Dominique Meeùs
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Theses on Socialism

Theses of the CC of KKE for its 18th Congress, Athens 18-22 February 2009

Strong KKE, 18th Congress of Counterattack

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Table of Contents

A. The Contribution of the Socialist System

These 1

B. Theoretical Positions on Socialism as the First, Lower stage of Communism

Theses 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

C. Socialism in the USSR — Causes of the Victory of Counter-Revolution

Theses 9, 10, 11

Assessment of the Economy During the Course of Socialist Construction in the USSR

Theses 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Conclusions Concerning the Role of the Communist Party in the Process of Socialist Construction

Theses 21, 22

The Development of Soviet Power

Theses 23, 24, 25, 26

Developments in the International Communist Movement and its Strategy

Theses 27, 28, 29

Assessment of the Stance of KKE

These 30

D. The Necessity and Relevance of Socialism — Enrichment of our Programmatic Conception of Socialism

The Necessity and Relevance of Socialism

These 31

Enrichment of our Programmatic Conception Concerning Socialism

Theses 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39


A. The Contribution of the Socialist System

1. The development of capitalism and the class struggle inevitably brought communism on the forefront of the historic scene during the middle of the 19th century. The first scientific communist programme is the Communist Manifesto written by K. Marx and Fr. Engels 160 years ago in 1848. The first proletariat revolution was the Paris Commune in 1871. With the 20th century came the success of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, which was a starting point for one of the greatest achievements of civilisation in the History of humankind, the abolition of exploitation of man by man. Following this, after World War II, state power was seized in order for socialist construction to take place in a series of countries in Europe, Asia, as well as the American continent, in Cuba.

Despite the various problems of socialist countries, the socialist system of the 20th century proved its superiority over capitalism and the huge advantages that it provides for peoples’ lives and working conditions.

The Soviet Union and the world socialist system constituted the only real counterweight to imperialist aggression.

The role of the Soviet Union in the Anti-fascist People’s victory, during World War II, was decisive. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) crushed the German and allied forces’ military machine who had invaded Soviet territory. It liberated a series of countries in Europe from the German occupation forces. More than 20 million Soviet citizens gave their life for the socialist homeland while 10 million remained disabled or wounded. The extent of material devastation to Soviet territory was enormous.

The victories of the Red Army significantly propelled the development of national liberation and anti-fascist movements, which were led by Communist Parties. In many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the anti-fascist struggle, with the decisive contribution of the Red Army, led to the overthrow of bourgeoisie rule.

The socialist system provided an historic example of international solidarity to peoples who were fighting against exploitation, foreign occupation and imperialist intervention ; it decisively contributed to the dissolution of the colonial system and to the restriction of military confrontations and conflict.

The achievements of workers in the socialist states were a point of reference for many decades and played a major role in the gains won by the working class and people’s movement in capitalist societies. The international balance of forces that was formed after World War II forced capitalist states, to a certain degree, to back down and to manoeuvre in order to restrain the revolutionary line of struggle and to create conditions in which they could assimilate the working class movement.

The abolition of capitalist relations of production freed mankind from the bonds of wage labour and opened the road for the production and development of sciences which aimed at satisfying people’s needs. In this way, everyone had guaranteed work, public free health care and education, the provision of cheap services from the state, housing, and access to intellectual and cultural pursuits.

In 1913, the farmers, workers and employees of the Russian Empire held 53 % of the national income, while the exploiting classes held 47 % ; that is almost one half. After the Great October Socialist Revolution, the share of the income not coming from labour fell sharply ; however in 1927-28, the exploitative elements still expropriated 8.1 % of the national income. By the mid-1930s, the total state income belonged entirely to the workers.[1]

The complete eradication of the terrible legacy of illiteracy in combination with the increase in the general level of education and specialisation and the abolition of unemployment, constitute unique achievements of socialism. In the Soviet Union, according to a 1970 census survey, more than ¾ of the working population of the cities and 50 % of workers in the rural areas had finished mid-level or higher education.[2]

The USSR, during its 24 year course before the Nazi assault, realised important steps in its industrial and economic development, trying to overcome the backwardness that it had inherited from capitalism.

The cultural revolution, as an inseparable element of socialist construction, gave working people the possibility of knowing and experiencing the achievements of human culture.

In the Soviet Union in 1975 it was guaranteed by law that the hours of work could not surpass 41 hours per week[3], one of the least in the world. All workers were guaranteed days for rest and relaxation and annual paid holidays.

Free time was extended and its content was changed. Free time was no longer time for the reproduction of the work force commodity, in order to keep it fit for capitalist exploitation. Workers were given the opportunity to utilise their free time in order to raise their cultural and educational level, and to participate in workers’ power and administration of production.

Social Security for working people was of outmost priority for the socialist state. A comprehensive system of retirement benefits with the important achievement of low age limits for retirement (55 years for women, 60 for men) was created. Funding for the state retirement fund was guaranteed through the state budget fiscal appropriations) and insurance contributions from enterprises and foundations. Similar conditions prevailed in the rest of the European socialist states.

Socialist power laid the foundation for the abolition of inequality for women, overcoming the great difficulties that objectively existed. Socialism ensured in practice the social character of motherhood and socialised childcare. It instituted equal rights for women and men in the economic, political and cultural realm, without of course meaning that all forms of unequal relations between the two genders that had developed over such a long period of time could be removed immediately.

The dictatorship of the proletariat, the revolutionary workers’ power, as a state that expressed the interests of the social majority of exploited people, and not of the minority of exploiters, presented a superior form of democracy. For the first time in History a unit of production could become the nucleus of democracy, with the representational participation of working people in power and administration, the possibility to elect and recall representatives amongst themselves to participate in the higher levels of power. Workers’ power de-marginalised the masses and a vast number of mass organisations were developed : trade union, cultural and educational where the majority of the population was organised.

Bourgeois and opportunistic propaganda speaking of lack of freedom and anti-democratic regimes, projects the ideas of “democracy” and “freedom” in their bourgeois content, identifying democracy with bourgeois parliamentarism and freedom with bourgeois individualism and private capitalist ownership. The real essence of freedom and democracy under capitalism is the forced wage slavery and the dictatorship of capital generally in society and especially inside capitalist enterprises. Our critical approach regarding workers’ and people’s control and participation has no relation whatsoever to bourgeois and opportunistic approach of democracy in the USSR.

The October Revolution launched a process of equality between nations and nationalities within the framework of a giant multinational state and provided a direction for the resolution of the national problem by abolishing national repression in all its forms and manifestations. This process was undermined however, during the course of dismantling communist relations and was completely stopped with the counter-revolutionary developments in the 1980s.

The socialist states made serious efforts to develop forms of cooperation and economic relations based on the principle of proletarian internationalism. With the founding in 1949 of the Council of Mutual Assistance (CMA) an effort was made to form a new, unprecedented type of international relations that was based on principles of equality, of mutual benefit and mutual aid between states that were under socialist construction. One subject requiring further research is that of the relations between the member states of the CMA, as well as the economic relations between the member states of the CMA with capitalist states, especially during the period when socialist construction began to retreat.

The gains that were undoubtedly achieved in the socialist states, in comparison to their starting point as well as in comparison to the living standard of working people in the capitalist world, prove that socialism holds intrinsic potential for dramatic and continual improvement in the lives of humankind and the development of the human personality.

The level of development of socialism in every revolutionary worker’s state was not the same and to a large extent was dependent on the level of capitalist development that existed when power was seized — an issue that must be taken under consideration when assessments and comparisons are made.

The most significant fact, however, is the historic leap that was attempted and accomplished with the October Revolution in Russia as the starting point, which gave important momentum to the development of humankind, as the main productive force, in his scientific and technological achievements, in the advancement of his living standards, educational and cultural levels.

What was historically new was that development concerned the entire masses, in contrast to capitalist development which is intertwined with exploitation and social injustice, with great devastation such as that which occurred with the native populations in the American continent, in Australia, with the massive slavery system in the USA in the previous centuries, with colonial exploitation, with the anarchy of production and the ensuing destruction of the great economic crises, with imperialist wars, child labour and so much more.

The contribution and the superiority of socialist construction in the USSR should be judged in correlation with the imperialist strategy of encirclement that caused great destruction, continuous obstacles and threats. The imperialist strategy took various forms during different periods of revolutionary workers’ power (direct imperialist attack in 1918 and 1941, declaration of the Cold War in 1946, differentiated political diplomatic relations in relation to other states of Central and Eastern Europe).

This fact does not annul the need to focus our attention to internal conditions, to the economic-political relations, with the decisive role of the subjective factor in the dominance, development and supremacy of the new social relations.

B. Theoretical Positions on Socialism as the First, Lower Stage of Communism

2. Socialism is the first stage of the communist social-economic formation ; it is not an independent social-economic formation. It is immature, undeveloped communism.

The complete establishment of communist relations requires the overcoming of the elements of immaturity that characterise its lower stage, socialism.

Immature communism signifies that communist relations in production and distribution have not yet fully prevailed.

The basic law of the communist method of production is valid : “Production for the extensive satisfaction of social needs.”

The concentrated means of production are socialised, but in the beginning there still remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the base for the existence of commodity-monetary relations.

A large part of the social product for individual consumption is distributed on the base of labour, and not on needs, according to the principle, “to each according to his labour, while each one works according to his abilities.” Under conditions of developed communism the principle that predominates is “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” for the totality of the social product.

Under socialism, social inequalities continue to exist, different social strata, significant differences or even contradictions, such as those between city and country, intellectual workers and manual labourers, highly-specialised workers or basic workers. All of these inequalities must be completely vanquished, gradually and in a planned way.

The more immature socialist development is, the more the educational and technological level of the mass of workers does not permit their essential role to be played in the organisation of labour, in their conception of the different sections of the production process, in the administrative work. Under these conditions, workers in management positions tend to isolate the individual interest and the interest of the production unit from social interest, while workers of intellectual pursuits and high scientific specialisation tend to lay claim to a larger share of the total social product, since the “communist stance” on labour has not dominated yet.

In order for the communist mode of production to be extended, develop and entirely prevail, the class struggle of the working class must continue — under new conditions, with other forms and means in relation to the struggle that was carried out under capitalism and during the first period of revolutionary power where capitalist relations are abolished. It is an ongoing battle for the abolition of every form of cooperative and individual ownership, as well as, the petit bourgeois consciousness that has deep historical roots ; it is a struggle for the formation of the analogous social consciousness and stance corresponding to the social character of work. For this reason, the existence of a state that is the revolutionary power of the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is necessary.

The leap that takes place during the revolutionary period of the transition from capitalism to developed communism is qualitatively superior from any previous form, since communist relations, which are not of an exploitative nature, are not shaped within the framework of capitalism.

It is a struggle of the “seeds” of the new against the “vestiges” of the old system in all spheres of social life. The struggle for the change of all the economic relations and by extension, all the social relations, into communist relations, means that a social revolution cannot be restricted only to the seizure of power or the formation of an initial economic base, but must be extended throughout the entire period of socialism.

3. Socialist construction is an uninterrupted process, which starts with the seizure of power by the working class. In the beginning, a new mode of production is formed which essentially prevails with the complete abolition of capitalist relations, the relation of capital to wage labour and consequently communist relations expand and a new man is formed at a higher level and secures their irreversible domination.

Socialist construction contains the possibility of a reversal of the course and a retreat backwards to capitalism, as a defeat of the struggle for the complete development of complete communist relations against the remnants of the old capitalist relations. Such a retreat is not a new phenomenon in social development and in every case it constitutes a temporary phenomenon in its History. It is an irrefutable fact that no socio-economic system has ever been immediately consolidated in the history of humankind. The passage from a lower phase of development to a higher one is not a straightforward ascending process. This is shown by the very history of the prevalence of capitalism.[4]

4. We consider the approach that speaks of “transitional societies” to be flawed, as it assigns autonomous characteristics and long-term existence to the period of “transition from capitalism to socialism” (construction of the base of the new socio-economic system). Starting from this viewpoint the current systems in China and Vietnam are interpreted as transitional “multi-sectored society”, in which communist relations “co-exist” with exploitative relations of production for decades.

We do not overlook the special characteristics of the period which in Marxist bibliographies is termed as “transitional period”, during which the socialist revolution seeks victory, the possibility of civil war develops, the sharp struggle of communist relations that are just beginning to develop against capitalist exploitative relations, which have still not been abolished, is waged. The duration of this period depends on the backwardness that socialism has inherited from capitalism. Historical experience showed that this period cannot last for a long time. In the USSR this period was completed by the middle of the 1930s. The struggles with capitalist relations, the difficulties in the construction of a socialist base were sharpened due to feudal and patriarchal inheritance in the former colonies of Tsarist Russia. Lenin, in his time, stressed that in countries where industry is more developed, the transitional measures towards socialism are restricted or in some cases become completely unnecessary.

The so-called transitional period is not independent from the process of socialist construction, since within this process the base is established for the development of a communist society in its first phase.

5. The formation of a communist mode of production begins with the socialisation of the concentrated means of production, with central planning, with allocation of labour power in different branches of the economy, with a planned distribution of the social product.

At the base of these new economic relations productive forces develop with rapid rates, man and the means of production, the organisation of production and all of the economy. Socialist accumulation is accelerated, a new level of social prosperity is attained. This new level makes possible the gradual extension of new relations in the area of productive forces that previously were not mature enough to be included in direct social production.

Even more, the material prerequisites for the abolition of the differentiation between the allocation of the social product between workers and the state (social) sector are formed.

For this reason, the complete dominance of socialist relations, the ripening of the productive forces for the passage to a higher level of the new socio-economic formation requires the abolition, not only of capitalist ownership but also every form of private ownership of the means of production. The differentiation between the town and the country, the differentiation between manual and intellectual labour constitutes one of the most profound roots of inequality[5] which must be abolished. National conflicts must also be abolished.

In accordance with the all-encompassing social law of the correspondence between production relations with the level of the development of the productive forces, each historically new level of development of productive forces that is initially achieved by socialist construction, demands a further “revolutionarisation” of relations of production and all economic relations, in the direction of a complete transition to communist relations, by means of revolutionary policies. As was shown in practice, whatever delay or even more importantly, a retreat in the development of communist relations leads to a sharpening of the contradiction between productive forces and relations of productions. At the base of this, the aforementioned social differentiations and inequalities may lead to the appearance of social contradictions and in this way, may lead to a new phase of a sharpening of the class struggle. In socialism there exists an objective base that under certain conditions allows for social forces to act as potential vectors of exploitative relations, as was witnessed in the USSR in the 1980s.

6. The development of the communist mode of production in its first stage, socialism, is a process by which the allocation of the social product in a monetary form is abolished. Communist production — even in its immature stage — is direct social production : the division of labour does not take place for exchange, it is not shaped by the market, and the products of labour that are individually consumed are not commodities.

The division of labour in the socialised means of production is based on a plan that organises production and determines the division of labour with the aim of satisfying social needs, and the distribution of goods (use values). In other words, it is a centrally designed division of social labour and directly includes — not via the market — individual labour as part of the total social labour. Central planning determines the work time for all of society, so that the different functions of labour are in correct proportions in order to satisfy different social needs.

The concept of planning should not be understood as a techno-economic tool, but as a communist relation of production and allocation that links workers to the means of production, to socialist bodies. It includes a consciously designed choice of motives and goals for production, without a goal of commodity exchange, but the designed broadened satisfaction of social needs (basic economic law of the communist mode of production).

One essential problem of central planning is created by the complex issue of the definition of ‘social needs’ and especially under international conditions, where capitalism shapes a rather warped concept concerning what social needs really are.

Social needs are determined based on the level of development of the productive forces that have been achieved in the given historical period. These needs must be understood in their historical context, changing in relationship with the development of the productive forces. Likewise, the way in which the basic law of communism is realised must develop, with the immediate goal of overcoming the inadequacies and the inequalities that exist concerning the covering of social needs.

7. A basic characteristic of the first stage of communist relations is the distribution of one part of produced goods “according to work”. The “measure” of work has created a theoretical and political debate. The distribution of a section of socialist production “according to work” (which in terms of form resembles commodity exchange) is a vestige of capitalism. The new method of production has not managed to discard it yet, because it has not developed all of the human labour power necessary and all the means of production in their proper magnitude, with a widened use of new technology. Labour productivity does not yet allow a decisively great reduction of work time, the abolition of heavy labour and of one-sided labour, so that the social need for compulsory labour is abolished.

The planned distribution of labour power and the means of production entails the planned distribution of the social product. The distribution of the social product cannot happen through the market, based on the laws and categories of commodity exchange.

According to Marx, the mode of allocation will change when the particular mode of the same social productive body and the corresponding historical level of development of the productive forces changes[6] (e.g. these were at a certain level in the USSR in the 1930s, yet at a different level in the USSR in the 1950s and 1960s).

Marxism clearly defines work time as the measure of individual participation in social production. Consequently, work time of the producer is also defined as a measure of the share he deserves from the product that is specified for individual consumption and is distributed based on labour.[7] Another part (education, health care, etc.) is already distributed based on needs.

Time” as a measurement of work in socialist production must be viewed “only in parallel with commodity production.”[8]

Work time” under socialism is not the “socially necessary labour time” that constitutes a measurement of value in the exchange of goods in commodity production. “Work time” is the measure of individual contribution to social labour for the production of the total product. It is referred to characteristically in the Capital: “In socialised production finance capital retreats. Society distributes labour power and the means of production to different branches of production. The producers could, if they wish, receive paper vouchers with which they can take from a stock of different consumption products an amount analogous to the time they worked. These vouchers are not money. They do not circulate.[9]

Access to a part of the social product that is distributed “according to work” is determined by the individual work contribution of each person in the totality of social labour, without distinguishing between complex and simple, manual labour or otherwise. The measure of individual contribution is work time, which the plan determines based on the total needs of social production, the material conditions of the production process in which “individual” labour is included; the special needs of social production for the concentration of labour force in certain areas, branches, etc.; the special social needs, such as motherhood, individuals with special needs, etc.; the personal stance of each individual regarding the organisation and the execution of the productive process. In other words, work time must correspond to fixed goals, such as the conservation of materials, the implementation of more productive technologies, a more correct organisation of labour, workers’ control of administration-governance.

The planned development of the productive forces in the communist mode of production should increasingly free up more time from work, which should then be used to raise the educational-cultural level of working people; to allow for worker participation in the carrying out of their duties regarding workers’ power and governance of production, etc. The comprehensive development of man as the productive force in the building of a new type of society and communist relations (including the communist stance regarding direct social labour) is a two-way relationship. Depending on the historical phase, either one or the other side will have priority.

The development of central planning and its extension to social ownership in all areas makes money gradually superfluous, subtracting its content as a form of value.

8. By means of commodity-monetary relations, the product of either individual or cooperative production is exchanged, the greater part of which is derived from agriculture, with the socialist product. Cooperative production belongs to some extent to central planning, which determines the plan for one part of the production and sets the state price.

The direction by which to resolve the differences between city and rural areas, between industrial and agricultural production, is the merging of farmers-producers in the joint use of large tracts of land, for the production of social product with the use of modern mechanisation and other means of scientific-technological progress for the enhancement of labour productivity, the creation of weather-proof structures to protect the product from unforeseen weather hazards, the subjection of social labour for the production of agricultural raw materials and their industrial processing in comprehensive socialist associations. This direction serves to transform the whole of agricultural production into a part of socialised production.

C. Socialism in the USSR — Causes of the Victory of Counter-Revolution

9. We studied the experience of the USSR because it constituted the vanguard of socialist construction. The further study of the course of socialism in the rest of the European states, as well as the course of socialist power in the Asian countries (China, Vietnam, DPR Korea) and in Cuba is necessary.

The validation of the socialist character of the USSR is supported by: the abolition of capitalist relations of production, the existence of socialist ownership to which (despite various contradictions) cooperative ownership is subjugated, central planning, workers’ power and the unprecedented achievements benefiting the whole working people.

All this does not negate the fact that from a certain period and after, gradually, the Party lost its revolutionary characteristics and as a result, counter-revolutionary forces were able to dominate the Party and the government in the 1980s.

We characterise the developments of 1989-1991 as a victory of counter-revolution, as an overthrow of socialist construction, as a social retreat. It is not accidental that these developments were supported by international reaction, that socialist construction, especially during the period of the abolition of capitalist relations and the founding of socialism, up until the Second World War, draws ideological and political fire from international imperialism.

We reject the term “collapse” because it underestimates the extent of counter-revolutionary activity, the social base on which it can develop and predominate due to the weaknesses and deviations of the subjective factor during socialist construction.

The victory of counter-revolution in 1989-1991 does not reveal a lack of the minimal level of development of the material pre-requisites necessary to begin socialist construction in Russia.

Marx noted that mankind does not deal with problems until they can be solved, because the very same problem is presented only when the material conditions have been developed for its resolution. From the moment that the working class, the main productive force, struggles to carry out its historic mission and declares revolution, the productive forces have been developed to the level of conflict with the relations of production, with the capitalist mode of production, in other words, the material prerequisites for socialism exist, upon which revolutionary conditions were shaped.

Based on the statistical evidence from that period, capitalist relations of production in the monopoly stage of their development predominated. Revolutionary power was supported on this material base for the socialisation of the concentrated means of production.[10]

The working class of Russia and especially its industrial sector founded the Soviets as organisational units for revolutionary action in the struggle to seize state power, under the guidance of the CP (Bolshevik). The Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin was theoretically prepared for the socialist revolution: analysis of Russian society, the theory of the weak link in the imperialist chain, evaluation of the revolutionary stage, the theory for the dictatorship of the proletariat. It showed marked ability in supporting its strategy with the necessary tactics — in every stage of the development of class struggle: alliances, slogans, manoeuvring, etc.

However, socialism faced additional specific difficulties, due to the fact that socialist construction began in a country with a lower level of development of the productive forces (medium-weak, as V. I. Lenin characterised it) compared to the advanced capitalist countries[11] and a large degree of uneven distribution of development due to the extensive existence of pre-capitalist relationships.

Socialist construction began following the enormous war destruction of WW I and in the midst of the civil war. Consequently it faced the immense destruction of WW II, while certain capitalist powers like the USA, never experienced war within their boarders. In contrast they used war to overcome the great economic crisis of the 1930s.

The gigantic economic and social development that was accomplished under these conditions proves the superiority of the communist relations of production.

The developments do not confirm the assessments of several opportunistic and petit bourgeois trends. Social democratic viewpoints regarding the socialist revolution in Russia as immature were not confirmed. Trotskyite positions claiming that it was impossible to construct socialism in Russia were disproved. The viewpoint that the society that emerged after the October Revolution was not socialist in character or that it quickly deteriorated in the first years of its existence, and therefore that the interruption of the course of the 70 year history of the USSR was inevitable, is subjective and cannot be backed up by the facts.

We oppose theories that claim that these societies were some sort of “a new exploitative system” or a form of “state capitalism”, as various opportunistic currents claim.

Furthermore, the developments do not validate the overall stance of “Maoist” trends regarding socialist construction in the USSR, the characterisation of the USSR as socialist-imperialist, the approach to the USA, but also inconsistencies in matters of socialist construction in China (e.g. the recognition of the national bourgeois class as an ally of socialist construction, etc.)

Our critical assessment integrates the defence of the construction of socialism in the USSR and other countries.

10. In studying counter-revolution in the USSR we prioritise the internal factors (without ignoring the influence of external factors) because the counter-revolutionary overthrow did not result from an imperialist military intervention but rather from within and from the top, through the policies of the CP.

Based on the theory of scientific communism we formulated a study along the following lines:

11. The course of building a new society in the Soviet Union was determined by the ability of the Bolshevik CP to fulfil its revolutionary, guiding role. First of all, to process and formulate the requisite revolutionary strategy at each step; to deal with opportunism and to provide a decisive response to the new, emergent demands and challenges of developing socialism-communism.

Up until the World War II, the base of a new society was created: socialist production based on central planning prevailed and capitalist relations were abolished. The class struggle to abolish all forms of exploitation was carried out with success; impressive results were achieved concerning a rise in social prosperity.

After the World War II socialist construction entered a new phase. The Party was faced with new demands and challenges regarding the development of socialism-communism. The 20th Convention (1956) marks a turning point, since at that convention a series of opportunist positions were adopted on economic issues, on the strategy of the communist movement and international relations. The conflict that was taking place before the convention continued and was then consolidated by a turn towards revisionist-opportunist positions,[12] with the result that the party gradually began to lose its revolutionary character. In the decade of the 1980s, with the establishment of Perestroika, opportunism was fully transformed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force. The responsible communist forces that reacted in the final phase of the betrayal, at the 28th CPSU Convention, did not manage in a timely manner to expose this betrayal for what it was and to organise the revolutionary reaction of the working class.

Assessment of the Economy During the Course of Socialist Construction in the USSR

12. Even in the creation of the first Plan of Central Planning, the following issues were already at the centre of the theoretical conflict and political struggle around the economy: Is socialist production commodity production, what is the role of the law of value, of commodity-monetary relations under socialist construction? The debate and the conflict were interrupted by the WW II; however they continued and sharpened after the war ended.

We consider that the theoretical approach which states that the law of value is a law of motion for the communist mode of production in its first stage to be incorrect. This approach predominated during the decade of the 1950s in the USSR and in the majority of CPs. This position was strengthened due to the expansion of non-capitalist commodity production, which objectively emerged through the planned passage from pre-capitalist relations in agricultural production to cooperative commodity-monetary.

This material base exacerbated the theoretical shortcomings and weaknesses of the subjective factor in the formulation and implementation of central planning. A theoretical base was created for opportunist policies which weakened central planning, eroded social ownership and strengthened counter-revolutionary forces.

13. The first period of socialist construction up until World War II had the basic, primary problem of abolishing capitalist ownership and the planned handling of social and economic problems that were inherited from capitalism and were exacerbated by the imperialist encirclement and intervention.

From 1917-1940, Soviet power noted achievements for the most part. It carried out the electrification and industrialisation of production, the expansion of transport means, and the mechanisation of a great section of agricultural production. Planned production was initiated and achieved impressive rates in the development of socialist industrial production. It successfully developed domestic productive capacities in all the industrial branches. Production cooperatives (kolkhoz) and state farms (sovkhoz) were created, and in this way the base for the expansion and the predominance of communist relations was established in agricultural production. The “cultural revolution” was realised. The shaping of a new generation of communist specialists and scientists commenced. The most important achievement is the complete abolition of capitalist relations in production with the abolition of paid alien labour, thus the foundation was laid for the development of communism.

14. The implementation of certain “transitional measures” in the effort at completely abolishing capitalist relations was inevitable in a country like Russia during the period 1917-1921.

The factors that forced the Bolshevik CP to implement a temporary policy to preserve to a certain extent capitalist production relations were: the class composition, where the petit bourgeois agrarian element was in the majority, the lack of a distribution, supply and monitoring mechanism, backward low-level production and mainly, the dramatic worsening of sustenance and living conditions due to the destruction following the civil war and the imperialist intervention. All these factors made the development of medium-term central planning difficult at that point.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) that was implemented following the civil war had the basic goal of restoring industry following the ravages of war and on this base to build agricultural productive relations “that would draw” farmers into the cooperatives. It instituted a policy of temporary concessions to capitalism. A number of companies were given over to capitalists for use (without them having ownership rights over these companies), trade was developed, the exchange between agricultural and socialised industrial production was regulated based on the concept of “tax in kind”. The possibility was granted to farmers to put on the market the remaining portion of agricultural production.

These maneuverings and temporary concessions to capitalist relations that are demanded under certain circumstances and special conditions are not in any way an inevitable characteristic of the process of socialist construction. The NEP was used in the decades of the 1980s as a cover-up to justify the historic reversal from socialism to capitalism carried out by the policies of Perestroika .

15. The new phase of development of the productive forces at the end of the decade of 1920s allowed the replacement of NEP by the policy of “socialist attack against capitalism” that had as its main goal the complete abolition of capitalist relations. Concessions towards capitalists were withdrawn and the policy of collectivisation was developed, that is the complete cooperative organisation of the agricultural economy mainly in its developed form, the kolkhoz[13]. At the same time, the sovkhoz the state-socialist units in agricultural production that supported the mechanisation of production were developed (although in a limited way), the total products of which were socially owned.[14]

The first five-year plan began in 1928, 7 years after the victory of revolution (the civil war ended in 1921). Soviet power experienced difficulty in formulating a central plan for the socialist economy from the very beginning, mainly due to the continuing existence of capitalist relations (NEP) and an exceptionally large number of individual commodity producers, mainly farmers. Weaknesses were also evident in the subjective factor, the Party, which did not have cadre specialists to guide the organisation of production and was obliged for a certain time period to depend almost exclusively on bourgeois specialists.

The specific conditions (imperialist encirclement, the threat of war in combination with great backwardness) forced the promotion of collectivisation to develop at accelerated rates, which sharpened the class struggle, especially in the rural areas.

Despite the mistakes and certain bureaucratic exaggerations in the development of the collectivisation movement in agricultural production that were in any case noted in Party decisions[15], the orientation of Soviet power for the reinforcement and extension of the movement was in the correct direction. It aimed to develop a transitional form of ownership (collective) that would contribute to the transformation of small individual commodity production into socialised production.

16. The policy of “socialism’s attack against capitalism” was carried out under conditions of intense class struggle. The kulaks (bourgeois village class), social strata who benefited from the NEP (NEPmen), sections of the intelligentsia who originated from the old exploiting classes; all these reacted in all ways and actions of sabotage against industry (e.g. the Shakhty case”[16]) and took counter-revolutionary actions in the villages. These class-based, anti-socialist interests were reflected in the CP where opportunist currents developed.

The two basic “opposition” tendencies (Trotsky — Bukharin), that operated during that period had a common base in essentialising the element of backwardness in Soviet society and in the decade of the 1930s their views converged as to how the problems of the Soviet economy should be confronted. Their positions were rejected by the RCP (Bolshevik) and were not confirmed by reality.[17]

Along the way, several opportunist forces united with openly counter-revolutionary forces that were organising plans to overthrow Soviet power in cooperation with secret services from imperialist countries.[18]

The fact that some leading cadre of the Party and of Soviet power spearheaded opportunist currents indicates that it is even possible for vanguard cadre to deviate, to weaken when faced with the sharpness of class struggle and finally cut their ties with the communist movement and go on to align themselves with counter-revolutionary forces.

17. Two basic currents developed in the theory and the policies of party cadre and economists. The consistent current of Marxist thought and politics, under the leadership of Stalin, recognised that the law of value was inconsistent with the basic laws governing socialist production, which is not commodity production. It supported that: the function of the law of value (of commodity-monetary relations) in the USSR had its roots in cooperative and individual agrarian production. The law of value does not regulate socialist production — distribution. The consumer products are produced and consumed as commodities.[19] The means of production are not commodities, despite the fact that they appear as commodities “in form but not in content.” They become commodities only in external trade.[20]

Polemics were waged against “market” economists and political leaders who believed that the products of socialist production are commodities whether they are destined for individual consumption or for the productive process, and maintained that the law of value is generally a law of the socialist economy as well. It is characteristic that the rejection of the positions of Voznesensky (head of GOSPLAN)[21] that “the law of value functions not only in allocation of products, but also in the allocation of labour itself among the different branches of the national economy of the USSR. In this sphere, the state plan utilises the law of value to guarantee the correct distribution of social labour among the different branches of the economy in the interest of socialism.[22]

At the same time, due criticism was placed on the economists who supported the complete abolition of allocation in monetary form, without taking into account the objective restrictions imposed by the productive base of society at that time.

In his work, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR[23], J. I. Stalin refers, quite correctly, to the fact that under socialism the contradiction between the productive forces that are developing and the relations of production that delays their development becomes evident. He considered that in the USSR cooperative ownership (kolkhoz) and the circulation of products of individual consumption in the form of commodities had begun to act as a brake on the powerful development of the productive forces, because they blocked the complete development of central planning in the full extent of production—allocation. He outlined the differences between the two cooperating classes, the working class and the kolkhoz agrarian class, but also the need to abolish them to the planned abolition of commodification in agricultural production.[24]

The committed current that supported the acceleration of the socialisation of agricultural production by the merging of the small kolkhoz into bigger ones[25] and the gradual transformation of the kolkhoz into sovkhoz, with the first step being the allotment of all agricultural production to the state.

Concerning the issue of the conflict relative to the ratio between Subdivision I of social production (production of the means of production) and Subdivision II (production of consumer products) this current supported, correctly, that the main criteria for the planned proportional allocation of labour and of production among the different branches of socialist industry should be the advancement of Subdivision I. Expanded reproduction, socialist accumulation (social wealth) necessary for the future expansion of social prosperity, are derived from this category of production (Subdivision I).

A weak point in the revolutionary current was the incomplete interpretation of the relations of allocation regarding that part of the social product that is allocated in proportion to labour.

18. Following World War II, the discussion on the economy continued and sharpened: A conflict developed around the interpretation of certain problems.[26] We consider the position of the soviet leadership taken at the beginning of the decade of the 1950s to be correct, that is, that the problems at the economic level were an expression of the sharpening of the contradictions between the productive forces that were developing and the relations of production that were delayed. The development of the productive forces had reached a new level after the post-war reconstruction of the economy. A new dynamic stimulus to the further development of the productive forces demanded a deepening and extension of communist relations. The delay of the second concerned: central planning, the deepening of the communist character of allocation relations, a more energetic and conscious workers’ participation in the organisation of work and administrative control from the bottom up, the transformation of cooperative relations of ownership (next to which private commodity ownership survived) into social ownership.

The need had matured, consciously, well-planned, that is theoretically and politically prepared, for communist relations to be expanded and to predominate in those fields of social production where in the previous period their full dominance was still not possible (from the viewpoint of their material maturity, the productivity of labour).

Social resistance (kolkhoz farmers, executives in industry) to this advancement was expressed on an ideological and political level in an internal party conflict. The sharpened debate, which resulted in the theoretical acceptance of the law of value as the law of socialism, dictated political choices with more immediate and more powerful consequences in the course of the development of communism, in comparison with the pre-war period, when the material backwardness made the effect of these theoretical positions less painful.

After the 20th Convention of the CPSU, political choices were gradually adopted that widened commodity-monetary (potentially capitalist) relations, in the name of correcting of weaknesses in central planning and the administration of socialist bodies (enterprises).

In order to solve the problems that arose in the economy, ways and means were used that belonged to the past. With the promotion of “market” policies, instead of reinforcing social ownership and central planning, the homogenising of the working class (with the widening of the abilities and possibilities for multi-specialisation, for alternation in the technical division of labour), workers’ control and participation in the organisation of labour, so that it would begin to develop into communist self-administration, the reverse trend began to develop, with the corresponding effect of course at the level of social consciousness. The previous experience and the effectiveness of the factory soviet, the Stakhanovist movement in quality control, the more effective organisation and administration, clever inventions for the conservation of material and work time, were not utilised.

The “market” economists (Lieberman, Nemtsinov, Trapeznikov, etc.) mistakenly interpreted the existing problems of the economy, not as subjective weaknesses in planning[27], but as consequences stemming from the objective weakness of central planning to respond to the development of the volume of production and its new possibilities, the development of multi-faceted needs.

They claimed that the theoretical cause was the voluntarist denial of the commodity character of production under socialism, the underestimation of the development of agriculture, the overestimation of the possibility of subjective intervention in economic administration.

They maintained that it was not possible for the central organs to determine quality, technology, the prices of all commodities, and salaries, but the use of market mechanisms was necessary in order to facilitate the goals of a planned economy. They argued that the problems of adaptation of the volume and structure of production to the needs of consumption and the problems of inter-branch rationing could be dealt with through the demand and the prices that were determined based on the law of value.

Gradually, at a theoretical level, theories of “socialist commodity production” or “socialism with a market”, the acceptance of the law of value as the law of the communist mode of production, which functions even in the phase of developed socialist construction, prevailed. These theories constituted the base for the formulation of economic policies.[28]

19. The political weakening of central planning and social ownership came to a climax after the 20th congress. Instead of planning the transformation of the kolkhoz into sovkhoz, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery[29] passed into the ownership of the kolkhoz[30] when their production had developed adequately and when the kolkhoz had the capacity to use 10n tractors. In practice the policy of the early 1950s for them to be transformed, on the initiative of the communists, through a broad movement of kolkhoz members for the unification of small kolkhoz into bigger ones, was revised.

In 1957, the branch ministries that directed industrial production in the USSR and at each republic were dissolved and the Organs of Regional Administration “Sovnarkoz” were formed. In this way central planning was weakened.[31]

These changes did not result in the anticipated improvement in productivity. On the contrary, they brought new problems to the surface, such as a shortage in animal feed, the abandonment of technological renewal on the kolkhoz. In the mid 1960s, the mistakes of a subjective nature in the administration of the agricultural sector of the economy were determined as the cause of the problem. The reduction in the quantities given to the state from the kolkhoz was included in the reforms, as was the possibility of selling some amount over the obligatory amount at higher prices, the restrictions on exchanges between different households on the kolkhoz were lifted, the tax on private animal ownership was abolished. Debt of the kolkhoz to state banks were erased, the deadlines to pay off debt in full from monetary deposits were extended, the sale of animal feed directly to private animal owners was permitted.

Thus the section of agricultural production which came from individual farms and the kolkhoz, which was sold freely on the market[32] but exacerbated the backwardness in livestock farming, it increased the unevenness in the meeting of the needs concerning agricultural produce between the various regions and republic of the USSR.

A similar policy of reinforcing the commercial (at the expense of the social) character of industry, known as the “Kosygin Reforms”,[33] was implemented in industry. (“The system of self-management of enterprises” — with a substantial and not formal character). It was argued that this would deal with the reduction in the annual increase rate of labour productivity and annual production during the first years of the 1960s, as a result of measures which undermined central planning in directing different sectors of industry (Sovnarkoz-1957).

The first wave of reforms was launched during the interval between the 23rd (1966) and 24th (1971) Congresses.

According to the New System, the additional bonuses for directors would be calculated not based on surpassing the production plan in terms of volume of production,[34] but rather on the basis of values (determined by direct sales). Directors’ bonuses would be a function of profits.

A part of the additional wages of the workers would also come from this profit, such as the further satisfaction of housing needs etc. In this way, profit was adopted as a motivation for production. The wage differentiations increased.

Parallel commercial-monetary exchanges between enterprises were thus opened up as well as direct agreements with ‘consumer units and commercial organisations’, price-fixing, profit growth based on these exchanges, etc.

The Central Plan would determine only the total level of production and investments. Modernisation of old machinery would be financed out of the profits of the enterprises.

This theoretical retreat and the corresponding political retreat of the USSR came in a new phase in the further development of the productive forces, which demanded more effect incentives and indicators of central planning and in its sectoral, cross-sectoral and enterprise level implementation.

These market reforms detached the socialist production unit from central planning and the weakened the socialised character of the means of production. They created the possibility for the violation of the principle of distribution “according to work”.

Proposals and plans for the use of electronic computers and information technology[35] which could have contributed to the improvement of the processing of statistics in order to improve the observation and controls of production through real indicators within centralised planning were rejected.

At the 24th CPSU Congress (1971) with its directives on the development of the 9th 5-Year plan (1971-1975), the Congress reversed the quota priority of Subdivision I (production of the means of production) in favour of Subdivision II (production of the means of consumptions). This reversal of quotas had been proposed at the 20th Congress; however, it had not been accepted. The modification was justified as a choice reinforcing the level of popular consumption. In reality, it was a choice that violated socialist law. The development of labour productivity — a basic element for the development of the major productive forces, of man — requires the development of the technical means that are utilised in the productive process. The Plan should have dealt with this need with greater effectiveness: the introduction of contemporary technology in industry, in transport services, storage and distribution of products.

This choice to overturn the quota priority not only did not help to deal with contradictions (e.g. the hoarding of currency-income and the lack of an adequate amount of consumer goods, such as electric household equipment, colour TVs) but distanced central planning from its basic goal (the rise of social prosperity). The contradiction between the level of development of the productive forces and the communist relations of production-distribution was further sharpened.

The period when Andropov was the GS of the CC of the CPSU (November 1982-February 1984) which preceded the period of perestroika is too brief to be definitively judged. Nevertheless, in articles and documents of the CPSU in this period there were references to the need to intensify the struggle against bourgeois and opportunist views concerning socialist construction and the need for watchfulness against the sabotage of imperialism.

In the 1980’s , on the political level, the decisions of the 27th congress (1986) and the passing of the law (1987), which institutionally legitimised capitalist economic relations, under the guise of the acceptance of various forms of ownership, constitute an even more vigorous opportunist turn.

In the beginning of the 1990’s the social democratic approach of “the economy of the planned market” (the platform of the CC of the CPSU at the 28th congress) was speedily abandoned in favour of the position “the economy of the regulated market” and this was further replaced by “the economy of the free market”.

20. The direction which held sway can be judged today only theoretically, but also by the results. After two decades of the application of these methods, the problems clearly sharpened. Stagnation reared its head for the first time in the history of socialist construction. Technological backwardness continued to be a reality for the majority of industries. Problems appeared within the market because industries were led to artificially increase prices with the result that goods were abandoned in warehouses or distributed in controlled amounts.

The even further involvement of market elements in the immediate social production of socialism weakened it, led to a fall in the dynamism of socialist development, strengthened short-termist individualistic and sectional interests (in the sense of the groups of workers in every industry and in the management structure) against the overall interests of society. In a course, the social conditions were created for the counterrevolution to flourish and finally succeed using perestroika as its vehicle through these reforms the possibility was created for finances which had been hoarded through illegal means (smuggling), to be invested in a “shadow production” (i.e. illegal) or in the “black” market.

These opportunities especially concerned officials in the management layers of industries, especially those involved in foreign trade. Statistics concerning the so-called “Para-economy” were provided by the attorney-general of the USSR. According to these statistics a significant proportion of agricultural and cooperative production was distributed to the consumers illegally

Differentiation in the income of the farm-holders and cooperatives was widened, in conflict with any tendency to strengthen the social character of agricultural production. These farmers were forged into a layer of society which was an obstacle to socialist construction

Even sharper were the social differentiations in industry through the concentration of “industry-level profits”. The so-called “shadow capital” was not only the result of industry-level profits, but also of the black market, criminal acts of embezzlement of social production. This “shadow capital” sought a legal position as capital within production itself, i.e. through the privatisation of the means of production, through the re-establishment of capitalism. The “masters” of this capital formed the main social force of the counterrevolution. They utilised the support of sectors of the population which were vulnerable to the influence of bourgeois ideology and to wavering e.g. the intelligentsia, sections of the youth, especially students, who for different reasons were dissatisfied.[36] These forces influenced the Party, strengthening the opportunistic and social-democratic corruption which was expressed through the policies of “perestroika” and sought the institutional consolidation of capitalist relations. This was achieved after the perestroika, with the overthrow of socialism.

Conclusions Concerning the Role of the Communist Party in the Process of Socialist Construction

21. The indispensable role of the Party in the process of the socialist construction is expressed in its leadership of working class state-power, in the mobilisation of masses to participate in this process.

The working class is the leading force of this new state power, together with its Party.

The struggle for the development of the new society is carried out by revolutionary working-class state-power with its central leading centre, the communist party, which utilises the laws of socialist-communist society. The human being, becoming the master of the social processes, passes gradually from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom. From this flows the higher role of the subjective agent in relation to all the preceding socio-economic formations, where human activity was dominated by the spontaneous enforcement of social laws based on the spontaneous development of the relations of production.

Consequently, the scientific class nature of the policies of the CP is a crucial precondition for socialist construction. To the extent which these features are lost, opportunism sets in which if it is not dealt with will in time integrate into a counterrevolutionary force.

The duty to develop communist relations of production requires the development of the theory of scientific communism through the utilisation of scientific study by the CP for class oriented purposes, for the study of the laws of motion in the communist socio-economic formation. Experience has shown that the governing parties, in the USSR and other socialist states, did not fulfil this task successfully.

Class consciousness in the whole working class does not develop spontaneously or in a unified manner. The rise of the communist consciousness of the masses of the working class is determined above all by the strengthening of the communist relations of production and by the level of working class participation with the leadership of the CP which is the main vehicle for the spread of revolutionary consciousness amongst the masses. Along with this material base, ideological work must become rooted , the impact of the revolutionary party which consolidates its leading role to the extent to which it mobilises the working class to construct socialism.

The consciousness of the vanguard must always be ahead of the consciousness of the mass of the working class which are shaped by the economic relations. From this arises the necessity for the Party to have a high theoretical-ideological level and toughness, to be unwavering in the struggle against opportunism, not only under the conditions of capitalism, but even more so under the conditions of socialist construction.

22. The opportunist turn which held sway in the 1950’s after the 2nd world war, the gradual loss of the revolutionary role of the Party, confirm that the danger of the development of deviations in socialist society never disappears. Beyond the imperialist encirclement and its undoubtedly negative impact, the social basis of opportunism remains as long as forms of private and sectional ownership remain, as long as finance-commodity relations remain, as well as social differentiations. The material basis for opportunism will remain for the entire duration of socialist construction as longs as capitalism and strong capitalist states remain on the Earth.

The new phase after the 2nd world war found the Party weakened ideologically and in class terms, with massive losses of cadre experienced and hardened in the class struggle, with theoretical weaknesses in response to new problems which were sharpening. It was vulnerable to the inner-party struggle which reflected existing social differentiations. These conditions favoured the adoption of opportunist and revisionist positions which had been defeated in previous phases of the inner-party struggle.

The adoption of revisionist and opportunist views by the leadership of the CPSU and other CPs in the end transformed these parties into vehicles which led the counterrevolution the 1980’s.

The opportunist turn which was carried out at the 20th congress (1956) of the CPSU and afterwards the gradual loss of the revolutionary characteristics of the Party, a governing party which was always the target of imperialist aggression, made the awakening and rallying of consistent communists more difficult. Thus consistent communist forces were not able to reveal the treacherous nature of the line which prevailed at the Cc meeting of April 1985 and at the 27th congress of the CPSU (1986) in time. They were not able to rally a visible pole for the defence of socialism, in order to differentiate their position[37] and to confront the counterrevolutionary forces. A revolutionary communist vanguard capable of leading the working class, ideologically, politically and organisationally against the coming counterrevolution was not formed in time.

Even if this development could not have been stopped, especially by the 1980’s , it is certain that resistance, in both the governing parties and within the international communist movement, would have ensured that the struggle for the reconstruction of the international movement would take place in better conditions, and that there would be the preconditions for it to overcome its deep crisis.

We do not consider inevitable the speedy development and prevalence of revisionist positions and opportunist policies, the gradual opportunist corruption of the CPSU, and of the other governing CPs, the degeneration of the revolutionary character of state-power. We investigate all the factors which contributed to this development. We could include the following in a list of contributing factors:

A) The decline in the level of political Marxist education in the leadership of the CPs and overall in the Party, because of the specific conditions of the war, the large losses in cadre and the sudden increase in the number of party members, which had as a result the lack of development of the political economy of Socialism.

B) The varied political intervention of international imperialism in the socialist states, with the support of social democracy, through more flexible trade transactions with the states of central and eastern Europe and more direct ideological and political pressure on the USSR.

C) Strategic problems and the split in the international communist movement.

The Development of Soviet Power

23. The theoretical foundation for the analysis of the history of Soviet power is that socialist state-power is the dictatorship of the proletariat. The state-power of the working class which is not shared with anyone, which is what occurs in all forms of state-power. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the organ of the working class in the class struggle which continues through other means and forms.

The working class, as the vehicle of communist relations which will be created, as the collective owner of the socialised means of production, is the only class which can lead the fight for the total predominance of communist relations, for the disappearance of classes and the withering away of the state.

Through its revolutionary state-power, the working class as the ruling class will carry out an alliance with other popular strata which are not yet workers in socialised (socialist) production (e.g. the cooperative farmers and commodity producers in the town and countryside, the self-employed in the service sector, scientists-intellectuals and technicians in the administration of production whose background is bourgeois or from the upper-middle strata). Through this alliance, the working class will seek to lead these strata in socialist construction, towards the total predominance of communist relations.

The necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat is a result of the continuing of class struggle internationally. It will be retained until all social relations become communist, i.e. as long as there is a need for a state to exist as a mechanism of political power.

24. The political choices concerning the superstructure, the institutions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, workers’ control etc are closely connected with the political choices at the level of the economy.

An important issue is the development of the soviets as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the first constitution of the RSUSD[38] and in the first constitution of the USSR in 1924 (and in the constitutions of the republics in 1925), the communist relationship between the masses and the state machine was ensured through the elected representation of the workers which was carried out with the production unit as the electoral unit. The right to vote was ensured only for workers (not generally for the citizens). The bourgeois class, the landowners, anyone who exploited another’s labour, priests and monks, counterrevolutionary elements were denied the right to vote. The concessions to the capitalists in the NEP period did not include political rights.

In the constitution of 1936 direct electoral representation was established through geographical electoral wards. The carrying out of elections in general assemblies was abolished, replaced by these electoral wards. The right to vote was granted to all via the secret ballot.

The changes in the constitution of 1936 aimed at solving certain problems[39], such as the lack of direct communication between party and soviet officials with the base, the functioning of the soviets, bureaucratic phenomena etc, and also to stabilise soviet power in the face of the coming war.

The downgrading of the production unit as the pillar of the organisation of working class state-power (through the abolition of the election of delegates through general meetings and conferences) must be studied further. The negative impact on the class composition of the higher state organs and the application of the right of recall of delegates must also be studied (which according to Lenin were the basic elements of democracy in the dictatorship of the proletariat).

25. After the 20th Congress (1956) the authorities of the local soviets were strengthened on questions which concerned the self-management and self-sufficiency of socialist enterprises. In this way, democratic centralism on the political level retreated which went hand in hand with the retreat of central planning on the economic level. Measures were taken which consolidated the “permanence” of officials in the soviets, through the gradual increase of the terms of office in the organs, with an increase of the possibility for the exemption of delegates from their duties in production.

At the 22nd Congress (1961) non-objective assessments concerning “developed socialism” and the “end of class struggle” emerged. In the name of “non-antagonistic contradictions” between social classes and groups, adopted the position that the USSR was an “all-peoples’ state” (consolidated in the constitutional revision of 1977) and the CPSU as an “all-peoples’ party”.

This development contributed to the altering of the characteristics of the revolutionary workers’ state, the degeneration of the class composition of the Party and its cadre, the loss of revolutionary watchfulness, which was theorised with the thesis for irreversibility of socialist construction.

Through perestroika and the reform of the political system in 1988, the soviet system degenerated into a bourgeois organ.

26. Experience shows that in practice the masses gradually participated less and less in the soviet system, which by the 1980s had a purely formal character. This withdrawal can not be attributed exclusively or primarily to changes in the character of the soviets, but in social differentiations which were strengthened by the economic policies, in the sharpening of contradictions between individual and sectional interests on the one hand, and on the other the collective social interest.

As long as the leadership of the CPSU adopted policies which weakened the social character of ownership and strengthened narrow individual and sectional interests, a feeling of alienation was created from social ownership and consciousness was corrupted. The road to passivity, indifference and individualism was opened , and reality became even further removed from the official pronouncements, the levels of industrial and agricultural production fell, and thus the ability to satisfy the increasing social needs also fell. Thus, the criteria of workers’ control degenerated or took on a purely formal character.

The working class, the popular masses in general did not turn their backs on socialism. It is notable that the slogans used during perestroika were “revolution within the revolution”, “more democracy”, “more socialism”, because a large section of the people, who saw the problems, wanted changes within the framework of socialism. For this reason the measures which initially weakened communist relations and strengthened commercial-commodity relations, and those which later paved the way for the return of private ownership were promoted as measures to strengthen socialism.

An issue which needs specific future comparative study are he forms of organisation of workers’ participation, their rights and duties, in different periods of soviet power-the workers committees in Lenin’s time[40], the Stakhanovite movement in opposition to the self-management councils of Gorbachev-in relation to central planning and the realisation of the social character of the ownership of the means of production.

As part of the study of socialist construction in other countries of Europe and Asia, there should be included the following : How the people’s democracies were expressed as a form of working class state-power, the alliance of the working class with the petit bourgeois strata and the struggle between them. The bourgeois nationalist policies of CPs in power e.g. CPC, the Union of Yugoslav Communists. How the unification after 1945 with sections of social democracy affected the character of the CPs in power e.g. the Polish united workers party, the Socialist Unity Party in Germany, the CP of Czechoslovakia, The Hungarian Workers’ party.

Developments in the International Communist Movement and its Strategy

27. In the class struggle worldwide and in the shaping of the balance of forces, the developments in the international communist movement, and questions of its strategy[41] played a serious role. Problems of ideological and strategic unity were expressed during all history of the Communist International which related to the nature of the revolution, the character of the coming war[42] after the rise of fascism in Germany and the stance towards Social democracy.

The opportunist groups in the CP of the Bolsheviks (Trotskyists-Bukharinites) were connected to the struggle which developed within the CI concerning the strategy of the international communist movement.

At the end of the 1920s Bukharin, as President of the CI, supported forces in the CPs and the CI which overemphasised the “stabilisation of capitalism” and the unlikelihood of a new revolutionary upsurge, they expressed a spirit of compromise with social democracy, especially its “left wing” etc.

The weakening of the functioning of the CI as a united centre appeared many years before its dissolution (May 1943)[43]. A negative development for the international movement leading to a lack of a centre for the coordinated elaboration of a revolutionary strategy for the transformation of the struggle against imperialist war or foreign occupation into a struggle for state-power, as the single duty which concerned the CPs in the conditions of their own countries.[44]

Notwithstanding the factors which led to the dissolution of the CI, there was an objective need for the international communist movement to form a unifying revolutionary strategy, to plan and coordinate its activity.

A deeper study of the causes which led to the dissolution of the CI must take into consideration a series of developments[45], such as: the cessation of the activity of the red trade union international, in 1937, because the majority of its sections unified with the mass reformist unions, or joined these unions. The decision of the 6th congress of the Communist International of Youth (1935), in accordance with the struggle against fascism and war, which demanded a change in the character of the communist youth unions, which led in some cases to the unification of communist youth organisations with socialist youths (e.g. in Spain, in Lithuania, etc.)

The war led to a further sharpening of the class contradictions inside many countries, but the antifascist struggle led to the overthrow of capitalism, with the critical support of the people’s movements by the Red Army, only in the countries of Eastern Europe.

In the Capitalist West, the CPs did not elaborate a strategy for the transformation of the imperialist war or the national liberation struggle into the struggle or the winning of state-power. The strategy of the communist movement did not utilise the fact that the contradiction between capital and labour was an integral feature of the antifascist-national liberation struggle in many countries, in order raise the question of state-power, since socialism and the prospect of communism are the only alternative solution to capitalist barbarity. There was a retreat from the thesis that between capitalism and socialism there is no intermediate social system, and thus no intermediate political governance between bourgeois and working class state-power.

This thesis holds true, notwithstanding the balance of forces, independently of the problems which can act as a catalyst for the speeding up of the developments e.g. the sharpening of anti-imperialist contradictions, imperialist war, changes in the form of bourgeois state power which can be provoked.

28. After the end of the 2nd world war the alliances were realigned. The capitalist states and the bourgeois and opportunist forces in each country (e.g. social democratic forces) united against the communist movement and the states undergoing socialist construction.

In these conditions the negative results of the increased opportunist corruption of some sections of the international communist movement became clear. The lack of an organisational connection between the CPs after the collapse of the CI and the seriously damaged ideological unity did not allow the formation of a unified strategy of the communist movement against the strategy of international imperialism.

The COMINFORM which was established in 1947[46] and was dissolved in 1956, as well as the international meetings which followed, could not deal with these problems effectively.

The international imperialist system remained strong after the war, despite the undoubted strengthening of the socialist camp. Immediately after the end of the war, imperialism, under the hegemony of the USA, began the Cold War. It was carefully elaborated strategy of undermining of the socialist system.

The “Cold War” consisted of amongst other things organised psychological warfare, the intensification of military spending to exhaust the USSR economically, a network aimed at damaging and undermining the socialist system from within, open provocations and the incitement of counterrevolutionary developments (e.g. in Yugoslavia 1947-48, in the GDR 1953, in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968 etc). A varied economic and diplomatic strategy was carried with the socialist states in order to break their alliance with the USSR, to strengthen the conditions for their opportunist corruption. At the same time the imperialist system with the USA at its head created a series of military, political, economic alliances and international lending organisations (NATO, EC, IMF, World Bank, international trade agreements), which ensured the coordination of capitalist states, and settled some of the contradiction amongst them, in order to serve the common strategic goal of a suffocating pressure on the socialist system. They organised imperialist interventions, systematic and multi-faceted provocations and anti-communist campaigns. They used the most up-to-date ideological weapons to manipulate the peoples, to create a hostile climate against the socialist states and the communist movement in general. They utilised the opportunist deviations and the problems of the ideological unity of the communist movement. The economically, politically, and morally supported every form of discontent or disagreement with the CPSU and the USSR. They made billions of dollars available from their state budgets for this purpose.

29. The line of “Peaceful Co-existence”, as was developed in the post 2nd world war period, to some extent at the 19th congress (1952)[47] and fully at the 20th (1956)[48], acknowledged the imperialist barbarism and aggression of the USA and Britain, and in certain sections of the bourgeois classes and their political expressions in the western European capitalist states, but not as an integral part of monopoly capitalism, of imperialism. In this way, it allowed the development of utopian views, such as that it is possible for imperialism to accept in the long term co-existence with forces that had broken its worldwide domination. The possibility of a parliamentary road to socialism was also expressed at the 20th congress of the CPSU.

Both sections of the communist movement (governmental and non-governmental) overestimated the power of the socialist system and underestimated the dynamism of the post-war reconstruction of capitalism. In parallel, the crisis in the international communist movement deepened which was initially expressed with the breaking off of relations between the CPSU and the CPC and later with creation of the current known as “Euro-communism”.

In Western Europe in the ranks of many CPs, under the pretext of the national specificities of each country, the opportunist current known as Euro-communism held sway-which denied the scientific laws of the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary struggle in general. It adopted the “parliamentary road” to socialism, a reformist social democratic strategy. In general, the view that social democracy was separated into a “left” and a “right” wing was dominant; this weakened the ideological struggle against social democracy. In the name of the unity of the working class, the CPs carried out a series of ideological and political concessions, while the statements concerning unity from the side of the social democrats did not aim at the overthrow of the capitalist system, but the removal of the working class from the influence of communist ideas and its alienation as a class.

The stance of many CPs in relation to social democracy was part of the strategy of the “anti-monopoly government”, a sort of stage between socialism and capitalism, which was also found expression in governments which managed capitalism in alliance with social democracy. This strategy was initially supported by the assessment that there was a relationship of “subordination and dependency” of every capitalist country with the USA[49]. Nevertheless, it was adopted even by the CPUSA, in the country which was at the top of the imperialist pyramid.

This strategy held sway especially after the 20th congress of the CPSU (1956) and its thesis concerning “a variety of forms of passages to socialism, under certain conditions”. This thesis was an essential revision of the lessons of the soviet revolutionary experience. The united strategy of capitalism against the socialist states and the labour movement in the capitalist countries was underestimated. The contradictions between the capitalist countries, which of course contained the element of dependency, as is inevitable within the imperialist pyramid, were not correctly analysed. Thus the CPs chose a policy of alliances with bourgeois forces which they defined as “nationally conscious” as opposed to those which were servants of foreign imperialism. Such views held sway in the section of the communist movement which after 1960 oriented towards the CP of China.

The interaction of contemporary opportunism between the CPs of the capitalist countries and the governing CPs was strengthened in the conditions of the fear of a nuclear strike against the socialist countries , the sharpening of class struggle inside the socialist states (central and eastern Europe) and new imperialist wars (Vietnam, Korea). The flexible tactics of imperialism had an impact on the development of opportunism in the CPs of the socialist states, on the undermining socialist construction, and on the undermining of revolutionary struggle in capitalist Europe and worldwide. Thus, directly and indirectly, imperialist pressure on the socialist states was strengthened.

Assessment of the Stance of KKE

30. The 14th congress of the KKE (1991) and the national conference (1995) exercised self-criticism concerning the following; we did not avoid as a party the idealisation of socialism, as it was constructed in the 20th century. We underestimated the problems which we observed, attributing them mainly to problems in the development of socialism, something which was proved not correspond to reality.

Our ability to arrive at the correct conclusions was restricted by the fact that our Party did not pay the necessary attention to the need to acquire its theoretical level, to promote the creative study and assimilation of our theory, to utilise the rich experience of the class and revolutionary struggle, to contribute with its own forces to the creative development of ideological and political theses based on the developing conditions. To a great extent as a party we adopted mistaken theoretical assessments and political choices of the CPSU.

We adapted to and tolerated the formality of the relations which appeared between the communist parties, the uncritical adoption of theses of the CPSU concerning questions of theory and ideology. From our experience the conclusion emerges that the respect for the experience of other parties must be combined with an objective judgement of their policies and practices, with comradely criticism concerning mistakes and opposition to deviations.

The conference of 1995 criticised the fact that our party accepted uncritically the policy of Perestroika, assessing that it was a reform policy which would benefit socialism. The fact is that this reflected the strengthening of opportunism within the ranks of the Party in this period.

This critical treatment of the stance of the KKE vis-à-vis socialist construction does denigrate the fact that our Party through its history, true to its internationalist character, defended the process of socialist construction in the 20th century, with the lives of thousands of its members and cadre. It militantly propagandised the contribution of socialism. The defence of the contribution of socialism in the 20th century was the conscious choice of our Party in the past and today after the negative developments.

The KKE did not join the side of those forces, who coming out of the communist movement, in the name of criticism of the USSR and the other countries, led to the denial of the socialist character of these countries, to the adoption of the propaganda of imperialism; neither did it revise its defence of socialism, despite its weaknesses.

D. The Necessity and Relevance of Socialism — Enrichment of our Programmatic Conception of Socialism

The Necessity and Relevance of Socialism

31. The programme of the Party states: “The anti-revolutionary overthrows do not change the character of this period. The 21st century will be the century of a new upsurge of the world revolutionary movement and a new series of social revolutions.

The struggles which are restricted to defending some gains, even if they are necessary, cannot give real solutions. The only way out and inevitable prospect is socialism, despite the defeat at the end of the 20th century.

The necessity of socialism emerges from the sharpening of the contradictions of the contemporary capitalist world, of the imperialist system. It flows from the fact that in the imperialist stage of development of capitalism, which is characterised by the domination of the monopolies, the material conditions have fully matured to the level where the passage to a superior socio-economic system is necessary. Capitalism has socialised production to an unprecedented level. However, the means of production, the products of socialised labour are under private, capitalist ownership. This contradiction is the source of all the phenomena of the crises of contemporary capitalist societies: unemployment and poverty, which have reached explosive levels during economic crises, the high level of working time despite the increase of labour productivity, the failure to satisfy the contemporary social needs for education and professional specialisation, for health care based on the modern scientific and technological breakthroughs, the provocative destruction of the environment with severe consequences for public health and the health of the workers, the lack of protection from natural disasters despite the new technological possibilities, the destruction of imperialist wars, the drug trade and trade in human organs etc.

At the same time, these contradictions in capitalism point to the way out: The adjustment of the relations of production to match the level of development of the productive forces. The abolition of private ownership of the means of production, starting with the most concentrated, their socialisation, their planned use in social production with the aim of satisfying social needs. Central planning of the economy by the revolutionary working class state-power, workers’ control. The socialist cause is realistic, because it is rooted in the development of capitalism itself. Its realisation is not dependent on the balance of forces, the conditions under which revolutionary action develops and which can speed up or slow down developments.

The victory of the socialist revolution, initially in one country or in a group of countries, springs from the operation of the law of uneven development and the political development of capitalism.[50] The conditions for socialist revolution do not mature simultaneously worldwide. The imperialist chain will break at its weakest link.

The specific “national” duty of each CP is the realisation of the socialist revolution and the socialist construction in its country, as a part of the world revolutionary process. This will contribute to creation of a “fully consummated socialism” within the framework of “revolutionary collaboration of the proletarians of all countries”.[51]

The Leninist thesis concerning the weak link does not overlook the dialectic relationship of the national with the international in the revolutionary process, which is expressed by the fact that the passage to the highest phase of communism requires the worldwide victory of socialism, or at least, in the developed and dominant countries in the imperialist system.

Enrichment of our Programmatic Conception Concerning Socialism

32. The level of the maturing of the material preconditions for socialism differs among the capitalist societies as a result of the uneven development of capitalism. The basic indicator of the development of capitalist relations is the extension and concentration of waged labour.

In the conditions of imperialism, relative capitalist backwardness can lead to a sudden sharpening of contradictions, and consequently a revolutionary crisis, and the possibility for victory. The level however of socio-economic backwardness will complicate the future socialist construction, the struggle of the new with old. The speed of socialist construction will be influenced by what it has inherited.[52]

In every instance however, the capitalist past which the revolutionary-workers’ state-power inherits does not justify the questioning of the laws of socialist revolution and construction. These hold true in all the capitalist states, notwithstanding the historical specificities which existed during the path of socialist construction during the 20th century and that will exist in the future socialist construction.

33. The 15th congress of the KKE defined the coming revolution in Greece as socialist. It also defined the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly and democratic character of the Front as the alliance of the working class with the other popular strata. The following congresses, especially the 16th, enriched the programmatic content of the Front.

In the Programme of the KKE our basic theses concerning socialism have been expressed, which today we can enrich, utilising the conclusions concerning socialist construction in the USSR during the 20th century[53] based on the Marxist-Leninist theses which were developed in the 2nd chapter.

34. The high level of monopolisation, especially in recent years, is the material pre-condition for the socialisation of the means of production in industry, retail and tourism, so that the wealth which is produced can become socially owned. Every form of private-business activity in the areas of health, welfare, social security and education will be abolished.

Social ownership and central planning will create the possibility for the disappearance of unemployment.

Central planning of the economy based on the social ownership of the concentrated means of production is the communist relation of production. The state plans will cover long-term, medium term and short term goals in socialist construction and social prosperity.

The implementation of central planning will be organised in every sector will be organised through a single unified state authority, with regional and industry-level branches. Planning will be based on a totality of goals and criteria such as:

35. A part of the social product will be distributed according to necessity through public and free services — health care, education, social security, leisure, protection of children and the aged as well as through cheap (and in some cases free) transport, telecommunications services, energy and water supply etc.

A state social infrastructure will be created which will provide the highest quality social services in order to meet needs which today are paid for by the income of the individual or the family (e.g. restaurants in the workplace, in schools).

All children of pre-school age will be provided with free, public and compulsory pre-school education.

The free, public, general and basic 12 year school education will be ensured for all through a school with a unified structure, programme, administration and functioning, technical infrastructure, trained specialised staff.

Exclusively public and free professional education will be ensured after the completion of the compulsory basic education.

Through a unified system of free public higher education, scientific personnel will be formed, capable of teaching in the educational institutions, to provide the specialised staff in areas of research, socialised production and state services.

An exclusively free and public health and welfare system will be established. Direct social production ( socialised means of production, central planning, workers’ control) create the material basis, so that a developing socialist economy — in accordance with its level of development — can ensure for every member of society equally the conditions for health care and welfare as social goods. They are provided as a precondition for physical and psychological well being, the intellectual and cultural development of every person, which depend on the living and working conditions, the overall environmental and social conditions which affect each person’s ability for labour and social activity.

36. With the creation and implementation of the first state plan, the functioning of financial-commodity relations will already be limited. Its continual restriction with the prospect of its complete disappearance is linked with the planned extension of communist relations in the whole of production and distribution, with the expansion of social services to satisfy even further a larger part of the needs of individual consumption. Money gradually loses its content as a form of value, its function as a means of commodity exchange is transformed into a form of certification of labour carried out, so that workers can have access to the section of the social product which is distributed in accordance to their labour.

Access to these products is determined by the individual’s labour contribution within the framework of the whole of socially useful labour. The yardstick of an individual’s contribution is labour time, which is determined by the Plan in accordance with the following: the overall needs of social production, (e.g. the transfer of labour power to specific regions, or priority industries), other special social needs (e.g. maternity, individuals with special needs), the vanguard stance in the organisation and execution of labour.

Each policy in the formation of the working “wage” is shaped based on the above principles. Whatever deviations exist, as inheritance from the period of wage differentiation based on “value” (which reduces labour into specialised and basic), will be dealt with in a planned way, giving priority to raising the income of the lowest paid sections of the workers.

Central planning aims in the medium and long term to develop in general the ability of the workers to specialised labour, as well as alternation and transfers in the technical division of labour, to the generalised development of labour productivity and the reduction of labour time.

The role and the function of the Central bank will change. The regulation of the function of money, as a means of commodity circulation, will be restricted to the transactions between socialist production, the production of agricultural cooperatives and in general concerning the production of certain consumer goods, until the final disappearance of commodity production. On this basis the various operations of certain specialised state credit organisms for agricultural and other productive cooperatives and certain small producers, will be controlled.

The same will hold true for international-interstate transactions (trade, tourism) as longs as capitalist states exist on Earth. Consequently, a department of state planning will regulate gold reserves or other commodities which operate as international currency.

The new role for the Central bank will be shaped in the exercise of general social accounting and will be connected with organs and aims of central planning.

37. Socialist construction is not compatible with participation of a country in imperialist formations, such as the EU and NATO. Revolutionary state-power, in accordance with international and regional situation, will seek to form state relations, with mutual benefit, between Greece and other countries, especially with countries which have a level of development, problems and direct interests which would make cooperation especially beneficial. The socialist state will seek cooperation with countries and peoples who have objectively a direct interest in resisting the economic, political and military centres of imperialism, and above all with other peoples who are constructing socialism. It will seek to use every available rupture which might exist in the imperialist front caused by anti-imperialist contradictions, in order to defend and strengthen the revolution and socialism. A socialist Greece, loyal to the principles of proletarian internationalism, within the framework of what is possible, will be a bulwark for the world anti-imperialist, revolutionary and communist movement.

38. Revolutionary working class state power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, has a duty to obstruct the attempts of the bourgeois class and international reaction to restore the rule of capital. It has a duty to create a new society, with abolition of the exploitation of man by man. Its functions-organisational, cultural, political, educational and defencive will be guided by the Party. It will express a higher form of democracy, with as its basic characteristic the energetic participation of the working class, of the people, in order to solve basic problems concerning the construction of socialist society and the control over state-power and its organs. The Party is the basic organ of the class struggle of the working class, which continues through other forms and under new conditions.

Democratic Centralism is the central principle in the construction and functioning of the socialist state, in the development of socialist democracy, in the administration of the productive unit, of every social service.

The foundations of working class state-power will be the units of production, workplaces, through which working class and social control of the administration will be exercised. The workers representatives will be elected (and if necessary recalled) to the organs of state-power from these “communities of production” Thus the exercise of workers’ control will be institutionalised and in practice safeguarded — the unhindered criticism of decisions and manoeuvres which obstruct socialist construction, the free condemnation of subjective arbitrariness and bureaucratic behaviour of officials, and other negative phenomena and deviations from socialist-communist principles.

The representation of the cooperative farmers and small commodity producers is safeguarded through their alliance with the working class. The composition of the highest bodies is made up of delegates elected from the lower bodies. It will be ensured that the majority of the representatives to these bodies will made up of workers from the units of socialist production and the public social services.

The highest organ of state-power is a working body-it both legislates and governs-and within this framework the allocation of executive and legislative authorities is made. It is not a parliament, the representatives are not permanent, they can be recalled, they are not cut off from production, and are on secondment from their work for the duration of their term, and have no special economic benefit from their participation in the organs of state-power. From the highest body, the government, the heads of the various executive authorities (ministries, administrations, committees etc) are chosen.

A revolutionary constitution will be formed and revolutionary legislation, which will be in accordance to the new social relations — social ownership, central planning, workers’ control — and which defend revolutionary legality. On this basis Labour law, Family law and all the legal consolidation of the new social relations will be shaped. A new judicial system will be formed, which will be based on revolutionary popular institutions for the bestowal of justice. The new judicial authorities will be under the direct supervision of the organs of state-power. The judicial corps will be made up of lay and recallable people’s judges, as well as of permanent staff, answerable to the institutions of working class state power.

Among the duties of revolutionary working class state power will be the radical overhaul of that section of the judicial mechanism of the bourgeois state which unavoidably will be inherited during the first phase of socialism. Working time, the rights and duties of the workers will be regulated according to revolutionary law. The party’s leadership, without any privileges, will safeguard the revolutionary transformation of the public administration.

The new organs of revolutionary security and defence will be based on the participation of he workers and the people, and also it will have permanent specialised staff.

In the place of the bourgeois army and security mechanisms, which will have been dissolved, new institutions will be created, based on the armed revolutionary struggle for the destruction of the resistance of the exploiters and for the defence of the revolution.

The direct control of the army and forces for the defence of the revolution will be ensured by the working class state-power. The officer corps will be created with as criterion their stance vis-à-vis the revolution. Gradually, via new military schools, a new corps will be created mainly out of youth from working class background. It will be educated in the principles of the new state-power. The positive experience of socialist construction will be utilised, where the duties for the defence of the revolution were not only carried out by special permanent forces but also with the responsibility of the people through workers committees etc.

39. The KKE as the vanguard of the working class has a duty to lead the struggle for the full transformation of all social relations into communist ones.

The vanguard revolutionary role of the Party is consolidated through the constant effort to deepen and develop its understanding of Marxism-Leninism, scientific communism, with the assimilation of contemporary scientific achievements and the class-based understanding of the problems which rear their heads during the development of the communist socio-economic formation.

In every phase it is vital that the proletarian composition of the party is safeguarded, as socialist society is not homogeneous and has social contradictions.

The vanguard revolutionary role of the party is borne out by its ability to activate the participation of he workers and workers’ control, above all in the productive unit (workplace) and in the social services, in order for the working class to develop into the subject of communist self-management.

The role of the Party is not simply ideological-educational. The party of the working class is the party which has state power. The leading role of the Party in the exercise of state power is the central duty. Consequently, the CP must have a direct organisational relationship with all the structures of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It must be concerned with all the important political questions which concern the exercise of state-power; it must mobilise the working class in the control of state-power and the administration of production. It is obliged to give the strategic direction, without being sidetracked by secondary issues.


As a party we will continue study and research, towards a better taxonomy of our conclusions and on issues which have not been fully dealt with. This is crucial, as is the understanding of our elaborations concerning socialism-communism to be assimilated by all the members of KNE and the Party.

The competence of the Party is judged by its ability to combine its strategy with the daily struggles, to work out demands for the immediate problems of the workers connected to its strategy for the achievement of revolutionary workers’ state power and socialist construction.

The CC of KKE, 19th of October 2008

[1] The Economic School, University of Lomonosov, Moscow. Political Economy, vol. 5, Gutenberg Press, 1980, p. 604-605.

[2] The Economic School, University of Lomonosov, Moscow. Political Economy, vol. 4, Gutenberg Press, 1980, p. 604-605.

[3] The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, vol. 31, p. 340, refers to the law with the title, “Principles of Workplace Legislation in the USSR and the United Republics”

[4] Capitalist relations of production, as a historically new form of exploitation of man by man, within the relation of wage labour-capital, appeared and were extended in the second half of the 14th century in the cities of northern Italy (e.g. Genoa, Venice, etc.) However, for a variety of reasons, they could not pass to a higher level of development which had as a result a return to feudal relations. The development of capitalist relations later in England and in Holland in the 16th century brought the bourgeois class on the historical scene and led to a series of bourgeois revolutions until, finally, through a process of conflict and compromise with feudalists, it was able to establish itself in the 19th century. In the History of the World of the USSR Academy of Scientists, vol. C2, p. 943-983, the course of the extension of capitalist relations in the cities of northern Italy is described in detail, as well as the process of its decay and overthrow, that led to the return and dominance of feudal relations. A characteristic revealing the extent that capitalist relations reached in Italian cities was that harsh class conflicts including uprisings and strikes took place organised by paid labourers against bourgeois producers, merchants and bankers. One characteristic event concerns the case of the uprising of 4,000 workers in textile manufacturing plants in Florence in 1343. In the 15th century the manufacturing industry was restricted and the rich city residents transferred funds into agricultural activities. One key fact that reveals the retreat of capitalist relations is that while in the 13th century in certain cities slavery had been abolished or relaxed, in the second half of the 15th century a return to this was noted. (Vol. C2, p. 962-964.)

[5] V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, SE, Athens, vol. 39, p. 15.

[6] K. Marx, Capital, Volume 1, p. 91-92.

[7] K Marx, Criticism of the Gotha Programme, Synchroni Epochi, Publications, p. 21, 22, 23 and Fr. Engels, Anti-Dühring, Synchroni Epochi Publications, 2006, p. 328, 323, 330.

[8] K. Marx, Capital, Synchroni Epochi Publications, vol. 1, p. 91-92.

[9] K. Marx, Capital, Synchroni Epochi Publications, vol. 2, chap. 18 (in fine), p. 357.

[10] On the eve of World War I there was an important for that time growth and concentration of the working class in Russia: It was estimated that the total number of workers was 15 million, of which 4 million were workers in industry and railroads. In addition, it was estimated that 56.6 % of industrial workers was concentrated in large industries with more than 500 workers. Russia was 5th in the world and 4th in Europe in terms of its share of international industrial production. Of course the rise of industrial production had begun at the end of the first decade of the 20th century. The branches of means of production increased their production by 83 % during the period 1909-1913 (average increase 13 %). However, large capitalist production was concentrated in six areas: Central, N-W (Petersburg), Baltic, South, Poland, Urals, which accounted for about 79 % of industrial workers and 75 % of industrial production. The profound unevenness that characterised the economy of the Russian Empire in the eve of WW I is imprinted in statistical data from that era, despite their various flaws. The working class was nearly 20 % of the total population (depending on the source it was variably sited from 17 %-19.5 %). Small merchants, producers and farmers accounted for 66.7 % and the exploiting classes 16.3 %, out of which 12.3 % were kulaks. National Academy of Sciences of USSR, Political Economy, Cypraiou Publications, 1960, p. 542 and The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, vol. 31, p. 183-185.

[11] In 1913 the per capita GNP of Russia was 11.5 % that of the USA. Approximately 2/3 of the population was illiterate.

[12] As it is revealed in these points in the history of the CPSU, there was a sharp debate in the Presidium of the CC in June 1957, one year after the 20th Congress. The members of the Presidium of the C, Malenkov, Kaganovitch, Molotov, opposed the line of the 20th Congress on both internal and external policies: against expansion of rights to the union republics in economic and cultural development, against measures restricting the state mechanism and reorganisation of industrial administration and construction, against the measure of increasing material incentives for the Kolkhoz farmers, against the abolition of obligatory handing over of agricultural products by the individual households of the kolkhoz. Molotov, opposed the branching out to virgin, wild territory. All three took a stand against the international political line of the party. Finally, Malenkov, Kaganovitch, Molotov and Sepilov were stripped of their rank in the CC and the Presidium of the CC at the Plenary Session of the Cc in June. Bulganin was given a severe warning. Other members were penalised. Perbohin was downgraded from regular to substitute member of the Presidium of the CC. Sabour was removed as substitute member of the Presidium. In October 1957, the Presidium and the Secretariat were enlarged with new members. History of the CPSU, Political and Literary Editions, 1960, p. 861-865.

[13] The orientation that was laid out in the 15th Convention (1927): The RCB (Bolshevik) gave weight to the rise in productivity of small and medium-sized households and providing technology and equipment. The nationalisation of land did not come in conflict with the rights of land-usage of small and medium farmers. It benefited the small farming household and the forms of cooperation of the scattered agricultural households from the most simple, the “companionships”, up to the “artel”. The position concerning the small agricultural household, the small producer, was one of aid not conflict. The destruction of lower forms of organisation and production in the name of large ones is rejected. At the same time, the advantages of the kolkhoz and the sovkhoz were projected. In parallel, it aimed to defeat certain sections of the kulak in the villages and in continuation, to wipe out the kulak class.

[14] The sovkhoz were state agricultural bodies at the base of the mechanisation of agricultural production. The first sovkhoz were created in 1918 from the expropriated land of large landowners. Sovkhoz products were given in their totality to the state. Sovkhoz workers had a middle level income, they were considered to be workers in social ownership, however, they had the right to keep a small private agricultural household, just like all the workers who lived in agricultural areas. They had the right, just as kolkhoz farmers, for one part of production of their individual households to be put on the market. Certain sources estimate that 21.6 thousand sovkhoz existed with 12 million workers (26,4 thousand and 13 million were on the kolkhoz). Agrarian Economy, Novosti Publications, 1983.

[15] Decision of the CC 15.3.1930 and personal article of J.I. Stalin (“Dizzy from success”, J.I. Stalin, Complete Works, vol. 12, p. 218-227) where mistakes which made the stabilisation of worker-farmer alliances difficult were noted. They took positions in favour of recognising errors and correcting them in as many areas and circumstances as possible and where the mistakes had not created irreversible facts from a deviant or incorrect course.

[16] The “Shakhty” case concerns the sabotage carried out in the coal mining industry of the Danbas area by bourgeois specialists, leaders in industry who had been employed by the soviet authorities to organise and administrate production. During the trial that took place in 1928, it was proven that these executives had connections to the old capitalist coalmine owners who had left for abroad. The sabotage was part of an overall plan to undermine socialist industry and soviet authority.

[17] L. Trotsky and his supporters (later and Zinoviev, Kamenev) supported that the USSR cannot construct socialism if the socialist revolution has not prevailed in a series of developed capitalist countries, otherwise soviet power will inevitably disintegrate. This position led him at the beginning of the revolution to project the viewpoint that agricultural production should be submitted by force to industry. (‘dictatorship of industry’). Later on, however (1932) he condemned the collectivisation and the efforts at industrialisation as “bureaucratic adventurism”. N. Bukharin claimed that in order to construct socialism in the USSR, capitalism must be developed in the backward sections of the economy, and especially in agricultural production. In this way, he reacted to the promotion of the collectivisation of agricultural production, claiming that only through consumer and supplier cooperatives and the liberation of the market could agricultural production start on the road of socialism. Bukharin and his supporters maintained that kulaks could be gradually assimilated into socialism and supported the continuation of NEP. In essence, this tendency expressed in an authentic way the interests of the kulaks, the NEP menshevik and the petit bourgeois tendencies in the context of soviet society. It is not by chance that the ideas of Bukharin were adopted in the policies of Perestroika in 1988.

[18] This was factually confirmed with the exposure of counter-revolutionary centres in mid 1930s. Despite excesses in the measures taken to deal with these centres, in the trials of 1936 and 1937, it was revealed that there was cooperation between these centres and sections of the army (Tukhasevsky case, who was reinstated after the 20th CPSU Convention), as well as with the secret services of Germany, G. Britain, France, etc. Even more, sources from capitalist states confirmed the existence of such plans and the participation in those by leading cadre such as Bukharin. A characteristic example is the reports of Joseph Davis (then US Ambassador to Moscow) regarding the Bukharin trial, which he observed from beginning to end. On March 17, 1938, Davis sent a confidential memo to Secretary of the State, USA in Washington: “Even though I am biased against any proof from confessions in a judicial system that does not offer, I would say, any protection to the defendant, I have observed the witnesses on a daily basis and the way in which they gave testimony and I noted the stated confirmation of facts that were revealed along with other facts and events that marked the trial. I agree, along with others whose judgement may be considered acceptable, that concerning the defendants, they committed quite a number of crimes in accordance with soviet law, crimes that were proven with clear evidence and without any possibility of doubt, such that the verdict that finds them guilty of treason is justifiable, as is the decision that condemns them to predicted sentence based on the USSR penal code. The feeling is mutual amongst the diplomats who were present at the trial that the existence of an excessively serious conspiracy was proven” . Source: Joseph Davis, Mission à Moscou, Del-Arbre Publications, Montreal, 1944. L. Martens, Another Look at Stalin, Sychroni Epochi Publications, p. 241.

[19] J. I. Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988, p. 44.

[20] Ibid., p. 77-78

[21] GOSPLAN: State Planning Committee. The State Organs of Central Planning in the USSR

[22] N. A. Voznesensky, The War Economy of the USSR During the Period of the Patriotic War, Moscow, 1947, p. 118.

[23] J.I. Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988.

[24] “Undoubtedly, with the abolition of capitalism and the exploiting system in our country, and with the consolidation of the socialist system, the antagonism of interests between town and country, between industry and agriculture, was also bound to disappear. And that is what happened…. Of course, the workers and the collective-farm peasantry do represent two classes differing from one another in status. But this difference does not weaken their friendship in any way. On the contrary, their interests lie along one common line, that of strengthening the socialist system and attaining the victory of communism…. Take, for instance, the distinction between agriculture and industry. In our country it consists not only in the fact that the conditions of labour in agriculture differ from those in industry, but, mainly and chiefly, in the fact that whereas in industry we have public ownership of the means of production and of the product of industry, in agriculture we have not public, but group, collective-farm ownership. It has already been said that this fact leads to the preservation of commodity circulation, and that only when this distinction between industry and agriculture disappears, can commodity production with all its attendant consequences also disappear. It therefore cannot be denied that the disappearance of this essential distinction between agriculture and industry must be a matter of paramount importance for us”. J.I. Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988, p. 50-52.

[25] There were many small kolkhozes with 10-30 households on small plots of land, where the technological means were not properly utilised and the administrative managerial costs were very high.

[26] Despite the successes that were achieved in the fulfilment of the 4th 5-year plan (1946-1950), the CPSU leadership noted the following problems during that period: Slow rates in the introduction of new scientific achievements and technology in a series of branches of industry and in agricultural production. Factories with old technical equipment and low productivity, production of tool machinery and machines of outdated technology. Phenomena of slowing down, routine, inertia in factory management, indifference concerning the introduction of technical progress as a constant stimulus for the development of the productive forces. Delay in the restoration of agricultural production, low productivity per acre in wheat cultivation, low productivity in livestock production, the total production of which had not even reached pre-war levels, with the result that there were shortages of meat, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables that affected the general goal of raising the level of social prosperity. Source: G. Malenkov, “Report of the CC of the RCP (Bolshevik) of the USSR at the 19th Convention of the Party”, CC KKE publication, p 48-64.

[27] Delay in the development of a mechanism that would reflect in the central planning the real necessary ratios between branches and the sectors of the economy.

[28] It is important to note how bourgeois forces characterised then the reforms of 1965:

  1. Bourgeois economic thought characterised them as a return to capitalism (published material in the Economist, Financial Times)
  2. They had the support of Western bourgeois economists of the Keynesian school and social democracy who characterised the ‘reforms’ as an improvement in planning and the battle against bureaucracy.

[29] The tractors etc until then had been state ownership. Were concentrated in stations (machinery-tractor stations, MTS) and operated by workers

[30] On February of 1958 a plenary session of the Central Committee of CPSU decided the dissolution of the MTS and the selling of their technical equipment to the kolkhoz. This policy resulted in a big expansion of the kolkhoz ownership at the expense of the social ownership.

[31] The Sovnarkoz were abolished in 1965, when the separate Ministries per sector were re-instated

[32] In 1970 individual producers in the USSR produced 38 % of vegetables, 35 % of meat and 53 % of eggs. In all individual producers produced 12 % of all agricultural products which were sold on the market (14 % of livestock produce, 8 % of non-livestock produce). Individual farmers produced 41 % of potatoes, 13 % of vegetables, 17 % of meat, 9 % of eggs, 6 % of milk, 15 % of wool which was sold as commodities (Political Economy, Economic department of Lomonosov University, Moscow. Gutenberg. Athens 1984. Volume 4. P 319).

[33] Session of the CC of the CPSU on he question “For the improvement of the management of industry, for the perfection of planning, for the strengthening of the economic drive of industrial production”. The Kosygin reforms climaxed in the 1970s.

[34] In industry, the reforms were applied experimentally in 1962, in the operation of two clothing production enterprises, according to a proposed system of administration by professor Liebermann (known as the Charkov System).

Lieberman argues that the calculation of bonus to directors in proportion with the over achievement of the Plan, introduced a contradiction among the interests of the directors and the interest of Soviet society as a whole. This is because the directors concealed the real productive capacity of the enterprises, they created stockpiles of raw materials and goods and they were disinterested in the discontinuation of the production of ‘useless goods’. They blocked the application of new technology in order to not alter the “norms”, that is the indexes of social production, based on which the plans’ coverage was measured. In this way, e.g. they produced thick paper, not thin because the productive indexes were measured by weight. He made some correct observations but proposed mistaken policies. On this basis communists and workers were persuaded of the necessity of these measures.

[35] See articles of V.M Glouskov published at KOMEP (Communist Review) 1/2005 and N.D. Pihorovich at KOMEP 3/2005

[36] See Documents of the Pan-Hellenic Conference of KKE (1995) “Thoughts on the factors that determined the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe. The necessity and relevance of socialism”, pages 23-24

[37] V. Tiulkin in his speech at the international congress on the 80 year anniversary of the Great October Socialist revolution in Moscow, notes that

In an article Tiulkin, in 2000, on the 10th anniversary of the All-Russia conference which created the Communist party of the Russian Federation mentions that for the first time appeared the faction “ Movement of the communist initiative” which with others voted against the decisions of the 28th congress of the CPSU.

[38] Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic

[39] The report of A. Zhdanov at the session of the CC of the CPSU (February-March 1937) refers to the following problems which the new electoral system sought to solve “we must overcome the harmful psychology, which certain of our party and soviet cadre have, who suppose that they can easily win the trust of the people and sleep quietly, waiting for them to be offered parliamentary positions at home, with thundering applause, for their previous services. Through the secret ballot you cant take the people’s trust for granted…We have an important layer of cadre in party and soviet organisations, who think that their task finishes when they are elected to the soviet. This is witnessed by the large number of cadre who do not attend the sessions of the Soviets, the parliamentary groups and soviet departments, who avoid fulfilling basic parliamentary duties… many of our cadre in soviets tend to acquire bureaucratic features and have many weaknesses in their work, and are ready to answer for their work 10 times before the party bureau in a close “family” environment, rather than appear in a session of the soviet and criticise themselves and listen to the criticism of the masses. I think you know this as well as I do” KOMEP 4/2008

[40] The workers’ committees were organs of workers’ control in the period 1917-1918. These organs appeared in March 1917. Workers’ control was carried out based on the decree issued in November 1917. In 1919 the workers committees were merged with the trade unions. Later in the 1920s they functioned as production councils, as organs of workers’ control in factories.

[41] For conclusions on this issue see the “Theses of the CC of KKE on the 60th anniversary since the Anti-fascist victory of the People”, April 2005

[42] Initially the Secretariat of the EC of the CI on September 9, 1939 characterised the war as imperialist and predatory on both sides, calling on the sections of the CI in countries involved in the war to struggle against it

[43] See History of the 3rd International, Science Academy of USSR. Page 428 of the Greek edition

[44] It should be noted that at the 7th congress of the KKE (1945) a decision concerning “the international unity of the working class” was voted which mentioned amongst other things “The 7th congress of the KKE… expresses the wish that all the workers parties in the world, which believe in socialism, notwithstanding differences, should be incorporated as quickly as possible in a unified international political organisation of the working class”.

[45] Already, in 1935, the 7th congress of the CI “recommended the EC of the CI to shift its activity to the elaboration of basis political theses and theses concerning the tactics of the world labour movement, taking into consideration specific conditions and peculiarities of each country” and at the same time advised the EC of the CI to “ avoid as a rule direct involvement in the internal organisational affairs of the communist parties” After the 7th congress the so-called reorganisation of the Communist international started, “ the operational leadership of the parties, passed into the hands of the parties themselves… regional secretariats were abolished, which up to a point exercised some operational guidance .. In place of the departments of the Executive Committee of the CI two organs were created; the cadre department and the department for propaganda and mass organisations.” Science Academy of the USSR, History of the Third international, p. 433-434l. KKE, official documents, volume 6, p. 113.

[46] In the COMINFORM (Information Bureau of the CPs) the following Communist and Workers’ parties were represented: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Roumania, USSR, Czechoslovakia and France.

[47] Report of the CC of CPR(b) to the 19th Congress. Page 28 of the edition of the CC of KKE

[48] The 20th Congress of CPSU, Zioga editions, 1965, page 8.

[49] “The preparation of a new war is integrally connected with the subordination of the countries of Europe and of other continents to US imperialism. The Marshall plan, the Western Union, NATO, are all links in the chain of a criminal conspiracy against peace which the overseas monopolies bind the peoples with. The duty of the communist and workers’ parties in the capitalist countries is to unite their struggle for national independence with the struggle for peace, to reveal the anti-national, treacherous character of the policies of the bourgeois governments which have been transformed into the lackeys of US imperialism, to unite and rally all democratic patriotic forces in every country around slogans calling for an end to their wretched subordination to the Americans, for a transition to and independent foreign and domestic policy which will meet the national interests of the peoples. The communist and workers’ parties must hold high the flag of the defence of national independence and the sovereignty of the peoples”. (Archive of the KKE; Resolutions of the information bureau of the communist and workers’ parties, meeting 1949. Athens. P. 73-74.)

[50] V.I Lenin, “On the Slogan of the United States of Europe”, “The military programme of the proletarian revolution”.

[51] V.I. Lenin, “Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality”.

[52] Lenin in his time defended the position that in the countries with weak-intermediate level of capitalist development it is “easier to begin, more difficult to continue” the socialist revolution.

[53] The party’s programme adopted in the 15th Congress (1996) states in chapter D: “KKE’s concept of the building of socialism is based on Marxist-Leninist theory, and its enrichment with the conclusions and thoughts of our party around the construction of socialism in 20th Century”.


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