The discussion of the League of Communists as the embodiment of the “collective intellectual” continues, after which Bahro treats economic and other aspects of the envisaged Cultural Revolution:
“…[T]he League of will and must be in a position, as the collective intellectual, to resolve already within itself the particular problem of the intelligentsia. And this naturally all the sooner, the more it succeeds in uniting in itself the entire emancipatory potential from all groups and strata of society. In order to be this collective intellectual uniting all energies directed towards general emancipation, and to be able to mediate their confluence in a programme of action that is steadily actualized, the League of Communists must be organized differently from the old kind of party. The organizational structure must be governed by the character of the principal activity that it has to perform. A successful work of knowledge requires the access of all participants to the totality of significant information, the ‘horizontal’ and non-hierarchical coordination of investigations on the basis of the self-activity of those involved, the admission of hypotheses that break through the customary frame of ideas, unreserved discussion of different interpretations without any kind of official evaluation by an agency empowered to ‘confirm’ or otherwise, etc. The point of departure must be that the research of the most diverse individuals and groups, presupposing the basically agreed orientation of those involved, leads from the logic of the actual relationships themselves, on which it is focused, to a common understanding, to approximation to truth, i.e. to the adequate expression of the emancipatory interests in view of the of the conditions that are given and to be changed. [….]
If the League of Communists, while freeing itself from its internal chains, also stands outside the continuity of the state apparatus, then it obtains the possibility of also bringing contradiction into the government apparatus, renovating this in a fundamental way, socially instead of just bureaucratically. If the party revolutionized society in the first phase of actually existing socialism with the aid of the state, the apparatus (and up to a certain point successfully so), then the question now is to reorganize the sate and the apparatus with the aid of society, basing this on the surplus consciousness assembled in it. This is in no way a mere administrative task. The apparatus is the sphere of work of a large number of people whose professional complex of interests develops laws of its own. This complex must be dissolved, to prevent the formation of a political bloc around the special interests of these personnel.
The subjugation of the state apparatus to society is the quintessence of the long proclaimed transition from domination over people to the administration of things. If a bureaucracy uncontrolled from below was the original cause of the party having previously had to play the role of a controlling bureaucracy, a super-state apparatus,, then there is only one…solution: the party itself must place control of the bureaucracy and state machine by social forces at the centre of its policy. It must spur people to this task, and inspire them to it by communists having dealings with everyone and uniting everyone with them who ‘thinks a bit’ about their work and their life. They must organize the social forces in such a way that these confront the apparatus on a massive scale as autonomous powers, and can force it into progressive compromises. This means organizing communism as a mass movement. [….] It will become possible to broach the measures anticipated by Marx and Engels in their writings on the Paris Commune of a democratic selection of the state personnel. Instead of appointment or nomination from above, the occupation of positions will be decided on the basis of the proven ability of the candidates, in a dialogue of cultural-revolutionary practice with the masses, working with the autonomous social forces from whose midst the League of Communists itself operates.
The political structure of the cultural-revolutionary practice is not in itself something novel, what is new is rather the necessity of keeping it going permanently. At all historical moments when communism is the real movement abolishing the existing state of affairs that Marx intended it to be, it does not tend to become a relationship between three distinct instances: party/state machine/people. The communists and the people rather form a together a comprehensive bloc whose internal structure cannot be described in terms of relations of subordination. There have been historical moments which have something to tell us as to the possible form of the transition. We can see those moments in many books of the [Hebrew Bible], in the New Testament, in the chorales of the Reformation and the songs and hymns of the infant workers’ movement. There have always been times in which people pressed beyond existing arrangements without being subordinated to the rule of a priestly caste, times of movement, times of a people led by prophecy. Only in such movements did masses and classes who were inevitably subaltern manage to reach the level of historical consciousness, of immediate communication with the universal. In movements of this kind, fishermen from Galilee and Paris workers suddenly rose to the highest possible human dignity attainable. The essence of the coordination of consciousness that prevailed in such movements consists precisely in the convergence of the ideal substance. It is hope that leads the people, and its prophets are nothing more than interpreters who give their deepest emancipatory needs a concrete, articulated and historical expression, in which the totality of what is promised is not lost. [….]
The new League of Communists will reflect in its composition, in its organization, and its style, the present structures and demands of proto-socialist society, and anticipate its future perspectives. Above all, it will be based on the intellectual participation and practical intervention of communists on all fronts of work and life. It will lead society through the influence of its own plans for the processes of social transformation. It will stand for the fraternity of working people in international as well as domestic life.
This gathering must be prepared by a patient propaganda of cultural revolutionary positions, tasks and goals, spelling out their urgency and significance for individuals as something important to their lives and altering their existence. [….] If communists themselves raise the problems of alienation, of subalternity, of the inequality of opportunities for development, and of the irrefutable claims to happiness of all members of society, then they can unreservedly allow themselves a dialogue of partnership with other tendencies. This holds not least for the traditional strivings of Christianity, which converge on precisely the same problems. In our struggle against the rule of reification, the tradition that appeals to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is an indispensable ally, in so far as it does not enclose itself within the church. [….]
The Economics of the Cultural Revolution
We have [now to investigate] where the cultural revolutionary, communist movement can apply the lever, at what points in the existing mode of production and life its idea can first become a transforming material force. This is the problem of bringing the masses into the cultural revolution, of the realization of a majority consensus in a growing action which presses ever more deeply into the contradictions of the modern human situation. [….] [T]he entire complex of cultural-revolutionary practice, positively formulated as the struggle
—for a redivision of labour,
—for a unitary form of education for fully socialized individuals,
—for children to be rendered capable of education and motivated for learning,
—for the conditions of a new communal life, and
—for the socialization (democratization) of the general process of knowledge and decision-making, can be conceived as the problem of the economics of the cultural revolution, the radical political-economic alternative that it counterposes to the existing economic system. This alternative must be drafted in the form of a programme by stages, directed towards the dynamization of social relations in the reproduction process, which constructively breaks through the status quo in which the social factors are presently in a stalemate situations vis-à-vis one another in the economic process, and brings the political debate over the new economics into the workplace. [….]
It is not [merely] a question of plan or market, use-value or exchange-value, or even centralization or decentralization. Which is in no way to say that these problems would disappear; simply that their secondary significance would then be apparent. Given an overall social organization of labour, political democracy becomes the decisive constituting moment which determines whether the goals of the economic process, the qualitative contents of the plan, are decided by authentic social interests or rather by the restricted power relations and structures of knowledge within the bureaucracy. [….] And yet political democracy, for its part, does not come into being by the abstract good will of a leadership. It is not in the last instance a question of constitutional law. [….]