consciousness by life."10
The best description of the nature of labor ever to come from a communist pen, however, is the following passage" from
Joseph Stalin’s Dialectical and Historical Materialism, still authoritative everywhere in communist circles:
In order to live, people must have food, clothing, footwear, shelter, fuel, etc.; in order to have these material values,
people must produce them; and in order to produce them, people must have the instruments of production with which food,
clothing, footwear, shelter, fuel, etc., are produced; they must be able to produce those instruments and to use them.
The instruments of production with which material values are produced, the people who operate the instruments of
production and carry on the production of material values thanks to a certain production experience and labor skill-all these
elements jointly constitute the production forces of society.
But the productive forces are only one aspect of production, only one aspect of the mode of production, an aspect that
expresses the relation of men to the objects and forces of nature which they make use of for the production of material
values. Another aspect of the mode of production, is the relation of men to each other in the process of production, men’s
relations of production. Men carry on a struggle against nature and utilize nature for the production of material values not in
isolation from each other, not as separate individuals, but in common, in groups, in societies. Production, therefore, is at all
times and under all conditions social production.
Here is a rough picture of the development of productive forces from ancient times to our day. The transition from crude
stone tools to the bow and arrow, and the accompanying transition from the life of hunters to the domestication of animals
and primitive pasturing; the transition from stone tools to metal tools (the iron axe, the wooden plough fitted with an iron
colter, etc.) with a corresponding transition to tilling and agriculture: a further improvement in metal tools for the working up of
materials, the introduction of the blacksmith’s bellows, the introduction of pottery, with a corresponding development of
handicrafts, the separation of handicrafts from agriculture, the development of an independent handicraft industry and,
subsequently, of manufacture; the transition from handicraft tools to machines and the transformation of handicraft and
manufacture into machine industry; the transition to the machine system and the rise of modern large-scale machine industrysuch
is a general and far from complete picture of the development of the productive forces of society in the course of man’s
history. It will be clear that the development and improvement of the instruments of production were effected by men who
were related to production, and not independently of men; and, consequently, the change and development of the institutions
of production were accompanied by a change and development of men, as the most important element of the productive
forces, by a change and development of their production experience, their labor skill, their ability to handle the instruments of
In conformity with the changing and development of the productive forces of society in the course of history, men’s
relations of production, their economic relations, also changed and developed.
Five main types of relations of production are known to history: primitive communal, slave, feudal, capitalist and socialist.
Labor, then, is that all-predeterminative socio-economic activity whereby man opposes himself to nature and produces
2. "Primitive Communist" Labor