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A blog of Post-Capitalist critique in general, economic, philosophical and political analyses, Post-Capitalist poetry and prose, Post-Capitalist philology, book reviews, Postcapitalist news, interviews, praxis, art and much more! For the record, Davide Ferri is a Postcapitalist, who graduated with a B.A.Economics(Honours) degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, India. He currently lives and works in Mumbai.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

THE PROBLEMS OF STAGISM AND THE QUESTION OF FRONTISM



THE PROBLEMS OF STAGISM AND THE QUESTION OF FRONTISM

Written by Davide Ferri on November 23, 2011
SRCC, Delhi University, India
First published on: December 14, 2011
Lastly modified: May 26, 2012

INDEX
1.THE QUESTION OF STAGISM 
2.A SHORT PREMISE ON THE SOUTH ASIAN QUESTION 
3.THE QUESTION OF FRONTISM, SOME REMARKS ON TROTSKYISM 
4.SOME PHILOLOGICAL AND POLITICO-ECONOMIC PROBLEMS OF LENINISM AND MAOISM 
5.CONCLUSION 

To get a pdf, check my academia page

4 comments:

  1. Dave,
    I don't agree with your position on Lenin. He abandoned his semi-stage theory in April 1917 when he rejected the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat leading the Peasantry. I say semi-stage because the bourgeois stage would be led by the proletariat on behalf of all, including rich, peasants.

    Like Marx he never said that all countries had to go through a bourgeois capitalist stage. He excluded Marx hypothesis about the Obshchina showing in his Cap Ag in Russia that there would be no skipping over capitalism as it was already dominant in agriculture.

    However because Russian capitalism was relatively backward the proletariat would have to substitute for the weak Bourgeoisie and make the national revolution until such time as the European socialist revolution could come to its rescue.

    In April 1917 he realised that the bourgeois revolution led by the proletariat would have to continue 'uninterrupted' (hence no stage) to the socialist revolution.

    His reference to Russia as 'state capitalist' after the revolution was not a reference to stage theory, but the reality of the workers state having to retreat to the NEP to feed the workers and finance industry. He explicitly says that he uses this term to correct the popular view that any reliance on private production has anything to do with socialism.

    If you equate Leninism with Marxist-Leninism you run the risk of losing the essence of Leninism as Bolshevism which is 'the truth is concrete'. The first Trotskyists call themselves Bolshevik-Leninists for good reason.

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  2. C.de Dave, first of all, thanks for giving value to my long article and expressing your views on the matter. I hope hereby to come to a sharable conclusion.
    My understanding is that whether Lenin abandoned the two-stage theory "by words" or not, the political economy problem of Leninism is by no means altered.
    Lenin simply carried out State-Capitalism within a two-stage theory framework, which is very debatable on a Marxist dialectical basis.
    The workers in the USSR, as history proves, merely "controlled" the capitalist owners and did not "own" the means of production; during War Communism too (see Lenin's draft on the workers' control).

    As a Lenin admittedly said, State Capitalism was a "gigantic step forward". Lenin, however, is conceptually wrong.
    If, as Marxists, we have come to the conclusion, in political economy terms, that Economic Planning — therefore Communism — is a SUPERIOR mode of production vis-à-vis Commodity production, then invoking the need of supporting a Capitalist praxis will be an idealistic humbug.
    Capitalism, with its anarchy of production, is definitely an INFERIOR system and can achieve a lower development of productive forces compared to Communism, for all the political economy reasons that we Marxists know.

    Lenin, alas, did invoke the need for Capitalism; implicitly falsifying the adaptability of economic planning to any situation; and falsifying dialectical materialism. Lenin's praxis cannot be historically denied; and its implementation should be categorically condemned and discouraged.

    It must be remembered, C.de Bedggood, that maintaining and sustaining Capital and Wage-Labour — whether "for the sake of the development of productive forces" or not — is a very dangerous praxis.
    Bureaucracy needs to constantly operate to sedate the growing tension between the two parts; this entails bureaucracy growth and institutionalisation. Repression of workers' anti-capitalist praxis and consequent workers' frustration don't help too to foster workers' political activity. It may be a huge dialectical danger, C.de.
    Further, there are many negative "economic" implications that I discussed in the article "Marxism-Marxism and Marxism-Leninism".
    Stagism should be discouraged as a praxis not only because it externalises an epistemological misconception — as it comes from a misreading of Marx's works — but also because it is merely a logical humbug.

    Let me point out, C.de, that the need of disproving Lenin's stance is not the need for disproving "Lenin the guide" of "Lenin the man" but the need for disproving a stance which is followed by millions of Leninists all around the world.
    Marxist Greetings!

    C.de Dave Ferri

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  3. Cde our differences are deep as you appear to accept that the Russian revolution ushered in a state capitalist formation. As a Trotskyist I reject that completely. It is true that the new workers state could not immediately create a socialist society for obvious reasons Lenin explained. The forces of production in Russia were backward and nearly destroyed by the war and civil war. Lenin said that socialism was not possible in Russia until there was a European revolution. So it was a question of surviving in an isolated, backward country until that happened. The NEP was a conscious policy by a workers state, as Lenin makes clear, to use the profit motive as an incentive for agricultural production to feed the population. It was subordinated to the will of the workers state. Lenin makes that clear in his discussion of 'state capitalism'. The alternative would have been the defeat of the revolution and restoration of capitalism as a mode of production by invading capitalist armies. Lenin's 'words' therefore correspond to the contradictory concrete reality. Marx critiqued political economy in 'words', Lenin critiqued it in practice and explained it in words. Enough for now, I will respond at greater length later.

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  4. C.de Bedggood, I wouldn't ask you to reject it "as a Trotskyist", I would ask you to reject it as a Marxist Communist analysing the wretched logical conclusions of Stagism.
    When you say:

    "The NEP was a conscious policy by a workers state, as Lenin makes clear, to use the profit motive as an incentive for agricultural production to feed the population"

    you are implicitly saying that State Capitalism as carried out by Lenin was "historically necessary". Hence, Capitalism/Commodity production appears, in your words, as a higher mode of production as compared to the Economic Planning.
    Aren't your words implicitly entailing this?

    Having accepted the validity of Dialectical materialism and Labour Theory of Value, I must reject this point categorically. Stagism is not a logical conclusion of Diamat and Marxist Economics.
    There is no political economy proof, apart from the apologetic words of Lenin, on that Capitalism is a system better than Socialism or at least contextually more workable/suitable.
    The concept of dialectical materialism alone says it all, C.de:
    The Economic planning — a superior economic model, as also logical conclusions from the Labour Theory of Value directly suggest — can necessarily bring forth the development of productive forces in a post-Capitalist/post-Feudal society.

    If Socialism is a social structure higher than Commodity production, therefore with a higher mode of production and higher social relations; why on earth do you need Capitalism to achieve Communism?

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