As a political magnitude, or as a group claiming to play a political role, the “Left Communist” group has presented its “Theses on the Present Situation”. The “Lefts” are very careful to quote the figures: twelve votes at the Party Congress against peace, twenty-eight votes in favour, but they discreetly refrain from mentioning that of the hundreds of votes cast at the meeting of the Bolshevik group of the Congress of Soviets they obtained less than one-tenth. There is not a word about the voting at the All-Ukraine Congress of Soviets in favour of peace, nor about the social and class character of the typically petty-bourgeois and declassed political conglomeration in Russia who were opposed to peace (the Left Socialist-Revolutionary party). In an utterly childish manner, by means of amusing “scientific” explanations, they try to conceal their own bankruptcy, to conceal the facts, the mere review of which would show that it was precisely the declassed, intellectual “cream” of the party, the elite, who opposed the peace with slogans couched in revolutionary petty-bourgeois phrases, that it was precisely the mass of workers and exploited peasants who carried the peace.
Nevertheless, in spite of all the above-mentioned declarations and evasions of the “Lefts” on the question of war and peace, the plain and obvious truth manages to come to light. The authors of the theses are compelled to admit that “the conclusion of peace has for the time being weakened the imperialists’ attempts to make a deal on a world scale” (this is inaccurately formulated by the “Lefts”, but this is not the place to deal with inaccuracies). For, until the world socialist revolution breaks out, until it embraces several countries and is strong enough to overcome international imperialism, it is the direct duty of the socialists who have conquered in one country (especially a backward one) not to accept battle against the giants of imperialism. But it comes to light through all their confused reasoning like “on the one hand it must be confessed, on the other hand one must admit”.
“During the coming spring and summer,” the “Lefts” write in their theses, “the collapse of the imperialist system must begin. In the event of a victory for German imperialism in the present phase of the war this collapse can only be postponed, but it will then express itself in even more acute forms.”
This formulation is even more childishly inaccurate despite its playing at science. No serious politician will ever say when this or that collapse of a “system” “must begin” (the more so that the collapse of the system has already begun, and it is now a question of the moment when the outbreak of revolution in particular countries will begin). But an indisputable truth forces its way through this childishly helpless formulation, namely, the outbreaks of revolution in other, more advanced, countries are nearer now, a month since the beginning of the “respite” which followed the conclusion of peace, than they were a month or six weeks ago.
It follows that the peace supporters were absolutely right, and their stand has been justified by the course of events. They were right in having drummed into the minds of the lovers of ostentation that one must be able to calculate the balance of forces and not help the imperialists by making the battle against socialism easier for them when socialism is still weak, and when the chances of the battle are manifestly against socialism.
Our “Left” Communists, however, who are also fond of calling themselves “proletarian” Communists, because there is very little that is proletarian about them and very much that is petty-bourgeois, are incapable of giving thought to the balance of forces, to calculating it. After three years of the most agonising and reactionary war, the people, thanks to Soviet power and its correct tactics, which never lapsed into mere phrase-making, have obtained a very, very brief, insecure and far from sufficient respite. For our “Lefts” merely brandish a cardboard sword when they ignore the universally known fact, of which the war in the Ukraine has served as an additional proof, that peoples utterly exhausted by three years of butchery cannot go on fighting without a respite; and that war, if it cannot be organised on a national scale, very often creates a mentality of disintegration peculiar to petty proprietors, instead of the iron discipline of the proletariat. Every page of Kommunist shows that our “Lefts” have no idea of iron proletarian discipline and how it is achieved, that they are thoroughly imbued with the mentality of the declassed petty-bourgeois intellectual.
Perhaps all these phrases of the “Lefts” about war can be put down to mere childish exuberance, which, moreover, concerns the past, and therefore has not a shadow of political significance? Anyone aspiring to political leadership must be able to think out political problems, and lack of this ability converts the “Lefts” into spineless preachers of a policy of vacillation, which objectively can have only one result, namely, by their vacillation the “Lefts” are helping the imperialists to provoke the Russian Soviet Republic into a battle that will obviously be to its disadvantage, they are helping the imperialists to draw us into a snare. The Russian workers’ revolution cannot *&8216;save itself’ by abandoning the path of world revolution, by continually avoiding battle and yielding to the pressure of international capital, by making concessions to ’home capital’.
“From this point of view it is necessary to adopt a determined class international policy which will unite international revolutionary propaganda by word and deed, and to strengthen the organic connection with international socialism (and not with the international bourgeoisie). Our “Lefts” dare not contradict this and shoot into the air: “A determined class international policy”!!
This is deceiving the people. He senses that the proletarian is right in arguing that because we lack strength we must retreat (before Western and Eastern imperialism) even as far as the Urals, for in this lies the only chance of playing for time while the revolution in the West matures, the revolution which is not “bound” (despite the twaddle of the “Lefts”) to begin in “spring or summer”, but which is coming nearer and becoming more probable every month.
The “Lefts” have no policy of their “own”. They twist and turn, play with words, substitute the question of “continuously” avoiding battle for the question of avoiding battle at the present moment. What does this mean?
It can only mean one of two things: either it is mere Nozdryovism, or it means an offensive war to overthrow international imperialism. The people must be told the bitter truth simply, clearly and in a straightforward manner: it is possible, and even probable, that the war party will again get the upper hand in Germany (that is, an offensive against us will commence at once), and that Germany together with Japan, by official agreement or by tacit understanding, will partition and strangle us. And then by retreating even, if the worst comes to the worst, to the Urals, we shall make it easier for our ally (the international proletariat) to come to our aid, to “catch up” (to use the language of sport) the distance between the beginning of revolutionary outbreaks and revolution.
These, and these alone, are the tactics which can in fact strengthen the connection between one temporarily isolated section of international socialism and the other sections. You have learned this by heart so thoroughly that some of you have begun talking nonsense to the effect that defence of the fatherland in an imperialist epoch is impermissible (as a matter of fact, it is impermissible only in an imperialist, reactionary war, waged by the bourgeoisie). But you have not thought out why and when “defencism” is abominable.
To recognise defence of the fatherland means recognising the legitimacy and justice of war. If war is waged by the exploiting class with the object of strengthening its rule as a class, such a war is a criminal war, and “defencism” in such a war is a base betrayal of socialism. If war is waged by the proletariat after it has conquered the bourgeoisie in its own country, and is waged with the object of strengthening and developing socialism, such a war is legitimate and “holy”.
We have been “defencists” since October 20, 1917. When we were the representatives of an oppressed class we did not adopt a frivolous attitude towards defence of the fatherland in an imperialist war. It has become our duty to calculate with the utmost accuracy the different forces involved, to weigh with the utmost care the chances of our ally (the international proletariat) being able to come to our aid in time.
The systematic use of the remaining means of production is conceivable only if a most determined policy of socialisation is pursued” . What do they mean by pursuing “a most determined policy of socialisation”?
One may or may not be determined on the question of nationalisation or confiscation, but the whole point is that even the greatest possible “determination” in the world is not enough to pass from nationalisation and confiscation to socialisation. The misfortune of our “Lefts” is that by their naïve, childish combination of the words “most determined policy of socialisation” they reveal their utter failure to understand the crux of the question, the crux of the “present” situation. The misfortune of our “Lefts” is that they have missed the very essence of the “present situation”, the transition from confiscation (the carrying out of which requires above all determination in a politician) to socialisation (the carrying out of which requires a different quality in the revolutionary).
Yesterday, the main task of the moment was, as determinedly as possible, to nationalise, confiscate, beat down and crush the bourgeoisie, and put down sabotage. The difference between socialisation and simple confiscation is that confiscation can be carried out by “determination” alone, without the ability to calculate and distribute properly, whereas socialisation cannot be brought about without this ability.
The historical service we have rendered is that yesterday we were determined (and we shall be tomorrow) in confiscating, in beating down the bourgeoisie, in putting down sabotage. If in approximately six months’ time state capitalism became established in our Republic, this would be a great success and a sure guarantee that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently firm hold and will have become invincible in our country.
I can imagine with what noble indignation a “Left Communist” will recoil from these words, and what “devastating criticism” he will make to the workers against the “Bolshevik deviation to the right”. And that is why we must deal with this point in greater detail.
Firstly, the “Left Communists” do not understand what kind of transition it is from capitalism to socialism that gives us the right and the grounds to call our country the Socialist Republic of Soviets.
Secondly, they reveal their petty-bourgeois mentality precisely by not recognising the petty-bourgeois element as the principal enemy of socialism in our country.
Thirdly, in making a bugbear of “state capitalism”, they betray their failure to understand that the Soviet state differs from the bourgeois state economically.
Let us examine these three points.
No one, I think, in studying the question of the economic system of Russia, has denied its transitional character. Nor, I think, has any Communist denied that the term Socialist Soviet Republic implies the determination of Soviet power to achieve the transition to socialism, and not that the new economic system is recognised as a socialist order.
But what does the word “transition” mean?
Let us enumerate these elements:
1) patriarchal, i.e., to a considerable extent natural, peasant farming;
2) small commodity production (this includes the majority of those peasants who sell their grain);
3) private capitalism;
4) state capitalism;
The shell of our state capitalism (grain monopoly, state controlled entrepreneurs and traders, bourgeois co-operators) is pierced now in one place, now in another by profiteers, the chief object of profiteering being grain.
It is in this field that the main struggle is being waged. It is not state capitalism that is at war with socialism, but the petty bourgeoisie plus private capitalism fighting together against both state capitalism and socialism. The petty bourgeoisie oppose every kind of state interference, accounting and control, whether it be state capitalist or state socialist. We know that the million tentacles of this petty-bourgeois hydra now and again encircle various sections of the workers, that, instead of state monopoly, profiteering forces its way into every pore of our social and economic organism.
Those who fail to see this show by their blindness that they are slaves of petty-bourgeois prejudices. But who takes these phrase-mongering Left Socialist-Revolutionaries seriously?
The petty bourgeois who hoards his thousands is an enemy of state capitalism. Every politically conscious worker will say that if better order and organisation could be obtained at the price of 300 out of the 1,000 he would willingly give 300 instead of 200, for it will be quite easy under Soviet power to reduce this “tribute” later on to, say, 100 or 50, once order and organisation are established and once the petty-bourgeois disruption of state monopoly is completely overcome.
This simple illustration in figures, which I have deliberately simplified to the utmost in order to make it absolutely clear, explains the present correlation of state capitalism and socialism. The workers hold state power and have every legal opportunity of “taking” the whole thousand, without giving up a single kopek, except for socialist purposes. State capitalism would be a gigantic step forward even if we paid more than we are paying at present (I took a numerical example deliberately to bring this out more sharply), because it is worth while paying for “tuition”, because it is useful for the workers, because victory over disorder, economic ruin and laxity is the most important thing; because the continuation of the anarchy of small ownership is the greatest, the most serious danger, and it will certainly be our ruin (unless we overcome it), whereas not only will the payment of a heavier tribute to state capitalism not ruin us, it will lead us to socialism by the surest road. When the working class has learned how to defend the state system against the anarchy of small ownership, when it has learned to organise large-scale production on a national scale, along state capitalist lines, it will hold, if I may use the expression, all the trump cards, and the consolidation of socialism will be assured.
In the first place, economically, state capitalism is immeasurably superior to our present economic system.
In the second place, there is nothing terrible in it for Soviet power, for the Soviet state is a state in which the power of the workers and the poor is assured. But the “Left Communists” must be argued with because it is Marxists who are making a mistake, and an analysis of their mistake will help the working class to find the true road.
To make things even clearer, let us first of all take the most concrete example of state capitalism. Cross out the words in italics, and in place of the militarist, Junker, bourgeois, imperialist state put also a state, but of a different social type, of a different class content—a Soviet state, that is, a proletarian state, and you will have the sum total of the conditions necessary for socialism.
Socialism is inconceivable without large-scale capitalist engineering based on the latest discoveries of modern science. We Marxists have always spoken of this, and it is not worth while wasting two seconds talking to people who do not understand even this (anarchists and a good half of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries).
At the same time socialism is inconceivable unless the proletariat is the ruler of the state. chicken) and would bring about the victory of world socialism for certain, without any difficulty, or with slight difficulty—if, of course, by “difficulty” we mean difficult on a world historical scale, and not in the parochial philistine sense.
While the revolution in Germany is still slow in “coming forth”, our task is to study the state capitalism of the Germans, to spare no effort in copying it and not shrink from adopting dictatorial methods to hasten the copying of it. If there are anarchists and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries (I recall off-hand the speeches of Karelin and Ghe at the meeting of the Central Executive Committee) who indulge in Narcissus-like reflections and say that it is unbecoming for us revolutionaries to “take lessons” from German imperialism, there is only one thing we can say in reply: the revolution that took these people seriously would perish irrevocably (and deservedly).
At present, petty-bourgeois capitalism prevails in Russia, and it is one and the same road that leads from it to both large-scale state capitalism and to socialism, through one and the same intermediary station called “national accounting and control of production and distribution”. The best of them have failed to understand that it was not without reason that the teachers of socialism spoke of a whole period of transition from capitalism to socialism and emphasised the “prolonged birth pangs” of the new society. And this new society is again an abstraction which can come into being only by passing through a series of varied, imperfect concrete attempts to create this or that socialist state.
It is because Russia cannot advance from the economic situation now existing here without traversing the ground which is common to state capitalism and to socialism (national accounting and control) that the attempt to frighten others as well as themselves with “evolution towards state capitalism” (Kommunist No. In practice, it is equivalent to pulling us back to small proprietary capitalism.
In order to convince the reader that this is not the first time I have given this “high” appreciation of state capitalism and that I gave it before the Bolsheviks seized power I take the liberty of quoting the following passage from my pamphlet The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It , written in September 1917.
“. Try to substitute for the Junker-capitalist state, for the landowner-capitalist state, a revolutionary-democratic state, i.e., a state which in a revolutionary way abolishes all privileges and does not fear to introduce the fullest democracy in a revolutionary way. You will find that, given a really revolutionary-democratic state, state-monopoly capitalism inevitably and unavoidably implies a step, and more than one step, towards socialism!
“. State-monopoly capitalism is a complete material preparation for socialism, the threshold of socialism, a rung on the ladder of history between which and the rung called socialism there are no intermediate rungs ” (pages 27 and 28)
Please note that this was written when Kerensky was in power, that we are discussing not the dictatorship of the proletariat, not the socialist state, but the “revolutionary-democratic” state. Is it not clear that the higher we stand on this political ladder, the more completely we incorporate the socialist state and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviets, the less ought we to fear “state capitalism”?
He declared, among other things, that on the question of high salaries for specialists “we” (evidently meaning the “Left Communists”) were “more to the right than Lenin”, for in this case “we” saw no deviation from principle, bearing in mind Marx’s words that under certain conditions it is more expedient for the working class to “buy out the whole lot of them” (namely, the whole lot of capitalists, i.e., to buy from the bourgeoisie the land, factories, works and other means of production).
This extremely interesting statement shows, in the first place, that Bukharin is head and shoulders above the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and anarchists, that he is by no means hopelessly stuck in the mud of phrase-making, but on the contrary is making efforts to think out the concrete difficulties of the transition—the painful and difficult transition—from capitalism to socialism.
In the second place, this statement makes Bukharin’s mistake still more glaring.
Let us consider Marx’s idea carefully.
Marx was talking about the Britain of the seventies of the last century, about the culminating point in the development of pre-monopoly capitalism. The subordination of the capitalists to the workers in Britain would have been assured at that time owing to the following circumstances: (1) the absolute preponderance of workers, of proletarians, in the population owing to the absence of a peasantry (in Britain in the seventies there was hope of an extremely rapid spread of socialism among agricultural labourers); (4) the old habit of the well-organised British capitalists of settling political and economic questions by compromise—at that time the British capitalists were better organised than the capitalists of any country in the world (this superiority has now passed to Germany). These were the circumstances which at that time gave rise to the idea that the peaceful subjugation of the British capitalists by the workers was possible.
In our country, at the present time, this subjugation is assured by certain premises of fundamental significance (the victory in October and the suppression, from October to February, of the capitalists’ armed resistance and sabotage). But instead of the absolute preponderance of workers, of proletarians, in the population, and instead of a high degree of organisation among them, the important factor of victory in Russia was the support the proletarians received from the poor peasants and those who had experienced sudden ruin. He therefore remembered that Marx was profoundly right when he taught the workers the importance of preserving the organisation of large-scale production, precisely for the purpose of facilitating the transition to socialism. Marx taught that (as an exception, and Britain was then an exception) the idea was conceivable of paying the capitalists well, of buying them off, if the circumstances were such as to compel the capitalists to submit peacefully and to come over to socialism in a cultured and organised fashion, provided they were paid.
But Bukharin went astray because he did not go deep enough into the specific features of the situation in Russia at the present time—an exceptional situation when we, the Russian proletariat, are in advance of any Britain or any Germany as regards our political order, as regards the strength of the workers’ political power, but are behind the most backward West-European country as regards organising a good state capitalism, as regards our level of culture and the degree of material and productive preparedness for the “introduction” of socialism. Is it not clear that the specific nature of the present situation creates the need for a specific type of “buying out” which the workers must offer to the most cultured, the most skilled, the most capable organisers among the capitalists who are ready to enter the service of Soviet power and to help honestly in organising “state” production on the largest possible scale? On the one hand, it would be a fatal mistake to declare that since there is a discrepancy between our economic “forces” and our political strength, it “follows” that we should not have seized power. Such an argument can be advanced only by a “man in a muffler”, who forgets that there will always be such a “discrepancy”, that it always exists in the development of nature as well as in the development of society, that only by a series of attempts—each of which, taken by itself, will be one sided and will suffer from certain inconsistencies—will complete socialism be created by the revolutionary co-operation of the proletarians of all countries.
On the other hand, it would be an obvious mistake to give free rein to ranters and phrase-mongers who allow themselves to be carried away by the “dazzling” revolutionary spirit, but who are incapable of sustained, thoughtful and deliberate revolutionary work which takes into account the most difficult stages of transition.
Fortunately, the history of the development of the revolutionary parties and of the struggle that Bolshevism waged against them has left us aheritage of sharply defined types, of which the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and anarchists are striking examples of bad revolutionaries. This policy threatens to deprive the proletariat of its most important economic gains and to make it a victim of unrestricted exploitation by the bourgeoisie.”
Isn’t it marvellous?
Kerensky’s friends, who, together with him, conducted an imperialist war for the sake of the secret treaties, which promised annexations to the Russian capitalists, the colleagues of Tsereteli, who, on June 11, threatened to disarm the workers, the Lieberdans, who screened the rule of the bourgeoisie with high-sounding phrases—these are the very people who accuse Soviet power of “compromising with the bourgeoisie”, of “establishing trusts” (that is, of establishing “state capitalism”!), of introducing the Taylor system.
Indeed, the Bolsheviks ought to present Isuv with a medal, and his thesis ought to be exhibited in every workers’ club and union as an example of the provocative speeches of the bourgeoisie. They know them from experience, and it would be extremely useful indeed for the workers to think over the reason why such lackeys of the bourgeoisie should incite the workers to resist the Taylor system and the “establishment of trusts”.
Class-conscious workers will carefully compare the “thesis” of Isuv, a friend of the Lieberdans and the Tseretelis, with the following thesis of the “Left Communists”.
“The introduction of labour discipline in connection with the restoration of capitalist management of industry cannot considerably increase the productivity of labour, but it will diminish the class initiative, activity and organisation of the proletariat. In order to implement this system in the face of the hatred prevailing among the proletariat against the ’capitalist saboteurs’, the Communist Party would have to rely on the petty bourgeoisie, as against the workers, and in this way would ruin itself as the party of the proletariat” (Kommunist No. A perfectly useless defence, because, in the first place, when putting “management” in the hands of capitalists Soviet power appoints workers’ Commissars or workers’ committees who watch the manager’s every step, who learn from his management experience and who not only have the right to appeal against his orders, but can secure his removal through the organs of Soviet power. In the second place, “management” is entrusted to capitalists only for executive functions while at work, the conditions of which are determined by the Soviet power, by which they may be abolished or revised. In the third place, “management” is entrusted by the Soviet power to capitalists not as capitalists, but as technicians or organisers for higher salaries. And the workers know very well that ninety-nine per cent of the organisers and first-class technicians of really Iarge-scale and giant enterprises, trusts or other establishments belong to the capitalist class. The workers, having grown out of the infancy when they could have been misled by “Left” phrases or petty-bourgeois loose thinking, are advancing towards socialism precisely through the capitalist management of trusts, through gigantic machine industry, through enterprises which have a turnover of several millions per year—only through such a system of production and such enterprises. We, the party of the proletariat, have no other way of acquiring the ability to organise large-scale production on trust lines, as trusts are organised, except by acquiring it from first-class capitalist experts.
We have nothing to teach them, unless we undertake the childish task of “teaching” the bourgeois intelligentsia socialism. We, on the other hand, if we are not Communists of infantile age and infantile understanding, must learn from them, and there is something to learn, for the party of the proletariat and its vanguard have no experience of independent work in organising giant enterprises which serve the needs of scores of millions of people.
The best workers in Russia have realised this. These workers in the central leading institutions like Chief Leather Committee and Central Textile Committee take their place by the side of the capitalists, learn from them, establish trusts, establish “state capitalism”, which under Soviet power represents the threshold of socialism, the condition of its firm victory.
This work of the advanced workers of Russia, together with their work of introducing labour discipline, has begun and is proceeding quietly, unobtrusively, without the noise and fuss so necessary to some “Lefts”. This hard work, the work of learning practically how to build up large-scale production, is the guarantee that we are on the right road, the guarantee that the class-conscious workers in Russia are carrying on the struggle against small proprietary disintegration and disorganisation, against petty-bourgeois indiscipline—the guarantee of the victory of communism.
Two remarks in conclusion.
In arguing with the “Left Communists” on April 4, 1918 (see Kommunist No. 1, p. 4, footnote), I put it to them bluntly: “Explain what you are dissatisfied with in the railway decree; submit your amendments to it. It is your duty as Soviet leaders of the proletariat to do so, otherwise what you say is nothing but empty phrases.”
The first issue of Kommunist appeared on April 20, 1918, but did not contain a single word about how, according to the “Left Communists”, the railway decree should be altered or amended.
The “Left Communists” stand condemned by their own silence. They did nothing but attack the railway decree with all sorts of insinuations (pages 8 and 16 of No. 1), they gave no articulate answer to the question, “How should the decree be amended if it is wrong?”
No comment is needed. The class-conscious workers will call such “criticism” of the railway decree (which is a typical example of our line of action, the line of firmness, the line of dictatorship, the line of proletarian discipline) either “Isuvian” criticism or empty phrase-making.
Second remark. The first issue of Kommunist contained a very flattering review by Comrade Bukharin of my pamphlet The State and Revolution. But however much I value the opinion of people like Bukharin, my conscience compels me to say that the character of the review reveals a sad and significant fact. Bukharin regards the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship from the point of view of the past and not of the future. Bukharin noted and emphasised what the proletarian revolutionary and the petty-bourgeois revolutionary may have in common on the question of the state. But Bukharin “overlooked” the very thing that distinguishes the one from the other.
Bukharin noted and emphasised that the old state machinery must be “smashed” and “blown up”, that the bourgeoisie must be “finally and completely strangled” and so on. The frenzied petty bourgeoisie may also want this. And this, in the main, is what our revolution has already done between October 1917 and February 1918.
In my pamphlet I also mention what even the most revolutionary petty bourgeois cannot want, what the class-conscious proletarian does want, what our revolution has not yet accomplished. On this task, the task of tomorrow, Bukharin said nothing.
And I have all the more reason not to be silent on this point, because, in the first place, a Communist is expected to devote greater attention to the tasks of tomorrow, and not of yesterday, and, in the second place, my pamphlet was written before the Bolsheviks seized power, when it was impossible to treat the Bolsheviks to vulgar petty-bourgeois arguments such as: “Yes, of course, after seizing power, you begin to talk about discipline.”
“. . . Socialism will develop into communism . . . since people will become accustomed to observing the elementary conditions of social life without violence and without subordination.” [The State and Revolution, pages 77-78]; thus, “elementary conditions” were discussed before the seizure of power.)
“. . . Only then will democracy begin to wither away . . .” when “people gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social intercourse that have been known for centuries and repeated for thousands of years in all copy-book maxims; they will become accustomed to observing them without force, without coercion, without the special apparatus for coercion called the state” [The State and Revolution, page 462.]; thus mention was made of “copy-book maxims” before the seizure of power).
“. . . The higher phase of the development of communism” (from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs) “. . . presupposes not the present productivity of labour and not the present ordinary run of people, who, like the seminary students in Pomyalovsky’s stories, are capable of damaging the stocks of public wealth just for fun, and of demanding the impossible” [The State and Revolution, pages pages 469-470.]
“Until the higher phase of communism arrives, the socialists demand the strictest control by society and by the state over the measure of labour and the measure of consumption . . .” (ibid.).
“Accounting and control—that is mainly what is needed for the smooth working, for the proper functioning of the first phase of communist society” [The State and Revolution, page 473.] And this control must be established not only over “the insignificant capitalist minority, over the gentry who wish to preserve their capitalist habits”, but also over the workers who “have been thoroughly corrupted by capitalism”[The State and Revolution, page 474.] and over the “parasites, the sons of the wealthy, the swindlers and other guardians of capitalist traditions” (ibid.).
It is significant that Bukharin did not emphasise this.
May 5, 1918