The Hermeneutics of Closed and Open Minds (was "Leo Casey...")

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at mail.trincoll.edu
Wed Jun 28 10:17:47 MDT 1995


Doug Henwood wrote:
>At 12:05 AM 6/28/95, Jim Jaszewski wrote:
>
>>        It's hard for me not to see Brezhnev as EXACTLY that: a stalinist.
>>Same in Rand's case. Not that I want to quibble, but if you insist that
>>stalinism is only pre-Khrushchev, then what is post? Mightn't we call it
>>NEO-stalinism (since you reasonably want to make the distinction and keep
>>it clear)??
>
>Were there mass imprisonments, mass purges, mass executions in the USSR in
>the 1970s?

Well, no there weren't Doug.  Ummm, maybe some mass imprisonments (last I
heard the Gulag was still in operation through the 70s) but your basic point
is true.

 Of course, Brezhnev's USSR was hardly a model of free expression
>and democratic self-rule, but neither is Yeltsin's Russia. Is Yeltsin a
>Stalinist?

This on the other hand begs the question.  At least from my perspective,
Stalinism isn't the fact of bloodthirsty repression, it's a system of
exclusionary political organization.  Now, if you were to argue that Yeltsin
governs over a one-party state in which the party claims to be the sole
source of all true knowledge (I know, I know, it's a real short-hand, hardly
scientific definition of Stalinism, but it's better than the options you
suggest), then we could judge if that argument were true and make an
informed determination of whether or not he was a Stalinist.

Though I'm not particularly thrilled with the Leninist conception of the
vanguard party either, I still find significant differences between it and
the Stalinist party.  And the Stalinist party, best as I can tell, remained
intact after Kruschev's rectifications.  At least until Gorbachev.

Andy



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