chapter  14
12 Pages

Bukharin and the Problem of Bureaucracy in the Transition Period

WithErnest Mandel

The chapter addresses the following questions: What was the central political debate within the Communist party in the Soviet Union in the twenties? The elimination of Soviet democracy, of political activity on the part of the working class, and, together with that, albeit somewhat more slowly, the elimination of democracy inside the CPSU—official sources now admit that this occurred in 1924 at the latest—were the immediate sources of Stalinist dictatorship and its catastrophic consequences. In 1918, Nikolai Bukharin adopted the same wording: "The proletarian dictatorship is not a parliamentary republic but a communist state, without police, standing army, or professional civil servants". In his Economics of the Transition Period, he stressed the need for self-organization and self-activity on the part of the working class, including during times of greatest economic distress. In the history of the struggle for a more human—we might also say more efficient—road to socialism, Bukharin undoubtedly occupies an important and honorable place.