Lenin demanded Stalin's removal : notes of a liquidator

hariette spierings hariette at easynet.co.uk
Wed Oct 2 12:22:07 MDT 1996

>In-Reply-To: <199610020256.DAA07915 at easynet.co.uk>
>Adolfo writes :
>Everybody knows of Lenin's recommendations to "find some one EVEN
>better than Stalin" for the post of General Secretary.
>1. If 'everybody knows' of Lenin's testament it is because of Trotsky
>and the Left Opposition bringing it to their attention.
>2. Adolfo's use of quotation marks may be confusing. Here is what
>Lenin dictated :
>"Stalin is too rude, and this defect, although quite tolerable in our
>midst and in dealings among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a
>general secretary. That is why I suggest that the comrades think
>about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another
>man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade
>Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more
>tolerant, more loyal, more polite, and more considerate to the
>comrades, less capricious etc. This circumstance may appear to be a
>negligible detail. But I think that from the standpoint of safeguards
>against a split and from the standpoint of what I wrote above (ie the
>main body of the 'testament', - jjp) about the relationship between
>Stalin and Trotsky it is not a detail, or it is a detail which can
>assume decisive importance."
>Any fair-minded reader will agree that "find some one EVEN better
>than Stalin" was never part of Lenin's approach to the question.
>Adolfo resumes :
>"While recognising and underlining Stalin's most excellent qualities
>and merits, Lenin wanted someone who was more polite and tractable
>WHILE STILL HAVING STALIN'S GREAT (and, in a revolutionary leader,
>much more important) QUALITIES."
>Here then is what else Lenin wrote about Stalin in the testament :
>"Comrade Stalin, having become general secretary, has unlimited
>authority concentrated in his hands, and I am not sure whether he
>will always be capable of using that authority with sufficient
>The fair-minded reader will search the testament in vain for
>reference by Lenin to "Stalin's most excellent qualities and merits".
>The only crumb of comfort for the Stalinist in the testament is a
>reference to "the two outstanding leaders of the present CC" - by
>which he meant Stalin and Trotsky.
>Adolfo asks :
>"Or does Mr. Plant prefer to read Lenin's words so selectively
>that he ignores the praise that he places on Stalin, while berating
>him for his rudeness."
>A fair question, even if phrased so as to presume its own answer. I
>prefer to read the texts as they exist. I prefer too those who want
>them published over those who suppress them.
>In order to affect a fair evaluation of Lenin's estimation of Stalin
>in the final year of his life I suggest that you propose some
>selections from Lenin yourself that support your position. Simply
>list the references ; don't retype large amounts of text. If you
>agree to such a presentation of evidence, I will undertake to
>assemble the reference to matters such as Lenin's condemnation of
>Stalin's treatment of the Georgian Communists, Lenin's threat to
>break off relations with Stalin over his use of offensive language to
>Krupskaya, reorganising the Gosplan etc. I will also provide
>references to differences in the texts of Lenin's documents as
>between the translations published by the Trotskyists and the corrupt
>texts published by Moscow 30 years after the event. We can agree
>between us a timetable for preparing our references, and the
>fair-minded readers on this list can evaluate the material proposed.
>At that stage we can undertake any retyping or scanning that may be
>needed. Such an arrangement would permit you also to present
>additional material on the 'socialism in one country' question - such
>as the speech of 20 November 1922. Of course this presentation of
>material need not be conducted as a 'duel' between the two of us.
>Other list subscribers would be free to contribute references to
>suitable study materials. And you and I together would prepare the
>final list from all the suggestions.
>Adolfo continues :
>"However, the PARTY did not find anyone better and decided to
>retain Stalin.  That is called democratic centralism."
>And when, pray, was Lenin's suggestion put to the Party for its
>consideration ? Allow me to quote from "Lenin's political testament",
>by the Russian historian Evgeni Plimak (Progress Pubs 1988), for a
>fair-minded view on this question.
>"Lenin's last works can roughly be divided into two parts.(They
>essentially form an integral whole.) They are his articles intended
>for the pres and published in Pravda while he was still alive, and
>his letters to the Party congress. Delegates to the 13th RCP(B)
>Congress, held after Lenin's death in 1924, were acquainted with the
>letters. However, the letters were read within the various
>delegations ; the Party's leadership did not leave time for a serious
>discussion of them which, among other crucial matters, posed a
>question that was of vital importance to the Party - Joseph Stalin's
>transfer from the post of General Secretary (Lenin's dictation of
>January 4, 1923). The 15th Party Congress held in 1927 returned to
>Lenin's letters. It adopted an important decisions : to append
>Lenin's "Letter to the Congress" (dictation of December 24 - 25,
>1922, and January 4, 1923) to the verbatim report of the congress,
>and publish in 'Lenin Miscellany' these transcriptions and other
>letters Lenin wrote on internal Party matters. Hence Lenin's
>transcriptions were printed in Bulletin No 30 of the 15th Congress.
>The second part of the decision adopted by the 15th Congress was not
>carried out during the period of Stalin's personality cult - Lenin's
>letters on internal Party issues were not printed in the 'Lenin
>Miscellany' or any other publication. Lenin's most important
>documents were thus concealed from the Party and the people, and
>subsequently the people who did discuss them were dealt with
>Does that correspond to your conception of 'democratic centralism'
>Adolfo ?
>Adolfo concludes :
>"The concept that Mr. Plant expresses in relation to this incident
>reflects his misconceptions regarding the nature of a communist
>party, and the relationship between the Party and the leaders within
>a communist Party."
>It is, unfortunately, far from clear to me what you mean by this
>section. I should be grateful if you would expand on it a little.

So for you the Party is a hereditary democracy.  A "testament", instead of
the passing opinion of a leader who was quite remote, and had been so due to
his illness from the day to day affairs of the Party and subjected to the
pesterings of the Trotsky coterie with all their tittle tattle, was to be
regarded - contrary to the opinion of the majority of the LEADERS of the
Party - and that is what democratic centralism is all about - as a matter of

However, the testament only said "I suggest that comrades think about a way
to remove Stalin from the GS".  What is that?  An order?  No. It is a
suggestion!  For what?  To take an immediate vote?  No.  To think about it -
i.e. to consider it.  That is why it was appended and referred to the Party
Congress.  As to why it was not published in the "Lenin Miscellany", so
what?  The Party was sufficiently informed and by the time of publication
Stalin had already been confirmed as leader.

It really amazes me that you can really think that the leadership of the
communist party could have been seized by Trotsky in a wave of
sentimentality.  Obviously Trotsky thought as much, and invested enough time
pestering Lenin sick-bed and pretending to be his "best disciple" - just
like any biourgeois heir awaiting for his uncles dosh!

How shameful


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