to global racism a massive victory. But shouldn’t oppressed peoples have the right of self-determination? Yes, absolutely, but this doesn’t justify Israel. As the 1971 Socialist Workers Party resolution on Israel and the Middle East explained:

“The situation of the Israeli Jews is essentially different from that of Jews in other parts of the world. The struggle against anti-Semitism and the oppression of Jews in other countries is a progressive struggle directed against their oppressors. In some circumstances the demand for self-determination for oppressed Jews, directed against the oppressor nation, could become appropriate. Thus the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky recognized the right of the Jews in Russia to set up a state on their own territory, if they wished. However, the oppression of Jews in other countries does not justify the creation and maintenance of the existing Israeli state at the expense of the Palestinians, who were not and are not responsible for the oppression of the Jews. There, the situation is the reverse. The Israeli Jews form an oppressor nationality of a settler-colonial character vis-a-vis the Arab peoples. The Israeli state is the means by which this oppression is maintained.” [1]

Israel does nothing to halt the oppression of Jews worldwide. If anything it intensifies it, by allowing an opening for the anti-Semites to declare that “the Jews,” as a group, are oppressing people. As Israel privileges Jews more and more at the expense of the civil rights and autonomy of other peoples, this racism only feeds more racism.

Moreover, Zionism implicitly relies on the existence of anti-Semitism to justify itself. As long as Jews in Israel perceive that they are surrounded by enemies, and that they are powerless to make common cause with oppressed people in the Middle East, the suggestion is reinforced that the only solution is to continue the settler-colonial project. This idea encourages a xenophobic fortress mentality on the part of Jewish citizens of Israel, who feel obliged to defend themselves from a hostile world that intends to destroy them as a people.

However, the target of the Palestinian movement is not Jewish people but the state of Israel. Some well-meaning people may believe that the only viable means to do so is to hoist the Jews off the land once stolen. But this is not a goal expressed by most forces of the free Palestine movement and its supporters worldwide.

Zionism leads Jews away from the class struggle

In the history of labor struggles and social movements, particularly before World War II, Jewish people were at the forefront, and made up a large portion of socialist forces. This was true in both the United States and Europe. It is no surprise that with the emergence of fascism in Germany and other countries, Jews became a specific target of persecution.

Fascism, as a dictatorship of capitalists guaranteed by gangsterism*, has as a high priority the annihilation of socialist forces. In the 1918 revolution, before the rise of Hitler, the German proletariat came very close to overturning capitalism, and they had chances again in 1923 and 1933. The association of “Jews” with “Bolshevism” became a ringing point of fascist propaganda. Jews were, of course, not the only victims of the Holocaust, and the slaughter of a number of class fighters and a majority of Jews helped German capitalists eliminate any memory of the proletarian class struggle in Germany.

After this abomination, Zionism came to the forefront, supported by U.S. and British capitalists. They supplied money, arms, and willing settlers to the burgeoning colonial state of Israel. They did not, of course, do this out of the kindness of their hearts or out of any sense of guilt for persecution happening in their own countries. The existence of Israel provided a beachhead, and a very valuable one, for securing U.S. and British interests in the Middle East. They continue to provide arms (including material for nuclear weapons) and other aid to Israel for this purpose and no other. It is a great evil of history that one mass killing is used to justify another.

Zionism leads Jewish working-class people into a racist trap, one which, as mentioned, helps perpetuate capitalism and colonialism by pitting them against Palestinians, as well as the whole Arab world. In reality, Jewish working people have their real allies in the greater working class of the Middle East and Palestine. It is by mobilizing this class in the name of its own interests against the rich of the Middle East that Israeli Jews can secure their own protection. Arab workers of the Middle East must also recognize where this trap is being set for them, and struggle as a class.

Two state solution?

In the struggle to end the oppression of Palestinians by settler colonialism, what solution will work? What state of affairs will guarantee, in reality and not mere words, the equality of rights in Palestine between Jews, Muslims, Christians and everyone else? It should be clear that the settler-colonial state itself, Israel, is incapable of providing the needed framework. It is built, as is the United States, on a foundation of land theft and genocide.

Biden and other imperialist politicians call for a “two-state solution,” a formula that is accepted by the Palestinian Authority. That would require maintaining the state mainly for Jews (Israel) while allowing a smaller one for Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza). Since Israel has not found success in putting an end to rebellions against its domination over historical Palestine, the two-state scheme is the next best acceptable option for the U.S. ruling class. Steering the Palestinians toward such a “solution” would strengthen the influence of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and provide hope that more radical forces could be contained.

It should be obvious, however, that there no way that Palestinians could build a tenable “state” while their territory is subdivided into tiny unconnected parcels that are interspersed with hostile settler communities, and subject to constant Israeli regulation. [2] Moreover, it would be ridiculous to assume that Palestinians can liberate themselves from racist tyranny while Israel remains a military outpost for the expansionist needs of U.S. imperialism. Any movement by Palestinians against neo-colonial domination would be met by the force of Israeli arms. These reasons help explain why the “two-state solution” is increasingly unpopular among radicalizing youth, both in Palestine and in the world solidarity movement.

Only a united socialist Middle East can successfully repel imperialist aggression. The establishment of a singular, secular, and democratic Palestine,with the right of return open to all Palestinians, is an unavoidable step along this road. It is in the framework of a democratic secular Palestine that the Free Palestine movement can begin to achieve its goal of equal rights for all ethnicities and religions, including Palestinians and Jews. But full liberation can only come when workers and oppressed people throughout the world take the road of socialist revolution.

And this especially is why anti-Semitism is so valuable to the ruling classes of both Israel and the United States. The suggestion that there is an inherent desire for race war among those in struggle is a tool that they will try to use to hold off workers’ revolution in the Middle East and occupied Palestine—and in this country as well.

* The book “Fascism and Big Business,” by Daniel Guerin, is an exemplary history of the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, and is recommended reading for anyone seeking an understanding of the causes (and horrors) of 20th century fascism.

Sources:

[1] https://www.marxists.org/history//etol/document/swp-us/24thconvention/zionism.htm — SWP 1971 Resolution on Israel.

[2] https://socialistresurgence.org/2021/05/25/palestine-ceasefire-declared-but-israeli-occupation-continues/ — Erwin Freed discusses the successes and challenges to the Free Palestine movement, including the pointlessness of the “two-state solution.”

 

From the website of Socialist Resurgence

Cuba: Resist Imperialism, Defend the Democratic Rights of People, Question State Policies that Create Hardships

Since 1992, Cuba has brought the demand to end the U.S. embargo every year in front of the UN — a motion that is approved annually with the overwhelming support of the international community with the deafening exception of the U.S. and its closest ally, Israel. The non-binding request was, in fact, introduced again just about a month ago, and was approved with 184 votes in favour, two against (USA and Israel), and three abstentions (Colombia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates). 

For years, the U.S. has hidden behind the excuse of fighting for “freedom” and “democracy” in Cuba while continuing to implement an embargo that starves the very people it claims to want to “free.” This claim has been repeated in the past week by U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle. In a press conference on 11th July, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, called for an international intervention into Cuba under US leadership.

For large parts of the Indian left, any protest against the so-called socialist states at any point of time has been seen as illegitimate and imperialist sponsored. This stems from the basic premises of Stalinism. In the case of Cuba, Indian Stalinists have put the entire responsibility on the imperialists, following the Cuban CP itself.

Undoubtedly, US imperialism bears much of the long term responsibility. The protests in Cuba come in the midst of the worst economic recession in 30 years. For months, videos circulated on social media have shown people expressing dissent over the shortage of basic necessities, the long queues for food, and the government’s mismanagement of the pandemic. According to the latest reports, in just the period of March 2019-2020, the embargo has caused an estimated $5.57 billion in damages to the Cuban economy. As the pandemic spread globally, the impact of the sanctions have been more disastrous, especially as the country’s primary industry, tourism, suffered terribly. The country’s gross domestic product fell by 11 percent. With businesses and restaurants still shuttered, many Cubans are now unable to work. Cuba's plan to vaccinate the majority of the population by September has hit a snag, since syringe production is affected due to the sanctions.

To stop here, however, would be to assume that whatever the Cuban Communist Party has done must be accepted uncritically. Support for the Cuban revolution cannot mean silence about the role of the current (or previous ) leadership. The pressures of imperialism cannot be withstood by a bureaucratic state apparatus which only tries to “mobilize” masses while stifling dissent. The process of liberalization that was started by the Raúl Castro regime is now rapidly continuing with the Díaz-Canel government. On the one hand, there is severe austerity for the masses in the form of inflation and cuts in “undue subsidies and free services,” as the government calls them. This came with the withdrawal of the CUC (Convertible currency) from circulation on January 1 and the implementation of a single exchange rate of 24 pesos (CUP) = $1, which resulted in the devaluation of the currency by 2400 percent. On the other hand, there is a new battery of measures to “attract foreign investment” and strengthen the private sector, the small and medium-sized merchants and business people who employ no more than a few dozen people. The aim of these measures is to bring in foreign investment with an ambitious “portfolio of opportunities” with more than 500 projects, mainly in tourism and oil, for $12 billion. But the most important measure was the announcement of the end of the obligation of majority-Cuban state participation in investments in tourism, biotechnology, and wholesale trade.

The protests that occurred have been a mixed bag, and certainly, as yet, relatively small. But the regime came down hard, and declared it wholly sponsored by imperialism. In a press conference, Díaz-Canel denounced U.S. imperialism, painting all protesters as counterrevolutionary and asked for “revolutionaries” to take to the streets and “defend the revolution.” Indeed, we reject the right wing, the church, and the “Patria y Vida” movement that continue to capitalize on this discontent over the situation in Cuba, attempting to stifle the continuing conquests of the revolution, and set the path for capitalist restoration. However, this is not the whole story. Although the first protests began peacefully, almost all the demonstrations ended up seeing violence, which was carried out by both sides. This series of simultaneous anti-government demonstrations is something never before seen in socialist Cuba. This must be taken into account to understand the events.

Three characterisations of the protests in Cuba on 11 July have been given. The government claims they were a confrontation between counterrevolutionaries and communists; the bourgeois press globally say they represented the oppressed rising against a dictatorship; others have argued this was a revolutionary working class against a politically degenerate bureaucracy. In reality, the 11 July protests brought together the three previous perspectives: the counterrevolutionary organisations—financed by the United States—violently attacking the Communist Party; groups of intellectuals, who feel their civil liberties severely restricted, facing censorship; and the working class demanding that the government improve their living conditions. However, although the overwhelming majority of protesters belonged to the third category, this cannot be understood as a politically conscious socialist mass, demanding more socialism from a stagnant bureaucracy.

Key Features of the Protest

§  Most of the protesters were not linked to counterrevolutionary organisations, nor were the protests led by counterrevolutionary organisations. 

§  The political legitimacy of the government is diminishing as shown by the large number of young people among the protesters.

§  The protests originated in the working class neighbourhoods with the greatest social problems. Social inequality is a growing problem in Cuban society. Poverty, social neglect, precariousness of public and social policies, limited supply of food and basic products by the state, as well as poor cultural policies, are characteristic of life in peripheral and lower-income neighbourhoods.

§  The protests did not represent a majority. Most of the Cuban population continues to support the government.

§  In the protests there were hardly any socialist slogans.

§  A small number of intellectuals were linked to the protests. but their demands for right to free expression and uncensored artistic creation had little resonance with the majority demanding basic improvements in life.

§  Lumpen groups were responsible for looting and vandalism distorting the otherwise peaceful spirit of the demonstrations in Havana.

§  Counterrevolutionary propaganda orchestrated from the US via social media certainly played a role  but were not the main factor triggering the protests.

 

The Way forward

The defence of the revolution is not a defence of the Communist Party bureaucracy which is entrenched in the state, but of the gains made by the working class in the revolution to expropriate the capitalists. Revolutions can be toppled by imperialism. But revolutions can also be subverted by one-party state bureaucracies that lead the way to capitalist restoration.

We defend the right to demonstration and union organization of those who fight to defend and deepen the conquests of the Cuban Revolution.

We call for an immediate release of the political prisoners as long as they have not committed actions that have threatened the lives of other people.

The only way forward is to participate in the popular protests, to defend within them an independent socialist program, to work towards the creation of much more direct institutional forms of  popular democracy even as we continue to oppose and challenge US imperialism and reactionary efforts to overthrow the regime but without becoming apologists for top down bureaucratic rule.

 

Radical Socialist

19 July 2021

ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামীর প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক হত্যা সম্পর্কে র‍্যাডিক্যাল সোশ্যালিস্টের বিবৃতি

 

 Father Stan Swamy, 84-year-old Jesuit in Mumbai prison, may have Covid-19 |  America Magazine

ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামী তাঁর জীবন উৎসর্গ করেছিলেন ঝাড়খন্ডের আদিবাসী সম্প্রদায়দের সঙ্গে থেকে ও কাজ করে। তিনি খনিজ সম্পদে সমৃদ্ধ অঞ্চলের অধিবাসীদের উপর ধনতান্ত্রিক শোষণ আর রাষ্ট্রীয় দমন-পীড়নের বিরুদ্ধে লড়াই করেছিলেন। মানুষের অধিকার নিয়ে কথা বলা ও মানুষের পাশে দাঁড়ানোর এই অপরাধের জন্য আরো অনেকের সঙ্গে তাঁকে ভীমা কোরেগাঁওয়ের মিথ্যা মামলায় জড়িয়েছিল কুখ্যাত জাতীয় তদন্ত এজেন্সী (এন আই এ)।   

 

 

একদিকে মোদী গণতন্ত্রের গুণগান গাইছে আর অমিত শাহ একটি প্রসিদ্ধ ইংরেজী দৈনিকে নিয়মিত গণতন্ত্র ও মৌলিক অধিকারের উৎস সম্পর্কে প্রবন্ধ লিখছে; আর একই সঙ্গে অন্য দিকে রাষ্ট্র যে কোনো প্রতিবাদী বা সমালোচনাত্মক কন্ঠ, সে সাংবাদিকদের হোক, উদ্বিগ্ন নাগরিকদের হোক, বুদ্ধিজীবীদের হোক বা ছাত্রদের হোক, তাঁদের উপর তীব্রভাবে ঝাঁপিয়ে পড়ছেআমরা এটা দেখেছি, নাগরিকত্ব সংশোধনী আইনের প্রতিবাদ যাঁরা করেছেন, তাঁদের বিরুদ্ধে কীভাবে পদক্ষেপ নেওয়া হল তাতে। আমরা দেখেছি, তারা যেভাবে চলমান কৃষক আন্দোলনের সঙ্গে যাঁরা যুক্ত, কীভাবে তাঁদের নামে কুৎসা রটিয়েছে,  আক্রমণ করেছে। আমরা দেখেছি তারা কীভাবে ২০২০-র দিল্লীতে সংগঠিত  ধর্মীয় গণহত্যার  প্রতিবাদ করেছেন যাঁরা, তাঁদের বিরুদ্ধে রাষ্ট্রীয় পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছে। জিঘাংসু রাষ্ট্র যে হিংস্র আইনের সাহায্যে ভীমা কোরেগাঁও মামলাতে জড়িত রাজনৈতিক কর্মীদের যেভাবে আক্রমণ করছে, সেটা হল সম্ভবত কর্মী ও বুদ্ধিজীবীদের উপরে সবচেয়ে মর্মান্তিক আক্রমণের নজীর, এবং সরকারের দিশার সবচেয়ে স্পষ্ট উদাহরণ।  

 

এই সবগুলিই হল ভারতে উদারনৈতিক গণতন্ত্রের যেটুকু খোলস পড়ে আছে, তা থেকে ভিন্নমতের কণ্ঠরোধ করা, এবং  ওই গণতন্ত্রকে নিশ্চিহ্ন করা।  এই কর্মীদের, ছাত্রছাত্রীদের এবং বুদ্ধিজীবীদের দুরবস্থা হল উদাহরণ, যা দিয়ে গোটা দেশকে বোঝানো হচ্ছে, সরকারের নীতিকে কোনোভাবে প্রশ্ন করলে  মানুষকে কোন মূল্য দিতে হবে। সরকারের এই নীতি হল এক বিষাক্ত মিশ্রণ, যাতে আছে কৃষিতে কৃষি আইন এবং শিল্প ক্ষেত্রে শ্রম কোডের মাধ্যমে ধনতান্ত্রিক শোষণের চরমতম বাড়াবাড়ি, আর সেই সঙ্গে হিন্দুত্ববাদী উগ্রজাতীয়তাবাদ, যার আছে ‘অপর’কে বাদ রাখার হিংসাত্মক প্রবণতা। এই দ্বিতীয় ধারাটির ফলে সরকার ক্ষুধা, দারিদ্র, বেকারত্ব, ইত্যাদি প্রসঙ্গ উঠলে যে কোনো সমালোচনাকে ধামাচাপা দেয়  মন্দির গড়ার কথা তুলে, বা মনগড়া ধর্মান্তকরণের দাবী তুলে

যে ভীমা কোরেগাঁও মামলাতে ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামী সহ অনেককেই মিথ্যা অভিযোগে ধরা হয়েছে, সেটা তৈরি করাই হয়েছে সব প্রতিবাদী কণ্ঠরোধ করতে।  আদালতরা এরকম বহু মামলাতে রাষ্ট্রের কার্যনির্বাহক শাখার অনুগামী হিসেবে কাজ করেছে। আদালত স্ট্যান স্বামীর ৮৪ বছর বয়স হওয়া সত্ত্বেও, এবং তিনি পার্কিনসন্স ডিজিজ-এর মতো রোগে ভোগা সত্ত্বেও,  তাঁকে জামিন দিতে রাজি হয় নি। তাঁর স্বাস্থ্য এতটাই ভেঙ্গে পড়েছিল, যে তিনি হাতে একটা কাপ অবধি ঠিক করে ধরতে পারছিলেন না। তাঁর জামিনের আবেদন,  এবং সেই সঙ্গে আবেদন যে তাঁকে জেলে একটা সিপার কাপ ব্যবহার করতে দেওয়া হোক, তাতে দেরী হয়, কারণ এন আই এ আদালতরা বারে বারে চূড়ান্ত অমানবিকতা ও সহানুভূতিবিহীন আচরণ করে আবেদন বর্জন করেছিল। তিনি কোভিড নিয়েও জেলে থাকতে বাধ্য হয়েছিলেন,  যেটা ধরা পড়ে পরে, যখন তাঁর অবস্থা আরো খারাপ হলে তাঁকে হাসপাতালে পাঠানো অনিবার্য হয়।  একজন সামাজিক কর্মীকে এইভাবে সুপরিকল্পিতভাবে, ধীরে ধীরে অত্যাচার করা, হল শাসকদের প্রয়াস, যাতে প্রতিবাদী সকলকে ঠেকানো যায়। ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামীর নিছক মৃত্যু হয় নি। তাঁকে প্রাতিষ্ঠানিকভাবে হত্যা করা হয়েছে।

 

র‍্যাডিক্যাল সোশ্যালিস্ট দাবী করছে, ইউএপিএ এবং এন আই এ আইন রদ করতে হবে, এবং সমস্ত রাজবন্দীদের নিঃশর্ত মুক্তি দিতে হবে। ঝাড়খন্ডের হাজার হাজার আদিবাসী সম্পদায়ের মানুষদের সঙ্গে, এবং দেশ জুড়ে আরো অসংখ্য মানুষের সঙ্গে, আমরাও অন্যায়ের বিরুদ্ধে নিবেদিতপ্রাণ এই জীবন কেড়ে নেওয়াতে শোকপ্রকাশ করছি।

 

৭/৭/২০২১ 

 

 

Radical Socialist Statement condemning the institutional murder of Father Stan Swamy

 

Father Stan Swamy, 84-year-old Jesuit in Mumbai prison, may have Covid-19 |  America Magazine


Father Stan Swamy dedicated his life living and working with tribal communities in Jharkhand. He fought capitalist exploitation and state repression brought upon the people living in mineral rich areas. For these crimes of standing with and speaking up for people’s rights, he was falsely implicated along with many others in the Bhima Koregaon case by the notorious National Investigating Agency (NIA).

While Modi sings paeans on democracy and Amit Shah writes op-ed pieces in a leading English language daily about the roots of democracy and fundamental rights, the state continues to zealously crackdown on any voice of dissent or criticism whether it be by journalists, concerned citizens, intellectuals or students. We have seen this in the way they have dealt with the protestors against CAA, the way they have vilified and attacked those involved in the ongoing farmers’ protests, activists who spoke up against the organized Delhi pogrom in 2020 among many others. The pursuing of the Bhima Koregaon activists by a vindictive state under draconian legal provisions is probably the most harrowing for the activists and intellectuals involved as well as exemplary of the government attitude.

These are all methods of silencing dissent and hollowing out of whatever shell of liberal democracy that India was. The plight of these activists, students and intellectuals are meant to be examples of the very heavy price that people will have to pay should they dare to question the official line of the government, which is a toxic combination of the worst excesses of capitalist exploitation in agriculture (farm laws) and industry (labour code), and a politics of exclusionary ethno-nationalist Hindu chauvinism which helps them bury any criticisms by bringing up the question of building temples or fanciful claims of conversions whenever faced with material questions of hunger, poverty, employment etc.

The Bhima Koregaon case in which Father Stan Swamy was falsely implicated, along with many other activists, is similarly fabricated to stifle all voices of dissent. The courts, which in many such cases have simply acted as an extension of the executive arm of the state, denied Stan Swamy bail, despite him being 84 years of age and suffering from a serious degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s. His condition had debilitated to the extent that he could not even hold a cup properly. His bail pleas, along with his simple request to be allowed to use a sipper cup in jail, was greatly delayed by repeated rejections by the NIA courts showing a complete lack of basic humanity and compassion. He was forced to languish in jail with Covid, which was only detected later when he was transferred to a hospital when his condition deteriorated further. This deliberate and slow torturing of an activist to set an example out of them is nothing but an insidious attempt by the ruling regime to deter anyone who dares to dissent. Father Stan Swamy did not just die, he was institutionally murdered!

Radical Socialists demand a repeal of the draconian UAPA and the NIA Acts, and the unconditional release of all political prisoners. We join the thousands among tribal communities in Jharkhand, and many others across the country, in mourning the murder of a life dedicated to fighting injustice.

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