The Nature of the USSR

"To transform society we not only have to understand what it is, we also have to understand how past attempts to transform it failed."
— Aufheben (1998)

ITT we examine and debate the nature of the Soviet Union and related Marxist-Leninist regimes (China, Cuba, etc) from the point of view of a critique of political economy.

1) SOCIALISM, because it successfully seized the means of production and organized production through central planning. (Stalin)
2) DEGENERATED WORKERS' STATE, because the state-owned means of production were seized back by a despotic bureaucratic clique. (Trotsky)
3) STATE-CAPITALISM, because it operated on the basis of the same fundamentals as capitalism such as wage labour and commodity production. (Cliff)
4) RËD FASCISM, because its functioning was virtually indistinguishable from that of the totalitarianism of Fascist or Nazi states. (Rühle)
5) DEVELOPMENTAL DICTATORSHIP, because it was mostly concerned with bridging the industrial gap with the West by any means necessary. (Wolin)
6) CONCENTRATED SPECTACLE, because the Soviet bureaucracy ensured the continuing reign of the economy by preserving commodified labour. (Debord)
7) NON-MODE OF PRODUCTION, because the capitalist law of value gave way to a wasteful ideologically-driven method of resource allocation. (Ticktin)
8) SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY, please explain. (You)

Sources for further reading:
Ernest Mandel, The Theory of "State Capitalism", 1951 (
Walter Daum, The Life and Death of Stalinism, 1990 (
Aufheben, What Was the USSR?, 1998 (
Hillel H. Ticktin, Theories of Disintegration of the USSR, 1999 (
Amy Leather, State Capitalism - Why the USSR Wasn't Socialist, 2012 (

Other urls found in this thread:

for real though corn man should have been stronger

Why exactly was Corn-Man so revisionist? Everyone in the leadership was arguing for collectivization and the debate was whether it could happen sooner or later, and it fell on Stalin's plate. Meanwhile the government was becoming full of influences from bourgeois engineers that had been invited from overseas which if it hadn't been put an end to would have probably put the USSR on to the path China is on today.



#7 and #4 are by far the dumbest anticommunist views and anyone spouting them needs to be silenced ASAP before they can ruin socialism more with their stupidity. Honorary mention to #1 though for allowing statist nationalism to hijack socialism for a whole century.

No shit #3 is the correct view, dumb fucks. That doesn't mean we should associate ourselves with Trotskyites and anarchist children who call the USSR state-capitalist for all the wrong reasons, however.

Whether or not it was statist doesn't matter because you can't get rid of the state as long as the other half of the world is still a capitalist superpower. Soviet patriotism was a tool to defy the Nazi onslaught. Stalin himself held pretty anti-nationalist views.

You are not better as the Trots and anarchists you lash out against, #3 claims the USSR had wage labor, which is a ridiculous and revisionist claim, so it's the same anti-communist bullshit. About c o m m o d i t y p r o d u c t i o n: Goods weren't produced as commodities, commodity production only existed in agricultural cooperatives and foreign trade (which, again, was a rather small sector of the economy). Whether or not the goods attained commodity form in the allocation process was a heavily debated issue amongst Soviet economists.

So you claim that Soviet workers didn't sell their labor and didn't work for wages? Can you provide "any" source for that?
…wait what?

I would say that the single best thing about Soviet Union was their anti colonial policy and support of third world.

Their biggest weakness was incompetence in domestic policy. They should have never micro manage so much, but have always allowed cooperatives and small business. They should have also not spend such a big part of budget on the military, but science first, since it leads to both the well being of the people and strength of the military.

How the fuck can you sell your labor if you get a job assigned in your respective profession? Let's say I'm studying physics, I'm guaranteed to get a job as a physicist with standardized pay in my entire profession - and no point do I need to negotiate a wage. Pay for every industry was decided in proceedings between Gosplan and the All-Union Council. Unemployment didn't exist after the construction of socialism, with exceptions occurring after the war, and after Gorbachev's reforms.

And again, how does payment occur? According to quantity and quality - under capitalism, payment is in accordance with the market value of your labor power, or the value of the surplus product of the individual producer.

That's not an argument.


Oh that's simple. Work more shifts and get more pay. Pretty easy to do if you were a factory worker. This by far is a pretty clear indication that labour could be sold legally.

How is this wage labor? Marx suggests the exact same thing in CotGP (labor vouchers).

Gotta agree with trotsky here.

It is not important if you work for a privately owned company or state-owned company. You still sell you labor for a wage. Even if there is standarized pay, you still work for a wage.

From Wage Labour and Capital.

When it comes to Gotha programme, this passage is worth quoting

Alexander Tarasov: SUPERETATISM

I don't think the USSR was completely socialist but that doesn't mean it was hell or not leaps and bounds better than every other form of capitalism. What am I?


This is totally not a Stalin whine thread

How is it surprising? It makes sense that Trots would focus on studying the nature of the USSR.

There is no such thing as being "part" socialist. Either a government is socialist or it isn't.


This thread has some of the most illiterate things I've seen in my entire life. Just WOW.

typical liberal

#4 is by far the stupidest, the USSR was not nationalist, did not have an ethnocentric viewpoint and did not have a cult-of-personality based around a leader who was mean to personify the will of the nation. The only time it was anything like that was during the Stalin years and that is still a massive stretch considering Stalin's commitment to global revolution and the non-chauvinistic rhetoric he used and anti-nationalist personal views he held.

I'd say a combination of 1, 2, and 3. The USSR was in some sense socialist throughout its early history, but it was a degenerative type of socialism with an empowered bureaucracy, as well as a lack of democracy and personal freedom. Starting in the Kruschev years it began to take on more and more capitalist elements, until the revisionism led to its collapse.

The USSR should be remembered as an attempt at socialism involving many dedicated and ingenious comrades. It had many accomplishments but suffered from very real deficiencies owing to the conditions it developed under.

Nice thread/list, bump

What commitment? He subverted the global revolutionary effort with his crypto-nationalist socialism-in-one-country bullshit.

You are worse than ☭TANKIE☭s could ever be. Just kill yourself you petite bourgeoisie apologist piece of shit.

The cult of personality shit is dishonest, explain the various states of Stalin?

inb4 people like him so they erect statues

Fucking horseshit, look at how quickly they go down post-de Stalinization.

The only thing worth remembering about the USSR is their weapon development and a couple of nationalist songs.

Even their rapid industrialization doesn't come close to Nazi Germany, which industrialized in fewer years with far less resources and funding.


Germany was nowhere as backwards as Russia in industrial development.

Germany might have more literate burghers and intellectual, but they also suffer one of the worst regime in history being the Weimar.

Also, Imperial Russia wasn't really ass backwards as you think it is, their main cities were developed, like how Stalin himself later did, he developed the cities while leaving the countryside untouched.

What's wrong with wanting to have a coffe or barber in the neighborhood, entitled first world mini-porkies.

How can someone be so retarded?


There's nothing wrong with such services being provided, but there is everything wrong with those services being provided by businesses. Your "solution" to the soviet unions problems is more commodity production (the very thing that caused its problems in the first place).

I'm not the one advocating the existence of fucking businesses.

What would be your solution?

My solution is taken straight from Lenin. Besides all the problems were coused by old generals who wanted WW2 part 2 and demanded very high military spending for outdated war machines.

It makes you a Trotskyist, a proponent of the correct theory that the USSR was a degenerated workers' state. Perhaps this surprises you, because what you've read about Trotsky is quite negative. But consider reading books instead of shitposts and you will be convinced.

Read Lenin you fucking retard.

read online* about Trotsky, I meant to say

he sounds drunk

Couldn't be more wrong, you might be "selling" your labour power, but you're not doing it as a wage labourer. You're not having a surplus extracted, and there is no power relation with the employer in bargaining in the form of the threat of unemployment.

Not all selling of labour power is wage labour, that should be obvious.

I'm sure this would be funnier if I spoke Russian.

If you sell it on the market, it's a commodity — period. The USSR still had commodified labour, whether you want to admit it or not.

I'm pretty detached from a lot of things - is that image in favor or opposition of ☭TANKIE☭s?


9) ALL OF THE ABOVE, because it's a matter of perspective.

These how-do-we-name-it debates aren't about the nature of the soviet union, but how it should be judged. This seems to fluctuate from the standpoint that nothing is ever socialism (nothing is ever right) or that anything that a socialist does is socialism (even if every worker would oppose it, it would still be the historical interest of the workers).


Dude. If I would use three labor vouchers for a toaster at a toaster outlet, this would be market exchange according to your definition. Turns out capitalism is actually socialism lmao

The Soviet Union didn't even have labor vouchers.

Irrelevant. I'm interested in how user defines a market.


Pretty significant point - USSR-aligned communists abroad tended to actively sabotage and attack leftists who didn't support Stalin-era Marxist-Leninism.