Trotsky and the collapse of Stalinism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sat May 18 10:18:12 MDT 1996


On Sat, 18 May 1996, Carrol Cox wrote:

>     I lack the historical basis myself for arguing either for or against
> the proposition that no pre-revolutionary capitalism existed in Russia,
> but Joe has one adversary who may have been stupid, but certainly was
> familiar with Russian conditions: I speak of the Lenin who wrote
> *The Development of Capitalism in Russia* (circa 1896?). It has been
> many years since I read it; it has been challenged by many; but certainly
> arguments about capitalism in Czarist Russia must take it into account.
>         Carrol

Louis: I generally don't read Joe's posts as carefully as I should, this
despite the fact that I find him a charming fellow all in all. I guess I
find all of his folksy nuggets just a little too much on the Garrison
Keilor side for me. However, if I missed him saying that there was no
capitalism in Czarist Russia, then I must concur with Carrol (the male
human being). The Narodniks argued that socialism could be built in Russia
on the basis of the precapitalist formations represented by the peasant
communes. Lenin assiduously gathered statistics (the sort of thing that
rarely appears on this windblown list) when he wrote the above-mentioned
essay to show that capitalist property relations had overtaken most of
rural Russia. I have stated until I'm blue in the face that the kind of
analysis Lenin did is absolutely necessary to understand what's going on
in Montana and other strongholds of milita activity today. Class relations
explain everything.



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