The Central Executive Committee, named by the general Congress of
Soviets and said to represent the central executive power of the USSR, is
composed of about 600 members. It meets once a year or so, for a few
days, to perform the formality of approving acts that were accomplished
long ago by the higher authority.
The latter, named by the Central Executive Committee, is made up of
a praesidium of 30 members and the various commissars of the people,
who exercise legislative and executive power between sessions of the Central Committee, that is, practically all the time.
The "New Constitution", "adopted" on the 5th of December, 1936,
does not suggest a basic change in government. It merely consecrates the
Soviets as municipal councils (which they always were), replaces the Central Executive Committee with a "Supreme Council of the Union" and the
praesidium of the Central Executive Committee with a praesidium of the
Supreme Council. These are new names for the old fakes. They will not
give the country one shred of real liberty.
The mentioned highest authority exercises its power by means of a
bureaucracy appointed administratively by the directors of the commissariats and the praesidiums. This bureaucracy does not depend in the
slightest degree on the supposed electors.
In other words, the entire scaffolding of delegates to the different
Soviets has not a bit of power. There is nothing of the original Soviets
about them; for the principle of the Soviets of 1917 was that all power
should come from below, that State power should be exercised by the base.
In the present Russian system, the higher organs of government exercise
absolute power. Everything is decided on and accomplished in the offices
of the various commissariats. Not a law, not a decree, not a decision,
springs from the workers at the social base. Not a law, not a decree, not a
decision is proposed by the Central Executive Committee or the Congress
of Soviets. In practice, no law, no decree, no decision has even the need of
being approved by the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of
Soviets. Every decree, every decision of a permanent organ of the government is immediately applicable and is immediately applied. One, two or
three years later, these acts will receive, in a lump, the automatic approval
of the approving machines that we described above.
Absolutism is total here. A so-called People's Commissar is a minister
possessing unlimited power in his department. He has no opposition to
contend with. No organization, no Parliament, no instrument of public
opinion, not even any purely verbal criticism, can gainsay his acts. True,
the supreme Leader of the Communist Party can organize the villification
of a commissar—when he wants to destroy him, or when he wants to
burden him with the responsibility for his own mistakes. Otherwise, no
minister, no great executive power in any country has a power equal to
that of a Soviet People's Commissar as long as he remains in accord with
the power which behind the false facade of the Soviet constitution (old or
new) is the veritable master.
We shall now examine the real Soviet State.