Stalinism = healthy state + unhealthy regime

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Tue Jun 4 12:27:00 MDT 1996

Adam writes:

>In 1989 and 1990, we were treated to the disguisting spectacle of
>"orthodox" "trotskyists" being the only people to defend the collapsing
>Stalinist regimes, when both the working class and the ruling class
>had had enough of them.
>The only people on the same side as the "orthodox" "trotskyists" were
>the secret police.
>Some of them, by gut instinct anti Stalinist despite supporting the form
>that property took in the Stalinist states, didn't side with the secret
>police - they merely sat on the fence. Uncomfortable places, fences.

I'd be interested to know what Adam counts as 'orthodox Trotskyists'.
Neither the LIT nor the WI defended the collapsing Stalinist regimes. We
welcomed their disappearance.

We defended, as always, the non-capitalist foundations of the workers'
states against the Stalinist regimes and the restorationists and
imperialists who they were now openly and knowingly turning the state over

Orthodox Trotskyists (in line with the analyses in, say, The Revolution
Betrayed and the Transitional Programme of the Fourth International) have
always distinguished between the progressive non-capitalist foundations of
the workers' states -- the conquests of October -- and the
counter-revolutionary regimes that have had the running of them.

It is crudely undialectical to require that a basically healthy state must
automatically have a healthy regime (the Stalinist line as long as the
workers' state served its parasitical purpose, and the Pabloist line
tailending the Stalinists to the bitter end) or that a fundamentally
unhealthy regime by definition entails an unhealthy state (the state
capitalist line).

The politics of workers' democracy can only flower properly when a
non-capitalist state has been set up, even though the practice of workers'
democracy in the parties of the revolutionary vanguard will be necessary to
achieve such a state. This in itself is contradictory since every workers'
state that is set up will come that much closer to the elimination of the
bourgeoisie as a class and thus of its polar opposite the proletariat as a

For workers' democracy to flourish, enormous political effort will be
necessary, along with checks such as have been proposed in the discussion
here -- a skilled worker's wage and no personal privileges for elected
representatives, together with an effective right of instant recall.

For revolutionary socialist internationalism to flourish, we need both
healthy non-capitalist states and healthy regimes based on workers'

For my money, the incredible thing about the  experience of the Stalinist
regimes in the Soviet block and China has been the demonstration that a
non-capitalist economic base, even in countries not in the forefront of
imperialist industrialism, possesses enormous historical resilience.
Despite the  counter-revolutionary incompetence and mindboggling
mismanagement they have been subjected to, they have made huge progress
compared with similar countries that didn't experience a revolution, and
they have lasted far longer than even the most orthodox Marxists and most
convinced trusters in the strength of the working class (Trotsky and Lenin)
dared to hope.



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