Back to Home Page

Back to Book Index

(Part E)

PART FOUR: "PROLETARIAN DEMOCRACY VS.
DICTATORSHIPS AND DESPOTISM
" REVISITED

 Text coloring decodes as follows:

 Black:  Ken Ellis
 Red:  Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
 Green:  Press report, etc.
 Blue:  Correspondent, adversary, SLP-related
 Purple:  Unreliable Info
 Brown:  Inaccurate quote, but true to intent


   In Part Two of his pamphlet "Proletarian Democracy vs. Dictatorship and Despotism" (PD vs. D+D), Arnold Petersen continued to dissuade readers away from Russian revolutionary methods:

p. 39:

"II

"PROLETARIAN DICTATORSHIP-

"INDUSTRIAL GOVERNMENT.
  

"Socialist "Dictatorship" Defined."

   "The shallow-minded, the special pleader of unsound principles, take great pains - and not a little pleasure - in insisting that the Marxian concept of proletarian rule, referred to as the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat," and De Leon's theory of Industrial Unionism and working class government based on industrial constituencies, are necessarily, and under any and all circumstances, antithetical. Nothing could be further from the truth. {1} I have already shown that the essence of Proletarian Dictatorship, as understood by Marx and the great expounders of Marxism, is supreme power by the working class, to the exclusion of all capitalist and bourgeois elements, and with parliaments and constituent assemblies utterly destroyed.*

   "* "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, stripped of its Latin, scientific and historico-philosophical dress, and clothed in simple language, means that only a certain class, and that the industrial workers, especially the workers in large factories, is able to lead the general body of the exploited masses in their fight to end capitalist exploitation." - Lenin, "Communist Saturdays." {2}

   "All of this is not only implied in the concept of De Leon's Industrial Union and industrial government, but is, indeed, an indispensable condition for the realization of the Socialist or Industrial Republic. {3} Marx, as De Leon often emphasized, is not a quotation nor yet a string of quotations. {4} Every word he uttered is pregnant with meaning, and his utterances were always directed by a central principle, and definitely based upon definite conditions. {5} The central principle was, of course, the emancipation of the working class, i.e., the victory of the proletariat, and the conditions were naturally such as were at hand. {6} There is, in itself, no potent charm in the phrase "Proletarian Dictatorship." Marx used it as the one best suited at the time to express his idea of working class supreme power, stripped of the fetters of the capitalist Political State, and all the better suited because it brought into contrast the actual fact (though denied in theory) of capitalist economic dictatorship. {7} De Leon himself used the phrase on at least one occasion, a fact which proves that it was primarily used by Socialist writers merely to express the complete negation of capitalist political and economic power. {8} In an editorial written in 1910 (i.e., long after he had worked out his Industrial Union and government theory) De Leon employs the phrase. Discussing the arrogant action of the then New York Governor, Chas. E. Hughes, in practically ordering the legislature to do his bidding, and emphasizing the attempted usurpation of power by the Executive, De Leon concludes:

   "
"Besides the economic conditions to warrant the phenomenon, it requires two things for the dictatorship - the dictator and the dumb dictatorees. The latter seem to be there; the former is taking shape. {9} And yet bourgeois pundits are learnedly explaining the necessity of the dual legislative chamber system. They had better try and save their own precious legislatures. Close behind the bourgeois dictator comes the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. . . ." {10}

   "What does De Leon here imply by the phrase "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"? Clearly nothing more than that the "precious legislatures" will be superseded by the organized power of the proletariat, i.e., the integral Industrial Union. And it was in the identical sense (modified by the conditions of the time) that Marx used it, and, indeed, it was in the same sense that Lenin used it, modified by the conditions in Russia. When Marx referred to the "Proletarian Dictatorship," capitalism as a whole was still in process of development, that is, it was as yet far from having exhausted the possibilities for normal growth. We know that the working class (the proletariat) in continental Europe constituted a minority. In "The Gotha Program" Marx says: "......'the working population' in Germany consists, in its majority, of peasants and not of proletarians." And Lenin, in his" ... {11}

   There is a lot we can analyze in this chapter in which A.P. used the word 'condition' or its plural six times, perhaps to make sure that those of us with 'dull intellects' didn't miss the point.

Proletarian 'Economic' Dictatorship

   A.P. began his treatise on dictatorship with:

1  'The shallow-minded, the special pleader of unsound principles, take great pains - and not a little pleasure - in insisting that the Marxian concept of proletarian rule, referred to as the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat," and De Leon's theory of Industrial Unionism ... are necessarily, and under any and all circumstances, antithetical. Nothing could be further from the truth.'

   The grain of truth in this argument is that the dictatorship of the proletariat and Socialist Industrial Unionism are not exactly antithetical to each other. A more exact antithesis appears when comparing the SIU theory with the state ownership theory. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the Marxist theory, but, in a breach of good ethics, the state ownership theory was substituted by A.P. and De Leon in place of the Marxist theory, and then they criticized the state ownership theory, calling it the Marxist theory all along.
   The
state ownership theory holds that socialism will commence with the victory of the workers' party at the ballot box. Workers would use their newly won electoral victory to concentrate means of production into the hands of the state. But, as with so many ideas, there is a theoretical snag here, for, right after the electoral victory of the workers' party, the elements of force in the state remain outside of the control of socialists, preventing anything more communistic than nationalization of industries with compensation, similar to what A.P. described in his Preface to Engels' "Socialism: From Utopia to Science", where A.P. wrote: "It was the genius of De Leon which perceived that to transform private capitalist property into "State property" amounted to consolidating all economic power into the hands of a few capitalists" ... A.P. and De Leon were correct to imply that state capitalism, or state socialism, or state ownership, yield nothing of value to the working class, but not for the reasons they gave.
   The
state socialist theory has a connection to Marxism in the following way: In Marx's day, few countries outside of England and America could be considered democracies, and monarchies were the predominant form of European political rule. Marx's revolutionary scenario called for European monarchies to be replaced with a universal proletarian dictatorship more or less simultaneously, enabling workers to use their political supremacy to expropriate land, factories and means of production, some with compensation, and some without. Following a battle in which workers emerged with the full power of the state, expropriation without compensation would be irresistible. Mere electoral victories in democracies, however, do not confer upon workers' parties the requisite force for expropriation without compensation.
   Lenin indicated that
expropriation of capitalist property might be possible after mere elections, but only for countries without special state apparatuses that stood above the people, such as what the American republic was supposed to have been like in the 19th century. Without a bureaucratic-military machine that stood above the people, Lenin and Marx theorized that electorally victorious workers' parties could concentrate means of production into the hands of workers' democracies without government resistance. Lenin thought that by World War One, however, the era of republics with as allegedly poorly developed state apparatuses as the North American model had disappeared, never to be repeated again in history, ensuring the necessity of smashing every bourgeois state from then on, democratic or not. But, people in republics never bought the idea of concentrating means of production into the hands of their governments, nor did they ever buy the idea of smashing democracies in order to accomplish that revolution.
   
Concentrating means of production into the hands of workers' states as mainsprings of social progress eventually lost all credibility, as 75 years of experience with state ownership in the old Soviet Union and most of the rest of the old Soviet Bloc demonstrated the worthlessness of that program. Rejection of state ownership will probably continue as a trend, and will someday spread to what few communist experiments remain to be replaced with capitalist democracies. Communism was based upon a miscalculation of Marx and Engels, who remained wedded to 'violent replacements of monarchies with democracies conferring the requisite power for expropriation without compensation', in spite of increasing willingness of monarchies divest themselves of political absolutism and to peacefully adopt democratic features. Because of theoretical snags in Marxism, socialist doctrine in democracies remained confused, unpopular and sectarian. Some socialist and/or communist sects maintain the necessity of smashing bourgeois rule, democratic or not, which is as absurd and alienating as any blunder imaginable.
   Mainsprings of human progress will not be found in a
state ownership model, nor in an anarchist 'replacement of the state with an administration of things', nor in any other scenario that includes the forceful abolition of private property. It may very well be time for a post-Marxist synthesis which recognizes that, in a republic, democracy can be welcomed as an opportunity for lower classes to wield influence, if only they had a party that represented their interests, and if the party wasn't encumbered with the kind of confusion that results from program elements like 'expropriation of the rich', or the 'abolition of the state'.
   A.P. did a bad job of quoting Lenin in a
footnote:

2  "* "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, stripped of its Latin, scientific and historico-philosophical dress, and clothed in simple language, means that only a certain class, and that the industrial workers, especially the workers in large factories, is able to lead the general body of the exploited masses in their fight to end capitalist exploitation." - Lenin, "Communist Saturdays."

   At first glance, this quote looks fairly decent, if just a little weak. Let's see if the fault lay in A.P.'s incapacity to capture the intent of Lenin's words from "A Great Beginning" (LCW 29, pp. 420-1):

   "If we translate the Latin, scientific, historico-philosophical term "dictatorship of the proletariat" into simpler language, it means just the following:
   "
Only a definite class, namely, the urban workers and the factory, industrial workers in general, is able to lead the whole mass of the working and exploited people in the struggle to throw off the yoke of capital, in actually carrying it out, in the struggle to maintain and consolidate the victory, in the work of creating the new, socialist social system and in the entire struggle for the complete abolition of classes. (Let us observe in parenthesis that the only scientific distinction between socialism and communism is that the first term implies the first stage of the new society arising out of capitalism, while the second implies the next and higher stage.)
   "
The mistake the "Berne" yellow International makes is that its leaders accept the class struggle and the leading role of the proletariat only in word and are afraid to think it out to its logical conclusion. They are afraid of that inevitable conclusion which particularly terrifies the bourgeoisie, and which is absolutely unacceptable to them. They are afraid to admit that the dictatorship of the proletariat is also a period of class struggle, which is inevitable as long as classes have not been abolished, and which changes in form, being particularly fierce and particularly peculiar in the period immediately following the overthrow of capital. The proletariat does not cease the class struggle after it has captured political power, but continues it until classes are abolished - of course, under different circumstances, in different form and by different means.
   "
And what does the "abolition of classes" mean? All those who call themselves socialists recognise this as the ultimate goal of socialism, but by no means all give thought to its significance. Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. Classes are groups of people one of which can appropriate the labour of another owing to the different places they occupy in a definite system of social economy.
   "
Clearly, in order to abolish classes completely, it is not enough to overthrow the exploiters, the landowners and capitalists, not enough to abolish their rights of ownership; it is necessary also to abolish all private ownership of the means of production, it is necessary to abolish the distinction between town and country, as well as the distinction between manual workers and brain workers. This requires a very long period of time. In order to achieve this an enormous step forward must be taken in developing the productive forces; it is necessary to overcome the resistance (frequently passive, which is particularly stubborn and particularly difficult to overcome) of the numerous survivals of small-scale production; it is necessary to overcome the enormous force of habit and conservatism which are connected with these survivals."

   Lenin never strayed from the theory that the abolition of classes was to be carried out by means of force, expropriation, and similar violent means during the proletarian dictatorship. In other writings, Lenin mentioned the reduction in the length of the working day as such a desirable reform that its implementation was to be integrated into the domestic policies of Soviet Union, but it was never regarded as a working class tactic for abolishing class distinctions. Be that as it may, let us review how well A.P. represented Lenin's views.
   Where Lenin wrote:
"the urban workers and the factory, industrial workers in general"

   A.P. 'translated': 'the industrial workers, especially the workers in large factories'

   Notice the difference in emphasis? What happened to the urban workers in A.P.'s version? Lost in translation? 'Perhaps.' And what about the difference between 'especially' and 'in general'. More translation problems? 'Why not?' Secondly, where Lenin wrote, all in the same sentence:

   ... 'is able to lead the whole mass of the working and exploited people in the struggle to throw off the yoke of capital, in actually carrying it out, in the struggle to maintain and consolidate the victory, in the work of creating the new, socialist social system and in the entire struggle for the complete abolition of classes.'

   A.P., or the translator he was a poor victim of, substituted:

   'is able to lead the general body of the exploited masses in their fight to end capitalist exploitation.'

   A.P. or his translator left out more than three lines of class struggle-related text, and only included phrases about economic exploitation. Maybe this is one more example of the 'fully authenticated quotations' so proudly advertised on the inside of the SLP pamphlet's jacket cover. Authenticated by whom? Bakunin?
   Throughout "
PD vs. D+D", A.P. included not a word of his own about the abolition of class distinctions, which Lenin and Marx described as the 'ultimate goal of socialism': "the ultimate goal is the destruction of the wage system" ... "The German workers' party strives to abolish wage labour and hence class distinctions by introducing co-operative production into industry and agriculture, and on a national scale" ... And yet, the goal of the anarchists - the abolition of the state - has been repeated in one form or another over and over in this pamphlet, and in other SLP literature. Did the Party neglect the abolition of class distinctions because, as in Lenin's version, it had too much to do with the hated policy of the proletariat toward the capitalists during its dictatorship? Or, was the abolition of class distinctions ignored because the 'abolition of the state' sounds like it can be accomplished in a much shorter period of time than the abolition of class distinctions, and gives such quick relief?

3  'I have already shown that the essence of Proletarian Dictatorship, as understood by Marx and the great expounders of Marxism, is supreme power by the working class, to the exclusion of all capitalist and bourgeois elements, and with parliaments and constituent assemblies utterly destroyed.* All of this is not only implied in the concept of De Leon's Industrial Union and industrial government, but is, indeed, an indispensable condition for the realization of the Socialist or Industrial Republic.'

   Repeated throughout "PD vs. D+D" was a lavish number of empty phrases like 'supreme power', which help the lower classes understand nothing. 'Supreme power' is vague and devoid of any strategic or tactical content; 'the exclusion of all capitalist and bourgeois elements' phrase is vague in that it doesn't mention what the capitalists would be excluded from; and 'parliaments and constituent assemblies utterly destroyed' means the abolition of the state, as the peaceful anarchists perceive that task. If this was the meaning of A.P.'s 'Proletarian Dictatorship', and 'implied in the concept of De Leon's Industrial Union', then they were all equally useless to the lower classes. In contrast, Lenin gave a much different perspective on proletarian dictatorship in "'Left-Wing' Communism - an Infantile Disorder" (LCW 31, pp. 23-4):

   "* The dictatorship of the proletariat means a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased ten-fold by their overthrow (even if only in a single country), and whose power lies, not only in the strength of international capital, the strength and durability of their international connections, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small-scale production. Unfortunately, small-scale production is still widespread in the world, and small-scale production engenders capitalism, continuously, hourly, daily, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. All these reasons make the dictatorship of the proletariat necessary, and victory over the bourgeoisie is impossible without a long, stubborn and desperate life-and-death struggle which calls for tenacity, discipline, and a single and inflexible will."

   The dictatorship of the proletariat for the newly emerged Soviet Union in 1917 became nothing less than a civil war against the upper classes at home, and a war of defense against invading counter-revolutionaries, but the pacifist revolutionary A.P. was reluctant to bring up the topic of class aggression and warfare.

4  'Marx, as De Leon often emphasized, is not a quotation nor yet a string of quotations.'

   For the SLP, Marx was never anything more than a string of butchered quotations, or quotes out of context. If A.P. hadn't so badly misused the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin, the work of writing this book would have been a lot more difficult; but, lucky for me, A.P. 'documented' his work well enough for me to track the quotes down, and a comparison with the originals should be enough to convince any honest skeptic that A.P.'s misuse of the quotes revealed nothing less than an intent to deceive his readers.

5   'Every word he uttered is pregnant with meaning, and his utterances were always directed by a central principle, and definitely based upon definite conditions.'

   Here A.P. praised Marx clumsily, which is the only way he could have hypocritically praised someone he loathed. But, in a vain attempt to enlist the aid of Marx to lend credibility to his anarchist version of socialism, A.P. excerpted Marx out of context in order to deceive the reader into believing that 'the SLP is Marxist and socialist'. It was necessary for A.P. to laboriously research and extract those few quotes from Marx, Engels and Lenin that were capable of being twisted into something that vaguely supported anarchist ideology, and to occasionally praise Marx, Engels and Lenin along the way. As to their 'utterances' having been 'definitely based upon definite conditions', a great deal of A.P.'s work from this chapter onwards in "PD vs. D+D" had precisely to do with 'conditions', as in: 'Marx, Engels and Lenin had only incomplete or half-baked ideas about politics due to living in eras or countries laboring under backward conditions, a proposition that contained more than a grain of truth, so our analysis must be done with great care.

6  'The central principle was, of course, the emancipation of the working class, i.e., the victory of the proletariat, and the conditions were naturally such as were at hand.'

   Except for the irrelevant 'conditions' addendum, this is true. The "complete emancipation" of the workers was used 36 times in the Collected Works, demonstrating the importance of that concept, especially during the heyday of the First International. But, varying 'conditions' were not intended to result in equally variable programs (me44.183): "Since the sections of the working class in different countries find themselves in different conditions of development, it necessarily follows that their theoretical notions, which reflect the real movement, should also diverge. The community of action, however, called into life by the International Working Men's Association, the exchange of ideas facilitated by the public organs of the different national sections, and the direct debates at the General Congresses, are sure by and by to engender a common theoretical programme. Consequently, it belongs not to the functions of the General Council to subject the programme of the Alliance to a critical examination. It is not our task to find out whether it is or is not an adequate expression of the proletarian movement. All we have to know is whether its general tendency does not run against the general tendency of our Association, viz., the complete emancipation of the working class."

7  'There is, in itself, no potent charm in the phrase "Proletarian Dictatorship." Marx used it as the one best suited at the time to express his idea of working class supreme power, stripped of the capitalist Political State, and all the better suited because it brought into contrast the actual fact (though denied in theory) of capitalist economic dictatorship.'

   Where did Marx write anything approximating that? How was the alleged economic dictatorship manifested, and who was denying that theory? If only A.P. had given us examples, it might have helped us to understand such a confusing term, for, what is an economy but the civil and non-coerced process of exchanging money for commodities and services, commodities and services for money, commodities for commodities, etc.? So, where does the dictatorship come in? Except for the special cases of drugs and hazardous materials, no one tells bosses or workers what they can buy or sell. The phrase "economic dictatorship" could not be found in the CD of Collected Works.
   Capitalist economic
freedom (rather than dictatorship) makes sense as a free market in which consumers and producers freely produce, buy and sell anything they want. The idea of the free marketplace is an indispensable part of capitalist ideology: The fewer the impediments to the flow of money and commodities, then the better the economy is considered to be working. So, how can anyone make sense out of an 'economic dictatorship'? It sounds almost like a system in which workers have to wait in long lines for hours on end to buy a loaf of bread, as in the old Soviet Bloc.
   An
economic dictatorship also conjures a scenario where consumers are forced to apply for permits to buy or sell anything, or are forced to buy commodities only from sources approved by the state, but those policies considerably defeat the 'freedom to buy and sell' that is so much a part of the ideology of free market systems. In general, the notion of a 'capitalist economic dictatorship' contradicts itself, as in an oxymoron. It applies the dictatorship idea of 'unswerving obedience to the rules, or else' to a marketplace concept that carries along with it a tremendous amount of 'freedom baggage'.
   A.P. called the
political state a 'capitalist Political State', no doubt hoping to impress upon the politically less-aware the bogus idea that 'all states are capitalist states', even the dictatorship of the proletariat! To have assembled the words 'working class supreme power, stripped of the fetters of the capitalist Political State', A.P. must have had precisely that false notion in mind. In his article entitled "On Authority", Engels clarified the historical context of the 'political state' (MESW II, pp. 378-9):

   "All socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the authoritarian political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is an act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon - authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough?
   "
Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians don't know what they are talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction."

   From what Engels wrote, one can easily see that his idea of the 'political state' includes the transitional state known as the dictatorship of the proletariat. So, it's no wonder that A.P. was so interested in diverting the lower classes away from it, just like any other kind of state. As Lozovsky observed (M+TU, p. 155):

   ... "the anarchists see no difference between a dictatorship that shoots landlords and capitalists and a dictatorship that shoots workers."

   And now for a shocking revelation:

8  'De Leon himself used the phrase on at least one occasion, a fact which proves that it was primarily used by Socialist writers merely to express the complete negation of capitalist political and economic power.'

   If I were an anarchist in the SLP tradition, I would have found it quite shocking to learn that De Leon used the phrase 'dictatorship of the proletariat', but would have been relieved at seeing A.P.'s explanation that: 'All it meant for De Leon was the abolition of capitalism and the state.'
   For the first time in a long time, A.P. admitted that
the capitalist class has political as well as economic power. A check of every context in which political power was written about in his pamphlet revealed that A.P. invalidated political power as worthless or dangerous to workers, or else he described it as a tool for only the capitalist class to use. But 'nowhere did capitalists exert their political power in the form of a political dictatorship', for then someone might think 'a capitalist political dictatorship is best counteracted by a proletarian political dictatorship'; but, it was fine for capitalists to exert their economic power in the form of a capitalist economic dictatorship because 'then it would be fine for workers to counteract that by means of a proletarian economic dictatorship, i.e., the SIU.' Clever reversals of theories like this one were pretty well thought out by anarchist falsifiers.

9  ... '"it requires two things for the dictatorship - the dictator and the dumb dictatorees. The latter seem to be there; the former is taking shape."'

   An interesting part of De Leon's refutation of Governor Hughes was his reference to the 'dumb dictatorees who seem to be there'. Perhaps De Leon was betraying the attitude of Party intellectuals towards rank and file workers, an attitude that survived over a century. If people have to be dumb to accept SLP theories and repeat them for the rest of their lives, then such dumbness also makes them fit for SLP bureaucrats to dictate to.

10 ""They had better try and save their own precious legislatures. Close behind the bourgeois dictator comes the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. . . .""

   'What does De Leon here imply by the phrase "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"? Clearly nothing more than that the "precious legislatures" will be superseded by the organized power of the proletariat, i.e., the integral Industrial Union. And it was in the identical sense (modified by the conditions of the time) that Marx used it, and, indeed, it was in the same sense that Lenin used it, modified by the conditions in Russia.'

   Modified by 'the conditions of the time' or not, Marx, Engels and Lenin wanted the political rule of the bourgeoisie to be replaced by the political rule of the proletariat, peacefully or not, and A.P. knew it. His 'conditions' theory also seemed to imply that: 'The conditions experienced by Marx and Lenin in their respective countries were lowly enough for the dictatorship of the proletariat idea to be relevant back then, but not to the USA in this century.' In a very important sense, A.P.'s theory is a half-truth. Because Marx lived in England during the last half of his life, he had the opportunity to observe it as closely as Lenin observed Russia. Marx's analysis of agriculture in England enabled him to predict the increasing supremacy of capital and wage-labor for the future of European agriculture, and for many more world economies over the course of time. In a November 1877 letter "To the Editorial Board of the Otechestvenniye Zapiski", Marx quoted one of his own passages from "Capital" (MESC, p. 293):

   "The chapter on primitive accumulation does not claim to do more than trace the path by which, in Western Europe, the capitalist economic system emerged from the womb of the feudal economic system. It therefore describes the historical process which by divorcing the producers from their means of production converts them into wage workers (proletarians in the modern sense of the word) while it converts the owners of the means of production into capitalists. In that history "all revolutions are epoch-making that act as levers for the capitalist class in course of formation; but, above all, those moments, when great masses of men are forcibly torn from their traditional means of production and of subsistence, suddenly hurled on the labour market. But the basis of this whole development is the expropriation of the peasants. England is so far the only country where this has been carried through completely ... but all the countries of Western Europe are going through the same development" ...
   "
If Russia wants to become a capitalist nation after the example of the West-European countries - and during the last few years she has been taking a lot of trouble in this direction - she will not succeed without having first transformed a good part of her peasants into proletarians; and then, once drawn into the whirlpool of the capitalist economy, she will have to endure its inexorable laws like other profane nations."

   A.P.'s swindle consisted of this: Portray the politics of both Russia and the USA as similarly democratic, and portray the two countries as economically opposite, instead of the other way around, i.e., the way it really was - politically opposite, but economically similar. A.P. used the alleged polar opposition of the two countries in the economic sphere to 'prove' that 'America is ripe for economic revolution, while Russia is not', instead of using the real facts of the old political situations to conclude the obvious, viz., that America already had its democratic revolution, while Russia badly needed to replace its monarchy with democracy, peacefully or not.

David vs. Goliath Revisited

   A.P. began to flesh out his reasons why a proletarian dictatorship would not be appropriate to American conditions:

11 'When Marx referred to the "Proletarian Dictatorship," capitalism as a whole was still in process of development, that is, it was as yet far from having exhausted the possibilities for normal growth. We know that the working class (the proletariat) in continental Europe constituted a minority. In "The Gotha Program" Marx says: "......'the working population' in Germany consists, in its majority, of peasants and not of proletarians." And Lenin, in his' ...

   The last few words of A.P.'s passage mark the place where, in 1976, due to the plethora of quotes I suspected A.P. had taken entirely out of context, and which quotes I could look up, I began my analysis of his "Proletarian Democracy vs. Dictatorship and Despotism" pamphlet. The results of that portion of my analysis can be found in Part B of this book. To briefly recap my analysis: A.P. quoted Marx to the effect that 'the wage-earning class in Germany was smaller than the peasant class'. That's fine. No argument. The argument began with what A.P. went on to do with the fact of a numerically weak working class in those times and places; for, the next few pages of his pamphlet went on to formulate a theory of proletarian dictatorship over the peasantry and the middle classes, whereas Marx, Engels and Lenin had plainly enough written about alliances between workers, peasants and middle classes against the uppermost classes. A.P.'s contradictory theory, it turns out, happens to mimic Bakuninist theory, but the proletariat of Russia allegedly wanting to take on all of those peasants and small business people who outnumbered the proletariat is no better than a fantasy. Workers and peasants would obviously have found it much more feasible to take on a relatively small class of rich capitalists.
   A.P. then observed that '
the peasantry - farmers owning little more than their own small plots - barely exists in present-day America', which is relatively true, but he also asserted that the rest of the American middle class was small and weak, which was and is false. A recent factoid on CNN declared that 98% of American businesses employ 100 employees or fewer, and another statistic shows that small businesseses employ nearly half the workforce, but A.P. thought he could get away with mixing together the relatively small class of peasants with the rest of the middle classes for the purpose of his 'class analysis'. As a result of his redefinition of the proletarian dictatorship as a dictatorship over the middle classes, and his downplaying of the roles of the American middle classes to virtually nothing, he thought he could trick the reader into agreeing that a 'proletarian dictatorship over the barely existing peasantry and middle classes in America is not necessary.' In spite of the fraud behind A.P.'s class analysis, it's not hard to agree that a 'proletarian dictatorship is definitely not necessary in the many republics like the USA.' A.P.'s final conclusion was correct, but for all of the wrong reasons, a pattern that was repeated more than once.
   In his sentence about the development of capitalism, A.P. seems to have concluded that
the end of its possibilities for 'normal growth' in the USA had arrived by the time he wrote "PD vs. D+D" in 1931. If the growth that had occurred before 1931 had met A.P.'s specifications for what constituted 'normal growth', that would also imply that all of the growth we've experienced since 1931 has been abnormal. Did A.P. claim that the USA was sufficiently developed technologically to proceed to classless, stateless society because, by 1931, the entire work-force had been replaced with robots, and a working class for bosses to exploit no longer existed? And that all we have ever had to do since 1931 is to talk to a robot in our native tongue, and whatever needs to be done gets done, period, even the design and construction of better robots? And that, because all the disgusting work is done by robots, no one is forced by economic necessity to go to work, and all commodities are free? Silly questions. But, the particular levels of unemployment and suffering we will endure before we become conscious enough to do something real about the total replacement of human labor has yet to be determined.
   In order for A.P. to make a good case for denying the need for a
proletarian dictatorial transition period in the USA, he drew the line at 1931 as the point in history when capitalism had fully developed. But, I don't think I would trust the same theoretician who gave us the 'dictatorship of the proletariat over the peasantry' with the additional theory that: 'By 1931, the USA had reached the level of technology necessary for a direct passage from capitalism to the classless, stateless administration of things.' If another 70 or so years of astounding technological developments without a revolution are not enough to prove to A.P.'s followers that he was wrong on this point, then they must have a lot more patience with A.P. than I did.

Conditions, Forms and Dictatorship

   On pages 43-44 of "PD vs. D+D", A.P. tackled the issue of labor productivity:

p. 43:

"From Capitalism to Socialism.

   "Throughout the works of Marx, Engels, and also of Lenin, the point is stressed that upon seizure of power, and after suppressing the state and all that thereby hangs, the important task of the proletariat is to develop the productive powers. {1} The lack of industrial development is one of the cornerstones, in fact, the chief one, upon which rests the particular application of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" by Marx, Engels and Lenin. {2} In the "Communist Manifesto" it is repeatedly emphasized that one of the primary tasks of the victorious proletariat is to "increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible." {3} In Lenin's "The Soviets at Work" it is pointed out that "government can be seized in a few days; insurrections put down in a few weeks; but to increase the power of labor to produce wealth requires years." {4} In his "The Great Initiative" or "Communist Saturdays" Lenin says: "The productivity of labor is the most important factor in the victory of the new social order." {5} We may then logically deduce that where the conditions are the direct opposite of those which confronted Marx in 1871, and Lenin in Russia in 1917, the transition period mentioned by Marx and Engels is not only unnecessary, but it is even impossible, in reason, to conceive of it. {6} Hence, the question of insuring a successful transfer of power from capitalism to Socialism reduces itself, first of all, to one of form. {7} The lower the industrial development, the more that form (in the event of proletarian victory) must partake of the nature of the old society; the higher the industrial development, the more the form must partake of the nature of the new society; in the perfect flowering of capitalist industrial development the form, i.e., the instrument or means of revolution, merges logically into the very governmental structure of the new society itself, or, in other words, the Industrial Union becomes the very framework of the Socialist Industrial Republic of Labor. {8} And to have worked out this revolutionary theory, in strictest conformity with the basic principles of Marxism, constitutes the great De Leon's vital contribution to Marxian science." {9}

   From the first sentences of this chapter, A.P. tried to establish a causative connection between the underdevelopment of an economy and the need for a proletarian dictatorship. He proposed that: 'Less developed countries need a transition period of proletarian dictatorship, but highly developed countries like the USA do not.' In an examination of the points made by A.P., we shall see if the quotes that he used to 'prove' his thesis actually did.
   A.P.'s
first sentence called for closer inspection (p. 43):

1  'Throughout the works of Marx, Engels, and also of Lenin, the point is stressed that upon seizure of power, and after suppressing the state and all that thereby hangs, the important task of the proletariat is to develop the productive powers.'

   'Suppressing the state' is an anarchist aspect of SLP philosophy. According to Lenin, what the best of the anarchists and the Marxists shared in relation to theories of the state was 'the smashing of the old bourgeois state machinery'. In "The State and Revolution", Lenin defined some differences between Marxists and anarchists (LCW 25, p. 489):

   "The distinction between the Marxists and the anarchists is this: (1) The former, while aiming at the complete abolition of the state, recognise that this aim can only be achieved after classes have been abolished by the socialist revolution, as a result of the establishment of socialism, which leads to the withering away of the state. The latter want to abolish the state completely overnight, not understanding the conditions under which the state can be abolished. (2) The former recognise that after the proletariat has won political power it must completely destroy the old state machine and replace it by a new one consisting of an organisation of the armed workers, after the type of the Commune. The latter, while insisting on the destruction of the state machine, have a very vague idea of what the proletariat will put in its place and how it will use its revolutionary power. The anarchists even deny that the revolutionary proletariat should use the state power, they reject its revolutionary dictatorship. (3) The former demand that the proletariat be trained for revolution by utilising the present state. The anarchists reject this."

   While Marx observed the old state machine get replaced with new, working class state machinery during the Paris Commune, the anarchists ignored that experience, or falsified its history to support their philosophy of directly replacing states with an administration of things, bypassing transition periods and proletarian dictatorships. In his 1873 article entitled "The Bakuninists at work", Engels scrutinized the 'victory' of the Bakuninist "International Alliance of Socialist Democracy": After the anarchists abolished the state apparatus of Alcoy, Spain in September of 1872, they later allowed bourgeois rule to re-emerge. Engels read in the Anarchist paper "Solidarity": "Our friends in Alcoy, numbering 5,000, are masters of the situation." Engels commented (NW 153, p.136):

   "And what did these "masters" do with their situation?
   "
Here the report of the Alliance and its newspaper leave us in the lurch and we have to rely on the ordinary newspaper reports. From these we learn that a "Committee of Public Safety", that is, a revolutionary government, was then set up in Alcoy. To be sure, at their Congress at Saint-Imier (Switzerland), on September 15, 1872, the members of the Alliance decided that "any organisation of political, so-called provisional or revolutionary authority, can be nothing but a new fraud and would be just as dangerous for the proletariat as any of the now existing governments". The members of the Spanish Federal Commission, meeting at Alcoy, had moreover done everything they could to get this resolution adopted also by the Congress of the Spanish Section of the International. And yet we find that Severino Albarracin, a member of this Commission, and, according to some reports, also Francisco Tomas, its secretary, became members of the Committee of Public Safety, that provisional and revolutionary government of Alcoy.
   "
And what did this Committee of Public Safety do? What measures did it adopt to bring about "the immediate and complete emancipation of the workers"? It forbade any man to leave the city, although women were allowed to do so, provided they ... had a pass! The enemies of all authority re-introducing a pass! Everything else was utter confusion, inactivity and helplessness."

   For ten more pages, Engels recounted the anarchists' blunders and vacillations around holding state power. In their confusion, they alternately served on committees that condemned authoritarian behavior, or served as revolutionary state officials. Not long after the anarchist victory in Alcoy, troops arrived to restore authority, and the anarchists negotiated a general amnesty for themselves.

2  ... 'upon seizure of power ... the important task of the proletariat is to develop the productive powers. The lack of industrial development is one of the cornerstones, in fact, the chief one, upon which rests the particular application of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" by Marx, Engels and Lenin.'

   A.P.'s first sentence incorrectly stressed the alleged hyper-importance of developing productive powers, and his second sentence was a big lie. The chief cornerstone of the dictatorship of the proletariat was the need for the proletariat, after capturing political power, to counteract the resistance of the upper classes. A.P.'s attempt to link proletarian dictatorship to the level of productive forces falls flat, as little relation between the two ideas can be found in the works of Marx and Engels. If any theme was repeated by M+E, it was that the productive forces had already sufficiently developed so that the first stage of communism (the proletarian dictatorship) could be attained, even in the relatively underdeveloped economic conditions of over a century ago. In his 1873 "The Housing Question", Engels wrote (MESW II, p. 312):

   "And it is precisely this industrial revolution which has raised the productive power of human labour to such a high level that - for the first time in the history of mankind - the possibility exists, given a rational division of labour among all, of producing not only enough for the plentiful consumption of all members of society and for an abundant reserve fund, but also of leaving each individual sufficient leisure so that what is really worth preserving in historically inherited culture - science, art, forms of intercourse - may not only be preserved but converted from a monopoly of the ruling class into the common property of the whole of society, and may be further developed. And here is the decisive point: as soon as the productive power of human labour has risen to this height, every excuse disappears for the existence of a ruling class."

   Engels believed that the productive forces had developed sufficiently in his own time for society to put an end to the political rule of capital, and that replacing capitalist political supremacy with proletarian supremacy would assure sufficient leisure time for everyone to develop their higher powers.

3  "In the "Communist Manifesto" it is repeatedly emphasized that one of the primary tasks of the victorious proletariat is to "increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible."

   Wouldn't it have been a little contradictory for Marx and Engels to have 'repeatedly emphasized increasing the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible' after having written many times about crises of over-production? In their 1848 "Communist Manifesto", it appears that Marx and Engels wrote about 'increasing the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible' exactly once, as opposed to A.P.'s notion of 'repeatedly' (MESW I, pp. 113-4):

   "The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. ...
   "
It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire bourgeois society. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity - the epidemic of overproduction. ...
   "
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
   "
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons - the modern working class - the proletarians.
   "
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed - a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
   "
Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race."

   If this doesn't mean that we live in an era of overproduction, then I must not have learned to read at all. Years after the Manifesto was written, Marx went on to thoroughly define the value of a commodity, including the value of labor power. The Manifesto continued (Ibid., p. 119):

   "The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty-bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him."

   Just as the modern welfare state feeds the surplus population. The nice thing about reading Marx and Engels is that so much of what they wrote back then remains just as true today. Due to overproduction, the cheapening of the value of labor power, and the tyrannical rule of the monarchies of Europe, Marx and Engels proposed revolution and proletarian dictatorship to solve workers' problems.

4  "In Lenin's "The Soviets at Work" it is pointed out that "government can be seized in a few days; insurrections put down in a few weeks; but to increase the power of labor to produce wealth requires years.""

   A.P. quoted from what he called "The Soviets at Work", but that particular passage could only be found in "The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government", written in 1918. According to the Index to the Collected Works, Lenin didn't write anything by the name A.P. gave. Maybe it was a 'problem with translations', or maybe shortening and changing the name was a way for A.P. to save word space, but the passage was tracked down anyway, and here is its context (LCW 27, p. 257):

"RAISING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF LABOUR

   "In every socialist revolution, after the proletariat has solved the problem of capturing power, and to the extent that the task of expropriating the expropriators and suppressing their resistance has been carried out in the main, there necessarily comes to the forefront the fundamental task of creating a social system superior to capitalism, namely, raising the productivity of labour, and in this connection (and for this purpose) securing better organisation of labour. Our Soviet state is precisely in the position where, thanks to the victories over the exploiters - from Kerensky to Kornilov - it is better able to approach this task directly, to tackle it in earnest. And here it becomes immediately clear that while it is possible to take over the central government in a few days, while it is possible to suppress the military resistance (and sabotage) of the exploiters even in different parts of a great country in a few weeks, the capital solution of the problem of raising the productivity of labour requires, at all events (particularly after a most terrible and devastating war), several years. The protracted nature of the work is certainly dictated by objective circumstances."

   Lenin went on to discuss the objective circumstances, natural resources, material bases, educational levels, attitudes of workers, and how to adapt the hated Taylor system to Soviet workplaces, etc.
   While comparing Lenin's actual words to how A.P. quoted him, one could easily wonder whether the words A.P. left out could have been due to '
differences in translations', but greater experience with SLP translations reveals that A.P. systematically deleted any information similar to 'the military resistance (and sabotage) of the exploiters', and 'a most terrible and devastating war' from the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin. In a country like the USA, where the SLP leadership ordained a 'peaceful revolution', any notion of fighting, struggle, and the violence of one class against another, even if it was the concrete historical experience of a country far away on another continent, was systematically prevented from educating SLP members.
   Next, attempting to describe the importance of the productivity of labor, A.P. quoted Lenin again (p.
44):

5  "In his "The Great Initiative" or "Communist Saturdays" Lenin says: "The productivity of labor is the most important factor in the victory of the new social order.""

   A.P. quoted fairly accurately in this instance. In "A Great Beginning", aka "Communist Subbotniks", Lenin wrote (LCW 29, p. 427):

   "In the last analysis, productivity of labour is the most important, the principal thing for the victory of the new social system. Capitalism created a productivity of labour unknown under serfdom. Capitalism can be utterly vanquished, and will be utterly vanquished by socialism creating a new and much higher productivity of labour. This is a very difficult matter and must take a long time; but it has been started, and that is the main thing."

   Even when A.P. quoted correctly, he used the words to fabricate unrelated stories, as his next sentence demonstrated:

6  'We may then logically deduce that where the conditions are the direct opposite of those which confronted Marx in 1871, and Lenin in Russia in 1917, the transition period mentioned by Marx and Engels is not only unnecessary, but it is even impossible, in reason, to conceive of it.'

   Question: 'Just exactly what was the direct opposite of the conditions that confronted Marx and Lenin?' Was it the advanced economic conditions of the United States? Well, people still have to work in the USA, don't they? The economic systems that both Marx and Lenin confronted were capitalist, weren't they? And the length of the working day here was probably similar to the length of the working day there at the time, so why would anyone want to claim that economic conditions here and there were directly opposite? The conditions that were directly opposite, on the other hand, were the political conditions, with democracy here, and monarchy there, one being the negation of the other, according to Marx, which made political conditions as opposite as one could get.
   With his
premises in hand, however, A.P. 'logically deduced' that: 'Since the purpose of the transition period was solely to build up the productive forces that were insufficiently developed in Marx's time and in Lenin's Soviet Union, and because the productive forces in the USA are presently super-developed, then the USA could pass directly to classless, stateless society without a transition.'
   A major problem with A.P.'s '
logical deduction' was that it directly contradicted Marx's observation that the productive forces were already sufficiently developed to support a world-wide proletarian dictatorship, but not the classless, stateless society that A.P. 'interpreted' as socialism. The 'transition period mentioned by Marx and Engels' was nothing less than the proletarian dictatorship that was to be inaugurated during simultaneous revolutions in technologically developed countries, and this dictatorship was to be a political transition period from capitalism to classless, stateless society, and not exclusively an economic transition period with the sole purpose of further developing productive forces.
   Not to be ignored are the differences between Lenin's and Marx's
transition periods. Lenin's transition-period-to-be began in 1917, and was to run to some date in the future when the rest of the industrial world was supposed to catch up to the Soviet Union politically, have their own proletarian revolutions, and unite into a world-wide proletarian dictatorship. In the Soviet Union, the path to classless, stateless society was to include the following milestones:

1) The feudal-monarchist period up to 1861,
2) The capitalist-monarchist period up to early 1917,
3) The brief bourgeois republic lasting a few months in 1917,
4) The Soviet republic beginning late in 1917,
5) Marx's projected
dictatorship of the proletariat for the whole world,
6) And, finally, the projected classless, stateless
administration of things for the more distant future.

   In the passage A.P. quoted, Lenin admitted that the Soviet Union had not yet made it to what he considered to be a true socialist government, or step #5. After considerable experience, Lenin re-assessed the limited achievements of the new Soviet government in his October 14, 1921 article marking the "Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution" (LCW 33, pp. 51-8):

   "We have consummated the bourgeois-democratic revolution as nobody had done before. We are advancing towards the socialist revolution consciously, firmly and unswervingly, knowing that it is not separated from the bourgeois-democratic revolution by a Chinese Wall, and knowing too that (in the last analysis) struggle alone will determine how far we shall advance, what part of this immense and lofty task we shall accomplish, and to what extent we shall succeed in consolidating our victories. ...
   "
The bourgeois-democratic content of the revolution means that the social relations (system, institutions) of the country are purged of medievalism, serfdom, feudalism.
   "
What were the chief manifestations, survivals, remnants of serfdom in Russia up to 1917? The monarchy, the system of social estates, landed proprietorship and land tenure, the status of women, religion, and national oppression. ...
   "
But in order to consolidate the achievements of the bourgeois-democratic revolution for the peoples of Russia, we were obliged to go farther; and we did go farther. We solved the problems of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in passing, as a "by-product" of our main and genuinely proletarian-revolutionary, socialist activities. We have always said that reforms are a by-product of the revolutionary class struggle. We said - and proved it by deeds - that bourgeois-democratic reforms are a by-product of the proletarian, i.e., of the socialist revolution. ...
   "
Our last, but most important and most difficult task, the one we have done least about, is economic development, the laying of economic foundations for the new, socialist edifice on the site of the demolished feudal edifice and the semi-demolished capitalist edifice. ...
   "
We expected - or perhaps it would be truer to say that we presumed without having given it adequate consideration - to be able to organise the state production and the state distribution of products on communist lines in a small-peasant country directly as ordered by the proletarian state. Experience has proved that we were wrong. It appears that a number of transitional stages were necessary - state capitalism and socialism - in order to prepare - to prepare by many years of effort - for the transition to communism."

   In the November 1921 "Seventh Moscow Gubernia Conference of the Russian Communist Party", Lenin reported (LCW 33, pp. 96-9):

   "Now we find ourselves in the position of having to retreat even a little further, not only to state capitalism, but to the state regulation of trade and the money system. Only in this way, a longer way than we expected, can we restore economic life. ...
   "
And what is the dictatorship of the proletariat? It is war, much more cruel, much more prolonged and much more stubborn than any other war has ever been. Here danger threatens us at every step.
   "
The position which our New Economic Policy has created - the development of small commercial enterprises, the leasing of state enterprises, etc. - entails the development of capitalist relations; and anybody who fails to see this shows that he has lost his head entirely. It goes without saying that the consolidation of capitalist relations in itself increases the danger. But can you point to a single path in revolution, to any stage and method that would not have its dangers? The disappearance of danger would mean that the war had come to an end, and that the dictatorship of the proletariat had ceased."

   Lenin admitted here that Soviet policies retreated back to capitalist relations of production in order to get the struggling economy rolling. Some passages indicate that Lenin thought that the wage-slavery of state capitalism could co-exist with the class supremacy of the proletariat during its dictatorship, which is similar to what Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto. But, while Marx and Engels wrote about the relationship between capitalist economics and proletarian dictatorship as a not-so-unusual relationship, Lenin seems to have been remorseful about the retreat into capitalism, as if it might disappoint a lot of people.
   A.P. certainly must have had an appreciation for the night and day difference between the
transition period of a struggling socialist revolution in a single backward country on the one hand, and, on the other, the transition to classless, stateless society after a worldwide socialist revolution in the most developed countries; but A.P. equated the two types of transition periods so that he could quote Lenin out of context to the effect that: 'A country like Russia needs to develop its productive forces, and needs a transition period to ascend to classless stateless society, but, such a transition period is not necessary in technologically advanced countries.'
   A.P. added (p.
44):

7  "Hence, the question of insuring a successful transfer of power from capitalism to Socialism reduces itself, first of all, to one of form."

   Before our very eyes, the revolution was reduced to 'a question of form', in spite our not having been given any of the rules by which revolution, or any other issue, may be reduced to a question of form, if there are any rules. I suppose that A.P.'s thesis may be plausible enough for some people to accept, but when I remember how difficult it was for me to understand 'conditions' as the reason for the SLP rejecting proletarian dictatorship, then something more substantial just might be required to convince some of us that 'revolution can be reduced to a question of form'. But, if I had been a 'true believer' and had been successfully indoctrinated into the religion of Socialist Industrial Unionism, I suppose that I could also have been led into believing all of the absurdities that support it.
   Notice also that the
revolution was no longer a process of transferring power from one class to another, but rather it became 'a transfer of power from capitalism to Socialism', i.e., from one 'ism to another 'ism, which doesn't sound any more dramatic than peaceful evolution in a democracy.
   A.P. went on to expand upon the concept of '
form' in greater detail (p. 44):

8  'The lower the industrial development, the more that form (in the event of proletarian victory) must partake of the nature of the old society; the higher the industrial development, the more the form must partake of the nature of the new society; in the perfect flowering of capitalist industrial development the form, i.e., the instrument or means of revolution, merges logically into the very governmental structure of the new society itself, or, in other words, the Industrial Union becomes the very framework of the Socialist Industrial Republic of Labor.'

   A.P.'s language may have been flowery, but industrial unions will not become the form of administration of production in the USA any too soon. In "The State and Revolution", Lenin wrote about the search for forms by anarchists and utopians (LCW 25, pp. 436-7):

   "The utopians busied themselves with "discovering" political forms under which the socialist transformation of society was to take place. The anarchists dismissed the question of political forms altogether. The opportunists of present-day Social-Democracy accepted the bourgeois political forms of the parliamentary democratic state as the limit which should not be overstepped; they battered their foreheads praying before this "model", and denounced as anarchism every desire to break these forms."

   As predicted by Lenin, A.P.'s anarchist statement included nothing about political forms, but I will digress: In the era of emerging capitalism centuries ago, the feudal monarchy was a typical political form. When capitalists organized to overthrow intransigent absolute monarchical rule, the new form of bourgeois rule was the democratic republic, adopted early by Holland, England and the United States, in that order. When the tide of revolutionary fervor reversed direction and went east to France, the proletariat came out more and more in each successive struggle as a class for itself, and, as republicanism swept east to Russia, China, and Vietnam, the ideology broke away from bourgeois content and became increasingly communist. Increasing productivity of labor caused politics to change dramatically. Even more amazing changes are in store relatively soon, including the abolition of politics itself.
   One description that I would never apply to our present infrastructure is '
the perfect flowering of capitalist industrial development'. In order to survive economically, I've had to be involved with the nuts and bolts of this alleged 'perfect flowering' far too closely for comfort, and have rarely felt happy to be involved with it. I think that A.P.'s description of the state of American technical prowess would appeal more to those who make lots of money off of other people's labor, or to anyone other than those who actually make the machinery work.
   A.P's '
perfect flowering' talk is also part of the portrayal of American economic conditions as 'diametrically opposed' to those of 1871 or 1917, in order to try to show that 'the transition period is necessary only to develop the productive forces', and that 'the transition period is not necessary in the USA, hence no need here for a proletarian dictatorship.' But, this 'perfect flowering' will not bloom for me until I have been replaced with a robot, and I never again have to do anything disgusting.
   A.P. concluded this
section with (p. 44):

9  "And to have worked out this revolutionary theory, in strictest conformity with the basic principles of Marxism, constitutes the great De Leon's vital contribution to Marxian science."

   If we have De Leon to thank for all of the above 'revolutionary theory', then De Leon is in just as much trouble with me as Arnold Petersen. 'De Leon worked out his revolutionary theory in strictest conformity with the basic principles of Bakuninism' would have been more accurate, though 'Bakuninist principles' may just be another oxymoron, if the Party's attempts to put them together coherently is any example.
   In his next chapter, A.P. tackled the important theoretical question of proletarian democracy ("
PD vs. D+D", pp. 44-46):

p. 44:

"Proletarian Democracy.

   "That the so-called "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is essentially a question of form is made clear by Lenin on numerous occasions. Thus in his exposure of Kautsky he says:

   ""Proletarian Democracy, of which the Soviet regime constitutes one of the forms, has given to the world a hitherto unknown expansion and development of democracy for the gigantic majority of the population, for the exploited and laboring masses." ("The Proletarian Revolution.") {1}

   "Note that "Proletarian Democracy" is used here as a synonym for "Proletarian Dictatorship" as constituted in Russia. The form of "Proletarian Democracy" in this country is the Industrial Union in control of social production. {2} In the same pamphlet Lenin carefully and distinctly says: "The Soviets are the Russian form of proletarian democracy." It is the "Russian form," mark that - not the British, the United States, or any other form, but the Russian. And he adds that any one who desired to study the subject of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat would first give a general definition of dictatorship, "and then examine its peculiar national form, the Soviets, and give a criticism of them as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the proletariat." ("The Proletarian Revolution.") {3} Here he speaks so plainly that it would seem impossible even for an Anarcho-Communist to misunderstand him. {4} In this country the "peculiar form" of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (using the term here, not in its strict dictionary sense, but in the sense of working class supremacy) is the Industrial Union which, coupled with the fact of super-developed capitalist production, renders meaningless all talk of a transition period."

   In this chapter, A.P. used a quote from Lenin to try to prove that 'proletarian democracy is a question of form'. Did A.P. succeed? Let's see what Lenin really had to say in "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky" (LCW 28, p. 246):

   "Proletarian democracy, of which Soviet government is one of the forms, has brought a development and expansion of democracy unprecedented in the world, for the vast majority of the population, for the exploited and working people."

   First, considering the quality of 'translations', notice the differences between:

 A.P.'s:  Lenin's:
   
"Soviet regime" "Soviet government"
"hitherto unknown"  "unprecedented"
"gigantic majority" "vast majority"
"laboring masses" "working people"

   In A.P.'s 'translation', readers could easily be left with an impression that Lenin and/or Soviet people were intellectually backward and/or a bit brutal. A historical note: It appears that many of the works of Lenin were re-translated into English after the revolution stabilized. In the production of this book, I did not have access to the 'translations' that A.P. might have used, but it is doubtful that the differences could have been as enormous as what appear between some of A.P.'s quotes and the modern Progress Publishers editions. I doubt if there was any good excuse for A.P.'s choice of words, even considering the fact that Lenin wanted to get his refutation of Kautsky's pamphlet "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat" published as soon as possible. Though translations into English, French, and German were available as early as 1919, it is conceivable that the first ones may not have been of the highest quality. I might yield to the documentation of other researchers on this point, if anyone wants to tackle it.
   Back to the main subject: Note that Lenin made a simple claim that '
the Soviet government was one of the forms of proletarian democracy'. There's a difference between being a form and being a question of form. The former suggests that if Lenin claims that 'the Soviets are a form of proletarian democracy', then the Soviet form could be compared to other recognized forms of proletarian democracy, such as the Commune; whereas, if A.P. suggests that 'proletarian dictatorship is a question of form', then he is suggesting that its form alone can determine whether or not it is a proletarian dictatorship. One can easily determine, even from A.P.'s version, that Lenin by no means intended the proletarian dictatorship to be considered 'a question of form'.
   There never really should have been any argument as to the form of
proletarian dictatorship, for its form was defined by Engels as a democratic republic in his "Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891" (MESW III, p. 435):

   "If one thing is certain it is that our Party and the working class can only come to power under the form of a democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the Great French Revolution has already shown."

   Well, imagine that. The democratic republic being theoretically just as good for proletarian dictatorship (or democracy) as it is for bourgeois democracy. Now, why didn't A.P. have something to say something about that? Maybe A.P. thought that, along with so many other thorny issues, "Speech is silver, silence is gold." Though A.P. might have conceded that 'The soviets were an appropriate form of proletarian democracy for the Soviet Union', under no circumstances would A.P. validate the soviet democratic republican form as appropriate for the USA, though he probably would have been more than happy if Lenin, or anyone else in the world, had bought his SIU form.
   After quoting Lenin, A.P. wrote (p.
45):

2  'Note that "Proletarian Democracy" is used here as a synonym for "Proletarian Dictatorship" as constituted in Russia. The form of "Proletarian Democracy" in this country is the Industrial Union in control of social production. In the same pamphlet Lenin carefully and distinctly says: "The Soviets are the Russian form of proletarian democracy." It is the "Russian form," mark that - not the British, the United States, or any other form, but the Russian.'

   Actually, on page 257 of Volume 28 of LCW, in "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky" (reproduced below), "Lenin carefully and distinctly" wrote that "The Soviets are the Russian form of the proletarian dictatorship", rather than A.P.'s 'proletarian democracy'. More translation problems?
   A.P. repeated his assertion that
the SIU was to be the form of proletarian 'dictatorship' in the USA, as though it had been carved in stone somewhere, and as though A.P. had received his inspiration in the same way Moses received the Ten Commandments (in the Charleton Heston version of that movie).

3  "And he adds that any one who desired to study the subject of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat would first give a general definition of dictatorship, "and then examine its peculiar national form, the Soviets, and give a criticism of them as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the proletariat." ("The Proletarian Revolution.")"

   So, why couldn't A.P. have taken up the challenge and given his own definition of dictatorship? The late Marxist scholar Hal Draper noted that, in the 19th century, as Marx used the term, dictatorship implied a temporary reign of extraordinary rule. The dictatorship of the proletariat for Marx implied a temporary, or transitory, regime that was to last only as long as society was still divided into classes, and an upper class still had to be kept in subjection. In our age, however, dictatorship seems to have lost the 'temporary' connotation, and popularly connotes permanence as much as harsh rule.
   And what did Lenin really say? We find ourselves once again obliged to make up for A.P.'s tendency to quote mere
snippets (LCW 28, p. 257):

"THE SOVIETS DARE NOT BECOME STATE ORGANISATIONS

   "The Soviets are the Russian form of the proletarian dictatorship. If a Marxist theoretician, writing a work on the dictatorship of the proletariat, had really studied the subject (and not merely repeated the petty-bourgeois lamentations against dictatorship, as Kautsky did, singing to Menshevik tunes), he would first have given a general definition of dictatorship, and would then have examined its peculiar, national, form, the Soviets; he would have given his critique of them as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the proletariat."

   It's not too hard to figure out why A.P. might not have wanted to quote Lenin more thoroughly in this case, what with his warning of petty-bourgeois lamentations against political dictatorship. In that same work, Lenin gave his own definition of dictatorship (Ibid., p. 236):

   "Dictatorship is rule based directly upon force and unrestricted by any laws.
   "
The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is rule won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by any laws."

   Lenin's definition embraced elements of force, violence, unrestricted rule, etc., against the bourgeoisie - everything that was abhorrent to the civilized liar A.P. If lies had been as abhorrent to A.P. as violence, we would have been spared our present labors.
   A.P. concluded his chapter on
proletarian democracy with (p. 45):

4  "Here he speaks so plainly that it would seem impossible even for an Anarcho-Communist to misunderstand him. In this country the "peculiar form" of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (using the term here, not in its strict dictionary sense, but in the sense of working class supremacy) is the Industrial Union which, coupled with the fact of super-developed capitalist production, renders meaningless all talk of a transition period."

   In his conclusion, a lesson A.P. hoped for us to have gotten out of his excerpt from Lenin was that 'the question of revolution in any country is mostly a question of form', and that 'the soviets are a non-American form of proletarian democracy, not to be mistakenly adopted by Americans.' Even if A.P. could not have quoted Lenin as having written anything even remotely resembling such, he probably hoped that it would be what the already converted would want to see in print, and, if they can peacefully co-exist with the 'dictatorship of the proletariat over the peasantry' scam, then they can also probably accept the 'proletarian democracy is a question of form' scam.
   A.P. really couldn't take his '
question of form' scam very far, and it couldn't invalidate the soviets. He certainly didn't prove that 'the SIU is the form of 'proletarian dictatorship' in the USA.'
   And what were those forms of
proletarian dictatorship with the funny-sounding foreign name? Interestingly enough, soviets were nothing more exotic than elected councils, such as what anyone could find in any democratic country. In spite of all of the quotes to the effect that 'soviets are the Russian form of proletarian democracy or dictatorship', and probably much to the disappointment of A.P., I have never seen a quote from Lenin to the effect that 'the soviet form would only work in Russia.'
   A.P.'s mention of the
strict dictionary sense of the dictatorship of the proletariat piqued my curiosity, so I turned to my Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 1968. Here's what it said on page 627: "dictatorship of the proletariat: the assumption of political power by the proletariat with concomitant repression of previously controlling or governing classes that in Marxist philosophy is considered an essential preliminary to establishment of the classless state"

   Even considering its 'classless state' oxymoron, this definition is a lot closer to Marx's definition than A.P.'s 'dictatorship of the proletariat over the peasantry and middle classes', or A.P's 'economic transition period'. What does it say about the ability of the SLP to "educate, agitate, and organize", when a common dictionary has a much more accurate definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat than a so-called party of socialism? In "The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government", a pamphlet that A.P. had already quoted from, Lenin gave a more thorough definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat (LCW 27, pp. 264-5):

   "On the other hand, it is not difficult to see that during every transition from capitalism to socialism, dictatorship is necessary for two main reasons, or along two main channels. Firstly, capitalism cannot be defeated and eradicated without the ruthless suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, who cannot at once be deprived of their wealth, of their advantages of organisation and knowledge, and consequently for a fairly long period will inevitably try to overthrow the hated rule of the poor; secondly, every great revolution, and a socialist revolution in particular, even if there is no external war, is inconceivable without internal war, i.e., civil war, which is even more devastating than external war, and involves thousands and millions of cases of wavering and desertion from one side to another, implies a state of extreme indefiniteness, lack of equilibrium and chaos. And of course, all the elements of disintegration of the old society, which are inevitably very numerous and connected mainly with the petty bourgeoisie (because it is the petty bourgeoisie that every war and every crisis ruins and destroys first), are bound to "reveal themselves" during such a profound revolution. And these elements of disintegration cannot "reveal themselves" otherwise than in an increase of crime, hooliganism, corruption, profiteering and outrages of every kind. To put these down requires time and requires an iron hand.
   "
There has not been a single great revolution in history in which the people did not instinctively realise this and did not show salutary firmness by shooting thieves on the spot. The misfortune of previous revolutions was that the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people, which sustained them in their state of tension and gave them the strength to suppress ruthlessly the elements of disintegration, did not last long. The social, i.e., the class, reason for this instability of the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people was the weakness of the proletariat, which alone is able (if it is sufficiently numerous, class-conscious and disciplined) to win over to its side the majority of the working and exploited people (the majority of the poor, to speak more simply and popularly) and retain power sufficiently long to suppress completely all the exploiters as well as all the elements of disintegration.
   "
It was this historical experience of all revolutions, it was this world-historic - economic and political - lesson that Marx summed up when he gave his short, sharp, concise and expressive formula: dictatorship of the proletariat."

Two Types of Transition

   In "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", Lenin wrote about the transition to communism (LCW 28, p. 254):

   "The transition from capitalism to communism takes an entire historical epoch. Until this epoch is over, the exploiters inevitably cherish the hope of restoration, and this hope turns into attempts at restoration. After their first serious defeat, the overthrown exploiters - who had not expected their overthrow, never believed it possible, never conceded the thought of it - throw themselves with energy grown tenfold, with furious passion and hatred grown a hundredfold, into the battle for the recovery of the "paradise", of which they were deprived, on behalf of their families, who had been leading such a sweet and easy life and whom now the "common herd" is condemning to ruin and destitution (or to "common" labor...). In the train of the capitalist exploiters follow the wide sections of the petty bourgeoisie, with regard to whom decades of historical experience of all countries testify that they vacillate and hesitate, one day marching behind the proletariat and the next day taking fright at the difficulties of the revolution; that they become panic-stricken at the first defeat or semi-defeat of the workers, grow nervous, run about aimlessly, snivel, and rush from one camp into the other - just like our Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries.
   "
In these circumstances, in an epoch of desperately acute war, when history presents the question of whether age-old and thousand-year-old privileges are to be or not to be - at such a time to talk about majority and minority, about pure democracy, about dictatorship being unnecessary and about equality between the exploiter and the exploited! What infinite stupidity and abysmal philistinism are needed for this!
   "
However, during the decades of comparatively "peaceful" capitalism between 1871 and 1914, the Augean stables of philistinism, imbecility, and apostasy accumulated in the socialist parties which were adapting themselves to opportunism" ...

   Maybe someday we will see if a party that unswervingly represents the interest of 'complete lower class participation in the economy' can avoid the pitfalls that befell previous parties. In modern democracies, planks as divisive as 'redistributing wealth and property' will be overlooked as workers struggle to find new ways to share the vanishing work, and adopt various measures to redistribute the remaining work.
   In his next two chapters, A.P. tackled the theory of
transition to classless and stateless communism (pp. 45-7):

      "As to transition period: Here again the clear-cut statements of Lenin bear out the contention of De Leon that in this country we can pass from capitalism to Socialism without an intermediary stage, and that it would be an act of usurpation to continue the purely political control for one moment beyond working class seizure and control of industry:

p. 46:

""Transition Period."

   ""There is no doubt [said Lenin] that the Socialist revolution in a country where the immense majority of the population belongs to the petty land-holder producers, is possible only by reason of a number of special transition measures, {1} which would be entirely unnecessary in countries having a developed capitalism, where the wage-earners in industry and agriculture constitute an immense majority. {2} In countries with a highly developed capitalism, there has been for decades a developed class of wage workers engaged in agriculture. Only such a class can serve as a support to an immediate transition to Socialism, socially, economically, and politically. Only in countries in which this class is sufficiently developed will the transition from capitalism to Socialism be possible. {3} [Emphases in the foregoing mine. - A.P.] In a great number of utterances, in all our addresses, in the entire press, we have pointed out that the condition in Russia is different, that in Russia we have a minority of industrial workers, an immense majority of petty land-holders. The social revolution in such a country may meet with ultimate success only under two conditions; in the first place, under the condition that a simultaneous social revolution in one of the several advanced countries will come to its support." (Speech on "Our relation to the Peasants," delivered at the 10th Congress of the Russian Communist Party, March 15, 1921.)

p. 47:

"Lenin's Clear Vision.

   "Lenin here virtually draws a picture of capitalism in the United States and he says, in effect, that all the transition measures which make the "Proletarian Dictatorship" necessary in Russia are unnecessary here, and that an immediate transition to Socialism is possible for the workers here - provided, of course, the workers here organize their "peculiar" form of power, the Industrial Union. I ask: Will the lunatics who are shouting for "Soviets" and "Proletarian Dictatorship" in this country heed the "master's voice"? Echo answers: They won't heed the "master's voice." No, they won't, because that would rob them of even the semblance of an excuse for existence, and after all, you know, business is business, even when it isn't as flourishing as it was!"

   A.P. leaned heavily upon Lenin's writings to help persuade his readers that 'a transition period of proletarian dictatorship would not be necessary in the USA'. Let us examine how A.P. used the quote, in which Lenin was interpreted as having made the following points:

1  'In a country in which petty land-holder agriculture predominates, the socialist revolution is possible only by reason of special transition measures.'

2  'In a country in which agricultural wage-labor predominates, the socialist revolution does not require special transition measures.'

3  'Only in countries in which the class of agricultural wage-labor is sufficiently developed will the transition from capitalism to Socialism be possible.'

   There seems to be a contradiction between statement 3 and the first two. Double-negating statement 3 yields (3xx):

3xx 'The transition from capitalism to socialism is not possible in a country in which small-holding peasant agriculture predominates.'

   Statements 3 and 3xx contradict statement 1, for 3 and 3xx discount the possibility of a transition to socialism under any condition, while statement 1 allows for socialist revolution if special transition measures are applied. To determine the source of the contradiction, let us go to the original in Lenin's Collected Works, and see what the "Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)" really contained (LCW 32, pp. 214-5):

"REPORT ON THE SUBSTITUTION OF A TAX IN KIND FOR
THE SURPLUS-GRAIN APPROPRIATION SYSTEM
MARCH 15
{1921}
{Excerpt}

   "A word or two on the theoretical significance of, or the theoretical approach to, this issue. There is no doubt that in a country where the overwhelming majority of the population consists of small agricultural producers, a socialist revolution can be carried out only through the implementation of a whole series of special transitional measures {4} which would be superfluous in highly developed capitalist countries where wage-workers in industry and agriculture make up the vast majority. {5} Highly developed capitalist countries have a class of agricultural wage-workers that has taken shape over many decades. Only such a class can socially, economically, and politically support a direct transition to socialism. Only in countries where this class is sufficiently developed is it possible to pass directly from capitalism to socialism, without any special country-wide transitional measures. {6} We have stressed in a good many written works, in all our public utterances, and all our statements in the press, that this is not the case in Russia, for here industrial workers are a minority and petty farmers are the vast majority. In such a country, the socialist revolution can triumph only on two conditions. First, if it is given timely support by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries. As you know, we have done very much indeed in comparison with the past to bring about this condition, but far from enough to make it a reality.
   "
The second condition is agreement between the proletariat, which is exercising its dictatorship, that is, holds state power, and the majority of the peasant population. Agreement is a very broad concept which includes a whole series of measures and transitions. I must say at this point that our propaganda must be open and above-board. We must condemn most resolutely those who regard politics as a series of cheap little tricks, frequently bordering on deception. Their mistakes have to be corrected. You can't fool a class."

   From this quote, we can distill the following points:

4  'The socialist revolution requires special transition measures in countries in which small peasant agriculture predominates.' (This sufficiently approximates A.P.'s interpretation in point 1)

5  'The socialist revolution does not require special transition measures in countries in which agricultural wage-labor predominates.' (This sufficiently approximates A.P.'s interpretation in point 2)

6  'Only in a country in which agricultural wage-labor predominates is the transition from capitalism to socialism possible without special country-wide transitional measures.'

   Double-negating point 6, we get:

6xx 'The transition from capitalism to socialism is possible in countries in which peasant agriculture predominates, but requires special country-wide transitional measures.'

   In Lenin's text, there was no contradiction between points 4, 5, and 6, but the difference between Lenin's point 6 and A.P.'s point 3 is considerable, for Lenin's version at least allows for a transition to socialism in a country in which small peasant agriculture predominates, whereas A.P. didn't allow for a transition to socialism in such a country under any circumstances. More 'differences in translations'?
   In his text, Lenin also spelled out
two conditions under which the socialist revolution could triumph in a country in which peasant agricultural labor predominates. The first condition, which A.P. only somewhat correctly quoted, was 'if the revolution was given timely support by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries.' A.P. felt free to include that first condition (under which the Soviet revolution would succeed) because it also supported his twisted perspective: 'Since no other country had a socialist revolution at the same time as the Soviets, then the absence of supportive revolutions could only mean that socialism in Russia could not possibly triumph, so whatever materialized there was not worth supporting.' Since A.P.'s translation was incorrect, or else Lenin was willfully misinterpreted in order to propagate an anarchist perspective, A.P.'s conclusion in #3 was null and void.
   The
second condition, quoted above, but which A.P. could not possibly have included in his pamphlet without contradicting his 'dictatorship of the proletariat over the peasantry', contained the ideas of 1) the worker-peasant alliance, and 2) working class state power. Those very ideas were right there, ready to correct A.P., had he been honest enough to accept a little guidance onto the right track. Since A.P. didn't take the cue, he certainly also deserved Lenin's criticism directed against 'those who regard politics as a series of cheap little tricks, frequently bordering on deception.'
   In his text, Lenin went on to enumerate some of the problems with the
worker-peasant alliance; namely, the agreement between workers and peasants was not very satisfactory to some peasants, farm production lagged due to a lack of means of exchange, collective farms were being mismanaged, there was a major crop failure, etc. Lenin's overview was that the Bolsheviks were finding the building of socialism to be a very difficult task. The main obstacles included the relative small size of the industrial proletariat, the economic devastation left over from World War One, the ongoing civil war against the old feudal and capitalist ruling class elements, the support of those elements by the Europeans and Americans, and the failure of the technologically advanced countries to have their own proletarian revolutions in sympathy with the new Soviet Union. These factors and more were making it difficult to get socialism off the ground, and Lenin was discussing 'special transition measures', such as state capitalism, to try to advance the social revolution. If anything was certain during those trying times, it was that classless and stateless society - or A.P.'s version of 'socialism' - was completely out of sight, and out of most people's minds.
   In what other contexts did Lenin discuss the
transition period? In "The State and Revolution", a pamphlet that A.P. had to have read in its entirety, Lenin wrote (LCW 25, p. 468):

   "In other words, under capitalism we have the state in the proper sense of the word, that is, a special machine for the suppression of one class by another, and, what is more, of the majority by the minority. Naturally, to be successful, such an undertaking as the systematic suppression of the exploited majority by the exploiting minority calls for the utmost ferocity and savagery in the matter of suppressing, it calls for seas of blood, through which mankind is actually wading its way in slavery, serfdom and wage-labour.
   "
Furthermore, during the transition from capitalism to communism suppression is still necessary, but it is now the suppression of the exploiting minority by the exploited majority. A special apparatus, a special machine for suppression, the "state", is still necessary, but this is now a transitional state. It is no longer a state in the proper sense of the word; for the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the wage slaves of yesterday is comparatively so easy, simple and natural a task that it will entail far less bloodshed than the suppression of the risings of slaves, serfs or wage-labourers, and it will cost mankind far less. And it is compatible with the extension of democracy to such an overwhelming majority of the population that the need for a special machine of suppression will begin to disappear."

   That second paragraph was all very fine in theory, but certainly didn't describe the state machine that evolved in the old Soviet Union. But, for an alleged socialist like A.P. to twist Lenin's words around to make the Bolshevik revolution appear to be impossible, meant that he had to have abandoned the principle of international solidarity between socialist parties, which, along with his lies, again raises the question of 'for whom A.P. might really have been working'.

Union and Party Relations

   A.P. continued with a treatise on the role of trade unions (pp. 47-8):

p. 47:

"Marx on the Importance of Economic Organization.

   "The question may be asked: Did Marx attach any importance to the economic organization in the accomplishment of the proletarian revolution? The answer is emphatically in the affirmative. De Leon, in passing, observes "that here in America the union, the economic organization of labor, leaps to the transcendent importance that Marx's genius dimly descried in the distance ....." We have then, first, Marx's statement in "Value, Price and Profit," reading:

   ""[The unions] fail generally from limiting themselves to a guerrilla war against the effects of the existing system, instead of simultaneously trying to change it, instead of using their organized forces as a lever for the final emancipation of the working class, that is to say, the ultimate abolition of the wages system."*"
   
___________
   "
* "By consciously opposing the incessant encroachments of capitalism the economic organization becomes, quite unconsciously, the center of gravity [Schwerpunkt] for organizing the working class, even as the medieval communes served as centers of gravity for the rising bourgeoisie. Through the daily guerrilla fights between labor and capital the economic organizations of labor become still more important as levers for the abolition of the wages system." Quoted by Franz Mehring, in his work "Karl Marx," from resolution drafted by Marx for the Geneva Conference of the International Workingmen's Association, September 1866."

   This quote from the SLP pamphlet "Value, Price and Profit" is exactly true to the Progress Publishers edition of "Wages, Price and Profit", but A.P.'s excerpt left out ideas from the first two sentences of the original that would have provided a more balanced view of the trades unions question. Here they are (MESW II, pp. 75-6):

   "Thirdly. Trades Unions work well as centers of resistance against the encroachments of capital. They fail partially from an injudicious use of their power. They fail generally from limiting themselves to a guerrilla war against the effects ... {etc., exactly as A.P. quoted just above}"

   Marx knew quite a bit about trade unions, good and bad. If he had thought that socialist society could have been organized solely around unions, he probably would have said so somewhere. Marx's June 1865 "Notes for the Report on Wages, Price and Profit" to the First International included a few more ideas on how trade unions work well (DFI 1, p. 272):

   "3) Trades' Unions work well as far as they counteract, if even temporarily, the tendency to a fall in the general rate of wages, and as far as they tend to shorten and regulate the time of labour, in other words, the extent of the working day. They work well as far as they are a means of organising the working class as a class. They fail accidentally, by an injudicious use of their power, and they fail generally by accepting the present relations of capital and labour as permanent instead of working for their abolition."

   With regard to A.P.'s use of the footnote, the text of the 1951 Allen and Unwin edition of Mehring's "Karl Marx" is similar enough to A.P.'s version to allow it to pass without comment. However, the very next sentence of the text reads (p. 355):

   "In the past the trade unions had concentrated their activities too exclusively on the immediate struggle against capital, but in the future they ought not to hold themselves aloof from the general political and social movement of their class."

   Could A.P. have missed this reference to political action on the part of the trade unions? Not too easily, unless he had his blinders on. The footnote also seems to be similar in substance to a passage in an official version of "The Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council" written by Marx at the end of August, 1866 (DFI 1, pp. 347-8):

"6. TRADES' UNIONS. THEIR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

   "(a) Their past.
   "
Capital is concentrated social force, while the workman has only to dispose of his working force. The contract between capital and labour can therefore never be struck on equitable terms, equitable even in the sense of a society which places the ownership of the material means of life and labour on one side and the vital productive energies on the opposite side. The only social power of the workmen is their number. The force of numbers, however, is broken by disunion. The disunion of the workmen is created and perpetuated by their unavoidable competition amongst themselves.
   "
Trades' Unions originally sprang up from the spontaneous attempts of workmen at removing or at least checking that competition, in order to conquer such terms of contract as might raise them at least above the condition of mere slaves. The immediate object of Trades' Unions was therefore confined to everyday necessities, to expediencies for the obstruction of the incessant encroachments of capital, in one word, to questions of wages and time of labour. This activity of the Trades' Unions is not only legitimate, it is necessary. It cannot be dispensed with so long as the present system of production lasts. On the contrary, it must be generalised by the formation and the combination of Trades' Unions throughout all countries. On the other hand, unconsciously to themselves, the Trades' Unions were forming centres of organisation of the working class, as the mediaeval municipalities and communes did for the middle class. If the Trades' Unions are required for the guerrilla fights between capital and labour, they are still more important as organised agencies for superseding the very system of wages labour and capital rule.
   "
(b) Their present.
   "
Too exclusively bent upon the local and immediate struggles with capital, the Trades' Unions have not yet fully understood their power of acting against the system of wages slavery itself. They therefore kept too much aloof from general social and political movements. Of late, however, they seem to awaken to some sense of their great historical mission, as appears, for instance, from their participation, in England, in the recent political movement, from the enlarged views taken of their function in the United States, and from the following resolution passed at the recent great conference of Trades' delegates at Sheffield:

   ""That this conference, fully appreciating the efforts made by the International Association to unite in one common bond of brotherhood the working men of all countries, most earnestly recommend to the various societies here represented, the advisability of becoming affiliated to that body, believing that it is essential to the progress and prosperity of the entire working community."

   "
(c) Their future.
   "
Apart from their original purposes, they must now learn to act deliberately as organising centres of the working class in the broad interest of its complete emancipation. They must aid every social and political movement tending in that direction. Considering themselves and acting as the champions and representatives of the whole working class, they cannot fail to enlist the non-society men into their ranks. They must look carefully after the interests of the worst paid trades, such as the agricultural labourers, rendered powerless by exceptional circumstances. They must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of the downtrodden millions."

   Marx's recommendations regarding the attitude of trade unions to politics were found in parts (b) and (c). From the context of those excerpts, 'trade unions should be politically minded and not just concentrate on wages and other economic issues.' In an even more militant passage, Marx wrote (Ibid., p. 346):

"5. COOPERATIVE LABOUR
{excerpt}

   "(b) Restricted, however, to the dwarfish forms into which individual wage slaves can elaborate it by their private efforts, the co-operative system will never transform capitalistic society. To convert social production into one large and harmonious system of free and co-operative labour, general social changes are wanted, changes of the general conditions of society, never to be realised save by the transfer of the organised forces of society, viz., the state power, from capitalists and landlords to the producers themselves."

   In this section, Marx was more explicit about political action and expressed the possibility that the producing classes would forever remain enslaved to the upper classes if they didn't take state power.
   What Engels saw as a big problem for the working class in general, but which the
trade unions were helping to alleviate, was described in "The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844" (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1973, p. 255):

   "The active resistance of the English working-men has its effect in holding the money-greed of the bourgeoisie within certain limits, and keeping alive the opposition of the workers to the social and political omnipotence of the bourgeoisie, while it compels the admission that something more is needed than Trades Unions and strikes to break the power of the ruling class. But what gives these Unions and the strikes arising from them their real importance is this, that they are the first attempt of the workers to abolish competition. They imply the recognition of the fact that the supremacy of the bourgeoisie is based wholly upon the competition of the workers among themselves; i.e., upon their want of cohesion."

   Anyone who has wage-slaved with others is probably conscious of this 'competition of the workers among themselves'. Engels' observation is as valid today as when it was written. In his "Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International", Lenin revealed the monetary interests of the labor aristocracy that also helps keep the working class divided. (LCW 31, pp. 193-4):

   "11. One of the chief causes hampering the revolutionary working-class movement in the developed capitalist countries is the fact that because of their colonial possessions and the super-profits gained by finance capital, etc., the capitalists of these countries have been able to create a relatively larger and more stable labour aristocracy, a section which comprises a small minority of the working class. This minority enjoys better terms of employment and is most imbued with a narrow-minded craft spirit and with petty-bourgeois and imperialist prejudices. It forms the real social pillar of the Second International, of the reformists and the "Centrists"; at present it might even be called the social mainstay of the bourgeoisie. No preparation of the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie is possible, even in the preliminary sense, unless an immediate, systematic, extensive and open struggle is waged against this stratum, which, as experience has already fully shown, will no doubt provide the bourgeois White guards with many a recruit after the victory of the proletariat."

   Lenin maintained a certain amount of optimism that workers could do something about capitalism in the more advanced countries of the Western hemisphere. But Engels knew that workers in England were far, far away from being revolutionary, as he explained in a June 1879 letter to Bernstein (MESC, pp. 300-1):

   "For a number of years past the English working-class movement has been hopelessly describing a narrow circle of strikes for higher wage and shorter hours, not, however, as an expedient or means of propaganda and organisation but as the ultimate goal. The Trades Unions even bar all political action on principle and in their charters, thus excluding all participation in any general activity of the working class as a class. The workers are divided politically into Conservatives and Liberal Radicals, into supporters of the Disraeli (Beaconsfield) Cabinet and supporters of the Gladstone Cabinet. One can therefore speak of a labour movement only in so far as strikes take place here, which, whether they are won or not, do not get the movement one step further. To inflate such strikes - which moreover have often enough been brought about intentionally by the capitalists during the last few years of bad business to have a pretext for closing down their factories and mills, strikes in which the working-class movement does not make the slightest headway - into struggles of world importance, as is done, for instance, in the Freiheit published here, can, in my opinion, only do harm. No attempt should be made to conceal the fact that at present no real labour movement in the Continental sense exists here, and I therefore believe you will not lose much if for the time being you do not receive any reports on the doings of the Trades Unions here."

   Notice how contemptuous Engels seemed to be of 'higher wages and shorter hours'. To Marx Engels, and Lenin, capturing political and state power in order to expropriate the rich was seen as the only way to the new society.
   Back in my
Leninist days, I imagined a scenario in which the revolution in the USA would not take place until all of the colonies had won their independence, a scenario that supposedly would eliminate the source of money for our domestic labor aristocracy. Later on I wondered if, as many more people are put out of work by technology, and the working poor of all countries (including those of the first world) are all ground down to one common level of misery, that Marx's world-wide revolution would be inevitable. Now I know that, instead of a violent solution, workers will instead figure out ways to peacefully share what little work that has yet to be taken over by machines, if an ecological disaster doesn't first occur while consuming resources at unnecessarily high rates because of our unnecessarily long hours.
   In "
Marx and the Trade Unions", Lozovsky explained how the alleged opportunists distorted Marxism around the turn of the century (M+TU, pp. 141-2):

   "What went on in the heads of many trade unionists was formulated by Eduard Bernstein, the real spiritual father of social-fascism. Bernstein, as early as 1899, came out with his Prerequisites of Socialism, which should be duly dubbed the holy book of modern Social-Democracy. In this book of Bernstein's we find both industrial democracy, the growing into socialism by means of social reforms, and the democratisation of industry through the medium of the trade unions, etc. Bernstein, in writing his book, leaned for support on the trade unions, while the trade unionists, turning more and more away from Marx, became encouraged and openly recognised Bernstein as their theoretician and leader.
   "
Before Bernstein published his book the trade union pseudo-Marxists concealed their disagreement with Marx; but after the publication of the book, it became the fashion among the leaders of the German trade unions to "criticise" Marx. The trade unions in most cases did not theorise: they simply revised Marx in their day-to-day work, they distorted his teachings in practice and turned the elementals of Marxism on the role of the trade unions under the capitalist State upside down. If we examine historically the development of the anti-Marxian views of the trade unionists, we see that on the following questions they pursued the following lines:
   "
(1) The theory of the class struggle "is, itself," correct; however, it loses its significance with the development of the trade unions and the establishment of democracy; (2) Revolution is an obsolete conception, it corresponds to a lower level of social development; the democratic State precludes revolutions and the revolutionary struggle; (3) Democracy assures the working class the peaceful passing over from capitalism to socialism, and therefore the dictatorship of the proletariat is not and cannot be on the order of the day; (4) The theory of impoverishment held good at one time, but now it has become obsolete; (5) During the epoch of Marx it was perhaps true that the leading role in the trade unions belonged to the party. But to-day, only party-political neutrality can ensure the effective development of the trade union movement; (6) During the epoch of Marx strikes had to be considered perhaps as one of the most important weapons of struggle, but now the trade unions have outgrown this, etc.
   "
Thus, everything led to the point that Marxism had become out of date, that it must be re-examined, corrected and supplemented. The work of "correcting" Marxism was divided between the Social-Democrats and the trade unions. Before the war this was done under the slogan of the necessity of "enriching and developing Marxism on the basis of the theories of Marx.""

   It's amazing how, when the masses lead the way, they are often so much more correct than communist party ideologues. Next, A.P. quoted from the infamous Hamann article, which many researchers believe is a distortion of Marx's viewpoints (p. 48):

   "We also have Marx's statement to J. Hamann, general treasurer of the German metallurgical workers. It was made on the occasion of Marx's visit to his friend, Dr. Kugelman (sic), in Hanover, Germany, on September 30, 1869. It was reported by Hamann in The Volksstaat of November 17, the same year, as follows:

   ""The trades union should never be connected with, nor made dependent upon a political party, if the former is to fulfill its task. The moment that is done, the death-blow is dealt to it. The trades union is the school for Socialism. In the trades union the workingmen are trained into Socialists, because there the struggle with capital is daily carried on under their very eyes. All political parties, whatever their complexion may be, and without exception, warm up the working class only for a season, transitorily. The trades union [i.e., the economic organization], on the contrary, captures the mass of the workingmen permanently. ONLY THE TRADES UNION [i.e., the economic organization] IS CAPABLE OF SETTING ON FOOT A TRUE POLITICAL PARTY OF LABOR, AND THUS RAISE A BULWARK AGAINST THE POWER OF CAPITAL."

   "Commenting on this statement De Leon said, in part:

   ""The formation of the Socialist party gave impetus to the development of the Socialist Labor Party principle. SLP principle soon took shape in the principle that the union was an essential factor in the emancipation of the working class. The Marxian motto, 'only the union can give birth to the true party of labor' became the guiding light of the SLP. The Party lay main stress upon the organization of the working class into revolutionary unions, and considered the ballot, however important, useful and necessary, a secondary consideration.""

   Some scholars claim that the Hamann article attributed statements of theory to Marx that he had never made before, and that it also contradicted statements Marx had made elsewhere. A.P. considered one of its sentences important enough to capitalize:

   "ONLY THE TRADES UNION [i.e., the economic organization] IS CAPABLE OF SETTING ON FOOT A TRUE POLITICAL PARTY OF LABOR, AND THUS RAISE A BULWARK AGAINST THE POWER OF CAPITAL."

   Does that look like a statement Marx would have made? In a November, 1871, letter to F. Bolte, Marx wrote in essence that 'working class political movements are spawned by separate economic (union) movements, and political movements can further develop unions', as in a mutual relationship. That is a long way from 'only the trades union can set on foot a true political party of labor.' Let us take a look at the ramifications of that SLP 'principle', and try to reconcile it with Marx's 1872 Speech at the Hague Congress (MESW II, p. 292):

   "The worker will some day have to win political supremacy in order to organize labour along new lines;" ...

   The SLP statement of principle that 'Only the trade union is capable of setting on foot a true political party of labor' would quite effectively preclude people of intellectual and/or bourgeois backgrounds, like Marx and Engels, from initiating or participating in a true political party of labor. Engels' letter to Bebel of March, 1875, critiqued the position (or lack thereof) of the United Social-Democratic Workers' Party of Germany on relations with unions (MESW III, p. 34):

   "Fifthly, there is not a word about the organisation of the working class as a class by means of the trade unions. And that is a very essential point, in which it carries on its daily struggles with capital, in which it trains itself, and which nowadays even amid the worst reaction (as in Paris at present) can simply no longer be smashed. Considering the importance which this organisation has attained also in Germany, it would be absolutely necessary in our opinion to mention it in the programme and if possible to leave open a place for it in the Party organisation."

   If 'Only the trade union is capable of setting on foot a true political party of labor' was such a strong SLP principle, why would the Party have poured so much nourishment into its Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance (1895-1905)? That whole episode was more akin to 'the Party trying to set on foot a true union of labor', as were Party efforts later on to get the working class to organize into Socialist Industrial Unions. Even if the SIU represents Marx's reorganization of labor along new lines, then, according to Marx's Speech at the Hague Congress: such reorganization could not occur without the working class having first won political power. The corresponding political victory in SLP ideology is 'the abolition of the state at the ballot box', but 'that victory would be empty if the workers had not already organized themselves into Industrial Unions ready to assume control over industries at the moment of political victory.' According to Marx, capturing political power comes before reorganizing labor, while the SLP would reorganize labor along new lines before taking political power (away from the rich). That's one more way in which the allegedly Marxist SLP contradicts Marx.
   Let us compare some of the elements of the Hamann article with more official works of Marx. The article's first two sentences read (p.
48):

   ""The trades union should never be connected with, nor made dependent upon a political party, if the former is to fulfill its task. The moment that is done, the death-blow is dealt to it.""

   That imputed lack of connection between the two aspects of the workers' movement could be contrasted to a Resolution adopted at the 1871 London Conference of the First International on the subject of political action (DFI 4, pp. 444-5):

"RESOLUTIONS OF THE LONDON CONFERENCE

"IX

"POLITICAL ACTION OF THE WORKING CLASS
{Extract}

   "In presence of an unbridled reaction which violently crushes every effort at emancipation on the part of the working men, and pretends to maintain by brute force the distinction of classes and the political domination of the propertied classes resulting from it;
   "
Considering, that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes;
   "
That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the Social Revolution and its ultimate end - the abolition of classes;
   "
That the combination of forces which the working class has already effected by its economical struggles ought at the same time to serve as a lever for its struggles against the political power of landlords and capitalists -
   "
The Conference recalls to the members of the International:
   "
That in the militant state of the working class, its economical movement and its political action are indissolubly united."

   This 1871 Resolution on political action, showing the indissoluble unity between economic and political action, was written to counter the influence of Bakunin, who was preaching abstention from politics for the working class. Why, according to Hamann, 'workers cannot be members of both working class parties and unions at the very same time', is beyond Marxist imagination, and appears to be an anarchist rule. If the Hamann statement had warned workers against being connected with bourgeois political parties, that would have been a more plausible statement for Marx to have made, and indeed he did, in the part about the working class (MESW II, p. 291) 'constituting itself a distinct political party, opposed to all the old parties formed by the possessing classes'. In many of their writings, Marx and Engels stated that the workers' party could ally itself with movements that expressed interests parallel to their own, and oppose parties or movements with opposite or hostile interests.
   In his 1902 work "
What is to be Done", Lenin showed that, in the Russian monarchy of the time, in which both the economic and political movements of the working classes were illegal, it was possible for both aspects of the workers' movements to practically coincide. But, in the freer European democracies, where both parties and unions had won varying degrees of legality, they could operate more independently. Legal or illegal, Lenin thought it desirable for them to work together as closely as possible (LCW 5, p. 453). In "'Left-Wing' Communism - an Infantile Disorder", written two and a half years after the Bolshevik conquest of power, Lenin wrote that preaching "independence" of trade unions was counter-revolutionary, with the intent of rendering the proletariat "independent" of proletarian state power (see LCW 31, p. 48).
   The next part of the Hamann article that sounds unlikely for Marx to have stated was (p.
48):

   "All political parties, whatever their complexion may be, and without exception, warm up the working class only for a season, transitorily."

   If the Hamann article were to have stated: 'All bourgeois political parties ... warm up the working class only for a season', that would have been closer to what Marx and Engels intended.
   In the next chapter of "
PD vs. D+D", A.P. quoted Lenin again, and continued to theorize about unions (pp. 49-50):

p. 49:

"Organizing the Workers Industrially.

   "Turning to Lenin we find this pregnant observation:

   ""Without the closest connection with the trade unions, without their hearty support and self-sacrificing work . . . . it would have been, of course, impossible to govern the country and to maintain the dictatorship for two and a half years, or even for two and a half months." ("'Left Wing' Communism, an Infantile Disorder.") {1}

   "If this were true in Russia, if in such a low economic organism the union played so important a role, {2} how much more essential would it not be in an economic organism of such high order as the United States where the very conditions cry out for revolutionary economic organizations?
   "
To De Leon there never was any question as to the possibility of organizing the workers industrially. {3} To question that was to question the possibility of accomplishing the social revolution. He said:

   ""The social revolution is not accomplishable unless the proletariat becomes conscious of its class interests, conscious of its historic mission, and is organized accordingly. To deny the fact, and yet expect Socialism, is vain Utopia, in conflict, moreover, with historic evolution. To ignore the fact, and yet practise political Socialism, is a dastardly deception practised upon the proletariat {4} .... efforts will be vain .... unless the proletariat is organized economically in the battalions that will enable it to assume the reins of industrial government on the day of its political victory.""

   De Leon's statements certainly reflected the age-old battle between anarchists and state socialists.
   Now we shall see what A.P. - De Leon's intellectual successor - did with the topic of
organizing unions. A.P. started off with a quote from Lenin:

1  ""Without the closest connection with the trade unions, without their hearty support and self-sacrificing work . . . . it would have been, of course, impossible to govern the country and to maintain the dictatorship for two and a half years, or even for two and a half months." ("'Left Wing' Communism, an Infantile Disorder.")"

   Let us see what Lenin really said, including the part he even emphasized, but which A.P. felt necessary to replace with dots . . . . (LCW 31, p. 48):

   "In its work, the Party relies directly on the trade unions, which, according to the data of the last congress (April 1920), now have a membership of over four million and are formally non-Party. Actually, all the directing bodies of the vast majority of the unions, and primarily, of course, of the all-Russia general trade union centre or bureau (the all-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions), are made up of Communists and carry out all the directives of the Party. Thus, on the whole, we have a formally non-communist, flexible and relatively wide and very powerful proletarian apparatus, by means of which the Party is closely linked up with the class and the masses, and by means of which, under the leadership of the Party, the class dictatorship is exercised. Without close contacts with the trade unions, and without their energetic support and devoted efforts, not only in economic, but also in military affairs, it would of course have been impossible for us to govern the country and to maintain the dictatorship for two and a half months, let alone two and a half years. In practice, these very close contacts naturally call for highly complex and diversified work in the form of propaganda, agitation, timely and frequent conferences, not only with the leading trade union workers, but with influential trade union workers generally; they call for a determined struggle against the Mensheviks, who still have a certain though very small following to whom they teach all kinds of counter-revolutionary machinations, ranging from an ideological defense of (bourgeois) democracy and the preaching that the trade unions should be "independent" (independent of proletarian state power!) to sabotage of proletarian discipline, etc., etc."

   One can only wonder why a revolutionary like A.P. would have been so willing to drop the phrase "not only in economic, but also in military affairs" from this very important work of Lenin's, a good portion of which contained material about trade unions, and even a little about industrial unions. In that passage, Lenin described the close relation between the Bolshevik Party and the unions, but, in spite of A.P.'s inclusion of the portion about 'the closest connection with the trade unions', the reader would still have to guess as to whom or what the trade unions were supposed to be close. In a theoretical work such as A.P.'s, one would have expected at least a small comment on the obvious conflict between the Bolshevik policy of close cooperation between party and union, and the SLP principle of independence between the two, but we unfortunately got nothing of substance.

2  "If this were true in Russia, if in such a low economic organism the union played so important a role, how much more essential would it not be in an economic organism of such high order as the United States where the very conditions cry out for revolutionary economic organizations?

   From his little excerpt from Lenin, A.P. projected a sense of amazement, as though some unnamed principle had been violated by trade unions playing an important role in a technologically backward country like Russia. The amazement probably had a lot to do with the numbers game that we have been treated to, namely, downplaying the percentage of workers among the Russian population vs. the allegedly greater percentage of American workers among the American population, while no percentages were ever offered as evidence. A.P.'s assertions fueled a sense of awe at the thought: 'If trade unions were so important in Russia with its tiny proletariat, then the unions would be SUPER-important in the USA, where the percentage of workers is so much greater.' What a fantastic opportunity, then, for socialists to run after those hordes of unorganized workers and gather them into SIUs. But, merely a page away from where A.P. 'quoted' Lenin so briefly and incompletely, Lenin tackled precisely the theoretical arguments in favor of building new kinds of unions (LCW 31, pp. 49-50):

   "We cannot but regard as equally ridiculous and childish nonsense the pompous, very learned, and frightfully revolutionary disquisitions of the German Lefts to the effect that Communists cannot and should not work in reactionary trade unions, that it is permissible to turn down such work, that it is necessary to withdraw from the trade unions and create a brand new and immaculate "Workers' Union" invented by very pleasant (and, probably, for the most part very youthful) Communists, etc., etc.
   "
Capitalism inevitably leaves socialism the legacy, on the one hand, of the old trade and craft distinctions among the workers, distinctions evolved in the course of centuries; on the other hand, trade unions, which only very slowly, in the course of years and years, can and will develop into broader industrial unions with less of the craft union about them (embracing entire industries, and not only crafts, trades and occupations), and later proceed, through these industrial unions, to eliminate the division of labour among people, to educate and school people, give them all-round development and an all-round training, so that they are able to do everything. Communism is advancing and must advance towards that goal, and will reach it, but only after very many years. To attempt in practice, today, to anticipate this future result of a fully developed, fully stabilised and constituted, fully comprehensive and mature communism would be like trying to teach higher mathematics to a child of four.
   "
We can (and must) begin to build socialism, not with abstract human material, or with human material specially prepared by us, but with the human material bequeathed to us by capitalism. True, that is no easy matter, but no other approach to this task is serious enough to warrant discussion."

   It is quite clear from the above that Lenin was well aware of socialist thinking from all over the world. He clearly opposed ultra-left efforts to organize alternative types of unions in order to avoid the difficulties of working within the old trade unions. But, A.P. was as loath to comment on this contradiction with Leninism as he was to comment on how SLP views on independence of unions from parties contradicted Marxism.

3  'To De Leon there never was any question as to the possibility of organizing the workers industrially. To question that was to question the possibility of accomplishing the social revolution.'

   Once again, A.P. got his terms confused, as to him the 'social revolution' meant the immediate passage from capitalism to classless and stateless society; but, what Marx meant by a modern social revolution was the abolition of capital and class distinctions, a relatively protracted process coeval with the era of proletarian political supremacy. That's not all. Surprisingly enough, and due to the dramatic changes in lifestyles brought about by the relatively new capitalist mode of production, Marx and Engels regarded capitalism itself to be nothing short of a true social revolution.

4  '"To ... practise political Socialism, is a dastardly deception practised upon the proletariat"' ...

   After Europe failed to support the Russian Revolution with long-lasting revolutions of its own, the practice of any kind of property-grabbing socialism on the working class became a business of dastardly deception, but it may take a few more years for that bit of truth to be accepted.

   *  
 *    *

   The rest of Part II of "PD vs. D+D" (pp. 49-52) contained more quotes from De Leon, John Stuart Mill and Lewis Henry Morgan, and ended with an appeal to workers to organize industrially to control the economy, and not to worry about politics. It also repeated many theories already analyzed or yet to be analyzed, so, relatively speaking, it didn't seem particularly productive to analyze the rest of Part II at this time.

The Role of Force

   In Part III, we arrive at an important aspect of Marxism that no SLP theoreticians were willing to portray accurately: the matter of violent revolution, or peaceful evolution ("PD vs. D+D", p. 53):

p. 53:

"III

"BLOODY OR PEACEFUL REVOLUTION.

"What is Force?

   "In discussing the change from capitalism the question is invariably posed: Can it be done peacefully? There are two superstitions prevalent in this connection; one is that the revolution must necessarily be peaceful; the other, that it must necessarily be bloody. Neither is inevitable, but as De Leon so eloquently pointed out, with the working class organized politically and industrially, the chances are in favor of a peaceful revolution. But every Marxist agrees that no successful revolution is possible without force. The question presents itself: What do we mean by force? "Force," said Marx, "is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power." ("Capital.") {1} Mark that carefully: "Force is itself an economic power." Engels in his "Landmarks of Scientific Socialism" {2} observes that the revolver triumphs over the sword, and that "superior force is no mere act of the will but requires very real preliminary conditions for the carrying out of its purposes, especially mechanical instruments, the more highly developed of which have the superiority over the less highly developed. Furthermore [he continues] these tools must be produced, whence it appears that the producer of the more highly developed tool of force, commonly called weapon, triumphs over the producer of the less highly developed tool. In a word, the triumph of force depends upon the production of weapons, therefore upon economic power, on economic conditions, on the ability to organize actual material instruments..... Economic force is the control of the great industry ." Here again we have force reduced, in the final analysis, to economic power, to the ability to organize material instruments, as, for example, economic or Industrial Unions, and Engels, as you will observe, comes mighty close to saying just that. {3}

   "De Leon put it this way:
   "
"....the 'physical force' called for by the revolutionary act lies inherent in the economic organization; .... the element of 'force' consists, not in military or other organization implying violence, but on the STRUCTURE of the economic organization, a structure of such nature that it parries violence against itself, shatters it, and thereby renders the exercise of violence in return unnecessary, at least secondary, or only incidental....." {4}
   "
Frequently unthinking followers of Lenin {5} argue as if the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is synonymous with physical force and violence. Lenin very effectively dispelled this erroneous notion in his "Communist Saturdays" when he said:

   ""The Dictatorship of the Proletariat - as I have insisted several times, as, for instance, in my speech at the session of the Petrograd Soviet on May 13th - is not merely force used against the exploiter, and not even essentially force. The economic foundation of the revolutionary exercise of power, the guarantee of its permanence and success, consists in this: that the proletariat has created a higher form of social organization of labor than capitalism. That is the great thing." {6}

   "In "'Left Wing' Communism, an Infantile Disorder," Lenin observes that "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is sanguinary and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative" - which reduces the question to one of tactics adapted to particular countries and circumstances. {7} On the question of legal and illegal means Lenin said: "Inexperienced revolutionaries often think that legal means of struggle are opportunist, for the bourgeoisie often (especially in 'peaceful' non-revolutionary times) use such legal means to deceive and fool the workers. On the other hand, they think that illegal means in the struggle are revolutionary. This is not true."* {8}
_________
   "
* "The Bolshevik 'boycott' of 'parliament' in 1905 enriched the [Russian] revolutionary proletariat with highly valuable political experience, having shown that, by combining legal with illegal, parliamentary with non-parliamentary, forms of struggle, it may become necessary, and even essential, sometimes to be able to reject parliamentary forms. But to transfer this experience blindly, imitatively, uncritically, into different surroundings and different conditions is the greatest possible mistake." - Lenin, "'Left Wing' Communism, An Infantile Disorder."" {9}

   A.P. introduced this portion with some ideas about the possibility of a 'peaceful revolution', but common knowledge has it that 'revolutions are violent', while evolution is generally considered to be relatively peaceful.
   With the help of a few quotes out of context, A.P. then redefined
force as mainly economic power, thus making it easy for some enthusiasts to agree with De Leon that: 'The proper structure of economic power in the USA would facilitate a peaceful revolution.' To help support De Leon's theory, Lenin was quoted to the effect that: 'The foundation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia was' 'a higher form of social organization of labor than capitalism'. All of this was intended to lend credibility to A.P.'s theory that 'revolution is a matter of form, and, in the USA, it's no more of a bother than simply uniting into the SIU form.'
   First, A.P.
quoted Marx as having written in "Capital":

1  '"Force ... is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power."'

   From Part VIII, Chapter XXXI of Capital, entitled "Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist", let's take a closer look at the paragraph from which A.P. quoted (MESW II, pp. 133-4):

   "The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hothouse fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.
   "
Of the Christian colonial system, W. Howitt, a man who makes a specialty of Christianity, says:

   ""The barbarities and desperate outrages of the so-called Christian race, throughout every region of the world, and upon every people they have been able to subdue, are not to be paralleled by those of any other race, however fierce, however untaught, and however reckless of mercy and of shame, in any age of the earth."

   "The history of the colonial administration of Holland - and Holland was the head capitalistic nation of the 17th century - "is one of the most extraordinary relations of treachery, bribery, massacre, and meanness." {T. S. Raffles, "The History of Java," London, 1817} Nothing is more characteristic than their system of stealing men, to get slaves for Java. The men stealers were trained for this purpose. The thief, the interpreter, and the seller, were the chief agents in this trade, native princes the chief sellers." ...

   Marx went on for a few pages to chronicle the use of state power, brute force and atrocities by the capitalists as adjuncts to their pursuit of profits. In the paragraph A.P. quoted from, Marx made it quite clear that 'force is the power of the state', and that it took force to replace old feudal institutions with capitalist institutions. Out of all of the text showing how military force and changes in the form of state can have profound effects upon the development of economies, A.P. siphoned off just that single thought, "Force ... is itself an economic power", and the way that A.P. used it was to simply equate force with economic power, as if it could be expressed mathematically as 'Force = Economic Power.' To help 'prove' that 'Force = Economic Power', A.P. supplemented his equation by abusing an excerpt from "Anti-Dühring", in which Engels refuted the theories of the academic Eugen Dühring (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969, pp. 199-200):

"III

"THE FORCE THEORY

"(Continuation)

   "But let us look a little more closely at this omnipotent "force" of Herr Dühring's. Crusoe enslaved Friday "sword in hand." Where did he get the sword? Even on the imaginary islands of the Robinson Crusoe epic, swords have not, up to now, been known to grow on trees, and Herr Dühring provides no answer to this question. If Crusoe could procure a sword for himself, we are equally entitled to assume that one fine morning Friday might appear with a loaded revolver in his hand, and then the whole "force" relationship is inverted. Friday commands, and it is Crusoe who has to drudge. We must apologize to the readers for returning with such insistence to the Robinson Crusoe and Friday story, which properly belongs to the nursery and not to the field of science - but how can we help it? We are obliged to apply Herr Dühring's axiomatic method conscientiously, and it is not our fault if in doing so we have to keep all the time within the field of pure childishness. So, then, the revolver triumphs over the sword; and this will probably make even the most childish axiomatician comprehend that force is no mere act of the will, but requires the existence of very real preliminary conditions before it can come into operation, namely, instruments, the more perfect of which gets the better of the less perfect; moreover, that these instruments have to be produced, which implies that the producer of more perfect instruments of force, commonly called arms, gets the better of the producer of the less perfect instruments, and that, in a word, the triumph of force is based on the production of arms, and this in turn on production in general - therefore, on "economic power," on the "economic situation," on the material means which force has at its disposal."

   A word of explanation: The thesis from which Herr Dühring had operated was that (and Engels quoted Dühring directly on this point, Ibid., p. 190): ... ""the primary must be sought in direct political force and not in any indirect economic power."" Dühring had criticized socialists for claiming the opposite, viz., that 'the primary must be sought in economic power', but Engels observed that, 'in all 3 volumes of his writings, Dühring had not made a single attempt to prove his own thesis, never mind prove the socialists incorrect.' At the urging of his colleagues, Engels took on the refutation of Herr Dühring. While revisiting the Crusoe and Friday story, Engels turned Herr Dühring's lessons back on their feet.
   The parts that A.P. chose to extract, such as '
the revolver triumphing over the sword', etc., the reader may notice were from the parts of Engels' rebuttal to Dühring that Engels thought were childishly simple, and yet, A.P. handed off those excerpts as though they represented the acme of Engels's intellect.
   A.P. was oblivious as well to Engels' statement within the same paragraph: '
the triumph of force is based on the production of arms'. Had A.P. not had his blinders on to such statements, he would have seen in the very next paragraph of Engels' text that 'force and economic power are two entirely different things', and we would have been spared the chore of having to refute him on this point. Engels' next paragraph continued in a less childish manner (Ibid., p. 200):

   "Force, nowadays, is the army and navy, and both, as we all know to our cost, are "devilishly expensive." Force, however, cannot make any money; at most it can take away money that has already been made - and this does not help much either - as we have seen, also to our cost, in the case of the French milliards.*
__________
   *
"This is a reference to the 5,000 million francs that France paid to Germany as an indemnity in 1871-73 under the terms of the peace treaty, after her defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71." {Note by Progress Publishers.}

   "In the last analysis, therefore, money must be provided through the medium of economic production; and so once more force is conditioned by the economic situation, which furnishes the means for the equipment and maintenance of the instruments of force. But even that is not all. Nothing is more dependent on economic prerequisites than precisely army and navy. Armament, composition, organisation, tactics and strategy depend above all on the stage reached at the time in production and on communications. It is not the "free creations of the mind" of generals of genius that have had a revolutionizing effect here, but the invention of better weapons and the change in the human material, the soldiers; at the very most, the part played by generals of genius is limited to adapting methods of fighting to the new weapons and combatants."

   This paragraph, in which the dependence of force on economic conditions - and not their equality - could not have been avoided by A.P., for other elements of his argument came from several pages further along in the text, so he had to have at least read them. In his next several pages, Engels went on to recount the history of force, from the 14th century to the late 1800's. How dependent force was upon prevailing economic conditions was made clear by Engels throughout, and his timeless descriptions require the inclusion of a few relevant passages (Ibid., pp. 204-8):

   "The army has become the main purpose of the state, and an end in itself; the peoples are there only to provide soldiers and feed them. Militarism dominates and is swallowing Europe. But this militarism also bears within itself the seed of its own destruction. Competition among the individual states forces them, on the one hand, to spend more money each year on the army and navy, artillery, etc., thus more and more hastening their financial collapse; and, on the other hand, to resort to universal compulsory military service more and more extensively, thus in the long run making the whole people familiar with the use of arms, and therefore enabling them at a given moment to make their will prevail against the war-lords in command. And this moment will arrive as soon as the mass of the people - town and country workers and peasants - will have a will. At this point the armies of the princes become transformed into armies of the people; the machine refuses to work, and militarism collapses by the dialectics of its own evolution. What the bourgeois democracy of 1848 could not accomplish, just because it was bourgeois and not proletarian, namely, to give the labouring masses a will whose content would be in accord with their class position - socialism will infallibly secure. And this will mean the bursting asunder from within of militarism and with it of all standing armies.
   "
That is the first moral of our history of modern infantry. The second moral, which brings us back again to Herr Dühring, is that the whole organization and method of warfare, and along with these victory or defeat, prove to be dependent on material, that is, economic conditions: on the human material and the armaments material, and therefore on the quality and quantity of the population and on technical development.
   "In short, always and everywhere it is the economic conditions and the instruments of economic power which help "force" to victory, without which force ceases to be force.
   "In this sphere {naval armaments} it is most palpably evident that the "direct political force" which, according to Herr Dühring, is the "decisive cause of the economic situation," is on the contrary completely subordinate to the economic situation, that not only the construction but also the operation of the marine instruments of force, the warship, has itself become a branch of modern large-scale industry. And that this is so distresses no one more than force itself, that is, the state, which has now to pay for one ship as much as a whole small fleet used to cost; which has to resign itself to seeing these expensive vessels become obsolete, and therefore worthless, even before they slide into the water; and which must certainly be just as disgusted as Herr Dühring that the man of the "economic situation," the engineer, is now of far greater importance on board than the man of "direct force," the captain. We, on the contrary, have absolutely no cause to be vexed when we see that, in this competitive struggle between armour-plating and guns, the warship is being developed to a pitch of perfection which is making it both outrageously costly and unusable in war {due to the invention of the torpedo; according to a note by Engels}, and that this struggle makes manifest also in the sphere of naval warfare those inherent dialectical laws of motion on the basis of which militarism, like every other historical phenomenon, is being brought to its doom in consequence of its own development.
   "
Here, too, therefore we see absolutely clearly that it is not by any means true that "the primary must be sought in direct political force and not in any indirect economic power." On the contrary. For what in fact does "the primary" in force itself prove to be? Economic power, the disposal of the means of power of large-scale industry. Naval political force, which reposes on modern warships, proves to be not at all "direct" but on the contrary mediated by economic power, highly developed metallurgy, command of skilled technicians and highly productive coal-mines."

   Notice that A.P.'s 'translation' had Engels saying: "Economic force is the control of the great industry." In the middle of the last paragraph, however, the Progress Publishers' version reads (Ibid., p. 208):

   "For what in fact does "the primary" in force itself prove to be? Economic power, the disposal of the means of power of large-scale industry."

   Engels' very unambiguous statement can only be read as: 'Economic power is the primary in force', but A.P. 'quoted': "Economic force is the control of the great industry." Once again, A.P. either twisted words around until he got what he wanted, or else he was simply a victim of a totally incompetent translator. But, is there a snowball's chance in hell that any translation could have been that bad, or that A.P. could have missed all of the information in the text that contradicted the very points that he wanted to make?
   Aside from A.P.'s '
mistakes', notice how little that things have changed in over 100 years of technological evolution. Ships obsolete before launch, the devilishly expensive technology, the increasing dependence upon engineers and technicians to run the expensive technology, the permanent place of militarism in the economy, the bankruptcies of the states because of it, and the unusability of certain new weapons (Notice how often the world powers are using their nuclear arms!). And Engels showed how he believed militarism itself would come to an end (Ibid., p. 205 and again at p. 208):

   ... "socialism ... will mean the bursting asunder from within of militarism and with it of all standing armies."

   ... "militarism, like every other historical phenomenon, is being brought to its doom in consequence of its own development."

   In a November 3, 1892 letter to Paul Lafargue, Engels further related the effects of new technology on socialist tactics (ELC III, p. 208):

   ... "You will have seen the reports in the papers of the ghastly effects, in Dahomey, of the new [melinite] projectiles. A young Viennese doctor who has just arrived here (ex-assistant to Nothnagel) saw the wounds made by the Austrian projectiles in the Nürmitz strike, and he tells us the same thing. There's no doubt that people in danger of being shot to bits in this manner will want to know why. It's a capital thing for maintaining peace, but also for curbing the inclinations of so-called revolutionaries, on whose outbursts our governments count. The era of barricades and street fighting has gone for good; if the military fight, resistance becomes madness. Hence the necessity to find new revolutionary tactics. I have pondered over this for some time and am not yet settled in my mind." ...

   Even as late as 1892, it looks as though the important thing for Engels was the capture of political supremacy by any means necessary, though the matter of revolutionary tactics seemed to be somewhat troublesome.

2  "Landmarks of Scientific Socialism" ...

   This was a rather obscure name (associated with the Charles Kerr editions) of the major work commonly recognized by the name: Anti-Duhring.
   In spite of what Engels actually wrote about
force and economic power, A.P. continued to claim his right to 'interpret' Engels very loosely (p. 54):

3  ... '"Economic force is the control of the great industry." Here again we have force reduced, in the final analysis, to economic power, to the ability to organize material instruments, as, for example, economic or Industrial Unions, and Engels, as you will observe, comes mighty close to saying just that.'

   A more appreciative audience might be nodding in agreement with A.P., but did Engels really reduce 'force' to 'economic power'? And from one passage demonstrated to have been butchered by a cleaver? Both the context and words of Engels clearly showed that force is the power of the state and is dependent upon economic power. Force can also direct the economy along certain lines of development, such as by building up militarism; or by replacing old feudal institutions with modern capitalist institutions, or even by replacing the state with a state of the workers, as Engels wrote to Schmidt in October of 1890 (MESW III, p. 494):

   ... "And why do we fight for the political dictatorship of the proletariat if political power is economically impotent? Force (that is, state power) is also an economic power!" ...

   Engels would have used the political supremacy of the workers to re-organize labor along new lines, plan the economy, and eliminate anarchy in production. In that way, the proletarian dictatorship was to have become a potent economic power acting for the good of the lower classes. Such a sweet dream.
   After all of his
falsifying, and, in a remarkable stretch of perhaps even his own expansive imagination, A.P. interpreted his own fabrications to include the possibility that Engels had come 'mighty close' 'to reducing force to the ability to organize Socialist Industrial Unions', with no more indication of Engels' intent to say that than he indicated his conversion to anarchism. But, A.P. didn't stop there (p. 54):

4  "De Leon put it this way:
   "
". . . . the 'physical force' called for by the revolutionary act lies inherent in the economic organization; . . . . the element of 'force' consists, not in military or other organization implying violence, but on the STRUCTURE of the economic organization, a structure of such nature that it parries violence against itself, shatters it, and thereby renders the exercise of violence in return unnecessary, at least secondary, or only incidental. . . . ."

   De Leon's contrived response reflects the extent to which the promise of peaceful democratic change had so permeated popular consciousness that even the state-smashing program of anarchy had to adapt to the promise of peaceful change in order to vie for any place at all in the marketplace of ideas.
   And what theoretical exposition on
force would be complete without a quote from Lenin? A.P. obliged us with (p. 54):

5  "Frequently unthinking followers of Lenin argue as if the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is synonymous with physical force and violence. Lenin very effectively dispelled this erroneous notion in his "Communist Saturdays" when he said:

   First, look at how 'Frequently unthinking followers of Lenin argue' ... Was this supposed to mean that 'followers of Lenin frequently don't think'? Without a comma after 'Frequently', the meaning of that particular combination of words remains quite ambiguous. If 'Lenin's followers frequently don't think', then how often do A.P.'s followers think? A.P. then quoted Lenin fairly accurately:

6  ""The Dictatorship of the Proletariat - as I have insisted several times, as, for instance, in my speech at the session of the Petrograd Soviet on May 13th - is not merely force used against the exploiter, and not even essentially force. The economic foundation of the revolutionary exercise of power, the guarantee of its permanence and success, consists in this: that the proletariat has created a higher form of social organization of labor than capitalism. That is the great thing."

   Waht A.P. gave us needs to be compared to the actual passage from "A Great Beginning" (LCW 29, pp. 419-20):

   "It was natural and inevitable in the first period after the proletarian revolution that we should be engaged primarily on the main and fundamental task of overcoming the resistance of the bourgeoisie, of vanquishing the exploiters, of crushing their conspiracy (like the "slave-owners' conspiracy" to surrender Petrograd, in which all from the Black Hundreds and Cadets to the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were involved). But simultaneously with this task, another task comes to the forefront just as inevitably and ever more imperatively as time goes on, namely, the more important task of positive communist construction, the creation of new economic relations, of a new society.
   "
As I have had occasion to point out more than once, among other occasions in the speech I delivered at a session of the Petrograd Soviet on March 12, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not only the use of force against the exploiters, and not even mainly the use of force. The economic foundation of this use of revolutionary force, the guarantee of its effectiveness and success is the fact that the proletariat represents and creates a higher type of social organisation of labour compared with capitalism. This is what is important, this is the source of the strength and the guarantee that the final triumph of communism is inevitable.
   "
The feudal organisation of social labour rested on the discipline of the bludgeon, while the working people, robbed and tyrannised by a handful of landowners, were utterly ignorant and downtrodden. The capitalist organisation of social labour rested on the discipline of hunger, and, notwithstanding all the progress of bourgeois culture and bourgeois democracy, the vast mass of the working people in the most advanced, civilised and democratic republics remained an ignorant and downtrodden mass of wage-slaves or oppressed peasants, robbed and tyrannised by a handful of capitalists. The communist organisation of social labour, the first step towards which is socialism, rests, and will do so more and more as time goes on, on the free and conscious discipline of the working people themselves who have thrown off the yoke both of the landowners and capitalists.
   "
This new discipline does not drop from the skies, nor is it born from pious wishes; it grows out of the material conditions of large-scale capitalist production, and out or them alone. Without them it is impossible. And the repository, or the vehicle, of these material conditions is a definite historical class, created, organised, united, trained, educated and hardened by large-scale capitalism. This class is the proletariat."

   A.P. thought Lenin could be enlisted as an ally in 'dispelling the erroneous notion' that the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is synonymous with physical force and violence', but, in actual fact, Lenin stated in the paragraph just above the one A.P. quoted (and in many more places) that: 'until things settle down after the revolution, the revolutionary dictatorship IS synonymous with just that very physical force and violence against the exploiters as they struggle 'ten times stronger' to resume their exploitation over the lower classes.' Could A.P. have missed the paragraph right above the one he chose to start his quote? Only if he had his blinders on. In that paragraph, Lenin used the following words, all of which imply force and violence "in the first period after the proletarian revolution" (LCW 29, p. 419):

   ... 'overcoming the resistance of the bourgeoisie, of vanquishing the exploiters, of crushing their conspiracy' ...

   In his quest to sway the meaning of the dictatorship of the proletariat away from that of 'waging a civil war against exploiters', A.P. reproduced passages from Lenin that reflected the goals of economic reconstruction after the problems of consolidating the political revolution had been resolved. A.P. incorrectly portrayed 'constructive economic activities' as the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat for the period of time when violence and civil war are at the forefront of activity, both for the exploited and the exploiters.
   Look also at the historical context of Lenin's quote: By the time "
A Great Beginning" appeared in the middle of 1919, the Bolsheviks had been in power for over a year, and Lenin was looking forward to economic advances to ensure the permanence of the revolution. The subtitle of "A Great Beginning" just happens to be "Heroism of the Workers in the Rear. Communist Subbotniks." In other words, workers and peasants who were not already risking their lives at the war front were encouraged to sacrifice their spare time and do Subbotnik (overtime) labor, producing food and materials for use at the war front, or wherever else their labor was needed. But once again, A.P. was expecting his readers to lay their intelligence aside, and hopefully never read another thing about the Russian revolution, and thus allow themselves to be led to believe that 'the dictatorship of the proletariat primarily means a peaceful economic reconstruction of society.'
   A.P. continued (p.
55):

7  "In "'Left Wing' Communism, an Infantile Disorder," Lenin observes that "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is sanguinary and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative" - which reduces the question to one of tactics adapted to particular countries and circumstances."

   Let's compare what A.P. gave us with a more official translation (LCW 31, p. 44):

   "The dictatorship of the proletariat means a persistent struggle - bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative - against the forces and traditions of the old society."

   A.P. would not allow it to be known that "The dictatorship of the proletariat means a persistent struggle" ... Also, where Lenin wrote "bloody", A.P. used the more obscure "sanguinary", which, according to my dictionary, means 'bloodthirsty' and 'murderous'. Maybe A.P. was hoping that the words he chose would reinforce the notion that 'any but a SIU peaceful revolution could only be a murderous or bloodthirsty affair'. Let's also look on a more macroscopic level at what A.P. did with that quote (p. 55):

   '"The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is sanguinary and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative" - which reduces the question to one of tactics adapted to particular countries and circumstances.'

   Instead of the dictatorship of the proletariat being all of the above things, and all at the same time, as Lenin doubtlessly intended, A.P. instead implied that Lenin provided us with a menu of 'tactics' from which we can 'pretty much as we see fit' take our pick and select the ones we might think are appropriate to our countries or circumstances. The 'tactics' that A.P. liked best and would probably pick for 'American conditions' would be 'bloodless, peaceful, economic', and probably both 'educational and administrative'; but he most certainly would have left 'bloody', 'violent', and 'military' for Russia.
   There was no
literary crime which A.P. would not commit. He had such contempt for the intelligence of his readers that his lies got downright humorous sometimes. Perhaps there's a lesson here that A.P. did not want to teach. By consistently teaching something other than what Marx, Engels and Lenin intended, and many times even the opposite, but by our taking notice of it, we may have managed to learn. And by closely examining what A.P. was very careful to distort and falsify, it could very well be that, by our negating A.P.'s negations, we have taught ourselves the most critical lessons that the upper classes did not want us to learn at that time. It was my good fortune for having discovered this, and for having had such a good teacher as A.P., who may have ended up being the best teacher of the lessons of the age that most needed to be learned - by falsifying them, and then leaving us to our own devices.
   On the question of
legality, A.P. quoted Lenin again (p. 55):

8  "On the question of legal and illegal means Lenin said: "Inexperienced revolutionaries often think that legal means of struggle are opportunist, for the bourgeoisie often (especially in 'peaceful' non-revolutionary times) use such legal means to deceive and fool the workers. On the other hand, they think that illegal means in the struggle are revolutionary. This is not true.""

   From the above, it would be very easy to conclude that Lenin was a champion of legal and only legal means of struggle for the revolution. But, let's examine the wider context of Lenin's words (LCW 31, pp. 96-7):

   "Unless we learn to apply all the methods of struggle, we may suffer grave and sometimes even decisive defeat, if changes beyond our control in the position of the other classes bring to the forefront a form of activity in which we are especially weak. If, however, we learn to use all the methods of struggle, victory will be certain, because we represent the interests of the really foremost and really revolutionary class, even if circumstances do not permit us to make use of weapons that are most dangerous to the enemy, weapons that deal the swiftest mortal blows. Inexperienced revolutionaries often think that legal methods of struggle are opportunist because, in this field, the bourgeoisie has most frequently deceived and duped the workers (particularly in "peaceful" and non-revolutionary times), while illegal methods are revolutionary. That, however, is wrong. The truth is that those parties and leaders are opportunist and traitors to the working class that are unable or unwilling (do not say "I can't"; say, "I shan't") to use illegal methods of struggle in conditions such as those which prevailed, for example, during the imperialist war of 1914-18, when the bourgeoisie of the freest democratic countries most brazenly and brutally deceived the workers, and smothered the truth about the predatory character of the war. But revolutionaries who are incapable of combining illegal forms of struggle with every form of legal struggle are poor revolutionaries indeed."

   Lenin's text went on with more advice for revolutionaries in the most advanced capitalist countries. To have missed the lessons of those words, A.P. once again must have had his blinders on. The clever part about taking a quote out of context is that the perpetrator can point to the quote and claim that the author had indeed written those very words, and, indeed, though the words sometimes are not exactly synonymous, or don't appear exactly in the same order as in the Progress Publishers Editions, A.P. did quote many words of approximately the same meaning as Lenin's. A few who read this may claim that: 'Only a nit-picker would claim that A.P. did not impart the intent of Lenin's words.' The intent, perhaps, in a few cases. But, did A.P.'s excerpts include the whole idea? And there's the rub. For, while paying lip-service to Lenin's writings, A.P. often used Lenin's words to convey ideas that bore little to no resemblance to Lenin's original intentions.
   While A.P. quoted Lenin only in part, and to the effect that '
illegal means are not revolutionary', Lenin's text, to the contrary, clearly stated that 'the proletariat must use both legal and illegal means.' And of what 'nefarious' mechanisms did these illegal means consist? Nothing more outrageous than ordinary revolutionary propaganda, for, if propaganda opportunities and other forms of expression were denied by law, they thus became 'illegal'; and where in the world has revolutionary ideology ever been welcomed by the upper classes?
   Before the
Bolshevik Revolution, Russian capitalists sometimes locked workers out of their workplaces. What 'illegal' means did Lenin suggest for raising the morale of the workers without provoking bloodshed? Nothing more 'rrrrevolutionary' than the secret printing of leaflets announcing demonstrations, since freedom of the press was denied to them. In my readings of Lenin, nothing more 'rrrrevolutionary' than exercises of freedom of speech and press (freedoms that are so often taken for granted in America) were advocated, though such expressions were often deemed illegal by the czarist standards of the time. In his 1919 article "The Tasks of the Third International", Lenin defined illegal work (LCW 29, pp. 504-5):

   "Secondly, legal work must be combined with illegal work. The Bolsheviks have always taught this, and did so with particular insistence during the war of 1914-18. The heroes of despicable opportunism ridiculed this and smugly extolled the "legality", "democracy", "liberty" of the West-European countries, republics, etc. Now, however, only out-and-out swindlers, who deceive the workers with phrases, can deny that the Bolsheviks proved to be right. In every single country in the world, even the most advanced and "freest" of the bourgeois republics, bourgeois terror reigns, and there is no such thing as freedom to carry on agitation for the socialist revolution, to carry on propaganda and organisational work precisely in this sense. The party which to this day has not admitted this under the rule of the bourgeoisie and does not carry on systematic, all-sided illegal work in spite of the laws of the bourgeoisie and of the bourgeois parliaments is a party of traitors and scoundrels who deceive the people by their verbal recognition of revolution. The place for such parties is in the yellow, Berne International. There is no room for them in the Communist International."

   To me, for a long time, the term "illegal work" had connotations of nefarious, criminal activity, and A.P.'s treatment of the subject did nothing at all to help correct that misconception, nor did he define 'illegal work' in terms of what it really is - the natural and democratic tendencies of the lower classes to express themselves and communicate their concerns, in spite of censorship. The question of legality also come up with Marx and Engels. In an April 1895 letter to Kautsky, Engels complained of the maltreatment his latest Introduction to "The Class Struggles in France" had received at the hands of worried editors (MESC, p. 461):

   ... "To my astonishment I see in the Vorwärts today an extract from my "Introduction", printed without my prior knowledge and trimmed in such a fashion that I appear as a peaceful worshipper of legality at any price. So much the better that the whole thing is to appear now in the Neue Zeit so that this disgraceful impression will be wiped out. I shall give Liebknecht a good piece of my mind on that score and also, no matter who they are, to those who gave him the opportunity to misrepresent my opinion without even telling me a word about it" ...

   A.P. quoted Lenin on the subject of legal methods in a footnote (p. 55):

9   "The Bolshevik 'boycott' of 'parliament' in 1905 enriched the [Russian] revolutionary proletariat with highly valuable political experience, having shown that, by combining legal with illegal, parliamentary with non-parliamentary, forms of struggle, it may become necessary, and even essential, sometimes to be able to reject parliamentary forms. But to transfer this experience blindly, imitatively, uncritically, into different surroundings and different conditions is the greatest possible mistake." - Lenin, "'Left Wing' Communism, An Infantile Disorder.""

   At first, I found it difficult to figure out what point A.P. was trying to make by using this particular quote from Lenin. I first speculated that it might have been a sop to those who suspected that Lenin had always been a strong advocate of illegal methods and were wondering when A.P. was finally going to at least hint of that possibility. Later, I realized that the italics in A.P.'s version of the quote were supposed to drive home the message that 'illegal means were more appropriate to Soviet conditions than to American conditions, so Americans shouldn't use them.' Here is the Progress Publisher's version of that passage (LCW 31, pp. 35-6):

   "The Bolsheviks' boycott of "parliament" in 1905 enriched the revolutionary proletariat with highly valuable political experience and showed that, when legal and illegal, parliamentary and non-parliamentary forms of struggle are combined, it is sometimes useful and even essential to reject parliamentary forms. It would, however, be highly erroneous to apply this experience blindly, imitatively and uncritically to other conditions and other situations. The Bolsheviks' boycott of the Duma in 1906 was a mistake, although a minor and easily remediable one. (What applies to individuals also applies - with necessary modifications - to politics and parties. It is not he who makes no mistakes that is intelligent. There are no such men, nor can there be. It is he whose errors are not very grave and who is able to rectify them easily and quickly that is intelligent.) The boycott of the Duma in 1907, 1908 and subsequent years was a most serious error and difficult to remedy, because, on the one hand, a very rapid rise of the revolutionary tide and its conversion into an uprising was not to be expected, and, on the other hand, the entire historical situation attendant upon the renovation of the bourgeois monarchy called for legal and illegal activities being combined. Today, when we look back at this fully completed historical period, whose connection with subsequent periods has now become quite clear, it becomes most obvious that in 1908-14 the Bolsheviks could not have preserved (let alone strengthened and developed) the core of the revolutionary party of the proletariat, had they not upheld, in a most strenuous struggle, the viewpoint that it was obligatory to combine legal and illegal forms of struggle, and that it was obligatory to participate even in a most reactionary parliament and in a number of other institutions hemmed in by reactionary laws (sick benefit societies, etc.)."

   According to Lenin, it is rather foolish to boycott reactionary institutions. In the old days, at least, the SLP ruled that 'no member can seriously run for government office with the expectation of serving in the same manner as any other politician', probably because it was felt that 'members who exercise duties of office would betray the interests of the working class, because the government expresses only the interests of the ruling class.' While it is true that anarchists have been some of the sharpest critics of parliamentarism, Marx, Engels and Lenin felt that the working class should learn to make use of reactionary institutions, even while maintaining a healthy criticism of what goes on therein. In his August 28, 1919 "Letter to Sylvia Pankhurst" of London, Lenin wrote about the importance of working in parliaments (LCW 29, p. 564):

   "But the critics of parliamentarism in Europe and America, when they are anarchists or anarcho-syndicalists, are very often wrong insofar as they reject all participation in elections and parliamentary activity. Here they simply show their lack of revolutionary experience. We Russians, who have lived through two great revolutions in the twentieth century, are well aware what importance parliamentarism can have, and actually does have during a revolutionary period in general and in the very midst of a revolution in particular. Bourgeois parliaments must be abolished and replaced by Soviet bodies. There is no doubt about that. There is no doubt now, after the experience of Russia, Hungary, Germany and other countries, that this absolutely must take place during a proletarian revolution. Therefore, systematically to prepare the working masses for this, to explain to them in advance the importance of Soviet power, to conduct propaganda and agitation for it - all this is the absolute duty of the worker who wants to be a revolutionary in deeds. But we Russians fulfilled that task, operating in the parliamentary arena, too. In the tsarist, fake, landowners' Duma our representatives knew how to carry on revolutionary and republican propaganda. In just the same way Soviet propaganda can and must be carried on in and from within bourgeois parliaments."

   The lesson here is that lower classes have to use all of the avenues of struggle available, and, in a democracy, must participate in politics of all sorts without getting carried away with prospects of miracles simply if one of them gets elected. In a portion of "The State and Revolution", published in the period between Russia's bourgeois-democratic and proletarian revolutions, Lenin contrasted parliamentarism with the Commune (LCW 25, pp. 428-9):

   "The way out of parliamentarism is not, of course, the abolition of representative institutions and the elective principle, but the conversion of the representative institutions from talking shops into "working" bodies. "The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the same time."
   "
"A working, not a parliamentary, body" - this is a blow straight from the shoulder at the present-day parliamentarians and parliamentary "lap-dogs" of Social-Democracy! Take any parliamentary country, from America to Switzerland, from France to Britain, Norway and so forth - in these countries the real business of "state" is performed behind the scenes and is carried on by the departments, chancelleries and General Staffs. Parliament is given up to talk for the special purpose of fooling the "common people". This is so true that even in the Russian republic, a bourgeois-democratic republic, all these sins of parliamentarism came out at once, even before it managed to set up a real parliament. ...
   "
The Commune substitutes for the venal and rotten parliamentarism of bourgeois society institutions in which freedom of opinion and discussion does not degenerate into deception, for the parliamentarians themselves have to work, have to execute their own laws, have themselves to test the results achieved in reality, and to account directly to their constituents. Representative institutions remain, but there is no parliamentarism here as a special system, as the division of labour between the legislative and the executive, as a privileged position for the deputies. We cannot imagine democracy, even proletarian democracy, without representative institutions, but we can and must imagine democracy without parliamentarism, if criticism of bourgeois society is not mere words for us, if the desire to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie is our earnest and sincere desire, and not a mere "election" cry for catching workers' votes, as it is with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and also the Scheidemanns and Legiens, the Sembats and Vanderveldes."

   A.P. moved on to the subject of 'armies' (p. 55):

p. 55:

"Military Force Analyzed and Rejected.

   "Disputing the contention that military force or power is superior to economic power, and that the workers should be organized in military units rather than in Industrial Unions, De Leon stated:
   "
"A military organization implies not one, or two, it implies a number of things. Bombs, explosives, generally, may be left out of the reckoning. They may be of incidental, but not of exclusive use by an organized force.
   "
"First of all powder is needed. The best of powder needs bullets and balls to do the business. The best of powder, bullets and balls are useless without guns. Nor are inferior guns of much avail when pitted against the up-to-date guns at the command of the capitalist class. The military organization of the revolutionary proletariat will need the most effective weapons. The question has often been asked from capitalist sources, Where will you get the money from to buy the railroads and the other capitalist plants? The question is silly. No one proposes, nor will there be any occasion, to 'buy' those things. Not silly, however, but extremely pertinent, is the question, Where will the proletariat get the billions needed to purchase such a military equipment?
   "
"Suppose the billions be forthcoming. Weapons, in the hands of men unskilled in their use are dangerous, primarily, to those who hold them. Numbers, undrilled in military evolutions, only stand in one another's way. Where and how could these numbers practise in the use of their arms, and in the military drill? Where and how could they do the two things in secret? In public, of course, it would be out of question.
   "
"Suppose, finally, that the problem of the billions were solved, and the still more insuperable problem of exercise and drill be overcome. Suppose the military organization of the proletariat took the field and triumphed. And then - it would immediately have to dissolve. Not only will it not have been able to afford the incidental protection that the revolutionary union could afford to the proletariat while getting ready, but all its implements, all the money that it did cost, all the tricks it will have learned, and the time consumed in learning them, will be absolutely lost. Its swords will have to be turned into pruning hooks, its guns into ploughshares; its knowledge to be unlearned.
   "
"How would things stand with the integrally organized Industrial Union?
   ""
First, its cost is trifling, positively within reach;
   "
"Secondly, every scrap of information it gathers while organizing is of permanent value;
   "
"Thirdly, it will be able to offer resistance to capitalist encroachments, and thereby to act as a breastwork for its members, while getting ready;
   "
"Fourthly, and most significant and determining of all, the day of its triumph will be the beginning of the full exercise of its functions - the administration of the productive forces of the nation.
   "
"The fourth consideration is significant and determining. It is the consideration that Social Evolution points the finger to, dictating the course that the proletariat must take; - dictating its goal; - dictating its methods; - dictating its means. The proletariat, whose economic badge is poverty; the proletariat, whose badge, the first of all revolutionary classes, is economic impotence; - for the benefit of that class, apparently treated so stepmotherly by Social Evolution, Social Evolution has wrought as it has wrought for none other. It has builded the smithy of capitalist industrial concentration; and, in keeping with the lofty mission of the working class to abolish class rule on earth, Social Evolution has gathered ready for the fashioning, not the implements of destruction, but the implements of future peace, withal the most potent weapon to clear the field of the capitalist despot - the industrially ranked toilers. The industrially organized Industrial Union is the weapon that Social Evolution places within the grasp of the proletariat as the means for their emancipation."

   "There should be no doubt in the minds of reasonable men that here, once and for all, De Leon disposed of that particular question."

   De Leon disposed of the question of force vs. peaceful solutions oh, so well, and A.P. learned the 'brilliant' method behind it, viz., setting up straw-man arguments, and describing the destruction of those arguments as strokes of genius, especially if De Leon exercised his gray matter to do it.
   It would have been more appropriate if this
chapter had been entitled: 'Revolution for Idiots.' To imagine, in the freest democratic republic in the world at the time (and still very free), that the working class might want to contemplate coming to power by organizing itself into an army, buying all the weapons it needs from the capitalists (thus putting some of the workers back to work), but not being able to drill for want of a secret training field, but, once having won their great battle against the capitalist army some fine day, they would then have to dissolve their army immediately - Well, if this is the scenario that the workers would have to act out in the absence of Socialist Industrial Unionism, then I, for one, would most certainly prefer the SIU! But, isn't there any other scenario that is less absurd? Engels' lessons from "Anti-Dühring", on the other hand, about the disintegration of the army from within is something that really happens in revolutionary situations.
   Not being one to reject
violence under all circumstances, Marx advocated general military training, as reflected in Part 10 of his August, 1866, "Instructions for Delegates of the Provisional General Council" of the First International (MESW II, pp. 84-5):

"10. ARMIES

   "(a) The deleterious influence of large standing armies upon production, has been sufficiently exposed at middle-class congresses of all denominations, at peace congresses, economical congresses, statistical congresses, philanthropical congresses, sociological congresses. We think it, therefore, quite superfluous to expatiate upon this point.
   "
(b) We propose the general armament of the people and their general instruction in the use of arms.
   "
(c) We accept as a transitory necessity small standing armies to form schools for the officers of the militia; every male citizen to serve for a very limited time in those armies."

   Notice that Marx considered the deleterious effects of armies upon production to have been an issue well covered by the middle classes.
   In a letter to Terzaghi of Jan. 14, 1872, while the battle against the
anti-authoritarian anarchists was raging in the International, Engels mourned the lack of authority with which the Communards had pursued their goal (NW 153, p. 68):

   ... "I believe the terms "Authority" and centralisation are being greatly abused. I know nothing more authoritarian than a revolution, and when one's will is imposed on others with bombs and bullets, as in every revolution, it seems to me an act of authority is being committed. It was the lack of centralisation and authority that cost the Paris Commune its life. Do what you like with authority, etc., after the victory, but for the struggle we must unite all our forces in one fascio {fist} and concentrate them at one point of attack. And when I am told that authority and centralisation are two things that should be condemned under all possible circumstances it seems to me that those who say so either do not know what a revolution is or are revolutionaries in name only" ...

   Lenin had a similar dispute with Karl Kautsky on the question of disarming after victory. In his October 1918 short version of "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", Lenin waxed emotional about Kautsky's conclusions (LCW 28, p. 109):

   "I must mention, in passing, a few gems of his renegacy.
   "
Kautsky has to admit that the Soviet form of organisation is of world-wide, and not only of Russian significance, that it is one of the "most important phenomena of our times", and that it promises to acquire decisive significance" in the future great "battles between capital and labour". But, imitating the wisdom of the Mensheviks, who have happily sided with the bourgeoisie against the proletariat, Kautsky "deduces" that the Soviets are all right as "battle organisations", but not as "state organisations".
   "
Marvelous! Form up in Soviets, you proletarians and poor peasants! But, for God's sake, don't you dare win! Don't even think of winning! The moment you win and vanquish the bourgeoisie, that will be the end of you; for you must not be "state" organisations in a proletarian state. In fact, as soon as you have won you must break up!
   "
What a marvelous Marxist this man Kautsky is! What an inimitable "theoretician" of renegacy!"

   As little as Kautsky wanted the soviets to wield state power, neither did the SLP want American workers to win any victory except at the ballot box, and then sabotage its own victory by disbanding both the state and the party.
   A.P. continued to describe the
Party's 'peaceful solution' (p. 58):

p. 58:

"De Leon on Peaceful Solution.

   "In "Socialist Reconstruction of Society" De Leon develops the question of a peaceful solution fully. Speaking of "the consummation of that ideal so dearly pursued by the Socialist {1} - THE PEACEFUL SOLUTION OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION," he points out that while in Europe a peaceful solution is out of the question, here it is otherwise. {2} Here the capitalist is essentially a swindler, and "the swindler," says De Leon, "is a coward." {3} He adds: "Like a coward, he will play the bully, as we see the capitalist class doing, toward the weak, the weak because disorganized, working class. Before the strong, the bully crawls. Let the political temperature rise to the point of danger, then, all monkeying with the thermometer notwithstanding, your capitalist will quake in his stolen boots; he will not dare to fight; he will flee {4} .....The complete industrial organization of the working class will then have insured the peaceful issue of the struggle. {5} But perhaps the capitalist may not flee. Perhaps, in a delirium of rage, he may resist. So much the worse - for him. The might, implied in the industrial organization of the working class of the land, will be in position to mop the earth with the rebellious usurper in short order and safeguard the right that the ballot proclaimed."" {6}

   In this excerpt, A.P. and De Leon made the following points:

1  'The peaceful solution to the social question is an ideal dearly pursued by the socialist.'

   As for 'socialist ideals', Engels said it best in an August 1884 letter to Paul Lafargue (ELC II, p. 235):

   ... "Marx would protest against the economic "political and social ideal" which you attribute to him. When one is a "man of science," one does not have an ideal; one works out scientific results, and when one is a party man to boot, one fights to put them into practice. But when one has an ideal, one cannot be a man of science, for one starts out with preconceptions." ...

   Because socialist revolutionism is obsolete, what the class abolitionist 'dearly pursues' is full participation in the economy for the lower classes, which, in our democracies, can be accomplished entirely peacefully, and without playing power and property games. Socialism, by definition, means socializing ownership of the means of production, which can be peacefully accomplished only if compensation accompanies socialization of ownership. But, such socialization results in no more than state capitalism, which satisfies communists and anarchists not a whit.

2  'The peaceful solution is obtainable in the USA, but not in Europe.'

   That notion was already becoming obsolete by the time of Marx's 1872 Speech at the Hague, and was totally obsolete by the time A.P. wrote his pamphlet. Western Europe by 1931 was FAR more democratic than ever before; few absolute monarchies remained to be overthrown, so peaceful change was as fit for Western Europe in 1931 as it was for the USA.

3  'The capitalists are swindlers, cowards and bullies.'

   Here De Leon engaged in pure classism, as if a world that is full of racism, sexism, ageism, and perhaps other kinds of 'isms needs to be infected with yet another 'ism. Calling the capitalists names, as though they were any better, worse, inferior, or superior to any other economic class of people, is no way in which the struggle between rich and poor can be peacefully won. Psychologically, name-calling can give activists a false sense of superiority, which can then paralyze them with pity for their 'inferior' upper class opponents.

4  'The capitalists will flee at signs of danger presented by the lower classes.'

   Where exactly would the capitalists go? Workers have no intentions of physically endangering the rich, but the anarchists have a long history of voicing such intentions.

5  'The complete industrial organization of the working class will then have insured the peaceful issue of the struggle.'

   Now it looks as though 'the SIU will insure peace', as though it will do it as part of the insurance industry. But, just in case peace is not our fate, we find the following:

6   'The industrial organization of the working class will mop the earth with the resisters, if necessary, and protect the mandate won at the ballot box.'

   After all of his incantations over peaceful methods, here was his admission that the revolutionary expropriation may not go as idyllically as desired, even if the Party program were to be followed to the letter. It must have been suspected that the ruling class might not react very amiably to the radical loss of their property and their political and economic supremacy. But why threaten the upper classes with a scenario of 'losing everything they've ever worked, lived, breathed and fought for', when a reduction in the length of the work week to match the replacement of labor by machines would leave upper class values intact, and would only reduce the rate of exploitation of the workers? There surely must be a significant number of bosses willing to do something real about the rips and tears in the social fabric, and who would be willing to sacrifice a little wealth in order to gain a lot of security and peace of mind, just as they did in the Depression of the 1930's, when half of the businesses voluntarily instituted work-sharing by means of shorter work hours. Kellogg's didn't entirely phase out its 6-hour day until the late 1980's. If it worked before, it will work again.

Nowhere to Run

   Next, A.P. assured us that 'victory is ours' (pp. 59-60):

p. 59:

"Shaking in Stolen Boots.

   "De Leon here spoke prophetically. For on a small scale we have had a concrete demonstration of the correctness of his contention that the capitalist is a coward who, in the hour of danger, will flee or surrender. {1} In 1918, shortly following the Bolshevik revolution, Charles M. Schwab, the steel magnate, in obvious panicky fear, declared:

   ""The time is coming when the men of the working classes, the men without property, will control the destinies of this world of ours. It means that the Bolshevik sentiment must be taken into consideration and in the very near future. We must look to the worker for a solution of the economic conditions now being considered.
   "
"I am not one to carelessly turn over my belongings to the uplift of the nation, but I am one who has come to a belief that the worker will rule, and the sooner we come to a realization of this the better it will be for our country and the world at large.
   "
"This great change is going to be a social adjustment. I repeat that it will be a great hardship to those who control property, but perhaps in the end it will work estimably to the good of us all. Therefore, it is our duty not to oppose, but to instruct, to meet, and to mingle with the views of others." {2}

   "Mr. Schwab is by no means alone in his fear of the proletarian revolution, {3} though all of the capitalists maynot be quite as chicken-hearted as "Weeping Charlie." That he is not alone in this dread of the impending doom of capitalism is indicated by a writer in a recent issue of the plutocratic newspaper, the New York Herald Tribune. In today's issue (December 13, 1931), this paper contains an article by Bruce Barton, a typical go-getter and apologist for capitalism. Mr. Barton says, in part, as follows: "A young man who is vice-president of a New York bank told me that he dined recently at a fashionable resort. 'All the other guests were very rich,' he said. 'They were older people, many of them retired. They were shaking in their boots. They are afraid there will be a social upheaval and that their money will be taken away.'" (Emphasis mine.) And Mr. Barton adds, quite properly, "I told him I thought these people had a right to worry." Yes, well may these capitalists, exploiters and useless parasites shake in their stolen boots. {4} Even if they do not all clearly perceive the handwriting on the wall, they possess like other beasts of prey, and wild creatures in general, a quality or a sense which warns them of impending storms and cataclysms. {5} If they all take the view expressed by Mr. Schwab, and act accordingly, they need not, however, fear anything worse than the prospect of life-long, useful labor - a prospect, which to them, indeed, may and undoubtedly does appear to be a dreadful one. {6} If on the other hand, they do not react to the coming change in the manner of the canny Charles M. Schwab, it will be just too bad for them. For the working class, properly organized, will possess supreme economic power, leaving little or no opportunity for rebellious capitalists to work any mischief." {7}

   Would capitalists get mad enough to fight if workers threatened total expropriation? I can't think of a better way to start a civil war and ensure violence than to threaten expropriation, but A.P. quoted a news reporter who assured us that the capitalist class is scared of the workers, and would flee during a revolution, though 'where to' wasn't mentioned.

1  ... 'the capitalist is a coward who, in the hour of danger, will flee or surrender.'

   The brave A.P., who was never afraid to tell the truth, called the capitalist a "coward", as if cowardice were part and parcel of the condition of being rich. This is pure classism, i.e., ascribing an unpleasant characteristic to people solely on the basis of their membership in a different economic class. A.P. would have us believe that: 'Capitalists are cowardly exploiters, and workers are brave revolutionaries.' Who was A.P. trying to kid?

2  ... '"I am one who has come to a belief that the worker will rule, and the sooner we come to a realization of this the better it will be for our country and the world at large. ... it is our duty not to oppose, but to instruct, to meet, and to mingle with the views of others."'

   A far-sighted capitalist like Mr. Schwab, who was quite capable of looking beyond the balance sheet, deserved much better treatment than the insults A.P. afforded him. Mr. Schwab was capable of dealing with a predicted dismal fate for his class with dignity, diplomacy, and with a sense of a need for classes to peacefully and calmly negotiate policies.

3  "Mr. Schwab is by no means alone in his fear of the proletarian revolution, though all of the capitalists may not be quite as chicken-hearted as "Weeping Charlie.""

   In spite of the way Mr. Schwab distinguished himself with his willingness to negotiate with the lower classes, look at the fighting words that A.P. used! Is this the kind of language we should get from advocates of peaceful change in the USA? Such a knee-jerk rejection of negotiation with thoughtful individuals from other classes indicates an appalling lack of judgment, and was yet another affirmation of destructive anarchistic ideology. If A.P. was looking for violence, he couldn't have picked better words.

4  "Yes, well may these capitalists, exploiters and useless parasites shake in their stolen boots."

   As to the question of 'stolen boots', the instructor of my old study class had a more civilized attitude to the question of 'theft' of the product of labor. He explained that the exploitation of labor takes place at the point of production, where all of the values that are produced are willingly given up in exchange for wages. It is not at all akin to robbery, where values are expropriated in exchange for nothing, while injury or worse may occur in conjunction with the theft.

5  "Even if they do not all clearly perceive the handwriting on the wall, they possess like other beasts of prey, and wild creatures in general, a quality or a sense which warns them of impending storms and cataclysms."

   Once again, A.P. ranted, raved, and engaged in pure classism. The terms used to disparage the capitalist class include:

   1  'useless parasites'
   2  'beasts of prey'
   3 'wild creatures'

   After applying sub-human terms to the capitalists, how could any humane person fail to be moved to pity them as victims of the circumstance of simply being wealthy, often due to no fault of their own? Not very many of the rich complain about the natural tendency of the system to concentrate an increasing amount of wealth in their hands. Certainly there are some with hereditary wealth who play no active role in increasing the amount of wealth that flows to them, while the increasing productivity of labor continues to make the upper classes ever increasingly richer in comparison to the poor.
   
Threatened by removal of their wealth by revolution, as A.P. put it, capitalists were portrayed as animals scurrying before a storm. And look at how the capitalists were seemingly endowed with an extra-human sense which warns them of impending storms and cataclysms. By verbally abusing the alleged scared and scurrying capitalists, and by causing the reader to feel pity for them, A.P. effectively paralyzed ardor for change in some activists, and probably caused others to feel as though nothing could be lost by going for a revolution. A great way to build mob sentiment and divide workers. Is that the kind of nonsense it takes to create an anarchist revolution in the USA? To fill the minds of the naive with classist nonsense, similar to the nonsense that racist organizations instill in their memberships? Or the nonsense that sexists try to attribute to their gender of choice?

6  "If they all take the view expressed by Mr. Schwab, and act accordingly, they need not, however, fear anything worse than the prospect of life-long, useful labor - a prospect, which to them, indeed, may and undoubtedly does appear to be a dreadful one."

   As if expecting to be appointed Minister of Justice after the revolution, A.P. prematurely sentenced capitalists to a lifetime of labor. Such 1931ish boilerplate propaganda is a complete joke to 21st century activists with a weather eye on technological changes, and who suspect that the era of work will be over for everyone before 2030. Capitalists will no more be sent off to work than Bakunin will come back from the grave.

7  'If on the other hand, they do not react to the coming change in the manner of the canny Charles M. Schwab, it will be just too bad for them. For the working class, properly organized, will possess supreme economic power, leaving little or no opportunity for rebellious capitalists to work any mischief.'

   There's nothing like embarking on the road to peaceful revolution by openly threatening the capitalist class with the 'supreme economic power' of the working class. What is this 'supreme economic power' but the ability to go out and buy anything a worker could desire? Does being 'properly organized' have anything to do with joining a buyer's club?

War and Peace

   On pages 60-61 of "PD vs. D+D", A.P. continued with:

p. 60:

"Marx on Peaceful Solution.

   "We know, from their own words, that both Marx and Engels thought it possible to accomplish the revolution in a peaceful manner in such countries as England and America. In 1872 Marx, addressing a congress of the International at the Hague, said:
   "
"The worker must one day capture political power in order to found the new organization of labor. He must reverse the old policy, which the old institutions maintain, if he will not, like the Christians of old who despised and neglected such things, renounce the things of this world.
   "
"But we do not assert that the way to reach this goal is the same everywhere.
   "
"We know that the institutions, the manners and the customs of the various countries must be considered, and we do not deny that there are countries like England and America, and, if I understood your arrangements better, I might even add Holland, where the worker may obtain his object by peaceful means. But not in all countries is this the case.""

   If we did not know A.P. as well as we do by now, we could ask why he did not include the portion about force at the end of the last sentence, such as what the version below includes. To show how different 'translations' can be from one book to the next, the entire excerpt is reproduced according to the text of the Progress Publisher's edition (MESW II, pp. 291-3):

 * THE HAGUE CONGRESS

 REPORTER'S RECORD OF THE SPEECH MADE AT THE MEETING

HELD IN AMSTERDAM ON SEPTEMBER 8, 1872

 {Excerpt from Marx's Speech}

   "The Hague Congress did three principal things:
   "
It proclaimed the necessity for the working classes to fight, in the political as well as the social sphere, against the old society, a society which is collapsing; and we are happy to see that the resolution of the London Conference is from now on included in our Rules.* A group had formed in our midst advocating the workers' abstention from politics.
   "
We have thought it important to point out how very dangerous and baneful to our cause we considered these principles to be.
   "
The worker will some day have to win political supremacy in order to organise labour along new lines; he will have to defeat the old policy supporting old institutions, under penalty - as in the case of the ancient Christians, who neglected and scorned it - of never seeing their kingdom on earth.
   "
But we have by no means affirmed that this goal would be achieved by identical means.
   "
We know of the allowances we must make for the institutions, customs and traditions of the various countries; and we do not deny that there are countries such as America, England, and I would add Holland if I knew your institutions better, where the working people may achieve their goal by peaceful means. If that is true, we must also recognise that in most of the continental countries it is force that will have to be the lever of our revolutions; it is force that we shall some day have to resort to in order to establish a reign of labour."
___________

 * FROM THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE GENERAL

 CONGRESS HELD IN THE HAGUE

 SEPTEMBER 2-7, 1872
 

 I

 RESOLUTION ON THE RULES

   "
That the following article summing up the content of Resolution IX of the London Conference (September 1871) be included in the rules after Article 7.
   "
Article 7a. In its struggle against the collective power of the possessing classes the proletariat can act as a class only by constituting itself a distinct political party, opposed to all the old parties formed by the possessing classes.
   "
This constitution of the proletariat into a political party is indispensable to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and of its ultimate goal: the abolition of classes.
   "
The coalition of the forces of the working class, already achieved by the economic struggle, must also serve, in the hands of this class, as a lever in its struggle against the political power of its exploiters.
   "
As the lords of the land and of capital always make use of their political privileges to defend and perpetuate their economic monopolies and to enslave labour, the conquest of political power becomes the great duty of the proletariat.
   "
Adopted by 29 votes against 5; 8 abstaining" ...

   Once again, A.P. would not let us know anything substantive about the battle between Marx and the anarchist Bakunin, the escalation of which battle prompted Marx to write the Political Action Resolution for the First International. But A.P. would never help put across the idea of workers having to exercise political initiative.
   What caused A.P. to substitute the word '
arrangements' for 'institutions'? Was it was the existence of the political institution of the democratic republic in Holland that made it theoretically possible for evolution to proceed peacefully there? Was it A.P.'s fear that a member might get the idea that democratic political institutions are valuable to workers that prompted him to change that word? Or was this just another 'difference in translations'?
   What was it in the "
institutions, customs and traditions of the various countries" that made it possible for peaceful evolution to be envisaged in those countries? Marx understood England and America, at least, to be democratic enough for workers' parties to gain majorities in elections and embark on the road to socialism. The report on Marx's Speech at the Hague Congress continued with some quite interesting material (Ibid., p. 293):

   "The Hague Congress has vested the General Council with new and greater powers. Indeed, at a time when kings are gathered together in Berlin, where new and harsher measures of repression are to be adopted against us as a result of that meeting of powerful representatives of the feudal system and past times, and when persecution is being set on foot, the Hague Congress has deemed it wise and necessary to increase the powers of its General Council and to centralise, for the struggle that is about to begin, an action which isolation would render powerless. Besides, whom but our enemies could the authority of the General Council make suspicious? Has it, then, a bureaucracy and an armed police force to impose its will? Is not its authority purely moral, and does it not submit all its decisions to the federations which are entrusted with carrying them out? Under these conditions, kings without army, police and magistracy would be but feeble obstacles to the march of the revolution, were they ever reduced to maintaining their power through moral influence and authority.
   "
Lastly, the Hague Congress has transferred the seat of the General Council to New York. Many people, even among our friends, seem to be surprised by that decision. Are they forgetting, then, that America is becoming a world chiefly of working people, that half a million persons - working people - emigrate to that continent every year, and that the International must take strong root in soil dominated by the working man? And then, the decision of the Congress authorises the General Council to co-opt such members as it may find necessary and useful for the good of the common cause. Let us hope that it will be wise enough to choose people who will be equal to their task and will be able to bear firmly the banner of our Association in Europe.
   "
Citizens, let us think of the fundamental principle of the International, solidarity! It is by establishing this vivifying principle on a strong basis, among all the working people of all countries, that we shall achieve the great goal we have set ourselves. The revolution needs solidarity, and we have a great example of it in the Paris Commune, which fell because a great revolutionary movement corresponding to that supreme rising of the Paris proletariat did not arise in all centres, in Berlin, Madrid, and elsewhere.
   "
As far as I am concerned, I shall continue my effort, and shall work steadily to establish for the future this fruitful solidarity among all working people. I am not withdrawing from the International at all, and the rest of my life will be devoted, as have been my past efforts, to the triumph of the social ideas which some day - you may rest assured of it - will lead to the world-wide victory of the proletariat."

   As a historical note, a volume entitled "The First International, Minutes of the Hague Congress of 1872 with Related Documents", continued the report on Marx's Speech, and included more on peaceful evolution (originally published in the "Algemeen Handelsblad", edited and translated by Hans Gerth, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1958, pp. 236-7):

   "The general juxtaposition of peaceful means in some cases and violent revolution in the others, hence of "reform" and "revolution," is confirmed by the Algemeen Handelsblad.
   "
"The speaker [i.e., Marx] defends the use of violence, where other means do not help. In North America the barricades are unnecessary, because there, if they but want it, the proletariat can win victory through the polls. The same applies to England and some other countries where the working classes have the right to free speech. But in the great majority of states revolution has to be substituted for legality, because otherwise - by a mistaken sense of generosity, by a wrong-headed sense of justice - one will not attain one's ends. Strong, vigorous propaganda will have to prepare and support the revolution. For these reasons too a great centralization of power in the hands of the General Council is urgently needed.""

   In his "Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891", Engels wrote about the possibility of peaceful evolution in republics (MESW III, pp. 434-5):

   "One can conceive that the old society may develop peacefully into the new one in countries where the representatives of the people concentrate all power in their hands, where, if one has the support of the majority of the people, one can do as one sees fit in a constitutional way: in democratic republics such as France and the USA, in monarchies such as Britain, where the imminent abdication of the dynasty in return for financial compensation is discussed in the press daily and where this dynasty is powerless against the people. But in Germany where the government is almost omnipotent and the Reichstag and all other representative bodies have no real power, to advocate such a thing in Germany, when, moreover, there is no need to do so, means removing the fig-leaf from absolutism and becoming oneself a screen for its nakedness. ...
   "
But the fact that in Germany it is not permitted to advance even a republican party programme openly, proves how totally mistaken is the belief that a republic, and not only a republic, but also communist society, can be established in a cosy, peaceful way."

   Engels knew that taking away the property of the rich would not be a day at the beach, and left no doubt that democratic republics were to facilitate peaceful change. Engels' statement also tried to correct those in his German party who suggested that 'peaceful evolution was possible in Germany', even under their existing undemocratic regime.
   Of interest as well was the observation of:

   ..."monarchies such as Britain, where the imminent abdication of the dynasty in return for financial compensation is discussed in the press daily"...

   This statement parallels Marx's civil solution of 'workers getting off easiest by buying out the capitalist class'. But, nowadays, the whole question of seeking social justice by mucking about with property in any way, shape, or form, has been settled as a non-productive waste of time.
   Lenin addressed the argument about '
peaceful vs. violent change in America' in "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky", in which he may have done his own revision of Marx and Engels (LCW 28, pp. 238, 241-2):

   "Further, was there in the seventies anything which made England and America exceptional in regard to what we are now discussing? It will be obvious to anyone at all familiar with the requirements of science in regard to the problems of history that this question must be put. To fail to put it is tantamount to falsifying science, to engaging in sophistry. And, the question having been put, there can be no doubt as to the reply: the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is violence against the bourgeoisie; and the necessity of such violence is particularly called for, as Marx and Engels have repeatedly explained in detail (especially in The Civil War in France and in the preface to it), by the existence of militarism and a bureaucracy. But it is precisely these institutions that were non-existent in Britain and America in the seventies, when Marx made his observations (they do exist in Britain and America now)!"

   It is hard for me to believe that the differences in the military bureaucracies of the USA and Britain between the 1870's and World War One could have been as great as the night and day picture that Lenin painted, which I found somewhat reminiscent of A.P.'s 'night and day difference between the economic conditions of the USA and Russia'. It was almost as though Lenin was willing to sacrifice a little too much of the truth in order to convince people of the necessity of violent revolutions in democracies. But, Lenin desperately needed the support of revolutions in the rest of the world in order for the Russian Revolution to succeed in a truly Marxist fashion, and 'attaining political supremacy in order to expropriate the property of the rich' was an essential ingredient of both Marxism and Leninism. Forcible expropriation was part of Marx and Engels' humanitarian plan to implement full participation in the economy, but expropriation became obsolete as soon as Europe refused to assist the Russian Revolution by having long-lasting revolutions of its own. Today, the abolition of class distinctions could begin simply by gradually reducing labor time as made feasible by technological improvements. We have shared work by reducing hours of labor in our democracies before, and we will do the same again. That very same process will be the only feasible means of proceeding to a classless and stateless administration of things.
   None of the
SLP literature that I read seemed to adequately deal with the question of bureaucratic-military apparatuses. What the police, National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, CIA, DIA, DEA, FBI, DISC, and other bureaucracies of state would do if a workers' party won a ballot box victory was just not dealt with by the SLP, unless the Party's nearly total disregard of the subject were to be regarded as the leadership's way of dealing with it.
   A.P. continued his
chapter on 'peaceful revolution' (p. 61):

   "And in the preface to the first English translation of "Capital," Engels said:

   ""The sighed-for period of prosperity will not come; as often as we seem to perceive its heralding symptoms, so often do they again vanish into air. Meanwhile, each succeeding winter brings up afresh the great question, 'what to do with the unemployed'; but while the number of the unemployed keeps swelling from year to year, there is nobody to answer that question; and we can almost calculate the moment when the unemployed, losing patience, will take their own fate into their own hands. Surely, at such a moment, the voice ought to be heard of a man [Karl Marx] whose whole theory is the result of a lifelong study of the economic history and condition of England, and whom that study led to the conclusion, that, at least in Europe, England [and, by parity of reasoning, the United States] is the only country where the inevitable social revolution might be effected entirely by peaceful and legal means. He certainly never forgot to add that he hardly expected the English ruling classes to submit, without a 'pro-slavery rebellion,' to this peaceful and legal revolution."

   "That "pro-slavery rebellion" will, if attempted, in this country be met with the superior force of the proletariat, organized into invincible, integral Industrial Unions."

   Amazingly enough, the Preface in my edition of "Capital" agrees word for word with the above, with the exception of A.P.'s bracketed additions, and a couple of extra commas that made no substantive difference. In an SLP pamphlet, no quotation from Marx or Engels would be complete without being 'updated' to correspond to 'American conditions'. Even though Engels didn't mention the United States in his 1886 Preface to Capital, for reasons that become obvious by a perusal of his correspondence in Appendix 1, A.P. felt compelled to scream back into history, "Don't forget us! The USA is as eligible for revolution as England!" But, were American workers in 1886 anywhere near to the point of making revolution? Engels instead portrayed the USA as a country with a vast number of independent peasants, the most bourgeois country on earth, and in 1886, so many people could still come from across the sea and set themselves up in business, or on their own farms. Workers in general rejected the SLP, which Engels described as 'a party in name only, a mere branch of the German party, where the last of the louts had been consigned', but workers were attracted en masse to Henry George's United Labor Party, perhaps because of its 'single tax' panacea.

Parting Shots

   Arnold Petersen wound up his "Proletarian Democracy vs. Dictatorships and Despotism" pamphlet with (pp. 62-3):

p. 62:

"Conclusion.

   "In passing I should like to add that on this question Lenin parts company with Marx, Engels and De Leon. {1} He does so for reasons which to me seem irrational, or which certainly do not seem based on facts or logic. {2} To go into that, however, would require more time than we have this afternoon. {3} I mention the point chiefly because I desire to avoid laying myself open to the charge of evasion, or, by implication, of misrepresenting Lenin on this question. {4} It would require a separate lecture to deal fully with the questions of physical force and violence in relation to the labor movement and the revolutionary act. The revolutionist, however, should never feel impelled to apologize for insisting on the possibility of a peaceful solution, provided he does not neglect the organizing of the needed force, the Industrial Union. {5} Brute physical force is the law of the jungle. But civilized man differs from the denizens of the jungle because of his superior intelligence, his power to reason, and, above all, his capacity to organize for a common purpose. {6} The veneer that separates man from the beast may, in a sense, be thin enough, but such as it is, it is the one saving grace, the one thing that inspires hope of our ever rising superior even to the present capitalist jungle. Dear to the heart of civilized man is the hope of settling social disputes peacefully, and, as De Leon said, it is the one consummation dearly pursued by the Socialist. {7} We of the working class want peace. We are tired and weary of the struggle of the ages. We want to put an end to capitalism with as little trouble as possible, though with all the power necessary. {8} And we are a thousand times fortunate in that destiny, or whatever we may call it, furnished us, not only with this magnificent country with its enormous resources and its high degree of political and economic development, {9} but also with the great social scientist whose genius enables us to chart our course and inspires us with the determination expressed in the poem recited by our young comrade this afternoon - "Sail on, Sail on, and on, and on" - for the successful entry into the port of humanity, the haven of the Socialist Commonwealth of free, enlightened and affluent labor."

"(The End .)"

   It certainly was good to have finally reached 'The end' of A.P.'s anarchist tract, but his concluding paragraphs raised a few more issues:

1  ... 'on this question Lenin parts company with Marx, Engels and De Leon.'

   For A.P., 'this question' seems to have been that of 'overcoming the 'pro-slavery rebellion' of the capitalist class in a peaceful way', and, for A.P., 'The only peaceful way will be to organize labor into Industrial Unions, thus ensuring the economic force necessary to back up the mandate at the ballot box.' In opposition to a 'peaceful revolution', Engels wrote about violent revolution in a draft of a letter to Gerson Trier in December of 1889 (MESC, p. 386):

   ... "We are agreed on this: that the proletariat cannot conquer political power, the only door to the new society, without violent revolution. For the proletariat to be strong enough to win on the decisive day it must - and Marx and I have advocated this ever since 1847 - form a separate party distinct from all others and opposed to them, a conscious class party." ...

   In a democracy, a workers' party could theoretically come to power by merely winning an election, but its electoral success also depends on its program. The bad old days of workers' parties including expropriation of the upper classes are over with, for such programs lost all popularity when the vast majority came to respect and want property for themselves, so can't imagine arbitrarily taking it away from anyone else. If expropriation were to become a popular demand (simply as an exercise in speculation), then lower class political supremacy would be achievable only through violence, but few in this country would ever vote for a party with such a program. If the lower classes in democracies can become sensible and powerful enough to demand and get reduced labor-time, violence is completely avoidable, and the abolition of class distinctions achieved after a complete abolition of wage-labor and the wages system.

2  'Lenin parts company with Marx, Engels and De Leon ... for reasons which to me seem irrational, or which certainly do not seem based on facts or logic.'

   Now A.P. seems to have questioned Lenin's sanity! But, he thereby wielded a double-edged sword: The advisability of trotting out a maniac to sing De Leon's praises is questionable. Perhaps A.P. was hoping no one would notice.
   If A.P. could not bring
truth and sound logic into play against his ideological enemies, then he must have hoped that slander would destroy them. Marx, Engels and Lenin were of like minds in consistently rejecting anarcho-syndicalist and utopian restructurings of society along economic lines, and they were of like minds in recognizing that the lower classes will never be able to accomplish what they want without a party that represents their class interests, one of which interests, in this day and age, is 'full participation in the economy', as the robots march in to replace all human labor. A.P. and De Leon were out of line with the other three.

3  "To go into that, however, would require more time than we have this afternoon."

   What a cop-out! A.P. avoided backing up his slanderous allegations, and this wasn't his only instance of attacking and running away.

4  "I mention the point chiefly because I desire to avoid laying myself open to the charge of evasion, or, by implication, of misrepresenting Lenin on this question."

   We would never charge A.P. with misrepresenting Lenin, would we? Oh no, not us, and not much. First, A.P. alleged that Lenin might have been irrational, illogical, or lying, and then he claimed not to have the time to prove those charges. Then he 'mentioned the point chiefly to avoid laying himself open to the charge of evasion or of having misrepresented Lenin on the question of a peaceful revolution', as if the mere mentioning that he didn't have time to back up his charges might somehow relieve him from charges of slander. I would also like to know why it was that, at the beginning of A.P.'s pamphlet, Lenin was trotted out to sing the praises of Socialist Industrial Unionism, but now we find that 'Lenin opposed Marx, Engels and De Leon on the question of a peaceful solution.' Favoring the SIU, on the one hand, and then supposedly opposing Marx, Engels, and De Leon on the question of peaceful revolution, on the other hand, is quite contradictory, so it lends less credibility than ever to the SLP's many claims of Lenin's alleged attraction to De Leon and his SIU.

5  "The revolutionist, however, should never feel impelled to apologize for insisting on the possibility of a peaceful solution, provided he does not neglect the organizing of the needed force, the Industrial Union."

   Is the converse true as well? What if the revolutionist does neglect the organizing of the Industrial Union? Should 'the revolutionist' then 'feel impelled to apologize for insisting on the possibility of a peaceful solution'? Either way, both the original hypothesis and its converse imply that 'the revolutionist' will probably insist 'on the possibility of a peaceful solution', whether or not the Industrial Union is organized, which lack of organization only determines whether the revolutionist should apologize for insisting on a peaceful solution. How fortunate for revolutionists to be permitted by A.P. to insist on a peaceful solution, in spite of not having organized the Industrial Union. Maybe that was a subtle and inadvertent admission that the Industrial Union is not as important as the democratic republic in determining the possibility of peaceful change. But, why should a revolutionist apologize for insisting on the possibility of a peaceful solution anyway, especially when revolutionists who know what the term 'revolution' means would not be caught dead insisting on peaceful solutions? It would be more compassionate for revolutionists to apologize for advocating violence, especially in a democracy.
   Engels believed that the change in America would be
less violent than in a country like Russia, and, in his October 1893 letter to Danielson, he got very close to explaining why (MESC, pp. 437-8):

   ... "[T]he present capitalistic phase of development in Russia appears an unavoidable consequence of the historical conditions as created by the Crimean war {1853-6}, the way in which the change of 1861 in agrarian conditions was accomplished, and the political stagnation in Europe generally. Where he {Struve} is decidedly wrong, is in comparing the present state of Russia with that of the United States, in order to refute what he calls your pessimistic views of the future. He says, the evil consequences of modern capitalism in Russia will be as easily overcome as they are in the United States. There he quite forgets that the U.S. are modern, bourgeois, from the very origin; that they were founded by petits bourgeois and peasants who ran away from European feudalism in order to establish a purely bourgeois society. Whereas in Russia, we have a groundwork of a primitive communistic character, a pre-civilisation Gentilgesellschaft [Gentile society], crumbling ruins, it is true, but still serving as the groundwork, the material upon which the capitalistic revolution (for it is a real social revolution) acts and operates. In America, Geldwirtschaft [Money economy] has been fully established for more than a century, in Russia, Naturalwirtschaft [Natural economy] was all but exclusively the rule. Therefore it stands to reason that the change, in Russia, must be far more violent, far more incisive, and accompanied by immensely greater sufferings than it can be in America.
   "
But for all that it still seems to me that you take a gloomier view of the case than the facts justify. No doubt, the passage from primitive agrarian communism to capitalistic industrialism cannot take place without terrible dislocation of society, without the disappearance of whole classes and their transformation into other classes; and what enormous suffering, and waste of human lives and productive forces that necessarily implies, we have seen - on a smaller scale - in Western Europe. But from that to the complete ruin of a great and highly gifted nation there is still a long way. The rapid increase of population to which you have been accustomed, may be checked; the reckless deforestation combined with the expropriation of the old [Landlords] as well as the peasants may cause a colossal waste of productive forces; but after all, a population of more than a hundred million will finally furnish a very considerable home market for a very respectable grande industrie, and with you as elsewhere, things will end by finding their own level - if capitalism lasts long enough in Western Europe."

   Which, of course, it has. It seems as though the SLP's belief in a smoother transition to socialism in America than in Russia was not unfounded in socialist sentiment.

6  "Brute physical force is the law of the jungle. But civilized man differs from the denizens of the jungle because of his superior intelligence, his power to reason, and, above all, his capacity to organize for a common purpose."

   By ignoring the daily violence of our allegedly civilized society, A.P. gave civilization far too much credit. We have lots of problems to solve, and the alleged 'superior intelligence' of 'civilized man' has yet to be turned toward a commitment to peacefully abolishing class distinctions.

7  ... 'settling social disputes peacefully ... is the one consummation dearly pursued by the Socialist.'

   A.P.'s formulation looks approximately like the 'peaceful worship of legality at any price' that Engels criticized in his April 1895 letter to Kautsky. If peace were truly dear to A.P., he wouldn't have used so many fighting words in his pamphlet.

8  'We of the working class want peace. We are tired and weary of the struggle of the ages. We want to put an end to capitalism with as little trouble as possible, though with all the power necessary.'

   'With all the economic power necessary, that is, and certainly not with the power of the state', A.P. should have added, to be consistent with the rest of his pamphlet. The same way that the anarchists would abolish the state out of hand, so do they also wish to 'put an end to capitalism' with nothing to take its place, except for that magic 'administration of things'.

9  ... 'this magnificent country with its enormous resources, and its high degree of political and economic development' ...

   A great way for A.P. to end his pamphlet, by paralyzing his readers with pride for their country. If its political development is so great, then why should workers abolish the state? Such a mixed message. Overall, A.P.'s pamphlet was very garbled and confused, fit only for a small sect of true believers with few hopes, and with far fewer chances of influencing anyone.

(End Part E. Continued in Part F.)

Back to Home Page

Back to Book Index