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Proletarian Dictatorship & Proletarian Democracy
Apparently however, history is ready to leave behind facts contradicting this seizure. It produces the proletarian revolution, yet maintains a petty-bourgeois, peasant economy, which produces and sells the goods of craftsmen. The owners of enterprises which have not been nationalized continue their pursuit of profits ... Yes, all this is so. But it is only a form, an appearance, a shadow of the capitalism of the past.
At the moment of proletarian victory, the fundamental law of socialism comes into force. The victorious proletariat, for the sake of maintaining the functional integrity of society, needs the activity of very varied layers of the population, and therefore, must stimulate such activities. The essence of property is radically changed by the proletarian victory, but the consciousness of people is incapable of responding to the victory with changes at the same rate. This consciousness is still unprepared to recognize new stimuli, in it bourgeois concepts still live, it continues to assess the results of activities only with bourgeois measures and to strive for bourgeois individualistic aims.
The proletariat must reckon with this. The form of profits, the form of their defence in law; this is how the activity of those layers of the population, as yet unready for the socialist reorientation, are stimulated. This is neither capitalism nor a remnant of it. It is simply a superficial similarity, an external simulation of capitalist relations in the form of stimuli understood by definite segments of society, which draw them in to activity useful to society. This form of stimulation can be supplanted by another form. It can also be generally abolished, if the proletariat can either take upon itself or generally liberate itself from the functions fulfilled by such layers of society. This form can change where this is advantageous to the proletariat, where it corresponds to its interests and for so long as it continues to correspond to them.
Everything is subordinate to the interests of the proletariat. Such is the legal foundation of socialist society. All other legislation is its direct consequence. And when discussions are raised about democracy for non-proletarian layers, there is no point in searching for support in historical precedent (there just isn't any). The proletariat must not share real power with anyone. Whatever democratic opportunities for the expression of the opinions and interests of non-proletarian groups and classes are permitted, this is only in order that, by taking stock of these interests and changes in them, a dynamic restructuring of the system of stimuli can take place. This permits the direction of the activities of the non-proletarian strata toward maximal effectiveness in the service of the proletariat. Thus the dictatorship of the proletariat must not, even to the slightest extent, be taken as a political system which provides authentic democracy to any class or layer except the proletariat itself. In questions of law and politics, in economic and social decisions, the proletarian dictatorship must be self-consciously a true, sovereign dictatorship. It must rule in the exclusive interests of the proletariat, through the provision and elimination of specific freedoms for the non-proletarian strata, exactly as in the question of the liquidation of private property in the means of production.
This does not mean unbridled arbitrariness or monarchist autonomy in relations with the non-proletarian strata. Recklessness is not in the interests of the proletariat; the proletarian dictatorship must carefully nurture conditions for all strata which lead to the highest level of efficiency in activities useful to the proletariat. Just as in its care and concern, so too in its limitation and repression, the proletariat must be guided by the interests of the class, not concerning itself in the least with the interests of other strata.
The socialist system is the highest form of democracy not because it is prepared to grant the bourgeois right of universal suffrage or definite bourgeois privileges to the intelligentsia, but because, for the first time in history, the ruling class is an open class. Each member of society has the opportunity of joining this class and of obtaining all the attendant privileges and of taking upon himself all the corresponding responsibilities. The unique real form of democracy in socialist society is democracy for the proletariat, and this is all that is required to ensure its gradual transformation into a society without classes. Proletarian democracy will then become democracy for all.
Proletarian democracy is the unique class democracy which transforms itself into democracy for all. But for this to take place it is absolutely essential that the proletariat remain the ruling class, for it is the only open class of all the classes in history which has conducted a struggle for the mastery of society. And further, the dictatorship of the proletariat along all paths to communist society must not only, unavoidably, win the struggle with other classes, but must suppress the birth and development of all other classes so long as the conditions for such birth and development exist in society.
So what is such a proletarian dictatorship?
How must the working class realize its dictatorship?
To say that this dictatorship is state power is insufficient. Yes, the socialist state can be nothing other than the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. But the state and the proletariat are distinct, diffrently organized social subjects. In order that their interests coincide, if only for a short historical period, the following conditions are necessary.
The state and a class dictatorship are also dissimilar in other ways. The state, as a certain type of mechanism, is a means of implementing a dictatorship, a directing and compelling influence on society. But in order that this means can be the instrument of any given class, one that rules society in the interest of this class, it is essential that it is precisely this class, and not its individual representatives, that holds the key levers and forces in its hands, thus compelling the state to take up the interests of this class as its own.
A class dictatorship is a system of social relations which provides the ruling class with control over society; including the suppression of the political initiative of any other classes which threaten their dictatorship.
The bourgeoisie promotes the most democratic principles for the formation of state power and transfers to the state colossal financial resources in the form of taxes on profits, never fearing that this can be turned against them. It demands from the state just one thing; the unquestioning defence of private property. In property lies its strength. For is is precisely property, through its organizing effects, by conferring the right to decide the distribution of goods and by providing the hired organizations of the bourgeoisie with their very livelihood, which guarantees the bourgeoisie their ruling position, their control over the state.
The proletariat, as the aggregate of the workers, generally has no opportunity to construct its dictatorship on an analagous basis. The proletariat is poor and no one pays any attention to them in the decisions of the state. Like the slaves in ancient Rome, rising against one slaveowner only to be enslaved by another, like the peasants in Russia rioting for the "good tsar," so too the proletariat, in creating an authority and then entrusting to it the distribution of costs and benefits and releasing all means of control over it, itself promotes new bosses, a new bourgeoisie. This is how it was, and ever would be, were it not for one condition. This condition, arising from the social character of production, is the capability of the proletariat for self-organization.
For it is precisely the capability of the proletariat for self organization, which at a definite historical stage, permits the proletariat to fill the bosses shoes. But in the realization of this capability, the proletariat ceases to be simply an aggregate of workers; it acts as a class, as an integral social subject, and in this way becomes the irresistible force in society. Emerging victorious from the class struggle, the proletariat, again as an integral subject, becomes the owner of all the riches of society. But managing them in the bourgeois fashion, utilizing them directly in their own subjective class interests, is simply impossible. For this, it is necessary to build a sufficiently complex social system out of the materials bequeathed to it by history and on the basis of the relations prevailing in society at the given moment. But these relations must be restructured and reshaped so as to provide a guarantee of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a class. A system of social relations, operating through the abilities of the proletariat for self-organization, having as its foundation the self-directed, organized proletariat, can exist only if, in the course of its operation, it results in the satisfaction of definite proletarian interests. But these interests are precisely the merging of organizational and collective interests, of interests having a social character, into the class interest. In this system, the state plays the role of the social mechanism which compels and stimulates the purposeful activity of individuals through the strivings of personal, individualistic interests, and regulates the satisfaction of these desires depending on such activity. From this it is easy to see that, if the state locks up this role entirely, basing itself on just this set of functions, it will begin to function in the interests of its own apparatus, and this apparatus will transform itself into a parasitic organism, compelling society to serve it. As a result, it will cease to satisfy those interests of the workers which have a social character, it will cease to satisfy their spiritual needs, and this will lead to the weakening of the self-organization of the proletariat and directly assist the formation of the highest levels of the bureaucratic state apparatus into a ruling class exploiting the working mass.
The task of the organized revolutionary proletariat is not to permit such an isolation, such a cutting off of the state. The proletariat must utilize the state mechanism to carry out the will of the class. It must play on the individualistic interests of the members of society and direct their activity to the satisfaction of social interests, in order to consolidate in social relations and in the consciousness of individuals an appreciation of the demands and interests of society. And for this to be possible, for it to become a reality, the proletariat finds itself confronting an array of other problems. These include cutting off any self-activity of the state directed against the proletariat. They include changing the functions of the state and changing the tasks placed before it according to the changing and developing interests of the proletariat. They also include, the categorical removal from the state of the slightest opportunity to hinder the free development of proletarian interests. Without a solution to these problems, without the construction of an entire system of relations which secure the consistent realization of the proletarian interest in a developing, revolutionizing, renewing society, any talk of proletarian dictatorship can only be hot air.
The state stands opposed to society, and in this opposition it possesses considerable advantages. Even the bourgeois state, the economic possibilities of which are shaped by the wills of the capitalists, and which has at its disposal colossal quantities of goods, distributes a vital share of the social wealth. The socialist state takes upon itself the distribution of all goods, and in society there is not and cannot be anything comparable to the state by this measure. And this means that the entire might of the hired social organizations is directed to the defence of the interests of the state. In such conditions, how can society defend itself from exploitation by the state?
Well the state has its weaknesses. Above all it is a paid organization, it is stimulated by material goods, and this means that the activities of the members of the separate links in this mechanism, in defence of their common interests, are defeated by their economic dependence and because such attitudes are not dictated by their basic interests. Secondly, each member of the state apparatus does not simply obtain the opportunity to appropriate some quantity of goods, these are provided to him under definite conditions and, in this sense he is under the control of society. Thirdly, the very system which the state mechanism organizes is formed not by the state but by the whole of society; thus, under definite conditions, it stands ahead of every member of the state apparatus and dictates the interest of society.
Weaknesses there are, and these weaknesses must be used by proletarian society to maintain control over the proletarian state, but this is not so easy. The spontaneous activity of the proletariat in exercising this control cannot be guaranteed. The state then immediately slips out from under control and restructures itself to eliminate the weak spots. So that the control of society over the state can be effective, society must oppose the state with such a force as will be able to cut off all attempts by the state to restructure in isolation from the social system, as will be able to hinder the state's striving to liberate its links from social control, and, in the end, as will be able to destroy the entire state system, if that system refuses to subordinate personal improvement to social interests.
Society must oppose the state with organization. And such organization can only be the self-directed organization of the proletarian mass, a firmer organization than that based on the unity of fundamental interests of the workers.
Society must oppose to the state the organized, self-directed, proletarian party.
The self-directed proletarian party is the form of proletarian self-organization with the aid of which the state mechanism can be forced to serve the interests of the proletariat, to be the means for the realization of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Here is the key. The party must be self-directed, that is to say both voluntary, attracting people exclusively thanks to their collectivist, social interests and not through the promise of any personal advantage, and bound by conscious discipline and personal enthusiasm. The party must be proletarian, for only the particular relationship of the proletariat to the aggregate social product provides a guarantee of the distribution of goods and labour in the interests of the whole of society. And it must be a party, for only a party can guarantee an integral policy, a unified world view monitoring all links of the state mechanism, only a party is capable of organizing and directing the activities of the masses to the change and improvement of this mechanism.
But this is still not everything. Such a party, with the most powerful organization and enjoying the support of the proletarian masses, necessarily must have the possibility of taking upon itself all and absolute power, all control of society.
Here is what it must not do! The party must remain in opposition to the state, it must act on the state only through the proletarian masses. In other words, every party decision must be evaluated by the support of the whole class, by its readiness for class action. A party serving the interests of the proletariat must not link its activity with those of the state, it must remain in continuous opposition to the state.
Now we may collect all this together as a scheme for social relations. The state administers society, including the aggregate of all proletarians. The party monitors the state. The proletariat, the entire class, monitors party decisions through embodying them in their own mass activities directed at changing the state system. And the other way around; the proletariat transfers and delegates to the party its most advanced ideas; the party secures the realization of these ideas in state form; the state consolidates the establishment of these ideas in society.
This is the unique scheme for social relations which can secure the existence and continuous reproduction of the dictatorship of the proletariat in society.
In order to assess the disposition of forces corresponding to the dictatorship of the proletariat, we must first pause for a deeper examination. In distinction from the other components of the proletarian dictatorship, the party must always have a precise understanding of its basic aims and tasks at each concrete stage. This does not mean that the party must be the brain of society. No, the destiny of the party is rather to play the role of a sense organ, to keenly apprehend reality and the beginnings of the impulses of the mass movement. But before it can be embodied in a definite restructuring, each impulse must be comprehended by the super-brain, the consciousness of the proletariat; for only its approval can confer reality on the impulse. The party, if it deviates from the interests of the proletariat or gets ahead of it, will immediately sense this.
Holding fast to its aim of the construction of communist society, the development of social relations in the direction of communism, the party must understand the sharp divergence of its own tasks from the tasks of the proletarian state.
Despite the fact that the proletarian state, in general, at the stage of the movement toward communism, plays a positive role, and is the only means of realization of this movement, every concrete form of the proletarian state, at that historical moment, is the most backward element of proletarian society. This is because it it is occupied not with the search for newer, higher levels, but with the consolidation of a level of social consciousness which has already been reached and surpassed. The state, remaining proletarian, exhibits its advanced character only in external aspects, only in its relations with the non-proletarian environment. In its relations with the proletariat it always remains bourgeois because it dies away only to the extent that it loses the support of the individualistic hangovers in the proletariat itself and in other members of society.
The party encourages this withering away with all the means at its disposal, its ideological work secures definite changes in the consciousness of society and the organized movement of the proletariat for consolidation by the state of the changes which have take place. The state is incapable of embodying an ideology which outstrips the current level in this way; it changes and progresses only under pressure from the masses, and it loses its function to the extent that the masses transform their consciousness on the path to communist social consciousness. The growth of communist social consciousness, generally speaking, consists not in the mastery of culture, nor in the assimilation of the theory of social development, although all this is useful, but quite simply in the predomination of collectivist over individual consciousness. But the development of the collectivist interests of each member of society depend directly on their level of satisfaction; it flowers in victory and withers in defeat. This is where the party and its theoretical armaments play a decisive role, securing the selection of paths to victory and organizing the masses for victory. Continuous interaction on the basis of common interests, alone can guarantee the establishment in each individual of the principal communist idea that the social position of the individual is determined by the degree of his collectivism. Incidentally, this is why all attempts to "implant" communism by the state or by a party-state ruling system are futile; one ought not to hope for the development of collectivist characteristics from individualistic incentives. To each concrete, historical form of the socialist state the masses must liberally offer their recognition but not their respect; and it is exactly this the party must worry about, crushing conservative complacency with its inexhaustible enthusiasm.
Even though subordinate to society, the state serves its majority, at the same time that advanced ideas, guaranteeing forward movement, arise in the minds of a minority. Such ideas can become the property of the whole of society, can become the leading ideas of the state only if they are supported by the party which, through its ideological activity, makes them into the ideas of the majority. Without the organized support of a party no minority ideas will be able to stand against a functioning state machine.
The opposition between the party and the state in socialist society is the most direct, most naked reflection of the fundamental contradiction of socialism, the contradiction between the communist and the bourgeois, the social and the personal, the collectivist and the individualist. In this contradiction lies the source of the development toward communism, and the more clearly the opposing forces are recognized, the more exactly the causes of their opposition, within the concrete historical sequence, are defined, the more effectively the process of overcoming these contradictions will proceed and the more direct will be the path of society to communism.
The party and the state present themselves as two structures organizing society, two types of social organization; leadership and management. It is as if these structures found themselves at opposite poles of social life. Management is a coordination of activity, leadership is a coordination of consciousness. Management exerts influence on individuality through limitations and stimuli, leadership appeals to the understanding and influences through public opinion. Management appeals to the individual, knowing of no other means of control other than the economic. Leadership discloses to the individual the possibility of direct social management, not linked with economic circumstances. Management operates on the accumulated experience of the past, leadership seeks its support in the future.
Society serves as the source, continuously nourishing both the party and the state. What then will take place?
The proletariat under the leadership of the party seizes power; thus the party, willy-nilly, becomes the ruler. It necessarily must take a decisive part in securing the victory of the proletariat, in the liquidation of residual capitalist forces, in the destruction of the old and construction of the new state apparatus. And the new state apparatus can be composed only of party cadre, of people who have proven their dedication to the proletarian cause. Where then is the opposition?
But perhaps things don't need to be this way? No, this is the only way! Shall we give up power to the "Varangians" whose aims are so far from proletarian? And in general; for the newborn state there is only one possibility, one solid buttress for the establishment of power, that is the full support of all proletarian layers, cemented together in the party.
The solution, it would seem, is prefined. And for all that ... The proletarian party, in linking itself to the state, only deceives itself about the apparent ease of realization of revolutionary aims through the mechanism of the state. Such a path can consolidate the victory of the proletariat and its mastery over the other classes, but as for the questions of the further development of the proletariat itself and of its consciousness, these are excluded from the sphere of activity of the party and become inaccessible to it. On becoming the ruling class, the party can remain proletarian, but in this event it will not be the avant-garde of the proletariat but will represent the most backward of its strata.
To lead the conscious advance of society is possible only for an opposition party, basing its work on the appeal to the collectivist character of the workers and organizing the proletariat for collective activity as a counterweight to the administration, which links society with its system of coercive stimuli.
So what should we have? A two party (or multiparty) system? And will we let social contradictions resolve themselves through struggle between the ruling and the opposition party?
But, along this path, the fundamental contradiction of society, the source of its development, would be concealed, made more complicated and even pushed entirely to the side in the struggle for power; that is to say, secondary contradictions would divert much effort, but would in no way, shape or form assist in advancing society. Besides which, the existence of many parties inevitably assists in the stratification of society and the division of its interests, that is, serves to place additional obstacles on the path of the transformation of the society to classlessness.
No, solving the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat is possible only by bursting through the historical (and altogether alien to proletariat) precedents, only by liberating oneself from the path of habitual schematism.
Not the opposition of a ruling and an opposition party, but the immediate opposition of the party and the state; this is what fully reveals the social contradictions, this is what the proletariat must strive for.
Yes, the party must lead the proletariat in the struggle for power. Yes, the party, at the head of the proletariat must seize this power. Yes, it must destroy the old state apparatus and build a new one. It must promote its most experienced organizers, leaders and chiefs to the leading posts in the state; and then it must immediately cross them off its list of voting members.
Just that. This does not mean a complete rupture but a radical restructuring of relations; thus totally excluding state interference in party affairs and the direct influence of state interests on party activity.
The party must continue to monitor those of its members that have been promoted to administrative posts, it must understand their state concerns and must prove itself to be a direct help in organizing the masses for the support of state measures. But the party must do this, not under the diktat of the state, but only as it emerges from its own aims and tasks. It is completely natural that this support will be at its most energetic and powerful in the early period, when the leading ideas of the party and the state are almost completely convergent, when the state is being refounded and needs such support most of all. But even in this period the party must not bind itself with any promises.
In detaching its better cadre and leading forces to state posts, the proletariat must clearly recognize that this will not resolve all the problems of social development. Sooner or later, the interests of the state apparatus will be brought into contradiction with the developing interests of the proletariat, will become a constraint on the formation of state structures and the point of some of their functions will be lost. Then, a new revolution is needed which can raise to the state level those changes which have taken place in the consciousness of society. Only such an uninterrupted revolutionary development can lead to the foundation of a communist society.
Having taken power from the bourgeoisie at the cost of the lives of its best fighters, the proletariat is obliged to take care that in the future, the revolution can be continued without bloody struggle. It must deprive the state of the possibility of creating any anti-proletarian organizations whatsoever. It must constitutionally consolidate for itself rights which secure for it paths for the democratic transformation of the state. These rights are as follows;
But most importantly, the proletariat must never forget, that even though enshrined in the constitution, such rights will provide no real guarantee without the preparedness of the proletariat itself to defend them in the most decisive manner. If the proletariat is unable to defend its freedoms, its privileges and its proletarian party, this means that its consciousness is still not ripe for socialism. Conversely, if the proletariat is able, without concessions, inflexibly, with arms in hand when this is unavoidable, to stand up for these rights, then this is precisely what will secure its freedom of movement toward communism. Socialism is possible only when the class consciousness of the proletariat and its organization have developed the readiness to seize power in its own hands at any moment.
Only by securing the merger of its social and collective interests in the activity of the proletarian party, only by maintaining a minimum of organization, and this means in opposition to other social layers, will the proletariat be able to feel itself master of the situation, able to maintain the obedience of the entire state mechanism and able to restructure it to whatever extent is necessary.
Being master of the situation means being in charge of the distribution of goods. And although many of the elaborations of this question will, unavoidably, be entrusted to the state apparatus, the proletariat must recognize that the last word always rests with it; for any state functionary, including the highest, may be dismissed from his post and deprived of his benefits by the will of the proletariat. Because of the availability to the workers of the proletarian party, organizing its mass activities, this right ceases to be a fiction and becomes a real means of directing the state.
For its part, the party, even if it is presented with the opportunity, must refuse to take part in the distribution of goods, but must exert the most decisive efforts to bring all state activities in this sphere under the control of the whole class, the entire proletarian mass. For, if the distribution of goods is not controlled by the entire proletariat, it will become the booty of a new bourgeoisie, whatever form that might take.
Thus, the state apparatus, at least its key parts, must be composed of people previously schooled in party organizational work. They must be monitored by the party in all their activities and must bear direct responsibility to the ruling class, the proletariat. The party too must be formed immediately out of the proletarian mass. And it must fulfill the following condition.
The party is the highest form of the self-directed organization of the proletariat. Service to the proletariat must be for the party not just its leading idea, but also the sole requirement of its members, upon the satisfaction of which their continued membership depends. While the state serves the proletariat, being stimulated by the share of the goods allotted to it, for the party service to the proletariat is both the aim and the stimulus. Correspondingly, they serve it differently.
Serving the proletariat, satisfying its present needs, conforming to its present interests and creating for it the conditions for its cultural and creative development, these are the obligations of the state.
The party has other tasks.
Tirelessly, both in word and in deed, it must clarify to the proletariat that its present interests are false interests; that they weigh it down with the ancient baggage of feudal and bourgeois history, and that they in no way correspond to the forward looking possibilities of society. It must clarify that what the proletariat justly demands from life, which they themselves can build, will be vastly better.
It must help the proletariat to utilize the opportunities for cultural development which are available to it for real cultural development; that is for association, for decisive influence in the shaping, by humanity, of the general system for understanding the world and for the mastery of the enormous possibilities of human society.
It must cultivate out of the proletariat's present interests its future interests. It must enrich the spirit of mutual trust and collectivism, ever more directly pointing out the dependence of the social situation on social and not economic factors.
It must act as the organizer of the mass struggle for revolutionary social change, for the embodyment of what is new and advanced in state forms and for inculcation in the minds and opinions of the mass; that is for the transformation of future interests into the reality of today.
In order to cope with these tasks, the party must be composed not of people who once demonstrated their ability to serve the proletariat, but rather of people who prove it with their every motion, each day of their lives. For this the party must not only be able to attract into its ranks the rich enthusiasm of youth, but must be able to free itself from individual, conservative encrustations.
The party must cleanse itself, not only of those who live in bygone days, but also of those who are mired in the present. For them, the time has come to turn from ideological work to the practical implementation of their own ideas, and the party must push them on to state work, simultaneously liberating itself from their influence.
True, in contemporary society, it is not everyone, even among workers, that is capable of dedicating their entire lives and all their efforts to unselfish service to the proletariat. But, in the life of almost everyone, there is a period when the social predominates over the personal, when their activities are dictated by collective interests and not by personal advantage. It is precisely in this period that their self-motivation must be united in the party, in the framework of resolving party problems.
It is only then, when the consciousness of a human being has risen above its prejudices and biological instincts, only in the period of its highest spiritual elevation, it is only then that the individual is worthy of membership in the party, is suitable for party work, capable, together with the party, of placing before society the problems of the future. But the party cannot rely upon lifelong enthusiasm, and this is why no one can be guaranteed lifelong trust.
Party work is not the sole capacity in which society may be served; the state presents the citizen with another form of service, one encouraged by the satisfaction of personal needs. Those who have outlived their elevation, in whom the individualistic has prevailed, the party must exile from its activities; exile without reproach but with respect and recognition of merit; pityless exile, yet not a severing of all ties.
And at the head of the list of those who must be exiled from party affairs, are those whose work is linked to the taking of state decisions, for in proletarian society there is not a single internal problem to which the party and the state would adopt a uniform solution. The development of social consciousness also includes the recognition that each individual resolves such contradictions for himself, in his own consciousness, and that no one may resolve them for him, at the state level.
Solutions, proposed by the party and taken up individually by the majority of proletarian society, are revolutionary transformations, changes in the consciousness of each individual; at the same time they mark a definite break in social, class consciousness. The renewal of the class consciousness of the proletariat finds a concrete form of expression, being reflected, in a most precise and concentrated way, in the consciousness of individual leaders. In this way, new class interests again express themselves through ideas; they are defined by historical conditions and penetrate the individual consciousness of workers. Such ideas have a decisive organizational significance through the mobilization of the proletariat for cooperative activity aimed at the achievement of class aims.
Ideas formulated by the leaders reflect class requirements, they are not identical with the interests engendered by the objective reality in separate individuals, and this is why they cannot be taken as a certain kind of personal program and are adopted only with the recognition of personal dependence on the collective and collective activity. The ideas of the leaders do not penetrate the consciousness of each individual at once. Each time they need to be pushed through, along one and the same difficult path, overcoming the usual barrier of individualism and cracking the shell of conservative complacency. At the start, they are adopted only by those who are the most receptive, and through them receive a much broader dissemination. The essence of the matter is that the immediate dissemination of ideas in society is generally impossible; society is sufficiently conservative and indifferent to novelty that in it any idea can wither. But once apprehended, even if only by a very small minority, advanced ideas lead this minority to action, and then this very movement of the minority disturbs the slumbers of society, which then must define its relationship to events one way or another and this leads it to activity. Thus the activity broadens, spreads and disperses the ideas in its wake.
The dissemination of ideas is accompanied by their concretization and, what is especially important, the concretization of the forms of activity linked to them. They become ever more definite, the forms of ideas embodied in activity acquire the character of a social movement, they become consolidated in the form of traditions accepted into the consciousness of society and require recognition and legitimation by the state. The requirements of society from the state change, and this entails changes in the policy of the state, changes in its structure, and leaders, linked to the new forms of social consciousness, are promoted.
And so, in creating a continuous revolutionary pulse in society, promoting new leaders and new ideas, with new forms of social movement emerging and being consolidated, there must be cooperation between the party and the state. In the continuous renewal of the state apparatus, its restructuring, that is to say, the incessant renewal of its composition and structure, the party plays its decisive role in the development of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
But in examining the relations between the proletariat, its party and the state, have we not forgotten that the state is a particular organized force for suppression and compulsion? Here, everything will be clear when we examine the state as the means of realization of the dictatorship of the proletariat over other classes. But the state also remains the state in its relations with the proletariat itself; and here the question is not so simple.
Representing the interests of the proletariat as a class, its social interests, as opposed to the aggregate of the individualistic interest of all proletarians, the state utilizes all its means of compulsion directly to that end. Clearly, even when we are speaking of stimuli, incentives and bonuses for the fulfillment by members of society of definite conditions, the heart of the matter remains the same as for compulsion, which is only the limitation of access to goods for those members of society that do not fulfill these definite conditions. If we take into consideration that the stimuli give access to definite resources, supplying the individual with his livelihood, while the compulsions are the threat of partial or total withdrawal of access to these resources, then it is clear that, in the relations between society and the individual, there is no difference between them. Since the basis of socialist society is the stimulation of the activities of individuals in the interests of society as a whole, it is quite obvious that the state has the need for definite means of compulsion, of force, permitting the establishment of definite limits.
But, possessed of a force suitable for the compulsion of society as a whole, the state has the opportunity to alienate itself from society, placing itself above it. Moreover, the history of the 20th century offers numerous cases in which the army placed itself above society, formed a new state and transferred power to another class.
How can the proletariat avoid such a danger?
History proves that, having brought about a revolution, the army cannot transfer power to just any class, but only to one of the most organized classes, reinforcing it with its organized support. This means that one of the guarantees consists in ensuring that the organization of the proletariat within the socialist state is incomparably higher than that of other classes. For this the proletariat must not only limit the self-directed organization of other classes, but, and this is most important, their utilization (with the aim of organizing) of the economic resources inaccessible to the proletariat. This secures not only a weakening, but also the gradual destruction of all classes opposed to the proletariat and reliably defends the proletariat from internal enemies, except for the state itself.
The socialist state is a sufficiently powerful and sufficiently bourgeois organization, that it can, through its striving to isolate itself, through its utilization of the forces under its control, turn into an independent class, into a new bourgeoisie. The unique reliable guarantee against this is a situation in which the forces of the state are composed only of the armed people, the armed proletariat. But while the state itself is essential, so too is it essential that this must be a state organized arming of the people. And this is not altogether the same thing as the simple arming of the people; it presupposes its use with the aim of organizing the distribution of goods by the state, i.e. becoming an organized force immediately dependent on the state.
No simple recipe for addressing this problem can be given. Here lurks a real difficulty, arising from the contradiction in the situation of a socialist country encircled by capitalism. However this does not mean that the problem is insoluble, but only that the solution cannot be found at the level of principle but at the level of concrete organizational forms, taking into consideration all the specifics of the level of development of social consciousness.
It must be kept in mind that in all external questions, questions of the mutual relations with other states and internal non-proletarian strata, the interests of the socialist state and the proletariat coincide completely.
Therefore, clearly, the institution of political commissars in the army, which was an unavoidable outcome of the Civil War in Russia, lost its significance in external wars.
Therefore, the attention of the proletariat must be concentrated on control over the army, and, especially in situations of internal conflict, over the organs of internal affairs and political security. The position of the proletarian party, the interests of the party in all internal questions, coincide with the interests of the proletariat. However, it does not follow that this coincidence of interests, in both internal and external questions, allows for the immediate subordination of the forces of repression to the party. Such a subordination would provoke a change in the interests of the party, it would lead to their "stateifcation." But it is in questions of control over the armed forces that the proletariat can completely trust the party, just as in questions of control over the state in general.
Various measures can be taken with aim of facilitating such control. For example, the decentralization of control of the armed forces in correspondence with the immediacy of the external threat, stricter accountability of the internal organs in activities affecting the interests of the proletariat, and so forth; all such measures of an organizational nature, and their alteration at each concrete stage, must be determined by the extent to which they are essential for the maintenance of the supremacy of the proletariat, in proportion to the internal and external dangers.
The history of the Soviet Union, where for the period of proletarian dictatorship such problems did not give rise to insoluble difficulties, proves that, as long as it is economically beyond the control of the capitalist encirclement, a socialist country is capable, for a sufficient time, and possibly for as long as you like, of containing these contradictions in the construction of the state; for they weaken and die away the more that the organization of the proletariat and its organized influence on society grow.