“Questions of the United Front in Germany“ by Walter Ulbricht (Aug 26. 1939)

Stand of the unity front in the country

 

In the reports of instructors it is said, that the comradely coherence of the antifascist workers became stronger. With the intensification of the political situation in September 1938 and by occasion of questions of work time and wages 1939 the comradely relations to the social-democrats has improved in many enterprises. The solidarity of the workers in the enterprise departments became more firm. That is proven by the resistance movements at the West Wall¹, in the mines and also on many places of the metal industry. In general it did not succeed yet to develop the comradely relations to a political relationship. The connections are large and good, but that all relies on friendship and randomness. The mutual trust is restricted on the hate against fascism.

 

In September 1938 the social resistance movements stepped backed behind the general discussion of the war questions. That seems to be come from, that the main orientation of the antifascists was concentrated on this question. In the report from Rhineland-Westphalia it is being said, that from meetings to prepare the resistance movement could not be spoken about yet. The instructor from Kiel says, that the comradeship became better, but it did not come to organized movements yet. They at least dare to discuss about all possible questions in groups again. Still the collaboration is mostly, to give tips to each other how to prevent piecework pressure.

 

An instructor from the Wasserkante says, that there is unclarity about the how of the struggle to the fall of Hitler and the necessary unity. In diverse reports the comradely relations of communists and social-democrats are already labelled as united front, although in some reports it is said, that over united actions are not spoken about yet.

 

Which character does the united-front-like collaboration between social-democrats and communist groups has?

 

I will bring up some examples, which characterize the most typical things. United-front-like collaboration is existing with such left groups, which are already ideologically close to us. The Mahnruf-Group² in Hamburg is standing in contact with us for some years, although the connection was temporarily lost. They have drafted flyers together with us or accepted the publishing of them. They are against the party directorate, but are not clear about what should come after Hitler yet. They declare, that their agitation has the goal to use very possibility to stir dissatisfaction.

 

At Siemens in Berlin a social-democratic group, which was connected with the leadership of the 10-Points-Group, works united-front-like together with us and also handed out flyers with us.

 

In a city in Ruhr Area a left social-democratic group works with us together for years. They have handed out flyers with us and also wrote to the party directorate and demanded the creation of the united front. Collaboration also exists with at Blohm & Voß in Hamburg with a social-democratic group. The communication over planned executive tasks intern and outside the enterprise does not exist yet. In the other apprehended enterprises in hamburg relations to social-democrats are existing. The relation is that of worker to worker.

 

A group of social-democrats and communists in Berlin has handed out a common flyer against Hitler´s war politics. For sure there are even more social-democratic groups which are collaborating with us.

 

The most characteristic of that collaboration, as far it is in the country itself, is the general propaganda against Hitler´s war politics. Insufficiently is being answered on the main arguments of the Nazis and insufficiently reasoned are these economic, social and directed against fascist enforced actions directed demands, which are useful for bringen the masses into motion.

 

Self-critical it is being said in the Hamburg report: “The thinking and acting of the biggest part of the social-democrats is unknown for us.“ In another report it is being said: “In all areas our friends are still hesitating to create connections with the social-democrats.“ In different reports it is being indicated, that the unclarity over the united and people´s front politics in Spain and France works debilitating.

 

The crisis among the social-democracy

 

The SPD is political and organizationally splintered. They exist in the country as friendship circles, who meet because of diverse, mostly legal reasons. Occasionally social-democratic functionaries use their occupation as small merchants, to meet their social-democratic comrades as customers. Specially the right-wing of the social-democrats are trying to spread the directives of the party directorate on this way. In general a left-development of many social-democrats, specially under the influence of the politics of the Soviet Union, can be detected.

 

1. A minority of active left social-democrats is for the unity of the working class, is ready for single steps of common antifascist propaganda, but has multiple doubts towards our demand of a democratic republic.

 

2. The biggest part of the social-democrats is acting in the representation of daily workers interests, is connected with the masses, is member of mass organizations and is for the democratic republic. Mostly these social-democrats have learned from the past, have a comradely relationship to the communists, but have some political distrust against the KPD.

 

3. The right-wing social-democratic functionaries in the country preach waiting, speculating on the automatically fall of fascism and speak often from a coming military dictatorship.

 

A famous former trade union leader said, that the war would be unpreventable and lead to the defeat of Germany. He says:

 

“It is not task of the German socialists to bring unnecessary victims for work in the country, but we must do anything to get contact to the military forces, which will dictate peace after the lost war by Germany.“

 

Another former social-democratic trade union leader said in discussion with a comrade:

 

“The reform of Marxism is a step forwards… The fascism will collapse by economic difficulties by itself. It is the people´s own fault that the fascism came. Weimar gave the possibility to vote correctly.“

 

The right-wing social-democratic leaders abroad are now going over to develop a reactionary platform as basis of the unification of the social-democrats.

 

Since 1933 the following development phases can be detected:

 

In spring 1933 the party directorate looked for a compromise with the fascism. The Reichstag faction voted for Hitler´s foreign policy and Wels left the executive of II. Internationale. When also the social-democratic leaders had to emigrate, they tried to keep the social-democracy together by concessions towards the left social-democrats. It came the manifesto of January 1934, which created the possibility of united-front-like collaboration of social-democrats and communists.

 

After that the Revolutionary Socialists published their revolutionary platform and inside the social-democratic apparatus the united-front-friendly forces gained influence. The right-wingers in the party directorate did everything they could to smash and prevent the unification of revolutionary social-democrats and removed their representatives step by step from the apparatus.

 

When bigger difficulties in struggle of the people´s front in Spain and France came up, the party directorate demanded the cancelling of unity-front-like collaboration between communists and social-democrats in the country and in Paris.

 

After the party directorate was successful to prevent the common action of revolutionary socialdemocrats in the country, it went over in the second half of the years 1938 to the reasoning of its political positions. Till then it saw itself just as the trustee of the socialdemocracy in Germany, it delcared now in the call of 14. September 1938:

“The directorate of the Social-democratic Party of Germany is the last organ, which was elected by the social-democratic mass organizations in Germany.“³

 

By that it announced again the exclusive leadership-claim. Wels became active again, was elected into the executive of II. Internationale again and united openly with the right-wing elements. A situation has developed in which the right-winged social-democratic leaders do a systematically offensive while the left social-democrats in the country are splintered and a part of the emigrated social-democrats, who are against the party directorate, are standing under influence of diverse Trotskyite groups.

 

The content of the right-wing-social-democratic platform

 

There is no worked out program, but a series of articles by Stampfer, Geyer and others, which were introduces by the declaration of Stampfer, that the working out of a social-democratic program would be necessary, already are being a social-democratic platform. That this so called party directorate is against the united and people´s front, comes from Stampfer´s exposition, that the SPD would have a decisive task due to the position between right-wing groups and communists. Geyer openly propagates an “undogmatic socialism“. Sollmann wrote: “For me class-socialism and class-politics of the workers have failed.“⁴ He delcared, that the Communist Mnaifesto could not be the basis of social-democratic concentration, like it seems some want. Stampfer is in these questions more skillful. He falsifies Marxism, uses for that some Marx quotes to be able to influence a bigger circle of socialdemocratic supporters. From these articles comes the following statement to political foundational questions: In the statement to imperialism in diverse articles he defends the line of SPD during the First World War. Wels says, that the social-democratic policy was right back then. Stampfer says: “Germany could have been united till the end of war, when it had focused on defense targets.“⁵ He defends the so called Peace Resolution⁷ of the Reichstag majority in July 1917. Factly these social-democrats are denying the existence of German imperialism. The aggressive imperialist forces do they see in the top of fascist bureaucracy. They reject to stand for the slogan of defeat of Hitler-Germany in case of war.

 

Towards the character of fascism Stampfer questions: “Was it really the bourgeoisie which brought Hitler into power… ?“⁶ He writes:

 

“He self, Hitler is – it ahs to be said, even when it is awkward – through and through a product of the modern revolutionary development and not thinkable without it.“⁸

 

The rejection of the Hitler regime would be in parts of the bourgeoisie stronger than among the industrial workers.⁹ The “proud Rhinish entrepreneurs“ would not let Hitler dictate them anything.¹⁰ By the way the social-democrats have the position of equating fascism and bolshevism. Geyer writes for example:

 

“The totalitarist idea itself – not just its racist form – is the real enemy of freedom. It lies on the ground of racism like nationalism or the orthodox class struggle teaching.“¹¹

 

In the question of the democratic republic they stand for a “authoritarian democracy“, like Sollmann is calling it. Stampfer is for a “temporary dictatorship of the republicans“¹², by what he means the suppression of the revolutionary forces, like he further explains it in an article, in which he writes: When the communists support the social-democratic politics, then a second Noske-politics is impossible.¹³ Stampfer claims, formerly the working class would have been educated to an overstated power consciousness. He puts today the future constitutional question into the foreground and to disguise the question, which class forces will be active in the future republic, by general speeches about “the people“. To the people´s front they have the opinion, that it would be a kind of coalition politics too and would not contrast from what the social-democracy did in Weimar Republic. To the question, why the SPD rejects the collaboration with the communists, Geyer answers: “The antidemocratic totalitarian ulterior motives are what takes the arguments of the communists all convincing power.“¹⁴ Sollmann writes in a letter to Stampfer:

 

“What is for you and me holy, ´Weimar´, is for others, also social-democrats, in best cases a bunch of errors, of weakness, of illusions, of personal deficiency. This deep border line inside the social-democracy has already in Weimar era hindered some of our actions…“¹⁵

 

What they imagine as a democratic republic, also comes out of the fact, that Sollmann stands for an “estatist structured socialism“¹⁶ and Stampfer speaks about “planned economic, progressive tendencies“ of fascism and demands, that these “progresses“ must be kept in the future republic.

 

Source: Walter Ulbricht “Zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung – Band II – Zweiter Zusatzband“, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1968

 

¹ also known as Siegfried Line

 

² Socialdemocratic group which acted together with communists

 

³ Neuer Vorwärts (Paris), Nr. 274, 18. September 1938, German

 

⁴ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 284, 27. November 1938, German

 

⁵ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 321, 13. August 1939, German

 

⁶ A resolution by socialdemocrats around Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann in July 1917, being adopted by SPD, Zentrum and FVP (in Weimar later DDP) [so by the later “Weimar Coalition“]. In it is being denied that World War I is an aggressive war by Germany and it is claimed that just the other nations would want to crush Germany. So it was a denial of the existence of German imperialism.

 

⁷ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 310, 28. Mai 1939, German

 

⁸ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 275, 25. September 1938, German

 

⁹ cf. Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 312, 11. Juni 1939, German

 

¹⁰ cf. Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 310, 28. Mai 1939, German

 

¹¹ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 321, 13. August 1939, German

 

¹² Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 274, 16. September 1938, German

 

¹³ cf. Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 311, 4. June 1939, German

 

¹⁴ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 321, 13. August 1939, German

 

¹⁵ Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 284, 27. November 1938, German

¹⁶ “Ständesozialismus“ (“Estate-Socialism“) like used as a phrase in fascist Austria 1933-1938; it is an euphemistic term to disguise the character of fascism, just like “National-Socialism“ in Nazi-Germany

Thanks to The Red Path!

First Coincidence near Stalingrad – Talk between Catholic priest Josef Kayser and Walter Ulbricht, Feb 2 1944

Lead-in: Dear listeners! About their first coincidence near Stalingrad the former communist Reichstag deputy Walter Ulbricht is talking with the Catholic Wehrmacht priest Josef Kayser.
Ulbricht: So, Mr. priest, can you remember what was a year ago?
Kayser: Sure! Back then I met you, Mr. Ulbricht, shortly after my capture in dugout in Verdyachi. Never I will forget our first talk back then.
Ulbricht: Seems the last year brought you much. And now on anniversary of our first meet we are together again, but now in Moscow. Back then – so it seems for me – you have not understand me well. But today we work together.
Kayser: You are totally right, Mr. Ulbricht. This year has brought us together, you, the communist, and me, the Catholic priest. But to be honest, on our first meeting I was a bit terrified.
Ulbricht: So, what impressed you so much?
Kayser: You did not try to coax me but said me freely into my face that the defeat of the two German armies at Stalingrad is the beginning of the defeat of Hitler. I remember your comparison. You said back then, Hitler had not just pushed the German troops at Stalingrad into the pocket, but Hitler has pocketed whole Germany. I remember your words of goodbye: “Watch out, Mr. priest, in a few weeks you will be totally have my opinion and you will fight with us against Hitler.”
Ulbricht: So, was I not right, was I?
Kayser: Of course! But back then I was far away from my current understanding. I have always been an enemy of the exaggerated Führer principe and an enemy of the race theory. I have stood as Catholic youth leader in struggle against Gestapo and SS. Just because of my conscription to Wehrmacht I just escaped imprisonment in a concentration camp. But working together with communists, I was just afraid of that.
Ulbricht: There we have it. You seem to have thought communists are savages.
Kayser: That is almost right.
Ulbricht: Do you remember when I told you about that the communists in Germany indeed recognize the struggle of Catholic Church against Hitler and support them where they can?
Kayser: Yes, you told me surprinsingly about my friend, chaplain Rossaint, who was judged together with communists in a Nazi cangaroo trial.
Ulbricht: So it was. We communists esteem and recognize every honest creed, you must have seen this by yourself in this first year as a prisoner of war.
Kayser: Of course! I can tell you, Mr. Ulbricht, that this experience was the deepest reason why we got together so quickly. If the people in Germany would find together like that! All enemies of Hitler!
Ulbricht: So it will come, Mr. priest! You can be sure about that.
Kayser: Now you speak again as superior and sure like back then, when I sat in front of you on the plank bed in the dugout of Verdyachi.
Ulbricht: Yes! See, Mr. priest, we communists do sober real politics. Marx and Lenin,
who´s books are of course banned in Germany, have tought us a deep view on history, which enables us to realize the economic and political relations, which constitute history.
Kayser: That is right! I have also read in these books and learned some new things. Before that we just heard about Marxism, that he would fight God and church and wants to turn the world into chaos.
Ulbricht: And therefore you fought against Soviet Russia? Like in a crusade?
Kayser: Sadly! Sadly!
Ulbricht: And now you see an orderly state, free, happy people, who love their fatherland and defend it with all means. Do you know, that years ago the Soviet government gave churches, which were closed, back to their religious purpose when the people wanted it so?
Kayser: I have heard from it and read by myself, that Stalin in a speech to the youth already before the war went with barbed words against outrages, which smeared the church and priests. When the Catholic people in Germany would know about that.
Ulbricht: Here in Russia the people is ruling. Also the German peoople will open their eyes. Then there will be an end with Hitler and his slavery. The Russian and German people will understand each other well. They belong together. And also the church will have its importance in a free Germany. Rely on that, Mr. priest. The Catholics have fought heroic in Nazi-Germany with us. That will not be forgotten.
Kayser: Yes, when the German people would be so united like we both!
Ulbricht: Why should that be impossible, we can see it already in the National Committee [“Free Germany”].
Kayser: Yes, Stalingrad has brought us to that! Maybe the Lord God had to send us through this hell, that we can buildup now a more beautiful Germany together will all good powers of the German people.
Ulbricht: Right! – And we specially that we can prevent an even worse Stalingrad for the German people.
Kayser: You stay ever the sober real politician! Praise God!

Source: “To the History of German Workers Movement – Extra-Volume to Volume II, 2. Half-Volume” by Walter Ulbricht (published in 1968), German

 

 

Thanks to The Red Path!

“How is the unity for the fall of Hitler?” by Walter Ulbricht, (Aug 27 1939)

The main task, which moves all antifascists in Germany, is: On which way can we liberate Germany from the rule of the fascist war mongers? Doubtless, it is only possible on the way of common struggle of all democratic, antifascist forces. The accomplishment and the action power of this democratic front is essentially depending on the unity and initiative of the working class in their struggle.

The working class is the force, who is suffering the most from the fascist rule and has to carry the biggest victims from a war provoked by Hitler, who has literally nothing to lose but her chains, who is concentrated in the big enterprises, the basis of fascist war production, who is standing in deepest contradiction by her class position to the fascist class rule of the most reactionary imperialist circles of German financial capital and struggles most consequently for the democratic freedom. When today the communication of the democratic forces in Germany is still at the beginning, then it is because the active antifascist forces of the working class do not or almost invisible agitate in action unity.

But there are already many examples, that communists, active social-democrats and former trade union activists organise united the resistance in the enterprises and had pushed through workers demands by use of the legal possibilities in the DAF¹. Decisive was by that mostly the initiative of communists and revolutionary social-democrats, their common approach and their connection to other DAF-members. In some industrial centers representatives of social-democratic groups and communist party organizations have handed out flyers against the extension of work time and for better wages and made commonly propaganda against the Great-German imperialism among the Work-Front-members. These are just actions of the most active, most consequent antifascist forces among the working class, which shows the possibilities of action unity. It is necessary, that specially in big enterprises the mass of communist, social-democratic, trade unionist and the other antifascist workers create the united front.
Against that are some social-democratic leaders, who seem to see their task in spreding defeatism, carrying non-believing in the own power into the working class. They claim, that the working class would be less active than other classes of the society, while they are continuing the struggle against the united front inside the country and do everything they can to prevent that workers become active. The offical organ of the social-democratic party directorate, the “Deutschlandbericht der Sopade”, are reasoning their defeatist standpoint with this:
“The political thinking people, active in trade union, were ever in minority. But as long there was a free workers movement, that minority always had the leadership… This force of the workers movement does not exist anymore. The National-socialists have destroyed them knowing and put their politics systematically on the atomization of the working people… Those, who thought before, are still thinking, those who did not think before, think now even less. Just, that the thinking ones do not lead anymore.”
This statement means nothing else but abandoning the organization of antifascist struggle.
When by the opinion of the social-democratic author the “politically thinking people”, so the class conscious workers, would be unable to lead the working masses, which leadership should the workers now have in their opinion? The political conception of the articles of Friedrich Stampfer, Hilferding, Wels, Sollmann means factly that the leadership in struggle against fascism would belong to the bourgeoisie. Stampfer claims, “that Hitler finds today far more followers among the working class than among the bourgeoisie”², but that “the proud Rhinish enterpreneurs”, like Stampfer likes to say, would not let Hitler telling them anything. So Stampfer also counts these fascist great capitalists, who brought Hitler into power, to the opposition. This orientation brings the social-democratic directorate to stay totally passive towards the struggle of the workers, while they are favorable towards the bourgeoisie. Stampfer speaks of the “progressive tendencies” in the fascist economy, and Sollmann characterises the future democracy as an “authoritarian democracy”, so semi-fascist.

Such a politics just serves the keeping of the split among the working class. She also directs also directly against the unity of democratic, antifascist forces, because the masses of peasants and petty bourgeoisie do not want to come from fascist hail and rain into the eave of “authoritarian-democratic” rule of the “proud Rhinish enterpreneurs”, even when she is being covered by “constitutional” and “planning” ornaments.

To what such a politics leads, the years 1918 till 1933 have taught us more than enough. From the historical experience comes the conclusion, that the democratic revolution must be carried out by the most progressive class, the working class, as the most consequent democratic force in the alliance with the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie in the cities and the progressive intilligentsia. By that it will also be possible to paralyse the “authoritarian” goals of anti-Hitlerist circles among the bourgeoisie.

Before the 30. June 1934 the party directorate representatnts to the socialdemocrats in the country, they should not make a united front with the communists, to not scare the opposition in the Nazi Party and the state appartus. Then before the 4. February 1938 it has been whispered with secretive hint on the opposition among the officer circles in the Reich army to prevent the creation of the united front. The result was, that Hitler got rid of that opposition very quickly, because the working class did not step into action. So Wels and Stampfer prevented by distraction of the action unity of the workers, that this opposition could lead to a crisis in the fascist regime. The existence of the united front, which we want since years, would have doubtlessly, that the working class could have stepped more into action during the September days 1938, during the days of the wild pogroms or this spring during the aggression against Czechoslovakia. Now the social-democratic leaders direct their views on diverse foreign forces, which have yet excelled itself by a Munich orientation.

It is not just the difficulties of communication, which make under the conditions of fascist terror the creation of a united front so difficult, but primarily the political influence of some social-democratic leaders. So a situation has developed, that a part of the social-democratic functionaries in Germany works in accordance to the platform of SPD-directorate of January 1934 for the unity of the working class, while the social-democratic directorate itself went backwards under influence of anti-Marxist circles in foreign countries and in fact gave up its own platform. That directorate has, by going over to combat every social-democratic functionary who works for unity of the working class, split the social-democracy itself into different directions.

We communists will continue with all of our power, that in the country the united front of communist and social-democratic organizations and functionaries will be created. May among the social-democracy a similar activity for the creation of the action unity of the working class come. For the German working class applies, what comrade Dimitrov wrote after the Munich Conspiracy:

“From outstanding importance is the advise of the great Lenin, that the working class has primarily to gain the belief in the own power, has to smash the damned pre-judgement, that the peoples could not get along without the leadership of bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie would decide over their destiny. the working class must deeply be permeated in the consciousness of necessity, to stand determined on the top of the people´s movement against fascism.”³
the collaboration of the antifascist, democratic forces can only succeed, when the necessary collaboration of organizations of the working class with the middle classes and the bourgeoisie democratic forces can just then lead to the goal – the democratic republic – when the strongest class, the working class by the action unity unfolds her power totally and encourages by that her direct allies, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie in the cities, to action.

Permeated by that knowledge, a big amount of social-democratic groups came to the conclusion, not just creating the action unity with the communist party organizations, but also to take initiative, by connection to other groups, by flyers and illegal newspapers, to convince the masses of antifascist workers from the necessity of action unity. The flyers from Berlin and Rhine Land, the illegal newspaper from the Wasserkante and the memorandum of a social-democratic working circle proof that work. It is in the interest of the struggle against the fascist war politics, to have an open debate about why the unity of the antifascist, democratic forces need the unity front of the working class. The communists and the revolutionary workers support every resistance directed against fascism and every oppositional movement in the army, in the fascist organizations and among the bourgeoisie. the revolutionary forces of the working class must always be conscious, that all democratic and oppositional forces can just have achievements and victories in that amount, as the working class acts united and wins the masses of peasantry and petty bourgeoisie as allies.

Walter Ulbrich

¹Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Work Front) was the fascist pseudo-trade union
²Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 310, 28. Mai 1939, German
³ Georgi Dimitroff: Ausgewählte Schriften, Bd. 3, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1958, S. 125, German

Source: Deutsche Volkszeitung, 27. August 1939, German

Thanks to RedPath!

Responding to Xexizy on “Not-real-Socialism”

Xexizy is basically correct when he defines capitalism:

The definition of capitalism is not only private property, it is:

PRIVATE PROPERTY, & MODERN MARKET ECONOMY. Goods are produced privately to be sold for profit.

However he is fundamentally wrong in his critique of the definition “socialism is common ownership of the means of production”. Xexizy points out that both feudalism and capitalism had private property but this is precisely why we define socialism as collective ownership.

This definition is used because socialism is the only system in which the means of production are owned in common.

We often also add that socialism replaces market economy with a planned economy. However Xexizy ignores this part completely. We also define capitalism as private production mostly for exchange as opposed to feudalism.

Xexizy is claiming that the USSR and other socialist countries were not really socialist. This is why he has come up with this scheme. His scheme is not at all obvious or evident or logical when reading Marx. It is something he has imposed on Marx because he wants to arrive at a certain conclusion. A conclusion not supported by Marxism but something he wants to twist Marxism to say.

This is why Xexizy has come up with his argument. Now I will show you how he is wrong:

Xexizy tries to artificially separate the so-called transitional stage from Lower Phase of Communism. In fact Marx only spoke about Lower & Higher Communism, and not about a specific third phase called the “Transitional Stage” especially since the Lower Phase is also a transitional stage.
According to Xexizy in the transitional stage everything is administered by the state but it is still not socialism. This doesn’t make any sense as in the immediate transition everything is obviously not administered by the state. The workers can take over the state, but the state won’t control the entire economy in the transition.

The reason why Xexizy claims this is obviously because he wants to claim the Soviet Union was just “evil-state-capitalism-not-real-socialism”. But really the transitional step from capitalism to socialism applies very well to something like the Soviet Union in Lenin’s administration, when the state controlled the economic heights, but didn’t abolish all private property yet.

The Stalin administration abolished private property and market economy (the two defining elements of capitalism) and thus created socialism. However based on Xexizy’s definition neither one of them was socialist. Obviously Lenin’s administration was the transition, the preparation for socialism which was then built by Stalin.

Xexizy misunderstands Marx when he quotes him:

“Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products”
(Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme)

This shouldn’t be taken absolutely literally, especially because in the very next paragraph Marx begins to describe “exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange”, he simply means that individuals won’t be selling their labor or products as individuals, but all of this is part of the social process.

“since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor.”
(Marx, Ibid.)

He was making this point specifically as a counter argument against the Lassallean petty-bourgeois notion of “undiminished proceeds of labor”.

But we will get to the specifics of what exactly all this stuff about commodity circulation means in a bit.

The same goes for Marx’s comment about value:

“…just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them”

(Marx, Ibid.)

He is not denying the existence of value but saying that value is not a regulator of the economy anymore. Stalin says the following about this:

“the law of value can be a regulator of production only under capitalism, with private ownership of the means of production, and competition, anarchy of production, and crises of overproduction.”
(Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR)

However when asked if Value still exists in the USSR he said:

“Wherever commodities and commodity production exist, there the law of value must also exist.”

(Stalin, Ibid.)

Marx also acknowledged this. In describing the exchange or distribution of goods in Lower stage of Communism he said:

“Here, obviously, the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values.”

(Marx, Ibid.)

Marx defines Lower Communism in this way:

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

In simple terms this means that people work and receive payment, which they will then exchange for products, or means of consumption.

Instead in the Higher Phase of Communism products won’t be rationed, allocated or exchanged but will be given according to need.

Xexizy claims that in Socialism there cannot be Commodity Production. What he should say is that in the higher phase of communism there is no commodity production. In the lower phase it still exists. This is demonstrated by the fact that people work and are paid in return. Xexizy defines a commodity as something which is to be sold. Then what are these means of consumption which people will receive in return for payment? Are they not exactly commodities in Xexizy’s own definition? They are products which are sold i.e. commodities. However Xexizy’s definition is not exactly accurate, as in socialism products are not made to be sold, they are made to be used. They are still sold in the lower phase of communism which makes them commodities, but selling them is not the point, they are made for use, selling them is only the method of rationing them and funding their production.

“…nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except individual means of consumption. But as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.”
(Marx, Ibid.)

Then Xexizy attempts to explain the difference between Higher and Lower Communism. He claims the only difference is that in Higher Communism products will be given according to need. As I’ve already explained, the fact that products are not given according to need but according to work as in Lower Communism like in the USSR it already implies commodity production in this sense. The Soviet Union couldn’t yet abolish commodity production. One reason was because they couldn’t simply give things for free, because they didn’t have super abundance characteristic of higher communism.

But according to Xexizy’s strange definition this, distribution of goods in return for payment for work is not commodity production. His description of lower communism is thus self-contradicting.
In Critique of the Gotha Programme Marx says in Lower Communism or Socialism:
“a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.”

Products which are exchanged are commodities. However Marx makes a distinction here between this type of distribution, exchanging work for products and between exchanging products for other products. This commodity production in the usual sense is what he calls commodity production in Critique of the Gotha Programme.

As Lenin said:

“A commodity is, in the first place, a thing that satisfies a human want; in the second place, it is a thing that can be exchanged for another thing.”
(Lenin, KARL MARX: A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism)

If you have distribution according to payment, as Marx states we will have in Lower Communism, then you inevitably have commodity production in this sense in Lower Communism.

Exchange of products did also exist in Socialist countries for one reason: because not everything was owned by the state. They had a co-operative and collective farm sector which didn’t belong to society as a whole but only to the workers in those collectives. As a result of this their product only belonged to the collective and had to be exchanged with society for other products.

A society with collectives and co-operatives is socialist but not yet communist. That is, it is in the lower phase. For full-communism, co-operatives must become owned by the entire society as a whole and hence cease being co-operatives.

Xexizy criticizes Stalin’s plan to reduce the sphere of commodity circulation between town and country by creating a system of products exchange without money based on a plan. But this critique is rather laughable. He claims that this is only a form of barter and barter being a lower historical stage of trade it will inevitably lead to capitalist trade and commodity production.

In reality of course creating a system where goods are moneylessly allocated according to a plan is moving closer to communism. Naturally Xexizy doesn’t offer any other alternative plan of his own, and I doubt he even understands the details about why exactly Stalin made this suggestion, it being only a suggestion aimed at the collectives which were not owned by the state, to bring them under the same level of planning as the state and bringing them closer to being public property.

If everything was already public property and not collective property this would not be necessary.

Xexizy’s critique is a typical left-communist critique as it only labels something as not-real-socialism but offers no solutions.

Xexizy also claims the Soviet Union had wage labour but offers no proof of this. He quotes Stalin’s book on economics but omits the part where Stalin says labour doesn’t appear as a commodity on the market in the USSR and they therefore don’t have wage-labour.

Wage-labour doesn’t mean being paid. Marx himself says that in Lower communism people will receive means of consumption, or products as payment for work performed.
Furthermore Xexizy claims that Socialism is stateless.

This is particularly strange and he offers no source for this. He only presents us with the following deduction: since socialism is classless, and the state is an instrument of class struggle. Therefore the state should be abolished in socialism.

This is profoundly mistaken. First of all class struggle does not end in socialism. It only ends in Communism, the higher phase.

When Marx complains that the Gotha Programme does not deal with the dictatorship of the proletariat or “with the future state of communist society” he is talking about the Lower Phase, Socialism in which this state is in the process of withering away. It will be completely withered when we reach Higher Communism. Xexizy’s definition of Higher Communism fails here because according to him the state should already have withered before.

The debate between Anarchists and “state-socialists” like Marx also seems quite absurd if Marx truly believed Socialism to be stateless as Xexizy is claiming.

The last topic I want to discuss is the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Xexizy doesn’t mention this term for some reason, he only talks about a mysterious “transitional stage” when he ought to be talking about the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

The Dictatorship of the Proletariat encompasses the entire period between capitalism and full-communism. That means, until every vestige of capitalism is gone and we exist in a worldwide communist society.

Xexizy implies that socialism can never be built as long as there are capitalist countries out there. But this contradicts everything he said before as he deliberately emphasized that Capitalism and Socialism are not modes of ownership but Modes of Production. So what happens if we establish a socialist mode of production somewhere, but capitalism still exists out there in a different country? He offers no solution.

This can all be traced to Xexizy’s confused definition of Socialism. We speak about the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Socialist Mode of Production and full-communism but in his mind they all merge into the same confusion. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is not a mode of production, therefore it can exist at the same time as socialist mode of production, or not. It can also exist in one country or many countries. His insistence that a socialist mode of production must be stateless and international, is not based on science or economics but on ideology. That is not his idea of socialism, so he refuses to call it what it is. But a socialist mode of production, is precisely that regardless of what you think about it.

Xexizy is confused when he labels countries like the USSR with a socialist mode of production, common ownership of the means of production and planned economy, under the same vague term “transitional stage” together with other workers’ states like the paris commune, which didn’t yet have planned economy, collective farms or common ownership in general.

Marx, Engels and other Communists define Socialism as common ownership of the Means of Production, or in other words the abolition of private property. Why is this not good enough for Xexizy?

Because he wants to be able to say the Soviet Union and other such countries were not “real-socialism”. This is not a scientific or objective position. This is the position of left-communists who simply want to call everything not-real-socialism. Even many Trotskyists and Anarchists don’t stoop to this. Orthodox Trotskyists choose to call the Soviet Union a degenerated workers’ state or bureaucracy, but don’t deny its socialist mode of production and Anarchists usually limit themselves to stating they are against “state-socialism”.

But Left-communists want to change the entire definition of Socialism to fit their idea of it. They want to say:

“Lenin, Mao, all the great revolutionaries, what do they know? They were wrong, but thank god we left-communist have got it all figured out.”

These people are the reason why “not-real-socialism” has become such a joke and a weapon commonly used against us socialists.

These are the same people who have been against actually existing socialism for ever. This is merely their most recent attemp at justifying themselves. Nothing about what they are talking about is evident in Marx’s own text, only through carefully selecting, twisting and interpreting Marx’s words through their left-communist lense have they arrived at this result. Others have read the exact same texts for a 100 years and not come to this left-communist conclusion.

I have a proposition to make. We know what socialism is, we know what state-capitalism is. We know what these terms mean. So if you don’t like the Soviet Union, then just say you don’t like the Soviet Union. Don’t try to twist the definitions just to be able to say nothing was ever socialism.

Thank you.

marx