Analysis of economic structure

This is one of the conclusions that are described in the Third Congress Documents: The semi-feudal mode of production and relations are no longer predominant [in Turkey]; instead, the capitalist mode of production and its relations of production have become predominant. This is how the argument is offered in the Documents: "...the disintegration of the prevailing semi-feudal relations of production and mode of production in the country have deepened, semi-feudal relations of production and mode of production have ceased to be the predominant mode. (...) The capitalist relations of production and therefore the capitalist mode of production have become the predominant relations of production and mode of production, determining the character of the system. "(p. 91)

No doubt this subject would gain adequate clarity by being reviewed through the Marxist political economy. Moreover, it would require a contextual interpretation of statistical data of the past historical experiences.

There are some fundamental points that must be considered when drawing conclusions on such a vital issue for our revolution as the socio-economic structure [of Turkey]. Otherwise, arriving at wrong conclusions would be inevitable and it would mean dry, unilateral, and inaccurate interpretations of statistical data, integrity of which is compromised.

What are these points?

First of all, the modern political economy and incidentally Marxist political economy base their economic theories on production processes and not on circulation and consumption processes.

Secondly, a given subject of study can be accurately evaluated only by a thorough consideration of its historical context. Thus, the evaluator would never shut himself off to the two state of the liquidation of feudalism in history, opening the way to at least learn from the results of the situation or consume it "productively," meaning "theoretically." And if the "internal transformation" is the "solution from above," how is it that it leads to the domination of the "comprador" capitalism and not to that of the national capitalism. After all, all the examples of "internal transformation" in history led to "national" capitalism.

Thirdly, as a historical experience, it is important to remember which characteristics were defining the economy in Russia in the period between 1900 and 1907. For that period, Lenin admitted that although they had correctly diagnosed the "direction" of the capitalist development in Russia, they failed to see the right "timing, and consequently had made mistakes in the first years of 1900's. And he adds: "We rectified the mistake by substituting for the partial aim of combating the survivals of the old agrarian system, the aim of combating the old agrarian system as a whole." []

Moreover, Lenin admits that they had exaggerated the development level of capitalism in Russia. In this context, it is absolutely worthwhile to ask as to why there was an exaggeration.

Fourthly, in capitalist Russia in October 1917, and not during the 1905/1906 revolution nor during February 1917, but at the time of the socialist proletarian revolution that Lenin, putting aside his own agricultural program, accepted the program of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, without even modifying it at all. And they actually obtained success with it. This too is a historical experience that we can draw valuable lessons from. How come this program was chosen to be implemented?

Fifthly, what was the condition that facilitated the transition from the democratic revolution to the socialist revolution in Russia? The answer to this question is also important and meaningful.

All these considered, it can be said that the MKP's 3rd   Congress did not weigh this topic with the sensitivity of an apothecary’s scale but rather approached this extremely important matter superficially and drowned it in bourgeois statistics instead of bringing any clarity to the questions. That is why the Congress falls into a line that neither entirely breaks away from the old nor does it hold on to the new. It fails to come to a scientific socialist resolution on the issue. Instead, it looks for exits via resorting to crude theses such as "socialist people's war strategy" in the name of "contributing" to MLM, ending up at an embarrassing position.

Here the problem of feudalism's two-state mode is the key in the analysis of economic structure. It is a matter that Marx pays attention in Capital and Lenin in a series of articles.

What is the two-state mode of feudalism and how has this issue been viewed in the history of Marxism? It is surprising that this extremely important issue has not attracted the keen interest of the MKP, for it is fundamental in the analysis of socio-economic structure of the country. It seems that the MKP was trying to quietly slip away from the discussion when it could not find adequate evidence to support its thesis on this issue.

Let's take it from the top:

There are two ways to eliminate feudal property relations: the Prussian mode and the peasantry mode. Germany and Russia are the best examples of the first mode, whereas the US, England, and France are the best examples of the second mode. These two modes were called by Lenin as the "Prussian way" and the "American way." The Prussian way is characterized as the "solution from above" or the "reform way." The second mode, the American way, is characterized as the "solution from below" or the "revolutionary way." Throughout a series of articles at different dates, Lenin had used one or the other of these terms but the most frequently used terms are the Prussian way and the American or the revolutionary way.

Prussian-style mode: In this mode the medieval property relations or pre-capitalist forms of exploitation or feudalism are not liquidated overnight in one swipe. Instead, the feudal mode of production and production relations are brought into concordance with capitalism in small, slow, painful steps of bourgeois development. In this mode, the "internal transformation" of the economy of landlordism is the foundation of the transition from labour-service to capitalism. In short, in this development form, what is essential is the internal transformation.

Peasant-style mode: In this mode, the medieval property relations or pre-capitalism exploitation forms or feudalism are liquidated, demolished, and destroyed at once through a revolution. In this mode the foundation of the transition from the previous state to the next, from the labour-service to capitalism is the expropriation of estates of landlords in the name of peasants. In short, in this development mode, the confiscation of estates of big landlords is the primary model.

Prussia is obviously lends it name to the Prussian-way. At the time, Germany was composed of small states, divided into dukedoms, principalities, and kingdoms. The question of overcoming this situation was the chief issue for Germany at the time. It was the principle contradiction of Germany of 1860s and 1870s, so to speak. For this fragmentation was the biggest obstacle before the capitalist development in Germany. It was also the fundamental issue for the national unity or nationhood of Germany.

According to the historical circumstances, there were three possible ways for the unification of Germany: Either the fragmented German states were to get unified within a German Empire by the Prussian Junkers’ government, which possessed the biggest military might among them and led by Bismarck - via a "revolution from above," as Engels described it; or the unification was to be realized under the leadership of Austria; or via a "revolution from bottom," which meant a unified, democratic German Republic, via a bourgeois-democratic revolution. The period of 1866-71 was not optimal for a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Subsequently this meant that the path to the third way, a revolution from bottom, too was not open. Thus there remained two options for the unification: either under the leadership of Prussia or Austria. The outcome of the war in 1866 between Prussia and Austria was to determine by who the unification was to be realized. Austria was weak compared to the big and powerful Prussia, who won the war. So Prussia undertook the unification of Germany and yet Austria did not join the unification and remained as an independent country. The Unified North Germany meant even a stronger Prussian Monarchy. In 1871, Germany declared war on France and came out as the victorious party. Following this victory, the German Empire was established by the Prussian Junkers. With the unification and centralization of Germany, the path for the development of capitalism in Germany was opened.

The Bismarck led "revolution from above" was carried out by the Prussian landlords. Thus, the main obstacle before the capitalist development of agriculture in Prussia was overcome and the landlords, through a process that spanned many decades, have become capitalists.

This was the "internal transformation" way. The process was completed as the old feudal economy (properties of Prussian big landlords) became the economy of the capitalist Junker regime. This way of establishing capitalism based on the agriculture of old economy was called the Prussian mode of bourgeois development.

Both founders of Marxism and Lenin had pointed out to the necessity of carrying further and completing the Prussia way of "revolution from above" with a "revolution from below." It must be remembered that even though this solution with a revolution from below was a step forward for the development of capitalism in Prussia, the Prussian property relations of old economy (feudalism) was not taken apart and liquidated. It was largely preserved and, moreover, it even became the foundation of the essentially capitalist Junker economy. Despite the "revolution from above," capitalism retained many of the feudal features and continued for a long time as a semi-feudal exploitation form. Here too, very much as it was in Russia, "serfdom," for example, was abolished with a series of decrees from above, the dependency of peasants on big landlords kept on going on.

The abolition of serfdom in Prussia dates to 1807. However, through a number of liabilities loaded on the backs of peasants, dependency on landlords continued. Even though fifteen years later these obligations were officially removed, due to the difficult conditions peasants found themselves, soon after a large number of them became landless as the their lands were acquired by big landlords, a process very similar to that of Russia. This lead to the further expansion of now capitalist big farms of Junkers, which still preserved many pre-capitalist exploitation forms.

In Lenin's words:

"In Germany the reshaping of the medieval forms of landed property proceeded in a reformative way, so to speak. It adapted itself to routine, to tradition, to the feudal estates that were slowly converted into Junker estates, to the routine of indolent peasants who were undergoing the difficult transition from corvée to the condition of the Knecht and Grossbauer." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol 3, p. 203) []

It is not hard to imagine that in this respect the American Way relates to what is now called the United States of America. Until the mid-19th century, the US was divided into two groups of states, North and South. They carried different characteristics of agricultural development. In the North, free peasant economy was predominant and big landlordism was large absent. The North was already in the capitalist development stage. Therefore, in the North, where feudalism was absent and the free economy of free farmers provided opportunity for the capitalist development, there was no economic basis for the pre-capitalist forms of exploitation in agriculture. In the rural areas of the Northern States, the capitalist agriculture was developing as the industry was developing in the urban areas, giving rise to the industrial bourgeoisie and the capitalist farmers. This free economy in the North States was the foundation of capitalist development in agriculture. However, the situation was completely different in the Southern States. Here both the large land ownership and slavery was still dominant.

Thus, whereas in the Northern States there were no restraining barriers before the capitalist development, the slavery system and the presence of large landowners in the Southern States constituted an insurmountable obstacle to the capitalist development. Moreover, the slave owning economy of the big landlords was a huge obstacle before the development of free farmers on free lands. This obstacle could be removed only by means of violence after the second half of the 19th century, during the 1861-1865 American Civil War.

Essentially this war was waged to determine the absolute dominant power between the bourgeoisie of the Northern States (and the East) and the landed aristocracy who held control of the South's plantation economy. The American Civil War ended with the victory of the Northern States, thanks to the superiority of its industry. Slavery, the obstacle before the development of capitalism in the Southern States was removed and the large estates of big landowners were confiscated and were eventually, along with unclaimed swaths of lands, divided down to smaller pieces and sold to people with nominal prices, facilitating the emergence of small farmers in the South and of further development of capitalism in general.

So, the American Way of transformation was realized through the violence that was used by the Northern States against the established slavery system of the Southern States. In this transformation, the essential characteristic is the fact that big landownership was liquidated at once in one blow, the transition to the predominance of small farmers was swift and decisive.

For this transition, Lenin says the following:

"In America this reshaping went on in a violent way as regards the slave farms in the Southern States. There violence was applied against the slave-owning landlords. Their estates were broken up, and the large feudal estates were transformed into small bourgeois farms." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 203) []

Of course, another example to such transition in the agricultural sector, the "American way," as Lenin called it, is England. Lenin stated that in England this transition period in agriculture took place through the revolutionary way, in other words through means of violence, and that it was implemented by displacing peasants from their lands and villages.

This transition process, extensively referred to by Marx's Capital, is an extremely painful one. As Marx had underlined, this transition mode or the direct expropriation of producers, was done through a "ruthless brutality."

Another of the typical examples of this transition is France. In France, the feudal forms of ownership or pre-capitalist forms of exploitation were removed by way of violence, with the Great French Revolution. In 1789, with a great popular uprising under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, the estates of feudal landlords in the countryside were expropriated through violence. Thus, the obstacles before the capitalist development of agriculture were removed in one swoop and by revolutionary means using the shortest, most decisive, and most direct way. That is so even if the governing power changed hands several times between the bourgeoisie and the feudal landlords and despite the revolutions of 1789 and 1793, when a certain equilibrium was observed between the bourgeoisie and the landlords, and despite the Bonapartist Bourgeois regime that was implemented with the revolutions of 1848 and 1859 by Napoleon I and Napoleon 3rd   No doubt that the period of bourgeois rule began with the Great French Revolution of 1789 and the bourgeoisie could establish its absolute dominance only after three subsequent major uprisings, in 1830, 1848, and 1871.

Debates about the two modes of capitalist development in agriculture, the Prussian way vs. the American way, took place most extensively in Russia. Having reviewed the historical backgrounds of these two ways, let us now review the Russian example.

In Russia, the 1861 Reform laid the foundation for the "Prussian way." Following the signing of the manifesto dated 19 February 1861 by Alexander II, serfdom that went on for centuries in Russia was abolished and the peasants were "liberated." According to this law, big landlords were forced to sell land to the peasants. However, this sale was severely fettered with a series of terms and conditions. Land allocated to peasants could be bought only after having paid large fees and until these fees were paid, peasants had to fulfil a series of heavy obligations in return for the use of land. Although on that day serfdom was officially abolished, pre-capitalism forms of exploitation continued after the passing of the law as well. Therefore, this was not an "actual" liberation. In Lenin's words, "Once the latifundia are retained, this inevitably means also the retention of the bonded peasant, of métayer, of the renting of small plots by the year, the cultivation of the “squire’s” land with the implements of the peasants, i.e., the retention of the most backward farming methods and of all that Asiatic barbarism which is called patriarchal rural life." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol 1, p. 209) []

This way of transformation, as a heavy, painful and slow process, preserved the economic basis of the serfdom era's exploitation forms, while the peasantry was doomed to decades longer of painful dispossession and enslavement. However, it must be noted that the 1861 Reform opened the way for the development of capitalism, even though it was a very slow and painful process of development and it progressed through violence, destruction, and starvation. It also paved the way for the optimal conditions for the removal of pre-capitalism forms of exploitation in one way or the other, via the "revolutionary" way or the "reformist" way.

Moreover, in particular with the 1861 Reform, Russia was entering a new era of substantial completion of primitive accumulation of capital. This was an extremely important threshold for Russia. In fact, the so-called primitive accumulation is nothing more than a historical process in which the means of productions are separated from the producers, as Marx had noted. This is the process in which the preconditions for the development of capitalism are put in place. This is the phase where, on the one hand, the means of production and subsistence are taken away from the dispossessed producers and are turned into capital; while on the other hand, the dispossessed producers are turned into wage labourers. With the 1861 Reform, Russia had entered the path of capitalist development in agriculture. The concerned debates at the time were at a conjunction with the question of how to proceed from that point on.

There were two possible ways for the agrarian development in Russia. One was the Prussian way, whose path was opened by the 1861 Reform and the second was the American way. In other words, either the way of reform or the way of revolution. This situation was formalized by Lenin as follows: "With the present economic basis of the Russian Revolution, two main lines of its development and outcome are objectively possible: Either the old landlord economy, bound as it is by thousands of threads to serfdom, is retained and turns slowly into purely capitalist, “Junker” economy. The basis of the final transition from labour-service to capitalism is the internal metamorphosis of feudalist landlord economy. The entire agrarian system of the state becomes capitalist and for a long time retains feudalist features. Or the old landlord economy is broken up by revolution, which destroys all the relics of serfdom, and large landownership in the first place." (Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, p. 22-23) []

Until the 1905-1907 First Russian Revolution, the Russian liberal bourgeoisie was the main advocate of the Prussian way. After the 1905 Revolution, this line was followed by Stolypin, as Russia had entered a period of capitalist development at a great pace.

At the time, in Russia, the capitalist system was predominant in 19 states, while in 17 states corvée (repayment through work) system and in 7 states the semi-feudal system was predominant. In Russia's particular conditions, the corvée system was still the predominant form of production relations in many states, spreading over very large areas. The development of capitalism in agriculture was most acutely visible in the periphery areas.

Realizing that Russia had entered a phase of rapid capitalist development and dissolution of feudal exploitation forms, the Stolypin led government came up with the "Stolypin Agrarian Reform" package. The reform package, in a Prussian way, had further opened the path for the capitalist development in agriculture and encouraged the development of capitalism in general.

After this stage, the feudal-autocracy changed skin, transforming its autocratic form towards a bourgeois-monarchic form, ornamented with the constitutional bureaucracy. In this form, one of the system’s feet was planted in bourgeoisie while the other was still resting on big landlords, trying to keep a balance between the two class powers. Lenin likened this situation to Bonapartism in France and named it the "bourgeois-Bonapartist" policy or the "agrarian Bonapartism."

Lenin explained the situation as follows: “The alliance of Tsarism with the Black-Hundred landlords and the top commercial and industrial bourgeoisie has been openly solidified and recognised by the coup d’état of June 3 and the establishment of the Third Duma. Having of necessity finally taken the path of the capitalist development of Russia, and striving to keep to a path which would preserve the power and the revenues of the feudalist landlords, the autocracy is manoeuvring between that class and the representatives of capital." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 22) []

Furthermore, Lenin adds the following regarding this form of transformation: "[T]he retention, in the main, of landed proprietorship and of the chief supports of the old “superstructure”; hence, the predominant role of the liberal-monarchist bourgeois and landlord, the rapid transition of the well-to-do peasantry to their side, the degradation of the peasant masses, not only expropriated on a vast scale but enslaved, in addition, by one or other kind of Cadet – proposed land-redemption payments, and downtrodden and dulled by the dominance of reaction(...)" (Lenin, of Capitalism in Russia development, p.23) []

Clearly, this was a development path that was actually slowing down the development of productive forces as well as of capitalism. Moreover, this path facilitated the plundering of village associations by big landlords and feudal farm owners and thus made sure that rich landlords would expand even further their land ownership. Of course, it also meant that latifundia would remain intact. In Lenin's words, "The fact that tens of millions of peasants are starving, as was the case last year and the year before, reveals better than any lengthy argumentation the mendacity and hypocrisy of the tales about the beneficial influence of the farmsteads. This fact shows most clearly that even after the change in the government’s agrarian policy, and after the notorious Stolypin reforms, the Russian countryside is just as much overwhelmed by oppression, exploitation, destitution, lack of human rights as it was under serfdom. The ‘new’ agrarian policy of the Council of the United Nobility left untouched the old serf-owners and the oppression on their estates of thousands and tens of thousands of dessiatines. The “new” agrarian policy enriched the old landowners and a handful of the peasant bourgeoisie, and ruined the masses of the peasants to a still greater extent." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 245) []

Even though this way of capitalist development was led by big landlords and it did not secure the path to the liberation of productive forces as much as the American way, it still encouraged the capitalist development to a certain degree.

Alongside the Prussian way of bourgeois development, there was also a second way of development, namely the American way or the peasantry mode. Briefly put, this was the revolutionary way. It meant the liquidation of the feudal economy in one blow.

Lenin describes this path as follows: "The revolutionary path of really overthrowing the old order inevitably requires, as its economic basis, the destruction of all the old forms of landownership, together with all the old political institutions of Russia. The experience of the first period of the Russian revolution has conclusively proved that it can be victorious only as a peasant agrarian revolution, and that the latter cannot completely fulfil its historical mission unless the land is nationalised." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol 3, p. 264) []

Furthermore, in his preface to the second edition of his work titled the Development of Capitalism in Russia, Lenin would add the following in regards to the second way, right after having explained the Prussian way: "(...) the destruction of landlordism and of all the chief supports of the corresponding old “superstructure”; the predominant role of the proletariat and the peasant masses, with the neutralising of the unstable or counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie; the speediest and freest development of the productive forces on a capitalist basis, under the best circumstances for the worker and peasant masses at all conceivable under commodity production;—hence, the establishment of the most favourable conditions for the further accomplishment by the working class of its real and fundamental task of socialist reorganisation." (Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, p. 23) []

In essence, in the first way latifundia are evolved into capitalist farms gradually over a protracted period, whereas in the second way latifundia are eliminated by peasants through revolution and violence. Lenin explains the situation as follows: "In the second case there is no landlord economy, or else it is broken up by revolution, which confiscates and splits up the feudal estates. In that case the peasant predominates, becomes the sole agent of agriculture, and evolves into a capitalist farmer." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol 3, p. 169) []

It was clear that the removal of latifundia was the key to the capitalist development in agriculture in Russia. The question was which class was going to lead in achieving this and by what means it was going to be achieved. Either through the means of reform or of revolution. As Lenin put it: "[B]oth forms of “solution” of the agrarian question that have been advanced in practice—both the Stolypin solution from above, by preserving landlordism and finally doing away with the commune, by having the kulaks plunder it, and also the peasant (Trudovik) solution from below, by abolishing landlordism and by nationalising all the land—both these solutions, each in its own way, facilitate the transition to a higher technique and promote agricultural progress. The only difference is that one solution bases this progress on accelerating the process of forcing the poor peasants out of agriculture, while the other bases it on accelerating the process of eliminating labour service by abolishing the feudalist latifundia. (...) Consequently, in the agrarian question and the agrarian crisis the heart of the matter is not simply the removal of obstacles to the advance of agricultural technique, but what way these obstacles are to be removed, what class is to effect this removal and by what methods. And it is absolutely necessary to remove the obstacles to the development of the country’s productive forces—necessary not only in the subjective sense of the word, but also in the objective sense, i.e.,. this removal is inevitable, and no power on earth can prevent it." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 178) []

In another place, in December 1907, Lenin says the following about the same matter: "In the economic history of Russia both these types of evolution are clearly in evidence. Take the epoch of the fall of serfdom. A struggle went on between the landlords and the peasants over tile method of carrying out the reform. Both stood for conditions of bourgeois economic development (without being aware of it), but the former wanted a development that would preserve to the utmost the land lord economies, the landlord revenues, and the landlord (bondage) methods of exploitation. The latter wanted a development that would secure for the peasants the greatest degree of prosperity possible with the existing level of agriculture, the abolition of the landlord latifundia, the abolition of all serf and bondage methods of exploitation, and the expansion of free peasant landownership. Needless to say, in the second case the development of capitalism and the growth of the productive forces would have been wider and more rapid than by peasant reform, carried out in the landlords’ way." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p.170) []

Now let us review Lenin's letter to Skvorzov-Stepanova, where the crux of the problem is discussed. The letter is written in December 1909, and the essence of letter consists of Russia's bourgeois agricultural development in two ways, the Prussian way and the American way. In the letter, Lenin asks: "The point of difference is whether the bourgeois agrarian system has taken root in Russia to such an extent as to make a sharp transition from the ‘Prussian’ development of agrarian capitalism to the ‘American’ development of agrarian capitalism objectively impossible." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 229) []

The question had a political-history background, which was directly related to the agrarian-peasantry revolution, as Lenin saw it. Against this background, Lenin's words, "agriculture-peasant revolution with" was linked by direct.

According to Cadets and Liquidationists, the Prussian way had prevailed and thus it has rendered the American way as an impossible path. They argued that after the Stolypin Agrarian Reform, the capitalist development in agriculture extremely accelerated; that the semi-feudal economy and natural economy no longer continued to exist; that the old form of the peasantry also shares the same fate; that according to these circumstances, the liquidation of the old farm aristocracy through the American way, meaning through a revolution from below, can no longer be included in a political agenda as the class contradiction between the peasantry and the feudal landlords disappeared.

According to them, a proletariat led "agrarian-peasant revolution" against the Tsar, autocracy, and the semi-feudal landlords was entirely unnecessary. This line of logic arrived at the conclusion that the question of overthrowing the autocracy of the Tsar and big landlords no longer existed.

In other words, there is no need to put the proletariat led democratic revolution in the agenda - this was already completed through the Prussian way by the 1861 Reform and subsequently by the Stolypin Agrarian Reform after the 1905 Revolution. This logic claimed that Russia was already fully capitalist.

Lenin's response to this was clear: "The development of capitalism in Russian agriculture was also under way in 1861–1904. All the symptoms of this development that Rozhkov and Polferov now point out were in existence at that time. The development of capitalism did not avert the bourgeois-democratic crisis in 1905, but paved the way for it and intensified it. Why? Because the old, semi-feudal, natural, economy had been eroded, while the conditions for the new, bourgeois economy had not yet been created. Hence, the unusual intensity of the 1905 crisis." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 253) []

In the same article Lenin underlines the existence of pre-capitalist exploitation forms in agriculture in Russia as follows: "N. Rozhkov did not even attempt to deal with the data showing the degree to which métayage, labour service, corvée, bondage are prevalent in the rural districts today. With amazing unconcern, lie ignored the fact that these forms are still widespread." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p.254) []

By 1913, Lenin argued that either the Prussian way or the American way of agrarian development has not yet won a decisive victory. The following analysis by Lenin is important to note here: "We assumed that the elements of capitalist agriculture had already taken full shape in Russia, both in landlord farming (minus the cut-off lands and their conditions of bondage—hence the demand that the cut-off lands be re turned to the peasants) and in peasant farming, which seemed to have given rise to a strong peasant bourgeoisie and therefore to be incapable of bringing about a ‘peasant agrarian revolution’. The erroneous programme was not the result of “fear” of the peasant agrarian revolution, but of an over-estimation of the degree of capitalist development in Russian agriculture. The survivals of serfdom appeared to us then to be a minor detail, whereas capitalist agriculture on the peasant allotments and on the landlords’ estates seemed to be quite mature and well-established. The revolution has exposed that mistake. (...) We rectified the mistake by substituting for the partial aim of combating the survivals of the old agrarian system, the aim of combating the old agrarian system as a whole. Instead of purging landlord economy, we set the aim of abolishing it." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 218-219) []

As the paragraph above makes it clear, Lenin viewed the revolution necessary not only to abolish serfdom and overthrow the autocracy but also to eliminate all feudal remnants of the old economy. In the Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy, he wrote: "The agrarian question is the basis of the bourgeois revolution in Russia and determines the specific national character of this revolution. The essence of this question is the struggle of the peasantry to abolish landlordism and the survivals of serfdom in the agricultural system of Russia, and, consequently, also in all her social, and political institutions." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 260) []

Continuing a few pages later, drawing from the results of the First Russian Revolution, he comes to the following clear conclusion: "The reformative path of creating a Junker-bourgeois Russia presupposes the preservation of the foundations of the old system of landownership and their slow adaptation to capitalism, which would be painful for the mass of the population. The revolutionary path of really overthrowing the old order inevitably requires, as its economic basis, the destruction of all the old forms of landownership, together with all the old political institutions of Russia. The experience of the first period of the Russian revolution has conclusively proved that it can be victorious only as a peasant agrarian revolution, and that the latter cannot completely fulfil its historical mission unless the land is nationalised." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol 3, p. 263-4) []

During the periods of both the First Russian Revolution and the Second Russian Revolution, meaning until February-March of 1917, the principle goal of the revolution was to overthrow the Tsarist regime and remove all remnants of feudalism. Until the revolution of February-March 1917, Russian government was still mainly controlled by the old nobility, led by Nicholas Romanov, and big landlords.

This meant that it was not possible to clean off all the feudal residues of old economy from the society via the Prussian way. This task had to be carried out by the October 1917 Revolution. In the period from March 1917 to October Revolution, that is in the second phase of the revolution (with the first phase being the period between the First and the Second Russian Revolution), the control of the state apparatus passed into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Subsequently the objective of the Russian revolution changed to defeating the imperialism in Russia and to get out of the imperialist war [the First World War].

As Lenin had explained at the very beginning of his letter to Skvorzov-Stepanova, in Russia both the Prussian way and the American way is possible for the bourgeois development in agriculture and added: "I do not deny the possibility of the ‘Prussian’ path; I recognise that a Marxist must not ‘vouch’ for either of these ways, nor must he bind himself down to one of them only; I recognise that Stolypin’s policy is another step along the ‘Prussian’ path and that at a certain stage along that path a dialectical   change may set in which would abolish all hopes and prospects for an ‘American’ path. But I assert that at the present time this change has certainly not yet come and that, therefore, it is absolutely inadmissible for a Marxist, absolutely wrong theoretically, to renounce the ‘classical’ presentation of the question. That is where we differ." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 229-230) []

In the historical circumstances of Germany, the Prussian way had a decisive victory. In Russia, the Prussian way had the prevalence until February-March 1917, until the second phase of the revolution. However, the struggle for an agrarian revolution was strong and continued on all throughout the years that the representatives of the aristocracy and big landlords maintained their power and controlled the old economy, eventually being overthrown entirely by the October 1917 revolution.

In the era of imperialism and revolutions, neither the American mode of development path nor the Prussian mode of development way has any validity. The bourgeoisie of today is no longer the revolutionary bourgeoisie of the free competition capitalism and there are no conditions to call the removal of obstacles before the capitalist development through the Prussian way. Besides, in the age of imperialism and proletarian revolutions, the power relations of and the contradictions among the existing classes is in no state to allow such a transformation method. Subsequently, the situation is similar for the American way, which left its place for an agrarian revolution led by the proletariat.

What is the situation in our country? What are significance of these two ways for us? Another question is whether it is possible for Turkey to evolve into a capitalist country through either the Prussian or the American way?

The reality of the country is that there is a backward and imbalanced capitalist economy. Its industry is underdeveloped and comprador, chained to the international capital. And the socioeconomic structure is still predominantly surrounded by the semi-feudal economy. However, it cannot be denied that there is a developing capitalism in the country, albeit heavily indexed to imperialism and its growth needs. We have to take it seriously that, proportional to the developing capitalism, there is a numerical increase of the exploitation of labour and therefore of the working class in the charts of social relations. Consequently, its importance gains weight and its organizational level are going up. Even though it carries a comprador character and is a basic pillar of the government's economic restructuring program and the integration with the European Union, the National Program, for example, does add a momentum to the country's capitalist development. The vanguard must reckon with this reality and determine its tactics accordingly.

However, precisely here we must open a wide parenthesis.

In Turkey and in countries that fall in the same socioeconomic category, the capitalist development was limited and hampered from the very beginning by two major breakwaters. These two restraining barriers before the capitalist development are imperialism and the suffocating oppression of pre-capitalist relations. For imperialism, countries such as ours are areas of consumption of their products, a source of cheap labour, and cheap raw materials. When questioned from this perspective, we will see that these vital interests of imperialism also constitute insurmountable obstacles before the development of capitalism countries such as ours.

The initial and subsequent commodity and capital export of foreign capitalism would never allow a genuine capitalist development in countries like ours. From the outset, the imperialist economy takes over the control positions of the dependent country, blocking the development path of the industry there. In such countries, capitalism that develops or is allowed to develop is the kind of capitalism that prepares the optimal imperialist exploitation conditions or developed according to those conditions, conforming to the maximum profit principle of imperialism. After all, a genuine capitalist development in a dependent country would also develop contradictions with the imperialist dependency relations.

In our country, the path of capitalist development was cut off as early as capitalism's free competition phase, the period before the monopoly capitalism. The international agreements that were signed by the Ottoman Empire, chiefly with France in the 16th century and with England in the 17th century, played a significant function in making the country dependent on these colonialist centres. More specifically, the trade agreements that were made with France in 1535 and the one made with England in 1838 opened up the customs gates to the foreign capitalism. Consequently, with the flow of low or no-tariff foreign commodities flowing into the country, the domestic capitalism that was supposed to flourish out of the manufacturing sector was crippled from its very early years on. As the free competition capitalism evolved into monopoly capitalism, the commodity export got more and more supplemented with the capital export. This evolution led to huge foreign depths and subsequently to heavy dependency. Another consequence of this situation was that the hampered and crippled domestic capitalism never had the chance to achieve capital accumulation, which is a prerequisite for the capitalist development in the era of imperialism. Therefore, without ever getting the proper chance to go through the processes of capitalist development and primitive accumulation, the country became a tool of colonial politics. Had the natural development process was not interrupted, the primitive accumulation would had been achieved by the domestic economy - meaning that the production means would had been increasingly concentrated under the big producers, turning the direct small producers into wage labourers, leading to a stronger domestic industry. However, the semi-colonial dependency relationships were an insurmountable barrier to the progress of this process. Moreover, this dependency created a comprador bourgeoisie within the country, playing the role of the middleman between the domestic market and the financial capital. From then on, foreign capitalists carried out their capital export through this comprador bourgeoisie, in other words, foreign capital's domestic social-economic-political support basis.

Such was the circumstances, when the country entered the era of imperialism: without a strong genuine domestic capitalism or industry. Since the primitive accumulation was never completed and from an early period on the country's development of capitalism was heavily depended on the foreign capitalism, the train for the Prussian way of transformation was already missed. In the age of imperialism, in a country that has not already completed the process of primitive accumulation or without maturing the conditions for this process, the Prussian way is not a possibility. So that historical perspective was already closed off for this option. Russia entered the age of imperialism with the 1861 reform movement, crossing over the threshold of primitive accumulation and was ready for the full capitalist development by the beginning of 20th century. Therefore, Russia entered the age of imperialism in such circumstances that made her open to liquidate feudalism both through the Prussian way, from above, and through the peasant-style method, from below. As for us, the Prussian way was eliminated as an option from the very beginning by the foreign capitalism. The ones who try to fit the country to the scenario that would suit the Prussian way are somehow skipping the principles of historical development processes. This is an incomprehensible attempt indeed.

In countries like ours, the certain level of capitalist development cannot be considered as a result of general policy of imperialism. It is rather a side element, product, and fact of imperialist plunder and enslavement, which constitute the essence of the imperialist policy. An otherwise perspective would result in investing hopes in the imperialist robbery system called the economic restructuring and in applauding the unlimited and unobstructed plunder attempt that aims to open the country's even the smallest hamlet to the exploitation of international capital monopoly.

After all, this economy rests on consumer economy model. It is closed off to the productive economic model, which is the essence of a genuine capitalist development. The process here is carefully manoeuvred by the foreign capital. Besides, there is always the risk of exaggerating the development level of capitalism. Just as the capitalist development in Russia was exaggerated in the early 1900's and the existence and the strength of pre-capitalist economic relations were underestimated and were treated as insignificant details.

The eventual changes that might take place in urban and rural areas with the economic restructuring program must be analyzed without losing the sight of these parameters of capitalist development. It is true that we are moving ahead in a process from the predominance of land to the predominance of money. It is true that the "direction" of development conditions a process in which market predominates over producers, towards the predominance of commodity. However, it is as much a fact that the "moment" of the development is characterized by the semi-feudal economics.

Therefore, in a socioeconomic structure where the two organisms' lines cross each other, the principle task of the revolution is the complete removal of feudal residues. The degree of development of capitalism does not exclude this task and therefore the character of our revolution. The first step of our revolution in essence refers to the needs of the peasantry. Peasantry's issue remains to be paramount importance as the basic link of our revolution. This means that the contradiction between feudalism and the masses as well as the contradiction between imperialism and the masses, which arise from the existing socioeconomic relations, are the fundamental contradictions, determining the current process. Of these, the contradiction between feudalism and the masses is the principle contradiction and has the role of directing the particular phase of the process. Therefore, this contradiction also plays a decisive role in the character of our revolution. The democratic people's revolution is the method of solving these contradictions in a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country. Thus, due to the semi-feudalism, the anti-feudal revolution and due to the semi-colonial status, the anti-imperialist revolution appears as a mandatory threshold. The devastation caused in agriculture by the government's restructuring program does not negate this basic framework - it cannot.

In the Congress Documents of the MKP, wrong conclusions are reached from wrong precedents by attempting to put a distance between themselves and the "classic" presentation of the issue. However, this analysis can be properly done only by, in Lenin's words, "employing the established practices of the materialist method and of theoretical political economy." Diagnosing Turkey as a capitalist country, the MKP also comes to the wrong conclusions as to the character and the strategy of the revolution.

Let us read the following accurate explanation by Kaypakkaya on this matter: "The collaborationist capitalism that is developed by imperialism can never dissolve feudalism through the 'peasant style'. And as long as feudalism is not fundamentally liquidated, the peasant masses remain as a revolutionary force and the content of the revolution continues to be the democratic revolution." (Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Selected Writings, p. 111, Umut Publishing, April 2004)

There are a few more points on this subject to be made.

In the Congress Documents, it is stated that "avarice of profit, as the imperialist capital's dynamic law, and the destruction it causes have forced the social relations in a context of a long historical process to evolve into a new state." (p. 93)

So, the country has become capitalist with "the whip of imperialism." But then how is that the "dynamic" law, "avarice of profit", plays a "destructive" role? On the contrary, should it not be a progressive role since it pushes the economic-social relations forward and forces the phase to evolve to the next one?

Furthermore: What does it even mean the avarice of profit as the dynamic law of imperialist capital? We would understand the law of capitalist profit rate decline or the law of surplus-value. We would even understand if the statement has to do with the law of maximum profit as the capitalist mode of production's fundamental law, which stems from the basis of surplus-value. We cannot grasp, however, "the avarice of profit as the dynamic law of imperialist capital." Is this how Marx explains in Capital? Marx says: "Production of surplus-value is the absolute law of this mode of production." (Capital, Volume I, p. 635) []

It may be argued that the term used is "imperialist capital" and that such a law implying to imperialism does not exist in Marx's works since imperialism had not yet emerged. In that case, let's refer to Stalin. The following passage explains specifically this matter, which incidentally seems to be overlooked by the MKP:

“Most appropriate to the concept of a basic economic law of capitalism is the law of surplus value, the law of the origin and growth of capitalist profit. (...) The main features and requirements of the basic economic law of modern capitalism might be formulated roughly, in this way: the securing of the maximum capitalist profit through the exploitation, ruin and impoverishment of the majority of the population of the given country, through the enslavement and systematic robbery of the peoples of other countries, especially backward countries, and, lastly, through wars and militarization of the national economy, which are utilized for the obtaining of the highest profits.” (Stalin, Works, Vol 16, p. 23) []

Additionally, what is said in the Congress Documents on the semi-feudal relations and the semi-feudal economy is also noteworthy. According to the MKP's Congress Documents, an economy is either feudal or capitalist. Their argument rests on the thought that a relation cannot be semi-feudal and semi-capitalist. (p. 36)

Is this how Lenin lays out this issue? No.

What is the semi-feudal economy in the Marxist sense: It is an economic style in which the characteristics of both the feudal and the capitalist economy are present in such a way that where one begins and the other ends is very imprecise; characteristics of both economy are intimately blended into each other in countless combination possibilities. It is not that physically half the country's economy is feudal and the other half capitalist. Lenin explains the matter in this way:

"Present-day landlord economy in Russia combines features of both capitalism and serf-ownership. (...) [T]o attempt to enumerate all individual cases, to weigh each individual case, and to determine with the precision of an apothecary’s scales exactly where serf-ownership ends and pure capitalism begins, is to ascribe one’s own pedantry to the Marxists. We cannot calculate what portion of the price of provisions bought from a petty shopkeeper represents labour-value and what part of it represents swindling, etc." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 261-262) []

Can it be any clearer and more comprehensible than this?




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