What’s the difference between anarchy and freedom? Not much to be quite honest. Anarchists want complete freedom, and complete control of their own destinies. They just want to be left alone. When people talk about freedom, very often they bring up that they just want to be left alone, free to do what they choose. But in a system with a state the state takes some freedoms to protect others, whereas in anarchy there is no guarantee that the person would be completely left alone. Unless, of course, we lived in a utopian state.
This is perhaps the fundamental ideal of Communism, and also perhaps, the reason why it will never work. Marx thought of the state as a tool of the upper classes. It was meant to enslave and exploit those of the lower classes. They believed that eventually because of the anarchy inherit with laissez-faire economics that eventually there would be a large scale crisis, and the workers would revolt against their exploiters. Then the world would join in as the proletariat overturned class, until they were left with a classless, stateless society where all was held in common and there were none left to exploit or oppress.
But Bukharin and others realized that because of Imperialism economies were growing and becoming monopolized by governments. Communists named this State Capitalism or Finance Capitalism. Bukharin realized that the problem with this and Marx’s theory was that State Capitalism created order in an otherwise orderless society. Capitalism by its very nature was disordered, but State Capitalism meant the state’s monopoly controlled its own assets and then competed in a world market with other empires. Bukharin’s realizations went further in thinking that this system could lead to the creation of a new system altogether, that which came to be known as the Totalitarian state.
The realization of State Capitalism meant that while many of the exploited classes would receive very little, there would be no great crisis as Marx predicted because the economy would have been planned by the government. For communists this meant that under imperialism there would be no grand revolution in all the industrialized nations of the world unless a greater non-economic catastrophe struck. Bukharin linked this catastrophe with that of war. He decided that the only way a mass uprising of the proletariat would occur was during war, when the planned economy ceased to function. He believed it was then that it would cease to be struggle of empires and instead, turn into one mass civil war.
What does this mean for our story? Stalin and Bukharin would eventually disagree on state control of the Soviet market. Why? Because Bukharin saw economies as historically progressive, to change how they progressed too soon was to sentence a population to death. And Death was hovering over Russia…waiting.