Draft Programme of the RCP, USA
Draft Programme Part 2
The New Socialist Economy
Part 2: Agriculture, City and Countryside, Ecology, and Planning
Maoism approaches economic development as an interdependent whole. It strives for integrated and egalitarian development. It takes account of the immediate and pressing needs of society and of the long-term goals and long-term effects of economic-social development.
Capitalism mobilizes human and material resources according to the dictates of profit and evaluates economic performance within that narrow framework. Socialism, by contrast, insists on a kind of “social balance sheet.” For instance, agricultural land-use has health and environmental repercussions; what is called the “built environment”—of residential dwellings, public buildings and spaces, and transport systems—reflects society’s values and shapes the experience of daily life. These sorts of issues are part of the framework of economic calculation and planning under socialism.
In carrying out socialist construction in the former United States, the proletarian state will pay attention to certain key economic-social interrelationships and transformations, among which are:
•the interconnections between agriculture and industry and the alliances that the proletariat forges with farmers;
•the nature of and balance between urban and rural development;
•the relationship between economic development and the preservation of ecological systems.
These are complex and crucial concerns, requiring that priorities be set and planning be carried out. Indeed, there is no rational, informed, and functional way of guiding development and meeting these concerns unless a system of planning is put in place—for socialist society as a whole and, ultimately and most profoundly, on a global communist level. Socialist planning combines society-wide coordination with local adaptation, local initiative, and local experimentation. It relies on the masses of people.
I. Transforming Agriculture
The agricultural population in the U.S., including both farmworkers and farm owners, is small (in absolute numbers and relative to the rest of the U.S. population). But so long as the contradiction between industry and agriculture remains —so long as these are qualitatively different and separate sectors of the economy—agriculture will be the foundation of the economy.
Agricultural production is extremely important to the functioning of U.S. society and will be a crucial question for the proletarian revolution, both in winning power and in carrying out socialist transformation.
Upon coming to power, the proletariat will promote the development of a rational agriculture that provides ample, healthful, and secure food supplies; that encourages environmentally and biologically sound farming practices; and that provides security of livelihood for those engaged in agricultural production.
In reorganizing agriculture, the proletariat’s policies will emphasize achieving state ownership as quickly and broadly as possible, relying first and foremost on the farmworkers in the rural areas.
Through its state, the proletariat will nationalize the great farm input and output monopolies (agribusiness) which today exert such dominance over means of production, distribution of farm products, and research and development. It will reorganize them according to the above principles and place them at the service of the masses in the whole country.
In expropriating the banks and other financial institutions, the proletariat will also cancel the mortgage and debt burden that weighs so heavily on the large majority of farmers.
Private ownership of parcels of land, and of the means of production needed to farm the land, is an obstacle to utilizing land and developing agriculture in a way that benefits society as a whole. A key means through which the proletariat in power will transform this situation and create the basis for the rational and all-sided development of agriculture is nationalization of land: making land the property of society through state ownership.
Nationalization of land stands at the center of the proletariat’s strategy for uniting with its allies among the farmers and developing agriculture along socialist lines.
Immediately with the seizure of power, those large landowners who do not farm their own property and big farmers who are mainly dependent on hired labor will be expropriated without compensation. Their lands, as well as equipment, buildings, and other capital assets, will be turned over to the farmworkers and semi-proletarian small farmers (those who farm and also work for wages) through the establishment of state farms. Or, where this is not yet possible, land will be allotted to farmers to work.
As for the great majority of owner-operators who do not exploit labor to any significant degree. Whether their holdings are small, medium, or even fairly large, the first step will be to allot them shares of nationalized land to farm—provided they do not actively oppose the revolution. This policy would apply, for instance, to many corn and wheat farmers.
These actions, together with the proletariat’s firm consolidation of power and its first major steps in transforming industry along socialist lines, will clear the way for the rapid and balanced development of socialized agriculture.
On the basis of the initial nationalization of the land, the proletariat, relying first and foremost on the agricultural workers and secondly on the masses of (mainly) non-exploiting farmers, will be able to achieve increased production on expropriated and state-owned land.
It will also be able to bring about in a fairly short period the socialized ownership and use of farm equipment, buildings, etc., and of agricultural production in general. Again, this will be achieved mainly through the establishment of nationalized state farms (of varying sizes, depending on particular conditions).
If the proletariat is going to succeed in carrying out these policies with its farmer allies, it cannot rely on political compulsion. Instead, it must win these farmers to see that such socialization is the only way forward, the only way to move beyond the conditions characteristic of capitalism that dictate that they will be squeezed, ruined, or crushed.
On the other hand, the proletariat cannot conciliate with the petty proprietor aspects of these farmers’ outlook and inclinations. This would only weaken, not strengthen, this alliance, and would only send the farmers, as well as other middle forces, scurrying to the enemy camp.
In those sectors of farming where individual ownership has its strongest base, such as grain, and where the conditions will not generally be favorable for the immediate development of state-owned agriculture, the proletariat will use its control of the input and output sectors to influence and lead the farmers in the direction of socialist cooperation and socialist ownership.
These changes will be taking place in the context of society aiming to overcome the division between agriculture and industry, and the division between urban and rural areas. As a first step towards breaking down these divisions, the proletarian state will further develop industry, transport, and communications in the rural areas. It will also allocate resources to overcome social, educational, and other inequalities between rural and urban areas.
Through the kinds of measures described, it will become clear to many farmers that a guaranteed wage for farming paid by the state is a far more effective source of security than the government “support” programs that could never meet their needs under capitalism.
But again, in agriculture the proletariat will rely mainly on the great numbers of farmworkers. They will be immediately employed. And they will be the main force in consolidating proletarian rule in the rural areas and carrying forward its policies for the socialist transformation of agriculture.
The miserable conditions in which farmworkers are forced to live will be immediately abolished. Special priority will be given to constructing decent housing and other facilities for farmworkers, providing them with basic necessities, including health care. The socialist state will put a stop to the use of hazardous farm chemicals that endanger farmworkers’ health, as well as that of the larger population.
In carrying out its agricultural and nationalization policies, the proletariat must also pay special attention to land issues bound up with the historic oppression of Black, Chicano, and Native American peoples and to the special needs of farmers of the oppressed nationalities (see appendix “Uprooting National Oppression and White Supremacy”).
II. Transforming the Cities and Breaking Down the Division Between Urban and Rural Areas
As mentioned, a key task of socialism is to break down the historic division between the urban and rural areas, in a step-by-step way over time. Decentralization will be a working principle.
Socialist cities will not be centers of bloated administration and consumption and a lifestyle fed by imperialist plunder and requiring huge service and “servant” classes. The rural areas will not be isolated from the rest of society and held in a state of economic and social backwardness.
The revolution will create new links between town and country, between agriculture and industry, and between the working people in both spheres.
Maoist Urban Planning: Creating New Types of Cities and Urban-Suburban Development
The size of cities will be consciously restricted. Cities will also be restructured to produce for more of their own needs and requirements, including efforts to develop local urban food production.
As the cities are rebuilt, new construction and economic-social planning will integrate work, residence, and community. For example, small-scale factories will be sited in neighborhoods, and neighborhoods will engage in various productive activities. Things like theaters and community gardens will be located where people live and work.
People will gain an overall awareness of the urban habitat and will be consciously shaping patterns of development. The socialist city will thrive on a new kind of “social space”—a joining of economic, social, and cultural activities where people live—to create a “social solidarity” where before there was disconnectedness.
The characteristic mode of suburban development will be halted and reversed. No longer will suburbs be bastions of segregation and privilege. The extreme isolation from the cities and rural areas of “bedroom” communities structured around individual home and car ownership will end. Urban/suburban sprawl, with its highways, strip malls, and overuse of land, will be countered through the measures of integrating work, living, and community.
Socialist Construction and the Rural Areas
The proletariat will end the extreme poverty and isolation of whole rural areas of the country, like south Texas, Appalachia, and the Mississippi Delta. People and material resources will be sent to such areas in order to develop industry, agriculture, transport, and communications, as well as educational, health, and recreational facilities, etc.
These measures will help both to reduce gaps in development and to draw the people who live there more fully into the activities of society overall. Youth will be unleashed to play a leading role to create new communities and mobilized to help transform existing ones.
The socialization of agriculture and the fact that there are large numbers of agricultural and non-agricultural workers in the rural areas will provide an important base and force for all-around transformation in these areas.
Smaller cities and towns, including those which have withered with the uncontrolled growth of the energy-intensive interstate highway system, will be developed as means of spreading productive forces throughout society. This will also be a big step toward overcoming the city/countryside division and will be important for the balanced development and use of land throughout the socialist country.
A general goal of the new society will be for people to live in closer proximity to agricultural land and in closer connection with agricultural production.
The socialist principle of “exchange of experience”—with masses from different economic and social sectors and regions sharing knowledge and learning from the practice and struggle of others—will be of great importance in overcoming the gap between urban and rural areas, industry and agriculture.
III. “Socialist Sustainable Development” and Ecology
Proletarian revolution in the U.S. will be a giant leap in changing the realities of the global environment. Imperialism has produced a wasteful and destructive pattern of economic activity and industrial development. Its profit-above-all-else, blind expansionary nature, its turning of more and more of nature into a commodity, its wars and weapons of mass destruction—all this is strangling the fundamental ecosystems of the planet.
The proletariat seeks to achieve conscious social control of production. This requires that the well-being of the natural environment—the renewal of ecosystems and the ability of ecosystems to assimilate waste from human productive activity—be maintained. Natural resources will be used to further social development but will not be a means to accumulate private wealth.
In rebuilding and restructuring the economy along radically different lines, the new proletarian state will move immediately to counter environmental damage caused by centuries of capitalist development. The cleanup of toxic waste dumps will be urgently undertaken. Measures to deal with air, water, and soil pollution, and the complex problem of nuclear waste, will be incorporated into short- and longer-term economic plans.
In connection with other transformations in society, step-by-step efforts will be undertaken to develop technology, industrial/agricultural systems, and infrastructure that are economically productive, ecologically rational, and socially just.
Transportation will be moved away from automobile/highway centered transport. The senseless burning up of oil to have people commute to work hours away must end. Safe and fuel-efficient transportation and mass transit will be given priority in all new development, restructuring, and research.
The socialist economy will combine large-scale with diversified small-scale production. Recycling and multi-use of materials and products (rather than items just serving one purpose and one round of production), waste management, and conservation of resources will be fundamental economic practices at all levels of the economy and society. Such a system of production would no longer be focused on long-distance supplies and deliveries but rather on interchanges within local and regional economies.
A goal of the new economy will be to move away from reliance on non-renewable and polluting fossil fuel technology, and to develop alternative, ecologically sound technologies, like geothermal, solar, and wind power.
The masses must be mobilized to solve ecological problems. Direct knowledge gained through particular experience will be combined with broad scientific knowledge.
Through mass education and campaigns, culture, and in other spheres of society, the socialist state will promote the outlook that humanity is the caretaker of the planet for present and future generations. Socialist society aims to interact with nature in a planned and rational way. People will gain a deepening and expanding understanding and appreciation of the richness of the natural world.
These are some key principles of “socialist sustainable development.”
IV. The Crucial Weapon of Planning
The proletariat will institute planning for the economy as a whole. This will be done on the foundation of state ownership of the major means of production in industry, the nationalization of the land, and important victories won in achieving state ownership in agriculture.
Socialist planning will take into account such critical relations as those involving: the various sectors of industry and agriculture; the various levels of socialization of ownership that have been achieved at any given time, along with the remaining small-scale private ownership in production and trade; the various regions of the country and their particular developmental needs and gaps; town and country; technology, the environment, and health; and the needs of the world revolution.
One of the most important tasks of socialist planning is to guide the deployment and allocation of the workforce in various areas of the country and spheres of the economy.
Under capitalism, the basic decisions as to where and how people work appear to be the result of individual choice. But in fact it is the workings of the market and the dynamics of capitalist accumulation that fundamentally govern these decisions: industries grow or contract; regions are built up or abandoned; the economy expands or enters into crisis. This anarchic drive of competing capitalists shapes employment demands and job opportunities.
At the same time, different sections of people have more or less access to the schooling which provides skills and “accreditation” that the market might reward, while millions of the poor and oppressed have creative energies that a profit-driven economy has absolutely no use for. Large sections of the population suffer from unemployment and underemployment. And everyone faces the prospect of losing a job.
Under socialism, the work people do will be based on the overall needs of the proletariat in carrying forward the socialist revolution, socialist economic construction, and the world revolution. The Party will mobilize its own members, and other class conscious people who volunteer, to be the leading force in going where work is most difficult. And in general, through the schools, factories, neighborhood committees, etc., and under the centralized leadership of the Party and the state, the people as a whole will be mobilized to meet the requirements of the plan in various areas and economic spheres.
Does this essentially boil down to people being simply “assigned” and “ordered” to particular jobs? No, but jobs will have to be allocated.
In dealing with issues of work and jobs, the socialist economy must rely first and foremost on the conscious activism of people. The aims and objectives of economic development, the needs and priorities that the socialist plan is speaking to—these things must be broadly discussed and debated throughout society as part of its implementation. And the formulation of the plan itself must be the product of mass discussion and struggle over the direction of society.
In other words, people will be taking on work assignments with an understanding of what this is part of and contributing to. The plan coordinates the allocation of social labor, but an atmosphere is being created and social movements and social debates are taking place…such that people are more and more consciously and voluntarily responding to the needs of society. Of course, people’s commitment to the larger interests of society will be uneven—and that is one important reason why there will and must be struggle over these questions.
Socialist planning must promote balanced and integrated growth that increases the masses’ collective mastery over the economy and that narrows social, economic, and regional inequalities—unlike the lopsided and distorted development of capitalism.
Planning will combine centralized leadership and direction with local initiative and administration. Socialist planning must give full play to local capabilities, creativity, and experimentation.
Planning is a crucial weapon of the proletariat in exercising and strengthening its control over the economy and carrying out further socialist transformation. But planning itself is neither equivalent to socialism nor guarantees it. And planning cannot simply be left to planners—full-time intellectual workers and officials—if it is to be socialist planning.
In carrying out socialist planning, the state, with the Party playing the leading role, must investigate and draw on the experience and ideas of the masses. And the masses themselves must be organized to sum up this experience and make suggestions with regard to planning, not only on the basic level, but for the country as a whole. Then this must be systematized and synthesized, and an overall plan for the economy developed centrally, which in turn must be taken up, discussed, and carried out by the masses.
Socialist society is in motion. It is dynamic and marked by far-ranging transformations. A socialist plan is not a straitjacket, but a means to consciously steer economic development.
Nothing in life proceeds in a straight line. Many new things will arise, and experiences will be gained in the course of carrying out a plan, especially a longer-term one, such as one covering five years. In addition, big and unexpected changes can take place—not only natural disasters and so forth, but also changes in political conditions, in the class struggle, domestically and internationally.
For all these reasons, the experience in carrying out the plan must be repeatedly summed up. And the plan must be flexible, to allow for adjustments in response to new conditions.
Planning, like all other aspects of transforming and developing the economy and all other spheres of society along socialist lines, is a process of struggle: against bourgeois- bureaucratic methods and those who would practice them. Socialist planning can only be carried out in the interests of the proletariat by involving and fundamentally relying on the masses with the guidance of a scientific, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line and method.
In planning, as in everything else, revolutionary politics must be in command.
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