He has no land of his own. "Land to the peasants" has been changed
to "Land to the State."
The agricultural laborer does piece-work, like his brother in the
factory. The relations that the factory worker finds most hateful in his
place of work exist also in the fields. There are "norms" to fulfill at
any cost, fines for work that is badly performed, for lateness, for lack
of respect to superiors, etc.
The Soviet workers in the fields and in the cities are new serfs. They
lead a miserable existence. Their food is doled out to them. They are
not free to act, to speak, to go where they want to go. They are constantly forced to learn, to digest, to think an official religion, a single
catechism, from which their minds may in no way be diverted.
Labor is in the USSR, as elsewhere, the only source of all value. But
as everywhere else, the workers do not receive anything near the product
of their labor. They are victims of a "distribution" of the total social
wealth that is more scandalously unequal than that existing in any avowed
capitalist country. They are robbed of the product of their labor, and
they have not the possibility of seeking to go where they might get a
little more for their labor power, because they are attached to the agricultural enterprise and to the factory.
The Small and Middle Employee
The Soviet "employees", taken as a whole, constitute an intermediate
class in Russia. In the Soviet regime, they are both pariahs and privileged, as compared to the workers. They serve as a buffer between the
State, the lower bureaucratic functions of which they execute, and the
workers, whom they direct. These are the "bureaucrats" who transmit
the orders from above. Ensconced in their office cages, they distribute
food cards, giving the citizen the right to a meager ration; they transmit
and establish the norms required by the top. They are the innumerable
little bosses who watch that the producer does not transgress against the
They are detested by the workers and the agricultural laborers. To
the latter, they appear to represent the part of society that does not
produce, for they are many and are the tangible and ever present personification of the parasitism of the regime. It is they who are often envied
by the workers, for it is them whom the workers see every day, while
the big fellows, the real bosses, are much more "invisible" than the real
bosses in the avowed capitalist countries. And the veritable masters do
not fail to exploit the optic error of the workers in order to turn the hate
of the masses from themselves to the helpless "employees". When they
speak up on high about the mistakes, bad ways, and the lack of interest
of the bureaucracy, it is these little "employees" who are meant.
Since in no country are so many offices and sub-officials needed as in
the "planned" and economically organized USSR, the numerical growth
of the class of small "employees" is astounding. For 21,000,000 workers
(not counting the peasants) there are at least 8,000,000 employees.
Stooping over his papers, the "employee" establishes contact with
the center by accomplishing the bureaucratic tasks necessary for the