Trotter on Stalin
djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 3 01:56:09 MDT 1994
You have made a strong case that the fight against fascism begins with the
fight against bolshevism. Perhaps capitalism will attempt to preserve
itself in forms only apparently socialist or marxist. And the historic
success of such attempts surely forces us to rethink root and branch the
project of proletarian emancipation. And to be sure only a few, very few
revolutionists have taken on that responsibility. And here I mean the
council communists: Pannekoek, Korsch and Mattick.
But what proof is there that Stalin is to be blamed entirely or primarily
for the failure of the revolutionary left in Germany or elsewhere? That he
had a role is not even denied by even some of its most faithful supporters.
But let's say that there had been no Russian Revolution, then what? The
Sparts would have won? So the right blames Hitler on Stalin--the necessity
of fighting an even greater barbarism with barbarism. So that's Heidegger
and Hayek. And now the ultra-left blames Hitler on Stalin. Without Stalin,
German capital would not have had an organizational model for fascism;
without Stalin, the German working class would have been more predisposed
towards communism. Stalin scared the working classes away from communism.
Isn't this what Pannekoek said.
Well, we don't need counter-factuals anymore. No one is here to
scare anyone off from commuism anymore, and still the leaders and
intellectuals are as revisionist as ever (underconsumptionists like Bennet
Harrison and disproportionality theorists like the regulationists). And
still there is a considerable proto-fascist population in this country.
After all, we do have to deal with all those who have become accustomed to
the priviliges of membership in the world's leading power--the privilige of
taking minor talent onto the world's movie screens and airwaves that "our"
capital owns (and it doesn't hurt that so many have been forced to speak
English); the privilige of all the advertising jobs that come when global
industry must penetrate the market that comes from capital rushing over
here; all the white-collar jobs that come from recycling the world's debt
and petrodollars; all the jobs provided by our special military projects
for our friends the fascist dictators; the privilige of owning so much of
the world's telecommunications that everyone has to pay to use; and the
priviliges that come from gobbling up some of the world's best technical
talent so our national players can innovate and command extra surplus value
and then spread some of it around (but not to the immigrants tortured at
The fifth column is inside this country, generated by imperialism
itself. That the resulting divisions appear racial is both easily explained
and,yes, only apparent (for example the US is importing many reactionary
Asian rentiers who pose a problem for any communist politics). But there's
no reason to ignore the divisions. And there is no reason to hope that the
working class, especially in the US, will now unify automatically around
communism, now that they are free--as they always were--to imagine an
anti-Stalinist communism. In short, the growth of fascism is not checked by
the end of Stalinism. Quite the contrary, I believe.
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