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Chapter 28 - For a Socialist America

The following article was written by myself for the Forum of Humboldt State in Arcata, California in 1960.

There has been a tremendous misunderstanding of Socialism in the minds of people the world over due in part to a misunderstanding of the meaning of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat". This has in turn given the Socialists of other countries a "field day" so to speak, in competition with the militant Leninist Communists, on the question of gaining Socialism by means of peaceful Democratic persuasion rather than by a forceful seizure of power, and then holding their gains by the exercise of force.

A good example of this "peaceful Democratic" brand of Socialism is, as it happened in Germany. The German Kaiser was overthrown by the then Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1918. Because of their failure to impose a dictatorship of labor over the former exploiting classes, the revolution failed, giving rise to Hitler Fascism, which made World War II inevitable. This titanic conflict could have been avoided had the German Socialists set up their dictatorship over the former masters, thereby saving millions of human lives not to mention the Billions of wasted dollars.[1]

Lenin points out that "The state in any country is merely the instrument of the class in power". In the US for instance the State is the instrument of the Capitalist class. In the Socialist countries the state is the instrument of the working class.[2] Communist theory calls for the "withering away" of the state power after, and ONLY after the completion of building of the Communist society.[3]

There are several irreconcilable contradictions that are wracking the "free world" today, with inevitable victory of Socialism as a consequence.[4] First is the contradiction between capital and labor, with capital seeking the most it can get from the toil of labor, and the worker waging a struggle against capital for the best wage possible. This struggle goes on in Congress, on picket lines, across bargaining tables, and in the courts.

Second contradiction is between the capitalists themselves and between the capitalists of all "Free World" countries. There is their eternal rivalry for world markets and for sources of raw materials. For instance , there is the rivalry between the US and British Commonwealth with the European Market countries, Scandinavian countries, etc. Last contradiction is between the "Free World" and the Socialist countries with their planned economies. None of the foregoing contradictions are operative in the Socialist countries as they have solved them by revolution.

The present composition of congress and the Cabinet overwhelmingly pro-Capitalist will deny enough social progress to prevent the outbreak of more serious struggle of the workers. So this can only mean that there is, and will remain, a class struggle. The workers will be forced to wage an ever more serious struggle merely for the right to live. The degree of violence used during these struggles will depend on how violently the capitalist class oppose us in this struggle for our right to live.

As the onrushing Depression deepens, the class struggle will grow in intensity, and the issues will clarify in the winds of the people in the lower brackets, which in turn will elevate the struggle to higher and higher levels. As the struggle mounts, so will mount repressive action against us. The class in power will most certainly seek to maintain its position of power. This is only natural, and so it will be when Socialism is born. That is to say, "the class in power will try and maintain its position by any means available to it-or retreat from Socialist power.

Editorial Footnotes by web editor x344543

[1] This is a gross oversimplification of history. "Militant Leninist Communists" were willing to sacrifice the far greater militancy of the Trotskyist POUM Militia, Anarcho Syndicalist CNT, and Anarchist FAI and Friends of Durutti in the Spanish Revolution of 1936. They went as far as collaboration with Capitalist powers, such as the USA, British, and French who were also trading with the Franco-led Fascists as well as Mussolini and Hitler in the 1930s. Scribner overlooks alternative radical tendencies, including anarchism, syndicalism, and industrial unionism, ALL of which differed in both theory and practice from Leninist Communism.

[2] This is also debatable. Some would argue that what Scribner ACTUALLY means is that the government REPRESENTS the working class. However leftist critics of Leninism argue that this merely represents a bureaucratic form of state run capitalism, because represents doesn't equal "is". In other words, the state and its bureaucracy represent the ruling class in a "socialist" state (since they make all the decisions), and the workers are still exploited, since they have no more decision making ability than they would in a capitalist state.

[3] Contrast this theory with that held by libertarian-communists, that the state must be abolished in order to complete the communist society. At times, even Lenin espoused this view (or at least claimed he did).

[4] History has, thus far, not borne this out. Socialists of various stripes have failed to account for Capitalism's ability to reinvent itself and create artificial needs, even in times of plenty, such that artificial scarcities are created. For example, the invention of the credit card has allowed many in the working class to spend more money for creature comforts, such as televisions, stereo systems, household appliances, and so forth. The price paid, however, is debt and interest payments. Capitalists are creating more and more ways for individual working people to practice personal deficit spending at greater and greater rates of cost. As long as working people keep falling for it, the Capitalist System will keep on winning the battle.