According to this idea of Marxism-Leninism, the productive forces are the driving force of world history. In increasing magnitude, the mechanical means of production are supposed to contradict the mode of production and thus in the end forcefully bring about socialism as a solution to this contradiction.
Now, one may comprehend capitalism as a contradiction between forces and relations of production: private property monopolizes the social forces of production in the form of cooperation, natural science and technology. But what comes of this is just the accumulation of capital, which clamps on the increasing scale of social labor for its expansion. And this is the outright opposite of a breakdown of the capitalist mode of production, as should supposedly follow from the conflict between forces and relations of production.
The mistake of the whole idea is that a means of production is said to determine a purpose of production. Just as if, with a strongly developed machinery, socialism were a naturally and quasi-automatically self-adjusting mode of production, but in the case of substandard means of production, capitalism or feudalism match perfectly. Nothing at all directly follows from the steam engine or the microchip – what purposes those involved want to apply or don’t want to put up with any longer is the whole reason for the establishment or overthrow of a mode of economics.
However, MLs readily argue a validity test for their law: a planned economy for the purpose of need satisfaction would not at all be possible without developed productive forces. An objection that will be and can be mistaken: If a lack of sophisticated means of production still limits the general satisfaction of needs for the time being, then just a reduced execution of this purpose follows and certainly not a change in the purpose of production. Perhaps according to the motto: If need satisfaction in socialism has only limited success, capitalism, which stands in opposition to it, is the proper – because historically necessary – economy. The advancement of machinery which MLs argue as the condition of their leap to socialism is a bad joke. As if the construction of productive and labor-saving machines were simply not possible for a socialist engineer and only capitalist exploitation is an adequate reason to supply sophisticated tools.
Then, in accord with this false concept, the history of humanity for the MLs turns out to be a constant succession of superior modes of production from the Stone Age up to feudalism up to capitalism, which is replaced by socialism. Every kind of exploitation is justified and criticized at the same time: Justified, because even slave and serf labor have advanced the productive forces; criticized, because their social order is said to have hindered their advance. So it comes about that Marxist-Leninist socialists, with their stages model of history, have thought that for certain people socialism is unadvisable, and capitalism is: namely for the Chinese, who wanted to go from feudalism to socialism, but shouldn’t because that is not at all in accord with ML.
That a law of history is at work to which people must keep whether they want to or not, like a law of nature, Lenin already involuntarily disproved with his revolution: in the feudalistic czardom he incited socialism among the masses instead of obliging them to an odious capitalism as the next stage.
The contents of the aforementioned ML-doctrine exist then in something quite different than having revealed an actually valid law. The doctrine is nothing but a moral justification which makes an interest into a non-rejectable and uncriticizable historical necessity. Socialism is thus regarded as nothing but a service to progress which history has personally put on the agenda. As long as MLs march on the road to victory, this adulation of their own activity is effectively meaningless. However, as soon as failure arises, the opportunism of this way of thinking is shown. Now that the GDR has given up and has put DM-capitalism in place, all MLs want to have always known it. The change of heart forced by the FRG-imperialism is interpreted as a failure of socialism, which for a trained ML philosopher proves only one thing: socialism wasn’t yet on the historical agenda, thus one must cheerfully say hello to capitalism as the appropriate mode of production. Here it is then left for them to comfortably wait and drink tea until at some point in the distant future history beckons with its next stage . . .
ML Rule of Three
Socialism has failed in the GDR because the productive forces were not yet developed far enough.
Therefore capitalism is the historically necessary mode of production.
In it the productive forces are so sophisticated that socialism rises to the agenda.
Right? Or rather not at all?