From Albania Today, 1973, 4
Possibilities of Building Socialism Without Passing Through the Stage of Developed Capitalism
By Hekuran Mara – Professor, member of the Academy of Sciences of the PR of Albania, a specialist on problems of political economy.
For the undeveloped countries capitalism is not the only prospect of historical development. There also exists the possibility of the transformation of society on a socialist basis. But the “new” revisionist theory of the so-called “non-capitalist road of development” is a deception aimed at putting conventional capitalist development into a false socialist shell.
The old colonial system of imperialism has disintegrated under the blows of armed national liberation struggle. Peoples who for a very long time had no rights and were considered by imperialism merely as an object of enslavement and exploitation have now fully awakened. They are striving to become active subjects of history.
Many of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America that have won their state independence from imperialism, are seeking to accelerate their economic, political and social development, to gain real economic and political independence, to overcome centuries of backwardness and to improve the material and cultural conditions of the life of the people.
The choice by the undeveloped countries of the roads of their economic and political development is one of the most important questions of our time because their population constitutes the overwhelming majority of the world's population. The undeveloped countries where the national bourgeoisie is in power are today pursuing the road of capitalism. But capitalism is neither the only prospect for their historical development nor an inevitable fatality. For these countries another alternative also exists – the possibility of the transformation of the society on a socialist basis, by-passing capitalism as an economic-social formation, or its developed stage.
The working people of the undeveloped countries have no reason to embrace blindly the old tradition of capitalist development. They have experienced on their own shoulders the most disgusting, most inhuman aspects of capitalist “civilization”; colonialism and imperialism; wars, violence, extermination, plunder and wanton exploitation; poverty and hunger, humiliation and sophisticated social and religious demagogy. This is a very painful and shocking experience which could not attract them to the capitalist road of development. Nor is any particular sympathy created by the moral and practical “worth” of the consumer society, whose evils have already disillusioned the working masses of the capitalist countries.
But history has opened the new socialist road of development for the undeveloped countries. This is the only true road through which yesterday's slaves can become real masters of themselves, can take their country's fate in their own hands and become active and conscious builders of a new life. There is not and cannot be a third road.
The choice of the road of the political, economic and social development of every country is an internal affair of its own people. It is a result of the ratio of class forces, of the struggle between them, of the political power and determination resulting from this struggle. As a result of the victories scored by socialism, the working masses of many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America which have got rid of the imperialist occupationists, have also become increasingly attracted to socialism. But parallel with this, all sorts of concepts and theories have emerged and spread in these countries about the ways of transition to socialism and about the socialist society itself, which both in theory and practice are still very far from true scientific socialism and especially far from the true roads which must be followed in order to pass over to the construction of socialism. “These theories contain many obscure, confused, eclectic ideas; they contain a mixture of the principles of socialism with those of capitalism, of socialist ideology with those of the bourgeois, nationalist and religious ideology.1
These theories are not identical in aim and class origin. Some of them stem from the petty bourgeois strata, they are the result of the ideological confusion of these strata and aim at the building of a “socialist social order”, according to the concept of the small private owner. Others are spread by the local bourgeoisie with a view to creating illusions of uniting what cannot be united – of uniting the economic and social superiority of socialism with capitalist private initiative and the free play of market forces; and the proletarian class ideology with bourgeois ideology and the dogmas of religion. The emergence and spreading of these theories has also been greatly influenced by the disorientating views and theoretical speculations of the modern revisionists, which serve as a hotbed for the cultivation of all sorts of variants of anti-scientific and anti-Marxist socialism. The only correct and scientific concepts for placing the undeveloped countries on the road of socialism have been and remain the concepts deriving from the genuine revolutionary Marxist-Leninist theory, from Lenin's teachings about the direct transition of these countries to socialism, from the accumulated experience of the People's Republic of China and the People's Republic of Albania, where socialism is being successfully built proceeding from a backward semi-colonial and semi-feudal situation.
The possibility for the undeveloped countries to pass directly to socialism, by-passing the stage of developed capitalism, no longer constitutes a dilemma. Marxism-Leninism has solved it on the theoretical plane, while in life, the setting-out on the road of socialist development of a series of former undeveloped countries, has confirmed the truth of this possibility, it has enriched the theory and practice of socialist revolution and of the people's democratic national liberation revolution.
Everything in the world has a history. The idea of the direct transition of the undeveloped countries to socialism also has its own history. It originates from the time when the theory of scientific socialism was created, relying on the detailed analysis of the development of the main capitalist countries.
But when this theory was created there were also countries which were in the stage of pre-capitalist development. Concerning himself with the historical prospects of these countries, Marx for the first time expressed the idea of the possibility of their direct transition to socialism, avoiding the capitalist road of “blood poverty, misery and humiliation”.
This transition by no means excludes the operation of the general laws of the development of world history, the continuity of the replacement of socio-economic formations. On the contrary, it shows that the road of the development of various peoples is richer and more diversified than the universal line of the development of world history. And if we cast a retrospective glance at this development we shall certainly notice that individual peoples have been able to pass from one economic-social formation to another, bypassing an intermediate which has been unavoidable for mankind in general.2
At the beginning of the 20th century, when socialist revolution was no longer a far horizon of history, but an item on the agenda of the labour movement, the application of Marx's doctrine to the future, laid down as an important theoretical and practical problem the transition of undeveloped countries to socialism. At the same time, the opportunists of the Second International, under the mask of “creative development” and of the theoretical “revision” of the new historical experience, initially cast doubt on, and then left aside Marx's view of the possibility of transition of the undeveloped countries to socialism.3
Under these circumstances it became necessary to re-establish Marx's correct view about this question. And the most important thing was to enrich and further develop it in conformity with the new experience of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution. This task was successfully coped with by V.I. Lenin.
Lenin connected the transition of undeveloped countries to socialism with the theory of imperialism, of the transformation of the people's democratic revolution into socialist revolution, of the carrying out of political revolution and of the seizure of state power as a decisive condition to pave the way to the creation of the socio-economic premises of socialism. He destroyed the mechanistic determinist concept of Kautsky who proclaimed as a dogma: “If economic maturity has not been achieved the political revolution should not be carried out”.
The successful carrying out of the people's democratic revolution demands that it be led by the working class and its party, that political power pass into the hands of the labouring masses. This is an axiom for a true people's democratic revolution, so that it should not remain half way, but be carried on uninterruptedly until it is transformed into a socialist revolution through deep political, economic, social, ideological, cultural and other transformations. This task was tackled by Lenin, who at the same time showed the way to its solution.
The Leninist teachings about the transition of undeveloped countries directly to socialism have been betrayed, they have been turned upside down by the modern revisionists. They have been replaced with the discovery of a “new theory”, of the so-called “non-capitalist road of development”.4 This road is presented by the revisionists as a transitional formation, which they claim must prepare the preliminary material and subjective conditions for socialism in the undeveloped countries, just as capitalism prepares these conditions in the developed countries. In being assigned such a role, this formation is depicted as an amalgam and inert equilibrium of opposing political, ideological, class and economic forces. In essence, the non-capitalist road of the revisionists represents conventional capitalist development put into a false socialist shell.
It is true that the backward countries are at different stages of social development, they are faced with different tasks and their own historical practice has its specific features. They include very different socio-economic relations, beginning with the remnants of the tribal order and natural economy, with feudal or semi-feudal relations, and ending with capitalist relations and economy. This situation results in a great diversity in the class and social forces of these countries. It also gives rise to the most diverse socio-political antagonism.
On the other hand, it is known that it has taken whole centuries for the creation, in the framework of capitalism, of the material and subjective factors for the socialist revolution and for the building of socialism. Several questions arise: Can these factors be created in an undeveloped country where capitalism is still in its initial stage or at a low level of development? Is there any other road than the capitalist one for the creation of these factors? How can an undeveloped country directly embark on the road of socialist construction without passing through the stage of developed capitalism?
The transition of undeveloped countries directly to socialism today represents the only possibility of filling as quickly and painlessly as possible the great vacuum that has been created in their historical development. Although it is difficult to anticipate or define all the concrete forms of this transition, for its beginning there is one way, a universal means – the necessary carrying out of a genuine popular revolution. “The idea that revolution is the sole means of transforming the world, the only road for salvation from national and social bondage has today gripped the minds of millions of men on all continents”.5 The central and most vital question of this revolution is the imperative seizure of political power by the labouring masses led by the Marxist-Leninist party and the establishment of a democratic dictatorship of the most revolutionary forces – of the working class and the peasantry.
A conventional bourgeois-democratic revolution, even in its specific form for undeveloped countries, cannot provide the basis for the transition to socialism. The history of the last three decades has provided incontestable proof that in a number of countries of Asia and Africa, which won state independence after world war two, but where political power did not pass into the hands of the working masses led by the Marxist-Leninist party, they not only did not embark on the road of socialist development, but also remained economically dependent en imperialism in the form of neo-colonialism.
In flagrant opposition to Marxism-Leninism and to historical experience, the modern revisionists have reduced the whole theory and practice of revolution to reforms within the existing social order. They spread the view that even the so-called “transitional state”6 which can also have at its head as a leading force exploiting classes, landlords and bourgeoisie,7 may serve as a means of the transition to socialism of undeveloped countries. And they have the effrontery to describe a state with such a class content as people's power and declare it capable of building socialism. Is not this a blatant deception?
In the conditions of undeveloped countries, when no revolutionary party of the working class exists, the creation of subjective premises for the victory of a true revolution should start with the forming of the Marxist-Leninist party, the indispensable political leadership of the revolution. Without this leadership it is not possible to speak either of the seizure of power by the labouring masses or of the uninterrupted development of the revolution with the aim of preparing the transition to the road of socialist development.
The usually small size of the working class in the undeveloped countries, its comparatively low ideological and cultural level, its limited experience of organization and political class struggle – all this cannot serve as an argument to deny the necessity and possibility of the creation of the working class party. As the example of our country also shows, the working class party must be created, and can emerge at the head of the revolutionary struggle even when the working class is small in number and unorganized. In this case the communists are the most loyal representatives of the working class, and its personification; they fight resolutely and consistently for the interests of the working class, for its ideology and policy, for the most radical interests of all the working masses and of the entire nation.
The existence of the Marxist-Leninist party and the leadership of the revolution and political power by this party for the transition of the undeveloped countries to socialism is claimed by some modern revisionists to be an obsolete dogma, superseded by time. In their opinion, if this has been the case in some countries, this has occurred not for reasons of principle and universal necessity but simply for specific historical reasons or by chance.8 Others publicly assert that the role of vanguard and leadership in the so-called non-capitalist development of the backward countries can be played by any party or political organization, even by the trade unions, irrespective of their ideology and class composition.9 This is another betrayal by the revisionists towards the socialist revolution and the building of socialism, a caricature of the idea of the role of the vanguard in the socialist transformation of society.
The seizure of political power by the working masses marks only the necessary starting point to prepare the undeveloped countries for the transition to socialism. The transition itself is an entire historical process, sometimes longer and sometimes shorter, according to the actual conditions of every given country. The main content of this process must be uninterrupted revolutionary transformation of the superstructure and economic structure of the society, the continuing change of the ratio of class forces to the advantage of socialism, the struggle against imperialism and all the internal reactionary forces.
The transformation of political and social life requires in the first place the smashing of the old bureaucratic state machine created by the colonialists and based on the local exploiting classes, detached from the working masses and which is counterpoised to them as a means of violence to preserve oppression and exploitation. In its stead a new state machine must be created, based on new leaders, emerging from the fold of the working people who are aware of their needs and defend their interests, purged of reactionary elements collaborators of the colonialists, supporters of imperialism and enemies of socialism. In the transformation of the political and social life, essential features are the drawing of the working people into running the country, the numerical growth and education of the working class, the emancipation of the women and their participation in social activities, and the systematic improvement of the material conditions of the working people.
For the transformation of the political and social life to be carried out in the interests of the working people, it should be inspired by the only revolutionary ideology, Marxism-Leninism. Otherwise, the transformation cannot be revolutionary, and will inevitably degenerate into incomplete, conventional bourgeois-democratic reforms. Such a transformation deceives the working masses with socialist slogans and arouses hopes which lead to disillusion, while in reality it strengthens the position of the exploiting classes and paves the way for capitalist development. The bourgeoisie in undeveloped countries today welcomes this kind of transformation, without feeling any special and immediate danger to its class interests, while the modern revisionists talk about the "new discovery” of the so-called non-capitalist road of development. This is a real paradox which can be accepted only by the logic of the renegades to Marxism-Leninism, who, through their treachery, give a “spiritual veneer” to the landlord-bourgeois oppression and exploitation in the undeveloped countries.
A fundamental problem for the transformation of the superstructure in the undeveloped countries, is the carrying out of a profound revolution in culture. As a rule, this revolution must go through two main stages which are closely connected and interwoven. In the first stage, the extension of culture in breadth appears as the closest and most immediate objective. It aims at the elimination of illiteracy among adults, the extension of various levels of education throughout the country, and particularly in the countryside, in order to create the premises for the raising of the general cultural level of the population. In the second stage, the decisive objective of the revolution is the transformation of culture itself, which is a more complicated and difficult process than its extension. Usually, the backward countries know two cultures before the revolution: the culture of feudals or castes and the imperialist one, the culture of exploiters and oppressors, always combined and associated with religious mysticism. The question is to pass over to a new mass culture, based on proletarian ideology, to the advantage of socialism and the strengthening of its position in all fields of life.
The transformation of the superstructure must topple every norm and institution of the old world, which has an oppressive, exploiting content, and is humiliating to the labouring masses. It must set everything in motion, radically changing the concepts, customs, habits, traditions, family relations, manners and attitudes of people at work, in society and in life. As an inevitable consequence of this process a high militant spirit is created among the working masses, their initiative, self-action, innovatory spirit and revolutionary boldness in all the fields of social activity are encouraged.
The transformation of the economic structure in undeveloped countries in order to prepare their transition to socialism, requires the solution of some problems which are specific to these countries. These are particularly the liquidation of economic dependence on foreign capital and on imperialism; the elimination of pre-capitalist relations; the transformation of agrarian relations in the interests of the labouring peasantry; the liquidation of the one-sided character of the national economy, the ensurance of employment for the rapidly-growing population, etc. History has proved that in order to eliminate economic dependence on foreign capital and imperialism, to achieve real political independence it is necessary to nationalize both the property of foreign monopolies rand that of the comprador bourgeoisie. The state sector of the economy must be created with nationalized means. From the viewpoint of socio-economic relations, of the organization and management of work and production, the features of socialism should prevail in this sector which must represent the embryo of the economic base of socialism and become a powerful backing to prepare the transition in the whole country from the old economic relations to the establishment of socialist relations.
Of course, this question cannot be solved mechanically through the carrying out of just any kind of nationalization, nor through the creation of just any kind of state sector, as advocated by the modern revisionists. In this, everything depends on the class nature of the political power and whom the state sector serves: the limitation of private capital or its extension; the transformation of the old relations or their preservation; the enrichment of the exploiting classes or the interests of the working masses, the attainment of their wellbeing. On these alternatives depends the fate of the evolution of this sector: into a full socialist sector or into a sector of conventional state capitalism. The struggle between these two tendencies of this sector is a class struggle between the capitalist road of development and the socialist road, between the working masses and the exploiting classes.
The class ratio of forces in the political power itself and the strengthening of position of the working class in it define the outcome of this struggle, its running to the advantage of socialism and to the detriment of capitalism in this sector and in the whole national economy.
There is no doubt that the state sector actually created in the undeveloped countries is a progressive phenomenon, in comparison with the other, primitive economic forms (natural or semi-feudal). But it is harmful, indeed very harmful, and an illusion to put on a par all kinds of state sector and socialism, irrespective of the class nature of the political power. Such a position provides grist to the mill of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, of capitalism and counter-revolution.
The agrarian problem is of special importance to the destiny of socialism in undeveloped countries. Here the peasantry constitutes the majority of the population, and the old pre-capitalist relations and colonial exploitation are more deeply rooted and appear in more brutal forms in the countryside. The success, time and rate of transition on the road of socialist development of the countryside and of the entire country, greatly depend on the road and methods of solution of this problem. Both revolutionary theory and practice teach that the solution of the agrarian problem is a complex one which should transform all aspects of life in the countryside – the ideo-political, economic, social, cultural, technical, organisational, and other aspects. In other words, in the countryside it is necessary to carry out a true revolution in socio-economic relations, which should radically change the whole face of the countryside. It should be carried out step by step in accordance with the ripening of the subjective and objective conditions within the countryside and on a national scale. The initial implementation of revolutionary land reform in the interests of the labouring peasantry, according to the principle of “the land to the tiller” serves this aim. The cooperation of the labouring peasantry is absolutely essential in order to set the countryside on the road of socialism and rapidly develop the productive forces in agriculture. Both the artificial acceleration of the agrarian revolution, and hesitation to carry it out, are equally harmful to the idea of socialism in the eyes of the peasantry. Every incomplete solution of the agrarian problem creates more likelihood of the development of the countryside on the capitalist road rather than on the socialist road. But also any effort for a premature radical solution of the agrarian problem, by arbitrarily missing stages, leads to adventurism and may do irreparable harm to the cause of socialism.
In diametric opposition to Marxism-Leninism, the modern revisionists state that in the building of socialism in undeveloped countries the main effort should not be directed to the transformation of economic and social relations but to the development of the productive forces because this development will allegedly lead in a natural way to socialist construction. This is just like the opportunist thesis of Kautsky who said that the development of the productive forces “automatically” transforms the old relations of production into their opposite. Such ran analysis of the question leads to the counterrevolutionary attitude that the cause of socialism in the undeveloped countries must be postponed indefinitely, till the material conditions are ripe.
There can be no doubt that the rapid development of the productive forces is a vital question for the destiny of socialism in undeveloped countries. The question arises specifically in these countries: In what way will the problem be solved? With the old traditional mode of development, with the specialization of the economy in raw materials dependent on imperialist markets? Briefly, with a one-sided economy, high rates of development for the productive forces cannot be secured. This model does not contain in itself the effective mechanism needed for extended reproduction. The impetus for development comes to this model from abroad, it comes to it from the increase of demands for raw material on the world market. Therefore, it is essential to create another new model which gets its impetus for development from within, from the extension of the home market. In this sense, the construction of socialism in undeveloped countries demands the replacement of the one-sided economy with a diversified economy which should stand on both feet – agriculture and industry. Only such an economy can ensure a rapid and complex development of the productive forces, consolidate economic independence and place all the country's riches at the service of the building of socialism. A decisive factor for the solution of this problem within the shortest possible historical period is the industrialization of the country through true socialist methods. A fundamental characteristic of this industrialisation must be the development of the extracting and processing industries and also of light and heavy industry, giving priority to heavy industry.
Under the pretext of the lack of financial means, cadres and experience, and of guarding against unnecessary sacrifices, with the pretext of the international division of labour and cooperation with “socialist” countries, etc., the modern revisionists pursue a policy aimed at diverting the undeveloped countries from industrialization, at keeping them as an agrarian or raw material appendage of the metropolis. The aim is the same as that of old and new colonialism: plunder and exploitation, establishment of the economic and political enslavement of the undeveloped countries.
The historic victories achieved in the building of socialism in the countries which were once undeveloped have proved that to solve the numerous problems of this socialist construction they must adhere to the revolutionary principle of self-reliance. Both in revolution and in socialist construction the internal factor is decisive and the people should, in every activity, rely on their own forces.
2) It is known, for example, that the Russian people were able to pass from the order of peasant community directly to feudalism without passing through the socio-economic formation of slave-ownership.