geoisie. Kautsky cannot but be aware of Marx's controversy with Rodbertus, and Marx's remarkable passages in his
Theories of Surplus Value where the revolutionary significance -- in the bourgeois-democratic sense -- of land nationalization is explained with particular clarity.
The Menshevik P. Maslov, whom Kautsky, unfortunately for himself, chose as an adviser, denied that the Russian peasants would agree to the nationalization of all the land (including the peasants' lands). To a certain extent, this view of Maslov's could be connected with his "original" theory (which merely parrots the bourgeois critics of Marx), viz., his repudiation of absolute rent and his recognition of the "law" (or "fact," as Maslov expressed it) of the "diminishing fertility of the soil."
In point of fact, however, already the Revolution of 1905 revealed that the vast majority of the peasants in Russia, members of village communities as well as individual peasant proprietors, were in favour of the nationalization of all the land. The Revolution of 1917 confirmed this, and after the assumption of power by the proletariat this was done. The Bolsheviks remained loyal to Marxism and never tried (in spite of Kautsky, who, without a shadow of evidence, accuses us of doing so) to "skip" the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The Bolsheviks, first of all, helped the most radical, most revolutionary of the bourgeois-democratic ideologists of the peasantry, those who stood closest to the proletariat, namely, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, to carry out what was in effect the nationalization of the land. On October 26, 1917, i.e., on the very first day of the proletarian, socialist revolution, private ownership of land was abolished in Russia.
This laid the foundation, the most perfect from the point of view of the development of capitalism (Kautsky cannot
deny this without breaking with Marx), and at the same time created an agrarian systern which is the
most flexible from the point of view of the transition to Socialism. From the bourgeois-democratic point of view, the revolutionary peasantry in Russia
could go no further: there can be nothing more "ideal" from this point of view, nothing more "radical" (from this same point of view) than the nationalization of the land and equal land tenure. It was the Bolsheviks, and only the Bolsheviks, who, thanks only to the victory of the
proletarian revolution, helped the peasantry to carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution really to its conclusion. And only in this way did they do the utmost to facilitate and accelerate the transition to the socialist revolution.
One can judge from this what an incredible muddle Kautsky offers to his readers when he accuses the Bolsheviks of failing to understand the bourgeois character of the revolution, and yet himself betrays such a departure from Marxism that he
says nothing about the nationalization of the land and presents the least revolutionary (from the bourgeois point of view) liberal agrarian reform as "something socialistic"!---
We have now come to the third question formulated above, namely, to what extent the proletarian dictatorship in Russia has taken into account the necessity of passing to the collective cultivation of the soil. Here again, Kautsky commits something very much in the nature of a forgery: he quotes only the "theses" of one Bolshevik which speak of the task of passing to the collective cultivation of the soil! After quoting one of these theses, our "theoretician" triumphantly exclaims:
"Unfortunately, a task is not accomplished by the fact that it is called a task. For the time being, collective farming in Russia is doomed to remain on paper only. Never yet have the small peasants anywhere adopted collective farming under the influence of theoretical convictions." (P. 50.)
Never yet has a literary swindle been perpetrated any where equal to that to which Kautsky has stooped. He quotes "theses," but says nothing about the law of the Soviet government. He talks about "theoretical convictions," but says nothing about the proletarian state power which holds in its hands the factories and goods! All that Kautsky the Marxist wrote in 1899 in his
Agrarian Question about the means at the disposal of the proletarian state for bringing about the gradual transition of the small peasants to Socialism has been forgotten by Kautsky the renegade in 1918.
Of course, a few hundred state-supported agricultural communes and Soviet farms (i.e., large farms cultivated by as sociations of workers on behalf of the state) are very little; but can Kautsky's ignoring of this fact be called "criticism"? The nationalization of the land that has been carried out in Russia by the proletarian dictatorship has best ensured the carrying of the bourgeois-democratic revolution to its conclusion -- even in the event of a victory of the counter-revolution causing a reversion from land nationalization to land division (I made a special examination of this possibility in my pamphlet on the agrarian program of the Marxists in the 1905 Revolution). In addition, the nationalization of the land has given the proletarian state the maximum opportunity of passing to Socialism in agriculture.
To sum up, Kautsky has presented us, as far as theory is concerned, with an incredible hodgepodge which is a com plete renunciation of Marxism, and, as far as practice is
concerned, with a policy of servility to the bourgeoisie and its reformism. A fine criticism indeed!
* * *
Kautsky begins his "economic analysis" of industry with the following magnificent argument:
Russia has a large-scale capitalist industry. Cannot a socialist system of production be built up on this foundation? "One might think so if Socialism meant that the workers of the separate factories and mines made these their property" (literally appropriated these for themselves) "in order to carry on production separately at each factory." (P. 52.) "This very day, August 5, as I am writing these lines," Kautsky adds, "a speech is reported from Moscow delivered by Lenin on August 2, in which he is stated to have declared: 'The workers are holding the factories firmly in their hands, and the peasants will not return the land to the landlords.' Hitherto, the slogan: the factories to the workers, and the land to the peasants -- has been an anarcho-syndicalist slogan, not a Social-Democratic one." (Pp. 52-53.)
I have quoted this passage in full in order that the Russian workers, who formerly respected Kautsky, and quite rightly, might see for themselves the methods employed by this deserter to the bourgeois camp.
Just think: on August 5, when numerous decrees on the nationalization of factories in Russia had been issued -- and not a single factory had been "appropriated" by the workers, but had
all been converted into the property of the Republic -- on August 5, Kautsky, on the strength of an obviously crooked interpretation of one sentence in my speech, tries to make the German readers believe that in Russia the fac-
tories are being turned over to the individual groups of workers! And after that Kautsky, at great length, chews the cud about its being wrong to turn over factories to the individual groups of workers!
This is not criticism, it is the trick of a lackey of the bourgeoisie, whom the capitalists have hired to belie the workers' revolution.
The factories must be turned over to the state, or to the municipalities, or the consumers' cooperative societies, says Kautsky over and over again, and finally adds:
"This is what they are now trying to do in Russia. . . ." Now!! What does that mean? In August? Why, could not Kautsky have commissioned his friends Stein, or Axelrod, or any of the other friends of the Russian bourgeoisie to translate at least one of the decrees on the factories?
"How far they have gone in this direction, we cannot yet tell. At all events, this aspect of the activity of the Soviet Republic is of the greatest interest for us, but it still remains entirely shrouded in darkness. There is no lack of decrees". . . (that is why Kautsky ignores their
content, or conceals it from his readers!) "but there is no reliable information as to the effect of these decrees. Socialist production is impossible with out all-round, detailed, reliable and rapidly informing statistics. The Soviet Republic cannot possibly have created such statistics yet. What we learn about its economic activities is highly contradictory and can in no way be verified. This, too, is a result of the dictatorship and the suppression of democracy. There is no freedom of the press, or of speech." (P. 53.)
This is how history is written! From a "free" press of the capitalists and Dutovites Kautsky would have received in formation about factories being turned over to the workers. . . . This "serious savant" who stands above classes is magnificent, indeed! About the countless facts which show that the factories are being turned over to the Repub-
lic only, that they are managed by an organ of the Soviet power, the Supreme Council of National Economy, which is constituted mainly of workers elected by the trade unions, Kautsky refuses to say a single word. With the obstinacy of the "man in the muffler," he stubbornly keeps repeating one thing: give me peaceful democracy, without civil war, without a dictatorship and with good statistics (the Soviet Republic has created a statistical service in which the best statistical experts in Russia are employed, but, of course, ideal statistics cannot be obtained so quickly). In a word, what Kautsky demands is a revolution without revolution, without fierce struggle, without violence. It is equivalent to asking for strikes in which workers and employers do not display furious passion. Try to find the difference between this kind of "Socialist" and an ordinary bureaucrat!
And so, relying upon such "factual material," i.e., deliberately and contemptuously ignoring the innumerable facts, Kautsky "concludes":
"It is doubtful whether the Russian proletariat has obtained more in the sense of real practical gains, and not of mere decrees, under the Soviet Republic than it would have obtained from a Constituent Assembly, in which, as in the Soviets, Socialists, although of a different hue, predominated." (P. 58.)
A gem, is it not? We would advise Kautsky's admirers to circulate this utterance as widely as possible among the Russian workers, for Kautsky could not have provided better material for gauging the depth of his political degradation. Comrades workers, Kerensky, too, was a "Socialist," only of a "different hue"! Kautsky the historian is satisfied with the name, the title which the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks "appropriated" to themselves. Kautsky
the historian refuses even to listen to the facts which show that under Kerensky the Mensheviks and the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries supported the imperialist policy and marauding practices of the bourgeoisie; he is discreetly silent about the fact that the majority in the Constituent Assembly consisted of these very champions of imperialist war and bourgeois dictatorship. And this is called "economic analysis"!
In conclusion let me quote another sample of this "economic analysis":
". . . After nine months' existence, the Soviet Republic, instead of spreading general well-being, felt itself under the necessity of explaining why there is general want." (P. 41.)
We are accustomed to hear such arguments from the lips of the Cadets. All the flunkeys of the bourgeoisie in Russia argue in this way: show us, after nine months, your general prosperity! -- and this after four years of devastating war, with foreign capital giving all-round support to the sabotage and rebellions of the bourgeoisie in Russia. Actually, there has remained absolutely no difference whatever, not a shadow of difference, between Kautsky and a counter-revolutionary bourgeois. His honeyed talk, cloaked in the guise of "Socialism," only repeats what the Kornilovites, the Dutovites and Krasnovites in Russia say bluntly, straight forwardly and without embellishment.
* * *
The above lines were written on November 9, 1918. That same night news was received from Germany announcing the beginning of a victorious revolution, first in Kiel and other northern towns and ports, where the power has passed into the hands of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies,
then in Berlin, where, too, power has passed into the hands of a Soviet.
The conclusion which still remained to be written to my pamphlet on Kautsky and on the proletarian revolution is now superfluous.
November 10, 1918