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The controversy about the socialist accumulation in post-revolutionary Russia

Creato: 23 Luglio 2013 Ultima modifica: 17 Settembre 2016 Visite: 2515

[IT]

In full New Economic Policy (NEP), between 1924 and 1926, the debate on the Soviet industrialization times and rhythms develops. This polemic turned into an open clash inside the Bolshevik Party, paving the way for Stalin’s rise to power. The deterioration of this situation was caused by the failure of the transition to Socialism, due to the continuing bourgeois production relations and to the subsequent State Capitalism strengthening.

Taking up the train of the polemic in Russia about the transition to Socialism means rethinking an experience, the Red October, from which starting up again to prospect a credible alternative to Capitalism. A Capitalism in crisis that exacerbates more and more its contradictions, in which wealth and poverty polarize themselves in an unprecedented way, where there is a correspondence between the steady increase of work production and produced social wealth and the proletarian masses’ impoverishment and state of decay.
If the capitalistic accumulation process is in great difficulty and finds hard to work again prospecting a more and more uncertain future, above all for new generations, this does not imply the patient’s certain death, on the contrary, this agony could be likely to continue without finding a way out the current state of affairs if the aware action of human beings’ changing will does not intervene.
In Russia the October Revolution could not bear its fruit because of the lacking international revolution, at least in the most advanced European areas, first of all in Germany. The underdeveloped Russia found itself isolated and we know how things ended. What we are interested in analyzing here is how the events that objectively led to the State Capitalism instead of Socialism affected the protagonists of the Bolshevik Party and the Russian proletariat.
The political confrontation at the beginning, after the experience of the War Communism, even if high pitched but still within the free statement of the different points of view and the respect among Communists, sharpened over time until it degenerated into a personified fierce internal fight which ended with Josif Stalin’s victorious rise.
In substance, Lenin’s Party rather than keeping on being the proletariat avant-garde, underwent the metamorphosis leading it to be the foundation structure of the new Russian State, while the dictatorship of the proletariat began an empty slogan justifying any decision of the Party/State even if against the same proletariat.
As Marxists, we know very well that to a certain economic and social relation corresponds a peculiar superstructure, in particular a State apparatus and all its divisions useful to the preservation of the status-quo. The mistake was, of course in hindsight, but learning from experience is right, the inability to back out of the dynamics of the Bolshevik Party events, the Party which had led the Russian proletariat to revolution and kindled the world proletarian hopes, that overtime was changing into something else, becoming the
container of new classist bourgeois instances, corresponding to the strengthening of the State Capitalism.
So, it was unavoidable that the bumps of an underdeveloped economic basis, isolated from the international context, left destroyed by the First World War, had to urge the debate on the rebuilding measures of the little that had survived. It was necessary to take up the train of the pre-war economic development which had seen a remarkable industrial development of the main Russian towns.
In this frame, the different standpoints having as a common denominator the necessity to find resources for the economic growth. Previously, Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) was the first measure promulgated to this end. Later, two lines substantially embodied by Nikolaj Bucharin and Yevgeni Preobràženskij opposed on the evaluations of what had been done until that moment to go beyond and give further impulse to the development.
Despite the awareness characterizing  the speeches of the Party’s thinkers about the aims of the transition phase, the adverse circumstances placed under severe strain the coherence and the ability to maintain the right course. According to Marx, Socialism had to be a period of change which would have enabled to overcome the law of value and all the capitalistic economic categories. Besides, as concerns the superstructure, the semi-State of the dictatorship of the proletariat should have extinguished as a result of the social class demise. But the distance separating the current dramatic reality from the envisioned bright future was enormous. In the near future it was necessary to save whatever could be saved and to start again the production.
War Communism had been a very particular break in an exceptional context, the civil war after the seizure of power, and, very simply, it consisted in carrying out coercive measures in order to confiscate food resources to the overwhelming majority of the peasantry and redistribute them in the starved towns in the attempt to guarantee the simple survival to the proletarian minority. As touched on before, after the War Communism there was the NEP, whose goal, among others, was to rebalance the relation between the economic public sector and the private one. When the NEP was still operating, after Lenin’s death, in addition to the topic of the economic development, many questions about the real nature of the Soviet system and the direction to take decidedly in order to reinforce the revolution achievements rose within the Party. According to the disputers’ points of view, the stakes were high, the orientation to follow  would have allowed to take more peremptorily the way towards Socialism, or there would have been a return to Capitalism, this last subdued, at this stage, but still burning under the ashes.

Lenin and the NEP

In the summer of 1917, at the time of his exile abroad during Kerenskij’s temporary government, Lenin wrote one of his most important works, “The State and the Revolution” about the issue of transition. Recalling Marx’s theses debated in “Critique of the Gotha’s Programme”, concerning the passage from Capitalism to Socialism, even if agreeing with them, he introduced some rather ambiguous formulations. For instance, in Lenin’s opinion, it is possible to expand to the entire social structure Marx’s statement according to which in the socialist society in the distribution of products, the principle regulating the exchange of goods, even changing its content and form, endures, because a worker receives, deducted a quote for the public fund, a certain amount of products depending on the equivalent working time supplied in the community planned production. If in the first stage of Communism the bourgeois right in the subdivision of consumer goods endures, the necessity of a bourgeois State ensues from it, without bourgeoisie, seeing that its rules will be respected. From Lenin’s reasoning, we can find out that the State of the dictatorship of proletariat should take on itself such a function. Besides, Lenin, qualifying offhandedly as Socialism the passage of the means of production property from private citizens to the State, even if the individual capital was changing into capital stock, surpassing in this way the private property of the means of production, did not make a sharp distinction between nationalization and social appropriation of the means of production by the proletariat, only this last condition could have marked the new socialist relations of production. According to Lenin, Socialism in the end consisted only in:  “Accounting and control--that is mainly what is needed for the "smooth working", for the proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society. All citizens are transformed into hired employees of the state, which consists of the armed workers[…]The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory, with equality of labor and pay.” [1] So, the bourgeois category of hired work extends, under the State control, to the whole of society, rather than, on the contrary, prospecting the passing of the law of value and all that follows, first of all just the abolition of hired work as an aim that a real socialist society should fulfill. Perhaps Lenin’s attention, focused on the Russian explosive situation and on the imminent revolution, affected some conceptual aspects of his analyses, that, among other things, later will leave involuntarily itself open to an unscrupulous use of the Stalinism counter-revolutionary lies.
Soon, Lenin’s theoretical analyses would have had to face with the reality of the forthcoming revolution. But in Russia the conditions of Socialism were inexistent. Revolutionaries considered the October Revolution only the first step of a chain of events that would have had to put on an international scale the possibility to build Socialism. Russia, which was in the great majority peasant, isolated and devastated, had to take another way. In order to rebalance the relation between town and countryside after the War Communism, following the October Revolution, characterized by the centralized economic management and by the forced requisitions to the detriment of peasantry, in 1921 the NEP was promulgated. The New economic policy wanted by Lenin, apart from taking up the fundamental points of War Communism, consisting of the individual management of nationalized firms with the aim to make the greatest profit, the use in the positions of responsibility of the bourgeois specialists, the introduction of piece work, the neutralization of workers and peasants’ organisms so that they could no more interfere in economy, introduced the liberalization and the market in the place of the centralized management, the extension of the monetary exchange followed by several monetary reforms. Anyhow the State was still granted the fundamental instruments of the economic control, since the greatest industries and the banking and credit system had been nationalized.
The transient retreat, so defined by Lenin, was a set of measures whose aim was trying to put in motion the production machine on the base of “State Capitalism” as Lenin himself had written in the booklet about the tax in kind, as an explanation of the NEP. There is no possibility of misunderstanding on the defensive nature of his plan, summed up efficaciously by Lenin himself: “The supreme principle of the dictatorship is the maintenance of the alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry in order that the proletariat may retain its leading role and its political power.
The only means we found for this was the adoption of the tax in kind, which was the inevitable consequence of the struggle. This year, we shall introduce this tax for the first time. This principle has not yet been tried in practice. From the military alliance we must pass to an economic alliance, and, theoretically, the only basis for the latter is the introduction of the tax in kind. It provides the only theoretical possibility for laying a really solid economic foundation for socialist society. The socialised factory gives the peasant its manufactures and in return the peasant gives his grain […]
This brings us to the most difficult problem. It goes without saying that the tax in kind means freedom to trade. After having paid the tax in kind, the peasant will have the right freely to exchange the remainder of his grain. This freedom of exchange implies freedom for capitalism. We say this openly and emphasise it. We do not conceal it in the least […] It is state capitalism. But state capitalism in a society where power belongs to capital, and state capitalism in a proletarian state, are two different concepts. In a capitalist state, state capitalism means that it is recognised by the state and controlled by it for the benefit of the bourgeoisie, and to the detriment of the proletariat. In the proletarian state, the same thing is done for the benefit of the working class, for the purpose of withstanding the as yet strong bourgeoisie, and of fighting it”
[2].
In that moment, Lenin, very honestly, given all the circumstances, explained that Socialism was no more on the agenda, that it was necessary to make the Russian Socialism work better, waiting for future international developments, hope was the only thing to hang on. It goes without saying that the role of the working class, emptied of all the instruments of direct democracy, was again exclusively V, that is variable capital, a component of C, the total capital. That is impersonal labour force producing surplus to be exploited as much as possible.
Socially, the NEP ratified the definitive defeat of the working class and the rise of a variegated State and private bourgeoisie, which later, in Stalin’s times, would have taken on the all-encompassing physiognomy of the Party nomenclature of the power apparatus. All this to highlight that unfortunately, after the 1917 Revolution, the cornerstone marking the capitalistic relation of production, capital on one hand and hired work on the other, never failed: “With the War Communism many of the old owners or factory managers had already reappeared as ‘specialists’ and nationalized industry managers. But then the bourgeois specialists were still seen as a necessary evil and a little relished abnormality, the positions of official responsibility and power were usually reserved for exemplary proletarians, or, in any case, for members of the Party – a category in which the bourgeois specialist was in that period seldom admitted. Through the introduction of the NEP this situation changed gradually but substantially … the direction of the industry was getting back in the ex-managers and bourgeois specialists’ hands and a greater share of them was obtaining the dignity and the guarantee of belonging to the Party” [3].

NEP lasted until 1929, through many twists and turns, and even though the overall economic situation improved, it did not solve substantially the precarious balance between town and countryside. The previous leveling in the rural community was broken, so facilitating the differentiation between rich and poor peasantry. But the accumulation of wealth did not facilitate neither the development of the agrarian economy nor the building of capital to accelerate industrialization. On the base of this stalemate, starting from 1924, the polemic between those who leant towards even more liberal measures such as Bucharin, in the name of the Government majority, and those who, on the contrary, wanted to change direction for the benefit of the State industry, such as Preobraženskij, for the opposition minority, developed.

“The fundamental law of socialist primitive accumulation” by Preobraženskij


The term “socialist primitive accumulation”, already previously used by Smirnov and Trotskij, was recalled by Preobraženskij in order to give substance to his theory about the passage from Capitalism to Socialism. Comparing the Capitalism development to the present of the soviet Russia in order to learn how they could have proceeded more quickly towards Socialism, of course stressing resemblances and differences, Preobraženskij suggested some measures to get out the stagnation. He characterized the two historical passages in this way: “The bourgeois revolutions begin when Capitalism finds itself already in an advanced phase of the building of its economic system. The bourgeois revolution is but an episode in the process of capitalistic development, starting a long time before the revolution and going on speedily after the revolution. The socialist system, on the contrary, begins its history through the seizure of power by proletariat. This comes from the essence itself of the socialist economy, as a unitary complex that cannot develop itself in a molecular way in the Capitalism depths” [4].

The capitalistic manufacture could demonstrate its superiority to handicraft within the same feudal society. At first, the commercial capital, coordinating the factors of production on a wider base, took resources away from the small production, preparing the ground for accumulation. But, an even wider preliminary accumulation was the presuppose for the big mechanical industry, which showed its technical and economical supremacy by exploiting for a while the small production. Likewise, later, the exploitation of their colonies contributed to the advanced countries primitive accumulation. The technical differential of the metropolitan industry towards the small local industry, both through the direct investment and in the exchange of goods, made possible the realization of excess profits and a leap ahead for the impetuous capitalistic development.
Like Capitalism had done in western countries, the socialist primitive accumulation in Russia had to exploit the small capitalistic production, largely represented by peasantry, so that the resources picked up from the capitalistic sector could support the nationalized industry, giving a firm steering for the benefit of the socialist sector, which, subsequently, once developed its peculiar features of superiority in respect to the old society, could have proceeded autonomously towards a socialist accumulation on a widened base, in the literal meaning of the word. In conclusion Preobraženskij supported a firm turning point of the Party for the benefit of industrialization, unlike what was going on with the NEP, where the petty bourgeois and bourgeois component was growing, while the low level of the socialist primitive accumulation proceeded too slowly, invalidating  the chances to fulfill Socialism.
The measures suggested by Preobraženskij to put into effect his ideas substantially dealt on the one hand with the use of the fiscal instrument and on the other hand the imposition of a price policy. The State of dictatorship of proletariat appealing to its own prerogatives of power and monopoly, could have transferred objectified values into goods from the private capitalistic side to the public nationalized one, simply by quoting higher prices for its own products in the exchange with the ones of the countryside non-socialist sphere. Such an exchange of non-equivalent values de facto would have resulted in a kind of taxation of the private economy.
Such an energetic forcing in the relationships among stakeholders, easier said than done, even if it had been taken into account, very hardly would have been able to go on: “All this conception left itself open to a series of obvious objections. First of all, acting in the sense required by Preobraženskij’s theory, it was natural to get to the breakage of that smyčka (alliance, editor’s note) between the working class and the peasantry which was at the base of Lenin’s conception about the social development and which had been the NEP cornerstone, conceived as a transition period between Capitalism and Socialism. From the political standpoint, it would have drifted apart peasantry and would probably have implied the risk to provoke a new Vendée: from the economic point of view, it could have had the effect to decrease rather increase the total volume of raw materials provided by agriculture to industry. The experience of War Communism had demonstrated that the possibility to apply pressure on peasantry was, beyond a short period, extremely limited, and that he, even if he had been obliged to sell a certain amount of his products, would soon have responded by reducing the sown area” [5].

What is most serious in Preobraženskij’s reasoning, even though it had been possible to fulfill the plan of transferring to the State some resources coming from private economic sources, was to attribute to its presumed law of the socialist primitive accumulation some thaumaturgic capacities, where even: “Such a law, besides, modifies and partly eliminates the law of value and all the laws of the mercantile and mercantile-capitalistic economy, since they show or can show themselves in our economic system” [6]. Stating that in the end this already happens in the capitalistic advanced countries where: “ … already in the Capitalism monopolistic phase the law of value is partially eliminated, as well as all the others laws of the mercantile production linked to it” [7].

Always going on through analogies, given the coexistence of two laws in the soviet economy, the law of the socialist accumulation in the public sector and the law of value in the private one, which could be together and affect each other, Preobraženskij defined economy as a whole a mercantile-socialist system: “Since Russian economy represents an unprecedented example of coexistence of two economic systems in the economic history, it necessarily constitutes a field not only of battle but also to a certain extent of balance, and so of objective coexistence of two different economic laws” [8].
In the end it comes full circle and the justifying parable on the nature of the Russian society closes through an exemplary reasoning of Mechanicism and formal logic at the same time. Here there was the accomplishment, if we someway put close State Capitalism and Socialism, of the schematic passages finding the inevitability of its overcoming and of the establishment of Socialism in the Capitalism contradictory transformations, paraphrasing Lenin’s mistakes, above all in the last period of his life, where he restated that State Capitalism was the harbinger of Socialism, or that the public property was equivalent to Socialism, and besides that in Russia it was possible to go on towards Socialism while waiting for the international revolution, etc. In the end, following the line of this speech, in both cases there is capital centralization, both if this function is performed by private citizens and by the State, subsequently free competition would fail and so the exchange of equivalent values held in goods, too. At this point the law of value, foundation of the capitalistic economy, would fail so much that it would subsequently open new scenarios.
Actually the monopolistic capital, or more precisely it would be better to say oligopolistic, does not deny at all the law of value, but it is a way of being of the system in its becoming, where bigger industrial capitals beat their local and international competition in order to grab surplus bigger shares. Then, what could we say about the current dominant concentration of the financial capital which, through speculation, takes possession of enormous amounts of surplus without producing anything at all? What characterizes Capitalism as a historically determined way of production is the relation between capital and labour force, that is the hired work exploitation. Later, on the necessary base of the making of profit, the several bourgeois factions come into conflict for its division. As long as this relation exists, never and never again it will be possible to speak about something else but Capitalism, and unfortunately, soviet Russia, for innumerable reasons was never able to break such a relation. In this sense the presumed Preobraženskij’s primitive socialist accumulation was just a conceptual trickery to say the government had to take on more decidedly the responsibility of initiative for the benefit of the State industry, and in the end to heal that split caused by the events so that the conditions to resume the capitalistic accumulation already started in the Czars’ time were recreated.
At the end of his reasoning, Preobraženskij proposed further instruments in order to support the socialist primitive accumulation, among the others, the bank system monopoly, whose resources, obtained from loan, could be redistributed for the benefit of State economy. Also the foreign trade monopoly could be an extraordinary means of assistance for the accumulation process since the commercial profit gained from buying and selling exportation goods or from imported products would have been given to the State. Subordinately, foreign loans, concessions to foreign capital and other less important measures would have been sources of income for the State economy. Even here, as we can see, economic totally bourgeois measures and categories, nothing further from Socialism.

Bucharin’s critique

The majority of the Bolshevik Party, led by Bucharin and Stalin (this last was more cautious in the polemic about economic issues), was placed on the opposite side to Preobraženskij’s positions, with whom Zinovjev and Kamenev, previously very disapproving with him and the minority, in 1925 converged. Before the NEP was enacted, Bucharin sided with the Party left wing, then, failed the prospect of the international revolution, changed course, so becoming the greatest theoretical representative of the right wing. He didn’t regard to the Nep as a transient retreat, but as a long term evolutive instrument, which would have slowly led to Socialism, not anymore necessarily on a world scale, but possible to fulfill in a single country such as the Soviet Union. Bucharin, unlike Preobraženskij’s centralistic opinions, saw in the market and in the free competition among the several firms, both private and public, in the currency stability, in the goods price reduction through the increase of work productivity, in the agriculture development, in the good functioning of banks and the financial system, the possibility of economic growth for the country towards Socialism. At last, in the competition, the public firms would have resulted superior to the private ones and over time would have removed or absorbed them and substituted without the need of any act of strenght or violence. Economy would have almost spontaneously addressed towards socialist planning.

This imaginary picture sketched by Bucharin did not have anything at all socialist. All the economic categories he talks about are the ones of Capitalism that the same bourgeois class of the capitalistic countries wishes could work without hitch as in Bucharin’s depiction. But the expedient used by Bucharin, just like his polemic interlocutors did, was always to oppose to the bourgeois State the formal dictatorship of proletariat of the presumed socialist State, this last was supposed to have the miraculous power to transform into antitheses the same characteristics of the two systems, firstly the typical bourgeois exploitation of hired work would change into its contrary: the free planned work of the members of the collectivity. Let’s see an example of how Bucharin, with a verbal expedient, adapted concepts which are very much at odds with Marxism, simply to justify the course taken by Russia towards State Capitalism, passed off as Socialism: “The increase of the monetary volume accompanied by a development in the goods circulation is indicative of an advanced process of economic recovery…In the industrial sphere, now it is possible to perform the economic accounting, to calculate costs, the profit, to draw firm balances, quotes, production plans, etc.; the losses due to devaluation have ended, it is possible to actually direct the economic life; the wage system has been readjusted and workers do not experience cut in real wages. In the agricultural production now it is possible to calculate all the factors, the widening of the production is stimulated since the “mercantile” sphere of the semi-natural farming economy enlarges…For the first time there has been the possibility to create a normal credit activity of every form and kind; the bank activity and the use of the capitalists’ private deposits are now possible; the foundations for future deposits by farmers and to accelerate the accumulation process under the guidance of the proletarian State are laid” [9]. We cannot recognize in these words even for a moment, both for the present and for the future, the minimum shade of Socialism or of something resembling it.
In the same way, in analyzing the resulting social composition, in view of the fact that beyond the brusque digressions in order to demonstrate the indemonstrable, the production relations were based on capital on the one hand and hired work on the other, Bucharin made a distinction between the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie before revolution, which obviously was to be defeated and repressed, and the new collaborative bourgeoisie born within the socialist State, which in the end would have had to give way, during the economic fight, to the public institutions and to cooperation: “Different is the proletarian attitude and of its State power towards the new bourgeoisie, which, in a given relation of social forces, represents a socially necessary level fulfilling – in a certain measure, within certain limits, and for a certain period – a socially useful function; the relation cannot limit to the pure repression towards this social group. Here there is also the cooperation of proletarians and within this cooperation, the class fight. What is the general line of the working class? The use of this bourgeoisie and, starting from a given point, its overcoming … The dictatorship of the proletariat, that is the State power, mediates all these kinds of relations. But it makes possible the cooperation with the Nepmen in society, this does not mean at all that the State power is not proletarian, but the union of proletariat and Nepmen” [10].
In this passage, we can notice that the same terminology is changed and adapted to the new needs, defining the new bourgeoisie a social level and not a class, as well as the State power administrated by the Party identifies with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Bucharin’s analysis in the end, even if in a mystified way, gave a real picture of what was Russia in that moment, a society divided in classes based on the capitalistic mode of production, with a mixed public and private management, a model which later will show, in more or less wide proportions, in western countries, too. The capitulation prerequisites on the theoretical level were already completely present in Bucharin even before the NEP enactment, in his text about transition, the same economic categories, the same concepts above mentioned incredibly assumed a transfiguration where everything was its opposite, even until to declare the uselessness of Marxism in the capability to explain the mysterious society begot by the October Revolution, a combination of old and new contents, to inspect with new methods: “The ancient categories of political economy remain as before forms of the practical generalization of the living economic reality, continuously changing. At the same time these categories give no chance to penetrate beyond ‘the phenomenon surface’, … Those elementary relations, whose categories of goods, price, hired work, profit, etc. are the ideological expression, actually exist and at the same time do not exist. They do not exist and nevertheless, as it were, they exist; they exist as if they did not exist. They lead a singular life, spectrally real and, at the same time, really spectral, just like the souls of the dead in the old Slavic conceptions or like heathen gods for the pious Christian churches. So, the old efficacious instruments of the Marxist thought, moulded by Marx on the base of the correspondent relations of production real existence, soon start to be not satisfactory” [11].
And hereinafter: “Money is no more a general equivalent and becomes a conventional sign – and highly imperfect – of the product circulation. Wages become apparent quantities  without any content. As soon as the working class becomes the ruling class, hired work disappears” [12]. Like in the Shakespearean tragedies ghosts appear and disappear, here the capitalistic economic categories share the same lot. More than a real substance, they are an ideological expression to which the Hamlet-like question “to be or not to be” is made. When Bucharin writes “The Politics and Economics of the Transition Period”, he is still resolute against the bourgeoisie and justifies the use of force when it is necessary in order to push ahead the historical process. Until then, the whole metaphysical castle, built with the aim to give a different meaning of the nature of the Russian economy, served to demonstrate that that reality was about to fulfill Socialism. Vice versa, just a few months later, Bucharin’s standpoint drastically changed, prospecting a long way before being able to reach Socialism.

Conclusions

The protagonists of the controversy about the course the Russian economy would have had to take, as we have seen, were following trajectories going somewhere else with respect to Socialism. Strictly according to the historical Materialism, the different positions were the effect of a social and economic system urging some decisions in order to go on faster in the overall consolidation of the Russian nation. The way determined by the material conditions, independently from single individuals’ willing and good intentions, led towards the State Capitalism and not towards Socialism, which, actually, had never taken roots in Russia. The October Revolution had created the political premises for the transition, new horizons against capital had been opened waiting for the international revolution in the most advanced countries to put into effect the possibility to go on in the desired direction. Only at this point, it would have been possible for the organisms of the dictatorship of the proletariat, such as the Soviets or the coordinated councils, to express themselves and to take the first tangible steps towards Socialism.
The international revolution did not take place and Russia, mostly peasant, remained isolated from the international context, besieged by the imperialistic powers, did not have any other choice to survive than adapting to circumstances and answering by necessarily putting itself on the same level of its enemies. A few years later, Stalinism represented, not by accident, USSR’s answer in the world scenario on the plane of the inter-imperialistic competition/clash which was renewing with greater virulence. By wiping out any hesitation, making a clean sweep of the opponents, totally centralizing the political and economic life, Stalinism could resolutely take the capitalistic way and lead the Soviet Union to become, within a few decades, the second world imperialistic power after the USA. All this was paid with enormous sacrifices and sufferings by the proletariat, oppressed by the State terror, in an unprecedented way in history. A tragedy passed off as Socialism by Stalin’s dictatorial regime, who at a certain point announced with great pomp and ceremony that even the time was coming, that is the system was entering the most advanced phase of its transformation process, namely Communism.
The direct democracy of the proletariat could work only for a short period after the seizure of power. In that phase, the proletarian assemblies and the avant-gardes of the Bolshevik Party implemented the measures to defend the revolution, against the bourgeois reaction which had unleashed the civil war. Once overcome the terrific obstacle, it was necessary to start building a new world, founded on the individuals and collectivity’s free development, on the base of equality and abolition of the exploitation of man by man. The adverse circumstances inexorably cut off such expectations, the liberation process of the Russian workers and those of the entire world came to nothing, with all the negative repercussions that a defeat of such a historical importance had to determine for a long time to come. The measures undertaken and the resulting controversies within the Bolshevik Party, as we have seen, were the unequivocal signal of the end of the “climbing to the sky”. Anyhow the October Socialist Revolution, and previously the Paris Commune, were, and are still nowadays, ineludible experiences as reference points and subjects of the research for a prospect of redemption and mankind liberation, for the possibility and the need to turn over a new leaf once and for all with societies divided in classes, that are Capitalism last stage. But it is necessary to reaffirm a fundamental point that do not leave space to misunderstandings, the worker class emancipation is made by the worker class itself, it does not delegate anybody, neither its Party, to the exercise of power once it has become the ruling class: “Someday the worker must seize political power in order to build up the new organization of labor; he must overthrow the old politics which sustain the old institutions, if he is not to lose Heaven on Earth, like the old Christians who neglected and despised politics” [13].
Only on this condition it will be possible to follow the way of the transformation having as an aim, as Marx and Engels wrote in “Manifesto”, the concrete possibility that: “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” [14].

[1] V. Lenin, “Stato e rivoluzione. La dottrina marxista dello Stato e I compiti del proletariato nella rivoluzione”, in “Opere Scelte” – IV volume. Editori Riuniti, Rome and Edizioni Progress, Moscow, 1975, pp. 308-309.
[2] From Lenin’s speech on 5th July “Rapporto sulla tattica del PCR” at the “Third Congress of the Communist International” held at Moscow from 22nd June to 12th July 1921. V. Lenin, “Opere Scelte” – VI volume, op. cit., pp. 510-511.

[3] Edward H. Carr, “Storia della Russia sovietica: La morte di Lenin – L’interregno 1923-1924”, Einaudi, Turin 1965.

[4] N. Bucharin – Y. Preobraženskij, “L’accumulazione socialista”, edited by Lisa Foa, Editori Riuniti, Rome 1969, p. 9.

[5] Maurice Dobb, “Storia dell’economia sovietica”, Editori Riuniti, Rome 1957, p.213.
[6] N. Bucharin -  Y. Preobraženskij, op. cit., p. 14.

[7] Ivi, p. 66.

[8] Ivi, p. 64.

[9] Ivi, pp. 143-144.

[10] Ivi, pp. 114-115.

[11] N. Bucharin, “Economia del periodo di trasformazione”, Editoriale Jaca Book, Milano 1971, p. 137.

[12] Ivi, p. 148.

[13] From Marx’s participation in a public meeting in Amsterdam after the Hague Congress of the First International. Cf. “Discorso tenuto ad Amsterdam l’8 settembre 1872”, in Karla Marx’s “Opere – Lotta politica e conquista del potere”, Newton Compotn Editori, Rome 1975, p. 837

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