The Real Power
The study of the Rights of Man and of our Constitution tells us little
about the real makeup of our society. To understand what hides behind the
red flag of the USSR, we must make before the fictitious power of the
Russian Soviets the same effort at critical thought that we exert before
the false front of the traditional bourgeois republic.
The essential political organization of the USSR is the Communist
Party, usually referred to simply as "the Party".
The Party includes 1,500.000 to 2,000,000 active members. Besides,
there is the "waiting list" of 500 to 800 thousand aspiring members. This
for a population of 168 million.
There are few^hj revolutionaries, old Bolsheviks from the period of
revolutionary struggle, left in the Farty. They play in it the role of
honorary rpprn^'pra proy^^ with sinecures.
Since 1924, it is the,young who compose the enormous majority of the
Party membership. They are disciplined soldiers obeying without a murmur. The great majority of the Party is composed of workers or former
workers. But all the chiefs, today as formerly, are intellectuals. Whether
by chance or for other reasons, the party is the reduced image of the entire Soviet society. On one side, you have the "initiates", the leaders, the
directors, the possessors of Reasons, Science and Power. On the other side
are the troops, subjected to a strict discipline. <^-*m—m»
To enter the Party, the candidate must undergo a probationary stage
and have some sponsors.
For a worker; the probationary stage is 6 months, and he must have
2 sponsors with more than a year's membership. A soldier needs 6 months'
probation, but he requires 2 sponsors with 2 years' membership. The
peasant and artisan need one year's probation and 3 sponsors with 2 years'
membership. Clerks and intellectuals need two years' probation and 5
sponsors with 5 years' membership.
The young intellectual—the. careerist who wants to get to the top
quickly (and for that, party membership is indispensable)—hires himself
out as a worker in order to enter the Party sooner and to profit, through
his entire career, by the advantages accruing to an origin that has remained
privileged, for demagogic reasons as well as out of sheer inertia.
At the opening of the periodic recruiting campaign (for which the
candidates have, of course, been preparing all the time by canvassing for
recommendations and seeking all possible aid to enter the Party), the
center decides in advance, depending on the policy of the moment, what
percentage of new members will be recruited from the various sections of
the population. It is decided, for example, to permit the inclusion of 75%
new members of worker origin, 10% of peasant origin, 30% women, 70%
Each candidates then undergoes a political examination in the local
communist cell, and the district committee decides whether of not the
applicant should be admitted. To be admitted, good intentions are not