Stalin, Mao and Polemics

Chris Burford cburford at
Tue Apr 18 23:55:09 MDT 1995

See below
 > From owner-marxism at Tue Apr 18 10:00:22 1995
 > Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 01:00:00 -0800
 > To: marxism at
 > From: Donna Jones <djones at>
 > Subject: Re: Stalin, Mao and Polemics
 > Sender: owner-marxism at
 > Reply-To: marxism at
 > About Stalin, Mao, Fanon, Che, Sankara, Bose:
 > "Instead of finding their orientation in the actual social conditions and
 > their possibilities, the new leftists base their concerns mainly on a set
 > of ideologies that have no relevance to the requirements of social change
 > in capitalist nations. They find their inspiration not in the developmental
 > processes of their own society but in the heroes of popular revolution in
 > faraway countries, thereby revealing that their enthusiasm is not as yet a
 > real concern for decisive social change."
 > >From the introduction to Paul Mattick's Anti-Bolshevik Communism (Armonk:
 > Sharpe, 1977)
 > Rakesh Bhandari
 >      --- from list marxism at ---

Good point. But a) there is a fundamental question about whether
socialism is possible nowadays and  whether the Soviet Union should have
marked time with the NEP, and China at the stage of New Democracy
directly reflects on this


b)  I had asked in frank ignorance about the
USA from 4,000 miles away, whether it is really impossible to make any
alliance, however temporary, over however small an issue, with the Black

That seems to me to be related to the present situation. And it seems to
me to be undialectical to suppose there are no contradictions among the
leaders, and between the leaders and the members, and between the members
and the followers, and that it is impossible to find a more democratic
wing within them on at least one issue, if the analysis is concrete.

As it happens when I come back up the tube on Saturday afternoons there at
the end of West Green Road, Tottenham, North London, are people I take to be
black muslims.
They appear to me to be quiet and dignified and in a sense rather
admirable.  I do not experience them as hostile, though I assume they do not
want to get their message over to me.

They had posters up a couple of months ago announcing Farrakhan's
(sp?) rally until the British government banned it. Suppose they ask me
to sign a petition against this ban. Should I sign?

In Tottenham  we have a Black Labour MP. Should he oppose
the ban? Should labour party members oppose the ban?

But that is only one example. A fair democratic response to such a
question might lay the seeds for cooperation, however guarded and limited,
about another area later.

I am rather annoyed that Ralph's irrelevant outburst about Mao, (which
doesn't need to be dignified with the name polemic) should have
distracted from this difficult, but fair question about how far
marxism can analyse a current problem.

Chris Burford.

     --- from list marxism at ---


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