On The Contradictions in Socialist Society
By Alfred Uçi
– Professor, specialist in Marxist-Leninist philosophy
Albania Today, 1977, 3
As always, at its 7th Congress also, the PLA devoted great attention to the theoretical argumentation of its line and practical activity, of its programme, strategy and tactics of struggle. Comrade Enver Hoxha's report to this congress is outstanding for its profound dialectical analysis, in a class spirit, of all the fundamental problems of the socialist construction and the international situation.
In order to orientate itself correctly in the complicated processes and situations of social life in which innumerable different factors interact, in order to correctly understand both the present situation and the future perspective, in order to correctly assess the ratio of the congesting class forces and their nature, the Party relies on an irreplaceable weapon, Marxist materialist dialectics, especially on the theory of contradictions, which Lenin has called the essence of the dialectical method. The dialectical theory of contradictions is pervaded by a profoundly revolutionary spirit, because it argues the objective necessity of the overthrow of the bourgeois order through the proletarian revolution and the inevitable triumph of communism. Because of this, in their struggle against Marxism-Leninism, the bourgeois ideologists and the opportunists of every variety never forget to aim their arrows at the dialectical theory of contradictions. "Dialectics", wrote Marx in his time, "infuriates and terrifies the bourgeoisie and its doctrinarian ideologists, because, into the positive concept of what exists, it introduces at the same time the concept of its negation, of its necessary elimination. It sees every realized form in movement, hence it sees it also from its transitional aspect; it bows to nothing and is critical and revolutionary in its very essence.”
The history of the international communist and workers' movement shows that the problem of contradictions, of their nature and role in the process of the development of social life, has always stood at the centre of differences of principle between Marxism-Leninism and the ideological opponents of the working class. In order to justify their deviation from Marxism, Bernstein and the other opportunist chiefs of the Second International launched the notorious slogan, “Back to Kant!”, which was a call to renounce and abandon materialist dialectics on contradictions and qualitative leaps, and replace it with vulgar evolutionism. Their revision of the dialectical theory of contradictions prepared the ground for the social-democratic parties of the Second International to transform themselves completely from parties of social revolution into parties of class conciliation, of social reform. Summing up the new historical experience of the epoch of imperialism, Lenin disclosed the fundamental contradictions of this epoch and the objective law of their inevitable sharpening and provided proof of the new perspectives of the revolutionary movement of the working class, which were crowned with the triumph of the October Revolution.
The problem of contradictions occupied a very important place also in the great polemics of the communist movement with Trotskyism and Bukharinism. On the one hand, J.V. Stalin criticised the views masked with "Leftist” slogans of the Trotskyites who admitted only antagonistic contradictions in socialist society, who considered the internal antagonistic contradictions as utterly insoluble in the conditions of the capitalist encirclement, and who inferred that the bourgeois degeneration of the socialist order and the restoration of capitalism was an inevitable process. On the other hand, Stalin waged an irreconcilable fight, also, against the Rightist views of the Bukharinites who admitted only non-antagonistic contradictions, who, with their notorious theory of “equilibrium”, negated the class struggle and supported the idea of the "spontaneous integration of capitalist elements into socialism”. Only by smashing the Rightist and Leftist metaphysical views on contradictions in socialism, was the Bolshevik Party led by Stalin able to defend and implement the Leninist programme of socialist construction in the conditions of the capitalist encirclement.
After Stalin's death, the Soviet Union was diverted from this road by the betrayal of the Khrushchevite revisionists, who revived the old anti-dialectical theories and put them in the service of their counter-revolutionary policy. The modern revisionists showed particular zeal in negating the objective class basis and the laws of the sharpening of antagonistic contradictions between socialism and capitalism, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the revolution and the counter-revolution, between the oppressed peoples and imperialism, and other contradictions of our time. Their opportunist stand towards contradictions assisted the modern revisionists to prepare and carry out the counter-revolutionary reversal of course of the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and in the other former socialist countries.
The experience of the international communist and workers' parties taught the PLA to attach great importance to the defence of the Marxist-Leninist theory of contradictions against the distortions of the modem revisionists, and to its implementation in the analysis of any problem, however minor, of the development of socialist society. Our Party considers the objective contradictions as the source and motive force of the development of the world in general, and of social life in particular. Socialist society, also, moves and develops through contradictions of all kinds.
In order to understand the fundamental problems of the development of the society in the period of the transition from capitalism to communism correctly, it is of great importance not only to admit contradictions in general, but also to distinguish the different kinds of contradictions, their specific features. Comrade Enver Hoxha has stressed that the key to a profound analysis of the development in this period is the recognition of two types of contradictions: antagonistic and non-antagonistic, which play a decisive role throughout the whole process of the construction of the new socialist society. This thesis is in complete opposition to the views of the modern revisionists, who talk of the movement of socialist society through non-antagonistic contradictions only.
In the period of transition from capitalism to communism, along with non-antagonistic contradictions, there are also many antagonistic contradictions, which we describe otherwise as contradictions between us and the enemy. Antagonistic contradictions are contradictions between social class forces with diametrically opposite fundamental political and economic interests, which spring from relations of the domination of one force over the other. In the transitional period, antagonistic contradictions of this type exist not only as external contradictions (between any country that is building socialism and the external front of the counter-revolutionary forces – imperialism, social-imperialism, world reaction), but also as internal contradictions (between the working class at the head and the exploiting classes and all enemies of socialism).
Antagonistic contradictions exist even after the exploiting classes have been liquidated and after the economic base of socialism has been constructed.
Socialism is built in social conditions when social class antagonisms have not been eliminated from the life of society. This is connected with the existence of remnants of the exploiting classes, of enemies who emerge from the ranks of the working people, of the influence of bourgeois and revisionist ideology and other factors. These are factors with a long range and period of activity, which must be taken into consideration during the whole of the transition period and must, by no means, be underrated, the more so because they act in coordination with the external enemy forces.
The Marxist-Leninist stand differs from the revisionist stand, not only in that it admits two types of contradictions, but also in its assessment of the role of antagonistic contradictions in the period of transition from capitalism to communism. The main content of the class struggle to this period is connected with the struggle between the two roads, the capitalist road and the socialist road of development. Hence, besides non-antagonistic contradictions, the antagonistic contradictions present themselves as fundamental, primary contradictions, in the transitional period, and not as temporary and sporadic contradictions. This assessment of the role of antagonistic contradictions of this period is in accord with the teachings of V.I. Lenin, who in his work “The Economy and Politics in the Epoch of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, writes: “From the theoretical viewpoint, there is no doubt that between capitalism and communism there is a definite transitional period. It cannot fail to combine in itself the features or characteristics of both these forms of the social economy. This transitional period cannot fail to be a period of struggle between the capitalism, which is dying and the communism which is emerging, or, in other words, between capitalism, defeated but yet not annihilated, and communism, which has been born but is still very weak”.
The experience of history has fully confirmed these teachings of Lenin. It shows that if antagonistic contradictions are disregarded and their role underestimated, the revolutionary vigilance of the masses of the working people is relaxed and capitalism may be restored, even after the exploiting classes are liquidated, as happened in the Soviet Union and the other revisionist countries. The exposure by our Party and people of conspiratorial activity and sabotage during recent years showed clearly what dangerous proportions this activity may assume and how important is the solution of internal antagonistic contradictions, which combine with external contradictions, to the fate of the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism.
Comrade Enver Hoxha has pointed out that to admit the existence of antagonistic contradictions in the period of transition from capitalism to communism is not enough, but you must also handle these contradictions correctly, must resolve them in those ways and by those methods that correspond to their nature. The antagonistic contradictions are contradictions between social forces that want the restoration of the system of oppression and exploitation of man by man and social forces that are struggling to eliminate any source of bourgeois-revisionist degeneration, to build the classless communist society, that is to say, they are contradictions between mutually exclusive social forces. Thestruggle between them is a life-or-death struggle, because it directly affects their most vital interests. Therefore, the only way to resolve antagonistic contradictions is through stern class struggle between these forces. Within the socialist order, the working class, led by its Marxist-Leninist party and in alliance with the working peasantry, is in a position to resolve the internal antagonist contradictions. The possibility of the complete construction of socialism in the conditions of capitalist encirclement depends, first of all, on this. “As long as the class struggle goes on”, says comrade Enver Hoxha, “and this is not artificially incited but exists objectively as a struggle between the two roads of development, socialist and capitalist, there is no place for a spirit of relaxation, self-satisfaction and liberalism, because we have allegedly done away with all evils and escaped from any danger. On the contrary, the edge of the class struggle must always be kept sharp, because it is our most powerful weapon that defends us from our enemies, that cleanses us of evils, that moulds us as proletarian revolutionaries. We must wage this struggle, consistently, always making the antagonistic or non-antagonistic character of contradictions clear and basing ourselves firmly on the masses”. The strengthening of the socialist order in the process of this struggle is both a precondition for it and its objective. In this struggle to resolve antagonistic contradictions the dictatorship of the proletariat uses the method of violence, of coercion, of compulsion towards the enemies who try to rob the working class of its state power through counter-revolution.
Opportunists of various kinds distort the nature of antagonistic contradictions, obscure their characteristics, in order to deny the absolute necessity of the use of violence against enemies. They preach that the dictatorship of the proletariat should be generous towards the enemies of socialism, achieve some kind of “peaceful coexistence” with them, and even conduct some sort of "constructive dialogue” with them. This is a liberal, opportunist treatment of antagonistic contradictions which negates the class essence and the very necessity of the existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which, while being the broadest and the most real democracy for the masses of the working people, cannot fail to be revolutionary violence against the enemies of socialism. While always being clear about the character of antagonistic contradictions, combating the liberal opportunist handling of them, our Party has never confused them with non-antagonistic contradictions. To confuse them means to invite the wolf into your sheepfold, to warm the snake in your bosom, to cease the struggle against the enemy.
In the period of transition from capitalism to communism an important role is played, also, by non-antagonistic contradictions, which we describe otherwise as contradiction in the ranks of the people. They are contradictions among social forces which objectively have a broad common basis of fundamental interests, but which, at the same time, also have differing interests over side issues, partial questions of secondary importance. Such, for example, are the contradictions between the working class and the working peasantry, between particular aspects of relations of production and forces of production, between old forms of the organization and management of work and social production and new requirements of the development of the production forces, between the new ideo-political, cultural and technical-professional level of the working people and the level of production, between the administrative forms and methods of the management of the economy and the participation of the masses in this management, etc.
In the process of the struggle for the solution of non-antagonistic contradictions, the method that corresponds to their specific nature is that of persuasion, of education, criticism and self-criticism. These contradictions are resolved by continuously expanding the basis of common interests and gradually narrowing the distinctions which exist between the social forces that are the bearers of this type of contradictions. The PLA has accumulated a wealth of experience in the resolution of non-antagonistic contradictions in our society, which, among other things, is expressed in the strengthening of the unity of the people around the Party, in the strengthening of the alliance of the working class with the cooperativist peasantry, which constitutes the highest principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The unity of the masses of the working people led by the working class and the Party is not a factor given once and for all, but is tempered and strengthened through the struggle to resolve antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions. The 7th Congress of the Party called the strengthening of this unity one of the major tasks of the Party, to carry out which “requires that we keep our revolutionary vigilance at a high level, wage the class struggle correctly and uninterruptedly, carry out the directives of the Party to the letter, find timely solutions for the different contradictions that emerge among the ranks of the people”. If proper concern is not shown for the resolution of non-antagonistic contradictions and the necessary conditions are not prepared for this, and if they are allowed to become more acute and are not resolved in time and by appropriate means, then, they will be transformed from a force that drives the development of our society forward, into a force that restrains and hinders it seriously, creating all sorts of difficulties of a political, economic, administrative, etc. character.
In the period of transition from capitalism to communism, non-antagonistic contradictions emerge, change, mature, and are resolved within that social framework in which there are also antagonistic contradictions, both internal and external, which exercise a very powerful influence on the former. By spreading their ideology among the masses of the working people, the counter-revolutionary forces try to draw them into anti-socialist activities and to place them in antagonistic relations with socialism, with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore, the 7th Congress of the Party condemned liberal attitudes towards alien influences in the consciousness of our people, attitudes which underestimate the damage they do and the danger they pose to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The fight against influences of alien ideologies in the ranks of the people is an aspect of the class struggle in which the method of persuasion, of criticism and self-criticism is the main method used, with the aim of combating the illness and of saving the patient so that no one from the working people becomes a reserve of the enemy, and goes over to his positions. Comrade Enver Hoxha has stressed that the method of persuasion should be used to help any one of the working people who errs because he does not understand things, but if, even after protracted, patient and persisting clarifying and educative work, under the influence of the alien ideology, he commits hostile anti-socialist acts, then the dictatorship of the proletariat strikes him down, too.
Making a clear-cut distinction between antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions, the PLA has waged the class struggle correctly, has ensured the ceaseless march of the proletarian revolution in Albania, and is leading the people in the struggle for the complete construction of socialism.