One such criticism presented numerously albeit redundantly to communists is the argument that communism breeds bureaucracy, as supposedly demonstrated in countries where communism was attempted such as China and the Soviet Union. Not only is the claim false and overused, but it is of general ignorance as to what a government’s job is in it’s existence. Admittedly, bureaucracy did indeed exist at time within said countries, but it was always combated against. Furthermore, bureaucracy itself is not at all a central element of communism and is in fact opposite to communist theory. I will attempt to briefly explain the issue of bureaucracy and communism, as well as alternatives to bureaucracy such as adhocracy and technocracy.
Bureaucracy’s definition is basically organization of society from the top down; if unchecked it leads to elitism and extension of class struggle. Because of this, interests can further become shifted to suit the bureaucratic class rather than the masses themselves. The conditions derived from a highly bureaucratic state lead to class compromise rather than a practical attitude to the world. In itself, bureaucracy as being a form of highly organized government can be used for positive means so long as it is checked where necessary. For example, given the initial conditions of Russia it was inevitable that a high level of organization among the vanguard party led by Lenin was necessary. It is therefore, merely a baseless argument that anti-Communists claim the Soviet Union was made into a bureaucratic mess under Stalin; bureaucracy had existed prior to his leadership having both it’s negatives and positives. Bureaucracy in itself is inherently undemocratic and denies worker’s democracy and can even lead to compromising, near-bourgeoisie aspects such as reformism, if it is even to be that leftist in it’s nature. Suppression of proletarian democracy, the formation of a class of elite officials granted more rights and privileges above the proletariat, the substitution of government for oligarchy, conformist tendencies, and strong nationalistic tendencies are the results of bureaucracy if unchecked. Being so focused on a democratic, classless, and generally internationally based society, it is therefore inherently un-Marxist for bureaucracy to be allowed to occur in a socialist government. However, as I have mentioned, having structure and organization is not a bad thing among the vanguard party so long as democratic centralism is practiced efficiently, checks performed, and the mass line theory is properly followed as well as possible; the masses should retain their power, influence, roles and there should not ultimately be that much difference between social classes in the socialist hierarchy; if this is the case then the dream of communism will become delayed. Communists acknowledge this to varying extents, and they acknowledge that the socialist countries that previously existed had their own issues at times, but they furthermore acknowledge they did in fact attempt to combat bureaucracy wherever necessary; this defeats the argument of capitalists that communism results in mere bureaucracy. Take a look at your own system and you will see elements of bureaucracy existing within the bourgeoisie, those who control the means of production and society moreover. Furthermore, Marx would point out that bureaucracy derives from the state, religion, commerce, and technology, all of which are exploited in the capitalist system, not the communist system. Marx would go on to have positive and negative views of bureaucracy just as any mature communist should.
Adhocracy is the opposite of bureaucracy, however. It is simply put organization from the bottom up of society; the masses themselves retain the most control through collective, democratically based government. Adhocracy in itself is more communistic than bureaucracy; a balance of the two with generally strong leanings toward adhocracy is necessary in the development and sustainability of a socialist state. It is more organic in it’s structure, and requires the people themselves to thrive; is is therefore method of problem solving and innovation, whereas bureaucracy can possibly lead to compromise and so forth as mentioned. Ultimately, adhocracy is more about directly dealing with issues and getting thins done head-on rather than bureaucracy which may attempt to sidestep the issue altogether as long as possible. Nonetheless, I again place emphasis on the need to balance the two, again with emphasis being on adhocracy of course. Wherever bureaucracy in the previously existing socialist countries was combated against, more adhocractic styles of organization were instituted in balance. Also in contrast to these two concepts is technocracy, in which the government is primarily controlled by those of scientific background such as engineers, elected through democracy with meritocratic terms. Technocracy is a bit bureaucratic, yes, but it is an interesting concept. Technocracy, if not strictly bureaucratic and elitist can have it’s grounds in a socialist state, as it would mean the smartest and most scientific would retain a high level of influence. However, I believe society should not actually be led and organized through only engineers and such, but rather their influence should be made more apparent; they shall not gain oligarchical, bureaucratic control, but the vanguard party will be a mix of revolutionaries and scientists, so to speak, always placing the most emphasis on the masses of course, and again keeping balance between organizational systems. Furthermore, technocracy implies a sense of Atheism. Communism should not push away religion altogether, as such would be viewed in a negative light by many as well as being inherently too leftist and ridiculous. If any influence of technocratic organization were to be a part of a socialist state, religious figures should also have a say in matters to keep balance, so long as they do not use their religion as a tool of oppression for the bourgeoisie, and of perversion like religion is so often used for. Arrogance shall not be tolerated as well. Again, keep in mind that religion such as Christianity supports Communism very well, and therefore religion should not be dismissed from communist theory and practice, but new and more relevant views should be established. The bottom line is that in order to achieve and sustain socialism, let alone communism, we must recognize the necessity to retain a healthy balance between these methods of organization. And now I will respond to criticisms made by anti-Communists and far-leftist Communists who claim previous socialist states were “bureaucratic monsters.”
Albania: Ignoring Hoxha’s dramatic improvements to Albania, which had previously been the poorest European country, capitalists will claim Hoxha’s Albania was strongly bureaucratic. This is a fallacy, as during Albania’s cultural revolution of 1967 to 1971, bureaucracy was condemned. 85% of the APL was comprised of workers. Hoxha constantly warned of high levels of bureaucratic, technocratic, and other negative, unbalanced aspects and therefore constantly fought against these negatives. He directly stated that bureaucracy was “great and deeply rooted in evil.” He further stated: “Socialism does not need bureaucrats and technicians who believe only their own ‘genius,’ it needs cadres who purge themselves and live with the masses.” Over two-thirds of the nation’s income was generated directly be the working class, and furthermore, the cultural and ideological revolutions were based on the concept of a People’s War; the people themselves retained high levels of control. As a result of combating bureaucracy and achieving balance, literacy had increased, health-care improvements and education reform was made, woman’s rights were granted, and so forth. Negatives that arose from Albania such as strict religious policy and nationalism were the result of growing tensions and a growing reactionary nature of Hoxha; they were mistakes on Hoxha’s part but in no way disprove socialism or Hoxha’s many positive contributions to Albania based upon less bureaucracy, more adhocracy.
The Soviet Union: When bureaucracy was recognized as a growing concern among the Union, Stalin was more than ready to combat it. The Central Committee called for 25,000 workers to go to the countryside to help collectivization; 70,000 attended and 28,000 were selected among these workers (the working class; the masses). “They looked to the Stalin revolution for the final victory of socialism after years of war, hardship and deprivation… They saw the revolution as a solution to backwardness, seemingly endemic food shortages, and capitalist encirclement.” Much emphasis was made to these workers of their importance to the Central Committee, by the Committee themselves. January 1930, 25,000 arrived on “the front line of collectivization,” helping to further achieve the realization of collectivization. Upon their arrival, the 25,000 were set to defeat bureaucratic elements that had arisen; the masses themselves combating bureaucracy, a rather adhocratic concept. These 25,000 saw negative elements of corruption that had been existing in the countryside (furthermore, many deaths atrributed directly to Stalin would come from un-authorized acts and abuse of power by officials in the countrysides) and fought against such negative elements directly. They furthermore played a leading role in the struggle with the Kulaks, who of course were resilient and backwards in their nature of these people, killing many (the Kulaks killed many of the 25,000 viewing them as soldiers of the Anti-Christ because of their barbaric, backward nature). These same 25,000 would go on to improve collective conditions, literacy, and other such issues of the time. A common claim by Trotsky, the opportunist of the time, was that Stalin was a bureaucratic monster. As demonstrated by relying strongly on the masses themselves, this is not true. Bureaucracy did exist, but it had even existed in Lenin’s time. What was needed was balance with emphasis on adhocracy and this just what Stalin achieved. Further negatives of Stalin’s leadership would arise, but again, the majority of Marxist-Leninists could argue why these are irrelevant, or exaggerated. Highly suggested work of literature.