What is proletariat? Let’s consider the article of Aleksey Trofimov “Revisionist Gachikus’ valuable acknowledgement”, in which he answers to my article “Double standards or taking into account concrete-historical peculiarities?”. I shall note from the beginning, that Trofimov continues to distort my views. He writes that I, i.e. Gachikus |
“… deduced the tactics of defeat of the own government (in World War II – A. G.) from one bare fact, that economical order which ruled in USSR was capitalism, not socialism; from his statement, that Stalin’s oppression was supposedly none the better than Hitler’s one; his analysis comes to nothing more than this fact, i.e. he in fact didn’t take into account concrete-historical peculiarities, which distinguished 1941 from 1917…”
Firstly, I deduce the tactics of defeat of the own government in World War II not from the fact, that economical order which ruled in USSR was capitalism, but from the fact, that economical order which ruled in Russia by the early 1930’s (not in USSR, because there was the contradiction in USSR between Russia and the nations which were oppressed by it) was imperialism, that is capitalism at imperialist stage, this is essential difference. Leninism teaches that abovementioned fact (that is the fact that economical order which rules in the nation is capitalism at imperialist stage) is quite sufficient for proletarians of this nation in order to advocate the defeat of their own government in the world war. Secondly, Trofimov lies shamelessly that I “didn’t take into account concrete-historical peculiarities, which distinguished 1941 from 1917” – see, for example, my work “Russian imperialism and proletarian revolution” (2002). Trofimov’s lie is similar to chauvinist Kuvalda’s lie, who wrote that I supposedly copy blindly conclusions which Lenin has drawn from the example of World War I on World War II. Then Trofimov pass on to the question of Islamism, continuing to maintain his idealist, god-building point of view, that Marxism, supposedly, can be developed only from writings of Marx and Lenin, that peoples of “3rd World”, supposedly, can’t come to Marxism through their specific way, developing Quranic scriptures as applied to modernity (in order to understand the essence of the debate see my later articles – “The response to Trofimov’s criticism”, “The review of James Blaut’s works”, “Double standards or taking into account concrete-historical peculiarities?”). I emphasize once again that the attitude towards Islamism for us, conscious proletarians, is not a kind of academic abstraction isolated from the life. Apart from the fact that the attitude towards Islamism is litmus test, is the line of division of communist movement into internationalism and chauvinism, this attitude is also the line of division on the question “What proletariat is today?” (the workers of large industrial factories, as opportunists claim, or the poorest strata of big cities, as we claim) and on the question of forms and methods which the struggle of proletariat takes today (economical struggle and reformism of opportunists or political struggle for democratic freedoms, against police – the struggle which is ultimately aimed at destruction of state armed forces (i.e. army, police, prisons etc.), what we advocates). Thus, the attitude towards Islamism is related with vital questions which face Russian proletariat. As Marx said, “the lie exposes itself in the struggle against the truth”. Trofimov cites the history of communist party of Iran, trying to represent communist parties in the countries of “the 3rd World” as parties of proletariat, not puppets of Soviet imperialism (Trofimov does so in order to represent Islamism as not the development of Marxism-Leninism at recent stage).
“ ‘Tudhe’, which full name is ‘Party of Iranian masses, is like phoenix in some aspects: it was founded in 1920, crushed in 1930, revived in 1941 (along with the entering of USSR into North Iran), banned in 1949, permitted in the early 1950’s, broken up in 1953…”
So, Trofimov admits that in 1941 Soviet military occupied North Iran – and at the same time he shamelessly represents World War II from the side of USSR as “the struggle of the peoples of USSR against Hitler’s enslavement”! Trofimov admits that ‘Tudhe’ was revived along with the entering of USSR into North Iran, i.e., that party, in fact, was imposed on Iranian people under the influence of Soviet weapon - and at the same time he shamelessly cried: “It turns out, according to Gachikus, that Marxism was imposed on the Eastern countries!” (I remind that I said about Soviet opportunism under the mask of Marxism, which turned the peoples of “the 3rd World” away from Marxism as such and caused that fact that the peoples of “the 3rd World” in fact came to Marxism through their own way, developing Quranic scriptures as applied to modernity). As I already wrote, “One who satiated doesn’t understand hungry one”: Russian labor aristocrat Trofimov considers occupation of Iran by soviet military as insignificant trifle, he doesn’t see in this fact the national humiliation of Iranian people (I remind that the leader of Iranian revolution of 1979 Khomeini widely used this fact in his propaganda, and those Khomeini’s words enjoyed widespread support of masses of Iranian people, i.e. there were serious resentment). As modern British Leninists correctly noticed (see “Economic and Philosophic Science Review”, http://www.epsr-marx-lenin.co.uk/index.php ), Stalin’s opportunism influenced strongly on world communist movement, even on those parties, who formally reject Stalinism, like Trotskyists and so on (those “Leninists” themselves are in fact also affected by Stalin’s opportunism, but here we wouldn’t digress from our theme). As we see, Trofimov, such ardent critic of Stalinism concerning its internal policy, turns out to be ardent Stalinist concerning its foreign, colonial, policy. But internal policy is connected with foreign one, therefore, Trofimov’s Stalinism concerning internal policy at the same time turns out to be opportunism, betrayal of Russian proletariat too, not only of peoples of Russian colonies (we would say about it below). Another example of communist party in the country of “the 3rd World”, which Trofimov gives, is Communist party of Iraq. Trofimov cites again:
“British authorities actively opposed communists, all their leaders were in prison, and since 1937 it was provided by law for life imprisonment and even death penalty for “propagating communism” in army”… “Because of losses which communist party suffered it get a nickname “the party of martyrs”” Firstly, Islamists also were (and are) subjected to repressions, including their petty-bourgeois wing. Both narodniks (Russian populists) and SRs (“socialist-revolutionaries”) in Russia under Czarism were subjected to repressions. Thus, it is wrong to deduce from this that the party is proletarian. Secondly, in one of his articles Trofimov, criticizing one opportunist, rightly notes that the presence of enmity between USSR and the West not yet proves that there was socialism in USSR, because there are also competitor contradictions between imperialist powers. Why ever he forgets it here? The presence of repressions from the side of Britain not yet proves that Communist party of Iraq was indeed proletarian, it could be the agents of USSR, couldn’t it? There is a discrepancy in your words, Mr. Trofimov (today official communist parties, unlike Islamist parties, are practically not subjected to repressions). Indeed, since 1930’s Comintern (Communist International) have turned into the instrument of Russian imperialism, and official communist parties were pro-Soviet. They were grounded not on proletariat, not on the poorest strata of large cities, but on the workers of large industrial factories (i.e. on coming into being labor aristocracy), which constitute tiny minority in the countries of “the 3rd World” (we shall talk about it below). Trofimov is surprised with infant naivety:
“What do Iraqi communists do such terrible that discredit of people towards communism became justified? Or, may be, communists caused disasters in other countries of Islamic East?”
Trofimov doesn’t in the least consider the question of replacement of the old colonialism by neocolonialism in the countries of “the 3rd World” in 1950’s, the question of coming to power the parties of “Arab socialism” (Nasser in Egypt, Baath in Iraq etc.). Those parties from the beginning made inadmissible concessions to Soviet (and also American) imperialism in the struggle against British, French, Portugal ones etc., and in a short time they transformed to the puppets of USSR (and, to some extent, of USA). And communist parties of those countries supported the ruling regimes, even if critically, in spite of the fact that those regimes repressed them (as in Egypt and Iraq); therefore, communist parties lost people’s confidence. In contrast to them, Islamists opposed those regimes resolutely. Honest communists, as I already wrote, became to work in Islamist organizations. It was written a great deal about it in the works on the history of neocolonialism – but Trofimov searched for 15 minutes in Internet, looked at official history of “the 3rd World” communist parties, and already writes the response to me (I remind that this hasty writer has wrote his response to my article already the next day after the appearance of my article). What it means but petty-bourgeois superficiality, haste? Trofimov wrote that communist party of Iraq in November 2002 “has decided to not participate and oppose American action in the whole” – but this fact also doesn’t prove that it is proletarian, not pro-Russian party. Is it opposed Russian imperialism, as, for example, talibs do? Trofimov also wrote that communist party of Iraq “traditionally takes care of Kurds, proposing preferential autonomy as panacea; now it has passed on to armed struggle from Kurdish areas in the alliance with two local parties, and acted in such manner during more than 20 years”. But Iraq is not imperialist nation, Iraqis are the same oppressed as Kurds, and to set them against each other is tribalism, it is advantageous to imperialists. Trofimov wrote:
“I’m sure that there are many such misters who would try to find opportunism in the actions and ideology of communist party of Iraq and at the same time would praise Islamists with their tactics of terror and other crazy ideas”
It is necessary to remind Trofimov that Lenin approved of the tactics of terror under certain conditions. As we see, Trofimov doesn’t distinguish the individual terror and the terror of masses, confuse them, i.e. in fact he refuses the terror of masses, showing himself to be miserable reformist. Then Trofimov wrote:
“In fact, Gachikus debates not about are Islamists developers of Leninism at modern stage (he failed in this), but about why they are not such. Gachikus try to assure that ideologists in developed countries like me, i.e. Trofimov, are guilty of this. At one moment he cried that Islamists are just modern developers of Leninism, at another moment he cried: but who is guilty?!”
Everybody who has read my article “Double standards or taking into account concrete-historical peculiarities?” understands that Trofimov distorts my thought, i.e., if speaking simply, he lies. In abovementioned article I wrote that persons like Trofimov caused Marxism in the countries of “The 3rd World” to be developed not on the basis of Marx’ and Lenin’s writings, but on the basis of applying Quranic scriptures to modernity (not caused Islamists not to be developers of Leninism at modern stage, as Trofimov distorts my thought). Then Trofimov passes on to the question “What proletariat is today?”. It is very important to investigate this question once again, because misunderstanding of the notion “proletariat” leads to serious mistakes in practice. Trofimov wrote:
“In reality it is Gachikus who holds the opportunist point of view, because he consider such characteristic as income to be a basis of the division of workers into proletariat and the labor aristocracy, as I already mentioned. Such characteristic as income is significant, but not deciding point for attributing the worker to one or another economical type. The worker who have an income two times more than the cost of living, as I understand from Gachikus’ words, is attributed by him to “lower middle class”, as he speaks, that is lower stratum of labor aristocracy for him. According to him, this lower part of labor aristocracy together with higher part amount to 70%. Such is the quantity of labor aristocracy. Proletariat amounts to 30%, according to him. I.e., proletarians are those which incomes vary near the cost of living. The picture which Gachikus has painted is nothing but the picture of weakening of class contradictions, according to which proletariat in Russia consists of fifth or even sixth of Russia’s population (because not the whole Russia’s population are workers). I already repeatedly clarified to Gachikus that not the level of incomes is ultimately decisive aspect in defining to what economical type a member of society belongs to. Since Gachikus is unable to analyze the question on his own, and since he also doesn’t like to hear out opponents’ opinion, I beg to press on his mind by the force of authority: “To look for the main distinguishing characteristic of different classes of society in source of income means to put the relationships of distribution in the forefront, which are in fact the result of production. This mistake was pointed out by Marx, who called people which don’t see it “vulgar socialists”. The main characteristic of distinguishing between classes is their place in social production, consequently, their relation to the means of production” (Lenin, vol. 7, p. 44-45 – Russian edition). “Classes are large groups of people which differ from each other in their place in historically determined system of social production, in their relation (fixed and formalized by law for the most part) to the means of production, in their role in social organization of labor, and consequently, in the ways of getting and in the size of that share of social wealth which they possess” (Lenin, vol. 39, p. 15 – Russian edition). Thus, it is clearly, that the division of the society into rich and poor is vulgarity. It is striking the eye more rapidly; it is “at the surface”. But scientific socialism of Marx reveals the division of the society not into rich and poor, but into bourgeoisie and proletariat behind this surface. Let’s also recollect classics’ [of Marxism-Leninism] pointings that petty bourgeois sometimes gets the income less than proletarian does”
Firstly, Trofimov lies that, in my view, proletariat constitutes in Russia “about one fifth or even one sixth of the population” – I clearly wrote that proletariat constitutes about 30% of the population (not 30% of workers as Trofimov distorts my words). Secondly, doesn’t the acknowledgement that not all working classes are proletariat means “weakening class contradictions”? Doesn’t the acknowledgement the presence of stratification within working masses means “weakening of class contradictions”? But again “the lie exposes itself in the struggle against the truth”: Trofimov cites Lenin – but this citation just shows that I am right and Trofimov is wrong! It is “visible to naked eye” that Trofimov distorted facts: while I says about the level of incomes as the general feature of different classes of modern society in imperialist nations, Lenin in quotation which Trofimov cites said about the source (not level!) of income. What Lenin said in that article? He criticized SRs (“socialist-revolutionaries”) which considered as bourgeoisie only those peasants who exploit others (i.e. those who have “the source of income”), and the rest of peasants were considered by them as proletariat (even those who have the plot of arable land and other means of production). As we see, SRs’ point of view is similar to Trofimov’s one, not to my one: SRs just as Trofimov considered all toilers indiscriminately as proletariat. In contrast to them, Lenin saw class contradictions within toiling masses. According to Trofimov’s logic, Lenin “weakened class contradictions”. This Lenin’s article dates back to pre-imperialist stage. What do these Lenin’s thoughts mean as applied to imperialist stage? Under imperialism the old private ownership has given place to stock capitalist ownership, i.e. the ownership of the class of capitalists as “combined capitalist”, as already Engels who noticed the first signs of imperialism wrote. Correspondingly, new petty bourgeoisie – the labor aristocracy – unlike the old petty bourgeoisie – peasantry – already immediately doesn’t possess the plot of arable land, horses, plough and the like. The labor aristocracy possesses the means of production collectively, as the part of the “combined capitalist” (of course, this possession is distributed within “combined capitalist” very unevenly), and get the piece of combined profits in the form of the addition to the wage over the value of labor force, i.e. over the cost of living, as a result of this possession. Immediately the labor aristocracy doesn’t exploit somebody (like those peasants, which are considered as “proletarians” by SRs), however, it is co-owner of combined capitals of bourgeoisie, what appears in the fact that it receives the interest on this capital (even if in the form of the addition to the wage formally). Furthermore, what Lenin meant, when he wrote that narodniks substitute the consideration of the relations of distribution for the consideration of the relations of production? What Marx meant, when he wrote that the relations of distribution follow from the relations of production? Lenin and Marx meant that capitalism with “equitable” distribution, which petty-bourgeois socialists wished, is utopia, because, while capitalism exists, the wages of proletarian masses would be fluctuating near the level of the value of labor force, i.e. near the level of the cost of living. In other words, the criticism of those prejudices by Marx and Lenin doesn’t mean that they denied the wage of proletarian fluctuates near the level of the cost of living as a result of laws of capitalism; this criticism means that the increasing of living standards of proletariat is impossible without the destruction of capitalism. I.e., the criticism of those prejudices by Marx and Lenin was in fact the criticism of reformism which [reformism] later was formed into economism, Bernsteinianism, i.e. into ideology of labor aristocracy. But Trofimov, as we see, distorts Marx’ and Lenin’s views, turning them into their exact opposite. It follows from Trofimov’s words that Marx and Lenin allegedly asserted that the average wage of proletarians can increase under capitalism significantly higher than the cost of living, although this was asserted not by Marx and Lenin, but by revisionist Bernstein who in fact understood labor aristocracy by the term “proletariat”. Let’s see at Lenin’s definition of classes which Trofimov cites: “Classes are large groups of people which differ from each other in their place in historically determined system of social production, in their relation (fixed and formalized by law for the most part) to the means of production, in their role in social organization of labor, and consequently, in the ways of getting and in the size of that share of social wealth which they possess”. Notice: “…and consequently, in the ways of getting and in the size of that share of social wealth which they possess” – i.e., the level of incomes follows from the relation to the means of production, i.e. the former is the effect of the latter, hence, the latter can be judged by the former (as the temperature can be judged by the indication of thermometer). As we see, these Lenin’s words refute not me, but Trofimov. Trofimov’s views are shared by Viktor Makarov from Revolutionary Front. He alleges like Trofimov that I substitute the consideration of the relations of distribution for the consideration of the relations of production, and names my point of view “Maoist”. It follows from such Makarov’s logic, that Marx was Maoist, because in “Capital” he explained thoroughly, that the wage of proletarian is fluctuating near the cost of living due to the laws of capitalism; it follows, that Lenin was Maoist, because he criticized narodniks who thought that proletarians are industrial workers, he wrote that the number of proletariat must be judged not by the number of industrial workers, but by the scale of poverty and pauperism (see my work “Anti-Bugera”). No, not Lenin and Marx were Maoists, but Mao was Marxist when he gave this definition. Trofimov also holds views similar to narodniks’ ones. In answer to my words that
“Trofimov vulgarizes my views. It follows from his words that I consider labor aristocracy as overwhelming majority of rich nations, and proletariat as insignificant minority”
“One can find the corresponding places in Gachikus’ works where he equates labor aristocracy to the workers of large factories. The number of large factories is much less than small ones, but the concentration of workers is higher in several orders of magnitude”
Trofimov again shows himself as the man who doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know about modernity. He judges by Soviet epoch, and even doesn’t consider present-day statistics which shows the decrease of the number of workers at large factories at 3-5 times, the increase of the number of small enterprises, the rise of services sector, the increase of the number of the unemployed (who in fact often work in informal sector). If we examine official statistics, we would see that the percentage of workers at large factories in the total number of able-bodied citizens is small, smaller than 10% (but Trofimov in the old fashion consider them as the majority of population!). But their percentage in GDP is higher at several times, i.e. here is “the bonus for the concentration”, the addition which is resulted from the inflow of profits from the labor of workers of small firms – the inflow which is realized by means of monopolistic prices (see my article “The unifiers of humankind”, 2008). As we see, Trofimov’s mistake is typical opportunist one: to consider the concentration of production and proletariat as the concentration of workers at large factories, while one should consider the concentration of production as the concentration of capital in the hands of large factories and financial-industrial groups which are related to them, and one should consider the concentration of proletariat as the concentration of poverty in large cities. As I wrote more than once, while opportunists persist stupidly in their out-of-date view on proletariat, the correct view on proletariat is the view of proletarian wing of Islamism, talibs. As regards Trofimov’s remark that petty bourgeois can be poorer than proletarian – it is true, but this remark is out of place. About what petty bourgeoisie did Marx and Lenin write? They wrote about peasantry. But I say only about imperialist nations, where the peasantry practically becomes extinct; where urban population constitutes the vast majority of population; moreover, I consider proletariat not as the poorest strata of population simply, but as the poorest strata of large cities, who, naturally, possess neither the plot of arable land nor other means of production. As regards countries of “the 3rd World”, I distinguish rigorously between proletariat, i.e. the poor of large cities, and the peasantry, the rural poor. As I said, the question “What proletariat is today?” is related with practical questions of the struggle. Let’s examine the article of the member of Revolutionary Front who writes under the pen-name NKVD “Our and not our people (the response to Tyulkin’s article “Who are “the workers’ friends…”)”. NKVD criticizes Tyulkin for the fact that he justifies his economism by the words that sectarianism is even worse (in general, Tyulkin advances old “economists”’ arguments). NKVD wrote in response to this:
“Neither Tyulkin’s approach, nor the caricature of the left movement which he depicts, where revolutionary propaganda is separated from people’s concrete problems, suit us (really, there are such groups in Russia, which carry on their work in such caricature form, as for instance MRP or RPB, the latter, nevertheless, is valuable because of its approach to reality, Leninist on the whole)”
Firstly, on what basis does NKVD put our party (RPB) together with MRP? In fact, I criticized MRP more than once for the rejection of economical struggle (for the rejection of the support of police trade union, for example). But we don’t reject economical struggle – we only don’t regard such struggle as paramount. Secondly, what does NKVD mean by “people’s concrete problems”? Doesn’t capitalism oppress the masses of people only economically, not also politically? Doesn’t spontaneous discontent on political ground (i.e. discontent with police abuses, with the lack of democratic freedoms for the huge masses of people etc.), not only on economical one, arise among people? Then, why NKVD, following Tyulkin, says only about discontent on economical ground? He tries to depict his views as “the golden mean” which overcomes the both extremes, Tyulkin’s and RPB’s, i.e. economism and sectarianism, but in reality he fluctuates between economism and Leninism. Don’t I always expose the connection between colonial oppression of Russia towards other peoples with police violations towards its own people? Then how one can put our party together with MRP, if MRP rejects political struggle just as economical one? NKVD’s viewpoint is the one of left wing of opportunism, he criticizes only the extremes of economism in the person of Tyulkin. NKVD writes again “about general fascization of the state, about the probability of establishing of fascist regime”. He disregards my remarks that fascist regime in Russia was established as early as 1999. I already wrote that NKVD-like viewpoint is in essence the old viewpoint of miserable petty-bourgeois democrat, pacifist and reformist Jan Jaures, who advocated the return to the old, “peaceful” capitalism, when “the bayonet becomes the order of the day”. NKVD doesn’t understand up to now the class essence of the notions “democracy” and “dictatorship”. The representatives of that class, which is not affected by police abuses, don’t understand that it is fascism in Russia long since. So we see that the questions of Islamism, of what is proletariat today and what forms and methods of the struggle of proletariat must be today, are interrelated and are of practical significance.
March 20th, 2010 A. G.
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