Stalin and the Comintern

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Sep 11 15:29:06 MDT 1995

On Mon, 11 Sep 1995 glevy at wrote:
> In the "21 points" for the CI, Lenin summarized _conditions_
> (organizational and political) for membership in the CI. This change in
> policy by Lenin was influenced by his understanding of developments in
> Hungary, Bavaria and, I believe, Italy. The "21 points" are very short.
> Anyone who reads them will understand what I am getting at.
Look, Jerry, why don't you just come out and say it: Lenin was part of
the problem, not the solution. Don't be coy. The 21 points must include a
bunch of strictures that would confine Comintern parties to a much more
narrow framework than the one I was describing in my article.

If the 21 points did in fact do that, I would have voted against them. I j
ust think its a big mistake to trace all of the problems of current day
socialism to decisions made in the heat of the moment 75 years ago. Somebody
recommended that I take a look at Marcel Liebman's "Leninism under
Lenin". I found the book laughable. Liebman examines all of this historical
minutiae from the early 1900's and points to any number of "excessive"
statements by Lenin during an intense ideological struggle. He then
blames Stalin on these excesses. This is the method of scholastics, not

The problem we are facing today is very simple. We have a baker's dozen
of cult-sects all walking around claiming "revolutionary continuity."
This is nonsense. It is the method of Numbers in the Pentateuch. "And
Marx begat Plekhanov who begat Lenin who begat Trotsky who begat Farrell
Dobbs who begat Jack Barnes." Or, alternatively, Lenin begat Stalin who
begat William Z. Foster who begat Gus Hall, if you're in the CP.

Our job is to take a look around at the American political landscape and
come up with intelligent Marxist solutions to our own problems. This is
all Lenin did in Russia. This is what Comintern groups and Trotskyist
groups have failed to do by and large.

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