At "Unity and Struggle" issue 23 (November 2011) we published an article with the title The working class in the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period was no longer the owner of the means of production
At "Unity and Struggle" issue 24 (May 2012) we published the second of this article with the title In the commodity economy of the Soviet Union, labor power had been anew converted to commodity
Here is the third part.
The restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union (1953-1990)
The commodity economy of the Soviet Union in the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period: a complete and permanent capitalist economy
The reactionary process of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union that commenced, right after the death-murder of Joseph Stalin, with the overthrow of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat from the renegade social-democratic clique of Khrushchev-Brezhnev, was a very complicated development based on the capitalist economic reforms and a series of inter-connected measures which had as a central and only goal: the total elimination of socialism-communism and the complete re-establishment of the exploitive capitalist system.
The analysis of these reforms in the soviet economy, implemented by the counter-revolutionary Khrushchev-Brezhnev leadership of Communist Party of Soviet Union [CPSU] – and after taking into account Lenin’s extremely important teaching according to which “it is necessary to consider the fundamental economic features of the existing relations and not their legal forms” in order to determine the nature of an economy – proves that these capitalist economic reforms led to the total elimination of socialist-communist relations and the gradual restoration of capitalism that was completed at the end of the 1960’s.
In particular, the preceding analysis of the economy during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period demonstrates:
The economy of the Soviet Union was dominated by commodity production that took full and comprehensive form at the end of 1960’s after the extension of the commodity-money relations. However, when, in a given period, the economy of a country is dominated by commodity production, then its economic system cannot be any other than the capitalist mode of production – resulted from the gradual but complete restoration of capitalism that replaced socialism-communism. This is the case because capitalism is “commodity production at its highest stage of development, when human labour power itself becomes a commodity” (Lenin: "Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism", chapter IV)
1) Moreover, there were two additional features of commodity production that emerged in the fully developed commodity economy of the Soviet Union: i) The conversion of all means of production into commodities and ii) the conversion of the working power into commodity. These were the two of the fundamental characteristics of the capitalist mode of production and precisely for this reason the economy of the Soviet Union at that time was capitalist as “according to Marx’s teaching the two essential attributes of capitalism are: 1) the commodity production as the universal form of production. The social product takes the form of commodity in the most diverse productive units but, in the capitalist production, this form of the labour product is not isolated, incidental but universal and 2) the commodity form is taken not only by the labour product but by labour itself, that is, by the human working power. The degree to which the working power has become a commodity characterises the degree of capitalist development” (Lenin)
2) In the commodity economy of the Soviet Union, the sphere of operation of the law of Value – a law that characterizes commodity production – was extended to include all of the economy and, thus, regulated the production as in capitalism
3) In the commodity economy of the Soviet Union, the goal of the production - at the level of individual enterprises and at the level of the economy as a whole – was the maximum profit. This is one of the three (the other two are mentioned by Lenin in the above extract) essential attributes of capitalism according to Marx: “the second attribute that sets apart capitalism is the production of surplus value that becomes the immediate aim and the decisive motive of the production” (Marx).
4) In the commodity economy of the Soviet Union, all the laws of capitalism re-emerged and acted: the law of Value as the regulator of the production, the law of surplus value, the law of the exploitation of wage labour from capital, the law of competition and anarchy in the production, the law of the mean rate of profit etc.
5) In the commodity economy of the Soviet Union, all the capitalist economic categories were re-introduced: Profit, Interest, capitalist Price of Production and others.
All the above features that dominated the commodity economy of the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period constitute the clearest expression of the capitalist character of the production relations of the country’s economy and the capitalist character of the state-cooperative property that was collectively owned and controlled by the new bourgeoisie through the new bourgeois state, that is, “the state of all people”. At the same time, they prove scientifically the complete capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union of Khrushchev-Brezhnev that was concluded by the end of the 1960’s despite the chatter of the Khrushchevian social-democracy (both international and local: “C”PG-SYN) about the alleged presence of socialism until 1990; a totally baseless claim that is disapproved by the capitalist reality of the Soviet Union during that period, that is, the existence of commodity economy with all the essential features of capitalism, the fundamental laws of capitalism and the capitalist economic categories.
The capitalism that was restored in the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period was state-monopoly capitalism of a peculiar type – as far as the content is concerned it was the same with the capitalism in Western countries – and this peculiarity had to do with: first, the dominance of the state and the cooperative capitalist property in economy during of the Soviet Union and the very limited presence of the private capitalist property, initially in agriculture and then in all sectors of the economy and second the emergence-development of a state-monopoly capitalism that originated from the elimination of socialism-communism whereas in the economy of the Western capitalist countries the private capitalist property dominates along with a limited state-capitalist property.
In the capitalist economy of the Soviet Union, the private capitalist sector wasn’t limited to agriculture with the emergence of the new kulaks but expanded in services, commerce, workshops and even industry. As mentioned above, private capitalist property was officially instituted in the bourgeois Constitution of 1977.
In 1978, “in the Soviet Union, the private holders own about 3.6 million hectares of arable land. They supply the market with the 28% of the total agricultural production and with 32% of animal products. The private sector in the Soviet Union and the other revisionist countries has significantly expanded in the sphere of industry where it has infiltrated services as well as the production of industrial commodities complementing to a large extent the activity of the state-capitalist enterprises. Thus, it is not about only small private artisans engaged in small-scale services and repair works that have little profit but a whole network of capitalists whose activities compete with the state-capitalist enterprises. The private capitalists have the gained the right to establish their own workshops, factories that are protected by the state. They are supplied with the necessary resources and the owners can today hire waged workers, that is to say, exploit cheap working Power. The emergence and the development of the private capitalist sector in the capitalist Soviet Union and the other revisionist countries is a reflection of the capitalist degeneration of their economy in which the laws of the capitalist mode of production hold full sway. This sector enjoys the many-sided support – legal as well as material – of the revisionist state and it has become, next to the state-capitalist sector, dominant sector of the economic life” (Tirana Radio Station, 5/4/1978). In 1977, the private capitalist sector supplied the market with the “18% of total number of sheep, 18% of pigs and 32% of beef. The private capitalists sold 31% of the meat and milk in prices that were favourable to them. Moreover, they supply the market with the 34% of vegetables, 30% of eggs, 58% of potatoes and other foodstuff in increased prices” (Tirana Radio Station, 2/8/1977). “In the Soviet Union the private producer controls 65% of vegetable trade, about 40% of meat and milk trade and up to 80% of the fruit trade” (Tirana Radio Station, 7/4/1976).