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Russia 'State Capitalist' - Another Voice

In January we published a translation of a Russian leaflet distributed to Western correspondents in June 1972 which referred to Russian society as "state capitalism". A French translation of another Russian underground publication shows that this view is held by other oppositionists in Russia as well.

Cahiers du Samizdat, published in Brussels, carries in its December 1972 issue a translation of the first issue of a journal called Seyatel ("The Sower") dated September 1971. This is mainly a call to establish a "social democratic party" in Russia and a criticism of those opportunists there who see the struggle merely as one to establish legal civil rights. According to Seyatel this overlooks the fact that the present ruling class in Russia bases its power precisely on the denial of democracy and dictatorial control of the State apparatus; so that the struggle for democracy in Russia must necessarily be a struggle against them. It must be, in other words, a struggle to overthrow Russia's "bureaucratic class".

Says Seyatel:

"The facts have proved to us that the rise of private capitalism was not followed by a Socialism freeing the human personality, but by a bureaucratic state capitalism.

"The ruling force in such a regime is the bureaucratic class, made up of the leaders of the State, the Party and industry, of the activists in the trade unions, youth movements and propaganda services, of the top ranks of the army, of the secret police, of all types of presidents, secretaries, directors, divisional chiefs, etc. The bureaucratic class is organised as an apparatus, i.e. in a strictly hierarchical structure". (From the French translation).

Russia is said to have been state-capitalist ever since the revolution.

This is a deeper analysis than that of the leaflet we published in January. On the other hand, unlike the leaflet which was addressed to Russian workers, Seyatel is still addressed to the intelligentsia. But again, though they claim to stand for a "scientific and democratic socialism", the author(s) cannot be regarded as Socialists in the proper sense of the word. Nevertheless it is encouraging to see that more and more people inside as well as outside Russia are coming to recognise that the system there is state capitalism.

Copies of "Cahiers du Samizdat" can be obtained from 108 Drève du Duc, 1170 Brussels, Belgium and of the January SOCIALIST STANDARD from Dept. R, 52 Clapham High Street, London, S.W.4.