V. The inconclusive character of the capitalist restoration
23. The enormous advance of the restoration of capital in the former worker states in no way signifies that it is a historical process that has been concluded. The theoretical importance of this characterization resides in the fact that it conditions the characterization of the world capitalist crisis as a whole. It is necessary to distinguish between the stages that characterize the development of capital and especially the way the various stages are interwoven. In this consists, precisely, the concrete historical analysis.
The unprecedented transfer of state assets to a handful of private hoarders has not yet taken away from the state bureaucracy born of the old regime (with reference to the bureaucracies of the capitalist countries, even the most nationalized) its place of exceptional arbitration. This is very clear both in China and Russia, but is also valid up to a point for some countries of East Europe. In Cuba that arbitration is the most autonomous. In Cuba the restoration of capital has followed the road of limited foreign investment and there has virtually not been any transfer of state properties, although the public economic assets are found mainly in the hands of one corporation, the armed forces, which forms part of the State, but which is not the State itself. In China, an enormous penetration of foreign capital has taken place and huge private capital has been amassed, but the economic assets of the State still prevail over private capital, especially in the banks.
In the former worker states private capital prospers, but a capitalist class has not yet been formed. The mediation of private capital is predominantly carried out through the bureaucracy and is conditioned by the administrative disposition of this bureaucracy. The parliaments do not constitute, at all, representation, that is, political mediation, of the capitalists as a class. Neither does there really exist a comprador capitalist class having the monopoly over relations between capital and the international markets, on the one hand, and the domestic market, on the other; in China, Russia and Cuba that mediation is operated, at least predominantly, by the State bureaucracy.
The monopolization of state property may be a step in the direction of the forming of a capitalist class, but is not synonymous with it. Capital continues to be formed, in the domestic market, through the looting of the assets and resources of the State. Although with shades of grey that vary considerably, capital is not yet the dominant social force, that is, capable of effectively subordinating all forms of social work towards the accumulation of capital. In China, where this social intensification of capital is greater, this role is played by foreign and not national capital (the most developed manifestation of Chinese national capital takes place in Hong Kong and spreads to the coastal regions to the south).
The own contradictions inside these linked social formations, "sui-generis," of the transitional capitalist regimes, have had an exceptional manifestation in the semi-confiscation of the Russian oil cartels Yukos and Sibneft, by the State. The government of the Russian bureaucracy postulates itself as intermediary between international oil capital and Russian oil resources. It has been forced to proceed in this manner due to the immanency of a property transfer of the Russian oligarchy, without capital with which to compete in the world market, to international oil capital. The international political crisis has intervened decisively in this partial expropriation of the oligarchy, whenever the resources, the transport and the methods of distribution of gas and oil poses international crises in the Far East, regarding the supplying of China and Japan; in the Arctic, regarding transport to the United States; in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, regarding its deposits; in the Caucasus regarding transport to Europe, which is also determinant with the pipelines that pass through Byelorussia and the Ukraine. As was the case during all its past, Russia is once again incapable of relating to the capitalist west through socially independent capital.
24. The question of property has not been resolved, at least in Cuba, China and Russia, the most important nations in revolutionary political history. In Russia the huge technological industrial complexes, the crown jewels of the former USSR, continue, partially or totally, in the hands of the State. In the former Yugoslavia in limbo still are the state sovereignties and the territories, some of which even appear to be protectorates. Between the process of privatization that characterizes the capitalist restoration and the present privatizations in the bourgeois nations there exists much more than a difference of degree, first of all because of the sheer scale, secondly because of its weight in the world economy and in the redistribution of power among the international capitalist monopolies, thirdly because a social catastrophe is implied for tens and hundreds of millions of people.
In China the capitalist transformation of property has been facilitated by the absence of a large modern industrial state, at least in comparison with that of Russia. But still to be resolved, on the one hand, is the destination of the financial and credit monopoly still in the hands of the State, and, on the other hand, that of the agricultural property of hundreds of millions of peasants that exploit the land in the form of use leases. The state banks are bankrupt, with heaps of unrecoverable loans equal to the Chinese GNP. The privatization of the state banks presupposes a statement of partial financial bankruptcy of the State, but also poses the threat of the collapse of tens of thousands of industrial companies bankrupt, with the inevitable consequences of tens of millions of dismissals. A state rescue of these companies would not only pose the catastrophic perspective of hyperinflation but also an international financial catastrophe which would result from the withdrawal of capital in foreign currency that China has invested in the public debt of various capitalist states. The extraordinary contradictions characterizing the restoration of capitalism will be exposed under the fire of the imminent international financial crises now foreseen, as was already made clear, on a much smaller scale, in 1997-99, when the Asian crisis provoked the Russian crisis and the downfall, in good time, of Yeltsin's government.
The perspective of the agricultural privatization is already giving way to the expulsion of the peasants from the land at the hands of the local bureaucracies who exploited them up till now mainly through the confiscatory means of taxes, rates and the levying of tribute. In China the concentration of land property is already in motion and, parallel to it, the intensification of the rebellions in agriculture. The granting of the constitutional right to private property is aimed at consolidating the legal superstructure for the process of financial, industrial and agrarian privatization, still in the early stages.
The capitalist restoration could never be, fundamentally, an internal organic process. Capitalism has reached a historic level of development which puts fixed limit on that possibility. The capitalist restoration can only unfold as an international process, subject to the hegemony of finance capital. But international capital proceeds in its work according to its own nature. It is obliged to approach and condition the capitalist restoration to the international struggle for the control and hegemony of the world market and for the monopoly of the redistribution of influence that the capitalist restoration provokes in the world market. From here an important contradiction is put into motion; on the one hand, a tendency to rely on penetration into new markets in order to intensify competition for the monopoly of the existing world market and, on the other, a tendency to block the restoration of capital to attenuate that world competition and brake the entrance of new competitors. The foreign capitalist penetration in the former worker states has been driven up till now by the relatively lower price of labor power and of technological and natural resources, sharpening the competition on the world market among established capitalist monopolies. The massive economic re-colonization of the domestic space of the former worker states is in great part conditioned by the outcome of the commercial, financial and political rivalry that has sharpened, among those monopolies and among their respective States. In sum, the capitalist restoration constitutes a concrete historical episode of gigantic crises and revolutions.
25. The workers of the former worker states have before them a spectrum of political tasks: 1. The struggle against the bureaucracy, because the looting of the bureaucracy in order to accumulate privileges has not disappeared but rather has accentuated as a consequence of the tendency towards the restoration of capitalism; 2. The struggle against the restoration of capitalism, because, on the one hand, the privatization of the properties of expropriated capital is still in its infancy and because, on the other hand, the privatizations constitute a long process of struggle against the workers by the capitalist that has taken possession of the state property in order to adapt the exploitation of labor to the new conditions of production and the new conditions of the market; 3. The struggle against capital.
The IV International rejects the positions that:
1. call for the defense and even for the support of the bureaucracy, attributing to it the character of a partial limit against capitalist restoration and a moderator of its tendency towards the intensification of exploitation. We emphasize, on the contrary, the accentuation of the parasitism of the bureaucracy and of its own exploitative tendencies, as well as a tendency towards close relations with international capital. This distorting position concerning the role of the bureaucracy is made manifest mainly in relation to Cuba, to a lesser extent in China and has reappeared in Russia in the aftermath of the friction between Putin and the oligarchy that was created in the period of Yeltsin's government. In conformity with the peculiarities distinguishing the different countries and even taking into account the characteristics of the political situations of the moment, the IV International puts forward the overthrow of the existing bureaucracy and their replacement by workers and peasants governments that put in place once again the dictatorship of the proletariat, confiscate the bureaucracy and expropriate capital and establish a system of government by workers councils.
2. oppose to the integral privatization of state property the establishment of a mixed or cooperative social regime, alleging that the association with private capital is indispensable in order to overcome the historical backwardness that the bureaucracy was incapable of solving or could have worsened. The perspective of a brief or relatively prolonged association with international or even national capital in the economic terrain, at the service of a historic cause of progress is, however, conditioned by various factors: one, that the negotiations be carried out by a workers government and not by the bureaucratic dictatorship; two, not only national but international considerations, first of all the state and the perspective for victory of world revolution. The social character of a transition is determined by the character of the State; when the latter has passed over into the hands of the bureaucracy, the mass privatization becomes a guarantee, not of the old social conquests, but of capitalist acquisitions.
3. attribute the destructive results of capitalist restoration, both real and potential, exclusively to the survival of the bureaucracy and to the fact of there not having been established an effectively representative democracy. Actually, however, no representative democracy has ever been able to do without, historically, a bureaucracy and, moreover, the political history of democracy, that is the domination of civil society, has been nothing more than the persistent control over civil relations by the state. The demand for formal democracy has been, throughout the process leading up to the capitalist restoration, the ideological mechanism that has hidden the expropriation of the state assets by the bureaucracy, the private monopolizers and international capital.
The pretension of evicting from history the great social revolutions of proletarian content of the 20th century, especially the revolution of 1917, by means of a painless process, pacific, or gradual, has already failed. Due to the set of factors conditioning it, the restoration of capital will have to give way to gigantic international social and political commotions. In any case, a victory for capitalism would only have the effect of delaying the march of the timepiece of history. That victory would restate the struggle between capital and labor in new historic conditions; that is, the competition, the concentration of wealth in few hands, the socialization of production, the crises, the unsolvable contradictions of capital, in sum, a new period of socialist revolutions.