Was Brezhnev a Stalinist? is Yeltsin?
JDevine at lmumail.lmu.edu
Wed Jun 28 13:08:24 MDT 1995
was B a Stalinist? is Yeltsin?
No, but they are both examples of authoritarians (and
anti-worker, too, though that's redundant). The former presided
over what was the result of the "Stalin Period." It might be
called "rationalized Stalinism," because it no longer needed mass
purges etc. to keep the system going: consent of the governed
could be relied upon more, especially since the system did
provide some benefits to people.
But that's putting too much emphasis on an individual (Stalin):
the USSR could have been led by someone else if history had gone
differently. I think it's better to think of the "Stalin Period"
as being like a "primitive accumulation" period for a
non-capitalist system, what I think of as Bureaucratic Socialism
(BS). (Marx describes capitalism's primitive accumulation period
at the end of vol. I of CAPITAL. Many bolsheviks such as
Preobrazinsky (sp?) described what they were doing as "socialist
So Brezhnev led the consolidated BS; Gorby contributed to its
fall, which arose from the internal contradictions of BS. Yeltsin
may or may not want to bring back BS, but it's clear that he's
filled with BS of another sort.
for socialism from below,
Jim Devine jdevine at lmumail.lmu.edu
Los Angeles, CA (the city of emphysema)
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