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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

Auld Misuses Marx

Auld Misuses Marx

Lenin had some words for those who misuse quotes from Marxist writings as Terry Auld has done with this one: "Marxism is an extremely profound and many-sided doctrine. It is, therefore, no wonder that scraps of quotations from Marx - especially when the quotations are made inappropriately - can always be found among the 'arguments' of those who break with Marxism." (Collected Works, Vol 26, p. 212).

If Auld wants to show that the Soviet Union is "national capitalist", he has to prove that the state has again changed hands. In other words, for a workers' state to become capitalist again, it has to undergo a counterrevolution. And just as a revolution involves the sharp build-up of conflicting class forces, usually accompanied by violence, so does a counterrevolution. Just as there is no "peaceful road" to socialism, there is no "peaceful return" to capitalism.

Auld does not say when and how such a counter-revolution occurred in the Soviet Union. Elsewhere (in the China Society pamphlet China's Foreign Policy), he implies that capitalism was somehow restored after the death of Stalin: "we must understand that things have changed dramatically since Stalin's time. The Soviet Union is no longer a socialist country....." Yet he cannot put a date on this!

The key thing for Terry Auld and for the Peking leaders, who still carry on the policies of Joseph Stalin, is the fact that the Soviet leadership under Khrusehev made some criticisms of Stalin. They are much more concerned with this heresy than with bothering to prove in real terms that a social or economic transformation has taken place in Russia.

There is a parallel to this in the case of Rumania, which is a part of the Soviet Bloc, Comecon and the Warsaw Pact. Yet because Rumania has not criticised the Chinese leadership as severely as has the Kremlin, it remains "socialist" in the eyes of Peking.

Auld comes closest to the true nature of the Soviet bureaucracy when he says that "through its control of the party and the state, the Soviet bureaucracy owns, controls and directs the means of production...." He also says that the "legal social relations.... are still socialist", but he tries to draw a distinction between the legal relations and the "actual social relations". (Our emphasis.)

Auld is correct when he says that the bureaucracy controls the means of production, but not when he says it owns it.