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Proletariat - Boss
In previous revolutionary epochs, a succession of functions arose spontaneously; the proletariat can not hope for this to happen. In previous crises in history, each slave owner, feudal or bourgeois, tied his own little knots in the net of social relations. But the socialist revolution qualitatively distinguishes itself in that a new subject, the class, enters the arena of struggle, and it wins only because it possesses the organizing power of a single subject and is able to rule only thanks to the strength of its own unity.
Acting spontaneously, the workers themselves are unable to rise higher than respectable trade-unionism, an entirely bourgeois level. Only a qualitatively different form of organization of class consciousness, concretizing the individual interests and raising them to the level of collective class interests, permits the proletariat to decide social problems and provides the proletariat with a decisive advantage in the struggle with the bourgeoisie and bourgeois ideology; as much after the proletarian revolution as before it. Also, the difficulties arising for the proletariat bear their own qualitative distinctions.
Firstly, the proletariat needs a good, reliable theory. While the individual, who is himself a unity, may act successfully thanks to personal knowledge or talent, flair or luck, the proletariat can supply unity of purpose and mutual agreement in its activities only through the coordination of all concrete tasks within the framework of an integral, systematic world view.
Secondly, the mistakes and delusions of individuals, the inaccuracy of their estimates and the groundlessness of their decisions have no influence on the development of society as a whole; they happen and are set aside in the fulfillment of the functions of single individuals, they occupy another space. But blanks in the class consciousness of the proletariat, weaknesses in its knowledge, its mistakes, signify nothing other than retreat before the bourgeoisie; the bourgeoisie swiftly returns "to the rescue," wherever the proletariat does not cope with the responsibilities of a leader.
Thirdly, a society resting on the interests of individuals, exerts no effort to compensate for individual losses which occur spontaneously through the action of those same interests. Loss or retreat by the proletariat means a reversion to the revolutionary road, they demand the repetition of the revolutionary labour, the repetition of the battle with the bourgeoisie.
Therefore, the proletariat requires a well-elaborated theory, methods permitting the timely evaluation of changes in circumstances and resulting in correct decisions, and the skill to conduct research, enriching its knowledge at the smallest cost. This is its weapon and must always be battle-ready.
Two problems must be solved by the proletariat in undertaking the construction of a new society;
Success in the second problem depends, almost entirely, on the resolution of the first. As for the the first question, it is essential for the proletariat to obtain a decisive verdict; it must not simply surpass the level of the leading capitalist countries; not only outstrip them, but outstrip them utterly, smashing through the boundary which is unattainable for them.
Proletarian society is capable of overcoming those obstacles before which capitalism grinds to a halt, having reached its highest level of development. But this will not happen of its own accord. Such are the interests of the victorious proletariat, but the path to their satisfaction remains to be discovered. And here the proletariat can't make do without the experience of the previous generation, here it must learn from the bourgeoisie.
The first and altogether general conclusion flowing from past experience is that society inevitably moves in the direction of the spontaneous striving of its members. But this is still not the conclusion, only half of it. The vital missing piece is the conditions of existence. It was not for nothing that bourgeoisie battled for the general recognition of private property in the means of production; this was both the condition for the development of capitalism and the channel into which the elements were directed. Under the conditions of socialism the means of production appear as social property. But clarity is essential here. The 'society' controlling the means of production may only be a part of society; and then its property becomes private property. Capitalism itself does not avoid the social form of property; take for example the joint-stock company. The character of socialism entirely depends on the relations of the societies with ownership of the means of production to society as a whole. To the extent that aim of the proletariat is proletarian socialism, there is only one acceptable form: all-proletarian class property. In detail, this means that, having won the means of production in revolutionary struggle, the proletariat must neither give them up nor share the rights and privileges of the proprietor.
How to keep these rights and how to manage them? This, the proletariat must learn directly from the bourgeoisie.
The pursuit of maximum profit, dictated to the capitalists by the conditions of competitive struggle, compels them to conduct uninterrupted research into raising the productivity of labour. The consequences of this are an increase in production output and capitalist superprofits. The progressive social content of this process is revealed when the exposure of monopoly to competition results in the falling price of production output.
The proletariat and indeed the whole of society need higher productivity of labour. So how do things stand under different conditions.
In abolishing capitalism, the proletariat abolishes capitalist competition.
The extraction of maximum profit cannot be the aim of the proletariat; whatever the sum of the profits might be, it could only return to whence it came, to the proletariat.
The proletariat has even less interest in superprofits.
It is the maximal effectiveness of production which is the fundamental interest of the proletariat. In the first place, the well-being of the proletariat depends directly on this, for the proletariat can get no goods that it did not produce itself. In the second place, increasing effectiveness of production leads to a reduction of the outlay of labour, the outlay of time, required for the production essential to society. These savings are then dedicated to the cultural and creative development of the proletariat, for the growth of its consciousness.
Thus, in the pursuit of maximal effectiveness of production, the proletariat is interested in the continuous raising of the productivity of labour, leading to an increase in the "in natura" expression of production. The only interest of the proletariat in superprofits lies in the fastest exposure of all monopolies and the fullest dissemination of advanced production methods. But here the proletariat distinguishes itself from the capitalist really, only by scale; the capitalist is interested in the fullest and fastest dissemination of new methods within the segment of production belonging to him, so too is the proletariat.
The interests of the proletariat in the whole, correspond to the interests of the individual capitalist in capitalist society. In essence these interests present the elevated humanistic development of bourgeois ones. The place of abstract maximal profit is taken by the completely concrete maximal effectiveness of production, which is directly rather than indirectly linked to the increase of production, the maximization of goods expressed "in natura." This happens because the basis of the fundamental interests of the proletariat, as owner, lies not in the inhuman demand for the affirmation of private property in competitive struggle, but in the human demand of the proletariat as the class of consumers. Labour and production return to their primordial destiny, serving as the source of satisfaction of immediate human need, not distorted by the oppressive complex of social injustice with its demand for a struggle against the rest of society for existence.
The existence of a definite analogy between the interests of the proletariat and the individual capitalist permits us to draw one between the realization of these interests. The capitalist secures his interests by stimulating the activities of the workers, the production organizers, the technologists, inventors and experts in areas of importance to him. He does not utilize a system of stimuli which has been consolidated once and for all. On the contrary, he utilizes the natural striving of people for a more complete satisfaction of demands, oriented to maximum effect in the direction which is fundamental to him, the receipt of profits.
The capitalist does not distribute all goods himself. But, in entrusting to some the distribution of goods to the rest, the capitalist personally decides the reward for his lieutenants. In this role he selects people who are more zealous and capable in defending his interests; and their share of the goods depends directly on their fulfillment of his demands. The capitalist recognizes no other criterion than his own interests, whose ultimate expression is maximum profit.
The fundamental decisions of direction such as the orientation to the output of products of a particular type and the choice of the direction of development and capital investment, the capitalist makes himself. These decisions coalesce into a single unity, his personal subjective economic policy. No objective factors can act on these policies other than through the consciousness of the capitalist, through refraction in his consciousness they become the conditions of decisions taken.
Faced with alternatives, where the evaluation of variations on increasing the ultimate effect is difficult, the capitalist makes his own subjective choices. This subjectivity is not arbitrary, it lies in the rut of general economic policy. From each of his workers, encouraging their successes and punishing their failures, the capitalist demands following such a policy; that is, for each, according to ability, to subjectively decide the problems at his level.
Who among these must the proletariat study?
All of them!
While defining the direction of production according to its subjective class demands, subordinating it to its own criterion, maximal effectiveness, in all other respects, the proletariat must seize the rational methods already discovered by the capitalists.
And here there arises an important difficulty, the resolution of which cannot be suggested by any capitalist experience.
The interests of the capitalist are affirmed by the capitalist himself. The wholeness of the capitalist as a person is defined, unitarily, as the unidirectionality of his economic policy.
The interests of the proletariat are class interests. The subject expressing them is the whole class. For the interests of any individual representatives or groups distinguish themselves from the interests of the class; since only for the entire proletariat does the satisfaction of its demands directly depend on the effectiveness of production; only the whole producing class cannot provide itself with anything that it did not produce.
Implementing an integral economic policy, corresponding to the interests of the class is not achievable by the proletariat as a mass of workers. It is achievable only by the organized class, by the proletariat, in the overcoming of its individualistic tendencies, in becoming conscious of its collective aims. And this is still not an answer, not a form for the realization of the ownership right of the proletariat.
The class interests of the proletariat find a concrete form, represented in the consciousness of the individual in the form of clear ideas, slogans, ideas accessible to the masses and capable of raising them to organized activity. And although the dissemination and assimilation of ideas demands time and effort, the proletariat will, all the more, be able to be its own leader.
Expressing the interests of the proletariat in the most precise, concentrated system of ideas, the leader embodies and materializes them in the mass activities of the proletariat. The fact that, accordingly, the complex leadership structure, itself clearly composed of individuals, participates in the organization of mass activities changes nothing; this system is supported and disciplined by the understanding that the masses need such concrete ideas, by the response of the masses and their readiness to follow the ideas of the leader. Such a system not only disseminates and supports ideas, but is capable, in a more active form, of negating and refuting ideas which cut against the mood of the masses and of liberating itself from leaders under the sway of such groundless ideas. In action this system form the class consciousness of the proletariat into a unified subject; participation in the mass movement brings, to each individual, consciousness of revolutionary change and forms the base for the further development of class consciousness.
Before the proletarian socialist state, at the start, lie other tasks. Taking away from capitalism the vast management system, taking society, in which there not only remain non proletarian elements but also within the proletariat itself powerful, previously inculcated, individualistic, bourgeois strivings, the socialist state must seize for itself the regulation of all the social relations linked with them. It must unite within it definite characteristics of the bourgeois state and capitalist system of management. If the mass movement leans on the best, most advanced, revolutionary qualities of the proletariat, then the state unavoidably is oriented to the worst, most backward, yet still not eliminated, characteristics of the proletariat and all of society, and must create systems for their regulation. In its inner essence, in its relations with its citizens, the state always remains bourgeois, not rising beyond the principles of bourgeois justice. But this does not apply to its external relations, to its relations with people who are not citizens; here the proletarian state comes acts only as the fully empowered proletariat, only as the representative of its class interests.
These are the social foundations of society which the proletariat must learn before using the capitalist science of management.
The plenipotentiary boss of all the conquered means of production is the proletariat as a unitary whole.
The interests of the proletariat are personified in the leaders of the proletariat. That is, it falls to the leaders to concretize the aims and to construct the policies in their concrete and concerted form. All the same, the decisive word on these questions remains with the class, for only through the support of the masses can the leaders test their political ideas.
The interests of the proletariat are fulfilled by the socialist state. The state acts like a system hired by the workers, (formed in the same way as a capitalist would, for the realization of the will of the owner and finding itself under his subjective control) dependent on the will of its master, the proletariat as a whole, in all its sections.
The socialist state as an administrative organ does not deal with the proletariat as a class. It administers society as an aggregate of individuals; workers, peasants and intelligentsia. It takes care of both single individuals and social strata; it must protect against and cut short their activities only to the extent that this corresponds with the interests of the proletariat; and in this it must also be continuously supervised.
The state apparatus must be made up of suitable staff, and here the utilization of capitalist science begins in full measure. The highest posts need trustworthy people whose devotion to the interests of the proletariat is beyond doubt, having been subjected to stringent verification. From them the proletariat demands a profound understanding of its interests at the current stage and the ability to realize these interests in concrete activities, in well chosen executors and in current policy. But all-proletarian control and evaluation must accompany them in every activity.
A particularly important sphere of activity for the socialist state is the economy. In replacing the capitalist striving for maximal profits with the socialist demand for maximum production effectiveness the socialist state must subordinate the entire management system to this demand.
In the first place, this applies to the management apparatus. The apparatus of production organizers must be rewarded in direct dependence on the organizational investment in heightening the productivity of labour and must be very highly rewarded.
Why is this so? Why can not (or must not) the victorious proletariat dictate to the technical intelligentsia its own, different conditions? Why can the leading class not exploit the creative capabilities of the specialists in the same merciless way that the capitalist exploits the workers?
Because this is not advantageous to the proletariat, it contradicts its interests.
The display of talent and creative ability possess an individual character. The struggle for social and self recognition serves as the stimulus for individual manifestations of ability. As long as commodity-money relations continue to exist in society, recognition in the distribution of goods will remain one of the elements of recognition in general.
But it is precisely upon creative activities that the perfection of production depends, the growth of its effectiveness; whether it be the activities of the production organizers or the creative initiative of the masses themselves. Growth in production of goods without an additional expenditure of labour - this is also the economic aim of the proletariat; it is quite ready to devote a portion of this growth to movement in this direction.
And if we glance back at the capitalist and learn from him, it may be seen that he loses nothing through the highly paid specialist but rather increases his profits. Besides which, he encourage a competitive struggle for recognition among them, leading to a full disclosure of their abilities, permitting him to select the best among them. In refusing to adopt such an approach, the proletariat can only harm itself.
The individual evaluation of each specialist must be based on the extent to which his activities are useful to the proletariat and this must be an assessment in the grand scheme, from the heights of class interests. As far as the share of any remaining capitalist is concerned, it must be said that if the proletariat does not offer its specialists the opportunity of obtaining more benefits that in the service of any capitalist, then it is a bad boss. Work for socialist society must attract, for their own benefit, the most prominent specialist of the capitalist world. The proletariat will only become richer through the exploitation of their abilities, since that which is advantageous to the capitalist is many times more advantageous in the socialist economy which is not limited by the competitive monopolies.
But how should the leading class relate to its members? Can it, in general, have any concept of this question, if the class as a whole is composed of these very same workers?
This question exists and is quite well founded. The proletariat, organized as a class, is not identical with aggregate of the workers of which it is composed. The distinction has already arisen through the existence of its own organization. This organization is based on a community of interests; but this is not a community of all the interests, some of them continue to be in contradiction with the interests of the whole class.
The class is interested in the increase of goods for all, the individual worker also for himself. But he can obtain them either together with the class or, in the bourgeois manner, by striving to appropriate the labour of his comrades in the class. Until such time as this contradiction is no longer lodged in the consciousness of the worker, a definite contradiction between the proletariat and each proletarian, between the class and the individual will continue to be maintained.
And this means that, until that time, the organized class must defend its interests against spontaneous outcroppings of petty-property, bourgeois interests. This struggle is conducted on two fronts. On the one hand, the struggle as a whole is for such a revolutionary change in the consciousness of everyone that the bourgeois individualistic interests wither and disappear. On the other hand, while they continue to exist, the proletariat is obliged to make good use of them, turning them to the benefit of society.
The principal economic task of the proletariat is the continuous growth in the goods produced for a given investment of labour. And the execution of this task is determined not by the labour of the workers, but rather by the extent to which this labour is effectively utilized, the extent of development of the whole system of production and the extent to which those whom the proletariat have hired to organize production fulfill their obligations. Therefore, if a known investment of labour in social production, without the fulfillment of which goods in general cannot be reproduced, is the duty of the workers, then their fundamental interest in the increase of such goods must be secured through the demand for creative output from the production organizers and such control of their activities as will permits the selection of the most capable; that is through continuous maintenance of a class stand. However, in carrying out this task, the proletariat confronts the necessity of applying these demands to itself; because labour, to an even greater extent, does not yet universally recognize this duty and because such recognition hinders the individualistic interests.
As regards these same interests, which rule in capitalist society, the task facing the proletariat consists in organizing them and directing them into the required channels; that is to say, as the boss, using these interests, stimulating the workers' activity for the benefit of the boss - the whole working class. Also in this way, in relations with the workers, policy is dictated by a single consideration, the interests of the proletariat as a class, as an integral whole.
The fundamental law, which defines the existence of the
proletarian socialist state, and which the victorious proletariat must
be guided by and which the state system must serve, may be formulated as
"The distribution of labour and manufactured goods in the interests of society as a whole, thus stimulating the growth of social well-being and social consciousness"
The opportunities for the socialist state in the business of developing consciousness are extremely limited. In essence, the task of the state is not itself to change the consciousness of the masses, but to strengthen the progressive changes in their consciousness which have already sprung up, in state form, in corresponding changes in all the management systems of society.
However, in relations with non-proletarian strata of society, the state serves as the executor of the class will of the proletariat, playing a very active role. The very existence of such strata is permitted to just that extent which corresponds to the interests of the proletariat. The interests and demands of the non-proletarian strata are taken into consideration only to the extent that they correspond to the most effective utilization of these sections of society for the benefit of the proletariat. Whatever particular democratic opportunities for the expression of personal opinion, for the exposition of such ideas as were not demanded of them, is allowed to the non-proletarian sections of society by the proletariat, it is with a single aim; to utilize these interests, to stimulate them, compelling the highest level of performance both in labour and in talent of these sections of society for the benefit of the proletariat. In proportion to development, changes in the interests of the proletariat will inevitably give rise to changes in the relations with other classes and social groups regarding their demands and their livelihood. Correspondingly, the character of the political freedoms permitted by the state for such strata will change. Therefore, there cannot be any question of political guarantees for these strata, with the exception of temporary agreements, into which the proletariat enters, considering the concrete form of its interests, corresponding to the current stage of history.
Correspondingly, accompanying such a dictatorial policy in relations with the non-proletarian strata, the proletarian state decides the most important question for the restructuring of their consciousness, demonstrating with all the means at its disposal that their only real guarantee is to irrevocably adopt the proletarian class positions. Interelations with the ruling class have a completely different basis. Remaining, in relation to the proletariat, one of the most backward social institutions, the state can not be so conservative that it cannot change following the development of the interests of the proletariat.
In the political sphere this signifies the continuous broadening of democracy for the proletariat. State control, state regulation of various aspects of social life, from the very beginning, acts in defence of class interests against the interests of the individual. To the extent that the personal interests of workers accord with those of the class, state regulation of these interests becomes unnecessary and they recede and wither away.
In the economic sphere, apart from the continuous growth in the effectiveness of production, and the well-being linked to it, changes in the systems for the distribution of goods have a vital significance. The movement from distribution "according to work" to distribution "according to need" is brought about by means of the broadening of the fund for social consumption, by means of the distribution of entirely new categories of goods.
No state institution can outstrip the level of the consciousness of the masses. For in their essence, they only fix an achieved level of consciousness to which the institutions respond with a delay. But the dynamic of restructuring is graphically illustrated when after definite changes in individual consciousness there follow changes in the entire system of administration which stimulate the rise of new changes and the consciousness of new tasks.
As far as the primary source, the first cause, of changes in the consciousness of the proletarian masses is concerned the workers have nothing to learn from the capitalists. All such changes; the conscious discipline, the class approach to social phenomena, the self limitation in the consumption of goods, the consciousness of social interests as ones own; all this arises in proportion to the growth of the organization of the proletariat, in proportion to the consciousness of each worker of his membership in the class. These are produced in the course of the class struggle of the proletariat; they arise in form of ideas, are manifested in the class victories of the proletariat and are confirmed in the revolutionary changes in the consciousness of each worker.
And here for the proletariat there is only one science, that of its own historical experience.