“Assessments and conclusions on socialist construction during the 20th century, focusing on the USSR. KKE’s perception on socialism.
The 18th Congress of KKE, fulfilling the task set forward by the 17th Congress four years ago, dwelled deeper into the causes of the victory of the counterrevolution and of capitalist restoration. This has been an imperative and timely obligation for our Party, as it is for every Communist Party. It was thus that we faced this task during all the years that have elapsed since the 14th Congress and the National Conference of 1995. It is a task interlinked with the revival of consciousness and of faith in socialism.
For more than a century now, bourgeois polemics against the communist movement, often assuming the form of an intellectual elitism, concentrate their fire on the revolutionary core of the workers’ movement; they struggle, in general, against the necessity of revolution and its political offspring, the dictatorship of the proletariat that is the revolutionary working class power. In particular, they fight against the outcome of the first victorious revolution, of the October Revolution in Russia, fiercely opposing every phase where the Revolution exposed and repelled counterrevolutionary activities and opportunist barriers, which, in the final analysis, were weakening, directly or indirectly, the Revolution at a social and political level.
For more than a century now, every current negating, retreating or resigning from the necessity of revolutionary struggle is being promoted as “democratic socialism”, in opposition to the so-called “totalitarian”, “dictatorial”, “putchist” communism. We are well aware of these polemics and calumnies against scientific communism, against the class struggle. They pertain not only to the conditions under capitalism, but, under different forms and conditions, also to the process of formation of the new social relations, as well as their expansion and maturation into communist relations.
Today, international opportunism has regrouped itself through the “Party of the European Left”, which has stepped up the tone of the “democratic socialism” rhetoric, under the conditions of a synchronous manifestation of the capitalist economic crisis.
It is for this reason that in the discussion on “socialist democracy” different weights and measures are being used to judge events taking place during one or the other period, with the explicit aim of erasing the contribution of socialist construction. In some instances they negate the entire 70-year history of the USSR, in others they specifically aim at the period during which its socialist foundation was erected. Whatever the case, they always support those political practices that constituted deviations from the socialist course.
KKE remains steadfast in the defense of the contribution of socialist construction in the USSR, in general of socialist construction during the 20th century, to the struggle for social progress, for the abolition of exploitation of man by man.
Today our Party is ideologically more steeled and politically experienced to rebut the ideological interventions of the bourgeois centers propagated through their periodicals and books or via the educational process. We are dealing here with interventions that may exert a certain influence in the immediate vicinity of the Party or even within the Party itself.
We are studying the ruthless course of the class struggle during the transition to the new society, for its foundation and development, for the expansion and deepening of the new relations of production and distribution, of all social relations and for the molding of the new man. We bring forward the contradictions, the mistakes and deviations under the pressure of the international correlation of forces, without resorting to blanket nihilism.
We examine things in a critical and self-critical manner so as to make KKE, as part of the international communist movement, stronger in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism, for the construction of socialism. We are studying and judging the course of socialist construction in a self-critical manner, that is with full consciousness that our weaknesses, theoretical shortcomings and mistaken evaluations also constituted part of the problem.
We are forging ahead to additional assessments and conclusions, to the enrichment of our programmatic conception of socialism armed with a collective spirit, with a self-consciousness regarding the difficulties and deficiencies and with revolutionary determination. We are well aware that future historical studies, carried out by our Party and by the communist movement internationally, will undoubtedly illuminate further the issues regarding the experience of the USSR and of the other socialist countries. It is beyond any doubt that new issues requiring an improvement and deepening of certain of our assessments will come to the fore. The development of the theory of socialism-communism is a necessity, a living process, a challenge for our Party and for the international communist movement, today and in the future.
KKE has the experience to guarantee the continuation, the enrichment of knowledge and of a unitary perception, as it has done since its 14th Congress.
The pre-congress procedures have revealed the responsibility and maturity of Party members and cadre, in their ability to voice their opinions in the direction, with the criteria and along the main axes of the Theses of the C.C, which have been overwhelmingly approved.
The new C.C is being assigned the task of organizing further research on the specific subjects being pinpointed, of seeking the cooperation of other communist forces, particularly from the countries that were engaging in socialist construction in the past, of choosing the ways of participation of Party members in the final formulation of the conclusions that will be the end result of these specialized studies.
With the present decision of the 18th Congress, KKE enriches its programmatic conception of socialism.
Our Party is emerging more powerful and united, capable of inspiring and uniting new working class and popular forces, particularly of a younger age, in the struggle for socialism.
The 18th Congress expresses its revolutionary optimism that in the course of the years to come a regroupment of the international communist movement (of which KKE is a part) will become apparent, a regroupment on the basis of the development of its communist ideological and strategic unity.
A. The Contribution of the Socialist System
1. The development of capitalism and the class struggle inevitably brought communism to the historical limelight during the middle of the 19th century. The first scientific communist programme is the “Communist Manifesto” written by K. Marx and Fr. Engels 160 years ago in 1848. The first proletarian revolution was the Paris Commune in 1871. With the 20th century came the success of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, which was a starting point for one of the greatest achievements of civilization in the History of humankind, the abolition of exploitation of man by man. Subsequently, after World War II, state power was conquered in a series of countries in Europe, Asia, as well as in the American continent, in Cuba, with the goal of socialist construction.
Despite the various problems of socialist countries, the socialist system of the 20th century proved the superiority of socialism over capitalism and the huge advantages that it provides for peoples’ lives and working conditions.
The Soviet Union and the world socialist system constituted the only real counterweight to imperialist aggression. The role of the Soviet Union in the Anti-fascist People’s victory, during World War II, was decisive. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) crushed the German and allied forces’ military machine who had invaded Soviet territory. It liberated a series of countries in Europe from the German occupation forces. More than 20 million Soviet citizens gave their lives for the socialist homeland, while 10 million were disabled or wounded. The extent of material devastation to Soviet territory was enormous.
The victories of the Red Army significantly propelled the development of national liberation and anti-fascist movements, which were led by Communist Parties. In many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the anti-fascist struggle, with the decisive contribution of the USSR, was linked to the overthrow of bourgeois rule.
The socialist state provided historic examples of internationalist solidarity to peoples who were fighting against exploitation, foreign occupation and imperialist intervention. They contributed in a decisive manner to the dissolution of the colonial system and to the limitation of military confrontations and conflicts.
The achievements of workers in the socialist states were a point of reference for many decades and contributed to the gains won by the working class and the popular movement in capitalist societies. The international balance of forces that was formed after World War II forced capitalist states, to a certain degree, to back down and to manoeuvre in order to restrain the revolutionary line of struggle and to create conditions in which they could assimilate the working class movement.
The abolition of capitalist relations of production freed mankind from the bonds of wage slavery and opened the road for the production and development of the sciences with the goal of satisfying people’s needs. In this way, everyone had guaranteed work, public free health care and education, the provision of cheap services from the state, housing, and access to intellectual and cultural creativity. The complete eradication of the terrible legacy of illiteracy, in combination with the increase in the general level of education and specialization and the abolition of unemployment, constitute unique achievements of socialism. In the Soviet Union, according to the 1970 census, more than 3/4 of the working population of the cities and 50% of workers in the rural areas had completed mid-level or higher education. 
The USSR, during its 24-year course prior to the Nazi assault, had made great leaps in its economic and social development, reducing the unevenness that it had inherited. The cultural revolution, as an inseparable element of socialist construction, gave working people the possibility of knowing and experiencing the achievements of human culture.
In the Soviet Union in 1975 it was guaranteed by law that the hours of work could not surpass 41 per week , among the lowest in the world. All workers were guaranteed days for rest and relaxation and annual paid holidays. Non-working time was extended and its content was changed. It was transformed into time for the development of the cultural and educational level of the workers, for the enhancement of their participation in workers’ power and in the control of the administration of productive units.
Social Security for working people was of outmost priority for the socialist state. A comprehensive system of retirement benefits, with the important achievement of low age limits for retirement (55 years for women, 60 for men), was created. Funding for the state retirement fund was guaranteed through the state budget fiscal appropriations and the insurance contributions of enterprises and institutions. Similar conditions prevailed in the rest of the European socialist states.
Socialist power laid the foundation for the abolition of inequality of women, overcoming the great difficulties that objectively existed. Socialism ensured in practice the social character of motherhood and socialized childcare. It instituted equal rights for women and men in the economic, political and cultural realm, although not all forms of unequal relations between the two genders, which had become entrenched over a long period of time, had been successfully eradicated.
The dictatorship of the proletariat, the revolutionary workers’ power, as a state that expressed the interests of the social majority of exploited people, and not of the minority of exploiters, proved itself a superior form of democracy. For the first time in History the unit of production could become the nucleus of democracy, with the representative participation of working people in power and administration, the possibility to elect and recall representatives amongst themselves to participate in the higher levels of power. Workers’ power de-marginalized the masses and a vast number of mass organizations were developed: trade union, cultural, educational, women’s, youth, where the majority of the population was organized.
Bourgeois and opportunist propaganda, speaking of lack of freedom and anti-democratic regimes, projects the concepts of “democracy” and “freedom” in their bourgeois content, identifying democracy with bourgeois parliamentarism and freedom with bourgeois individualism and private capitalist ownership. The real essence of freedom and democracy under capitalism is the economic coercion of wage slavery and the dictatorship of capital, in society in general and especially inside capitalist enterprises. Our critical approach regarding workers’ and people’s control and participation has no relation whatsoever to the bourgeois and opportunist polemics regarding democracy and “rights” in the USSR.
The October Revolution launched a process of equality between nations and nationalities within the framework of a giant multinational state and provided the direction for the resolution of the national problem by abolishing national oppression in all its forms and manifestations. This process was undermined however, during the course of the erosion of socialist relations and was finally stopped with the counter-revolutionary developments in the 1980s.
The socialist states made serious efforts to develop forms of cooperation and economic relations based on the principle of proletarian internationalism. With the founding in 1949 of the Council of Mutual Assistance (CMA) an effort was made to form a new, unprecedented type of international relations that was based on principles of equality, of mutual interest and mutual aid between states that were building socialism. The level of development of socialism in each revolutionary worker’s state was not the same. It depended to a large extent on the level of capitalist development that existed when power was conquered - an issue that must be taken under consideration when assessments and comparisons are made.
The gains that were undoubtedly achieved in the socialist states, in comparison to their starting point as well as in comparison to the living standard of working people in the capitalist world, prove that socialism holds an intrinsic potential for a dramatic and continual elevation of social prosperity and for the wholesale development of men and women.
What was historically new, was that this development concerned the masses as a whole, in contrast to capitalist development which is intertwined with exploitation and social injustice, with great devastation such as that which occurred with the native populations in the American continent, in Australia, with the massive slavery system in the USA in the previous centuries, with colonial exploitation, with the anarchy of production and the ensuing destruction of the great economic crises, with imperialist wars, child labour and so much more.
The contribution and the superiority of socialist construction in the USSR should be judged in correlation with the imperialist strategy of encirclement that caused great destruction, continuous obstacles and threats.
B. Theoretical positions on Socialism as the first, lower stage of Communism
2. Socialism is the first stage of the communist socio-economic formation; it is not an independent socio-economic formation. It is an immature, undeveloped communism.
The complete establishment of communist relations requires the overcoming of the elements of immaturity that characterize its lower stage, socialism.
Immature communism signifies that communist relations in production and distribution have not yet fully prevailed. The basic law of the communist mode of production is valid: “Proportional production for the extended satisfaction of social needs.”
The concentrated means of production are socialized, but in the beginning there still remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the base for the existence of commodity-money relations. Forms of production cooperatives are set up, in those sectors where the level of the productive forces does not yet allow the socialization of the means of production. The forms of group property constitute a transitional form of ownership between private and social ownership, and not an immature form of communist relations.
Part of the social needs is covered in a universal, free fashion. However, a still significant part of the social product for individual consumption is distributed based on the principle, “to each according to his labour, while each one works according to his abilities.” Under conditions of developed communism the distribution of the social product is based on the principle: “to each according to his needs”.
Under socialism, on the basis of its economic immaturity, there still continue to exist social inequalities, social stratification, significant differences or even contradictions, such as those between city and country, between intellectual workers and manual labourers, between specialized and unskilled workers. All of these inequalities must be completely eradicated, gradually and in a planned way.
During the construction of socialism, the working class acquires progressively, not in a uniform fashion, the ability to have an integral knowledge of the different parts of the productive process, of supervisory work, a substantive role in the organization of labour. As a result of the difficulties in this process, it is still possible that workers with a managerial role in production, workers engaged in intellectual labour and possessing a high scientific specialization, would tend to isolate the individual interest and the interest of the production unit from the social interest, or would tend to lay claim to a larger share of the total social product, since the “communist attitude” towards labour has not yet prevailed.
The leap that takes place during the period of socialist construction, that is during the revolutionary period of the transition from capitalism to developed communism, is qualitatively superior from any previous one, since communist relations, which are not of an exploitative nature, are not shaped within the framework of capitalism. A struggle of the “seeds” of the new against the “vestiges” of the old system takes place in all spheres of social life. It is a struggle for the radical change of all economic relations and, by extension, of all social relations, into communist relations.
The social revolution cannot be restricted only to the conquest of power and the formation of the economic base for socialist development, but is extended during the entire socialist course; it includes the development of socialism for the attainment of the higher communist stage. During this long-term transition from the capitalist to the developed communist society, the policies of the revolutionary workers’ power, with the Communist Party as the leading force, acquire priority in the formation, extension and deepening of the new social relations, in their full and irreversible supremacy, not in a subjectivist manner, but based on the laws of the communist mode of production.
It is thus that the class struggle of the working class continues – under new conditions, with other forms and means- not only during the period when the foundations of socialism are being laid, but also during the development of socialism. It is an ongoing battle for the abolition of every form of group and individual ownership over the means and products of production, and of the petit-bourgeois consciousness that has deep historical roots. It is a struggle for the formation of an analogous social consciousness and attitude corresponding to the directly social character of labour. Consequently, the dictatorship of the proletariat, as an instrument of class domination and class struggle, is necessary, not only during the “transition period”, for the consolidation of the new power, the realization of the measures for the development of the new economic relations and the abolition of the capitalist relations, but also during the development of socialism until its maturation into the higher, communist stage.
3. Socialist construction is an uninterrupted process, which starts with the conquest of power by the working class. In the beginning, the new mode of production is formed, essentiallyprevailing following the complete abolition of capitalist relations, of the relation of capital to wage labour. Subsequently, the new relations are extended and deepened, communist relations and the new type of man develop to a higher level that guarantees their irreversible supremacy, provided that capitalist relations have been abolished on a worldwide scale or at least in the developed and influential countries of the imperialist system.
The socialist course contains the possibility of a reversal and a retreat backwards to capitalism. Such a retreat is not a new phenomenon in social development and in any case it constitutes a temporary phenomenon in its history. It is an irrefutable fact that no socio-economic system has ever been immediately consolidated in the history of humankind. The transition from a lower phase of development to a higher one is not a straightforward ascending process. This is shown by the very history of the prevalence of capitalism.
4. The approach arguing for the existence of “transitional societies”, with distinct characteristics both in relation to capitalism, as well as in relation to socialism, is an incorrect one. Starting from this viewpoint the development of capitalist relations in China and Vietnam is mistakenly interpreted as representing transitional “multi-sectoral societies”.
We do not overlook the special characteristics of the period which in the Marxist bibliography is known as the “transitional period”, during which the socialist revolution is seeking victory, a possible civil war develops and the sharp struggle of the immature communist (socialist) relations that are just beginning to develop against capitalist exploitative relations, which have still not been abolished, is being waged. Historical experience has shown that this period cannot last for a long time. In the USSR this period was completed by the middle of the 1930s. The struggle with capitalist relations, the difficulties in the construction of a socialist base were sharpened due to the feudal and patriarchal inheritance in the former colonies of Tsarist Russia. Lenin, in his time, noted that the extent, the duration and the nature of the transitional measures would depend on the level of development of the productive forces that socialism inherits from capitalism.  He also stressed that for countries where industry is more developed, the transitional measures towards socialism become reduced or, in some cases, even completely unnecessary.
The transitional period is not independent from the process of socialist construction, since it is during its course that the basis is established for the development of a communist society in its first phase.
It is also a mistake to restrict exclusively to the transitional period social phenomena and contradictions that continue, up to a certain extent, to exist also during the immature (socialist) phase of communism (forms of individual and cooperative production, the existence of commodity-money relations, the difference between town and country). Such an approach perceives socialism as a classless society with the persistence of the contradiction between manual and intellectual labour being the only characteristic differentiating it from developed communism. Thus, according to this approach, it is during the socialist phase that the withering-away of the state is effected, that the dictatorship of the proletariat ceases to exist. This view distances itself from the class approach to the issue of the state and of the class struggle under socialism. It underestimates the role of the subjective factor in socialist development. In certain cases it leans towards a spontaneous decay of forms of individual – cooperative property, of commodity-money relations. It downplays the character of social ownership, on the basis of actual problems in the “mediation” between producers.
5. The formation of the communist mode of production begins with the socialization of the concentrated means of production, with Central Planning, with the allocation of the labour force in the different branches of the economy, with the planned distribution of the social product, with the formation of institutions of workers’ control. On the basis of these new economic relations, the productive forces, man and the means of production, develop with rapid rates; production and the entire society become organized. Socialist accumulation is achieved, as well as a new level of social prosperity.
This new level makes possible the gradual extension of new relations in the area of productive forces that previously were not mature enough to be included in the directly social production. The material prerequisites for the abolition of any differentiation in the distribution of the social product among the workers in the directly social production, in the social services, as well as for the continuous reduction of the necessary labour time are being continually expanded.
It is a mistake to argue that true socialization presupposes the complete abolition of the distinction between managerial and executive labour. The same holds true of the thesis that the “nationalisation” (transformation into state property) of the means of production on behalf of the dictatorship of the proletariat is something distinct from their “socialization”. These arguments tend to question the role of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an instrument of the class struggle of the proletariat, which does not restrict itself to the duties of crushing the counter-revolutionary activities of the bourgeoisie, but also has the fundamental duty of constructing the new relations, of eradicating all social differences and inequalities.
Socialization under socialism, as well as the entire organization of the economy and the society, is effected through the state of the working class, under the guidance of the Communist Party, which depends on the mobilization of the working masses, on workers’ control.
The complete supremacy of communist relations, the transition to the higher phase of the new socio-economic formation presupposes the complete abolition of classes. It requires the abolition, not only of capitalist ownership, but also of every form of private and group ownership over the means of production and the social product, the complete eradication of the difference between town and country, between manual and intellectual labour, one of the most profound roots of social inequality, the complete extinction of national contradictions. 
In accordance with the universal social law of the correspondence of the relations of production with the level of development of the productive forces, each historically new level of development of productive forces that is initially achieved by socialist construction, demands a further “revolutionisation” of relations of production and of all economic relations, in the direction of their complete transformation into communist relations, by means of revolutionary policies. As was shown in practice, any delay or, even more importantly, any retreat in the development of socialist relations leads to a sharpening of the contradiction between productive forces and relations of productions. On this basis, social contradictions and differentiations may develop into social antagonisms and lead to a sharpening of the class struggle. Under socialism there exists an objective basis that contains the possibility for social forces to act, under certain conditions, as potential bearers of exploitative relations, as was witnessed in the USSR in the 1980s.
6. The development of the communist mode of production in its first stage, socialism, is a process through which the distribution of the social product in monetary form becomes abolished. Communist production – even in its immature stage – is directly social production: the division of labour does not take place for exchange, it is not effected through the market, and the products of labour that are individually consumed are not commodities.
The division of labour in the socialized means of production is based on the plan that organizes production and determines its proportions, with the aim of satisfying the expanded social needs, and the distribution of products (use values). In other words, it is a centrally planned division of social labour and directly integrates - not via the market - individual labour, as part of the total social labour. Central Planning distributes the total societal working time, so that the different functions of labour are in correct proportions in order to satisfy different social needs.
Central Planning expresses the conscious mapping of the objective proportions of production and distribution, as well as the effort for the all-round development of the productive forces. It is for this reason that it should not be understood as a techno-economic instrument, but as a communist relation of production and distribution that links workers to the means of production, to socialist bodies. It includes a consciously planned choice of motives and goals for production, and it aims at the extended satisfaction of social needs (basic economic law of the communist mode of production). The guiding laws of Central Planning cannot be identified with the plan existing at any specific moment, which should reflect in a scientific way these objective proportions.
Among the problems of Central Planning is included the complex issue of the determination of ‘social needs’, especially under international conditions, where capitalism shapes a rather warped conception of what social needs really are. Social needs are determined based on the level of development of the productive forces that have been achieved in the given historical period. These needs must be understood in their historical context, changing in relationship to the development of the productive forces. Likewise, the way in which the basic law of communism is realized must develop, with the goal of overcoming the inadequacies and differentiations that exist in the coverage of social needs.
7. A characteristic of the first stage of communist relations is the distribution of one part of the products “according to labour”. A theoretical and political debate has arisen regarding the “measure” of labour. The distribution of part of socialist production “according to labour” (which in terms of form resembles commodity exchange ) is a vestige of capitalism. The new mode of production has not managed to discard it yet, because it has not developed all of the necessary human productive power and all the means of production in the necessary dimensions, through the broad use of new technology. Labour productivity does not yet allow a decisively large reduction of labour time, the abolition of heavy and one-sided labour, so that the social need for compulsory labour can be abolished.
The planned distribution of labour power and of the means of production entails the planned distribution of the social product. The distribution of the social product cannot be effected through the market, based on the laws and categories of commodity exchange. According to Marx, the mode of distribution will change when the particular mode of the social productive organism and the corresponding historical level of development of the productive forces change  (e.g. these were at a certain level in the USSR in the 1930s, yet at a different level in the USSR in the 1950s and 1960s).
Marxism clearly defines labour time as the measure of the individual participation of the producer to common labour. Consequently, the labour time of the producer is also defined as a measure of the share he deserves from the product that is destined for individual consumption and that is distributed based on labour.  Another part (education, health, medicines, heating, etc.) is already distributed based on needs. “Labour time”  under socialism is not the “socially necessary labour time” that constitutes the measure of value for the exchange of commodities in commodity production. “Labour time” is the measure of the individual contribution to social labour for the production of the total product. It is noted characteristically in “Capital”: “In socialized production money capital gets out of the picture. Society distributes labour power and the means of production to different branches of production. The producers would, if you so wish, receive paper vouchers with which they can take from the stock of consumption products of the society an amount analogous to the time they worked. These vouchers are not money. They do not circulate.” 
Access to that part of the social product that is distributed “according to labour” is determined by the individual labour contribution of each person in the totality of social labour, without distinguishing between complex and simple, manual labour or otherwise. The measure of individual contribution is the labour time, which the plan determines based on the total needs of social production; the material conditions of the production process in which “individual” labour is included; the special needs of social production for the concentration of labour force in certain areas, branches, etc.; special social needs, such as motherhood, individuals with special needs, etc.; the personal stance of each individual vis-a-vis the organization and the execution of the productive process. In other words, labour time must be linked to goals, such as the conservation of materials, the implementation of more productive technologies, a more rational organization of labour, workers’ control of administration-management.
The planned development of the productive forces in the communist mode of production should increasingly free up more time from work, which should then be used to raise the educational-cultural level of working people; to allow for workers’ participation in the carrying out of their duties regarding workers’ power and administration of production, etc. The all-round development of man as the productive force in the building of the new type of society and of communist relations (including the communist attitude towards directly social labour) is a two-way relationship. Depending on the historical phase, either one or the other side will take precedence.
The development of Central Planning and the extension of social ownership in all areas make money gradually superfluous, removing its content as the form of value.
8. The product of individual and cooperative production, the greater part of which is derived from agriculture, is exchanged with the socialist product by means of commodity-money relations. Cooperative production is subordinated to some extent to Central Planning, which determines the part of the production that is allocated to the state and sets the state prices, as well as the maximum prices for that part of production that is allocated through the cooperative market.
The direction by which to resolve the differences between town and country, between industrial and agricultural production, consists of: the merging of the peasant-producers in the joint use of large tracts of land for the production of social product with the use of modern mechanization and other means of scientific-technological progress, provided by the socialist state and belonging to it and for the enhancement of labour productivity; the creation of a strong infrastructure for the preservation of the product from unforeseen weather hazards; the subjection of the directly social labour for the production of agricultural raw materials and their industrial processing to unified socialist organizations. This direction serves to transform the entire agricultural production into a part of the directly social production.
C. Socialism in the USSR - Causes of the victory of the counter-revolution
9. We focus on the experience of the USSR, because it constituted the vanguard of socialist construction. The further study of the course of socialism in the rest of the European states, as well as of the course of socialist power in the Asian countries (China, Vietnam, DPR Korea) and in Cuba is necessary.
The socialist character of the USSR is grounded on the following: the abolition of capitalist relations of production, the existence of socialist ownership to which (despite various contradictions) cooperative ownership is subjugated, Central Planning, workers’ power and the unprecedented gains benefiting all working people.
These cannot be negated by the fact that, following a certain period, the Party gradually lost its revolutionary guiding character and, as a result, counter-revolutionary forces were able to dominate the Party and the government in the 1980s.
We characterize the developments of 1989-1991 as a victory of the counter-revolution. They constituted the last act of the process that led to the strengthening of social inequalities and differences and of the forces of counterrevolution and social regression. It is not accidental that these developments were supported by international reaction, that socialist construction, especially during the period of the abolition of capitalist relations and of the founding of socialism, up until the Second World War, concentrates the ideological and political wrath of international imperialism. We reject the term “collapse”, because it underestimates the extent of counter-revolutionary activity, the social base on which it can develop and predominate, due to the weaknesses and deviations of the subjective factor during socialist construction.
The victory of counter-revolution in 1989-1991 does not prove a lack of the basic level of development of the material prerequisites necessary to begin socialist construction in Russia.
Marx noted that mankind does not set itself but the problems that it can solve, because the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution have been born. From the moment that the working class, the main productive force, struggles to carry out its historic mission, even more from the onset of the revolution, the productive forces have developed to the level of conflict with the relations of production, with the capitalist mode of production. In other words, the material prerequisites for socialism, upon which revolutionary conditions have been created, already exist.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks considered that problems of a relative backwardness in the development of the productive forces (“cultural level”) would not be solved by any intermediate power between the bourgeois and proletarian powers, but by the dictatorship of the proletariat. 
Based on the statistical data of that period, capitalist relations of production at the monopoly stage of their development predominated in Russia. It was on this material basis that revolutionary power depended for the socialization of the concentrated means of production.  The working class of Russia, especially its industrial segment, founded the soviets as organizational nuclei of revolutionary action, under the guidance of the CP (b), in the struggle to conquer state power. The Bolshevik Party, under the leadership of Lenin, was theoretically prepared for the socialist revolution: analysis of the Russian society, the theory of the weak link in the imperialist chain, evaluation of the revolutionary situation, the theory for the dictatorship of the proletariat. It exhibited a characteristic ability to serve its strategy with the corresponding – at each stage of the development of the class struggle - tactics: alliances, slogans, manoeuvring, etc.
However, socialism faced additional specific difficulties, due to the fact that socialist construction began in a country with a lower level of development of the productive forces (medium-weak, as V. I. Lenin characterized it) compared to the advanced capitalist countries  and with a large degree of unevenness in its development, due to the extensive survival of pre-capitalist relations, particularly in the asiatic ex-colonies of the tsarist empire. Socialist construction began following the enormous destruction of WW I and in the midst of the civil war. Subsequently, it faced the immense destruction of WW II, while capitalist powers, like the USA, never experienced war within their borders. In contrast, they used war to overcome the big economic crisis of the 1930s.
The gigantic economic and social development that was accomplished under these conditions proves the superiority of the communist relations of production, even at their initial stage of development. The developments do not confirm the assessments of several opportunist and petit bourgeois currents. Social democratic viewpoints regarding the immaturity of the socialist revolution in Russia have not been confirmed. Neither have Trotskyite positions claiming that it was impossible to construct socialism in the USSR. The viewpoint that the society that emerged after the October Revolution was not socialist in character or that it quickly degenerated after the first years of its existence, and therefore that the interruption of the 70-year course of the history of the USSR was inevitable, is subjective and cannot be backed up by the facts.
We reject the theories that claim that these societies were some sort of “a new exploitative system” or a form of “state capitalism”, as various opportunist currents claim.
Furthermore, the developments do not validate the overall stance of the “Maoist” current vis-a-vis the construction of socialism in the USSR, the characterization of the USSR as social-imperialist, the rapprochement of China with the USA, as well as the inconsistencies in matters of socialist construction in China (e.g. the recognition of the national bourgeoisie as an ally in socialist construction, etc.).
Our own critical assessment considers as given the defence of the construction of socialism in the USSR and in the other countries.
10. The counter-revolution in the USSR did not result from an imperialist military intervention, but rather from within and from the top, as a result of the opportunist mutation of the C.P and the corresponding political direction of Soviet power. We assign priority to the internal factors, to the socio-economic conditions that reproduce opportunism on the basis of socialist construction, without of course underestimating the long-term effect and the multi-faceted interference of imperialism in the development of opportunism and its evolution into a counterrevolutionary force.
Based on the theory of scientific communism we formulated a study along the following lines:
The economy, that is, the developments in the relations of production and distribution during the foundation of the basis of socialism and its subsequent development, as the basis for the emergence and the resolution of social contradictions and differentiations.
The operation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the CP under socialism, the lower stage of communism.
The strategy of and the developments in the international communist movement.
11. The course of building a new society in the Soviet Union was determined by the ability of the Bolshevik C.P to fulfill its revolutionary, guiding role. First and foremost, to process and formulate the requisite revolutionary strategy at each step; to confront opportunism and to provide a decisive response to the new, emerging demands and challenges of developing socialism-communism.
Up until World War II, the bases for the development of the new society were created. The class struggle which led to the abolition of capitalist relations and the supremacy of the socialized sector of production, on the basis of Central Planning, was being carried out with success. Impressive results were achieved concerning the growth of social prosperity.
Following World War II and the post-war reconstruction, socialist construction entered a new phase. The Party was faced with new demands and challenges regarding the development of socialism-communism. The 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) stands out as a turning point, since at that congress a series of opportunist positions were adopted on matters relating to the economy, the strategy of the communist movement and international relations. The correlation of forces in the struggle being waged during the entire preceding period was altered, with a turn in favor of the revisionist-opportunist positions, with the result that the Party gradually began to lose its revolutionary characteristics. In the decade of the 1980s, with perestroika, opportunism fully developed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force. The consistent communist forces that reacted during the final phase of the betrayal, at the 28th CPSU Congress, did not manage in a timely manner to expose it and to organize the revolutionary reaction of the working class.
Assessments on the economy during the course of socialist construction in the ussr
12. With the formulation of the first Plan of Central Planning, the following issues regarding the economy already came to the center of the theoretical debate and of political struggle: Is socialist production commodity production? What is the role of the law of value, of commodity-money relations under socialist construction?
It is incorrect to argue theoretically that the law of value is a law of motion of the communist mode of production in its first (socialist) stage. This approach became dominant since the decade of the 1950s in the USSR and in the majority of C.Ps. This position was strengthened due to the retention of commodity-money relations, during the planned transition from individual to cooperative production. This material base exacerbated theoretical shortcomings and political weaknesses in the formulation and implementation of Central Planning. During the subsequent decades opportunist policies further weakened Central Planning, eroded social ownership and strengthened counter-revolutionary forces.
13. The first period of socialist construction up until World War II faced the basic, primary problem of abolishing capitalist ownership and of handling in a planned fashion the social and economic problems that had been inherited from capitalism and had been exacerbated by the imperialist encirclement and intervention. It was during this period that Soviet power reduced dramatically the deep unevenness that the revolution had inherited from the tsarist empire.
During the 1917-1940 period the Soviet power noted, for the most part, successes. It carried out the electrification and industrialization of production, the expansion of transport means, and the mechanization of a large part of agricultural production. It initiated planned production and achieved impressive rates in the development of socialist industrial production. It successfully developed domestic productive capacities in all the industrial branches. Production cooperatives (kolkhozes) and state farms (sovkhozes) were created, and in this way the basis for the expansion and supremacy of socialist relations in agricultural production was established. The “cultural revolution” was realized. The formation of a new generation of communist specialists and scientists was begun. The most important achievement is the complete abolition of capitalist relations of production, with the abolition of hired labor power, thus laying the foundation for the new socio-economic formation.
14. The implementation of certain “transitional measures”, within the perspective of the complete abolition of capitalist relations, was inevitable in a country like Russia of the years 1917-1921.
The factors that forced the Bolshevik C.P to implement a temporary policy of preservation, to a certain extent, of capitalist production relations were: the class composition, where the petit- bourgeois agrarian element was in the majority, the lack of a distribution, supply and monitoring mechanism, the large scale of the backward small-sized production and, mainly, the dramatic worsening of sustenance and living conditions, due to the destruction caused by the civil war and the imperialist intervention. All these factors made the development of medium-term Central Planning difficult at that point.
The New Economic Policy (NEP), which was implemented following the civil war, constituted a policy of temporary concessions to capitalism. It had the basic goal of restoring industry from the ravages of war and, on this basis, to build in the field of agricultural production relations that would “attract” farmers into the cooperatives. A number of enterprises were given over to capitalists for use (without them having ownership rights over them), trade was developed, the exchange between agricultural production and the socialized industry was regulated based on the concept of the “tax in kind”. The possibility was provided to the peasants to put on the market the remaining portion of their agricultural production.
The maneuverings and temporary concessions to capitalist relations that are demanded under certain circumstances and special conditions are not in any way an inevitable characteristic of the process of socialist construction. It is presumptuous and misleading to utilize NEP, as was done by the leadership of the CPSU with perestroika during the 1980s, to justify the turn towards private property and capitalist relations.
15. The new phase of development of the productive forces at the end of the decade of the 1920s allowed the replacement of NEP by the policy of “socialism’s attack against capitalism”, that had as its main goal the complete abolition of capitalist relations. The concessions towards the capitalists were withdrawn and the policy of collectivization was developed, that is the complete cooperative organization of the agricultural economy, mainly in its developed form, the kolkhoz . At the same time, the sovkhozes, the state-socialist units in agricultural production that were based on the mechanization of production and whose entire product was social property, were developed (albeit in a limited way).
The first five-year plan began in 1928, 7 years after the victory of revolution (the civil war ended in 1921). Soviet power experienced difficulty in formulating a central plan for the socialist economy from the very beginning, mainly due to the continuing existence of capitalist relations (NEP) and the exceptionally large number of individual commodity producers, mainly peasants. Weaknesses were also evident in the subjective factor, the Party, which did not have cadre specialists to guide the organization of production and was thus obliged for a certain time to depend almost exclusively on bourgeois specialists.
The specific conditions (imperialist encirclement, the threat of war in combination with the extensive backwardness) forced the promotion of collectivization at accelerated rates, something which sharpened the class struggle, especially in the rural areas.There were of course mistakes and certain bureaucratic excesses in the development of the collectivization movement in agricultural production, that were pointed-out by the Party itself in its decisions of that period . However, the orientation of Soviet power for the reinforcement and the generalization of this movement were in the correct direction. It aimed at the development of a transitional form of ownership (cooperative) that would contribute to the transformation of small individual commodity production into directly social production.
16. The policy of “socialism’s attack against capitalism” was carried out under conditions of intense class struggle. The kulaks (the bourgeoisie in the village), social strata that benefited from the NEP (NEPmen) and sections of the intelligentsia that originated from the old exploiting classes reacted in many ways, including acts of sabotage against industry (e.g. the “Shakhtyaffair” ) and counter-revolutionary activities in the villages. These class-based, anti-socialist interests were reflected within the C.P, where opportunist currents developed.
The two basic “opposition” tendencies (Trotsky – Bukharin), that operated during that period, had a common base in absolutiizing the elements of backwardness in Soviet society. During the 1930s their views converged to the thesis that the overcoming of capitalist relations in the USSR was premature. Their positions were rejected by the AUCP (Bolshevik) and were not confirmed by reality.
Along the way, several opportunist forces established contacts with openly counter-revolutionary forces that were organizing plans to overthrow Soviet power in cooperation with secret services from imperialist countries.
The prevailing conditions dictated the direct and resolute confrontation of these centers with the trials of 1936 and 1937, trials that revealed conspiracies with elements in the army (the Tukhachevsky case, who was rehabilitated following the 20th Congress), as well as with the secret services of foreign countries, particularly of Germany.
The fact that some leading cadre of the Party and of Soviet power spearheaded opportunist currents proves that it is possible even for vanguard cadre to deviate, to bend when faced with the sharpness of the class struggle and to finally severe their ties with the communist movement and pass over to the side of the counter-revolution.
17. Following World War II, the debate on the laws of socialist economy, a debate that had subsided due to the war, was intensified once again. A confrontation developed around specific problems  between two basic theoretical and political currents, the «marketeers» and the «anti-marketeers» (tovarniki and anti-tovarniki), a confrontation that involved Party cadre and economists.
I.V. Stalin, as General Secretary of the C.C of the Party, was in the forefront of the organized intra-party discussion and supported the anti-market direction. He contributed to the formulation of political directives in that direction, for example the merging of kolkhozes, the dissolution of «auxiliary enterprises» in the kolkhozes (production of building materials). He confronted the current that pushed for the strengthening of commodity-money relations , rejecting proposals to hand-over means of mechanized production to the kolkhozes. He recognized that socialist production is not commodity production and, thus, that the law of value cannot be reconciled with its fundamental laws. He highlighted the role of Central Planning in the socialist economy. He argued that the means of production are not commodities, despite the fact that they appear as commodities “in form, but not in content.” They become commodities only in external trade . He also recognized that the operation of the law of value (of commodity-money relations) in the USSR had its roots in cooperative and individual agricultural production, that the law of value does not regulate socialist production and its distribution.
Polemics were waged against “market” economists and political leaders who argued that the law of value is in general a law of the socialist economy as well. A correct criticism was also raised against those economists who supported the complete abolition of distribution in monetary form, without taking into account the objective limitations still placed by the productive base of the society at the time.
A weak spot in this approach was the thesis that the means of consumption are produced and distributed as commodities . This thesis was correct only to the extent that it concerned the products of socialist production that were destined for the external trade, as well as the exchange of products between the socialist industry and cooperative and individual production. It was incorrect as far as it concerned the remaining means of consumption of socialist production, which are not commodities, even though they are not distributed freely.
This approach estimated correctly that in the USSR cooperative ownership (kolkhoz) and the circulation of products of individual consumption in the form of commodities had begun to act as a brake on the powerful development of the productive forces, because they blocked the full development of Central Planning in the full spectrum of production–distribution. It outlined the differences between the two cooperating classes, the working class and the kolkhoz agrarian class, but also the need to abolish them through the planned abolition of commodification of agricultural production and the transformation of the kolkhozes into social property . At the beginning of the 1950’s, the Soviet leadership estimated correctly that the problems at the economic level were an expression of the sharpening of the contradiction between the productive forces that were developing and the relations of production that were lagging behind. The development of the productive forces had reached a new level after the post-war reconstruction of the economy. A new dynamic push for the further development of the productive forces demanded a deepening and extension of the socialist (immature communist) relations. The delay of the later concerned: the Central Planning, the deepening of the communist character of the relations of distribution, a more energetic and conscious workers’ participation in the organization of labour and in the control of its administration from the bottom up, the eradication of all forms of individual commodity production, the subordination of the more developed cooperatives to the directly social production.
The need had matured for communist relations to be expanded, consciously, in a well-planned manner, that is theoretically and politically prepared, and to gain supremacy in those fields of social production where, in the previous period, their full dominance was still not possible (from the point of view of their material maturity, the productivity of labour).
The maturity of the expansion of communist relations in agricultural production concerns to a significant extent the capacity of industry to provide corresponding machinery, the capacity of Central Planning to carry out works for the amelioration of agricultural productivity, protection from weather calamities, etc. Despite the fact that at the beginning of the 1950’s there still existed unevenness in the USSR, important pre-conditions of mechanization and infrastructure had been created that provided the opportunity to move in such a direction. The Progress Report of the C.C of the C.P (b) to the 19th Congress mentions a number of data that prove the aforementioned conclusion – the existence of 8,939 Machine Tractor Stations, the increase in tractor pulling power by 59% relative to the pre-war level, the implementation of irrigation and land reclamation projects during the post-war reconstruction period, the advances in the merging of kolkhozes into bigger ones during the 1950-1952 period (97,000 kolkhozes in 1952 compared to 254,000 in 1950), etc. 
However, there still remained small kolkhozes  which had to merge into bigger ones in the direction of the socialization of agricultural production, as was supported by the leadership of the Bolshevik C.P. The goal was set of excluding the left-overs of the production of kolkhozes from market distribution and their transition to the system of exchange between the state industry and the kolkhozes. A discussion was also initiated on the prospects of creating a unified economic body, which would contribute in the direction of an «all-embracing production sector» that would have the responsibility of allocating the entire production of consumer products.
The party and state leadership took a clear stand in the debate regarding the issue of the necessary proportions between Department I of social production (production of the means of production) and Department II (production of means of consumption). It correctly stood for the essential priority of Department I in the planned proportional distribution of labour and of production among the different branches of socialist industry. Expanded reproduction and socialist accumulation (social wealth), necessary for the future expansion of social prosperity, are dependent on this category of production (Department I).
The correct positions and directives of Stalin and the «anti-marketeer» economists and cadre of the C.P did not manage to lead to the elaboration of a comprehensive theoretical plan and a corresponding political line, capable of confronting the market-oriented theoretical positions and political choices that were being strengthened. Powerful social pressures, as well as discrepancies, deficiencies and fluctuations that existed within the «anti-marketeer» current, contributed to this.
18. Social resistance (by kolkhoz peasants, executives in agricultural production and in industry) to the need for an expansion and deepening of the socialist relations of production was expressed, at an ideological and political level, through an internal party struggle at the beginning of the 1950’s. The sharpened debate, which ended with the theoretical acceptance of the law of value as a law of socialism, signified political choices with more immediate and powerful consequences on the course of socialist development, in comparison with the pre-war period, when the material backwardness made the effect of these theoretical positions less painful.
These forces were expressed politically through the positions adopted in the decisions of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, a congress which proved to be one of supremacy of the right opportunist deviation. Political choices were gradually adopted that expanded commodity-money (potentially capitalist) relations, in the name of correcting weaknesses in Central Planning and in the administration of the socialist productive units.
In order to solve the problems that arose in the economy, ways and means that belonged to the past were used. With the promotion of “market” policies, instead of reinforcing social ownership and Central Planning, the homogenization of the working class (with the widening of the abilities and capacities for multi-specialization, for alternation in the technical division of labour), workers’ participation in the organization of labour, workers’ control from the bottom up, the reverse trend began to strengthen itself. In such a setting the level of social consciousness gradually backslided. The previous experience and the effectiveness of the factory soviet, of the Stakhanovite movement in quality control, in the more effective organization and administration, in inventions for the conservation of material and labour time, were lost.
The “market-oriented” economists (Lieberman, Nemtsinov, Trapeznikov, etc.) mistakenly interpreted the existing problems of the economy, not as subjective weaknesses in planning , but as consequences stemming from the objective weakness of Central Planning to respond to the development of the volume of production, to the variety of sectors and the variegation of products required for the fulfillment of new social needs.
They claimed that the theoretical cause was the voluntarist denial of the commodity character of production under socialism, the underestimation of the development of agriculture, the overestimation of the possibility of subjective intervention in economic administration.
They maintained that it was not possible for the central organs to determine the quality, technology and prices of all commodities, the level of salaries, but that the use of market mechanisms was also required to facilitate the goals of a planned economy.
It was in such a way that, at a theoretical level, theories of “socialist commodity production” or “socialism with a market”, the acceptance of the law of value as a law of the socialist (immature communist) mode of production, which operates even in the phase of socialist development, prevailed. These theories constituted the basis for the formulation of economic policies .
19. The policy of weakening Central Planning and social ownership escalated after the 20th Congress. In 1957, the branch ministries that directed industrial production across the entire USSR and at each republic were dissolved and the Organs of Regional Administration “Sovnarkhoz” (Regional Economic Councils) were formed. In this way the central direction of planning was weakened . Instead of planning the transformation of the kolkhozes into sovkhozes, and especially instead of initiating the planned transfer of the entire production of the kolkhozes to state control, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery  passed into the ownership of the kolkhoz , a policy that had been rejected in the past. These changes not only did not solve the problems, but, on the contrary, they brought new problems to the surface or created additional ones, such as a shortage in animal feed and a regression in the technological renewal in the kolkhoz.
In the mid 1960s, mistakes of a subjective nature in the administration of the agricultural sector of the economy were pinpointed as the cause of the problems . Subsequent reforms included: The reduction in the state procurement quotas from the kolkhozes , the possibility of selling the surplus output at higher prices, the lifting of the restrictions on the transactions of the individual peasant households and the elimination of the tax on private ownership of animals. Debts of the kolkhozes to the State Bank were erased, the deadlines to pay off debt from monetary advances were extended, the direct sale of animal feed to private animal owners was permitted. Thus, the portion of agricultural production which originated from individual households and the kolkhozes and which was freely sold on the market  was preserved and increased, while the lagging behind of livestock production deepened, the unevenness in the satisfaction of the needs for agricultural products between the various regions and Republics of the USSR increased.
A similar policy of reinforcing the commodity (at the expense of the directly social) character of production was implemented in industry, known as the “Kosygin Reforms”  (the system of “economic accounting” – “khozrachet”- of enterprises, having a substantive and not formal character). It was argued that this would combat the reduction in the annual rate of increase of labour productivity and of annual production in industry, that were observed during the first years of the 1960s, as a result of the measures which undermined Central Planning in the direction of the industrial sectors (Sovnarkhoz-1957).
The first wave of reforms was pushed forward in the period between the 23rd (1966) and 24th (1971) Congresses. According to the New System, the supplementary payments (bonuses) of the directors would be calculated not on the basis of the overfulfillement of the plan in terms of volume of production , but rather on the basis of the overfulfillement of the sales plan and would be dependent on the rate of profit of the enterprise. A part of the additional payments of the workers would also come from profit, as would the further satisfaction of housing needs etc. In this way, profit was adopted as a motive for production. The wage differentials increased. The possibility was provided for horizontal commodity-money transactions between enterprises, for direct agreements with ‘consumer units and commercial organizations’, for price-fixing, for the formation of profits on the basis of such transactions, etc. The Central Plan would determine the total level of production and investments only for new enterprises. Modernisation of old enterprises had to be financed out of the profits of the enterprises.
These reforms concerned the entire sector of the so-called «property of the whole people», i.e. including the operation of the sovkhozes (state farms) themselves. With a decision of the C.C of the CPSU and of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (April 13th, 1967), the sovkhozes began to pass into a regime of full economic accounting. By 1975 all the sovkhozes were operating «under full economic accounting» .
The theoretical sliding and the corresponding political retreat in the USSR occurred during a new phase, when the productive forces had developed at a higher level and necessitated a corresponding development of Central Planning. In other words, the need for a deepening of socialist relations had matured.
The market reforms that were chosen were not a one-way street. The confrontation of the economic problems required the elaboration of more effective incentives and indices of Central Planning, as well as of its sectoral, cross-sectoral and enterprise - level implementation. At the same time, proposals and plans for the use of computers and information technology , which could have contributed to improvements in the technical processing of data, in order to improve the observation and control of the production of use values through quantity and quality indicators, were rejected.
Through the market reforms, through the detachment of the socialist production unit from Central Planning, the socialist character of ownership over the means of production was weakened. The principle of distribution “according to labour” was violated.
The 24th CPSU Congress (1971), with its directives on the formulation of the 9th 5-Year plan (1971-1975), reversed the proportional priority of Department I over Department II. The reversal of this proportion had been proposed at the 20th Congress, but had not been accepted. This modification was rationalized as a choice reinforcing the level of popular consumption. In reality, it was a choice that violated socialist law and had negative consequences on the growth of labour productivity. The development of labour productivity – a fundamental element for the growth of social wealth, the satisfaction of social needs and the all-round development of man – presupposes the development of the means of production. Planning should have dealt with greater efficacy with the following need: the introduction of modern technology in industry, in transport services, storage and distribution of products.
The choice to overturn the proportions did not help to deal with contradictions that had been expressed (e.g. the excess income in monetary form and the lack of an adequate amount of consumer goods, such as electronic household appliances, colour TVs). On the contrary, it moved Central Planning away from its basic goal of the rise of social prosperity. It further aggravated the contradiction between the level of development of the productive forces and the level of the communist relations of production-distribution.
During the 1980’s, at the political level, the decisions of the 27th Congress (1986) constituted a further opportunist choice. Subsequently, the counterrevolution was also promoted through the passing of the law (1987), which institutionally legitimised capitalist economic relations, under the guise of the acceptance of the multiplicity of forms of ownership.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, the social democratic approach of “the planned market economy” (the platform of the CC of the CPSU at the 28th Congress) was speedily abandoned in favour of the position of the “regulated market economy” and this was further replaced by the “free market economy”.
20. The direction that became dominant should not be judged today only from a theoretical perspective, but also by its practical results. After two decades of the application of these reforms, the problems had clearly sharpened. Stagnation reared its head for the first time in the history of socialist construction. Technological backwardness continued to be a reality for the large majority of enterprises. Shortages appeared in many consumer products, as well as other problems in the “market”, because enterprises were causing an artificial rise in prices, by hoarding commodities in warehouses or by supplying them in controlled quantities.
An important index of the retreat of the Soviet economy during the 1970’s was the decline in the USSR’s share in the world production of industrial raw materials and in manufacturing.
The ever increasing involvement of market elements in the directly social production of socialism was weakening it. It led to a decline in the dynamics of socialist development. The short-term individual and group interests (with an increase in income differentiation among the workers in each enterprise, between the workers and the managerial apparat, between different enterprises) were strengthened vis-a-vis the overall interests of society. As time passed, the social conditions were created for the counterrevolution to flourish and to finally prevail using perestroika as its vehicle.
Through these reforms the possibility was created for monetary amounts which had been accumulated, primarily through illegal means (smuggling, etc), to be invested in the “black” (illegal) market. These opportunities concerned primarily officials in the management layers of enterprises and sectors, the cadre of the kolkhozes and of foreign trade. Data regarding the so-called “Para-economy” (parallel economy) were also provided by the Procurator General of the USSR. According to these statistics, a significant proportion of the cooperative or state agricultural production was also channelled to the consumers by illegal means.
The income differentiation among the individual agricultural producers, the kolkhozniks, widened, as well as their opposition to the tendency to strengthen the directly social character of agricultural production. A portion of the peasants and of the managerial cadre of the kolkhozes who were getting rich was strengthened as a social layer hampering socialist construction. The social differentiation in industry was even more pronounced through the concentration of “enterprise profits”. The so-called “shadow capital”, the result not only of enrichment through enterprise profits, but also of the black market, of criminal acts of embezzlement of the social product, sought its legal functioning as capital in production, i.e. the privatisation of the means of production, the restoration of capitalism. The owners of this capital constituted the driving social force of the counterrevolution. They utilised their position in the state and party mechanisms.They found support in sectors of the population which were more vulnerable, due to their objective position, to the influence of bourgeois ideology and to wavering, e.g. a significant part of the intelligentsia, sections of the youth, such as the university students . These forces, directly or indirectly, influenced the Party, strengthening its opportunist erosion and its counterrevolutionary degeneration, which was expressed through the policies of “perestroika” and sought the institutional consolidation of capitalist relations. This was achieved after perestroika, with the overthrow of socialism.