You can read it here, or you can read it on tumblr since I have transcribed it into bite-sized chunks:
I’d also like to quote Lotta’s concluding remarks from his debate with Szymanski because it sums up very nicely why this issue is important:
I would like in the time I have left to make some concluding remarks. It’s rather difficult in this short time, but I do want to speak to some of the overall points that were raised by Szymanski in his presentation and what I think their implications are for understanding the process of revolution. Just in brief, it seems to me that his whole orientation is that it doesn’t really matter what line is on top in society and what the real nature of the productive base is. As long as some notion of social welfare is being advanced — in fact at one point in his presentation he defined the ruling ideology of Soviet society as social justice, it had nothing to do with revolution, with overcoming the differences and divisions of society, with promoting world revolution — things are on the right track. I think this view of socialism is a view that sees it mainly as a continuum of the progress of bourgeois democracy, that somehow if you can get the right combination of democracy and economic justice…that’s really what socialism is all about. It doesn’t really matter if value categories underlie this, if it’s market socialism or something else. As long as there’s this weird amalgam of democracy, workers’ participation, and some notion of social welfare — then you’re on the right track.
I think the key thing about Szymanski’s approach is that the question is never posed in terms of socialism versus capitalism. What we really have, then, is a vision which amounts to a “decapitated capitalism.” In other words, this is a capitalism without the ugly capitalists on top. You’ve knocked these avaricious Rockefeller types out of the picture, then what you do is you stress efficiency, use whatever methods you can to develop material abundance from the standpoint of the nation-state, and then you move on to something else. Society is organized around incentives and all kinds of inducements because, after all, as he said, the people want meat and that’s what they got. In other words, the masses are only capable of consumption, of altering their consumption requirements, and that’s what they want; they vote with their mouths. As he said, it smells like socialism, but I think it smells exactly like capitalism from everything he describes about it.
I would like to sum up this society in good Maoist tradition by using a numerical description, what I call the “three cynicals.” This view of socialism is first of all based on “cynical realism.” “The masses certainly don’t want to go for the heavens, certainly don’t want to change the world, so let’s just go with what’s possible.” And that is, of course, along the lines of what he was saying — a budget which has social expenditures in it, improved housing, and so on and so forth. “Let’s not be unrealistic.” So that’s “cynical realism.”
The second cynical is “cynical naivete.” “What?! Leaders sell out?! Why would they do that, why would they feather their own nest?!” That’s “cynical naivete.” And of course leaders are subject to all kinds of structural constraints. We of course have to put the matter quite bluntly: the ultimate structural constraint, as we’ve seen in the case of Poland, is martial law. So any illusions about such structural constraints should be reconsidered.
The third cynical… I had another “cynical.” Well, I’ll get back to that “cynical” [Lotta later on noted that this was cynical disdain for the masses, sort of encapsulated in the first “cynical”].
Let me conclude in terms of why the question is important. First, I think clarity about the nature of the Soviet Union is decisive, in part because of what came out in this discussion. The Soviet Union concentrates so much of the experience of the international proletariat: the first successful seizure of state power, the first experiences in developing a socialist economy, having to deal with the contradictions of promoting revolution and dealing with world war. Then of course this was the first instance in which the process of proletarian revolution has been reversed by a capitalist restoration. I think an understanding of this question is very vital towards an understanding of the goal and the nature of the revolutionary process, that is, what will it actually take to transcend class society. So I don’t think this is an academic question, it has everything to do with what it is that we’re striving to accomplish, what it is that the proletariat is all about in terms of eliminating classes and class distinctions on a world scale.
Second, I think this question is extremely important in relation to the situation we face in the world today, the situation that is shaping up in which two imperialist blocs are on a collision course with each other. We’ve seen that in terms of proxy wars, new weapons systems being developed, constant tensions within and between these blocs. We ought just consider the fact that the two blocs are holding their big economic summits and they’re both plagued with serious economic crisis and disarray and pulling their blocs together for the ultimate confrontation, which is to redivide the world.
But the same forces which are bringing these two imperialist blocs into confrontation are also heightening all of the contradictions in the world. There are increasing signs of revolutionary struggles and there are increasing signs of new initiatives being taken by revolutionaries all around the world. What’s shaping up in the world today is a situation in which the contradictions of the world imperialist system are converging and coming to a head. The same forces driving the imperialists to war are also opening up unprecedented opportunities for the proletariat to make a decisive advance on a world scale. An understanding of the nature of the Soviet Union and the nature of the revolutionary process is absolutely essential if we are going to maximize the gains of our class on an international scale in a period in which we can make extraordinary gains in relation to periods of relative peace and quiet, and in relation to the requirements of advancing the revolution to the maximum degree possible.
Finally, our view of the process of proletarian revolution is not, again, some idle academic question. How we analyze the historical experience of the Soviet Union and how we analyze the developing situation in the world has everything to do with the kind of struggle we wage. Communism can only be achieved through the fiercest, the most determined, and the most conscious struggle to make a leap into the future of mankind. Thank you.