Jason W. Smith, Ph.D.


(c) 2009 Foundation Press

I.S.B.N. 1-931041-24-5


To Frank Pestana

Who for Many Decades Has Held High the Banner

Of Human Progress in North America

Especially in Those Dark Moments When the Summer Soldiers Disappeared.

Fundamentals of Historical Materialism

Bolshevism 2009

Jason W. Smith, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

Author’s Preface: Historical Crossroads

Preliminary Terms, Concepts and Facts: Things You Must Internalize

Chapter Title Page

Part I – Pre-Socialist Humanity

1 The Hardware 55

2 Sex and Speech 59

3 The First Band Stage 61

4 Living With the Enemy 64

5 The Second Band Stage 68

6 The Third Band Stage 69

7 The Stage of Tribal Agriculture 71

8 The Simple Chiefdom Stage 75

9 The Stage of Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms 81

10 The Stage of Slavery 84

11 The Stage of Feudalism 89

12 The Stage of Capitalism 91

Part II – Socialist Transition

13 The Stage of Stalinist Socialism 109

14 Bolshevism Spreads to China 134

15 The USSR: From NEP through the Five Year Plans 149

16 World War II 146

17 US Hegemony Over the Capitalist World 167

18 The Collapse of Revisionism and US Hegemony 169

19 Comparative Analysis: The Simple Chiefdom Stage

vs. the Stage of Stalinist Socialism 173

20 The Stage of Advanced Socialism 183

Part III – North American Labor from 1600 to 1920

21 From Puritanism to the Revolutionary War 190

22 Capitalism Unchained: 1781 – 1860 197

23 Capitalism Unfettered: 1861 – 1877 205

24 Capitalism Unleashed: 1878 – 1920 210

25 The United States in the Imperialist Phase 234

Of the Capitalist Stage

Author’s Preface

2009 is a Historical Crossroads

We have entered a new political period in the USA as a result of the historic November 4th 2008 general election. Soon we will be in a period comparable to the beginning of 1861 and 1933. In other words, as 2009 opens I believe our country is again at a great historical crossroads. This is not hyperbole. Let’s use the scientific comparative method for a moment.

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln took the Presidency amidst the chaos of secession as the Slavocrats began the formal process of taking their dictatorships out of the Union. This civil war had been inevitable for a long time. Slavery in the first place in the land of the free still existed as a consequence of the united front way the colonies had had to fight the revolutionary war of 1775-1781. In other words if the Northern colonies wanted to win they had to have the Southern colonies and that meant they had had to compromise on the issue of slavery. By 1861 US Slavery was in its second, and now industrial, phase, thanks to the invention of the cotton gin and the construction of the infrastructure of canals and interlocking rivers that brought cotton from the Southern interior to the great port of Charleston (among a few others). The compromise of 1776 had now to be resolved by war. We will discuss this in more detail in Part III of this handbook. Suffice it to say that the failure of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act which had witnessed some 300,000 slaves escaping to Canada, Mexico and Florida, had made it clear to the Slavocrat dictators in the Southern States that they either had to give up their system or leave the Union and they had been preparing for this for some time. The election of Lincoln in 1860, simply gave them the excuse they wanted to separate. The country had to make a fundamental decision about the direction it was going to take.

In 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the Presidency amidst the chaos of complete capitalist economic collapse. The collapse of the US economy was part of the global capitalist system collapse and had been inevitable, as inherent in the very nature of capitalist relations of production is the unavoidable necessity of periodic collapse. Such boom and bust collapses had been going on in the USA since 1819. We are in another one now. We will be discussing this continuous sequence of USA capitalist depressions in Part III of this book. The general crisis of capitalism brought on the 1929-1933 global capitalist collapse. The shining beacon which provided the clear as day light of proof that this need not be the case was the Soviet Union. The USSR was absolutely booming in every way as it created all of the capitalist infrastructure the Bolsheviks would need in order to be able to build Socialism as an alternative global system. Today China offers a new perspective and a distinct alternative of a mixed economy moving inexorably toward Communism.

In 1933, the ascendancy of FDR provided the opportunity to get the USA onto the right track. What did we Bolsheviks do in each of these previous cases?

In both of these cases American Communists and organized labor played an extremely important role.

In the first instance, Communists led by Joseph Wedemeyer (a personal associate of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels before fleeing Europe for the US with the failure of the 1848 Revolutions), participated in leading Northern Labor and Northern working White people in general, in the cities and on the farms, into seeing it was in their interest to defeat Slavery in the South and hold the Southern States in a Union without Slavery.

In the second instance working people, their unions and the North American Communists (CPUSA), who created many of these unions including the CIO, saw the opportunity to forge an alliance with the petty bourgeois and progressive bourgeois forces in the country and proceeded to do so. Stalin’s decision in 1936 to throw CPUSA support to FDR sealed the deal with fabulous long-term consequences: i.e., the international alliance of the English-speaking World and the USSR in the final conflict with world fascism.

Now, in this 2009 third instance, Communists can and should play the key role in leading working people and their unions and other mass organizations in pushing our large petty bourgeois classes and the progressive capitalist class to the Left. History teaches us this. Then the day will come when we can push the entire process to full Socialism and soon thereafter into full Communism.

You may wonder, having seen so much of it with the Beijing Olympics, what those stars on the Chinese Red Flag stand for. They stand for the united front Mao and associates created. The Big Star is the Communist Party of China. The four smaller stars stand for the four pillars of the united front: the industrial working class, the poor and middle farmers, the small bourgeoisie, the patriotic national capitalists. We need to build this kind of progressive united front and if its current form proves insufficient in the long run, we can reorganize the united front, when that time comes.

This is not going to be an easy task. But then neither was defeating Slavery nor reforming and repositioning unbridled US Capitalism. No one can predict exactly how the current capitalist crisis is going to play out. What we do know, as Jimmy Doolittle once said: is that “victory belongs to those who want it the most; it belongs to those who are willing to fight for it the most; it belongs to those who are willing to sacrifice everything for it.” (See the movie Pearl Harbor).

In this, the pre-publication version of the forthcoming fifth edition of Fundamentals of Historical Materialism, I want to elaborate on three key ongoing factors in today’s world I began to comment upon in the last edition’s preface. Specifically,

(I) the current world situation;

(II) a completion of the general theory of historical materialism at least in its outline form;

(III) the ongoing dress rehearsal in the USA for the inevitable total global capitalist collapse (a la 1929-1933) which is coming and soon.

I - The Current Global Situation

First of all, I invite you to categorize principal acting and conditioning causes in the world as 2009 opens.

(1) Iraq: The US has suffered the greatest catastrophic military defeat in its history at the hands of guerrilla forces in Iraq. As I predicted in the last edition of this handbook the responsible members of the US ruling oligarchy have taken command of the Pentagon and arranged for US withdrawal in such a way that they are not being literally chased out the bar room door but being allowed to exit in the rear, albeit like cheaters in the back-room poker game, they are going out back-to-back. The iconic photograph of the US defeat in Mesopotamia will be Bush being chased out of Baghdad with shoes flying toward his head. A fitting photo equivalent to the frantic helicopter escape of the US invaders from atop their Viceroyalty in old Saigon two generations ago.

What the failed Gringo military expedition has left behind in Iraq is a total fucked-up mess. I’m speaking of the material foundations of life. Millions of Iraqi’s displaced into foreign lands or slaughtered at home and an entire infrastructure destroyed. Whatever Iraqi governments emerge from the extant chaos they will expect the USA to pay for all this damage. So the cost of this war is going to go on and on and on. What the neo-con US fascist rulers have done to the USA would be hilarious if it were not so tragic (it has cost the North American people half a trillion dollars so far in direct spending, all of which the US ruling gang borrowed; meaning the people are stuck with at least another trillion, minimally, in interest costs.

Meanwhile the people are losing everything: roads, rail maintenance, alternative energy, schools, hospitals, pensions, affordable food and housing, health care, decent social security, jobs, etc. etc.) The populist regime in Washington should be supported in every way as it struggles to help the people during the orgy of help provided to the capitalists. Not just because it is the right thing to do – always to help the working people – but because it gives us the opportunity to explain the truth to the masses impacted by the cruelty of the US ruling oligarchy.

Meanwhile, politically, the gringo regime has left behind an Iranian style government in Baghdad that will not last long (if the Sunni population has anything to say about it) and a would-be independent Kurd Republic in the north. I predict that the gringo’s will not even get a permanent military base in Iraq as they run through the back door, hoping it doesn’t hit them in the ass, again, on the way out.

(2) The Truth about the US imperialist Iraq War Objectives: This war was a war against Capitalist Europe, New Class Russia, and Socialist China as much as it was a war against the Arabs and Muslims. The gringos lost it all. They lost the oil of Central Asia. They lost the bullshit awe and aura prestige they had hoped to convince the world should be theirs, when the world saw that they could be militarily whipped by what the gringo racist bosses considered to be rag-headed camel-driving Arabs, who were simply guerrilla’s conducting a traditional national liberation insurrection. It’s far too late to expect the rest of the world to accept any interpretation of what happened to their war objectives than this one I have just stated. In short, no matter how many lies of fact and omission that the cap press spews out to the politically and historically challenged North American people (kept in near total political and historical ignorance by the capitalist media and lower grade textbooks) there is no putting that genie back into the bottle.

(3) Consequences: The most important immediate consequences on a global basis of the US disaster in Iraq are:

(A) The US rulers having lost their hegemony (dominance) over all of the capitalist classes of the world. Let’s say it again – they lost the entire world! They even lost their hegemony over the English-speaking world not just over the other major capitalist countries and the developing capitalist countries. The US oligarchy’s command structure under Bush II also

(B) accelerated the process of realigning the world’s industrial capitalist powers and gave New Class ruled Russia the breathing space it needed to rebuild its economic and military foundations and to effectively confront US imperialism in Georgia, the Ukraine, and I predict soon in every former Soviet Republic. Along these lines it appears to me as if the Putin-Medvedev New Class Regime and Party has realized that they may well have to accept a second Bolshevik Revolution to achieve their objectives of reconstituting the old USSR and regaining national security for their frontiers. The current crisis confronting global capitalism may help Russia’s New Class leaders understand they are far better off with us than with our enemies. A second Bolshevik Revolution in alliance with the Putin-Medvedev New Class Moscow Regime is quite possible and hopefully will occur. I for one find it extremely refreshing to be dealing with an open and honest New Class group of leaders such as the Putin-Medvedev group than I did when we had to deal with the two-faced whimpering traitor Gorbachev.

(C) Communist Party led People's Republic of China is now in a position no one of us could have realistically predicted eight years ago. Of course China’s Communist Party, through its own efforts in organizing the Chinese people, is primarily responsible for putting China in the position of a responsible equal leader with other states (of the capitalist persuasion) internationally! However, the Bush fascists certainly helped them along (without meaning too, of course). Remember how the Bush Gang started out so provocatively against China? Confronted with renewed Yankee aggression the Chinese leadership stepped-up to the plate in ways they never would have done eight years ago. Among other military advances China has fielded a submarine fleet with nuclear tipped ICBM missiles. –And, this was precisely because the imbeciles in Washington dropped their sheep’s clothing and exposed their plans for naked aggression;

(4) Consequences: The most important long term consequences on a global basis of the US disaster in Iraq are:

(A) The blatant obviousness of the Gringo Regime's strategic planning for world domination forced the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership to do something it had not wanted to do; that is to take the lead in forming a de facto Global Socialist Alliance of China, Cuba, Vietnam-Laos and progressive countries like Venezuela, Brazil, and even Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. China’s past decade has featured a friendship offensive that has given it a mirror-image of goodness compared to the US evil witch in the Snow White fable, and all of this came to a brilliant climax with the hugely successful Olympics in summer 2008 Beijing.

(B) Washington launched a truly childish plan to destabilize Latin America that occupied the entire year of 2008. But, in the end they got absolutely nowhere except to dig an even deeper pit for themselves from which it will be increasingly difficult for them to escape. In fact, they lost the initiative altogether and are currently stuck in political and military quicksand in South America. If it had not been for the (a) wearing down and wearing out of their military machine in Iraq, and (b) their running out of money as a consequence or the ongoing global capitalist collapse (they triggered), they would already have invaded South America in a war against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. Instead (c) they were forced to settle for small-unit trouble-making activities – which (d) have in the end left them nowhere. Finally, do not underestimate the importance of this new fact in world history and that is that the number one enemy has run out of money – at least for the moment. –And, this means the US ruling families will be incapable of starting another Iraq style war in the Americas; that is a wonderful new perspective. For one thing Cuba is finally, relatively, safe – not that it doesn’t have to be constantly on guard – as is Venezuela.

(C) Washington has scared the living daylights out of those who had thrown in their lot with their would-be "puppet masters" such as the Uribe trafficker-industrialist clique in Bogotá, Colombia, and Garcia in Peru. -And, these types are back treading as quickly as they can from their ill thought out earlier commitments. For Garcia it is too late and his end is in sight. For Uribe? Well, he still has a little time left to do the right thing.

Uribe had been on the DEA’s “most wanted” list until he was suborned by the CIA in a deal where he was to be used against all the guerilla forces in the Americas. But, now, in power, and potentially somewhat independent of his imperialist sponsors, he has struck out in an “independent” way that will make his “base”, the Colombian big bourgeoisie (including the worlds richest drug traffickers – some of whom I have known for years – see my books, Shining Path, the Peruvian Revolution, Rivers of Blood and High Finance South American Style!), the accomplices of Washington’s new ultimate nemesis Hugo Chavez. Caracas has more money to give Uribe than does Washington and Venezuela’s money comes from “honest” sources (e.g. contracts for building an oil pipeline across Colombia where oil can be shipped directly to China from a Pacific port.)

Peruvian puppet Alan Garcia had gone along with the Bush-Cheney demand to allow US Marines into Ayacucho but the rebellion of the opposition parties and the Peruvian people appears to be forcing their withdrawal as I write. –And. Most promisingly the corruption of the social fascist regime of Alan Garcia in Lima Peru is resulting in the mass demand for the resignation of this traitor and his entire gang. We will see…

(5) Historical Consequences

(A) With Bush II, U.S. Imperialism immediately embarked upon a program of seizing defeat from the jaws of the victory they could have had. At the very least they could have maintained their hegemony over the capitalist world for several decades into the 21st century. Instead they threw it away in two short years. This is a historic defeat for them of catastrophic proportions; a defeat from which they shall never recover. For them, as for Hitler seventy years ago, all that remains is the running, and dying. For us, whatever short-term advantages some of the timid among us may have thought we might have lost with the disappearance of the Soviet Revisionist Ruling Clique from the Historical Stage, the stupidity and ignorance of the US hegemonists has more than offset. (The emergence of the Putin-Medvedev New Class Russian regime’s hostility toward the imperialist encirclement they confront is far better for us than if there were the old modern revisionist labor-fakir regime parading as socialists and communists, because we can deal with these new bosses in real world terms.)

(B) At the moment, there is great instability in the global class struggle and all of you revolutionary cadre need to continue to study and observe, the past and the present, in order to deal the telling blows needed to remove the
Gringo ruling families from the scene, liquidate their State and Government establishment. In their place we want a new Constitutional Convention to reorganize the Government and we will have to win over the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, by building our cadre in those branches of the capitalist State apparatus. The same in many Local, State and Federal police establishments. With their help we can then proceed to build a new Socialist Order in the United States.

You should begin by getting involved in organizing working people so that the next time there is a mass spontaneous outpouring into the streets (as conducted by Hispanics in 2006) you will be doing far more than handing out leaflets – which at any rate were full of inaccuracies and profound errors, so typical of the historically ignorant US Left. The US ruling families are prepared to lock-up militant White workers alongside those of the African, Hispanic and Asian origin when the inevitable collapse comes – we must be at least as ready to lead those workers in an armed struggle for the overthrow of the fascist regime in Washington and to substitute working class power in its stead. Beginning with what our Constitution calls for in these circumstances – that is, a new Constitutional Convention that will outlaw unbridled capitalism and guarantee the North American people they will be the benefactors of whatever structure comes out. Remember that our enthusiasm for a progressive capitalist government under Mr. Obama must inevitably result in having to face the necessity of having to split the capitalist alliance taking power in January into its most progressive sector and its reactionary left-over sector. Depending on how that battle unfolds and plays out we will decide what to do next in US electoral politics.

But the important things for us Bolsheviks to do at this time is (a) to complete our education begun with this book and (b) find an area of US productive industrial life where we can trigger some of the coming events we need to see. I describe in Chapter 13 below how, in the Czarist empire, Lenin and Stalin found the Russian oilfields of the Black and Caspian Seas to be the area where they could and did concentrate their efforts in 1901, giving them local permanent victories with a union in the oilfield and then the Empire-wide general strike that led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, the defeat of the Czar, and the Revolution of 1905.

(C) Socialism Unfolding in the 21st Century: China and Latin America: As we shall see the World (Stalinist) Socialist Stage climaxed at the end of the last century with (i) the collapse of Modern Revisionism in the USSR and Eastern Europe and the restoration of outright ”old fashioned” capitalism in some of these countries, and as often, as in Russia, the old bureaucratic “socialist” New Class has emerged as the ruling and owning technocratic New Class of an otherwise title-deed holding bourgeois variety of capitalist. (ii) –And, the collapse of US hegemony over the capitalist world.

(D) However, (Stalinist) Socialism as a Stage survived and advanced into a new Stage in China, Vietnam-Laos and Cuba, albeit with an embarrassingly retrogressionist left-over in Korea.

Following the difficult beginnings we shall review in Chapter 13 and 14 below (The Stalinist Socialist Stage; and Bolshevism Spreads to China), China managed to pull it all together and embarked upon a massive program of industrialization and agricultural modernization which features the proletarian Party in command of a mixed economy. Since China is China – that is at least one fifth of the entire world, Socialism, (much to the chagrin of our ideological counterparts, on the payroll of the trillionaire and billionaire families that now control at least seven of the major capitalist countries), cannot be disposed of in daily propaganda. Nor, of course, in the real world of socialism vs. capitalism.

In short, World Socialism is now in an advanced Stage. What we will be calling the Second Socialist Stage (the Stage of Advanced Socialism.) Here the construction fronts of Socialism are the primary concern of the Parties in power. –And, that is to say, simply the bringing of adequate technological advance to the table. That is, something that the founders, Marx and Engels, had taken as a theoretical “given.” Nevertheless, what in practice history gave us, was its opposite - extreme technological backwardness. The greatest 20th century struggles (after those of survival) accordingly, were to achieve this technological foundation we had expected to inherit. Simultaneously, struggles to seize power have also necessarily continued unabated in the unliberated parts of the world. This being especially true in the former colonial and semi-colonial parts of the globe.

(E) The foremost revolutionary seizure fronts are now in Latin America. Thanks to the perseverance of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, communists were in place to assist the anti-imperialist working class, small farmer and patriotic-nationalist bourgeois forces in Latin America, when they confronted the reality of what the Gringo’s had imposed upon them in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s.The so-called neo-liberal model of imperialism. Furthermore, these indigenous anti-imperialist forces have formed a broad alliance in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, with Cuba. Ecuador and Brazil may join soon. The probability that they will be able to hold onto state power is quite high.

(F) At the same time we must recognize that US imperialism has not gotten soft.
For example, the imperialists tried a surprise insertion of combat troops into Peru. Peru’s President Alan Garcia proved himself to be the Arch-Comprador of Latin America. (Comprador means “collaborator” with a foreign power or capitalist entity of some kind for personal financial benefit.) Those of us who know about these things knew, of course, that Garcia was just one more sell-out to the Gringo establishment and had been taking money from them for decades. At any rate Bush and Cheney called in their markers on Garcia and he had little choice but to pay up as he has been on the gringo payroll for all of his political life. This time he sold his country to the gringo regime in exchange, I am told, for some twenty million dollars up-front, plus a monthly CIA stipend of several million dollars. Thus he gave permission for the gringo regime to establish their much sought after South American military base. The Empire hoped it might gain an on-continent base from which to fight against national liberation not only in Peru but throughout the continent. Patriotic Peruvian Army men took the initiative threatening to depose the Arch-Traitor, as demanded by their opposition party led by Captain Humala. Mass demonstrations throughout the nation greeted the Traitor’s move and demanded the withdrawal of US imperialist troops. As I write the Peruvian people are arising en masse demanding the resignation of the traitor Alan Garcia and his corrupt social fascist party. A miners strike is scheduled for this month. Garcia’s end is in sight. Whether now, or next year, Garcia’s brand of social fascism in collaboration with US imperialism is about to be sent to the trash can of history as a possible choice for the Peruvian people’s future.

In short, what we have now as the 21st century begins to unfold is (1) advanced socialism in power and moving forward in the construction of the technological bases which will make its “permanence” possible and (2) revolutionary socialists in the process of seizing and/or developing power in the Latin American capitalist countries (and elsewhere). Two distinctly different things, yet intimately interrelated.

(II) A Completed Theory

When Karl Marx and Frederick Engels met each other for the first time in Paris, in November 1842, they quickly recognized they had each, independently, come to the same general conclusions about how society evolved to its present stage (what we now call Historical Materialism or Marxism-Leninism). They also recognized that Marx had begun unlocking the secrets of production of the Capitalist Stage itself. In so doing Marx was answering the question as to why the more science and technology contributed to the ability of humans to make more things, more effectively, and cheaply, the less the people making these things actually kept for themselves. As Hegel had remarked, to paraphrase, “never did a labor-saving invention do anything other than worsen the conditions of the laborers themselves.” Marx’s theory of capitalist production was presented to the international working class movement in various forms through the 1850’s and 1860’s and culminated with the publication of Capital Volume One in 1867.

(A) The last seven years of Karl Marx’s life (1877-1883) were spent trying to extend the historical materialist theory of sociocultural evolution back into the detailed history and prehistory of mankind. Marx, in other words, had already unlocked the secrets of the Capitalist Stage and was attempting to do the same thing for the preceding stages in the social and cultural (sociocultural) evolution of humanity. Thanks especially to a century’s work, on the part of innumerable anthropologists (especially archaeologists), that task has now been completed, as this book will prove

(B) What We Did Not Foresee: Why Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez are Correct. As far as I can tell neither Karl Marx nor Frederick Engels ever anticipated that the working class would take power anywhere other than in an advanced capitalist country. Even in their later years when conversing with Russian Social Democrats about the possibility of revolution in Russia, did either seem to have anticipated the strange unfolding of events which was about to occur. What am I talking about? About the fact that workers first took power in the least advanced of the capitalist countries – namely Russia and its Empire. Nor, then, could they have foreseen that the next great addition to the global workers government stage would come in China which was only capitalist in the most technical sense of the word and then largely under the influence of imperialism and Chinese compradors (the Green Gang based in Shanghai.)

On the contrary, Marx and Engels had seen capitalism being moved rather swiftly out of the way as its own advanced working class replaced it with a new system which put them and the masses at the top of the priority list rather than on the bottom of it (See Chapter Two paragraph 22 of The Communist Manifesto). In the highly schematized way we have of looking at social and cultural evolution that was natural and it is quite understandable, especially to anthropologists; particularly to archaeologists. (Archaeology is one of the four subdisciplines of anthropology: the other three being cultural anthropology, physical anthropology and linguistics) Why? Because we in archaeology, especially, are always drawing sequences from older to younger, in archaeological sites, in regional and area synthesis, in overall evolution. One layer gives way to the next. Let me show you:

In an archaeological region or subarea, in the USA Southwest, we might have the following reconstruction:

Modern human remains

Pueblo VI remains

Pueblo V remains

Pueblo IV remains

Pueblo III remains

Pueblo II remains

Pueblo I remains

Anasazi III remains

Anasazi II remains

Anasazi I remains

Proto-Anasazi remains

Archaic Desert Cultural remains

Proto-archaic remains

Palaeo-indian remains

This reconstruction would be based on several different sites. Each site would have enough of the sequence within it so that, in a like fashion to tree-ring matching and tree-ring sequence building, we can put together a sequence of occupation for the entire region or cultural subarea, or area.

However, this is highly schematized, not that there is anything wrong with schematics – far from it. Schematizing archaeological sequences and broader sociocultural evolutionary sequences is one of the principal tasks of archaeology. What can be wrong with this approach is not the approach but the assumptions that could go with it. For example, this particular schematic shows little about the processes occurring (quietly unassertive) in each level. These we have to figure out for ourselves based upon both theory and detailed analysis of the remains of each level, sublevel by sublevel, in each of the sites in question. When we do this we begin to see an entirely new picture.

For example, how and why did the Anasazi people move from the pithouse domestic structures of Anasazi I – III into the above ground house and room buildings of the Pueblo levels? Or, for that matter, how and why did the archaic nomads of the Great Basin Desert Culture move into a sedentary (or at least semi-sedentary) residence pattern? These details are in the ground and with detailed research in enough sites over a sufficiently broad area the mechanics can be laid bare for all interested observers to see.

Now, in the preparation of summaries for our colleagues, for students, for readers of prehistory in general, we usually produce the kind of schematic you see above. When we look at the even larger picture, say all of North and Middle America, we often draw a schematic that looks like this:

High Cultural Civilization of Mesoamerica

(the Aztecs and the Mayas for example)

Primitive States

(Teoitihuacan, Oaxaca, Palenque for example)

Tehuacan Chiefdoms

(the Archaic levels)

The Tehuacan Simple Chiefdoms

(the proto-archaic and archaic levels)

Broad-spectrum Hunting and Gathering

(Palaeo-indian sequences at Tehuacan: Lerma, Clovis, Folsom levels)

-And, we may even generalize further as:

White Contact







In this latter schematic we have a sequence equivalent to the historical sequence of

Modern Communism




Primitive Communism

*Feudalism: as I explain in the text, the term feudalism is loaded with the idea of small fiefdom society in Western historical literature. That is fine. However, that definition has little in common with the use of the term here, where a broad global sociocultural evolutionary stage, is the object to be defined. Here, therefore, we use the term Feudalism to represent the global, universal, transitional stage between chattel and wage slavery, which occurred everywhere in the world where there was autochthonous (indigenous) sociocultural evolution and, therefore, feudalism, as a global stage, may be fiefdom in polity (e.g., Europe) or imperial (e.g., China).

Now the point is, to look at how much we miss if all we have is the latter sequences. We miss almost all of the transitional evidence. We don’t quite miss it all as Feudalism is a transitional stage between chattel and wage slavery, but even that may be hard to see without a more thorough sequence of stages and phases to show us the transitional periods which had occurred already between primitive communism and slavery.

It is for this reason, as I say; I went into archaeology to begin with. To try and find what Marx was looking for in the last seven years of his life. Namely, the transitional proofs for the movement out of primitive communism into chattel slavery. I thought if we had that part of the sequence than perhaps we could gain insight into characteristics of the current transition from wage slavery to modern communism. I believe I was correct in that regard as the first ten chapters of this book will prove.

In short, Marx and Engels did not foresee the situation where workers would seize power in the most backward capitalist countries first, and then have to build what were then the modern industrial and mechanized agricultural foundations of capitalism. Let alone have to build them from scratch, without the voluntary assistance of friendly foreign worker’s governments. What happened in practice, as I explain in the text, is that we seized power first in those countries where the capitalists were the weakest, thus most easily defeated. –And they were defeated and the Soviet Republic made permanent. Then, thanks to Leon Trotsky totally fucking-up the 1920 Polish-German-European campaign (as you will learn in Chapter 13), we failed to link up with workers in Western Europe, and finding ourselves encircled by our most deadly enemies we had to dig-in and build the industrial and agricultural foundations alone, and from scratch.

(C) Returning to the pre-1917 years, we see that Marx knew he had missed something critical when the German Social Democrats joined the British union bosses of the same stripe in wanting just a piece of the capitalist pie rather than full-blown socialism. (See Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program.) That recognition by Marx was what sent him back into the study of prehistory via Lewis Henry Morgan (and by extension he studied all of the contemporary anthropologists as the book The Unpublished Ethnological Manuscripts of Karl Marx proves.) That is why he produced an entire massive notebook on the Fundamentals of Geology; he anticipated much would have to be recovered from the ground, and geology is one of the fundamental interdisciplinary sciences of archaeology. (Marx knew from the work of Petrie in Egypt that the early pre-writing history of that center of origin of civilization would contain the answers he sought.) He died before he could conclude his work, but even if he had not, the necessary archaeological evidence was many decades away from being excavated. He would have had to continue doing what he was doing, which was extrapolating from the ethnographic data back into the past. Or, he would have had to engage in archaeology (directly or via students) and come up with the data we have at our disposal today. Knowing Marx as we do I would speculate he would have done both of these.

(D) At any rate, what we know now is that there will be two or more transitional stages between capitalism and communism. This is of “world shaking” significance as John Reed might have said. Because it explains why we failed in our attempts to jump into communism and why we must accept the fact that there will be several phases or Stages between capitalism and communism. This is fundamentally why Trotsky’s theory is completely wrong. A bureaucracy in the construction of these phases is not an aberration but a necessity and a diagnostic, if you will, of these transitional stages. The task is not to eliminate this bureaucracy, in the struggle for egalitarianism, but to accept it, and to be sure that we accomplish the goals of industrial modernization and agricultural mechanization and build the bureaucracy and societal class differences out of existence as it becomes convenient. But, it is certainly not convenient in technologically backward countries to struggle prematurely for an egalitarian society.

This is not to say that egalitarianism is not necessary when first seizing state power in such countries, as the Revolution must create a “just” social organizational base for the newly liberated country. But it is to say, when communist stage egalitarianism is made permanent too early – which is to say before achieving the necessary industrial and agricultural basis, which ideally would have been achieved under capitalism, such egalitarianism runs the risk of becoming, self-defeating. In other words, “social justice” is one thing and we owe it to our class to see it established immediately upon seizing state power. But “Communist Stage” egalitarianism is quite another thing and cannot be artificially imposed. It can only come when the Stage itself is extant. Attempting to establish Communist Stage egalitarianism prematurely is, in the long-run self defeating. Self-defeating because in technologically unprepared countries, it runs contrary to the need for massive growth in industry and mechanized agriculture to achieve the necessary gross national product in industry and agriculture, of a nation building the socialist foundations for eventual communism.

We are where we are, therefore, and the road forward is now clear. Control the bureaucracy, and the capitalists, while we have state power and all will be well. At least as long as we can keep the Workers Party pure of heart. Eventually, we will have the technological wherewithal to build communism but not before. So, this is going to be a several century long process of transition and we are less than one hundred years into it right now.

Raul Castro is exactly correct, therefore, as the Chinese have been before him, and proves that he is of equal stature to his brother and up to the greatest challenge we have faced since World War II. Likewise Hugo Chavez is quite correct in his priorities. He is struggling to achieve as much social justice as possible within Venezuela, while building toward socialism at home, and embracing every other progressive class and country in South and Latin America against their number one enemy US imperialism.

III – The Current Dress Rehearsal for the Global Capitalist Stage Collapse

When I was an undergraduate forty years ago Monthly Review long time editor, Stanford University (Marxist) Professor of Economics, Paul Sweezy, had been writing a series of editorials about the trends in US banking. Namely, the greedy trend of loaning increasing amounts of a bank’s reserve capital, leaving less and less behind for possible losses and subsequent write downs. That tendency was simply exacerbated over the coming years until banks had virtually all of their ready cash on loan; then they borrowed more to loan more and had 150 percent of their assets on loan. (Now they can loan 9 times their assets! All they have to do is to go to the Fed discount window and show a capital infusion of say 1 billion dollars and they are handed 9 billion to re-loan!) All of this justified by increasingly relying upon the ultimate insurer, which was the US Government (they own), which could be counted on to come to the rescue in case things went south and the banks could not call upon reserve capital they did not have. After all what choice would the US Government have? Let the economy collapse? –And, they have been proven correct as events in October 2008 proved, when the US Congress was forced against its gut instincts to step up to the challenge of total collapse and back the banks to the hilt. –And now that that collapse is at last underway, this is just the beginning. All of this anticipated, in other words, by the very capitalists who had engineered the policy of unlimited selfish loaning without regard to the consequences – without regard to the amounts of value and surplus value actually being created. –And all of this is currently being played out. In other words the General Contradiction of the Servitude Epoch coming to grips with the General Crisis of Capitalism as I have been predicting for the last five years in this book. (Don’t worry these terms will be defined for you in the text.)

Since that time one after another serious financial engineering problem has been allowed to surface and become manifest. Beginning

(1) With the need to ship capital abroad not just to implant the machinery (traditional imperialism) to which colonial cheap labor could be forced to work but this time to buy all the stuff being produced in these cheap labor centers.

(2) Then imperialism’s need to back up its international hegemony with military force led to a still greater outlay of cash in non-productive ways, thus to larger budgetary deficits for the US oligarchy; which could not force the public to swallow this bitter medicine – they had to lie to the US people and trick them into allowing these military expenditures to occur and lie again to justify the financing to be done via borrowing.

(3) As foreign creditors became increasingly wary of US financial engineering policies and began to look around for alternative safe investments, US engineers had increasing difficulty in borrowing the money needed to stop the bleeding; that is, to offset the cash outflow to cheap labor centers and growing budgetary deficits.

(4) Then Imperialism stumbled fatally when it dropped its sheep’s clothing showing its true wolf nature in its war against Iraq which was in fact as much a war against Capitalist Europe, New Class ruled Russia, and Socialist China, because it was the gringo’s attempt to corner the world’s oil supply. (They failed completely and finally in this regard, and are walking away like an embarrassed dog licking its wounds after a thorough ass whipping.) Now imperialism’s vaunted military superiority is seen for what it is – mostly bullshit – propaganda designed to scare by shock and awe an unprepared and far weaker foe. Now, it is seen that standard guerilla warfare techniques can bring the great juggernaut crashing to its knees.

(5) Finally, and most importantly, the world’s other capitalist classes, and the world’s working class governments have many alternatives now to the use of the US dollar as the sole international currency.

(6) The US rulers and their bureaucrats have lost the confidence of their class (the 2000 families in the world who have as much money as five billion ordinary people) after having loaded them down with investment vehicles seeded with poison pills from the US subprime mortgage market. (These loans would never have been allowed to be packaged with the majority of good subprime loans if the US rulers had not been so desperate for foreign money obtained in any way.)

(7) Imperialism’s many (nearly countless) recent attempts to kill Chavez and Morales and restore comprador puppet regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia have all failed miserably in the face of sophisticated revolutionary strategy and tactics The rest of the American continent, with the two noticeable exceptions of Gringolandia puppets Garcia (Peru) and Uribe (Colombia), is working its way into an anti-imperialist de facto alliance of these nations against the Empire.

Finally, there are a multitude of structural failures coming to a head simultaneously for US imperialism’s ruling oligarchy.

(8) The Real Estate and Housing Market crisis (interlinked intimately with the subprime mortgage crisis) is one.

(9) The shift of US incomes from manufacturing working class incomes too far less lucrative so-called “service” jobs and everything that reduction in income for a hundred million people involves, another.

(10) The US educational crisis closely linked to the transformation of US research from project focused individual scientist sponsored work to massive industrial style expenditures on group sponsored projects. High energy physics being a good example. Imperialism is interested in expensive science far more than inexpensive science (because that is where the ruling families make their money) i.e., contracting to build these massive facilities, when what is needed could be done in a Microsoft lab (

(11) European central bank purchases of US paper have been halted and it is a question in doubt as to whether they will be resumed.

(12) Foreign billionaire-trillionaire and other wealthy foreign purchasers of US paper are looking elsewhere, have stopped buying US paper and it is uncertain when if ever they will resume such buying.

(13) Foreign governments are increasingly unlikely to accept US demands for money to support their troops on these foreign soils.

(14) Debt service payments to US banks on the debt intentionally heaped on third world countries has been under attack for some time (as Fidel points out in his letters to Brazilian President Lula) and now will be placed at the bottom of the list of foreign government obligations.

(15) Sales of high-tech armaments have been reduced to the level of sweetheart deals only (with corrupt buyers, as in the case of Saudi Arabia) because internationally US war makers find the world arms market - one where competition is increasingly stiff.

(16) US Corporations are cheating on profit repatriation and buying more and more stable international currencies instead (e.g., the Euro).

(17) Financial alternatives for financing such critical inputs as petroleum (to the US financing centers in New York and London) are emerging and this reduces the amount of cash flowing back into the US.

(18) Actually, the US financial situation is worse than broke – it has an outstanding debt in excess of 10.5 trillion dollars (outside of the US Fed bail outs now nearly two trillion dollars, if not more) – which means that if every citizen sold everything they own including the shirts on their backs they could not now come close to paying this debt. Furthermore, this debt is increasing by many billions monthly. For practical purposes this debt will never be paid. Investing billionaire and trillionaire families from Arabia, Asia, and elsewhere, have been willing to settle for timely interest payments, but the ability of the US Regime and its central bank to keep that up is now in question. Failure will, of course, mean the end of the post-World War II global economic order. Actually that is what is happening as I write. The Old Order has failed and the international capitalist oligarchy of trillionaires and centi-billionaires are working out the new order right now.

The US trillionaire centi-billionaire oligarchy cannot get out of this capitalist crisis they have created by paying in dollars worth a fraction of what they were worth when they were borrowed - this will not do either. A new non-US international currency may result. Or, a second US currency (one domestic and the existing one converted to solely “international” status.) Either way, the US place in the world will shrink accordingly. A new world order absent US domination is about to emerge. Not exactly what the “neo-cons” told people to expect as a result of their policy of world conquest. The fact is that the war against Iraq, and its failure, is the immediate trigger for the way in which this dress rehearsal for the coming, inevitable, total collapse, has precipitated.

Our Communist solution is obvious. We would seize all of the assets of the 2000 families without compensation and outlaw any debts to them. End of problem but also end of system – the end of the capitalist system. That is obviously the working class solution to the problem. In the meantime we will fight over the issue of making the capitalist nationalization of financing a permanent reality rather than giving these entities back to the oligarchy once we have saved them. Then move to nationalize the oil and gas companies and finally move to guaranteed annual incomes for all our citizens and guaranteed jobs and educational futures.

(19) Because the CPUSA is not yet strong enough to mount this serious challenge to the oppressive Regime on the Potomac, the US ruling families and their foreign comprador allies (e.g., Bush and Saudi families) will recover from their current crisis. But, will they be able to maintain their pace of aggression against the rest of the world? I doubt this also. They don’t have the material wherewithal to use against the rest of the world any longer, because they don’t have the money to pay for military equipment, deployment (US soldiers require huge amounts of supply on an hourly basis; gas and diesel not to mention uranium are expensive for planes, tanks and ships, respectively) nor troops. They can phony up with promises, as they have been doing for decades, but that is not likely to work much longer, given the new US “deadbeat” reputation among international bankers. –And, how will the North American people step up to the plate upon which this dish has been served?

(20) The financial inability of the USA to pursue its world aggression policy means that there is going to be a temporary stalemate once again in the world-wide struggle of labor against capital. For Latin America this means a brief respite (of a few months), if you will, from the danger of massive US intervention, and a shift to preparing for gringo aggression on a localized basis; Imperial attacks coming in the form of small unit assaults (e.g., the Ecuador probe; the current attempted occupation of Ayacucho, Peru) and civil disorder organizing (e.g., right-wing student demonstrations; and mafia-union strikes in Venezuela) and getting their new 4th nuclear Fleet into position. It means the ALBA nations have a short period of time to catch their breath and get ready. However, desperation will lead to a US massive assault on South America eventually unless their financial bankruptcy intervenes first. This is inevitable. Or, unless, the US working class takes power at home. Or, at the very least until the new progressive alliance in the Gringo Regime finds itself able to act definitively to stop once and forever more gringo invasions of Latin America for any reason whatsoever! This is possible and we must pursue every opportunity to educate the North American people about the truth of Cuban and Venezuelan socialism. Lifting this burden from the shoulders of the American people North and South would be a tremendous achievement!

(21) Getting ready for Latin America means

(A) Getting rid of the rightist agitators and organizers on university campuses; also, as a corollary to this, restricting US Embassy personnel in their movements in imperialism’s target countries and also expelling these Embassy front organizations in these target countries, denying legal status to those taking their funds. Shutting down these fascist student circles should be number one on the proletarian police target list. You know what to do. Do what they have always done to us – arrest the ringleaders – disband the members to prison, work camps, Miami, etc.

(B) Cleansing unions of their mafia components;

(C) deploying ALBA air arms to secret SAM protected air-strips;

(D) stepping up the popular revolution at home winning new and larger numbers of people to our side, especially the newly empowered would-be small proprietor farmers. –And with regard to Latin American farmers, as you will learn in this book, these are historically the same kind of capitalist farmers who traditionally have provided the cannon fodder for armed struggle against Reactionary regimes, as farmers did in the English Civil War, the North American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars, the Russian Civil War (with its five million man Bolshevik Red Army almost all of whom were at the end, would be, small capitalist farmers); the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army; the Cuban Army (see Chapters 12, 13 and 14 in this book.) In the process it is important to destroy the latifundistas and their underlings as classes.

(E) Continuing the massive investment in industrialization of the ALBA nations to provide the now essential industrial base for combating gringo imperialism.

(F) Stepping up the pace of trans-Continental transportation system construction (rivers, rail, and road) to support economic and, now as importantly, military integration of the South American continent.

(G) Introducing military conscription for all citizens as part of building up the people’s armies in the ALBA nations, which we will need not only against imperialism but against counter-revolutionary forces at home.

These are relatively simple steps to take in the preparation for imperialist death-throe attacks on the ALBA countries. Relatively simple, at least, compared to the problems now confronting the Empire. The Empire is highly dangerous still, given its offshore Carrier Death Stars. However, the Rebel Alliance of ALBA nations is also powerful and as in “Star Wars” can definitely prevail.

What Next

What we are witnessing at the moment is the dress rehearsal for the end collapse which is coming soon. Let me advise those of you who are not aware of my principal website ( to go to that site for news on blow by blow developments in the existing crisis. Also, you may find it useful to go back over the letters and articles I have published about the current crisis over the past five years (hit the View All button) in which this dress rehearsal collapse was obviously imminent (obvious to a competent Marxist economic theoretician that is.) What about the next crisis they confront? Will we be as impotent then as we are now? If so the mass rebellion coming out of the inevitable coming final collapse may take on a fascist turn rather than a communist one, and then we will have one final hell of mess world war! The sad part of this is that it is unnecessary. We have the science of society and culture and its evolution as our virtual sole property. Let’s use it. The bell is tolling in the US. The handwriting is on the wall.

The current rate of change in sociocultural evolution is actually a continuation of the generally rapid change in our respective class struggle positions which we witnessed in the 20th century. The difference perhaps is that the overall strength of progressive and revolutionary forces is far greater than at any previous time, excepting the period after World War II through the stalemate of the mid-1950’s. In part this is a product of our own hard work. In another part it is a product of the series of self-imposed catastrophes which have weakened North American imperialism draconically, in every sense, financial and military.

Finally, once again, I want to bring to your attention the true Achilles Heel of the Gringo Regime and the billionaire-trillionaire families that own it: namely, its desperate financial and monetary situation. At the moment Washington depends upon an inflow of two to three and soon four billion dollars a day from the following sources to offset the flow of cash out of the country to their cheap labor production centers and for critical inputs. These are:

1. European Central Bank purchase of US paper (e.g. T Bills)

2. Foreign comprador money sent for safe-keeping and/or investment in more US paper.

3. Payments from foreign governments to support U.S. military forces stationed in these countries.

4. Debt service payments on the great debt the US has intentionally heaped on 3rd world countries.

5. Sales of high-tech armaments

6. US Corporations repatriating profits

7. New York (and satellite London) financing of everything but especially strategic inputs such as petroleum.


The next critical battle we confront as a people will be to see that the current Bush gang program of socializing risk and privatizing profit is grabbed hold of and gutted. It’s interesting once again that people who call themselves communists failed to demand on our part the immediate nationalization of the banks, the commanding heights of capitalism in the form of money market funds, insurance companies and so forth, not to mention failing to demand on our behalf the immediate nationalization of the oil and gas monopolies. Properly undertaken both banking and oil can provide the US people with far more income annually than the federal income tax as currently constructed.

In fact, it was as I say George Bush and his financial gang who immediately moved to nationalize banking and finance. But, their plan is to use your money to save themselves and then once we have stabilized the economy they plan on getting their government in Washington to give them back their banks, money market financing and insurance companies. We have to be sure that they do not get these properties back but that these salvaged properties remain public.

Three Principal Tasks Now

(1) Leadership

It wouldn’t hurt for Left parties to start asking the question as to whether their leaders represent change we can believe in or just the same old stale and factually challenged politics. Politics completely wrong theoretically and thus practically. Of the ten Left parties in Los Angeles 7 are Trotskyist in origin and thus completely beyond the theoretical pale; the Madame Maoists around the RCP are ultra-leftists incapable of understanding 20th century socialist stage evolution as described in this Handbook and are accordingly equally unacceptable theoretically at the outset. This leaves mainly the skeleton of the Old CPUSA. It’s long history of modern revisionism would under other circumstances have removed them from the table from which a new Bolshevik organization is to be laid out. However, when they (rump CPUSA) are the least of the worst, we must determine if the possibility exists to transform this remaining Left Party into a revolutionary center once again. They do still have the name if nothing else. However, it’s not as if there were not alternatives to a modern revisionist kind of leadership. This book among many publications is proof an alternative course exists.. I think that regardless of the credit the caretakers deserve for not capitulating with the collapse of the Soviet Union et al., (when the CPGB leaders called a London meeting and dissolved the Party) the time is at hand to move on beyond caretaker leadership, to leadership theoretically competent in all critical areas wherein one could justifiably expect Marxist competence. If theory didn’t make that much difference when the US ruling families were fully in the saddle, the new upsurge in proletarian resistance to capital means history needs us now. The North American people need us now – and since US imperialism is the center of the remaining last bastion of the global Servitude Epoch and the fountain evil inherently part of that epoch, as you will learn in this book, the world needs us now too. Especially Latin America where we must insist that the dogs of war be recalled.

So, it is worth the effort to try and salvage the CPUSA and if that does not work we can create a Foundation Party USA (FPUSA).

(2) Rectification via Education

Left over from decades of revisionist influence in the CPUSA is an incredible ignorance of basic science among persons considering themselves communists. No “Party” of the working class can be any good if it doesn’t consistently weed out the non-Marxist opportunists. No one needs rectification more than the CPUSA and we should begin these efforts soon with intense educational efforts as the center of a massive internal rectification campaign.

The fact is the only reason the CPUSA is even in the running to be considered as a center for the reconstruction of a communist working class Party in the USA is because the others are either Trotskyist or Madame Maoist theoretically. Since both schools of thought are completely wrong and anti-science anti-Marxist prescriptions proven fallacious by history we have little choice but to (i) reconstruct this Party or (ii) start all over again.

(3) Build a Permanent Party Led Union in Critical Industrial Arena

I wrote the Chapter on Socialism (Chapter 13) to show you what to do next. In other words do what Leninists did in the Russian Empire. The first tasks need not be completed in total before we get on with task number three (3) which is to build a permanent communist led union in a critical industrial arena. You have to find an equivalent arena of industrial battle in the US to what Koba and Krassin found in the oilfields of Batum and Baku on the Black and Caspian Seas. Here Koba and Krassin fought an armed strike and won with a permanent union in the Russian oilfields and provided a model for all the rest of the industrial centers in the Czarist empire. These other cities erupted in a nationwide general strike in 1903 and in 1904 the Czar tried to distract the nation with war against Japan. When his entire fleet was sunk at sea the nation revolted in the Revolution of 1905. All this was due to the action of a small group of dedicated revolutionaries led by Vladimir Illych. Lenin from London and Leonid Krassin and Koba (Party name then for Joseph Stalin) in Baku and Batum started the fight. They completed it in the Russian oilfields and then spread the fight to every city in Russia in the form of a general strike. A very small group of men and women dedicated to the task of organizing proletarian revolution with the objective of seizing state power.

There are equivalent industrial centers in the USA on the docks and in the few remaining auto and steel industrial centers, and many other possibilities from trucking to lumbering to mining and oil and gas to mention only a few of the more obvious pillars of the commanding heights of industry. Here, in one (or more) of these industrial foci is where you must build a permanent base with communists openly in union leadership. Here we demonstrate what we are and what we intend to do openly and honestly and prepare to lead industrial labor in an armed struggle against the fascist regime in Washington.

(1) Select appropriate leaders, (2) launch an internal rectification and educational campaign and (3) build a permanent union base in a critical area of US industrial production. These are the three primary tasks now on the horizon.


In conclusion to this Preface, I want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the fictional works of our nation’s most prolific book writer, Isaac Asimov. In the Foundation series of novels he authored (especially the first three books, Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation); Asimov’s central point was that science could decipher the laws of sociocultural evolution so that the collapse of the Galactic Empire could be predicted by his hero Hari Seldon. In Asimov’s story, Seldon took it upon himself, using his science and mathematics of social evolution, to develop a plan (the Foundation in the novels; which by analogy could be the Communist Party in contemporary real world terms) to bring the next step in sociocultural evolution to fruition, relatively quickly. Thus, in the Foundation series Seldon was short-circuiting, in 1000 years, a process that would take 20,000 years otherwise, given the scientifically predicted collapse of the Galactic Empire.

I wrote these Foundation comments before the announcement by the Royal Swedish Nobel Committee it had selected Paul Krugman, a Princeton University Economics Professor, and occasional op-ed writer for the New York Times, as this year’s Nobel Prize winner for Economics. Then that evening I heard Professor Krugman’s interview with Jim Lehrer (MacNeil Lehrer News Hour PBS). Asked why he went into economics to begin with, Krugman said he was inspired to look at social evolution scientifically by Isaac Asimov and these first three Foundation novels. Interesting is it not that a theoretician for imperialism (Krugman) and a Marxist theoretician (me) should have been inspired to do what we have done by the same author and series of novels.

Our Communist real world contemporary and urgent task is to avert total human catastrophe, now in process, as the human created degradation of our planet is in full swing, and to create on this planet instead, a world where people make themselves consciously, rather than waiting, unconsciously, for the future to be constructed as a product of otherwise operating laws. We communists have this task, and obligation, since only we have the science of society, culture and their history, as our virtual sole property.

This can be a critically important hypothetical historical lesson in analog. We can bring humanity to a rapid resolution of the problems we now confront. We know we don’t have to wait for history to do it on its own. This is why our science is so important to the very survival of humanity and to achieving our next great step forward. We can do it. Or, more accurately, I should say, you can do this. For Young Communists, this is your task, because as Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying, “the Earth belongs to the living.”

Jason W. Smith

Los Angeles

February 8, 2009

Preliminary Terms, Concepts and Facts


Defining Our Terms

Historical Perspective

A Vision of the Future

Erroneous Visions

The Evil Imprinting of the Servitude Epoch

In Science we build on the Past

The Method: Original Documents

History is Always Unfolding as it Should

Modern Science Born

Theory and Practice in the Science of

Society, Culture and their History

Marxist Philosophy of Science

Cross-cultural Comparative Analysis by Formula:

The mathematics of sociocultural evolution

The evolution of culture: the dialectics of contradiction

The evolution of culture: Crises dialectics

Do not get confused

The Absolute Decline in the Rate of Profit


The First Presentation of Stage Sequential Laws

Of sociocultural evolution

The Problem of Trotsky and Trotskyism

The New Class is the General Crisis of

The stage of Stalinist Socialism

Stalin and Stalinism

Taking on the Rothschilds, 1901

The Empire Atremble

The Revolution of 1905

Trotskyist Mythology

The New Class is not a deformation but Part of a New and Necessary

Transitional Stage – of which there will be several more before we at Communism

The New Class is Our # 2 Problem

Backwardness in technology is not what Marx and Engels Proposed

Prehistoric Origins of the New Class

In the Slave and Feudal Stages

Capitalism and the Technocrats

Socialism and its New Class

To Review

Two Ugly Facts You Must Face

Back to Our Story in Russia

Construction of Russian Socialism is both fast and slow

Lessons of the Cultural Revolution

Wanting Communism is not enough to have Communism

Epilogue as Prologue

Defining Our Terms

If this country had a real educational system, which is to say a system of telling the truth about political science, then what follows in this Preliminary section would more properly be termed “remedial terms, definitions and concepts.” Since we do not and most North Americans are in a state of total political ignorance with all of its ramifications (ignorance of history for example other than the fairy tale history of US lower grade textbooks) we will not use the term remedial with its pejorative content. It would be unfair to so penalize those who were the victims rather than the perpetrators of these educational crimes.

Furthermore, many who consider themselves communists from virtually all of the Left (self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist parties) have been writing pamphlets, brochures, leaflets and even books for the last several years in which their discussion of world capitalism, globalization, the role of labor, the role of revolutionaries, etc., managed to never even mention the imminent global capitalist collapse now in process. Even though what is happening now is just the dress rehearsal for the total and final collapse, (obvious to any serious Marxist-Leninist political scientist as I have proven over the last five years in this book and in the innumerable columns I have written for my own website ) which is coming and soon. Thank goodness this is just the dress rehearsal because we US Bolsheviks are far from prepared at the moment to being able to lead working people in a final revolutionary struggle against the fascist regime in Washington. As for the North American Left’s self-declared “communists” enough is enough from these writers. Now let us move on.

Let me begin by pointing out that the definition of terms is critical in every scientific and academic endeavor. -And so it is in revolutionary politics as well. In this book you will learn, many of you for the first time, the scientific definitions of important terms in the science of society, culture and their history. You will learn these correct definitions and how enemy propagandists, and their so-called “educators,” try and trick you by giving these same words an entirely false and unscientific meaning. This confusion is spread as a principal tactic of our enemies. For example, when neo-Nazi fascist thugs, like George Bush and Rush Limbaugh, mouth words like “freedom” and “democracy”, these words end up meaning exactly the opposite of their real definition. For “freedom”, Bush et. al., mean the “freedom” to rob, pillage and kill, the working people of this world. By “democracy” they mean that among themselves (the billionaires and trillionaires that own this country and its sorry “government” in Washington) they will be “democratic” in determining how to rob, pillage and kill the working people of North America. A far cry from their real meaning and like the Nazi’s before them this “populist” language is aimed at confusing the ill-prepared, ignorant, and uneducated.

Historical Perspective

For the first time in many years the situation in the USA with regard to the possibility of working class political power is extremely good. The Orwellian nightmare of modern revisionism in the USSR and Eastern Europe has been lifted from our backs and now the US imperialist flagship has crashed itself onto the Iraqi shoals of an emerging new continent in world history; in the aftermath there is great confusion on the part of our enemies. For our side, we have gone through a period of confusion, but this book among others, is a signal that long-view clarity is being imposed. It remains only to put our now correct understanding of contemporary historical process to work in appropriate organizational ways. I, for one, have never seen us in a better position than the one we Bolsheviks now occupy, both at home and abroad; more importantly I believe there has never been a more propitious situation in the history of North America, for real progress toward real Communism, than the one we now confront.

A Vision of the Future

Is there a painting, or an illustration, or say a movie, which can give us a view of the future which is consistent with what Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin would have pictured for us as an ideal future? Yes I think so – probably quite a few books, illustrations and movies or TV shows, show us a future with at least some aspects we can admire and with which we can identify. My favorite happens to be the vision of Gene Roddenberry (not that there are not many others.) For in Star Trek we see a near future with technology so advanced that people can live without money and without pay, and yet everything they desire in the way of material things is instantly available. In this future the “necessities” of everyday life are made available to everyone as a matter of birthright. This is a near future with technology so advanced that when a person wants a cup of coffee or a meal she simply asks the “replicator” machine for said item and the food and the cup or plate containing it instantly appears. Private ownership of such things as food and cutlery is an anachronism; i.e., irrelevant; immaterial.

For me, this Star Trek future is the vision I think is most consistent with the scientifically predicted future of Karl Marx and most subsequent Marxists. Therefore, you will see occasional references in this book to future human society and future communist society as societies having Star Trek characteristics. We will be thinking in broad sociocultural evolutionary themes with a sweeping overview of humanity from its primate origins to its near and predictable future forms, so such “vision” is important for all of you to consider.

Whether, such advanced technology as pictured by the Roddenberry tradition is at hand, or even possible in the coming century, is really not the point. The point is that some day, in the not too distant future, meaning in the next few centuries, we will have an adequate industrial base to support the slogan “from each according to her ability to each according to her need.” –And, when that day arrives we will have the technological basis needed to support the Stage of Communism.

I happen to think that what Roddenberry pictures for us with regard to faster-than-light travel is possible and will be achieved in the 21st century (virtually everything else from The Original Series has been invented and is very much with us, with this exception, and the exception of teleportation). As far as space travel in general is concerned, there is just one remaining problem and that is the cost. But from a several centuries perspective, that problem will go away once science and engineering create an anti-gravity engine. For these reasons, I have spent considerable time over the last four decades in the area of subatomic physics – a kind of hobby, if you will, where the problems of light speed and gravitation are the very essence of the subject matter. For those of you interested in where I am going with this I recommend that you read my book New Perspectives in Physics, 1999, Jason W. Smith, Premier Books, Boise, 160 pp. or, the four papers at - click on the button to the left of the home page of that site, also labeled “New Perspectives in Physics.” (See the website WorldCat for university libraries closest to you.)

Erroneous Visions

One final comment about futuristic visions and their importance. I alluded to the fact that not every Marxist leader saw the future as Marx, Engels and Lenin did. Most notorious was Cambodia’s Pol Pot, who as a young man wrote a doctoral dissertation in France, and then carried out much of the thinking expressed therein, many decades later as chief of the Khmer Rouge. In his way of thinking, it was sufficient to have an ideologically pure and advanced cadre lead people into an egalitarian communal way of life before any great technological advance occurred. We know how that turned out in practice. –And, I think it proves that Pol Pot was not really a Marxist at all.

There is the historically related movement called Anarchism. Their view of the future may best be seen in the way they organized their areas of Republican Spain in the 1930’s. However, their failure to accept Marx and Engels’ discovery of the nature of the state, left them irrelevant to us, and enemies in fact. (e.g., Marx sent the First International away from Europe to the USA, allowing it to “die” there, in order to avoid allowing the pernicious influence of anarchism to contaminate labor. See Part III of this book for the details.) In the same sense I think Pol Pot left the common fold when he failed to accept what Marx and Engels had proven; namely, that one cannot advance into a truly communist society, let alone into a society where human power is its own end, until one has the technological wherewithal to make the foregoing slogan of communism a reality.

Roddenberry’s vision has our advanced technological base as a “given” for the altruistic and egalitarian lifestyle he preaches. So, in that sense, it is fully in accord with the vision of Marx and Lenin. Don’t get bogged down in whether this or that facet of Star Trek is possible or not possible, or feasible or not feasible – give a little artistic freedom to the writers, because, our tasks at the moment, are much more down-to-Earth, as you are about to see. The point is that we Marxist-Leninists have a vision of technologically assured plenty, scarcity eliminated, egalitarian social relations extant, in the absence of class coercion (i.e., the state) as the future of humanity.

The Evil Imprinting of the Servitude Epoch

Herbert Aptheker, an outstanding North American Marxist historian, and theoretician of the CPUSA, recognized the evil nature of mental imprinting in the world as currently constructed, and in the last years of his life he said so to his Communist Party USA colleagues. The autobiography of his daughter tells us that Aptheker had his own peculiar, culturally imposed, demons which presumably helped him come to this correct conclusion. His experience teaches us that erroneous visions, such as his terrible life curse, have their foundation in, the at-bottom evil nature of contemporary mental imprinting that affects ALL classes not just the oppressing classes. People are not born with a blank slate for long. Imprinting begins with birth and proceeds rapidly apace so that by the time a child is a few years old it is well set in. Communists are just as susceptible to evil basal mental imprinting as anyone else. It is for this reason that attempts to jump into the social organization of communism, without adequate mode of production preparation, have failed. That is, first or simultaneously with socialist reorganization of society, we need to have the fully accomplished technological gains of the Capitalist Stage firmly in hand, so the material foundations for modern altruism exist. –And, then enough time must pass for the new way of doing things to be reflected in the ideology of said societies. This means that the old and evilly infected must be allowed to pass away so that the new generation of properly imprinted persons can take their place. Because the Earth always belongs to the living, as Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying.

Let’s say it again: the material conditions of great plenty, the founders required for communism to be successful, must be laid first! Or, at the very least, must be very well advanced and underway before modern altruism can replace modern selfishness-sadism, among the masses, as the primary underlying mental template being imprinted. The founders were right, as usual. Modern communism requires the fully modernized industrial base of the capitalist stage. You either inherit it or you build it. There is no short cut. We know. We have tried. We found out the hard way.

It certainly is not our intention to return to primitive communism. From our theoretical standpoint we would be far better off sticking with capitalism which is more advanced in sociocultural evolution, as you will see in this book, and as Marxists have always maintained.

In Science we build on the Past

In science we are always building on the past. For example, in the case of biology we are always building on Darwin’s discovery of variation and natural selection. We work out the details as we go along; explaining how these two pillars of our general theory work mechanically and systematically, and we have gone through several distinct periods with their unique contributions. Such as the discovery that inheritance is particulate (Mendelian genetic specific theory) and now the rise of molecular specific theory (DNA). We don’t throw Darwin’s discoveries overboard as we progress, but rather deepen our understanding of the way in which variation occurs and the ways in which selection acts upon it. In the case of physics we don’t throw out Newtonian mechanics or Faraday’s electricity discoveries but rather more fully explicate their mechanical function, always seeking to deepen our understanding of the underlying systems, as in Maxwell’s field mathematics, Einstein’s relativity theory and contemporary subatomic research, e.g., (Click on the button by the same name to the left on the Home Page for the 4 Principal Papers) –And, the same should be the case with social science. Our task is to deepen our understanding of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels original discoveries and to do so by learning the real lessons of history from our own historical practice.

The Method:

Original Documents;

History is always Unfolding as it Should

In fairness we need to point out that social science is neither biology nor physics. Because it is “social science” everyone recognizes that contemporary “political programs” are affected by our reconstruction of historical events. This means there is a very definite bias favored by contending persons inherent in such reconstructions and this in and of itself leads to partisanship in scholarship. This accounts for the radically different qualities of journalism to be found in the newspapers of the far Left. Some articles have valuable data and are “right on,” others are simply ludicrous and sometimes have not a true historical statement in them, being simply umpteenth-hand regurgitations of historical mythology (as for example in continuing misrepresentations of what happened in the first go-around in China with the capitalist classes. See Chapter 14 Bolshevism Spreads to China for an accurate summary).

But, there are ways for everyone to “check” the tendency toward petty partisanship. A scientific “method” in other words peculiarly well suited to our subject matter.

What are these checks? What is this method?

The first is to go to the original documents. The second is to follow the guideline that history is always unfolding as it should!

Thus, our task is not to pick a side (as for example Stalin vs. Trotsky) but rather to determine accurately what in fact did happen and why. In the end we may appear to be taking a side but there is a very big difference in the way we go about doing it. Contemporary Marxist schismatics pick their side first and then try to justify it by a partisan, inaccurate, interpretation of historical events – scientists on the other hand make an objective historical assessment first and then if they wish may pick a side, although what possible service side-picking might afford many decades or more after the fact is beyond me. Recognizing that history has provided us with this analytical tool cum rule (i.e., history is always unfolding as it should,) I have tried to follow it in my work, as for example in this book. This means finding out what really did happen and then finding out why. –And, to do this I always go to the original documents – not nearly as difficult a task in this day and age, with so much information instantly available on the internet, as it used to be when hours, days, weeks, months and even years in various research libraries were required. This is a method you can use to check the tendency toward petty partisanship in your understanding of history. Once you do this adequately you can proceed to the next – organizational – step.

Modern Science Born

As Charles Darwin founded modern biology so Karl Marx and Frederick Engels founded modern social science. As Darwinian evolutionary theory is the foundation of all of modern biology, so Marxist sociocultural evolutionary theory is the foundation of all of social science.

The word “theory” in science is used to describe our highest explanatory construct in that science. Theory does not mean in science what it means in everyday talk, which is to say someone’s idea about something. This latter definition more appropriately fits the scientific term “hypothesis.” Scientific general theory flows from materialist epistemology (that branch of philosophy known as “theory of knowledge.”) For us Bolsheviks, this materialist epistemology is always dialectical. That is, we search for the interconnections between all phenomena and try to discover the moving causes which create the evolutionary process. Often these causes appear as “opposites” and feature one transforming into the other.

Generally speaking there are three areas of “philosophical matter.” That is, three types of real world existence in the universe. These are the non-living physical area, the living or biological area, and the sociocultural realm. Our concern as professional revolutionaries is primarily with the latter.

When Marx and Engels met for the first time in Paris in November 1842, they quickly realized that, independently, they had come to the same conclusions as to the motive forces involved in sociocultural phenomena. We often refer to these discoveries as the “laws of history.” To wit, people articulate with their environment via a buffer we call “culture.” Culture has three components: the forces of production (technology), the relations of production (social organization) that people enter into in order to utilize that technology and a mental superstructure (ideology) that arises on the foregoing, Mode of Production.

The terms technology, social organization and ideology were inventions of Leslie A. White who brought Marxism back to the forefront in the English-speaking World, as the General Theory of Anthropology. White felt he had no choice but to camouflage anthropological theory’s Marxist origins, if he were to successfully populate the post-Second World War US (GI Bill) public Universities with graduates of his own "neo-Evolutionary" school of Anthropology. Thus, the terms, technology, social organization and ideology, so widely used in anthropology today. Another story for another book.

Theory advances with practice.

In biology that practice took nearly a century of intense work, after Darwin published Origin of Species, before the underlying mechanism of variation was laid bare for all to see in the 1953 announcement of Watkins and Crick that they had uncovered the nature of hereditary chemistry. DNA showed us the structure of heredity and also told us how natural selection works mechanically.

At about the same time as Darwin and Marx those who would found the modern Earth geological sciences were publishing their own breathtaking vision of the real forces at work shaping the planet. –And, building on Newton’s discovery that light is particulate, practical experimenters were building the foundations of contemporary subatomic physics. This latter work would take much longer as the subject matter, being invisible, required more sophisticated means of getting to its at-bottom causality.

Theory and Practice in the Science of Society, Culture and their History

In social science, we have had 91 years of practice since workers first seized power in October, 1917, by overthrowing the Magnate-Ducal Czarist regime in Russia; creating the first working class state and government in the world. Since then the tide of global class struggle has ebbed and flowed, and in this book you will see how and why. As importantly you will see what stages humanity passed through on its way to this contemporary situation. We are in the second transitional period (between two Epochs, and this time two Eras) where the last of the Servitude Stages (Capitalism) is giving way to the first stage of the Era of Freedom (Communism) via at least two intermediary “socialist” stages.

Marxist Philosophy of Science

Frederick Engels spent the better part of his life studying the then contemporary advance of philosophy as the highest guiding body of knowledge of any science. His central conclusion was that science and philosophy had become the same thing; at least as far as we are concerned. (Bourgeois ideologists of course get paid for penning ongoing bullshit but that is their problem.) There are no better works on dialectical materialist epistemology than the originals penned by this great historical genius. –And, from his work we have constructed the modern materialist philosophy of science and I urge all serious Marxist philosophy students to go back and start at the beginning with the work of Frederick Engels.

The method flows from a Marxist philosophy of science and the theoretical explanations thereby constructed. Science always has an explanatory and investigative “structure” beginning with epistemology (that branch of philosophy known as “theory of knowledge”) which in our case is the epistemology of dialectical materialism, another topic for another book. Schematically, we can picture the following from top to bottom: the first level on top is epistemology. Below epistemology is General Theory which means a series of statements and concepts expressed in words or numbers or both, explaining “everything” within that science. At the next level, below general theory, each science has many, seemingly innumerable, specific theories which are more specific statements that explain everything within a rather tightly subsumed category within that science.

In our case our general theory is historical materialism – what this book is all about – and that also means our general theory is also the general (highest) theory of the sciences of anthropology, psychology, history and sociology. When we set our immediate task to develop a specific explanation (theory) that covers all examples of the New Class in all circumstances where it exists, we turn to the three major ways to construct an explanatory specific scientific theory and these are: 1) the deductive way where the premises make the conclusion necessary; (2) the probabilistic form of theoretical explanation where the premises make the conclusion probable; and (3) the historical or “genetic” form where any given event is explained in terms of its evolutionary antecedent forms. Because genetic has so many other connotations in science we will use the term ”historical” which at any rate has its own place in the history of our science.

Cross-cultural Comparative Analysis by Formula

The Mathematics of Social Evolution

Using the third form of scientific investigation/explanation we extract a formula for production as the “theoretical” way of expressing the relationship within the Mode of Production. (The mode of production is called the “base” of culture; ideology arises on the base and is called the superstructure)

{Technology à Social Organization} mode of production or base

The formula can be expressed in terms of four elements in an equation, and using the formula for the capitalist stage as an example (see Chapter 12), these are:

  1. Human working activity (l = concrete individual working activity; lp = homogenized collective labor, temporally measured, called labor-power.)

  2. Technology (in the case of capitalism this is always some kind of machinofacture.)

  3. Value – the cost of labor and in the Servitude Epoch (especially in the capitalist stage) the cost of labor-power

  4. Surplus value – the additional amount produced above value in capitalist systems and in pre-capitalist systems of the Servitude Epoch; and surplus social product in pre-Servitude Epoch society.

Expressed as follows:

l (or lp) + technology à V1, V2 + SV

These are the four essential elements of human productive activity and they can be cross-culturally compared through time and across the entire space of the globe. This is the way we build a theory in science and the way we make it useable. (You may think of them analogously as the four nucleotides of sociocultural DNA; not that there is such a thing, of course.) The General theoretical structure is the cultural concept of the Mode of Production; the specific theoretical constructs are as numerous as the sociocultural evolutionary stages they represent. Which is to say (i) we define the essential elements at the core of something (in this case human productive activity) and (ii) arrange them in such a way that they appropriately describe every instance of the subject in question (which in this case is the evolution of human productive activity through distinct “stages”) –And (iii) we do this at two levels: (a) a high general level and (b) a secondary tier of specific levels. As you can see “theory” has two magnitudes.

This time, in this edition, as we use our third form of scientific investigation and explanation, we will spend more time on the origin and development of our contemporary New Class, tracing the New Class back into its previous forms. We can see that it has several “occupational” or “professional” components. Accounting is one. Enforcement is another. Religion (and certain associated scientific endeavors such as astronomy) is another; professionally specialized crafts are another. You will see who the predecessors of today’s new class were, how they functioned and transformed.

Thus, we have what we meant to have, when we used the phrase “…a “Marxist” “theoretical” explanation” (or as commonly, an “historical materialist theoretical” explanation.) It has been the failure to produce a Marxist theoretical explanation for what happened in the USSR, Eastern Europe, and in a totally different way, the Peoples Republic of China, in the last several decades, which left the “Left” in the capitalist countries totally confused and often demoralized – subject to ideological subversion by the non-stop assault of the capitalist media. Hopefully, that deficiency is remedied herein.

The Evolution of Culture: The Dialectics of Contradiction

Mechanical materialists (e.g., Leslie A. White; Marvin Harris) approach the evolution of culture as a linear process whereby one step leads to the next. Dialectical materialists approach the evolution of culture by deciphering how one type of core causal phenomena transforms into its opposite step by step, from the earliest to the most recent, and then we try to project into the future the likely next dialectical resolution. Rather than continue to speak in the abstract let us turn to the text to see how this method works in practice.

The general contradiction can be reduced to a prime directive for our purposes. There are two general contradictions with which we are preoccupied in our studies and each of these will have its own prime directive. The general contradiction describes the two polar opposite keys to understanding the social organization of an epoch. The prime directive is the resulting cultural commandment for all citizens of the group in question in the epoch being studied.

In our case we begin by describing two General Contradictions that occupy two “epochs” in human history. The first of these is the general contradiction of the first egalitarian epoch (the epoch of primitive communism) consisting of the bands and tribes of the hunting-gathering and early agricultural modes of production which simply put is that “every step taken to prevent surplus social product, and the social dissolution, inevitably created by it, becomes in addition a step in making the creation of surplus social product a certainty. –And, as importantly, this fact makes it certain that even though a given step may gain a temporary respite in the burgeoning of surplus social product, the process is even more certain to end in social dissolution.” The prime directive of this general contradiction is to avoid the production of surplus social product at virtually any cost.

The second general contradiction is that of the servitude epoch (the stages of slavery, feudalism and capitalism) where “every step taken is aimed at maximizing production but despite this the results are less and less of a share for those doing the work; a worse living condition for the producers themselves and these facts make it certain that the dissolution of this epoch will also occur as slaves, serfs and workers revolt, sharpening the class struggle and requiring armed force (the “state”) in the hands of the domesticating classes to pacify the masses who are resisting the process of being domesticated. The prime directive of this general contradiction is to maximize production regardless of all other factors.

The task confronting us is to explain how the first contradiction transformed into the second “opposite” contradiction.

The Evolution of Culture: Crises Dialectics

A General Crisis on the other hand is the engine that drives a particular “stage” (within the epochs) through growth, maturation and eventual dissolution. For example, in the Slave Stage (as part of the second or Servitude Epoch with its specific general contradiction) the general crisis arises as a result of the need to have a larger and larger ever growing army and police (i.e., the “state” itself in other words) to keep the slaves in servitude. The cost of the state (army/police) is a drawdown, or cost, charged against the surplus value column as you will see, and the generals (or sergeants) will eventually realize they can replace their employers, a more intangible cost. Both (a) the drawdown on surplus value and (b) the rise of “the state” (army and police) over society, lead to the end of Slavery as a stage, and the necessity of the half-way house of Feudalism to replace it, and can be expressed in the form of an equation or formula, which I will teach you herein. This resolution should also be viewed dialectically in that the origin of the “state” occurs to insure the status quo yet its very success dooms the status quo.

In Capitalism the general crisis is caused by the financial cost to the capitalist of the constantly increasing investment required of him to stay competitive. He must buy into more and more, increasingly expensive, next generations of machinery, which is a drawdown on the surplus value column. Eventually, as you will see, one capitalist eats the other and capital is concentrated. This also can be expressed in the form of an equation. In short, we say that it is the Law of the Absolute Decline in the Rate of Profit which results from this inherent need of each capitalist to stay competitive by buying into more and more new machinery which is the engine both causing and driving the General Crisis of Capitalism, for reasons which will be explained to you in detail in this text.

This resolution should be viewed dialectically in that investment in the next generation of machinery (NGM in the equations you will learn) occurs to increase production, and to increase its efficiency, yet the ultimate outcome is great poverty for the mass of producers, so that workers must revolt to put an end to the steady deterioration of their lives, as they are getting less and less value for themselves, even though they produce more and more value overall (expropriated by the capitalist.) You will learn this equation, among many others.

-And, in so doing, you will see that all of human culture and societal affairs can be reduced to the few simple elements mentioned above, and in detail below, in the same way that all of life on Earth can be reduced to a few simple nucleotides. This is what science is all about – getting to the core of causality and process and laying bare the key driving elements, stripping away all the non-essential factors, adornments, and related manifestations.

Do Not Get Confused

Violence, Armed force, Government, Class and State

I want you to notice that we Marxists do not confuse “the state” with violence. Violence existed before class-and-state society and will continue after class-and-state society. Neither do we confuse “the state” with “armed force”, for “armed force” of the people as a whole existed before the emergence of class-and-state societies and will exist after the disappearance of class-and-state society. We do not confuse “the state” with “government” for people governed themselves before class-and-state society and their governments, and they shall govern themselves after the disappearance of the class-and-state society of the Servitude Epoch (Slavery, Capitalism and Feudalism.) The state refers to thuggery (a private monopoly of armed force) in the hands of an already separated, or in the process of separating, ruling class. Class refers to a group of people with a distinct relationship to the means of production: the most important relationship being that between those who own, and those who do not own, said means of production. In class divided society (existing for only some 6000 years) other classes exist as well, particularly those who find employment serving ruling classes (soldiers, cops, and priests for example; also, small proprietors and occasional entrepreneurial workers, and in time a “New Class” of technocrats.)

The Absolute Decline in the Rate of Profit

There is continuing confusion over the Law of the Absolute Decline in the Rate of Profit. Marx found confusion abundant on this subject during his lifetime and he had a great deal to say about this misunderstanding in the post-1867 period (and the publication of Capital Volume One). Yet, because macro-theoretical economics is such a rarely understood, let alone taught, science in the USA, and most readers, therefore, have no previous experience with the subject matter, it is worth reframing the question here.

The crux of confusion lies in understanding the difference between the absolute decline in the rate of surplus value production and the absolute decline in the rate of profit. These are two separate categories. Two separate things. Yet, intimately related all the same.

You will become familiar with many equations, which are short-hand ways of describing relations between key elements of human productive activity. Let us jump ahead for just a moment, using the formula for the capitalist stage as the example:

labor power (lp) + technology (t) à Value 1 + Value 2 + Surplus Value (SV)

Profit / NGM

In the case of Capitalism we are always discussing the application of human labor-power (homogenized collective output of factory workers, for example, measured by the factory clock) applied to machinery (“t” technology: which is machinery in the capitalist stage.) What is thereby produced repays the workers for their labor-power (only in part) (Value 1 – i.e., wages and benefits) and pays for the factory installation and upkeep of the machinery (Value 2). We call both value 1 and value 2 “value.” What is left over is what we call “surplus value.“ From the surplus value column there are many possible deductions the capitalist can make but the ones of greatest concern to us are those that account for (as sub-columns in our equation) the capitalist’s “profit” and those that account for his investment in the Next Generation of Machinery (NGM).

When new machinery is installed (under “t” or technology in our equation) it is done precisely to lower the amount of labor-power (lp) that is required to produce a given commodity. This allows the capitalist to hire fewer workers. Or, another way of putting it is that workers previously hired will be sent to the street unemployed.

The rate of surplus value production must decline because to buy the new machinery, install and maintain it, the capitalist must shift more overall output from surplus value to value 2 (the cost of installing and maintaining the newly purchased machinery) and also (and most importantly) take more of this overall output and shift it to cover the cost of this newly purchased (next generation of) machinery (NGM).

In order to avoid this, the capitalist would have had to hire more workers, and/or work the same workers longer hours, so that labor-power input increases at a one-to-one ratio with that of the increased productive power of the new machinery, thereby maintaining the same rate of surplus value creation. In this way he would stay competitive (it is for this reason that Capitalism as a Stage hates competition because) this he cannot do; his idea was to reduce the amount of labor-power going in, not to increase it (and thus his costs.) Therefore, right off the bat, while the introduction of new machinery means a reduction in the cost of his labor force (in hours and/or numbers of workers) it also means an increase in the cost of installing new machinery and maintaining newly equipped factories and therefore results in less surplus value being created; and because simultaneously the capitalist must invest more and more of his remaining overall output in the purchase of the new machinery. This means, all other things being equal, that this absolute decline in the rate of surplus value creation is exacerbated and indeed brought to “crisis” by these new costs of each successive generation of machinery (NGM). This latter fact results always in an absolute decline in the rate of profit. This is why as Karl Marx discovered it is the antagonistic articulation of profit with the costs of the Next Generation of Machinery under Surplus value which is the major loci of the General Crisis of Capitalism (what causes it – the cause of the so-called “business cycle” of boom and bust.)

Yes, of course, there are short-term things a capitalist can do to offset the absolute decline, at least temporarily, by choosing new ways (eliminating previous ways) of using his surplus value that had hitherto been choices he found desirable. The best long-term way for him is (i) monopoly and/or fixed corrupt contracting, and (ii) slave labor, but these generate massive social resistance. No matter what he does short of these two things, in the end, he is still confronted with the necessity of investing in new machinery or losing competitive advantage; thus in the end he will have less surplus value available for profit. This is the Iron Law of Capitalist Relations.

In short, the decline in the rate of surplus value creation (as the cost of value 2 must increase even when labor costs (V1) decrease as he sends workers to the street) sets the stage for a general crisis because what surplus value is available must be shifted on an increasing scale to cover the cost of the next generation of machinery (NGM). Thus, in the end there is less surplus value available for whatever other expenditures he may have in mind – especially profit - and this means that the rate of profit must also decline. That is why I said that while these two absolute declines in rate are totally separate categories they are at the same time intimately related.

I want you to read the chapter on Capitalism (12) carefully for the detailed exposition, but this summary may assist you in understanding what is going on. It may be especially helpful to re-read this short essay after reading Chapter 12.

All of these technical data on the operation of the capitalist system are not just for economists. These internal operations of all capitalist systems always end up in terrible social and thus political crises that close factories, sending masses of workers to the street, leaving higher priced commodities for consumers, and undercutting all the social programs that workers have fought for (and which can no longer be paid for in “the black”) You are witnessing the truth of all I have written above today in your everyday lives.


Before proceeding to the text let me make one final comment on the definition of terms. In the initial version of this book I discussed certain terms and their definition around which confusion often exists. Since then I have found some confusion also over the use of the terms “law of value,” “laws of history,” “laws of sociocultural evolution,” and so forth. When we use the phrase “laws of history” we should be referring to Marx’s and Engels’ discovery of the concept that history is determined by people using “culture” (anthropological definition) as a buffer between the environment and society. This is the broadest stroke of the use of the term “law” and refers to the fact that ALL of human social and cultural evolution must be understood in terms of the evolution of culture’s three components, technology, social organization and ideology. (The “Mode of Production” being the forces and relations of production; ideology is the Superstructure.) These laws apply to all human sociocultural formations. This is, as Engels said in his funeral eulogy to Karl Marx, one of the two greatest discoveries of Marx. The other greatest accomplishment was Marx having unlocked the secrets of operation of the Capitalist Stage.

And, if I may say so, I think a third great accomplishment of Marx at this level was his formulation of the Marxist theory of psychology where the relationships exhibited in production are known to appear in new and different forms (to paraphrase Marx in Volume One of Capital, “the material relations among people appear as social relations between things.”)

On the other hand the phrase “law of value” refers specifically to the law by which capitalism operates, and not pre-capitalist formations, except, of course, where capitalist germinal elements are present in pre-capitalist stages of the Servitude Epoch, and then the law of value operates only within the germinal capitalist sector. The law of value in this sense always refers to the “socially necessary labor-time” required in the production of a commodity. The relative value of a commodity produced by different factories is the socially necessary labor-time involved in the production of a commodity in factory X as compared to factory Y, and so forth. This is usually a function of the amount of new advanced machinery installed in a given factory – the newer that machinery, the less socially necessary labor-time is required in the production of a given commodity.

Laws of sociocultural evolution will be explained as we proceed but again these refer to all stages in some cases and only specific stages in others. Laws of history refer in general to all of the above.

These are important considerations and not simply matters of technical definition. They are important because Marxists believe in history being determined by cause and processual interaction of these causes in a “lawful” manner as in any other case of natural phenomena. Marx dealt primarily with the laws of operation of the capitalist stage and was spending the latter years of his life deciphering the laws by which pre-capitalist formations operate (a task he left uncompleted). Marx never made the mistake of projecting into the past, capitalist formation laws onto pre-capitalist society. Even Soviet textbooks, originally at least supervised by Stalin, tended to blur these distinctions and it is important that we do not duplicate that error (Mao pointed this out in his A Critique of Soviet Economics, see the 1977, Monthly Review Press edition of this work of Mao Zedong).

The First Presentation of Stage Sequential Laws of Operation

It is fine to assert that such universal laws exist because on the one hand we know epistemologically and in our general theory that such laws must exist. It is quite another to assert that the laws of operation of pre-capitalist systems are known when in fact they are not. To the best of my knowledge this book is the first one to project a series of laws of specific operation of each stage of pre-capitalist society which conform in every way to the model established by Marx in his analysis of capitalism.

For some informal discussion of Marx’s work in the last seven years of his life and his struggle to understand pre-capitalist society especially primitive communist society, listen to the audio portions of my website at .

One Final Word on the Future

For Marxists, there has always been one clear vision of the future. It was laid out for us by the “founders of our science” themselves: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Their vision was, and is, part and parcel of the science of society and culture and their history; that is to say, it is a product of, and mandated by, our scientific understanding of sociocultural evolution. Virtually every subsequent great thinker in our tradition has identified with that vision, including V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi-Minh, and Deng Xiaoping. So what precisely is this vision.

The Future Mode of Production

For Marxists and Leninists, the future features highly advanced industrial technology alongside social relations of absolute egalitarianism, and the full freedom of each individual to the fullest expression of their inner-most desires in daily productive activity, sexual orientation, and family life.

Technology, in the future we shall build, is so advanced as to assure the production of unlimited quantities of heavy and light industrial goods, and consumer articles, and the distribution of all such produce to every industry and every person. The future, in other words, features society where unlimited access to the articles of production for every person, is a simple fact of everyday life. Since we did not inherit the most advanced technological preparation in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, or Cuba, we have had to build the industrial base from scratch. But, all observers can see that we have done so.

Bidding “the State” Good Bye

For Marxists and Leninists our goal is also a future society in which “the state” (army and police) has ceased to exist and withered away. How can this instrument of class oppression be made to disappear? The answer is, only by doing away with social classes first. Once we have done away with social classes we have also done away with the role of the state, in all societies. The role of “the state” is a role for a social institution which is nothing more than an institution of repressive violence in the hands of an exploiting or ruling class. Once class society ceases to exist – and class society did not exist for 99.99% of human history (nor did the state) – then the need for the state will be gone too.

When the state is no longer needed as an instrument of class rule, then and only then, can we finally do away with it altogether. Until that time, one class or another will rule. –And, the way one class or the other rules is through the use of police, intelligence services, military force, judicial systems, torture chambers, prisons and execution. There are no exceptions now nor have there ever been any exceptions, anywhere, to this form of class rule – nor shall there ever be. In contemporary times, when the capitalists have state power in their hands, they use it against us. When we seize power we establish our own state and we use that power (in new, loyal, hands) against them. Who will persevere? Science tells us that we will. But, science cannot tell us how long it will take us to win; for better or for worse in the meantime, before the final solution, we are free agents with free will; we are free to win and we are free to lose.

The Problem of Trotsky and Trotskyism

Beginning in 1965, when I took my first SWP course on Trotsky and Bolshevism I found myself quietly at odds with the conclusions and general tenor of the instructor and the majority of already convinced students. To me Trotsky’s book Permanent Revolution seemed extraordinarily shallow. There was nothing in this book that was not already established doctrine among Leninists as far as the idea of continuing the bourgeois revolution into the proletarian phase was concerned. As the course proceeded it became obvious to me that the then popular idea that Trotsky had the right “take” on art and literature was in fact ludicrous. It should have gone without saying that whatever art and literary forms exist at any point in time are reflective of the class interests of the ruling classes of that time, period. –And as the decades passed, and I learned more about Trotsky as a person, the more disgusting I found him to be. How could a Marxist of whatever stripe act so haughtily and arrogantly toward working class cadre of the social democratic movement unless he was fundamentally flawed as a person – carrying over the worst rather than the best of what had gone before, in terms of individual cognizance of his own importance.

Gradually, I came to the conclusion that Trotsky was the author of a mythology as deadly to our side as the fantasy world in which the capitalists live is to their side. I mention this up front, so as to make it clear what side I would have been on in the Trotsky-Stalin split. My prejudices allowed to precede me, for your benefit. Take them as you will.

For our purposes, the most important thing we need to make clear about Trotskyism is, in my opinion, that the at-bottom fundamental difference between world Trotskyism and the world international Communist movement is the idea that the New Class is a temporary deformation of a working class ruling world Sociocultural Evolutionary Stage, when in fact it is no such thing. What we have in Stalinist Socialism is a distinct world wide Stage of Sociocultural Evolution characterized by backwardness that has necessitated a New Class, potentially dominating and ruling. This is, in fact, the General Crisis of this new Stage in social and cultural evolution – not a deformation. In other words, what we have seen is a new transitional stage; a Stage which features a necessary technocrat class with certain privileges, because there has been no choice, given the technological (almost pre-capitalist) backwardness in which we first seized power. Had we seized power in the most advanced capitalist countries the role of this technocracy would have been quite different; many workers, sufficiently educated, would have been in place to quickly ascend into these technocratic roles. That was not the case as history has proven. Rather we seized power where we could – meaning in countries where the ruling capitalist classes were relatively weak and thus more easily defeated. But, the consequences of victory first in these countries, led to the necessity of the vanguard Party having to create the conditions that Marx and Engels had assumed we would inherit. We did not inherit them. We inherited the presumptive wind of a global hurricane. From nearly empty air we had to build the technological foundations without which Socialism is not possible.

An administrative caste, if you will, was clearly necessary for the Bolsheviks in power and in uniform. In the latter part of his life Leon Trotsky made this de facto New Class the principal bugaboo of his theoretical position. Yet even perfunctory historical analysis shows us that when he was on top, Trotsky was all in favor of a bureaucratization of everything, including the working class itself, he would have placed under military discipline in their factories! (As he proposed at the 9th Party Congress in the Spring of 1920.) It was Trotsky, not Stalin, that Lenin found guilty (in his Testament) of too much attention to the bureaucratic aspect of things.

Alternatively, Trotsky later proposed a variety of solutions, but finally, and most often, he spoke of "internationalism" - meaning the support of workers from other successful revolutions in advanced capitalist countries - coming to the assistance of the Soviet Union. -And, he blamed the Stalin "gang" for staging what he called a "coup" against the legitimate representatives of proletarian power in the Party and the State and of course with filling the Government with their own. This is another of those historical problems that requires surgically precise logic and very accurate historical knowledge to get to the bottom of the contention. I find it useful to separate Trotsky the man from Trotskyism the strategy, and indeed the Trotskyist "theory".

Beginning with the former, I think Trotsky in the last analysis had no one to blame but himself for the alienating of the Bolshevik "Old Guard." With his very wealthy family background and privileged upbringing, his arrogance and air of superiority, his tendency to lord it over the less verbal Bolshevik Old Guard, he was everything that the Bolshevik working class originating old cadre hated. He had opposed Lenin and Bolshevism virtually his entire life. He came over to Lenin and the Bolshevik Party very late – in late June and early July of 1917 - only after rigorous argument with Lenin, where he made demands so infuriating to the rest of the Bolshevik Party (such as demanding they change their name, if Lenin wanted to gain his membership and indeed leadership mantle) he made many enemies - for life. Among the Bolsheviks only Lenin wanted him. Because Lenin wanted him the rest went along.

Lenin wanted Trotsky in the summer of 1917 because Trotsky had a big mouth, and he could put the Bolshevik position forward consistently and clearly in the all-important Petrograd Soviet. –And, eventually in the national Congress of Soviets. Trotsky’s Bolshevik candidacy was feasible because he was a Marxist, and he had one critical point upon which he agreed with Lenin and that was in turning the bourgeois February Revolution into a Proletarian Revolution as quickly as possible. Trotsky had a small group of followers he could throw into the mix and they were people of competence and ability, so Lenin would pick them up along the way as part of the deal with Trotsky. Lenin knew Trotsky would be a spoiler in the Petrograd City Council upon his return if he was not brought under control and the only realistic way he could bring him under control was to bring him into the Party.

As the years have progressed I have often found myself thinking that bringing Trotsky into the Party was Lenin’s greatest single mistake. Yet, on the other hand, the most important thing in May and June of 1917 was seizing state power. Lenin knew Trotsky could be invaluable in this respect because he knew Trotsky would have a tremendous influence in the Petrograd City Council (Soviet) which was the most important political body in the Empire at that point in time. Without Trotsky the Bolsheviks would probably win. With Trotsky the Bolsheviks would definitely be successful in the seizure. Nothing was more important than the seizure. With it everything became possible. Without seizure, nothing would have been possible. History is unfortunately, often messy, and this is just one of those unavoidable examples. So, in the end bringing Trotsky in was the right thing to do. Frankly, I suspect that everything would have gone much smoother if Stalin had disposed of him in 1919 rather than 1940 but that is just speculation.

Trotsky would later claim to have been the originator of the idea of going over quickly to an armed struggle for proletarian dictatorship once the bourgeois revolution began, and attached the label "permanent revolution" to it, but this is simply not true. It had been the policy of Bolshevism since it became Bolshevism in 1903 to argue for going over to working class seizure of power from the bourgeoisie as quickly as possible once the bourgeois revolutionary process might begin. In a somewhat different form the idea goes back to Karl Marx and the revolutionary period 1848-1850. –And, as a matter to note, for still different reasons, it was Mao Zedong who pressed the idea of permanent revolution on the Chinese Party throughout the period after 1952.

Now in the summer of 1917, Lenin needed Trotsky's ability in the Petrograd (earlier St. Petersburg, later Leningrad) Soviet, where debating and oratory were a daily necessity for Party leaders of every persuasion - and the Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies in Petrograd was a de facto proletarian parliament, which the capitalist parties dominated at the beginning of the six month period from February to October 1917. Lenin had seen from the very first that it would be the Petrograd Soviet and others like it that would be the organizational form around which the Bolsheviks would move for power and he had the experience of the 1905 St. Petersburg Soviet to learn from. In the 1905 St. Petersburg Soviet, Trotsky had played the leading role, and thus, was admired by the relatively sophisticated workers of 1917 Petrograd. In their mind he was a man who could hold his own with the best of the Cadet, SR (Socialist Revolutionary Party, Left and Right) and Menshevik orators with the debating skills of his upper bourgeois class background - and he was on their side! He made them proud and they would listen to him. At least that is what Lenin thought and hoped, and was the reason he put up with Trotsky's stifling arrogance in their negotiations. Lenin certainly had more important things to do than bullshit, day-in and day-out, in the Petrograd Soviet.

Trotsky’s followers later maintained that it was he who had led the actual seizure of 24-26 October, 1917, and that is merely true. He was one member of the committee formed for the purpose of seizure three weeks prior to 24 October, 1917 (the origin of the first Politburo). He played an assigned role as did everyone else on the committee except for Kamenev and Zinoviev who betrayed the revolution on the eve of the Revolution. But that's it. (Lenin forgave these two their treason and they were readmitted into the Party. Stalin did not. They were shot in 1936.) In fact, the seizure took place in many other cities simultaneously and was hard fought and took several weeks. What is true is that in Petrograd, which was the capital of the Empire, “…the practical work of organizing the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the President of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviets and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee was organized.” (Joseph Stalin writing on Trotsky’s role in a Pravda article of November 6, 1918, the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and quoted by Stalin in his 1934 book The October Revolution.) Furthermore, the Bolshevik revolution was not confined to Petrograd. Bolsheviks under other leaders seized power simultaneously in Moscow, Kiev, Samara, Minsk and many other cities, beginning 24 October and continuing over the next several weeks.

In the military struggle it is often thought that Trotsky was the sole brain behind the eventual success of the Red Army and that certainly is not true. As I explain in Chapter 13, there was from the beginning and throughout the Civil War a sub-rosa conflict between Trotsky and Stalin with regard to military strategy and tactics, and in April of 1919 the Stalinists finally won control of the Red High Command (Party Military Committee) and kept it, despite the fact that Trotsky was allowed to remain as War Commissar (because Lenin wanted it that way.) From that date forward Trotsky's policies would be closely watched by the worker-general Mikhail Frunze, the candidate of Stalin and Dzershinsky. Frunze, the new Chief of Staff, now would have three of the five seats, in addition to himself (for 4 out of 5) in the Red High Command. So, if their was a “gang” of Stalinists they emerged immediately, and the “coup” against Trotsky began in the first months and years of the October Revolution, not years later after Lenin’s death.

In other words there was no coup by any gang. Accurate historical reconstruction shows us that the Stalin-Trotsky Party and Army split existed from the beginning and deepened through the entire Bolshevik experience, until one or the other had to prevail. The divisions between these two and other Party leaders were so bitter by 1921 that Lenin feared factionalism could destroy the Party. At any rate, so much for the myth of a Stalin gang and coup. Logically, this tell us, in my mind, along with other aspects of the way Trotsky conducted himself, that he had a tendency to exaggerate and distort history, to suit his purposes as he saw fit, with the passage of time.

-And, when it was all said and done it was Trotsky's disastrous leadership of the 1920 Polish-German-West European campaign, that left the Soviet Republic high and dry without the hope of any immediate international linkage to the essential advanced industrial bases of the West except for what could be gained by the more normal type of bourgeois statecraft to which Lenin was now reduced.

In fact, even Trotsky spoke by 1922 of the new situation internationally where the Soviet Republic could expect to participate on an equal basis in the international grouping of capitalist states. Hardly a call for a “revolutionary internationalist” solution to the problems confronting Bolshevism.

The second bugaboo of the Trotsky theory has to do with the idea that what was needed was more workers participatory democracy. But Trotsky was rather slovenly in coming to this position also. It was Trotsky who in 1919 started the program of labor armies to replace the soldier armies that were being disbanded, the soldiers discharged. It was Trotsky who in early 1920 called for the total militarization of the Russian proletariat and to hell with the trade unions. This proposal being justified by the idea that since the workers now owned the state and government and were led by a worker's party that they were well enough represented and could be reduced to what amounted to automatons. Lenin had to step in at the 9th Party Congress in the spring of 1920 saying someone would have to defend the workers from their own state if Trotsky's ideas were to be given serious consideration. That's how precarious the situation was at that time.

-And Party democracy is the other side of this second theoretical coin Trotsky tosses out in the 1920's. However, it was Lenin who kicked off the campaign in 1921 to tighten inner Party discipline because he saw the need for ending factionalism in the Party (and with it the endless debates) and demanded it. Lenin saw that the time had come "to go to work." It was time to face the facts: namely, that the proletariat had failed to seize power in any other capitalist country. That situation was not going to change in the foreseeable future. Certainly it wasn’t going to change right away, after the failure of Trotsky to complete his mission to seize Warsaw and Berlin in 1920 (for details see Chapter 13 below.) In fact, the situation in Russia had grown so intolerable that the better part of 1921 had to do with crushing the massive Tambov, and other, peasant rebellions (not to mention the Kronstadt sailors mutiny) and was only successfully concluded because of the re-introduction of capitalism by Lenin's fiat in the spring of 1921 (the New Economic Policy or NEP).There was no possibility of an internationalist solution, to use a popular Trotskyist phrase, to the problem of Russia's technological backwardness at that time. It would have to be done by the Bolsheviks themselves at home where they did have state power. -And, Trotsky agreed at the time with the demand that debate and discussion end and that a policy of carrying out orders be adopted. Except during a “campaign period” if you will of a few weeks before a Conference or a Congress.

Lenin saw the grave danger confronting the Soviet Republic because of its technological backwardness and improvised accordingly. To make up for the fact that Russia's initial technological backwardness had been exacerbated by the loss, in the civil war, of up to 90% of the politically conscious proletariat by 1921. The Government would have to lick its wounds and start to educate and train the necessary cadre at home - as slow and painful as that might be - and, in the meantime, gain as much time as possible, before the next inevitable imperialist onslaught, with a new foreign policy.

Finally, the bureaucracy bugaboo in the Trotsky theory claims that the power to appoint secretaries and functionaries from the center – which had replaced the earlier, inefficient (for military purposes), electoral forms of democratic centralism within the Party during the Civil War – was carried to an extreme by Stalin and used in essentially undemocratic ways to win his political fights. In other words, Trotsky claimed Stalin won his fights in the Party by rigging the elections, since the delegates were often his hand-picked secretaries and other functionaries. All of which may well be true. But that is just organizational politics. What is important is what lies behind or below the surface in such matters.

The role of the Party was dramatically and in fact drastically different in power than it had been out of power. Out of power a great deal of input from below on every issue had been the norm. Then, after a decision had been reached, it was the responsibility of the Party leadership to carry out the decisions and the membership to do as they were told, to implement the decisions. Now, in power, without the necessities demanded by Marx and Engels (fully modernized capitalist industry) the Party had to get to work and build virtually everything from scratch. Its role demanded that it transform itself into an enabling organization – an organization charged with building the foundations of Socialism however it could. A Party of “builders” as opposed to a Party of “destroyers.” A Party without such rigid internal control would not have been able to carry out the gigantic historical tasks it would soon confront. Not the least of which would be the collectivization of agriculture (which would not begin until 1928 so they had seven years to get their act together.) Not to mention winning the inevitable imperialist second world war.

We shall mention all of these consequences again in this book but the point here is that the ideas which form the mainstay of what would eventually be called Trotskyism are historically ill-founded. I think the Trotskyist analysis makes no sense when reviewed within the context of the reality of those times.

Does this mean that the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union was not a new class? Does it mean that they would not separate themselves as a New Class with title deed to property if they got the chance and in the meantime act as if they did? No, of course, it doesn't. It does mean that the Trotskyist analysis is flawed fatally in both theory and practice and in the real test of the facts of history.

Trotsky as a person (and, thus, Trotskyism as a strategy/theory) became irrelevant except as a straw-man whipping-boy for Joseph Stalin who found it convenient to use him, and it, that way until he disposed of him in Mexico City in 1940. When Trotsky was reduced to nothing more than whining about the pace of the very programs he had advocated - i.e., massive industrialization and agricultural mechanization/collectivization - he became irrelevant to Communists almost everywhere. –And carping still more about Stalin’s management methods left him even more outside the fold of “legitimate critic” in the minds of most communists.

Except for the perceptive few who saw the problem created by the New Class and were honestly trying to do something about it - the Trotskyists. It is because of their sincerity that we should welcome them into the New Bolshevik movement, as I have done for many decades. I remember my friend Arne Swabeck, one of the leaders of the 1919 Seattle General Strike, (see the movie Reds for Arne’s last public appearance) and many other Trotskyists in the 1960’s for their support of Chairman Mao’s attempts to reign in the New Class, and among the Trotskyist youth also in Los Angeles for their willingness to pursue common objectives with us (Progressive Labor Party), as in the Los Angeles Anti-Vietnam War Committee they created. The fact that Mao’s attempt was tortured along the way by reality is another matter altogether, which we shall be discussing at several points below. I like to think that it has all worked out in the end for China. But, what about for us?

At the end of this handbook you will see that a New Class of managers and bureaucrats has been necessary for the construction of Socialism in backward countries. Inherent in that recognition is also the insistence that we see to it that they play only this role and are not allowed the role of a new ruling class.

We shall also see that backward countries may well have to witness capitalism developing alongside socialist institutions, as in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, for example. Given the backwardness of those economies a Chavez-Morales-Ortega triumvirate in alliance with Socialist Cuba is not just the “best” we could expect but by far good enough! With our Marxist theoretical understanding as outlined above, and explained herein, you will see that it has been Bolshevik policy to support exactly this, as circumstances require, since 1921.

However it may end up in the future, for the moment, the Chinese Communist Party is doing exactly this, because as in the case of Lenin’s Russia, China has had no choice. The Russians tried jumping straight away from capitalism to communism; failed; restored capitalism and then tried again, this time with limited (i.e., “socialist” as opposed to “communist”) goals, by “building” into the planned economies of the Stalinist Socialist Stage. In China’s case its first ten years (1949-1959) under Bolshevism were all about getting to communism as quickly as possible (ending capitalism and feudalism in agriculture; collectivization; peoples communes) requiring in the succeeding twenty years, two new revolutionary struggles; all the while trying to stay on the right road (1966-1975; 1976-78). Not an easy task, without historical precedent, and when one is uncertain as to which road is the right one. In both the Russian and Chinese cases these initial attempts at jumping into communism failed, and new forms of social organization had to be invented. In both cases Bolshevism has had to step back and deal with the reality of backwardness.

Can we do our part – meaning fight for and seize state power, build the socialist transition and move rapidly into communism all the time struggling to prevent New Class separation? We should be able to do so now. We have the technological foundations the founders required; we should be able to invent the democratic proletarian forms to prevent the negative aspects of the initial experiments in Russia and China from happening once again, as we replace oligarchic ownership of our factories and land with ownership of the working people in those factories and on that land.

Stalin and Stalinism

One might wonder why the question of Stalin and Stalinism has been so terribly distorted in the English-speaking world. The answer should be obvious. The ruling capitalist classes, and their academic toadies, desperately needed to attack Stalin and they found the most convenient way of attacking him to utilize the mythology spread by Trotsky about him.

As the years since 1965 progressed and I read more and more of the original documents I came to see an entirely different Stalin than the one Trotsky propagandized. So different that it is truly shocking. Furthermore, because of my own involvement in the intelligence service I began to see how Stalin organized and led the most important combat part of the international communist movement – the Red Secret Service – and, accordingly, have been writing a book about it (Red Sword, Red Shield). Let me give you an accurate assessment of Stalin’s originating role in the Bolshevik Party.

Stalin was born Joseph Vissarionovich Dzugashvili on December 9, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. Nicknamed Soso by others, he chose the name “Koba” for himself by the time of his adolescence. In time he would take on a new name. His official new name would be Stalin, the man of steel. But that was some time into the future. For now Stalin would be Joseph, Soso, or Koba.

Koba was the hero of a Robin Hood novel about a Georgian who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Joseph continued to use Koba as his first name in the underground world of the RSDLP. The main book that Koba read was The Patricide, its author Alexander Kazbegi – perhaps the wealthiest landowner in Georgia - had released his serfs from their serf obligations, given away his own wealth, and gone to living as a simple herder of sheep in the mountains of Georgia. Writing his Koba stories occupied Kazbegi’s plentiful spare time as a shepherd during the years 1880 to 1886. The first six years of Joseph’s childhood.

At the age of 8 Joseph’s mother enrolled him in elementary school. Here he was forced to learn Russian, as instruction was done only in Russian, and he completed elementary and middle schooling therefore in the Russian language. He graduated with honors from this church school in 1894 and at the age of 14 was admitted to the seminary in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Georgia, for high schooling, which was the only way toward a higher education for a poor boy. The following year at the age of 15 he joined the Russian Social Democratic circle (called Mesame Dasi) in Tiflis. There he caught the attention of the man who would become his mentor, Leonid Krassin. Krassin was a well educated capitalist, working for Russian wildcatters and foreign oil concerns as a manager, company man and sometimes as an entrepreneur for himself, wildcatting in the rough-and-tumble oilfield culture of Georgia, especially around Batum and Baku. –And, Krassin was a secret Social Democrat of the Lenin variety. At the turn of the century three families dominated the Russian oil industry: the Nobels, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds.

Note that in these days the seminaries were producing revolutionaries like hot house plants. Not only in Trans-Caucasian Russia, but also in Georgia and Armenia. In Tiflis (renamed Tbilisi in 1936 by Koba, now Georgia’s favorite son, known as Stalin) as a member of the Social Democratic organization, Joseph and other seminarians met revolutionary factory and oilfield workers, studying in secret, and immersed themselves in these workers activities. They were studying Russian translations of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels principal works including Marx’s Capital Volume One. Caught reading these materials at the seminary Joseph was expelled in 1899. However, in the five years from this initial meeting, which is to say when Koba grew from 15 to 20 years of age, Krassin taught him how to organize workers, and as importantly, how to rob banks, stage-coaches and steamships. Krassin was such an obvious and enthusiastic capitalist, the Czarist secret police missed him altogether, and thus, for some time they also missed his most promising student. Krassin would work his way up the Czarist bureaucracy, in time, to become what Lenin would eventually call (during the First World War) the “Finance Minister of the Bolshevik Revolution” for reasons you will come to understand in the text.

In 1900, Joseph met his first face-to-face intermediary to Lenin. Arriving in Tiflis from internal exile in that year was Victor Kurnatovsky who had met their future leader while in exile (Lenin was exiled to the Siberian town of Minusinsk at the time) and come under his sway. Kurnatovsky told Koba about Lenin whom he described as a genius who would lead them all to victory. By this time Lenin had been released, having served his prison sentence and had made his way to London. Unlike other émigrés Lenin arrived in London with a plan of action. Sewing circle reading and discussion groups would give way under the new leader to a secret professional organization of militarily organized combat revolutionaries. The central instrument Lenin proposed to implement the policy of the General Staff of the Revolution was a newspaper. The following year, 1901, The Spark (Iskra) began to arrive in Tiflis via sailors on shore leave at the Black Sea ports. Joseph became a follower of Lenin among the Social Democrats; following the split of the RSDLP into its Bolshevik and Menshevik factions in 1903, Joseph, now known in the Party almost always as Koba, joined unhesitatingly with the Bolsheviks.

In 1901, following instructions received via Iskra, Koba threw himself into organizing the oilfield workers and organizing armed strikes at Baku and Batum and then into organizing bank hold-ups stage-coach and steamship robberies, and other armed “expropriations” (known as “exes” by the Bolsheviks.) Shortly after the 1903 formation of the Bolshevik Party, Koba and Krassin became the number one in-country “provider Team” of cash to Lenin’s cause; organizing for example, the Great Tiflis Stage-coach and State Bank Robbery that netted Lenin some 300,000 gold rubles! In other words, at just the right time Koba provided Lenin with the two things he needed most: (1) a real organized labor movement which had won armed strikes and put their union into the oilfield on a permanent basis and (2) money. This was the first successful organized labor movement in the Russian Empire and it was Leninist thanks to Koba and his fellow Bolshevik-to-be organizers. The soon-to-come Bolshevik Party had also become the first financially independent working class vanguard Party in the world; again thanks to Koba and associates. Lenin recognized all of this and began to put Koba on the top of his list of people to be pushed ahead.

Among these principal organizers in the Caucuses were not only Koba but his closest friends including Kliment Voroshilov, future head of the entire Red Army, and Michael Kalinin, future President of the Soviet Union. Of course, Leonid Krassin continued as the senior advisor of this Young Communist cadre.

Taking on the Rothschild’s: 1901

As we have seen there were three major international oil concerns operating in Russia at the turn of the century; those owned by the Nobel’s, the Rothschild’s and the Rockefeller’s. All three were well represented on the Caspian, especially in the oil cities of Baku and Batum where Koba had risen to be the de facto chief of Russian Social Democratic Labor Party strike organizing operations by 1901. Having built a union in the oilfields, the following year Koba took on what he considered to be the weakest of the foreign oil combines. Namely, that of the Rothschild’s. However, as the unfolding began, the strike once again brought out the Czarist troops and gendarmerie. Koba and his associates jumped into the fight with guns and every other weapon they could get their hands on and the fighting was underway. Troops burned the workers quarters and shot down men, women and children daring to engage in open protest and refusing to work. Koba’s teams of armed workers fought back and forced the cops and troops to retreat or face hundreds of burning wells. The capitalists decided this was a higher price than they were willing to pay and called off their troops. The workers won the strike and went back to work with a union! It was the first Social Democratic victory in an armed strike and it electrified the Empire.

Meanwhile in London, Lenin was thrilled to learn that his brand new newspaper was considered by the Czar’s secret police, and by his own Party, as responsible for the Caucuses being in flames. Lenin had believed from the moment of his arrival in the United Kingdom the previous year that the Czarist regime was very weak and open to direct attack by workers. Workers could and would engage in massive work stoppages regardless of the sacrifice in wages required to do so. Furthermore, he had proven that workers would take up arms and fight for socialism whether or not Russia was considered by bourgeois intellectuals to be too primitive for Socialism. All the workers needed was encouragement and that came from the underground newspaper Spark (Iskra). The text or “copy” to be printed was smuggled to the Caspian on ships with friendly sailors and then printed in one of the underground print shops Koba and associates maintained. All the intellectuals needed were some balls. Then they could understand that it didn’t matter whether the revolution started in Russia or in England. What mattered was that it started, and then got international, as quickly as possible. Workers with advanced industry would come to the aid of workers with backward industry, and would be more than happy to do so, since the latter would have started the conflagration that had led to their own liberation. –And, that was Lenin’s program in short. Action now for proletarian revolution. The Russian Workers Revolution would come to power in a period of transition with “the state” (Army and secret police) in its hands, and full scale industrialization would occur as workers in the advanced capitalist countries got their act together and joined in.

First in Batum, and now in Baku, Koba and his fellow organizers had implanted the Party printing presses. Code named “Nina” the Russian printing press operation by 1902, was hidden in a dugout cellar eventually expanding under several homes and city streets in the mainly Mongol working class quarter of Baku. From here, bundles of the paper were printed and smuggled as far as Moscow and St. Petersburg in the North and then to every working class quarter in the country, as opportunity provided. The distribution network for petroleum products that flowed northward and eastward from the Black Sea functioned for many years as the backbone of secret Bolshevik newspaper distribution, another gift to Lenin from his devoted Baku-Batum followers led by Koba. Accordingly this network became the vertebral chord of secret Bolshevik Party cell organizing as well.

The working class action committees of Baku and Batum had set the pace and provided the model for what workers could do in other cities. –And, Lenin knew from his growing network of informers and couriers that workers in every other city of the Empire, aware of what was happening in the Caucuses, were seeing in those committees, the model for their own organizations. Inside the newly created Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, those who had seen Lenin as just another intellectual in exile now saw him in a quite different way. Unfortunately, some such as the father of Russian Marxism, Plekhanov, were simply jealous of this young upstart’s success. Plekhanov chose to see Lenin thrusting ahead of himself and felt his long suffering service in presenting Marxism to Russia to begin with, was being forgotten. Others, like the newcomer Leon Bronstein (Trotsky), initially sided with Lenin but then went over to the other side within the exile RSDLP leadership. Perhaps because they too were being sidelined by Lenin’s ability to get things done. However, their varying motivations may have been, the fact was that what would be, in the Russian revolutionary workers movement, was being decided on the ground, and Lenin had all the troops.

The Empire Atremble

Even Lenin was surprised when his as yet unmet leaders in the Caucuses, principal among them being Koba, succeeded in 1903, in organizing the most eventful workers action in the history of Europe since the Paris Commune of 1876. A general strike that not only shut down the oilfields of the Caspian Sea and everywhere else but also shut down every industrial city in the Russian Empire. For a moment the Empire wobbled. Could it all be over that fast?

In theory yes. Marx had said in the Communist Manifesto it was just a matter of workers changing ownership of the means of production, putting themselves and those in need among the people, at the top of the national priority list, instead of at its bottom, as the capitalists had done, and you would have socialism. Eventually, with the abolition of private property you would have a paradise on Earth where all the advantages of industrial production would be at the service of the working people rather than the other way around as the capitalists had arranged it. -And with publicly owned means of scientifically advanced industrial production, making the slogan “from each according to his ability to each according to his need,” a reality, you would have communism. But, what about the resistance of the exploiters? Surely, they would mount powerful counter attacks. The capitalists were already sending the Czarist secret police (Okhrana) in huge numbers; the Army and the Cossacks could not be far behind.

The Revolution of 1905

The General Strike of 1903 left the Czar’s top advisors unanimous in wanting to start a war to refocus national thinking off of the internal problems confronting them. Rather than seeking social reform with the liberal capitalists and the new class of petty bourgeois intellectual and educated bureaucrats, the Czarists preferred to start a war. This time they planned for a successful war.

The problem came when they failed in their elective war. They had chosen the wrong victim. Japan. In this case the Japanese nation was prepared, although ruled by a small tight-knit coterie of formerly feudal aristocratic and noble families. Families that had kept the discipline of their rule over slaves and serfs while voluntarily transforming themselves into capitalist ruling families. As they applied this feudal discipline to their rule over workers they were able to catapult themselves into the modern industrial world of international capitalism. The Okhrana, focused as it was on internal dissent, had missed all of this. Russia acted as if it had not known of Japan’s industrialization and its immediate application to the construction of steel war ships with fully modern big guns.

The setting chosen by the Russians for their conflict was Korea. But, in the event, the Czar’s Army and Navy proceeded to disgrace themselves in a series of embarrassing military debacles. The war climaxed with virtually the entire Czarist fleet being buried at sea!

In response the Russian nation rose up. Many in the capitalist class, hitherto allied seemingly inextricably with the feudal Lords, intermarried and interbred, wanted west European style parliamentary democracy, as did the liberal bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie - especially the New Class of technocrats upon which the Czarist Regime depended increasingly. The farmers rose up under their Socialist Revolutionary Party leaders demanding redistribution of land along the lines they imagined it had existed before Peter the Great. The workers rose up under their political parties: the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. As the year progressed the Bolsheviks began to get the upper hand among them. –And, along the way a variety of individualists such as Leon Bronstein (Trotsky) arose to espouse their own doctrines and acquire in the milieu of revolution their own following.

Trotsky cut out his following from the masses gathering around the St. Petersburg City Council (Soviet is the Russian word for Council.) The Bolsheviks gained a mass following in the workers quarters which was also reflected in the City Council. In the end the Czar outfoxed the revolutionaries and crushed the Petrograd City Council and along with it the rest of the revolutionary councils that had arisen throughout the nation.

Koba’s first importance to Lenin and the Bolsheviks was precisely his clarity on the nature of the enemy and what was to be done about them.–And, this clarity was achieved first of all in the real school of life. Furthermore, he was willing and able to get done, what needed to be done, for his Party and his Chief. Lenin recognized these qualities in Koba, calling him “that wonderful Georgian.”

During the 1905 Russian Revolution Lenin came to depend on Koba. Koba could get things done. He had a wide range of working-class political contacts and was developing an even wider range of bourgeois contacts including those of the underworld as a result of his prison experiences which had only begun. Lenin would, in the years up to the October Revolution in 1917, rely on Koba to carry out the most dangerous and sensitive and the most important secret tasks confronting the Party.

For example, all the bourgeois socialists including Leon Trotsky, were opposed to Lenin’s program of bank hold-ups, and other armed robberies to finance Party activities, organs, and the press – strong-arm work of which he had placed Koba (Stalin) in charge, and which policy Lenin defended in open debate against the Mensheviks and Trotsky at the 5th (1907) RSDLP Congress in London. After all, Lenin argued, the aristocrats and bourgeoisie had stolen all this money from the people to begin with and it was only right that the people’s champions should expropriate it on their behalf. Lenin dismissed his opponents politically, considering them bourgeois sissies, and went on with the business of building his own (Bolshevik) Party. A Party which of course did not include Trotsky or any of the other bourgeois socialists (Mensheviks.) For Lenin it was politics not personal.

Stalin, however, as we have seen, pictured himself as a kind of “Robin Hood” of the Revolution. So much so that even before he became a Social Democrat, as we have also seen, he had taken the name of the legendary Georgian Robin Hood, “Koba”; a name his friends would use for him all of his life. The anger he felt toward the haughty Trotsky was not so easily assuaged.

Lenin also handed Stalin much of the responsibility for organizing the secret financial investments of the Party in a variety of Russian banks; arranging transfers of cash and securities to Party safe-drops in West European banking centers, and so forth. – And these are just a few examples of the important secret work that Lenin entrusted to Stalin.

As a matter of historical note, Stalin’s first face-to-face conflict with Trotsky occurred as a product of this 1907 RSDLP (5th) Congress debate in London, and went far to shape his dislike for the man he considered to be an “aristocrat-bourgeois” socialist. In a short time a mutual hatred emerged between these two. Hatred destined to shape so much of the Party’s future experience. If Trotsky had been less aristocratic in his bearing and less presumptuous toward those doing all the work, and taking all the risks, perhaps even showing appreciation for those such as Stalin, the latter might have been less likely to politicize his personal feelings. I suspect Stalin’s feelings were hurt and he did politicize them.

I imagine that the more Stalin thought about Trotsky, the exact kind of privileged person he hated the most, and his absolute failure to understand the dedication and importance of his (Stalin’s) work, the more he internalized his hatred of Trotsky, until it was part of the marrow of his bones. Stalin “went off” on Trotsky within weeks of the beginning of the armed struggle in 1918 and I don’t think it was just because of their principled military disagreements. However that may have been, before this was all over Stalin would bury an axe in Trotsky’s head. Albeit via a surrogate and far from home.

Trotskyist Mythology

We will return to Stalin and his role in the creation of the world’s first worker’s Government and State in Chapter 13. For now, let me say again that the Trotskyist mythology which has cursed a certain portion of our movement for many decades has necessitated this factual review of early Bolshevik history. Also, it sets to rest, permanently I believe, the slander Trotsky spread far and wide about Stalin being some kind of late-coming usurper of the throne that should have been his. This mythology has two main threads. The first that spun by Trotsky himself. The second the impression left by history on foreign communists about the relative importance of the Russian Bolshevik leaders. The former speaks for itself and is seen in all of Trotsky’s writings. The latter is something I witnessed myself and, thus, had to come to understand.

In 1965 when I was helping Phil Taylor organize Los Angeles for the Progressive Labor Party I met long time Trotskyist Arne Swabeck and his wife. (See the movie Reds for Arne’s last public appearance.) I spent a number of hours throughout that year listening to Arne talk about meeting Lenin and the other Bolshevik leaders in 1919 and many times thereafter. He told me that at the Comintern Congresses he attended he never heard of Stalin. I believed him and it is something that has stuck with me and which I had to confront and answer for myself.

Now, after decades of research, I think I can see how Trotsky’s shameless proselytizing on his own behalf utilized certain historical features of 1917 and the subsequent six or seven years, to spread and reinforce the idea that Stalin was an outsider and a usurper. This as we have just seen is the furthest possible thing from the truth one could imagine. I think what Lenin is purported to have said to Michael Borodin upon his return to Russia from Chicago, about Trotsky having been brought into the Bolshevik Party by Lenin to handle the Petrograd City Council where otherwise he would have been a spoiler, is probably exactly what happened. Things worked out and according to Lenin when Trotsky turned his attention to military affairs that worked out also. I will leave this military question to the text and return to the second issue at hand.

Namely, that foreign communists and indeed foreign capitalist leaders of Germany, England, Italy, France, the UK and so forth, got the impression that Trotsky was one of the principal Bolshevik leaders on the same level as Lenin because Trotsky had a big mouth, had been in charge of peace negotiations that eventually took Russia out of the world war, and was the public face for a long time of the Red Army. Combine this with the fact that most of these foreigners had no command of the Russian language whatsoever and no familiarity with Bolshevik history or even its most basic publications left the field wide open for assuming that whoever was standing up front and talking the most must be the boss. Well that certainly put Trotsky right up there as public face number two – right next to that of Lenin – and Trotsky was always shooting his mouth off to the press, foreign as well as domestic, so he got even more Press than Lenin! This led to people such as Arne Swabeck getting the wrong impression about the relative importance of Trotsky (who was the real late-comer) and the relatively quiet Stalin. It also explains why Stalin found it so easy to isolate Trotsky from the rest of the Russian Party rather quickly as we shall see in the text.

Finally, most foreign communists knew the Russian Bolsheviks almost exclusively through the prism of the Comintern. Here there were many such leading mouths: e.g., Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev not to mention Trotsky, etc etc. Stalin was there, but very quietly, as the boss of the Comintern’s secret department. This decision to make Stalin the real Comintern boss as far as real world operations were concerned had been made by Lenin in an almost offhand way when Lenin was single handedly organizing the Call and Structure of the Comintern and its First Congress during January and February of 1919. It was rather natural that Lenin would have continued to show complete confidence in Stalin in this matter in that he had long since placed Stalin as the head of the Russian Communist Party’s (Bolsheviks) secret department. (Stalin, from the beginning, and always thereafter, had been and would be head of Bolshevik secret operations at home and abroad no matter what organizational, bureaucratic, structure and name had been or would be involved.) The other Bolshevik leaders were intellectuals well suited to the development of the intellectual side of Bolshevism. Now they were the public face of the Comintern and contributed all the talk and stuff of the Comintern press. Stalin on the other hand rarely spoke in Comintern meetings or publications. His secret role was the most important job in the Comintern but only those members with a “need to know” would have had any indication of this.

The Trotskyists are for the most part quite sincere people. At least that is my experience. But they have been badly misled and in our country they suffer the gringo curse of failing to read. However, education is the cure for both deficiencies and perhaps we have laid a good foundation for imposing clarity here in this foreword. Now let us move on to the central theoretical false premise of Trotskyism.

The New Class is Not a Deformation but Part of a New Necessary

Transitional Stage – of which there will be several

Before we arrive at Communism

The most important theoretical difference between international Trotskyism and the international Communist movement in 2009 is on the question of the nature and role of the Soviet New Class. (-And, by extension that of the New Class in the Socialist Stage in China, East Europe, Vietnam, Cuba, etc. as the Trotskyists maintain today.) Is the New Class, just as Trotsky maintained, an aberration? Trotsky’s thinking made the New Class into a historically accidental, peculiar, social structural deformation. According to him this was due to idiosyncratic developments in Russia (namely his main bugaboo, Koba or Joseph Stalin.) If, for example, he and associates had been on top, the bureaucracy would have been controlled in an otherwise well put together working class sociocultural evolutionary stage. A single transitional Stage of Socialism. Or, rather conversely, is the New Class a part of a new and specific transitional Stage of Socialism, which features working class, farmer, and petty bourgeois technocrats in alliance? (By extension this implies that there will be one or more additional transitional Stages of Socialism yet to come.) Trotsky claimed the former. In fact, the historical evidence – combined with the archaeological evidence – tells us the latter is the case. Let us see why.

As I said in the Preface to the 2006 edition of this book, we are indebted to Professor Antonio Gilman for identifying a deficiency in my writing the first edition of this book (Fundamentals of Historical Materialism, Bolshevism 2005.) Namely, that I had failed to be sufficiently explicit about the origin and evolution of the New Class in Socialist Societies, the central problem in the construction of Socialism since 1917. I accepted this criticism as correct and so, we shall now outline this origin and evolution.

The New Class is our #2 Problem

In fact, the number two problem, after survival (which to date has been our number one problem), so far encountered in countries undergoing socialist construction, has been how to live with, meaning how to properly reward, the bureaucratic infrastructure essential to the construction of the scientific and technically advanced industry and agriculture in societies which were only pubescent with the high levels of development initially proposed by the founders (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.) Because the consequences of this central fact of having inherited technological backwardness in the homelands of proletarian revolution, have been, and are being, used by the propagandists for capitalism, to discredit the Marxist-Leninist strategy, and indeed our entire historical analysis, an evolutionary trajectory for the New Class, as it should be understood (nothing emerges unique and pristine without antecedents in sociocultural evolution), is now a centerpiece of this handbook.

To begin with then, as you will see in this Bolshevism 2009 version of Fundamentals of Historical Materialism, the problem of the New Class has to be understood in theoretical terms – Marxist theoretical terms.

What does this mean?

In practical terms it means we continue to use the methodology of historical materialism’s analysis of pre-capitalist formations as explained in this handbook. –And, in so doing we lay out the origin and transformation of this New Class over the past 6000 years. As you will see, when we precede in this way it becomes clear that the administrative bureaucracy of Socialism is actually a very old class, with its origins in the Simple and Advanced Theocratic Chiefdom Stages.

Why is it true we must proceed in this way, besides the fact that this method works?

Backwardness in Technology

Is Not What Marx and Engels Proposed

So far, with regard to technology, it has been “national backwardness” we have encountered in the homelands of socialist construction. This is not what Marx and Engels had proposed – exactly the opposite, as a matter of fact, is what they required before one could realistically hope to construct socialist, let alone communist, society. They had proposed a completed capitalist stage with all its “modernizations” in place. What we got was the extreme backwardness of Russia and China, with only the post-World War II German and Czechoslovak exceptions, too little and too late to make any real difference.

The problem of the Soviet Union and China with the New Class is not the same problem we should expect to have, at least to the same degree and intensity, when working class revolution comes to the advanced capitalist countries. However, having said this let me also assert that a New Class of administrators will still be needed through the transitional Stages of Socialism in the USA, and the other advanced capitalist countries, as we enter the transitional period. –And, while the transition in our advanced countries will be fast (the productive forces fully developed – i.e., as fully as possible anyway under Capitalism) there will still be a transition and it may last a decade or even two. Although, hopefully, it will be this time a truly "classless intelligentsia" as Stalin named it in the 1930's, and not a would-be new class of wolves parading in sheep's clothing. It is up to you to be sure that this time the Nomenklatura (Soviet term for the New Class) meaning persons named to the different bureaucratic positions determined by the leadership, is held directly responsible and immediately recallable by democratic proletarian organs. Given the proven dangers, experience has taught us of not doing this; you should make it a priority when the time comes. –And, this time, the New Class of Party and Government administrators should be a class that will be consciously building itself out of existence, over a period of time, as it works alongside the other working classes, toward the day when all working people share the responsibility of managing the affairs of the economy and government democratically, as the founders planned in 1848 (with the January appearance of The Communist Manifesto.) It certainly seems possible to me that a person starting on Day One, after the revolution in the USA, could be a bureaucrat for a decade and then have phased herself into a role she may more truly appreciate (perhaps being a scientific researcher, or a High School coach.)

Today a management of the whole economic and political life of society by the people as a whole is more than ever possible and absolutely essential. It is possible because of the cybernetic revolution that makes every person into a potential manager and monitor of the economy as a whole with worksites at home and in their professional capacities. It is essential because we did not overthrow the class system of the Servitude Epoch simply to create an Orwellian nightmare, nor to “share the poverty,” but instead to create limitless goods and services of the most advanced (indeed STAR TREK like) nature. –And, with it the only real world possibility to create a society world-wide where it can be realistically and common-sense wise, true, that each person contributes what she can and is rewarded as she wishes. It is possible and essential, but only can happen if we create an altruistic mental template in society that can only be made permanent by the vast increase in productive capability which makes selfishness anachronistic; an increase the advanced capitalist countries have achieved. (-And, in the case of China, the vast increase which we project to be extant there by 2050).

So now as to the New Class (i.e., the bureaucracy in the Party, State and Government apparatus' of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.) What was it? What were its sociocultural evolutionary predecessors? What were the specifics of its development? What about the New Class in China; what forms does it occupy; where did they come from and where can they be directed, as a class, while accomplishing the objectives of the proletarian Party in power as it is in China?

Prehistoric Origins of the New Class

In the mid 1990's, I noticed an article in a popular magazine from an archaeologist in one of the USA Southwest's National Parks about evidence for compartmentalization of the holdings of a Chiefdom storehouse - a Simple Chiefdom at that. It set me thinking. Perhaps, as we archaeologists look for evidence of state origins by finding the material remains of barracks (army garrisons) and cop-shops, we could also find evidence of the origins of professional specialization as "administrators" by finding evidence of the things that reflect administrative tasks (such as differential storing and accounting for different agricultural contributions). For that matter, as we find evidence for professional specialization in the production of pottery by searching for evolving uniformity and standardization, in the early chiefdom levels of archaeological sites. (As opposed to the idiosyncratic features of individual household pottery manufacture of the tribal domestic mode of farming production.) My analysis of such remains has been discussed elsewhere. The point is, there is in fact clear evidence in the remnant material culture of such early administrative tasks and eventually they become truly specialized. A "new class" can emerge from this "new specialty." -And it often does. Always, as a matter of fact, in the five known centers of the origin of civilization (by “civilization” be sure to note that historians are always referring to the emergence of the Slave Stage) and we can see the beginnings even in the outlying independent centers (e.g. the USA Southwest) that never got quite as far as class division and state emergence for a variety of reasons. This is a "handbook" so I won't pursue the subject except to say that our contemporary Socialist society “New Class” has its distant origins along the banks of the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Huang-ho and Yangtze Rivers in the Old World, and in the highlands of the Central Andes, as well as the lowlands and highlands of Mesoamerica in the New World. This is the beginning of our specific theory of the contemporary New Class in socialist societies.

In the Slave and Feudal Stages

As you will see the ruling families that constituted the ruling classes of the Ancient World (the term Ancient World means the Slave and Feudal Stages of the Old World and the Slave Stage of the New World) had a deadly problem of their own with regard to their boss-hierarchy (which will become the technocrat bureaucracy of modern times in Capitalist and Socialist society) and they attempted to resolve it in a variety of ways. Sometimes they were successful but just as often they were not. Among the successful techniques they used we shall see two that were continuous and especially important: (a) the construction of monumental architecture (to keep labor-power in servitude out of the hands of the boss-hierarchy) as one way they dealt with the problem (e.g. the pyramids of Egypt and China's Great Wall.) Another (b) was to keep the boss-hierarchy deeply in debt by encouraging all sorts of expenditures on high living and luxury items. Without labor power and without cash they could not very effectively challenge the ruling and richest families.

Yet, keeping labor-power in servitude (whether it be slave, feudal or capitalist; i.e. chattel or wage slavery) requires a military-police establishment. Increasing the number of slaves requires a large constantly growing military and police establishment. Under these circumstances it’s only a matter of time until some of generals realize they can replace their employers. Thus, slave stage forms always result in military dictatorship and usually begin that way as well.

(This tendency is ever present, even in capitalist societies such as the USA with a parliamentary tradition, as we can see at present, where some the richest families want to do away with much of the democracy that exists among themselves, and move toward a more efficient dictatorship of the police-military sort. Fortunately, for some of them, the moron Bush has failed - but next time there may be someone of a more than Forest Gump capability - a Clinton, a McCain, or a Kerry – a smarter fascist leader - who will succeed in replacing the quaint notions of constitutional safeguards the US ruling class has enjoyed for so long. Either way it’s their problem not ours. Our task is to destroy all of them.)

-And don't panic over the Patriot Act - they have been doing all this for many decades anyway and they will keep doing it, with or without legal authorization, until the day they are overthrown and liquidated root and branch. They have been tapping my phones, following me to school and to work, conducting surveillance of my mail, etc. since I was ten years old and this is not unique. For the details see the first volume of my autobiography entitled The Buccaneer. So, this is a ruling class problem – not ours. That is to say the bourgeoisie must fight out their own battles with the billionaire-trillionaire oligarchy to protect their own turf. We know the US ruling class state apparatus will try to do whatever they like with regard to us as they always have. (We will fight back, overcome them, and liquidate them. But, on our terms, as we see fit.)

Capitalism and the Technocrats

Feudalism was the half-way house stage between the chattel slavery and the wage slavery of the preceding (Slave) and succeeding (Capitalist) stages, where the role of the administrative bureaucracy, as part of the overall boss-hierarchy, assumed its special “Eastern” and “Western” characteristics. Specifically, for example, the highly sophisticated 250,000 strong corps of eunuch scholar-bureaucrats, administering China for the Chinese ruling classes, in the east, and the rather puny castle-bound individuals in the pay of European fiefdom princes (still, however, with their testicles), responsible for financial affairs in the west (the vast territories around the Mediterranean Sea). But as I have pointed out in the text, Feudalism was doomed, not because it was an historic compromise that gave more freedom to farming families in exchange for labor-peace, but because its system of productive forces was primitive – just as primitive as it had been in the Slave Stage.

Capitalism, on the other hand, introduced machinery (in part at least of iron and steel made by machine tools) with its own independent power sources (e.g., steam engines) to which unskilled, untrained labor-power could be put to work in the factory installed machine manufacture (machinofacture) of commodities and this changed the entire nature of wealth acquisition. –And with it the jobs spectrum of the boss-hierarchy; especially for persons involved in things other than enforcement. –And these technocratic sectors expanded quickly and became during the 1700’s in Europe and the Americas by far the biggest part of the boss-hierarchy, with enforcement relegated strictly to a specialized state (military, intelligence, police) establishment. For capitalist machinery obviously takes brains to make, maintain, and most importantly improve – generation of machinery, after generation of machinery.

The myriad of productive tasks and professional activities involved in machinery produced commodities, would require a new and far superior method of technical education for the boss-hierarchy. Thus, arose the technocrats.

In economies as advanced in the capitalist way as those of the major eight capitalist countries, this New Class is not as obvious as it is in the newly emerging economies of places like Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela (for that matter essentially all of South America, and many developing countries in Africa and Asia as well) where the technocrats stand out clearly, and are often a political force as well. However, we don’t want to forget that the most advanced eight capitalist countries had an emergent class of technical people that looked in the 1700’s and 1800’s much like these contemporary “technocratic New Class” elements in the developing capitalist countries.

Furthermore, where the Marxist parties did take power beginning in 1917, it was often from this “new” Technocrat Class the leadership first arose (e.g., V.I. Lenin, Mao Zedong) – petty bourgeois and bourgeois in class outlook – and continues to arise (e.g. Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara). Our leaders often come from this special part of that class “in service” to the ruling families and ruling classes, where their intellectual preoccupation and commitment to science and scientific method led, and leads, some of them to accept Marx’s scientific discoveries of the laws of history, and as importantly the laws of operation of the capitalist system. Among these individuals were those who decided, and who continue to decide, to side with the working class – the proletariat – and its farmer allies.

Socialism and its New Class

The very first problem confronting Lenin and the Bolsheviks in Petrograd on the night of 24 October, 1917, was how to build a new Government. The second was how to build a new State (military/police). Surprisingly, little thought had been given to these tasks when everyone's eyes were fixed on the seizure. It was chaos at the Smolny Institute where Lenin's leadership established their first ministries (commissariats) by tacking pieces of paper on doorways announcing that this room was for Education and Enlightenment, this for Nationalities, this room for this, and that room for that. Within hours they had to confront the old bureaucracy of the bourgeoisie which either walked away altogether or refused to obey orders or in a few cases tried to help. The same was true in the military. The crude use of power was all that the Bolsheviks could do in those first days to open the financial system (blow the vaults open) and make the military command submit (by shooting officers refusing to carry out Lenin's commands by telephone, or in person).

It soon became apparent (for their Government) the Bolsheviks would have to use those who were willing, among the old technocratic petty bourgeoisie, and as soon as possible to add to their ranks or supplant them altogether with persons coming from the ranks of the proletariat or poor peasantry, who could read or write, or soon would learn how, and who could be educated quickly to assume minimal responsibilities. The Bolsheviks had no choice.

Even for their State (the Army, Navy and special police) it would be necessary to use officers of the Czar, when they were willing. -And, it was safe to do so, or at least as safe as such a policy could be, if there was a Red political officer counterpart next to every command officer with the ability and willingness to shoot said command officer if the slightest perfidy was suspected.

Russia and the soon-to-be constituent Republics of the Soviet Union featured nearly universal female illiteracy among the peasantry and most of the males too, in a country that was 90% peasant. Needless to say it would be hard to make technical administrators out of these people quickly. It would take time. It did take time. In the meantime the Bolsheviks improvised as best they could, always believing that international assistance from working class revolutions in the advanced capitalist countries was inevitable, and most importantly, hoping and believing it would arrive soon!

You will learn how such illusions, among the Bolshevik leaders, including Lenin, dissipated by 1921. You will also learn about the consequences of Trotsky's failure to successfully conclude the Polish-German campaign in 1920. With that campaign however, the Civil War proper had come to an end (meaning the period of White Russian Armies against Red Russian Armies, with the former supported by all the imperialist countries [yes, including the USA, but also the UK, France, Italy, Serbia, and Japan; the Soviets supported by working classes in those countries and by peoples of the colonial world].) Yet, 1921 began for the Bolsheviks with the necessity of having to stifle another Civil War in the bud. –And this time, given the failure of the 1920 Polish-German offensive, meaning no assistance from the advanced workers of the West, and confronting the 1921 Tambov peasant uprising, and the Kronstadt sailors mutiny of 1921, Lenin was forced to restore capitalism at home, and to embark upon a new kind of international statecraft abroad.

The Party didn’t like the New Economic Policy (NEP) and went along with it only because Lenin insisted – they trusted Lenin. After all, without Lenin they never would have gotten this far and they all knew it. Even so, the Party wanted to move on with the abolition of private property and everything that went with it, with or without advanced technical assistance from Europe or North America. But that was not possible in the foreseeable (day to day planning) future as far as could be seen at the beginning of 1921. Nor did Lenin think that it was a matter of critical importance. There was no Marxist prescription on how long the revolution against private property would take – nor, more importantly, any prescription left by the founders (other than some broad social notions – see Chapter 2 paragraph 22 of The Communist Manifesto) as to what form(s) and phases the transition to public from private property would encompass.

Lenin knew that the key thing was that the Party had state power. Its key first task was to preserve itself and its hold on state power. Always, and first and foremost, is and was the question of ‘could the Bolsheviks retain state power’ – everything else that was and is to be accomplished depends on this. This was Lenin – always – first – foremost – preaching and demanding that the Bolsheviks retain state power no matter what; no matter what the cost!

If that meant the temporary restoration of Capitalism so be it. –And, it did mean this. To fail to restore capitalism in 1921 as Lenin insisted, would have led to the overthrow of the Bolshevik Party and the loss of state power. Lenin realized by now that it was War Communism which had led to the defeat of Bela Kun and his Communist Government in Hungary, and worse, that Rosa Luxembourg’s radicalism in proposing permanency to the abolition of private farming had led to the defeat of the insurrection in Berlin. He realized he had tried to go too far too fast. It would take time to educate the peasantry and to prepare a transition to US-style large-scale mechanized and indeed industrialized agriculture, although this time publicly owned.

To Review

The whole point behind my decision to go into archaeology to begin with was to uncover prehistoric sociocultural stage evolutionary indicators which by comparative analysis might help us determine where we are today and why. This is what Marx spent the last seven years of his life trying to find. What I have discovered is that the Stage of Stalinist Socialism is structurally, comparable to the Sociocultural Stage of Simple Chiefdoms, especially in the latter’s initial few centuries. This archaeological comparative evidence tells us that what we have been witnessing since 1917, is the emergence of a distinct sociocultural stage (comparable to that of Simple Chiefdoms, structurally) with its own class characteristics. It also, implies, what must come next. The next Stage in Sociocultural Evolution being that of Advanced Socialism. –And there may yet be another Stage after that, before we can make the transition to communism.

In each of these twentieth century examples, what we have is not a workers Government alone; nor even a workers and farmers Government; but Government whose support requires a technocratic New Class and a police-military force of modern type. These classes being somewhat differentially rewarded. This will continue until we seize power in an advanced capitalist country and get to the point Marx and Engels thought we would have reached by the time a working class revolution took power. Then, and only then, will we be able to march, inevitably, to Communism. In other words, at least one more transitional Sociocultural Evolutionary Stage will be required to finish up Advanced Socialism. Unless and until an advanced capitalist country has a working class revolution there will be no other route to a truly Communist Sociocultural Evolutionary Stage. All of this will take one or two centuries more. This means a lot more fighting and dying and perhaps annihilation. Freedom or death! There is nothing to be gained by a denial of historical inevitability; knowing where we are and how we got here, should help us avoid the latter.

Two Ugly Facts You Must Face

Lenin’s Party membership had an emotional commitment to end private property. They had often interpreted their emotions as being the same thing as objective realistic assessment. Meaning, the Party membership wanted the transition to total public property to happen overnight. As we were about to see, given the peculiar conditions of working class dictatorship in the 20th century (happening first in the least advanced capitalist countries of Russia and China) it was not going to happen overnight. It was going to take a long time. In 1921 Russia, no one knew how long. The Russian Bolsheviks had to face up to the ugly fact that there is a big difference between wanting Communism and being able to have Communism. Something the Chinese would have to face up to by 1975-78. –And, that the Communist International Movement must face up to today!

Nor would people suddenly become altruistic and give their “all” for their fellow humans in the construction of a new and just society. In time, we would learn that people carry with them the psychological template of the “Epoch” (in this case the template of selfishness-sadism that characterizes the Servitude epoch and is imprinted in nearly everyone to greater or lesser degrees regardless of class) into which they were born and that would not change overnight either. In fact, even under the best of circumstances (fully developed near-Star Trek levels of technology) it will take generations.

This means that backward countries must build the capitalist mode of production first (at least the technological component) before they can even begin to consider building the communist one. We tried jumping into communism time and time again, only to fall back time and time again, for lack of mode of production preparation first and superstructural (ideological) preparation second. It also means that it is high time revolutionaries in the advanced capitalist countries bring about revolution in those countries if they want to get to communism more quickly. We know this is true not only because we have tried to jump and failed, but because the proof lies in the fact that this is the way history played out and history is always unfolding as it should.

In short, (1) wanting communism and having communism are two different things – communism cannot exist in its modern form without the most advanced, indeed Star Trek-like, technology. (2) People are not inherently good. Even working people. People are not inherently bad either. They are just people and the way they think is conditioned first and foremost by their environment. The principal component of their environment is culture. The ideology arising is either altruistic (the primitive communism of the bands and tribes of hunter-gatherers and early farmers) or it is sadistic (as we see all so clearly in the history of slavery, feudalism and capitalism.) These are ugly facts but they are nevertheless facts and Bolsheviks must face them and accept them. It will take generations of inculcating modern altruism, after we have state power, before we will see the final disappearance of the selfish-sadistic ideology of the servitude epoch.

Back to Our Story in Russia

Meanwhile the Soviet New Class began to emerge as the bureaucracy the Leninists had to have to run the Party, the Government, the State and the public sectors of the economy (and, after the Spring of 1921, to regulate the private sectors.) Initially it was composed of Party people, old Czarist era bureaucrats of the willing variety, and a new kind of opportunist. No longer did we have just the romantic idealists of the pre-Revolutionary period or even the self-sacrificing Bolshevik and trade unionist shock troopers of the Civil War. Now, joining up were all those looking for advantage. For there was only one way forward and you had to talk a good show to get a job with these guys. How to tell the real revolutionaries from the opportunists? Well, there is no sure way. The secret police can only do so much (i.e. the Cheka.) Or the Party Control Commission or the Commissariat of Workers and Peasants Inspectors, etc. Periodic reform campaigns and purging of Party ranks helped but didn't ever fully succeed.

As we shall see, the bureaucracy was also an open road for the honest and forthright and just as often manned and staffed by them. Bureaucracy, as a class, had and has, a legitimate role and it has lasted 6000 years in its evolution. In this volume you will see that origin and watch the evolution of the bureaucracy of the Chiefdoms, through the Stages of the Servitude Epoch, where it functions as one or another kind of “boss-hierarchy” for the ruling family or families or indeed class. The question is (1) how is it to be rewarded in the transitional stages of Socialism and (2) can differential reward be established without threatening the internal foundations of proletarian power (i.e., without corrupting the Party.) -And, in this historical explanation, we have that specific Marxist theory which explains (a) both the rise of modern revisionism and its collapse in the USSR and East Europe and (b) the totally different way in which the New Class is being handled in China.

Construction of Russian Socialism is both fast and slow

The first and most important part of the bureaucracy that the Bolsheviks had to replace was in the state apparatus, that is to say the military, and by the end of the Civil War they had pretty much succeeded in weeding out the Czarist officers and replacing them with officers of proletarian origins. War is an exceptionally fast way of naturally selecting the best (among the new people of proper origins) and for elevating them to higher positions of command.

Things were not nearly so smooth in Government as far as industry is concerned. It took years - the years from 1917 to 1934 - to fully train the first generation of technocrat managers. -And, although politics was emphasized in the new schools and technical training institutes as much as performance in the subject matter, the truth is that the extreme poverty of Russia would see that much was left to be desired in terms of being able to create a communist consciousness in these students. The new system of restored and controlled capitalism was extant to the degree that it could be explained by Bukharin one year after Lenin initiated NEP in his Economic Organization in Soviet Russia. An argument essentially the same as that of Deng in China in 1975-1978.

Lessons of the Cultural Revolution

In the end, as you will see in this book, the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1975) failed because it failed to deal with the New Class in any kind of final definitive ”theoretical” way. On the contrary, China’s ultra-left demonstrated the futility of its ideological campaigns to get production moving in China, and in the end they were shown to have no real program to offer the Chinese people except to “share the poverty.” To the degree that the Cultural Revolution may be said to have succeeded, it is to the degree that everyone in China and much of the rest of the world, now knows that New Class separation is our number two enemy after US imperialism. The biggest problem we have coming up, after we liquidate the Gringo trillionaires and their sorry government, will be to establish our own rapidly transforming socialist stage and to do so without creating a permanent New Bureaucrat Class cum New Ruling Class.

At any rate, in 1975 – 1978 the Chinese Party examined its heritage and especially the results of its first thirty years and there was a turn to a course very similar to the one Lenin launched in Russia in 1921 (the NEP, which we have reviewed and will do so in more depth in the text –especially in Chapters 13 and 15) and about which Politburo spokesman Nicolai Bukharin wrote in detail in 1922. Of course now thirty odd years later (i.e., after 1975) in China, what has emerged is a far more complex mixed economy than the Russians had ever had an opportunity to achieve, before the necessity of getting serious about the coming war with capitalism and completing the social revolution at home led to the Five Year Plans beginning in August 1928. –And, at least this time, everyone is aware of the potential danger of the New Class becoming a ruling class by transforming the Communist Party itself. It took several years for the Chinese Party to complete this turn. Over the next three decades (1976 - 2006) the Chinese leadership would come up with a “theoretical” solution, which is consistent with what I have presented herein.

Wanting Communism is not enough to have Communism

However, having a solution and explaining it internationally are often two different things. Especially since the rank-and-file Left in the West is not well read, nor well educated, and does not have the discipline to sit down and study the progress of the NEP-like program of the CPC over the last 30 years. Furthermore, as the Left in the West has always had an ultra-left component that wants communism NOW, Euro-American leftists have been especially resistant to the idea of a mixed economy in China. But, as you will also see in this book, and as Lenin was forced to admit in 1921, wanting communism and being able to have communism are two distinctly different categories. Emotion is not enough. One has to accept what Marx and Engels discovered, and that is that the mode of production for modern Communism requires an extremely modern technological component. There is no short cut.

We have tried relying principally on the ideological and social organizational components of culture, in lieu of technological advance, and in all instances these attempts have ultimately failed. Without an extremely advanced industry and agriculture, communism is not possible in the post-Servitude Epoch way, anyway. –And, it is not our intention to return to the primitive living conditions of “primitive communism” (the Stages of Hunting and Gathering and primitive agriculture) in order “to share the poverty.” Those who wish to follow that road now, after the experiments of the 20th century, are free to do so, but they are not communists nor Marxists nor Leninists, nor Maoists – rather, they are a modern form of the old utopian socialists that Marx and Engels first confronted, exposed and defeated. Living in a “commune” in the forests of Oregon or the slums of Chicago is fine for those who wish to do so, but it is no more representative of what we communists have in mind for society overall, than the Kibbutz is representative of capitalist Israel. After reading this book you will know exactly what it is we have in mind – in a phrase, modern communism, with Star Trek levels of advanced technology; that is, with the highest living standards and conditions possible, for everyone, to go along with it.

Epilogue as Prologue

You revolutionary cadre (from a variety of political parties and tendencies) need this textbook summary in handbook form, so that you can better use our scientific grasp of causality and process in history to successfully defeat the tiny US ruling oligarchy, for it is the intention of this tiny group of super-billionaires and trillionaires that rule the USA to kill you and yours. Their ruling ancestors consciously set about killing tens of millions of US and European workers when they started the First World War. As I say, it is the intention of their descendants, now in power, to kill you! –And, they have new means at their disposal, such as intercontinental disease, and environmental catastrophe of geologic epoch proportions, in addition to war, to use against you, and they will use them against you. These are examples of what they have in store for working people around the globe, but they do not include all of the evil plans of the billionaire and trillionaire elite in the USA and abroad. These are the families Rockefeller, Morgan, Mellon, DuPont, Bush, and their foreign allies such as the ruling families of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (to name only a few.) You see, this gang of killers no longer need you. They see you as the enemy within. Ironically you are an enemy they have created, as a consequence of the laws of capitalist production. I am going to teach you about these laws of capitalist production, herein. –And, along the way I will teach you about how capitalism as a “stage” in social and cultural evolution came about.

You will learn, for example, in this book, why the capitalist ruling classes undertook the mass murder of tens of millions of European and North American workers in what they called The Great War of 1914. By the time you finish this book you will know why mass murder by war was the conscious policy of the capitalist ruling elite of North America and Europe; why it was one of the two main reasons the capitalists started their First World War. To stop them from doing the same thing again, this time against you and your families and friends, you must act first, now, before they succeed.

For the moment, US imperialist policies are primarily aimed at global domination of raw material inputs (e.g., oil and gas) to the factories they own on all the continents of the globe. Also, for the moment, US imperialist policies are primarily aimed at controlling the globes cheapest labor-power resources. In part, this is because the tiny group of US ruling billionaire and trillionaire families is in desperate straits; they are far weaker today, than at any time since they established their hegemony over the Capitalist World in 1945. (Hegemony means asserting a predominate influence over others – in this case, the US ruling families exerting dominance over the ruling families and classes of the other advanced capitalist countries.) In fact, the US ruling oligarchy of billionaire families and their (U.S.) Government have lost that hegemony in the past four short years, as you will see, and they, and it, are now desperately striving to stave off total financial collapse. Thus, your first acts must encompass the concept of stopping their drive for global domination.

{We are in the last days of the imperialist phase of the Capitalist Stage. (Imperialism means shipping constant capital [machinery and factories] to colonial [now Third World] countries to take advantage of their cheap labor.) Imperialism is a phase of the Capitalist Stage which began soon after Capitalism was fully extant in Great Britain c. 1850, and reached a zenith in global terms, in the First World War period (1914-1918). Since then, imperialism has been the only form of large scale Capitalism, and it has become increasingly centralized. -And, in the aftermath of the Second World War, was (until very recently) hegemonized under the leadership of the US ruling financial families. The fact that US hegemony has collapsed during the last few years is a new development - very positive for our side - with special ramifications, not all of which we can yet foresee. Some of which we shall discuss at the close of this Handbook.}

As you read you will see why I say that the strategy of liquidating billionaire-trillionaire control over the North American People is a feasible and correct strategy to follow as the 21st Century unfolds. (This billionaire control exists as an unholy alliance of US comprador billionaires and foreign trillionaire families - as for example the Bush family and the Saudi so-called Royal Family, as demonstrated so well by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11). Along the way, you will figure out which tactical approaches may best be honed to your long term goals.

However, fighting the US ruling billionaire-trillionaire elite (and their foreign allies) over their policy of global domination of raw resource and cheap labor inputs, does not mean that you should spend all your time and energy in the Anti-Iraq-War Movement. When such activity corresponds to “base building” fine. Otherwise, it is far more important to devote as much time as possible to organizing working people to (1) fight for popular power, and; (2) organize workers, union and non-union, organized and unorganized, (especially, the lowest ranks, the most oppressed) for the seizure of political power at the opportune moment, somewhere down the road. -And, (3) remember that in the end, it is the “conscious” working class mass base which will provide the ultimate block to the ruling oligarchy, by destroying imperialism (the final stage of capitalism) root and branch, once and for all. The final solution to the problem of those who would kill us, in their drive for super profits, is to seize power! Make no mistake, the final solution in the US will involve an armed struggle to defend democracy from the fascist regime in Washington, and to go over, all the way, to the fight for Socialism! This is not going to end well for the enemies of the people; or, it will not end well for us. Unless I miss my bet altogether what is coming will make the French Revolution look like a Sunday School Picnic! You must either stop the elite or they will liquidate you. The armed struggle for a final solution is not going to be a pretty picture.

Remember this, however: We Bolsheviks have never admitted the word “defeat” into our vocabulary. We fight to the bitter end or until there is no one left to carry the guns. We do know the word Victory! Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and who believe it the longest – who sacrifice everything for it.

Remember what we are fighting for: the future we Bolsheviks have in mind is Star Trek like; a United Federation of Peoples. Our objective is to establish a Communist social order with such massive production that the slogan “from each according to her ability to each according to her needs” is the obvious way to live. The future our capitalist enemies of the people have in mind for you would have you made into Borgs!

Fundamentals of Historical Materialism Part I

Pre-Socialist Humanity

Chapter 1: The Hardware

For the purpose of this summary presentation I have left out the story, as it is understood today, of the origin of our universe, our solar system, the Earth, life upon it and the subsequent evolution of life - as fascinating as these topics are - to begin with the origin and emergence of Homo. Those of you who understand the importance of these former topics, as the framework for understanding cultural evolution, are referred to the many textbooks in astronomy and subatomic physics. Among them my own monograph “New Perspectives in Physics, 1999, Jason W. Smith, Premier Books, Boise, 160 pp.” for a new account of the Big Bang, and the creation of the fundamental particles that constitute force and matter and their antimode.-And, of course, there are many excellent textbooks in palaeontology and geology which will bring you up to date on modern conceptions of the origin and evolution of life on Earth and the plate tectonic history of the Earth itself.

Because of space and time limitations I have to skip over these now fairly well understood stages in the origin and evolution of life on Earth, before and after the advent of hard-part fossils, even though the entire matter is directly germane to the way in which the biological foundation for “culture” came about. Suffice it to say that this evolution created the parameters upon which a, new, “third” form of matter came into existence. What anthropologists call “culture.” Serious students must always keep in mind that to understand how cultural “software” functions, one must also understand first, the biological “hardware” upon which culture is based. So, the evolution of invertebrate and vertebrate life is not a peripheral subject. Is is simply beyond the scope of this summary. The requirements of compact presentation are best served when we begin by coming directly to the evolution of the Order of Primates. For practical purposes this begins with the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the creation of vast new ecological niche opportunities, following the asteroid impact some 65 million years ago.

The dialectics of human sociocultural evolution require an understanding of the dialectics of human biological evolution so I want to begin with some commentary on our earliest relatives and how the biological where-with-all came into existence to support culture. Then we shall proceed directly to the key questions of causality and process in the evolution of cultural matter - i.e., people and their humanity.

Preparation for the Human Era of Necessity

We know there have been extraterrestrial contacts of the asteroid impact category, and these have created a series of sudden wrenching changes in the course of the evolution of life on Earth. At the end of the pre-Cambrian there was a mass extinction of still uncertain cause; another event of geologic proportions occurred at the end of the Palaeozoic. Perhaps an asteroid impact caused this event, but nevertheless at this moment perhaps it’s best to say, also of causes unknown. The most famous of all the catastrophic changes is the one defining the end of the Mesozoic, caused by the asteroid impact centered near contemporary Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. -And, with it came the extinction of the dinosaurs and all forms of animal life weighing more than about 60 pounds in adulthood on land, and huge numbers of species of plant and animal life in the oceans. –And a dramatic renovation of the botanical landscape of the entire world.

What is important to us is the fact that the insectivore/prosimian complex of tiny animals radiated throughout the world in the Palaeocene. The palaeocene is the first geologic period in the Cenozoic (or most recent geologic epoch.) These small animals, of the size of prairie dogs, filled the ecological niches left after the sudden massive extinction of so many life forms 66 million years ago. If not for that the carriers of culture might have been the dinosaurian “raptors.”

-And, it is time to memorize the geological periods below. Also, to put some landmark sociocultural features firmly in your memory bank. I suggest these, from most recent to the most ancient:

The Cenozoic Era

Years Ago Geological Period

~10,500 Holocene <-Agricultural Revolution (Bands & Tribes)

Chiefdoms emerge and give rise to the Servitude

Epoch (c.4500 BC Old World 1000 BC New World)

~1,000,000 Pleistocene <---archaic and modern humans {H. erectus ;

H. sapiens} Living in Band and Tribal Societies.

Pliocene <---the first (ape-like) humans {Homo australopithecus)

Living in Band Societies.

Miocene <---Old World Apes {Dryopithecus; Ramapithecus}

Oligocene <---Old World Monkeys {Aegyptopithecus}

Eocene <-Prosimians become monkeys {Northarctus}

Palaeocene <-Prosimian primates radiate worldwide {Plesiadapis}

The Mesozoic Era

~66 million Cretaceous <-----------ends with asteroid impact at

Merida, Yucatan.



The Palaeozoic Era









Origin of the Earth ~4.6 billion years ago.

The dialectics of primate biological evolution feature contemporary natural selection producing biological alternatives, as usual, for eventual adaptation to future changing environmental conditions. This time, however, emerging in the primate line is the potential for the ability to use an entirely new way of adaptation which, in form, is the dialectical opposite of traditional natural selection. (Those primates that make the entire trip outlined below become human. Those who do not make the trip will not get further than where they are, more or less, in the evolutionary schema of primate speciation.) Now adaptation takes the form of “controlling” environmental change. This new way of adaptation is what we call the “cultural” way in anthropology. Thus you can see why we can say cultural matter is the “third form” of matter (the physical and biological forms preceding). -And, its precursor requirement is an expanded (human) brain capacity of the right type that is, organized in a special way. Currently substantial progress has been made in isolating those human brain genes that are accelerated in their evolutionary change rate over those of the chimpanzee. But, however this biological factual foundation is laid, so to speak, human evolution of the biological type will be seen to be decisively changing course because of the evolution of a complex of behavioral proto-traits. The behavioral traits include collective tool use and defense, and thinking and symbol-use. The complex is acting as the prime director for natural selection; not natural selection operating directly for genetic features of fleetness of foot, keenness of eyesight, etc. But natural selection for bigger and better brains, in the sense of abstract thought capability. Brains that allow cultural evolution to take over the direction to be taken in the future evolution of Homo sapiens as a species because this thinking, collective, tool using proto-activity, is what is giving them the ability to survive and reproduce consistently effectively. This is the first key for you to understand, and this is a rather well agreed upon anthropological principle (if not always well explicated.)

During the Palaeocene, and Eocene, the consequences of a life in the bushes and trees brought about a new kind of prosimian. You want to remember that the Palaeocene begins immediately with the wreckage of this planet created by the asteroid impact. The foliage that survived, mutated, and spread throughout the world, was quite different than that preceding it. Now there were a great many small bushes and trees of all sizes and grass (there were antecedent grass forms before the asteroid impact but they were few and far between). In this environment are our earliest ancestors among the primates, and they flourished.

This is the phase called the arboreal adaptation period in physical anthropology. Our basic body plan emerges at this time. Hands and feet that are prehensile, arms and legs, binocular vision and a rotating neck, expanded cerebral cortex, ability to assume upright posture, and so forth. One of the early fossil prosimian primates is an early Lemur called plesiadapis. These arose after Tree Shrews, which still had claws instead of flat nails. Other than a few of these prosimians, all other primates lost claws in favor of flat nails.

We see the change of the location of the eye orbits beginning to occur, so that binocular stereoscopic vision replaces the lateral orbit monocular eyesight of the insectivores and the lower prosimians. But flat nails, precision grip, and binocular vision, are simply associated features of arboreal adaptive anatomy. What is really important is that there is an enlarged cerebellum associated with this increase in the visual and motor cortex. These traits were obviously caused by the rigorous natural selection that accompanied life in the trees and high bushes.

Why is this important? Because abstract thought appears initially among primates as a product of the same part of the brain as that responsible for motor control in precision manipulation and with vision.

The Family Adapidae is the second level of fossil Lemur and is important to us because it shows the eyes truly in a forward position, meaning that the transition to binocular vision was complete. -And the fossil family Northartidae shows excellent prosimian to monkey characteristics by middle Eocene times.

So, the brain was expanding and in the area most important to our analysis - that associated with abstract thought.

Of course, not all individuals in a species continue to evolve. For as long as there is no challenge to their genetic make-up they are perfectly free to continue as they are; they will survive until some great environmental change comes along that they can not tolerate.

However, since erroneous DNA duplication keeps throwing up variation in the form of abnormal individuals, each species will generate aberrant forms; some of these will prove adept at living within some particular environment. Some will not. When environmental change does come there is a broader spectrum of responses proposed by biology to the dispositional effect of nature. Thus, the increasing reliance upon the new and improved primate brain led onward and upward among some individuals to monkeyhood.

Fully developed fossil monkeys have been excavated in Egypt and are now known from many localities. These are called Aegyptopithecus. They have the best organized brains of any animal then extant, and are by far larger than the lower prosimian primates from which they evolved. We find them in Oligocene times. These are the fossil Old World Monkeys.

The Old World Monkeys gave rise to the early Apes. Fossil specimens include the Dryopithecines and the Ramapithecines.

From these kinds of apes emerged the first human-like primates.

Human-like apes gave rise to ape-like humans. We call these the Australopithecines!

Brain Changes in Favor of Abstract Thought

The important ball to keep your eye on is brain reorganization in favor of abstract thought. This is the really important change going on in the line leading to humanity. Once humans are extant on the face of the Earth it will be the continuing expansion of the brain to handle culture which is the most important thing changing.

The split of the hominoid elements out of the anthropoid ape stock probably occurred between 10 and 7 million years ago. The term hominoid I use to include the still largely missing fossil data that links the anthropoid apes to the hominids. There is a lot of sloppy terminology in both professional and popular literature, but for your purposes think of hominid as the line beginning with Homo as a genus. So, we have:

Modern Humans H. sapiens

Gorillas, Orang-utans, Chimpanzees

Gibbons Archaic Humans Homo erectus

Early Humans {Hominids} Homo australopithecus

Human-like Apes {Hominoids}

Anthropoid Apes


The hominoid transitional step is not yet very well known in the fossil record; we have not yet been able to identify stone tools for them. Although, logically, we must assume they at least used rocks to throw, cut and crush (in their natural form,) so that we may be able to find some stones of this sort in sealed and well dated stratigraphic components.

Chapter 2. Sex and Speech

After the expanded brain and abstract thought capacity what broke the hominoids out of the anthropoid ape stock? The answer lies in two more critical new components of a biologically enabling nature - for a total of three balls to juggle, if you will. One of these is sex; the other is speech.

Primate sex and speech are the only things of significance to be added to the genetic pie on top of the arboreal adaptive anatomy and the concomitant expanded abstract thought capability. Let’s talk about sex first.

Human sexuality required the revolutionizing of the biology of the sexual system. 365 day a year female receptivity to male advances is what separates hominoids from the great apes. It provided assured group life for the obvious reason that you can’t have non-masturbatory sex if you don’t have access to a partner. However, constant female receptivity is not the only feature of primate sexuality that assures group life. Male constancy in pursuing sexual pleasure is just as important.

Homosexuality and Heterosexuality

This is true because for the advantages of group life, it is irrelevant whether sexuality is heterosexual or homosexual. The mechanics of sexual object identification among higher primates allow for both to occur as children are socialized. Thus, homosexuality is a permanent part of the human condition, as well as that of our nearest relatives. Which explains, for example, why we have lesbian chimps in the Congo, within the chimpanzee bands. Human sexuality (and that of our nearest relatives) is primarily for the purpose of social organization not for the purpose of reproducing the species. There will always be someone to impregnate the female. Then as well as now. The structure of sexual relationships acts as the skeleton for the musculature of social organization.

The key to understanding human sexuality is group life. It gave the hominoids and the chimps safety from predators. Once hominoids emerged as social animals they had conquered the Earth, as far as fearing predators is concerned. That is, as long as they stayed “social.” In other words as long as they stayed together. A wandering lone hominoid could be caught and eaten then as well as now.

Finally, there is one more physical change in the hominoid line which we want to point out. One which is intimately related to the efficiency of group life. Can you guess what that is.


Speech is rudimentary in many animals including the chimps and the gorillas in the sense that they make noises that communicate ideas. Higher primates have the abstract thought capability to make words and sentences but they don’t have the physiological ability to enunciate the phonemes (the fundamental repeatable units of sound) to make the morphemes (fundamental units of meaning) which constitute words. This required an anatomical change in the throat and voice box. Such anatomical change requires genetic selection over a long period of time. That genetic selection had to occur no later than about seven to five million years ago among the hominoids.

But it is not speech that separates the hominoids from the other great apes. Speech is a result of the group life that was shaping them; it accelerates the process of strengthening the group efficiency by making the coordination of hunting and gathering, offense and defense, invincibly efficient. It makes cooperative collectivity permanent.

Was speech “just” a matter of improving the efficiency of group life in the defensive posture? Was it “just” the matter of making the collective production of tools and using them to produce the fundamental needs of life more efficient? What about accelerating the rate of brain alteration because of the warp-speed advance in the use of intellectual symbols? (Spoken words.)

Yes. Talking was a revolutionary gigantic leap forward in facilitating the way the earliest people could intellectualize about the world around them. Talking, made the passing of learned behavior to successive generations certain. Initiating a true material cumulative process of “cultural memory” being passed on from parents to children. It made the use of complex kinship reckoning feasible. Thus, the complex organization of society became possible. The selective advantage is obvious; we can see why, therefore, talking did accelerate the rate of genetic expansion of the brain itself. As the molecular biology of brain genetics develops perhaps a test can be designed to relate these genetic changes to changes in vocal anatomy and other aspects of cultural evolution.

The Pattern of Avoiding Surplus Social Product is Set

-And, complex kinship reckoning and complex social organization became principal ways of using social time; simultaneously diverting some of that social time from becoming “labor time.” In effect the result was a true dialectical opposite: in other words, the first mechanism, by which human surplus social product accumulation was negated in favor of only producing what was needed day to day, is the mechanism of spending time thinking and symboling rather than engaging in productive activity. -And, this is critical, for the avoidance of surplus product creation is the basis upon which primitive society avoids envy, jealousy, coveting and the like anti-social centrifugal tendencies that are the only tendencies that can tear Band society apart! The pattern of doing non-productive things to evade surplus social product accumulation has been set! It will be with us for millions of years. In fact until the last six thousand years it was the only way people had to handle the danger of too much produce inequitably distributed among a Band (or Tribe).

At any rate, the first true hominids (humans) we do have in fossil form, as well as their stone tools. They walked the Earth five million years ago! They are known best - almost exclusively - from Africa. But there are reasons to consider the possibility that these Homo australopithecines have extended across the entire tropical and subtropical Old World from Africa to China’s Pacific coast.

Chapter 3:The First Band Stage

The Last Human-like Apes Become the First Ape-like

Humans by Virtue of Their Struggle to Create Value.

By “value” we mean that which is created in modern society (say, capitalist and socialist) in the process of putting “labor-power” (a special economic category; distinct from simple “labor”) to work on machinery (the system of machinofacture we shall discuss more extensively below: Chapter 12 “The Capitalist Stage”) which is used to reimburse the possessor of said labor-power her subsistence, and that which is created to maintain the machinery itself. However, all things have origins. Labor-power is a commodity having its origins in the collective labor of primitive society - also, collective labor has itself an origin, and that can be found in the evolution of Homo. We can arbitrarily define the period when the first ape-like humans emerge, as the period in which collective production of necessities of life and the tools obtaining them co-exist together, and as a complex of traits constitute the dividing line between Hominid and the earlier Hominoid stock.

From the dim mists of antiquity, some seven to five million years ago, there did emerge this entirely new phenomenon among living, breathing, animal life - and that was the complex of anatomical features we have just reviewed - which in their totality brought about the capability of cultural creativity. At first and for many millions of years it would center around the creation of tools and necessities, and in the maintenance or re-creation of said tools - that is, the creation of “primitive value.” Which is to say the process of manufacturing things of everyday life (consumables) via the use of other things that had also been created - i.e., tools. -And, in using these tools, the first hominids entered into “social” relations.

Along the way people began to become creative in another way also. They began to experience the feeling of freedom that comes with cognition of self and the belief one understands something of the world around one’s self. Thinking, cognizant, self-aware, conscious, self-actualization vis a vis the “material” world (real world environment) in which this awareness emerged created along the way simple real life reflections. Necessarily, where real life reflection was not self-evident in its operation, we have the creation of hypothesis (we call superstition) about those non-tangible or non-understandable phenomena; in this way people created the “spiritual” world.

These mental or psychological categories constitute what we call the superstructure or ideological essence that arises on the mode of creative production of the fundamental needs of daily life (food, shelter, clothing, warmth, defense.) That production mode, and the ideological superstructure that arises on it, constitutes an entirely new and separate form of matter. What anthropologists call culture. This Mode of Production has two internal categories: technology and social organization.


Technology Social Organization

This Above is What Anthropologists Call Culture

Culture is both tangible, as you can see above; and, somewhat intangible, at the same time. It arises on biology, as biology arose upon physics and chemistry. Yet it is entirely new. As biology was once entirely new. Culture is subject to its own laws of cause and process. Intimately related and fundamentally separated. As biology was subject to its own laws of cause and process. Intimately related yet fundamentally separated.

When the human-like apes could walk, talk, and engage in social life and cooperation in pursuing the reproduction of their daily needs, as the key to the reproduction of themselves from generation to generation, they had become the first ape-like humans. We call them the australopithecines. The hominids had arisen from the hominoids.

Both the tools and the things that these early people made with them are what we call primitive value. These creatures had a type of social organization that has been called a horde; in its initial stages it was probably not much different from a chimpanzee band. A group of males sharing the sexual favors of a group of females. The females bearing and raising their children. Bonds of affection and reliance develop among the children for their mothers and quite often between certain males and certain females. Among some chimps between females also; so it must have been between females among the australopithecines. Then as now. {-And, presumably, the same for some males.}Thus, the work of contemporary field primatologists is of critical importance for us to understand the social and sexual lives of our earliest ancestors. A molecular biological search is underway and currently is providing promising results in the evolution and development of human vs. chimpanzee RNA genes where human-specific changes occurred in a much accelerated fashion. Thus, as time proceeds we should be able to nail down the natural selecting factors and correlate them with specific steps in hominid emergence. Until then we are stuck with our rather old-fashioned stones and bones approach to these earliest humans.

The australopithecines used sticks and stones and built crude shelters. They fought against predators, as well as capturing animals as food, in a collective fashion. Gathering what they could from the environment in which they lived they found solace and security in collectivity and talking. Having along with this an omnivorous food consumption pattern the world was theirs.

Physically, the australopithecines were not much different from the norm of stature and weight of the World’s Homo sapiens populations today. They were a little shorter and weighed a little less but not that much. {Never compare fossil specimens to North American averages for stature and weight, because these are skewed far to the extreme even on today’s modern population spectrum for stature and weight.}

What is different about the australopithecine populations anatomically, is the size of the cranium. They had about 1/3 the cubic centimeter capacity of modern people. The key question is why?

Better put, we might say why did the Homo cranial capacity double and then grow by half once again in the three grades of humanity?

From one million years ago:

Homo sapiens --<----- ~1500 cc

Between two and one million years ago:

Homo erectus <------------- ~1000 cc

From five million to two million years ago:

Homo australopithecus <-- ~500 cc

It is not a question with a simple answer. It looks simple. One says to oneself that the reason must be because they made better tools and thus benefited by increased rates of survival, as they got smarter. It’s such a seemingly obvious answer that the question has not been seriously considered very often.

A closer examination, however, shows us that it took millions of years for people to produce tools more sophisticated than hand axes. Yet their brains doubled in size in that period of time! -And, they spread into the most northerly climatic regimes of the Old World.

Yes, as they moved northward they needed more clothes; they had to have an associated tool kit of hide-cutting and sewing tools; but, these are not such a great technological advances over what they had in tropical and subtropical zones of Africa and Asia. There had to be some other factor at work which put a heavy premium on abstract thought. What could put so heavy a demand on Homo that people would pay such a high price for the ability to think in increasingly sophisticated ways that this brain structure trait became the only DNA segment of substance that did change in their biology? (Mitochondrial DNA markers are not matters of “substance” in this presentation regardless of their utility in tracing population relationships.)

What Other Genetic Alterations Occurred?

Yes, skin color changed. As people moved northward they acquired the genetic prohibition on the production of melanin (from the melanocytes in their skin) giving them whiter skin. This allowed the vitamin D production which would have been lethal in the hot tropical zone to reach proper levels in the effected skin in the cold sunlight depleted northern temperate and alpine zones. If you were in Scandinavia or Britain you would have only your hands, face and feet exposed to the sun for much of the year; what vitamin D was produced was going to have to be produced on those tiny skin areas so you can’t have a lot of melanin screening out the suns rays. {All races have the same amount of cells that produce melanin. But different races have different genetic prohibitions on the amount produced by these cells. Among negroids the melanocytes make lots of melanin. Among caucasoids very little. This regulation of Vitamin D production is the principal reason.}

But, skin color doesn’t mean anything fundamental! It has nothing to do with what really counts. Brain power.

Nor, does hair form, nor stature, nor weight, etc. etc. These things vary according to local need, when populations are resident in said areas for ten thousand years - or more. That’s all.

So, what was driving the doubling of cranial capacity among humans?

So, Why Did People Expand Into Northerly More Hostile Regions?

Yes, they needed to make better tools to deal with the more hostile environments into which they were moving - but, why move there to begin with?

Population pressure?

Not really. These human bands were tiny. These people had short life spans. Most died not long after reproductive age (menarche in women starts the clock); at any rate in their twenties they were on their way to the grim reaper. They lived in groups of 20 to 60 individuals and had no inherent need to move very far for reasons of population pressure. There were very few of them and as individuals they weren’t around long

We are not sure how many people lived on the Earth at the end of the last ice-age; the beginning of the agricultural revolution proper, in other words. But, estimates based on various criteria put the number no higher than ten million, globally. -And, many experts think that it was only 1/10th of that - or one million on the entire planet. Africa alone could easily have handled a million to ten million hunting and gathering humans. So what propelled them all over the globe. {By this time no one disagrees that the entire Western Hemisphere was populated by hunting and gathering bands, as well as the Old World.}

Chapter 4: Living with the Enemy

After security was institutionalized through group life the principal enemy ceased being the outside world. The only thing that could destroy these groups were their own failures to maintain unity. The enemy was not the lion, the tiger or the elephant. The enemy was envy, jealousy and coveting. These things would blow a group up.

Competition for sexual mates among all concerned was not a sufficient force to dissolve a group. The hominoids had already dealt with this concomitant of intensive sexual activity, in their biological evolution, each step of the way. It had to be something more powerful than that.

The answer is that surplus social product was dangerous to the health of all concerned hominoids and hominids. In fact, it still is the most explosive thing in human society. It’s like a powerful drug and it takes a lot of control to use it. For five million years people thought the best thing was just to say no!

It took me forty years to figure out that what was driving the expansion of the human cranial capacity was the critically important need not to produce surplus value. Because we live in the Servitude Epoch this was hard to see. The one thing that characterizes all Stages of that Epoch {Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism} is the drive to produce surplus value regardless of all other factors. The one thing that is so difficult for people today to get a handle on, is that maximizing production was an idea that never existed until the Chiefdom Stages (when it was in its incipient form) and until Slavery {Civilization} emerged some 6000 years ago.

Prior to the emergence of first Chiefdoms and then Slavery, the prime directive of the primitive communistic way of life of the hunting and gathering Bands and the Tribal Agriculturalists was to produce only primitive value!

What does that mean? What’s the difference between primitive value and primitive surplus social product?

The Primitive Form of Value and Surplus

Let us review again what I discussed above with regard to the definition of primitive value. By primitive value in these studies I mean two things. The cost of maintaining the lives of these early people in the very rudimentary form of food, shelter, clothing, defense, etc. From day to day. -And, of course, in this way they could survive to reproduce sexually from generation to generation. I call that Value 1 in the formula we shall be using. The second kind of value is that which is invested in the production of the tools people use to make the first kind of value. I call this Value 2.

Primitive surplus social product (which in strictly economic terms is also “proto-surplus value”; we shall see below what is meant by “surplus value” in modern economics) is simply product beyond that which can be instantly shared and consumed and it is a category peculiar to the Band Stages.

As society becomes more complex - especially, in the Chiefdoms period and the succeeding Servitude Epoch - these terms and the formulae in which we insert them will evolve and transform, continuing as they do so to be critically important to understanding every aspect of modern production. But, in the beginning it is a childishly simple relationship.

To resolve the potential crisis of inequality, created when surplus social product is on hand, people needed bigger and better brains than those available to the australopithecines; these earliest people found migration into more hostile climates an effective way of dumping labor-time in the day to day production of Value 1 and Value 2. Thus, avoiding (putting off) the day of reckoning when surplus social product would be on hand no matter what! {The agricultural revolution when it finally occurs will feature the irreversible release of surplus social product, but that is long into the future.} In other words the australopithecines needed to take the enemy from within and put it outside of them once again, and one easy way of doing this was to move into more environmentally challenging regions.

People managed in this way, and in directing potential labor-time into other social activities, to avoid the irreversible release of surplus social product for about four million years. What was so dangerous about surplus social product?

Envy, jealousy, coveting. Especially for people with a brain too small to grasp the details of their behavior in any scientific way. What they knew was that the sharing cooperation they exhibited in food collecting and collective defense made them strong. Intraband strife over surplus undermined this cooperation because it negated sharing. It undermined collective defense too.

Sharing what you have instantly is the answer to avoiding the socially dissolutional tendencies of envy, jealousy and coveting. Sharing binds people together, therefore, and secures the production of Value 1 and Value 2. It is a centripetal process. It is the foundation of primitive social unity. But, it would be even better if excess social product didn’t even come into the picture of daily life at all, so that you didn’t have to face the question of how to share it.

The foundation of social dissolution on the other hand is the centrifugal process created by envy, jealousy and coveting.

As I indicated above, in addition to finding more challenging environments, people began to pour more effort into their social organizational component of culture. I alluded to this emphasis on social organization, and the idea system necessarily inherent in primitive kinship reckoning and increasingly complex sodality social structure, (as opposed to an emphasis on technology) because it shows us how “time” (that is to say, “social time”) was dumped (so to speak) in non-technological activities. In seeing this we can explain how something other than technological progress succeeded in diverting social time from labor time and why therefore technological innovation was so slow for millions of years. (The exact opposite of the way contemporary capitalist modes of production accelerate innovation at an exponentially increasing rate – which you will come to understand in the section on “innovation” in Chapter 12 below.)

After all, the technology available to Homo australopithecus was quite sufficient to produce the “fundamental needs” of group life. In this underlying prime directive, the desire for unity rather than disunity is the hidden explanation for what drove selection for the doubling of the brain power of Homo. Thus did Homo australopithecus give rise to Homo erectus.

It takes brains to figure out how to organize society on the basis of kinship and to assign rights and responsibilities accordingly. It takes brains to invent sodality structures. It takes brains to come up with a supernatural system of cognizing the real world. But, if you had the brains to do these things then unity would survive and disunity would disappear from the face of the Earth. At least until long after you and yours were buried in the ground. Millions of years thereafter, in the case of the Homo australopithecus populations!

-And, Homo erectus populations, with their much bigger brains, found a continuation of these patterns of diverting social time much to their advantage as well (and, of course, the pattern of continuing to move into more challenging environments where social time spent as labor-time was necessary simply to provide the “fundamental needs” of group life - those needs more quickly and easily provided earlier in the tropical and subtropical zones of the original Eden.)

As these better socially organized - via kinship reckoning and sodalities - peoples, and their more sophisticated supernaturalism confronted the world, they found that by “moving-on” into new and more challenging environments that they were all busy; every day producing limited value, sharing it and just living the simple life. In this way they had the necessary but minimal amount of surplus social product on hand. People covet what they see; not what they have never seen, don’t have and can’t have.

However, dialectically there was even in this avoidance patterning an opposite beginning to emerge. Along the way people also found that a good way to dump social time before it became labor time was in handicrafts. Making things. Making things again and again also means making some of them better and different; for new previously unthought-of of uses. Thus, handicrafts are inherently a kind of social time dumping that leads inexorably, if invisibly, to increasing technological sophistication. (A dialectical conundrum.) Resistance to technological improvement becomes futile. -And, technological sophistication also becomes increasingly desirable as the challenge of new environments increases. This was a concomitant of the territorial expansion of the human race. But, not its cause. Again, these two “opposites” (to social time expenditure in ways calculated to avoid the production of surplus social product) were inherent in the very process of avoidance.

I am not illustrating this book so I will leave it to you to get pictures of Oldowan, Chellean, Acheulean, Levalloisian, Clactonian tools and techniques. I shall simply note that stone tools become increasingly sophisticated between five million and one million years ago. However, it didn’t require four million years to learn how to take all the surface off of a cobble or a flake of stone rather than just a few flake removals to get a cutting edge.

When it is all said and done, what is crystal clear is that people doubled their cubic centimeter cranial capacity in that four million years because of the importance of making culture work for them. That meant organizing their social relations to minimize friction internal to these primitive hunting and gathering Bands. To produce only what they needed (which is Value 1 and Value 2) and to do anything and everything to avoid the production of surplus. All the things I have mentioned above including and especially their “intellectualizing” about the “supernatural” world, then associating these “ideas” with the kinship organization of society honed their abstract thought skills. The better their ability to think abstractly, (combined with their sexually motivated group life and their ability to express their thoughts with precision due to speech), the better their selective advantage in the environments they confronted.

We can illustrate this australopithecine cultural mode of production in a formula:

The Australopithecines

l + t V1, V2

l = human labor (which much later will become the category of labor-power)

t = technology (Oldowan stone tools)

V1 = cost of life (food, shelter, clothing, etc.)

V2 = cost of maintaining Oldowan technology.

Chapter 5: The Second Band Stage

People Make Themselves by Struggling to Create

Fundamental Needs (Value) but not Surplus Social Product

The actual course of human evolution is not dividable into incompatible species so that one day people can mate and produce fertile offspring and the next day some are so advanced that they can no longer do the same with more “primitive” neighbors. That is never the case in biological evolution anyway.

At any given point in time all humans were capable of mating and producing fertile offspring (assuming that all other things are normal.) What we should be thinking about, anyway, is that there are three rather distinct grades of humanity based on cubic centimeter cranial capacity of the fossil skull data, we can group in time. These three grades of humanity can be associated with general levels of subsistence and modes of production; all of which we can detect in the remnant material culture we archaeologists dig up.

The at-bottom reason for the doubling of the cranial capacity that leads to the archaic form of modern human - that is Homo erectus - was as we have seen surplus avoidance. But, the formula for production stays the same.

l + t V1, V2

l = human concrete laboring activity; i.e., human labor (Homo erectus)

t = hand ax technology

V1 = cost of life

V2 = cost of maintaining hand ax technology

New challenging environments, social time dumping into non-labor time activities of intellectualizing the supernatural world and the kinship organization of society, along side the application of real world knowledge and discovery to the handicraft industries of the band - all in the course of collecting animal and plant food - assisted in the sharing cooperation essential to keep the enemy outside; keeping the inside world a place of comfort and safety for the two or three decades that constituted a human lifetime.

Brain size doubled.

Ideology Emerges

Although superstition is the enemy of modern science and intelligence, it was also its mother. (An archetype dialectical paradox.) Primitive people lived in a world of superstition. But the important thing about superstition is that it established a complex abstract world that was the intellectual framework for their cognition of the “real” world. All that remains is to make that “unreal,” real world construct, into an increasingly “real,” real world model. -And, eventually, we shall have modern science!

We know about primitive unreal (superstitious) world views from the study of animism and animitism among living primitives. From what is called the ethnographic record. {Ethnologists (Cultural Anthropologists) write ethnography - thus the term.}We know about contemporary unreal (superstitious) world views from the study of religion.

The world of the hunting and gathering band person is a world of so-called animistic and animitistic spirits. Meaning that everything from the lowly pebble to the great spectaculars of nature has a supernatural component in the minds of primitive people. -And, to all of this, is hooked the aura and mysticism that surrounds the ceremonial life of the band woman and man and child, with regard to their rights and responsibilities to one another, on the kinship organized chart of their little group.

This is why Lewis Henry Morgan’s discovery of kinship terminology as a key to the kinship system, which in turn is the sole basis upon which primitive society is organized, was such a tremendous discovery. (Kinship terminology, and the social organizational system it reflected, constituted the subject matter of two of Morgan’s greatest works including Ancient Society which also changed Karl Marx’s perception of human history. These discoveries of Morgan’s propelled Marx into his study of primitive society in the last years of his life, 1877-1883.) (See The Ethnological Notebooks, Karl Marx, unpublished manuscript until translated and edited, with an extensive introductory commentary, by Lawrence Krader 1972. Also, the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1888, Frederick Engels, in many editions. –And for some further oral comment on my part there are the audio sections at

At any rate, these archaic humans had evolved in the period between two and one million years ago, and occupied virtually all of the Old World; possibly the New World too. This latter hypothesis will be tested in the 21st century and resolved on the basis of fact rather than fancy.

Chapter 6: The Third Band Stage

The archaic human populations we call Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens or modern people with roughly 1500 cubic centimeters of cranial capacity by one million years ago. All of the erectus populations made this journey. There was no fantasy-land separation of the grades of humanity with some pockets left behind. Culture was always the factor being selected for. Technical competence and social organizational and ideological sophistication were the universals responsible for nature acting in favor of the increasing cranial capacity. That’s the end of that story.

Broad-spectrum Wild Resource Exploitation is a Revolution

What is new and revolutionary to understand is that these Homo sapiens populations faced the crisis of broad-spectrum wild resource exploitation for the first time. The ability to exploit virtually every living animal and plant resource was at hand.

Why was this a crisis?

Because such exploitative ability has within it the assurance that surplus social product is increasingly likely as an outcome - exactly the opposite of what all this social time expenditure of millions of years was about. By dumping social time in the ways we have just discussed, primitive people managed to stave off the terminal deepening of the crisis of increased competence in production (too much on hand) until now - now the “potential” broad-spectrum exploitation crisis was not just inherent abstractly, and the ways of a million years or more would no longer suffice to ameliorate the outcome. Every step they took to delay this inevitability made it, therefore, the irreversible result. A true dialectical irony.

We see all over the Old World from seaside camp villages on the French Riviera {c. 400,000 BP} to grassland burning South African bands {c. 100,000 BP;} to the Chinese of Choukoutien {500,000 to 100,000 BP} that people had learned a very great deal about their environments and had started controlling them in a variety of ways. Not the least of the results of that control was the ability to spend long periods of time in one place. -And, to produce quite sufficient social product with a relative minimum of labor input.

The classical work on this “Original Affluent Society” is published as the first paper in the book Stone Age Economics, by Marshall Sahlins.(the original edition, was published in 1974 by Tavistock, London, and is available in all libraries of tertiary institutions; a new 2004 edition is available from Routledge, London, 348pp.) Those of you seriously interested in Anthropological Economics in the cross-cultural comparative sense, are urged to study that text.

These Hunter/Gatherers could work less hours and do other more creative things. But, although the reduced labor-time input into production could keep the output to just Value – creative activity also led to more knowledge about the world - which implied the ability to produce even more social product. An excellent example of an emerging dialectical opposite.

The First proto-Commoditized Labor-Power

Occurs Among Homo sapiens Advanced Hunter-Gatherer Tribes

Often these larger kin units engaged in group production, where the concrete laboring activities of the individual were de facto abstracted, through joint communal effort. The cliff-jumping of herds; netting of migrating fish; the planned burning of grasslands to encourage the growing of certain nut trees, are examples of “pooling” labor-power. Even though these pooled labor-power categories were not governed by the modern “homogenizer” of labor power - the factory clock - we can see that labor-power has been placed in a clearly “proto” position with regard to this kind of homogenized labor-power production for there is a certain amount of time regulation - even it is only “we work from dusk to dawn” - and thus, we can say in strictly economic terms, that the next step for this primitive homogenization of labor-power is the actual commoditization of labor-power, in that it could be allocated to community or inter-community tasks and/or otherwise put up for exchange. A more precise term, given our temporal perspective, would be that this pooling of labor-power in primitive hunting and gathering Tribes is a form of “proto-commoditized” labor-power.

With the advent of animal and plant domestication, the tribal form of life was already very much on the horizon in the Old World. MacNeish’s studies show that in the New World without the domesticated animal component, Bands were often the basic social organizational form by which the arts of subsistence were practiced prior to serious reliance on plant domesticates made semi-sedentary agricultural village (Tribal) life possible. -And, this kept Band society around several millennia longer in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the rate of change in the Old World centers of agricultural revolution (with their numerous potentially animal and plant domesticates); where Bands quickly transformed into the larger Tribal unit; but the process is and was identical.

This is the general crisis of all hunting and gathering bands and tribes.

By 110,000 BP we see tool kits of intricate content all over the Old World in archaeological sites. These specialized tools reflect deep knowledge about environments and ways to exploit and control them. Most importantly from our perspective these specialized tools reflect the great amount of labor-time devoted to experimentation with and perfection of said tool kits. -And, increasing emphasis on time consuming “beauty” in the manufacture of utilitarian items.

By 20,000 years ago people were making the final steps toward irreversible release of surplus value. Or, another way of putting it is that they were making their first tentative steps into the agricultural revolution. Over the next five to ten thousand years (say 20,000 BP to 10,000 BP), in center after center of the origin of animal and plant domestication, people would become irreversibly committed to this new (agricultural) way of life. Producing food rather than collecting it. -And, in this process they would come face-to-face, finally, with the enemy within.

At the core of this transition is the reality that social time consumed in experimentation, perfection and beautification of tools (rather than engaging social time in direct production [i.e., hunting and gathering]) had back-lashed into making people even more capable of creating social surpluses than they were before.

The new formula looks like this:

l + t V1, V2 + Surplus Social Product

Non-productive time creates more

Productive potential

l = human concrete laboring activity

t = Middle and Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic tools

V1 = cost of life

V2 = cost of maintaining technology

Surplus Social Product = proto-surplus value about to be irreversibly released productive potential. This is the loci of the general crisis of hunting and gathering.

Chapter 7: The Stage of Tribal Agriculture

Preventing social time from becoming labor time was the multimillion year tested, tried, and true method of avoiding surplus social product. As I mentioned above surplus social product is more than just surplus - it is, in modern economic terms proto-surplus value. Surplus social product will become surplus value, and like all value (both 1 and 2) comes ultimately from human labor. Eventually human individual and group labor will become the economic category we call human labor-power.

As we have seen, in some parts of the world tribal life began to replace band life many tens of thousands of years ago, while people were still in the hunting and gathering mode of production, precisely because more mouths to feed made having social surplus on hand less probable. At least at first. That is to say, that “tribes” as simply larger “bands” tied together by more complex kinship reckoning systems and cross-kin line cutting sodalities, would with their larger population numbers, naturally require larger amounts of Value 1 (and even Value 2,) thus momentary increases in production were absorbed quickly by more mouths.

Why are the categories “tribal society” and “proto-commoditized” labor-time so important?

The Great Divide in the mode of production base of society lies at the boundary between individual concrete labor-time and the value it produces and collective abstracted socially necessary labor-time and the surplus value it produces. That Great Divide occurs in the sociocultural evolutionary Stages of Chiefdoms. (This would be a good time to read Papers 2 through 6 on the “Domestic Mode of Production” and related topics in Stone Age Economics, by Marshall Sahlins.) But, its origins lie as far back as the beginning of proto-commoditized labor-time among Tribal hunters and gatherers - especially in the Old World. After the Chiefdom Stages, in the three stages of the Servitude Epoch, abstracted socially necessary labor-time is the entire basis of what is now the academic field of political economy (“economics” in the USA). {As in Slavery, Feudalism and Capitalism.}

The Agricultural Revolution

Tribes, at-bottom, are just bigger groups of people. Yes, they have a more complex kinship system of organization by far than do the bands. Kinship is the only means they have after all, to organize society, and the larger the group the greater the demands on the kinship way of doing things from day to day and generation to generation. -And, tribes have sodality organization also, which simply means that there are institutions that cut across kin lines such as men’s clubs and women’s clubs devoted to different tasks. But, fundamentally Tribes are still just elaborated Bands. In the Old World “tribal” social organization is the basis upon which the agricultural revolution evolves and as such is the first key diagnostic.

With or without tribal organization people in the New World also got to semi-sedentary village life (because of the efficiency of the broad-spectrum wild resource exploitation pattern now so well developed, if at Band levels of population size.) Thus, when we uncover semi-sedentary hunting-gathering Band camp sites in the New World we also know these people would certainly have developed tribal stage social organization, with its agriculture and animal husbandry, as they domesticate the wild precursor plant and animal stocks, during their advanced broad-spectrum wild resource exploitation, day to day. It would tell archaeologists that the next phase they will be looking for, in the ground, would be exactly this new Tribal Agricultural phase. At any rate, the second key diagnostic we want to understand is the revolution that agriculture, as technology, brought to humanity.

Archaeologically, we often speak of a set of artifactual diagnostics that accompany the Neolithic (Old World) and Formative (New World) Revolutions. Ground and polished stone tools, milling and grinding tools to turn high protein seeds into flour, village life, pottery, and so forth. However, what is critically different is that people are producing food rather than collecting it; within the food production arts, it is now inherent, that surplus will be produced. Our production formula now looks like this:

(l +lp) + t V1, V2 + SV

Surplus in the Family Farms

Surplus Needed vs. Dangerous


l = concrete individual laboring activity

lp = human labor-power

t = Neolithic/Formative Agricultural Revolution technology

V1 = cost of life

V2 = cost of maintaining technology

SV = irreversibly released surplus social product (proto-surplus value) in large quantities.

Surplus in the Family Farms is both needed and dialectically dangerous (inequality between the farms.) This is the loci of the general crisis of Tribal Agriculture.

One reason for the irreversible release of surplus was and is that farming people need surplus for the rainy day. A myriad of events can bring catastrophe to crops in the field, then as well as today. Floods, droughts, insect pestilence, fire, disease, hurricanes and tornados. In these predicaments the farming families have to have reserves to see them through until a new crop can be planted and harvested.

For another reason it simply isn’t possible to tell either the plants or the animals not to reproduce to capacity. You can thin herds and let fields lie fallow but you wouldn’t have to do this if ever-present extra surplus would not otherwise be on hand.

The fact is that surplus social product has been irreversibly released with the coming of the agricultural revolution. But, this kind of agricultural surplus has a tendency to be irregular due to outside forces such as those above.

As has commoditized labor-time also become a new if irregular feature of Tribal life. For these primitive farmers must pool their collective labor-power at least occasionally for clearing fields, planting and harvesting, and the construction of irrigation works and perhaps the village chapel.

Within this new setting the larger families will produce more than the smaller families, if for no other reason than that they have more “hands;” population will expand simultaneously, because more hands make self-sufficiency of the domestic unit far more certain and also simultaneously, because the more mouths there are to feed the less surplus will be accumulating in individual farms at any given moment. (These sociocultural dynamics are well established in the ethnological literature and the subject of Marshall Sahlins Domestic Mode of Production in his book Stone Age Economics and I strongly urge those of you with a serious theoretical interest to move on to that study as soon as possible.)

More hands and more mouths constitute a vicious circle, running inside and in the same direction as another circle of need for surplus for hard times. -And in both cases these two circles are encouraging increased production (meaning more labor hours and/or labor-time hours devoted to productive activity). We can think of these two circles of causation, as encompassing another counter-rotating inner circle consisting of societal mechanisms for controlling the magnitude of surplus. This is the key nexus for as we have also seen it is the existence of surplus, and the real or potential inequality between the farming families it creates merely by existing, that is now the at-bottom source of envy, jealousy and coveting – the ultimate danger confronting primitive communism.

We can say it again this way: in primitive farming villages of whatever size it is the “more hands and mouths and inevitable hard times means we need surplus” idea, which functions as the central ideological feature driving production. That is, driving production beyond the old hunting-gathering Band level of minimal subsistence requirements, It is the acceptance of the new reality of constant surplus on hand that sets this new farming village way of life fundamentally apart from the subsistence pattern hitherto lasting millions of years. In other words, this drive for surplus, regardless of magnitude, runs diametrically counter to the millions of year’s old tradition of handling potential and real surplus with (a) minimal labor input and (b) sharing.

This is the General Crisis of Tribal Agriculture. Let’s say it again. The engine at the core of Tribal (or Band) Agriculture, as a distinct sociocultural evolutionary stage, as the principal mode of production is the Tribe’s need for permanent surplus for as-needed redistribution in the event of environmental stresses and for regular redistribution to support community efforts and perhaps one or two professional specialists. Surplus potential increases with the steady growth of population which provides the domestic farming unit with more hands and is sustainable in the new economy. Note that a growing population level, in and of itself, reduces the amount of surplus on hand, at any given moment and simultaneously, makes it necessary that new levels of production be regularly achieved to support the rising population numbers. These central features constitute the driving force to increase production and become antagonistic to the counter-running tradition of discouraging surplus social product from ever coming into existence.

In satisfying the need for more production by assigning more persons to agriculture and sedentary life (as one example), leading to bigger families living in each individual farm, society had created a self-triggering mechanism leading to an inevitable increase in the amount of surplus social product being created in the farms and thus in society as a whole. On the other hand, this irreversible release of surplus social product, was certain to generate social dissolutional effects of envy, coveting, jealousy and so forth unless it was immediately and promptly ameliorated, shared, in some effective way (which initially will be Tribal Council collection of surpluses and then the storage of said surpluses until the time comes for redistribution, or some kind of socially approved consumption.)

The General Contradiction on the other hand continues as it has for the previous many millions of years. The drive not to produce surplus social product, but only produce needed, in the face of the ever-present reality that people in such societies could produce much more than they do.

Both the General Crisis and the General Contradiction find resolution when the Tribal Council collects surplus above and beyond what is agreed upon to be necessary for the annual upkeep of one given person. In this way the larger families are assured of having what they need as are the smaller families; yet the inequality that otherwise would exist between different-sized farms is leveled out by the collection of everything above this level of subsistence as surplus, and its transport and storage at some central point (the Tribe’s “warehouse.”) It’s administration being part of the job of the democratically elected Tribal Council. {The ethnographic record tells us that immediate recall is an accepted feature of such representative processes. (The primitive communist mode of “term limits” for elected representatives, in other words.)}By the way we should note that the first professional administrators emerge at this time. Why? Because someone has to keep track of all of these contributions – family credit, clan credit, sodality credit, moiety credit, and phratery credit – these are examples of how credit for contributions would have been made – and we haven’t yet considered the role of these Central Consigliore of the Chiefdom in astronomy and religion. These administrators are the embryonic form of what will become a New Class (once classes exist.)

We know from the ethnographic record that another common way of avoiding the production of too much surplus in Tribal agriculture is for these peoples to rely on the old fashioned dumping of labor-time in non-productive chores. Although, in its new form of “moving-on” slash-and-burn agriculture, the dumping of social time comes in the form of the non-essential repetitive dumping of labor-time.

But “inequality” is a real and ever present specter now. Infants and children are exposed to the fact that for some reason (it doesn’t matter what) there is a difference between being well off and not so well off. In other words all I have mentioned above, that is inherent in the economy and social organization of tribal agriculture, makes the fact of inequality inescapable. Even when ameliorated or leveled it was still there; otherwise it wouldn’t have to be handled in these ways. Yet what could these societies do except what they had always done?

It was not necessary in many cases that people pick up and move every few years for strictly technical (soil depletion) reasons. This could have been handled with fertilizer, crop rotation and irrigation. The reason they move is because they found the tremendous effort involved in “starting over” all over again, to be good for the spirit of collectivity. In strictly economic terms it dumped labor-time before it could become surplus social product.

Why didn’t this go on forever?

Because, something just as critical as the mode of production was changing. That was the way some people began to view the egalitarian ideas of times past. The superstructure of ideology was changing from being altruistic to something less so… much less so.

Understanding the Primitive Communist Mentality

Now we come to a most important part of this presentation which is, how should we view the primitive communist mentality? How should we understand the way in which primitive communist peoples of the hunting and gathering and/or early agricultural way of life looked at the ideas (mental categories) we call “needs” “desires” and “wants”? In answering this question we are indebted to Professor Marshall Sahlins who proved in 1974 in his book Stone Age Economics (most recently published in 2004 by Routledge) the key lies in the understanding that peoples of the Palaeolithic (Lithic in the New World) considered their society to be “affluent” when it satisfied all of a their material wants – and – when we do this we have to determine exactly what the wants of hunting/gathering and early agricultural peoples were. The absolutely incorrect way to assess this category is to assume bourgeois priorities with regard to needs, wants and desires.

Bourgeois dominated societies (capitalist societies in other words) such as our own, feature the possession of large quantities of “commodities” as the key to affluence. This is because machinofacture production of “commodities” via the application of human labor-power (see Chapter 12 below) is the center of everything the ruling classes consider worth having. It’s all they fundamentally really believe in. It is the barrenness of this world-view which accounts for the continuing appeal of religion to many who should know better and of course to the masses that remain uneducated. However, what Sahlins proved beyond doubt was this is only one way of assessing affluence. For 99% of human history “affluence” was defined first and foremost in an entirely different way. Namely, by the desire to possess very few articles of production. So, if one has those things one considers essential then one is affluent.

Primitive peoples desired little and therefore found it rather easy to be affluent. This sums up the entire attitude of humanity for millions of years with regard to the possession of articles of production (which we always call commodities because commodity has a special definition in capitalist economics – the one I have just given – in bourgeois dominated capitalist society.) In capitalism the articles of production equal commodities. Before capitalism (and before the Servitude Epoch and its stages of slavery, feudalism, and capitalism) articles of production were not commodities and were created not by labor-power (defined in modern economics as the homogenized labor of a group of factory workers – that is to say the average production of a group of workers organized in a factory at their various workplaces, with the average being regulated by the factory clock) but by individual human concrete labor. Labor of this sort and labor-power are two distinct things. This fact was Karl Marx first and original contribution to Classical economics.

In summary Sahlins proved affluence can be achieved in two ways: (1) by desiring little (and sharing everything as in primitive communism) or (2) by producing much (as in capitalist societies but with distinct dramatic differences in individual sharing in this production). Sahlins amassed considerable ethnographic data to prove this point and a wealth of ethnographic proof has subsequently been assembled which makes this point “written in stone” as far as science (anthropology in this case) is concerned. (Go to Murdoch’s World Ethnographic Sample for the proof assembled from ethnographic data of over 1000 primitive societies.)

Why do primitive peoples desire little? There are numerous reasons and all of them reflect the rather primitive hunting and gathering mode of production or the nearly as primitive early agricultural mode of production. To take just one, let’s look at mobility. If one is mobile on a daily basis, as are hunter/gatherers (99 percent of human history lies in this mode of production) there is only so much one can carry. If one becomes semi-sedentary or truly sedentary such as in the early farming daily lifestyle there are only so many things one can use in the farming household. When you have these things then that is that. It would be hard to desire something one has never seen, can never see, and will never even know about (until such time as contact occurs with a technologically superior culture.)

Furthermore Sahlins proved primitive societies do not horde articles of production and would always rather use them up immediately. They do this not simply because they probably constitute too much to carry or store on the walk or on the family farm but because if they were to accumulate things, besides being impractical, it would create social differences in relative wealth. As we have seen it is this difference in “wealth” between individuals and/or families which is the true enemy within: the source of coveting, envy and jealousy.

None of the conceptuality of the bourgeois mentality is present in primitive society for these reasons. –And, as a historical note let me add a few comments. This is where the mechanical materialists such as Leslie A. White, and Marvin Harris, stumbled, faltered, and forever failed, in their attempts to rationalize sociocultural evolution as systems of increasing energy efficiency. Unfortunately White did not live long enough to internalize the significance of Sahlins discovery. In 1976, shortly after the publication of my book Foundations of Archaeology, (where the Foreword was written by world famous archaeologist Richard S. MacNeish) I had asked him to write the Foreword to my book Principles of Anthropology and he had agreed. It had been my intention to take up these questions with him prior to his writing that Foreword but he called me before 6:00 am on the day of our meeting to tell me he was quite sick and I should not travel to Santa Barbara that day; before I knew it he had passed away. In Harris case he simply was always too bent in his ways to consider other opinions and he continued to go down the wrong road of trying to prove that sociocultural evolution was a function of increasing energy efficiency among primitive peoples. A completely wrong way of looking at things (because of its non-dialectical and in fact anti-dialectical nature) and now he is gone; the ideas he espoused have lost the champion that kept them around a lot longer than they might have otherwise (or if people like me had not switched our daily endeavors to matters more mundane and down-to-Earth such as the civil war in Peru.) Harris had never had the slightest grasp of dialectical materialism and proved it in his otherwise outstanding book History of Anthropological Theory. His epistemological bankruptcy was at-bottom the reason he ultimately failed in his anthropological theoretical career. His example should be a warning to any of you who may mistakenly think that philosophy (dialectical materialism) is of no importance in the understanding of human sociocultural evolution, primitive or modern. (Harris had grasped the truth of Marx and Engels discovery of the evolution of society from one stage to the next – i.e., the practical side of historical materialism – but that is as far as he got.)

Chapter 8: The Simple Chiefdom Stage

There is another way to handle the newly emergent General Crisis within the Stage of Tribal Agriculture, and in doing so simultaneously to stay within the constraints of the General Contradiction of the First Egalitarian Epoch; without moving-on, slashing-and-burning, starting all over again, as a life style strategy. What is this other way?

That other way was to stay in place, build an irrigation system, fertilize fields, and intensify in situ production via both animal husbandry and field agriculture. This other way allowed each family to intensify its farm’s reliance upon gardens and pens. This other way is what we in archaeology call the Simple Chiefdom way. The details can be understood if one studies Marshall Sahlins classic treatise Stone Age Economics (in its first or subsequent editions.)

The proto-Commoditization of Labor-time Proceeds Apace

The Simple Chiefdom way required the professional specialization of some individual producers, and part of this division of labor along professional specialist lines, is the marking of commodity production with an abstracted sense of the amount of socially necessary labor-time required to create each unit “commodity” (article of production in this case) in the productive process. Thus, the Simple Chiefdom way is also the point in history where we have regular proto-commoditization of labor-time, evolving naturally from what had gone before in the advanced hunting-gathering bands and tribes. Concrete labor-time has become abstracted into socially necessary labor-time, in at least some small component (or large) of the new way of doing things. Some people contribute their part of the de facto social contract by farming (tilling, planting, harvesting, caring for the fields of whatever grass domesticate - wheat, oats, barley, rye, millet, rice, corn, etc.) while others work full time producing pottery, textiles, stone tools, etc. The center (the chief and her consigliore) arrange for the collection and redistribution of the goods produced. This has become a constant or regular feature of social production. Professional specialization is creating “ranks” within society and among them the maturing if still embryonic form of what will become the New Class (after classes exist) can be seen plainly enough.

Now, even though we cannot homogenize and thus categorize the labor-time input of all of these contributors along the lines allowed by a factory clock{that regulates production per unit time in a capitalist (or socialist) factory} where the creation of “X” amount of goods per unit time is the basis for the economic efficiency analysis of said factory, it does mean that we observers of prehistoric sociocultural evolution can see the “proto-“ emergence of abstracted socially necessary labor-time as an economic category.

Brave New Selfish World

Underlying this shift in the hub of centralized, reciprocal movement of goods and services (from the Tribal Council to the sole Chief) is the new motivation. Namely, in the perception that there is a non-altruistic way of doing things. A selfish way. A new kind of basal psychological imprinting has emerged for the first time in all of human history. Why is this so?

Because the time has come when infants and children recognize that no matter what mom and dad and the parental generation said about sharing, in reality some families were better off than others, and the concomitant logical conclusion must have been that some professions might also be better situated in life than others! Something less than altruism is on the ideological horizon!

It is inherent within a system where some people are supported by the social surplus of the Tribal Council (in order that they may clear fields, dig ditches, build dams, make pottery and textiles, for those who do not have the time,) that the differential in reward becomes part of what is imprinted as the nature of the real world. Even if, in an ideal situation, the labor-power input of all of the contributors were exactly equal it may not appear so, for individuals may and do have different values with regard to work and reward. Thus, the perception that one individual’s path in life may be superior to another persons, for said person’s very personal benefit, has taken hold for the first time in five or so million years. In reality it could never have been more than a matter of time until perception truly did reflect the objective fact that some professions offered more reward than others for the same amount of input.

It only takes one person so imprinted, with the desire to be on the better end of the stick, to begin to agitate for a solution to the General Crisis of Tribal Agriculture that is not of the egalitarian moving-on, start over, slash-and-burn, tradition. Such persons might pose the question “why not stay in our homeland, and make our production more efficient?”

Commitment to efficiency in production does have a lot of advantages. All that unnecessary, and sometimes dangerous, moving is eliminated. People get to stay where they feel at home and comfortable. -And, for awhile the actual results will be better for everyone. Efficient field agriculture and stockyard husbandry will produce more surplus at a lower labor-time input per person. Note how complex the SURPLUS VALUE column has now become:

(l +lp) + t --> V1, V2 + SV


l = concrete individual laboring activity

lp = labor-power as a proto-type is emergent

t = Protoarchic/Archaic, Neolithic/Chalcolithic technology

V1 = cost of individual labor and collective labor-power

V2 = cost of maintaining technology

SV = Surplus Value

Storage = that surplus value in storage (for redistribution as needed or as planned)

Support = that surplus value used to pay the professional specialists, and the center (the chief and her consigliore, retainers, families) (this is the loci of the general crisis of the Simple Chiefdom Stage)

Changing are the General Contradiction and the Prime Directive

Instead of avoiding the enemy within (envy, jealousy, coveting) by evading surplus production, one is now saying maximize surplus production, because with honest central collection and efficient one-woman administration we will all still be equal! In a few more steps (and centuries) the maximizing of surplus production will occur because the higher “ranks” of society want to maximize production to take more as “profit” for themselves. These ranks are the necessary result of the simple fact that with the professional specialization of individual concrete labor, some professions are economically and “politically” “better off” than others. The General Contradiction of the Servitude Epoch is on the horizon.

This new and coming General Contradiction is camouflaged by all the talk about how, what we call the General Crisis, can be more efficiently handled. The archaeological record is universally in line with this interpretation. Everywhere, without exception, where we have a continuous sequence of sociocultural evolution in the ground, we see the transition from Tribal Agriculture to Simple Chiefdoms happened exactly this way. Which is to say in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Mesoamerica and Peru.

Efficiency in a tribal agricultural setting is further enhanced, some would have said, by getting rid of the Tribal Council and all that “democratic rot”, in favor of military discipline and organization of the various productive tasks that come with the professional specialization of labor. So one Chief is elected - and, although she may have consigliore from the clans - it is a revolution in social organization tending toward centralization and concentration of social authority as well as surplus. The small group at the center will have within it that “one” who advocated (or will advocate) this change for the ulterior motives of greed and self-advancement regardless of the effect on the community as a whole. Not that the immediate effect will have been bad. It probably will have been excellent. But to the person with the hidden agenda this is altogether a matter of fortune, he or she can turn to their advantage in selling the “new way.” Her concern is with herself - not “them.”-And being in the center of the reciprocal movement of goods and services means you can pull some of it out of the “cash flow” as you will, to do as you wish!

The farther one goes down the road of efficiency, via professional specialization of labor, the further one has traveled along the road of social revolution. The Chief collects the surpluses and assigns different persons to new tasks such as full time irrigation and dam building; full time pottery and textile production for the new rank of irrigation and dam builders. Etc. The more labor-time that is actually specialized - truly commoditized now as numbers of people are assigned to specific tasks where their labor-time is socially necessary and abstracted - the better the results in the production of both value and surplus social product (including proto-surplus value.) The Chief and her family, helpers and cohorts from the clans, the religious specialist who convinces all the rubes that all this is divinely inspired, now constitute special “ranks” themselves. As do the farming families; the professional specialist families. These ranks have special interests. It is inevitable that they will become antagonistic, if for no other reason than that the vagaries of primitive agriculture and animal husbandry. The exigencies of Tribal Agricultural Stone Age Economics may create a severe shortage of surplus leaving the central granaries depleted. {Hail, rain, flooding, drought, locusts, disease, war or raiding, etc., etc.} Who is going to get the shit-end of the stick when the Chief’s warehouse is approaching bankruptcy? When the granaries are full which groups if any stand to benefit more?

The General Crisis of the Simple Chiefdom Stage is the growing need for professional specialization of labor on the one hand and on the other the concomitant need to offset the tendency toward social dissolution. A society split between different special interest groups with inherently different interests, implies potential antagonism between them, and thus impending social crises. One must either stop fragmenting society and return to the simpler Tribal Agricultural way of life or find some way to offset the dissolutional effects arising from the fractioning of society into groups of relatively discontented people.

The First “First Stage Chiefdoms” in the Near East and Egypt

When these primitive Chiefdoms migrated where did they go?

In the Near East and North Africa, some of them went to what appear to be the worst rather than the best locations. Going deeper and deeper into the deserts of Arabia is one example. That is leaving the lush environs of the Mediterranean, or the hilly flanks of Southwest Asia, for the blazing hot desert sands along the Tigris and Euphrates as far as Sumeria is an example. Up the Nile into the incredible ovens of Egypt and the Sudan is another.

So, why did they do it?

Because, it was an “excuse.”

Whose excuse?

An excuse of the “privileged” rank to further professionalize labor, which is the source of their power and the riches. Wealth is being accumulated by the Chiefly rank, as a function of their “New Rank” position in society. This is the origin of the New Class (when ranks become classes.)

Not every Simple Chiefdom went this route. Where mass democratic impulses were stronger than the selfishness of the few, who wanted to further intensify social ranking and the concomitant privilege of the central administrators and bullshit artists (shamans are becoming priests and priestesses,) the chiefdoms moved into environmentally friendly areas. Which is to say, Tribes and Simple Chiefdoms, where democratic inclinations were more powerful, moved into areas where they could “stay with the old ways.” Where the rubes could slash-and-burn to their hearts content, and live happily ever after. Such as the vast steppe lands of the Soviet West and Central Asia and Eastern Europe and so on and on...

The Oldest Profession

Shamans had become full time specialists (priests and priestesses) supported in totality by the center of the Simple Chiefdom. This was the first time in human history that a religious specialist was anything more than a spare time practitioner of the arts of supernatural communication and manipulation. The job of the religious bosses was to support the increasing reliance upon professionally specialized efficiency in the use of abstracted labor-time, for those tribes and Simple Chiefdoms moving into the New Way. For those simple chiefdoms that were dominated by the newly selfish few, beyond the point of sticking to the “old way;” and that did move into the deserts where the most intense professional specialization of abstracted labor-time was the only way to survive... well, there were more surprises in store for these people. At least for the ones doing all the work.


Do not think that only deserts (such as those of Iraq and Egypt) provide the necessary challenge. The key word is challenge. That could be the challenge of living in intensely populated regions such as nuclear China along the Huang ho and the Yangtze Rivers; it could be the arctic and alpine environments of the highland valleys of the Peruvian-Bolivian Central Andes; it could be the humid swampy lowlands of Yucatan and southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. It could be many things but the challenge is always so great as to encourage or indeed necessitate the extreme organization (perhaps quasi-militarization) of the labor force along professionally specialized lines.

Nuclear China

In the great regions bordering the Huang-ho River in the north and the Yangtze River in the south, nature provided China and humanity with some of the finest and greatest tracts of agricultural land with the most perfect climate she provided any Neolithic farmers anywhere in the world. Conditions over these millions upon millions of acres were exactly the opposite, one thinks, to the regions of environmental extremes posed to farmers in the other principle areas of the origin of civilization. Elsewhere, the challenge confronting the early Simple Chiefdoms were deserts, or low and humid lowlands, or alpine and subarctic highlands, as in Egypt, Iraq, Mexico-Guatemala, and the Central Andes of Peru. Areas which we have seen required the professional specialization of labor and the application of true labor-power. So what happened in nuclear China? If challenge is always the key, and it is, why do we see identical sociocultural evolutionary trajectories in environmentally near perfect China? What was the challenge?

The answer: a very rapid population explosion of Neolithic (Tribal Agricultural) farmers over an area so vast as to dwarf any of the other foregoing centers of origin – and to do so by orders of magnitude. Excavations carried out in the 1990’s, along the Yangtze drainage, by Chinese and foreign archaeologists (especially Richard S. MacNeish) show us that the agricultural revolution was well along by 14,000 years ago and that by 10,000 years ago rice paddy agriculture was being invented. Thus irreversible release of huge quantities of agricultural surplus laid the basis for rapid population expansion. With this rapid rise in population numbers came the early and absolute concomitant necessity of immediate, thorough-going and dramatic transition to increasingly effective Simple Chiefdom society featuring intensive professional specialization of virtually every productive task and the early application of true labor-power to agriculture and other handicraft industries. The challenge was the sheer numbers of people – far greater in numbers than in any of the other centers of origin. To overcome the challenge the Simple Chiefdom had to remain in place and intensify its internal processes. As there was nowhere to migrate, those persons in the center with the new ideology of selfish acquisition motivating them had only to advocate doing what was clearly essential and doing it, in place.

For once Karl Wittfogel’s idea of the requirements of hydraulic civilization was almost right. I say almost, because, at-bottom, Wittfogel’s hypothesis of irrigation agriculture necessitating “state” (army and police in the hands of a ruling class) origins is essentially incorrect. It was not the requirements of irrigation agriculture which necessitated “the state.” “The state” arose once classes came into existence, as the simple and straight-forward product of their irreconcilability. Irrigation is a technological improvement emerging nearly everywhere in the Stage of Simple Chiefdoms (and even among some earlier Tribal agriculturalists). Irrigation undergoes massive expansion with the emergence of Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms, and of course, is even more massively expanded with the rise of the Stage of Slavery. It is the process of reorganizing society along rank and then class lines which is underway, and the state (army and police) arises, in the midst of this process, in the hands of the privileged ranks cum classes, that have the money to pay the thugs (i.e., to finance the state.)

First, those that would form the ruling classes (beginning with the privileged center of Chief and Consigliore and their retainers and families; later the higher ranks composed of theses same persons and other strategically and advantageously placed persons) had to get into position. It was this position which provided a mechanism to professionally specialize labor and a reason to justify the application of the new economic category of labor-power, (always because of some underlying environmental challenge). Thus, in Egypt and Iraq, in the Mayan lowlands, in the Central Andes, the Simple Chiefdoms walked into, asked for, solicited, these environmental extremes. In China, it was the in situ fact of vast human numbers which provided the “environmental” challenge key to enabling the underlying interest of the new selfishly motivated persons to intensify their advantage via special position in the center of the new mode of collection and redistribution. In other words, the interests of those in the center were advanced, when the need to professionally specialize labor and apply labor-power in place, occurred anywhere, regardless of the reason. Once the ranks formed, and privilege existed, the conditions were ripe for class separation and the emergence of armed force in their very private hands.

It requires surgically precise logic to see the difference between this and what Wittfogel superficially and mechanically projected; it requires the dialectical understanding of cause and process in prehistoric sociocultural evolution. That is what science is all about. If everything were self-evident about these processes there would be no need for science.

Origin of the Concept of Profit

Side by side with the sincere converts to the “cause” of efficiency via professional specialization and tight central administration, were those of ulterior motivation whose basal imprinting of selfishness (and soon, if not already, true sadism) was invisible. Cloaked as it were from public view.

One can imagine a variety of “reasons” offered for moving into the hot and hellish deserts of Mesopotamia and Upper Egypt/Sudan. Free land ready to exploit. Relative security as people would be protected from raiders by the very deserts themselves. But, at-bottom, the real reason was that survival in these extreme climates could only be certain if these societies went whole hog down the road of professional specialization of labor. -And, in that process, of course, those at the center of the reciprocal movement of goods and services stood to benefit - indeed, to profit. Thus, emerges for the first time in human history the concept of “profit” as a primary motive for the action of certain persons. Hidden for sure, but none the less, just as real. –And, the category of “profit” in our equations as an economic category. It is a distinct new category because, for the first time, we see that a new disposition for surplus value exists. One in which surplus value can be extracted by the administrating clique for its own upkeep, and lifestyle; perhaps even for “reinvestment.”

Chapter 9: The Stage of Advanced and Theocratic Chiefdoms

An advancing Simple Chiefdom is a society about to be torn apart by antagonistic special interest groups. For Chiefdom society to survive it is essential that the specialist groups and the “ranks” be unified behind the leadership.

The Origin of Religion

For supernaturally steeped people it is religion that can do the job. For there is nothing else. No “state apparatus” (army and police) yet exists so it is impossible to compel obedience of one rank to another or even of one special craft guild to the center. In other words, before there was coercion there was persuasion, because there had to be persuasion, in the absence of the “state” (armed thuggery). It was the only way to insure social unity and cohesion.

The archaeological evidence is clear in this regard. Religions emerged which persuaded people to give over more authority to allocate their abstracted labor-time (labor drafts; annual labor-time voluntarism), and to adjust the amount of produce to be kept in the individual family farming household, per “head,” as the leadership wished. In this way the privileged ranks could take more of the surplus social product being created at the family farm or village commune to the center (themselves). -And, more of the abstracted socially necessary labor-time to the center too, even before it had become surplus social product (which you will recall can also be thought of as “proto-surplus value.”). This was the function of what we call the first “religions” and of their specialist practitioners – the priests and priestesses – the job(s) of which was (were) to support the center and its new selfish extraction (of surplus) policies.

In Mexico we see this religion emerge and spread like wildfire and we call it the Olmec. In Peru it is the Chavin and Paracas. In China, Lungshan. In the Near East the An-En cult. -And, in Egypt the Solar Cult. Structurally they are all the same thing. A unifying religion that persuades people to obey the dictates of the center. Thus reinforced, we see in the archaeological record, in each and every case, that these societies often last a millennia or more. In “short hand” terms, for convenience of rapid calculation when reading archaeological sequences, you can think of this “religious” Stage as lasting in each and every case roughly 1000 years. The ranking becomes acute in these Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms; the separation of the specialist crafts and guilds the basic feature of their social organization. The selfish and sadistic imprinting of infants and children proceeds apace, as it must, since it is sadistic relations which for the first time are everywhere at hand (as we know archaeologically and even historically) and thus, what all infants and children must see as they mature.

-And, everywhere, abstracted homogenized socially necessary labor-time is emerging (which is to say the new economic category of labor-power.) From now on it will be this proto-labor-power which is the principal form of human labor setting the standard for our formula. Not that concrete human individual laboring activity ceases. Far from it. But, it is the new category of labor-power as applied to technology which sets the pace; acting as the common denominator for the payment of Value 1, even to those who are not part of the category of collectively applied, temporally measured, group labor. From this point forward in history, what is obtainable, by the individual, will be measured by what the collective labor of “corvees” or forced labor (slaves, convicts, captured peoples) has to be paid (in food and shelter – the cost of their minimal subsistence.)

However, the seeds of the destruction of this order are also very much in place. First let us look at how our formula says that the SURPLUS VALUE column is subdividing:

lp + t V1, V2 + SV



lp = labor-power

t = Chalcolithic and Bronze Age technology in the Old World; Classic and some post-Classic technology in the New World.

V1 = cost of labor-power

V2 = cost of maintaining technology

SV = surplus value: its distribution is the loci of the general crisis in this Stage.

Support = cost of supporting the professional specialists

Storage = that surplus value held in storage

Profit = that appropriated by the high ranks for themselves for the first time

Theocrats = that appropriated by the theocracy for itself; a substantial continuing

appropriation, derived from what the Chiefs and Consigliore took during Simple Chiefdom times (a form of profit.) To the degree that the theocrats are also part of the high ranks, this is a “double dipping” for them.

Eventually, all the explanation and persuasion of the theocrats in justifying the social order, the division and distribution of surplus social product, (the bullshit in other words) from the priests and priestesses will be insufficient to assuage the anger and insight of the mass of farmers and other lower ranked laborer specialists.

This is the loci of the general crisis of the Stage of Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms – which is to say on the one hand society must have the theocrats to stay together, and on the other hand, the priests are also simultaneously exacerbating the inherent unjust nature of a society (in the process of dividing against itself, between the haves and have nots) and are contributing to the splitting of society by helping themselves to the maximum as well.

When a crisis arises that puts too many people between a rock and a hard place, and the resolution attempted by the center is blatantly unfair, Ma and Pa Kettle will gather round with their fellow rubes and revolt. Then they will either tear society apart in a rank war; or some will flee to begin life again in a simpler way, in lands far from the home region; or, a new solution will appear to the civil conflict.

What can that be?

The state! (The state is the Army and Police in the pay of the richest families. That is what the “state” means in scientific terms and should not be confused with “government” which existed before the state and which will exist after the state withers away.)

The archaeological record is replete with proof of this eventual end to Advanced Theocratic Society in Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, along the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Huang ho and Yangtse rivers, and many many other places including East Africa, the Indus, the USA Southwest, the USA Eastern Woodlands, etc. Everywhere it is always the same.

Is there no way forward?

Yes there is, but it involves the emergence of armed force in the very private pay of a few financially powerful families and/or ranks of the old Theocratic Chiefdoms. Where that happens, which is to say, where “the state” emerges, then true class society has also emerged. Ranks have been transmuted into Classes and the ruling classes will domesticate the rest of society.

Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto is as perfect a recreation of an Advanced Theocratic Chiefdom as I could imagine, and I have no hesitation in recommending this movie to you as an excellent historical example of the stage. It was precisely this kind of society Hernan Cortes and associated investors and adventurers first encountered at the mouth of the Grijalva River in the contemporary state of Tabasco, Mexico, along the Gulf of Mexico coast, as the movie brilliantly illustrates. As an aside, it is a matter of continuing interest to me that a religious person such as Gibson should again and again recreate a perfect Marxist example of historical events as in Braveheart, the Patriot, and Apocalypto (the struggle within English feudalism, the North American Revolutionary War and finally the Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms of the Yucatan peninsula, respectively.)

Chapter 10: The Stage of Slavery

The two Chiefdom Stages foregoing constitute what we may call the First Transitional Period. They took humanity out of the primitive communism of the First Egalitarian Epoch {and its three Stages of Hunting and Gathering Bands and its Stage of Tribal Agriculture} into the Servitude Epoch {and its three Stages that we know from the historical record: Slavery, Feudalism and Capitalism.}These two Chiefdom Stages were the First Transitional Period. In the Old World they begin in Egypt, Iraq and China about 7000 years ago and come to a climax around 5500 years ago.

In these three centers of the origin of class and state society (the first Stage of which we call Slavery) the beginning appears around 5500 years ago and within half a millennia say about 5000 years ago (roughly 3000 BC) we have Imperial Slavery in Egypt and Iraq that continues until about AD 400; frequently, under new management (e.g., Greece and Rome.) The collapse of the Roman Empire West into Feudal Kingdoms and Fiefdoms is the special and peculiar political/polity form of Feudalism in Europe and much of Arabia.

In China, on the other hand, we see an early rise of the ATC’s and true class division soon thereafter. In fact, this is the earliest yet known class division in the world. From at least 3500 BC slavery lasted in China until 221 BC. China experienced in that period the most advanced technology and “state” social organization of any Slave Stage anywhere on the globe. So advanced in fact, that we know of two early experiments during this three and a half millennia period, in Feudalism. Although in neither case was the experimentation successful in becoming permanent. Rather, we have the Slave Stage lasting as I have said, until 221 BC. The last part of said Slave Stage is called the Warring States Period (481 – 221 BC). In the end Slave Kingdoms were replaced by Imperial Feudalism.

The Imperial Feudal regimes of China and elsewhere in Asia, invariably feature the replacement of nobles and aristocrats which earlier had constituted the boss hierarchy in these areas, as they did in Feudal Europe and Feudal Japan for much longer periods of time, with a New Class of professional specialists similar to “Nome Bosses” in Egypt.

In China this New Class was huge; they were called “Eunuch Scholar Bureaucrats”. Castration of these scholar-bureaucrat officials was ruling family policy in China. Under the Imperial Feudal Regime that begins in 221 BC it was mandatory for the 250,000 scholar bureaucrats the ruling family and its retainers employed to rule over the vast empire. The theory of the thing was that castration would prevent ill-gotten gains of the bureaucrats from being passed down (in such societies it is a “given” that all bureaucrats steal) although in practice many of the Scholar-bureaucrat eunuchs succeeding in passing down great wealth and in building dynasties via nephews and nieces.

The Asiatic Mode of Production

Similar great New Class run societies existed at one point or another in the Ancient World on the Indian subcontinent, Indochina and Indonesia (what Europeans thought of in their “dark ages” as the fabled “Spice Islands.”). It is, by the way, the existence of these concentrated populations ruled over by professional bureaucrats that gives Chinese Feudalism and these other imperial systems their special “Asiatic” character with regard to the Feudal Mode of Production.

This is a reference to Marx’s interest in the East and what he called the Asiatic Mode of Production. As you can see this “Asiatic mode of production” is in reality just the imperial bureaucrat run slave and feudal stages of South Asia, the Far East and Indonesia.

Old World West and East are then mirror image opposites in terms of polity, but exactly the same thing in terms of sociocultural Stage evolution. In each and every case, East and West, Slavery is replaced eventually with a half-way house between chattel and wage slavery that we have come to know and call “Feudalism.”

(Note that in the use of the term “feudalism” in discussions of this sort – i.e., sociocultural stages – we do not imply anything about the political form it might take. In traditional uses of the term “feudalism” in western historical literature the term was heavily loaded with the idea of small “fiefdom” organized society. This is an entirely different use of the term and irrelevant here.)

Secret of the Spanish Ronin’s Conquest of the New World

We have seen why in the New World, which is to say in Mesoamerica and the Central Andes, the Stage of Tribal Agriculture lasted several millennia longer than in the Old World. Namely, to reiterate, because there were virtually no potential animal domesticate stocks in the New World and far fewer domesticateable grasses. Thus, the experimentation with domesticated grasses (corn, and a variety of other wild grasses that didn’t really pan out) in a sedentary, or even semi-sedentary village setting, took longer in the Americas to get to the point of substantial reliance on cereal, as a basic foodstuff, than it did in the Old World with its penned sheep, pigs, goats, horses, cattle (not to mention fowl and pondable fish). Fortuitous natural differences that brought sedentary and semi-sedentary agricultural village life to the fore in the eastern Hemisphere, several thousand years earlier than in the western Hemisphere.

In other words, the simultaneous Old World domestication of the wild forms of oats, rye, barley, wheat, rice and millet, whose progenitor forms were spread far and wide in the Old World, and which therefore underwent domestication very early, alongside the villages with penned animals of all types, could not happen “mirror image” in the Americas, and therefore the sociocultural evolution from Tribal Agriculture to each successive stage, took longer in the New World, without these wild stocks.

Interestingly, in South America, people proved they could duplicate the surplus potential of domesticated grass seeds by the creation of a stable agricultural equivalent to a cereal staple, in the domestication of tubers to produce manioc and, of course, potatoes. Yet despite the difference in grain or other carbohydrate-protein staples the processes underlying the reorganization of society are (were) identical.

At any rate, this is why the Stage of Slavery does not emerge in the New World until about the time of Christ. A full three thousand five hundred years later, than in the Old World. It had earlier taken that much longer for Tribal sedentary agriculture to emerge in the Americas, with so few plants and animal domesticates on hand, and upon which to experiment. In other words, once the Tribal Agricultural Stage was delayed in the New World, in reaching its fullest modernization, by at least three and a half millennia, then each successive New World sociocultural evolutionary Stage was likewise offset in temporal sequence, by comparison with the Old World.

In the overall evolution of Homo three thousand five hundred years is an insignificant amount of time. However, when contact did occur in 1519 and 1534 (Mexico and Peru, respectively) the difference was enough to make the destruction of one sociocultural stage and its replacement by another inevitable. Indigenous Slavery gave way virtually overnight to foreign Feudalism. In this case thirty five hundred years was more than enough difference in technical development, and most importantly social organizational development, to give the Spanish ronin the decisive edge as the two stages went head to head; the one giving way to the other like anti-particles in collision with the one simply disappearing in a puff of history.

Origin of the State

Society could advance when confronted with civil war and the failure of the persuasive capability of the religious authorities only when there was a new option. Namely, the option of the richest families, to use their newly acquired ability to pacify the mass of farming families, with fire, sword and club. Those with the money had now to use it, to pay thugs to suppress by arrest and brigandage those in opposition. This is the origin of the state everywhere. Which is to say, again, that what we call the “state” is at-bottom, just armed force in the pay of the richest families. (“The state” in scientific terms then is armed force in the private pay of the wealthiest classes. “The state” is not “government” nor is it the “armed force of the people as a whole.” Rather “the State” in scientific terms, as used in this text refers to the Army and Police (or in more modern times the military-intelligence establishment and the police.) There were no exceptions then, and there are no exceptions now in the Servitude Epoch. Nor, for that matter, in the Second Transitional Period (which began in 1917) where “the state” is in the hands of the working class via its vanguard political Party. -And, “state” society must continue until the reasons for the existence of “the state” (class struggle, class war, classes) no longer exist.

Note: Neither should you confuse “the state” with the use of violence. As Engels pointed out, armed force of the masses existed before the Servitude Epoch and will exist after the Servitude Epoch. In the latter case, for example, in the form pictured for us by Gene Roddenberry, that is Star Fleet. But these ancient Tribal War Parties, and these future forms of armed force, such as a communist Star Fleet (engaged primarily in exploration and only secondarily in defense), are an entirely different matter than armed force in the very private pay of exploiting families. The latter are used to force the mass of producers into submission and obedience. In other words, armed force of the people as a whole and armed force used by the exploiters against the exploited are two totally separate categories. Armed force of the Tribe and/or Star Fleet has nothing in common with armed force of secret police, spies, regular police and the army. Marx and Engels were clear about the difference between “the State”, “Government”, and “violence”, as all Marxists have been since then. It was, and is, the inability of anarchists and their offspring [anarcho-syndicalists] to understand this difference which was the at-bottom reason for the split in the First International between Anarchism and Marxism and our subsequent parting of ways, forever.

How the financially most powerful families got that way is not the point. That could have happened in a variety of ways as I have described before, and did happen in a variety of ways, as is well known archaeologically, and for that matter in much of the historical record. What is key, is that the ideology of people is now committed to selfishness, and indeed sadism, so that the altruism of primitive communism no longer stands in the way. -And, accompanying this fundamental change in the superstructure are the armed men and women who will work for food, shelter, pay - and, fun! These are the thugs. Thuggery will be institutionalized in the form of police and soldiers.

This new basally imprinted ideology existed by the time that the Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms approached crisis. This independently supported thuggery existed by the time the ATC’s were on the eve of civil war. It remained only for the privileged ranks to throw off their sheep’s clothing and appear for what they were – classes with title deed to property in their individual hands and the willingness and ability to make it so. Thus, Engels could not have been more correct. The “state” does, always, arise as the product of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. –And, for no other reason. (See Frederick Engels classic synthesis of his and Marx’s work with that of Lewis Henry Morgan in one of its many editions: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.)

Yes, classes now exist. The ranks have become classes.

-And, the financially most powerful classes use their thugs (the first “state”) to suppress the less powerful classes. In the process many poor farmers and craftspeople are reduced to slavery. One could say that the few have domesticated the many. These are the polar opposites of the first “civilized” societies everywhere. This does not mean that all poor people in Slave Stage societies were slaves. Far from it. But it does mean that the common denominator of the cost of labor-power is now determined by whatever the cost may be of keeping slaves (1) alive and (2) in submission.

The mechanisms institutionalized, by which slavery is introduced and maintained, include debt, capture in war, punishment for civil and criminal offenses, being born the son or daughter of a slave, self-sale into slavery to satisfy some overriding need...

The new General Contradiction of society now expresses itself in a new prime directive, which is for the master class to maximize profit from the surplus value column at any cost, regardless of the amount of value and surplus value being created. The General Contradiction, in other words, is the opposite of what it was under the conditions of the First Egalitarian Epoch, as is the resulting Prime Directive. Now there is the tendency to maximize production (for the ruling families,) whereas before, there was the tendency to limit production to that of value needed (by society as a whole.)

The General Crisis of Slavery

The General Crisis of the Slave Stage is that ever deepening crisis created by the cost of maintaining the thuggery (the State) which is essential to keeping the masses in servitude. Our formula helps focus our attention on the new key diagnostic factors of profit for the rulers and the cost of their means of social organization (thuggery; i.e., the state.)

lp + t V1, V2 + SV


lp = labor-power of the slave mediated by the overseer

t = Bronze and Iron Age technology

V1 = cost of keeping slaves alive

V2 = cost of maintaining technology

SV = surplus value resulting from the homogenized collective labor input of gangs of slaves measured by some daily “clock.”

State = cost of army/police

Profit = that which is appropriated by the slave owners

The more slaves, the bigger the army and the police needed to keep them in that condition must be. The cost of the state is a drawdown on the surplus value column. That drawdown reduces drastically the profit margin.

The Origin of Egypt’s Great Pyramids

Furthermore, as capital is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer families - until just one family rises above all the others - as, for example, with the emergence of one ruling family over all of Egypt with the beginning of the Old Kingdom c.3000 BC - the boss hierarchy over the slaves becomes a dangerous internal element for the ruling family and its directly dependant ruling classes. For, if that hierarchy of bosses is allowed to use that slave labor power for its own devices, then it shall have the financial wherewithal to challenge the ruling Pharaoh, and associates, for power (and its concomitant license to incredible wealth.) Thus, that labor-power (of the slaves, and those subject to mandatory labor-drafts) must be kept busy in tasks that deny the boss hierarchy access, even when such tasks are non-productive. This is the reason for the sudden undertaking of such labor intensive tasks as the construction of all of the Old Kingdom monumental funerary architecture (e.g., the pyramids.).

These military dictators {the Pharaohs were always military dictators} had no religious illusions. They knew they couldn’t trust their own Nome bosses. (The Nile was divided into administrative units called Nomes.) So, what abstracted labor-time was theirs, that did not need to be gainfully employed by them (the Pharaonic family,) they put to work in a socially justifiable way that denied the Nome boss-hierarchy access to it. End of story.

The motive force for stability was the ruling elite’s interest in maintaining and deepening the enslavement of the masses by whatever means. The prime mover for social change was the resistance and rebellion of the most oppressed segment of society – i.e., the mass of slaves.

The in-between strata were pushed into institutionalized poverty, because they couldn’t compete with slave-labor except at the lowest common denominator. Which was the cost of socially necessary labor-time; in other words, the cost of keeping the slaves alive - i.e., Value 1.

The deepening of Slavery’s General Crisis was the same everywhere. In the civilizations of the Mediterranean, slave revolts eventually put paid to the entire process, but it took over 3000 years. In China, the same thing happened. In Mesoamerica and the Central Andes the clay feet of the slavocrats were their Achilles heal, and were cut off by the armed and armored handful of Iberian ronin who found it a simple enough matter to drive a wedge between the slaves, and other subjugated peoples, and their masters; between the subjugated societies and the Imperial Slavocrat Regimes.

(Ronin is a special Japanese term for unemployed knights in the Japanese Feudal Era. This is, for example, exactly what Hernan Cortes and his fellow adventurers {and investors} were, from the beginning to the end, in their adventure against Tenochtitlan {the Aztec name for the city also known as Mexico.})

Chapter 11: The Stage of Feudalism

Scientifically defined, Feudalism as a Stage is a half-way house between chattel and wage slavery. Thus, while the General Contradiction of the Slave Stage continues - which is the General Contradiction of all of the Stages of the Servitude Epoch - the General Crisis of Feudalism is that of both the preceding and succeeding Stages (that is, Feudalism features both the General Crisis of Slavery and that of Capitalism.)

Eventually the cost of an increasingly disaffected state apparatus, in the face of rising slave rebellion forces a change in the social order. This happened first in China. But what is key to our understanding is that slavery requires armed thuggery instantly available to keep slaves in a condition of submission and obedience. It necessitates a vicious cruelty as a regular and visible means of terrorizing the slave population into submission and obedience before they revolt. Sadism is now the law of the ideological land (and has been since the Stage of Advanced and Theocratic Chiefdoms), so to speak, and will continue this way throughout the Servitude Epoch.

Yet Slavery produces continuous resistance - continuous slave revolts - and, thus, must continuously be suppressed. This means a large and ever growing army - more and more of it garrisoned to police duties guarding the larger and larger slave pens of the Ancient World. In its most extreme form (e.g., Roman Italy) the entire Italian peninsula was turned into what was essentially one gigantic slave pen - ruled over by a group of extraordinarily rich families and their massive state apparatus (the Legions.)

Feudalism is the result of an historic compromise. The ruling families agree to give a certain amount of freedom to the slave families and to take from them only a given amount of produce and/or labor-power. The specifics vary from place to place, country to country, but the effect is always the same. Slaves have become Serfs and their running away and revolting is reduced.

The rapacity of the ruling families knows no end so eventually the crisis of slavery will reappear and more troops will be needed, and walls will have to be built, to keep peasants in submission and obedience and to prevent them from sneaking away in the night. Nevertheless, Feudalism is always a great historic compromise, granting a minimal amount of freedom to those formerly held as chattel, in exchange for labor peace.

China and Imperial Feudalism

One ruling class, in the Chinese Kingdom of Chin, decided to forge a new way forward. It featured the militarization of the population; its reorganization into a system whereby legal responsibilities to pay what was due the ruling families, were combined with a land redistribution and an adjustment in the system of payments, in kind and cash - which made slaves into small share-cropping farmers and indentured agricultural laborers, able to pay in some cases in cash rather than commodities or time - i.e., slaves became serfs. This new feudal way of life had its own ideology which in China is called Legalism.

Then Chin attacked the other six Kingdoms of nuclear China; in a lightning campaign of several years Chin brought all of them under its heel in 221 B.C. {Ending the Warring States Period [481 -221 BC] with its six major Kingdoms and four smaller ones (including the Kingdom of Chin where full scale military modernization had occurred – including the replacement of bronze weapons with weaponry made of iron and the introduction of cavalry and mounted infantry.)}

Chin’s success marks the beginning of the period of continuous empire that lasted until the 20th century – at least in form. From that time forward the new social order of Feudalism existed in imperial form in China, until it gradually began to dissolve under the impact of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1860) and was replaced de facto by capitalism. (Also, this is where the name “China” comes from – i.e., from Chin.)

European Fiefdom Feudalism

In the Mediterranean, the ruling classes were not as far seeing; had no one to bring them feudalism in imperial form. The Roman Empire West collapsed under the persistent impact of massive slave revolts. (“Barbarian” assaults from Russia and East Europe not withstanding – these had been handled for centuries by the Romans but became serious threats only when the Empire was weakened by internal slave revolts, which had tied down the Legions in defending [occupying] different regions of said Empire.)

The resulting patchwork of nearly innumerable fiefs was the political form that Feudalism took in Europe after c. AD 400. As a consequence Europe was always a pitiful, rather pathetic, appendage on the body of Eurasia. That is, when compared to the vast wealth, and advanced science and technology developed in China, where capital was concentrated and centralized and produced in amounts, orders of magnitude, greater than in Europe. The Eurocentric view of the world so common in North America and Europe when viewing the globe over the last two centuries (when the slightly earlier emergence of full scale capitalism gave these “bastions of civilization” the illusion that they were the center of the universe) is actually a rather pathetic reflection of the deep underlying ignorance that characterizes our people’s understanding of history. This ignorance is the most important product of the “everything important was made in America” propaganda kind of history taught in the mass media if not in the schools.

China’s Great Wall

As a matter to note, the Great Wall of China, like many similar walls throughout both the New and Old Worlds, was first a series of smaller walls built in China’s long Slave Stage (~3500BC to 221BC) to block “underground railroad” sort of routes to the north thereby keeping runaway slaves within the boundaries of the Kingdoms and later Empire. Only much later, with (1) the emergence of the Mongol threat as an excuse, and (2) the First Emperor’s real need to divert corvee and convict labor out of the hands of his emergent class of eunuch scholar-bureaucrats during the formative years, of Imperial Feudalism, did he convert the pen walls of Servitude China into an equally important bastion of defense. That being the joining of the walls and the creation of one continuous Great Wall across the vast reaches of China’s northern frontier.

The General Crisis of Feudalism, to the degree that it may be said to have one of its own, was “the balancing act” the feudal lords had to maintain between the disappearing General Crisis of Slavery and the ascending General Crisis of Capitalism. This was true in both the East and the West of the Old World

-And, as I have said, the Slave Stage Empires of Mesoamerica and the Central Andes were simply overwhelmed by the attack of the Feudalist ronin (unemployed knights) from Iberia. These ronin were successful because of the “clay feet” of the slavocrats. When the masses are slaves, or little better than slaves, it is hard to rally them around the master and mistress classes. –And Cortes had found that intra-class war, such as was occurring when he arrived in Mesoamerica, among the ruling classes, could be used to his advantage politically and militarily. These two factors brought down slavery overnight in the New World.

However, the feudal system was doomed not because of its nature as an historic compromise but because it’s technological base was essentially the same as the Slave Stage Ancient World - in a word, “primitive.” Machinery with independent power to which unskilled, untrained, labor-power could be put to work changed the entire nature of wealth acquisition.

Chapter 12: The Stage of Capitalism

A commodity produced by machinery to which labor-power has been put (little or no skill required now) has within it both exchange value and value as a utilitarian item. The capitalist is interested in the commodity’s exchange value for in that act (of exchange) he can realize (materialize) the surplus value inherent in the system of production wherein the workers are paid at one rate and the actual realized value of what they produced is considerably greater. This is true because within the commodity is also paid and unpaid labor-power, as we are about to see.

The Category of “Form” Determines a Commodity’s Destination

The form of the surplus value produced determines where commodities must go. In other words, if I am a capitalist producing iron I have to sell it to another capitalist (somewhere in the world) who can use it to make something - for example, steel. In this sense humanity is still in a rather primitive condition where the raw characteristics of the articles created, dictates what must happen thereafter. A useful way to picture this is to think of the “opposite” of destination being determined by form, as one sees when we think of a STAR TREK replicating machine. You ask the machine for a cup of coffee and the cup, filled with coffee, materializes. In this futuristic vision the value and surplus value inherent in the system of production are liquid (transmutable) and “form” means nothing. If we assume that this future society is a Communist system, where there is no money, no classes, no war, etc. such advanced technological conditions make sense - a la Gene Roddenberry’s presentation of the future. Under such hypothetical conditions in the future, value and surplus value are truly free and can be transmuted at will into whatever form.

That is not the situation now, nor has it ever been, in the history of capitalism (or in the history of the world.) We are still stuck with the fact that whatever the form of commodity produced may be, so its destination is pre-determined. People don’t eat iron - only certain other industries can absorb it - and, thus the surplus value within it.

The Category of “Labor-power”

Technically speaking the moment human labor was commoditized as “labor-power” we had the emergence of the germinal of capitalism. By “commoditized as labor-power” in capitalism we mean that a group of workers in a factory put out so much labor per unit time - that unit of time is measured by the factory clock. Some workers may be more efficient than others but for purposes of the “commodity” of labor-power it is whatever the average homogenized output per hour may be. Let’s say it again: labor-power as a category and as a commodity is the homogenized (averaged) factory-clock governed, collective output of a group of factory workers.

Prehistorically, and in the Ancient World, before factory clocks and without machines of the typology (diagnostics) listed below labor-power may also have been proto-commoditized as I have discussed above, in a few examples, but these represent only “proto-commoditization.”

Note: In a truly abstract sense, in our equations, we have stripped the entire matter of social production to its essence (four elements). These are (a) labor-power (b) technology (in the case of capitalism it is machinofacture; in our time automated and cybernetized machinofacture) (c) value and (d) surplus value. You may think of labor-power in our equations as having two sub-elements consisting of (i) the three dimensions of work with machinery, collectively undertaken, to which we add (ii) a fourth temporal dimension. Thus, work may (i) be measured and made more-or-less efficient in the mechanical performance sense and (ii) the necessary time it takes said work socially to occur (e.g., the way workers are organized within the factory and at the factory bench), may likewise be treated as a separate sub-element.

Socially Necessary Labor-Time

The collective labor-power input of a group of factory workers constitutes socially necessary labor-time in capitalist production. However, in pre-capitalist stages socially necessary labor-time is far less of a precise quantitatively determinable category. Nevertheless, it is critically important to cross-cultural analysis. This is true because in the Primitive World, and in the Ancient World (Slavery and early Feudalism) work also had a measured character. Socially necessary labor-time input was understood, if not precisely quantified, by those concerned. As such, socially necessary labor-time is a broader and more flexible category than labor-power (with its rigorous method of factory bench homogenizing, and factory clock measuring, of labor input.) Furthermore, the very inherent nature of the capitalist system of factory production makes paid and unpaid labor-power the basis for extracting profit as we are about to see.

The Law of Value

The scientific definition of value in its general sense is the amount of socially necessary labor-time involved in production of some given commodity. In Capitalism, value is the amount of socially necessary labor time it takes to reproduce the cost of labor-power (V1) and to maintain the machinery (V2). Usually we consider surplus value over and above these “value” costs although in some instances both V and SV are terms included in discussions of “value.” In either case and in any event in our discussions we have always reduced the matter of “social production” to its four essential elements (labor-power, technology, value and surplus value.) With the caveat that for cross-cultural comparative purposes we change the content of each term in a controlled way as we progress sequentially from one sociocultural evolutionary stage to another and from one set of equations to the next.

Shorthand in Marxist academic circles for the “value” aspect of this productive process, as a core concept, is the phrase “the Law of Value.” Remember, the ideal conditions, include (i) the world as the marketplace (ii) outside regulation is absent (i.e., free unfettered competition) and (iii) only the essential elements are included in the equations. (Labor-power and its 4th dimension [i.e., time] is one element; machinery (technology) the second; value the third; and surplus value, the fourth).

Notice that SV (surplus value) is that additional amount of commodity produced per given unit of time which the capitalist appropriates and it corresponds to unpaid labor-power, which is to say also that it corresponds to unpaid socially necessary labor-time. It is from this surplus value column that both profit and investment capital (NGM) must come. -And, it is this fact of commodity production in capitalist systems, which allows the capitalist to appropriate profit “honestly.” This is to say, without the stigma of “swindling” it via sharp trading practices.

Sometimes we say that we have both paid and unpaid socially necessary labor-time in each commodity and that refers to the amount of value (V1, V2) and surplus value (SV) represented in each commodity. So in addition to utilitarian value and exchange value, V1, and V2 and Surplus Value, we also have paid and unpaid labor involved in each and every commodity.

Finally, note that the production of surplus value and its rate of production is one thing. The production of profit and its rate of production is a separate thing. Two categories frequently mixed up together. There are many ways in which surplus value may be expended by the capitalist and profit is just one outcome. This is of critical importance to us because as you are about to see it is the absolute decline in the rate of profit, not in the rate of surplus value production, which is the at-bottom cause of the general crisis of capitalism.

Mercantile Capitalism vs. True Capitalism

The moment that long distance trade afforded the opportunity to make a profit at both ends of a deal, since the socially necessary labor-time involved in production is a complete unknown to the partners on both ends, we had mercantile capitalism. That is the accumulation of money capital via the process of trade.

However, in economic analysis of sociocultural stages we must always begin with the nature of the productive system. Thus, for true capitalism to be said to exist in the sense of production, we must have machinofacture extant. Then the potential of human labor is made real because it is magnified exponentially via the use of machinery and via the use of the new category of labor-power. At the end of each day you can see that we can visualize each hour as having a part of what is produced as value and another portion as surplus value – or at the end of the day we can say X hours have produced value and Y hours have produced surplus value - furthermore, you see that profit can be squeezed directly from said labor-power, out of the surplus value column. Remember our definitions: Value 1 is the wage paid to the worker for his labor; again in strictly economic terms we are purchasing the socially necessary labor-time to use via machinery in the production of a commodity for exchange. Value 2 is the cost of maintaining the machinery and the factory. In this case, capital is accumulated via production when the owner of the machinery and the factory who is also the purchaser of the labor-power appropriates profit from the surplus value column directly, rather than having to swindle it via “sharp trading practices” from a seller at one end of some deal, and a buyer at the other.

What do we mean by machinofacture?

The manufacture of commodities via the input of labor-power applied to machinery is what we call machinofacture. It is the technological heart of true capitalism. There were originally five essential technological elements to machinofacture; these being:

(1) a cheap and plentiful supply of highly carburized (flowing pig) iron; from which a somewhat decarburized wrought iron was obtained (from which steel can also be made.) This meant blast furnaces, for both the pig iron and the decarburized wrought iron. China had blast furnace flowing pig and wrought iron two thousand years, or more, before it was invented in Liege c. AD 1500.

(2) Machine tools to cut and work iron and steel and make machinery.

(3) Iron and steel machinery to produce other commodities such as pottery and textiles.

(4) Steam engines. These were the first sources of power to be put to machine tools and machinery independent from those of nature (wind, water, animal, human power.) As a matter of interest the Chinese invented the steam engine many centuries before a French priest brought a toy steam engine back to France. This toy inspired Denis Papin to put the principles to work. The Britisher Thomas Newcomen heard of Papin’s experiment and proceeded to build the first steam engine in the West which was later perfected by Mr. James Watt.

(5) Factory installation of machinery to which human unskilled labor-power could be put to work.

In this way we see that the pure category of abstracted socially necessary labor-time, which is to say of commoditized labor-power, emerges and is henceforth the key to capitalist production. This category (labor-power) was Karl Marx’s original and unique contribution to classical political economy. Otherwise Marx accepted most of the categories of economic analysis of Adam Smith, Ricardo, et. al. The “proto-“ steps leading toward this entirely new category in economic analysis are what we should look for in our studies of prehistory. You will recall that we found this category clearly emergent for the first time, in Advanced Theocratic Chiefdoms [ATC’s] (labeling it so and assigning it the definition of being the lowest common denominator for determining V1.) In so doing we were linking socioeconomic prehistory to history.

Capitalism in Origin

As for the emergence of capitalism a few comments are in order. Actually, as I have pointed out before, we can see germinal capitalist sectors in the political economy of both the Slave and Feudal Stages (West and East and in the New World also.) -And, as I have also pointed out, this is because whenever labor is pooled and averaged according to some homogenizing, averaging, equalizing equivalent to the factory clock, we have the germinal of capitalist production. Whenever labor-power is purchased and put to work, whether on the land or in the factory, we have a capitalist germinal element emergent. These germinal elements in the Old World go back to the first city states in Sumeria, along the Nile, and in nuclear China. The later archaeological record in Mesoamerica is replete with examples of purchased labor put to work on the land and in factories from Olmec times forward; in Peru, from Chavin times forward.

In fact, you will recall that we found proto-commoditized labor-power in the Hunting-gathering Tribes and in Agricultural Tribes. In Stone Age Economics, as in modern Economics, one can trace specifically defined attributes back into their previous forms and this search for the origins of commoditized labor-power is an example.

Why didn’t the capitalist sector of these Ancient Slave and Feudal Stages become ascendant earlier? Precisely, because machinofacture had not yet been invented. The essential five diagnostic attributes we discussed above simply had not yet come together in one place at one time prior to the second half of the 1700's AD. When they did come together in Europe and New England and in China (and in preliminary form in other parts of the world such as Latin America) Capitalism quickly replaced feudal land holding as the primary source of wealth for the domesticating and ruling classes. Quickly, is of course, a relative term. From the time of Oliver Cromwell, a capitalist farmer himself (who purchased some labor-power each year to use on his lands rather than taking feudal tithes from serfs), in say 1640, until the emergence of the five essential technological elements of original capitalism in Old and New England around 1765, 125 years passed.

Note that the transition from feudalism in Europe to Capitalism in Europe and the America’s, was not a peaceful transition. Actually it was never a peaceful transition anywhere. Everywhere the bourgeoisie had to fight for political power. Recent novels and films about the transition to imperial feudalism in Japan (Shogun) where the new class of burghers played a role, and their later transition to full power in a stage of Capitalism they create in their own image in Japan (The Last Samurai) are examples on point. We should be, given the excellent historical record, well aware of the details of this struggle whether in the English Civil War, the American Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, the Taiping Rebellion in China, or the Meiji Revolution in Japan. On the other hand academia has often spent more time in obfuscating the process rather than in explaining what was going on - at least as far as textbooks for the lower grades in North America are concerned. So, in reality despite the excellent historical record there is very widespread ignorance of the transition in countries like the USA.

However, at the time, the underlying cause of the anti-feudal revolt among the English was not much of a secret. This is not to say that the religious arguments of the English Revolutionaries of 1640 to 1660 might not tend to confuse the realities of those moments today. It is to say that a correct understanding of all of the religious arguments among the Protestant New Model Army men and the various Parliaments of the English Revolution period requires class analysis.

The highest class of the English Revolution in terms of mass numbers was that of the capitalist farmers (e.g., Oliver Cromwell) - and these capitalist farmers did have some aristocratic allies supporting them, rather than the King and his feudal parasitocracy, precisely because they were convinced of the advantages of hiring labor rather than having to hire men to control serfs. The next highest groups of Republicans were the independent petty bourgeois shop holders and guildsmen (artisans, mechanics and proto-proletarians belonging to guilds.) Finally, there were the lowest level of the Parliamentary forces - the serfs and the landless agricultural laborers. Each of these three groups had a name (Congregationalist-Independents, Levelers, Diggers) and each had a program that became increasingly radical from top to bottom. In fact, at the bottom, we have what Karl Marx would later call a primitive kind of communism being preached. All three classes of the revolutionary forces tried to justify their actions according to a particular interpretation of the Bible which began with the Pre-Ordained Divine Plan beliefs of Oliver Cromwell and ended with the most radical interpretations of the teachings of Jesus Christ at the bottom.

Eventually capitalism had to win out over feudalism because the productive capacity of machinofacture was of a qualitative order of magnitude greater than any feudal land-holding system, even one in its finest hour. Armed with plenty of cash the bourgeoisie eventually had to succeed. But, they could not succeed permanently in the years of the English Revolution and the English Republic (wherein both the Monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished) either in Old England or New England. Why not? Because, the five original essential elements of machinofacture were still over a century away when Oliver Cromwell died in 1658.

Origin of Capitalism in Europe

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels saw the emergence of capitalism in Europe as having occurred first in the city-states of Italy, especially, northern Italy. Here the city-state communes of places like Padua had in the 1300's become concentrations of pooled, averaged, factory clock regulated, thus commoditized, purchased labor-power alongside, or part of, the older guild system. Marx and Engels also recognized the expansion of European capitalism as being intimately involved with the discovery of gold and silver in the New World. It was this overnight concentration of cash wealth in the hands of the ruling classes of Europe which gave them not just what they needed to trade with in the great ports of the Old World, but also the capital they had to have to invest in expensive new technology (such as the Liege blast furnace invented and invested in heavily there beginning in 1500 - only two years after the greatest gold strike in the history of Europe had been made in Hispaniola.)

East African, Arabian and South Asian ports had just become open to Europeans, and for the first time, since the collapse of the Roman Empire West c. AD 400. Columbus was well on his way to opening a new route to China and the Japans even though he made it initially only as far in the Bahamas in1492. Portuguese sailors rounded the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) a few years later.

The Crusades

Remember that prior to the last decade of the 1400's Europe was an isolated appendage of the Eurasian land mass and all trade had to go through expensive middle persons. The Islamic regimes of Arabia controlled most of Europe’s trade with Arabia, East Africa, India, Indonesia (the Spice Islands), China and the Japans. European ruling classes were so unhappy about this that for several centuries they had tried everything to find a way to cut out the middle people. Thus, for example, the Crusades. Yet, to no avail.

It would be the Iberians, on the tip of the European peninsula, pursuing their natural inclinations to explore the neighboring territories, which meant by boat, who would take the successful route down the west coast of Africa, finding thereby the direct route to the Far East, round the Cape of Good Hope.

Europeans on a “Cash Only” Basis

All of a sudden, in the decade from 1492 to 1502, the European turn toward naval circumvention of the Muslims paid off. Portuguese sailors found the tip of Africa in the South and quickly turned northward once again from the Cape of Good Hope making their way to Calicutt, India by way of East Africa and South Arabia -And, Spanish privateers used the Bahamas and Cuba as their gate way into a truly New World. Shortly they would cross Mexico and build the direct route to East Asia dreamed of by the Great Admiral, Cristobal Colon.

Now, the manufactured goods of the Italian city-states, Benelux, France, Germany, London, and so forth, could find their way to the great markets of the Old World without the intolerable cost of the Muslim interface. They could also be sold to a “made” market of European colonials in the New World.

The enslavement of the Native Americans provided the key thing European traders needed however, and that was cash. Gold and silver would pay their way into Asian markets any time. Which was essential. Because European goods were cheap and shoddy. Furthermore, the Europeans had nothing to sell that the Asians didn’t have in better quality and larger quantities with the exception of English wool, White slaves, and personal firearms. (The Chinese had had cannon for at least three centuries by this time, but had never taken it to the level of muskets and pistols for the individual fighting man.)

Yet this period, beginning in the late 1400's, was nothing more than what Marx and Engels said it was, “the rosy dawn of Capitalism.” It was not true capitalism in the sense of production via machinofacture (and its five essential technical elements) with its cheap, unskilled, workers at the factory bench, where their purchased labor-power was pooled and averaged and regulated by the factory clock. In the decade 1492-1502 this was just more mercantile capitalism. -And, so it would remain until the Europeans invented machinery and then also brought said machinery to the masses of sub-humanized people of South Asia, especially India. Chief among these would be the English capitalists.


Because the French capitalists lost what Winston Churchill has called “The First World War” (what in the USA is often termed “The French and Indian War”) and was fought out on a global basis. The most important part of that British global victory was not in North America but in India where the French were forced out for good. This “First World War” (1758-63) was still a good two and a half centuries away from the days of rounding Good Hope and discovering the Bahamas. Thus, the “rosy dawn” of capitalism occurred within the Feudal Stage (albeit it, of course, in the final Phase of said Stage.)

General Contradiction vs. General Crisis

As we have seen the greatest transition, in human history, occurred many millennia before the emergence of Capitalism. That was when the General Contradiction of the primitive communism of the Hunting-gathering Stages and Tribal Agriculture, expressed in the prime directive to avoid surplus production at virtually any cost, had been replaced by the General Contradiction of the Servitude Epoch and its prime directive; namely, to maximize surplus production regardless of the amounts of value and surplus value being produced. This General Contradiction of the Servitude Epoch continues in the third and final (Capitalist) Stage of the Servitude Epoch, and, of course, in the preceding transitional phase out of Feudalism. So, Capitalism emerges long after the Great Divide in Human History. But, it continues with that General Contradiction (of the Servitude Epoch) as its own. What about the General Crisis of Capitalism?

The General Crisis of Capitalism

As we have seen each Stage has its own specific General Crisis. Capitalism will have its own General Crisis and we can see it in the germinal forms from which it emerges.

In the Capitalist Stage the General Crisis is a function of the competition between the sub-column of “profit” and the sub-column of “investment in the Next Generation of Machinery (NGM)” under the category we call Surplus Value.

{In this discussion of the mode of production of the Capitalist Stage you should remember that one given (condition of the problem) is that ‘what is produced is sold, or otherwise realized, in the marketplace.’}

The Law of the Absolute Decline in the Rate of Profit

The General Contradiction of the Capitalist Stage is the same as it was in the preceding Stages of the Servitude Epoch - the drive of the domesticating, exploiting, ruling and owning classes to maximize their profits, regardless of the amounts of value and surplus value being produced. The General Crisis of Capitalism is, however, as Karl Marx discovered, distinct from that of slavery. In fact, it is unique. The General Crisis of Slavery was created when the financial cost of the police and the army needed to keep the slaves in obedience and submission continued to increase (not to mention the more intangible “social cost” of the Generals realizing that they could replace their employers.) In capitalism the general crisis is caused by the necessity (to stay competitive) to continue to invest more and more money into new and continually successive generations of machinery. In order to stay competitive each capitalist must constantly buy new machinery that produces more commodities per unit of labor-power employed. Even so, unless the amount of labor-power going into the productive process is increased on a one to one basis with the introduction of each new unit of machinery the rate of profit per unit of labor-power must decrease. It must decrease because the new machinery costs a lot of money, and without increasing labor-power input, the rate by which surplus value is increased must be relatively less than it had been previously, precisely because of this new cost of new equipment. It is this fact which creates the crisis. That is why we say that, at-bottom, the General Crisis of Capitalism is caused specifically by the law of the absolute decline in the rate of profit.

What precisely does this mean?

When the capitalist buys new equipment to stay competitive, and to reduce the cost of the labor-power going into his productive line, he takes a reduction in the rate of surplus value creation. Why? Because, he reduces his work force, or reduces the hours of labor-power of his original work force, thus reducing the hours applied to the new machinery; simultaneously he increases the cost of “t” because of the cost of installation and higher maintenance costs. On top of that, remember that both the cost of the next generation of machinery (NGM) and profit must come from the surplus value column. There is nowhere else for either to come from. If the new machinery is ten times more productive per unit of labor power applied to it, (more productive than the previous machinery,) the capitalist will make more money, even after factoring-in installation and increased maintenance costs, but there is less overall production for the surplus value column AND HIS RATE OF PROFIT MUST FALL since we must now factor-in the cost of the new equipment.


His rate of profit must fall for two reasons: (1) the only way to maintain the same rate of surplus value production (given the cost of purchasing, installing and maintaining the new equipment) is to introduce labor-power at a one-to-one ratio with the productive power of the new machinery. Under capitalist relations of production this cannot be done. The idea was to reduce the cost of labor and to stay competitive. His idea was not to hire more workers and/or to put all these laborers to work for longer periods of time. Either one or both of these would result in increasing the cost of Value 1 (wages), thereby decreasing the amount of production dedicated to the SV column. (2) Furthermore, by increasing the amount of surplus value devoted to investment in the next generation of machinery (NGM) he further decreases the amount of surplus value available for the profit sub-column; production which at any rate has already witnessed an increased value 2 – i.e., increased the magnitude of V2 (maintaining newly purchased and installed equipment). Finally and most importantly, the capitalist must pay for the new equipment, and this new cost factored in, reduced absolutely the amount of surplus value available for profit.

Look at the formula:

lp + t V1, V2 + SV


(a) (b) (c) (d)

lp = labor-power (a)

t = machinofacture technology (automated, cyberneticized in modern times) (b)

V1 = wages (c)

V2 = cost of maintaining machinery (c)

SV = surplus value (d)

NGM = Next Generation of Machinery the loci of the general crisis. (d)

Profit = that portion of surplus value appropriated by the capitalist (d)

To maintain the rate of profit one must first maintain the rate of surplus value production by introducing new labor-power equivalents [a] to the new machinery [b] at a one-to-one ratio. Otherwise the percentage rate of surplus value on the right side of the arrow must decline, as the new equipment has to be paid for also, as does its installation and maintenance. Less surplus value means less available for profit, because second, the complex of new machinery costs must also come from overall value-surplus value production further reducing the amount of surplus value available for the profit sub-column. This is an iron law. There is no way around it. {Except in the future with robotic artificially intelligent STAR TREK labor-power when it would be possible to introduce {a] at the equivalent one-to-one ratio with [b] – and, where the cost of the new machinery [d] is easily absorbed by the vastly increased productive capability of the robotically manned overall system of production, assuming there are no social restrictions as there are under capitalism to such a policy. In a capitalist system this introduction of labor-power at a one-to-one ratio isn’t done, as we have seen above, so the (i) rate of surplus value production has to decline on the right side of the equation, because (ii) the heavy investment in purchasing, installing and maintaining the new machinery combine to leave less surplus value available for the profit sub-column (with V2 increasing alongside t - i.e. with “c” increasing along with “b”.) That is, the totality of costs (i.e., where these costs of “t” are accounted for under V2 and NGM) of all of this new equipment further reduces the amount of production available under surplus value for the profit sub-column. Thus the rate of profit must decline. Simple arithmetic. (Or perhaps not so simple – but, nevertheless just as real.)

There are things a capitalist can do which will ameliorate the speed by which his rate of profit will decline. Always these have to do with decreasing the cost of (a) by decreasing the amount of (c). Slave labor in Nazi systems, or simple wage control, declining safety procedures (failure to adequately maintain equipment and working safeguards) under fascist systems, are examples, but there are many other less draconian ways such as those pioneered by the North American capitalists (including “Taylorism” [i.e., efficiency] or assured US governmental contracting or simple monopoly). But in the end they are all stop-gap band-aids if you will and can only work for limited periods of time. Another topic for another book.

{Note: in Stalinist Socialist systems it has been possible to introduce labor-power at a one-to-one ratio with new machinery and new factories (via reduced wages, forced labor, volunteerism, Stakhanovism [enthusiastic worker dedication and sacrifice in production]). –And, what would have been profit is shifted instead to other sub-categories, especially NGM. Furthermore, these things were done - especially in the USSR under Stalin and in China under Mao. This is the at-bottom economic reason why both countries witnessed the early “miracle of overnight development” that was the centerpiece of attention in the world academic community of economists in the 1930's and 1950's respectively. However, there are reasons why this kind of an increase in applied labor-power cannot last forever (can only be temporary), and without giant leaps in technology which take time, but that is also another story for another book.}

At any rate, in practice, and most commonly, some capitalists try to maintain their rate of profit by decreasing their investments in NGM. Eventually they lose competitive advantage. One capitalist eats the other. Capital is concentrated and centralized. This was discovered by Karl Marx in the mid-1840’s. Marx began his full explication in Capital Volume One (1867). In practice in the 20th century we have seen the capitalist classes resorting to various extreme measures such as Nazism, a variety of fascist practices insuring low and controlled wages, ignoring deteriorating working conditions, and the US system of assured governmental contracting, and always the tendency to monopoly maximized.

Negating the Law of Value

Free Enterprise vs. Monopoly and Non-Competitive Contracting

Corruption is Inherent in Capitalism

There is a widespread myth in capitalist economics, or at least in the way it is presented to the unknowledgeable beginning student, that “free enterprise” is an essential characteristic of the capitalist system. Exactly the opposite is the case, in fact.

The law of the absolute decline in the rate of profit is the at-bottom reason why the primary drive of capitalist enterprise is always toward (1) monopoly and further toward (2) assured (which is to say Government guaranteed) contracts. It has always been the case that capitalists struggled to get contracts without competition (See Marx’s Capital Volume III) and to assure that what competition exists exists at an absolute minimum.


It should be obvious. If one can obtain an assured purchase price of commodities through a monopoly on their production or at least at a price one dictates via negotiation with a “friendly” purchaser it is a world far preferable to one in which the law of value is allowed to dictate price. In this way the capitalists who succeed in achieving a monopoly on producing said commodities or at least arranging friendly (non-competitive) purchases can also assert some control over the otherwise absolutely declining rate of profit precisely because eliminating real competition is in effect a means of negating the law of value. It is a form of corruption, of course. But it is so essential to reversing the otherwise destructive tendency (to maximizing profit) created by competition, where each capitalist must otherwise attempt to turn the law of value to his own interest by doing something to cut costs per commodity produced, that there is no other realistic way to turn. Corruption is as you can see, therefore, inherent in the capitalist system.

If I can get the US government to pay me according to some assured formula (such as cost-plus “defense” [war] contracting – where the US government assures me (the capitalist presenting the commodity) that I will be paid my cost of production plus a guaranteed profit (of say 17%) I need no longer worry about the Law of Value. At least for the moment. No one else will be allowed to compete with me for the commodity being produced (say a warplane) and the more I spend the more profit I will make (17% of one billion is a lot more than 17% of half a billion). In the most egregious contemporary cases such as the war contracting for US imperialism in Iraq, the process is taken to the extreme. Now, in the USA, favored corporations are handed guaranteed cost-plus contracts without ever having to even submit proposals for initial review (as for example competing capitalists have had to do in the past when submitting proposals for weapons systems, where two or three were allowed to compete). Now it is up to the contractor to decide if a hammer is worth $1.95 or $101.95, which aside from ethical considerations makes “price” an altogether “arbitrary” matter. (There may be delayed checks by regulators but the key word is “delay”, because the capitalist already has the money and has been using his ill-gotten gains for even further profit making in some or another way.)

The desire to have assured government contracts lies at the bottom of Western European capitalist war contracting since the days of old. Whether in Britain or France, for example in the 1600’s and 1700’s, manufacturers always sought to eliminate the law of value via corrupt practices (buying government and legislative agents under the table) to assure the awarding of such contracts. The same was the case in the USA during the Revolutionary War and everywhere else the bourgeoisie fought for power. (Cheating on quality and quantity of course is a better business practice of all concerned but altogether aside from this inherent corruption – a different type of corruption.)

In summary, eliminating competition (the absolute tendency of capitalism toward monopoly) is an inherent function of the recognition of capitalists that they could temporarily negate the law of value and for awhile offset the absolute decline in the rate of profit. It has its most modern manifestations in fascist systems such as those of Germany and Italy, or for that matter in the USA with its post-World War II cost-plus “defense” contracting and current non-competitive bidding.

Now, for a few additional comments on the birth of Capitalism.

Capitalism in the English-speaking World

As we have seen true capitalism, in the sense of capitalist production, required a ruling class with machinofacture (and all five of its essential minimal elements) as its profit center. Once that existed then it was possible for the middle classes (which is what the French word “bourgeoisie” means) to mount a serious effort to take political power away from the feudal aristocrats and nobility. Not that these middle classes hadn’t already tried.


The first Western Area attempt to put political power in the hands of the bourgeoisie occurred in the English Revolution {I like to use the dates 1640 -1660 for convenience. In actuality it would be more like 1642 - 1658.} Note that at this time the English-speaking World consisted only of what we call the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the North American Atlantic Coastal Colonies with a few Caribbean colonies thrown in. The entire English-speaking World of that time was affected by the English Parliamentary revolt.

This revolution was eventually headed by Oliver Cromwell who used his New Model Army as the social engineering instrument which shaped the entire experience. The New Model Army could not be defeated. Because of that military fact Cromwell was able to abolish the Monarchy and the House of Lords. He created the English Republic and tried to put political power in the hands of the bourgeoisie. But, without machinofacture as their overwhelming profit center, the bourgeois elements, especially the capitalist farmers, were unable to make their revolution permanent.

Cromwell’s New Model Army was based on capitalist farmers such as himself. Why do we call them capitalist farmers if capitalism did not yet exist as a sociocultural stage? Because these are farmers who “hire” labor as they need it. These are farmers who prefer not to incur the expense of hiring thugs to control serfs. Once Cromwell died, and his military genius removed from the class struggle, it was only a matter of time until the wealth of the aristocrats and nobility from their traditional sources (peasants held as serfs; and to the degree they were invested in proto-manufacturing endeavors and world trade, from those too) reversed the political gains of the English Revolution. For a time the traditional Monarchy and House of Lords returned. Cromwell’s rotting corpse was exhumed and flogged and it seemed as if everything gained in Old England by the civil wars and revolution had been lost.

Although, in Britain, machinofacture was on the horizon, ascendant, it was not yet transcendent. It would take another century for the five essential elements to come into play simultaneously, thus, it took the British bourgeoisie another century to fully take command. Although, after the post-Cromwell “Anti-restoration Revolution of 1688,” the British burghers were never less than equal partners with the landed aristocracy.

North America

At the same time, almost as if out of sight out of mind, the New Englanders had been left alone for a good two decades - really closer to three decades. -And, during that period of time they had developed their own domestic political institutions. Furthermore, the drastic labor shortage in New England had created a tremendous demand for every kind of gadget and invention that could save labor-power input and magnify what labor-power input that was available!

This is why the first really successful transition to Capitalism as a sociocultural evolutionary Stage occurred in New England. Left to their own devices the North American middle classes made a successful way in both the area of political life and in the equally important area of rapidly coming to terms with the new technological innovations. Innovations leading to germinal machinofacture! By the time we see the Anti-Restoration Revolution of 1688 in England, the North Americans had plenty of experience, (nearly four decades of practice,) in de facto self-government minus feudal interference. That fact, forever marked the further evolution of those English colonies along the Atlantic Coast.

The fighting for a new and bourgeois dominated way of life began in North America in 1775. Almost a century after the Anti-Restoration Revolution of 1688 in London. But, its destiny was laid during the Cromwellian Revolution of 1640-1660 and it’s consequences would be truly revolutionary. Semi-Capitalist farmers like Washington and Jefferson combined with Capitalist manufacturers and mercantilists in New England to put paid to the extended arms of British Colonialism and the feudal order/cum capitalist order, it represented. Since, in the British North American colonies, the machinofacture elements were in place alongside those of mercantile capitalism, and capitalist farming was the basis of this largely agricultural land, and because there was only a weak native feudal (Loyalist) overstructure to combat, the North Americans were able to pull off a successful military struggle with some critically important help from their enemy’s principal enemy - the French capitalists and aristocrats. That war, conducted by George Washington and his Staff, changed history forever.

Think about it. It’s as if Cuba’s quiet success in building Socialism may someday (say one hundred years from now) be seen as the real beginning of true Communism, even with the collapse of the World Socialist Stage’s homeland. Certainly, if not Cuba, then China, may emerge as the first of the true Socialist and later Communist countries. Not that anyone would have thought this way when everyone’s eyes were focused on the USSR! This is one of the advantages of having a Olympian view of prehistory and history. It makes the comparative method of historical analysis fruitful.

However, the Cuban, Chinese or Vietnamese situation may turn out to be as prognosticators of the future of Socialism, there is no doubt but that the USA, tiny and virtually impotent, was the first homeland of the first permanent truly diagnostically Capitalist Stage (minus the Feudal residue of Great Britain) country in the World.

Why? Because all of the trappings of power that spread awe and aura among most observers are really irrelevant to the outcome. What are important are the underlying economic and political diagnostics of class power. The Americans had the unhindered, critically important social and cultural and technological elements for building capitalism, even if the World didn’t know it until much later.

Before Industrial Slavery in the USA

Even the existence of slavery did not seriously, adversely, effect the North American bourgeois success, since the slavocrat economy of the South (as we were about to know it) was still in a rudimentary phase; the slave owners were as likely to be neutral or supportive of the Revolution as they were to be loyalist. Witness the slave owners Washington and Jefferson. Some of these slave owners were more attuned to the use of free hired agricultural labor to which slavery was a somewhat antiquated adjunct (thus, the term “semi-Capitalist.) A true united front could therefore be, and was, forged. Industrial slavery of the sort that followed the introduction of the Cotton Gin and the huge increase in demand created by the textile capitalists of Europe, was yet to come at the time of the US Revolutionary War (1775-1781).

Note that many of the textile capitalists, especially in Great Britain, were unusually intelligent. For example, Frederick Engels was a British textile magnate. Some of them were capable of foreseeing the doom of US cotton slavery and the General Crisis of Capitalism (with it, the concomitant need to move factories to India.)

The French Revolution Brings Capitalism to the Fore in Europe

The Great Revolution in France, in 1789, brought the bourgeoisie to political power there. Let us examine a few of the reasons why capitalist revolution in France was so much more important to the political immediacy of the European continent than anything that the North American Revolutionary War portended.

France had been the heartland of Europe since the collapse of the Roman Empire West. It was France that had the overwhelming concentration of Western Europe’s population, which was four times as large as the rest of Western Europe combined. -And, the French had inherited the infrastructure of advanced technology of the preceding Roman Slave Stage

The French Monarchy and its Consigliore would never have consented to help the North Americans (in the US Revolutionary War of 1775-1781) with their radical political program being propagandized here and there and everywhere if they had really thought the Americans had any chance of spreading such pernicious doctrines in France. The French rulers had millennia of experience in class dictatorship and a very efficient and effective state apparatus. At the center, were the secret police and this police force had concentrated the French noble families (the French boss hierarchy equivalent to Egyptian “Nome bosses” or Chinese “scholar-bureaucrats”) at Versailles (now a Parisian suburb). These bosses numbered some 400,000, individuals; all deeply in debt, and under constant surveillance. The French rulers felt confident in their ability to keep the status quo extant.

What the French Monarchists did not understand was that Capitalism in both manufacturing and agriculture had a new and permanent technological base. The French “High Command” did not understand that the amount of capital being created permanently in the hands of the owners of the capitalist farms and the factories was overwhelming vis a vis the traditional sources of feudal capital accumulation. -And, all of this capitalist income was above and beyond, and in addition to, the vast amounts of money capital being acquired globally, in everything from sharp trading to the exploitation of slave labor in the Caribbean. These French “middle persons” (bourgeoisie), and the intellectuals who adhered to them could not be set aside and ignored. Yet this was something that the Old Regime could not understand and therefore, could not admit.

Thus, came the uprising of 1789. This time it was the turn of the French ruling classes to experience the civil war that their English brethren had gone through well over a century earlier.

In the event, France’s civil war quickly spread throughout the country and ended in the liquidation of the aristocratic and noble classes and indeed of the Monarchy and all of its institutions. In three short years. Along the way the Revolution gave the peasantry the land of the Monarchy, the boss hierarchy, and their Church. In so doing the Revolutionary leaders created a vested interest in making the Revolution permanent among the masses of French farmers. It would be these capitalist farmers that provided the cannon-fodder for the Revolutionary Armies and those of Bonaparte a few years later.

In the two decades following the uprising of 1789, the French capitalist classes in various political forms, destroyed feudalism, not only in France, and the heartland of the old Roman Empire (the entire Riviera from Rome to Barcelona and adjacent territories), but in much of the rest of Europe as well. This was accomplished militarily. At first under the various governments of the Revolution proper and later under the leadership of Bonaparte.

The Restoration of 1815

There is little new under the Sun. With the collapse of the French Revolution/cum Empire the Feudal elements with the foreign (Russian) troops they needed at their disposal, attempted to reverse all the gains of the bourgeoisie. At the Congress of Vienna (the Congress of Victors), in 1815, it may well have seemed to observers that they had succeeded. But, as in England with the death of Cromwell the success of the Feudal Restorationists was destined to be short lived. For, at-bottom, the nature of technology had changed forever. Thus, while the political form of French government featured the restored Old Monarchical order, the underlying economic and thus inevitably the political power would have to be in the hands of the new, and permanently emergent, agricultural and manufacturing middle classes.

Continental Capitalist Economic Downturn Leads to Continental Revolution

The General Crisis of Capitalism (which we defined above} began to come to a head in the 1830’s and finally provoked the European wide Revolutions of 1848-50 wherein labor found its first independent political role. This real world event triggered the acceptance of Karl Marx’s theoretical discoveries by the European labor movement. -And, it encouraged the more far-seeing and richest European capitalists to try sending more machinery to the cheap labor of the colonies. Sharpest, at this hinge of historical fate, were the British textile magnates. They envisioned India’s cheap labor applied to their machines. They knew, from experience, about Indian contributions to dyeing and weaving; they saw that the huge numbers of absolutely destitute people on the Indian subcontinent could be placed at the factory bench - burned up - replaced again - ad infinitum.

Capitalism Prospers in North America

While the attention of Europe was focused on its own deepening economic and political crises in the 1840's what went largely misunderstood, or completely non-understood, was the great success of the North American bourgeoisie. They had spread into the West and South of territories only nominally theirs and often into territories belonging to other nations. -And, in all these cases they were successful.

Furthermore, the technological progress of the North Americans was phenomenal. Every kind of advanced industry existed in at least one of the Northern cities. -And, compared to Europe, North American capitalists had relative labor peace. When the urban proletariat grew too angry with their conditions in factories the American capitalists had the open valve of the West beckoning to these disaffected workers. Workers could take their ambition and give capitalist farming a try in the West (“Go West Young Man”). The heat was off of the pressure cooker the way it could never be off in Europe. Thus, the North American industrial capitalists avoided any duplication of the European Revolutions of 1848-1850 that brought Karl Marx and his analysis of Capital, and what needed to be done about it, to the fore. (Marx’s original “Critique” of Capitalist production was written and circulated by him and Frederick Engels in the mid-1840’s; and its implications were popularized by him during the European revolutions of 1848-1850 (e.g., The Communist Manifesto), and led to the book we know as Capital Volume One in 1867). In fact the Gringo Regime was so stable that it profited from the difficulties of the European rulers by completing its seizure of the rest of northern Mexico including New Mexico, Arizona and California. Whatever the French and English may have thought about renewed Yankee aggression there wasn’t much they could do about it with their state apparatus’s struggling just to stay afloat.

In summary, by 1850, the North American capitalists had not only avoided the proletarian uprisings preoccupying Europe, but they had seized northern Mexico as a result of their victory in the First Mexican War. They brought new territories into the Union and California entered as a “Free State.”

Yet, the gringo capitalists had a cancer in their system just as deadly as the armies of unemployed workers were to their European counterparts. What was that cancer? Slavery.

Free Labor vs. Slave Labor – Whither the USA?

The US northern Capitalists were forced to pay a high price, to their Slavocrat counterpart rulers in the South, for California and the West coming on board without slavery. That was the United States Federal “Fugitive Slave Act.” For the northern fat cats the Slavocrat South was about to become a worse problem, at least temporarily, than the indigenous revolts of proletarians in Europe.

The US federal courts were as corrupt in 1850 as they are today in 2009 and the US Supreme Court was controlled by the worst of the worst of the Southern slavocrats. These evil men had only one interest; that interest lay in maintaining a tight rein on their slaves. The new law created a force of federal commissioners to hunt down fugitive slaves in any state and return them to their owners. Even Africans who had been free for many years, and lived in Free States could be seized and “returned.” The commissioners were nothing more than scum-of-the-Earth hoodlums, but they enjoyed a new legal status with the power to kill while in pursuit of Black Men, Women and Children, and under the new US federal law these thugs could compel citizens in Free States to assist in the pursuit and de facto kidnapping of runaway slaves and free Blacks! Hefty fines and prison sentences awaited Whites who refused to cooperate. A captured Black person could not testify on his or her own behalf and was not entitled to a court trial.

Civil War in the Offing

This Act enraged the North. Some states reacted by passing legislation designed to hamper the federal thugs activities, but such laws were declared unconstitutional by the slavocrat U.S. Supreme Court. When riots occurred in Northern communities and when soldiers were deployed to restore order, the soldiers refused to fire on the protestors. In Kansas and Nebraska the gauntlet was thrown down by Free Soilers, not about to put up with the Fugitive Slave Act or the idea of slavery on their Free Soil! Civil War was in the offing, as the 1852 publication of Harriet Beacher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin prepared the people of the North to see slavery in the South for what it really was. -And, the Achilles Heal of the Southern Slavocrat Regime was laid bare for all to see. That was the running away to Canada and Mexico of thousands and thousands of slaves not about to put up with enslavement any more. At least 150,000 slaves escaped to Canada, and perhaps that many more made it to Mexico. When the South’s evil leaders realized that their Fugitive Slave Act was going to fail they prepared to leave the Union and form their own tyrannical state! Those of you interested in the history of the Slave Revolts that brought the slave system to its end should read US Communist Herbert Aptheker’s doctoral dissertation (published as American Negro Slave Revolts in 1943) and his earlier work on the Nat Turner Rebellion and go from there.

The First Imperialist War

By 1850, the profits returning to the capitalists of the United Kingdom from the factories they had installed in India triggered the Crimean War of 1853 - 1856. The Russian financial capitalists and their Czar hoped to seize India’s cheap labor from the English with their massive land armies. The outcome was devastating for the Russians and not so good for the Light Brigade.

(After Cromwell, the British rulers would never allow promotion in the officer’s ranks except for reasons of class and privilege. Thus, one of the most incompetent aristocrats ever to wear a British uniform was in charge of the Light Infantry Brigade at Balaklava. He took a private yacht to the war zone and bedded down there with a bevy of beauties and the best of food and service. His tactic in the crunch was to lead his dragoons (mounted infantry), weak and dying of dysentery, straight into the artillery of the waiting Russians, who naturally, wiped them out. Thus, Lord Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade: “Not for Us to Reason Why; Only to Do or Die!”)

Civil War (1861-1865) in the USA Changes Marx’s Presentation of Capital

The US Civil War, triggered the destruction of the slavocrat overburden that the North American burgeoning bourgeoisie had inherited as a product of the way they fought and won the Revolutionary War with Great Britain (1775 - 1781.) During the course of the US Civil War, Karl Marx created the {First} International Working Men’s Association {1864 - 1872} as part of his support of the Great Republic.

Those who have read Capital (Volume I) know that it begins with a citation about the historic significance of the US Civil War; but you may not know that it was that war which brought Marx to a new way of presenting his magnum opus to the world.
Why? Because, from a ruling class point of view, the struggle in the US between the Capitalist North and Slavocrat South was fundamentally a struggle between those who advocated that labor-power be purchased and paid at free value (therefore at a higher rate than the slave but without the financial burden of policing the slaves) and those who advocated that labor-power be paid at the value of minimal subsistence (the cost of keeping the slave alive and paying those holding him in subservience).

For free workers the struggle was a reflection of the struggle for paid hours of labor versus unpaid hours of labor. With free workers having to compete with the lowest common denominator (cost of keeping the slave alive) the hours for which they would be paid would be very few indeed – thus, the status of poor Whites in the South became known to advancing Union armies as the living conditions of “poor-White Trash.” –And, the workers of England and the rest of Europe understood this very well. As Marx had written to Abraham Lincoln, on behalf of the (1st) International Workingmen’s Association, European labor had seen the struggle of the Great Republic against Slavery as its own struggle! The struggle for paid hours of work, and adequate pay at that, is the very heart of the international working class movement – the very heart of Marxism.

The Psychological Theory of Marxism

Marx dropped the long introductory sections on the “history of the theory of surplus value” from Capital Volume I (these would eventually be published by Karl Kautsky in three parts [before he turned renegade] and today are often referred to as Capital Volume IV by Marxist scholars.) Instead, Marx substituted “The Commodity.” Why? Because, in and of itself the capitalist produced commodity embodies all of the secrets of capitalist production.

Of equal importance, is that within the commodity lie the secrets of psychological fetishism wherein “the material relations among people appear as social relations between things.” -And, this is the basis for the further development of the Marxist theory of psychological imprinting which I have explained in this Handbook. In that imprinting of the underlying template of material relations also lies the secrets of sexual fetishism, where sexual object identification is part of the reflection of these material relations of life. These underlying templates are (1) the altruism of primitive communism and (2) the sadism of the servitude epoch. In the transitional periods, both.

Without Feudalism, Without Slavery, the Future Was Theirs

The end of the US Civil War brought both capital and labor to the fore in North America, as the prime interested parties, and thus the prime movers, respectively, in advancing and defeating the Capitalist Stage. –And, as Marx’s creation of the First International of Workingmen, and his services in blocking Britain’s entry into the War on behalf of the Confederate Regime (also, blocking British construction of Naval Men of War for the Slavocrat Regime in Richmond by organizing a giant British national strike action), was well known to the readers of the New York Daily Herald (for which Marx had been the London correspondent), Marxism began to make rapid headway in the American House of Labor. Not too mention the post-1850 arrival of real Marxists among the refugees from the European working class revolutions of that time (1848-1850).

The New Englanders had begun their political life in the 1600’s essentially independent of Feudalism, as we saw earlier in this book – now they would continue it without the anachronism of Slavery. –And, as the struggle between capitalists for the world’s cheap labor and markets intensified, the inherent necessity of revolutionizing the means of production did also. Let us examine this notion of revolutionizing the means of production.

The “Form” of Surplus Value Determines its Destination II

Machinofacture increases the productive power of human labor exponentially; it creates huge amounts of commodities. But, the national market is limited to the purchasing power of workers (who are paid at Value - that is, the cost of their wages, keeping them alive [and their families]) and the luxury living requirements of the capitalists. That is not enough. As I pointed out in the beginning of this section, and as Karl Marx discovered, it is the “form” of a commodity which determines its destination, thus, also the way in which the surplus value within said commodity can be realized, or made material, so that the capitalist can use it for his advantage. Something besides value (I & II) and Profit must take up the excess surplus value.

Even though the capitalists have the world as their market (not just the nation in which production occurs), a basic condition in the economic theory of all of Marx’s work, this is still not a sufficient answer. No, the answer is that for the massive surplus value being produced, to be consumed, it has to go to more constant capital (the physical means of production) - iron isn’t eaten, it has to go to the steel industry - steel has to feed the machine tool, machinery and construction industries. In other words, other capitalists are often the only and best market for all of this excess surplus value. Revolutionizing, or innovating, new means of production, offers the needed market for all this surplus value.


This was true then. It is just as true now. This is the reason for the exponential increase in the rate of new generations of equipment (Next Generation of Machinery – NGM, in our formula) being invented and brought on-line. For example, one no sooner has a computer than it is “obsolete.” Contemporary computer manufacturers have a “law” which says that microprocessors will be completely reinvented (revolutionized; improved) every 18 months. They rely on this “law” for the survival of their industry, by recreating the marketplace continuously.

As we have seen capitalists always strive to eliminate competition via (a) monopoly and (b) assured (friendly; corrupt) contracting. They also use their governments to (c) force further innovation. For example, the US government (by way of Congressional legislation) was recently used by manufacturing capitalists to force TV stations across the nation to go to High Definition (by law!) despite the fact that such technological advance means extraordinarily high costs for the capitalists of the communications industry (not to mention the “unnecessary” aspect of such new legally mandated equipment.)

In short, no kind of end-user capital absorber would work unless it was constantly being reinvented (revolutionized.) The means of production, in other words, have to be built all over again. This is quite feasible if the rate of improvement and innovation of the means of production keeps apace with the need of capital to find an outlet. This is what drives innovation in Capitalism. This is what, as Marx discovered by 1844, is responsible for the exponentially, logarithmically increasing rate of innovation in the means of production in Capitalist systems.

Seeds of Its Own Destruction

As constant capital (e.g., machinery) increases as the end-user of surplus value, and more and more workers (the owners of their own labor-power) are sent to the street (unemployed) with the introduction of the new machinery, generation after generation, workers become increasingly restive. The Iron Law of Capitalist Relations of Production is creating its own grave digger. For workers as a class have no choice but to struggle to seize state power; to put an end to capitalist relations of production in favor of relations that put them at the top of the priority list rather than at the bottom of it. Workers must have a system of social relations that put their needs first, rather than putting the maximization of profit for the domesticating (exploiting) few at the top of that list. (See The Communist Manifesto, Chapter 2, Paragraph 22). Working Class power must become their political objective.

That is why we Bolsheviks are a working class Party. We know scientifically that only the working classes can create humanity’s future, because only working people “have” to create such an egalitarian future. (Again, the Star Trek model of advanced technology and advanced social relations may be an excellent tool for educational purposes when organizing contemporary working people.)

At any rate, after 1850, more and more capital was sent abroad to utilize the dirt-cheap labor-power of the colonies. The sending of more and more machinery to the colonies was the response of the most sophisticated capitalists within the ruling classes. But most importantly in the half-century from 1848 to 1903, was the growth of the international organization of labor under the banner of Marxism, because the acceptance of Marx’s discoveries was the most sophisticated response of the most advanced workers of the capitalist world. (1848 being the European revolutions and the appearance of The Communist Manifesto and 1903 being the formation of Bolshevism.)

More and more unemployment at home triggered revolts. The rising of workers in France in the form of the Paris Commune of 1871; the USA revolt of workers that resulted in the St. Louis Council of 1877, were early related events. Related because all of the capital being sent abroad decreased still further the employment roles (workers receiving factory wages) in both countries. (Of course, in both cases there were many other specific factors involved in both uprisings but for our purposes we are concerned with the role of exported capital.)

As it had been in the 1840’s, the Americans were less affected in the 1870’s than the Europeans, by this extra-territorial flight of Capital. This time, because of the rapid industrialization, and expansion of industrial infrastructure, that accompanied the destruction of slavery in half the North American nation, after northern victory in 1865.

Nevertheless, the US situation was exacerbated by the desire of capital to flee to quicker-return profit-center parts of the colonial world (such as Latin America.) In fact, the shortage of capital in the USA was so great (initially as a consequence of Lincoln having begged and borrowed every bit of money he could get his hands on to pay for the cost of the “industrial” way the Union fought and won the Civil War) that Capital in Europe was finding New York a far more profitable place to go than to stay at home.

(As a matter of interest, “James Bond” creator Ian Fleming owed much to his grandfather, who became one of Britain’s richest men by making 40 odd trips back and forth from Scotland to New York with bags of cash he was able to raise overnight in the UK for railroad and other industrial investment in the US and the US Latin American de facto colonies; the senior Fleming starting as a simple clerk who noted upon arrival in New York, with the end of the Civil War, that capital invested brought two to three times as much in the US as in his homeland of Scotland.)

Workers parties began to appear in the European capitals of Capital. Parties which took Karl Marx and Frederick Engels as their mentors (even though both men were often at odds with these would-be offspring.)

These years were also the years of maturation of the phase of imperialism of the Capitalist Stage. Imperialism is the last phase of the Capitalist Stage. However, this phase has proven to be of over one hundred fifty years in duration, and we can now see that it will continue well into the 21st century, despite the fact that both Stages of Socialism are now extant on the historical stage.

Why Racists and Fascist Radio Nutballs Sometimes Succeed

As you can see the laws of capitalist production were not easy to discover. Frederick Engels remarked in his 1883 funeral eulogy to Karl Marx in London, that the unlocking of the “secrets” of capitalist production was one of Marx’s two greatest contributions. (The other being the discovery of the laws of history as we reviewed earlier; in the USA what is more often thought of as the tripartite nature of the (anthropological) concept of “culture.”)

Workers know they are being exploited but the mechanics of that exploitation are difficult for them to understand in many cases. After all it took the genius of Karl Marx to explain the process to intellectuals. As a consequence workers have often fallen victim to all kinds of persons who would trick them. Fascist radio nutballs like Rush Limbaugh for example and others like Hitler and Mussolini use populist language as the first and foremost trick after racism - Hitler put the words “socialist” and “workers” in the name of his Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workingmen’s Party.)

One of our tasks is to set the record straight and educate those workers we can reach who have been misled. Because, if we don’t, and we allow them to become Nazi’s, then we will end up having to kill them somewhere down the road in the inevitable armed struggle.

Fundamentals of Historical Materialism Part II

Socialist Transition

Chapter 13: The Stage of Stalinist Socialism

Neither Karl Marx nor Frederick Engels tried to predict how long the transitional Stage of proletarian domination of society’s government’s and state authority would last. What they did agree upon was that such a Stage of working class ownership, if you will, of society’s political and “state” (instrument of class oppression - army and police) apparatus would be necessary while the new proletarian class gained ascendance and the old exploiting classes were defeated. Nor would Marx and Engels be persuaded that the subject of the length of the transition from Capitalism to Communism was a subject even worth discussing. Much the same can be said of V.I. Lenin in Russia when he confronted the issue. All of these intellectual giants knew one thing - it was impossible to predict the future that accurately. There were just too many variables.

What they all did know however, was that there would be one or several intermediate Stages before humanity reached that stage of fully free and human society where human power was its own end. That is, power of humans as a species. Not some humans at the expense of other humans. Having said this, I should also point out that among the high-minded altruist intellectuals of the labor movement in Europe and America, there was also the unspoken almost secret assumption that working people would quickly put affairs in order, and go about creating a kind of nirvana or paradise here on Earth, they all believed was quite feasible once contemporary society of dog-eat-dog was done away with. In fact, much the same naiveté exists among many of today’s “would be” revolutionaries.

This was an extremely naive and dangerous assumption. In the early 1900’s, it almost undid everything.

Building within society, because of the underlying mental template of selfishness and sadism that workers were inculcated with to greater or lesser degrees, was the absolute corruption of the labor movement itself; therefore, of the “Labor Party” which sprang from it. In Europe, only the Russians escaped the total perversion of their labor party; that was due to the historically peculiar and particular fact of Vladimir Illych Ulyanov, who we know as V. I. Lenin.

But this corruption of the working class movement did not begin during Lenin’s lifetime. Marx saw the corruption of the labor movement and its Party during his life; he had a plethora of comments to make about it, in letters and in formal papers (e.g., Critique of the Gotha Program.}

Lenin later took on the bourgeois socialists in the RSDLP (Russian Social Democratic Labor Party) and forced them into a split in 1903. After which his majoritists (bolsheviks) constituted a de facto separate Party from the traitor minoritists (mensheviks.) From that point forward the Bolsheviks were the true Labor Party in Russia. The others were bourgeois socialists who formed capitalist parties with a “pitch” to working people. Such a clear division of those claiming to represent labor happened nowhere else in Europe. Since 1917, true Labor Party leaders have been known world-wide as Bolsheviks. -And, Bolshevism, recognized as the only correct form of scientific Marxism by persons considering themselves communists.

Yet Lenin was also naive. He failed to internalize the complete and total assimilation of the “Labor Party” in the European countries, into the boss hierarchy of the Capitalists over the working class. He believed, as apparently did all the other altruistically inclined naive, that the resolution they had forced through the Second International Congress of 1907 (Stuttgart) actually meant that the now thoroughly corrupted Social Democratic parties would really plan for their member workers to turn their guns against their own governments, when the inevitable imperialist world war broke out. One has to be thoroughly separated from the way real people think to have seriously entertained this concept. Passing a resolution does not alter objective reality.

The Pie-Cards

-And, that reality was that the European Social Democratic parties had become the willing handmaidens of European capitalist imperialism. They were led by men whose idea of "socialism" was to have a piece of the capitalist "pie." A pie obtained by stealing from the cheap labor reserves of the Third World. For such leaders a "union card" was to be a "share" in said capitalist pie. Thus, the origin of the term "pie-card" for anti-Communist union leaders around the English-speaking World. Again, the consequences of this naiveté among Bolsheviks, were almost fatal to the birth of the Socialist Stage at that point in time.

Why Did the Capitalists Start the World War in 1914?

Decades of investment overseas - much of which began in the late 1840's - which is to say the shipping of machines and factories (constant capital) to the colonies - produced great profits throughout the decades preceding the world war of 1914. Especially in the twenty years before the outbreak of hostilities. But! The profits that came back in 1913 were so stupendous that ruling capitalists in all the capitalist countries saw that it was time to go to war.

War could do two things for the capitalists of England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Japan and the USA. It could give the victors even better access to that cheap labor-power in what we call the Third World and those colonial markets they might capture. That was the best case; in the worst case, the losers would lose a few colonies; and the capitalists felt it was a risk they were willing to take; losses could be negotiated to a minimum. -And, there was no downside! No matter what the military outcome, each capitalist class would have liquidated millions of its most troublesome male workers.

These European workers were the single greatest threat the capitalists faced. To Capital they were the enemy within. As Karl Marx predicted, massive armies of unemployed existed throughout Europe. -And, the Marxists had radicalized these workers by educating them as to the nature of the Capitalist system. By 1913 these workers, more often than not, were no longer needed as cheap labor-power because the capitalists had seized Africa, Asia and Latin America and had their dirt-cheap labor at their disposal. Even though their leaders were corrupt, and a de facto part of the Capitalist classes ruling hierarchical machines, no one could tell when this boss hierarchy of “social democrats” might be pushed aside, by the rising tide of working class militancy - or, that their bosses, the Social Democratic union pie-cards might not decide to take power anyway, as they would be the class administering the factories supposedly under “public” ownership.

No. Take no chances. Kill as many male workers as possible. -And, then if some domestic additional labor-power should be needed you could put their women and children into the factories. They were by far the best workers anyway because they were easier to control. Well over a century of experience had proven that. It was women and children who were first brought into machinofacture production. -And, the history of this tradition goes way back into the Feudal Stage.

Under Feudal conditions, in China and in Europe, women and children producing yarns and pottery pre-forms had made all the difference between starvation and survival from year to year for the serf household. Why? Because the men were worked so hard by and for their masters, there was nothing left for their families.

It now seems inconceivable to me that anyone could have thought that anything other than what did happen on the 4th of August, 1914, would have happened! Yet it caught Lenin totally by surprise when the German Social Democrats voted the war funds for the Kaiser’s Capitalist Regime and the war was off and running! -And, then, the other traitor parties of Social Democrats did the same thing in England, France, Italy, etc., ad nauseum.

Vladimir Illych Ulyanov: the Czar’s Greatest Mistake

A brilliant Russian student, Alexander Ulyanov, tried to do something to help his country. Consequently, he was hung in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg by the last of the Russian Czars. This was Czar Nicholas’s greatest mistake.


The Czar would pay with his life! -And the lives of his wife and his children too! Because Alexander’s brother, named Vladimir Illych Ulyanov, would see to it that he, and they, died under bullet fire in 1918.

But there was far more to it than just revenge. What was this all about?

Vladimir Illych Ulyanov, later to be known as Vladimir Illych Lenin, led the Party that overthrew the Czar’s evil regime and created the first worker’s government in the world.

Vladimir turned his attention from the normal pursuits of a bright young boy in High School to revenge, when his brother was murdered. –And, as the whole world knows, he was more than successful. Lenin did far more than avenge his brother. Lenin avenged the entire working class of the world against their common enemy.

Born in 1870, Lenin, or V. I. Ulyanov, was the son of a relatively prosperous petty bourgeois family (his father an educator and a Czarist bureaucrat; his mother was fully bourgeois and a large landowner.) Perhaps no one could, or should, have expected this young person to be more than his parents. Yet, history has a way of determining what each person might or must be. In this case, history created one of its greatest actors.

Alexander Ulyanov was a budding biologist when arrested by the Okhrana (the Czarist secret police) and typically passive politically. At least, until, and because of the Czar’s incredibly inhuman oppression of farmers in Simbirsk, he tried to help by removing the Czar. Accused of attempting to assassinate the Czar, of which he was guilty, he was informed upon, and arrested. Alexander’s family was not without influence in St. Petersburg (later named Petrograd by the Czar and still later named Leningrad by the victors in the coming civil war) but without his father (now deceased) his mother’s and his family’s influence was insufficient to send the boy into exile.


Vladimir began studying Karl Marx the summer following his brother’s hanging. He spent that summer with an uncle and used the time to read Capital Volume One and that made him decide to pursue the same course as his brother but to do it scientifically. Meaning to organize and utilize the growing mass of proletarians in Russia’s major cities. No longer the happy-go-lucky, go-along-to-get-along, slap-on-the-back, fellow-well-met, type of High School student he had been before Alexander’s hanging, Lenin now became, according to Krupskaya (his wife to come), somewhat morose and introspective. Vladimir remained very close to his mother and his sisters over the coming years but to all of them he had “changed.” Vladimir was now a very “serious” young man.

“Serious” has always seemed a serious understatement to me. I think even a perfunctory review of Lenin’s life leads us to conclude that Lenin never had a thought in his mind other than the overthrow of the Czarist regime and equally in importance in his mind the substitution of human control over our own destiny, after his brother’s hanging.

Together Forever

The most important thing in life is “to try” in my humble opinion. This is as true in revolutionary politics as in any other aspect of life. Lenin saw it that way. He gave up what would have been an extremely lucrative law practice specializing in working class law (contract law for employees; workmen’s compensation, etc.) to organize Social Democratic (revolutionary) workers circles and was rewarded accordingly with imprisonment by the Okhrana and exile to Siberia. Along the way he met a beautiful young intellectual woman, Krupskaya, and after his arrest and exile to Minusinsk, Siberia, she also was arrested. For whatever reason she had the presence of mind to tell the police the total lie that she was Vladimir Ulyanov’s wife! However, that may have been in her mind, it is certainly true that Lenin thought of her that way after their coming three years in joint exile, and he became her husband. The proof being that Krupskaya’s gambit ended up in making the two of them husband and wife for the rest of their lives.

As an aside, I have only known two people personally, that knew each of them, and in each case I have been told that Krupskaya was not only a brilliant person personally, but an extraordinarily sensitive and loving person. Especially loving toward the poor and defenseless. I believe this to be a correct assessment. Not just because of the role she played politically over the coming years but because of the fact, before she met Lenin, she was dedicated to trying to help poor farmers learn how to read and write. In fact it was in this early embryonic period she met Lenin. He convinced her that the problems of the poor and ignorant could not be resolved by bourgeois charity but instead the entire system had to be changed.

Krupskaya wrote a biography of Lenin and as the years progressed she granted many interviews with the Soviet and foreign press that were specifically directed at learning more about Lenin the Man. The thing that stuck in my mind the most from the very beginning of my reading was how Alexander’s hanging changed Lenin’s life. Recently I wrote a (soon to be published) “novelistic history” of the covert intelligence service of international Communism entitled Red Sword, Red Shield. I call it “novelistic” because based on documents and interviews I had to recreate conversations I imagined to have taken place in many cases. In this matter I have Krupskaya saying, to paraphrase, “…we spent a long time together alone in Siberia and during those years I came to see how an atrocious act can influence other unrelated persons. Lenin told me ‘he was responsible for Alexander’s death because he was so involved with his athletic endeavors and sports events that he had ignored his brother and therefore knew nothing about his involvement with those who would change Russia by assassinating the Czar.’ He said many times that this was because of the nature of our society, being focused as it was on bettering oneself, making money, getting ahead. I told him again and again when this subject came up ‘Illych (Lenin was called Illych by his family and friends rather than Vladimir) you are not responsible for what your older brother did about which you knew nothing.’ He said with absolute certainty, and those of us who knew Illych know when he made up his mind that was it, that he was responsible even if by ignorance and inattention. He called it third degree murder. You know his legal training. –And, he would not allow me to pursue this too far. His point always was that the whole thing was just stupid. He said ‘even if they had succeeded what difference would it have made? There would have just been a new Czar! I don’t know why Alexander couldn’t see that. It was so obvious. If you want to get rid of Czarism you have to overthrow the system, not a man!’ Then one day he said, ‘Krupskaya I don’t ever want to discuss this again. I have chosen my side. Either they will kill me or by God I will destroy not only this bastard the Czar but his entire system, and liquidate the entire class of capitalist bloodsuckers behind him’

“That was the last time we ever spoke about Alexander. I was young and in love and somewhat insecure in that we were not really married, except now in the common-law way, and I did not want to presume any more than I already had in telling the Okhrana the blatant lie that we were married and getting myself shipped to Minusinsk. The truth is that I don’t think Illych even remembered me when I showed up on his doorstep. I immediately confessed to him what I had done and to my everlasting gratitude he acted as if I had done exactly the right thing and invited me in to his home.”

I have seen photos of Krupskaya as a young woman at the time she met Lenin and I think she underestimates the impact she would have had on any man. She was indeed strikingly beautiful and I doubt very much that Lenin would have forgotten their having met in Social Democratic secret settings. However that may have been the two were together, forever, thereafter.


After Alexander’s execution Lenin became a lawyer. He specialized in representing workers in the fine laws. In fact that is the name of his first publication. This refers to the law in Russia at the time which allowed workers to be fined monetarily for errors made in the workplace or tools damaged in the performance of their duties. Obviously this was a gimmick to justify cutting a workers paycheck. Yet, the authors of the fine laws had placed certain provisions in these laws which allowed workers to contest the fines. That was just what Lenin as an attorney needed if he were to bring a worker’s case in front of the Czarist courts.

Lenin gathered a following in St. Petersburg because of his success as a personal injury lawyer representing workers, and even when not successful he gained a great deal of admiration from working people. Not satisfied with these endeavors he immediately began to educate in secret his clients and their friends. He used his position and his contacts to gather the raw data to prove that in sociocultural evolutionary terms Russia was a capitalist country albeit primitive and terribly distorted by Czarist feudalism. He published his first theoretical book The Development of Capitalism in Russia. This led him into becoming one the founders of Russian Social Democracy. The Russian Social Democrats were just carbon copies of the German Social Democrats at this time, but they were the only worker’s party (other than the crackpot anarchists) in Russia. Soon, he was arrested, jailed and eventually sentenced to exile for three years in Siberia. The Czarist secret police were well aware that Lenin was the brother of the executed Alexander Ulyanov and had been keeping a close eye on him. Perhaps some of the cops were even sympathetic because of what had happened to his brother. After all they could have killed Lenin in his jail cell had they had anything truly personal against him. Obviously they didn’t.


Different people react to prison in different ways. Lenin was a rather normal political prisoner as far as the Okhrana was concerned and they soon forgot about him. Most young bourgeois intellectuals learned from this experience and would return to society as reformed and rehabilitated young people bent on achieving success in business or academia or some such thing. Some would be slow learners and return several times before they too saw the light. Overall it was a system that had worked extremely well for Czarism. Curing the stupid while they were still young enough to understand that “resistance is futile”. Far better than alienating their families and friends forever as would otherwise most likely occur, if they were hung. These were young men and women whose families and/or friends were important.

Lenin spent his time in exile planning to overthrow the entire Czarist system. If there was anyone the Okhrana should have murdered it was this young Russian lawyer in Siberia, but the Okhrana didn’t know what was going on in Lenin’s mind, and even if he had told them they would have laughed. How could a newspaper endanger their system?

Lenin knew he had to get out of Russia as soon as possible and as soon as his prison term expired and he was released he left the country quickly. So quickly that he had to leave his new wife behind, for her prison term still had time to run.

Lenin had a plan. That plan was to go to London and to start a new newspaper which in his mind he had already named Iskra (the Spark). Why London? Because in 1899 London was where the majority of Russia’s Marxists were living. They had taken the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party leadership function to London. A Party only created in Russia the year before leading to the immediate need to flee as the Okhrana had infiltrated their ranks from the beginning and knew more about them than they knew!

The Source of our Error lay in our deficient Understanding of Sociocultural Stage Psychology (Mental Template Imprinting)

Having completely misunderstood the absorption of the German Social Democrats into the boss hierarchy of the German Capitalists Lenin was stunned and shaken. He went to the Bern (Switzerland) library in September of 1914. Why? Because he was going back to Hegel. He spent a year trying to figure out what had gone wrong. The fact that he had to do it this way, shows how isolated he was from the reality of everyday people; the way they think. Which is rather amazing, given his many years of underground organizing and clandestine operations, not to mention his jail time and exile to Siberia for three years. This is more than an interesting sideline to our story. It is the very essence of it. Because as you are going to see, if you haven’t already, it is the idea that people, especially poor and working people, are ideologically pure of heart, essentially good, born with a blank slate, etc. which turns out to be fundamentally wrong. People are whatever the environmental template of society is – culture being the environment – and when it is altruistic people are altruistic and when it is selfish-sadistic people are selfish-sadistic. Furthermore, and finally, the template is set by the Epoch and the Stage and is inculcated into nearly everyone regardless of class. It would take many decades to figure this out. Now, back to our story.

Herein Lies the First Importance of Joseph Stalin

Did Joseph Stalin suffer from this kind of extreme naivete?

There were not many naive bones in Stalin’s body. Stalin came from the most oppressed sector of Georgia’s working class would-be small-bourgeois population. He suffered an alcoholic father that beat him senseless, and left him with a crippled arm and a religious washer woman for a mother. His first sexual experience was with a religious and uneducated Georgian girl. A young woman who he nevertheless was deeply in love with; her death by poverty scarred him psychologically for the rest of his life.

At any rate Stalin had gone to prison seven times and escaped six times when the First World War broke out in August of 1914. I suspect that Stalin wasn’t surprised that all the traitor parties were traitor parties. What else could you expect from a labor movement that had been co-opted into the boss hierarchy of the capitalist classes? Nothing else.

Now the workers would have to pay the price of having been betrayed. For, re-division of world markets and cheap labor-power (in the colonies) was only one objective of the world war the capitalists had launched. The other was the equally important objective of killing as many million supernumeraries, unwanted, and dangerously restive socialistic/communistic European working class males as possible! Lenin understood this and so did his principal Bolshevik followers. Of all of them, it was Joseph Stalin, a direct victim of all the evils of his time, who perhaps more than any other, understood in his very soul the truth’s of Marx’s and now Lenin’s understanding.

This is what the US ruling bosses have in mind for you, by the way. Their plan is to kill you off in huge (genocidal) numbers, at home and abroad. You are no longer necessary to them. They have begun by building prisons for you, using the phony “war on drugs” as the excuse; engaging in wars planned to kill you; creating new diseases to exterminate you; and exploiting environmental catastrophes of geologic proportions to finish off the job. -And, in this latter regard, have had the insulting audacity to put on a Hope-Crosby type of “road movie” to dull your perception (as in “the Traveling Clinton-Bush” road show.)

Stalin’s first importance to Lenin and the Bolsheviks was precisely because he was clear on the nature of the enemy and what was to be done about them AND he was willing to get those things done for his Party and his Chief. –And, this clarity was achieved first of all in the real school of life. Lenin recognized these qualities in Stalin, calling him “that wonderful Georgian.”

Stalin’s Special Relationship with Lenin

One might wonder why the question of Stalin and Stalinism has been so terribly distorted in the English-speaking world. The answer should be obvious. The ruling capitalist classes, and their academic toadies, desperately needed to attack Stalin and they found the most convenient way of attacking him to utilize the mythology spread by Trotsky about him. The international communist movement had already handled the lies spread by Trotsky so there would have to be a new set of lies and myths from a reputable source to do the job against Stalin and the imperialists did not have long to wait. Within three years of Stalin’s death, they had a new arsenal of lies to use against the memory of the man who had made Socialism triumphant across the surface of the Earth. This coming in the form of a new mythology created by Stalin’s one-time right-hand man, Nikita Khrushchev, in his so-called secret report to the Party Congress in 1956. That nonsense put the icing on the anti-Stalin cake being cooked up by imperialism in conjunction with modern revisionism. All of this seemed to vindicate the fairy-tale novelistic history written by Robert Payne based on nothing but his own creative imagination working on Trotsky’s earlier published slanders. –And, so there it stood.

As the years since 1965 progressed and I read more and more of the original documents I came to see an entirely different Stalin than the one Trotsky propagandized. So different that it is truly shocking. Furthermore, because of my own involvement in the intelligence service I began to see how Stalin organized and led the most important combat part of the international communist movement – the Red Secret Service – and, accordingly, have been writing a book about it (Red Sword, Red Shield). Let me give you an accurate assessment of Stalin’s originating role in the Bolshevik Party.

Stalin was born Joseph Vissarionovich Dzugashvili on December 9, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. Nicknamed Soso by others, he chose the name “Koba” for himself by the time of his adolescence. In time he would take on a new name. His official new name would be Stalin, the man of steel. But that was some time into the future. For now Stalin would be Joseph, Soso, or Koba.

Koba was the hero of a Robin Hood novel about a Georgian who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Joseph continued to use Koba as his first name in the underground world of the RSDLP. The main book that Koba read was The Patricide, its author Alexander Kazbegi – perhaps the wealthiest landowner in Georgia - had released his serfs from their serf obligations, given away his own wealth, and gone to living as a simple herder of sheep in the mountains of Georgia. Writing his Koba stories occupied Kazbegi’s plentiful spare time as a shepherd during the years 1880 to 1886. The first six years of Joseph’s childhood.

At the age of 8 Joseph’s mother enrolled him in elementary school. Here he was forced to learn Russian, as instruction was done only in Russian, and he completed elementary and middle schooling therefore in the Russian language. He graduated with honors from this church school in 1894 and at the age of 14 was admitted to the seminary in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Georgia, for high schooling, which was the only way toward a higher education for a poor boy. The following year at the age of 15 he joined the Russian Social Democratic circle (called Mesame Dasi) in Tiflis (renamed Tbilisi in 1936 by him.) There he caught the attention of the man who would become his mentor, Leonid Krassin. Krassin was a well educated capitalist, working for Russian wildcatters and foreign oil concerns as a manager, company man and sometimes as an entrepreneur for himself, wildcatting in the rough-and-tumble oilfield culture of Georgia, especially around Caspian Sea Baku and Black Sea Batum. Krassin was also a secret organizer of the newly created Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

Koba’s World

The US Civil War led to the most rapid transformation of an economy of primitive capitalist accumulation into one of massive capitalist accumulation that the world had ever seen. Among the most important commodities the US capitalists were supplying to Europe were petroleum products. Among these in 1875, the production of kerosene accounted for half of the volume of the US production of oil and kerosene export constituted 25% of US total export value. Most of this export went to Europe. It was inevitable that European capital would recognize the profit to be had in seizing part if not all of this oil. The family leading the assault on the American monopoly was named Nobel. (Later of Nobel Prize fame.) At the turn of the century three families dominated the Russian oil industry: the Nobel’s, the Rockefellers and the Rothschild’s. This world Koba encountered as a teen-ager was about to be changed: by him.

The Nobel’s in Russia

On the periphery of Europe, both in terms of sociocultural stage evolution and geography, was the Russian Empire. Industrialization began to get underway in the Russia’s with a vengeance at the same time as massive capital accumulation was occurring in the Americas. In 1862, St. Petersburg, capital of the Russian Empire, witnessed a new kind of miracle. Arriving American kerosene allowed the capital to be lit at night, all night, cleanly and safely. When the night lasts nearly all day for six months of the year, this was not a minor development.

At the head of this venture was the chemist Robert Nobel, son of Swedish originating, Russian military-industrial inventor, Immanuel Nobel. Immanuel’s company collapsed and another son, Ludwig, took over trying to salvage the remnants of his father’s failed military-industrial complex. Critical to Ludwig’s success was the invention of dynamite by still another son of Immanuel, Ludwig’s brother Albert. Ludwig dispatched his brother Robert to the Caucuses to come up with the wood for the rifle stocks he now would produce under contract for the Czarist Army.

When Robert arrived in Baku, in the spring of 1873, it was, as I say, to purchase wood for Ludwig’s rapidly growing armaments factories where rifle stocks for new Czarist Army contracts were needed. Robert immediately grasped two things about the oil boom at Baku. One was that kerosene could be made cheaply here if one had a refinery. The second was that he finally could get a second chance; it was an opportunity to amount to something more than a black sheep in the family. He took the 25,000 rubles his brother had entrusted to him for walnut wood and instead invested in a small refinery. At first it seemed that Robert had turned into another “Jack” as in the Beanstalk fable. Fortunately for him, he would turn out to be right on both counts.

Three years later, in 1876, the first shipment of Nobel Kerosene arrived in St. Petersburg. The Imperial viceroy for the Caucuses was the Czar’s brother, a friend and business partner of Robert’s brother Ludwig (the brother with the rifle contracts in St. Petersburg.) Ludwig had, therefore, the corrupt Czarist family top-dogs in his pocket when he arrived in Baku with a plan to do for Russia what Rockefeller had done in the USA. –And, Ludwig was another Rockefeller. He had the ability and moreover the scientific and technical knowledge which had always alluded Rockefeller personally, although the Standard boss very much appreciated science and engineering, to build a new industrial empire and so he did. It was called the Nobel Brother’s Petroleum Producing Company.

Within a few decades Russian oil production surpassed that of the USA! By 1885 it had reached 10.8 million barrels! One reason was that Ludwig had invented bulk tanker shipping! Instead of the barrels that had to be manhandled on ox-drawn carts and primitive boats all the way north, Ludwig came up with the idea of pouring all the oil into huge ship borne tanks. He commissioned special ships that did little besides bulk-up on oil and head north. The first bulk tanker was sailing the Caspian in 1878. Ten years later bulk tankers would be sailing the Atlantic Ocean. Yet oil had to traverse the Caucuses Mountains to get from Black Sea Batum to Baku on the Caspian Sea, or vice versa, and for Russia itself the Caspian shipped oil then had to be manhandled once again at Astrakhan onto barges fit to sail north up the Volga River.

Interestingly Ludwig and Robert pioneered two important developments in Russian industry. One was the use of scientists in charge and the first geologist on an oil company payroll, anywhere in the world, was in Baku at Robert’s most advanced refinery (scientifically, engineering-wise, and technically) in the world. The second was the Nobel’s decision to put labor relations at peace; acceding to the demands of local workers for a decent way of life. Both worked, especially the latter. That would turn out to be important.

Thus, the rise of the first militant organized labor movement in Russia along the Baku-Batum petroleum corridor is at first rather surprising. In fact, it was here in the first years of the coming century that Joseph Stalin would arise as the boss of Russia’s first successful organized labor unions, and simultaneously he became the most important in-country organizer for the newly emerged Bolshevik Party led by the revolutionary intellectual chieftain Vladimir Illych Lenin (who at that time was in exile in London.) Stalin (Koba) (and his other soon-to-be famous comrades) would give Lenin the two things he needed most in 1903. What Lenin needed first was a real and militant, not to mention successful, organized labor movement with a permanent union in the oilfields. –And, secondly Lenin needed money and he got that via bank, stagecoach and steamship robberies, conducted by Leonid Krassin and his” boys.” Krassin’s “boys” were just boys. For example, Stalin started working for him when he was just fifteen. Stalin soon rose to run these “expropriations” or “exes” as they were known among Social Democrats, to be the man in charge. Lenin made that decision when he decided to move Krassin further up the ladder of penetration inside the Czarist regime and get him out of the line of fire. Even so Lenin would later jokingly refer to Krassin as “the finance minister of the Bolshevik Revolution.” Meanwhile Stalin made the Bolshevik Party the first financially independent working class vanguard Party in the world! In addition to Stalin, “Lenin’s boys” included the future head of the entire Red Army, Kliment Voroshilov, and future President of the Soviet Union, Michael Kalinin. Soon Lenin elevated both Krassin and Stalin to be members of the Bolshevik Central Committee.

However, in the 1880’s all of this oil was being consumed in the Russia’s by industry as lubricants and by domestic consumers in the form of kerosene for lighting. Half of this was owned directly by the Nobel’s. As in the USA the real-world market was confined largely to their respective nations and Europe. That was about to change as initial phase (primitive) imperialism (shipping of constant capital – i.e., machinery and the factories containing said machinery to cheap labor colonies) was about to advance into a new phase (advanced imperialism), as the capitalists were about to raid each other’s markets. –And, as the capitalists struggled to get control of Asian and African countries in search of their raw materials and the cheap labor they wanted to exploit them. Of course, the search for oil would be a principal target. The result of both of these practices (market raiding and colonial subjugation) would be the World War of 1914; but that was still several decades into the future. (Not to mention the other most important reason the capitalists launched the world war, which was their need to kill as many million supernumerary workers as possible, was not yet on the horizon.) But, history was moving fast. The Nobel’s would prove adept at seizing the moment.

Rothschild’s in Russia

Two Russian independent capitalist oil producers tried to build a railroad across the mountains from Black Sea Batum to Caspian Sea Baku in order to get their oil to the European market. They were locked-out of the north by the Nobel monopoly on Russia, and this was their only choice. But midway they ran out of money and their rescue came in the form of the intervention of the famous French-British finance capitalist family the Rothschild’s. Namely a massive loan to the Russian independents that brought the already oil involved family into the most important producing oil area in the Old World. The Rothschild’s owned a major refinery on the Adriatic Sea and had built a strong market in Europe proper. But, they also saw the need for a secure source of more crude oil. Russia would give it to them. With Rothschild’s money the Russian independents completed their railroad from the Black Sea port of Batum to the Caspian port of Baku in 1883. The Rothschild’s proceeded to take majority control of a new corporation which included their Russian independent partners called the Caspian and Black Sea Petroleum Company (Bnito) and Baku was now an oil port as important as any other despite its land-locked character.

As a matter of interest it was the arrival of sailors carrying “copy” for Lenin’s newspaper Spark (Iskra) to be printed in Batum and Baku which would provide the entry Lenin needed to get his material into Russia’s northern industrial centers. Stalin and his men used the distribution network from Batum and Baku of petroleum products as the vertebral chord for Bolshevik Party organizing as far north as Moscow and St. Petersburg, and everywhere else in the Empire for that matter.

At any rate Bnito and therefore the Rothschild’s would soon become Number 2 in the Russian oil producing world. They were about to be joined by the Rockefellers via Standard.

Koba Acts to Change the World

Note that in these days the seminaries were producing revolutionaries like hot house plants. Not only in Trans-Caucasian Russia, but also in Georgia and Armenia. In Tiflis (Tbilisi) as a member of the Social Democratic organization, Joseph and other seminarians met revolutionary factory and oilfield workers, studying in secret, and immersed themselves in these workers activities. They were studying Russian translations (done by Plekhanov) of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels principal works including Marx’s Capital Volume One. Caught reading these materials at the seminary Joseph was expelled in 1899. Over the next five years Krassin taught Koba how to organize workers, and how to rob banks, stage-coaches and steamships. Krassin was such an obvious and enthusiastic capitalist that the Czarist secret police missed him altogether, and thus, missed his most promising student, at least until Koba had learned enough to survive prison and exile. As the years of organizing along the Caspian passed Koba would be arrested, imprisoned, exiled and escape, multiple times.

In 1900 Joseph met his first face-to-face intermediary to Lenin. Arriving in Tiflis (Tbilisi) from internal exile in that year was Victor Kurnatovsky who had met their future leader while in exile (Lenin had been exiled to the Siberian town of Minusinsk at the time he knew Kurnatovsky) and come under his sway. Kurnatovsky told Koba about Lenin whom he described as a genius who would lead them all to victory. By this time Lenin had been released, having served his prison sentence and had made his way to London. Unlike other émigrés Lenin arrived in London with a plan of action. Sewing circle reading and discussion groups would give way under the new leader to a secret professional organization of militarily organized combat revolutionaries. The central instrument Lenin proposed to implement the policy of the General Staff of the Revolution was a newspaper. The following year, 1901, The Spark (Iskra) began to arrive in Tbilisi via sailors on shore leave at the Black Sea port. Joseph became a follower of Lenin among the Social Democrats; following the split of the RSDLP into its Bolshevik and Menshevik factions in 1903, Joseph, now known in the Party almost always as Koba, joined unhesitatingly with the Bolsheviks.

In 1901, following instructions received via Iskra, Koba threw himself into organizing the oilfield workers and organizing armed strikes at Baku and Batum and then into organizing bank hold-ups stage-coach and steamship robberies and other armed “expropriations” (known as “exes” by the Bolsheviks.) Shortly after the 1903 formation of the Bolshevik Party, Koba and Krassin became the number one in-country “provider Team” of cash to Lenin’s cause; organizing for example, the Great Tbilisi Stage-coach and State Bank Robbery that netted Lenin some 300,000 gold rubles! In other words, at just the right time Koba provided Lenin with the two things he needed most: (1) a real organized labor movement which had won armed strikes and put their union into the oilfield on a permanent basis and (2) money. This was the first successful organized labor movement in the Russian Empire and it was Leninist thanks to Koba and his fellow Bolshevik organizers. The Bolshevik Party had also become the first financially independent working class vanguard Party in the world; again thanks to Koba and associates. Lenin recognized all of this and began to put Koba on the top of his list of people to be pushed ahead.

Among these principal organizers in the Caucuses were not only Koba but his closest friends including Kliment Voroshilov, future head of the entire Red Army, and Michael Kalinin, future President of the Soviet Union. Of course, Leonid Krassin continued as the senior advisor of this Young Communist cadre.

Taking on the Rothschild’s: 1901

As we have seen there were three major international oil concerns operating in Russia at the turn of the century; those owned by the Nobel’s, the Rothschild’s and the Rockefeller’s. All three were well represented on the Caspian, especially in the oil cities of Baku and Batum (Black Sea) where Koba had risen to be the de facto chief of Russian Social Democratic Labor Party strike organizing operations by 1901. Having built a union in the oilfields, the following year Koba took on what he considered to be the weakest of the foreign oil combines. Namely, that of the Rothschild’s. However, as the unfolding began, the strike once again brought out the Czarist troops and gendarmerie. Koba and his associates jumped into the fight with guns and every other weapon they could get their hands on and the fighting was underway. Troops burned the workers quarters and shot down men, women and children daring to engage in open protest and refusing to work. Koba’s teams of armed workers fought back and forced the cops and troops to retreat or face hundreds of burning wells. The capitalists decided this was a higher price than they were willing to pay and called off their troops. The workers won the strike and went back to work with a union! It was the first Social Democratic victory in an armed strike and it electrified the Empire.

The Caucuses Burning

Meanwhile in London, Lenin was thrilled to learn that his brand new newspaper was considered by the Czar’s secret police, and by his own Party, as responsible for the Caucuses being in flames. Lenin had believed from the moment of his arrival in the United Kingdom the previous year that the Czarist regime was very weak and open to direct attack by workers. Workers could and would engage in massive work stoppages regardless of the sacrifice in wages required to do so. Furthermore, he had proven that workers would take up arms and fight for socialism whether or not Russia was considered by bourgeois intellectuals to be too primitive for Socialism. All the workers needed was encouragement and that came from the underground newspaper Spark (Iskra). The text or “copy” to be printed was smuggled to Baku on the Caspian via ships with friendly sailors landing at Batum on the Black Sea, taken across the Caucuses mountains and then printed in one of the underground print shops Koba and associates maintained. All the intellectuals needed were some balls. Then they could understand that it didn’t matter whether the revolution started in Russia or in England. What mattered was that it started, and then got international, as quickly as possible. Workers with advanced industry would come to the aid of workers with backward industry, and would be more than happy to do so, since the latter would have started the conflagration that had led to their own liberation. –And, that was Lenin’s program in short. Action now for proletarian revolution. The Russian Workers Revolution would come to power in a period of transition with “the state” (Army and secret police) in its hands, and full scale industrialization would occur as workers in the advanced capitalist countries got their act together and joined in.

First in Batum, and now in Baku, Koba and his fellow organizers had implanted the Party printing presses. Code named “Nina” the Russian printing press operation by 1902, was hidden in a dugout cellar eventually expanding under several homes and city streets in the mainly Mongol working class quarter of Baku. From here, bundles of the paper were printed and smuggled as far as Moscow and St. Petersburg in the North and then to every working class quarter in the country, as opportunity provided. The distribution network for petroleum products that flowed northward and eastward from the Black Sea functioned for many years as the backbone of secret Bolshevik newspaper distribution, another gift to Lenin from his devoted Baku-Batum followers led by Koba. Accordingly this network became the vertebral chord of secret Bolshevik Party cell organizing as well.

The working class action committees of Baku and Batum had set the pace and provided the model for what workers could do in other cities. –And, Lenin knew from his growing network of informers and couriers that workers in every other city of the Empire, aware of what was happening in the Caucuses, were seeing in those committees, the model for their own organizations. Inside the newly created Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, those who had seen Lenin as just another intellectual in exile now saw him in a quite different way. Unfortunately, some such as the father of Russian Marxism, Plekhanov, were simply jealous of this young upstart’s success. Plekhanov chose to see Lenin thrusting ahead of himself and felt his long suffering service in presenting Marxism to Russia to begin with, was being forgotten. Others, like the newcomer Leon Bronstein (Trotsky), initially sided with Lenin but then went over to the other side within the exile RSDLP leadership. Perhaps because they too were being sidelined by Lenin’s ability to get things done. However, their varying motivations may have been, the fact was that what would be, in the Russian revolutionary workers movement, was being decided on the ground, and Lenin had all the troops.

The Empire Atremble

Even Lenin was surprised when his as yet unmet leaders in the Caucuses, principal among them being Koba, succeeded in 1903, in organizing the most eventful workers action in the history of Europe since the Paris Commune of 1876. A general strike that not only shut down the oilfields of the Caspian Sea and everywhere else but also shut down every industrial city in the Russian Empire. For a moment the Empire wobbled. Could it all be over that fast?

In theory yes. Marx had said in the Communist Manifesto it was just a matter of workers changing ownership of the means of production, putting themselves and those in need among the people, at the top of the national priority list, instead of at its bottom, as the capitalists had done, and you would have socialism. Eventually, with the abolition of private property you would have a paradise on Earth where all the advantages of industrial production would be at the service of the working people rather than the other way around as the capitalists had arranged it. -And with publicly owned means of scientifically advanced industrial production, making the slogan “from each according to his ability to each according to his need,” a reality, you would have communism. But, what about the resistance of the exploiters? Surely, they would mount powerful counter attacks. The capitalists were already sending the Czarist secret police (Okhrana) in huge numbers; the Army and the Cossacks could not be far behind.

The Revolution of 1905

The General Strike of 1903 left the Czar’s top advisors unanimous in wanting to start a war to refocus national thinking off of the internal problems confronting them. Rather than seeking social reform with the liberal capitalists and the new class of petty bourgeois intellectual and educated bureaucrats, the Czarists preferred to start a war. This time they planned for a successful war.

The problem came when they failed in their elective war. They had chosen the wrong victim. Japan. In this case the Japanese nation was prepared, although ruled by a small tight-knit coterie of formerly feudal aristocratic and noble families. Families that had kept the discipline of their rule over slaves and serfs while voluntarily transforming themselves into capitalist ruling families. As they applied this feudal discipline to their rule over workers they were able to catapult themselves into the modern industrial world of international capitalism. The Okhrana, focused as it was on internal dissent, had missed all of this. Russia acted as if it had not known of Japan’s industrialization and its immediate application to the construction of steel war ships with fully modern big guns.

The setting chosen by the Russians for their conflict was Korea. But, in the event, the Czar’s Army and Navy proceeded to disgrace themselves in a series of embarrassing military debacles. The war climaxed with virtually the entire Czarist fleet being buried at sea!

In response the Russian nation rose up. Many in the capitalist class, hitherto allied seemingly inextricably with the feudal Lords, intermarried and interbred, wanted west European style parliamentary democracy, as did the liberal bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie - especially the New Class of technocrats upon which the Czarist Regime depended increasingly. The farmers rose up under their Socialist Revolutionary Party leaders demanding redistribution of land along the lines they imagined it had existed before Peter the Great. The workers rose up under their political parties: the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. As the year progressed the Bolsheviks began to get the upper hand among them. –And, along the way a variety of individualists such as Leon Bronstein (Trotsky) arose to espouse their own doctrines and acquire in the milieu of revolution their own following.

Trotsky cut out his following from the masses gathering around the St. Petersburg City Council (Soviet is the Russian word for Council.) The Bolsheviks gained a mass following in the workers quarters which was also reflected in the City Council. In the end the Czar outfoxed the revolutionaries and crushed the Petrograd City Council and along with it the rest of the revolutionary councils that had arisen throughout the nation.

The Joint Social Democratic Congress of 1907

As we have seen Lenin had come to rely upon Stalin, as his main in-country organizer and fund raiser, by the time of the 1905 revolution. During the 1905 Russian Revolution Lenin came to depend primarily on Stalin to get things done. Stalin had a wide range of working-class political contacts and was developing an even wider range of bourgeois contacts including those of the underworld as a result of his prison experiences which had only begun. Lenin would, in the subsequent years, up to the October Revolution in 1917, rely on Stalin to carry out the most dangerous and sensitive and the most important secret tasks confronting the Party. But it was at the RSDLP joint Congress (both Bolshevik and Menshevik factions participating) in London in 1907 that Stalin and Lenin cemented their friendship and collaboration in the great debate over the “exes” (expropriations).

All the bourgeois socialists including Leon Trotsky, were opposed to Lenin’s program of expropriations (bank hold-ups, and other armed robberies to finance Party activities, organs, and the press) – strong-arm work of which he had placed Stalin in charge, and which policy Lenin defended in open debate against the Mensheviks and Trotsky at the 5th (1907) RSDLP Congress in London. After all, Lenin argued, the aristocrats and bourgeoisie had stolen all this money from the people to begin with and it was only right that the people’s champions should expropriate it on their behalf. Lenin dismissed his opponents politically, considering them bourgeois sissies, and went on with the business of building his own (Bolshevik) Party. A Party which of course did not include Trotsky or any of the other bourgeois socialists (Mensheviks.) For Lenin it was politics not personal.

Stalin, however, as we have also seen, pictured himself as a kind of “Robin Hood” of the Revolution. He had, for example, in these early years taken the name of a legendary Georgian Robin Hood, “Koba”; it was his “Party name” until he took the name of Stalin, the man of steel. Koba remained the name his friends would use for him all of his life. The anger he felt toward the haughty Trotsky was not so easily assuaged.

Lenin also handed Stalin much of the responsibility for organizing the secret financial investments of the Party in a variety of Russian banks; arranging transfers of cash and securities to Party safe-drops in West European banking centers, and so forth. – And these are just a few examples of the important secret work that Lenin entrusted to Stalin.

Stalin vs. Trotsky I

Stalin’s first conflict with Trotsky occurred as a product of this 1907 RSDLP (5th) Congress debate in London, and went far to shape his dislike for the man he considered to be an “aristocrat-bourgeois” socialist. In a short time a mutual hatred emerged between these two. Hatred destined to shape so much of the Party’s future experience. If Trotsky had been less aristocratic in his bearing and less presumptuous toward those doing all the work, and taking all the risks, perhaps even showing appreciation for those such as Stalin, the latter might have been less likely to politicize his personal feelings. I suspect Stalin’s feelings were hurt and he did politicize them.

I imagine that the more Stalin thought about Trotsky, the exact kind of privileged person he hated the most, and his absolute failure to understand the dedication and importance of his (Stalin’s) work, the more he internalized his hatred of Trotsky, until it was part of the marrow of his bones. Stalin “went off” on Trotsky within weeks of the beginning of the armed struggle in 1918 and I don’t think it was just because of their principled military disagreements. However that may have been, before this was all over Stalin would bury an axe in Trotsky’s head. Albeit via a surrogate and far from home.

The 1917 Revolution in Russia: Stalin Returns

At any rate, when Stalin returned to Petrograd from his prison sentence exile in Siberia, following the February, 1917, overthrow of the Czar, he immediately began putting his extensive network of Party and “Other” contacts back together. Creating, as he went along, many new contacts of a variety of kinds throughout the revolutionary milieu of those six months from February to October. As for example by structuring a new alliance between the Left Wing of the peasant oriented, nevertheless bourgeois, Socialist Revolutionary Party and the Bolshevik Party. These “Left SR’s” would join the Bolsheviks in forming a new Government when the seizure took place, acting as a de facto willing ally of the Bolsheviks, rather than as members of the SR Party. –And, this is but one example of what he accomplished in this period.

As a Bolshevik Party Central Committee Member for five years, Joseph Stalin was one of, if not the, senior Bolshevik Party leader in the revolutionary capital of Petrograd when he arrived in that city, in the early Spring of 1917; having taken the simple expedient of a train ride from his exile in Siberia. (Lenin was still in Switzerland; Trotsky, even if he had been there and he had not yet returned, was anyway not yet a Bolshevik.) Stalin took his seat in the Petrograd Soviet and in the other organs of working class power in the revolutionary capital; but he was quiet and voted very carefully, if at all. His job was to prepare for the return of “the Boss.

In other words, Stalin was doing what Lenin said the Bolshevik Party should have been doing in his absence. Of course, Lenin understood the importance of the stall-and-retreat activity of all of his men on the spot, including those who appeared to have been collaborating. Some would have to participate in the various forums as dialogue had to go on with full Bolshevik participation as far as the press and the public were concerned; that meant taking whatever positions one had to take to stay to the Left but not too far – until the Boss got back.

It was Stalin who hid Lenin during the July (1917) days (when the bourgeois government attempted to smash the Bolsheviks and kill Lenin) and kept him in a secret location in Finland until the eve of the October Revolution. Of all those on the Politburo chosen to lead the insurrection this role of Stalin’s was perhaps one of the most important for only he knew where the leader was and he had to bring daily reports back and forth from the Boss to the Insurrectionary Headquarters.

It was only natural, after the success of the October (1917) seizure that Lenin would continue to depend on Stalin. Why? To keep doing all those things he had been doing all along (for at least 17 years) we have just reviewed; a man proven in his ability, and therefore profoundly capable of handling the great secret tasks awaiting; so it is easy to see why Lenin handed Stalin the formal responsibility of heading up the Party’s secret department. Stalin had always, from the beginning, and for many years, been the chief of secret operations, at least to the degree that he could be (and during incarcerations he was often temporarily out of action.)

Flash Forward

Before I went into the field in Peru, in 1977, (See Volume 3 of the "Idaho Smith's" Search for the Foundation!" series entitled Shining Path, The Peruvian Revolution, Jason W. Smith, 2003, Writers Press, Boise, 246 pp.) I was quite naive too. My real world experiences as described in the above cited autobiographical series, especially volumes 4 and 5 (Rivers of Blood! and High Finance South American Style), changed all that. These books are self explanatory in terms of understanding people’s fundamental at-bottom ideas, and how they got them, and why they will continue to entertain them, until such time that contemporary society evolves to a much higher level.

So, it became rather easy for me to understand both Lenin and Stalin - because I was there at the same point in life. First, rather naively, with Lenin; later, more sophisticatedly, with Stalin (figuratively speaking.) That’s why I have sometimes commented that when my Peruvian sojourn was all said and done I had rehabilitated Comrade Stalin. (Go to the website WorldCat [World Catalogue] and type in my name, Smith, Jason W., for a complete list of university libraries, and their distance from you, for these and other books I have authored.)

Back to Hegel

Working out the dialectics of history by reading Hegel once again in 1914-1915, Lenin came to all the right conclusions about what had happened and what to do about it. Actually he already knew what to do about it - that was to encourage a revolutionary upheaval among the workers and in the Army. Now, after studying Hegel again, and this time mastering him, Lenin understood how the labor movement had been dialectically transformed into its opposite.

So the Bolsheviks, from the first (1914), had been busy boring-from-within the Army of the rotten regime of magnate capitalists allied with the Dukedoms of Feudal Capitalist Imperial Russia. The Bolshevik objective became one of turning the struggle of the workers and farmers onto the road that was in their interest, rather than to continue along the road of capitalist and feudal interests, onto which they had been misled.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks had the slogan. It was to turn the imperialist war into a civil war; soldiers to shoot their officers; workers to seize the factories; peasants to take the land.

Note: The Bolsheviks did not propose the immediate collectivization of agriculture. They had only a tiny base among the peasantry and couldn’t do anything in the countryside anyway. Of course, they wanted to end private property everywhere, including in land, but in practice they decided to pursue a policy of simply letting the peasants take the land as their private property. The farmers were doing it anyway – seizing the vast private estates and dividing it up among themselves. Despite a few Government declarations to the contrary the Bolsheviks accepted what the farmers had done spontaneously and accommodated themselves to it, demanding only the surrender of grain and whatever else might be needed, as needed. This policy was often referred to as War Communism. This Bolshevik policy enraged the Socialist Revolutionary Party leaders and they would end up being liquidated after they attempted to assassinate Lenin. They had their own crackpot pie-in-the-sky formula for agriculture which did not feature small farmers as independent proprietors.

The European ultra-left as represented by such out-of-touch with reality spokes-people as Rosa Luxembourg criticized the Russian Bolsheviks severely for this attitude to the farmers (who they also wanted to collectivize immediately) and in their respective countries, for example Germany, isolated themselves accordingly from the farming masses and in the end this would be their undoing. Had Luxembourg used a little common sense she would not have found the newly formed (autumn of 1918) German Communist Party isolated from the farming masses, and farm originating workers.

Of the principal Bolshevik leaders it would be Trotsky who would be the first to recognize that Lenin’s decision to let the peasants go ahead and do as they would with the land of the aristocrats, the rich peasants, and their church, had been a nearly fortuitous accident which had made all the difference in the civil war in Russia; a nation that was 90% small farmer.

Lenin saying (to paraphrase) “the farmers are going to do it [take the land] anyway so we might as well go along with them for now” and this decision of Lenin’s had given the Bolsheviks the support (the conscript farmer soldiers) they had to have to win the Civil War. Trotsky in the winter of 1919-1920, working among farmers of the Urals, went on to advocate the reintroduction of a market economy and the elimination of “war communism” (forced collections of grain and the issuing of IOU’s) as soon as possible, otherwise they (the Bolsheviks) were going to lose them (the farmers – 90% of the country.) It would take Lenin another full year to agree.

For a real flavor for what the Bolsheviks confronted among the farming peoples of Russia (and the Empire) I recommend my favorite Soviet author Mikhail A. Sholokov and his Don novels (And Quiet Flows the Don; The Don Flows Home to the Sea and Harvest on the Don).

At any rate, the mechanics for the seizure of state power had been worked out by the Russians in the 1905 Revolution. “Councils” (called “Soviets” in Russian) had been established in St. Petersburg, and in cities and administrative units throughout the empire. The job, in 1917, would be to reestablish these councils or “soviets” and to put armed force (the state) in their hands. It was the job of the Bolshevik Party and its cadre to see that soviets were formed as soon as possible everywhere and to plan to take all power as soon as possible, in their name.

Revolution in Russia: Lenin Returns

In February of 1917, hungry people rose against the Czar in Petrograd (the wartime name of St. Petersburg; the city eventually to be named after Lenin.) The bourgeois leaders, unhappy the Czar had proven unable to do anything except kill large numbers of workers and peasants through his military incompetence, seized upon the working peoples uprising to overthrow the Magnate-Ducal Regime and replaced it with a capitalist “provisional government.” This “government” made the serious mistake of allowing all political exiles amnesty, and the right to return. Perhaps because, given the demand of the masses, it had no choice. After the return of Stalin et. al., it was Lenin’s return that everyone was waiting for.

Lenin made his way back to Petrograd in a “sealed” train that left Switzerland, passed through Germany and entered northwestern Russia by way of Scandinavia. The “sealed” part was something Lenin set up so that he could deny he was doing what he was doing.

What was that? It wasn’t exactly new. The German rulers had been making contributions to the Bolshevik treasury throughout the war years. They knew Lenin and the Bolsheviks. -And now the biggest decision of all had to be made with regard to their erstwhile friends.

Lenin was pursuing an enormously important financial deal in Berlin with the General Staff of the Wermacht (German Army) on this trip! This bunch of parasitical junkers (landed German noblemen) were certainly no Bolsheviks. But, they knew Lenin would take Russia out of the World War, if he won the coming struggle for power in Russia. They knew he had a chance, and that was why they had been financing him and enough reason for them to bankroll him again – this time all the way.

Nor was Lenin attending the Wermacht General Staff Meeting with hat-in-hand. Lenin had his own sources of money as the Germans were well aware. What they didn‘t know was that Leonid Krassin, having worked his way into the Czarist War Production Ministry, was providing Lenin via the “provider teams of expropriators” more and more money as he directed these teams to the best pickings for armed robberies. (Krassin’s number one helper, Joseph Stalin, was in exile in Siberia, so others were doing the work.) Accordingly, the Bolshevik press and payroll was well endowed and growing. The Germans knew Lenin already had money and that what he needed was even more money; money he could depend upon a regularized basis. Money that would be ever present, at hand, to accomplish his forthcoming objectives. Number one being to take Russia out of the World War. The Germans had been invited to contribute to the Bolshevik treasury and had done so, hoping they would keep a place for themselves in Lenin’s good graces. Lenin gained their enthusiastic support for this the final push.

Arriving in Petrograd with plenty of cash and more on the way, being bankwired from Germany to Sweden to Finland; a small army of financial agents left behind in place to physically handle the transfers; Lenin was ready to kick some ass! (Before this was all over Lenin would get at least 50 million gold rubles from the Germans.)

Lenin wasn’t naive about money, nor about the class enemies he confronted, nor anything else, except that undiscovered country of selfish and sadistic basal imprinting that was nearly as strong in the oppressed classes (including the working classes) as it was in the masters and mistresses and the boss hierarchy of society. A common defect, if you will, of all Marxists at that time.

In Petrograd, Lenin immediately began preaching revolution against the capitalist provisional government - first on the platform of the Finland Station - just after stepping off the train. There, hundreds of thousands of workers and their families, along with deputations of soldiers and sailors, and an honor guard from one of the (previously) Czarist ships in port, formed a tumultuous crowd greeting their hero, Lenin. It was the biggest - by far - reception of any foreign leader coming home, in the months after February and before October of 1917.

Suffice it to say that Lenin found his own Bolsheviks collaborating with the enemy “Provisional Government,” bourgeois to the core, with a smattering of right wing “respectable” socialists of one stripe or another. What they the workers, and their Party, the Bolshevik Party, should have been doing instead, he said, was to be preparing to strike out and destroy the bourgeois regime. He went directly to the workers of the Petrograd City Council (Soviet), explaining to them their historic task and with their enthusiastic support he was able to rearm the Party. His control over the funds needed to publish all the new Bolshevik newspapers and pay all the new cadre, didn’t hurt either.

The Party was rearmed in 1917 by the document we know as The April Thesis. Then the Party was hammered by Lenin into seizing power in October through letters and demands (for he was again in hiding from the secret police) and with the book State and Revolution where Lenin went back to Engels and made his central point:

As Engels said, (to paraphrase,) “the ‘state’ is the product of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms and arises in the hands of those who can pay their thugs to suppress the masses.” This meant that the Bolsheviks had to seize state power from the class enemy - build their own “state” and establish a proletarian dictatorship over the enemy. In so doing they could THEN proceed to construct the socialist world order!

The proletarian state is a machine for the suppression of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat. Such suppression is necessary because of the furious, desperate resistance put up by the landowners and capitalists, by the entire bourgeoisie and all their hangers-on, by all the exploiters, who stop at nothing when their overthrow, when the expropriation of the expropriators, begins.” (V. I. Lenin, 1919, Letter to the Workers of Europe and America, Pravda, January 24, 1919.)

Understanding What the “State” Is Told Lenin What Had To Be Done

I put this in bold for a reason. Because Lenin’s correct understanding of the nature of the state – any state - is the key to our understanding Lenin’s success in introducing the Stage of Stalinist Socialism onto the world historical stage.

Every state, including the most democratic republic, is nothing but a machine for the suppression of one class by another” (V.I. Lenin, Letter to the Workers of Europe and America, Pravda, January 24, 1919) as Lenin put it fifteen months later.

He knew he had to overthrow the bourgeois government. The time had come to do it.

The first reason Lenin had to act was the scientific conclusion mandated by the correct General Theory of historical materialism, and he had Engel’s summation of Marx’s work on state origins to quote directly to prove his point. (See The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Frederick Engels, 1888)

Now we have my study which archaeologically confirms the prehistoric emergence of classes and the state, happened exactly as a product of the class division of society where exploiter ranks had become exploiting classes. These classes would have both the need and the financial ability to use thuggery (army/police power) to establish and then to enforce their dictatorship. A summary of that study’s conclusions has been incorporated above, in this book, in my discussions of the sequential stages of pre-capitalist sociocultural evolution.

The second reason, Lenin determined to act when he did, was a tactical matter that required audacity (balls) to do what theory tells you to do because the time is ripe. The capitalist Regime was weak; the Bolsheviks had just won the elections. There was no reason to wait any longer and every reason to act before the enemy got a chance to put some bullshit parliamentary system into effect. A system the bourgeoisie would, of course, dominate.

The Bolsheviks Seize State Power: October 24 - 26, 1917

Knowing what had to be done, Lenin forced his Party leadership to resolve to seize power by force of arms. The story of the seizure has been told by the participants and direct observers including Leon Trotsky, John Reed (the American observer of these events who wrote the internationally famous book Ten Days that Shook the World!) and Joseph Stalin. We need not go over it here except to say that rather quickly first Petrograd and then Moscow and many other cities, came under Bolshevik military control. But the question then became: Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power (the title of one of Lenin’s books of that time.)

The seizure had been hard fought and violent in Moscow, Kursk, Samara, Minsk, Kiev and other cities of the Empire. Only in Petrograd, thanks according to all participants and observers (including Joseph Stalin), due to the excellent work of Leon Trotsky, was the seizure relatively peaceful. Petrograd, as the capital of the Empire, was key to success and Lenin’s decision to bring Trotsky into the Party three months or so earlier proved its wisdom in the event.

Officer and NCO Ranks Abolished for Three Months

Having overthrown the bourgeoisie the Bolsheviks had now to begin the real job of governing. At first most of this consisted of cosmetic proclamations because there wasn’t much else one could do overnight. By cosmetic I mean changing the names of Ministries to Commissariat of this or that. Also the Bolsheviks had campaign promises to keep, such as abolishing ranks in the Army and giving the land to the peasants, and socialist proclamations of these sorts demonstrated the Government’s desire to move in a fully socialist direction even if it didn’t have the wherewithal at the moment.

However, history had outrun the pre-seizure Bolshevik program, by which I mean ideas about abolishing military ranks, and farmers seizing land, were ideas which the Bolsheviks were no longer entertaining. Now the army was theirs and this new Red Army needed officers, NCOs, and absolute discipline. Socialism was their ultimate program for farming (mechanization and collectivization) and the idea of a nation of small capitalist farmers (having divided up the land of the Lords for themselves) was no longer something the Party was interested in.

By “not having much they could do overnight”, I mean that if this revolution had happened where it was supposed to (in an advanced capitalist country) the next day’s business could have been a rather smooth transition to workers ownership of factories and the bureaucratic introduction of the Party’s program more or less by the same people doing these things the previous day. However, Russia was at best a “trigger” for world revolution as all Marxists in Russia and elsewhere agreed (precisely because it had not achieved the minimal necessary industrial or agricultural base.) Thus, it would be in the area of propaganda, education and cosmetics that the Bolsheviks would first make their mark; then become equally well known to the world in the arena of military affairs.

Trotsky saw to it that Army ranks quickly returned under new names (1918), and Stalin eventually restored the officers ranks under their old names (1935), following the fateful accession of Hitler to power in 1933, the Congress of Victors in the spring of 1934 and the December 1934 assassination of Kirov. Stalin was gearing up for the next great mobilization of the Soviet people, turning his attention to fully modernizing Soviet armed forces so as to be prepared to deal with any imperialist onslaught. The older system of rank names allowed officers and NCO’s to carry their accomplishments on their sleeves, shoulders, collars or whatever, and these new officers were all educated according to Bolshevik doctrine. Stalin, accordingly, decided to reward them for their service during the great struggle for collectivization. An additional new rank of Marshall of the Soviet Union was introduced and Hero civil war Generals we have or will discuss in this volume, including Generals Tukachevsky, Voroshilov, Buddeny and Blyukher (also known as Galin in China where he led half of the Northern Expedition in 1926-1927 establishing a Left KMT government in Wuhan as I describe in the following chapter) were among the first to receive the honor in 1935.

(For our purposes in this book I shall simply refer to Soviet officers by the English equivalent term for their ranks regardless of what name was applied in Russian; as you can see there were two wholesale names change in officer’s ranks and titles. The always uneducated US Left often thinks these name changes had some (mysterious) “proletarian” significance other than what I have explained here, but they did not. Rank abolition had been an anachronism when it was announced (the original reason being to foment discord in the Czar’s army). This outdated anachronism of the way the Bolsheviks seized power was a campaign promise they had to keep – if only very temporarily – (three months) and at least surficially to pay lip service to the idea of comradeship and equality in the proletarian army.)

Bolsheviks in Uniform: The Army-Party

Overnight a Party of intellectuals and workers transformed into an “Army Party”, if you will, because their first task was survival – i.e., military. Out of civilian clothes and into uniform went the Party leaders. By 1918 both Stalin and Trotsky, for example, had taken to military uniforms; for Stalin it was to be the costume he assumed for the rest of his life.

The Bolshevik Government managed to survive its toughest year, 1918. In the process the major second-string leaders of the Bolshevik cause in Russia (and the world) emerged clearly for the first time: Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Voroshilov, Frunze, Blyukher, Joffe, and many others. (There was only one leader of the first order of magnitude among the Bolsheviks in 1918, and that was of course, V. I. Lenin.)

This Civil War, which began immediately with the Bolshevik seizure of power, had to be fought on many fronts throughout 1918. But the Red Army managed to defeat all its enemies and all the capitalist countries too - for they all had troops on Soviet territory aiding the capitalist and feudalist enemies of Soviet power during the Red vs. White Civil War {1918-1920.}1919 was a tough year, but easier; in 1920, the Bolsheviks pretty much wrapped it up.

1921 featured suppression of peasant uprisings and the mutiny of the Kronstadt Naval Garrison so that the fighting did not really stop for the Bolsheviks until 1922, when the last imperialist troops (Japanese) were withdrawn. In fact, the fighting in the south, against Islamic radicals, never did stop and would continue until 1939, although after 1922 the religious crackpots of all persuasions were no more than an irritation.

Leon Trotsky, you will recall was the very late coming Bolshevik, who had opposed Lenin since 1903, and only joined with Lenin in the summer of 1917. Now he was Commissar (Minister) for War, leading the Bolshevik effort in destroying the White and foreign imperialist forces.

When Trotsky transferred from the Foreign Ministry (Commissariat) to the War Department of both the Party (Red High Command) and the Government (War Commissariat) in March 1918, he inherited a thrown together army of some 300,000. Beginning with this, and a massive national recruiting drive and propaganda orgy, Trotsky fought on 14 fronts in four major “theatres” (north, south, east and west) simultaneously; brilliantly employing his interior lines for defense and offense, via the use of the railroads to transport troops and materiel from one zone on one side of the Soviet Republic to another zone on the other side, and the telephone and telegraph. With his armored train full of propaganda, printing presses, and special troops Trotsky visited at least 36 different battle fronts during the course of the Civil War.

In the northern theater, against a fractionated enemy, Trotsky’s spring 1918 offensive sealed off Russia north of Petrograd (later Leningrad) from Whites and invading US and UK forces, and then during the summer and fall of 1918 he pushed the Whites out of the classical Russian heartland and into the East; and in this eastern theater, forced them into and behind the Urals, (wherein 1919 they would be re-supplied by Japan, the USA, the UK, the French, and Italians.) Then, in late summer 1918, Trotsky turned his attention to the southern theater and the defense of Tsaritsyn (later Stalingrad, being defended that summer and fall by Stalin and his handpicked men Budenny and Voroshilov,) and finally went on to deal with the Germans in the western theater.

The latter collapsed for the Germans in late autumn and early winter of 1918, as a consequence of German communist uprisings at home. These revolts, in the Wermacht, German Navy and in the factories of Berlin and Bavaria, were aimed at establishing a “Soviet” type of power in Germany. The German capitalist gold “Trojan Horse” had backlashed and kicked the Junkers, fatally, in the head! Exactly, what Lenin had anticipated from the beginning.

The Red Army, now 1,000,000 strong (by October 1918), saved the Bolshevik Republic in the fall of 1918 by recapturing Kazan, Simbirsk and Samara, solidifying the Soviet Republic’s eastern frontier, recapturing the Czarist gold reserve, and getting the Kazan arms factories back into production. Trotsky was in command and deserves the credit.

But, as War Commissar, Trotsky’s greatest contribution was in the reintroduction of professionalism into Red ranks which at the beginning of 1918 suffered from having been loaded with “soldiers committees” and all the egalitarianism that had gone along with the Bolshevik effort to subvert the Czarist army. Trotsky quickly reintroduced officer and NCO ranks using new titles and names, negating Soviet Order Number One that had abolished ranks in the military. (Red Army officers and NCOs would not get their old rank names back until 1935).

During the imperialist world war the Reds had propagandized against the Czar’s officers calling for democratic election of officers and the abolition of ranks. Now, however, one had to move on from campaign promises to the reality that a real tough military machine had to be created and that could not be done without absolute discipline and a super adherence to ranks (if under new names.)

Trotsky loved professional soldiering and appreciated the role that it plays in the state apparatus of whatever class happens to have state power. During 1918 he subjected the newly created Red Army to the most severe discipline and demanded obedience from lower to higher ranks of both officers and NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers – i.e. corporals and sergeants), on the part of private soldiers. Trotsky introduced the practice of employing blocking units to prevent conscripts (largely peasants) from retreating (blocking units are positioned to shoot and kill your own men if they retreat.) –And, he introduced the policy of “decimation”, meaning the shooting of a disgraced unit’s regular officers and political officers and every tenth private soldier for failing in the line of duty. In fact, it was this love of professional soldiering that took Trotsky to the rather strange Bolshevik position of asserting absolute discipline within the previously loose command and control structure of the Red Guards.

Stalin vs. Trotsky II

At this time the Stalin-Trotsky schism was only incipient. They both nursed old hatreds, going back to 1907. But now it was Trotsky’s love of using regular Czarist officers enraging Stalin and his military followers, who hated the whole idea. Other differences were simply those that arise whenever there is a difficult military situation and different officers have different (each justifiable) views on tactical matters. Even in strategy, such are the exigencies of war, there may be several justifiable and opposite views on how to proceed.

However, by April, 1919, the long standing conflict between Stalin and Trotsky over many strategic policies and tactical decisions, resulted in Stalinists taking control of the five man Party Military Committee (known as the Red High Command) four to one (four Stalinists, including the new Chief of Staff Mikhail Frunze, and Trotsky). –And, within the Party an officers group gathered around Stalin calling themselves the “Military Opposition”, to the strategic and tactical policies of the War Commissar.

But, the new general staff worked out just fine and Trotsky grudgingly accommodated the majority, recognizing that they had good points and were often right. By the end of 1919, victories in all four front-line theaters (north, south, east and west) made it clear that the Bolshevik government was here to stay. Which meant the Stalinist Socialist Stage was here to stay. {Although, at the time no one would have suggested it receive that name.}

In November, 1918, another Party reorganization of the military had placed Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin in charge of all military activities. A decree having been issued earlier that declared all of the Soviet Republic to be a “military camp” and that its first task was military success. In effect these three had become the triumvirate governing the Soviet Republic with one (Lenin) far more equal than the other two. Under the triumvirate every civil resource was turned over to the military. Houses and apartment blocks in the cities were taken apart for fuel, and used as latrines when sewer workers were conscripted. Whatever was needed for industrial production was taken directly from the physical stock of the then existing nation and subordinated to a new military use. It was total mobilization and it worked.

My properly congratulatory remarks about Trotsky’s role in the Civil War should not be taken to mean that other Bolshevik leaders did not play important military parts. A great many did, and as you have seen, second to none was Joseph Stalin, who, among other military tasks assigned him by Lenin, led the struggle to defend Tsaritsyn (later Stalingrad) and the Red Army offensive to open the granaries of South Russia for the starving workers of Petrograd and Moscow, in 1918. –And, after April 1919, many other worker generals of the Stalinist persuasion (e.g., Semyon Budenny, Mikhail Frunze, and Kliment Voroshilov) also played critical leading roles. Stalin often being sent by Lenin as chief “investigator” of military calamities suffered by Red forces. -And Stalin continued to play a leading command role until the very end of the Civil War. For example, Lenin sent him to defend Petrograd when threatened by White forces in 1919 and again gave him command of half of the forces being sent against Capitalist Europe in 1920. (Not to mention having already given him command of the international intelligence operations and other new secret activities of the Russian Party (1917) and those of the Communist International (1919).)

Can the Bolsheviks Usher in World Revolution?

At this time the Bolsheviks were still uncertain about how long the working class dictatorship period (phase or Stage) was going to have to last before they could move on to true Communism. Lenin, in calling for a new and Third International (the Communist International or simply COMINTERN) wrote in his January 1919 “Call” for delegates from each country he picked (countries with Social Democratic Parties that had a “Leninist” type of cadre,) that he intended to fight with “…all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet Republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State.” (Emphasis added)

{Note that neither Marx nor Lenin saw their objective as being satisfied simply by achieving the Stage of Communism; in other words to them “Communism” as a Sociocultural Stage was just one more transitional Stage to a truly human society. The term Socialism, previously used almost synonymously with the term or idea of “communism,” came into widespread usage by Leninists for the kind of society they were trying to build in Russia at the time. That is, a “transitional” proletarian dictatorship kind of society. It is that definition of the term “socialism” which has become traditional, and to which I adhere in this text. In part, Marx’s idea of Communism as a transitional stage is materialized in the way Leninists came to use the term Socialism. However, there is more to it than that. That is to say, even if part of what Marx envisaged as Communism is what we now think of as Socialism (the transitional part), part of what he envisaged is what we also now think of as that Stage no one has yet seen (from each according to her ability to each according to her desires and needs.)}

Also, the real (material) way in which super-powerful and super-abundant technology will become manifest is now much more easily seen (as for example, I am prone to frequently pointing out) in such great film events as Star Trek, than it was in Marx’s time. (It was Lenin, by the way, who called motion pictures the greatest art form in history.)

The point being that our further elaboration of the terms Socialism and Communism in the 20th and now 21st century makes it clear that both Marx and Lenin saw one or several transitional stages for humanity between Capitalism and a Truly Human society. For my part I think we can define the transition as having two “socialist” stages and the first stage of what Engels called the “Era of Freedom” will begin with Communism – which itself will be just one more stage on the road ahead. Also, this allows us the freedom to engage in fruitful cross-cultural comparative analysis of the two transitional periods in human history (1st and 2nd – each with two stages.)

Lenin to Liberate Europe

The key, to speed up the transition, seemed to lie in linking up with more advanced working classes and their industrial bases, in Europe. Marxists in Russia and abroad, had always considered it essential that revolution would occur in the advanced capitalist countries first, so that the technological wherewithal for socialism would be in existence. Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism proceeded from the scientifically derived conclusion that society had gone through a series of sociocultural evolutionary stages. Capitalism in this theory was proven to be a necessary precursor to socialism – it was a “given” that the achievements of the capitalist stage would be essential as the foundation for working class political power. Marx had differed from the utopian socialists of his time, first and mainly, in this correct scientific assessment that the fully developed resources of capitalist technology would be necessary for, and acquired first, and before revolution of the working class variety could occur.

Russia had been seen by Lenin, accordingly, as simply the “trigger” to revolution in all of the capitalist countries. Now in power, the next step forward for the Bolsheviks, seemed to lie in triggering world revolution, especially in these western European capitalist countries (or the America’s or even Japan, yet it was Western Europe that was within Lenin’s immediate reach.) But, there were problems.


The German workers ended the World War at the close of 1918, when widespread self-styled “Soviet” (German Bolshevik) revolts in the German Army, Navy and in German factories scared the industrial magnates and landed aristocrats (junkers) so badly that the Kaiser fled the country and the First World War was over. Then, in January, 1919, when workers could have seized Berlin and liquidated the Social Democratic care-taker Regime (a government the Wermacht put in power following the Kaiser’s flight, and the “surrender” to the “Allies”; a regime which the German bourgeoisie now prayed would save them from Bolshevism; a surrender agreement the care-taker government signed), and followed the Book of Lenin, they failed to do so. Instead they played at seizure and ended-up barricading themselves in several buildings, thereby managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

One important reason for their failure was the mass murder (in the World War) of millions of educated and radicalized German worker-soldiers, no longer present to play a decisive role. Another was the simple fact that there was no Leninist Party in Germany. The closest thing to Leninist in Germany was the Spartakusbund led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg. Unfortunately, Luxembourg had unwittingly assured the defeat of the insurrection by angering the German peasantry en masse with her ridiculous call for the seizure and collectivization of all of the agricultural land in Germany. Also, alienating in one fell blow the living peasant mass of the Wermacht (German Army.)

In the event, neither of these two proved to be anywhere near the quality of Lenin, and they failed in the crunch, miserably. This despite the fact that Lenin had sent a team of “experts” to help. In fairness to Luxemburg and Liebknecht, Russian Central Committee members, and soon to be Comintern leaders, Radek and Bukharin (also in the politburo), must be held equally responsible for the disgusting state of affairs that had resulted in the defeat of the proletarian insurrection in Berlin. These two, being among the luminaries in the Bolshevik advisory team Lenin had sent, went on to demonstrate that it had not been them primarily in charge of the October insurrection in Petrograd and Moscow.

Lenin should have sent Trotsky (who led the hour to hour uprising in Petrograd) or Stalin (who could have led it) – people who had, or he knew could, get this thing done as they had in the past. Both were too busy. –And, it didn’t seem like it was such a tough assignment. All the Germans had to do was to stand up and repeat the offensive actions of 24 – 26 October! In this rather simple boiler-plate task the Germans proved inept. As, obviously, were their advisors.


Bela Kun did better in neighboring Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian territory, where Kun operated as directly under Lenin’s supervision as distances of those times would permit. To begin with, Kun met with Lenin and left Petrograd (shortly before the Bolsheviks changed their headquarters to Moscow) for Budapest armed with plenty of cash and a small army of advisors. There he raised the banner of proletarian revolution and rallied the peasantry to his side by pointing out that the Russian peasants had done what the Bolsheviks told them to do and had taken the land and now it was theirs. Kun quickly built an army of workers and peasants, using Russian Red Army cadre to help out, and defeated the armies of reaction on two separate occasions; as a consequence, Kun succeeded in establishing the Hungarian Revolutionary Government.

The problem came when the new Hungarian Revolutionary Government’s “War Communism” policy emerged as the permanent policy of the Government. After the peasants had a taste of permanently “not getting paid” they opted for a different kind of government.

The ruling classes of Europe had had time to catch their breath. The European bourgeoisie got lucky. Bela Kun had tripped over the “War Communism” part of the Bolshevik effort (meaning despite good intentions food from the peasants doesn’t get paid for in any real way) as had Rosa Luxembourg in Germany. The newly capitalist peasantry turned against the Government in sufficient numbers to undercut the communist headway. As the Red support dwindled the capitalists managed to trap and defeat Kun‘s army and to liquidate his communist government. Kun and his remnant forces would end up helping Russian Red Army General Frunze take the Crimea in 1920-21, after escaping Budapest for Russia.

If Lenin had gotten to the point of ending War Communism in Russia by 1919 instead of 1921, so that Kun would have had that model (NEP), the proletarian revolution would most likely have entered Germany via the Hungarian route. At the time of Kun’s final defeat Lenin could not send sufficient Red Army forces to change the outcome. Even though the Red Army had reached one million soldiers by the fall of 1918 (and three million by August 1919) and was getting larger by the month, 1919 saw them deployed at distances too far from Budapest to reach there in sufficient time. Not that Lenin didn’t look at the possibility closely. It would be 1920 via Poland as it played out before Lenin would get a shot at Western Europe again.


Then, in 1920, Lenin decided that the Polish capitalist-feudalist invasion of the Soviet Republic had given him the excuse to test Europe once again, this time with the bayonets of the Red Army. As the Bolshevik forces drove back Polish capitalist/feudal invaders, and their French and British allies, Lenin ordered the Red Army against Warsaw.

Thus, the previous (January, 1919) defeats of the poorly organized and led German workers would not have mattered a bit, had the forward march of Bolshevism been successful, in the summer and autumn of 1920. Once in Germany the new German Communist Party would rise to greet their liberators and the reverses of the previous year (defeat of the insurrection in Berlin and the murder of its leaders) would be avenged and the failure of the first attempt in Germany rendered moot.

Stalin was in command of the Armies on the southern pincer of the summer 1920 Soviet offensive. He accomplished his objectives, in an orderly fashion, keeping an eye all the time on the breakout of the last of the Russian diehard White generals, Wrangel, from the Crimea, which was occurring simultaneously with the Red drive on Warsaw. Trotsky, in command of the northern pincer via his hand-picked general, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, (and the entire expedition) however, faltered; he failed to properly prepare and coordinate his attack – he failed to cross the Vistula River and drive into Warsaw – a critical preliminary step to the liberation of Berlin.

Trotsky’s hand-picked men performed like amateurs, with 2nd Red Army Cavalry Commander, General Gai Gaia overshooting his objectives so far and fast, that rather than turning south and attacking Warsaw from its north, he ended up way to the west in Germany, his whole force being interned! Tukhachevsky’s commanders on the spot, directly in front of Warsaw in the east, failed to prevent the main body of the assault from being flanked. They left their Left flank entirely open and the Poles not being fools, and officered by French and British advisors, walked right through and turned Tukhachevsky’s flank.

(The French government sent a 400 man team of advisors and trainers to help lead Pilsudski’s army, including Charles de Gaulle who would later also win Pilsudski’s highest award for services rendered in the Battle of Warsaw 1920. Another large contingent arrived under General Weygand after the defeat of the Red forces in August, 1920.)

Why did a man of Trotsky’s ability and experience allow such amateurish mistakes to occur? What happened to Trotsky’s vaunted military genius?

Trotsky was confronted with more serious resistance by the foreign officered and advised Polish army than he had perhaps anticipated, but that was nothing unusual for Trotsky. Trotsky was a proven competent military commander at the highest level and had confronted far more threatening difficulties in the previous two and a half years, as had the entire Red Army. Furthermore the Red Army had grown to four and a half million when the project was decided and five million by the time it was underway (the largest still standing army in the world in 1920.) He had overwhelming force.

The Polish-German expedition, by the way, was the focus of the 2nd Congress of the Communist International which was meeting in Moscow at the time and watching the daily combat reports coming back from the front. It was a period of the greatest excitement as it seemed as if the success of the “world socialist revolution” was at hand! Grigory Zinoviev, now Comintern President, had the previous year (1919), pronounced the European revolution all but accomplished, conjuring up the specter that the current conference would picture a Europe Red and liberated, wondering if things hadn’t always been this way. At this years convention (1920), Zinoviev had been jocular about his over-optimism of the year before, claiming that it might take an additional year or even two, to finish the job in Europe.

Then Trotsky balked on the Vistula River, dropping the ball. History changed at that moment. As history would have it the Bolsheviks would not get another shot at Europe until World War II. There was a lot of angry talk in Moscow of the “we’ll be back…and soon” variety, but it would not be until 1944.

This Hinge of Fate Had Far-reaching Consequences

After the August, 1920, debacle on the Vistula River, not only did the Red Army not get to Warsaw and then Berlin, but the Bolsheviks gave up considerable territory for peace. Shortly thereafter the armed struggle was over. –And, so was the probability that socialist revolution in West Europe would happen in time to assist Russian workers in the great task they now confronted, of having to build the capitalist mode of production (technologically speaking) they should have inherited (in the program of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, anyway.)

Trotsky turned around at Warsaw not just because there were many workers and peasants in the Polish (foreign capitalist officered) reactionary armies, but, because he didn’t have his heart in the entire project. In his autobiography (My Life) he says as much. I think he had already decided that Russia didn’t need to link-up with the more advanced proletariat of Western Europe. He had decided that Russian workers could go it alone. They just needed a firm estafette on their backs to see that they did what they were capable of doing.

Trotsky started this kind of talk in the latter part of 1919. He began transferring his military armies to the rear and converting, these demobilized military soldiers into members of new “labor armies”. In the early part of 1920, he explained in Party circles, his view that labor simply needed to be militarized; he had been running the factories during the civil war that way. He was adamant in his rejection of any suggestion that the trade unions be allowed to run things, and now had converted military units into working “labor army” units in fields and factories. Lenin stepped in at the 9th Party Congress in March of 1920, suggesting that the situation in Russia was so precarious that someone would have to protect the workers from their own state if Trotsky’s proposals were to be given credence!

In my view, Trotsky imagined that the need to link-up with the German workers was no longer a life and death matter for the success of the world socialist revolution. If he had felt differently he would have been on the spot with his armies and kept both Tukhachevsky and Gaia on a short leash. He was very wrong. –And, while history would prove that Germany was not quite a life-and-death matter for world Socialism, there is no doubt but that without advanced western European industry and labor the task confronting Bolshevism would be immensely more difficult. Trotsky’s ultimate decision to retreat at Warsaw, in August of 1920, put the icing on the cake we call the Twentieth Century.

Trotsky’s sudden conversion to “internationalism” (above and beyond that of all of the Bolsheviks) as the sole alternative to Stalin’s mobilization of the Russian working population in the Five Year Plans (meaning the rescue of Russian Bolshevism by foreign workers having seized power from their capitalist ruling class) as his principal political argument against Stalin, would come much later when he was trying to build a new base at home and abroad. But there was nothing new at all here. All the Bolsheviks and many others (such as Trotsky’s little, original pre-Bolshevik, group) had always been convinced that international assistance from the advanced working classes of Western Europe would be essential and quickly forthcoming. There was nothing new about “internationalism” to Bolsheviks. What was new was building a modern infrastructure from scratch overnight.

And abroad, Trotsky would succeed to a certain degree, in presenting the idea of his being the champion anti-bureaucrat of the Bolshevik Revolution. (A kind of Russian John McCain). However, it was a hard line to sell to most communists in the 1930’s when it was obvious to the world that it would be harder to be harder on the Soviet bureaucracy than Stalin was being.

Trotsky’s lack of interest in Lenin’s program to use military force to enter capitalist Europe and open the road to proletarian revolutionary linkage to Germany with the Red Army, had led to critical errors in the preparation of the European campaign. Overall there were many errors. Supplies were mishandled and never put into proper sequence to follow up the rapid advance anticipated. Trotsky apparently never knew even how many men he was sending under Tukhachevsky and Gaia. -And, military communications, long a sore spot between Trotsky and the Stalinists, were abysmal in the event.

In retrospect it is clear that not the least of Trotsky’s errors consisted in putting the 27 year old General Mikhail Tukachevsky (who at the time was still somewhat of an unabashed admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte) in command of the biggest army the Bolshevik’s had ever fielded (somewhere between half a million and 800,000 men out of the then five million man Red Army were assigned to take Warsaw and then Berlin.) A campaign of this size requires a supreme commander who excels in G3 (Operations and operational planning), G1 (human resources) and G4 (Supply). And, it takes time – far more time than Trotsky and his hand-picked staff allotted to prepare for the European expedition.

A Dwight D. Eisenhower type of experienced military mentality would have been the far better choice. Why? Because the shear size of “theater” operations turns the whole thing into an assembly line industrial type of operation where small and even divisional unit tactical knowledge is of secondary or even tertiary importance.

General Tukhachevsky had a string of victories to his credit by the time he received command of the European Theater’s Main Forces, from the Party. But, he had never before commanded a force of the size now contemplated.

General Mikhail Frunze, who had been with Lenin since 1903 (paying dearly for his loyalty by spending ten years at hard labor in Czarist captivity for his role in the 1905 revolution), and who had played a heroic role during the 1917 period preceding and during the October Revolution, would have been a far better choice. Frunze also had a string of Civil War victories to his credit, but they were of an of an entirely different variety.

Tukhachevsky played the game much like his hero Napoleon Bonaparte, in forced marches, surprise encirclements; massed use of artillery followed by rapid infantry strikes, and ultimately marched the endless columns of the rapidly expanding Red Army into areas being occupied. These occupying troops subdued by their enormous size much potential opposition, just as Napoleon had used his famous many miles long, ten men wide, columns of French peasant soldiers to subdue Feudal Europe.

Frunze, in 1918 and 1919, moved methodically from town to town and objective to objective like a well-oiled military machine. So much so that the Party Press (which by late 1918 was the only press) had taken to referring to his victories as those of the “methodical Frunze”. Frunze proved to be born for high command, and had a record of excellence in logistics, and TO & E (tables of organization and equipment). But Frunze was too closely associated with the Military Opposition and Trotsky would not have him.

Despite being outvoted in the Red High Command four to one, Trotsky could always count on Lenin to support him when the chips were down and the stakes were high. Once again Lenin let him have his way. Instead of giving Frunze command of the European Theater, Trotsky sent Frunze to the south to counter Wrangel – but he waited too long for that, giving Wrangel time to offset the pace of the European campaign by threatening Stalin’s Left as Stalin approached Poland.

And, Trotsky appointed, as Tukhachevsky’s second and cutting sword, a cavalry adventurer (General Gai Gaia) to take command of the new and specially formed 2nd Red Cavalry Army. Gaia so far overshot his objective in Poland as to end up in Germany, with no choice but to surrender to internment (as his rear had by then been occupied by White Polish troops) demonstrating by his conduct that cavalry require the correct commanders too. Gaia proved he was no Budenny. But there had been no reason for Trotsky and Tukhachevsky to experiment with Gaia in the first place, except that General Semyon Budenny was another Stalinist.

You should also note that Trotsky had opposed the introduction of Cavalrycavalry into the Red Army for some time, arguing instead the use of railroad transported troops, and had only come around to Stalin’s way of thinking (build up the Red Cavalry striking arm) after White Cavalry forces had so decimated his rear in the South as to force him to admit that Stalin and his men (Kliment Voroshilov and Semyon Budenny, the commander of the Konarmia or 1st Red Cavalry army) had been right all along.

However, most serious was Trotsky’s failure to assure close combat command and control of this European expedition. Trotsky was in Moscow or in the South during the entire thing. His chief opponent, Joseph Pilsudski, (in charge of both the Polish “government” he had created with the collapse of German control and his own cobbled together army) who had invaded Russia, was now at the end of his tether, and was backed up against the wall at Warsaw. But Pilsudski was right with, and literally on top of, his men.

Pilsudski was left to face the Number One Trotsky had sent – i.e. Tukhachevsky - who wasn’t there either! Tukhachevsky was in Minsk – 300 miles from the battle front. Radio communications were not what they should have been and were later blamed for Gaia missing his Left turn to come down on Warsaw from the north. –And, the Red cipher had been broken by the Poles (the code-breaker won Pilsudski’s highest award in 1921) so that Pilsudski was reading Tukhachevsky’s mail and the communications of his officers. (This Polish code-breaking resulted in the British getting their hands on a “ultra” military encoder-decoder sometime after 1921 and since the Germans had found one too and would incorporate it into their Signals and Cipher system, this asset would play a critical role in World War II. Another story for another book; which I happen to be writing entitled Red Sword, Red Shield.

Back at the ranch, outside Warsaw, Trotsky allowed an inexcusably large gap of at least fifty miles to exist between the “right” of Stalin’s forces moving on Lvov and Tukhachevsky’s “left,” heading for Warsaw. The Poles and their foreign advisors correctly broke through the massive Red onslaught exactly at that point, dealing death and destruction to Tukhachevsky’s forces on his entire, now exposed, left flank, while his cavalry army on the “right” crashed crazily forward into Germany. It was the Katzenjammer Kids meet the Bowery Boys, with Abbot and Costello thrown in. –And there was no excuse for this amateurism in combat – especially for an Army with as much experience as the Red Army in the summer of 1920. An army which had as much weaponry and munitions as it had ever had, not to mention the massive forces deployed and the four and one half million men in reserve! If Trotsky had been there this would not have happened. If Tukhachevsky had been there it would not have happened.

Trotsky’s adherents would later blame the attack of Wrangel from the Crimea for Trotsky’s “inability” to devote sufficient time to the Polish-German campaign. –And, in fairness, it is true Trotsky had to rush south to rally the forces to turn the tide back against Wrangel and force him back into the Crimea. However, it is equally true that Stalin, Voroshilov and Budenny already had the situation well in hand, at least to the degree they had one eye on Lvov as they moved forward at a measured pace and another on Wrangel – in fact, it is for that reason they were moving methodically on Poland and Germany in case their forces would have to be switched back to the south – which indeed happened in November, when the Stalinist Chief-of-Staff Frunze took command personally of the south. Frunze arrived within two weeks of Trotsky’s appearance there, and began preparing the campaign to liquidate the Whites once and for all in the Crimea (which he accomplished.)

Stalin vs. Trotsky III

And, something of great import happened when Trotsky and Stalin fell out over how Stalin was to use his forces, now precariously balanced between Warsaw and the South – Lenin ordered Stalin to obey Trotsky (who was ordering Stalin to transfer the Konarmia – or first Red Cavalry Army of Budenny - to Tukhachevsky) and Stalin refused! Perhaps it was about this time, in the late summer and the fall of 1920, Lenin first realized Stalin was now his own man.

The War Goes On

However that may have been, Stalin was right to proceed carefully, as he did, closing on the Polish industrial city of Lvov, in the West, all the while keeping a close eye on Wrangel in the South, as events would prove. Had Stalin followed Trotsky’s orders and thrown his (Budenny’s) cavalry forces into the Polish meat grinder (Tukhachevsky had allowed to swallow up the cream of Red Army forces outside Warsaw,) the Bolsheviks would have been severely handicapped in retaking the southern Soviet territory Wrangel had captured, and White Crimea. Frunze was going to need Budenny’s Konarmia (First Red Cavalry Army) since Gaia had lost his (the 2nd) Red Cavalry Army to interment in Germany! Not too mention the possibility that the super-inflated hopes of the imperialists with the Poles could have kept a new offensive against Moscow going from the West! (When Stalin acceded to Lenin’s orders Budenny did take a terrible beating, but fortunately was able to withdraw his forces sufficiently intact to take on their next assignment; helping retake the Crimea.)

In retrospect it is clear that Lenin should never have allowed the Polish/German expedition of the Red Army to fail. He should have gone to the Vistula, perhaps with a new contingent of whatever numbers of troops were necessary, and certainly to put order back into the Red Army, redeployredeployed them for attack, properly prepareprepared the reserves, and then punched through to Berlin.

Berlin is only a hop, skip and a jump from Warsaw. The failure to take it in 1920 meant that millions upon millions of lives would have to be spent to take it 25 years later in 1945! It was the greatest single mistake of the entire Bolshevik experience. –And, it doomed the Party and the Republic to having to build “socialism in one country.”

On the other hand, had German workers been linked-up with the Bolshevik Soviet Regime in Moscow, the entire course of the 20th century would have been totally different. It is quite likely that the transition into true Socialism would have been much smoother. Instead it took until 1975 to come to an accommodation with the world Capitalist Stage, and get on with the business of constructing the industrial base for Socialism (this time in China.) With the idea in mind of later building toward Communism so that one might finally achieve the truly humanist society we now hope to see by AD 2100. (as for example one might picture as having the technology and social relations of the Star Trek era).

We know that Stalin anticipated that the Red Army would meet with the same kind of resistance in the Ukraine and Poland that it had met all along on Russian territory. He gave oral and written detailed instructions to his secret police troops and inspectors as to the handling of situations where workers and peasants had been deluded into fighting in the armies of reaction. As they had been instructed before, in the previous two and one half years of civil war in Russia proper.

Stalin was ready. If he had been in command instead of Trotsky the Red Army would have been properly prepared, equipped, officered and deployed, and might well have gone on to Berlin, after taking Lvov and Warsaw - then Milano and Paris - all of Europe might have been Red by 1922! But, it was not to be.

Trotsky’s Fall Begins in 1920

And, the Party would never forgive Trotsky for this catastrophic failure. His power base evaporated rather quickly after the Polish debacle, because he had lost the Party’s respect and the Army’s too. No battle or campaign had ever been more important to Bolshevik success than this one, aimed as it was at linking Russian workers with advanced western European workers. In this Trotsky failed abysmally for no good reason. This perception he could not afford, given the fact that for two years the Old Bolshevik officer corps had often been uniformly opposed to his policies.

Now let us look at the consequences that did unfold when Trotsky pulled the Red Army back at Warsaw and Lenin let him get away with it. For, without German, Italian, French, English, US or other working classes to help industrially backward Russia there was nothing left for the barely born Russian Soviet Republic but to improvise. Without foreign workers to assist, the Bolsheviks would have to choose between surrendering, and building the essential industrial base.

Stalinist Socialism Inevitable –And in One Country

Soviet Russia would have to go it alone. With, of course, those Republics that had gained freedom from Czarism and that were now being brought into a greater Soviet confederation by their own Bolsheviks. This was clear to just about all the leaders of the Bolshevik Party by 1922. In 1924, following Lenin’s January death, Stalin formally called for pursuing Bolshevik objectives without foreign assistance and thus began the Soviet policy of building “socialism in one country.” A year later, in April 1925, Nikolai Bukharin published his paper (at the Politburo’s direction) on the subject, entitled Can We Build Socialism in One Country in the Absence of the Victory of the West-European Proletariat? –And, the following year, 1926, Stalin developed the plan even more fully in his On the Issues of Leninism, (not to be confused with Foundations of Leninism, Stalin published in 1924.)

The Party press would soon begin every story with: Might have been, Could have been, Should have been, Used to be, Would be, Will Be. Emphasis now would be on production targets, past, present and future, not for a description of the fate of various political struggles for World Socialism. After August 1928, the focus of the Party, its Government and its State, was on the achievements of socialism in the “construction fronts” of the Five Year Plans. –And, along these lines the Comintern followed.

Domestic Consequences

In 1921, Lenin restored Capitalism in the Soviet economy because he no longer had any choice. Now that there would be no European workers to assist within the foreseeable future, a retreat from War Communism was unavoidable.

The peasantry had been held in de facto serfdom before the Revolution, only slightly modified to allow the introduction of boss run (“fist” or “kulak” run) capitalism in agriculture. The Reds had given the peasants the land of the Feudal Parasitocracy which they had already seized. The peasants knew the Whites would restore the old order, take back the land, and who knows what retribution might be in store. So, they put up with the idea of not getting paid right away – taking all kinds of specie (IOU’s) in exchange for agricultural produce the Reds needed to feed the Army and the cities. But these peasants had in mind becoming capitalist farmers and when the Civil War ended they expected to get paid - at least for what they had to sell now and the specie could be resolved with the Government later. However, the Bolsheviks had not given up on their ultimate plan to socialize agriculture and wanted to continue the policy of exchange in a kind of barter form. A policy which never worked out for the peasants because the cities really had nothing to exchange. So these would-be capitalist farmers were revolting all over Russia, and were suppressed in the Tambov region (part of classical eastern Russia) only by massive deployments of regular Red Army forces under General Tukhachevsky, who now reassigned to domestic “police” operations, had to resort to heavy doses of poison gas to subdue rebel forces holed up in the forestry.

The peasantry was demanding a reintroduction of a market economy; they would have destroyed the Bolshevik government if they didn’t get it – and many of those previously among the Bolshevik’s strongest supporters, such as the sailors of peasant origin at the Kronstadt naval base (which mutinied in 1921,) turned against Lenin and had to be suppressed bloodily by the Red Army.

It is important to note that Trotsky had first proposed ending War Communism and restoring the market economy after working with the peasantry of the Urals in 1919-1920. It would take Lenin, as we have seen, until the early part of 1921 to concur. In this case experience on the ground had taught Trotsky that the way to deal with the peasantry was gradual – accepting where they were, in their consciousness, at the moment, and agreeing to let that continue until an appropriate time down the road.

The Government had far more important things to deal with first – that is, before worrying about socializing agriculture, the Bolshevik government had much to do in the cities and everywhere else in the cultural as well as economic commanding heights it now controlled.

The new policy of “controlled capitalism” was called the NEP or New Economic Policy. {It went into effect by Lenin’s fiat in the spring of 1921; the law creating it was published on the 9th of August of that year.} It lasted through the summer of 1928 after which the First Five Year Plan went into effect.

As early as 1922 however, Nikolai Bukharin was able to outline the Bolshevik schema for Economic Organization in Soviet Russia, the title of his paper first published in March of that year (again, at the Politburo’s direction.) What strikes this observer today most strongly is the similarity between the logic and program developed by the Bolsheviks in their New Economic Policy (NEP) with that of Deng Xiaoping and associates in post-1978 China.

Without a European proletarian ally there would also have to be a new kind of statecraft for the Soviet Republic.

Foreign Policy Consequences

In 1922, on the 16th of April, Lenin’s diplomats, led by the brilliant Trotskyist, Christian Rakovsky, negotiated the Rapallo Pact (Rapallo is a small seaside town just to the south of Genoa, on the Italian Riviera) with the new German Capitalist government of the Weimar Republic. It was the cornerstone of the new Leninist foreign policy up and until the Second World War which began for the USSR on June 21, of 1941. All in all, Lenin’s peacetime foreign policy doctrine (keeping the imperialist encirclement divided) lasted nearly twenty years. In new form, it continued as the wartime policy of Stalin as the Alliance of the USSR and the English-speaking World.

The Rapallo treaty had key public features including the mutual recognition of each of the signatories as the legitimate governments of Germany and Russia. Thus, Germany became the first capitalist country to formally recognize the Bolshevik Regime. The Bolshevik government renounced all reparations (payments for damages caused by the World War) from Germany that Russia was due under the Versailles Treaty. An extensive “most favored nation” trade agreement was worked out between the two. Most importantly, perhaps, was the "secret protocol" that allowed the Wermacht (German Army) to train its troops on Soviet soil, with whatever weapons they liked. Since the Versailles Treaty banned many things to the German Army this was of critical importance. Also, secretly, the Germans agreed to continue what they had already been doing, which was building arms factories in Russia for the Red Army. Cash was king and the Bolsheviks, in power, had plenty of that. The Wermacht had accordingly responded, thus the military factory construction organized by Leon Trotsky.

As a matter of interest, it was in the Soviet Union that German Army officers, training under the provisions of the secret protocol of the Rapallo Treaty, would learn their soon-to-be famous “blitzkrieg” parachutist and armor tactics from Red Army General Tukhachevsky. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the USSR would have the most advanced military forces in both equipment and doctrine in the world. Including the pioneering of “Deep Operations” theory (in the 1936 Field Manual for the Red Army it is synomously referred to as Deep Battle) which featured advanced ground attack aircraft and heavy tanks moving in squares and probing deep along openings in an enemy’s front, with the idea of preparing the way for a “permanent offensive” to exploit the collapsing enemy rear, preventing him from redeploying his forces in any planned fashion.

So, the Red Army went over to the defensive posture of guarding Soviet frontiers and preparing for the next imperialist onslaught. But the Comintern did not. The Comintern went onto the offensive!

In Requiem

“The defensive period of the worldwide war with imperialism was over, and we could, and had the obligation to, exploit the military situation to launch an offensive war.” So, Lenin summed up the logic underlying the original decision to test Europe with the Polish campaign, in his September 20th, 1920, Political Report to the Central Committee of the Russian Party’s 9th All-Russian Conference. -And without much further ado Lenin accepted the results of the disastrous campaign into Europe. But the defensive wars against imperialism were over for the moment and the Bolshevik Republic standing alone, albeit unrecognized by the great capitalist powers, was at least not under attack. (For more of Lenin on this I recommend The Unknown Lenin, 1996, Richard Pipes, Yale University Press.)

Strategic Magnitudes in Class Struggle

As you can see from Lenin’s perspective as chief of the Revolutionary Republic, no longer under attack at the end of 1920, it seemed that the previous three years of civil war had seen this defensive period go over to an offensive period of global class war, and now, in 1920, the world-wide struggle against Capitalism was falling back into a defensive mode once again.

From our Olympian perspective, which is to say all of prehistory and history viewed as a continuum, the mere existence of the Soviet Republic was an offensive move on the world stage. The defensive war within the Republic for its survival was also in fact an offensive action in the world history of class struggle. For the first time in 6000 years, since society first divided into classes, those in servitude had risen, taken power, and had at their head individuals who knew the laws of history, therefore, where they were going, and even maybe how to get there.

A lesson here is that there are simultaneously, two levels of magnitude to strategic planning. One on the historical (Olympian) level and the other on the specific momentary regional, national and international level; one global and another more restricted geographically.

Bolshevism’s Global Class Struggle Offensive Switches to the Comintern

Lenin created the Comintern in March of 1919; by 1920 new Parties of the labor movement were being formed all over the world. The Comintern or Communist International or Third International, replaced the Second International of Traitors and Renegades that had participated in the First World War. –And, it was a damned good thing Lenin acted when he did, for the subsequent failure to liberate Europe, via the Red Army offensive in Poland in the summer of 1920, had left the global strategic advance of World Socialism in limbo.

The new Third International had immediately set about building a world revolutionary Marxist alternative in the Leninist mode to throw off the yoke of capital, and, even though the revolution had temporarily failed in Europe, there was the other side of the Soviet Republic to think about. Thus, the attention of the Bolshevik leaders focused on China.

Chapter 14: Bolshevism Spreads to China - Lessons of 1927

We need to examine the initial Bolshevik experience in China for several reasons: (1) one reason is that the failure in China, on the first go-around, was deeply rooted in a failure to understand the nature of the underlying psychological imprinting of many people; (2) another is that the failure in China first time out of the box had much to do with the Moscow Politburo’s ignorance of Chinese conditions (especially those in Shanghai, as we shall see); (3) not the least reason for directing our attention on this first attempt of the Bolsheviks to take state power in China is that in the end, what was achieved, has allowed China to become the center of the World Socialist Stage today.

There are two critical phases to this experience. The first is the period in which Bolshevism came to China by the invitation of Chinese Marxists. Lenin sent agents who were inclined to intervene along the lines laid down by their chief (who as we have seen created the Third International {COMINTERN or Communist International} in 1919.) The second is the phase when an indigenous Chinese Communist leadership struck out on its own path following the failure of 1927. For our purposes we shall concentrate upon the first phase.

The Leninists in Moscow turned their attention to China soon after the October 1917, seizure of power but did not dispatch agents until early in 1921. It is from that point we shall begin.

-And, to properly understand this initial experience it is necessary to pull data from three separate lines of investigation and a multitude of sources of information in order to sort out what really happened in the earliest phases of the Chinese proletarian revolution. (1) One of these are the documents left behind by the Bolshevik leaders in Moscow and their chosen instrument, the Comintern, and its agents in Russia and China; (2) another is that body of knowledge about the early history of Chinese capitalism (including its legal and illegal components), and finally, (3) we want to study the corpus of data about the history of foreign imperialism in China, especially Japanese imperialism as it impacted China in the first three decades of the 20th century.

When it is all said and done what is most amazing is that the Russian Bolsheviks almost pulled it off. That is, they almost succeeded in China in 1921-27 as they had only a decade earlier in the Czarist Empire. Considering that the Bolshevik bosses started with no indigenous Chinese expertise, and were working in one of the great five known areas of origin of global civilization, with a long and distinguished autochthonous sociocultural evolutionary tradition of its own, the fact that they did almost succeed, after only a few years of direct intervention, is in and of itself a testament to the power of their ideas - the truth’s of Marxist and Leninist analysis. -And, also to the quality of the Bolshevik leaders and their agents. But, their ultimate failure, in this first round, is also reflective of a weakness in their theory, in the one critical area: superstructural analysis, as we shall see.

Although the Chinese revolution failed in its first phase, the experience in its entirety laid the basis for the success of the Chinese Revolution twenty years later. This is because the Chinese Bolsheviks who survived the bloodletting of 1927 came to understand the weakness in the General Theory of Historical Materialism (the applied anthropology if you will) of their time. They corrected it in practice, and to a degree in theory as well, under the leadership of Mao Tse-tung. His eventual success was a truly historic achievement which was, in no small part, the result of building upon the experience of the daring role played by the Bolshevik chiefs in Moscow, from the beginning, which in this case was 1921. Mao’s corrections were in the area of the theory of ideology (the theory of the superstructure.)

It is this additional and equally important reason (the then extant theoretical weakness) which requires us to review the spread of Bolshevism to China in this book (where we have not the space to deal with each and every important and relevant historical event). How devastating their cognitive failure sometimes turned out. Especially, in China, in the years 1924-1927. We can see that theoretical weakness more clearly now because we now understand so much more about the “ideological” component of Marx’s theory of the tri-partite model of culture: technology, social organization and ideology (forces of production, relations of production, superstructure, respectively) arranged in the traditional schematic way, and with interchangeable terms, as:

[Ideology] = superstructure

[Technology  Social Organization] = base (mode of production)

What do we know specifically, now, that we did not know in the early 20th century? How have we acquired this new knowledge?

To answer the last question first, we acquired this knowledge as a product of practice in the struggle to traverse the transitional period between epochs that began in 1917. We have the documents and the historical accounts we need.

Furthermore, and with regard to experience, this explication of real world events is the reason I began this series of papers, monographs and books, with my own autobiography (“Idaho Smith’s” Search for the Foundation!” 2003, Jason W. Smith, Writers Press, Boise.) That is to say my own ethnographic fieldwork in contemporary cultural settings has allowed me a unique perspective on the documents that constitute the history of the struggle of Bolshevism in the last century. That field experience has served me well as a solid rock foundation from which to project the principle of basal sadistic-selfish mental template imprinting of people who must find themselves as the Hegelian subjects of the contemporary world struggles, and to do so methodically in each and every one of the events of the past, the present, and speculatively into the future. Sadism and selfishness are the two ends of the broad spectrum of behavior inculcated into all those born into Servitude Epoch societies - it is the primary mental template of the Servitude Epoch.

It is no accident that practices such as those arising at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq occurred. Under Sadam or under the subsequent US management. For, sadism is one of two competing mental templates in societies that have advanced into the Second Transitional Period (between Capitalism and Communism).

The new template of altruism of the modern communist variety (emerging on a new and vastly superior technological basis rather than that of the primitive communist variety of Bands and Tribes) is emerging but is still the inferior template and will be so until (1) STAR TREK type technology is on the horizon and (2) working class governments are firmly in the saddle and not in danger of capitalist imperialist attack.

We know today that the superstructure or ideological component of culture is not simply a mirror reflecting the material conditions in which people live. It never was. In Chapter One of Volume One of Capital Marx points out that the “fetishism of commodities” makes, to paraphrase, ‘the material conditions of life appear as social relations between things.’ He knew that the ideological component was complex and required deep scientific insight in order to understand it properly - it’s not simply a reflective mirror. As with all things, the answer to what makes them tick lies deep within those very same things, as Niels Bohr once remarked. Thus, the methodology. Which is to say we must look deep into the key factors influencing history. In this case along the three lines of inquiry listed above.

The mode of production (the relationship between technology and social organization) of any society will determine the type of ideology that can occur (the kind of idea system that is possible.) Within Servitude Epoch societies, the primary mental template will always have two poles as opposite sides on a broad-spectrum – think analogously of the electromagnetic spectrum with gamma-x rays on one (left) side and radio on the other (right) side – in sociocultural evolution we have a primary mental template also existing as a spectrum with two opposite poles: one (left) side is simple selfishness/self-centeredness, and on the other (right) side, outright sadism.

In the Second Transitional Period the former template is retreating; the coming primary “communist” mental template is advancing. The latter also has two poles (with its opposite poles being those of “liberal social consciousness” and “pure altruism.”)

However, there is a universal basal imprinting of all people, regardless of class, in a given sociocultural “epoch” in the ideological template of that Epoch or Period. When there are such dramatically competing templates we can expect to see widespread schizophrenia (because of the bi-polar nature of society and the competing templates.)

To date, we have seen two templates and two periods with competing templates: (1) that of the first egalitarian “epoch” (the altruism of primitive communism) (2) that of slavery, feudalism and capitalism – which is to say the sadism and selfishness the “servitude” epoch; and (3) the period of the Chiefdom Stages with both of these templates in competition; and (4) the current period of the Socialist Stages with the template of the Servitude Epoch coexisting with the new mental template of the as yet, never before seen, Stage of Communism. Note, that in each of the transitional periods there are two competing mental templates - that of the formerly extant stage and that of the stage to come.

During the recent 500th Anniversary celebrations of Colon’s “discovery” of the Americas several books appeared commemorating the occasion and some of them describe the contrast between the Spanish ronin freebooters and their ideology on the one hand and the people of the Bahamas and theirs. For example, the Spanish ronin enjoyed spit-roasting (barbequing) the Indians as they stole from them and the Bahamians couldn’t comprehend such behavior. That is, the sadism of the Servitude Epoch vs. the altruism of the First Egalitarian Epoch.

Mental imprinting colors the way people behave in the most profound underlying causal way. In the early 20th century we saw that the underlying basal imprinting of sadism and selfishness of the Servitude Epoch (composed of the Stages of Slavery, Feudalism and Capitalism) led to the treason of the 2nd international. -And, to other surprises within the Bolshevik Party in Russia (as confronted in Georgia and dealt with by Stalin and Dzerzhinsky,) and a few years later to the trap sprung by the decisive sector in the Chinese bourgeoisie: the gangsters of Shanghai known as “the Green Gang.”

Had the Bolshevik theoreticians in Moscow known of this decisive underlying long-lasting mental imprinting of people in selfishness and sadism (which cannot go away until many generations have come and gone in the period of transition from epoch to epoch, and the material conditions of life have changed to support the second egalitarian epoch) then they would have anticipated such events as the treason of the Second International, the anti-Party course in Georgia taken among some Bolsheviks, and the trap sprung by the Green Gang – examples chosen only because we have discussed them in the text - (and not to mention a myriad of other conflicts resolved unfavorably for our side.)

Also, we cannot discount the fact of insufficient knowledge about the specifics of Chinese conditions - which also led to the bushwhacking in Shanghai. The Bolsheviks understood the specifics of Russian society but were woefully ignorant of those of then contemporary China. Understanding those specifics in Russia, and the correct application of Marxist theory, brought them success in Russia. Not understanding the specifics of Chinese society, even with an almost correct application of Marxist theory (a theory at that time weak in the area of “ideology”), was insufficient, first time around, to bring success in China.

Now let us begin with a review of what the Bolsheviks did do in China, and why. How they allowed themselves to be the loser in “class alliance” rather than the winner, in the first go-around with the Chinese capitalist classes.

Lenin finds Capitalism in China is Indigenous but Distorted

By Feudalism and Imperialism

China’s capitalist stage begins in the late 1700's with the full scale introduction of machinofacture and its five diagnostic elements in several key soon-to-be industrial cities. Much of this invention work was done much earlier and in China not elsewhere. For example, blast furnaces existed in China perhaps two thousand years before they were invented in Liege in AD 1500 in the West. –And, steam engines were invented in China centuries before a Chinese model arrived in France in the 1700’s.

However, China is a vast country compared to the city-state polities of Western Europe. The mass of producers were fully domesticated serfs and most of the GNP came from peasant farmers under the heel of the feudal boot of the Master and Mistress classes and their eunuch bureaucracy administrating the Empire. For capitalism’s productive potential to be released the national social structural situation would have to be changed, just as it had had to be changed in Europe and North America.

In the event, a role was played by the Chinese bourgeoisie, in league with British opium traffickers, similar, structurally, to the role played by Oliver Cromwell and his capitalist farmers during the English Revolution. In China we know the rise of the Chinese bourgeoisie as the Taiping Rebellion (1850 - 1860) which swept out of the south from Canton (now Guangzhou) northward, eventually taking at least half the country under its aegis and permanently undermining the imperial feudal order. Eventually, the Chinese bourgeoisie, in league with imperialists from many countries, brought down the imperial regime. In the succeeding interregnum there were many generals with their local power bases that filled the vacuum left by the collapse of imperial feudal authority. Behind these generals in key industrial centers were not only the financial capitalists but their gangster allies.

Lenin concluded the perversion of national capitalist development by existing feudalism and invading imperialism, kept capitalism from developing in China, anywhere near as fully as Marx and Engels would have required. Therefore, for a working class revolution leading to Socialism as a Stage in that country to occur, there should be at first, at least the minimal capitalist system in existence. It barely was.

In other words, in 1922, the Russian Bolshevik Politburo looked at China, much as the social democrats of Western Europe had looked at the Russians in the pre-1917 period – the latter often thinking Russia simply to backward to launch a successful proletarian revolution – or, perhaps one should say “not to primitive to launch such a revolution but far to primitive in capital development to carry it through to conclusion.” Leninists responding that indeed they would start the conflagration and expect Europe to join in as soon as possible. Now the Bolsheviks were looking at China as far too primitive to embark upon a socialist course but not too primitive in technological development to embark upon a stage of fulfilling capitalism’s promise. –And, a friendly capitalist government in the East would be a de facto buffer against the imperialist encirclement in the same way or even better than the way, Germany now acted as a buffer to the hostile European capitalist states in the west (the north guarded by Old Man Perpetual Winter and the south by the Himalayas (leaving only the Islamic crackpots to be liquidated which they were by 1939.) So capitalism in China was definitely there and had been in germinal form for millennia. But, it was not the predominate economic formation - machinofacture was still a tiny percentile of the Gross National Product, and far from sufficient by itself to finance a general bourgeois takeover of the entire country. (What went unrecognized was that criminal elements of the capitalist class in China did have the financial resources, should they wish to use them, to finance a bourgeois takeover of the entire country.)

Lenin and the Bolsheviks recognized that China would continue to be converted into a colony of such imperialist powers as the USA, Japan, and the UK, if something wasn’t done to bolster the Chinese bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie, precisely because Chinese technical backwardness was ten times as bad as Russia’s before the onset of the First World War.

The Working Class Factor

Lenin created the Communist International or Third International by direct personal order beginning in January, 1919, assembling the delegates from foreign communists available in the Soviet Republic, adding those that had managed to make their way to Moscow by the beginning of March of 1919, when the founding convention was actually held. In charge of its Secret Department he placed Joseph Stalin (continuing to show confidence in Stalin, who he had earlier placed in charge of the Secret Department of the Russian Party.) By 1920 the Comintern was establishing operations in many countries and on every continent on Earth.

For the Comintern, the failure of the proletarian revolution to take hold in Europe was unfortunate, but not the end of the world. In the East, there was also the possibility that something might be fomented that would lead toward proletarian revolution somewhere down the road. In the meantime, perhaps a more amenable series of buffers, between global imperialist encirclement and the Soviet Regime, could be established in the Far East. Especially, in China, Indochina, and Indonesia.

In China some intellectuals had watched the Boshevik experience closely. Among these was Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Dean of the College of Letters of Peking University. Working for him on May 4, 1919, was young Mao Tse-tung.

The date is important for it marks the beginning of the modern revolt of Chinese intellectuals, and those they could gather around them, against foreign imperialism. In this case they were revolting against the carving up of China, by the capitalist imperialists at Versailles, where Japan was handed much of China (mostly the part held previously by Germany.) The May 4th Movement as it became known, featured Chen and others influenced by Boshevism playing important roles.

When the news, that Lenin was calling for a World Global Headquarters of proletarian revolution, reached China, it was natural that Chen and others, who considered themselves Marxists, would be among the first to establish contact with Russia’s new bosses. Which is exactly what they did.

Following the 1919 founding of the Comintern, where Chinese delegates formally established contact, and its Second Congress in the Fall of 1920 where relations deepened between the two, the Comintern sent Gregor N. Voitinsky, Hendricus Maring, and S.A. Dalin to China. Under their tutelage, in 1921, the first Congress of the Communist Party of China (featuring some 11 Chinese delegates representing some 60 members) was held in the middle of a hot and steamy July, in Shanghai. One could hardly imagine that within five years the Chinese Communist Party would be one of the two most important and largest political organizations in the nation.

The delegates discovered they were being observed and quickly changed the location of their Shanghai conference. This was a most important penetration of their activities and would have long and far reaching consequences. For they were being observed by agents of their soon-to-be most deadly enemy, Big-eared Du, chief of the Shanghai Green Gang.

The Capitalist Factor

As history would have it the key "open" capitalist political organization emerging was the KMT Party of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. At the same time the key "secret" capitalist political organization was that of the Green Gang of Du Yuesheng (or Big-Eared Du.) Both organizations had branches in a variety of Chinese cities and overseas Chinese communities. For Sun, it would be Canton that would be his most important base; for Du it would be Shanghai. Perhaps the most important feature of this fact of Chinese reality is that the Bolshevik leaders appear to have been ignorant, altogether, of the latter.

While we should not be too critical of the Bolshevik bosses in Moscow for this failure, (since Big-eared Du’s role in China’s politics paralleled that of Meyer Lansky in the USA, and during Lansky’s tenure the true significance of his role in North American politics was unknown to all but a few, and hardly any American communists) we should point out that this inability of the Bolsheviks to see Chinese bourgeois reality for what it was, was one decisive factor leading them into a trap.

(I have discussed Lansky at length in Volume 1, “The Buccaneer” of my autobiographical series “Idaho Smith’s Search for the Foundation, 2003, Jason W. Smith, Writers Press, Boise 330pp. [This book is available in University libraries from Boise State to Harvard or from Foundation Press (go to for book orders).] It is only in recent years that the role of the Lansky organization has become the focus of scholarly attention let alone political attention.)

Sun’s biggest problem all along had been the fact that he believed in the bourgeois way of life; in the capitalist system, and in the then existing system of land-tenure in China. Fundamentally, he just wanted to democratize the system, more-or-less along US lines of 1781 (where only rich White Males were considered part of the “democracy”) as he understood them, minus all the social egalitarianism of Gringolandia which was so abhorrent to the wealthy Chinese classes. As a consequence Sun had been unable to attract anyone other than bourgeois youth and foreign expatriate Chinese contributors for his KMT party. The Communists from Moscow understood this well, and spent huge amounts of time trying to convince him of the necessity of broadening his appeal to the Chinese masses. They never fully succeeded.

Big eared Du’s concern with the communists was with what they had accomplished in Russia, and the possibility that they could do the same thing in China. Du was not only the boss of drug trafficking in China but also the boss of much of organized labor in Shanghai, the owner of countless maquiladoras, and he didn’t want competition from local communists. Du used his unions to squeeze working people and to “shake down” other capitalists. He quickly became the strongest anti-communist in China. His story is far beyond the scope of this book but it is critical because one of his most important protégés was the thug Chiang Kai-shek. (Those of you interested in Du and the Chinese Green Gang are referred to a most compelling and inclusive review of his activities in The Soong Dynasty, 1985, Sterling Seagrave, Harper and Row, New York, 532 pp.)

The Comintern’s Decision to Intervene

The Soviet foreign policy victory at Rapallo, Italy, (April, 1922), was the great triumph of Soviet diplomacy in the West –And as we have seen, Lenin’s diplomats managed to split the capitalist encirclement they had hitherto confronted in Europe, by allying with capitalist Germany against the other capitalist powers. There was an equivalent 1922 diplomatic initiative in China. The Politburo sent Adolph Joffe (one of Trotsky’s strongest partisans, and the Soviet’s first Ambassador to Weimar Germany) to Peking as Soviet Russia’s new would-be Ambassador to China.

The regime in Peking was a military one. It was certainly not anything approaching pro-Bolshevik. But, as had been the case with the German Weimar government, both Governments could have much to gain from cooperation; not the least of which favored the Chinese official government, and whoever occupied Peking was the “Official” Chinese government. The new Russian government had renounced all claims to the territorial privileges and advantages of the Czarist regime in China as well as any claims that might have been forthcoming from the Versailles settlements.

So, on the one hand, the Bolshevik bosses wanted an official government to government relationship between Moscow and Peking in 1922, that would have a “Rapallo” type of effect in the East, with regard to the world imperialist encirclement of the Bolshevik Revolution. However, unlike Germany, where the Weimar government was relatively strong the Chinese military regime in Peking was far from stable. How reliable would an agreement with this or any of the succeeding military regimes in Peking going to be? -And, what about proletarian revolution in China? That was the other hand.

Lenin calculated, in 1922, that China had barely entered the capitalist stage. Further, he maintained that China’s capitalism such as it was, was so much under the control and influence of imperialism that it existed in a distorted form. This primitive capitalist deformation needed time to (a) develop its own inherent productive forces, which meant first of all (b) that it had to escape imperialism’s control (meaning by that time primarily Japanese, US, and UK capitalist investment and military occupation) Overall, in 1922, China was perhaps ten percent as industrialized as Russia had been on the eve of the World War (i.e., 1914.) Accordingly, he had sent Joffe to China. Subsequently, he was to change Joffe’s assignment.

Plot Point

After much debate the Bolshevik Political Bureau (this matter was far too important to be left to the Comintern, as Seagrave points out) decided in late 1922, given the shaky condition of the Peking regime, and the possibility of jump-starting a progressive bourgeois national independent government, to order Joffe south to Shanghai, to confer with Sun about China’s future. This moment marks the plot point in the transformation of Soviet policy with regard to China. For, as the importance of a nationally independent Chinese Government, as a friendly treaty partner on the eastern frontier of the Soviet Republic, took paramount importance in the thinking of Lenin and associates, so the matter was de facto removed from the status it had previously held (China as one more important country with a Communist Party founded and moving in accordance with a rather boiler-plate plan to gradually work over the working classes to something quite different.)

In short, the spread of Bolshevism to China now became a matter of survival foreign policy for the Soviet Republic as opposed to the simple organization of international class war. From this moment on the objective of the Bolshevik leaders from Lenin on down was to implement a Rapallo type of relationship with a bourgeois democratic regime in China. Proletarian revolution was definitely on the back-burner.

However, in China, this was not a popular policy in much of the Party, and the decision to use Comintern agents and CPC cadre to make the new strategy work inevitably meant that many workers and peasants thought that victory in the coming struggle would mean a rapid move into communism. This is the first source of confusion about the First Chinese Revolution culminating in 1927 in defeati.e., what were its objectives? Well, whatever objectives any others may have had Lenin’s objective and that of the Bolshevik Politburo had changed and now focused on creating a new democratic bourgeois nationally independent regime for China.

In January of 1923, Joffe and Sun reached, with difficulty, an agreement which proposed that they jointly carry out a program designed to operationalize Lenin’s idea of achieving a bourgeois democratic regime in China. As we have seen, Lenin believed that a national bourgeois democracy was achievable, and would be a longer-term solution to the problem of a Chinese buffer against world imperialism than any agreement with Peking. Such an agreement with Sun, in other words, had prospects for permanency, as opposed to the short term advantages of a relationship with whatever military short-lived regime happened to be in Peking. Furthermore, Sun understood these objectives of Lenin’s and why he wanted China secure from imperialism, with its own national army and a new alliance with the Soviet Republic. Sun realized that Lenin thought the productive forces of capitalism would generate a stronger and stronger proletarian base upon which the newly formed Chinese Communist Party could build; given the time it would take to build a minimal industrial base in China, it would take many years before any of Sun’s capitalist supporters would have to worry about proletarian revolution of the Soviet type. Rather, in China there would be communists with an eye toward revolution some years down the road when conditions were finally ripe.

You should note that this technological backwardness of China was understood by Lenin and the Politburo. It was Chinese backwardness which made Lenin et. al. settle on the idea of a bourgeois national democratic regime in Peking as the best to be hoped for in the years 1922 to 1927. This was the same technological backwardness so severely handicapping socialist construction in the Soviet Union in those years and in an even more severe form would continue to plague the development of China’s road in the Socialist Stage, constantly, after the success of Mao in 1949. But, we are getting way ahead of ourselves.

The terms of the Soviet-Sun agreement involved building a loyal (National Revolutionary) Army for Sun and his KMT Party. The Politburo wanted to involve the Chinese Communist Party (then only a year and a half old) with a key role in building this NRA, if for no other reason than that would be the only way they could be sure that the instrument they had in mind to democratize China could be successfully crafted. –And, of course, to put the CPC in a historical position where it could begin to build a working class base and then, some day, do what the Bolsheviks had done in Russia.

The Soviet-Sun Agreement was conditional: if Sun could re-establish himself somewhere, as a boss, then the Bolsheviks would carry out their part - which would be to send shipments of weapons and military specialist trainers to build Sun an Army which could bourgeoisify the entire nation, securing simultaneously its freedom from international oppression by capitalist imperialism of the Japanese, American, and British varieties. Sun did his part in Canton (now Guangzhou); as a result the Politburo in Moscow decided to fulfill their obligation under the Sun-Joffe Agreement.

Soviet assistance was formalized when Lenin dispatched Mikhail Borodin to Canton, subordinating command of the incoming Bolshevik contingent of military advisors (and their equipment) to his command. (For a full account of Borodin and his mission I recommend Borodin: Stalin’s Man in China, 1981, Dan N. Jacobs, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 369 pp.)

Trotsky vs. Stalin IV: China

Trotsky’s biographer, Isaac Deutscher, refers to the idea that Stalin failed and Trotsky would have succeeded in China as “vulgar Trotskyism.” A more authoritative source (in matters regarding Trotsky) than Deutscher would be hard to find, and, for that reason we have to take him seriously when he points out that in the two most important years of Russian Bolshevik direct involvement in China (1926-1927) Trotsky had little or nothing to say about the course the Chinese Revolution was following. In fact, on this subject Deutscher finds him silent {See pages 321-332 in The Prophet Unarmed, 1959, Isaac Deutscher, Oxford University Press, London, 490pp.) It was Trotsky's strong supporter - Adolph Joffe - who had negotiated the Soviet-Sun Agreement. It was Lenin and the Politburo that directed Joffe to proceed as he did. Stalin’s involvement was after the fact, and then only due to his being in charge of the Secret Departments of both the Soviet Party and the Comintern (a responsibility handed to him by Lenin), thus he inherited responsibility for the implementation of the policy.

Nevertheless, for better or for worse, the primary credit and the primary blame, if it is to fall anywhere, must fall on Stalin, for the reason that he was in charge of operations and for that reason alone. -And, secondarily it must fall on the Bolshevik Party’s highest leadership, collectively. It is not the case that Stalin was the champion of one pole of thought on China policy and Trotsky another. As true as that may have been in other areas of dispute within the Russian Party’s Politburo, it had never been so over China (when Trotsky was in the politburo and later when he was not.) No, the reasons for the eventual failure, of the first go-around, in China, lie elsewhere.

. There was an opposite pole with regard to Soviet and Comintern policy in China, but it was in China. The opposition to the Bolshevik Politburo policy was led by the CPC founder and chairman Chen Tu-hsiu who preferred a much more classic “Leninist” policy of independence from other class forces and parties. In other words, a policy mirroring that of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, in Russia, prior to October, 1917. Ironically, Chen wanted to proletarianize China immediately; Lenin wanted bourgeois democracy first, for China.

With regard to the path being followed by Borodin in China, it was Lenin who dispatched him. It was a Leninist policy he was instructed to carry out, which might briefly be said to be ‘to act to bring about a national bourgeois democratic regime in China, wherein the Chinese Communist Party would play a leading role, positioning itself for an eventual seizure of power, at an appropriate time, somewhere down the road, when the objective conditions for proletarian revolution and government had been established’.

Borodin was familiar with Stalin, who was the boss of both the Russian Party’s international secret programs as well as the secret programs implemented through the COMINTERN. As a matter of fact Stalin and Borodin had voted together in Party meetings, at crucial times, in the early 1900's, before Borodin had emigrated to Chicago, and, of course, before he had returned to Russia after October, 1917, to volunteer his services to the cause. Stalin, being the de facto organizational leader of the Party in 1923 (at least as far as its secret activities went internationally) must, presumably, have found his prior friendship with Borodin as an enabling factor for all concerned.

In summary, the China policy of the Bolsheviks was determined by Lenin, formulated by a key Trotskyist, and the entire Politburo concurred. Stalin had much of the organizational responsibility for the policy, because of his job as head of the Secret Departments of both the Party and the Comintern.

Borodin Acts to Make Sun Yat-sen China’s President

As I have said, when Sun succeeded in satisfying Moscow’s first condition, by regaining his base in Canton (Guangzhou), the Bolshevik’s decided to begin satisfying his first condition. Namely, that they establish an army for him that could conquer the North. Lenin sent Mikhail Borodin as the top Bolshevik boss to carry out the policy. Borodin had only recently returned from carrying out a successful and difficult mission in Great Britain, where he had been incarcerated for several months.

Borodin circumvented the British colony of Hong Kong and arrived in Canton on October 6, 1923, aboard a steamer carrying 200 sheep killed in a storm. He went directly to Sun, and we have both Borodin’s record of this meeting and that of Sun. -And, to make this long story short, we know that Borodin went about stiffening the defenses of Canton.

The city of Canton was only nominally Sun’s; actually it was in the hands of occupying thug troops of surrounding warlords. Borodin using Chinese communist cadre (only 540 strong, but street smart) established the first loyal “Palace Guard” for Sun’s “revolutionary government.”

Five weeks later (November 15, 1923) Sun fled Canton when confronted with the oncoming troops of the two warlords who had helped him take tentative control of the city not much earlier. Borodin stayed and defended the city on his own. But by this time Borodin had some of the toughest Bolshevik military men with him, including General Galen (Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher, a hero Red general of the Russian Civil War.) The Russian Bolsheviks under Galen, and their Chinese cadre, attacked the oncoming warlord troops and wiped them out.

A few miles downstream from Canton’s main docks is Whampoa Island. Here Borodin proceeded to establish the military academy that would provide the officers for the Soviet style army the Russians promised to create for Sun. Here, one hundred million (1920’s) dollars worth of Soviet arms would be funneled to Sun in 1924 and 1925.The KMT (Sun’s Party was known by these initials) would have an army built along Red Army lines with political officers and indoctrination at its core.

Borodin had a great deal of difficulty getting Sun to agree to the minimal preparatory measures the Russians considered necessary to build the objective conditions for a successful campaign to the North. Almost every idea which the Bolshevik advisors presented as essential was resisted by Sun and his capitalist advisors. These conditions included everything from an eight hour day for workers to land reform for peasants. Yet somehow Borodin managed to get enough concessions along these lines that mass recruitment became possible - which is to say recruitment from the masses of workers and poor peasants for the “cannon fodder” that would be necessary for the coming civil war the KMT and its advisors were planning.

-And along the way they had to suppress uprisings of the local bourgeoisie who were extraordinarily reactionary to begin with, and frightened to death of the emerging Bolshevik controlled army Sun was creating. As successful as Borodin was in this regard he failed to notice that Whampoa was being taken over by the sons of the bourgeoisie from many parts of the country. No less a bourgeois agent than Chiang Kai-shek was made Commandant of Whampoa Military Academy. Since they didn’t see that they certainly couldn’t see that not only were these boys bourgeois to the core but they were hand-picked by Big-eared Du Tuand his closest confidants in Shanghai! In the end, this error on Borodin’s part would seal the defeat of the Northern Expedition and Sun’s and Lenin’s hopes for a truly national democratic bourgeois government. Although by the time that came about both of these men would be dead. Lenin dying in January, 1924 and Sun dying in December, 1924, only a little over a year after Borodin’s October, 1923, arrival.

However, having said this, I should also say it is unlikely that anyone could have done a better job than Borodin. As long as these fatal gaps in knowledge existed among every Politburo member in Moscow, what else could have happened?

The Green Gang

As we have seen, there was a rather secretive side to Chinese capitalism much as there was in the United States. In the US it was Meyer Lansky who emerged in the 1920's as the de facto chief of so-called “organized crime.” In China, it was Big-eared Du. Of course, both countries had their flamboyant gangsters; persons to whom the press referred constantly. But these men would always serve simply to distract attention from the real bosses.

Big-eared Du was one of China’s richest men by the time Borodin arrived in Canton. He shook down everyone with money in Shanghai (and elsewhere), controlled most of the labor unions, and was involved in every racket that men can imagine, and some women too (for example two of the three Soong sisters were his close collaborators.) Prostitution and opium were his monopolies in South China. Of these various rackets, drugs were the biggest - every bit of opium in Shanghai - and every shipment of opium, heroin, and other opiate derivatives that left Shanghai was controlled by Big-eared TuDu and his Green Gang cartel.

One of Big-eared Du’s protégé’s was a young gangster with a long rap sheet himself, named Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang was an early member of Du’s Green Gang and as such he was part of the most powerful secret criminal society in China. Du was not a “light person”, but the type of vicious sadist that rises to the top in societies of the Servitude Epoch. (The sort of person the USA rulers liked to put in charge everywhere they could after 1945.) Yet, for a “light” view perhaps of the Green Gang at play I might recommend the opening scenes from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! Where a relatively sophisticated archaeologist almost succumbs to a dinner joke.

Du got Chiang out of the street action that had given him his rap sheet in extortion, contract murder and bank robbing. Du covered up much of Chiang’s police record with the usual hand-outs of money. He had decided to use Chiang for greater things. Namely, to be a “General” somewhere, and as it turned out, a general for Sun Yat-sen, in the new army being created by Du’s most deadly enemies - the Russian Bolsheviks and their Chinese agents.

First Chiang was taken from “the street” and given a high paying “cover job” as a broker-dealer on the Shanghai stock exchange. There he made himself useful handling the money of the Green Gang and its clients, swindling others, and was able to earn sufficient rewards to live the way he wished.

Then Du dispatched Chiang to Japan, where he was indoctrinated in the philosophy and methodology of Japan’s fascist military elite and ruling cliques, and most importantly facilitated the movement of heroin from China to the USA via Hawaii. Chiang was well prepared by the time Du dispatched him to serve Sun.

In Sun’s service Chiang quickly stage-managed some dramatic deeds on his new “chief’s” behalf. These activities fooled Sun and set Chiang up to be Sun’s delegate to Soviet Russia.

Chiang left Canton for Moscow in August, 1923. Ostensibly Chiang was to hurry the Russians into sending the promised assistance. In reality the decision had already been made in the Politburo to send Borodin, so Chiang’s visit would be irrelevant in that regard. However, it was Chiang who had wanted to go to Moscow, and he had talked Sun into sending him. Chiang was operating under Big-eared Du’s orders to find out as much as possible, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, about what the Russians intended to do in China, and to make an assessment as to whether they could do much at all. If they could, how much and how soon?

Chiang was only in Moscow for three months but he carried out his mission admirably and fooled the Bolshevik leaders too, including Trotksy, Kamenev, Radek, Chicherin and Zinoviev (Lenin was too ill to meet or speak with him. Stalin too busy.) Chiang returned to Shanghai and gave a full report to Big-eared Du. Du then made his most important move in the “chess for keeps” game he was playing. He arranged for Chiang to be made Commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy. Du also arranged to supply virtually all of the cadets that his Bolshevik enemies were going to train for him. Boys whose families had been life long members of the Green Gang and who also had sworn a secret loyalty to that master criminal society. The die was cast.

The Northern Expedition: June, 1926 - April, 1927

The death of Sun left the question of succession open for resolution. As is often the case in such matters there was a lengthy struggle. Big-eared Du’s candidate was, of course, the Commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy and Du would successfully eliminated Chiang’s rivals by bribery and assassination, as 1925 and 1926 unfolded. Which is to say, when bribery failed Du specialized in the surgical removal of trouble making obstacles at the right time and place (in a fashion similar to the way in which US gangsters would serve their “legal” bourgeois allies in the US in years to come, as in JFK, RFK, MLK. etc.)

A marriage was arranged for Chiang Kai-shek. The many times married, and always accompanied Chiang, married the sister of Sun’s wife. (May Ling Soong, would become his accomplice in the theft of countless billions of dollars from the Chinese people and his US patrons). This marriage was facilitated by the third Soong sister who had married extremely well and would be one of China’s greatest financial wheeler-dealers. (Sun’s wife, the remaining Soong sister would become one of Mao’s closest allies.)

-And, while Chiangs accession to the top spot in the KMT, the NRA (National Revolutionary Army), and as anointed successor to Sun Yat-sen was occurring, the final touches were being put on the TuDu plot to trap and destroy the Communists. After they had trained and led the NRA to victory, putting all of south China, north to Shanghai and Wuhan, under Chiang’s control.

Reviewing the course of the Northern Expedition in detail is beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that the Communists did their job, with Soviet pilots flying “recon” for the advancing Northwestern Front under the Bolshevik General Galen. Communist cadre roused the peasants and workers along the way so that they were always greeting this advancing front as liberators, carrying out their own reforms and revenge as Galen’s army moved on. Chiang took a slow, and never radical, route to the northeast. Eventually Galen’s Front reached and took the tri-city industrial area of Wuhan where Galen (Blyukher) established a Left KMT Government.

Before they ever left Canton, Chiang had arranged massacres of Bolshevik workers and cadre in that city. As usual Chiang managed to patch things up with Borodin, blaming the actions on “right wingers” in his coalition. Borodin didn’t believe him but he went along with the “patching up” because it was Party policy, and Comintern policy, to make this cross-class alliance and military campaign work at virtually any cost.

It had always been a toss-up as to who would betray who the first. Borodin and Chiang knew they would eventually settle with each other, but both had reasons to wait until Wuhan and Shanghai were taken - they were each jockeying for the best position from which to betray the other. What Borodin didn’t know was the nature, extent and planning of the Green Gang and its cadre inside his army! Nor the extent of the greed of many who should have sided with the Bolsheviks, in the cities - a form of the mental template of selfishness and sadism, which the Bolsheviks did not yet recognize - thus, could not avoid.

The struggle for Shanghai became a replay of the exact same types of ambushes, betrayals and massacres by the Green Gang against Bolshevized workers that had occurred earlier in Canton. Again and again, from February through April of 1927, Chinese Bolsheviks kept getting caught unawares, unprepared and consequently slaughtered. Again and again, Chiang managed to play the innocent. Again and again, the Russian Bolsheviks let him get away with it.

All this time Chinese Party founder and chairman Chen, had been against the alliance and against the Comintern policy. But Chen had buckled under, each and every time, to the imposition of international democratic centralist discipline. Chen had preferred a typical “Leninist” policy of “separation” from other political tendencies - from the beginning. A policy much similar, in other words, to the Bolshevik attitude toward everyone else in Russia, before October, 1917. But the Moscow Politburo was unified in its “alliance” strategy for China, which after all had been initiated by Lenin himself. A tragic irony in many ways.

Ideological Lessons of 1927: Bolsheviks Growing Up

Finally, in April, 1927, Du and Chiang carried out their joint Green Gang-NRA final attack and massacre of Shanghai workers and their Communist leaders. Chiang finally came out into the open as China’s fascist dictator moving against communists nation-wide in a blood bath that featured many tens of thousands of men, women, and children, peasants and workers, murdered. (Including Mao’s wife and her unborn child.) A price was placed on Borodin’s head and that of all the Bolshevik advisors, the Chinese Communist Party outlawed, and Chiang declared dictator. Galen’s Chinese “front men” in Wuhan were suborned and the Left KMT Government collapsed; subornedbought by Du and his bags of money from Shanghai.

In the event, the Chinese bourgeoisie, thanks to their gangster component, had done-in the Communists before the Communists could do them in. (A later replay would be Hitler’s successful attack on the USSR, which beat Stalin to the punch with nearly disastrous consequences for World Socialism.)

Big-eared Du was made a “general” in the “new” NRA (now, without communists) as part of the gigantic reward to which he treated himself. Presumably feeding five thousand communists and their families into the boiler furnaces of Shanghai’s weeks-long running locomotive engines was a bonus of intensely exciting sadistic sexual pleasure. (The template of altruism of Shanghai workers was confronting the template of sadism of the Shanghai capitalists.) Now, as the new head of the Opium Suppression Bureau, Du also gave himself a complete and legal monopoly on the drug business in all of China. –And he took command of all of China’s legal trade unions! As a key de facto Minister in the new Regime Du would continue making mountains of money until forced to flee the mainland for Taiwan in 1949. Interesting, is it not, that Harry Truman later estimated that Chiang Kai-shek and his gang (Du et. al.) stoleto have stolen more in four years from 1945-1949 from the dumb gringos than they had made in all their previous years “work” with the Japs put together.

The fact that Truman would admit to his own stupidity in this regard is a fascinating comment on US imperialism of that moment, in and of itself. Think how powerful Wall Street must have been then to write-off 22+ billion dollars as if it was nothing. –And, this was when a billion was a billion (long before the 500% Nixon devaluation of 1971, accomplished by taking the US off the gold standard internationally, to finance the Vietnam war). They certainly are not in that position any more in Washington. Now all of the money they need to finance overseas aggression has to be borrowed!

More importantly Du taught both the Russian Bolsheviks and their Chinese cadre something new about the nature of underlying human imprinting which Mao and Stalin at least eventually internalized and never forgot. Neither would be quite so naïve in the future – especially, now that they realized naiveté was a very relative thing and that they themselves had been played for naïve fools by the biggest of the “big boys.” (If you want to play with the big boys you have to learn to play hard.) Another reason I think Mao found his future wife Jiang Qing fascinating, for she had been inside the pleasure dens of the Green Gang and knew all their secrets.

In the meantime, Borodin, Galen and the rest of the Russian Bolshevik cadre still alive and some Chinese too (including Sun’s wife), fled China for the Soviet Union across China’s northern frontiers. Elsewhere the other, surviving Chinese communists holed-up in “base areas” in different parts of China. The most important of these base areas would be the Hunan-Jiangxi mountainous region where Mao would create China’s first Red Republic. Another story for another time.

Mao’s Famous Wife

With one final comment about Jiang Qing, Mao’s eventual fourth, final and famous wife, who had been an AMW (actress, model, “whatever” – less generously the “w” would stand for “whore”) for the Green Gang. She gave up her popular film career (acting under the name Lan Ping) to join the communists in Yenan (she had secretly joined the CPC in Shanghai in 1933 at the age of 19) where she became the Chairman’s “wife.” She was able to provide Mao with much inside information about the sadistic pleasures of Du, Chiang, and the Madams’ Soong (ladies whose toilet paper cost a $1000 per square), and their hangers-on, once he was in Yenan and she joined him in 1939.

Learning, Little by Little

Little by little the Bolsheviks and their foreign allies were learning. They were learning the true nature of their enemies and, of course, that implied what had to be done. Done in general strategic terms and done specifically, in each of these cases. The Chinese experience, in short, taught the Bolshevik bosses, and all of us as well, that the underlying nature of human imprinting is the predominate mental template of the Epoch in which we live – which in this case was more than just selfishness, and came in the form of a finely developed sense of sadistic social relations and personal indulgences. Something one should not forget in dealing with the bourgeoisie – or for that matter anyone else not thoroughly understood as to motivation. The best practical reason for relying on workers, especially when guns are involved, is precisely because they are the most predisposed to our cause – or, at least, should be. As the Workers Party, we owe it to our class to establish internal security procedures to be sure that what could be is and what should be will be.

Chapter 15:The USSR: From NEP to the Five Year Plans

By 1926, although things were going very well for the Bolshevik Regime in the USSR in every way, and in China for the Communists too, the world capitalist classes began to become so uneasy that they renewed their aggression, which they had temporarily let slip into a condition of stasis.

  1. British banks pulled their loans to Russia, even though the Bolsheviks had the best credit rating in the world next to that of the USA.

  2. The Japanese capitalists made a secret deal with Chiang Kai-shek who was the nominal and he hoped soon actual, commander of the KMT Party’s National Revolutionary Army. What kind of deal? A continuation on a national scale of what the Green Gang had been doing for them in Shanghai (e.g., providing cheap labor for Japanese maquiladoras, and safe packaging of opium destined for Western Hemisphere ports on Japanese ships) with bright prospects for a prosperous tomorrow. This secret illegal trade relationship included a quid pro quo; in exchange the Japanese promised secret military support in the upcoming ambush of the communists; one Chiang and Du were planning for Shanghai for 1927. The Japanese capitalists were often craftier than their European counterparts, who were openly hostile to the Soviet government, (although they viciously suppressed Japanese communism) playing down at this point “state to state hostility.”

  3. In China the capitalist half of the alliance with the Reds, which was predominant in many ways inside the KMT, although the communists operated as full members, openly, began their planning for a post-Massacre governmental structure, with a variety of “war-lords”.

  4. The way in which Borodin operationalized Lenin’s idea of a joint cross-class alliance to establish true bourgeois capitalism in China, depended for its success on sincere bourgeois leadership, such as Sun Yat-sen had seemed to offer. Of course, Sun was now dead and his leadership mantle had been usurped by that group of bourgeoisie least likely to be amenable to Lenin’s ideas for a bourgeois democracy for China. But Borodin didn’t know that. Nor did the Russian Politburo. What I mean is that what Lenin wanted for China was first and foremost a US type of bourgeois democracy, at least as independent of foreign domination as the US had been after military victory over British imperialism in 1781. This, in short, is what Lenin and the Bolsheviks had been shooting for, for China. When the deal was made with Sun, it seemed as if this was quite feasible. –And, to repeat what I have already reported it was China’s extreme backwardness which made all this logically necessary in the first place if one were to gain a safe and secure buffer for Soviet socialism in the Far East.

In other words, in the Russian Bolshevik Politburo’s view, China was in far too primitive a condition both technologically and socially to jump into socialism and would be far more likely to succeed along a bourgeois democratic path – meaning the security of world socialism – i.e., the USSR – would be far better served with a stable and healthy and friendly capitalist regime in Peking, than in any dice shoot for proletarian dictatorship which at best could end up as it had in Russia, with a tiny working class and its Party sitting on a nation of ignorant peasants.

  1. In 1927, the Bolsheviks in Russia began to remember that war with the capitalist countries was inevitable and that the way things were going they would be unprepared. NEP was doing well as far as relative prosperity was concerned but the rate of industrialization was pitifully slow. Without capitalist bank credits for foreign entrepreneurs willing and able to build factories in Russia and the other Republics, industrialization would be even slower! Furthermore, without a secure eastern frontier, given the failure of the China policy in April 1927, the military danger of encirclement by the advanced capitalist countries would be twice as great. Stalin had a solution in mind. He began putting it into effect in the second half of 1927 and speeded it up in the early months of 1928, so that by August of that year he was ready to go for broke.

Stalin vs. Trotsky V

The struggle between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin requires additional comment at this moment. Trotsky began losing the fight the minute Lenin died in January of 1924. Stalin had gathered the reins of state and governmental power in his hands and he knew how to use them. Trotsky had alienated the Bolshevik Old Guard and without Lenin’s protection… well, it was only a matter of time. The man leading the Old Guard was Joseph Stalin, but if it hadn’t been him it would have been someone else of the Old Guard type who disliked and confronted Trotsky, and the end result would probably have been exactly the same.

As we have seen Trotsky and Stalin hated each other, and had for many years. Mainly, this was a personality clash that arose because of the polar opposite class backgrounds of these two men. Stalin came from a dirt poor, abusive family. He had had to fight for an education which meant the Seminary. Trotsky came from a very wealthy family that would have been part of the major nobility if they had not been Jewish. Trotsky had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had had every advantage that money could buy. Stalin hated the bourgeoisie, especially those in his Party!

Trotsky and Stalin had been the principals in the 1907 debate about bank robbing etc. as the source of Party funds. Stalin’s hatred of Trotsky was more than political – he found himself up against the exact type of person he hated the most. That is, the kind of person who had had all the advantages that money could buy and was still claiming to be in the Party of Labor. A very obtuse person (Trotsky) who failed in Stalin’s eyes to understand his (Stalin’s) sacrifice and dedication.

Stalin had lived and worked inside the Empire of the Russias his entire life, except for a few trips abroad to see Lenin and participate in Party meetings. He had gone to prison seven times and survived. Not to mention having escaped each time. If nothing else it shows that Stalin knew the real world and was capable. He always did (excepting their autumn 1920 Polish campaign differences) what Lenin wanted him to do, until 1923, when the two men split over the way Stalin handled a bunch of assholes in Georgia. About this incident Stalin was exactly correct in my opinion but however that may be it was this incident that decidedly marked the end of his long and special relationship with Lenin; the man Lenin had initially termed “that wonderful Georgian.” The man Lenin had relied upon, perhaps more than any other, to do all those things that he knew had to be done, and for so many years. Stalin was emotionally attached to Lenin and never, even to himself, apparently, allowed the thought that anything other than Lenin’s ill health had been responsible for their untimely rupture.

But, Lenin was out of touch with reality by this time. He had had several strokes; it was just a matter of time until he died. -And, he had always been quite naive about the underlying template of human behavior. In January, 1924, Lenin did die.

In 1924, Trotsky was removed as War Commissar, where he had been outvoted four to one anyway since 1919. In 1925 he lost his position in the leadership of the political bureau of the Party where he had alienated almost all of its members. In 1926, he was removed from the Central Committee for factionalism; in 1927, he was expelled from the Party altogether. In January, 1928, he was exiled to Soviet Turkestan; then expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929, when he arrived inlanded on an island near Istanbul.

However, as I mentioned in the Preface to the 2006 edition, the Party never liked Trotsky and didn’t want him (in the summer of 1917 anyway.) Lenin wanted him then, despite their many years of mutual antipathy, and in a leadership position, for his own reasons.

Trotsky did well overall during the Civil War in my opinion but in the opinion of many of his contemporaries he did not do well at all. In fact, in April 1919, Stalin and Dzerzhinsky were able to replace Trotsky’s Chief of Staff (with Frunze who took Vatsetis place) and three of the remaining four seats went to “Stalinists” (in the five-man Party War Committee – leaving Trotsky as War Commissar and four Stalinists!) Now, the point is that Trotsky’s advocacy of using former Czarist officers in huge numbers was one of the major reasons for his being disliked by the Old Bolsheviks, and the new working class officers, during the Civil War. Another was his arrogant “ruling class” personal behavior, especially toward the working class officers of the Red Army. Something Trotsky tends to admit in his autobiography My Life. When Lenin’s protection was withdrawn by death it was only a matter of time until Trotsky disappeared from the scene. As I say, if it hadn’t been Stalin who confronted him it would have been someone else, and I am rather sure the result would have been the same for the reasons we have discussed in this book.

The Great Struggle for Collectivization and Industrialization

In 1926, Stalin was fairly firmly in the leadership saddle. He decided that to industrialize Russia and mechanize and modernize its agriculture an entirely new approach would be required. It wasn’t too hard to see what had to be done but the task was monumental in scope; the intensity that would be required to achieve success was unclear to all except Stalin. Stalin’s first moves along these lines began in the latter half of 1927 and were speeded up in 1928 until in August he was ready to drop all pretenses and go for broke in forced collectivization of the entire peasantry of the Soviet Union!

The idea of collectivizing agriculture in these small-holding peasant kinds of countries goes back to Karl Marx. Lenin had also written about it from a theoretical standpoint. The idea of massive industrialization was feasible. If one had the money. End of Story.

Stalin decided to do both at the same time. But he was not the sole leader yet. He had to work carefully to maintain his plurality in the political bureau, the central committee and in the Party Congresses. He proved to be an excellent politician and he kept his markers out. The First Five Year Plan was his answer for industrialization.

To pay the cost of industrialization Stalin needed a lot of money. He got much of it internally from the turnover tax (a kind of sales tax) that eventually took about 90% or more of the average industrial workers income in the form of the prices workers had to pay for their daily bread, etc. He got much of the rest of it, also internally, from the collective farms. The peasantry in the USSR would play the role assigned to the colonies of the Capitalist world in its industrialization.

The struggle began in August, 1928. This time the Party would take the peasantry in hand the way it had wanted to ever since the peasantry had taken the Party in hand and forced the restoration of a market economy in 1921. This time the Party was prepared internally to pursue the task to the bitter end. –And it had just the man at its head (Joseph Stalin) to see that the mission would be accomplished - no matter what the cost. This struggle to force the peasants into cooperatives and collectives was the greatest war the Bolsheviks ever had to fight until World War II.

Ten Years Is All We Have

Suffice it to say that the Bolsheviks prevailed once again. Collectivization gave Stalin the agricultural produce he needed to sell at home, and abroad, to come up with some of the cash to buy all the factories and machinery that the Soviet Union needed if his program to bring the USSR to modern capitalist levels within ten years were to succeed. {“We are 50 or 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in 10 years. Either we do it or they crush us.” Stalin’s speech to the industrial manager’s conference on 4 February, 1931.}

Even though overall agricultural production was drastically reduced because of the sabotage of the kulaks, the portion the government received went way up! {Kulaks were rich peasants - kulak is the Russian word for “fist” - these were the local bosses that the Czar and the aristocrats used to keep the common peasants in line - thus the term “fist.”} If the Soviet government got 10% of the previous overall peasant output that was a lot less than 90% of the collective farm output, that the Soviet Government now received. For Stalin collectivization was a tremendous success. He had eliminated the class enemy on the land inside the USSR and gotten a permanent source of plannable income in the form of agricultural goods. The capitalist farmers had been brought to heel.

The Five Year Plan

Throughout 1928 Stalin adjusted “the pace” of events in agriculture apparently trying to decide how to maximize the speed of the collectivization and found that rapidly expanding its scope as well as the depth of the actual collection of tools, animals and other farm equipment and livestock had overall given the best results. What became apparent was the inability of the agricultural capitalists and their sympathizers to keep pace with the Government’s increasing demands and employment of bureaucratic armed troops to see these decisions carried out with maximum speed and thoroughness...

The industrial half of the Stalinist solution moved along much more smoothly than did the situation in the countryside. The reason for this was the Bolsheviks complete control of the labor movement in the cities and their decade of experience in organizing the national economy and securing it international partners in development – willing and unknowing (as a huge amount of industrial espionage had been underway for many years. All of it under the direct supervision of the Boss.)

The agricultural half of the Stalinist solution moved along on time or beat the schedule established in the end by the Boss himself who constantly pushed his planners to set higher production goals. Within the Party Stalin lost support over the years of the First Plan among his bureaucrats. Why? Because the contradictions created by “the pace” of the Stalinist solution were often enormous and required a heavy hand to deal with; all of which interfered with these regional bosses’ opportunities to meet their production schedules. Furthermore, the production targets themselves were so high they often made compliance impossible for either workers or managers. Yet the Boss would not listen to his underlings pleas and increasingly found their protests to be indications of subversive counter-revolutionary sentiments and accordingly they shut up.

In the end the Stalinist solution worked because it gave the Russians something they absolutely had to have: a modern industrial infrastructure. –And, it worked because Soviet workers were willing to make the great sacrifices necessary to make the socialist dream a reality.

The Pace: Five in Four

By 1931 Stalin had decided to wrap up the First Plan. That Plan was in shreds anyway compared to its structure at the beginning. The slogan Five Years in Four or simply Five in Four spread overnight across the country. Little children ran through their playgrounds that day singing Five in Four, Five in Four.

It was on the question of “pace” Stalin was persevering. The hardest way to go – to maximize the speed and scope of agricultural collectivization-mechanization and the absolute maximum rapidity in the construction of power, steel, machine tool, heavy and light manufacturing, chemical and fuel industries - became a way of keeping potential opposition from solidifying around anything! By the time a few managers might succeed in getting the Central Committee to grant an audience the entire equation would have changed as millions more workers were sent to tackle new targets – e.g., hydroelectric power construction, river linking canals, behind the Urals coals and steel industries, etc. – and the issues of the day had changed completely. Whatever ill thought out policies had precipitated the managers audience were now “ancient history” compared to the new problems emerging by the increasing demands of the Boss to (i) increase the rate of collectivization to 100% (ii) pour steel before the walls and roof of the factory are finished (iii) decrease dry holes in the oilfields to zero (iv) etc. Opposition within the Party was there and growing – it was there and growing because the “pace” demanded by Stalin was oppressive. Not only in hours worked but under conditions far worse than might have been tolerated by workers from capitalist boss’s; yet, Soviet labor proved loyal to Stalin and conformed.

It was on the question of pace that Trotsky made a principled point of attack against Stalin. Beginning from his exile base on the Island of Principe (off the Istanbul, Turkey coast) and continuing throughout the First Five Year Plan Trotsky kept up a drumbeat attack on the Stalinists for the forced pace of both the mechanization of collectivized agriculture and the forced installation of everything from the new Steel industry to the hydroelectric, machine tool, and massive automotive complexes arising literally from the bare Earth all over the Soviet Union.

Stalin could have stopped Trotsky cold any time he wished. Why did he let him continue his ongoing assault against everything he was doing, building, dreaming? One must consider the possibility that Stalin found Trotsky’s nearby “treason” to be useful in his political campaign at home to silence the opposition.

For Stalin “pace” was a question upon which compromise was not possible – not any real compromise. For example, at the beginning the pace of the forced collectivization had forced a temporary compromise to come from Stalin who blamed those underneath him for pushing the pace too far and too fast. In his Pravda article “Dizzy with Success” Stalin seemed to be coming to the defense of the mass of the poor capitalist farmers. But the moment the Party and Police were back in the saddle the pace was pushed even faster. –And, by whom? By the Boss himself.

Why? Because Stalin had learned as a boy the way to win was to keep moving so fast the police could never catch you. In 1904-1905 he learned the way to beat the Czar was to keep events moving in front of him and out of control. Stalin found during the Civil War (1918 – 1920) the way to win was to move troops quickly from one part of the Soviet Republic to another part using trains and telegraph and telephones.

Stalin learned during the aftermath of the Civil War how important it was to move extremely fast against the opposition; whether that opposition came in the form of revolting would-be capitalist farmers in Tambov, or mutinous sailors at Kronstadt, such potentially lethal opposition could be kept isolated and thus overwhelmable by a rapid movement of superior forces against them.

By this time the idea of speed combined with deep probing armor thrusts backed up by close-air support for superior infantry frontal assault was the basis for the new Soviet military doctrine known as Deep Operations (simultaneously known as Deep Battle as in the 1936 Red Army Field Manual. This doctrine had as its first principle the use of deep behind the lines armor and air attacks to break up enemy formations before they could get their act together and retreating formations before they could regain their footing. This is exactly the strategy Stalin used against the Kulaks and other capitalist elements in the countryside

In short Stalin had learned the utility of speed in getting a decisive victory once you made up your mind about where you wanted to go. Stalin knew what he wanted in Russia: (1) a modernized and socialized capitalist industrial base and (2) a socialized mechanized agriculture. It was for this reason Stalin did not compromise on the question of pace. He really could not without giving his opponents the breathing space they would need to organize against the man in control of the Party and its State and Government. Nor could he reduce the pace if he really believed what he said; namely, the USSR had only a decade in which to prepare for the final imperialist world war the capitalists must inevitably unleash against them.

The Congress of Victors – winter time with Stalin – 1934

During the middle of January the build-up for the Party’s greatest Congress since the death of Lenin was well underway. For two weeks beginning January 26th the Party’s highest officials met in Moscow for the Party’s 17th Congress. The Press was calling it The Congress of Victors. The last Congress of that name as the Soviet press frequently pointed out was held by the Victors of the Napoleonic Wars in Vienna in 1815. That time Russian troops backed up international reaction. This time in the winter of 1933-1934 Russian troops backed up the World’s First Worker’s Government.

For Stalin the outcome was bitter sweet. Why? Because while the Congress gave him the adulation he deserved for the great successes of the First Five Year Plan and Okayed his decision to launch the Second Five Year Plan over a year early, discontent among the Party brass was seething just below the surface. The Victors further agreed with his summation speech that the Soviet Union which four years earlier had no steel industry now had one; the Soviet Union which had no machine tool building industry now had one; the Soviet Union which had had an uncertain supply of petroleum products now had a permanent supply and transportation system of ships and pipelines. The Soviet Union which had no hydroelectric power industry now had one of the greatest in the world. The list went on and on and everyone knew this was the bottom line. They had given Stalin what he wanted and had demanded and when you stepped back and looked at the results of the past few years you knew that the Boss for all of his seeming unrealistic demands and enforcement measures had been right after all. Fundamentally, that also meant he had saved their lives. For if the capitalists succeeded in their eventual inevitable world war against them the Party leaders and cadre would be hung along with their families and friends.

On the other hand the voting went heavily against Stalin wherever it counted. The Boss finally persevered in the vote count and in the formalities of leadership approval but it was as close run a thing as was possible in those days. Stalin had reason to see treason all around him and this time within the Party itself!

Yes the Congress of Victors was a tremendous success for the Russian Party and for the international communist movement too which saw what came out of the Congress as approval of Stalin’s leadership. But, quietly, at home, Stalin knew he would face significant opposition from within the Party to his leadership. Opposition left over from these early years as well as over coming contradictions not even thought of at the moment.

Stalin Names the “New Class”

Stalin had to have managers - bureaucrats - to run the publicly owned means of production; he went about creating a new class that he called the “classless intelligentsia,” until by the mid to late 1930’s there were over ten million of them. Along with the industrial workers and the collective farms this made the Regime very stable. As long as oppositional elements were continuously weeded-out by the secret proletarian police, the Stalinist Socialist Stage was permanent!

Class Struggle in the Nation leads to Class Struggle in the Party

Stalin used terror against his opposition. -And, there was an increasing amount of opposition to Stalin’s break-neck pace of industrialization not to mention his increasingly heavy demands on the collective farms. When he announced the law that made death sentences mandatory for oilfield managers failing to meet their quotas, the Party and government bureaucrats revolted. This incentive program could spread to them and was too much!

At the Congress of Victors in 1934 they named Sergey Kirov - the Leningrad Party Chief - to be Stalin’s successor in the event that he was to die or be recalled! They ordered Kirov from Leningrad to Moscow where he would be the Moscow Party Boss. That would have put him right next to the seat of government and power in the Kremlin. Kirov confided in Stalin, offered to refuse the appointment, and continued his close friendship with the General Secretary (Stalin’s then current official title) who urged him to accept the appointment.

However, Stalin was warned. He wasn’t omnipotent and the bureaucracy wouldn’t stand still for that kind of punishment, just for the radical and seemingly impossible speeds he was demanding in the industrialization of the nation. –And one-time Politburo luminary Nicolai Bukharin and associates were already plotting Stalin’s assassination, as we have learned in subsequent years.

In the event it was Kirov who was assassinated before he could get to Moscow. Stalin used this as a pretext to launch a series of internal purges of the state and government apparatus and the Party itself. As he saw it eliminating his opponents in the Party, Government and eventually State (Red Army and Police) was the only way to maintain the rate of industrialization. -And, Stalin was convinced that Socialism as a Stage could still be reversed, in the coming capitalist World War, if the USSR was not totally modernized, industrially, by that time.

Soviet Socialism Continues Encircled by Imperialism

Meanwhile, in China, Mao Zedong had built a Red Base Area in Kiangsu-Hunan, and had withstood four successive “anti-Red Bandit” campaigns of the fascist Chiang Kai-shek, and his GermanNazi German and Imperial Japanese advisors and suppliers. Finally, Mao had had to make the Long March of some 7000 miles across all of South China, and then up the western frontiers, swinging east to Yenan in the northern mountains of Shensi. The Chinese communists were now in the right place for the coming struggle.

Shensi was part of the very heart of Ancient China, and always had been. Furthermore, this put the Chinese communists on the frontier with Soviet Mongolia and the USSR. Given the plans of the Japanese capitalists to attack both Mongolia and the Soviet Union this was strategic gold! Japanese military forces could not deal with those two and leave their entire left flank open to attack!

By the middle 1930’s, the European capitalist classes in country after country had placed total police state regimes, called “fascist,” over the mass of workers and peasants. The European capitalist rulers were fully committed to fascism, and to the destruction of their own native labor movement, and the Red Heartland of Socialism in the USSR.

They had begun by placing in power fascist regimes; such as that in Hungary after the defeat of Bolshevism’s (Bela Kun’s) first attempts in 1919 to establish a Bolshevik government, where Admiral Horthy became the first fascist leader; then in Italy under the rabble-rousing (previously socialist) Benito Mussolini, who had given the name “fascist” to his philosophy of the rich ruling the poor; then came Portugal under Dr. Salazar; then, in Spain, General Franco. Of course, in Germany, they appointed Hitler. All these men were committed to raising legal violence against workers as their first principal and political program. Lesser fascist leaders took command in places like Austria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Only France and the United Kingdom had not yet gone fascist. France soon would with a little help from her friends in high places (the Duke of Windsor) and the French Hitlerites. -And, in London the capitalists were relying on a succession of Tory (Conservative Party) governments to put a London-Berlin-Rome axis together.

On the far right of Britain’s Tory class were those, such as the Nazi Duke of Windsor, who would be on the General Staff of the British Expeditionary Force in France, in 1940, and would engage in ultimate treason by providing all the information at his disposal to the Nazi’s. Then, the British capitalists figured, (with or without their former King) they would be able to liquidate the labor movement in Great Britain and join with Hitler in a world wide onslaught against Bolshevism.

This was the policy of all of the Tory governments in the 1930’s, but became shamefully obvious under Chamberlain as 1939 approached. Concession after concession was given to Hitler; he was allowed to take country after country. Finally, in 1938, Chamberlain betrayed Czechoslovakia with whom Britain and France had a solemn collective security treaty! Both the British and the French ruling classes refused to step up their war preparedness because they wanted to be sure that a clear and present signal was being sent to Hitler. Namely, that they were no threat to him. Hitler should just go right on building his military machine; go right on and attack the USSR. A task they were not up to, given the Red sentiment in their own countries and, as Winston Churchill had pointed out in 1920, the Bolshevik’s ability to maintain massive standing armies indefinitely.

Stalin’s Spies: The Proletarian Secret Service

As you will recall, Lenin had placed Stalin in charge of both the Russian Party’s intelligence service and that of the Comintern. One division of that service had to do with reporting on the machinations of the imperialist governments and ruling classes against the proletarian State and the world wide working class movement. –And, here Stalin’s spies gave more than yeoman service – they provided absolutely essential information in a reliable and continual way. Among those we know about, because of their public exposure, were the British Ring of Five: Harold Adrian Russell “Kim” Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald McClean, John Cairncross and Anthony Blunt (adding Michael Straight would make it the Ring of Six). Also a separate British ring, only one of which member is known, “Sir” Roger Hollis. –And, in Japan, Richard Sorge, embedded in the Nazi embassy in Tokyo. Also, the so-called Red Orchestra in Germany and Switzerland, not to slight Steve Nelson and associates in the USA, who ran the espionage program into the Manhattan Project for Beria. There were many many more Soviet spies - many of this caliber - many still unknown!

All in all, these spies provided Stalin with the inside information as to what the British and American rulers were doing and plotting, and the Germans and Japanese. As a consequence Stalin was able to plan his military strategy knowing what all commanders dream of knowing and that is “the intention and activity of one’s ‘friends’ as well as enemies.” There was almost no anti-Soviet plotting by the British and Americans or the Germans and the Japanese that Stalin didn’t know about all of the time! (Including their secret development of the atom bomb.) That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment and makes the Soviet Secret Service the most successful of all such entities that have ever existed. (Read Kim Philby’s book My Silent War and my book, The Buccaneer, for that matter, for some of the “inside” on intelligence activities of those days. –And, my forthcoming history of the proletarian secret service’s first few decades called Red Sword, Red Shield.)

One might ask, if all that is true, and it is, how is it that Hitler caught Stalin unawares on June 22, 1941? Especially since both the English and his own spies were warning him of the Nazi buildup and intent to attack. –And, the answer is, that Stalin had to make a judgment call and he made the wrong one.

But, it was an understandable one. The British and French ruling classes had been involved non-stop in trying to start a German-Soviet war and it was provocations of this type which had been keeping Stalin busy – and his spies – for a decade prior to the Nazi attack.

At that point Stalin had no reason to trust the life-long virulent anti-Bolshevik Churchill, who would have done anything to take the German pressure off of his back and certainly would have loved to see the Nazi’s switch their forces to an attack on the Soviet Union. –And, the Nazi build-up along Soviet frontiers coincided with other Nazi war-making in the Balkans and against Greece. Goods were still moving back and forth, as per the Rapallo Treaty, between the Soviet Union and Germany, some of which the Germans could not do without.

Furthermore, and most importantly for Germany, to attack the Soviet Union would be suicidal – Stalin had limitless natural resources, and limitless human reserves, and the most advanced armaments in the world on the eve of the German attack. Stalin credited Hitler with too much intelligence to provoke such a war at that time – a war he could not win – certainly to provoke such a war while his war with the UK and its empire was far from finished.

Hitler on the other hand felt that if he didn’t move now, in 1941, that the Soviet superiority would be twice as great within a year or three times as great within two or three years. In which case by the time Germany might win against the British it would be an exhausted Germany emergent; one that would not have the ability to even consider attacking the Soviet Union. Finally, Germany had failed in its program to develop an alternative source of oil. It had to have Soviet oil or give up on its program of world conquest. This oil had been largely cut off since 1936 and was just one more practical reason for destroying Bolshevism. –And, this objective, of rolling back Bolshevism, was one the nincompoop in Berlin would not give up. No, if he was going to do it he had to take the chance that surprise and luck would do the job, and 1941 was the last year Hitler correctly reckoned that he would have a chance relying on those two factors. In the end he almost succeeded.

But the point is that even though Stalin’s intelligence service was warning him, Stalin still had to make the final judgment call and it turned out wrong. So was FDR caught off guard at Pearl Harbor five months later; because when you are in the “receiving” position there is only so much you can do. No matter how much vigilance you practice a well set-up trick can work, as proved by Hitler in his assault on Bolshevism and by Hirohito in his assault on the USA, although, in the end Stalin was right and Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union failed, and with its failure Nazism was crushed.

Stalin’s Boys

As you might imagine, had you been running the biggest intelligence operation in history for some fifty years (1903 until 1953), you would probably have a special place in your heart for some of your stars. Stalin certainly did. Among those who earned his ever lasting affection are several worth looking at closely for a moment, even in a handbook. Why? Because as case studies they show us so much about ourselves, our movement and the people drawn to it. As such they constitute models for those of us who would like to make similar contributions to humanity’s struggle to enter the Era of Freedom, as Frederick Engels called that period soon to begin, in the near future in other words, with the Stage of Communism. Let us take a glimpse at several who entered the proletarian secret service after the establishment of the first worker’s government and state in history.

Within six weeks of the October 1917 seizure Lenin and the then quite small Politburo authorized the creation of the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation. Russian initials for this new body led to the use of the term Cheka for this and every subsequent Soviet intelligence department regardless of name. For example, members of the last of the Soviet intelligence agencies – the KGB (Russian initials for Committee for State Security) – and perhaps the most famous – were still called Chekists. –And still being paid on the 17th of the month (the day the Cheka was created in December 1917.)

Lenin and the Politburo were acting on the recommendations of Joseph Stalin and Felix Dzerzhinsky. Stalin was on the Politburo. Dzerzhinsky was not. At this time there were only seven Politburo members and all matters having to do with state security had been handed to Stalin by his colleagues because Lenin wanted it that way. Lenin wanted it that way because Stalin had been acting, when not incarcerated, as chief of all Bolshevik secret financial and other similar activities since 1903. Dzerzhinsky had been incarcerated and brutally treated after the failure of the 1905 revolution and was burning literally with hatred for his oppressors and the class they served. He had the habit of wearing tunics with the sleeves cut short enough to show the scars of the manacles that had been on his wrists for many years. He had recruited a special force of Latvian Riflemen to act as his agents in his work during the October 1917 seizure and thereafter they were the first ever-present Praetorian Guard of the Bolshevik Revolution. These two men – Stalin and Dzerzhinsky – were the closest of friends who saw eye to eye on the nature of the world-wide class struggle and how to conduct it for the people’s side.

At any rate, as I say, Lenin had directed Stalin to prepare the report on the condition confronting the Revolution in terms of security and how to fight subversion from the enemies of the people. Stalin had done so but turned the December 17th meeting over to Felix Dzerzhinsky who he proposed to take command of the new Commission which the two of them were recommending to Lenin, to protect the Revolution’s leaders and to guard the Revolution itself.

I am writing a detailed book on this subject (Red Sword, Red Shield) and will move on to the first agents the Cheka dispatched and how they influenced the course of world history for the next three decades. Namely the decision of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky to send Lev Feldbin to Archangel to take command of the Bolshevik forces there and to lead them into subverting the invading Anglo-American troops from within.

Lev Feldbin was a young lawyer and scholar who had been drafted into the Czarist Army and when restrictions against Jews becoming officers were abolished, as a product of the February bourgeois revolution, Feldbin was commissioned. He soon became a Bolshevik and after the seizure had been recruited by Dzerzhinsky into the Latvian Riflemen Red Guards. Here he was at hand when it was decided someone had to try and subvert the Anglo-American invasion from within, in the area of Russia north of Petrograd. Dzerzhinsky and his friend Joseph Stalin decided on Feldbin as one of the two to take charge of that area and Feldbin was personally given a new name more in accord with the locality and of course all Chekists would have secret identities anyway. Stalin picked the name Alexander Orlov for Feldbin.

Orlov fell in love with his comrade Maria and the two were married and together for the rest of their lives. –And what lives they were. Always at the forefront of the global class struggle. To make their long story too short let me say that Orlov succeeded in bringing the Anglo-American forces into the orbit of Bolshevik sympathizers and ended up as the leader of the secret military forces Stalin needed to protect his flanks on the ill-fated Polish-German-European campaign of 1920. Afterwards Stalin made Orlov the top Chekist for all of Europe and in that capacity Orlov recruited the British Ring of Five – Kim Philby, Donald MacClean, Guy Burgess, John Cairncroft and Anthony Blunt. (Contrary to Spycatcher author Peter Wright’s implication, Sir Roger Hollis, MI5 chief in the 1950’s and 1960’s, was not recruited by Orlov but by Red Army G2, and in China not Europe). These are the most famous of Soviet spies and so I mention them here, but the fact is that Orlov recruited thousands of men and women, especially in Germany, but also in Italy and France where he served as the “resident” (chief of intelligence operations) for the Cheka’s foreign department.

It was not until 1962 however that I discovered from my most highly placed source in the international red secret service, which I was serving by that time, what would become Orlov’s greatest accomplishment. Namely, the penetration of the US government at many levels with one objective. No, not the atom bomb. That job was handed to Steve Nelson to run for the Cheka. Orlov had a more important task. What could be more important than the atom bomb you may ask? I know I did.

The answer is complex and it demonstrates the extreme sophistication of Stalin’s personal intelligence expertise and of his closest associate V Molotov. Stalin confronted a situation in 1936 which led him to believe that the Rapallo arrangement with the capitalist world was about to give way to a new united onslaught of the European capitalist class against the USSR and also that he had to get ready for a simultaneous attack from Japan. In other words all of the world’s capitalist countries against the USSR and the People’s Republic of Mongolia. A two front war that could not be won! Despite the fantastic progress in Russian industrialization the fact was that it would take longer than the ten years Stalin had been talking about to get Russia sufficiently industrialized to win a Gross National Product World War II. Unless, unless, the United States were to join with Bolshevism.

It was clear by this time that Bolshevism was not going to seize power in the USA. Had that opportunity ever been present the American communists had missed it. So, how could the US be persuaded under a capitalist government to join with Russia against Europe and Japan? Stalin did not know but he felt that the FDR government in the US was at least relatively neutral with regard to the USSR and if some set of circumstances might emerge which would put the US at war with Germany or Japan – especially Japan seemed possible – than the FDR administration might well ask Russia for its support. Then the practical basis for changing the nature of the Rapallo World from a Soviet-German alliance against the rest of the imperialist countries into a Soviet-American alliance against the rest of the imperialist countries would exist. Stalin didn’t know how this was to happen but he knew if there were anyone in the Cheka who could influence US events in this direction it was Orlov.

Accordingly, Stalin called Orlov back from Spain (where he was running Cheka operations in support of the Soviet-allied Republican government against Spanish fascist chieftain Francisco Franco) and explained his new task. Again making this fascinating story too short let me sum it up by saying Orlov established an elaborate ruse and made his way to New York, along with his wife and daughter. This is not the place to go into further details of his mission and many of the details are still considered highest state secrets in Putin’s Russia. However, the ruse worked and when many years later Orlov was discovered living in the US he managed to fool his FBI interrogators convincing them of his “true” secret refugee status. In fact, they didn’t find him. He wrote a book claiming to be an enemy of Stalin and upon its post-World War II publication the FBI read it and got in touch. Stalin could not believe how incompetent these Americans were. Stalin said to Beria about the American FBI: “I can’t believe it. How these guys survived the war is amazing. A spy has to write and publish a book to get their attention.” –And, there was a new reason in 1948 for Orlov to need their attention. But that is another story for another book.

So, of Stalin’s Boys it was Lev Feldbin (Alexander Orlov) who occupied one of the ventricles of what so many consider to be a rather cold heart. Stalin himself, by the way, felt that way about himself – at least he said after the death of his second wife “with her passing my heart turned cold.”

However, when it comes to being the Boss’s favorite pet, no one stood higher in Stalin’s affection than the German Richard Sorge. Sorge began his adulthood as a soldier in the Kaiser’s army and was interned in a Russian POW camp. After the Capitalist Provisional Government was established in February of 1917 Sorge made his way back to Germany where he eventually joined the soon to be formed German Communist Party (Autumn and Winter of 1918.) There he became a leading member, and when the Comintern held a Conference in 1922 in Berlin he acted as a bodyguard for several delegates including Finnish Communist leader Otto Kuusinen (the man who brought me into the international communist movement in 1961.) Kuusinen recommended Sorge to Cheka boss Felix Dzerzhinsky and accordingly he was recruited.

At this time the Cheka’s foreign operations were at Starasky Square in Moscow where Joseph Stalin had his main offices and secretariat. Here he met Sorge for the first time and the two men hit it off big time. Sorge had learned Russian while a Czarist prisoner and Stalin knew a little German from his years of working the oilfields of the Black and Caspian Seas. Sorge went on many foreign assignments for Stalin but the one that changed the world was his mission to Japan.

In Japan Sorge had a blank check as far as money was concerned and he used his Chinese and Korean espionage agents to build a radio system that would send clear messages to Moscow from wherever he established his base in Tokyo. Sorge established his radio base near his office which was in the Nazi embassy in the Japanese capital! Yes, by this time Sorge had become a Colonel in the SS intelligence service and been assigned to this nest of evil in the Nipponese capital.

Sorge told Stalin that the summer 1939 attack of the Japanese on Mongolia was a test. One faction inside the Jap general staff (Sorge attended their meetings as a German observer at their request) wanted to expand and seize Siberia for all of its potential and as a place to put their army of unemployed. The other half of the Japanese general staff wanted to attack south and seize all the colonies of the British, the Dutch, and the French and expel the Americans from everywhere in Asia and the Pacific – especially from China which this faction wanted to take completely into the Japanese co-prosperity realm. Sorge gave Stalin the detailed Order of Battle of the Japanese forces and Stalin saw immediately what Sorge had seen and that was that the Japanese did not have modern equipment and depended on suicidal soldiers to accomplish their missions. Accordingly he sent General George Zhukov to take command of the most modern land and air machinery the Soviet Union had, including planes and tanks jerked right out of their design institutes and prototype production lines.

When Zhukov attacked the Japanese, at the end of August 1939, at the Mongolian-China river border town at Khalkin-Gol he wiped out their entire 80,000 man expeditionary force and destroyed what armor they had and virtually their entire committed air force. It was a turkey shoot as Soviet soldiers took on the Japs two to one with flanking waves of the most modern tanks in the world supported by the world’s first fighter-bomber close-air-support warplanes in a new Soviet tactic called Deep Operations or Deep Battle. Japan had assembled another million men to follow their spearhead into Siberia but when their spearhead was liquidated they sat dumb. The general staff back in Tokyo was shocked and permanently resolved not to get involved again in Soviet territory and decided to move south against the Europeans and the Americans. This made Pearl Harbor inevitable.

Two years later Sorge warned Stalin that the Germans were going to attack on June 21 1941 at 6:00 am in the morning. But, this time Stalin chose not to believe it. He convinced himself that Sorge had been taken in by his own SS misinformation bosses. Of course, Sorge was right, and thus rose in Stalin’s esteem. Accordingly when Sorge next told him that the Japanese had rejected Germany’s demand that they enter the war against Russia (the Anti-Comintern Pact Germany, Italy and Japan had signed required all to come to the aid of any one of them involved in war with the other capitalist countries and/or the Soviet Union) Stalin paid attention. Now he began preparing to shift George Zhukov and his troops from Mongolia and Siberia to the Soviet West. Consequently Zhukov smashed the Nazi’s at Moscow in December 1941 dealing Hitler his first massive defeat of World War II.

Shortly after this final transmission where he spoke directly with his close friend Joseph Stalin, Sorge was uncovered by the Japanese secret police. Jailed, tortured and executed, the Bosses favorite spy passed into the pantheon of Soviet heroes. To this day Sorge’s Japanese grave is the contemporary site of an annual pilgrimage of many communists wishing to pay respect to the Boss’s favorite.

Some of Stalin’s boys had been with him in the very early years. One was Michael Borodin. After the defeat of the 1905 revolution Borodin, a member of the Bolshevik Party, had fled Russia for the United States. Along the way he met another person – a young Bolshevik woman – and she became his wife and accomplice in Chicago where they both went to work teaching school and trying to help working people build a political base.

When the Capitalist Provisional Government was established after the February 1917 revolution in Russia, and then within six months his own Bolshevik Party turned the revolution socialist, (the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917), Borodin made his way back to Moscow There he renewed his personal friendship with Joseph Stalin, met with Lenin, and was recruited into the Cheka’s foreign operations department. Borodin went on several missions including Mexico and the United Kingdom where he accomplished much and made his mentors proud. So proud that they sprung him from jail in London and gave him a new assignment. China.

Borodin arrived in Canton (Guangzhou) China in December 1923 on a tramp steamer with two hundred dead sheep killed in a hurricane (typhoon). The Brits were looking for him after the jailbreak in London and he could not venture anywhere near Hong Kong on his way up the Pearl River; thus, the tramp steamer.

If his arrival lacked a certain dignity that was soon remedied when the rest of his team arrived a few weeks later. For Stalin had sent several thousand Soviet advisors and nearly fifty ships full of small arms, tanks and airplanes. Why? Lenin had argued for and gotten unanimity in the Politburo for a policy of intervening in China to support the creation of a progressive capitalist government under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen. In charge of military operations for Sun Yat-sen was General Blyukher, a hero general of the Red Army in the civil war and now Lenin’s hand-picked chief of Soviet-Chinese military operations in China. We have already reviewed this topic in depth in chapter 13.

Finally, as a case study is Harold Adrian Russell “Kim” Philby. Kim Philby was the son of a rather famous, in his own right, British iconoclast Harry Bridger St. John Philby, Orientalist and Arabianist, who would become the closest personal advisor to Ibn Saud, King of what is now Saudi Arabia. His descendants still rule. St. John Philby engineered the US entrance into Saudi Arabia cutting out his British compatriots The Saud family that rules today owes virtually everything they have to him.

But it was St. John’s son the world would come to know best. Orlov recruited Kim Philby and the rest of the British Ring of Five. He guided Kim through the maze of Spain and then into MI6. It took some six years to get him this far because Kim had rather carelessly let it be known far and wide that he had communist sympathies in the late 20’s and early 30’s so this had to be covered up.

Once inside MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service) Kim rose rapidly because he did such great work Work largely conducted by Stalin’s Chekists who were helping him accomplish his assignments in Iberia. Eventually he became chief of Anti-Soviet and Anti-Communist operations for all of MI6. Along the way he became a member of the XX (20) committee so named because these two letters together look like a “double cross”. This referred to the British breaking of the German military code via the machine code-named Ultra. –And, Kim found out about the atom bomb almost immediately and that meant of course that Stalin found out immediately.

After the war Kim was recommended by “M” to become the next “M” (really “C” but since MI6 agent Ian Fleming made the letter “M” famous as the code name for the chief I have used it that way in my new book Red Sword, Red Shield.)Then US President Harry Truman asked that Philby be sent to Washington to guide the American former OSS agents, at their request, in setting up the US equivalent to MI6 – that is the CIA. Kim turned down the offer to become M because he said it was more important to help the Americans get into the fight against communism. This story has a long way to go but I think you get the idea.

These are just a handful of the agents who were close to Joseph Stalin. If it is true you can judge a person by the friends he keeps then our judgment about Stalin should reflect these associations with heroes of our cause.

Chapter 16: World War II

There had never been any doubt in the minds of the Bolshevik leaders that they would eventually have to fight another great conflict. Lenin’s doctrine of keeping the capitalist countries divided (formally begun with the 1922 Rapallo Treaty) could not last forever. But, if it were to last long enough to allow the Bolsheviks to prepare for the great conflict, in whatever ways were available, then that would be good enough.

Along the way, from Rapallo to June of 1941, there were numerous conflicts between the Soviet Republic (after 1924 the Soviet Union) and the rest of the capitalist world. Perhaps the most difficult was that of Spain (1936-1939). Not because of the military complexity of the armed struggle, for that was none too unusual. But, for the international political gamesmanship of the 1930's, where the capitalist classes of France and England were busy trying to “pacify” Hitler (which is to say busy encouraging Hitler to turn his attention to his oft stated goal of war with the USSR) and trying to provoke the Soviet Union into one or another, seemingly transparent, traps. Traps that would have the effect of making it easier for their Governments to appease Hitler and turn against Stalin.

After the events of 1933 and 1934 in Germany and Russia the Party authorized a step up in war industry and a restoration of command ranks of the old Czarist variety in the Army. In 1935 names given during the Civil War to the officer and NCO ranks reverted to the traditional rank titles as the USSR prepared for war, the officers and NCOs being rewarded accordingly. A new highest rank of Marshall of the Soviet Union was created and five generals received the honor.

The Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939)

Spain was a war in which Bolshevism had nothing to gain. Except, of course, to have another de facto “Third World” country in the Socialist orbit. But that is all it would have been - Socialism, once again, essentially in name only. A poverty stricken peasant country at an even lower level of development than Russia before Bolshevism. Spanish workers would either have to duplicate the Soviet effort at bootstrapping into the 20th century industrial world or wait for the Russian workers to send them the machinery and factories they would need. The Soviet Union didn’t have any extra factories or equipment. It had had to sacrifice everything to modernize as it was. Stalin wouldn’t have had to pursue the course he was pursuing if the Soviets had anything extra.

Yet, at the same time, the left wing of the Comintern, not to mention many
”independent” socialists, and the Trotskyists, were demanding that the Soviet Union join in an international effort to save the Spanish Republic and indeed to spread revolutionary socialist politics to that country. What to do?

In that instance Stalin had sent “International Brigades,” composed often of bourgeois youth from neighboring countries with democratic (anti-fascist) inclinations and many communist youth as well. These “Internationalists” saved the day for the Republic and gained Stalin considerable respect, as illustrated by the success of Ernest Hemingway’s book For Whom the Bell Tolls. Along the way Stalin managed to get his hands on the (700 tons) of Treasury gold of the Spanish Republic and that, of course, helped the industrialization drive in the USSR, immensely. So, Stalin proved again, much as would Fidel Castro decades later, that the best laid plans of the smartest imperialist leaders can be defeated - time and time again.


Stalin made every possible effort to forge an alliance with Britain and France to contain Hitler but every effort was rebuffed. Including the one at the last minute (July and August of 1939) when Stalin made tremendous overtures to both the French and British regimes that resulted in the London government sending a low ranking delegation by slow boat to Murmansk. -And, from France no response at all. Stalin then directed Molotov to seek a non-aggression treaty with Germany. It succeeded and the USSR avoided war.

The greed and fanaticism of the British and French ruling classes had blinded them to the possibility - nay, certainty - that Hitler would strike against them first; finish the unfinished business of the First World War, simultaneously bringing both France and England into the Nazi orbit. Hitler almost succeeded.

During the summer of that fateful year, 1939, while the attention of the West was riveted on Hitler and his next move, the Japanese capitalists prepared a massive attack on the Soviet Union and Mongolia. They began May 11th, initiating incursions into Soviet territory at the Chinese-Mongolian river border (at Khalkhin-gol), launching its main phase July 3rd.

Stalin’s chief spy in Japan, Richard Sorge (embedded as an SS officer in the Nazi embassy in Tokyo), told him, via his secret radio system, that the Japanese were playing out a scenario at the highest level. One group of Japanese imperialists wanted to attack north and secure Siberia from Lake Baikal east, for Japan – the other Nipponese imperialist leaders wanted to attack south, gaining more of China, as well as Indochina, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The attack on Mongolia was the test that would determine which faction won out.

Stalin Pounds Japan’s Invasion Force to Dust

Stalin believed, based on Sorge’s intelligence, the Japanese did not have modern equipment and they relied upon suicidal troops to accomplish their missions. Accordingly he directed his hand-picked general George Zhukov to prepare a counter-offensive of a special type. Stalin gave Zhukov the most advanced tanks and ground attack fighter-bomber warplanes the USSR had – including those straight out of “prototype” design phase – shipped straight from their design institutes and manufacturing plants to the desert war zone. Zhukov was confident that this modern armament combined with infantry superiority would give Bolshevism victory. In August, General Zhukov was ready.

On the 20th of that month Zhukov delivered a smashing rebuff to the Japanese invaders at Khalkhin-gol, using advanced Soviet deep operations tactics (squares of tanks moving against the Japanese flanks and rear; supported by ground attack fighter-bombers) along with a massive infantry frontal attack (two to one, 60,000 to 30,000 men in the Soviet and Japanese Main Forces, went head to head).The Japanese had no advanced warplanes of Soviet caliber, nor any advanced heavy tanks and worst of all no adequate anti-tank weaponry of any kind. In so doing Zhukov liquidated Japans entire main force including those who failed to surrender between the 27th and 31st, sending what was left of their total 80,000 man expeditionary force reeling back into Manchuria minus their armor, artillery and remnant air force. Japan’s million man reserve, waiting to move into Siberia, witnessed deep battle first hand while waiting in Manchuria, and they sat dumb. They were not nearly as well equipped as their expeditionary spearhead that had just suffered Japan’s first smashing defeat of World War II (although the Soviets would not be in the war with Japan until August, 1945.)

The Japanese High Command was stunned by the Soviet counter-attack, concluding that the readiness of the Red Army was of a far higher quality than they had imagined. The Japanese gave up once and for all on the northern strategy and decided to strike south against the USA, UK, France and the Dutch, in pursuit of all of their colonies and the rest of China. Herein lay the inevitability of Pearl Harbor.

If Hitler had been paying attention he would have seen what was waiting for him in the Soviet West. But, he wasn’t. So, while Stalin’s ploy did not stop the Nazi assault (but along with their upcoming difficulties in their Balkan campaign, the Red Army’s shockingly effective assault on Japan’s best forces came as an upset to Hitler’s generals) it would help to delay it until the summer solstice of 1941. –And, the Japanese were so badly mauled the Jap General Staff would never again consider getting into that conflict, even when the Germans appeared to be heading to victory.

The German capitalists, unified under the Nazi’s, struck out at Britain and France, September 1, 1939, using the Polish war as the excuse. Even after Poland went under, and Britain and France were technically at war with Germany, they didn’t do much of anything. Their “phony war” was in reality the last phase of their wishful thinking about Hitler. Still hoping not to provoke the Fuhrer; hoping that he would keep going to the East! But, in the Far East the Japanese capitalists sued for peace on September 16th.


Then, in 1940, in a lighting strike, Hitler moved against Scandinavia, Benelux and into France. Using the plans provided to him by England’s one-time King, the Duke of Windsor (a long time Nazi - See End Note 35 "the Nazi Duke" in my book THE BUCCANEER, 2003, Jason W. Smith, Writers Press, Boise 330pp), the Nazi spearhead circumvented the Maginot line; then found French commanders helpfully withdrawing - inviting the Nazi’s to take their country. It was the typical (Fifth Column) betrayal the world had gotten used to seeing - by the big Capitalists and their bourgeois allies against their respective nations, hoping that the fascists would be good enough to liquidate their organized labor movement when they took over. Which of course they did.

British troops could have been rolled-up by the Nazi’s while they lay trapped in France at Dunkirk, but Hitler was absolutely certain that this last of the “parliamentary” regimes of Capitalist Europe would see reason and surrender to his forces. He stopped.

Then he got the big surprise. Churchill, with his perfect command of European history, and his worldliness that came from having been all over Africa and Asia in his youth as part of one military campaign or another {and a brief stint as a prisoner of war in an Afrikaner Camp (from which he escaped!)} was not afraid of Labour so much as he was of Hitler. A good anti-communist himself, he saw the Soviet Union as far less of a threat to Great Britain than the Nazi’s. He had no intention of making a deal with the gutter snipe Hitler. {Churchill being the son of a Lord was quite class conscious and not at all likely to make a deal with a poor-White-trash nincompoop like Hitler to take over his realm.} Churchill rescued his Army in France and began a determined fight to save Britain and destroy Hitler.

-And, so there things stood.

In the meantime, in China, Communist Party General Lin Biao launched the 100 Regiments, Party-Army attack, that dealt death and destruction on the left flank of the Japanese army garrisoned in Manchuria as well as north-central China, the Chinese heartland. The Jap response was to launch the 3 All’s campaign which massacred 22 million Chinese between 1941 and 1943. A holocaust nearly four times greater than what the Germans did to the Jews.

Lenin’s Far East Policy Succeeds

However, this expanded war in north China had the effect of securing Stalin’s Siberian frontier, by tying down all of Japanese imperialism’s armed forces. (China thereby fulfilling Lenin’s hope for an eastern frontier “nation” allied with the Soviet Union against imperialism.) Also, the Japanese genocide against China fed huge numbers of volunteers into what was to become the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. Meanwhile the fascist regime of Chiang Kai-Shek continued its refusal to fight Japan. The Communists continuing as the only indigenous Chinese force fighting Japan’s invasion.

Who Will Attack First?

The imperialist war against the Soviet Union could not be delayed forever. One could jockey only so long until it would be a reality. -And, Stalin had been doing his best to gain strategic advantage on his western borders, moving Soviet attack forces closer and closer to those borders, and demanding and getting territorial concessions. Stalin planned on striking the Nazi’s first - he just wanted to wait one more year. The spring of 1941 turned to summer. The fascist regimes on Soviet borders, for example, Bulgaria and Romania, were required to surrender certain adjacent territories to the Soviet Union and other defensive steps had been taken against Nazi supported fascist Finland, while the reactionary regimes in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia were eliminated when Soviet troops occupied them in September of 1939.

Then the Nazi’s attacked the Soviet Union on the 22nd day of June, 1941. Hitler had been almost as good as his word. He just waited until he thought he had secured his western frontier before turning against the Bolsheviks, on his eastern one. Along the way Hitler took his European allies with him in this desperate adventure. The people of these countries would rue the day they allowed that decision and among their soldiers no more than a handful would return home alive.

The Battle of Moscow

The Japanese capitalists resisted the strong pressure from Berlin to enter the war, and even though they had just discovered Beria’s spy Richard Sorge, operating from inside the Nazi Embassy in Tokyo, in the late summer of 1941, it was too late to undo the work he had done for the Soviets. The Japanese had been burned so badly at Khalkin-gol two years earlier (thanks to Sorge’s intelligence and Stalin’s sending of Zhukov’s super-force to Mongolia) that they opted not to get involved. Stalin, his confidence in Sorge reinforced (after Sorge had correctly predicted the Nazi attack down to the day,) transferred crack Red Army divisions from the eastern frontier where they had been confronting Jap forces in Manchuria, to his western one – specifically, right in front of Moscow.

On the 15th of December, 1941, barely a week after the USA came into the War, because of the 7 December attack on Pearl Harbor, Stalin launched the counterattack that almost ended the war in Europe. Stalin, knowing the Japanese were not going to enter the war on Germany’s behalf, was able to send a seemingly limitless number of fresh Siberian troops from the east, and they hit the Nazi’s like a tornado in a cornfield, dealing them death and destruction in front of Moscow. Stalin had placed his Siberian Warrior Chieftain General Zhukov in charge of the Red counterattack at Moscow; he did on a much larger scale to the Germans what he had done to the Japanese a little over two years earlier. With a little more expertise and experience in dealing with such large military forces, the Red Army would have been in Berlin in May of 1942, instead of May, 1945.

The Battle of Stalingrad

It was left to be played out once again, eleven months later, in the winter of 1942, at Stalingrad. The battle actually began six months later, in August, 1942. While 20,000 US Marines were being dropped (and left stranded) at Guadalcanal, in that late summer month, the Nazi reinforced 6th Army reached the outskirts of Stalin’s city {What had been Tsaritsyn before the Bolshevik Revolution.}

After the Nazi’s, and their European allies, had pushed well into the city, and three months of house to house, cellar to cellar, hand-to-hand combat, (See the movie Enemy at the Gates) the Red Army launched a massive counter attack (on November 19, 1942) and 1.2 million fresh communist troops drove pincers behind the German forces to surround and trap 300,000 of them in that great city. Very few German invaders survived. (Perhaps one hundred lived to return to Germany!) Stalingrad was the end of Germany.

After the destruction of the German forces in Stalingrad, which was completed in January of 1943, it was all over for Hitler except the fighting. All over for the Germans except the dying. (Especially at Kursk in mid-summer 1943, when the remaining Nazi cream was ground into hamburger and their tanks into junk.) The Germans never stopped running until they were dead or encircled in Berlin, and all of Eastern Europe was liberated along the way. Stalin’s Operation Bagration which expelled the Germans from Soviet territory and liberated east and east central Europe is sometimes considered by military experts to be the greatest successful military endeavor in history!

The End for Japan

The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army and the Soviet Red Army invaded Manchuria in August 1945, as per prior agreement (at the Tehran and later Yalta Conferences, Roosevelt asked Stalin to provide this essential help to the US - Stalin had agreed) and forced the immediate surrender of the Japanese multi-million man occupation force there. (Where the Japanese learned what Deep Battle was all about, as the Germans had learned confronting Operation Bagration in Europe.)

With the captured weapons of the Japanese, the Chinese Reds would be able to finish off the corrupt fascist regime of Chiang Kai-shek in 1948-49. (Plus all the US weaponry sold to the communists by Chiang or captured by them.)

Despite the atomic bombing of Japan the Nipponese imperialist General Staff planned on continuing the fight. But with Red Army troops invading Japan’s northernmost islands and half way through the Korean Peninsula the Emperor decided in favor of surrendering to the Americans. He knew what would happen to him and his class if the Stalinist forces arrived in Tokyo!

Chapter 17: U.S. Establishes Hegemony Over the Capitalist World

The Lansky Kansas City flunkey, Harry Truman, assumed the Presidency with Roosevelt's death in April, 1945. Truman had been run by Meyer Lansky virtually all his life via the Pendergast gang operation that controlled Kansas City; the way Big-eared Du controlled Shanghai. In fact, when Truman was first elected as a US Senator for Missouri, his Senate colleagues referred to him as “the Senator from Pendergast.” Truman quickly became a favorite of the right wing of the Democratic Party, and with Lansky’s help replaced progressive capitalist, and US Vice-President, Henry A. Wallace (Iowa), as the Vice-Presidential running mate of FDR in 1944. Upon ascending to the Presidency, Truman did as his fascist bosses bid, and reversed FDR’s entire foreign policy, within about two weeks (See D.F. Fleming on the speed of the reversal in The Cold War and its Origins, 1917-1960, 1961, Doubleday, Garden City, New York.)

Truman would see to making the destruction of the Soviet Union his number one objective. What made this wild fantasy seem possible was the idea that the Gringo Regime had a monopoly on the atomic bomb. -And, although the US was only able to make about one bomb a month by 1947, the US ruling families thought that would do the job. (Stalin knew the US A-bomb production rate; the Japanese did not and had been fooled by Truman’s bragging after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about having many more A-bombs to drop on Japan when in fact he had no more A-bombs to drop at all.)

Henry Wallace tried to stop the fascistization of the US Democratic Party and the war-drive of the Truman Administration as Presidential candidate of the Progressive Party in 1948. (Idaho Democratic Senator Glen Taylor was Wallace’s running mate) Wallace and Taylor failed, but their candidacy which united New Dealers with Communists and Negro’s (as Africans were then called; Wallace and Taylor campaigned against segregation in the Apartheid South) did put the brakes on much of what Lansky, Truman, et. al. were trying to do – in many ways it was the Progressive Party alliance of progressive and Left forces which necessitated the US ruling families bringing out nutball Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy to terrorize the liberals in North America into silence. But by the time this reign of terror against the American people was fully extant the Soviet Union was out from under the danger of a first US atomic attack, as they had more than enough nuclear weaponry of their own.

To begin with, Stalin surprised the new US bosses in 1949 with the Soviet Atomic Bomb! Already Stalin had created a buffer zone of Peoples Democracies in East Europe (by 1948.) Then, Red China became The Peoples Republic in the Fall of 1949. Even if the gringos had enough bombs they couldn’t get close enough to the industrial might of the USSR to use them. By 1950, Stalin was surrounded by friends! -And, he had his own bombs and the means to deliver them (intercontinental rockets.)

US Picks Up the Nazi Gauntlet

Nevertheless, having picked up the gauntlet dropped by the Nazi’s, the Gringo reactionaries thought they could still get the upper hand because they had more bombs than the Communists. Korea taught them that they were not going anywhere. Stalin backed the Korean Communists with the Soviet nuclear umbrella, as he had earlier protected the Chinese Communists by distracting the US imperialists via Berlin, threatening Atomic War in Europe. {At that time in 1949, Truman was threatening to use A-bombs against Mao’s advancing armies}. This time, in 1950, British Prime Minister Clement Atlee balked, when Truman said he was going to use five A-bombs on the Korean Communist forces, Atlee saying “...if you do, you’re on your own!” (The bomb itself had been a joint US-UK undertaking and the British had to be consulted.) When I was in the US intelligence service in Europe (1960-1961) I became personally familiar with all of this history, as part of my work in Great Britain, as I have recounted in my book The Buccaneer.

Stalin seemed to be prepared to trade A-bomb for A-bomb in the event the Americans used theirs. The Chinese communists continued unfazed and along the road of national liberation – the first task before they could get on to national reconstruction.

We know now the Soviet Union’s production rate of A-bombs had matched in 1949 the USA rate and probably surpassed that of the USA (See the Russian Academy of Sciences 1996 Report: American and Soviet H-bomb development programmes: historical background. [In Physics - Uspekhi 39 (10) 1022 – 1044 (1996)]

The Chinese Revolution Establishes the People’s Republic

Having dealt with the Japanese imperialists the Chinese Communists turned their attention to the regime of the fascist Chiang Kai-shek and his new sponsors, the U.S, imperialists; the would-be puppet masters replacing the Japanese. However, there are puppets and there are puppets.

The Green Gang, of which Chiang was still just one member among the elite bosses of this Shanghai crime commission, saw an opportunity to make even more money with the disappearance of their major ally (Japan) and leached themselves onto the US imperialists. Now they really made some money.

Harry Truman would later estimate that Chiang stole at least 22 billion dollars directly from the US Government between 1945 and 1950. Far more than Chiang and the Green Gang had ever made with the Japs. All they had to do was to put up some kind of show for the Yanquis and the trough was open, and did they help themselves! Remember this is when a billion dollars was a billion dollars. A legitimate question could be who was the puppet – the comprador regime of Chiang and the Green gang, or the USA?

Chiang bought California U.S. Senator William Knowland for a hitherto unheard of exorbitant amount of cash. With their ‘bought and paid for’ “China Lobby” in the US Senate the Green Gang soaked Ma and Pa Kettle for all that cash, and much much more down the road. The dumb gringos lived up to their reputation; rubes like my parents kept forking over the cash for “‘never give a sucker an even break’ Chiang,” so that Big-eared TuDu, and his gangster pals in Shanghai could score again, like never before.

From the standpoint of Bolshevism, Chiang was less and less of a problem because he was so busy stealing from the stupid and naïve Americans that he had less and less time to spend fighting communism. Spending most of his spare time looting his own country and shipping the loot and the cash to Taiwan, the Philippines, Switzerland and so forth, Chiang was less and less of an obstacle to the liberation of the country. Thus, as the peace negotiations with the Communists failed (Chiang had to keep a war going to keep soaking the dumb gringos) the Peoples Liberation Army advanced steadily, freeing province after province, until Chiang (and the Green Gang including, of course, Du) finally had to give up the Golden Goose, and flee for good, to safety behind Yanqui ships, establishing himself (and themselves) on Taiwan, where they proceeded to establish the same type of fascism they had used to rule Shanghai and the rest of China they could get their hands on.

As we have seen Mao had the weapons of the Japanese that had been captured in 1945, and Stalin’s support, and could mobilize the Chinese masses in the millions, so it had always been just a matter of time until the Reds wrapped up the fascist forces in China and established a broad national front government. They did so, in the form of the People’s Republic of China, in October, 1949.

In the Countryside

Now the challenge for the Communists would really begin, because China was technologically far more backward in 1949 than Russia had been on the eve of the First World War in 1914. Mao and the Chinese Party politburo understood, even given the great historical task they had just accomplished, in terms of world socialism they were now right back where they would have been in 1927 if things had gone their way then, instead of the way they did go. In other words, the time had come when they would have to face the question of China’s technological backwardness and what to do about it.

While the US press went crazy inventing stories about the evils of Chinese communism, because the US bosses now thought they understood, even though the communists were moving in a broad national front way, in the end they would take China along a road similar to that of the Soviet Union. However, the truth was far different. China was as far from socialism of the Soviet type as it was from communism.

Mao and his associates had had decades now to think about Lenin’s initial analysis. They were in agreement with it then, and continued to be throughout the Civil War, and now in power it was their task to act on that initial assessment. For the technological situation had not changed for the better, with the possible exception of certain parts of China having been further equipped with constant capital (Japanese industrial plants exported to Manchuria and elsewhere to utilize cheap Chinese labor; the very reason for Japan’s invasion of China to begin with.)

Now, the entire agricultural population had to be freed from the Feudal-Fascist regimen it had been living under (outside the Red liberated areas); a 3 stage process that would take them until about 1958. Thus first, a massive agrarian reform was undertaken to eliminate gentry-capitalist owned agriculture, followed quickly (secondly) by collectivization and then finally (thirdly) a super-collective; one we would come to know as the People’s Communes. Then, or simultaneously, China would have to industrialize.

In the Cities

Starting from scratch the Chinese communists would have no choice but to begin industrialization in the cities. They knew to start with, that even when successful, 90% of the country would still be in an agrarian setting, (unless the transformation of the countryside, which was underway and much smoother than it had been in Russia, should help in not only mechanizing the countryside, but in the freeing hundreds of millions for wage-labor in the country towns as well as the cities) and the resulting situation would probably be unrealistically unbalanced. That is, full of inherent antagonistic contradictions among the working population.

Trying to spread industrialization throughout the country was a task that would take 30 years before it would successfully get underway. China’s struggle to modernize would take up the remaining part of the 20th century and was all along terribly complicated by attempts of its own New Class to go the route of the Soviet Revisionist bosses. The latter taking control of the USSR, in a slow and sneaking way, the minute Stalin died in 1953. Further complicated because the reality of New Class take over of the Soviet Union did not become fully apparent until perhaps 1958 to 1960; at least to Mao and associates, who had no previous experience to draw upon. Like the Russian Bolsheviks in 1921 they would have to improvise.

In the end, the Chinese Communist Party would succeed in finding a new way to speed up industrialization. “New” compared to what Stalin had had to do in the Soviet Union, anyway. But only after experimenting with the Great Leap Forward, and then the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, would they find their way. This “new” way was initially just the NEP of Soviet times but would be allowed by history time to develop fully. A process which began under the leadership of China’s “Old Bolshevik” cadre led by Deng Xiaoping. These are other stories for another time and book.

The process of completing the industrialization and modernization of the Chinese nation would get underway once again under new CP leadership in the post-1975 (and Mao’s death) period and would be headed by Deng Xiaoping. This would amount to a “return” to the NEP of the pre-1928 years in the USSR. This time the strength of the socialist world camp would be sufficient to offset the threat of imperialist intervention, giving time for a mixed economy to develop and prosper.

Stalin Has the First H-Bomb!

As if to allow history a brief respite, Stalin had the first militarily useable hydrogen bomb. This is not widely known to North Americans who get little more than a daily diet of propaganda, but the American Hydrogen Bomb explosion, November 1, 1952, in the South Pacific was the size of skyscraper and weighed 70 tons! On August 12, 1953, nine months later, the Soviet’s triggered their first one, air-dropping the first militarily deliverable H-bomb from an airplane 27 months after that! The Yanks, already checkmated in Korea and aware of Stalin’s H-bomb progress, gave up on the strategy for a pre-emptive strike against Socialism. Eisenhower officially withdrew the US from the Korean War on June 8 1953, only two months before the first Soviet successful H-bomb test, and a policy of belligerent containment was adopted toward World Socialism. In the US, with the pressure for containing the American people off, for the moment, McCarthy was retired and a more “traditional” form of thought control resumed prominence in US political life.

The 1957 launching of the two Soviet space satellites (Sputnik I and II in October and November) confirmed what the Pentagon thought it knew: the Soviets did have the rocket lifting and aiming capability to launch hydrogen bombs against US targets without ever having to launch a single bomber! I remember this so clearly as we in the Boise, Idaho, Astronomy Club, gathered nightly to view the Soviet satellite from the offices of one of our members father’s, who had installed a telescope, which he allowed us to use, to witness the rapid, night-time, trans-skyline flight of the Sputnik.

While all this had been going on in the international political and military arena the US ruling families consolidated their mechanisms for economic hegemony via financial engineering of the post-War global monetary system. For example:

The United States came out of the Second World War as the major and with the exception of Switzerland, the only creditor nation. For the first time since the rise of capitalism, all of the world’s trade relied on a single currency and was financed from a single epicenter. Recognizing this remarkable opportunity to achieve unhindered dominance (and to challenge the Soviet Union; a non-capitalist entity which, at the time, the best western economists thought of as a miracle-in-the-making), the United States took upon itself the role of reconstructing the capitalist world. The grandiose project soon acquired two strands.

First, American policy makers were keen to end the dollar’s monopoly as the world’s single convertible currency. This monopoly was undesirable because a world trade system relying on a single currency (supported by a single real economy which is only a subset of the global economy) is inherently unstable and prone to major upheavals during the unsavory parts of the business cycle. Initially, they toyed with the idea of propping up the pound sterling and using it as a potential shock absorber for the dollar zone. However, with sterling’s collapse in 1947, U.S. officials gave up on the idea.

Instead they favored, supported and cajoled the rise of two important supporting pillars for the dollar: one in Europe (the deutschmark) and one in Japan (the yen). The architects were three men: Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, Secretary of State James Byrnes and George Keenan. In their eyes, extending credit to Europe and Japan was to become a crucial component of U.S. policy as it would enable these two zones to buy technology and energy products, fundamentally oil, as well as to attract and utilize (often) migrant labor.

The choice of Germany and Japan seemed entirely logical. Both countries had been rendered dependable (thanks to the overwhelming presence of the U.S. military), both featured solid industrial bases (with ample human capital), and both offered considerable geostrategic benefits in relation to the Soviet Union….

Secondly, the creation of two non-dollar currency zones was to be underpinned by political measures to ensure the parallel creation of free-trade areas within these zones so as to carve out crucial vital space for real economies growing around the new currencies.” (From, the Global Minotaur, by Joseph Halevi and Yanis Varoufakis in Monthly Review, Vol. 55 No. 3, July-August 2003.)

Our Problems

Still, a central problem with which we are concerned is the same one that existed when the first workers government came into existence in 1917. That is, how long will it be necessary to have this highly regimented, constantly prepared, forever alert, rapidly building, military force in the hands of a working class dictatorship. Because, there is no substitute for keeping state power in one’s hands, nor for assuring the most rapid continuing industrial and scientific growth, regardless of the political, social and economic sacrifices required to do so; and consequences, once having done so.

Probably workers of the early 20th century, from anywhere in Europe or North America, had never had any choice but to go the Stalinist Socialist route. I mean, specifically, even if workers of the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy or Japan, had been able to seize political power, the level of development of the productive forces in those countries was still far from sufficiently advanced to provide the technological component of the Socialist Mode of Production. That seems clear now. Certainly the capitalist countries then had not advanced enough to create the economy that could produce “from each according to her ability to each according to her needs.”

I suspect this was not understood in the early years of the century by any of the sincere leaders. We know none of the Bolsheviks prior to October, 1917, would have subscribed to any view other than the one that said (to paraphrase) “...once workers have state power in their hands and the evils of capitalism are part of history, people will create a paradise on Earth in this country (whatever country.)” At the most some of them (like the Russians) would have admitted “...the necessity of linking up with the advanced capitalist countries for technical assistance from workers in those countries, who like us, will have seized political power, and be anxious to help.”

But, the lessons of the 19 teens and the 19 twenties combined with the pre-October real life experiences of Bolshevik leaders like Stalin (and many others who had gone to prison and fought in the Civil War) prepared them to see the world in a less naive, more sophisticated, indeed objective, way. When they did, the Bolshevik leaders realized they had to create the industrial infrastructure needed to support autochthonous Socialism: “Socialism in one country.” They had no choice.

Many of the Bolshevik bosses had realized by 1924, perhaps unconsciously, that even if they hadn’t had “no choice but to go it alone”, it was going to take a lot longer than any of them had thought to change the ideological nature of people, suffering from a mental template of selfishness and sadism, raised in poverty, scarcity and oppression for many millennia. Particularly as poverty and scarcity would continue as Worker’s Governments poured money into industrialization and defense. No other route than the one that Stalin (and indeed earlier, Trotsky) had proposed for massive industrialization and agricultural collectivization, was available. -And, when it is all said and done, if Stalin had not done what he did within Russia, the course of history would quite possibly have led all of us into World Nazism. -And, from that the working people might never have recovered. We never should forget that we are free agents; free to win and free to lose.

Our Lesson: The Evil Imprinting of the Servitude Epoch

This by the way is the weak point for almost all contemporary schismatic Marxist theoreticians. An exception would be Herbert Aptheker in the USA, who recognized the evil nature of the world as currently constructed and in the last years of his life he said so to his Communist Party USA colleagues. The autobiography of his daughter (Bettina) tells us that Aptheker had his own culturally imposed demons which presumably helped him come to this correct conclusion. That is, the failure of schismatic Marxists, to recognize the at-bottom evil nature of contemporary mental imprinting that affects ALL classes not just the oppressing classes. People are not born with a blank slate – at least not for long. Imprinting begins with birth and proceeds rapidly apace so that by the time a child is a few years old it is well set in. It is for this reason that attempts to jump into the social organization of communism have failed. That is, first or simultaneously we need to have the fully accomplished technological gains of the Capitalist Stage firmly in hand. The founders were right, as usual. Modern communism requires the fully modernized industrial base of the capitalist stage. You either inherit it or you build it. There is no short cut. We know. We have tried. We found out the hard way. It is not our intention to return to primitive communism. From our theoretical standpoint we would be better off sticking with capitalism which is far more advanced in sociocultural evolution, as you have seen in this book.

US Imperialism on the Rampage

Meanwhile, the gringo capitalists had established a kind of 20th century helotry over Europe. A phrase used by MP Michael Foote to me in the British House of Commons over dinner in June, 1961. (For the details of that conversation see the first volume of my autobiography, The Buccaneer). They confronted communists everywhere with extreme aggression; had no compunction about instituting fascism in their own image throughout the world.

Running wild and virtually unopposed by the other capitalist classes and countries, the Gringo imperialists’ wreaked havoc throughout the 1950’s on the people of the world, especially in what they considered their own “backyard” – Latin America. –And, here they badly stumbled. Perhaps most importantly in Guatemala where E. Howard Hunt, (later of Bay of Pigs, and then Watergate, fame) masterminded the overthrow of Guatemala’s first democratically elected government on behalf of the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) and his own bosses at the CIA, in 1954.

The Cuban Revolution: New Years Day 1959

It was shortly thereafter that I walked onto the stage of history. I have told that story in the context of a history of the Cuban brothers Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara and the pantheon of Cuban hero’s who learned from the “success” of US fascist intervention in Guatemala and prevented the same thing from happening once again in Cuba. (See the first volume of my autobiographical series “Idaho Smith’s” Search for the Foundation, entitled The Buccaneer, 2003, Jason W. Smith, Writers Press, Boise, 330 pp. The series is available in University libraries across the US and Canada, or can be purchased directly from Foundation Press at Suffice it to say for our purposes that the Cuban Revolution put the brakes on US imperialism, once and for all, “South of the Border,” and to a degree in Africa as well.

(Note the dialectical conundrum in practice experienced by the US imperialists: their “success” in Guatemala insured their “failure” in Cuba – which in turn led to their defeat over broad swathes of this planet and the current wave of anti-Gringo regimes in Latin America!)

Confronted with the success of the Cuban Revolution, the permanence of Socialism in China, and a Soviet Party leadership rejuvenated, if temporarily, the richest US oligarchs could not decide upon a common strategy for a “final solution.” –And, the Soviet bosses would have to do what they had previously absolutely not wanted to do, namely, stand-up to US imperialism.

As we have seen in my autobiography the US ruling billionaire families would not finally resolve their attitude toward Socialism, among themselves, until they played one last hand. That of the Indochina War. -And, with the rather quick demise of that strategy in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, it was all over for the camp that advocated a violent solution to the problem of Bolshevism - at least for the moment.

The Vietnamese Revolution

Ho Chi-minh had been an early member of the Communist movement. Joining the Communist Party of France while in Paris in 1920, as a founding member, and then becoming closely associated with the Comintern, he had had welded together a Party and a fighting force that fought the Japanese and established their own government in Hanoi with the end of World War II. Only, of course, to run into French imperialism (supported financially and militarily by the US) that reinvaded Vietnam in 1946 after a successful landing of troops in Hanoi; the French imperialists fighting to win back the colony they had had prior to their expulsion by the Japanese imperialists in 1941. For the moment they succeeded.

However, with the Chinese Communists now butted up against their northern frontier, the Vietnamese communists were able to obtain all the supplies and advisors they could use. The French were defeated by the Vietnamese revolutionary army at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, expelled from Indochina, and Ho re-established his revolutionary Government in Hanoi. Big Power talks brokered the French exit and provided for free elections to reunify the country.

The Americans knew Ho would win a free election, so they prevented elections in 1956, after establishing their own puppet regime in Saigon; it would take another twenty years to militarily defeat US imperialism and liberate the entire nation. But the Vietnamese did so, with the help of the entire Socialist Camp and the international communist and working class movement, as we all know.

Consequences of the Defeat of US Imperialism in Indochina

After the ignominious defeat of the vaunted US military forces under the fascist grouping in command of Washington DC by the communists, the not-so-fascist Rockefeller brothers resumed command of the US Government and military, and sent their flunkeys Kissinger and Nixon to make peace with the leader of the World Stalinist Socialist Stage, Mao Zedong, in 1972. The Vietnamese army put paid to the gringos unwilling to get out, in April, 1975, and their silly puppet government in Saigon!

The New World Order as envisioned by the Rockefeller led US oligarchy featured a retreat from the policy of total war against Bolshevism, and an acceptance of what was now reality. Bolshevism on a world basis was here to stay – Socialism as a distinct system was one which the capitalists of the West, under the hegemony of the US bosses, recognized as irreversible.

For the Americans, without a revolutionary Party with a strong base in organized labor and the working class movement, a retreat from the advances in political consciousness that had occurred during the massive US Anti-War movement (always under the leadership of one or another of the Left parties in the USA – CPUSA, PLP, SWP, etc.) was inevitable. The Anti-War movement had been fueled by the youth of the nation revolting against forced conscription (the draft) to fight the imperialist war. With the war gone the cannon-fodder was gone too. The revolutionary tide in North America ebbed as the Rockefellers knew it would, and the American people were reduced once again to decades of exploitation by their own ruling class.

However, after 1975, with the pressure off, Socialism in China was able to advance into its Second Stage. The Chinese Communist Party led China into an Advanced Socialist Stage featuring the devotion of its resources to industrialization and the modernization of every aspect of the Chinese economy., in an NEP (Soviet Union 1921-1928) fashion

Meanwhile, although the Soviet leaders still mouthed socialist ideas, they set about doing the opposite. Their ultimate, if temporary, success in 1989-1991, in this regard was simply the end of long program of de facto capitalist restoration that began with the death of Stalin in 1953 and really got underway after 1975.

Other than the liberation of Vietnam and much of Indochina these were the three major consequences of the Great Anti-Imperialist War of the Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian Communist Parties. That is to say, revolutionary stagnation in the USA, tremendous advances in Socialist construction in China, the final, if temporary, defeat of Bolshevism in the Soviet Union by the modern revisionists of post-Stalin CPSU variety (e.g. Khrushchev et al.)

We shall return below to a discussion of the current Second Socialist Stage and what comes next. For now let us recap the position of the class struggle for Socialism on a global context in terms of the phase periodization of the Stalinist Socialist Stage.

1917 - 1920 Strategic offensive

1921 - 1943 Strategic defensive

1943 - 1949 Strategic offensive

1950 - 1975 Strategic stalemate Part 1

1976 - 1990 Strategic stalemate Part 2

1991 - 2008 Strategic Imbalance

Chapter 18: The Collapse of Revisionism and U.S. Hegemony

The Collapse of the Revisionist Regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe left in its wake an extraordinary imbalance in the global positioning of class forces. From the standpoint of Bolshevism, getting rid of the labor-fakir institutionalization of revisionism in those countries was a tremendous positive. There is no credibility whatsoever to the idea that the presence of Stalinist forms of industry and agriculture under the revisionist control of those reactionary de facto anti-communist New Class regimes in the USSR and Eastern Europe made them worth defending, and now commiserating over. It is not organizational form of the economy which determines whether it is “socialist” but the intentions of those in command, and the classes upon which they depend. Just the name “communist” usurped by Stalin’s Russian-East European successors, due to historical happenstance, does not mean they really were communist. Mao discovered this to his chagrin in the 1950’s and the not well read or educated Euro-American Left should have learned that lesson long ago as well.

On the other hand, the simple fact that the revisionists were fakirs had often required them to play a positive role in the global class struggle; many times after 1953 (and Stalin's death.) As for example in the defense of the Cuban Revolution. It is this simple fact which makes the less educated Left in the West think (or feel) they have lost something worth having.

We Bolsheviks are far better off with the Putin-Medvedev New Class leaders in power with their open quasi-capitalist system at work than we were with that whimpering traitor Gorbachev and his gang of labor-fakirs parading around calling themselves communists. The current New Class government is standing up to US imperialism because they have realized we were right all along and there is no living with imperialism forever. In fact we should expect to see the newly reformed and reorganized Communist Party of the Soviet Union to enter the historical scene once again. No one knows exactly how this is going to happen but mark my words a Second Bolshevik Revolution is on the historical agenda. Perhaps the honest and open New Class leaders, Putin and Medvedev, will enter into a formal alliance with the new and improved CPSU. That would be the easiest thing for us and we should certainly consider this as the next step forward in that part of the world. Then the CPSU can lead the reconstituted USSR (and it will be reconstituted no matter what the US imperialists or European imperialists say about that).

In the US, among the bosses in command of hegemonized world Capital (the US Ruling billionaire families and trillionaire families) the Right Wing (so-called Neo-cons; who would more appropriately be called neo-Nazi) thought they saw an opportunity to act on their most basic motivations (insatiable greed) by seizing control of the world's strategic economic inputs. That is, the pricing, supply and most importantly, financing, of such things as oil, natural gas and precious metals (to name only three.) In so doing they would not only get personally rich, but they presented the US ruling families with the spectacle of global stability in the supply and pricing of such fundamental inputs (again, e.g. Oil and Gas.) As importantly, all of this would be financed through gringo financial centers in New York and Chicago (and secondarily, London.)

This financing is a matter of life and death to the US ruling families, who must somehow offset the imbalance in the flow of dollars out of the USA and the flow of dollars into the USA. In the world trade economy they created (which features US capitalist exploitation of foreign cheap Labor - but requires the US consumers buy all the stuff being created abroad) the Achilles Heal is the balance of payments deficit and budget deficit the US Regime runs which requires a minimum, right now, of two billion dollars a day to come into the US from foreign investors (Buyers of US T Bills, and /or other things listed below.) –And, the increasingly larger federal budgetary deficit means it soon it will be three billion a day that is required. In fact, there is no end in sight to the accelerating demands of the USA rulers for foreign money, obtained in anyway!

In proposing to stabilize (prop-up) the extraordinarily shaky US economy in this way (via the dream of a "Pax Americana") the US fascist right arose once again like an Alien Phoenix. (The post-1929 period in the USA has been one featuring a see-saw, up and down, now in - now out, struggle between the fascist right and the not-so-fascist remainder of the US ruling class, over foreign as well as domestic policy.)

In the event, under Bush II, the US "neo-con's" were given the helm, and given a chance to put their crackpot plans into effect. Why crackpot? Because nothing they proposed in the 90's or currently propose (e.g., in 2009) was or is possible - not in the slightest were these policies of world domination possible then, nor are they now! Except, of course, in the fevered imagination of men and women too ignorant of reality and history to see the world for what it is. -And, the fact that the, often more sober, US ruling families went along with these stupid proposals shows how those families have degenerated from the relatively balanced objectivity of the old Rockefeller leadership in the years following Vietnam. Finally, their total ignorance of world reality was reflected domestically as they ran the economy straight to hell in their greed to maximize their profits.

But now, as 2009 opens, it is almost too late for them. The 2000 families in the world who own the US regime may agree to bail it out in the end but I doubt it. The US capitalist system is tottering now and it won’t take a lot to push it over. Humpty Dumpty won’t get back together this time because the mass movement is going to create a real communist party in the USA When history moves as quickly as it is now that party can get big fast and all it will need is a clear strategy and the ability to make that strategy clear tactically to the working people of North America.

What is happening?

The US ruling nutballs were not the only ones acting in an atmosphere of ignorance. One must remember that the North American people have now for four generations been lied to every day, 24 hours a day, about world history, about the US place in it (past, present and future) and about the nature of our economy and the social structure of the few ruling the overwhelming many. Today we hear on the news educated retired people saying things like “we don’t understand what is happening.” Of course they don’t understand what is going on because they have been lied to constantly in all the cap media since the end of World War II and like the workers of 1914, who were tricked and forced into the capitalist imperialist war designed to enrich the cap classes and to liquidate the working classes of Europe and North America, they will pay the price of their ignorance despite their innocence. There are two main theaters of war against working people at the moment: (1) the US War against Arabia and the Muslim World (Europe, Russia and China too) and (2) the collapse of the US economy and the global capitalist economy linked to it. Let us begin with the former and work our way into the latter.

As I wrote in the winter of 2006 - 2007, the US adventure in Iraq has turned into exactly the disaster predicted in the previous editions of this Handbook. Worse, for US imperialism is that the world has seen for itself that US supposed military superiority is in fact just a “paper tiger.” The US ruling families stumbled fatally this time when they allowed the Nazi fringe of their class the accession to power they had fought for, and stole an election for, and now can not produce for. Remember that the capitalists as a world-wide class are just a wolf pack, and like wolves they turn on the weak (old and young) and consume them too. The US fascist would-be bosses are being consumed by Rockefeller-like new bosses, for the worst thing the US imperialists could have done, they have done, and to themselves! Namely,

(1) to have shown that they are so inherently weak that a group of what they considered to be rag-headed, camel-driving, Arabs, without international support (as we provided to the Vietnamese for example) could reduce the great scary “Juggernaut” to a helpless Gringo Gulliver, truly a giant captive, flailing around in its death-throws; Iraqi Lilliputians using the simple expedients of hand grenades, dynamite and shaped-charges, to accomplish this embarrassing ignominious defeat of US imperialism. Munitions available on the shelf everywhere and anywhere in the world! The lesson has been learned and there is no putting that genie back into the bottle.

(2) As I said in this book in the 2007 and 2008 editions: “Mark my words it is not the US Left which is going to drive out the crackpot neo-Nazi Bush II regime but the “responsible” imperialist leaders of the US ruling families. The Wolfowitz-Perle-Rumsfeld gang has been consumed by their rival class leaders (perhaps the Bush family will yet go down too, despite their current desperate attempt to avoid and evade responsibility, who knows.)” The way the responsible leaders did it was to buy off some of their strongest enemies with cash and made promises to the others (Sunni and Shia forces respectively.) What do they get for this cash and promises? They are being allowed to exit out the barroom back door rather than being chased out. Although they are still being forced to back out of that barroom back-to-back. I am rather sure they are praying that something doesn’t happen that will make their ignominious defeat even worse than it is – that is, getting slammed in the ass by that back room door on their way out, once again. That was the best they could do and the only thing left for them to do.

The Great Iraqi Oil Robbery

This is the essence of the Wolfowitz doctrine, first articulated in the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance document for 1994-1999, first leaked to the press in February 1992. This document calls for proactive U.S. military intervention to deter and prevent the rise of a contending peer (or equal) competitor, (for global strategic economic inputs), and asserts that the United States must use any and all means necessary to prevent that from happening….

this doctrine…(is) re-emerging as the official global military policy of the Bush II administration. It has now been incorporated as the core principal of the document known as the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (September 2002), available for download from the White House website. This document states explicitly that the ultimate purpose of American power is to prevent the rise of a competing great power, and that the United States shall use any means necessary to prevent that from happening, including preventive military force when needed, but also through spending so much money on defense that no other peer competitor can ever arise.” (pg 53)

The war against Iraq was intended to provide the United States with a dominant position in the Persian Gulf region, and to serve as a spring-board for further conquests and assertion of power in the region. It was aimed as much, if not more, at China, Russia, and Europe as at Syria or Iran. It is part of a larger process of asserting dominant U.S. power in south-central Eurasia, in the very heartland of this mega-continent.

But why specifically the Persian Gulf/Caspian Sea area, and why now? In part, this is so because this is where most of the world’s remaining oil is located-approximately 70 percent of known petroleum reserves. And you have to think of oil not just as a source of fuel-although that’s very important-but as a source of power. As U.S. strategists see it, whoever controls Persian Gulf oil controls the world economy and, therefore, has the ultimate lever over all competing powers. (pg 55)

(The New Geopolitics, by Michael Klare, in Monthly Review, Vol. 55, No. 3, July-August 2003.)

(3) The idea that the US had military forces (men and materiel) up to the task of world conquest shows just how out of touch the US neo-con bosses were from reality (it reminds me of the way the same types of foolish men thought that the US Army I had just been in from 1959-1962, was going to do the job they had in mind for it in Vietnam!) However, as bad as Dr. Kissinger’s Vietnam strategy advice turned-out to be, he was at least intelligent. The Wolfowitz-Perle-Rumsfeld gang demonstrated by the way they fucked-up their Iraqi campaign what a group of moronic ignoramuses they really were and were consequently undone.

(4) However, as true as all of this is, the at-bottom reason for imperialist expansion against the Arab and Muslim world and the inherent implied threat to Capitalist Europe, New Class Russia, and Socialist China, is the absolute need for the imperialists to find someway to offset the costs of foreign oil resulting in shipping huge quantities of money outside the borders of the US economy. The Saudi example is what they wanted to duplicate. We will discuss this in detail in Part III; that is, the way in which US imperialism expanded in the 20th century, and how it featured the Gringo rulers engineering, a post-World War II, true sweetheart comprador deal with the Saud family which gave the Saud family ownership of the money paid to them for their oil but featured the requirement that they spend all of it in the USA! All of it minus of course their multi-million dollar a day lifestyles and its other requirements (in other countries.) The same agreement reached they reached with the Al-Saba family for Kuwait (where they earn a minimum admitted of 280 million dollars a day.) The same agreement reached with the Bahrain monarchy. Their caveat to this was to have in place in Iraq a US style capitalist government rather than a monarchy. In this they have failed absolutely as we see with the opening of 2009.

(5) You see at-bottom the general crisis of capitalism also forced the imperialists to send more and more money abroad to utilize the cheap labor available in foreign lands on generation after next generation of new and improved machinery to produce commodities at lower and lower costs. But, how to offset it? If you send all your money outside the boundaries of the USA how will the domestic economy function? In other words, our economy cannot function without money present and available for normal capitalist exchange. In reality the gringo ruling trillionaire and centi-billionaire families confronted an insoluble problem! For decades they printed money against incoming investment capital from foreign central banks and foreign trillionaire and billionaire families. But that came to an end in 2008 and led to the greatest crisis since 1929 for the capitalist rulers.

(6) In short, the US politico's stumbled terribly. For us Bolsheviks this has been some incredibly, almost unbelievably, good luck! To begin with the failures encompassed by the Gringo regime's Iraq War include:

A) The US rulers losing their command position over all of the capitalist classes outside the English-speaking World (and as 2009 opens they have lost their hegemony over the English-speaking countries as well);

B) The Gringo command having accelerated the process of realigning the worlds industrial powers to put the People's Republic of China in a position no one of us could have realistically hoped for in 2001, including putting Communist China in the position of a responsible equal leader with other responsible states (of the capitalist persuasion) internationally! Remember how the Bush fascists started out so provocatively against China? Now the Chinese leadership has stepped-up to the plate in ways they never would have done eight years ago – because the imbeciles in Washington dropped their sheep’s clothing and exposed their plans for naked aggression;

(C) The US leaders in their arrogance proceeded to alienate the 1.2 billion people of the globe committed to the Islamic Religion. In so doing they have gone head to head with the radical fundamentalist wing (they had previously trained and used against us in Afghanistan) in a death struggle. Otherwise it would have been our task to liquidate the Islamic crackpots - in fact, some of you may remember that in 2000 I wrote that the Islamic fundamentalists would be our most difficult competitor in the 21st century, and I had thought they would play on a global stage the role they played as imperialism's cat's paw in Afghanistan. Instead our most deadly current enemy, US imperialism, has tasked itself with their destruction. Again, incredibly good luck!

(D) The blatant obviousness of the Gringo Regime's strategic planning for world domination has forced the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership to do something it had not wanted to do; that is to take the lead in forming a de facto Global Socialist Alliance of China, Cuba, Vietnam-Laos and progressive countries like Venezuela, Brazil, and even Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Educador. –And now, China has fielded a strategic nuclear tipped ICBM carrying submarine fleet, far earlier than they would have done had Washington not exposed their plans for world conquest. Finally,

(E) Washington has scared the living daylights out of those who had thrown in their lot with their would-be "puppet masters" such as the Uribe trafficker-industrialist clique in Bogotá, Colombia. -And, these types, are back treading as quickly as they can from their ill thought out earlier commitments.

Uribe had been on the DEA’s “most wanted” list until he was suborned by the CIA in a deal where he was to be used against all the guerilla forces in the Americas. But, now, in power, and potentially somewhat independent of his imperialist sponsors, he has struck out in an “independent” way that will make his “base”, the Colombian big bourgeoisie (including the worlds richest drug traffickers – some of whom I have known for years – see my books, Shining Path, the Peruvian Revolution, Rivers of Blood and High Finance, southSouth American Style!), the accomplices of Washington’s new ultimate nemesis Hugo Chavez. Caracas has more money to give Uribe than does Washington and Venezuela’s money comes from “honest” sources (e.g. contracts for building an oil pipeline across Colombia where oil can be shipped directly to China from a Pacific port.

(F) With Bush II, U.S. Imperialism immediately embarked upon a program of seizing defeat from the jaws of the victory they could have had. At the very least they could have maintained their hegemony over the capitalist world for several decades into the 21st century. Instead they threw it away in two short years. This is a historic defeat for them of catastrophic proportions; a defeat from which they shall never recover. For them, as for Hitler sixty years ago, all that remains is the running, and dying. For us, whatever short-term advantages some of the timid among us may have thought we might have lost with the disappearance of the Soviet Revisionist Ruling Clique from the Historical Stage, the stupidity and ignorance of the US hegemonists has more than offset.

(G) the moment, there is great instability in the global class struggle and all of you revolutionary cadre need to continue to study and observe, the past and the present, in order to deal the telling blows needed to remove the
Gringo ruling families from the scene, liquidate their State and Government establishment, and then proceed to the construction of the (transitional) Socialist World Order in the USA. You should begin by getting involved in organizing working people so that the next time there is a mass spontaneous outpouring into the streets (as conducted by Hispanics in 2006) you will be doing far more than handing out leaflets – which at any rate were full of inaccuracies and profound errors, so typical of the historically ignorant US Left. The US ruling families are prepared to lock-up militant White workers alongside those of the African, Hispanic and Asian origin when the inevitable collapse comes – we must be at least as ready to lead those workers in an armed struggle for the overthrow of the fascist regime in Washington and to substitute working class power in its stead. WE have to build a real communist party and we have to send our cadre into the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and into the local, state and federal police forces so we will be in a position to deny the US rulers the use of these forces – or at least deny them all of these forces – as we move inexorably to revolution.

(7) Moving again to the domestic crisis I want to bring to your attention, as I have in each edition of this book since 2005, the fact that the true Achilles Heal of the Gringo Regime and the billionaire-trillionaire families that own it is its desperate financial and monetary situation. Until the present moment Washington has depended upon an inflow of two to three and soon four billion dollars a day from the following sources to offset the flow of cash out of the country to their cheap labor production centers and for critical inputs. These have been:

A. European Central Bank purchase of US paper (e.g. T Bills)

B. Foreign comprador money sent for safe-keeping and/or investment in more US paper.

C. Payments from foreign governments to support U.S. military forces stationed in these countries.

D. Debt service payments on the great debt the US has intentionally heaped on 3rd world countries.

E. Sales of high-tech armaments

F. US Corporations repatriating profits

G. New York (and satellite London) financing of everything but especially strategic inputs such as petroleum.

As these sources of income are drying-up, the resulting devastation will make the revolutionary end of capitalism the only logical way forward. In so doing the way will be cleared for the final battle between socialism and capitalism and simultaneously prepare thereby the objective conditions for armed insurrection.

(8) Finally, why did the imperialists spin the so-called subprime mortgage crisis? Was this just greed and stupidity? Of course it was both because that is the nature of capitalism. But, what specifically did they do to create the current mess. What was the way in which the current collapse came about?

What Caused the Current Crisis?

It is not my intention to jump into the daily news lies of the cap media in the USA with regard to the current global capitalist collapse and the place of the US within that context. However, I have been asked daily for continuing input, as my columns over the last five years have been predicting the imminence of the current collapse and explaining why said collapse was imminent. I suspect the least I can be expected to do now is to give whatever my commentary may be worth for the benefit of those who are sufficiently educated to understand what the science of political economy has to say on these matters. Accordingly, I will begin a series of weekly updates of the financial advisory type, as reluctant as I am to do so, as whatever contribution I can make or have been able to make, is simply a product of studying the masters (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels) and their successors, in analyzing the evolution of capitalism in its final imperialist phase.

  1. Let us begin with the beginning. What has caused this collapse we are currently witnessing? The answer is the General Crisis of Capitalism. As you learned in Chapter 12 this general crisis is caused by the articulation of the need of capitalists to produce “commodities” at competitive prices with the costs of implanting new and next generations of machinery with cheap labor. A commodity in this context means those articles of production coming into existence as a product of labor-power applied to machinery. An individual capitalist always must produce a given commodity (it is an analytical given that outside influence is limited to being unregulated free enterprise) at a price equal to or lower than his competitors. He must, therefore, reduce the cost of labor-power input (wages) or increase the productivity of his machinery. Or both.

  2. Now the point is how specifically did this continuing general crisis of the capitalist stage trigger the immediate (no longer imminent) capitalist collapse. Noting for the record that this is just one more depression in the capitalist cycle of boom and bust (See Part III below).

As to the immediate cause of the immediate crisis what? The answer is that in their struggle to find new sources of cheap labor to apply to their newest generations of machinery, the capitalists sent huge quantities of money to foreign cheap labor centers to set up their factories and then they had to buy the stuff being created in them. In other words imperialism always sent capital abroad – that is the definition of imperialism. But this time they had to send money abroad also to buy all the stuff being created abroad. This created an insoluble crisis for them! Because they were so greedy they just kept doing it. If you are making a billion dollars a day then every day you keep up what you are doing you are getting richer. The capitalist bosses knew what they were doing would some day lead to a terrible collapse. But they could not resist their own greed.

What is different about this situation is that the cash outflow did not stop with the construction of factories as it used to. What they called globalization required the US consumers to buy all the stuff being created by cheap labor power in other parts of the world. The consequence in the USA of this shipment of cash outside the US to implant the machinery and then to bring these commodities back to the USA in order to sell them, is what we are now confronting.

  1. As the decades passed the US rulers confronted a continuing budgetary deficit within their own country because of reasons of policy. Then on top of this they began to see a continuing imbalance of payments – meaning, more money going out of the country than coming in. The latter because of the fact of having to buy in this country a heavy percentage of what was being created in the cheap labor factories abroad.

We will deal with the policy matters separately.

As to the point at hand, the result in sending more and more money outside the economic (essentially the political) boundaries of the USA required new sources of money to be found somewhere outside the USA that could be shifted back into the USA. There are several ways in which this has been done. Including those listed in each previous edition of my book Fundamentals of Historical Materialism ( I can’t say this often enough so lets say it once again: the US ruling families have relied on sources no longer available to them for the cash they needed to offset their crazy international capitalist system, to wit:

A. European Central Bank purchase of US paper (e.g. T Bills)

B. Foreign comprador money sent for safe-keeping and/or investment in more US paper.

C. Payments from foreign governments to support U.S. military forces stationed in these countries.

D. Debt service payments on the great debt the US has intentionally heaped on 3rd world countries.

E. Sales of high-tech armaments

F. US Corporations repatriating profits

G. New York (and satellite London) financing of everything but especially strategic inputs such as petroleum.

  1. So, now what we have is a situation where the struggle of US financial engineers to maintain the dollar inflow from outside the US to match or at least decently counterbalance outflow, has failed. (The ruling capitalist families offered promises about the safety of the US economy for which the capitalist engineers offered a variety of what they claimed were undeniable reasons; for decades they got away with this, until it was accepted by all concerned as sustainable ad infinitum). In reality their justifications were nonsense and they knew it and they were taking increasingly risky adventures in finance. They took these risks they knew would result in a crash some day because of their greed. That’s it. Quite simple actually. What precisely did they really do to offset this outflow that has created the current crisis?

  2. They had the foregoing sources of cash. They planned on adding to them with certain measures aimed at dramatically reducing the outflow such as the use of sweetheart deals with ruling kings and queens in Arabia which gave these monarchs title to the cash being paid for “their’ oil as long as they agreed to spend it all in the USA (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain). This was implemented by having all of the spending being done by these Arabian ruling families being done via US contractors (e.g., the Bush family).

  3. When that was insufficient because they needed even more oil they embarked upon their Iraqi war convincing themselves that with that conquest they could put into place a gringo style capitalist government which they foolishly believed would provide them with some insurance against what must eventually happen to the monarchies of Arabia (their eventual inevitable overthrow and dissolution was as obvious to the capitalists as it is to us.) Their (US) military defeat in Arabia (Iraq) and alienation from the entire Muslim world was the actual result of their military adventure and for that they had no answer. It was their Stalingrad. The turning point in the World War of US imperialism against the rest of the world.

  4. Remember our point. The underlying cause of the current crisis is the General Crisis of Capitalism – which is to say the antagonistic articulation of the need to implant new generations of machinery to cheap labor sources, all of which had to be found outside the political boundaries of the USA, with the inevitable consequence. Namely, the resulting need to send huge quantities of cash outside those boundaries to pay for the commodities thus produced. (Again let me say at this point you must read chapters 12, 18 and Part III of this book: Fundamentals of Historical Materialism.)

  5. To offset the traditional ways of counterbalancing this dollar outflow as listed above something new had to be supplemented. In the event, the way they did that was to create huge quantities of “derivative” securities based on US house mortgages. Another way of saying it is that they found ways to make North American homeowners put up their homes as guarantees of cash flow which they packaged and sold all over the world like used car sales hucksters. All kinds of tricks were used to get these mortgages and after they were in hand they were packaged together and sold as supposedly “good as gold” US government backed securities. The plot worked. Bankers all over the world got fucked by one of the oldest cons in financial history. But this time on a far grander scale than Barnum and Bailey could ever have imagined. Because these mortgages were obtained in virtually any way (no money no problem. No income no problem. Just sign here. I know because I sold them.) Some fifteen percent turned out to be worthless; perhaps fifty percent troubled.

  6. That is enough for the moment. Just remember, the at-bottom cause of the current crisis is capitalism as a system itself. Capitalism’s need to constantly lower the cost of producing commodities (the dog eat dog of capitalist against capitalist) led to the insoluble crisis of too much money flowing out of the USA and too little coming in. The US capitalist’s desperate financial engineering attempts at offsetting this fatal imbalance (you can’t run a domestic economy if all the money that should be there isn’t) coming ultimately in the form of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and their simultaneous military failure to obtain offsetting sources of cheap foreign oil. (Iraq not only did not produce the sweetheart deal on its oil but has so far cost half a trillion dollars in direct spending and since they borrowed this money there is another trillion in interest on top of that!)

  7. To solve the problem once and for all you have to get rid of capitalism and put people in conscious command of their own daily lives – i.e., socialism. –And, what kind of socialism? Look at China with its mixed economy. Then think of what we could do with all of our modernization and without having to overcome the backwardness which remains China’s greatest curse.


The next critical battle we confront as a people will be to see that the current Bush gang program of socializing risk and privatizing profit is grabbed hold of and gutted. It’s interesting once again that people who call themselves communists failed to demand on our part the immediate nationalization of the banks, commanding heights of capitalism in the form of money market funds, insurance companies and so forth, not to mention failing to demand on our behalf the immediate nationalization of the oil and gas monopolies. Properly undertaken both banking and oil can provide the US people with far more income annually than the federal income tax as currently constructed.

In fact, it was as I say George Bush and his financial gang who immediately moved to nationalize banking and finance. But, their plan is to use your money to save themselves and then once we have stabilized the economy they plan on getting their government in Washington to give them back their banks, money market financing and insurance companies. We have to be sure that the do not get these properties back but that they remain public.

It wouldn’t hurt for Left parties to start asking the question as to whether their leaders represent change we can believe in or just the same old stale and factually challenged politics. Politics completely wrong theoretically and thus practically. It’s not as if there were not alternatives to this kind of leadership which this book among many publications represents. It’s time to move on beyond caretaker committee leadership.

Chapter 19: Comparative Analysis: The Simple Chiefdom Stage

and the Stage of Stalinist Socialism

We can climb the height of Mt. Olympus and look back over all of human history - now that we have the completed prehistoric and historic periodization of that history - which I have summarized foregoing. When we do scale the heights to the Gods, as would Jason have done in his Search for the Golden Fleece, we see that entire panorama, and so much now becomes clear.

For those of you who have read this book carefully, and who now understand the fundamentals of causality and process in human sociocultural evolution - that is, those of you who have now become expert in The the Fundamentals of Historical Materialism, the time has come. The time for what? To consider "revolution" as a serious near term objective in the USA. Looking to a short transitional period; building rapidly into true communism. We have the technological ability. We are Leninists and we will win. We will fight through to absolute victory or there will be no Americans left alive to carry the guns! We should say as Thomas Jefferson said with regard to the First American Revolution (to paraphrase) “better that there be just one man and one woman left in each country of the world than that things should continue as they have.”

First we must impose clarity on ourselves – again, this Handbook. Then act accordingly.

Now, we can see where we are, at this historical moment - where, in fact, we are in the Second Transitional Period. We are between two Sociocultural Epochs (The Servitude Epoch and the Second Egalitarian Epoch). -And, in looking back over our history, we can contrast contemporary diagnostics with the key diagnostic features of the First Transitional Period between Epochs. This was what we started out to achieve. What you wanted to achieve when you picked up this book. What I wanted to achieve when I struck out on my Search for the Foundations of Sociocultural Evolution, some forty odd years ago. (The title of my eight volume autobiographical series.) Click on “find in a library” in your browser to see the nearest library with copies. You’re looking for the WorldCat website.)

The General Contradictions

Now, remember in the first Egalitarian Epoch, the General Contradiction was expressed in the prime directive for production to be limited to Value needed, day to day (avoiding surplus social product) even though the productive potential of both Hunting-and-Gathering Bands and Tribes, and Agricultural Bands and Tribes was far greater than the potential what was required to produce the fundamental needs of life. In the Servitude Epoch, the General Contradiction is expressed in the prime directive that production of Surplus Value be maximized regardless of the fact that the more produced the worse the working and living conditions of the producers become.

Therefore, in the First Transitional Period between these two Epochs we should expect to see both of these General Contradictions fighting their way out in both of the two Stages of the transition.

Comparing and Contrasting Typical Features

For purposes of comparison let us contrast some typical features of any sociocultural Stage - beginning with, say, the feature of population size, and seek some diagnostic aspect. What do we see in the Stage of Tribal Agriculture (the last Stage of the 1st Egalitarian Epoch) and in the succeeding Stage of Simple Chiefdoms (the first Stage of the 1st Transitional Period) in terms of the factor of population size? What we see is an initial imperative favoring additional mouths where the additional mouths helped to absorb trouble creating surplus social product. But, more hands allowed simultaneously the ability to easily create sufficient surplus product to feed many more mouths, and not coincidentally many professional specialist mouths. The more professional specialization of labor there is in a Simple Chiefdom the more effective and efficient production of all articles from food to pottery. Population that exploded to consume surplus social product has now become essential in maintaining the increased rate of production of social product which is no longer just surplus, but often essential (needed produce) to maintain all the professional non-farming specialists. There has been a fundamental at-bottom change in the nature of population size.

In other words, in the Agricultural Tribes, surplus social product was unavoidable, and said surplus was gathered by the Tribal Council for storage (and later redistribution as needed). One way that surplus level was kept “institutionally lower” was with the additional mouths to feed that come from being able to sustain population levels higher that 20 to 60 persons (the norm for Hunting and Gathering Bands) with sedentary village life. So, in a sense, there was a new factor favoring higher levels of production, even if it could not be said to be pressure to maximize, at least to a degree, agricultural production.

Later, in the Simple Chiefdoms, with professional specialists always in need of farming products, the pressure to maximize production increased. In both cases one result was rapid population explosion. In the first case consumption was used to level the social differences caused by production, and only tangentially resulted in increased overall production. In the second case demand for increased over-all production escalated and in turn determined that an increase in population numbers would have to happen to insure the now extant higher levels of production. In that way the Simple Chiefdom rise in population assured that more production would result.

In both cases population exploded, but it requires surgically precise logic, based on accurate General Theory, to see the true significance of population increase in both of these Stages. Nothing here, is simply apparently or obviously true. If it were, there would be no need for science - would there? -And, in a nutshell, that is what comparative cross-cultural Anthropological Economics is all about.

With regard to another feature: that of labor-time utilization, we see that in the Stage of Tribal Agriculture people dumped as much labor-time as possible in such things as moving-on, starting over, slash-and-burn, precisely to limit the amount of surplus being produced. In the Simple Chiefdoms people stayed in place, intensified the professional specialization of labor-power and intensified the economic infrastructure for the precisely opposite reason - or, in other words - to maximize the production of surplus.

Comparing and Contrasting Key Features

Now let us turn to Capitalism in its latter days, up and through 1917, and compare key features of its General Contradiction with that of Stalinist Socialism which is the first Stage of the 2nd Transitional Period.

The General Contradiction of Capitalism, like that of all three Stages of the Servitude Epoch, is to produce Surplus Value at any cost. The motive force is the drive of the ruling class (or in the case of the USA, the ruling trillionaire oligarchy) to maximize profits. On the other hand the General Contradiction of the Second Egalitarian Epoch lies in its drive to maximize production for the benefit of people as a whole. This is a sociocultural evolutionary Stage we have never seen and so we don’t yet have it on hand. We must hypothetically project what we shall expect to see in our STAR TREK future in perhaps the 22nd century.

Therefore, when we see on the surface of things that more and more surplus value of Stalinist Socialism is going into capital {in the economic category sense "capital" means, constant capital; i.e., machinery} the fact is that there is an amazing apparent similarity with what went before in the Capitalist Stage. But said "similarity" is only "apparent." Remember that one iron law of capitalism is that constant capital (e.g., machinery) often is the only real market for the dumping of all the surplus value being created. (People can’t eat iron, only the machinery, steel, and construction industries can use it - because of the “form” in which this surplus value comes.) -And, so it was in the Stalinist Stage of Socialism.

However, it was not for the (private ownership) PROFIT sub-column (competing with NGM) that Soviet Russia’s surplus value was being directed, as it would have been in a capitalist system, when sold by one capitalist to another. No, in Stalinist Socialist systems surplus value capital is being absorbed by NGM, but, for the sake of satisfying, at some point down the road, all the needs of the working and productive people, according to policies and programs of the CP in charge - and, in the meantime, also going into militarily oriented constant capital, in order to supply the military requirements of the working class garrison state apparatus. The working class dictatorship must be constantly on guard - consistently better and better armed, in order to defend itself against the non-stop attacks of the world’s capitalist classes. Lenin said it best when he said to paraphrase “we are socialist because we say we are building socialism.”

If the New Class gets more of the GNP than others, or if there is a wage differential throughout society (as there was and is in Socialist societies), in technologically backward countries, the question is not “should this be the case” but “since where we have power under these conditions of backwardness, it has to be the case, how do we prevent differential reward from spiraling into New Class control and conversion of the proletarian party into their own Party.” China is trying to answer that question. Can we answer that question and succeed here in the USA and the advanced capitalist countries? That is the question that communists in the capitalist countries should be asking.

The superficial resemblance in the destination of capital, and labor-time being paid at minimal Value, should not be allowed to overshadow and obscure the fact that the drawdown is never for profit of one or some group of capitalists in a First (Stalinist) Socialist Stage country, but is always for the improvement of the constant capital (industrial) base upon which the survival of the Stage is absolutely dependent, and according to a program developed by the Marxist-Leninist Party in command.

(Note: Of course, if revisionism has succeeded and the Socialist country in question is not socialist but already under the control of the New Class absolutely then this would not apply, and we would have to say that yes indeed the absorption of capital, whatever its specific destination, is part of a de facto capitalist system. However, these are two distinct categories. You should not confuse the one with the other. Admittedly this is difficult when we are as close to the forests of socialism as we are and we find the viewing of individual trees to require surgically precise observation.)

However, speaking of Stalinist Socialism as a distinct (and unsullied) Stage we see that it has featured the demand for more and more production at any cost. Yet this was because there was no choice if Socialism were to survive. This has meant, and may again mean, that generations of working people will have to sacrifice everything in the way of consumer goods. This creates unrest and necessitates stronger state responses at home. This dampens the enthusiasm of working classes in the more advanced capitalist countries for adopting the Stalinist Stage system. -And, that is understandable.

Thus, we can see why the working classes in Europe, after the recovery of the 1950’s (supervised by the US occupiers, who sabotaged elections and strikes in Italy and France respectively, for example) were not unanimously in support of a Stalinist Stage system in their countries. Nor, in North America which was living off the fat of the world. Then the gringo ruling class had much more in the way of crumbs to drop from their fat cat table as a result of the centralization and concentration of private capital behind the Rockefeller led oligarchy. One can understand that, in both cases, giving that up, what labor thought it had, in favor of the sacrifice that seemed inherent in Stalinist Socialism found little support in their movements. All this aside from the persistent attacks of the US rulers on the revolutionary parties in organized working class activities. In the US this was an especially virulent attack that came to a peak in the late 1940's with the expulsion of the communists from most of the unions and a de facto alliance between the FBI and organized crime as its framework. (The bedding of Jane Edgar Hoover on a weekly basis by Meyer Lansky’s top boss Frank Costello didn’t hurt the program a bit, either. For the inside story of Hoover’s homosexual love affair with Costello see my book The Buccaneer.}

Comparing underlying motivation in the prime moving forces of the

Simple Chiefdom Stage and the Stalinist Socialist Stage.

In the Simple Chiefdoms there were the sincere “front people” who took leadership and there were the less than sincere Chiefs. In both cases there would have been the consigliore, from the clans and/or sodalities, who had their own agendas. We have seen that within the Simple Chiefdoms it only took one person to advocate for increasing professional specialization to maximize production, with an ulterior motive, (getting thereby in a better “position” in the complex economy to improve said person’s welfare at the expense of the others) to make the general trajectory begin to move in a new and completely different direction. –And because the agricultural revolution (Neolithic/Formative archaeological stages in Old and New World prehistory, respectively) had created de facto objective inequality among family farms, the idea of greater personal prosperity via acquisition of things (property) now existed for the first time in human history, in among at least some individuals.

The Origin of Modern “Property” Concepts

Thus, invisibly, inexorably, if gradually, society was on the road to abandoning the millions of years old societal policy of “sharing for the common benefit” all that was produced, which had been, until now, eliminating envy, jealousy and coveting, and their socially dissolutional centrifugal effects, from said society. The new direction would have been impossible to see at the time, if the advocates, were good at hiding their true motivation; it was nevertheless, a move toward a society where differential reward was best supported by the maximization of surplus value in an increasingly professionally specialized Stone Age economy, and this was the point in time of the origin of modern property concepts.

What About the Restoration of Property Concepts

in the First Socialist Stage?

Is this what we see in Stalinist Socialism?

Yes and No.

It can go either way, and in the Soviet Union it could have gone either way, although what had to be overcome in order to stay on the road to Communism - or even to stay within the primitive constraints of Stalinist Socialism - would have taken a lot of luck and even better leadership than Joseph Stalin was able to provide. For, in the last analysis the achievements of the 1930's and the victory in the Second World War, and even stopping the drive of the US rulers for world domination after 1945 to his credit, Stalin did fail to properly prepare the succession. In doing so, the “classless intelligentsia” of his creation asserted themselves and in a little under four decades they restored capitalism in the new and even more hellish form we see in Russia and the former constituent Republics today.

In the 1930's, the decade of the "new class" of so-called “classless intelligentsia,” there were persons who had the motivation of getting a bigger cut of the pie for themselves, via the route of administering the publicly owned means of production. However, the Bolshevik leadership knew this, and if the political leadership (e.g., Stalin and Mao) had no intention of letting that happen (the New Class get away with separating themselves), and did what Lenin had said someone would have to do (protect the workers from the workers state), then (and only then) could Stalinist Socialism be kept on the right path. Which is to say, upwards and onwards to Advanced Socialism, Communism, etc. Here Stalin ultimately failed. Then Mao Zedong stepped forward to accept the challenge. Preventing such "new class separation" was the task that Mao set himself when he launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

The Cultural Revolution

The Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966-1975 certainly did one thing no one would deny. What could that be? It made every person in China and billions around the world aware of the idea that New Class existence and separation was the key issue facing the international working class movement when in power.

And, this concern had not started then and there, but had and has a long history. After all, regardless of other factors, Trotsky had made Stalin’s bureaucracy the butt of his attacks on Stalinism – essentially accusing these bureaucrats of becoming a New Class and hijacking the revolution. Stalin himself was constantly on guard against what he perceived as attempts of his underlings to lead the USSR along a capitalist road. Mao, throughout the Chinese Party’s history after he became boss, conducted non-stop “rectification” campaigns (e.g., 1940-1941) to prevent “new class” kinds of ideology arising among Party members; and, the Great Leap Forward in China (1955-1959) had been based in part on the idea that the Party bureaucracy was hindering the people in their demand to jump far ahead in a very short time in the industrialization of the nation.

In the end the Cultural Revolution failed because it failed to deal with the New Class in any kind of final definitive ”theoretical” way. Following the failure of the Cultural Revolution leaders to step up production, China’s Party leaders turned to a New Economic Policy (Lenin’s 1921 NEP) path; this time everyone was aware of the potential danger of the New Class becoming a ruling class by transforming the Communist Party itself. Accepting the challenge, the Party embarked courageously on the path of fulfilling capitalism’s historical task while retaining state power. Exactly as Lenin et. al., had done in 1921.

Wanting and Having are Two Different Categories

Over the next three decades the Chinese leadership would come up with a “theoretical” solution, which is essentially what I have presented herein. However, having a solution and explaining it internationally are often two different things. Furthermore, the Left in the West has always had an ultra-left component that wants communism NOW. But, as Lenin was forced to admit in 1921, wanting communism and being able to have communism are two distinctly different things. Emotion is not enough. One has to accept what Marx and Engels discovered, and that is that the mode of production for Communism requires an extremely modern technological component.

During the 20th century we Bolsheviks learned from practice that there is no short cut. We have tried relying principally on the ideological and social organizational components of culture, in lieu of technological advance, and in all instances these attempts have ultimately failed. Without an extremely advanced industry and agriculture communism is not possible in the post-Servitude way anyway. –And, it is not our intention to return to the living conditions of “primitive communism” (the Stages of Hunting and Gathering and primitive agriculture) in order “to share the poverty” (as ultimately was the real social program of Madame Mao and associates). Those who wish to follow that road now, after the experiments of the 20th century, are free to do so but they are not communists nor Marxists nor Leninists – rather a modern form of the old utopian socialists that Marx and Engels first confronted, exposed and defeated. Living in a “commune” in the forests of Oregon is fine for those who wish to do so but it is not what we communists have in mind. Having read this book you know exactly what it is we have in mind – Star Trek levels of advanced technology with the living standards and conditions for everyone that go along with it.

I believe that the CPC has done everything it can do over the last three decades to see that controlled capitalism does not lead to counter-revolution They had to finally deal with the problem that was recognized as early as 1922 by Lenin and the Bolshevik Politburo – namely China’s extreme backwardness – the fact that it had barely entered the Capitalist Stage (This would be a good time to re-read Chapter 14). This time around they have placed the bourgeoisie at least partially outside the Party, by encouraging them in “business” pursuits where they are clearly identified and identifiable. As importantly, over the last thirty years the Peoples Republic of China has truly pioneered a new path forward which simply put: “…allows the fullest technological potential of the capitalist stage to be achieved while using the full resources of the socialist state (police-army) to insure that the working class Party remains in power and constructs all those facets of the Socialist Stage it can – both nationally and internationally – as circumstances allow.” This partial restoration of Capitalism in China comes about by necessity as it did in the Soviet Republic when Lenin restored Capitalism in 1921. Namely, the necessity of getting production up to the levels required to build the future we have in mind. That is a future NOT “to share the poverty” but “to share the wealth.” The great, limitless wealth it is within our power to create globally right now! –And it comes about in China in an extremely sophisticated form where the Party is constantly experimenting, testing, and examining the results of a broad-spectrum of sociocultural initiatives, great and small, within both the capitalist and socialist sectors.

The human cost of either road is high – that is, the road pursued by Stalin or the road being pursued currently by the Chinese Party. But, we have had no choice and we have no choice now. That is, we Marxists have no choice, because we are the social scientists and not just opportunist ideologues.

Why don’t we have a choice?

Because, correctly, our every effort since 1917, has been to get to the point of advanced technological development Marx and Engels had assumed as a “given” before they knew society could proceed to Communism. Our job is to get to Communism. There is no “prescription” as to how that is to be done, and we have learned from experience that Stalinist forms of public property are no guarantee against capitalist restoration. So, we might as well deal with the problem of the New Class, and the Bourgeoisie in general, in the most expeditious way we can. For China, we have seen the course that seems to be working for them. For us, the matter is entirely different; we have that capitalist advanced industry and agriculture in hand and we should be able to move to Communism within a short period of time. –And, do so while protecting and gradually evolving working people’s private property rights over a period suitable to them and to us.

What Does the Outcome of the Cultural Revolution Mean to Us?

Whether these initial struggles will suffice for China is yet to be determined. So far, following the analysis in this book, the CPC has stayed on the right road. This is no guarantee that it will continue to do so. There is only one guarantee of that and that is a fully educated communist cadre that knows what it is doing and why.

But one thing we do know is that NOW, it is YOUR TASK to see that this new class does not succeed in separating itself once again, once we have power in North America. Because the New Class will be with us make no mistake about it. In other words, the political leadership of the working classes, with state power in its hands, has free will. Now, especially after the 20th century experiments, you should be able to see that things keep going forward on course. Precisely in order to achieve the ideal theoretical objective of true Socialism, Communism and Humanist society, somewhere down the road. You know what to look for, in other words. –And, finally, it is time for North American communists to break their pattern of adhering to the gringo curse of de facto illiteracy. By which I mean the self-imposed refusal to “read” which characterizes so much of the USA including its supposedly educated members. Ignorance is often the preferred mode of preparation for bourgeois politicians but our leaders and representatives need to be educated and continually so.

And, this is far more important than carping about what the CPC is doing in China. Before U.S. would-be communists say anything more they should bring about a revolution HERE! The Chinese have done and are doing their part. It’s time for us to do our part – a part which the founders expected us to have already played!

Now, let us turn to the question of whether the class struggle carries on in the Socialist Stages. Obviously, the class struggle does carry on - very intensively - in these Socialist Stages. (Remember our definitions: we don’t want to confuse the term “Socialism” with “Communism” - these are two different things and we have come to define Socialism as the transitional period of proletarian dictatorship. The Second Transitional Period in this presentation.) Every piece of historical evidence shows us that in the societies in the Second Transitional Period there is ongoing class struggle. Over-night capitalist restoration in the USSR proves it. The necessity to launch the cultural revolution in China to prevent capitalist restoration of the Soviet variety is another proof.

(Note: there is a big difference between (a) the sneaking subterfuge approach to capitalist restoration as pursued by the Soviet revisionists after the death of Stalin and (b) the conscious decision of honest Party leaders such as Lenin, or the post-Mao leadership in China, to openly restore capitalism as a controlled portion of the national economy, for their own good reasons.)

Compare and Contrast

In the case of Simple Chiefdoms the class struggle was incipient - since there were no classes there could be no class struggle - (as in subatomic physics ultra-dense objects without atoms cannot undergo fusion because there are no nucleons to fuse.) What we have in Simple Chiefdoms are special interest groups and ranks of differing privilege which will eventually separate into classes, but which have their origins in the simple part-time avocations of shaman or sodality leader.

In Stalinist Stage Socialism we have special interest groups and sectors of society, indeed ranks of differing privilege, which might separate into classes or which might not. –And, their origin is in having been part of an expanding class for six millennia! It’s a struggle. That is what class struggle is all about; although these Stalinist Socialist special interest groups are not classes strictly speaking, some of them want to be, historically they have been, and therefore the character of the struggle to prevent class separation is a form of class struggle.

As I have said, it was always chancy that things would succeed in Russia, or after October, the Soviet Union, under the best of circumstances. Russia and the Soviet Union rarely had the “best of circumstances.”

You should go on examining feature after feature, comparing and contrasting features, between these two transitional Periods. The point has been made.

In the final analysis it is always true that history is unfolding as it should. Therefore, it is proven that the Stage of Stalinist Socialism was exactly what Marx and Engels and Lenin knew it would be - in terms of being a dictatorship of indefinite length. {Because no one could predict ahead of time the specific historical circumstances and therefore the length of time it would take to secure Socialism as Stage(s) on the surface of the planet Earth.} This is obviously true, besides being necessarily true (in theory,) that the class struggle continued and will continue, within the lands of Socialism both in its first Stalinist Stage form and in its current more Advanced Second Stage form.

Remember; do not confuse “Socialism” with public ownership of the means of production. The first diagnostic of a Socialist Stage is that a “Communist Party” (Marxist-Leninist Party) has political (state) power in its hands. -And, this should always be the critical, most important single, defining, thus diagnostic, characteristic of the existence of the Second Transitional Period in any country. Whether it is the CP in command of a “capitalist” sector economy and/or a “public” sector economy, to a greater or lesser degree, has nothing to do with the country in question being in The Second Transitional Period. That is a determination based upon whether a working class vanguard Party has state power in its hands. It is this fact of life which makes it possible to have a capitalist sector economy within a working class dominated society – and it always has been this way. Whether it was Lenin restoring Capitalism in 1921 or the contemporary Chinese leadership doing so after 1975, what makes it possible is that we have the military and the secret police in our hands.

This should be obvious and I shouldn’t have to explain this to some of you. However, Trotsky made his argument against Stalin theoretically contingent on the premise that what existed in the Soviet Union was economically socialist except for the “deformed” political structure. The idea still infects many would-be revolutionaries. It is this profound error we have to set aside. Regardless of its political utility in Trotsky’s personal fight with Stalin, the concept never had a shred of scientific substance because there was never any socialist economic structure in Russia or the other Republics other than the demand by the Party that working people be given the highest priority when possible in the allocation of national resources. Remember that War Communism turned out to be an expedient ending as quickly as the Civil War and was followed by the introduction of capitalism in the form of a market economy of private owners of industry and agriculture in 1921, with governmental enterprise pushed ahead where possible. Stalin created new forms of management of national resources in both industry and agriculture by introducing the Five Year Plans and forced collectivization of farming much later – seven years later. What made “socialism” authentic had always been and continues to be the program and intention of the vanguard Party to build as soon as it could a truly “socialist” (transitional) and then “communist” society; in this transition however “anything goes” or at least is permissible if it gets us further down the road to where we want to go.

Thus, today we have a restructured Socialist Camp which includes authentic First (Stalinist) and Second Socialist Stage countries to wit, and respectively: Cuba, China, Vietnam and Laos. (As for the situation in Korea it is impossible for me to determine from what little information I have about the situation in that country, if this is anything more than a degenerated First Socialist Stage society. Frankly, I see very little there admirable. At least not any more. Meaning that Kim Il Sung’s socialist economic program served its purpose at one time but does it any more? I don’t know because we have so little reliable data and must exclude Washington’s fascist propaganda which is why it is difficult for me to tell what is going on.) –And the Koreans have not been helpful in explaining to us (at least in languages other than their own) what it is that they may be doing we don’t understand.

The General Crisis of Stalinist Socialism

Stalinist Socialism has a general crisis too and it is specifically the product of, which is to say caused by, the backwardness of those societies in which workers first seized power. Marx and Engels had required the full development of capitalism’s productive potential, as they understood it, in then contemporary England, Germany, France, Italy and the USA for example. It didn’t happen that way. Workers in the Soviet Republic (later Soviet Union) were too few, too poorly prepared, and with totally inadequate industrial plants at their disposal, to do without the assistance of a de facto New Class of bureaucrats with its own inherent special interests, its own special privileges. No amount of talk (ideological propaganda about egalitarianism, the communist philosophy, sharing the poverty, etc.) would serve to offset this New Class’s basic interests as its members understood them. Thus, inherently Stalinist societies were on a short fuse (historically speaking) where backwardness would either be overcome, the working classes expanded and fully educated to take control, or the New Class would separate itself becoming a new ruling class in a new kind of Servitude society which would be essentially capitalist. It turned out to be the latter.

l-p + t = V1, V2 + Surplus Value

NGM / New Class

NGM = investment in next generations of machinery

New Class = Need for New Class vs. Danger of Class Society reappearing (locus of the general crisis)

This is what happened eventually in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and in a totally different way in the People’s Republic of China. In the latter case Mao attempted to stop New Class takeover (especially in his last attempt – the Cultural Revolution.) –And, indirectly, via his successors, who understood everything I have explained so far about this process, he may have found a road around backwardness, using the New Class, while simultaneously preventing it from separating as a new ruling class. Thus the Stalinist Socialist Stage prepared the way for China to enter the Advanced Socialist Stage using a formula similar to the NEP formula Lenin devised to get the Soviet Republic out of trouble in 1921.

Chapter 20: The Stage of Advanced Socialism

As it turned out, the post-1975 world became extraordinarily complex. The post-1975 turn of the Chinese Party and the post Soviet-East European collapse of c.1990 left foreign (to the Socialist Camp) communists totally confused as to what was going on precisely because no one had offered an acceptable (that is to say a “Marxist” or “Historical Materialist”) theoretical explanation of what had occurred. Hopefully, what I have explained in this regard now satisfies that crying need, at least for you cadre who have a use for this handbook. –And you, who will lead North American workers and veterans, are the important ones in history now – even if our enemies don’t know it – even if the established “Left” party leaders don’t understand it.

As for our enemies, the post-1975 world was not one in which the USA ruling oligarchs could act with impunity. They could not direct world affairs as they wished. For US traditional imperialism (with the gringo ruling families placing themselves in the locomotive engine of the historical train they had formed with the other capitalist classes in tow), the Soviet revisionists had their post-Vietnam policy too. It had been written for them by George Orwell. He had called it, 1984. For 15 years the US and Soviet rulers played the Orwellian Game of World Chessmanship where the struggles of the class forces in Africa, Asia and Latin America often were played out in some kind of way reflective of the interests of their sponsors.

In 1975, the Soviet New Czars were committed to the Big Lie idea because it had worked so well for them for over two decades. I mean by this, the “sheep’s clothing” approach to converting public property into their own private property. It took them fifteen years to get over that idea and to stand naked before their own people and the world for what they really were (c. 1990.)

However, after 1975, neither the Gringo capitalists nor the Soviet-lining “revisionist” capitalists, were preparing to attack Socialist China. That had been the diagnostic environmental criteria that created and necessitated Stalinist Socialism in the first place. That is to say, the absolute determination of the global capitalist classes to liquidate by war the first world Socialist Stage. In other words, with the Rockefeller (Nixon-Kissinger) initiative to "normalize" relations with China, the foreign pressure was off.

Cuba’s position wasn’t nearly as secure. The Gringo giant is right next door and without Soviet rockets and finances... As a consequence it has been impossible for Cuba to move as quickly into the Advanced Socialist Stage a la the Peoples Republic of China. Cuban reorganization away from Soviet guidelines did not really get under way until after 1990, and then had to be done virtually overnight. Cuba has had to be guarded in the way it deviates from established security patterns of proletarian dictatorship given the rapacious nature and determination of the US oligarchs and their flunkey politicos to reverse the Revolution - now 48 years old. Especially, careful of the Gusano garbage in Miami, and its strong influence within the gringo ruling circles.

China, Cuba, and Vietnam, are examples of nations moving nevertheless into the Second Socialist Stage {what I am calling the Stage of Advanced Socialism.}

There are the countries that collapsed altogether such as the USSR and Eastern Europe with varying opportunities to recover, since the time when their corrupt revisionist leadership gave up the charades. By January 2005, the elderly in Russia had revolted against the evils of the emergent capitalist system there. Soon Russians across the nation found the very essentials of life were beyond their ability to obtain. The opportunity is now at hand there for a Second Bolshevik Revolution. Will the Communists of the Soviet Union be up to the task? Can they bring over the necessary military units to overthrow the Putin Regime and re-establish Soviet authority? Only time will tell.

There is the peculiar case of Democratic Korea where a perverse form of the old Stalinist Stage Socialist system is in place and it is quite uncertain what if anything the leadership is prepared to do differently in the future. We might call this regressionist stagnation.

Three outcomes to Stalinist Socialism as a global Stage. Nothing more, Nothing less. So history has proven what three roads may come from the way the Stage developed here on Earth. Were there other possible outcomes?

I think so. If the Red Army had taken Berlin in 1920 instead of 1945 and all of Europe had gone Red over the next couple of years. That’s one hypothetical one. It would have changed the entire century. I didn’t happen so that’s that.

China’s New Economic Policy; Three Systems One Country

The Soviet Union had to leave the leisurely pace of NEP behind in 1928, because it had to get serious about building an industrial base second to none. {At least as far as being able to produce armaments for the inevitable coming world war with capitalism. That Second World War would be a GNP war.} We have reviewed the cost and the success of that new Five Year Plan road. The Russian peasantry that had taken the Bolsheviks in hand in 1921 had, in turn, been taken in hand itself. The backbone of Russian capitalism had been in agriculture and now that back had been broken.

The same sequence of agrarian reform would be followed in China where first the bourgeois capitalist landlord-gentry system was liquidated and then mass collectivization undertaken so that a new form of agricultural social organization supportive of the central government could be established. After collectivization in China came the communes and those lasted more or less as the basis of Chinese agriculture until after the 1978 new road forward began to take shape.

China was able to move into its own NEP after 1975. First of all because the pressure from international imperialism was off. Nixon’s visit to China, on behalf of his bosses the Rockefeller brothers, prepared the way for China’s leaders to move from a defensive posture to a national modernization and development posture. Secondly, somehow production had to be stepped up and accelerated on a continuing basis in China. For thirty years the new Chinese Party leadership has been struggling to do what they had to do – fully develop the capitalist stage industrial and agricultural systems and yet keep state power in their hands while they build the emerging Socialist Stage as best they can. -And a quarter century later the results can only be said to be incredible. China will be one of the most modern industrial countries in the world by AD 2050!

Initially, this Chinese NEP was called Two Systems, One Country. I think what our theory shows is that there are actually three systems. One is capitalism; the other is Stalinist Socialism; the third is the germinal of Communism. Together these constitute the Stage of Advanced Socialism in China.

We in the USA, Canada or the other advanced capitalist countries will not have to do the same thing; we won’t face the same problems in any way, since capitalism and its productive forces are already fully developed here. Yet there are lessons to be learned by the Soviet and Chinese experiences with regard to the level of development of the productive forces and what must be done to bring social relations into conformity. It’s time to review the essential features of China’s three economic systems in formulae (for the same systems will be present in the advanced capitalist countries at first – although it will be far easier to build down the capitalist component while building up the Socialist and Communist components in our societies.)

Finally, if communists in the USA or elsewhere are unhappy that China has had to take a road of modernization which as it did in Russia, requires a period of capitalist enterprise alongside other institutions, under the proletarian dictatorship, then let them make a revolution now in the USA and get on with their task.

[1] Capitalism (from the past but modified to fit contemporary circumstances)

lp + t --> V1, V2 + SV


lp = human labor-power

t = automated machinofacture

V1 = wages

V2 = repair and maintenance of factory machinery

SV = surplus value

NGM = investment in the next generation of machinery

Profit = appropriated by capitalist (one half of the loci of the general crisis)

[2] Stalinist Socialism (established in China in 1949 and continuing)

lp + t --> V1, V2 + SV


New Classes

lp = human labor-power

t = automated machinofacture

V1 = wages

V2 = cost of repair and maintenance of machinery

SV = surplus value

state = military, police

NGM = cost of investment in next generation of machinery

WI = expenditures in raising human potential (workers interests)

New Classes = the old Stalinist bureaucracy and the new NEP type capitalists

(the other half of the loci of the general crisis.)

[3] Communism (and future STAR TREK stage)

lp + rlp + t --> V1, V2 + SV

lp = human labor-power

rlp = robot labor-power

t = Star Trek level of technology

V1 = to each as needed

V2 = unlimited repair potential

SV = unlimited surplus value (for practical purposes) thus no sub-column crisis

The General Crisis of Advanced Socialism

The general crisis of Advanced Socialism is essentially the same as the general crisis of Feudalism. That is, the balancing act that the new ruling class of proletarians must perform in order to keep the New Class from separating itself; simultaneously preventing the new bourgeoisie from the capitalist sector from asserting itself (over state power) and building up the specter of communism in production while maintaining Stalinist socialist public property institutions along the way. This is a new stage and to understand it we have to closely analyze the details of China’s reforms since 1976 – that is, the past 30 years of an increasingly complex and detailed balancing act, and is beyond the scope of this handbook.

More on Transcending the General Crisis of Capitalism

The General Crisis of Capitalism was specifically caused by the irreversible absolute decline in the rate of profit. That means, unless labor-power was introduced on a one to one ratio with the introduction of the next generation of machinery the sheer output of those machines would be greater but the RATE of profit production would be less. Because, the decline in the labor-power input makes it so. For the capitalist to overcome this decline in the rate of profit he would have to hire more labor-power. This is self defeating. He bought the new machines to stay competitive; to reduce the amount of labor-power he had to buy per unit of commodity output. Furthermore, this decline in the rate of profit is exacerbated simply by the sheer investment in the sub-column (under Surplus Value) we call the next generation of machinery (NGM), for that investment will take surplus value that might otherwise have gone into the profit sub-column.

These facts Marx proved many years ago. Thereby unlocking the secrets of Capitalist production in a never-ending series of crises. When Frederick Engels said at Marx’s (1883) London funeral, that Marx had “discovered the laws of history and unlocked the secrets of capitalist production,” the latter claim was in reference to this discovery of the inherent General Crisis of Capitalism being caused by the absolute decline in the rate of profit.

There is a superficial similarity with Stalinist Socialism in this regard, as in the latter Stage, NGM also absorbed surplus value as quickly as it was created. But, the end-use was altogether different. The end-use was not “profit” (nor NGM for the ultimate [equipment installed] goal of more profit) but the satisfaction of the diagnostics of the “stage” which fundamentally are always the advancement of the interests of Working People. If this had not been so, the New Class in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, would not have had to throw off its sheep’s clothing and grab as grab can. It was this fact of proletarian dictatorship which changed what might have been state capitalism in Germany, England, France, Italy, or America, into a capitalist sector in a backward society undergoing socialist transformation by Bolshevism. Bukharin pointed this out in his 1922 official article Economic Organization in Soviet Russia, which was the succinct ideological presentation of Lenin’s position on the reintroduction of capitalism in the Soviet Republic, made on behalf of the Russian Politburo and the Comintern (where he was number two after Zinoviev by the time of NEP).

At bottom, the economic "category" source of all this trouble is that element of the equation that involves labor-power. To transcend this problem one must at least supplement human labor power, and eventually replace human labor-power, with robot labor-power, so that labor-power can be introduced on a one-to-one, unit-by-unit, basis with the introduction of new machinery.

So, what are we looking for in China or anywhere in the Socialist world? What changes in the equation allow us Bolsheviks to transcend the General Crisis of Capitalism?

Robot labor-power

In the science and technology sense robot labor-power is simply an elaboration of a component of constant capital {fancier machinery.} But, in a strictly economic sense, it is an entirely different category altogether. Since we can see artificially intelligent computerized robotics at work today, we must conclude that robot labor-power as a new category, separate from human labor-power, is practical, even if not yet fully in existence. In the technological (science fictional) sense, when labor-power of the robotic type is extant, then we have a truly new kind of mode of production. One in which there is no end to the amount of social product that can be produced and distributed. In the political sense, we are building our way into the Era of Freedom. Robot