It is an unfortunately common thought within the timeline of communist movements that a focus on individual advantages of workers could lead to “fair production and distribution” in a socialist society. Prominent revolutionaries, who are lost to a path of revisionism greet us at every turn. Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping or Nikita Khrushchev; just to name a few who have risen to pivotal positions in their times. The actual role of a firm subjective conviction within the working class, specifically within the sphere of production, is often drastically underrated and therefore advances in the direction of so-called “welfarism” and away from genuine socialist construction. This deviation relies on the superficial analysis of the relationship between subjective worker and objective society. It is exactly those right-deviationists, such as Liu Shaoqi, who have lost—or ever had in the first place—a sense for real political consciousness in the working class. They are not able to think outside tables filled with numbers, supposedly representing the whole of economic activity, as well as the only correct point of view in understanding economics. This is not to say such tables are absolutely useless in the field of economics, but they are one tool out of many in order to study and fully grasp the truly much more complex material reality; they do not serve as a representation of a full understanding of production and distribution. This sort analytical study of economics can only, as a consequence, end in a form of revisionism—bureaucracy—a fact that is certainly not new, nor surprising, as it was shown quite numerously historically.

It is of utmost importance to realize that the individual beliefs and morale of the working class are most certainly an important factor in taking a socialist economy to a victorious conclusion. The working class must not be motivated through petty bourgeois individualism, but by a true proletarian consciousness; a motivation built around a collective and correct understanding of the purpose of socialist transformation, as well as a proper mechanism by which this understanding can be transformed into unitary class action, rather than scattered individual or group action. By reporting about steel production in Kangson, DPRK, Kim Il Sung has provided a positive example of the determining impact of political work within the sphere of production:

But at that time our country had only one blooming mill and its rated capacity was no more than 60,000 tons. Sixty thousand tons of rolled steel were, however, far from enough, for we had to build town and country, erect factories, and turn out more machines. (…) Entrusted by the Political Committee of the Party Central Committee, we went to the Kangson Steel Works. When we asked the leading personnel of that steel works if they could not increase the output of rolled steel to 90,000 tons, some of them, shaking their heads, said that it would be difficult. So, we called the workers together and told them: We have barely managed to rehabilitate the ravaged economy, and now the factionalists have reared their heads against the Party and the great- power chauvinists put pressure on us, and the U.S. imperialists and the Syngman Rhee puppet clique are getting frantic with “march north” clamours. But can all that be any excuse for us to get disheartened and yield to the grave difficulties lying in the way of the cause of revolution and construction? No, that won’t do. We only trust you—the working class, the main force of our revolution—and we have no one but you to rely on. Then, to tide over these grave difficulties facing our Party, you must be in high spirits and work hard to produce plenty and construct well, and thus drive the economic construction more vigorously, isn’t that so? We conducted our political work in this way, and the workers of Kangson came out with a resolution to produce 90,000 tons of rolled steel. Roused to activity, they strove hard improving the existing machines and equipment and undoing entangled knots, with the result that 120,000 tons of rolled steel was turned out instead of 90,000 that year.[1]

This example, despite its relative specificity, does effectively demonstrate the difference between the formation of a truly proletarian consciousness, and a revisionist one. It should be clear already that technocratic revisionism, as it was put forward best by Liu Shaoqi, can only lead to the “halting” of class struggle by depriving the working class of its most necessary ideological means: the will to rebel and act as an organized and conscious class. In this technocratic, revisionist position the revolutionary class consciousness of the working class is reduced to regulated individualist, petty bourgeois motivations, as fed to them by the governing ideological state apparatuses. It is these factors that lead to the complete negation of a “positive will to produce”—a bare necessity in socialist production.

The crucial role of a socialist society is to prepare for a communist society, eventually leading to it. Consequently, it is its duty to provide, through the dictatorship of the proletariat, every working person an adequate, dignified life; leading away from the peculiarities of the capitalist mode of production, based on exploitation and alienation, which result in a “crab mentality” among the working class.[2] A “socialist” model standing in the tradition of technocratic revisionism, however, is not capable of ensuring such a standard, nor could it maintain it, for it does not care about the ideological transformation of the people. The main motivation in such a model would still be individualism, a core component of bourgeois ideology. Allegedly, the worker frees themselves by thinking of themselves only; the motto of revisionists to legitimize their economic imaginations. This tendency is founded in the argument that, of course, the working class will naturally fight for its own, proletarian class interests; however this obviously overlooks the fact that conscious, proletarian interests are not necessarily equal to individual interests of every worker—certainly they are antithetical to individualism!

Every aspect of technocratic revisionism is, in the final instance, relying on the same logic as the “amerikan dream”. It secures the mass reproduction of bourgeois ideology not only through its state apparatuses, but even by the working class itself by focusing the will to produce on material incentives—a glaringly bourgeois tactic. Such a system serves to divide et impera in capitalist societies, and in socialist societies it serves to undo the proletarian class dictatorship. The Communist party must constantly strive not only to promote proletarian class consciousness among the working class per se; it must reproduce it through proletarian class activity, through the conscious participation of the working class in all economic activity of society and bound together as a unitary class program by the communist central plan. The nature of the communist central plan was elucidated by comrade Stalin in his report to the Central Committee:

Our plans are not forecast plans, not guess-work plans, but directive plans, which are binding upon the leading bodies and which determine the trend of our future economic development on a country-wide scale.[3]

For all revolutionary movements it is of great importance to truly mold the working population into a proletarian class, one that in the end is able to reproduce proletarian ideology themselves, therefore defending themselves against bourgeois reaction. Not only is the progress of the socialist state dependent upon objective changes to the relations of production, but equally important is the conscious ideological development and of the working class as the engine of socialist construction.

[1] Kim Il Sung, On some Theoretical Problems of the Socialist Economy, 1969

[2] When caught in a basket, crabs are known to panic as they try to hurriedly escape. Each one begins to pull and climb on other the other crabs, thereby preventing any from escaping. This is akin to the individualism of the working class, wherein the individualist impulse guiding workers to succeed at each others’ detriment ends in common ruin for all—none can escape the basket.

[3] J.V. Stalin: Political Report of the Central Committee to the 15th. Congress of the CPSU (B), in: “Works”, Volume 10; Moscow; 1954; p.335

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