"Conditions were daily more chaotic. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were deserting the front and beginning to move in vast, aimless tides over the face of the land. The peasants of Table and Iver Governments, tired of waiting for the land, exasperated by the repressive measures of the Government, were burning down manor-houses and massacring landowners. Immense strikes and lock-outs convulsed Moscow, Odessa and the coal mines of the Don. Transport was paralysed; the army was starving, and in the big cities there was no bread".


REED, John, Ten Days that Shook the World, Lawrence and Wishart, Page 21.





Problematics of Revolution

Let us focus our attention by looking at two different perspectives of what the October Revolution actually was. Bettelheim takes a conventional view of this event,

"The October insurrection put an end to the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and established the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia. It thus enabled the proletariat to form itself into the dominant class in order to continue the revolution, carry out the tasks of the democratic revolution and take the first steps towards socialism". (1)

In contrast to this, Anderson suggest a rather more complex interpretation of the revolutionary process,

"Tsarism in Russia outlived all its precursors and contemporaries, to become the only Absolutist State in the continent to survive intact in the 20th Century". (2)

The necessary consequence of this durability of the Tsarist regime for the Bolsheviks was that,

"The Russian Revolution was not made against a capitalist State at all. The Tsarism which fell in 1917 was a feudal apparatus: the Provisional Government never had time to replace it with a new or stable bourgeois apparatus". (3)

According to this commentator, then, it was precisely the nature of the Russian state apparatus which explains the Bolshevik Revolution's initial success as compared to the situation in Germany. To carry forward the logic of Anderson's argument,

"The failure of the November Revolution in Germany, as momentous for the history of Europe as the success of the October Revolution in Russia, was grounded in the differential nature of the state machine with which each was confronted". (4)

In this section, I want to argue that only by accepting a schema similar to that which has been outlined by Anderson can one begin to understand some of the seeming incongruences between economy and superstructures in the early period of the Soviet regime. Immediately, though, we may discuss further these differential statements on the nature of the Soviet Revolution.

In Bettelheim's passage, the very fact that it is suggested that the proletariat's initial tasks must be to pursue the "tasks of democratic (i.e. bourgeois) revolution" implies the lack of, or at least an extreme immaturity of, the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", which we are informed the working class has overthrown. By definition, this must have been an embryonic bourgeoisie, but what of the working class? One can surmise this as also being a nascent class, in that classes are social groupings operating in relation to each other. Despite noting an important paradox in the nature of the political importance and numerical size of the Russian working class, the S.W.P.'s Chris Harman in undaunted in saying,

"The Russian Revolution of 1917 was undeniably a working class revolution. But the working class was a small minority in the population, an island in a vast sea of peasants..." (5)

In this sense, one deduces that the Russian Revolution initiated in the cities, where by definition the infant proletariat would be located and its political weight felt. As Harman puts it himself, this made the initial takeover of power more in the nature of a coup as the proletariat was,

"Able to seize power because of its concentration in the cities, at the key centres for communications and governmental administration, but not able to rule indefinitely on such a basis". (6)

A situation exists then which is directly a consequence of combined - the penetration of capitalism into the Russian economic life - and uneven - the historically late occurrence of this mode of productions introduction into Russia and the unique type of state apparatus into which it was so introduce - development. Here exhibited is a specific relationship between the impetus of capitalist expansion on a world scale and the national peculiarity of the Russian state. Internally then, it is argued, the working class cannot retain power on any protracted basis, therefore, it becomes necessary to factor into the equation an understanding of combined and uneven development in its global totality. Harman suggests that the Bolsheviks,

"...argued that the long term balance of forces could only be altered in favour of the working class by bringing to bear the much greater weight of the working classes in the advanced Western countries". (7)

In this sense, the failure of the German (and Hungarian) revolutionary upsurges was not just momentous, as regards European history, but, much more directly , the development of the Revolution in Russia itself. In particular, a concentration on production of the means of production, with all the economic and political distortions that such a concentration would incur, was essential to the regime's short and long-term survival. What one may call the "psychological impact of defeat in a lowering of the revolutionary morale and ardour in unquantifiable, yet cannot be abstracted from the impetus for isolationist politics later expressed as "socialism in one country". Faced even with a bare outline of such a society, it is feasible to hypothesise extremely discordant relationships between base and superstructures. To indicate whether such was the case, let us consider how this whole situation had arisen. (8)

It is necessary to make some comments which will provide a background to Anderson's bare remark regarding the Russian Revolution and enable is to imagine the "set", so to say, of relationships pertaining at the time of the Bolshevik takeover of power. The immediate post-revolutionary situation will then be considered in more detail.

Lenin provides us with a vivid image of The Development of Capitalism in Russia. In speaking of the transformation of productive techniques imposed by nascent capitalist development, the notes,

"This process of transformation must, by the very nature of capitalism, take place in the midst of much that is uneven and disproportionate : periods of prosperity alternate with periods of crisis, the development of one industry leads to the decline of another, there is progress in one aspect of agriculture in one area and in another aspect of another area, the growth of trade and industry outstrips the growth of argriculture etc". (9)

If this a general formula illustrating the highly differential and apparently contradictory manner in which capitalism can establish itself, then the conflation of this with the way in which the processes occurred within the nationally specific conditions of Tsarist Russia provides a more comprehensive understanding. The major dichtonomy in the Russian situation was the existence of localised pockets of modern industry organised on capitalist lines and set among the general context of the absolutist Tsarist state structure. Indeed Lane argues that the Tsarist government itself played a major role in the implementation of capitalism into Russia and exercised a correspondingly major degree of control over the embryonic bourgeois class.

"The Russian economy, under the Tsars at the beginning of the twentieth century had the following salient features. Under the umpetus of government control and encouragement, the economy was growing swiftly; a network of communications had be established as had a base for heavy industry, textiles, chemicals and oil. But compared to Western European states, Russia was economically backward. Her industrial development had features which were quite different from the Western states. A modern economic system was largely 'imported' by the government, it did not grow out of an indigenous capitalist class - and that class was under the tutelage of the state. The political formations did not conform to a classical Marxist situation. The government, not the bourgeoisie. played the dominant role in the industrial development of capitalism which in turn promoted the growth of the proletariat". (10) (11).

Obviously, such an unusual development of capitalism implies resonances also at the level of consciousness of the embryonic proletariat.

"Its self-determination as a class had developed with a rapidity unequalled in previous history. Scarcely emerged from the cradle, the Russian proletariat found itself faced with the most concentrated state power and the equally concentrated power of capital. Craft prejudices and guild traditions had no power whatsoever over its consciousness. From the First steps it entered upon the path of irreconcilable class struggle". (12)

According to Trotsky, then, the distortion and incorporation of ideological propositions emphasised by tradition is completely absent from the Russian scenario. Whereas, to take the clearest example, the English proletariat had evolved over a comparatively protracted period and "grown up" so to say, beside the bourgeoisie, the young Russian proletariat - may with recent experience of its peasant origins, though the rural sector still was numerically growing - (13) had no such time served loyalties to capitalism. If as early as 1858 Engels feel able to suggest that, "the English proletariat is becoming more and more bourgeois..." (14), he is also able to suggest that this bourgeoisification rests on a material basis (15) However, such ideological hegemony could be seen in terms of the time factor mentioned, and, in this sense, could also be seen as a cause as well as an effect of the material conditions, although undoubtedly the latter is preliminary in terms of explanation. The Russian proletariat, though, can be seen as an unjelled entity. If combined development had meant that capitalism would eventually make its presence felt in Russia. uneven development would ensure that is so evolved in this unique manner. So

"industrialisation, the cost of which was largely defrayed by the peasantry, was itself a threat to political stability and, hence, to the continuation of the policy of industrialisation". (16).

Despite the seeming durability of Russian absolutism, it is this factor upon which Trotsky bases his theory of Permanent Revolution as it applied to Russia,

"...the administrative, military and financial power of absolutism, thanks to which it could exist in spite of social development, not only did not exclude the possibility of revolution, as was the opinion of the liberals, but on the contrary, made revolution the only way out : furthermore, this revolution was guaranteed in advance on all the more radical character in proportion as the might of absolutism dug an abyss between itself and the nation". (17)

If we recall some major premises of Permanent Revolution, then it becomes clear how accurately they codify the actuality of the Russian Revolution. In the schema, because of the weakness of the bourgeoisie in a backward country as an internal class, i.e. as a coherent political and economic element, the working class (and peasantry) will of necessity be obliged to directly assume state power and to undertake tasks, which in other circumstances would have been those of the bourgeoisie. The proletarian strata, despite its relatively small size, is assigned a primary role in both the promotion of revolution and the construction of socialism. The peasantry is seen as under the leadership of the proletariat and the consolidation of such leadership implies a prompt attempt at a solution to the agrarian question and, likewise, the breaking of economic fetters in order to strengthen the proletariat is incompatible with the maintenance of any large scale private property.

Finally, and logically, any attempt to achieve "socialism in one country" within the confines of such extraodinarily inauspicious parameters is identified as a reactionary falsehood, as this is not possible for even an advanced industrial state in isolation, never mind a state resting on a primitive level of productive forces. Even a sketch is enough to indicate some of the major tensions inherent in the social network of Russia at this time.

By themselves, they had been sufficient to promote a major bout of social unrest in 1905 and it takes little analysis to perceive that the imposition of any important 'external' event, which could tend to have a destabilising effect on the regime, would considerably enhance the possibility of social unrest and, thereby promote a situation in which oppositional ideas could grip a large number of people. If the necessity for social change would become clearer, the direction which such change might take was very much more problematical and would, in part, rely on the active intervention of revolutionaries. The important event, of course was World War 1. As might be expected the onset of the Great War led to a significant growth in Tsarist Russia's productive forces stimulated by the expanded needs of the military,

Index of Industrial Production


1913 100.00

1914 100.0

1915 102.7

1916 109.5 (18)


However, these bare figures, if taken in isolation, tend to hide the actual dislocations present in the Russian economy of this time, In fact, the switch to production of armaments and other war material greatly accentuated inherent weaknesses of the Tsarist economy such as transport, general industrial production and finance. (19)

Naturally, the army consumed that most important element of the productive forces - men - in huge quantities and expended them most liberally. Whilst millions of peasants had be conscripted and their major productive force - horses - had been widely requisitioned by the army, the induction of the working class into the army was not evenhanded in that, "in the beginning of the war, the best elements of the Russian working class had at once been sent to the front as notorious trouble makers". (20) These being the most highly skilled workers again meant a blow to productive capacity as well as, it may be said, providing a nuclei of potential agitators within the army itself, an army already weakened in morale by the events in Poland.

If we consider that Germany had gained important industrial areas from Russia and that distribution of even basic commodities such as food had broken down along the enrichment of kulaks and a section of capitalists, then it is not going too far to say that Russia was exhibiting many of the symptoms of economic breakdown. If it is argued that a major reason why Russia's economic base was totally inadequate to sustain the impact of a major war was precisely the effect of its antiquated political superstructures, then social change is firmly placed on the itinerary. (21)

Nove writes that "the Tsar decided in 1915 to take command of the army himself, thereby taking an unnecessary direct responsibility for failures and losses". (22) This appears to be an understatement when on considers the ideological implications of a leader whose power and historical legitimacy are derived directly from God being proved in the most spectacular way to be highly fallible. The general delegitimisation of the regime opens the way to an understanding that substantial political ferment containing proposals of how social change was to come about and to what aims such change should be directed was also on the agenda. Trotsky presents a dramatic picture of the situation of the proletariat in this overall scenario,

"The Russian proletariat learned its first steps in the political circumstances created by a despotic state. Strikes forbidden by law, underground circles, illegal proclamations, street demonstrations, encounters with the police and with troops - such was the school created by the combination of a swiftly developing capitalism with an absolutism slowly surrendering its positions". (23)

If one can note here a developing conflict between productive forces and productive relationships, then extending our recollection of the society as a whole, it is clear that the economic dislocation spread over transport, distribution and agriculture coupled with a breakdown of military discipline could present enormous possibility for political intervention, which a centralised party such as Lenin's could hope to enact.

A schema presents itself where extreme discordance between base and superstructure existed at certain points of society between "the concentration of workers in colossal enterprises" (24) and the archaic social and political configurations, At the same time, the war effort had accentuated the differentials between town and country : "the concentration of industry6 on the needs of the war reduced the quantity of manufactured goods available for the exchange between town and country". (25)

In a sense, then, the war had promoted a generalisation of economic contradiction over the whole economic life. Whilst the blunt Tsarist instruments of repression could allow the absolutist state to coexist with geographically localised capitalist penetration, the pressures of war economy would prove a far more formidable challenge.

The mechanics of the Russian Revolution itself occupy the material of many books, but it is sufficient to note here that the Bolshevik party was organised enough to make a political intervention in the process successful enough to draw adequate forces to themselves and to follow this with a practical intervention in the November insurrection, enabling them to assume power over a state in rapid effective disintegration. In many senses, this was the start rather than the end of their problems. The major tension inherent in the Russian Revolution will clearly be seen as the conflict between the imperative of retaining state power - without which socialist construction would be impossible - and the enacting of measures to enable this retention in the short term, which were inimical to the long-term interests of socialist construction.



Lenin calls the Brest Litovsk Peace Treaty with Germany of March 3rd 1918,

"...harsh, superharsh, and rapacious..." (26) but justifies it by two simple facts: the army is nothing but a " ...sick remnant..." and two, "...the assuption that the German revolution will begin immediately is self-deception". (27)

Both of these are true, but, nevertheless, the effect of the Brest annexationist peace agreement at the level of economy can hardly be over estimated,

"It deprived Russia of a territory nearly as large as Austria-Hungary and Turkey combined, with 56,000,000 inhabitants, or 32 per cent of her whole population, a third of her railway mileage, 73 per cent of her total iron ore, 89 per cent of her total coal production, and more than 5,000 factories and industrial plants. Moreover, Russia was obliged to pay Germany an idemnity of six billion marks". (28)

So here we have a mighty additional economic burden to that imposed by the war itself. Lenin asserts that,

"The Russian Soviet Republic enjoys the favourable position of having at its command, even after the Brest peace, enormous reserves of or (in the Urals), fuel in Western Siberia (coal), in the Caucuses and the South East (oil), in Central Russia (peat), enormous timber reserves, water power, raw materials for the chemical industry. (Karabugaz), etc". (29)

This seems wildly optimistic. We can recall the damage wrought to coal and oil - essential industries on which the attempt to reconstruct the Soviet economy as a whole would rest - in quantitative terms.



1916 1920

35.3 million tons 8.3 million tons


1916 1920

9.7 million tons 3.9 million tons


Naturally, some of the deficiency could be attributed to war damage and economic dislocation but equally obviously, Brest must have had a significant impact. It may also be noted that the decline in the extractive industries was not attenuated by any general rise in labour productivity. For example,

"a. Annual and b. Hourly Production of Industrial Labour

In per cent of 1913 In per cent of previous years

a. Annual b.Hourly a. Annual b. Hourly

1918 36.3 50.0 61.8 70.5

1919 28.3 47.8 78.0 95.5.

1920 26.3 34.3 93.7 71.9"


The Soviet Republic's economic base in the initial period was extremely differentiated encompassing various modes of production.

"(1) patriarchal, i.e. to a considerable extent natural peasant farming; (2) small commodity production (this includes the majority of peasants who sell their grain); (3) private capitalism; (4) state capitalism; (5) socialism." (32)

In the case of the young Soviet Republic with substantially diminished productive forces, it is obvious that a major task for the Bolsheviks would be simply to feed the population. (33) Obviously, some change in the productive relations (34) could be enacted (Lenin's point five) but these would be severely limited until an increase in the productive forces could be brought about, or an increase made more difficult whilst the old productive relations persisted. This was a "Catch 22" situation, which, in the absence of revolutions elsewhere, the Bolshevik Party and later the C.P.S.U. would be forced to take extraordinary measures to attempt to break out of.

The Bolshevik seizure of power, then, was a revolution at the level of the political superstructure (as will be the initial stages of any proletarian revolution), but with extreme problems with regard to pursuing the revolution into economic and social life. It seems fairly clear that with the actual diminishment in the forces of production and the consequent "block" on the development of productive relationships, the society could plausibly be described at the economic level in the manner which Lenin does.

Eight months after the Bolshevik seizure of power, hunger was rampant, Civil War was searing across the country and a wholesale economic collapse which was to extend and deepen until at least 1921 was well in progress. The Bolshevik response to this was "War Communism" a term which encapsulates the Bolsheviks economic, political. legal and ideological formulas for attempting to deal with a desperate situation.


The arch anti-Communist Edward Crankshaw considers the Civil War period to have been the making of the Bolshevik regime,

"During this tremendous struggle, the Bolshevik Party found its feet; and when the fighting was over and chaos and famine ruled the stricken land, there was no one to challenge them at all". (35)

On the point of collapse, the Bolsheviks "were saved only by the convergence against them of a powerful force of anti-revolutionary Russians, backed and supported by the armies of foreign powers". (36)

Crankshaw sees this period which, more than once, almost saw the destruction of the Bolshevik regime as nevertheless its ultimate saviour. (37) In fact, this author's notion of a Bolshevik Conspiracy enables him to attribute to the Bolsheviks diabolical power of duplicity, which enable them to manipulate any adversity to their advantage (38), and blinds him to the contradictions involved in the overall implementation of "War Communism".

Nove appositely asks, "Did fully fledged war communism arise out of a series of improvisations, due to the exigencies of war and collapse, or was it consciously introduced as a deliberate leap into socialism, and ascribed to the war emergency when its failure was found to be discreditable to the regime"? (39) Nove thinks both elements were present (40) and, we shall note, he is broadly correct, although the conscious introduction of War Communism can be more simply ascribed to the necessity for an ideological justification for measures enacted which purported to make a virtue out of necessity.

On May 5th, 1918, Lenin writes,

"Socialism is inconceivable without large-scale capitalist engineering based on the latest discoveries of modern science. It is inconceivable without planned state organisation, which keeps tens of millions of people to the strictest observance of a unified standard in production and distribution". (41)

On April 21, 1921, we know that this is still his position, i.e. after the War Communism period, because he repeats a large section of his 1918 essay by incorporating it into one written on this date. (42) (43) However, Elleinstein notes a massive tension between Lenin's (conventional Taylorist influenced) version of the prerequisite necessities for potential socialist construction and the actuality of War Communism.

War Communism had been nothing but a caricature of Communism born out of penury and the Civil War. Massive requisitioning constituted one of the most spectacular elements of this policy, which was sustained by the utopian idea that it was possible to proceed immediately and directly to communist production and distribution". (44)

By October 14, 1921 Lenin feels able to admit that,

"We expected - or perhaps it is truer to say that we presumed without having given it adequate consideration- to be able to organise the state production and the state distribution of products on communist lines in a small peasant country directly as ordered by the proletarian state. Experience has proved that we were wrong. It appears that a number of transitional stages were necessary - state capitalism and socialism - in order to prepare - to prepare by may years of effort - for the transition to communism". (45)

This is an amazing admission, in that, it shows that not only was a basic tenet of Marxism ignored, i.e. that socialism requires a substantial increase in the level of productive forces, but that Lenin ignored his own interpretation of this perspective. it is this major disparity between the requirements of Marxist doctrine and the empirical approach to the adverse material situation which makes the period of some interest to us, in that, it appears that the Bolsheviks may have thought that the economic base could be modified by various procedural impositions, rationing, direct interchange of state goods via "book keeping" without the mediation of money, etc. to provide an adequate, if primitive, base on which to build the socialist superstructure.

Undoubtedly, such thinking would strike a resonance with a section of the party, inasmuch as it would legitimise the party's role and position in Soviet society. From becoming the power of objective material circumstances to which it had to respond in order to maintain a vestige of stability and retain state power, the party could assert that, fortuitously, it was carrying out construction in a conscious way almost because of the adverse situation. A similar rationality can be found in the later widespread acceptance by the party of the notion of "socialism in one country" where necessity was again justified in theory.

In fact, as we proceed, it will become clear that empirical actuality in the U.S.S.R. is generally cloaked with a ideological justification which reflects not only the process by which the society was born, but its supposed governing theoretical principles and relative infancy. This was unlike the first capitalist countries which developed and grew governed by economic forces seen as largely outside the control of man and somehow "natural" due to their protracted historical legitimacy and tradition.

If the Bolshevik Party was certainly a prisoner of Russia's past, then defeat in the Civil War could decide if it possessed any future, Obviously, the roots of this conflict also lay in the history, but here it becomes in itself a focal point simply because all the Bolshevik practice of this period, whether at the level of base or legal, political and ideological superstructures, are conditioned by the war. Whereas in certain circumstances, depending on a society's level of development, the strength of the opposing power, the importance of the objectives of the conflict and the duration of the event, it may be possible for a country to fight an external power with relatively limited impingement on the matrix of everyday live. (46) However, civil war by its very nature embroils the lived experience of the people in its tribulations and conseguences.

As Strauss bluntly states,

"War Communism was caused by a political conflict and had a political purpose.Its effects embraced the economic life and the social structure of Soviet society which was ruthlessly changed but not fundamentally reorganised. The political aim of War Communism was the maintenance of the Soviet regime". (47)

Obviously, then, War Communism was an extremely important period in Soviet history, but it is also significant because it was during this period that the vast bureaucratic apparatus was created and became indispensable in centralising efforts to prosecute the war against the Whites. Yet of immense consequence for all future Soviet development, as it was during this period, the bureaucracy first stumbled towards asserting its independence as a relatively independent social power. Indeed, this inevitable in the attempt to abolish commodity relationships by decree, exemplary action and repression,

"...the party-state abolished or subordinated autonomous intermediary institutions : thus trade unions were employed to accelerate production, the widespread network of consumer co-operatives to control distribution. Rationing, requisitioning and primitive bartering replaced normal trade : the market except for the black market ceased to exist. Officially promoted, inflation spiralled, turning Soviet Russia into a "country of millionaire paupers" : money ceased to have any value or function". (48)

In fact, the whole rationale of War Communism - as it was named after the Civil War in order to identify the period as emanating from War rather than Communism - (49) led to incredible tensions in the society. This was simply because money and commodity relationships,

"...did not disappear during "war communism" : their fundamental condition for existence was still present, for social production had not ceased to be the result of "mutually independent acts of labour performed in isolation", so that its products could "confront each other as commodities, despite all the "bars" issued against commodity exchange". (50)

Such relations could not simply be "abolished" by political will or exemplary "Communist" activity (51), but were bound to reassert themselves. If the Bolshevik uprising of 1917 had confirmed that superstructure can exercise primary explanatory value over base, it also illustrated the sharpness and extent to which base reasserts itself as the major determining factor, even with a revolutionary government in power which consciously attempts to intervene in the economic and social process. The temporary primacy of superstructure had opened the possibility of a change in the productive relationships, allowing for a new way for the base to develop, yet this very development is conditioned by the level of of productive forces present when exercise of supersturctural primacy was announced and indeed, such an exercise may have the consequence opposite from the intention of preserving and extending severely limited productive forces.

I have mentioned this interaction more than once previously, but it needs emphasising with regard to the Soviet Republic, as it amplifies the notion in practice and can be also taken to show that the attempt to rebuild, consolidate and expand productive forces meant the general subordination of the superstructural revolution to this aim and - to an arguable extent - the negation of it.

The outline of such a conflicting conflation of interactions between base and superstructures can be simply posed. The attempt to abolish monetary and commodity relations in an economy where these were necessary and operative meant that such relations did not vanish, but were merely submerged only to reemerge in the black market. Such "illegal" trading along with the practice of requisitioning agricultural produce in exchange for "coloured pieces of paper" necessitated the assembling of a large security apparatus to attempt to put bureaucratic diktats into practice.

The formulation of these decrees itself required the building of a large central administrative body. The stringencies imposed by Civil War, such as rationing, requisitioning and appropriation, were looked on as ends in themselves; the radical redistribution of a rapidly diminishing national cake reflect the caricature of Communism which Elleinstein mentions. The winning of the Civil War was absolutely a precondition, even for the attempt to be made to break the impasse existing between the proposed productive forces to allow realisation of these,but to conflate the requirements imposed by internal conflict, with movement towards Communist practice, was entirely mistaken.

Resistance to the suppression of illegal trading and requisitioning ensured a repressive response from the central bureaucracy, but - despite its rapidly increasing numerical size - its control was rather spasmodic, leading to enormous local variations in the interpretation and application of the law. Arbitrary arrests and punishments enhanced the official policy of terror, which, anyway, encouraged such excesses by its general intent, if not in its specific application. (52)

Legal relations were solely based on force, justified by the requirements of Civil War. "Sabotage" no doubt was a reality, but the term was misapplied to episod4es of administrative incompetence and organisation breakdown. Potential differentiations of power between the Soviets, Trade Unions, the state and the party were eliminated in favour of the party and a small elite within the party higher echelons. Such an authoritarian approach tapped into a protracted Russian historical tradition of this type of rule and made it relatively easy. later on, for Stalin to establish organisational supremacy and build to monolithic party, which converged with the institutions of state at so many points as to make the distinction relatively insignificant.

In a real sense it is not so much that Stalinism was a continuation of Leninism, but that both were grounded deeply in Russian methods of rule. This period certainly laid the foundations of Stalinism as an exaggeration of Leninist centralism, unrestrained either by internal party debate - factions having been eliminated - or the personal authority of Lenin, based on political knowledge rather than solely on state power to force the compliance of oppositional elements.

Political measures were, naturally, totally subordinated to the successful outcome of the war and solely concerned with methods of implementing the economic policies. If the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion can be seen as the definitive conclusion to the possibility of genuine political differences in the Soviet Republic, then this was only the culmination of a whole series of measures.

In contrast to the profound ideological differences which had exercised the Bolsheviks in former times, ideology now began to be merely a justification of "what is". The closing of ideological discourse obviously meant the end to the possibility of rational argumentation. Ideological differences now constituted sabotage and, even here, one notes the embryonic beginnings of the nonsense and falsehoods backed by the force of state power which developed into the systematic attenuations and negations of reality, which have been earlier discussed. Bolshevik ideology was reduced to crude supportive rhetoric for Bolshevik policies, with opposing ideas being liquidated up to the point of the physical liquidation of its proponents. Taking the typical adverse situation imposed by internal conflict and fusing it with Bolshevik political practice - certainly a practice modified by Civil War but not defined by it and containing repressive aspects as regards dissent which well prefigurate this period - achieves a convergence between perceived economic aims and superstructural elements. Determination, then, is itself determined.



Fundamental to the Marxist notion of socialism, reference points of a revolution would include nationalisation of the means of production incorporating worker's control (53), a radical redistribution of land where necessary in an agrarian society, a workers militia which places potential effective armed force in the hands of workers themselves, effective Trade Union rights to enable sectoral demands of groups of workers to be promoted even against their "own" state should it act in a way seriously inimical to specific interest groups, (54) an impetus which projects women into the economic (and of course social) life, (55) and a substantial modification of the states trade and diplomatic relations with other nations. It would be possible to argue at length on the specifics of these, but, generally, they strike one as unconventional until, that is, the practice of the Bolshevik regime is considered.

Although specific figures vary, it is clear that the Bolshevik regime proceeded very cautiously with regard to nationalisations. (56) Despite the existence of the supreme Council of National Economy (Vesenkha), the reports agree that many of the nationalisations were spontaneous local events seizing individual plants. Like everything else in the Soviet economy of this time, no logical plan existed to take over industries or branches of industries which could readily collaborate economically and attempt to integrate with each other. Large scale industry was nationalised in June 1918 and small scale industry in November 1920.

As Strauss mentions,

"From an economic point of view, the nationalisation of large-scale industry came far to early, but is was made inevitable by the internal, and especially, by the foreign political situation". (57)

Nationalisation then - although conforming to the overall plan for socialist construction - was to a great extent forced upon the regime, which had no machinery capable of performing the extensive detailed planning necessary and made more intricate by the adverse situation. In these circumstances, there could only be an increase in the general economic disruption and contributory effect to a decrease in the level of productive forces. The only element of the productive forces which the regime could exercise an immediate influence on was human labour-power and wholesale coercion of workers and peasants could be justified by the pressing demands of the Civil War. This had a direct effect on the legal superstructure because only a thin dividing line existed between administrative inefficiency and actual sabotage. (58)

At the other end of the scale, so to speak, ideological exhortation was used in an attempt to galvanise workers into self-sacrificing activity. Lenin waxes lyrical on the attitudes of the "Communist Subbotniks" (59) whose enthusiasm in working for gratis on the "Communist Saturday" (60) he praises as promoting "socialist discipline" (61) "working in a revolutionary way" (62) and as being,

"The beginning of a revolution that is more difficult, more tangible, more radical and decisive than the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, for it is a victory over our own conservatism, indiscipline, petty-bourgeois egoism, a victory over the habits left as a heritage to the worker and peasant by accursed capitalism". (63)

There may be truth in this statement. Certainly the whole Communist Saturday scheme embodied a useful propaganda symbol and figures are quoted indicating an extremely high (extraordinarily high) labour productivity on these Saturdays (64), yet the fact remains that "voluntary" unpaid labour was require to sustain the desperate attempt to pull the Soviet economy back from the brink of total collapse. The central authorities had decided the "local" nationalisations were accentuating economic disruption and had acted early on to prevent these. (65) An observable rationality here exists in that although such takeovers were in line with the forces mentioned by Strauss, their arbitrary nature would negate the gains made in those spheres by the further economic discoordination.

If such nationalisations, even though being a short term gain in the relations of productions, were to hold back the forces of production on whose increase the permanency of the gains ultimately rested, then the "gain" would be actually negative.

On the other hand, the attempt to raise the level of the productive forces by increasing the labour productivity of the working class- in terms of the increase in the extraction of absolute surplus value (this being the only option available at the time) - (66) would so compromise changes made in productive relations as to make a serious question appear over the meaning of the term "revolution", and lead one to also question which social strata, albeit a possibly newly created one, really gained by this event.

Certainly, the attempt by the Bolsheviks to raise labour productivity had a logic impelling them to attack the working class, and peasantry in particular, to replace workers self-management with one man management, to incorporate Trade Unions into the state apparatus and to militarise labour in 1920. The expropriation of produce from the peasantry was obviously seen as necessary in order to feed the urban proletariat without which all the other measures would be useless.

(Trotsky might argue at the Comintern that,

"In Soviet Russia the growth of paper money and its depreciation, side by side with the simultaneous development of state-ized economy, the planned distribution of necessities and the ever expanding develop payment of wages in kind, signify only one of the results of the withering away of commodity-money economy". (67)

But in an economy where commodity money relations were still operative, the attempt to repress them would simply result in a legal and an illegal economy running in parallel. Indeed, at times the regime would be forced to legalise illegal trading (!) in order to survive. (68) The situation can be neatly encapsulated by noting the obvious, yet oft undigested, point that "however unsatisfactory the mechanism of capitalist reproduction may be from the point of view of the non-capitalists it can be abolished only by substituting a new principle, like that of economic planning, not by merely forbidding or destroying it". (69)

At the same time, the party had to continue revolutionising the superstructures and intervening at points in the economy - nationalisation, land reform, expropriation of large capitalists, control over banking etc. - in a manner which would not aggravate economic dysfunction, but would erode and eventually destroy the old centres of economic power and prevent them developing into oppositional foci for resistance to the new regime.

Preobrazhensky noted an international aspect to this in terms of foreign bourgeois intervention and thought this could be combatted by a "Chinese Wall" protecting the Soviet economy from the world economy and, thereby, allow the productive forces of the former economy to develop at a faster pace. (70)


Haynes suggests that, 

"By contrast Bukharin was not so naive. He saw nothing particularly socialist in protectionism, even with a state monopoly of foreign trade. Indeed, he had at one time been prepared to consider its being disbanded. What negated the old relations of production was not an institutional form which capitalist countries were already beginning to adopt, but the revolutionary state itself which through its political control sought to impose itself on the old relations and consciously negate them". (71)

Bukharin is reiterating here the codification of the proletarian revolution assumed before in this work. In essence, it reasserts the difference between the bourgeois revolution, where the economic intervention initiated the political transfer of power, and the proletarian, where the reverse situation is operative. (72) Internally, nationalisation, workers self-management, etc. can be seen, unified by a system of Soviet power, as programmatic necessities for winning a socialist transformation, albeit through a process of discourse and struggle. When the building of support for socialism by the protracted period of consent or at least the inactivation of serious oppositional tendencies which this implies is absent, for whatever reason, control of the state moves out of the hands of the dominated classes and, inasmuch as direct control over the state was exercised by these classes, it is replaced by indirect control for the working class and peasantry by the party. A sort of "representative" proletarian democracy, except for the fact that the party and not the "electorate" elects the party hierarchy.

The theoretical potential in the Soviet interpretation of a Marxist theory of proletarian democracy, as regards democratic rights for the formerly exploited and/or oppressed classes,is very great, but when Soviet power is replaced by "indirect" democracy exercised by the party, it also has the potential to be extremely repressive in respect of the classes it ostensibly "represents". It is this latter case of "party democracy", of course, which allows the Maoist to identify the economic type of the system with the purity of the party leadership. (73)

From our point of interest, the issue is that the processes of mediation between base and superstructures will be somewhat different. The linkages between base-superstructure are real linkages which cannot be conflated by rhetoric and intention. Subjective intention cannot overcome objective limitations. (74)

It is not merely ironic that disharmony between the forces and relations of production, coupled with class struggle at the level of superstructure, has promoted dysfunctions which have led to revolutionary change, but which can tend to make extension of that change extremely problematic. This poses a real problem for Marxists theorists of revolution. It is true to suggest that a tendency existed in Bolshevik practice in which

"Ultimately, they chose to make production and expand the economy leaving the Revolution and the changes in relations of production to make themselves". (75)

It is also pertinent to emphasise a point made earlier by Trotsky,

"Capitalist relations of production are not just forged at the factory gate. They exist as the whole totality of relations that capitalism needs to reproduce itself. And these relations...transcend national boundaries. They are constituted ultimately at the level of world economy where the interaction and competition of many capitals receives its fullest expression". (76)

The writer goes on to suggest that an "economistic" perception of the Russian Revolution is on a par with an "implicit acceptance" of the theory of socialism in one country where,

"the problems of Russian society are reduced to internal ones linked to the abject poverty and backwardness that the Revolution inherited". (77)

The author's tone implies a recrimination, as if this "reduction" was a sign of short sightedness or theoretical inadequacy, but it is maintained here that with the failure of the European revolutions, the major problems facing the Soviet Republic were codified in internal relations. This does not necessitate a capitulation to either economism or/and socialism in one country; it is exactly an historical fact.

When trapped within the parameters of the internal relations, the struggle to "make production" and to simultaneously "make revolution" (which I interpret as the attempt of the regime to exercise some amount of (increasing) intervention over the manner in which production is "made" (78)) is inevitably embodied with massive contradictions. It is not engaging in theoretical reductionism to note this. (In fact, to conceptualise the transition period in these terms is immeasurably more complex than to deal with theoretical ideals) and one needs to realise that the situation has been "reduced" for us by the various processes operating at this particular historical juncture.

To deal with the development of the Soviet Union as a series of "ifs", i.e. if the economy had not been destroyed, if on the revolutions in Germany and Hungary has succeeded, if the Soviet working class had not be decimated, is an interesting theoretical exercise, but that is all.

The nature of a proletarian revolution places great onus on the subjective factor, which can be condensed in the question of revolutionary leadership. Indeed, in an insurrectionary situation, precisely because of the decisive manner in which an insurrection must be approached in order to attain success, the onus of leadership may lay on one person.

"The most favourable conditions for an insurrection exists, obviously, when the maximum shift in our favour has occurred in the relation of forces. We are, of course, referring to the relation of forces in the domain of consciousness, i.e. in the domain of the political superstruture, and not in the domain of the economic foundation which may be assumed to remain more or less unchanged throughout the entire revolutionary epoch... The strength of a revolutionary party increases only up to a certain moment, after which the process can turn in the very opposite. The hopes of the masses change into disillusionment as the result of the party's passivity while the enemy recovers from his panic and takes advantage of this disillusionment. We witnessed such a decisive turning point in Germany in October 1923. We were not so very far removed from a similar turn of events in Russia in the Autumn of 1917. For that a delay of a few more weeks would perhaps have been enough. Lenin was right. It was now or never!" (79)

It is interesting to note the importance which Trotsky ascribes to the subjective factor of revolutionary leadership - in this case condensed into the political intervention of Lenin within the Bolshevik party - in the light of Joseph Stalin's later extraordinary role as an individual in the historical process. (80) At the time Trotsky was talking, however, one has to recall that Lenin had to win his arguments inside the party, although it would be naive to suppose that he was lacking either a major intellectual authority or an influence within the inner-party administration. In turn, the party had to persuade the advanced sections of the masses, both ideological struggle and unity of action, of the validity of its programmatic demands. In the case of the Bolsheviks, this led rapidly to the adoption of the theory of "socialism in one country" from tentative beginnings to incorporation as conventional wisdom.



Exactly because of its importance as a focus of differentiation between Trotsky and Stalin and in maturity as same between "Trotskysism" and "Stalinism" in these systems multifaceted guises, socialism in one country has become undoubtedly something of a shibboleth. Clearly, the theory arose as a theoretical justification for the - now necessary - attempt to concentrate on the internal relations of the Soviet state, but it also served Stalin's purposes in the factional struggle against Trotsky,

"From the end of 1924 onwards, however, in the context of the fight against the Trotsky opposition, Stalin began to revise the theory of the international character of the socialist revolution and to put forward as a possibility the idea that socialism might be fully achieved with the framework of one country". (81)

Given the existence of the factional struggle, a struggle which arose directly from the material situation of the U.S.S.R., and the massive authority which V.I. Lenin had enjoyed with the Bolshevik organisation, it was not surprising that Stalin attempted to assert that he trod firmly in the footsteps of the great man and, thereby, set a context for the debate which Trotsky was obliged to follow in order to gain any change of a hearing within the party. Rather than debate revolving around whether Stalin was correct to make such a revision, it inevitably became an exercise in producing the most voluminous quotations from the corpus of Lenin's works. Thinking about the nature of these works, which were produced over an extended timespan in varying situations and for different purposes, it would be unusual if seemingly approporiate quotations could not be extracted to serve as support for preconceived intentions. The debate, then, becomes not so much an attempt at rationality as an appeal to higher authority. Claudin defends his use of the revisionist category (82) and opposing viewpoints can be found. (83)

We can note here that a tension had always existed in the Bolshevik Revolution between establishing the Soviet Republic as a"red base" and using the state power as a catalyst in order to promote international uprisings (hence the debate between Lenin and Trotsky and Bukharin over Brest). Such a tension cold be perceived dialectically: the best way to preserve the state power was by extending the revolution, the best way of extending the revolution was by maintaining the state power. Obviously,the primacy allocated to each would vary with the historical conjuncture. One would neither risk the state power in adventurist projects, nor ascribe the retention of its absolute importance during times of great revolutionary upheaval.

Trotsky saw clearly that the adoption of socialism in one country would inevitably lead to the subordination of world revolution to the interests of the Soviet state and, of course, this was well illustrated in practice during the course of events in China, Spain and Germany. (84)

In a society which had come into being as a result of the application of Marxist doctrine, as interpreted by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, such a modification of the theory, in that the stress was now predominantly placed on the "red base" aspect of the tension, was obviously of first rate importance. The idea of the red base, viewed undialectically, would inexorably mutate into elaborations of "defending the workers Motherland" and so on where the interests of the international working class became subordinate to the needs of the Soviet state. (85) In talking of the radical socio-economic reforms which are part of the original revolutionary aims, Sweezy explains how even when ossified, they can still remain as an echo in the revolutionary heritage,

"As time passes, these reforms are institutionalised : powerful bureaucracies are built around them and the people came to expect not only their continuation but their extension and improvement. Eventually even a new ruling-class leadership which has little in common with its revolutionary predecessor has to accept them as integral parts of the society over which it presides. Any attempt to cut them back or undermine them would call in question the legitimacy not only of the leadership but of the system itself". (86)

Actually these reforms may exist only in a mutated fashion, yet the persistence of the ideas within Soviet society, regarding its egalitarian, democratic and peaceful and socialist nature, tend to illustrate that the substantial level of hypocritical propaganda revolving around such aims has it basis in the regime's claim to historical legitimacy in ostensibly adhering to them. Sweezy's point then is also relevant, possibly more so, in indicating the importance of formal ideological adherence to revolutionary aims. In a stable and consolidated regime, with a confident ruling elite, the attempt to create ideological hegemony my be somewhat relaxed. Such relaxation may concur in the favour of the rules of the society, it it allows more sophisticated explanations of social movement to emerge and especially if these tend to disassociate the activities of the rulers from the consequences of their intervention in social life. The problem in Soviet society would be to inhibit an "explosion" of critical protest, bottled up by decades of forced ideological conformity such as began to emerge in the "Ivan Denisovich" period of Khruschev's rule and which are a regular feature of life under the Gorbachev regime.

An added problem for the ruling elite is that the oft stressed "leading role" of the C.P.S.U. imposes on them a conscious control over the practices of social life, unlike capitalism where the ruling class can - with justification - assert that they are basically in the grip of "market forces" over which little control was existent.

Clearly, in the early stages of the Soviet regime, the above argumentation is inapplicable in that legitimacy to rule could only be found in supposes ideological continuity with the aims and aspirations of the revolution itself and in the maintenance and exercise of power. However much Stalin used the ruthless application of power as an assertion of the power's legitimacy, he was always careful to back this up by paying attention to the ideological stage, in order that justification could be sought also in (redefined) Marxist propositions. (87)

Obviously, reciprocation existed here in that the former would impose the latter and the latter would reinforce the former. During the initial development of the theory of socialism in one country, however, Stalin had yet to attain insurmountable organisational power (indeed the acceptance of socialism in one country by the ruling organs helped him on his way to achieving this, laying additional emphasis on the formulation of his doctrinal innovations. The thought of such innovations leads us in a chronological manner to the period known as the "New Economic Policy", as we shall note very shortly, the notion of socialism in a single country is implicit in some explanations as to the overall rationale of the N.E.P.



According to Trotsky,

"Lenin explained the necessity of restoring the market by the existence in the country of millions of isolated peasant enterprises unaccustomed to define their economic relations with the outside world except through trade. Trade circulation would establish a "connection" as it was called between the peasant and the nationalism industries. The theoretical formula for this "connection" is very simple : industry should supply the rural districts with necessary goods at such prices as would enable the state to forego collection of the products of peasant labour". (88)

In these terms the, N.E.P. can be seen as the formal admission by the regime that, in general, the U.S.S.R. did not possess the necessary level of productive forces and technical organisation to enable it to plan and regulate trade enacted by a myriad of small producers (Collectivisation was, anyway, an a priori necessity for this, if only to simplify and make manageable a vast number of otherwise independent transactions) and, in particular, that the policy of forced requisitioning etc., typical of War Communism, was only exacerbating the conflict between the regime and the peasantry. It can be seen as the laws of motion of economic life reasserting themselves over the subjective intentions of the regime.

What we have is a partial restoration of capitalism, albeit under the control and guidance of the "proletarian" state apparatus. A substantial concession to the peasantry and small proprietor, forced upon the Bolsheviks by the exigency of history, an emergency economic step backwards, would allow the Bolsheviks to consolidate the economy in order4 to make possible future socialist construction. This would pose a merely academic question : would the economy totally disintegrated with the very real possibility that the Bolsheviks could lose the state power they had so tenaciously clung to during the Civil War? This is what may be called a conventional view of the period and I shall elaborate on it at some length later in this section. (89)

In his major study of the U.S.S.R.,however, Charles Bettelheim challenges this widespread view. He points out that the Bolshevik C.C. had vacillating position on N.E.P., which wavered between two major tendencies. On the one hand, the perspective was that N.E.P. was indeed a simple "economic policy" temporary in nature which was essentially defensive.

On the other, the view was that N.E.P. was,

"a specific form of the alliance between the workers and peasants" which was subject to later modification rather than needing to be abolished. The first position saw N.E.P. as incompatible with socialist construction in the long term the latter did not. (90)

So, just as there existed a tension within War Communism between its being a term merely used to describe a series of measures deemed essential in order to win a Civil War, a similar tension is identified within the N.E.P. between its being a necessary economic retreat and a measure which could encapsulate the peasantry into the process of socialist construction. In both cases, then, a dichtonomy between perceived tactical and strategic goals existed. Bettelheim is quite precise in his understanding of such differentiation,

"The interpretation that prevailed in the first historical period (until 1925) saw in the N.E.P. essentially a policy of class alliances that was relatively lasting. . . . In the second phase - beginning at the end of 1925, when it was proclaimed that the "restoration period" had been completed (this was not true, since at that time the productive forces of agriculture had not yet been fully "restored") - the idea developed to an increasing extent that the N.E.P. was essentially provisional in character. In practice this idea found expression in a growing gap between statements of principle which affirmed position that were basically unchanged and the measures concretely adopted and implemented". (91)

From this passage, one receives the distinct impression that a marked similarity with War Communism existed, in that the regime "plays by ear" the economic construction and concocts theoretical justifications for this process of construction by a similar method of "trial and error".

Precisely because the restoration of some private trade (92) was a radical rectification of the ultra-leftism of War Communism, it was largely successful in raactivating the economy. (93) This naturally was a reconstruction carried out upon an economic base, where the level of productive forces compared extremely unfavourably with pre-revolutionary times and such rebuilding was sectorally uneven in that metallurgical production well into the N.E.P. period barely equalled, or was negative, in comparison with pre-revolutionary times (94), whereas coal and oil surged ahead. (95)

Surely, the situation was fraught with tremendous difficulties. Nove calls 1921 a "nightmare year for people and government alike" (96) as the grain harvest was only 43 per cent of the overall prewar average, due to peasant resistance to requisitioning expressed by limiting sowing, a situation accentuated by a severe drought in the East and South - East of the country resulting in severe famine. A fuel crisis was in force and ill conceived administrative experiments amplified problems integral to the economy. (97) Besides the famous Kronstadt rebellion of that year, very substantial military insurgency consisting of armies up to twenty thousand mean challenged the regime. The remnants of these guerilla forces were not finally suppressed until the end of 1922. (98) Trotsky may have been correct to label the crushing of Kronstadt "a tragic necessity" (99), from the viewpoint of the regime maintaining state power, but it also indicated the bankruptcy of the regimes policies and illustrated an ominous portent for the future of oppositional elements who posed a political rather than a military challenge to the Bolsheviks. (100)

Even a cursory empirical glance at the situation pertaining illustrated the insight present in the statement that,

"The eventual victory of the Red Army in the Civil War therefore had a contradictory character. On the one hand it marked a victory for forces still committed to the transition to communism. On the other it was achieved at the expense of retarding both the material and political prerequisites of that transition". (101)

Workers Power take the defensive view of N.E.P.

"In that it legalised the operation of the law of value., N.E.P. represented a retreat by the regime. In that it served to revive agricultural production and won a breathing space for the internationally isolated regime it was a retreat that granted the regime the potential to make future advances along the road of transition". (102)

The argument Bettelheim has posed is over whether these "future advances" could take place after abolishing N.E.P., its temporary use as a "stepping stone" exhausted, or whether the restoration of private trade etc. provided a viable long term strategy for the regime to pursue re socialist construction. In the former view, N.E.P. exhibits a paradox in that: a) the policy was seen as necessary in order that economic competition might provide a primary motor to drive the Soviet economy forward, but b) the more successful the processes embodied in the N.E.P. were in achieving this task, the greater the eventual threat to the state due to the growth and consolidation of the Kulaks and "Nepmen" as a class, whose aims and aspirations were embodied in capitalist reproduction processes.

In this sense, forced collectivisation was always a potentiality inherent in the N.E.P. in order to prevent the economy developing in a capitalist trajectory.

Whatever one thinks were the inadequacies of policy of the Stalinist regime, which failed to rigidly circumscribe N.E.P. and made collectivisation an imminent necessity, and whatever qualms my exist regarding the ruthless - not to say grossly inefficient manner - in which forced collectivisation was carried out, in the final analysis, it is politically necessary for Marxists to defend collectivisation as a blow against capitalist restoration.

A simple, yet vital, error in the collectivisation programme was the lack of a clear definition as to exactly who was a Kulak. Sometimes the term is used to specify a "rich peasant" (103) and occasionally it is used in a more precise manner to identify peasants who exploit labour power.

A correct tactical approach by the regime to the middle peasantry, who by circumstance would vacillate in their support for the government, was important, yet in practice, many peasants designated as Kulaks were actually middle peasants, peasants who hired labour for the brief intensive period of harvesting and so on. (104) In the latter case, the differentiation between rich peasants and those exploiting labour power was important, in that these latter peasants could be claimed as "Kulaks" on extremely tenuous grounds. Later on, the term became merely political abuse as anyone resisting collectivisation was automatically labelled a Kulak. (105)

The possibility of uniting the elements of the peasantry, who could be united around the aims of the regime, was lost and in this situation, it was inevitable that coercion would play the major role. Rather than the regime attempting to seek the co-operation of the peasantry at the level of poor and middle peasantry in order to neutralise the hostile Kulaks, it had decided to suppress the Kulaks - broadly defined - "as a class" a policy announced in a decree of January 5th 1930.

In reality, the process was uneven with mass emigration back out of the collective farms in June 1930 before the regime clamped down heavily again in 1931/32. (106) In effect, the Stalinist regime was prepared to precipitate a massive drop in agricultural productive forces and labour productivity in order to strengthen its political control over this section. (107) The suppression of the Kulak class was essential for the survival of the regime, despite the massive economic disruption up to the level of wide scale famine.


It would be incorrect, however, to see collectivisation as purely a response to the Kulak problem, as perceived by the regime. In fact, the Soviet government had removed twenty-five thousand vanguard workers from their workplaces - much to the chagrin of local management - with the specific purpose of targeting them into the countryside as a practical leadership with important tasks at the level of ideology. The resistance of the local party bureaucracy indicated the backwardness in ideology with which the regime was attempting to deal with a far from determinate amount of central control. These two elements were viewed as interconnected. The rationale at the level of ideology for collectivisation is summarised by Viola,

"Collectivization was many things to many people, but at least to some- including the 25,000ers it was a revolution, an attempt to destroy forever the barriers and age-old antagonisms which divided city and countryside, an attempt to root out, by force if necessary, what Marxists deemed to be the "idiocy of rural life"." (109)

This is an important correction to bear in mind in light of the lugubrious image of collectivisation, which is often presented by the left and right alike.

Lenin was clear that the partial restoration of capitalism could present in itself no chance of overcoming Bolshevik power,

"Exchange is freedom to trade; it is capitalism. It is useful to us inasmuch as it will help us overcome the dispersal of the small producer, and to a certain degree combat the evils of bureaucracy; to what extent this can be done will be determined by practical experience. The proletarian power is in no danger, as long as the proletariat holds power in its hands and has full control of transport and large-scale industry". (110)

Despite Lenin's seemingly relaxed approach to the implementation of N.E.P., however, some commentators argue that in fact the dictatorship of the proletariat, as exercised through"...the form of the proletariat's political party" (111), was tightened,

"Though economic policy was fundamentally changed from 1921 on, the same could not be said of the exercise of dictatorship by the Bolsheviks which tended to be strengthened precisely because of the greater liberalism in the economic field and the danger which it entailed". (112)

Schapiro disconcurs with this analysis when he says,

"The N.E.P. period certainly witnessed a relaxation of the stringencies of control in all spheres of life". (113)

However, this must be taken in the context of his assertion that the dictatorship was already intrusive over workers lives. (114)

In the conventional view of N.E.P., a view promoted by the left opposition and stolen from them by Stalin in a brutal practical application, the strengthening of the dictatorship was a vital tool to contain the potential power of the Kulak strata. Even so, it is proved inadequate in that capitalist restoration has its own economic momentum,

"...an upper layer of wealthier peasants re-established itself on the basis of differences in material conditions, above all the possession of tools and implements, in knowledge, skill, unscrupulousness and luck; the well being of these kulaks grew with the golden opportunities of the N.E.P. and their influence over the village grew with their prosperity". (115) (116)

Whilst the N.E.P. is usually considered only with regard to its impact on the peasantry, it also had an effect at another level in Soviet society - that of the new bureaucracy. Kuromiya notes that,

"...as early as 1926-27, when pressure began to be applied against market forces, the Bolsheviks came to believe that some "bourgeois" and ex-Menshevik specialists were no longer able to co-operate with the government". (117)

Any modus vivendi established by the regime with the bourgeois experts was then relatively short lived. To some extent, however, and to an extent which exercised Lenin's criticism right up to the point of death, the specialists and intelligentsia were the Bolshevik party. In N.E.P. could be seen a threat to the regime, not only from a hostile peasant class, but from inside the party itself and even from its leadership. In was obvious that Stalin perceived both threats and was prepared to enact brutal administrative measures against each. It is true that the purges directed against the party itself removed the "old Bolsheviks" (118) - some in spectacular fashion in the "Show Trials" - allowing Stalin to exert complete political autonomy from the possible criticism of the remnants of 1917, but they were by no means confined only to these elements and by directing the attention of the O.G.P.U. towards the party, Stalin was to create an immensely fluid situation where promotion could be and often was, also a step closer to the labour camp. (119)

If Stalin perceived a penetration of the party by elements sympathetic to the "expert" sector, this would have surely added urgency to the collectivisation policy. This is obviously a fundamental argument because it helps explain some of the political actions of the Stalin regime as logical responses to political concerns in opposition to the arbitrary repression thesis, which is a pervasive leitmotiv in much emigre commentary.

By contrast, Bettelheim argues that the numerical size of the rich peasantry was relatively insignificant and, therefore, that they did not influence the economy in the sphere of production, as is often argued, but in the sphere of distribution. (120) The conventional idea of a procurement strike by the Kulaks is rejected as an "oversimplified thesis" and it is argued that, in fact, "the poor and middle peasants played an even bigger role in the provisioning of the towns..." (121) because only the Kulaks had the grain available to sell on the village market. The control of the Kulaks in distribution, according to this author, lay in the non-availability of extremely basic means of agricultural production to the poor and middle peasantry - e.g. axes, saws, iron ploughs and scythes. (122)

In addition, it was generally the Kulaks who possessed means of production in the form of horse and ox for hire. This situation had arisen because land redistribution had not been accompanied by a re-division of the means of production to work the land and neither had the state taken steps to remedy this imbalance by increasing supply of basic means of production to the non-Kulak peasantry. This latter point is so fundamentally important that for the utmost accuracy, it will be appropriate to let Bettelheim explain himself,

"The inadequate provision of instruments of labour to the poor and middle peasants was the underlying factor in the development of specific forms of dependence by the mass of the peasants upon the rich peasants and the specific forms of exploitation to which the latter subjected the working peasants. This inadequacy explains the extreme fragility of the economy of the poor and middle peasants and the close interdependence between the supply of means of production to the rural areas and the amount of produce the poor and middle peasants were able and willing to supply for procurement". (123)

If this author is correct in this and his linked estimation that the potential inherent in middle and poor peasants farms was seriously underestimated (124), then collectivisation becomes illogical - at the economic level at any rate - in that to provide the middle and poor peasants with the means of production to attenuate Kulak dominance over the agricultural sector would have been relatively easy, even for a hard pressed regime such as that of the Soviets. This is precisely because the implements necessary for this task were extremely basic, requiring no inordinately large diversion of labour power from other projects, yet being capable of enhancing labour productivity in the agricultural sector considerably. whereas collective farming necessitated relatively complex means of technology such as tractors, which given the overall condition of the Soviet economy were either not forthcoming, of inferior quality or soon out of commission due to the lack of systematic skilled maintenance or the absence of spare parts.

In Bettelheim's view, "political mistakes" caused the grain procurement crisis of 1928?. (125) Mistakes can be rectified by a revolutionary leadership, but if the composition of the leadership is itself highly dubious, then a series of "errors" may announce the beginnings of a programme. The point made before, regarding the developing antagonism of bourgeois experts to the Bolsheviks, is developed by Bettelheim, who notes that in the state machinery a "massive predominace" existed of "elements alien to the working class over whom the Party exercised only formal control" and

"As a result, the Bolshevik Party was able to render only limited aid to the struggle of the masses for a revolutionary transformation of social relations, the struggle which alone could open the way to a socialist development of the productive forces". (126)

Now Bettelheim chooses his terminology carefully (127) and his work has been translated by someone who is himself an eminent commentator on Communist affairs. (128) So, the phrase "render only limited aid" leaps from the page by virtue of its seeming innocuousness. After all, the raison d'etre of the Leninist party is to lead the masses in the battle to take state power and then to establish socialist construction.

Bettelheim notes the stress laid on rapid industrialisation by the Bolsheviks and the fallacy we have often mentioned, that this would automatically lead to a "transformation of social relations", and provided "the objective basis for the strengthening within the Bolshevik ideological formation of elements alien to revolutionary Marxism". (129)

Bettelheim is undoubtedly correct to criticise the mechanical relationship between economy and ideas and even to stress this through a substantial chapter, if only to decisively refute the arguments of Stalin that management technique and the acquiring of specialist skills could have attempted the "wrecking activities" and "sabotage", which he saw as endemic in the Soviet economy. Certainly management skills would have reduced economic disruption traceable to administrative incompetence, but clearly, the answer to such deliberate economic damage - which no doubt existed, even though not to the decisive degree to which Stalin magnified it - lay at the level of vigilance emanating from ideological conviction.

Here, two important problems occur.

a) If it is true that the bureaucratic deformations - identified very early on into the revolution by Lenin - of the party/state apparatus had extended rather than contracted, then we can say than the diplomatic words about "limited aid" and surmise that at a certain point of saturation, the party would be under the control of elements hostile to socialism, who in turn would recruit their like and, thereby, deepen the party's degeneration, eventually destroying it as far as socialist construction is concerned.

The purges of the party appear only to have shuffled such elements out of the party as individuals. Such - essentially organisational - procedures could not eliminate their existence as a distinct social strata with developing perspectives. Naturally, the whole question is extremely complex in that the drive of Stalin to establish organisational dominance over the party is inextricably interwoven with the purges and admissions. (130)


b) Anyway, the Bolshevik offensive at the construction of socialism was a foregone negative in that the wrong politics were being pursued re: seeing politics and ideology taking care of themselves if attention was concentrated on building productive forces. Of course the former two spheres do "take care" of themselves, but not in the automatically beneficial manner envisaged by the Bolsheviks. This question is intimate with the previous one, in that the attempt to increase industrialisation by any means and at any cost provided a programmatic basis for the recruitment and entrenchment of personnel whose ideological commitment to the revolution would be considered by the Bolsheviks to be subordinate to their technical and/or organisational expertise, and a purely formal adherence to revolutionary principles, enacted of pragmatic and opportunistic lines, would be, one could surmise apparent amongst such personnel. The idea, then, that the party could safeguard the process of socialist construction, whatever was happening in society at large, was clearly incorrect not only its conception of an entirely autonomous vanguard-mass relationship, but also in the sense that the party itself was accountable to social events evolving outside of its parameters of control, which impelled elements hostile to the aims of the regime (131) into the party, thereby, deepening its inability to transmit its avowed political project.

At such a conjuncture, an input into the party from the - reconstituting - proletariat could have helped to limit the bureaucratic power assigned to party appointees, but the paradox of the nature of the conjuncture was that these appointees were a necessary evil, precisely because of the historical origins of the Soviet proletariat and its arduous revolutionary contribution. It is a matter of record that the Bolshevik regime itself took the path of suppressing working class tendencies, the Soviets, the "Democratic Centralist", "Left Communist" and "Workers Opposition" opposition within the party. Workers self-management was crushed in the industrial arena. The social base of the regime was extremely narrow and reducing. (132) With the luxury of hindsight, the implications of this can be examined.



As noted, the urgent necessity to raise the level of productive forces was an imperative historical imposition upon the Soviet regime. Short term the "Communist Subbotniks" were a marginal way to extract extensive surplus value from the working class, but were more useful as a propaganda example. The procedure could only be instituted on a general scale by coercion or conviction at the level of ideas. The latter required an appropriate consciousness within the proletariat, which could only be developed by self-activity in the political process. Ideational conviction is not a product of exclusion. To reiterate a conclusion reached before, the subjective factor of a revolutionary consciousness impacts on the building of productive forces, yet is largely absent from Bolshevik theory. (133)

In an economy where a primitive level of productive forces is operative, labour power exercises a disproportionate effect - negative or positive - on productive capacity. To put this crudely, twenty workmen with spades could vary the amount of time taken to excavate a ditch considerably, whereas a worker operating a mechanical shovel would be more constrained because the physical effort expended is minimal and the capacity of the machinery is of a known quantity. In situations where the work procedure is compartmentalised and repetitive, time and motion study provides mathematically precise predictions. The attempt is made to attenuate, as far as possible, the subjective factor of consciousness.

Sirianni's view of the Soviet experience is that a degree of democracy for the working class was necessary because without it Taylorism meant,

"...the fragmentation of work tasks, the emphasis on material incentives in the form of piece rates, would tend to undermine the solidarity of the working class, reduce its social initiative and narrow its horizon to the favourable sale of individual labour-power, thus perpetuating on the subjective side the basic premises of the commodity form". (134)

For Frank Furedi, the contradiction which existed in the Soviet Union between increasing the productive forces and the manner in which they are raised is no contradiction at all. Amongst others, like myself,

"Sirianni fails to grasp how Marx's preoccupation with the development of the forces of production arose from his commitment to the genuine liberation of mankind. Marx rejected the abstract conceptions of freedom that prevail in bourgeois society. For him, freedom meant freedom from want, freedom from the struggle for survival". (135)

If hunger, sex and death are the three great tragedies of life, then Marxist certainly understand that elementary of the former is of primary concern, (136), yet it is a gross reduction of the theory to take its baseline as its totality. Even during a most critical period for the Soviet regime, 1921, Lunacharsky, then minister for education, cabled Isadora Duncan to travel to Moscow to set up a dance company. (137) Precisely, I surmise, because the freedom from hunger was seen as the freedom to engage in cultured, aesthetic and intellectual pursuits. Even in conditions where poverty and oppression had by no means been alleviated let alone transcended, the Bolsheviks adhered to a token policy of attempting to raise the general cultural level. Neither was the invitation to Duncan an aberration; the Bolshevik Ministry of Education and Art (Norkompros), despite chronic difficulties, attempted to intervene in a wide sphere of Soviet life,

"...Norkompros did manage to keep open the universities and to preserve the public libraries, art collections and museums. It also instituted a network of kindergartens, childrens' colonies and experimental schools and administered state subsidies to support the arts". (138)

So, whilst one may hold reservations regarding the causal linkages between a rise in the productive forces and changes in the superstructure, as often upheld by Bolshevism, their position was by no means as vulgar as Furedi's interpretation of Marx. Bolshevik efforts to enact an embryonic cultural apparatus were - through no fault of their own - painfully inadequate, especially when related to the suppression of working class initiative at the point of production.

If Sirianni merely perceived proletarian democracy as an imperious requirement for socialist construction; then his argumentation would remain of merely theoretical interest. However, his argument is also historically grounded, in that he also believes that a significant degree of proletarian democracy was possible,

"Given the positive achievements of the factory committees in the initial months of revolution, workers control of pollution would seem to have held great promise once the emergency of civil war had abated. The core of skilled workers that had staffed the committees had been reduced but not eliminated. An while the tradition of factory democracy had been seriously weakened, it did at least exist in the twenties, in contrast to 1917, and at least moderate support for participation was manifested along the rank and file". (139)

Sirianni's perspective is viable if his idea of a severely politically attenuated rather than a politically nullified working class is accepted. We have noted earlier, and most cogently from Bettelheim, the argument that the party and state apparatus was packed with careerists and opportunists, due exactly to the physical/political decimation of the working class. At on point, Sirianni mentions a possible reason for the lack of interest of the Russian authorities in collaborating with "Western unions committed to moderate forms of participation and Trade-union control" (140) as being the threat to party control of the unions. This implies that potential factory committees may have been able to pose a challenge to the, now degenerate, party/state apparatus. The exact extent to which the options proposed by Sirianni could have realistically been implemented will remain enigmatic. It is pertinent to draw attention to the fact that these were tactical options potentially operative under the Bolshevik schema as conditioned by material circumstances.

Even more important to consider is the suggestion that strategic considerations of negative portent may tend to inhibit all attempts at socialist construction. Harding reminds us of the connection between political practice and consciousness exercised Lenin in What Is To Be Done? (141) How could such consciousness arise when the working class and peasantry were practically and, increasingly, formally excluded from political practice? Clearly it could not. The notion of a proxy political practice carried out by the party on behalf of the working class and peasantry is deficient in that it cannot explain how such mediated practice could promote a socialist class consciousness, even if the party remained a pristine tool of indirect proletarian rule. This theoretical consideration is rendered irrelevant when one recalls that Lenin himself considered mediated rule to be instrumentally invalid because the old Tsarist officials were directing the Communists, rather than vice versa. (142) Whilst the example is specific to the historical parameters in which the Bolsheviks attempted socialist construction, a generality arises regarding the personnel necessary for such construction.

Harding documents a conundrum which will impinge upon all revolutionary governments to some extent,

"One of the problems which confronted the regime, a problem of which Lenin was constantly aware, was that the attributes of a good industrial manager or those of an efficient state administrator were, in general, precisely the inverse of those qualities which made men good revolutionaries. Intransigence, heroism, impatience and enthusiasm were precisely the qualities Lenin had looked for in the pre-revolutionary period, during the seizure of power and in the civil war. In the period of painstaking reconstruction which lay ahead however there qualities became not merely redundant but positively mischievous". (143)

To condense the problem to the composition of party/state personnel is an oversimplification in that this composition is historically grounded and the potential role of the working class is omitted. In a more propitious situation, it is possible that the self activity of that class could have gained political expression, thus intersecting the quandary posed by Harding, both by exercising some determination over the content of the apparatus and by enacting bodies and procedures to oversee the apparatus. In the Bolshevik case, the exclusion of the working class and peasantry was located in pragmatic responses to the exigencies of adverse conditions which dramatically accentuated some of the bureaucratic tendencies inherent in the Bolshevik interpretation of Marxism. (144)

Sufficient commentary and descriptive background has been enacted to allow concentration now on a more abstract analysis, allowing further definition of the theoretical limitations of the base-superstructure model.



Despite the substantially different economic contents displayed by War Communism and New Economic Policy, their forms relate directly back to the inadequate level of productive forces. In the Russian case, we have noted that the failure of the European revolutions automatically blocked off the country as regards industrial aid from new (relatively industrially advanced) proletarian states. (145) This means that the relationship with other national base was one exhibiting an exceptional situation of isolation with a corresponding increase on the explanatory importance of the internal relations. The effect of a revolution at the level of superstructure, which lacks the level of productive forces essential to begin the process of socialist construction, is simple in terms of explanation, yet exceedingly profound in terms of effect. The latter has been repeatedly theorised on in this work, yet it will be appropriate at the initiation of this section to describe the schema again, 

"...what marks the transition phase as a whole is not mainly the instability of the new social order, not is it the absence of domination by the new production relations, it is the fact that there is still a relatively large degree of non-correspondence between the new production relations, henceforth dominant, and the nature of the essential productive forces. The lower the level of development of the productive forces in a given country the higher the degree of non-concordance of which we speak". (146)

However, whereas Bettelheim cites "the new productive forces henceforth dominant", I have argued that precisely because of the constraints imposed upon them by a low level of productive forces, productive relations could not exercise such dominance. (147) He goes on to say that the non-concordance mentioned means that the "functioning of the economic system can be ensured only by specific mediations" such as state capitalism, N.E.P. and centralisation. (148) In this he is correct, but the fact that "mediations" of the magnitude of War Communism and N.E.P existed indicates to me precisely an "absence of domination by the new productive relations", in the sense that lack of productive forces sets parameters which productive relations cannot simply breach and obliges the regime to concoct "mediations", which are at variance with constructing a socialist economic base. The procedures codified in War Communism and N.E.P. indicates once and for all the potential intimacy of linkage between "the level of development of the productive forces and the productive relations", the "fundamental contradiction", as opposed to the sharpest decisive mediated manifestation of contradictions, the "principal contradiction" (149), which "may be found at quite different level. (150) In the case of Russia, he identifies the "principal contradiction" as being,

"...the revolt of the Russian peasant soldiers against continuing the imperialist war". (151)

It is argued that this war is a phenomena embodied in international conflicts between forces and relations,

"The war itself, of course, resulted from the contradiction, on the world scale, between the level of development of the productive forces and the productive relations; but this contradiction had attained its maximum sharpness only in the most highly developed countries". (152)

This author, therefore, rejects as an explanation for social change,

"...the world contradiction between productive forces and production-relations", as elevated above the "local" or "national" level of the productive forces..."(153) which is in fact lambasted as undialectical. (154)

In the sense that the contradiction between productive forces and relations can be seen as a causal factor re W.W.1., in that the conquest of extended market areas could have alleviated the conflict, Bettelheim may be correct in locating a "maximum sharpness" within the imperialist sector. This can be viewed as an attempt to solve problems at an internal level by exploding the conflict into external relations. Exactly because of the relative strength of the productive forces in the most "highly developed countries", war was a probable option and obviously engagement in war itself modifies internal relations in a manner which can be favourable to the capitalist class. At an economic level, war production will mean a sharp expansion in capacity, at least temporarily, nullifying problems such as unemployment, whilst at the political level governments of a class consensual nature tend to be formed in the interests of "national unity".

At an ideational level such elements as nationalism and patriotism become profound ideological formations penetrating the consciousness of all classes. the gross and instant capitulation of the First International and the extraordinary number of working class people who quickly volunteered for the armed forces, in Britain particularly, provided ample indication of the extent to which a universalisation of sectional interests can occur under the extreme pressure of war, as class conflict becomes transmuted into national antagonisms. If this is what Bettelheim implies, and here I have fleshed out his cryptic comment, then agreement with his line can be inferred.

One would go on to report, however, that a profound conflictual "sharpness" between forces and relations existed in Russia because of its backward internal relations, which were strained from attempting to assimilate technological innovation emanating from the world economy, and which were incapable of containing the stresses imposed by a war economy.

In the case of Russia, an already existing non-concordance was eventually amplified to breaking point by the engagement with external relations, even though the attempt to attenuate strains emanating from contradictions within the internal relations may have - paradoxically - been a significant factor impelling the Tsarist regime to war.

To reiterate, all the evidence indicates that the regime had neither the level of productive forces, ongoing productive activity, or adequate administrative competence over the organisation of production to "soak up" the economic punishment war inevitably entails. Coupled with a profound political and ideological delegitimisation of the regime's premises, social change was placed on the agenda.

Bettelheim perceives the contradiction between the level of the productive forces and the relations as a "fundamental" one. This I take to be a strategic contradiction, which inhabits all existing economic types, whereas the "principal" contradiction is a tactical contradiction, which can manifest itself in all manner of different orders, even in the same economic base at different historical conjunctures. Indeed, it will most likely appear at a non-economic level. In a real sense, then, the so called principal contradiction is the appearance of the reality of the "fundamental" contradiction.

Two questions arise concerning, i) the use of terms such as "fundamental" and "principal" contradiction and ii) the location of the "principal" contradiction in the Russian situation.

i) Inasmuch as the contradiction between productive forces level and productive relations is seen to enjoy overall explanatory primacy in Bettelheim's model, and the contradiction labelled "principal" is seen to evolve from this "fundamental" contradiction, yet at the same time describe and maintain a relative autonomy from it allowing it to exhibit itself at various levels of social life, there can be no argument. Much the same process has been argued out in many parts of this text.

In one sense, it can be argued that the actual terms are not vitally important and that one could just as easily talk of contradiction A and contradiction B. Unfortunately, I fear that two different contradictions are perceived whereas it would be more accurate to think of contradiction 'A' mediating itself through a specific totality of social life, at a specific historical conjuncture, and evolving into contradiction A+, which both reasserts its heritage in A (the contradiction between the forces and relations of production), and its partial transcendence of that heritage. In this way the importance of the contradiction between forces and relations of production is acknowledged, whilst by no means attempting a crude technological determined schema and also acknowledging the impact of mediation through social life, the major impact of which is class struggle. Therefore, whilst I could accept Bettelheim's terms as interpreted here, it is nevertheless an interpretation and I feel the terms are open to a misunderstanding, which a statement such as that "the contradiction between the level of productive forces and the productive relations can manifest itself at the level of superstructure as a decisive contradiction" is not.  

ii) Having said this, it seems appropriate to agree that the disintegration of the Russian army was a decisive contradiction in the same way in which one could argue that the Civil War in the post-revolutionary period was the decisive contradiction. That is that all other areas of the social totality were subordinate to it, in that if the German army or the White Guards had established control over Russia or the Soviet Union, all criticisms of the nature of the Tsarist regime or the possibilities of post-revolutionary socialist development would have been rendered irrelevant. Obviously, then, the decisive contradiction in these two cases rested on the question of maintaining state power.

In the case of the revolution, however, it was not simply just the fact that the army was unwilling to fight for the imperialists, but that important sections of it pursued the logic of that contradiction and became prepared to fight against reaction. From the "July days", Bolshevik supporters had been participating in armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government, enabling the P.R., backed by the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, to justify repressive measures taken against the Bolshevik leadership. Stalin and Trotsky were gaoled, Lenin was exiled to Finland and branded as a German agent. However, in order to crush the Kornilov rebellion, the S.R. and Menshevik dominated P.G. had to call upon the Bolsheviks.

As Harding puts it,

"By their disciplined work in preparing and organising the armed force to defend the revolution against a putative dictator, the Bolsheviks greatly enhanced their reputation. They had moreover, in the process considerably extended the force of armed men under their command". (155)

The Bolsheviks now had the instrumental basis for operating the mechanics of a revolution, but more importantly the attempted revolt had changed the political situation in that the party now believed that it had classwide support and had, importantly, won the vanguard to its perspective. Lenin was now convinced that the subjective factor had matured and a revolutionary uprising was a probability, rather than a possibility. (156) This may be viewed as the conjunctional interface of the principal contradiction.

Having made that point, it is also pertinent to mention that the inadequate level of productive forces exerted its influence over all levels of the Bolshevik government and many events and occurrences can be identified as either arising directly from this inadequacy or as due to the constant attempts by the leadership to exert control over the economy as a whole, as in War Communism (an attempt to suppress market forces), N.E.P. (an attempt to harness some market forces) or over elements of it at least. Exactly due to the low level of productive forces, the problem of small scale agricultural production presented itself full square to the regime along with the questions of industrialisation, the role of the state and the extent and format of proletarian democracy.

Clearly, the productive forces question displays itself not only in the economic sphere, but it forces, immediately and urgently, upon the regime stark political options with major ideological implications and repercussions. Should industrialisation be forced or regulated and should it be sectorial or general? Should means of production occupy a privileged position? What control could be exercised over non-Communist functionaries? Was it ever in the interests of industrial production, never mind the active development of the working class, to implement one-man management? It is a matter of historical record that these, amongst many other questions, generated intense and fractious debate over a protracted period within the Bolshevik party until this was ended by "monolithisation".

Certainly, the low level of productive forces did not mean that War Communism or N.E.P. would be enacted specifically as they were, as the very difference between the two systems indicates, yet it does mean that some economic experimentation of a radical nature would be forced onto the regime's agenda if it wanted to survive at all. In both cases, the main item on this agenda being the relationships between town and country, although the attempts to deal with the problem were substantially different.

Definitely the peasant-worker regime alliance was a major contradiction, in that in a country such as the early U.S.S.R. projects for raising industrial production would remain mere fantasy without an adequate level of food to maintain the proletariat at best and at worst the destruction of productive forces - people and livestock - through famine.

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the Soviet people succeeded in establishing a basic productive base, whilst lacking even subsistence levels of food, clothing and shelter. This would be impossible according to a solely economic theoretical model and further explanation is necessary.

Ideology and consciousness, as far as people are a productive force, inhabit not only the superstructural realms of society, but play some part in shaping the economic base of society in a rather more direct way than could be allowed if they were located exclusively in the realms of superstructural phenomena.

The concrete experience of the Russian Revolution bears this out because people are a special productive force, in that, when motivated by a consciousness of ideational schemas, which are viewed as worthwhile, enormous personal sacrifices then can be made which enable a productive effort to be attained and maintained. This effort is inexplicable by reference solely to economic considerations governing the limitations of bare necessity and transcending this formula, even though they emanate from it and are constrained by the limitations imposed by it.

The Russian people's consciousness of the revolution and the potentialities opened up by it - even though never realised - remains an important factor in explaining the "primitive accumulation" of forces of production, and, in fact, was an historical feat of the first magnitude. Neither would one deny the self-preservation instinct as absent, either from the struggle to ensure a supply of basic economic necessities, or from the attempt to escape repressive action by the regime inflicted on those not adhering to its productive policies, but neither of these adequately explains the gains made in productive forces as does the last sentence.

Measured against an ideal - and therefore unattainable - schema of socialist construction, the N.E.P. was a backward manoeuvre, in that it allowed a resurgence of, hitherto suppressed, capitalist relations to emerge but reviewed against War Communism, and allowing for its potential in enhancing future socialist construction, it represents itself as a progressive act and the opinion of "Workers Power" earlier mentioned stands. (157)

We have noted how the influence of the Kulak section of the peasantry was misunderstood and came to be overstated, both initially by the Left Opposition and then by Stalin (although the latter certainly had ulterior political motives focused on the consolidation of his own power by purging "undesirable" elements and in building a security apparatus to make this possible).

Bettelheim has shown that it would have been possible for the Bolsheviks to have drastically reduced the power and influence of the rich-peasantry by providing simple means of production, which was a task viable even in terms of the regimes chronic lack of resources. Nevertheless, it is pertinent to note that just as 1ndustrial development was highly variegated, so was that of agriculture.

"There were regions where capitalism was highly developed and even reached the monopoly stage (European Russia). There were other regions where a medium level of industrial capitalism coexisted with various degrees of agrarian backwardness (The Transcaucasion Regions). There were still other regions, found mostly in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, were inhabited by nomadic, self -nomadic and settled peoples. For the most part, these peoples retained various degrees of feudal, semi-feudal and even pre-feudal relations, although commodity-money relations and industry were developed to some extent". (158)

Naturally, the relatively backward relations in these border regions was traceable to Tsarist national oppression, which created a situation of which historical vestiges to this day remain. Certainly, the above passage provides us with no economic information with which to enact detailed comparisons, but it is simply a matter of illustrating here that, in certain regions, much more significant action would have needed to be taken by the regime than simply an enhancement in basic productive forces for traditional power structures to be challenged, and exactly because the writ of government did not run large in such areas due to the rather tenuous hold of the Bolsheviks on state power and the problem of centralising and consolidating it, significant areas would remain largely untouched by the revolution.

This is important to remember when base-superstructure linkages are discussed because it inevitably refers to a mainstream model, which in a society with widely differential economic-social relationships can only approach an approximation of the overall situation. Let us consider this further. Revolution in the superstructure : The superstructural revolution must seek to impose itself on the economic base - mainly by implementing radical changes in the relations of production in order to radicalise people who are an important element of the productive forces - but, also, it must seek to impose and extend its influence on the superstructure. It is vital to realise that this extension will be highly differential.

If we recall Jakubowski's analysis that law has a high level of functional correspondence with economy, than the revolutionary government will wish to quickly change laws to illuminate its commitment to economic reorganisation. Because the new regime cannot revise economic laws of motion overnight, whereas, it can immediately change laws, there is than a conscious discordance with base. At the stage of micro-economy, the discordance will vary enormously. for example, some industry may be nationalised instantly at the takeover of power in exact accordance with a new law, whereas, this would not be possible - as in Russia - for widespread petty production.

In this case, the new law my indicate more an intended aim than a present reality, or, alternatively, specific laws may been acted which acknowledge such a reality in the short term. In one case, the law is clearly non-correlative of an actual economic practice, and in the other it is, but can be seen as not corresponding to long or short term premises of socialist construction. In an extreme case, one notes situations, such as War Communism, where there are all manner of laws in force banning private trading, yet in the face of particular instances of economic necessity, the rulers ignore breaches of their own laws or even connive in acts which they themselves have declared to be illegal.

This leads to a perplexing area, in that, whilst the legal code in and of itself gives an indication of what wider social relations exist in a given state, the vigour, manner and exactitude with which said laws are enforced is relevant also. In the Bolsheviks case, the regimes motive in collaborating in the erosion of its own laws, laws previously enforced extremely energetically and with draconian penalties up to shooting, was clearly economic necessity bordering on desperation. The intended aims of the government had their basis in the laws effecting the right to private trade, but as long term economic aspirations had been codified in such a laws, short term economic needs ensured their breachment and later removal under N.E.P. With collectivisation, laws banning private trading were once again enacted, combined with economic disincentives, and rigidly applied in line with the perceived necessity to crush the Kulaks as a potential power source emanating from their economic clout in the agrarian sector.

It can be seen that such drastic changes in the legal superstructure fairly directly relate to economic stimuli and express radical fluctuation, partly due to the impetus of immediate economic demands related to a non-consolidated state formation, traceable to the regime's infancy, and partly due to the inherent nature of a socialist government, resting as it does not on historical tradition but ideological legitimacy. At this particular period, the main order of explanatory urgency can be ascribed to the former.

We could expect the regime to want to exert a direct influence upon,laws concerned with economic life, especially a regime so beset by economic problems as the Bolsheviks were, but what of laws which do not enter this category, such as those concerning sexual behaviour, womens's rights, religion and so on. In bourgeois democracies, as far as the dominated classes are concerned, democratic rights can be expressed essentially in passive terms. Quintessentally, the right of the individual to live in freedom from arbitrary interference by the state and in particular, the state's repressive organs.

It is to the credit of "Euro-Communism" that the trend has drawn the lesson from the Soviet experience that such freedom from interference is essential, in that without it, other democratic rights are largely nullified. Too often in the Communist movement class collective rights have been maintained to be superordinate to those of the individual, submerging the obvious reflection that class collections compose themselves of individuals. Class rights stripped of individual ones, in fact, represent a backward step from bourgeois norms of representative democracy.

In opposition to class rights having individual rights subordinate to them, I argue for maintaining the freedom from arbitrary interference central to bourgeois democratic theory (naturally, the practice varies from state to state and within a state at different times), whilst asserting that Marxist theory can envisage, in addition to this, the active engagement of man in making decisions regarding his own life, and this means engaging with the power structures which govern his life.

This does not mean that democracy is some "pure theory divorced from the limitations, which may be imposed by the material situation. In general,however one would expect a revolutionary government to be enacting laws of a non-economic nature, which seek to enhance workers active intervention into social life.

Having made a methodological distinction between law applicable to economic life and those which are not, we can quickly remind ourselves that the level of productive forces exercises a direct influence on whether the enactment of laws of the latter type have any real practical relevance to everyday life,

"To alter the position of woman at the root is possible only if all the conditions of social, family, and domestic existence are altered. The depth of the question of the mother is expressed in the fact that she is, in essence, a living point where all the decisive strands of economic and cultural work intersect. The question of motherhood is above all a question of an apartment, running water, a kitchen. a laundry room. But it is just as much a question of a school, of books, of a place for recreation. Drunkenness beats down most mercilessly on the housewife and mother. Illiteracy and unemployment also. Running water and electricity in the apartment lighten the woman's burden above all. (159)

Indeed, so adamant is Trotsky that the nature of social life crystalises at the "living point" of the mother that he uses the conception as an indication of the degeneration of the Russian Revolution : Thermidor in the Family, (160), in The Social Basis of the Woman Question. Alexandra Kollontai is in fundamental agreement with Trotsky,

"Specific economic factors were behind the subordination of women, natural qualities have been a secondary factor in this process. Only the complete disappearance of these factors only the evolution of those forces which at some point in the past gave rise to the subjection of women, is able in a fundamental way to influence and change their social position. In other words, women can become truly free and equal only in a world organised along new social and productive lines". (161)

However, the Bolsheviks, whilst realising that emancipation for women could not hold real substance without substantial changes in material circumstances, also attempted to comfront the cultural and psychological aspects of women's subordination legitimised by historical tradition. By 1919, the party had stated,

"The party's task at the present moment is primarily work in the realm of ideas and education so as to destroy utterly all traces of the former inequality or prejudices, particularly among backward strata of the proletariat and peasantry". (162)

Indeed, the Bolsheviks had been carrying out the educative task for some time, via firstly, "Pravda" and from 1914, via "Robotnitsa" (Working Woman), a journal authorised by the Central Committee of the party (163), and upon taking power the question of women was codified in programmatic/organisational forms. (164)

Obviously, the passing of legislation was an essential part of the ideological battle, in that it placed the authority of the state behind "the realm of ideas" and helped to define a sharp class line between the government and it adversaries. Between 1917 and 1927, the Bolsheviks passed a plethora of laws legalising abortion and divorce, abolishing the concept of the illegitimate child, opening up employment opportunities to women in the professions, industry, the party, and government and establishing organisations for the care of women and children. This was by no means seen merely as a moral duty on the part of the party or as a subsidiary series of legislation, but had its basis rooted firmly in material life,


"The very first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Soviet government were directed at the emancipation of women in a way which far exceeded the reformist demands of the suffragists. The aim of this legislation was the replacement of the nuclear family as a social/economic unit through the socialisation of household labour and the equalisation of educational and vocational opportunities. These two goals were key to the undermining of the capitalist social order and to the construction of the new society". (165)

Laws which may superficially appear then to have only an indirect relationship to economy, in fact, hold vital long-term consequences for economic life. If we compare the Bolshevik attitude towards women with that of pre-revolutionary times, then the correlations between the economy and laws regulating womens' role in society became ever more explicit,

"Before 1917 women were in essence slaves of their husbands. The Tsarist law stated : 'The wife is held to obey her husband, as the head of the family, to remain with him in love, respect. unlimited obedience, to do him every favour, and show him every affection, as a housewife'. The Tsarist laws explicitly permitted a man to beat his wife. In some rural areas women had to wear veils and were not allowed to learn to read or write". (166)

In the latter case, the objective is to block women off from participation in the economic life of society by weighing them down with a host of social obligations and taboos. Whereas, the material basis for Communists to liberate women is precisely the perspective that in a planned economy, all available labour power can be assigned to good use, as well as on the programmatic basis that the eventual aim of Communism is to provide a social situation where all individuals can develop their potential, be they artistic, intellectual, instrumental or whatever, to the fullest limit of their personal talents and aspirations.

Whilst the emancipation of women does require a society with an adequate material basis, it also requires a hard fight on the communist programme at the level of ideas and politics, in order to challenge a whole historical tradition of inequality and prejudice. Law played an important part in this struggle, in that it codified, in formal and authoritative terms, elements of the Bolshevik programme.

It has been mentioned earlier that the Central Asian areas of Russia were socially and economically the most backward and we can return again to consider this, as not only did these regions present the Bolshevik Party with the most extreme problems, but it is here that the question of religion intimately conflates itself with the role of women in society enabling this aspect to be considered as well.

"The Bolsheviks viewed the extreme oppression of women as an indicator of the primitive level of the whole society, but their approach was based on materialism, not moralism. They understood that the fact that women were veiled and caged, bought and sold, was but the surface of the problem. Kolym was not some sinister plot against womankind, but an institution which was central to the organisation of production, integrally connected to the land and water rights". (167) 

In the passage quoted earlier from Lenin' Left-Wing Childishness, where he talks of the differentiated modes of production operating within the Russian totality, this would clearly be the most primitive, i.e. number one, patriarchal. In such a backward social configuration, the correspondence between material life and womens' oppression is transparent. Islamic laws sanctified this oppression, but even the Koran was not sacrosanct from modification. For instance, formal Koranic laws banning female infanticide, restricting polygamy and extending limited property and inheritance rights to women were nullified by local edict showing very clearly the use of the religion to justify economic requirements. (168)

Whilst comments have been made in this document regarding an overall propensity on the behalf of the Bolsheviks to rely on an increase in the productive forces to promote superstructural change, the evidence here indicates a tactical appreciation of the limitations of this conception and that substantial efforts were made to challenge Muslim socio-economic institutions at the superstructural level, as part of an overall set of tactics. These took the format of an "encroaching" use of law supplemented by direct political/ideational agitation. Realising that Muslim laws, even those that were in opposition to Communist principles or actually violated general Soviet law, could not be simply abolished, but had to be replace in a manner in which Soviet law would be supported by the population of the area, rather than merely serve as formal edicts, the Bolsheviks initiated a systematic campaign to undercut the traditional Muslim Kadi courts by setting up civil courts to operated alongside them.

"Although the Kadi courts were permitted to function, the powers were circumscribed in that they were forbidden to handle political cases or any cases in which both parties to the dispute had not agreed to use the Kadi rather than the parallel Soviet court system. As the Soviet courts became more accepted, criminal cases were eliminated from the Kadi's sphere. Next, the government invited dissatisfied parties to appeal the Kadi's dicision to a Soviet court. In this manner the Soviets earned the reputation of being partisans of the oppressed, while the Kadis were exposed as defenders of the status quo". (169)

Supplementing this legal attack on Muslim traditions, the Bolsheviks initiated, at the close of the Civil War, direct agitational work among Muslim women, via Zhenotdel - the Department of Working Women and Peasant Women - whereby,

"...it was the most dedicated and courageous members of Zhenotdel who donned the paranja in order to meet with Muslim women and explain the new Soviet laws and programmes which were to change their lives." (170)

Such work was highly dangerous and the Bolsheviks were eventually forced to restore the death penalty for murder of Zhenotdel personnel.

Here we can note a subtle use of the law as both persuasion and force to attempt to disciminate the basic inklings of the Bolshevik attitude towards women into this chronically backward region. However, the law was not seen as separate, either from the patriarchal mode of production existing in the Central Asian regions, or as an adequate tool, on its own, to deal with the specific oppression of women resting on this productive mode. (171)

Whilst arguing that religious belief is at variance with the scientific and materialist world outlook of the Marxist party, which is therefore atheist, Lenin also argued that for those outside the organisation, religion was a private matter and that, whilst the party would propagate a materialist viewpoint entirely opposed to superstition, discrimination against religious believers of all description would not be tolerated under socialism. In a nutshell, "Complete separation of Church and State is what the socialist proletariat demands of the modern state and the modern church". (172) We can note from Bolshevik policy in the Central Asian areas, though, that neither would the party tolerate discrimination by religion against the female section of the population. The whole point of the parallel Soviet legal procedures was to effect a real and actual separation of the church from the state. In Lenin's own word, "We demand complete dis-establishment of the Church so as to be able to combat the religious fog with purely ideological and solely ideological weapons". (173)

Lenin describes here a situation where Marxists and general scientific theory would engage in a straight fight, so to speak, with religious doctrine. The terms of reference would be reversed, in the sense that marxism and scientific propositions would now be promoted by the state, rather than religious doctrines of one sort or another. However, it would be wrong to ignore the emotional, therefore irrational, impact of religion on man's consciousness. An impact stemming from the fact that religion can provide man with his human image in the face of everwhelming material deprivation. Surely, the alleviation and eventual dismissal of this deprivation will be an effective weapon in combating religious superstition (although, precisely because consciousness is relatively independent of material life, an ideational fight is essential as well), but productive forces are not built overnight and transitional procedures are necessary. Ceremony plays an important role in legitimising all religions and although this cannot be immediately abolished, it can be modified to present ideational propositions devoid of religious overtones.

"Church ceremonial enslaves even the worker of little or no religious belief in the three great moments of the life of man - birth, marriage and death. The workers' state has rejected church ceremony and informed its citizens that they have the right to be born, to marry, and to die without the mysterious gestures of persons clad in cossacks, gowns and other ecclesiastical vestments. But custom finds it harder to discard ceremony than the state. The life of the working family is too monotonous". (174)

Especially in a culturally backward country, as was the new Soviet Republic, ceremonies will still have an impact on the masses, if only because they provide a welcome break in the mundane reality of everyday life. Ideally, revolutionaries would like to sweep away ceremonies instantly. precisely because they do not rest on national intellectual argument, but on illogical emotional appeal. To do so. however, runs the risk of severely alienating the new regime from the masses, requiring that some sort of "transitional" events be initiated.

"This is a fact that successful revolutionaries sometimes overlook or underestimate. In ridding themselves of the old power structure that they have come to detest, they are forced to sweep away with it most of the old ceremonials. Even though these ritual procedures may have nothing directly to do with the overthrown power system, they are to strongly reminiscent of it and must go. A few hurriedly improvised performances may be put in their place, but it is difficult to invent rituals overnight". (175)

Indeed, ritual depends, for its impact, exactly on being embodied in protracted historical tradition and the more arcane and eccentric the ritual appears to contemporary time, the greater the impact may be. However, the Bolsheviks were aware that an attempt had to be made to replace pre-revolutionary images.

"The workers' state already had its festivals, processions, reviews and parades, symbolic spectacles - the new theatrical ceremonies of state. It is true that in the main they are too closely allied to the old forms, which they imitate and perpetuate. But on the whole, the revolutionary symbolism of the workers' state is novel, distinct, and forcible - the red flag, red star, worker, peasant, comrade, International". (176)

For the state to initiate new ceremonials is fairly easy, whereas, in the realms of cloistered family life, replacement of religious forms takes time to permeate, precisely because nothing yet exists to adequately replace them. (177)

I have mentioned the overall irrational aspect of ceremony earlier and Trotsky summarises this quite well,

"Theoretical arguments act on the mind only. Spectacular ceremony acts on the senses and imagination. The influence of the latter, consequently, is much more widespread". (178)

Because ceremony appeals to instinct rather than logic, a ceremonial display may equally as well serve the purposes of the extreme right. (179)

Politics, as the "crystalisation of economics", exhibits a profound illumination with regard to the Russian Revolution. To a large extent, politics was substantially conditional by economic factors. Much of the programme of the Bolsheviks, as expressed in the stream of revolutionary decrees emanating from the regime, enjoyed little more than propaganda value. Party policies, on such issues as full employment, housing and womens' right, had no chance of becoming reality without a massive rise in the forces of production, even after the party had managed to retain its hold on state power. Naturally, political concerns of the Bolsheviks had to focus on this retention. The correspondence between political and economic factors was extremely high. Economic factors did not make the later Stalinist period historically inevitable, but they do make it historically understandable. as Nove puts it,

"The key problem before the Bolsheviks concerned the linked questions of industrialization and political power". (180)

Political power was necessary for the process of industrialisation to take place and could not be retained without such industrialisation. The building of the level of the forces of production was required to : a) numerically increase the size of the proletariat in order to provide a wider social basis for Bolshevik rule, b) to enable the regime to finance an armaments industry and armed forces capable of denying the aims of external aggressors and, in the long-term, to c) provide an adequate material basis for developed socialist construction to occur. The penultimate objective would inevitably influence the sectoral manner in which productive forces were expanded, but speed was of the essence, meaning a pronounced priority had to be extended to the development of heavy industry, which was necessary for the arms industry. Nove points out that there were also more subjective political reasonings behind this decision,

"...the necessity of maintaining political elan, of not appearing to accept for an indefinite period a policy of gradualism based on the peasant which would have demoralized the party and so gravely weakened the regime". (181)

On both counts, it was absolutely essential that the political battle against Bukharin and his allies be won. It is quite true that the Bukharinite position, as regards socialist transition, was far more sophisticated (182), than that of 'riding towards socialism on a peasant nag' (183), to which it is often condensed. Yet,the precis not entirely devoid of truth. These were unsophisticated times and the political "space" for such a conception was simply absent.

The three economic imperatives facing the party indicates that in the political sphere, a ruthless dictatorship would have had to be imposed whoever had gained power. This does not mean one has "capitulated to Stalinism", as the Trotskyists like to say, but it is to recognise that, at the very most, some type of bureaucracy, with an input from the working class, was inevitable. That a regime developed which was more dictatorial than this only indicates that a particular practical alternative won power. (184)

Many of the political problems of contemporary Trotskyism (185) stem from the identification of the young U.S.S.R. as a "workers' state" until the Stalin regime consolidated its power. This really is to elevate the subjective factor over the objective in a most vulgar manner. Trotsky, in power, would have needed to have carried out many of the policies of the Stalin regime though - possibly - in a less arbitrary and brutal manner. It is also possible that external relations in terms of foreign policy may have been modified. Certainly, they would if Trotskyist writings are considered, yet they were not in power. Neither was the attainment of power ever likely when the abstract propagandising of Trotsky, a procedure which chronically infects modern Trotskyism, is noted. (186)

Nearly every political debate which took place during the early phase of the Soviet Union is concerned with the trio of economic factors previously outlined. Predominant amongst these is the lack of productive forces. Political theory primarily is in engagement with procedures to enact the raising of the forces. The nature of the particular historical conjucture ensures that the interface between economic factors and political considerations is one of a relatively direct nature.



The extremely diverse nature of the economic base in Russia,encompassing various modes of production, illustrates the particularity of the internal relations and the influence of historical derivations. In may ways, the disconcordances, between base and the superstructures, and within these elements, factored into the trajectory of the Russian revolution. Nevertheless, the level of the productive forces gained explanatory influence as the impact of external relations, crystalising in war, highlighted the overall primitive infrastructure of the country. The relationship between forces and relations of production may have been a fundamental contradiction, but the subjective factor of revolutionary leadership was necessary both to focus on the fundamental contradiction (the forces of production met with differing productive relations) as that contradiction between socialised production and on the the new working class, and to devise a programme for insurrection. The insurrection itself is a practical illustration that military tactics cannot be divorced from Marxists analysis.

Despite a propensity in Bolshevik thinking to allocate undue primacy to the linkage between the development of the productive forces and superstructural development, a concern which was historically grounded, War Communism was an abrogation of this type of theorising. Basic Marxists tenets, on the level of the productive forces required for socialism, were ignored as practice resembled little more than trial and error. In dialectical terms, the party descended from Reason down to vulgar empiricism, as the exigencies of adverse material conditions not only necessarily dominated Bolshevik thinking, but came to constrain it.

Trial and error denotes the New Economic Policy, which could be expected to have some positive short term economic effects precisely because it was the enantiamorphic economic image of War Communism. N.E.P. was a substantial historical retreat and in no way a policy to build socialism. It was a dangerous retreat, as capitalist relations grew and their suppression, which reached its zenith in the collectivisation period, embodied a certain historical inevitability considering the nature of the Stalin regime. From the perspective of base and superstructure, it may be noted that the multiple modes of production, characteristic of the pre-revoultionary period, enacted significantly on the unfolding of the Russian revolution itself. The proletarian revolution relies heavily on the assumption of an iron grip on state power, in order to begin the task of developing out the revolution from the political superstructure. In the Bolshevik case, the grip was anything but an iron one in the rural areas and in the peripheral areas of the union.

In this situation, modes of production continued to exist, which were inimical to socialist construction. Extraordinary measures had to be taken in order for the regime even to be able to begin exercising its influence.

The isolation of the Russian Revolution can hardly be underestimated as an explanation of the general development of the revolution, in that, it ensured that tendencies present in internal relations were magnified. In this situation, it is relatively easy to define Stalinism as a retrograde step back to social democracy, but singularly unfruitful - indeed it is idealism - to blame the negative aspects of Soviet development on the leadership, rather than on the encirclement of the U.S.S.R by imperialism.



1. BETTELHEIM, Charles, Class Struggles in the U.S.S.R. First Period, 1917-23, page 91.

2. ANDERSON. Perry, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Page 328

3. Ibid, Page 359. Emphasis in original in italics.

4. Ibid, Pages 359/360.

5. HARMAN, Chris, Bureaucracy and Revolution in Eastern Europe, Page 11.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid

8. It is interesting to note here that in his introduction to Karl Marx, Pre-capitalist Economic Formations, Lawrence and Wishart, Eric Hobsbawn argues that,

"...the development of a Russian revolutionary movement increasingly led Marx and Engels to place their hopes for a European revolution in Russia. (No misinterpretation of Marx is more grotesque than the one which suggests that he expected a revolution exclusively from the advanced industrial countries of the West)", Page 49.

Hobsbawn cites various texts in support of this view. I mention this here because the idea that Marx and Engels did so "place their hopes" is often a prefigurative preconception about debate on Russia. Hobsbawn shows another aspect to the story.

9. LENIN, V.I., The Development of Capitalism in Russia, 1944 Page 596, Collected Works, Vol. 3).

10. LANE, David, State and Politics in the U.S.S.R., Chapter 1, The Russian Empire in 1913.

12. TROTSKY, Leon, 1905, Page 61.

13. NOVE, op cit, Page 21.

14. MARX, Karl, ENGELS, Frederick, Selected Correspondence, Engels to Marx, October 7, 1858, Pages 131/32.

15. Ibid.

16. GERSCHENKRAN, A, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective, Page 125.

17. TROTSKY, Leon, The Permanent Revolution, Page 44. Emphasis added.

18. STRAUSS, E, Soviet Russia, Page 29. Strauss is quoting The Soviet Union Looks Ahead The Five Year Plan of Economic Reconstruction. London, 1930, Page 10.

19. NOVE, op cit, Pages 29/30 cf with STRAUSS, op cit, Page 28.

20. STRAUSS, op cit, Page 29.

21. JOHNSON, Hewlett, The Socialist Sixth of the World. Johnson sees this in the urban areas in terms of conspiracy theory.

"If the backwardness of the country was accidental, mainly due to inertia the backwardness of the larger towns was deliberate. Tsarist rulers dreaded the rise of a manufacturing middle class", Page 93.

No doubt such a factor would have been present in the thinking of a sector of the Tsarist regime but it places the subjective factor above the objective one, i.e. the economic laws of motion of the global economy. Also it ignores "Wittes policy of deliberately encouraging and sponsoring industrialisation". NOVE, op cit, Page 19. and the later Stolypin reforms aimed at increasing agricultural efficiency. NOVE, op cit, Page 22.

22. NOVE, op, cit, Page 29.

23. TROTSKY Leon, The History of the Russian Revolution, Page

24. Ibid, Page 55.

25. STRAUSS, op cit, Page 27.

26. LENIN, V.I., Fourth, Extraordinary, All-Russia Congress of Soviets, March 14-16 1918, In : The Revolutionary Phrase, Page123, (C.W. Vol 27, 172-190).

27. Ibid, Page 123

28. SHIRER, William L., The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Page 81.

29. LENIN V.I., The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, Selected Works, Vol 11. Page 601/2. (C.W. 27, 237-277).

30. STRAUSS, op cit, Page 82.

31. Ibid, Page 87.

32. LENIN, V.I., Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality, Selected Works, Vol 11 Page 632. (C.W. 27, 323-54).

Lenin quotes a large section of this essay in The Tax in Kind, Selected Works, Vol 111, Page 531. (C,W. 32, 329-65).

33. ELLEINSTEIN, Jean, The Stalin Phenomenom, Page 10, gives figures for agricultural production suggesting a decline of over 57% for 1920 as compared against an average for the years 1901-13 and over 60% for 1921. The context of this book as an "official" P.C.F. publication is explained by Pierre Frank, see FRANK, Pierre, Review Article : The Stalin Phenomenom, In : International, Vol 4, Number 1, Autumn 1977, Page 47.

34. NOVE, op cit, Page 68 presents a compilation of various tables which provide us with a statistical indicator of economic collapse.

35. CRANKSHAW, Edward, Russia by Daylight, Page 18.

36. Ibid, Page 18.

37. Using this "double bind" type of argumentation, the arguer cannot lose. If the White armies win, then this proves the Bolshevik's unpopularity and if they lose, then the intervention was mistaken and, paradoxically, has only would solidify support around a regime which would otherwise have collapsed.

38. Ibid, Russia by Daylight, Chapter Two, The Bolshevik Conspiracy is a classic of the genre. If taken seriously, the, supposed, diabolical cunning of the Bolsheviks is quite frightening and conflates neatly with the "Cold War" mentality then prevailing. See on this period, INGRAM, Kenneth, History of the Cold War.

39. NOVE, op cit, Page 46.

40. Ibid, see also Page 78, "Why War Communism?".

41. LENIN, V.I., Left Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality, op cit, Page 635. (C.W. 27, 323-54).

42. "The Tax in Kind", op cit, Page 534.

43. LENIN, V.I., Speech at a Plenary Meeting of the Moscow Soviet of Workers and Peasants Deputies, February 28th 1921, In : Collected Works, Vol 32, Page 156. This speech can be seen as the first questioning of War Communism. (C.W. 32, 51-59).

44. ELLEINSTEIN, op cit, Page 11.

45. LENIN,V.I.,Forth Anniversary of the October Revolution, In : Selected Works, Vol 3, op cit, Page 591. (C.W. 33, 51-59).

46. For example, the recent British/Argentinian war over the Malvinas Islands existed in Britain only at the level of media coverage, unless one was one of the tiny minority of the population directly involved. Such a situation has existed many times in Britain's history as a consequence of its maintaining a professional army. Naturally, in a large scale conflict, the war hits everyday life, if only via conscription, but the greatest leap in the concept of "Total War" has undoubtedly been the aeroplane and - in Japan - the atomic device.

47. Soviet Russia, op cit, Page 89.

48. COHEN, Stephen, F., Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution, Page 78.

49. SCHAPIRO. Leonard and GODSON, Joseph, Eds, The Soviet Worker. As Peter WILES in his essay - "Wages and Income Policies" says,

"This whole vast socio-economic experiment failed completely , and was later renamed war communism - a name not used at the time - in order to establish the false pretence that the Bolsheviks had done all this out of the necessities of the civil war. It is indeed true that the dates of "War Communism" (Summer 1918 - Spring 1921) and the civil war coincide; but that is due to the historical accident that the Kronstadt revolt (by which the rebellious proletariat convinced Lenin to abandon the system) occurred immediately at the end of the civil war. There is nothing in the Bolshevik literature of the period to suggest that they were not trying to establish their final, peacetime version of society on the spot. A more thorough reading of Marx would have avoided a terrible disaster". Pages 16/17.

As we have noted, Lenin had seen socialism as "inconceivable", both before and after the "War Communism" period. His reading - arguably his interpretation - of Marx was adequate. It is also superficial to say that "Lenin had executed a remarkable about face in his own "thinking" (Cohen, op cit, Page 137). Rather, he had returned to his original - correct - understanding of Marx. Actually, I understand the period as an empirical adaptation of the theory to justify material circumstances. The Trotskyists who condemn "socialism in one country" as such an adaptation usually seek no methodological link in this previous theoretical adaptation.

50. BETTELHEIM, Charles, Class Struggles in the U.S.S.R. : Second Period 1923-1930, Page 49.

51. To paraphrase WILES, MAO TSE-TUNG "would have avoided a terrible disaster" in attempting to implement the "Great Leap Forward" if the Chinese had studied War Communism thoroughly".

52. COHEN, op cit, Page 60.

53. COATES, Ken, TOPHAM, Tony, The New Unionism.

"Workers' control" emphasises that the purpose of the policy and strategy should be to establish control, by workers over the hitherto unfettered decisions of the ruling party in industry, namely the employers and their managers. In this sense, (which is not to be confused with the full industrial democracy possible in a socialised society, where "self-management" is the more appropriate term) the germs of workers control exist, in greater or lesser degree, wherever strong independent trade union and shop floor powers act to restrain employers in the exercise of their so called prerogatives." (Page 60)

In the above, then, "workers control" is defined as a workers veto over some aspect of their conditions of employment. On the contrary, in the historical period, we are considering that the term is used to describe a situation described as workers "self-management" in the above.

54. Naturally, this is to reject the fantasy of a perfectly balanced "pure" workers state, as indeed Lenin does in his debate with Trotsky.

55. TROTSKY, Leon, Women and the Family.

56. NOVE, op cit, Page 54, STRAUSS, op cit, Page 79. The numerical discrepancy vanishes to only one when the sequestrations 149 in Strauss are added to his figure for nationalisation 337, i.e. 486 (Nove quotes 487). Strauss merely presents a more precise breakdown of the figures.

57. Soviet Russia, op cit Pages 79/80.

58. LENIN V.I., Meeting of Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet with Delegates from Food Supply Organisations, (Jan 14), (Nov 27) 1918, Pages 501/502. (C.W. 26,501/502).

Sabotage tends to contain its own impetus as a reason for economic failings. It is a relatively simple matter to "resort to terrorism" and shoot speculators "on the spot". It is rather ore difficult to acknowledge objective economic laws over which on is powerless in the short term, and which can only be modified by long term interventions. There is a rationality in Lenin's hysterical speech, which is amplified to absurd levels later in the regime's history by Stalin with his various show trials, etc.

59. A basically healthy self-sacrificing impulse which Stalin cynically manipulated in a coercive manner in the Stakhanovite programme.

60. LENIN, V.I., A Great Beginning, Selected Works Vol 3, Page

61. Ibid, Page 165.

62. Ibid, Page 164, Lenin is quoting a Pravda article of May 17, 1919.

63. Ibid, Page 165.

64. Ibid, Page 166.

65. NOVE, Page 53.

66. The use of these terms suggests an understanding that the early "workers state" extracts surplus value from workers. The point is whether the state distributes the s.v. in the interests of a specific social strata thereby embodying the potential of creating a new or modified exploiting class or caste - or not. Unless the state power is used at the earliest opportunity to modify and eventually negate the law of value, this, anyway, will be the case. That it not be so, surely implies a substantial amount of of proletarian control over its ""own" state. Lacking this, democracy, an elite identifying its own interests must emerge. For this not to be so would mean that the Anarchist belief that the revolution in and of itself changes human nature would be correct and the transitional period unnecessary anyway.

67. ADLER, Alan, Ed Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third International, Leon Trotsky, Manifesto of the Second World Congress, Section 11, The Economic Situation Page 148. Quotation Page 150.

68. Nove op cit, Page 62.

69. STRAUSS, op cit, Page 83.

70. HAYNES, Michael, Nikolai Bukharin and the Transition from Capitalism to Socialism, Page 109.

71. Ibid, Page 109. Emphasis added.

72. I am here talking of major impetus as exemplified in the revolutionary processes themselves. Naturally, it is more complex than this. For instance, it may be profoundly identifiable economic factors which prompt the political takeoever of state power by the proletariat. There is no wish to stress any non-dialectical process, but to argue that there are certain aspects in the movement which clearly differentiate the two types of revolution.

73. See Appendix One, Section Five.

74. One can, of course, allocate priorities within these limitations. Stalin, for instance, was able to make massive gains in the production of the means of production, both to give the U.S.S.R. an essential economic infrastructure and to facilitate armaments production to meet the threat of external aggression, but this was only made possible by substantial cuts in goods for consumption down to the most basic amenities of shelter and food. In an entirely different context, the final proof that "will" cannot overcome objective economic laws, even with the most skilled economic organisers (Schacht and Speer) is Hitler's Third Reich (see BULLOCK. Alan, Hitler, Pages 412/3, 490/1, 731/2. Certainly Nazi Germany subordinated the economy almost totally to war production and Speer was able to prolong the life of the regime by the use of slave labour and the expropriation of raw materials from satellite countries, but only to witness a more profound economic collapse later on. To assert that one cannot "will" labour power and raw materials may appear incredibly naive, but no more than the Bolshevik attempt to "will" away commodity and money relations

75. HAYNES, op cit, Page 108. The author makes these comments within the context of a discussion re : the views of Bukharin and Bettelheim. This applies also to references 76/77.

76. Ibid, Page 108. Emphasis added.

77. Ibid, Page 108.

78. Ibid, Page 108. It appears to me that Bettelheim's term of unspecified "proletarian social practices" is so ambiguous as to be fairly barren as a theoretical tool. On the contrary, if we talk about intervention over the way in which productive forces are developed, it can be taken as meaning all those factors (nationalisation, workers self-management,collectivisation of agriculture) which taken together add up to the suppression of the law of value. Naturally, the speed of implementation and extent of such measures is intimately tied up with an assessment of the historical conjuncture of the society, the international situation, present internal relations and so forth.

79. TROTSKY, Leon, The Essential Trotsky, The Lessons of October, Pages 149/50/51. Note the conflating of consciousness with political superstructure. Emphasis in original in italics.

80. WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY, Internal Bulletin 6, February 6, 1986, now a public document. In this document, Bill Hunter, "Mike Banda and the Bad Men Theory of History", Page 19 makes an important contemporary contribution to theories of the individual in history as related to the concrete development of Trotsky's Fourth International.

81. CLAUDIN, Fernando, The Communist Movement : From Comintern to Cominform Pages 71/72.

82. Ibid. Claudin provides a useful theoretical discussion of this if one reads the section entitled Stalin as Revisionist : Complete Socialism in a Single Country.

83. STALIN, J.V., On the Opposition.

In this work, Stalin makes a distinction between the possibility of socialism in one country and,

"the impossibility of having a full guarantee against intervention, and consequently against the restoration of the bourgeoisie order, without the victory of the revolution in at least a number of countries". (Page 332).

The first is a technical problem which the U.S.S.R. can solve, the second is not. Stalin has little difficulty in presenting himself as a true "Leninist". For those who thought that the concept of socialism automatically contained the latter proposition, the distinction will be semantic, but, nevertheless, it served serious political and organisational purposes. Also note Page 484 regarding quotations from Lenin.

84. TROTSKY, Leon, The Revolution Betrayed, Chapter 8, Foreign Policy and the Army.

85. PELLING, Henry, The British Communist Party. Pelling's book illustrates this process well from the point of view of a national party and is, therefore, a useful complement to Claudin's study of the Comintern (above). Especially note chapter six, The Red Decade : Spain and the Purges and chapter seven, Imperialist War and Anti-Facist War, 1939-43

It is interesting to observe that even groupings, which trace their political heritage through Stalin, now accept this view at least in part. See, REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST PARTY (U.S.A.), Revolution, Issue 49, Vol.6, No, 1, June 1981, Essay entitled Some Notes on the Military and Diplomatic History of W.W.2, Page 11. Note particularly Pages, 14, 15.

Also in Britain. MARXIST-LENINIST PROGRAMME COMMISSION, The Unholy Alliance - The Front Against Fascism and War, 1935-47. Note Page 10, The Question of the Defence of the Soviet Union.

86. Monthly Review, Vol. 32, No 6, November 1980, SWEEZY, Paul, M., Post Revolutionary Society, Page 10.

87. Stalin paid close personal attention to a revision of dialectical materialism. See his Dialectical and Historical Materialism.

88. "The Revolution Betrayed", op cit, Page 23.

89. SWEEZY notes that, "so far had this interpretation become conventional wisdom, that I don't remember its ever being questioned". Monthly Review, Vol. 29, No 5, October 1977. Paul M. SWEEZY, Bettelheim on the Revolution From Above. in The U.S.S.R. in the 1920's, Page 5.

90. Second Period, op cit, Pages 25/26.

91. Second Period, op cit, Page 26. Emphasis in original in italics.

92. NOVE, op cit, "N.E.P." gives an interesting account of the aspect of the restoration of private trade. In particular, see Prices, Markets and the Private Enterprise, Page 102.

93. STRAUSS, op cit, Chapter Thirteen, Growth and Limits of the Productive Forces. Particularly note the comprehensive series of economic tables on Pages 133, 134, 136, 139, 143, 148.

94. Ibid, Page 136.

95. Second Period, op cit, Page 29.

96. NOVE, op cit, Page 87.

97. Ibid, Page 87.

98. LENIN, V.I., TROTSKY, Leon, Kronstadt, The Truth About Kronstadt, Pages 101/2.

99. Ibid, Page 98.

100. Ibid. See the letters from Victor Serge and Dwight Macdonald. Page s 124 to 131.

101. WORKERS POWER/IRISH WORKERS GROUP, The Degenerated Revolution, Page 9.

102. Ibid, Page 10. Note the W.P./I.W.G. use the term "legalised the operation of the law of value", whereas some accounts at the least imply that N.E.P. restored it. As we have noted with regard to War Communism, the law cannot be abolished, but rather suppressed to emerge in unexpected ways. In this sense, the meticulous wording of the account is more accurate.

103. SWEEZY, Paul M., Monthly Review, Vol. 29, Number 5, op cit, Pages 7/8, notes Bettelheim's work on this. Note the important assertion that Kulak strength was not due to their,

"inherent economic strength but rather the growing hostility of the middle and even some of the poor peasants to the policies of the Soviet government". Page 8.

104. The Degenerated Revolution, Page 19. According to this work,

"By July 1930, 320,000 Kulak families had been expropriated and departed - a number that far exceeded the number of Kulaks claimed by Stalinist statisticians on the eve of collectivisation".

105. Ibid, Page 19.

106. Ibid, Page 19.

107. CONQUEST, Robert, The Harvest of Sorrow ; Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror-Famine, Page 119.

108. Ibid, passim.

109. VIOLA, Lynne, The Best Sons of the Fatherland, Workers in the Vanguard of Soviet Collectivisation, Page 153.

110. The Tax in Kind, op cit, Page 559.

111. The Degenerated Revolution, op cit, Page 9.

112. ELLEINSTEIN, op cit, Page 35. Emphasis added.

113. The Soviet Worker, op cit Page 7. Emphasis added.

114. Ibid, Page 7.

115. STRAUSS, op cit, Page 145.

116. SWEEZY, Paul M., Monthly Review, Vol. 29, Number 5, op cit, Page 8, fn 2, mentions the role of usury as a factor in Kulak power, i.e. a factor arising from production which manifested itself in the realm of circulation.

117. KUROMIYA, Horoaki, Stalin's Industrial Revolution Politics and Worker1928-32, Page 30.

118. That is except for the only female member of the Bolshevik Central Committee of 1917, Alexandra Kollontai, Stalin's Ambassador to Norway in 1927, Sweden in 1930.

119. ELLEINSTEIN, op cit, Page 84 sees the trials of "non communists experts" from 1928 onwards as a pilot version of the 1936-38 trails. See also SCHAPIRO, Leonard, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Page 430.

120. Second Period, op cit, Page 88.

121. Ibid, Page 88. Emphasis in original in italics.

122. Ibid, Page 95.

123. Ibid, Page 95. I have emphasised the words "underlying factor" - all subsequent emphasis is in the original in italics.

124. Ibid, Page 103.

125. Ibid, Pages 107/8.

126. Ibid, Page 518. Emphasis added.

127. This is not casual assertion, see BETTELHEIM, Charles, The Transition to Socialist Economy, Proposals on Terminology, Page 19 as well as the introduction to both Periods,

128. Brian Pearce.

129. Second Period, op cit, Pages 518/9. Emphasis in original in italics.

130. See SCHAPIRO, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, op cit, Chapters Twenty Two to Twenty Four., cf with GETTY, John Archibald, Origins of the Great Purges ; The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-38.

131. Programmatic Proclamation of the Soviet Revolutionary Communists (Bolsheviks), Red Star Press, London SW2, P O Box 71, 1975. Section entitled Stalin and the Proletarian Democracy, Page 12. This document presents a classic Stalinist view of the Great Leader struggling against anti-socialist forces within the party who gained control after his death. In other words, the subjective factor - leadership - assumed predominant (and unconvincing importance). The text is asserted to have been distributed in the U.S.S.R. by the group mentioned in the title. Not having seen this organisation mentioned in any other text whatsoever, it can be assumed that the work represents only the view of the Albanians at this time by whom it was published.

132. HARDING, Neil, Lenin's Political Thought, Vol. 11, Theory and Practice in the Socialist Revolution, Page 65

133. SIRIANNI, Carmen, Workers Control and Socialist Democracy ; The Soviet Experience, Page 259.

134. Ibid, Page 259.

135. FUREDI, Frank, The Soviet Union Demystified, Page 8.

136. DEUTSCHER, Isaac, On Socialist Man, Page 16.

137. Before "Socialist Realism" in the Soviet Union, In:- INTERNATIONAL SPARTACIST TENDENCY, Woman and Revolution, Number 13, Winter, 1976-77 Page 9.

138. Ibid, Page 9.

139. SIRIANNI, op cit, Page 324.

140. Ibid, Page 323.

141. HARDING, op cit, Page 320.

142. Ibid, Page 287.

143. Ibid, Pages 285/286.

144. BRINTON, Maurice, The Bolsheviks and Workers Control/1917-1921 The State and Counter-Revolution.

The above is an extremely competent critique of Bolshevism's centripetal proclivities, both in theory and practice. Unlike most Anarchist influenced commentators. Brinton is obviously conversant with Marxist doctrine, yet, like most, he omits to pay sufficient attention to the material conditions.

145. RIDDELL, John, Ed, The German Revolution and the Debate on Soviet Power Documents 1918-1919. This text is the second volume in the series The Communist International in Lenin's Time and, as it collates previously unobtainable source material will, no doubt be considered an important new addition to the existing literature.

146. The Transition to Socialist Economy, op cit, Page 26.

147. Naturally, debate focused on this topic centres on the industrially undeveloped sectors of the world economy for reasons all too obvious. The discussion is thought to be irrelevant as regards the industrialised sectors, in that a relatively high standard of productive forces - even taking into account some destruction of these due to the process of revolution itself - will exist to be expropriated by the new socialist regime. The possibility that the bourgeoisie and its functionaries may use nuclear weapons in order to "save" the nation from Communism, thereby, massively destroying productive forces, appears to be little considered presumably on the premise - mentioned earlier - that all productive forces, especially people, would be liquidated making the problem redundant. This is the all or nothing approach. However, some research does indicate that damage could occur within these limits, diminishing the productive forces to the level of the present day imperialised country or beyond. If this is posed as a possibility, it is only because "Thinking About the Unthinkable", to use Herman Khan's memorable title, indicates a theoretical option, however remote it may seem, or however remote one may wish it to seem. In regard to Britain see, LAURIE, Peter, Beneath the City Streets, Chapter Two.

148. The Transition to Socialist Economy, op cit, Page 26.

149. Ibid, Page 146/7

150. Ibid.

151. Ibid.

152. Ibid.

153. Ibid.

154. Ibid.

155. HARDING, op cit, Page 155.

156. Ibid, Page 156.

157. Cited in reference 102.

158. ETHIOPIAN STUDENTS UNION IN NORTH AMERICA, Combat, Theory of Non-Capitalist Development?, Vol. V11, No. 2, January 1978, Page 28.

159. TROTSKY, Leon, Women and the Family, op cit, Pages 45/46. See reference 55. Emphasis in original in italics.

160. Revolution Betrayed, op cit, Page 144.

161. KOLLONTAI, Alexandra, Selected Writings, Page 58. Emphasis in the original in italics.

162. Women and the Family, op cit, Page 9.

163. INTERNATIONAL SPARTACIST TENDENCY, How the Bolsheviks Organised Working Women : History of the Journal Robotnitsa, In:- Women and Revolution, Number 4, Fall 1973, Page 4.

164. Methods and Forms of Work Amongst Communist Party Women, In:- Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third International, op cit, Pages 212/228.

165. INTERNATIONAL SPARTACIST TENDENCY, Early Communist Work Among Women : The Bolsheviks, Part 2, Women and Revolution, Number 11, Spring 1976, Page 18. (Part 1 of this article can be found in Issue 10, Winter 1975/76, Page 7).

166. LUND, Caroline, Introduction to, Women and the Family, op cit, Page 9.

167. INTERNATIONAL SPARTACIST TENDENCY, Early Bolshevik Work Among Women of the Soviet East, In:- Women and Revolution, Number 12, Summer 1976, Page 15. Emphasis in original in italics. (Kolym is roughly equivalent to dowry).

168. Ibid, Page 14.

169. Ibid, Pages 15/16. Emphasis in original in italics.

170. Ibid, Page 17. Emphasis in original in italics. (Paranja is a garment completely covering the face and body and contains no opening for eyes or mouth unlike the Yashmak or Chador.

171. Ibid, Page 17.

172. LENIN, V.I., Socialism and Religion, In:- On Socialist Ideology and Culture, Page 44. (C.W. Vol. 70, 83-87).

173. Ibid, Page 45.

174 TROTSKY, Leon, The Family and Ceremony, in his collection, Problems of Everyday Life, Page 44.

175. MORRIS, Desmond, The Human Zoo, Page 30.

176. Problems of Everyday Life, op cit, Pages 44/45.

177. Ibid, Page 45.

178. Ibid, Page 45.

179. WALKER, Martin, The National Front, Page 145.

180. NOVE, Alec, Was Stalin Really Necessary?, Page 21.

181. Ibid, Page 23.

182. COHEN, Stephen F., Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution, Page 174.

183. NOVE, op cit, Page 22.

184. Ibid, Pages 20/21.

185. BRONSON, Harold E., The Renegade Revolutionaries, Chapters 1,5,6,7, and WALKER, Denver, Quite Right Mr Trotsky!, Chapters 4,5,6,7.

    1. BRONSON, op cit, Pages 51/52.

Ted Talbot.


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