History of CPSU (B)

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Fri Jun 7 16:05:10 MDT 1996

Louis P's argument (together) with Adam's comments, about
the historical appraisal of the 1903 split between Bolshevik's
and Mensheviks, is an interesting one.

Possibily it cannot be taken further in exchanges between him
and Karl, except to note a major difference of emphasis.

It occurs to me that we should be aware of the issue
once again of who writes history. Stalin had a major reason to
play up the split. His declaration of war against Trotsky in
1924 invokes Lenin's attacks on the Mensheviks and paints
Trotsky is a late coming Menshevik.

The easiest way to influence ideas is to re-interpret
previously respected ideas.

The History of the CPSU (B) is one of those wonderfully simple
books, with a summary at the end of each chapter that allows
the practical and discplined comrade to know exactly what to
think. It's full title is

"History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks)
Short Course."

The edition I have, notes is was "Edited by a Commission of
the CC of the CPSU(B), and was
Authorized by the CC of the CPSU(B) 1938.
It was published by FLPH Moscow 1939.

Mao refers to it in a tribute on Stalin's death in 1953, as a
work by Stalin ["The Political Thought of Mao Tsetung, by
Schram, Penguin p 430]

But in the introduction to the same reference Schram states
that it was the chapter on dialectical and historical materialism
that Stalin wrote.

One paragraph in the chapter in the History of the CPSUB
on the 1903 Congress simply consists of the sentence:

"Lenin made short work of all these objections."

The impression is given that doubt was never one of Lenin's

On the emergence of the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks it is

 "The congress revealed the existence of grave differences
over questions of organization which divided the Party into
two sections, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, of whom the former
championed the organisational principles of revolutionary
Social-Democracy, while the latter sank into the bog
of organisational looseness and of opportunism."

Subsequently Plekhanov is noted as an "advocate of conciliation"

and it is observed that "whoever insists on a conciliatory
attitude toward opportunists is bound to sink to opportunism

[a principle which on our own dear l'st Adolfo no
doubt would apply perfectly to the "Jesuit", Gina, after merely
having to change the gender in the sentence.]

Does anyone know the number of copies and the circulation of
the "History of the CPSU(B) in the 40's and 50's? I would
suspect it was very influential in prejudicing orthodox
communists against Trotskyism.

Chris Burford

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