Iran’s Crisis of Legitimacy
An Embattled Regime Faces Mass Protests—and an Ailing Supreme Leader
AGAP of thirteen and one-half years lay between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Congresses of the Soviet Communist Party instead of the three-year interval provided by the former Party statutes. Although various references were made, from 1948 on, to plans for holding a new Party Congress, Pravda's announcement, on August 20, of the date and the agenda came without forewarning. The assembling of the Congress on October 5 was preceded by many and varied speculations concerning its significance. Its conclusion was followed by no less puzzlement as to why it had been held. The delay in the calling of a Congress and its purely formal rôle once it had met emphasized the fact that in the Soviet party-state the self-chosen and self-perpetuating Party leadership has made the nominally ruling Party a handmaiden of its own absolute control over the state apparatus. In this Siamese-twin relationship, the power of the state apparatus has flourished, and that of the theoretically all-powerful Party has withered.
One formal purpose of calling the Congress was to change the Party name from "All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)" to that of the "Communist Party of the Soviet Union." For this, was it necessary to call together 1,359 leading members? The official explanation is that the term "Bolsheviks" now has a purely historical significance, recalling the split of 1903 between Lenin's followers and the Mensheviks, who, after various manœuvres by Lenin, found themselves in a minority at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Party. Perhaps another historic echo, better left unvoiced in view of the present Soviet dogma of the primacy of the Great Russian "elder brother" over the other Soviet peoples, was that the now discarded word "All-Union" recalls the period of 1922-1924, when the Ukrainian, Byelo-Russian, Georgian and other parties were fused with their All-Russian counterpart into a single "All-Union" Party on an allegedly equal and voluntary footing. The new terminology conforms to the fact of completely centralized control over the Party, and eliminates any faint recollection of the time when the various non-Russian Communist parties believed that, at least for them, there would be some element of genuine federalism within both Party and state in the Soviet Union.[i]
The newly-adopted Party statutes record current practice, rather than change it. They emphasize even more clearly the principle of hierarchical subordination spelled out in the new rules. Until the exclusion of a Party member from the Party cell to which he belongs has been ratified by higher committees--provincial, regional or Union Republic--he continues to take a full part in the work of the cell, including attendance at secret meetings. Obviously, the real right of expulsion is vested in the hierarchy of committees, and more specifically in their secretaries, who are appointed by the central Secretariat in Moscow.
By contrast, the Party "apparat"--the Party committees at the county, city, district, provincial, regional and Union Republic levels--is placed in a privileged position. The expulsion of these Party leaders cannot even be considered by any lowly Party cell; such a question can be decided only by a two-thirds majority of the plenary session of the Party committee to which the suspect belongs. Logically, therefore, the new statutes provide also that the exclusion of a member of the Central Committee is to be decided by a Party Congress, which is now scheduled once in four years, or, what is more important, by the Central Committee, meeting at intervals between Congresses. These provisions help to safeguard the position of the hierarchy--the "apparat"--against possible control by the rank-and-file membership, and emphasize again the principle of hierarchical obedience within a monolith controlled and directed from the top.
The new statutes are, of course, silent on the question of limiting the power of the political police over Party members. In its early decades the Party assumed that the political police was intended to control the "enemies of the people," not to supervise and punish members of the Party, which had its own Control Commission for this purpose. During Stalin's struggle for dominance and then for monopoly of power, the powers of the police, not only over known oppositionists but also over all party members, expanded rapidly. However, efforts to uphold the tradition of Party control over members--the best known efforts were associated with Satz and Akulov--persisted as late as 1934. Article 13 of the new statutes clearly reinforces rather than limits the complete ascendancy of the political police over the membership of the Party. It provides that "in cases when a member of the Party has committed misdeeds which are subject to punishment under judicial procedure, he is excluded from the Party together with communication concerning the misdeed to the administrative and judicial authorities." Apparently, this clumsily worded provision refers only to "misdeeds" which have been discovered first by Party organs and are then to be reported by them to the political police or the state's attorney. There is no reference to any action to be taken by the Party committees in case a Party member is accused or convicted of "misdeeds" under any of several public or secret procedures. The inference of the unchallenged supremacy of the political police over the "vanguard of the toiling people" is clear.
No little puzzlement has also arisen over the disappearance of the Politburo of the Central Committee, with, usually, nine members and two alternates, and its replacement by the Presidium, with its 25 members and 11 alternates. In an otherwise wordy report on the draft statutes, Khrushchev was a model of laconic brevity when it came to a discussion of this change. He stated in a single sentence that "such a reconstruction [Politburo into Presidium] is opportune because the term 'Presidium' corresponds better to the functions which are, in fact, being carried out at present by the Politburo." Obviously, the "functions" of the Politburo-Presidium were so clear to the Party Congress that no further explanation was appropriate, and the entire draft statute was "adopted unanimously."
The only way to guess at the difference between the old and the new organs of dictatorial rule is to examine the composition of each. The enlarged Presidium contains three elements. The most important part of its membership consists of Stalin and nine other members (Molotov, Malenkov, Voroshilov, Bulganin, Kaganovich, Mikoyan, Beria, Khrushchev, Shvernik), with long service on the Politburo. The portraits of these ten, and only of these ten, leaders were featured prominently in the November 7 celebrations at Moscow, in accordance with the Soviet principle of hierarchy. Aside from the disappearance of Andreyev, following Khrushchev's attack in 1950 on his methods of organizing collective farm work this "leading cadre" has shown a remarkable stability for many years.
Among 15 other less prominent members of the Presidium are four Party leaders from three key regions: Andrianov from Leningrad, Aristov from Cheliabinsk, Korotchenko and Melnikov from the Ukrainian party. It is probable that Melnikov has the greater authority in the Ukrainian Communist Party, but it would have been awkward not to include a representative, such as Korotchenko, with a Ukrainian family name. While another member, Otto Kuusinen, is nominally the head of the Karelo-Finnish Republic, a relatively unimportant region, it is more probable that he was included as an adviser on Communist Parties abroad because of his many years' service as a high official of the Communist International prior to its formal dissolution in May 1943.
The third element in the Presidium consists of important central executives just below the top rank, such as Pervukhin, head of the Russian Republic, Kuznetsov, head of the trade-unions, Shkiryatov, chairman of the Party Control Commission, and Saburov, chairman of the State Planning Office, while Mikhailov, Ponomarenko and Suslov are members both of the Presidium and of the all-important Secretariat of the Central Committee, which controls appointments, promotions and demotions within the Party "apparat" and participates in similar decisions affecting the higher ranks in the administrative, economic and military bureaucracy. Among alternate members of the Presidium are other second-rank executives, such as Vyshinsky for foreign affairs, Zverev for finance, and Kosygin for light industry.
Saburov's new-found prominence deserves a special word. When he replaced Voznesensky in 1949 as chairman of Gosplan, he was referred to abroad as a "mere technician." In a sense all Soviet executives except Stalin are "technicians." As early as 1945, Saburov had emerged as the most important economic expert in Stalin's secretariat. In that year he was in command of the Soviet campaign to round up and ship to Russia all possible supplies and equipment found in Eastern Germany. In this field his authority overrode that of the Soviet military command. American negotiators who dealt with Saburov at the Potsdam Conference and later in the Allied Council at Berlin found him incisive and efficient, extremely well-informed about economic and reparation problems, very direct and, in that sense, "unideological" in his approach to concrete problems. Incidentally, Saburov was reportedly one of some 80 young Soviet party-specialists selected to study engineering and production methods in the United States between 1931 and 1933. He and Mikoyan are probably the only high Soviet leaders who have a first-hand acquaintance with America's industrial power. His speech to the Congress, which supplemented and expanded Malenkov's treatment of economic issues, was forthright in treating both achievements and defects of Soviet production.
The most important and least known factor in the operations of the Politburo-Presidium is its system of committees. There are, it is believed, standing committees on foreign policy, on economic development, on military affairs, on ideological controls, on the direction of foreign Communist parties, and perhaps on other topics. For example, it is probable that Molotov, Voroshilov, Malenkov, and perhaps on occasion Mikoyan and Beria, form a committee on foreign policy, to which Vyshinsky and some other leading officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs report. Zverev may report on financial questions to a committee consisting perhaps of Molotov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich and Saburov. A similar committee on foreign Communist Parties might consist of Molotov, Beria, Malenkov and Kuusinen.
In the absence of permitted channels for freely expressed pressures and competing views, "cabinet committees" of this type, backed by careful staff papers, are essential if divergent demands and interests are to be taken into account in policy-making. Given the almost complete continuity of persons and responsibilities from the Politburo to the Presidium, the committee system has presumably also continued its functions. The only slight change is that about ten responsible executives who were immediately below the Politburo in terms of their functions have received outward recognition through membership in the enlarged Presidium. Whether the Presidium will actually function or even meet as a body is a matter of sheer speculation.
A study of the hierarchical details of the Congress confirms the impression that Malenkov, who was chosen, trained and raised to power by Stalin, has emerged as a probable successor, after having outmanœuvred and outlived his rivals. Conceivably, a Khrushchev-Beria-Molotov combination might offer competition to his influence over general policy and over the power of appointment, but no such "combination" would be imaginable unless Stalin fostered it. At the same time there is no logical ground for assuming that Stalin would allow access to him to be centered in a single person, however much trusted, or that he will not continue to remain in close touch with important decisions through the committees and their agreed and unagreed recommendations to him.
Malenkov's deportment at the Congress was well designed to mark him as the "modest second" reporting on behalf of the "incomparable" leader. While his very long report, dealing with the whole range of domestic and world policy, was referred to with approval by subsequent speakers, no "adjectives" similar to those inevitably coupled with Stalin's name were applied to Malenkov. By comparison, the background rôle assigned to Molotov was striking. The hierarchically planned proceedings strengthened the impression that active conduct of policy--"leadership" must remain unique--has been passing since the war into the hands of men of long administrative and party experience in their fifties, backed by administrators of substantial experience in their forties.
The Congress itself reflected this important shift of executive responsibility to the post-revolutionary generations. Of 1,192 voting members, 61.1 percent were between 41 and 50, 15.3 percent over 50, 17.7 percent between 35 and 40, and 5.9 percent were under 35. This is a striking reversal in age-structure, compared with the 1920's and even the 1930's. In terms of length of party membership, 1.2 percent were members before 1917, 6.2 percent joined between 1917 and 1920, 36.4 percent between 1921 and 1930, 36 percent between 1931 and 1941, 16.1 percent between 1941 and 1945, and 4.1 percent since the war. The importance of advanced education for entry into the leading ranks of the Party is indicated by the fact that of 1,192 delegates 709 had completed their higher education and 84 had received some higher education.
In effect, the Nineteenth Congress consolidated the fusion between Party and state, ratifying the interdependence which had been clearly outlined by the mid-1930's, consolidated by the great purges of the late 1930's, and extended further by the mass inflow of military and civilian administrators during the Second World War. The power of direct appointment or of review of appointment, increasingly monopolized by the Party Secretariat from the mid-1930's on, would in itself have sufficed to consolidate the direct authority of the Politburo over all ranks of the Party, administrative, economic and military apparatuses. There is evidence that the power of the Secretariat over appointments in the Party machine includes the posts of Party committee secretaries down to the level of counties, cities and important factories. All ministerial appointments in the central government and the Union Republic governments are believed to be similarly centralized, as well as the appointment of the principal administrators in the provinces. In the army, all appointments from the rank of colonel up are believed to be subject to review and ratification by the Secretariat. Within the central government, the state and the vast economic machine, actual policy is made by the Politburo-Presidium of the Party. Probably the unwieldy Council of Ministers never meets, and the ministries are grouped by subject matter under the direction of relevant committees of the Presidium. The original parallelism between state and party organs, expressed in the duality of the General Secretary of the Party and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, has been replaced by the direct rule of the Party leadership which utilizes for its ends both state machinery and Party apparatus.
For the rulers the Party performs three principal functions: mass indoctrination, supervision of performance, and recruitment of personnel. While Khrushchev emphasized the rôle of the Party as the bearer of doctrine, the Nineteenth Congress added nothing to the picture of this function beyond exhortations to improve its methods and to strengthen its propaganda efforts. The listing of the principal Party schools, as given by Moskatov, Chairman of the Party's Central Review Commission, gave some insight into the organization of indoctrination. Among such schools he listed "one-year courses for the advanced training of first secretaries of provincial committees, of regional committees of the Soviet Party and of the central committees of Communist Parties of Union Republics, chairmen of provincial and regional executive committees, and of presidents of the Councils of ministers of Union and Autonomous Republics." The fusion of Party and state apparatuses could not be better illustrated than by the picture of both Party and state high officials, including Presidents of Union Republics, attending the highest Party school for a year, presumably to receive their final initiation into the arcana of Soviet rule.
Khrushchev's speech on the work of the Party gave many illustrations of the failure of Party organizations to exercise supervision over the quality of the work of its own members and of state officials, and emphasized the duty of Party members to organize continuous criticism and review of the work of the entire apparatus. According to Malenkov, the basic duties of the Party are: to develop "self-criticism" (officially sanctioned criticism), while punishing "slander;" to improve discipline of Party members and of all organizations within the Soviet system; to select personnel for both Party and state organizations; and to improve "ideological work" both within the Party and within "the non-Party masses."
The exact relation of Party to state apparatus has fluctuated greatly in the past. Until the mid-1930's the two were to a considerable extent distinct in personnel, and the authority of even low-level Party groups or Komsomols to interfere with all levels of the state apparatus in the name of "Bolshevist vigilance" constantly made itself felt. As the apparatuses of state operation and economic management, of the military and of the secret police expanded during the 1930's, the filling of higher posts by Communists and the tendency to concentrate the best administrators on concrete tasks rather than on the more generalized functions of the Party itself gave greater authority to the administrative corps. The purges accentuated the tendency of administrators to regard with distrust any overemphasis of the Party's rôle as a nagging supervisor of their "practical" work. During the war, administrative talents were concentrated on the urgent concrete tasks of producing and fighting, and the ideological test for admission to the Party was blurred at the edges by the emphasis upon the patriotic rather than the "ideological" character of the war. By the end of the war Party officials were often merely "whippers-up" of sentiment, while power, prestige and party-influence went to those who "did things."
The revival of emphasis upon Party doctrine, upon the unique rôle of the Party, and the concept of "Party duty" as supplementary to administrative efficiency, had begun before the end of the war, and has been reinforced steadily, to be stressed again at the Nineteenth Congress. Criticism of the failure of Party units to exercise ideological leadership and supervisory control over other apparatuses suggests that within the Party real power continues to be exercised in the main by the managerial elite concerned with the manipulation of large units of power, and that purely Party functionaries are often chary of challenging the power of industrial and political "magnates."
The fusion of Party membership with operational responsibilities was illustrated by Marshal Vasilevsky's comment that 86 percent of the generals and officers of the Soviet armed forces are members of the Party or Young Communist League. He also added that since the war the principle of "single command" has been further strengthened. Before and at the beginning of the Second World War the position of "political advisers" or "commissars," Party officers attached to the military commanders, had been reinforced; they were often able to veto operational orders of the commanders, whose authority over their men was seriously undermined. In the later course of the war the rôle of the commanders was greatly strengthened. Now, with most of the officers members of party-cells, direct ideological supervision of the officers can be strengthened without lessening their outward rôle as "single commanders" over the troops.
In the past three years there has been a good deal of discussion of the nature of the projected "transition from Socialism to Communism." The Party Congress referred frequently to the "preparation" for this transition, but failed to supply a concrete description of the road to be followed. The earlier assumption that the state would begin to "wither away" during the approach to "Communism" had already been rejected by Stalin. But some Soviet economists speculated that the approach of Communism would be signalized by some dramatic changes in economic life, for example, that a basic commodity like bread would be distributed free to all. Without directly attacking this notion, Stalin chose this time to emphasize in his September article in Bolshevik the idea of the continuity of the basic laws of the economy and to insist that economists should aim to discover basic laws inherent in its working and should cease "inventing" new laws.[ii] If Stalin's article, his first major "ideological" work since his explosive article on Soviet linguistics, failed to define the steps for the achievement of "Communism" and in fact emphasized that the Soviet economy cannot "leap over" the basic laws of economic development, it would obviously be imprudent for lesser economic "geniuses" to speculate too far. Perhaps the task of defining "Communism" has been put off until the new Party Program can be unveiled.
Since the Eighteenth Party Congress, held in 1939, had appointed a special Commission to prepare a new Program to replace that of 1918, it had been suggested that the delay in calling a postwar Congress was due to the difficulty of carrying through the postwar reconstruction of the country and at the same time devoting sufficient time to the major effort of "ideological reconstruction" which the drafting of a new Program would entail. Perhaps, also, the new Party Program would find it embarrassing to reduce to exact definition the relation of the Soviet Party to the Communist Parties of the European satellites and of China, not to mention its relation to Communist Parties in other countries, such as France and Italy, where the Communist leaders have pledged their followers to the active defense of the Soviet Government. Any reasonably frank definition might make it difficult for that government to advertise its policy as one devoted to the joys of "coexistence" with the non-Soviet world and to the defense of "national sovereignty" and "peace" against the wicked "imperialists" and their "lackeys."
At the recent Congress the problem of effecting a comprehensive restatement of the Party Program was again postponed, and a committee of 11 was appointed, without announcing a date for its report. Whether it will report to a plenary Congress four years from now, or whether the Party will simply have to make shift with the Program of 1918, is anyone's guess. Since the transition from "Socialism" to "Communism" has already begun, the Soviet people may simply go on working their hides off as heretofore, only to be told some fine morning that they have already attained the stage of "Communism."
The Party Congress was at least told by Malenkov that "the Fifth Five-Year Plan marks a big new step forward on the road to our country's development from Socialism to Communism."[iii] And the economic goals of the 1951-1955 Plan were set forth in more concrete terms than has been usual in recent years. Without going into detail on this aspect of the Malenkov and Saburov speeches, or the "debates" which followed them, one can say that there is nothing improbable in the Soviet claim that in 1952 the production of steel will reach 35,000,000 metric tons, pig iron 25,000,000, rolled metal 27,000,000, coal 300,000,000 and petroleum 47,000,000 tons. These figures are generally in line with the high tempo of recovery and development which has been shown by the Soviet economy since 1947 when it came out of its postwar slump, and with the high rate of investment and the relatively low rate of consumption, which has been held to levels lower than before the war. Experts estimate that the increase of steel production in 1951 over 1950 amounted to 12 percent; therefore the goal of an annual average increase of 10.1 percent in steel during the current Five-Year Plan appears a reasonable one.
A striking factor in the new Soviet plan is that annual percentage rates of increase, as illustrated in the plan for steel, are beginning to slacken off. This is a natural phenomenon in a society which is attaining a fuller degree of industrialization, but a declining percentage of increase against a steadily expanding base means a continued rapid growth in quantitative terms. While United States steel production is estimated at 102,000,000 metric tons for 1952, as compared with 31,400,000 for 1951 in the Soviet Union, we must not forget that Hitler challenged the world with only 22,700,000 tons (1938), and Japan with 6,900,000 (1940). Marshal Bulganin also emphasized, in his speech of October 12, that the Soviet economy was unusually well prepared to shift to a war economy.
Whether the planned increase of 50 percent in productivity per worker can be achieved depends not only on the proposed maintenance of high rates of investment and on better methods of organization, but on improved satisfaction of the consumption needs of the non-agricultural labor force, which was reported as totalling 40,000,000 for 1951 and a planned 44,000,000 in 1955. As usual, the planned rates of increase in the production of consumer goods are lower than those for extractive and heavy industries, and in the past achievement in this field has usually fallen short of planned goals.
Especial significance attaches to Saburov's statements concerning the continued rapid development of industry east of the Volga River. Here, he claimed, industrial output had been tripled between 1940 and 1952. In 1951, after the reconstruction of industry in European Russia and Ukraine, the eastern areas accounted for one-half of the total production of steel and rolled metal, and one-third of total industrial output. The gain, as against 1941, in relative strategic protection of vital industries represents a major shift.
Whether the new and, as usual, ambitious goals in agriculture, which have regularly failed of fulfilment in the past, will be achieved in this plan is more doubtful, especially since only 15 percent of 1951-1955 investment is slated to go into agriculture. There is a real possibility that Soviet industry now rests on an inadequate agricultural base, especially in terms of basic foodstuffs. Certainly the per capita avalaibility of livestock and livestock products is well below what it was in 1928, at the beginning of the drive for intensive industralization.
Malenkov summarized in a few lifeless bureaucratic sentences a profound revolution which has been carried out in the life of the Soviet village, when he stated that 254,000 collective farms have been consolidated into 97,000 amalgamated collectives since January 1950. Obviously, this has been intended as an important step in improving agricultural techniques and in strengthening the grip of the state upon the labor and life of the peasantry. Malenkov repeated earlier criticisms of the "bureaucratic" tendency to amalgamate villages "mechanically," by taking down and moving the buildings to a central settlement, while neglecting the more basic factors of improving farming techniques and organization.
On this subject, Stalin's article in Bolshevik was more revealing than any of the speeches at the Congress. Before the stage of "Communism" can be reached, according to Stalin, it will be necessary to do away with the present mixed system by which agricultural land and machines are the property of the state, while the produce is the "property" of the collective farm, and to reach a stage in which agricultural produce will also be the property of the state. In his newest ideological pronouncement, Stalin has thus returned to the idea that all agriculture must be operated by the state, with the peasants working, in effect, as hired laborers. Whether such crude "organizational" methods are best suited to raise the productivity of agriculture is more than doubtful, but it is significant that Stalin, and hence his followers, still see the means of solving the agricultural dilemma primarily in increasing the grip of state control and compulsion upon the peasantry.
As an important intermediate step toward securing complete control over the lagging agricultural sector, Stalin recommends the rapid extension of the system of "product-exchange." This arrangement, which has long been applied in the government's buying up of especially valuable crops like cotton, sugar-beet and tobacco, involves the deliveries of agreed amounts of consumer goods to the peasants at low prices, in return for fixed amounts of produce delivered by the collectives, also at low prices. In respect to other crops such as grain and livestock the collective makes some deliveries to the state at low prices, other deliveries in kind to the machine-tractor stations in payment for their services, and sets up reserves; it may then sell the balance to the government under a "product-exchange" contract, sell it in the open market, or divide it among its members, allowing them to sell their shares directly in the open market. Under the present system a considerable part of the crops escapes the direct control of the state, and, as Stalin stated, a large part of exchanges between city and village is regulated by the market. What Stalin is proposing is that all deliveries by the collective farms should be channeled through government agencies, which will, in turn, meet the peasants' need for consumer goods by supplying them under contract at low prices.
This would, from the point of view of the operators of a planned economy, be a great improvement. What would be an even greater improvement, from the peasants' point of view, would be for the government to increase the output of consumer goods, to reduce both prices and the extortionate turnover taxes now levied, and to expand the retail trade network. These steps, which seem Utopian under the current plan, would stimulate farm production, lower prices of consumer goods and food, and economize a great deal of time now wasted by consumers in searching for scarce, shoddy and high-priced goods. However, since Stalin's slightest "ideological word" is the law for his Party, and since he has always set his face against "consumer psychology" in Soviet planning, we may expect to see a reinforced campaign to do away with the collective-farm markets, which now supply the cities with about one-third of their food, to put an end to free-market selling by the collectives or their members, and to make government agencies the sole "organized" channel for exchanges between agricultural and industrial sectors. While the Soviet apparatus is better equipped to monopolize trade than it was in 1918-1921 and in 1930-1933, when it was tried out with disastrous results, this step toward "Communism" is not likely to meet with coöperation among the peasants, including even peasant managers of collectives.
In his report, Mikoyan announced that Soviet foreign trade is now three times greater than in prewar years. This statement was not very enlightening, for he did not indicate, nor was he asked by his listeners, whether he was speaking of constant rubles, variable rubles, constant prices, or quantities. One can hope, for his sake, that he was not speaking in terms of dollars, constant or variable, since the ruble has been proclaimed the "most stable currency" in the world. That Mikoyan's failure to indicate the basis for his calculations was no oversight is indicated by his reference to Soviet trade with Finland, measured "in comparable prices." Mikoyan complained bitterly of the "boycott" of Soviet trade by the West, and in the same breath declared that it was of no importance to the Soviet economy. He went on to boast that dealings with the "people's democracies" represented 80 percent of Soviet foreign trade in 1952. Trade within the Soviet bloc, by which he seems to mean trade among all members of the bloc and not merely their trade with the Soviet Union, had, he reported, increased more than three times over from 1948 to 1952, while the Soviet export of machinery to the members of the bloc had risen ten times over.
In what appears to be a curious lapse from Marxist concepts, Stalin has now argued, in his Bolshevik article, that the "people's democracies" are raising their production so rapidly that . . . "these countries will not only have no need to import goods from capitalist countries but will themselves experience the need to dispose of surplus products of their own production."[iv] Presumably, under a planned economy the appearance of any such "surplus" represents a failure in planning, since "surpluses" should be used to raise consumption or increase investment. Perhaps Stalin suffered a Freudian lapse into wishful thinking. If the satellites no longer needed to import from, and hence to export to, capitalist countries, they would be even better able than at present to donate their "surplus products" to the glory of the "Socialist Motherland," the "citadel of progressive mankind."
When attacking with the customary battery of Soviet vituperations America's "enslaving 'aid'" to European and other nations, Mikoyan also outlined a Soviet policy of offering "unselfish" assistance to underdeveloped countries. This is a cold-war weapon which may become of real importance over the next few years, witness the Soviet propaganda effort in India. Despite the urgent requirements for industrial expansion at home and in the satellites and China, Soviet industrial production is reaching a level at which it could, by a purposeful effort, establish economic bastions of its own in countries like Iran or Afghanistan. The possibility that Soviet economic conquest might precede rather than follow political conquest of weak neighbors cannot be ruled out, and this Soviet ambition should not be left out of account in any appraisal of the purposes and scope of United Nations, American and other programs of economic development.
Stalin's concluding speech of October 14 was devoted to the problem of coöperation between the Soviet Union and the "fraternal parties" abroad. His words were heard by delegations representing 44 "fraternal Communist and Workers' Parties," while addresses of devotion and "loyalty" were received from several other parties, including the Communist Party of the United States. Stalin and the Congress singled out for special praise declarations by Thorez and Togliatti that "their peoples will not fight against the peoples of the Soviet Union." In turn Stalin pledged the support of the Soviet Party to "the fraternal parties" and "their peoples" in "their struggle for liberation, in their struggle for the preservation of peace," adding, to "stormy applause," that, "as is well known, that is exactly what it [the Soviet Party] is doing."
Stalin made it clear that this "fraternal" support from abroad, while not decisive, was extremely welcome, when he added:
It would be a mistake to think that our Party, having become a mighty force, is no longer in need of support. That is untrue. Our Party and our country always have been and always will be in need of the trust, sympathy and support of fraternal peoples abroad.
Stalin went on in a fatherly and patronizing tone to assure the "fraternal parties" that, however difficult their struggle for power may seem to them, they must realize that "it is not as hard for them as it was for us Russian Communists in the period of Tsarism." Stalin further asserted that "not a trace of liberalism" or of national independence now remains under "bourgeois" rule, and urged the parties abroad to pick up the abandoned banners of personal freedom and national sovereignty. "It is obvious," he concluded, "that all these circumstances should lighten the work of the Communist and democratic parties which have not yet come to power."[v]
Stalin's condescending attitude toward his foreign auxiliaries and their leaders was expressed even more plainly in his Bolshevik article, whose starting-point was the discussions of the plan for a new textbook on economics. The textbook, Stalin wrote, is "especially needed for the Communists of all countries . . . who want to know . . . how . . . our country, only recently poor and weak, has been transformed into a rich and powerful country . . . in order to learn from us and to use our experience in their own countries. . . . It will be a handbook of Marxist political economy, a fine gift for the young Communists of all countries. . . . In those countries such a textbook could also be of great benefit to veteran Communists who are no longer young."
Stalin's concluding speech, like all others at the Congress, expressed without deviation the basic theme of his postwar foreign policy, first stated in detail by him in February 1946. The world is now divided into two blocs, one of "Socialism, peace, national independence, human liberty" led, needless to say, by the Soviet Union, and another of "capitalist chaos, warmongering, suppression of all national and human rights," which the United States is accused of organizing and bullying. Stalin's newest instructions repeat and summarize the present basic Communist line abroad, which calls for the defense of "freedom" and "independence" against non-Soviet governments and against American influence. This finds tactical expression in Communist support for forces hostile to or fearful of American policies.
However, it is not probable that Communist Parties will attempt to seek direct organizational alliances in a new "Popular Front," as in the 1934-1939 period. At that time Communist Parties were directed to seek coöperation with politically adjacent Socialist and democratic groupings: today they seek temporary alliances with ultra-nationalist and semi-totalitarian forces against the democratic center. In view of the enhanced power of the Soviet Union, it is more useful for it to maintain the Communist Parties abroad as small, disciplined and highly manœuvrable auxiliary legions rather than risk "confusing" their membership and even their leaders by close coöperation with parties which compete with them for the allegiance of the same social strata.
If foreign supporters of the Soviet-led "peace campaign" harbor illusions concerning Stalin's attitude toward their efforts, these should be removed by his frank words in Bolshevik:
The aim of the present movement for peace is to arouse the masses of the people for the struggle to preserve peace and to avert a new world war. . . . It is most probable that the present peace movement . . . will, should it be successful, result in prevention of a given war, in its postponement, a temporary preservation of a given peace, to the resignation of a belligerent government and its replacement by another government, ready to preserve peace for the time being. . . . With all these successes of the peace movement imperialism still remains and remains in power, and consequently the inevitability of wars also remains. . . . Under a certain confluence of circumstances, the struggle for peace may possibly develop in one place or another into a struggle for Socialism. This, however, will no longer be the present peace movement but a movement for the overthrow of capitalism.[vi]
The place of the "peace campaign" in Soviet strategy is that of a tactic to be applied against governments which oppose or resist Soviet policy and are thereby guilty of "warmongering." The double equation--"Soviet policy equals peace, therefore opposition to Soviet aims equals warmongering"--remains in full force.
But is not this concept of Soviet policy, which stresses Soviet-American conflict as the determining factor of world politics, incompatible with Stalin's further statement, also set forth in his Bolshevik article, that new wars are most likely to break out between capitalist countries, not between the "capitalist" world and the Soviet Union? Stalin nows calls upon his followers to reject the assumption, which his own actions and propaganda have created, that "the contradictions between the camp of Socialism and the camp of capitalism are greater than the contradictions among capitalist countries," although he admits that "theoretically, this is, of course, true." Stalin then goes on to explain why this "theoretically true" proposition not only need not be, but is not, "true" in practice. "First capitalist Britain and then capitalist France will ultimately be forced to . . . enter into conflict with the United States in order to assure themselves an independent position and, of course, high profits," while there is "no guarantee" that "Germany and Japan will not again rise to their feet, that they will not try to wrest themselves from American bondage. . . . It follows from this that the inevitability of wars among the capitalist countries remains."
From the illustrations which Stalin offers of the conflicts of economic and political interests which certainly exist within the non-Soviet world, it is not clear on what basis he assumes that these conflicts must take the form of "inevitable wars." If Stalin believes even one-tenth of his own propaganda he must doubt the desire or the capacity of Britain or France, of Germany or Japan, to prepare and launch a war against the United States. Perhaps the "genius-teacher" also underestimates the degree to which the leading nations in the non-Soviet world have been made aware, through his own pedagogical efforts, of the fate which would overtake them if they fell to fighting among themselves. Why did Stalin adopt this ex cathedra position, which, if accepted literally, undercuts the emotional force of his "hate-America" campaign? If he believes what he said, he would logically direct the Soviet and foreign Communist propaganda machines to forget about Soviet-American conflicts and to give all stress to conflicts within the "capitalist" world. The Soviet Government might even make a few minor gestures of conciliation, such as giving Austria back its freedom, to lend more plausibility to the new "line."
The apparent incompatibility is, however, an incompatibility in logic rather than in real politics. After Stalin's pronouncement as before, Soviet propaganda maintains that American "warmongers" are preparing to launch a war upon the Soviet Union. All that is new is Stalin's assurance that the "capitalist" world cannot be unified, and the instruction to go all out to promote disunity and even armed conflict within the non-Soviet world. A "good Bolshevik" does not rest on his oars when his leader tells him that a certain line of development is "inevitable" but is expected to work with redoubled zeal to hasten the "inevitable." Stalin's Bolshevik article, which is addressed to the leaders rather than the masses, is not a scientific prediction, but an instruction to Communist Parties abroad to do everything to intensify conflicts within the non-Soviet world, in the hope that this may even lead to that most desirable event, a war within the "capitalist" world, leaving the Soviet Union and its allies uninvolved and hence capable, in the predicted "third round of wars and revolutions," of establishing Soviet power throughout the world.
In his new statement Stalin is also attempting, for tactical reasons, to play down Soviet and foreign Communist fears of the "inevitability" of war between the Soviet Union and America. For one thing, Soviet propaganda is unable to convince all Communists and their sympathizers of the "inevitability" of a Soviet victory. Once the West has grown stronger in arms and in unity of action, as it has since 1948, the doctrine of an "inevitable" war causes discouragement, apathy and passivity among Communists outside the Soviet bloc, and also passivity, furtive hope and withdrawal from effort among non-Communists and pseudo-Communists within it. If Communists abroad accept the "inevitability" of an East-West war and also agree with Stalin that the decisive factor in it will be the Soviet Union, they are tempted to "disarm" and to rely on the "automatism" of history to make them into sub-tyrants exploiting their peoples for Soviet aims. Stalin's pronouncement is designed to reawaken them from daydreaming about an "inevitable" war between the Soviet Union and America, to indicate the urgency of intensifying all factors of disunity within the non-Soviet world, and to indicate his belief that in a prolonged and even indefinite period of "cold war" the Soviet régime can manœuvre among "capitalist contradictions" so as to preserve its own power untouched by war.
This reassurance to the faithful, backed up by the continued Spartan enforcement of rapid industrialization and armament at home, is Stalin's reply to the secret fears of the "faithful" as they watch the steady though uneven growth in the power and determination of the free world to defend its future. Stalin's pronouncement is a call to his foreign legions to help him contain the reviving strength of the West until it can be dissolved, as his dialectic conveniently insists it must be, by its own "inner contradictions," without risking the survival of the Soviet system in an all-out war.
[i] Or perhaps, in dealing with nine ruling parties within the Soviet power-bloc, there is a convenience of terminology in referring to the Soviet Party by a name which identifies its geographical and political status.
[ii] "Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.," October 18, 1952, Supplement to the Current Digest of the Soviet Press; Bolshevik, September 1952, p. 1-50 (placed on sale October 3).
[iii]Pravda, October 6, 1952, page 4, col. 3; available in Current Digest of the Soviet Press, November 1, 8 and 15, 1952.
[iv] "Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.," Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Special Supplement, October 18, 1952, p. 7.
[v]Pravda, October 15, 1952, page 1, column 2; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, November 1, 1952, p. 10.
[vi]Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Special Supplement, October 18, 1952, page 8; sequence of sentences has been modified.