Ariel Sharon and Stalin
wpc at cs.strath.ac.uk
wpc at cs.strath.ac.uk
Tue Mar 21 07:56:24 MST 1995
If we reject the idea that there is an important connection between the
understanding of Marxism that informed Bolshevik practice and the ultimate
Stalinist outcome, or that this connection is insignificant compared to the
material circumstances under which the Bolsheviks toiled, then all we are
left with to explain Stalin is the idea that he was a tyrannical despot who
took advantage of the chaos of the revolution to somehow worm his way into
the leadership of the party and the state. Given the historical experience,
at the very least, this would seem to be something that revolutionaries and
Marxists need to know how to avoid in the future.
I think that there is a connection, but not the
connection that most liberal critics advance.
The Leninists retained ultimately a bourgeois
aristocratic concept of the proletarian dictatorship
that is in one form or another shared by their
The Leninists believed that the dictatorship had
to be led by the most class conscious, the best
elements, of the working class. As such, a theory
of rule by the best, it is ultimately an aristocratic
theory of government.
The liberal criticism replaces party rule by
parliamentary rule, but this just replaces one
aristrocracy by another - a proletarian
aristocracy by a bourgeois one, and is the
fastest possible route to counter revolution.
Lenin understood this in his suspension of the
The left Marxist criticism of Leninism, aghast
that the proletarian aristocracy sometimes
degenerates into tyranny proposes to counter
it with 'Commune' type or Council type indirect
elections of delegates instead of parliamentary
elections. But this political form is what
led to Bolshevik domination in the first place.
The question of how to avoid this in the future
is indeed open. I would advocate a combination of
a property qualification for the franchise - those
with property don't get it - along with random
selection of delegates to the soviets as to
a jury. The objective is to ensure that sovereign
bodies are dominated by representative members of
the propertyless classes rather than by the
propertied or by political machine men.
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