ON THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT 71
Now what does Lenin, who according to Balibar was guilty of a mechanistic deviation, say: "The first phase of communism [that is, socialism], therefore, cannot yet provide justice and equality: differences, and unjust differences, in wealth will still persist, but the exploitation of man by man will have become impossible because it will be impossible to seize the means of production—the factories, machines, land, etc—and make them private property.5'3 Balibar, however, assures us that there will be exploitation under socialism. Perhaps, in his view, the dictatorship of the proletariat has to guard this exploitation during the entire transition period.
Totally misunderstanding socialism, the first phase of Communism, Balibar declares that socialism is not an independent social formation, not a mode of production. This is an attempt to reduce socialism to a variant of capitalism in the name of stressing the transitional character of the period. This wrong conclusion is reached by overstressing the existence of capitalist survivals, by underestimating the role of associated labour working without exploitation, and working without antagonistic relations between different members and sections of the labour fraternity. Balibar confuses the beginning of the fight for socialist society when capitalist relations are very strong with the stage when these relations have been eliminated.
Marx, in pointing out the characteristics of the first phase of Communism (socialism),tells us that though the means of production are socially owned, each is paid according to labour, not according to needs. Payment according to labour is the last surviving form of bourgeois right which disappears in the next phase with the tremendous development of the productive forces rendered possible by the expropriation of capitalists and the abolition of the division of labour.
This survival of bourgeois right and division of labour does not make socialist society an exploiters' society akin to capitalism. By suggesting this through his erroneous argument, Balibar denigrates the importance of socialism in the forward march to Communism. What is wrong here is the denigration of socialism and its achievements in the name of loyalty to the cause of Communism.What is wrong here is the rejection and repudiation of the concrete achievements of socialist countries during the last six decades,a la the revisionists. Nowhere does he refer to the fact that there is no economic crisis and no unemployment in socialist economies, that the standard of living is constantly rising, that the all-round welfare of the masses is increasing in all countries from