Considerations on a Voyage to Russia – Part 4 of 9

As always the worker feels his existence threatened by the anarchy of the capitalist economic regime. Although the trusts and the private enterprises are organized following a detailed program, the capitalist economy, as a whole, is a chaotic imbroglio of antagonistic forces. It is exactly this unlimited liberty that is the cause of the crises for which the worker must always pay with unemployment and salary reductions. The planning of the entire economy is thus the true claim of the worker, it is the bottom of his socialism. To the idea of liberty of the bourgeoisie, the worker counters with the idea of planning. The edification of socialism corresponds to that of the planned economy. The equivalents arising from that are evident and we cannot put it in question: as it he sides with himself the bourgeois aspires to a market economy, equally as he sides with himself the worker wants a planned economy. As the free economy and capitalism signify the same thing, so do the planned economy and socialism.

The economy of the Russian worker state is planned in the broadest sense of the term. They establish a synoptic table of the ensemble of productive forces identified. They then fix in what measure the different industrial sectors can be developed and their production augmented, on the basis of machinery, workers, and available capital. The different parts of the planning project are coordinated and are then diffused to the centers of industrial activity and in the factories. There they examine what is possible, they discuss it and modify it by counter-propositions. It finally shows a counter-project that will realize the definitive elaboration of the plan. This one becomes, to say thus, a principle of social ethics: these figures are nearly moral currency, indicating to each one what waits for him. To wait for the inscribed figures is the duty of the citizen! Each factory, each branch of production makes daily account of the relation between plan of production and the real yield. When the latter is insufficient, without any indulgence, it self criticizes and tries to understand the reason for the deficit. When it is not from causes escaping the control of the factory (insufficient deliveries of raw material, problems with transport), the personnel are severely reproached and the directors reprimanded. Nowhere has the Taylor System, with its tables of yield, its blame given to the slacking worker and its well wishes addressed to the conscientious worker, been applied with as much rigor as in the Russian factories, although it has a very difference meaning there. Here it is no longer the boss that is enriched when the worker deploys all his forces. Each workers makes it his point of honor to aid the progress of the realization of socialism. It is the socialist Russia that requires every worker to fulfill his duty. The strike has thus lost the meaning it has in the capitalist countries. It becomes an attack against socialism, treason to the worker state. It is a political crime relevant to the KGB. The worker serves his proper cause. Only if he has a very short view – information should be there to remedy it – will he not recognize this fact. The young workers, men and women, enthusiastic and fanatical from socialist learning, become “shock brigades” and establish, by such models, records. They train the entire factory in their enthusiasm, by becoming the conscience and spur that pushes them forward. When we demanded of two workers the reasons for which they are part of the oudarniki (“pioneers”), they responded: “if we take the time to explain that to these men during our work hours, we could never be oudarniki.” Thus work is done with a far sharper conscience than we owe it, in socialist society. It is to support it and distinguish it as such.

The application of the plan on the economy assuredly demands an organization of bureaucratic supervision. It is necessary to accept the inevitable weight of functioning and useless efforts. However there are a good number of judicious interventions to render the realization of the plan more flexible. Certain key enterprises must telegraph a daily account to the central planning commission in Moscow. At the moment where there is a difference, contrary to the rules, between the figures inscribed in the plan and actually produced, a delegation returns to the place, examining the reasons and taking draconian measures.

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