Now that the Communist Party of South Africa has been unbanned, it is possible to discuss its mistaken policies openly in South Africa. We reprint below a letter published in the Johannesburg "Star" on 26 February.
In the article "Alone is my joy—after 40 years" [The Star, February 8), Joe Openshaw states: "After 1948 I ceased being an active communist but continued to have faith in the economic arguments propagated in ‘Das Kapital’ and in Marxism".
And he concludes: "The upheavals in the Soviet Union and in the communist bloc have shaken me, but joining the Communist Party seemed a good idea at the time. My conviction still is that socialism could work if not perverted".
The last point, "the perversion' of socialism”, has been the central deception of the Bolsheviks from before 1917: and their followers, as well as their mainstream opponents and detractors, have "gone along with" the distortions of Marxism, to support the introduction and development of state capitalism in Russia and elsewhere. The Leninists "adapted” Marxism to suit their programmes after the overthrow of Tsarist feudalism.
Joe, your "faith” in Das Kapital and Marxism is very sad, in view of the obvious fact that you have never understood either of these. Das Kapital defines capitalism as a system of commodity production based upon wage-labour and capital, whose purpose is the realisation of the surplus- value wrung from the working class and contained in all commodities. This system prevails in Russia and in all modern countries in this world.
Finally, Marxism does not propose or support minority and/or insurrectionary action for/by/on behalf of the world's working class, but insists on the need for the democratic self-conscious, political act of the said class—when sufficiently enlightened—to replace commodity production by production solely for use, freely and willingly, based on the new relationship of common ownership and control of social production by the whole of society; not by the state, which will no longer function.