What Is Socialism?

Table of contents :
I. Two Worlds
II. The Working Class Victorious
III. The Liberation of the Peasantry
IV. The Metamorphosis of the Intellectual
V. Socialist Democracy
VI. The Unity of the Nation and the Commonwealth of Nations
VII. The Rise of the Personality
VIII. Socialism and Communism

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Tw o Wo rld s


Th e Wo rki ng Class Vi cto rio us .


III . Th e Lib era tio n of the Pe asa ntr y


Th e l\v!etamorphosis of the Int ell ect ua l .

Socialist De mo cra cy .

I. II.


V. VI .

Th e Un ity of the Na tio n an d the Co mm on • • • • we alt h of Na tio ns . . . •


Th e Ris e of the Pe rso nal ity .




Socialism an d Co mm un ism .


P. 0. BO X





I. TW O W OR L.DS the pas t few dec ade s the wo rki ng peo ple of all cap ital ist cou ntr ies hav e tas ted the fru its of cap ital ism to the full . Th e kill ed and wo und ed of the first imp eria list Wo rld Wa r, and the mil lion s of wo rke rs, pea san ts, cra ftsm en and inte llec tua ls cas·t out int o hop ele ss mis ery by its conseque nce s, doo me d to last ing une mp loy me nt and rui ned by eco nom ic crises wh ose like was nev er kno wn bef ore ; the nation s sub jug ate d and pre yed upo n by the imp eria list vulture s, and the. exi les dri ven fro m the ir cou ntr ies by for eig n opp res sor s and com pel led to wa nde r fro m lan d to lan d; the masses dis fran chi sed and gro und dow n by rea ctio nar y rule rs, toil ing at for ced lab or and lan gui shi ng in pris on, and fina lly the nat ion s plu nge d for a sec ond tim e int o a wa r of vas t dim ens ion s-a ll of the m poi nt an acc usi ng fing er at mo rib und cap ital ism . It is the y wh o are hav ing to foo t the bill of cap itali sm, to pay wit h unt old sacrifices for its inh ere nt ana rch y and cha os; and the se mu ltit ude s are dem and ing wit h gre ate r ins iste nce eve ry day to kno w the rea son for the ir misery, the rea son for this dev ast atin g col lap se of all eco nom ic, pol itic al and cul tur al sta nda rds ; wit h eve ry day the urg e bec om es mo re imp era tive to get out of this unb ear abl e stat e, to find a way out of crises and war s, out of the hop ele ss ana rch y of a system roo ted in exp loit atio n and opp res sio n. ,..rhe ine vita ble lin k bet we en wa r and cap ital ism , bet we en the wa nt and suf feri ng of the nat ion s and the pro fits of the cap ital ists , is bec om ing cle ar in the min ds of inc rea sin g num ber s of peo ple . Th e masses are com ing to see tha t no rea l diff ere nce exi sts bet we en the com pet itio n tha t is carried on by the ind ivid ual cap ital ists and ind ust ries and the com pet itio n tha t the cap ital ist stat es car ry on am ong the mselves; tha t the spa smo dic , une ven dev elo pm ent of cap ital ist ind ust ry, gui ded as it is solely by con sid era tion s of pro fit ins tea d of the col lect ive rea son of society, lea ds to ever-recurrin g eco nom ic crises, wh ile the spasmodic,, une ven dev elo p3 URI NG

ment of capitalist states breaks into ever-recurring wars. They are beginning to realize that the exploitation of the working people at home and the oppression and robbery of foreign nations are links in a single chain, that the same classes that own the mines, the mills, the factories, the landed estates and the banks· also control all tlie machinery ~£ the state, and that for these classes no other law exists than that of evei:y man against the next. Production and distribution can be ruled, ,made to conform to plan, shaped to the neeas and potentialities of the community only if they are controlled by society as a whole. In the capitalist world, however, the means of production are not owned by society, and their employment, social. labor, is not controlled by it. The means of production are the private property of the capitalists. Eaqh owner produces for profit, and must do so if he does not want to go to the wall. To meet the needs of society is qo part of his plans; his one motive, his only criterion, is profit. Thus the essence of capitalist econ9mics is vicious exploitation of the workers and :-cut-throat competition among the capitalists, not free labor and any spirit of social emulation. And this jungle law of capitalism naturally extends to the relations between the capitalist states as well. Exploitation, profit, competitionthese break into war as ·surely as storm clouds into ligl1tning. The victorious October Socialist Revolution has rescued a sixth of the globe from this vicious circle and forced a big· breach in the lVorld system of imperialism. Facing the world of capitalist anarchy and brute force, there stands today the Soviet Union, the world of socialism, of planned economy, where production is dir~cted by. society as ~ whole, where e-,,.ploitation and oppression are unknown. This vast country has already realized the prophecy of the founders of Marxism, expressed by Engels when he said: ''The seizure of the means of production by society puts an .end to commodity production, and therewith to the domination of the product over the producer. Anarchy in social production is replaced by conscious organ.. ization on a planned basis. . . . And only a~ this point, in a certain sense, man finally cuts himself off from the 4



anim al world , leave s the cond itions of ai1imal existe nce behin d him and enter s cond itions whic h are really human. . . . It is only from this poin t that men, with full consc iousn ess, will fashi on their own histo ry; it is only from this point that the socia l cause s set in motio n by men will have, predo mina ntly and in const antly increa sing meas ure, the effects wille d by men. It is huma nity's leap from the realm of neces sity into the real1n of freedom. '' (Fred erick Enge ls, A nti-Dilhring, pp. 3 11-12 .)

In the Sovie t Unio n the domi natio n of the prod uct over the produ cers, the blind domi natio n of econo mic forces over the 'vill of man, has been shake n off. The produ ctive forces are no Ionge v like the elem ents let loose, cuttin g blind ly, viole ntly, destr uctiv ely acros s man' s plans , break ing like thun der in annih ilatin g econo mic crises. In the hand s of the victo rious work ing class they have been trans form ed fro~ demo niac maste rs into willin g serva nts. Anar chy in socia l prod uctio n has been repla ced by consc ious organ izatio n on a plann ed basis. Prod uctio n follow s one big socia l plan. There " are no such thing s as hung er or unem ploym ent. The weal th of produ cts incre ases with every year, yet no crises ensue . Labo r produ ctivit y grow s with every year, yet work ers do not lose their jobs. The comp lete unres tricte d deve lopm ent and exerc ise of all the physi cal and ment al facul ties of the Sovie t peop le is stead ily progr essin g. The last mem ories of ihe old anim al cond itions of existe nce are being blott ed out and really huma n cond itions are arisin g. And this unpa ralleled conti nuou s progress. of all Sovie t socie ty rests on the fact that the mean s of produ ction are no longe r the. priva te prope rty of the capit alists , but the posse ssion of socie ty at large , that the dicta torsh ip o( the bourg eoisie has been overthro\v n and super seded by the dicta torsh ip of the work ing class, that the state is no long.er the instr umen t of a dwin · dling mino rity, bu·t of the whol e labor ing natio n. The ''secr et'' of the histo ric super iority of socia lism to capit alism has been very simp ly state d in Artic le 4 of the Sovie t Cons tituti on: ''. . . The socia list system of econo my and the socialist owne rship of the mean s and instru ment s of produ ction, firml y estab lishe d as a resul t of the aboli tion of the


cap ita lis t sy.stem of eco no my , the abroga_tion of pri va te ow ne rsh ip of the means~ an d ins tru me nts of pro du cti on , _, n, ma by n ma of n tio ita plo ex the of n tio oli ab the d an co nst itu te the eco no mi c fou nd ati on of the U.S.S.R. (C on sti tut ion of the U.S.S.R.) Er ect ed on the se gra nit e fou nd ati on s, the yo un g wo rld of e Th m. lis ita cap d un rib mo of rld wo ile sen the es fac ism soc ial dif fer enc e bet we en the tw o wo rld s is com ing ho me to the masses mo re viv idl y eve ry day. Th e on e sta nd s for exp loi tatio n, op pre ssi on , bru te force, crises, blo od y wars, suf fer ing , wa nt an d hopelessness, ev er..inc rea sin g bar bar ism , an d ex.. or, lab ve ati cre e fre for er oth the d; en ble rri ho a of n tio pe cta po liti cal an d mo ral un ity of the . peo ple , en du rin g mu tua l aff ect ion am on g the nat ion s, unfoldment-- of socialist dem ocracy, a res olu te an d fru itf ul po lic y of peace, progress, security, inc rea sin g pro spe rity an d gro wi ng cul tur e. Sm all wo nd er nce lue inf to d un bo are d an ed ask un e com ns iso par com t tha the masses in the cap ita lis t wo rld . Sm all wo nd er tha t the ir mi nd s are rev olt ing aga ins t cap ita lis m an d tur nin g mo re an d. mo re to socialism; sm all wo nd er tha t the con tra st fills the cap ita lis ts wl.th dis ma y an d i.n spi res the wo rki ng class in its str ug gle . Fo r the att rac tio n tha t soc ial ism exercises for the •masses se rea inc to e nu nti co ll wi d an g, sin rea inc ly adi ste en be ha s eve n mo re rap idl y. Of thi s the im per ial ist s an d the ir flu nk eys are ful ly aw are , an d the y are do ing all the y can to cou nte r-. act it. In the ir fight aga ins t soc ial ism the y res ort to all ma nn er of un de rha nd me tho ds. Th e facts ab ou t the So vie t Un 'io n are sys tem ati cal ly falsified; no lie is too bla ck to be use d for dis tor tin g the pic tur e· of soc ial ism vic tor iou s. Th ese sla nd erd an ed liz rea e hav e p~l peo t vie So the at wh t tha ert ass ers ach iev ed is no t soc ial ism at all , bu t som e vag ue sta te of affai rs tha t the y car efu lly avo id spe cif yin g. Th eir ow n wr etc hed class rul e the y try to pass off un de r the tab of ''so cia lis m, '' ," ism ial soc n a· avi din can ''S of es tal ve nai ir the ing spr ead ''G erm an soc ial ism ,'' etc. At the sam e tim e the y try to discre dit soc ial ism by giv ing the na me to var iou s Social-Demom the ng ldi ho d an s ent nm ver go ary on cti rea r ila sim d an cra tic up to rid icu le. Bu t thi s fog of lie s an d sla nd er can no t ob6 •

scure the facts about victorio us socialism in the Soviet Union . The purpose of this pamphl et is to tell about some of these si1nple facts, which are more convinc ing than any of the tricks of reaction ary propag anda-a bout some of the features of socialism, for thousan ds of years the dream of humani ty's finest minds, the fixed goal of the workin g class in its struggle, which was outline d in the teaching s of Marx and Engels and has been realized in the handiw ork of Lenin and Stalin.

II. THE WOR KING CLASS VICT ORIO US fight against decaying, moribu nd capitali sm, which obstruc ts all progress and infects everyth ing with its putresce nce, is an imperat ive historic al necessity. The task of beihg the gravedi gger of capitali sm, history has assigne d to the~ proleta riat, the workin g class. That class is the very embodime nt of antagon ism to the class domina tion of the bourgeoisie. It is the class that is most directly oppress ed and exploite d. Its most rudime ntary materia l, politica l and cultural require ments bring it into daily renewe d conflict with capitali sm. It is the class that most immedi ately feels the effects of the anarchy reignin g in capitali st commo dity production . The workers are the first to be hit by crises. Their wages are depressed; they are cast out of produc tion . into the misery of unempl oyment . Life itself' brings it home to them that in the world of capitali sm their labor power is nothing but a commo dity. It is a commo dity whose price is below its value. It is the source of profit, the well that the capitali st draws on for more capital; the whole capitali st system rests on its exploit ation. When the workers rise, the very founda tions of capitali sm are set rocking . The prole.. tariat is massed togethe r in the industr ial plants and is therefore capable of the highest degree of organiz ation; it runs produc tion by its labor, and i& therefo re capable of bringin g it to a standsti ll; it comes daily into conflict with capitali sm at its very heart and is therefor e in a position to meet it with a full realizat ion of the facts. HE


It is the most important and most progressive class in mod'ern society. its· class ·Struggle the proletariat marches at the head of the entire laboring population, championing not only its own interests, but those of the others as well. The proletariat can free itself only by overthrowing capitalism; and it can overthrow capitalism only if it acts in alliance with the rest of the working masses. Its liberation is the liberation of all working people. In the proletariat, tpodern large-scale industry has created a class which, to quo-te Engels, ''for the first time in history can demand the abolitio11, not of one particular .class organization or another, or of one particular class privilege or another, but of classes themselves, and which is in such a position that it must carry through this demand or sink to the,. level of the Chinese coolie.'' (Anti-Dilhring, p. 178.) Behind the proletariat there stands no' new oppressed class; the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie is humanity's gr~at stride towards a classless society, and the proletarian revolution, the victory of the people over all exploiters and oppressors. Under capitalism the worker can have no social security, no human dignity, 110 opportunity to unfolft his creative powers. Capitalism does not allow him to mold his life as ~e wants it to be. Its ruthless social forces trample him underfoot,