The Period of Transition and World Capitalism Today: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

5.1   The 14th Congress resolution On Certain Ideological Issues had concluded that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe negates neither Marxism-Leninism nor the ideal of socialism. Further, these reverses cannot erase the fact that socialism made a decisive contribution in uplifting the levels of quality of human civilization to hitherto unknown higher levels. [21]

5.2   Despite the unprecedented and path-breaking advances made by socialism in the 20th century, it must be borne in mind that all socialist revolutions barring a few (not all) in East Europe took place in relatively backward capitalistically developed countries. The socialist countries removed one-third of the world market from capitalism. This, however, did not substantially affect either the levels of advances already made by world capitalism in developing the productive forces, or in capitalism’s capacity to further develop the productive forces on the basis of scientific and technological advances. This permitted world capitalism to overcome the setbacks caused by socialist revolutions in the 20th century to develop the productive forces and further expand the capitalist market. Given the then existing correlation of class forces internationally, imperialism achieved the expansion of the capitalist market through neo-colonialism.

5.3   On the other hand, the faster pace and qualitatively higher advances made by socialism, in a relatively short span, led to a belief that such advances were irreversible. The Leninist warning that the vanquished bourgeoisie will hit back with a force a hundred times stronger was underestimated.

5.4   Such an underestimation of the capacities of world capitalism and overestimation of socialism was reflected in the assessment of the world Communist movement. We had in the 14th Congress reassessed these estimations contained in a statement issued by 81 participating Communist Parties in 1960 which concluded that the immediate inevitability of the collapse of capitalism due to its ‘third phase of the general crisis’ was a grave error in evaluating the then current world realities, that retarded the advance of world socialism.

5.5   Further, socialism was perceived as a linear progression. Once socialism was achieved, it was erroneously thought that the future course was a straight line without any obstacles till the attainment of a classless, Communist society. Experience has also confirmed that socialism is the period of transition or, as Marx said, the first stage of Communism – the period between a class-divided exploitative capitalist order and the classless Communist order. This period of transition, therefore, by definition, implies, not the extinction of class conflicts but their intensification, with world capitalism trying to regain its lost territory. This period, therefore, was bound to be a protracted and complex one with many a twist and turn. This was particularly so in these countries which were capitalistically backward at the time of the socialist revolution. [22]

5.6   The success or failure of the forces of world socialism in this struggle, in this period of transition, at any point of time, is determined both by the successes achieved in socialist construction, [23] the international and internal correlation of class forces and their correct assessment. Incorrect estimations leading to an underestimation of the class enemy both without and within the socialist countries and the overestimation of socialism had created a situation where the problems confronting the socialist countries were ignored and so were the advances and consolidation of world capitalism.

5.7   In the 21st century, therefore, while drawing invaluable lessons from the experience of socialism in the USSR and East European countries, it is clear that the process of transition from capitalism to socialism in the 21st century cannot be a repetition of these experiences.

5.8   One of the important inerasable impacts of the people’s struggles worldwide, inspired by socialism in the 20th century, has been the strengthening of democratic rights and civil liberties (for instance, amongst many others, granting women the right to vote) accompanied by hitherto unknown benefits to the working class and the working people in terms of social security and welfare that capitalism was forced to concede. Hence, these rights, today considered ‘universal’ are an outcome of people’s struggles, and not the ‘charity of the bourgeoisie’.

5.9   This era of transition and transformation towards socialism in the 21st century, thus, though inevitable in the final historical vision, is bound to be a protracted struggle. It is the task of the Communists, the working class, and all progressive sections to work for the hastening of this process through the intensification of class struggles, in respective countries, while imperialism will continuously seek to push such an eventuality even further back.

5.10   The struggle for socialism in the 21st century must, therefore, be the struggle for the establishment of a system that is free from exploitation of man by man and of nation by nation. Such a system must be based on further strengthening of the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. Such a system must establish its superiority over capitalism in achieving higher levels of productivity and productive forces based on the principle of transition from, ‘to each according to his ability, to each according to his work’ eventually leading towards a Communist society where the principle of ‘to each according to his need’ would prevail. Such superiority must be established, through the increasing participation of the popular masses, in all spheres of social existence – political, social, cultural, etc.

5.11   The 14th Congress resolution has given our understanding on democracy under socialism; the forms of property under socialism; and the relationship between plan and the market, many of which have been incorporated in our updated Party Programme. These continue to guide our understanding.

5.12   The social ownership of the means of production under socialism cannot be mechanically equated with the State-owned sector alone, though it constitutes its bedrock. The socialist State, through the existence of various forms of property, must ensure that the economic lifeline is under the control of the State. In other words, socialism in the 21st century must establish that ‘politics will determine its economics’ unlike under capitalism where ‘economics (profit maximization) determines its politics’.

World Social Contradictions

5.13   This period of transition in the current phase of imperialism is also a period where all the major world social contradictions will sharpen in different degrees and in different spheres. The fundamental contradiction between labour and capital under capitalism is acutely intensifying in the present situation of crisis and recession. The efforts by imperialism to consolidate its hegemony, while, on the one hand, seeking to draw the ruling classes of the developing countries under its tutelage, on the other, is leading to the intensification of the contradiction between imperialism and the peoples of the developing countries. Inter-imperialist contradictions also manifest themselves in different forms in different spheres, while they are currently muted in intensifying global exploitation for profit maximisation. The central contradiction of this period of transition remains between imperialism and socialism. Any of these can come to the forefront given world developments at any particular conjecture, without replacing the central contradiction.

5.14   Amongst the multitude of contradictions that exist at any point of time, the international Communist movement recognizes the above four as the major world social contradictions that influence and determine the pace and character of this period of transition. In recent years, however, the fundamental contradiction of capitalism between the social character of production and the private character of appropriation manifests itself in a very serious degradation of the global environment in its efforts for profit maximization. This has become more accentuated in the period of imperialist globalization. This contradiction is threatening to assume proportions of creating serious imbalances through global climate changes posing grave dangers for human existence itself. This has also set in motion a new element in the intensification of the contradiction between imperialism and the developing countries, with the efforts to pass on the burdens of checking global warming and reducing green house emissions on to the developing countries. This is reflected in the ongoing global negotiations on climate change where the industrialized countries are reneging from their earlier commitment of accepting ‘common but differentiated responsibility’, reflecting their earlier and continuing pillage of the environment for profit maximization and, hence, their greater responsibility in correcting this imbalance. They are seeking to negate the fundamental equality of ‘carbon space’ for all human beings in addressing the problems of environmental degradation. These efforts to pass on the burdens of protecting global environment on to the developing countries are part of the global class exploitation that imperialism intensifies in today’s conditions. The struggle of the peoples of the developing countries against these efforts of imperialism constitutes today an important element of the international class struggle against global capitalism.

5.15   Under these circumstances, the people of every country in the world will have to meet the challenges of existing realities to shape their future destiny – how popular people’s struggles will be strengthened to contend with these challenges. How successful they will be in advancing the struggles of the people for social transformation will determine the pace of this transition.


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