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Ρωσία / Ουκρανία / Λευκορωσία / Φύλο / Ανακοίνωση Τύπου Saturday May 13, 2017 19:33 byAlternativa Libertaria/fdca

Η Alternativa Libertaria στέκεται αλληλέγγυα με την κοινότητα LGBT της Ρωσικής Ομοσπονδίας, ενάντια στις συλλήψεις και τις επιθέσεις στην Τσετσενία, τη Ρωσία και άλλες χώρες της Ομοσπονδίας, όπου η ελευθερία του Τύπου και της έκφρασης σε δημόσιους χώρους, έχει κατασταλεί για όσους ανήκουν στην κοινότητα LGBT. Υποστηρίζουμε μια εκστρατεία αντιπληροφόρησης όσον αφορά αυτή τη συνεχόμενη υπόθεση και προσπαθούμε να παρέχουμε συνεχώς πληροφορίες σχετικά με τον τρόπο που εκδηλώνεται ο αυταρχισμός και το παραδοσιακό νεοθρησκευτικό πνεύμα στις χώρες της Ομοσπονδίας, όπου έχει γίνει εργαλείο κυριαρχίας πάνω στους ανθρώπους.

Αλληλεγγύη με τα θύματα της ομοφοβίας στην Τσετσενία και όχι μόνο

Η Novaya Gazeta, η εφημερίδα της αντιπολίτευσης στη Ρωσία, δημοσίευσε μια σειρά αναφορών για την Τσετσενία σχετικά με την κράτηση δεκάδων ανδρών σε μια μυστική φυλακή «λόγω μη παραδοσιακού σεξουαλικού προσανατολισμού ή υποψίες γι’ αυτό». Η ρωσική εφημερίδα γράφει ότι τα τελευταία κύματα καταστολής, οδήγησαν στη σύλληψη περισσότερων από 100 ανδρών και στο θάνατο -τουλάχιστον- τριών από αυτούς.

Οι θηριωδίες τις οποίες έφερε στο προσκήνιο η ρωσική εφημερίδα, δεν έχουν ακόμη επιβεβαιωθεί από ανεξάρτητες πηγές, αλλά η Μη Κυβερνητική Οργάνωση Human Rights Watch (HRW - Παρατηρητήριο Ανθρώπινων Δικαιωμάτων) ισχυρίζεται ότι πράγματι κάτι συμβαίνει εκεί βάσει πληροφοριών από αξιόπιστες πηγές. [Σημείωση του μεταφραστή: έχει, ήδη επιβεβαιωθεί από τότε].

Η Τάνια Λοκσίνα (Tanya Lokshina) επικεφαλής του προγράμματος της HRW στη Ρωσία, αναφέρει ότι δεδομένου του αριθμού των πηγών και της συνοχής και ομοιότητας των ισχυρισμών τους δεν μπορεί να υπάρξει καμία αμφιβολία για τις καταστροφικές εξελίξεις της συνεχιζόμενης αντι-γκέι εκστρατείας στην Τσετσενία.

Η Εκατερίνα Σοκιριάνκαγια (Ekaterina Sokirianskaia) της International Crisis Group (Διεθνούς Ομάδας Κρίσεων), η οποία είναι ειδική σε θέματα της περιοχής Βορείου Καυκάσου, έλαβε παρόμοια επιβεβαίωση από δικές της πηγές.

Μια άμεση γραμμή υποστήριξης που ενεργοποιήθηκε από Τσετσένους στη Ρωσία από το δίκτυο LGBT έλαβε περισσότερες από δέκα κλήσεις από την Τσετσενία μέσα σε δύο εβδομάδες μετά το σχετικό δημοσίευμα στην Novaya Gazeta.

Η βιαιότητα της καταστολής αυτής δείχνει πόσο πολύ η Τσετσενία έχει γίνει φέουδο του Ραμζάν Καντίροφ. Ο εκπρόσωπος Τύπου του προέδρου της Τσετσενίας απάντησε στην Novaya Gazeta, λέγοντας ότι δεν υπάρχουν γκέι στην Τσετσενία καθώς «αν υπήρχαν τέτοιου είδους άτομα στην Τσετσενία, η αστυνομία δεν θα μπορούσε να ασχοληθεί με το θέμα, επειδή οι γονείς τους θα τους είχαν ήδη στείλει σε ένα μέρος από όπου δεν θα επιτρεπόταν η επιστροφή τους».

Ποιος πιστεύει ότι μια απλή παρέμβαση του Πούτιν θα μπορούσε να κάνει τις τσετσενικές αρχές να τερματίσουν αυτή τη δίωξη;! Το Κρεμλίνο εξαρτάται από την προεδρία Καντίροφ για τη διασφάλιση της σταθερότητας στην περιοχή, όπως προσπάθησε να κάνει πολύ καιρό τώρα.

Στην πραγματικότητα, η προσωπική ασφάλεια του Καντίροφ είναι μια δύναμη που ανέρχεται σε περίπου 20.000 ανθρώπους και η Δημοκρατία του τηρεί αυστηρά τον υπερ-παραδοσιακό κοινωνικό και θρησκευτικό κώδικα που είναι εντελώς ανεξάρτητος από τη ρωσική νομοθεσία. Ο ίδιος ο Καντίροφ δήλωσε ότι είναι υπέρ της πολυγαμίας και των εγκλημάτων τιμής.

Τ να μιλάς για την ομοφυλοφιλία αποτελεί τεράστιο ταμπού και οι ομοφυλόφιλοι είναι αόρατοι. Αυτό καθιστά ακόμη πιο περίπλοκο το να έρθει σε επαφή κανείς μαζί τους ώστε να έχει απόδειξη της καταστολής.

«Τα νέα ​​έρχονται πολύ αργά» λέει ο Ιγκρό Κτσέτκοβ (Igor Kochetkov) του ρωσικού δικτύου LGBT, ο οποίος εισήγαγε ένα πρόγραμμα εκκένωσης των ομοφυλόφιλων από την περιοχή. Η πραγματική καταστολή ίσως είναι ακόμη πιο βίαιη από ό,τι περιγράφεται από την Novaya Gazeta. Και όπως λέει η Ekaterina Sokirianskaia: «Έχουμε δει μόνο την κορυφή του παγόβουνου».

Η Alternativa Libertaria στέκεται αλληλέγγυα με την κοινότητα LGBT της Ρωσικής Ομοσπονδίας, ενάντια στις συλλήψεις και τις επιθέσεις στην Τσετσενία, τη Ρωσία και άλλες χώρες της Ομοσπονδίας, όπου η ελευθερία του Τύπου και της έκφρασης σε δημόσιους χώρους, έχει κατασταλεί για όσους ανήκουν στην κοινότητα LGBT. Υποστηρίζουμε μια εκστρατεία αντιπληροφόρησης όσον αφορά αυτή τη συνεχόμενη υπόθεση και προσπαθούμε να παρέχουμε συνεχώς πληροφορίες σχετικά με τον τρόπο που εκδηλώνεται ο αυταρχισμός και το παραδοσιακό νεοθρησκευτικό πνεύμα στις χώρες της Ομοσπονδίας, όπου έχει γίνει εργαλείο κυριαρχίας πάνω στους ανθρώπους.

4 Μάη 2017

Alternativa Libertaria/fdca

*Μετάφραση από τα ιταλικά Διεθνείς Σχέσεις CGA (Γαλλία). Μετάφραση από τα αγγλικά: «Ούτε Θεός-Ούτε Αφέντης», 12 Μάη 2017.

Σχετικός σύνδεσμος: http://www.fdca.it

russia / ucraina / bielorussia / genero / comunicato stampa Saturday May 13, 2017 01:32 byAlternativa Libertaria / FdCA

Solidarité avec les victimes de l’homophobie, en Tchétchénie

[Italiano][English]

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La Novaya Gazeta, un journal d’opposition en Russie, a publié une série de reportages sur la Tchétchénie à propos de la mise en détention de dizaines d’hommes dans une prison secrète « en raison de leur orientation sexuelle non traditionnelle ou de la suspicion de celle-ci ». Le journal russe écrit que les récentes vagues de répression ont porté le nombre des arrêté-e-s à plus de 100 personnes et à la mort d’au moins trois d’entre eux.

Les atrocités rapportées par le journal russe n’ont pas encore été confirmées [NdT : c’est le cas depuis] de sources sûres, mais Human Rights Watch défend qu’il est réellement en train de se passer quelque chose, sur la base des informations récoltées auprès de leurs sources de confiance.

Tanya Lokshina, directrice du programme de HRW en Russie, explique que le nombre de sources et la cohérence des histoires relatées ne laissent pas de doutes sur les développements dramatiques de la campagne anti-gay qui a cours actuellement en Tchétchénie.

Ekaterina Sokirianskaia de l’International Crisis Group, experte des questions du Nord-Caucase a reçu des confirmations similaires de ses propres sources.

Une ligne directe pour les Tchétchènes, activée en Russie par le LGBT-Network, a reçu plus de 10 appels de la Tchétchénie en l’espace de deux semaines, suite à la publication de l’article sur la Novaya Gazeta.

La brutalité de la répression démontre à quel point la Tchétchénie est devenue le pré carré de son président Ramzan Kadyrov. Le porte-parole du président tchétchène a répondu à la Novaya Gazeta en niant l’existence de personnes gaies en Tchétchénie, puisque « s’il existait de gens de ce genre en Tchétchénie, les services de police n’auraient pas à s’en charger, étant donné que leurs parents les auraient déjà envoyé dans un endroit dont on ne revient pas ».

Celles et ceux qui pensent qu’une simple intervention de Poutine pourrait amener les autorités tchétchènes à mettre fin à une telle persécution se mette un doigt dans l’œil et néglige le fait que le Kremlin dépend du président Kadyrov pour garantir la stabilité de la république tchètchène, ce qu’essaie de faire le Kremlin depuis des années.

En fait, Kadyrov dispose d’une force de sécurité personnelle de près de 20,000 hommes et sa république observe de façon stricte un ensemble de codes religieux et sociaux ultra-traditionnaliste et qui échappe totalement à la législation russe. Le même Kadyrov se serait par ailleurs déclaré favorable à la polygamie et au crime d’honneur.

Quoiqu’il en soit, tout débat sur l’homosexualité est tabou et les personnes gaies extrêmement invisibilisées. Ce qui rend difficile l’entrée en contact avec elleux et la documentation de la répression.

« Les informations nous arrivent avec du retard » explique Igor Kochetkov du LGBT-Network russe qui a lancé un programme d’évacuation de la région. La réalité de la répression brutale pourrait être encore plus profonde que celle décrite par la Novaya Gazeta. Comme le dit Ekaterina Sokirianskaia : « Nous n’avons commencé à voir que la pointe de l’iceberg ».

Alternativa Libertaria exprime son entière solidarité avec la communauté LGBT de la Fédération Russe, contre les arrestations et les agressions en Tchétchénie, en Russie et dans les autres pays de la Fédération où depuis deux ans déjà, la libre expression des personnes LGBT dans la presse et les espaces publics a été interdite. Nous soutenons la contre-information sur les faits qui ont cours actuellement et nous contribuons à démasquer comment l’autoritarisme et la pensée néo-religieuse traditionnaliste sert d’instrument de domination sur la population dans les pays de la fédération.

Le 4 mai 2017, Alternativa Libertaria/FdCA
Traduit de l'italien par les Relations Internationales de la CGA
russia / ucraina / bielorussia / genero / editoriale Saturday May 13, 2017 00:40 byAlternativa Libertaria/fdca
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Solidarietà con le vittime di omofobia in Cecenia e non solo

[English][Français]

russia / ukraine / belarus / gender / press release Saturday May 13, 2017 00:38 byAlternativa Libertaria/fdca

Solidarity with the victims of homophobia in Chechnya and not only there

[Italiano][Français]


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The Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper in opposition in Russia, has published a series of reports about Chechnya about the detention of dozens of men in a secret prison “due to their non-traditional sexual orientation or its suspicion”. The Russian newspaper writes that recent waves of repression have led to the arrest of more than 100 men and to the death of – at least – three of them.
The atrocities that the Russian newspaper brought to the fore have not yet [note from the translator : it has been since] been confirmed by independent sources but the NGO Human Rights Watch claims that indeed something is going on there, based on information from reliable sources.

Tanya Lokshina, head of HRW program in Russia says that given the numbers of sources and the coherence of theirs stories, there can be no doubt about the catastrophic developments of the ongoing anti-gay campaign in Chechnya.

Ekaterina Sokirianskaia of the International Crisis Group, who is an expert on the issues of the North-Caucasus region, received similar confirmations from her own sources.

A direct support line that was activated in Russia for Chechens by the LGBT-network has received more than ten calls from Chechnya within two weeks after it was published in Novaya Gazeta.

The brutality of this repression shows how much Chechnya has become Ramzan Kadyrov’s fief. The Chechen president’s spokeperson replied to Novaya Gazeta and sid there was no gay people in Chechnya as “if there were such kind of person in Chechnya, police forces wouldn’t have to deal with it because their parents would already have sent them in a place which allows no way back”.

Who believes that a simple intervention from Putin could bring the Chechen authorities to end this persecution?! The Kremlin depends on Kadyrov’s presidency to guarantee stability in the region as it tried to do so for a long time now.

Actually, Kadyrov has a personal security force of about 20.000 people and his Republic strictly abides by a ultra-traditional social and religious code that is completely independent of the Russian law. He also declared to be in favor of polygamy and honor crimes.
Talking about homosexuality is a huge taboo and gay people are invisible. That makes it even more complicated to reach them and provide evidence of the repression.

« The news arrive too late » says Igor Kochetkov of the Russian LGBT-Network who launched a program of evacuation from the region. The actual repression could be even more brutal than what is described by Novaya Gazeta. As Ekaterina Sokirianskaia says: “We’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg”.

Alternativa Libertaria stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in the Russian Federation, against arrests and attacks in Chechnya, in Russia and in others countries of the Federation where freedom of press and expression in public spaces have been repressed for the LGBT people. We support counter-informative work on this ongoing case and try to provide information about the way authoritarianism and traditionalist new-religious spirit in the countries of the Federation have revealed being a tool for domination on people.

May 4th, 2017 | Alternativa Libertaria/fdca Translated from Italian by the International Relations of CGA
russia / ukraine / belarus / the left / opinion / analysis Monday April 24, 2017 07:28 byWayne Price

The Russian Revolution of 1917 demonstrates the dangers of a revolutionary minority taking over, setting up its own state, and substituting itself for the working class and oppressed.


The following is based on my notes for a panel presentation. I was invited to give it at the April 8, 2017, convention of the Platypus Association, a rather academic Marxist organization. The panel topic was on the meaning of the 1917 Russian Revolution for today. This is a topic widely discussed on the Left this year, the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. I was to express the minority viewpoint of an anarchist (antiauthoritarian socialist). However, a rainstorm and a flight cancellation intervened and I did not give the presentation. This is more-or-less what I was going to say.


Revolutionaries study revolutions. Many lessons might be learned from looking at the 1917 Russian Revolution and its aftermath. It began with such promise, bringing hope of a world without war, oppression, capitalism, imperialism, and states. How did it result in Stalinist mass murder and state capitalism, finally to collapse back into traditional capitalism?

Possibly the most important lesson of the Russian Revolution is the difference between capitalist revolutions and working class revolutions. By “capitalist revolutions,” I mean the upheavals which replaced medieval-feudal societies with bourgeois-democratic societies, including the English Revolution of Cromwell, the American Revolution, the great French Revolution, and the mostly failed 1848 European Revolutions. By “working class revolutions”, I mean mass rebellions in which the working class plays a major role, in alliance with other exploited and oppressed sections of society—to replace capitalism with the beginning of some sort of cooperative, non-profit, system.

Today many people on the Left, including Marxists and anarchists, have given up the goal of working class revolution. Yet working class revolution was the central concept of the Marxism of Marx and Engels, as it was of the historical mainstream of socialist-anarchism, from Bakunin to Kropotkin to the anarchist-communists and anarchist-syndicalists.

Depending on the definition we use, the working class (proletarians) is either a large minority or the big majority of the population of all industrialized countries. As such, they overlap with all other oppressed sectors of the people, including women, LGBT people, people of color, immigrants, youth, oppressed nations, people with disabilities, etc., not to mention those threatened by global warming. Because of their role in the process of capitalist production, workers have a special strategic power (potentially). As workers, they have their hands on the means of production, distribution, transportation, communication, consumption, and services. If they wanted to, they could stop society from working, shutting it down. And they could, if they would, restart the economy on a new, radically democratic, cooperative, and ecological, basis—antiauthoritarian socialism.

Both capitalist and workers’ revolutions are uprisings of the mass of people against the old ruling class and its state. But what a capitalist revolution did was to replace the old masters with a new ruling class—the aristocracy with the bourgeoisie. The majority of people did get some benefits (it is better to live under a bourgeois democracy than a unlimited monarchy), but the main function of the capitalist revolution was to replace one set of rulers with another. This means that the ideology of the leaders of the revolution was always a falsehood. Bourgeois revolutionaries could not tell the peasants and artisans that they were only changing rulers. A minority would still be powerful and wealthy while all others would labor for them. Subjectively, the revolutionary leaders may or may not have believed that they were bringing “liberty, equality, fraternity” and the “rights of man” to the people, or “inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What mattered is what they actually did.

In contrast, the workers’ revolution must be based on the consciousness of the people, an awareness of what they are really doing. The big majority of the people—the workers, their families and dependents, peasants (still a big group around the world), and women, as well as people of oppressed races, nations, and religions, etc.—will rise up and make a revolution in their interests, under their control. Working class revolutionaries must tell the truth. Even at times when it is unpopular to do so, they must say what is.

Differences Between Capitalist and Workers’ Revolutions


At the core of capitalism is the market. Commodities are produced in order to exchange for money and for each other on the market. This includes the commodity of human labor power, the ability of the workers to work for a period of time, which they sell for wages or salaries. (This is an unusual commodity since it produces more wealth than it costs the capitalist to buy [hire] it, which is to say it creates the basis of profit.) Despite the growth of semi-monopolies and government intervention, the market is not really controlled by anyone, including the capitalist class. In its essence, it runs on its own, ultimately obeying only the “laws” of supply and demand, of what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” or what Marx called “the law of value.”

The job of a capitalist revolution is to clear the way for the free play of the market. It is to get rid of feudal regulations, aristocratic limitations, slavery, serfdom, guild rules, and monarchial licenses. The revolution establishes a new state, which works to set up the basic conditions of capitalism: an accumulation of wealth, available to be capital, and a “free” population of propertyless workers (not serfs or urban artisans), needing to sell their labor to the capitalists in order to live. The state may intervene in the capitalist economy to a greater or lesser extent, but it does so in order to keep production for the market going.

So long as it does this, the exact nature of the capitalist state may vary enormously. It could be a relatively democratic republican state, with universal suffrage for all adults. It could be a military junta or a police state. It could be a totalitarian fascist regime. The capitalist class may have much direct influence (as in a capitalist democracy) or very little (as in various dictatorships). In general the capitalists prefer to run their own businesses and let someone else manage the state; even in a capitalist democracy, they mostly hire professional politicians to run the government. But as long as the state maintains capitalist production and the market, the system remains capitalist and the state is a capitalist state. A revolution which establishes such a state (in any of its possible forms) is a capitalist revolution.

In contrast, the modern working class is a collective, cooperative, force. Workers do not “own” three feet of factory assembly line, nor their own cubicle in an office, nor five square feet of an auto body shop. In this they are unlike stock-owning capitalists, slave-owning lords, or even land-owning peasants. The individual workers own nothing of the means of production. They must work together to produce (distribute, etc.) goods, not only with their immediate fellow workers but also with workers in other workplaces, who make the material which goes into their own products, and those who distribute the produced goods. Unless the workers collectively and democratically manage the economy together, they cannot be truly said to manage the economy (or any other part of society). If they do not run industry together, then they continue to be on the bottom, taking orders from someone else, some boss, still exploited, dispossessed, and oppressed.

This means that some other social force cannot manage society for the workers. This is unlike capitalism, where all sorts of groupings may manage the state and society for the capitalist class. No one else can substitute for the working class, if they are to be free. In particular, this means that no layer of state bureaucrats can stand in for the workers. Contrary to the Trotskyists, there can be no such thing as a bureaucratic-ruled “degenerated” or “deformed workers’ state.”

Anarchists and Marxists define the state as a bureaucratic-military socially-alienated machine, with layers of specialized armed people and professional politicians and bureaucrats, which stands above the rest of society and dominates it. It would be impossible for the mass of workers and formerly oppressed to self-govern through such a social mechanism. The existence of a state means the domination over the working class, which would still be at the bottom of society, taking orders. It would mean the rule of some minority class, whether or not this class claimed to substitute itself for the workers. In short, there can be no such thing as a “workers’ state,” period.

The lack of a state does not mean the absence of social coordination, planning, or self-defense. The people could organize themselves through federations of workplace councils, neighborhood assemblies, and militia units (the armed people, so long as necessary). This would not be a state above society; it would be the self-organization of the working people. When everyone (or at least all the formerly exploited) governs, then there is no government.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and After



From an anarchist perspective, a great deal could be said about the Russian Revolution (for an overview, see the chapter on the “Russian Revolution” in Price 2007). For example: the “October Revolution” overthrew the unelected, pro-war, pro-capitalist Provisional Government (which had followed the overthrown Czarist monarchy). In its place, the October Revolution officially established the radically democratic power of the soviets. These were directly elected councils, created by the people, and rooted in factory committees, peasant assemblies, and military units.

The “October Revolution” is often mistakenly called the “Bolshevik Revolution.” Actually it was organized by a united front of Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, Left Social Revolutionaries (pro-peasant populists), and anarchists. When the new soviet power was established, it had a coalition government of Bolsheviks (re-named the Communist Party) and Left SRs (the Communists had almost no base among the peasants, the vast majority of the population)—with support in the soviets from the anarchists.

The history of the early Soviet Union is one of the Communists antagonizing the other left socialist parties and groups, driving them out of the government and the soviets, outlawing them, arresting and shooting their members. This began before the Civil War and foreign invasion and continued after it. Meanwhile, there had been opposition caucuses within the Communists, composed of revolutionaries who had believed in the democratic-libertarian promises of Lenin. Such groupings were driven out of the one legal party and banned. By 1921, the Russian state had become a one-party police state. This was under the rule of Lenin and Trotsky and after the Civil War had been won. (This summary is extremely condensed and controversial. Again, see Price 2007.)

It was not substitutionist for Lenin and his co-thinkers to form a political party or for other socialists to form a revolutionary organization with those who agree with them. Such an organization could serve to develop theory and program. It could fight to spread its ideas and strategies among the workers and others. (There is an historical trend of anarchists who have advocated such organizing, including Bakunin, Malatesta, Makhno, and the FAI-ists.) This is a revolutionary minority seeking to win over the majority. It is not counterposed to the self-organization of the working class and oppressed. It is a crucial part of that self-organization.

What was substitutionist was the idea that the revolutionary party could stand in for the working class, that it could run the state in the interests of the workers and peasants, even against the opposition of the people. From the beginning of the revolution, the Bolsheviks held that only they knew how to lead the revolution, and that the solution was for them to get state power. (Even though, for most of their history, the Bolsheviks, like the Mensheviks, had falsely held that the Russian Revolution would stay within the limits of a capitalist revolution.) Once the October Revolution had occurred, they set up a new government, uncontrolled by the soviets. They gerrymandered and did other things to keep themselves in power. They might have formed a united front with other parties which supported the soviets (Left SRs, Left Mensheviks, anarchists). Instead, they pushed the other left parties out of power and out of the soviets. They set up an uncontrolled secret police with the power to arrest and shoot opponents. They killed off the factory committees and stratified the unions, running industry through appointed managers. They set up a centralized state planning agency to manage the economy (which never worked well).

This was done under Lenin and Trotsky, setting the framework for Stalin’s totalitarian rule. Of course, there were objective problems, including the aftermath of a world war, a revolution, and a civil war in a poor, peasant-majority country. But Lenin and Trotsky did not say that these were temporary measures due to exceptional unfavorable circumstances. Instead they declared that one-party rule was a principle of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Even most of the oppositions developing within the Communist Party agreed with the principle of one-party dictatorship. This included Trotsky’s Left Opposition, which continued to uphold the Communist Party dictatorship until the mid-thirties (by which time the Russian Trotskyists were smashed).

Substitutionism Creates State Capitalism



By the thirties, all remnants of workers’ power had been eliminated from Soviet Russia. The state had a structure essentially the same as in Nazi Germany. The bureaucracy ruled uncontested. The economy was almost entirely nationalized. The working class and peasants were beaten down, oppressed and exploited—as were women, intellectuals, and non-Russian nationalities. What was this society?

Trotsky and most critical Communists continued to regard Stalin’s Soviet Union as a “workers’ state” of some sort. Many Marxists still see it that way, saying it was “socialist,” “post-capitalist,” or “progressive.” And therefore a regime to be supported against Western capitalist states. What most matters to these Trotskyists and others is not whether the working class actually ruled but that property was collectively owned by the state.

There were dissident Trotskyists and other Marxists who rejected this argument, holding that the Soviet Union was an exploitative class society, either state capitalist or a new type (“bureaucratic collectivism”). This was good as far as it went. But even these almost all supported the police state of Lenin and Trotsky as a good (if imperfect) workers’ state. And generally they regarded the post-Lenin Soviet Union as remaining a (distorted) workers’ state during the early years of Stalin, even if one that should have been overthrown. They held that Stalinist Russia remained a workers’ state until some turning point—such as 1929 (the big industrialization drive)
or 1934 (the great purges and mock trials). So even these unorthodox Trotskyists and others accepted substitutionism.

The nationalized, collectivized, and planned economy…never worked well. The central planners lacked feedback from below, due to the lack of workers’ democracy or democratic consumers’ cooperatives. The five-year plans were never “fulfilled.” Although the ruling bureaucracy did not hold stocks like the traditional capitalists (the bourgeoisie), the economy inevitably adopted capitalist mechanisms and acted as a statified, distorted form of capitalism. The workers’ sold their labor power to the bosses for money on a labor market. They produced goods which were sold as commodities on a market for money. The commodities they produced were worth more than the wages they received (that is, they produced surplus value, the basis of profit). State enterprises bought and sold machinery and supplies among each other, for money—so these were also commodities. Collective farms sold their food as commodities on the markets. The inefficiencies of the system were smoothed over through vast gray and black markets. Under the overall umbrella of the state, enterprises competed with each other. The enterprises, and the economy as a whole, was driven by a need for accumulation of capital. This was partly due to the whole system’s competition on the world market as well as its military arms competition with other states.

Eventually this system collapsed. In both the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, the statized economy was drastically modified. It became an openly market-based system, with stocks and bonds and billionaire oligarchs, even if still heavily intermixed with the national state. It transformed from one version of capitalism into another. The collective bureaucracy turned out to be a substitute not for the working class but for the traditional bourgeoisie.

“The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.”

—First rule of the First International.

The main lesson of the Russian Revolution is that it is the workers and oppressed who must make and sustain the revolution. If they won’t, then there won’t be a revolution. A minority among the workers may advocate a revolutionary program and fight against various elitist trends, such as reformists, Stalinists, or fascists. But the revolutionary minority must not seek to take power for itself, to set up its own state, over and above the rest of the population—for their own good, which the revolutionaries think they know better than anyone else. Substitutions is tendency which goes back to Marx, in certain ways. The Bolsheviks did not understand its danger, before, during, or after the revolution. Instead of a new world of freedom, they founded a new authoritarianism.

In the developing radicalization of today, radicals must be aware of this danger.


References



Price, Wayne (2007). The Abolition of the State: Anarchist & Marxist Perspectives. Bloomington IN: AuthorHouse.

*written for www.Anarkismo.net

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