Lenin as "dictator"

TimW333521 at aol.com TimW333521 at aol.com
Sun Jun 11 00:37:39 MDT 1995


Perhaps the word "tolerance" is not the best for my thought.  I still believe
you give Lenin a gloss he does not deserve.

When you compare the American Revolution to the Russian Revolution and
conclude that the latter was more democratic than the former, I find that
stretching things IF one looks at both revolutions, say even five years after
they began, not to mention ten.  Bourgeois as it was, the American revolution
did evolve reasonably quickly into a limited but real democracy.  The Russian
revolution, though proletarian, did evolve relatively quickly into a
dictatorship.

Let me put it this way:  Trotsky, to his credit, AFTER his period when he
shared power with Lenin, in the 1930s developed a theory of proletarian
"dictatorship" as a democratic process.  At heart this theory claimed that
the working class was not homogeneous and therefore could only express its
will through the competition of working class political parties.  You will
not find this thought in Lenin's "Proletarian Revolution and Renegade
Kautsky" or in Trotsky's "Terrorism and Communism" or , more importantly, in
their practice!

The record is indisputably clear on this matter.  It was at Lenin's
insistence that all other working class tendencies (Mensheviks and
Anarchists) were completely suppressed in 1921 AFTER the end of the Civil
War.

It is interesting to pose the question of what the Soviet Union would have
been like if Lenin had lived say ten more years?  I believe it would have
been a dictatorship administered by a single party run by Lenin (all the time
feeling most unhappy with the bureaucratic nature of his creation).  I am
afraid that does make Lenin a dictator, though no doubt a more benign one
than Stalin.  We can assume he would have avoided the absurdity of the forced
collectivizations and force march industrialization as well as the extremes
of purges.

If we are to understand Stalin institutionally (that is as representing an
entrenched bureaucracy) we must give Lenin credit for establishing the
framework of that institution with his one party rule and developing the
theory to justify it.


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