A Task of Contemporary Marxism.
By Dmitry Verkhoturov, Head of the Institute of Communism
It is very nice that the comrades in Latvia are very seriuosly working and holding up the famous tradition of the Latvian marxism and also trying to keep out the habits of the leftists of whole world which are quotation-mongering and captiousness. Marxist must think. Among the publication of the site "Darba Balss" I should outline the article "A marxist thought in Latvia: crude summary", which had been wrtitten by Alexander Lokoshchenko. It very differs from the most part of the marxist publications and there is a survey of marxist thoughts in Latvia and important problems of contemporary marxist development in this article.
Such publication are very rarely and this article is more value than a thick volume. But the problem is more videly. What are problems which the contemporary marxists shoud resolved for a revival of the marxism transforming power today. This problem is closely related to the state of marxist movement in Russia and Latvia and also around the world. A weak of theory is a cause of failure, disunity of marxist organisations, numerous negative appearances such as quotating-mongering, dogmatism, sectarianism or, at other side, a selling of class interest. It is very hard to make a detailed survey in this short article, but attepmt would be very value.
A Contemporary World Economy
The contemporary marxists are very weak studying the world economy of the present day and a work, which can be compared to the Marx's or Lenin's works, is not published yet. There are attempts to rethinking the contemporary world economy in terms of Lenin's work about the imperialism, as such as Willi Dikchut did. In fact, the centralisation of capital has growth during the 20th century in all branch of the world economy. Transnational corporations rile over the world economy. But this is few. There are some appearances which are not being thought by the contemporary marxism. For example, the number of world's population has grown more that seven times. This ratio has exceeded the prognosis which had been done in the 1950s (according to this prognosis 7 billion of people would be in 2025, but this level of population had been exceeded in the 2000s). The part of industrial workers was near 50 per cent of the able-bodied population in the 1950s, but it is only 15 per cent today. Service workers and peasants are more that two times than industial workers (1700 millions and 800 millions accordingly). These part of able-bodied population is 65 per cent of involved into work activity. Marxism supposed that the growth of industrial workers number and strengthening of proletariat would led to the crash of capitalism, but, in fact, someone another occurs. There is no explanation of this fact.
Other important problem is huge accumulation of capital, which is probable over the value of the world's GDP. The capitalist class is accumulating very strongly and the part of savings stood near 20-25 per cent in the recent decades. But the capital is not being invested in the fixed assets during the 2000s. What is it? Does it mean that the reproduction in the enlarged scale, which had been studied in the Marx's works, is coming to a stop? Does it mean that there is relation between volume of work, goods and capital? Is there a limit of the capital accumulation? If there is such relation and limit of capital accumulation than we should reconsider the reriodic crisis of capitalism.
Also a new thema appears since the middle of the 20th century. It is ecology and the human impact on the environment. Marxists have kept out this important problem, however it has a great value for a problem of the finite limit of capitalism and its methods. As known as the capitalism is striping the nature and we can do an assumption that the capitalism will have a limit, destroy the environment and be collapsed. This problem are discussed mainly among the non-marxist scienists. But this is very important for marxism and this is its historical chance. The capitalism will convert the environment into the garbage and then the marxism would be asked that can the humanity do in such circumstances. However, the contenporary marxists cannot answer on such question.
The Experience of Socialist Block
It is miracle that the marxists don't study the expierence of socialist block countries, for example the expierence of the USSR, which was the first and the most strong socialist state. Marx and Lenin had not obtained an expierence of the socialist state building and they had not been able to universalize it. Lenin had made only the first step during his governance. Since his time whole block of large and enough strengh socialist states became to life. There was the industrialization in the USSR, China's reformation from the poorest agrarian state to the strong industrial state. There was an interesting expierence of building of socialism in the developed capitalist country, which was German Democratic Republic. The communists tried to improve the principles of marxism in different socialist states within different circumstances. In fact, the studying of such expierence should be the most important for the contemporary marxists. My work in studying of the Soviet history and the planned economy shows that the detalized studying gives huge amount of the valuest facts, which break up the most part of opinions.
For example, the Soviet expierence shows that socialism is a part of capitalist formacy instead the thesis of "scientific communism" (this discipline was in the USSR), because the socialism saved economical appearences which inherent in the capitalism: commodity-money relations, hiring of labour, exploitation of labour etc. Socialist countries adopted easely technology and methods of production which developed in capitalist countries and the capitalist countries adopted Soviet technology, machines and methods of production. The crude difference between these systems as it was explained by Soviet planner Stanislav Strumilin was the method of surplus value distribution. In socialism all surplus value or the most part of it (in the USSR all surplus value because private hiring was prohibited, but in GDR the most part of it because there was a private industry in the state) is controlled by the state and furtherly distributed by central state organes according to interest of whole society. Socialism maintained such ideology. A strengthening of common economy and growth of national income led to growth income per capita. An ideology of capitalism is distantly differ. Every should save and get rich and further the national income is formed by huge number of private capital. Furthermore, the political circumstances were widely differ. Under the dictatorship of proletariat the power belongs to worker and the the state hiring and exploitation of labour were actually self-exploitation of labour. This appearence was fully unkhown in the capitalist countries. It follows from this that the famous thesis of "scientific communism" about that the socialism is the first stage of communism and the socialism smoothly develops into communism, is clearly wrong. How can the part of capitalist formation smoothly develop into the communist formation? Marxism said that formation overthrows previous formation by revolution, bjth socio-political and revolution in means of production. Namely the revolt of means of production causes the revolution in policy and society. This thesis of marxism is hardly estadlished.
Such approach brings attention to the question which I could define as key question in whole marxism. What is it the method of production of the communist formation and how we can do it? The Soviet marxism answered this question. It is automatization. There are two main consequences. Firstly, the full automatized line is more productivity than mechanized labour approximately at 400-500 times. Secondly, this is fully liquidation of labour exploitation. According to this we can state that when the full automatization will be able as method of production then will appear a revolution which will smash the capitalist formation to the ground as well as the capitalism smashed the previous feudalism formation.
Moving Back to Proudhonism
These conclusions are estimated by leftist activists as heretic. Marxist are often following the patterns but not Marx's method and logic. For example, they decide that it is need to fight for a reduction of labour hours to 5-6 hours per day. But they don't detect that the idea of reduction of hours and building on this base a society of equality according to work came from the pre-marxist utopian socialism. This idea had been developed by Thomaso Campanella, Thomas More, Robet Owen and others. Marx as we can look out from his work "Die Kritik des Gothaer Programms" criticized the idea of the society of equality according to work and marked that the worker would work more than need to his consumption anyway. A part of society would not be able to work and some quantity of products would be need for replacing the means of production, administration, education, culture etc. It does mean that in society of equality according to work would be a surplus product and exploitation of labour. During the Marx's life wasn't any signs of full automatization because that he couldn't elaborate a way for the creation of true communist society. The soluton appeared in the USSR only in the middle of the 20th century.
Furthermore, Marx showed in his work that the distribution according to work creates the inequality and perpetuates the exploitation of labour. But how much of marxist are adopting this slogan today! This is need to recognize that needs of surplus product leads anyway to the exploitation because that the society of equality according to work won't go to the communism. The Soviet planners added a recognition that the productive ability of society which are using the labours for production purposes, is strictly limited. There is also the part of society which cannot work. Thus, there is an underproduction, deficit, and the slogan "From every according to his ability, to every according to his needs" is not filfulled by the society of equality according to work. Such slogan can be filfulled by the full automatized productive systems within number of robots which are more numerous than workers. The greatest result of Soviet marxism and planning is thought that the machine can replace human worker and more powerful machine can replace more of number of workers. It is possible that there will be a hundreds of robots per capita and all of human needs will meet according to the slogan of communism.
In fact, the crisis in contemporary marxism relates abandonment of marxist method by the most part of the marxists today. They reject the core of marxism and go to the positions of pre-marxist socialism which developed by Fourier, Proudhon and even Saint-Simon. The slogan "to every according to his work" is not marxist, but it is proudhonist. In fact that in the beginning of 20th century this slogan was very popular and the communists used its because they supposed that they would go further after solution of economy difficulties. But at the present time when there are all means for automatization and creation of true communists means of production this slogan is reactionary.
Thus, the contemporary marxism have three theretical tasks. First of them is studying the contemporary capitalist economy according to methods of marxism. Second of them is studying the expierence of socialist countries with especially attention to the attempts of building the communism and its means of production. Third of them is struggle against them who introduce themselves as marxist but in fact are as proudhonist, i.e. small bourgeoisie socialists.
Firstly published on Russian by "Darba Balss", Latvia
Оригинал: Дмитрий Верхотуров "Задачи современного марксизма" (на русском языке).