WE WILL ACHIEVE ABUNDANCE
1. Building Communism in One Country.
Let us read Stalin himself.
“As you see, we now have an entirely new, Socialist state, without precedent in history and differing considerably in form and functions from the Socialist state of the first phase.
But development cannot stop there. We are going ahead, towards Communism. Will our state remain in the period of Communism also?
Yes, it will, unless the capitalist encirclement is liquidated, and unless the danger of foreign military attack has disappeared. Naturally, of course, the forms of our state will again change in conformity with the change in the situation at home and abroad.
No, it will not remain and will atrophy if the capitalist encirclement is liquidated and a Socialist encirclement takes its place.
That is how the question stands with regard to the Socialist state”
P421-422; Stalin Selected Works. V14
REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO THE EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE C.P.S.U.(B.) (Delivered March 10, 1939.)
Certainly once socialism has been built, as it was built in the USSR and thus a socialist state-and the famous constitution-was also created, one has to decide as to what to do!
Go on to building communism or be satisfied with what is built-socialism?
Actually, there is no choice here. “Development cannot stop”. “We are going ahead, towards Communism”
It is thus that plans were being drawn regarding the building of communism after the Second World War! The slogan, “We shall achieve plenty”, that is communism, was the slogan of the day!
1.a) The attacks on Lenin Stalin plan of building socialism-communism, besides all other issues, also relate to this issue. Many comrades who claim to defend Stalin that he is the builder of socialism in the USSR and the destroyer of Hitler etc., have basically two differing approach to this issue.
First one openly declare that communism cannot be built in one country and that Stalin has made a mistake declaring communism can be built in one country.
Second one declares this approach as an attack on Stalin, that actually Stalin is not here talking of the higher stage of communism but talking of the first phase of communism, that is after all socialism. And those who attack Stalin claiming that he is talking of higher phase of communism are distorting him. They put this view forward for they also agree that communism cannot be built in one country!
Both these approaches agree that one cannot built communism in one country!
We on our part call both these approaches as “New Trotskyism”!
Before socialism was built the position of Trotskyism was the denial of the possibility of building socialism in the USSR. They also declared that it is Stalin who came up with this “impossible” policy. You show them Lenin’s co-operative plan, thus his plan of building socialism in USSR, and as is known there are many a writing of Lenin that openly declares that “we have all we need to build socialism” and that we are building it. No matter. A sect is a sect. It will close its eyes to reality, lie about it and go on repeating: You cannot build socialism in one country! This is an absolute unchangeable truth of all Trotskyite sects.
And what are you supposed to do if you cannot built socialism while you are the government? Of course you restore capitalism! We all know of Trotsky’s plan of restoration of capitalism which has now been realised!
But while Stalin was alive socailism has been built! Everyone knows it. Stalin applied and developed Lenin’s plan of building socialism in one country, in the USSR, and socialism was built!
Now that socialism has been built now comes the question. Can communism be built in one country? Especially in such a large and powerful country of many nationalities as USSR that has the support of the world proletariat?
Under these conditions, under the conditions of socialism having been built in one country Trotskyite sects had to adapt. Other than coming up many a varied forms of “proving” that socialism has not been built in one country, they also had to come up with a view that accepts the building of socialism in one country but declare that communism cannot be built in one country!
One sect and one absolute truth of a sect opens up opportunities for many an interpretation of that absolute idea.
Socialism has been built in one country, and it can be done, but communism cannot be built in one country!
So you are the government, you have built socialism but you cannot built communism!
What are you supposed to do then? Of course you restore capitalism!
Come back to the holy grail of Trotskyism for after all what does the “socialism cannot be built in one country” really there for: to restore capitalism. If you are forced to accept that socialism has been built, you then have to come up with a new grail: “socialism can be built in one country but communism cannot be built in one country”!
In fact the restorers of capitalism in the USSR has gone through two phases. Khrushchev phase was when high sounding declarations were being made of building communism while every policy proposed and applied was blocking this building of communism and was creating absolute chaos and degeneration and preparing the ground for the restoration of capitalism. He was a follower, under different conditions, of his close friend and comrade Tito the Trotskyite. This phase came to an inevitable end, communism was not built. The second phase (of Brezhnev) was based on giving up on building communism in USSR-they anchored themselves on what they called “higher phase of socialism” until the total destruction was ordered by their imperial masters!
This policy of denying the possibility of building communism in one country is the policy of restoration of capitalism in a country that has built socialism! This is to help cover the crimes of traitors who destroyed socialism that was built by declaring that building of communism in one country is impossible. You see, that is why they could not build it! They could not built communism not because they are traitors to the Lenin-Stalin plan of building socialism-communism; but because it cannot be done!
It is thus correct that they are all called “New Trotskyites”!
Titoite-Trotskyite all of them! Traitors to communism, enemies of the people all of them!
Furthermore, this discussion about building communism in one country is not just a simple issue of Stalin making a mistake or Stalin not being interpreted correctly- as those who declare that one cannot build communism in one country say. It is directly related to the Lenin-Stalin plan of building socialism-communism and thus to the Lenin-Stalin plan of building world communism! It is thus that these critics and correctors inevitably “criticise” Stalin here and there and everywhere!
They come up with Trotsky here and there and everywhere while swearing to Stalin here and there and everywhere!
They have corrections and or correct interpretations in plenty!
It is thus correct that they are called “New Trotskyites”!
New Trotskyism is the worst form of Trotskyism!
PRODUCTION TIME-LABOUR TIME SOCIALLY NECESSARY
Every product has, deposited in them, some labour time spent to produce them. In fact they can become products only if labour is spent on their production-otherwise they are products of nature, and if they are to be used by men, they must be taken off the nature and thus labour must be spent on them.
As we noted before, when products of men’s labour become commodities, so does this labour time spent on their production become “value”! To the extent that these products are exchanged, and since equals can be exchanged, one must know the amount of labour time and the kind of labour spent for their production.
Right at the start, when products were beginning to become commodities, the variety of products were minimal. The people who engaged in exchange of products thus transforming them into commodities, more or less new each other and the kind of labour and the amount of labour time spent for the production of each product. Thus exchange was exchange of equal values. When local money came into the operation and begun to be used to mediate the exchange process, they also knew what sort of labour and how much labour time was spent in the production of money, and thus again equal value was exchanged-even though the product was exchanged for money.
But then comes money that is not locally produced. Marx refer to the Romans. They invade a place, rob the place blind, and afterword impose taxes, and Roman soldiers are paid using these robberies and taxes. With that money at hand they go to the Anatolian tradesman. Who has been robbed and is now paying taxes which are used to pay the soldiers. What does he do? He cheats the soldier when he is selling goods to him. And proudly claim these soldiers are idiots and he cheats them every time they buy something from him. Thus cheating by the clever tradesman is part of Roman soldier’s life-so is paying taxes to the Romans part of the tradesman’s life!
Furthermore, who knows the value of the Roman money which is produced by Romans? Not the Anatolian tradesman!
In other words problems regarding the exchange of equal values arise as the commodity production develops!
Such problems are visible today-under different conditions! Anatolian producers produce and sell their products to the new empires of the world. And have no doubt they cheat! This is well known in the case of tourists! But goes on in every transaction. And yet, our Anatolian producer and the tradesman is no better off than the ones that lived during Roman times! They are in fact worse off! As we write these words, they all know what we mean! The new Roman Empires are the ones who have actually been robbing and taxing them in new ways!
These days, and as the President of Turkey has once said, while some produce and others consume, the exchange of equal value looks like a thing of the past due to monopoly of all sorts-for example some people are printing green paper, calling it money (dollar) and producers are giving up their products (trading) to get hold of that paper- all that talk of exchange of equals (exchange of equal value) looks totally out of place.
When not production of goods but production of commodities became universal, transforming even the human labour power into a commodity, the law of value, as exchange of equal values imposed itself –in the form of an average, not as a case at every exchange. With monopoly, and its aim of maximum profits, exchange of equal value is restricted to small and far away communities, which do not determine the commodities exchange of the world, while in the international arena exchange of unequal values is the norm. It is imposed by the powers that be, by the monopolies. But, in turn, the law of value, this law of commodity production, imposes itself whatever the monopolies may do to obtain their maximum profits! For there is a certain amount of value produced in the world during the production of commodities (of goods) and that imposes itself on all-as crises of production, trade and finance and of politics and military, as general crises of capitalism! This is how the law of value shows itself to all who are engaged in production and exchange of commodities these days!
This imposition of exchange of unequal values in the world trade, does no longer lead to the crises for this or that enterprise, this or that industry, it leads to the crises of this or that country, this or that continent. It leads not to the taken out of production process this or that enterprise, this or that industry, but whole countries and continents. And this leads to production, trade, and finance crises and to political and military crises in the world. Accumulation in the metropolises, usury in the metropolises, in the motherlands of monopolies, based on unequal exchange, for maximum profit is the root cause of all these crises and root cause of the inevitable downfall of imperialist capitalism!
We shall return to this.
PHYSICAL-DIRECT FORM OF CALCULATING LABOUR TIME NEEDED TO PRODUCE GOODS!
Let us for now look in to how the labour time spent in production is to be calculated. There are two main forms of doing this. One is monetary, that is indirectly while the other is physically, that is directly.
We shall leave the indirect method to one side. For only looking at the physical, direct form of calculating labour time spent in production can we understand the labour time spent in production of products. Understanding this is also necessary to the understanding of how to get rid of money and commodity production. And the crises of capitalism!
This process is most clearly explained in “The Capital”, right at the beginning. But we shall take a cursory look at a particular product and this way we can see not only how the labour time spent in its production can be calculated directly, but also see how far the development of socialisation of production process has progressed these days.
Since we shall have to deal with all sorts of “smart people” such as Trotskyites and Anarchists and since even they use this product and since it is called “smart” we shall have a look at the “smart phone”!
A Smart phone has many parts. Not all but some of these are batteries, micro-chips, camera, software, and glass in the front, metal/plastic in casing….For batteries you need lithium and others and somebody to produce the batteries. And somebody need to produce lithium etc. so that the battery can be produced. For micro-chips you need purified silica; gold etc. and somebody to produce the micro-chips. And somebody to produce the purified silica and gold and etc. For cameras you need lenses and others and somebody to produce the camera. And somebody need to produce lenses etc. so that the cameras can be produced. And of course somebody need to write the software that will run the smart phone. To charge the battery you need electricity. Somebody need to produce the electricity. To produce the electricity you need a power station. Somebody need to produce the power station. If the power station uses gas/oil/coal somebody need to produce these. To produce these somebody need to mine them. To mine them somebody should produce mining equipment. And the gas/oil/coal need to be transported to the power station. For transportation gas and oil pipes or tankers need to be produced. The oil etc., need to be transported to refineries for processing. Somebody need to build the refineries. And transport their products to the power stations. To build the power station and refineries and mines and means of transportation for the oil etc., one needs steel, concrete, etc. One may need roads. For the electricity to arrive at home of the smart Trot and Anarchist, one needs electricity cables all the way from the power station and inside the home, and a charger for the smart phone and cabling and connections to connect the smart phone to electricity at home-of the smart Trot and Anarchist. Furthermore, for this smart phone to talk to other smart phones and to all sorts of “service providers” one need satellites and masts and if they are to use the internet not directly but through the wi-fi at home, one needs internet connection at home. For the satellites one needs many parts and someone to produce them, and someone to produce rockets to send them to space….Of course somebody has to put the different parts of the smart phone together so that they do become a smart phone and these days somebody has to buy them in bulk and sell them to the smart Trot and Anarchist individually-and they might as well provide servicing for the smart phone in case the smart Trot and Anarchist damages it. And of course they have to provide the “connection” of the smart phone to the system for the smart Trot and Anarchist!
One could carry on and on!
Thus this simple smart phone is in fact a very much a social product. A very social product indeed. If one part of the production and servicing system fails, smart phone is no more and even if it is, it is of no use and is thus not a smart phone but a nice looking thing! If you like the way they look that is!
What have already mentioned that all these have to be produced by someone!
In other words somebody must spend a certain kind of labour for a certain amount of time!
For all these processes, for all these products that one need to produce and use the smart phone, there must be working people who have the ability to produce all these products. They must have the ability for these different kinds of labour to perform these different kinds of labours and thus to produce these products. They must also spent time performing these different kinds of labour to produce these products. Even at these days of micro-chips, these times of “robots” and automated production, nothing can be done without the working people’s ability to perform different kinds of labour and them labouring certain amount of time using this ability they have to produce all those different things mentioned above.
It is they who produce the power station and then use it to produce electricity, it is they who distribute this electricity to different factories, mines etc. so that all other needed products and thus the smart phone can be produced, it is they who distribute this electricity to different homes so that smart phone can be charged. It is they who produce the satellites and rockets and the masts so that the signals can be transformed all around the world and be received by the smart phone. It is they with their ability to perform different kinds of labour and perform it for a certain time that makes the smart phone able to perform its functions!
Clearly, just as every power station represent certain amount of labour time spent in its production, so does every different kind of labour represent a certain amount of time spent in its production. Thus every kind of labour represent different intensity of labour, they are all different and every second of different kinds of labour represent different amount of time of labour spent. When labour time spent in production of this and that this must be taken into account. If it is not taken into account, the principle of equality would not be applied. And until we achieve plenty, and thus pass into using the principle of from each according to his ability to each according to his needs we need to apply this principle consistently! We shall come to that for the benefit of our smart Trots and Anarchists.
Going back to the calculation of labour time needed to produce a product in general to produce (and use) the smart phones, we need to know labour time spent in the production of each product, and there are many of these as pointed above. So much so that we not only need the knowledge of how much time was spent during the production of a product, say at a factory, we need to know how much labour time was spent in the production of the factory, raw materials etc. etc. too.
Is this possible?
First of all under capitalist conditions each process of production in each factory is very much planned, and thus it is very much timed. Each different process needed in the factory to produce the end product is planned so that not only the different kinds of labour needed at each stage of production but also the labour time to be spent using that kind of labour is timed. Otherwise the factory could not function properly. But while production in the factory is planned, in the wider society competition reigns supreme, that is it is not planned. Under monopoly capitalist conditions the planning in the factory is carried further, monopolies who dominate different processes (say from extracting oil, to transporting the oil to refineries and then transporting the end products of refineries to different factories or individuals (for example petrol for individual car transportation) is also planned and thus different kinds of labour needed for all these interrelated activities and the amount of different kinds of labour needed are also known to the monopolies who control all these interconnected process of production and sale. So planning of production in the wider society creeps in, but is not completed. Planning in the wider society, and indeed internationally, by the monopolies, exists side by side with the competition but this time amongst the monopolies, thus never assume the form of planning of all the interrelated production processes, of the whole social production.
HIGHER FORM OF SOCIETY
This development in the activities of monopolies, by itself, points to the possibility and nay more to the necessity of planning all production in the wider society as a whole. To a higher stage of society! To socialism!
It is thus that under socialism, under the rule of the proletarians we can and easily achieve the planning of all production.
What is needed for this is a knowledge of all the productive capacities of the society as a whole, thus all the different kinds of labour the society possesses and needs, as well as a knowledge of amount of labour time needed of each kind of labour to produce each product, and thus the whole, annual, products of the society as a whole. Thus the planning of further increases in the productive capacity of the whole socialist society-which calls for the creation of working people who can perform new kinds of labour and labour time needed by them to operate all the increased means of labour.
(to be continued)
First open formulation of the new course of the USSR and People’s Democracies after Stalin can be found in,
(THE DECISIONS TAKEN BY mn) POLITICAL BUREAU, CENTRAL COMMITTEE, SOCIALIST UNITY PARTY OF GERMANY (JUNE 9, 1953, mn)
See: NOTES; THE NEW COURSE-THE NEW LINE
KAPİTALİZMİN GENEL KRİZİ ÜZERİNE-BAZI REFERANSLAR. BAKINIZ NOTLAR BÖLÜMÜ.
MONEY AND COMMODITY (1)
What is the first role of money as it comes into being?
It is to be a measure of labour time spent in the production of products, and provide a standard for this!
Since it comes to be as a result of development of divisions of labour and thus the amount and different kinds of products, and thus their exchange in the market, it is also not only a product of transformation of products into commodities but itself is also a commodity!
Under the conditions of commodity production just as products become commodities so does the labour time needed (socially necessary labour time) for the production of products become value. Thus value of a commodity is the deposited amount of labour time needed to produce the product in question. Exchange value is the form in which it shows itself.
Thus every commodity has a value and thus money also has a value. When a product is taken to the market and exchanged for money, the value of money and the value of the product must be equal. Thus the labour time needed to produce the amount of money used in exchange for the product and the labour time needed to produce the product that is to be exchanged for that amount of money must be known and must be equal.
It is thus that money is fist and most of all a rare metal, and first and most of all gold! The labour time needed to produce it is determined by the labour time needed to produce gold, its value is thus determined. It then can be used for exchange of products representing equal value, equal labour time needed to produce both the amount of gold used to exchange with the product in question and the said product.
This of course is already complicated for instead of comparing the labour time needed for the production of one product that one produce to the labour time needed for another product that one does not produce but need, and thus exchanging them directly, we are using a mediator, money, and achieving our aim of obtaining the product that we need through the medium of money.
Thus not only do we need to know the labour time our own product contain, and the product we need contain, we also need to know the amount of labour time the money contain.
We can complicate the matter more. For example one kind of labour used to produce a kind of product represent more labour time than another kind of labour that is used to produce another kind of product. That must be accounted too!
Such complications were relatively easy to resolve right at the start, when all new each other and thus the labour they performed and the products they produced, and exchanged them locally. Especially before money came into operation. Through barter of commodities. But money becomes necessary to progress commodity production and is produced and is used to exchange products. And that creates problems even when the commodity production is not well developed, for after all money may belong to another community, say the Roman empire, and who knows how much labour time it contains. And who is going to stop the Roman empire pillaging gold of others and who is going to stop the merchant from cheating the peasant and artisan….These are in the nature of commodity production. Just have a little look at what happens with it these days. America put paper to the printing press and declare it to be dollar, money that is worth certain amount of value and all goes “oh yeah, I want some of that…” and give away all that they produce in exchange for that piece of paper! That is by the by. And we will come to that.
But there are very funny examples regarding the value of money (that is gold) in history. One of the Chinese emperors is short of money. Thus demands a solution to his problem. Find a solution to the problem or have your head chopped off! Thus one of the clever consultants come up with a solution. He says: now we are calling 5 gram of gold one dollar (whatever) what we do is we melt them all and produce one dollar that actually has 4 grams of gold in it. Thus when we go to the market to buy all that grain etc., we give them one dollar for one tone of grain as before, but we will have much more dollars at hand. Wow says the Chinese emperor that is clever. And it is done. But the merchants in the market place are absolute utter whatever you want to call them. They realise the amount of gold has decreased, so the price (exchange value’s price form) goes up! And the Chinese emperor is back to square one. And of course the clever chap who proposed the solution ends up having his head chopped of. You may think that is funny, but ask the chap who lost his head. And we will come to that.
COOPS, COMMUNES, COUPONS OR MAGICAL WAY OF GETTING RID OF COMMODITY AND MONEY THAT DO NOT WORK
There are of course, and also, many an examples of attempts at getting rid of money and using say coupons that says the owner have spent so much labour time to obtain it. Robert Owen is one. But it does not work, for in the society where all the products turn into commodities, to exchange products you need money, a commodity agreed by all to be an equalant value to a certain standard. It did not work. The same problems are faced by many an anarchist co-operatives. They start say organising a market where producers come and exchange their products directly, thus going back to barter times. So long as things remain within that barter level, different producers can exchange their products, never of course achieving absolute equality, but nevertheless agreed by the producers of different products and exchange is completed. But than a producer want to exchange his product in that market but has nothing he wants in that market. How is he going to get rid of his product within that market? Thus a coupon for that market is produced. Producer sells his product and receives a coupon to prove that he sold such and such product worth so many coupons, which he can use when there is a product he wants and is produced by the members of the co-op. But what if there is nothing the producers of the coop produce that he wants, say he wants a spare part for his tractor, or some other things which are only produced outside the co-op and can only be obtained at the wider market (of commodity producers; some of them are huge companies, not coops at all, and of course they could be members of another independent coop-commune). These people will not accept these coupons. But they will accept say euros (these sort of coops are mainly in Europe.) Thus coop moves to creation of a mechanism whereby every coupon is worth certain amount of euros and provides these euros to the coop members in exchange for the coupons! The same problem arise for the people who are not members of the coop, do not produce nothing, but want to shop in the market set up by the coop members. They work outside, earn euros and have euros and want to shop in the coop’s market that only use those coupons. What to do? Certainly the coop wants to grow and make life better for its members. Help them sell more. Thus and again, these buyers are provided with coupons in exchange for their euros.
Here it is clear that someone has to decide what is the value of each product, thus equality can be achieved when they are exchanged, thus no inequality is committed against any of the producers, and more, somebody has to decide what the exchange rate of those coupons to euros is. Now the latter step takes the coop into the wider world of value of labour time for all the members of the wider society who are not the members of the coop at all. Who decides on the value of the labour time for all those people? Sorry to say so, but not the coop but the big capitalists who control the euros!
Thus these coops come up with all sorts of democratic structures to decide on the value of each product (thus the value of each producer’s labour time) so that an equal exchange can be achieved, and the democratic structure to decide on the exchange rate of the coupon with euro. And there is more.
Some of these coops grow so much that they produce things in Chine! And sell these products in the coop! And of course why not sell it outside the coop, so long as the funds are used to better the coop members. But then who decides the wages of the Chinese workers. Coop’s democratic structures of course-Chinese works are not part of those. And why go all the way to China if you are not producing things cheaper there. For the benefit of the coop, and thus coop members of course. Clearly the attempts to provide equality and democracy is breaking down in the jungle of capitalist commodity production.
Does that mean coop movement is bad in and by itself under capitalist conditions? Of course not, for even under such conditions coops can produce better conditions for producers and consumers. They produce not only better conditions for producers and consumers but also many an honest coop personnel who want to do the right thing for its members and the wider community. Yet and since they are stuck within this ocean of commodity production they may and usually they do end up growing, since they must, and do become capitalist companies not really serving the members and the community but those who run the coops. In any case, they are a reactionary movement if they claim that they are able to resolve the problems of capitalism within the system of capitalism.
There is more to this coop-commune movements. People lose their jobs. Are forced into small production to survive. And even than cannot sell their products and are forced into forming exchanges amongst people like themselves. Desperate to survive. Even if they do not form a producers’ coop, they form a local exchange coop and come up with their own coupons. There are many examples of these. Nay more people lose their job, have no product to sell but the labour that they can perform. Thus local labour exchanges are formed. One goes and perform certain labour for certain length of time, get a local coupon for that and then can call another person to perform another kind of labour at his place or exchange that coupon for food, goods etc. that others are willing to provide in exchange for the labour they can perform-or another member can perform for the coupon.
All these reflect the fact that capitalism at its most developed, as monopoly capitalism is not able to take care of its people, and people are forced into all sorts of barter situation-this is going back to commodity production at its most backward, at its start. This used to occur after big wars, such as IWW and IIWW, yet it is occurring now when there is no such wars.
Does that mean such movements are bad in and by themselves? Of course not. These are the results of forced conditions on the members of the working classes and so long as they are used to expose the fact that financial capitalism is in its general crises and is unable to function for such members of the society (as well as the out and out unemployed) they are not only a means of survival but also a means of exposer of financial capitalism. But if they are used to cover up the short comings of the financial oligarchs and the society they create and run (or rather not run) they become a reactionary movement.
There is a particularly good example of such a cooperative work going on in Turkey; it is the Municipality of Ovacik. The municipality is run by the elected municipal leader who is a clearly honest and well-wishing person who also claim to be a revolutionary. Municipality is run using as much democracy as is possible and one of its activities is to produce and sell products to finance the education of children of the municipality. They are also supported by many a well-wishing people in Turkey who buy its products and contribute to the municipality in many ways financially and through other means. It is certainly producing very good democratic and financial benefits for the municipality. Yet it invariably uses backward means of production and backward means of democracy (we are after all in the era of micro-chips) and since it has to act within the jungle of commodity production it can survive and prosper thanks to all those people who buy its product all over Turkey.
We can call all these coops, communes etc., Robert Owen effect that is kept alive after all these years and after Marx, as well as the failure of the capitalist system in its most “developed” stage! They are not reactionary in and by themselves but extremely reactionary as and when they claim to be a way, a means of salvation of humanity-and when they claim to be democratic as such, for these structures are invariably bound with beaurocracy. Dissolution of beaurocracy require a society that produce plenty and no commodity, and they are not the way forward to achieve that. Clearly not so in the age of micro-chips!
Marx notes that Robert Owen’s attempt to replace money with coupons in the process of exchange of commodities is an attempt to replace money with something that directly represent labour time spend by each individual, but that does not work since within the commodity production money is not a direct representative of labour time spent, but is itself a commodity. It cannot represent labour time directly bur only as value, that is as value, since labour time (socially necessary) becomes value under commodity production, and that value present itself to us only as exchange value. No coupon can change this fact under commodity conditions. The only way to represent labour time directly is to put an end to the commodity production. And that requires communal ownership all products (and thus means of production) and the developed, modern means of production that makes it possible to count the labour time needed for each production.
“the Communist principle of distribution which will be realised in the form of a direct accounting
of the expenditure of labour in terms of labour time, when there will be no place for commodity circulation.”( Questions of Economics’, Moscow, No. 1, 1953; Communist Review, London, September and October 1953; Transcribed by George Gruenthal)
We shall have to come back to money, but let us have a look at the commodity in general. For there seems to be a lack of understanding in relation to it. And that is problematic for those who want to put an end to it. As Hegel says, fighting an enemy where he is not is a total waste of time-and in this case leads to defeat, which no one wants.
PRODUCT, DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTS, COMMODITY AND COMMODITY EXCHANGE (TRADE)
To live we have to produce many different kinds of products. Since this requires a division of labour in the wider society, what is produced by one (or rather by one group of people) has to reach those who need it. Thus it needs to be distributed.
When the products become commodities as they do in the capitalist societies, this distribution is done through exchange of products, through trade. Of course those who are engaged in trade do not produce nothing. They only pass on products to those who need it through exchange (through the medium of money. The same goes for those who work in say banks. They do not produce nothing but keep collecting and passing on money. Thus those who work in trade (of goods or money) may feel bad. Oh dear me, I am producing nothing, but I collect my wages and consume all those products produced by others they may think. Well they should not feel bad about it really. For the work they perform is socially necessary in a commodity producing society. Without their labour the whole society could not function. Those producers may produce all they can but who is going to pass it on to others and who is going to provide the money for that purpose. Clearly all the surplus labour that is needed to pay the people who work in trade (of goods and money) is produced when products (commodities) are produced, and it is this that provide the wages of the people who work in trade (of goods and money), but then this kind of work is necessary in this society. The profit, the rent, the interest is also produced during the process of production of goods-did you hear a capitalist, a land owner, a banker feeling bad about collecting and pocketing all that? No. so if you are a worker working in trade (of goods or money) do not feel bad. At least you are working and performing a socially necessary labour. It is capitalism that is causing all that.
Here it is clear that what turns products into commodity is the change of ownership that is occurring. Means of production used in producing the product (as well as the labour power of the worker using these means of products to produce things) are owned by someone (or some group of people). Thus the end product also belong to him (them). When that product belonging to him (them) are exchanged, the ownership of product is changed. What turns products into commodities is the fact that they belong to a person (to a group of people) and that they are exchanged for the products (so is money a product) owned by another (others). For products to turn into commodities they must be owned by a person (or group of people) and they must be produced so that they can be exchanged by other products owned by another person (or another group of people).
If and when all means of production is owned communally, and thus and if and when all the products are owned communally, the fact that these products need to be distributed amongst people who own these communally, does not make them a commodity. They remain as nothing more than products produced communally and distributed amongst the members of the society to meet their needs. In those conditions products do change hands, but products do not change ownership.
That is the difference between a commodity producing society, such as the present capitalist system, and a society that produce things to satisfy all its members needs and distribute it amongst its members.
Things can be communally owned and distributed amongst the members of society when production of things is extremely backward, when things produced are very little. Under those conditions, the very need of keeping society, and thus members of society alive necessitates communal ownership of means of production and the end products. Otherwise neither the society nor thus each member of the society could not survive. This is the primitive form of communism, and all nations has passed through this stage of communism. Present day rulers, financial oligarchs, bourgeois, and feudals are very eager to hide this fact. Thus the fact that Native Americans that they met were communists is hidden well and never talked of!
We are now at a stage where the products are not few but plenty, and society can provide abundance of products for all its members. This time it is-not a shortage of products but the abundance of products that makes it necessary that we own the means of production and the products in commune. We have started with primitive communism, we now have to pass into the modern communism. We were all communists (primitive) due to shortage and to survive, we shall all become communists (modern) due to abundance and again to survive (for ability to produce abundance under capitalism is not realised and lead to wars for the ownership of all that means of production and products amongst the finantial oligarchs that is clearly threatening the society with total annihilation).
To Be Continued.
INDUSTRIALISATION AND TROTSKY THE REACTIONARY
One famous distortion refers to Trotsky coming up with the plan of industrialisation and Stalin opposing this plan first only to apply it later, after he got rid of Trotsky.
Those who come up with this view hide many a facts:
According to Trotsky, can you build socialism in one country? No you cannot. Thus could this industrialisation plan be a plan to build socialism? No it cannot!
According to Trotsky, USSR economy is part and parcel of world imperialist economic system, cannot be independent of it. Thus would this plan of industrialisation be a plan that gives independence to USSR’s economy. No it cannot!
It is thus that this industrialisation plan is a plan of industrialisation that leaves USSR totally dependent on the world capitalist economy, it leaves it as an appendage of the world capitalist economy, it does not aim to build USSR’s independent machine making industry and its heavy industry. It aims to build a consumer product producing industry that obtains its machines from the capitalist world and is totally dependent on it. It is a plan to turn USSR into a raw material producer for the world capitalist economy that provides the funds to buy machines from the capitalists!
It was not a plan to build socialism in the USSR, it was a plan to restore capitalism in the USSR! Trotsky, as well as Bukharin are not builders of socialism, they are restorers of capitalism! They are the providers of the founding theories of Tito, and thus all the leaders of the USSR and People’s Democracies after Stalin and his comrades.
But there is another side to Trotsky, this industrialiser!
“You remember Trotsky’s “plan” (his theses) of last year for the “economic revival” of Russia on the basis of the mass application of the labour of unskilled peasant-worker masses (the labour army) to the remnants of pre-war industry. How wretched, how backward, compared with the Goelro plan! A medieval handicraftsman who imagines he is an Ibsen hero called to “save” Russia by an ancient saga. .” (Stalin’s Letter to Lenin; March 1921)
Thus it turns out that Trotsky whose Industrialisation plan was stolen by Stalin, was the planner of production based on hand labour and most backward means of production before he was an industrialist.
It is clear to all that to Trotsky the real plan, the central plan is not to build socialism. Anything else is a means of achieving that aim. What shape this take is dependent o opportunity and outride enmity to the cause of the proletariat, to the cause of communism!
Of course all those who want to build their socialism in the countryside, using hand labour, all those comrades of Trotsky can find their plan of building socialism (or rather restoring capitalism) in the Trotsky plan exposed by Stalin in this letter to Lenin.
Here is the letter of Stalin to Lenin on the subject in full!
A LETTER TO V. I. LENIN
During the last three days I have had the opportunity to read the symposium:
A Plan for the Electrification of Russia
My illness made this possible (it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good!). An excellent, well-compiled book. A masterly draft of a really single and really state economic plan, not in quotation marks
The only Marxist attempt in our time to place the Soviet superstructure of economically backward Russia on a really practical technical and production basis, the only possible one under present conditions.
You remember Trotsky’s “plan” (his theses) of last year for the “economic revival” of Russia on the basis of the mass application of the labour of unskilled peasant-worker masses (the labour army) to the remnants of pre-war industry. How wretched, how backward, compared with the Goelro plan! A medieval handicraftsman who imagines he is an Ibsen hero called to “save” Russia by an ancient saga. . . . And of what value are the dozens of “single plans” which to our shame appear from time to time in our press—the childish prattle of preparatory-school pupils. . . . Or again, the philistine “realism” (in fact Manilovism) of Rykov, who continues to “criticise” the Goelro and is immersed to his ears in routine. . . .
In my opinion:
1) Not a single minute more must be wasted on idle talk about the plan.
2) A practical start on the work must be made immediately.
3) To this start must be devoted at least one-third of our work (two-thirds will be required for “current” needs) in transporting materials and men, restoring enterprises, distributing labour forces, delivering food-stuffs, organising supply bases and supply itself, and so on.
4) Since the staff of the Goelro, for all their excellent qualities, lack a sound practical outlook (a professorial impotence can be detected in the articles), we must without fail include in the planning commission live practical men who act on the principle—“Report the fulfilment,” “Fulfil on time,” etc.
5) Pravda, Izvestia, and especially Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn must be instructed to popularise the Plan for the Electrification both as a whole and as regards its concrete points dealing with individual parts, bearing in mind that there is only one “single economic plan”—the Plan for the Electrification, and that all other “plans” are just idle talk, empty and harmful.
Written in March 1921
First published in:
A Symposium on His Fiftieth Birthday.