Reply to Charlotte

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Mon Feb 12 04:05:06 MST 1996


> Will you throw
> away some of the greatest events in the history of the left wing because they
> happened in the 1930s? Will you reject and degrade a consistently
> workingclass, militant and progressive Party in the name of a long-dead
> Soviet leader?

Although these and other questions weren't addressed to me specificically,
I want to offer a brief response.

The answer that I would give to both questions is "no."

What is needed, though (and it is a standard that should be applied to
all Marxists and Marxist organizations) is a *critical* and
*self-critical* understanding of the past. To reject Stalinism does not
imply anti-communism. Nor does it necessarily suggest that there weren't
positive features of October. We *all*, given the immensity of the Soviet
experience and the conjunctural importance of its downfall, are required
to undertake a critical balance sheet of those experiences that denies
neither progressive nor regressive features. The same could be said for
members (or non-members) of any party. Only by honestly and critically
confronting the past of an organization can one be able to identify its
contradictory features and its possible continued role in the future.

You should not feel that you have to defend every action of the former
USSR and its leaders, or the CPUSA and its current and former leaders.
You should at least, though, attempt to critically understand those
experiences and not make excuses for the crimes of others.

Although I believe that the continued defense of Stalin is rather like
membership in the Flat Earth Society, I will not put a "kill file" on
Charlotte. I believe she is entitled to more respect than that.

Jerry


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