Thursday, October 12, 2017

Inequality in Soviet Russia (1947)

From the June 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard

In its issue of March 27th, 1947, the Daily Worker published a review of “The Russian Outlook,” by Lieutenant-General Sir Giffard Martel. The reviewer was annoyed because the general quoted the S.P.G.B.:—
   “The General goes to the grotesque length of quoting the Socialist Party of Great Britain to 'prove’ the Soviet 'drift’ from the teaching of Marx ”
The offending paragraph in “The Russian Outlook” was the following:—
   “The Socialist Party of Great Britain recently stated that 'in Russia, as in other countries where investment in State loans exists, the property income so derived is based on the exploitation of the working class and is, of course, quite incompatible with Socialism.’ Another critical statement in the same Socialist pamphlet referred to the 'great and growing inequality of income received by the various grades and social strata in the Russian system'.." (P. 171).
(The quotations are from “Nationalisation or Socialism? ” S.P.G.B., 1945, pages 50 and 60).
Now let the Daily Worker try to square the present policy and propaganda of the Soviet Government with the Marxist aim of the abolition of the wages system; with the Marxist explanation of exploitation as the only source of interest on investment; and with Lenin’s categorical statement that the departure from equality was “a step backward by our Socialist Soviet State which has from the very beginning proclaimed and carried on a policy of reducing high salaries to the standard of wages of the average worker.” (“The Soviets at Work,” Lenin, 1918). Lenin went on to say that “to pay unequal salaries is really a step backward; we will not cheat the people by pretending otherwise.”

Now the Daily Worker brazenly cheats the people by calling inequality “Socialist inequality” and pretends that it is not a step backward but forward—an inequality which will ensure that the Soviet Union “will finally advance to Communism” (Daily Worker. 8/5/47). The Worker now discovers that equality, advocated by Lenin, is “barren uniformity,” something to be avoided.
Edgar Hardcastle

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