Utopianism, Lenin, etc.

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Fri Oct 14 11:29:56 MDT 1994

On Thu, 13 Oct 1994, James Lawler wrote:

>      The main idea I find in Marx is that between capitalism and
> communism there is not a sudden break, the elimination of the old
> society and the creation of something radically different...

Louis Proyect replies:

Once again I have to tip my hat to Lawler for a thought-provoking
contribution to the discussion.

I do have one problem with his line of reasoning, however. What Lenin
faced was a capitalist class that would do everything it could to
sabotage the new Soviet state. This phenomenon confronted Castro and the
Sandinistas as well. The Cuban and Nicaraguan capitalists did every thing
they could to undermine production after the revolution. So
nationalizations were defensive measures necessary to keep political
power in the hands of the workers and the peasants. The Cubans overdid
the nationalizations and are paying for it to this day. They would have
been much better off if small-scale shops and farms had remained in
private hands. The Sandinistas perhaps were too lax, but in the face of
an emerging post-communist USSR, they had no other choice.

The Chinese example, like the Vietnamese example, is interesting. But in
these cases, it's clear that the pre-revolutionary bourgeosie had been
liquidated politically and economically. The capitalism that is
developing there is one that is controlled by a new "red" bourgeoisie. In
any case, I doubt whether any socialist revolution in the third world can
survive the first year or two unless the capitalists are expropriated. Of
course, this whole question may be a little bit academic since the era of
socialist revolutions may belong to the past.


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