Leo Casey, Stalinism, and the Canadian CP

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at main.freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Sun Jun 25 21:39:59 MDT 1995

On Sun, 25 Jun 1995 marquit at physics.spa.umn.edu wrote:

> Dear Leo Casey,
> Your reply to my post of 24 June avoids the basic issue. If you
> wish to label the Canadian CP "Stalinist" then you should be
> able to cite from their progrmammitic documents or publications
> evidence that they are so.

	Part of the problem with 'stalinists', is that they seem to think
that having a great, big picture of Stalin in the local Party hall is just
one of the 'proofs' required of whether someone is 'stalinist' or not.

	What is meant by who is a 'stalinist', are those individuals or
parties which continue to follow the 'Soviet' (nomenklatura) structure of
'democratic centralism' (my definition, anyway). What you call
'Marxism-Leninism' is really what we call 'stalinism' -- noting that Lenin
has been dead for over 70 years and is not in a position to demand that
his name be removed from your literature...

 Many CP's have reassessed the "Stalin
> legacy" and have rejected it essentially completely or in various
> degrees (and some not at all) while retaining or restoring what
> they regard as the Leninist tradition.

	That is *VERY* much debatable -- especially considering the
actions or words of various of the leadership of stalinist parties, of
which Gus Hall's 'outbursts' come to MY mind as some of the most odious...

 Some also have discarded
> Lenin as well.

	Besides noting that apparently half the people *here* are
anti-Lenin(!), I must say that you are _partly_ right, but mostly are
showing the essential distortion of a stalinist's POV: anyone who is
'anti-stalinist' is, in fact, actually anti-LENIN.

	Again, I point out that 'Marxism-Leninism' has become a 'dirty
word', because of its identification with STALINIST practices. Being
anti-ML does _NOT_ imply being anti-*LENIN* (though there's enuff of
THAT); it DOES imply that one rejects the 'democratic centralism' as
practiced in the actually existing USSR (and in the stalinist parties) and
it also implies the wish to see Lenin as a marxist whose choices in a less
than optimal situation led, especially under Stalin, to more than a few
tragedies affecting _millions_ of people...

 To characterize all those that retain the Leninist
> tradition (mainly involving the concept of a vanguard party) as
> Stalinist obscures the efforts that many of the CP's have been
> making to institutionalize democratic practices in their
> organizational structure.

	The main bone of contention here is that the concept of the
'vanguard party' (at least as it is interpreted by stalinists) is
ABSOLUTELY inimical to any REAL democracy -- central or otherwise.

	This is a difficult, CENTRAL issue, that MUST be dealt with by
marxists: how much of a 'vanguard' is really needed (if at all), and how
much should the emphasis be on mass parties.

	Personally, I tend towards the mass party side, as being
INHERENTLY more democratic -- not to mention 'communistic'...

	However, after a short time here, I'm not at ALL sure that the
entirety of this list is capable of grappling with such (more) concrete

 I have observed the events in the
> Canadian CP over several party conventions (in connection
> mostly with book tables set up there by the Marxist Educational
> Press with which I am associated) and have seen this process of
> democratization of organizational practice unfold.

	Perhaps, but frankly, I'm not holding my breath...   :<


   Jim Jaszewski   <jazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>

   WWW homepage:   <http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html>


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