Philosophy in the URSS. Problems of Historical Materialism 0302020200

ClearScan with OCR JFAG

151 86 10MB

English Pages [319] Year 1981

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Philosophy in the URSS. Problems of Historical Materialism

Citation preview


PHllOSOPHY in the USSR. Problems of Historical Materialism

fEliiJ Progress Publishers Moscow

Translated from the Russian by Sergei S yrovatkin Desi gned by S vetlana Matveyeva

m1ocoq)8H B CCCP. Ilpo6J1eML1 ecTOpeqecl\oro MaTepeamiaMa

First printing 1981 © Ma)J,aTeJToCTBO «Ilporpecc», 1979 English translation © Progress Publishers 1981 Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

10503-611 1 i ezo penew111 a.1tL u , Moscow, 1974, p. 33. 2 Seo H . MapRc , rr cD . 8 u rOJibC , Co'l unenzr n , Vol . 47, Politizdat , Moscow, 1973, pp. 337, 338; V. I . Lenin, Collected Works, Vol . 2, pp. Vol . 25, p . 431 ; 336-37; Vol. 4, p . 202; Vol . 6, p . 198; Vol . 7 , p. 265; Vol. 29, p. 180. 3 See V . I . Lenin, "The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats" , C o l l e cted Works , Vol . 2, p . 336; soc also Hay'lnbz ii noM.1tLynus.1oi u rj'J a1Lt­ c wjJuKa1fu>i eJo pe1ie'3ama.1ttu , p p . 33-34. 4 V. I. Lenin, "The State and Revolution" , Collected Works, Vol. 25 , p. 43 1 . .


feat ures i nto the l anguage of the corresponding social indices is a n imp ortant problem ; their use in certain combinations provides an emp irical m etho d for measuring p eople ' s social positions and their shifts and changes concretely . Com b inations of classes a n d social gro ups i n concrete societ y , expressing the four principal elem en ts of social structure l i sted above in d ynam ic form , m ake an actual social structure at each h istoricall y definite stage of devel­ o pment . Len i n wro t e that "if any soci al phenomenon is examined in its pro cess of d ev elopment , reli cs of the p ast , foundations of the present and germs of the future will always be d iscovered i n it" .1 The d evelopment of social structure is subj ect to this law ; i n each concrete society i t therefore appears in a complex , d ynami c , and often contradictory , form . The classes and social groups actually existing i n the social structure are first of all d iv ided into system and non­ system, obligatory (for the given society) and non-obligatory. System classes , social strata , and groups are those conditioned b y production relations prevailing i n the given society an d reflecting its essence , its inner n ature . Non-system cl asses , soci al strata and groups or their survivals are those · that e xpress n either prevailing nor essential production relations 1_but secondary ones, their survivals , or sep arate elements . Th us , the essence of the developed socialism i n Soviet society, the content of d eveloped social ist pro d uction rela­ tions is expressed by the working class , collective farmers , the stratum of the people's i ntelligentsi a and the office workers , as well as the social categories of town a n d co untry , of those engage d primarily in m ental labour and those engaged in p h ysical l abour , respect ively represe nt i ng the system groups of the social structure . Sep arate , non-system elements are subdivided i nto two kinds . The first kind i ncl udes transitional elements, sur­ viva ls of the previ ous social structure (the period of tran­ sition from capital ism to socialism) , such as small groups of indiv i d ual peasant-farmer s and artisans o utside coopera­ tives , as well as the clergy. Second , a lien to the social struc­ t ure of developed social ist society are separate anti-social elemen ts (crim inals , profiteers , plunderers of social wealth , i V . I . Len i n , "What the ' Friends of the People' Are and IJ o w They Fight t h e Social-Dem ocra t s" , Co llected Wo rks, V o l . 1 , p . 1 79. 15- 0 1 1 1 8


etc . ) ; they appear not only as remn ants of the p ast but also as the result of certain d efects and failures in the new so cial organism . Taking into account that the actual social struct ure in a concrete soci alist country also i ncludes non-system groups that do not h ave a socialist n ature or features , it is meth­ odologically important to distinguish between the concepts of ' socialist social structure' (a system one) and ' social structure i n socialist society' (an ensemble of primarily system and also n on-system groups and elements ) . I n a simi­ lar way, it is expedient to distinguish the concepts of ' total social .structure' i n each concrete society i n general (with all the system and non-system elements) and the ' system social structure' of the given society (slave-owning, feud al , capitalist , socialist). The correlation of system and non-system elements i n a social structure is determined by the ruling classes , social strata and groups of the present , and survivals of classes , groups, and elements of the p ast i n it. H owever , the complex dialectics of the development of a social structure continually blends in it elements of the future as well as those of the past and present . The social structure of slave-owning society gave rise to elements of the future feudal social struct ure. The so­ called co lon i who were no longer slaves but were not free men either , in the words of E ngels "were the forerunners of the med iaeval serfs" . 1 In the depths of feud a l society, groups of future bourgeoisie and working class emerged . Not only the techn ical-economic but a lso the social preconditi ons of the future society are formed i n developed capitalist coun­ tries. I n 1 868 Marx wrote about the h istorical development of the working class as "the class that bear in their hands the regenerat ion of mankind". 2 In defining state-monopoly ca p i­ talism as a complete material preparation for socialism , Lenin wrote that "socialism is now gazing at us from all the windows of modern capitalism". 3 1 Frederick Engels, "The Origin of the Family, Pri vate Property and the State", K arl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, in three volumes, Vol. 3, p . 3 0 9 . 2 "The Fourth Annual R eport of the General Council of the Inter­ national Working Men's Association", The General Council of the First International 1866-1868, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1 9 7 4 , p . 329 . 3 V . I . Lenin, "The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat I t" , Collected Works, Vol . 25, p . 363.


In a s im i lar wa y , the social stru c t u re of socia list society represents a d ynamic combina t ion of ful l y dom inan t system elements of t he present , separate non-system elements of the past and the growing elements of the socially uniform position of the working peo p l e , expressing the completely socially homogeneous commu n ist society of the fut u re . The d ialect ics of the progress of the social structure of social ist society i n vo lves the fol l o"·ing processes. Firs t , in the course of this progress the social structure becomes m ore systematic, non-system elements being cont inually on the decrease a n d i t s cons t ituent classes , strata and groups expressing the essence of t he developed socialist forms of life to an ever increasing degree . Second , along with the conso l idation of the elements of the present, the elements of the future are also on the upswing, i . e . , the social position of increasingly grea ter numbers of working people becoming homogeneous. I n d eveloped socialist society, the social struct ure , just. as society as a whole, is in the process of transition from a structure re flect ing class and social d i fferences, consisti ng of classes of workers and peasants, the stratum of the people ' s i ntell igentsia and other social groups o f the working people, into a social struct ure where ever grea ter numbers of the work ing people overco me the features of membersh ip in the concrete classes and stra t a , acquiring features of a classless� socially homogeneous posi t ion. "Under communism a l l people will have equal status i n society , will stan d in the same relation to the mea ns of production, will enjoy equal cond itions of work an d d istri b ut ion, and will actively participate i n the management of publ ic a ffa irs. Harmon ious re lations will be establ ished between the ind iv idua l a nd societ y on the· basis of the unity of public and personal interests . "1 The social structure in the USSR at the st age of developed_ socialism is chara cterised by features of maturity an d a con­ solidation of socially uniform position of a growing nu mber· of work ing people. This structure is con s isten tly progress­ ing towards a completely socia l l y homogeneous a n d class­ less communist society .


1 5*

The R o a d to C o m m u n ism, Moscow, H l 62, p. 5 1 0 .

V. I. Razin


The term political organisation i n its most comprehensive sense states the fact that society is organised politica l ly, as d istinct from that kind of social organisation which can he termed non-politica l . Of this latter kind was , for instance , the tribal structure. The disintegration of the tribal structure s ignified decay of the entire previous social organisation and the emergence of new social relat ions and a new organ isa­ tion of social life . The political organisation of society ·emerges as the result of the origin of political relations b ased on class relations. The division of society into classes and the beginning of irreconcilable class co ntra dict ions may be regarded as the b asic cause of the emergence of the politica l organisat ion o f society. Political relations change depending on the level of social development , correlation of class forces , etc . , b ut within a ·d efinite period they are more or less stable . The organ isation of social l ife consolidating the relative stability, a definite qual itative state in the development of pol itical relations­ that is, in our o pinion , the philosophical, essence-oriented ·definition of the political organ isation of society based on the category of qualitative definiteness . In our classification of political categories, the political organisation of society a ppears as a category of state , for it registers precisely the state of political relat i ons, which depend entirely upon the correlation of class forces. The political organisation of society may be antagonistic or non-antagonistic depending on the type of class relations on which it is based. The political organisation of an ta go228

n istic socio-economic format ions is split in half b y the basic class div ision into the e x p l o i t ers and the explo ited . H owever, these oppo sing parts are precisely parts of tho political orga­ nisation of antagonistic society, wh ich is just as contra d icto­ ry as the society as a whole. An int egral approach to the stu dy of reality shows the po­ l itical organisation of ant agonistic society to be an ind ivi­ sible unity of its contradictory parts. One part is represent­ ed by the system of the dict atorship of a class, an ensem­ ble of st ate and n on-st ate organisat ions of the rul ing class through which it imp lements its d ictatorship . The other part is formed by organisations of the op pressed classes heading t he struggle of these classes against the exploiters. The essence of the p ol itical organ isation of antagonistic society is the continuous struggle between its constituent parts as the expressi on of class struggle . The political orga­ n isation of antagonistic society is therefore quite indicative of the correlat ion of class forces, and may in this sense be defined as an ensemble of organisations and institutions ex.pressing and defending the interests of the classes and nations of the given society. The d omin ant and determining element in the p ol i t ical organisation of a ntagon istic society is the system of st ate, lega l , and other organisati ons and institu t ions through which the d ictatorship of a class is imp lemente d . This definition may be called functiona l . The term ' the dictatorship of a class' indicates the ruling class of some society, but it does not yet d escribe the way in which this class is organise d or the instruments it uses to implement its domination. This can only be esta blished b y studying the system of cl ass dictatorship-a certa in integral entity of which the state is the principal part . The system of class dictatorsh ip is that part of the p ol it­ ical organisation of society \Vhich comprises the organ isa­ tions and institutions of the ruling class. I n other words, the system of cl ass d icta torship is an en semble of state and n on-state organisations of the ruling cl ass through which it implements its d ict atorship. A t d ifferent h istorical stages, the s ystem of class d ictatorship ha s vn ried considera bly in its comp osition and in the role it p l a ye d . Th o system of b our­ ge ois dictatorsh ip becomes pa rticularly com plicated and ra m ified at the st11 ge of mon opoly cap i t a l ism . The mechanism of b ourgeois d ictatorship is n ot limited to the state machinery, inclu d in g as it d oes C\ n umber of non229

state organisations of the cap italist class . The growing number and i ncreased influence of non-state organisations ·of the ruling class as well as organisations financed by the ruling class and used by it for its purposes is characteristic of the political organisation of modern capitalist society. 'This process testifies to the fact that the s tate can no longer rcope with the task of keeping the working m asses in hand , for the i nstitut ions of bourgeois democracy created in the past work more and more frequently aga inst the bourgeoisie itself . The system of the d ictatorship of the monopoly bourgeoi­ sie comprises the state with its n umerous organs , various monopoly alliances which have enormous material resources .at their d isposal, and an almost unl imited potential to influence domestic and foreign policy, bourgeois political parties , and v arious fascist-type organisations financed by monopolies as a rule and d irected by bourgeois political parties. The present-day pol itical organisation of society in cap i­ talist countries is such that various cap italist alliances and m onopoly groupings can put forth their cand id ates for elec­ tion to parliament or gov ernment only under certain par­ ties. l t is therefore through parties that monopolies ' l inks with government are implemented , the maj ority in parlia­ ment ensured , and thus the state a pparatus is subordinated t o the monopolies . The activ ity of the b ourgeois p arties is financed by monopolies despite the ex istence of laws regulat­ ing the max imum sums of permissible expend iture on elec­ tion campaigns in some countries . The possib ilit ies for cir­ cumventing these laws are a lmost unlimited , and t he means of control , completely ineffective . A s a rule, several parties protect the int erests of the bour­ geo isie. At present, pol itical p arties of the bourgeoisie are associated with certain monopoly groupings . H owever, some of these grou pings support several p art ies at once to ensure s uccess regardless of which bourgeois p arty wins the elec­ tion s . The secret o f the multi-party system i s that the ' struggle ' of several b ourgeois parties makes it d ifficult for the masses to see the rea l essence of the views and policies of these par­ t ies, helping bourgeoisie to w i n vo tes . This feature of bour­ geois democracy was po inted out by Marx i n the 1 9th cen­ tury: "The oligarchy does not perpetuate itself by retain i ng 230

p ower permanently in th e same hand , but b y dropping it with one hand in order to catch it again with the other, and so o n . "1 At present, the function of bourge ois parties consists large­ ly in ensuring the election to representative institutions of monopoly stooges posing as representatives of the people, in coord inating the MPs' actions in accordance with the requirements of the monopolies, and in maintaining contact between the monopoly and the government , thereby directing the activities of the latter. Besides, p olitical parties carry on almost all of the propaganda work , as well as subversive activ­ ities in the tra de unions . Particular notice should be taken of the fact that presently the bourgeois parties in a number of countries direct the activities of m ilitant reactionary groups, fascist-type organisations, and even organ ised crime , since the b ourgeoisie stops at nothing, not even at making use of the services of such a nti-social elements , in fighting pro­ gressiYe forces . The system of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is not limited to the state machinery and political parties-it also includes a number of non-state organisations of the capi­ talist class which are not political parties in the modern sense of this term . The most centralised of these organisations is the National Association of Manufacturers in the USA. A s imilar organisation in the United K ingdom is called the Confedera tion of British I ndustry, in France it is the Conseil National du Patronat Fran�ais. These are the ' behind-the­ scene' governments which direct the act ivity of the state a pparatus and at the same time avoid the attacks which public officials b ear. In these times when the peoples' fight against the reaction­ aries is becoming increasingly organised , and governments are being called upon to account for the activities of the organs of suppression , the ruling class in its fight with pro­ gressive elements uses some non-state organisations which di d not arise as the result of the state ' s law-making activity, and which are not bound by the norms of law, but actually act as organs of suppression . Various fascist organisations also perform similar functions, directed secretly by reactioni K arl M arx, "From P arliament .- R oebuck's and Bulwer's Moti­ ons", K arl M arx, Frederick E ngels, Collected Works, Vol . 1 4 , Moscow,

1 980, p. 338.


ary political parties and financed b y monopol ies . This group of organisations is now an inalienable part of the s ystem of the dictatorship of the monopoly bourgeoisie. The growing numbers and activities of such organisat ions is one of the principal trends in combining the strength of monopolies with the power of the state. The t ime is long past when the bourgeoisie fearlessly pro­ claimed freedom of speech , the press, assembly, and associa­ tions. The working class gradually became more class­ conscious and organised : trade unions emerged, then par­ ties, the activities of which suited the bourgeoisie less and less ; yet the bourgeoisie is loath to abandon entirely those freedoms which were once proclaimed for fear that those sections of the public which st ill follow it will withdraw their sup port . Hence the prevailing ten dency of using the formal freedoms to create unequal conditions in which these freedoms are , in effect , brought to naught. With this goal in mind , the b ourgeoisie encourages and finances numerous reactionary groupings , opposing them to progressive orga­ n isations and covering it all up under the banner of the so­ called ' pluralist democracy ' . The state has been and still remains the principal element in the political organisation of society. We need not go into the details of the theory of the state which is the object of in-depth studies by both jurists and philosophers , or review the generally known facts about the origin and essence of the state and classificat ions of states ; we shall merely d iscuss the characteristic features of the state as an element in the system of class dictatorship, demonstrating its place in society's political organisation and its role in society's polit­ ical life. Let us note that the state is the only organisation which has persisted throughout the history of mankind since its division into classes; it is the principal organisation of the ruling class ; state organisation is necessarily linked with the territorial d iv ision of the population ; state activ ities are necessarily realised through a special machinery ( offi­ cialdom) ; state organisation necessarily assumes taxation; the activity of the state and of all its organs is based on le­ gal norms in most cases ; the state is the only organisation with the legislative functions of passing laws and other legal acts b inding on the entire population ; the state is the. only organisation performing certain economic functions on 232

a n ational scal e ; the state has at its disposal special organs and means of coercion . The state differs from all other political organisations: in the sum of all these features. It should be emphasised that despite changes in state t ypes involved in the transition from one socio-economic formation to another , these features of the· state have remained unchanged, which is an excellent indi­ cat i on of the continuity in state organisation and the extreme· stability of this institution . I t is important to n ote that in the early stages of the de­ velopment of class society, the state was in fact the only in­ strument of suppression : usually, the ruling class managed to· retain its dominant position with the aid of the _s tate alone. Along with t he growth of the working masses ' political con­ sciousness and organisation and increasingly acute class. struggle, the ruling class discovered that the state alone was. n ot enough to suppress the growing revolutionary and natio­ nal liberat ion movement. Accordingly, a system of class-. d ictatorship arose (as has been noted above ) and it became necessary to regard the state as the main instrument in the· system of d ictatorship . The p olitical organisation of . antagonistic society also· comprise the organisations of class resistance -parties , trade­ unions , cooperatives , and temporary organisations like· strike committees , etc. The political organisations of the exploited classes are­ t a l led to life b y the needs of class struggle ; more than that,. chey are shaped b y the conditions and re quirements imposed at each given m oment by this class stru ggle. Accordingly, the· organisations of exploited classes may v ary considerably. Without going into a detailed analysis of these organisations, let us p oint out the features common to all organisations of the working classes, which distinguish them from those of exploiting classes . The first point to be taken into account is the mass nature· of all workers' organisations , which are , as a rule , more numer­ o us than those of the exploiters . Secon d , these organisations have a mu ch greater signifi­ cance for the working masses, as they do not have at their d isposal and cannot , with rare except i ons, make use of the oldest political institution , the state. The state is the exploit­ ers ' organisation and remains such un t i l t l 1e d ic ta torship of the proletariat has been established . The workin g masses'· 233.

o ro o6m;ecTna . - B Rn . : MeTop;oJio rnqec1m0 npo 6JJe.\Ihl ncTop11qecRoro MaTepnaJJII3!\J a . B ap tt a yn , 1 9 76. Y JJ e ,n; o B A . K . Cou,nono rn'IeCRIIc aa KOHhI . M oc 1rna , 1 975. Yp6aun3au,u H , n ay11uo-TexH w1ccKaH pcnomou,nH H p a601111ii rwacc . H e 1r nTop 1>re nonpoc1>1 Teo p n n . l{ p rr nm a 6ypmya3Hb1X J\oruwm�1,r i"1 . l\ l oc1r n a , 1 9 72. y p c y J l A . ,n; . n po6JJe.\ Ja I!IIQJOP .\I a IVUI Il COBpe.\ IeIIHOfJ n a y 1r n . m 1rnococJic1-me 011e p K I I . M oc1r n a , 1975. < D a p y K m n II M . X . CoQHaJJ11cn1qec1mH p;e.\IO K paTHH I I 6yp my­ a 3 n a H «COBCTOJJ O rilH>> . (OqepK I