CLASS EIGHT : HOW SOCIALISM WORKS
1. WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
The social system constructed by the working people, led
by the working class, after their seizure of political power in a socialist
revolution. It is a social system in which the exploitation of man by man
has been abolished and in which production is centrally planned with the aim
of maximising the welfare of the working people.
2. HOW ARE THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION OWNED IN A SOCIALIST
1) either by the state, representing the working people as a whole, or
2) by cooperatives, representing the working people of particular
3. WHAT IS SOCIALISATION?
The taking over into the ownership of the socialist state
(i.e., the machinery of force by which the working people rule over the rest
of society) of an enterprise formerly owned by a capitalist or a capitalist
firm. It must be distinguished from nationalisation in a capitalist society,
where a formerly private enterprise is taken into the ownership of the
capitalist state, i.e., the machinery of rule of the capitalist class as a
4. WHAT IS COLLECTIVISATION?
The bringing together of a number of small enterprises
(which are economically inefficent individually) into a single large
cooperative of peasants or artisans. In order to retain the poor petty
bourgeoisie as allies of the working class during the building of socialism,
collectivisation must always be voluntary.
Collectivisation is a step on the way to the
socialisation of the enterprises of the peasants and artisans, which
transforms the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie into rural and urban
members of the working class.
5. HOW IS PRODUCTION REGULATED UNDER SOCIALISM?
Since profit (the motive and regulator of production
under capitalism) has been abolished, production is regulated under
socialism by centralised state planning, based on maximum democratic
consultation with consumers so as to secure the maximum possible
satisfaction of the needs of the working people.
6. WHY IS IT NECESSARY, UNDER SOCIALISM, FOR THE
PRODUCTION OF MEANS OF PRODUCTION TO EXPAND MORE RAPIDLY THAN THE PRODUCTION
OF CONSUMER GOODS?
Because consumer goods (by which the needs of the working
people are directly satisfied) are produced with the aid of means of
production. Consequently, a continuing expansion of the production of
consumer goods depends on the production of means or production expanding
more rapidly than the production of consumer goods.
7. ON WHAT BASIS ARE CONSUMER GOODS DISTRIBUTED IN A
Since, at this stage of economic development, the needs
of the working people cannot be met in full, some form of rationing is
necessary. And since it is desired to bring about the speediest possible
development of production, this rationing system must be one which
stimulates productive effort on the part of the working people. But the mass
of the working people have entered have entered socialist society with
outlooks and attitudes inherited from capitalist society, and one of the
most significant of these is that increased productive effort justifies
increased personal material reward. For all these reasons, the distribution
of consumer goods under socialism is related to the quantity and quality of
work performed. This principle is embodied in the slogan of socialist
society: 'FROM EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY, TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS
8. IS THIS BASIS OF DISTRIBUTION FAIR?
Not competely. It is certainly fairer than the basis of
distribution under capitalist society, which is based on the exploitation of
the working people and on the amount of surplus- value-producing property
which happens to be owned (often as a result of inheritance). But it is
unfair to the extent that the quantity and quality of the work performed by
a worker may depend on factors outside his control (e.g., he may have more
dependents than his neighbour, he may have some physical disability).
Although this unfairness may be mitigated by social services, it cannot be
entirely eliminated as long as the socialist principle of distribution is
9, HOW CAN THIS UNFAIRNESS BE ELIMINATED?
Only by the replacement of socialism (defined as 'the
first stage of communism') by true communism. Under communism, this
unfairness is eliminated by the adoption of the principle of distribution
according to need. This principle is embodied in the slogan of communist
society: 'FROM EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY, TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS
10.WHAT ARE THE ESSENTAL PREREQUISITES FOR THE TRANSITION
FROM SOCIALISM TO COMMUNISM?
Firstly, a vast increase in the production of material
wealth, sufficient to meet all the essential needs of all the working
people, without rationing; and
secondly, a change in the outlook and attitudes of the mass of the working
people, in that they have come to accept work as a natural obligation,
performed according to ability without economic compulsion, and in that they
have come to take from distribution centres only what they need.
The adoption under socialism of the principle of
distribution according to work performed is necessary in order that the
first prerequisite of commmunism -- a vast increase in the production of
material wealth -- may be attained as soon as possible.
11. WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE SOCIALIST STATE?
Firstly, to suppress the overthrown capitalist class and
its supporters in order to prevent counter-revolution: and secondly, to
defend the country from attempts at outside military intervention by
capitalist states: and thirdly, to direct socialist economic construction
and to educate the people in a Marxist-Leninist outlook.
12. WHAT IS THE CLASS CHARACTER OF THE SOCIALIST STATE?
It is 'the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the workng class', just as
the capitalist state is 'the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie'.
13. SINCE THE SOCIALIST STATE IS A CLASS DICTATORSHIP,
CAN IT BE REGARDED AS DEMOCRATIC?
In the sense that the socialist state serves the
interests only of the working people and suppresses the interests of the
former capitalist class, its democratic character may be regarded as
limited. But in the original meaning of the term 'democracy' as 'the rule of
the common people', 'the dictatorship of the working class' is democratic.
Certainly, since the capitalist class forms only a small minority of the
population, it is infinitely more democratic than the capitalist state.
14. 'THE SOCIALIST STATE WILL EVENTUALLY WITHER AWAY'--
FRIEDRICH ENGELS. EXPLAIN.
As the members of the overthrown capitalist class die out
and their descendants are assimilated into the working people and acquire
their outlook, there ceases to be any class which must be suppressed for the
security of socialism. Thus, the internal repressive function of the
socialist state is no longer necesary and dies away.
And as the working people in other capitalist countries
proceed to seize political power and construct socialism on a world scale,
the danger of external military intervention also disappears. Thus, the
external defence function of the state also ceases to be necessary and dies
Eventually, therefore, the socialist state -- as a
machinery of rule -- ceases to exist, being tranformed into a completely
democratic apparatus for the administration of society.
15. IS A MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY NECESSARY UNDER
It is essential. Just as the working class cannot
spontaneously overthrow the political power of the capitalist class, but
requires the leadership of a vanguard party whose strategy and tactics are
based upon Marxism-Leninism, so it requires the leadership of this vanguard
party to maintain its political power and construct a socialist society.
Eventually, however, as the socialist state withers away
and as the political consciousness of the whole working people has been
raised to a high level, the need for such leadership no longer exists and
the Party too withers away.
16. IS SOCIALISM, ONCE ESTABLISHED, PERMANENT?
Only if the working people are led by a Marxist-Leninist
For this reason, the enemies of socialism strve in every
way to pervert the Marxist-Leninist Party into a revisionist party -- a
party which (at first) pays lip-service to Marxism-Leninism but in fact
adopts policies which, under the guise of 'modernisation' and
'democratisation' move the country towards the restoration of capitalism.
17. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE PRINCIPAL EFFECTS OF THE TRIUMPH
OF REVISIONISM IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT?
In all the countries where socialism had been
established, the capitalist system has been restored.
The restoration of capitalism goes through a number of
stages. The role of centralised economic planning is reduced; a market
economy based on the profit motive is introduced; the managers of the
enterprises are given such a disproportionate share of their profits (on the
grounds of their 'responsibility') that they effectively become state
captalists exploiting the working class; the party and state leaders become
corrupt bureaucrats administering what is, essentially, a bureaucratic
dictatorship over the wortking class.
When the working people have become sufficiently hostile
to these developments, the final stage is to mobilise the people to destroy
the spurious 'socialism' which is causing them so much distress and restore
a normal free-enterprise capitalist system.
In developed capitalist countries, the triumph of
revisionism in the international communist movement has transformed the old
communist parties into political instruments of monopoly capital, into
social-democratic parties which have repudiated revolutionary socialism in
favour of the illusory 'peaceful, parliamentary road to socialism'. Such
parties may take their place within the parliamentary framework when needed
by the capitalist class as instruments for the deception of working people.
These developments, tragic setbacks for the working
people as they are, do not solve but, in the long run, accentuate the social
problems of the working people. There is no solution for these problems but
THE HISTORIC TASK FACING THE WORKING PEOPLE OF ALMOST
EVERY COUNTRY AT THE PRESENT TIME, THEREFORE, IS THE RECONSTITUTION OF
MARXIST-LENINIST PARTIES, PURGED OF AND INSULATED AGAINST EVERY REVISIONIST
TREND, AND THE RECONSTITUTION OF A MARXIST-LENINIST INTERNATIONAL AS THE
VANGUARD OF THE WORKING PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.