On the Road Toward the Finalization of the Party Programme! During World Historic Times--We Need World Historic Answers

On Lopsidedness and Parasitism

Revolutionary Worker #1229, February 15, 2004, posted at rwor.org

The following is an excerpt of a comment received from a RCP comrade speaking to questions of socialist economy and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Parasitism in the Draft Program

What I want to raise in this paper is not specific wording changes to the DP, but a broader concern that impacts a number of sections. The essence of my concern is that the DP does not fully enough confront the effects and implications of the U.S.'s historic and present position as #1 plunderer of the world. On one hand, I feel kind of stupid writing this because the DP is so infused with proletarian internationalism and it addresses the implications of this imperialist history in many different, and very important ways. Yet I still worry that we are falling short. I think that, just as when grappling with the road to power in the US, in projecting the socialist transformation, we have to recognize that we are truly "charting an uncharted course." There has never been a seizure of power in an imperialist superpower like the U.S. and consequently there has never been an attempt at socialist construction in a country that has experienced such an enormous degree of parasitism. My concerns flow from the implications of this fact and revolve around two connected problems.

1. Have we fully faced up to what we must do to reverse the enormous imperialist lopsidedness that has so benefited US society at the cost of the 3rd World?

2. How are we going to apply our 90/10 UFuLP approach in this imperialist country that is so profoundly bloated with parasitism?

Reversing the Lopsidedness

I think this question of reversing the lopsidedness of the world needs to be raised to higher political level and given more specific emphasis. I have had this concern since the beginning of the DP process and it was again brought to mind when I read the thread [on the 2changetheworld.info web site] where it accused the RCP of allowing "reparations to the exploited and super-exploited Third World take the backburner because `first priority [goes] to rebuilding and improving the ghettos, barrios and depressed rural areas'." .This point is worth thinking about. We have specifically developed the formulation "raising the bottom up" to characterize our approach to key areas where resources need to be devoted in socialist construction within the new socialist country. And this approach has everything to do with sustaining the unity of the Solid Core after the revolution. Isn't that same formulation equally valid as a guide for how a socialist society in the former US must approach the 3rd World.

First, this is a complicated question because, as the DP rightly stresses, it must be put in the context of the primary overall responsibility of the proletariat in power-serving as a base area for world revolution. Within that, reversing the lopsidedness is just one part of a very complex and constantly changing process involving the entire configuration of world economic and political relations at any given time. And in the section of Base Area for Revolution (p. 88), the DP specifically states:

"And the vast productive forces of the (former) U.S.-in large part accumulated through the plunder of other countries-will be unleashed not only for the benefit of people here, but to assist the exploited and oppressed the world over in their revolutionary struggles and in the revolutionary transformation of society once they have won state power."

Furthermore, many of the particulars that would be involved in reversing this lopsidedness are already described in the DP. In the part on The New Socialist Economy, Part 1, International Economic Relations (p. 122) the DP specifically states that the new socialist state will:

In the following section Class Struggle in Command (pp. 122-23), the final paragraph again stresses "The proletariat in power must utilize these productive forces first and above all to advance the world revolution toward the aim of overcoming all exploitative and unequal relations in the world, including the "great divide" between the imperialist and colonial (or neocolonial) countries."

The above is all important and good. But there is also some unevenness. While things such as continuing to supply spare parts and having an open-door approach to scientific knowledge are gone into in detail, there are no specifics about how the (former) U.S. is going to be involved in more fundamentally rebuilding the grossly disarticulated 3rd World economies. I realize this is a complicated question that first of all involves the conscious initiative of the masses of those countries along with the particularities of the world class struggle at any given time. And the US certainly cannot impose anything on formerly oppressed people. But it does seem to me that at least we should try to give some rough outline of what we would hope to do-things like supplying materials and resources and sending scientific and technical teams to assist 3rd World Countries in transforming their societies. Related to this is the fact that the section on The Crucial Weapon of Planning (p. 131-33) only describes planning in relationship to the internal economy of the socialist state and makes no reference to the significant resources that would be needed to play our role of a base area overall and in particular-especially as the world revolution proceeds-to reverse the lopsidedness of the world.

What I am concerned about is the tremendous material pulls that will surface after making a revolution in a society like the US that has been so infused with the benefits of the world's lopsidedness.. Instead, I think we have to confront that lopsidedness head on and from every angle. We need to repeatedly and in every way possible raise the masses consciousness about our responsibility to reverse that lopsidedness. With all the other challenges of socialist construction, it seems to me that devoting resources to reversing this lopsidedness could be a chauvinist "blind spot" unless it is not constantly struggled against. That is why I think the concept of "Raising the Bottom Up" should guide not only our domestic policy but also our international one. I think the importance of the proletariat in power leading the masses to devote significant resources to reversing this lopsidedness needs to have greater emphasis in the DP.

From the Draft Programme

International Economic Relations

Proletarian internationalism comes first in all economic relations.

With the other socialist states that exist or come into being, trade will be carried out under the principles of equality and proletarian internationalism, to aid the construction of socialism in these countries and the world revolution.

Trade policies will also have to be developed toward imperialist and other reactionary states. But the new state will not put economic agreements and exchanges with other countries above its responsibility to support revolutionary movements in these countries. In some cases, in order to support the class struggle in these countries and internationally, the socialist state will refuse to carry out trade with them, or refuse to trade in some items.

The new socialist economy will end all imperialist relations with other countries, especially those previously dominated and oppressed by U.S. imperialism. The debts owed by Third World countries to the banking institutions and government agencies of the old economy will be canceled. All unequal trade treaties will be repudiated.

At the same time, the new state will meet its obligations. For instance, it will provide technical and financial assistance for helping to clean up and reverse environmental damage. It will also continue to deliver spare parts, equipment, and so forth to countries which the U.S. imperialists had made dependent on them but which may still require external supplies.

This will have to be done in accordance with the overall international situation and the conditions that the socialist state itself faces at a given time-including whether the new state is forced to defend itself against actual military attack from remaining imperialist and reactionary states and how far it has progressed in meeting the most basic and urgent needs of the masses in the country. Further-more, in dealing with matters of supplies and assistance to countries that U.S. imperialism formerly dominated, the so-cialist state must also factor in the nature of these countries, the class struggle within them, and their role internationally.

As for so-called "intellectual property rights." The class-conscious proletariat stands opposed to them and the new so-cialist state will tear up all such property rights carried over from the old society.

The fruits of imperialism's lopsided research and development apparatus, which drains scientific talent from around the world, especially the poor nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, will be made available to the people of the world. Scientific knowledge will be shared, and no longer will medicines and so forth be "protected" by patent and royalty, and priced to be out of reach to those who so desperately need them.