UNITE! Info #19en: 4/4 Social-imperialism's Afghan war
rolf.martens at mailbox.swipnet.se
Tue Oct 8 21:41:36 MDT 1996
UNITE! Info #19en: 4/4 Social-imperialism's Afghan war=20
[Continued from part 3/4]
CHAPTER 4: ON QUISLING "MARXISM" AND ITS ROOT=20
CAUSES, ON THE STRANGE "THEORY" OF "STALINISM"
AND ON THE SUPERPOWERS AS RIVALS AND ALLIES
A) *The root cause of the revisionist support for the new tsars*
What are the social causes of such a revisionism, such a
completely fake "Marxism", that even wholeheartedly supports
the aggression of an imperialist superpower against a third-
world country? What was it that made a small number of persons
here in Sweden, for instance, extremely friendly towards Soviet
social-imperialism - an arch-reactionary power rightly hated and
despised by an overwhelming majority of people - even at a time,
some 20 years ago, when that power was visibly not only=20
oppressing and exploiting a number of East European peoples=20
but also threatening this country and several other European=20
And still today, there are some purported "Marxists", in various
countries, who are weeping over the (partial) downfall of that=20
reactionary power. Why?
Can it be blamed on ignorance? To a certain small extent, in
some cases, perhaps yes. Under the rule of imperialism, in=20
our time, there is always massive suppression of information to
"ordinary people". Thus, those who live in regions of the world very
far from the former Soviet Union and not so directly affected by
the political and military activities of that power may well have
had greater difficulties in seeing through its mask of "socialism".
But for people calling themselves "Marxists", ignorance on such a
matter cannot be much of an excuse. If you're to become a Marxist
and try to guide and lead other people politically, you're obliged,
among other things, to inform yourself on the vital matters in the
world, and it cannot be said that today, for instance, the utterly
reactionary character of the Soviet Union of the last few decades
is something that you can miss, if you study Marxism in some way
and take a somewhat closer look at world events - no matter in
which country you live.
The extremely pro-social-imperialist revisionism that was=20
expressed recently, for instance, by some persons writing to the
Jefferson Village Virginia Marxism list in the main has a very
definite social cause. On this, I'll quote from an article, originally
written in 1973 and published in English in 1976, which I intend
later to post in full too.
It's a passage from "The International Situation, Europe and the
Position of the Marxist-Leninist Parties", written by Klaus Sender,=20
chairman of the KPD/ML(NEUE EINHEIT), Germany, in his exile=20
here in Malmoe, Sweden, in 1973; English translation made by=20
me in co-operation with others and published in Britain in 1976=20
"The Soviet Union was formerly a connecting link between the=20
oppressed nations and peoples in the East and the proletarian=20
revolution in the West. It was a fundamental principle of the=20
Soviet Union to give fully equal state rights to the peoples and=20
nations formerly oppressed by the tsar and to aim at developing
and promoting these countries in the economic respect as well.=20
But with the establishment of revisionism was also re-erected the=20
old, tsarist, prison for the people of all nationalities."
"A prop for Soviet revisionism is opportunism, or rather a handful=20
of rich countries' exploitation of foreign countries from which=20
imperialism is extracting additional giant profits enabling it to=20
bribe the upper stratum of the working class and to unburden the=20
people of these rich countries of the dirty and hard labour. The=20
tendencies connected with this, towards philistinification and petty-
bourgeoisification of part of the working class, were, and still are,=20
a certain protection against the emergence of a genuinely
Marxist-Leninist movement, against there being fought a real=20
ideological struggle which would unmask Soviet revisionism=20
"What one the one hand is causing opportunism must, on the=20
other, cause an intensification of international class struggle.
Modern revisionism has its root cause in the massive, extensive=20
exploitation of the countries of the third world. And it is from this=20
aspect that it must necessarily reveal itself the most. The Soviet=20
revisionists' social-imperialism is bound to clash openly with the=20
oppressed peoples and nations. Such a power as the social-imperialism=20
of the Soviet revisionists must fear to the utmost every genuine=20
movement, every movement of the oppressed peoples and nations for=20
independence and every genuine Communist movement."
"Soviet revisionism today has become a vanguard of political=20
reaction in the world. This is what the Marxist-Leninists must=20
In the social-imperialists' Afghan war, 1979-89, that which was
predicted here was confirmed. That power did clash openly
with an oppressed people.
What Klaus Sender had written about "philistinification and=20
petty-bourgeoisification" eventually came true about him and
his party too. In the late 1980:s, this earlier so important -=20
though always very small - genuinely proletarian revolutionary
force degenerated and turned into that in reality bourgeois
force today somtimes posting things on the Net as
<klasber at aol.com>.
B) *The Trotskyite and openly-bourgeois "theory" of "Stalinism"*
In 1917, there was the great Russian revolution, and in the years
immediately following this, the socialist Soviet Union was formed.=20
>From the late 1950:s on, capitalism was completely restored in
the Soviet Union and that former socialist state turned into a
pillar of reaction, from which in the mid-1970:s even the main
danger of large-scale imperialist war emanated.
These are the most basic facts about the Soviet Union, although
things are not quite as simple as stated here in this fashion. From=20
the very beginning, there were certain deformations in this socialist
state. And a number of reactionary, revisionist and social-
imperialist, actions were undertaken by the Soviet leadership
long before the end of the 1950:s too. There are several=20
questions of history concering the first socialist state which
still remain open. They need to be investigated.
These problems of course have facilitated the continued=20
advocacy of a reactionary "theory" which attacks what it calls
"Stalinism". In the above-mentioned discussion on the Jefferson
Village Virginia Marxism list, some people rightly condemned
the aggression against Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, but
they said that this aggression was an expression of "Stalinism".
Openly bourgeois media have presented things in a similar
But the essentially upside-down character of this description
of things is obvious. What was the standpoint of the Soviet
revisionists, who perpetrated the aggression in Afghanistan,
concerning Stalin? As is well-known, one of the most important
turning-points in the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet=20
Union was the 20th party congress of the CPSU in 1956 and
the "secret speech" held by Khrushchev, the first openly
revisionist Soviet leader, at that congress, in which he totally
*repudiated* Stalin and tried to blacken him as "completely=20
reactionary". The later revisionist regime under Brezhnev,
which was the one mainly responsible for the genocidal=20
aggression against Afghanistan, had made some small=20
modifications in their standpoint concerning Stalin but had by=20
no means stopped supporting their forerunner's=20
condemnation of him.
On the other hand, the genuine Marxist-Leninists, i.e. those
who adhered to Mao Zedong's correct repudiation of modern
revisionism and of Soviet social-imperialism and who of course
condemned the aggression of that power in Afghanistan, in
the main *supported* Stalin, while also criticizing his faults.
So what people might, with the least justification, be called
"Stalinists" in connection with Afghanistan - those who
repudiated Stalin and perpetrated the aggression against
that country or those who defended him in the main and
condemned that aggression? Obviously, only the latter, if the
term "Stalinist" is to have any meaning at all. But it's in
precisely the *contrary* way that the Trotskyites and some
openly bourgeois media have used that term in this connection.
Clearly, their "theory" is an utterly confused one.
What's wrong with the term "Stalinism"? Basically, the fact=20
that it doesn't distinguish between the dictatorship of the=20
bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat.=20
The openly bourgeois media of course never have recognized
the fact that the class character of the Soviet Union, at a certain=20
point in its history, changed. The question of more precisely=20
when the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union took=20
place is one on which some different theories might be argued -=20
because of those still unsolved questions of history. But the fact=20
that, in the 1960:s at the latest, the former dictatorship of the=20
proletariat in that state had been replaced with a dictatorship of=20
the bourgeoisie is incontrovertible. The "theory" of "Stalinism",
calling the actions of the revisionist regime in the Soviet Union
under Brezhnev etc "Stalinist", pretends that that regime had
the same basic character as the one under Stalin's leadership,
which is untrue.
The Trotskyites are using the term "Stalinism" to denote - what?
They themselves have always advanced that theory, on the
Soviet Union, that it's a "worker's state though with bureaucratic
deformations". They have been saying this about the Soviet
Union *after* capitalism in fact was restored in that state too.=20
This is extremely reactionary. It flagrantly goes against the
clearly visible facts.
Do the Trotskyites with their term "Stalinism" want to denote
suppression? So it seems. But there are two quite opposite
kinds of suppression, just and unjust. One kind is by a socialist=20
state against counter-revolutionaries, which is just suppression.
Another kind is suppression against the masses, which is
unjust. Now it's the case that under Stalin's rule, there *was*
a considerable amount of such unjust suppression too, and
not only just suppression. Here there are some important
questions of history on which much more clarification is
needed. But when describing things, you must at least
differentiate between the two kinds of suppression That's what=20
the adherents of Trotsky are *not* doing.=20
Do they want, by their use of the term "Stalinism", to denote
unjustified military intervention? There *were* some such
actions undertaken by the Soviet Union under Stalin. One
clear case of it was the assault on Finland in 1939-40. That
was in fact a *social-imperialist* type of war on the part of
the Soviet Union, which, nevertheless, had *not* yet turned into
a social-imperialist state. The second war of the Soviet Union
against Finland, the one of 1941-44, was a *just* war on its=20
part, since Finland then was then supporting the Hitler fascists'
aggression - a support which of course the Soviet Union in
part had provoked itself by its earlier unjust action against
that country, but anyway. Typical for at least certain trends
within Trotskyism too is a tendency to describe the entire
World War II as an "imperialist" war, that is, an "unjust" war on
the part of "all" the warring parties, though in fact that war of
course was in the main an anti-fascist one, with certain
imperialist elements involved as a secondary aspect.
To call the Soviet revisionists' aggression in Afghanistan a
"Stalinist" war is unjustified and misleading too, since the
main war actually led by Stalin was a *just* one, that against
the invading Hitler fascists. The fact that the Stalin regime in
the Soviet Union also was responsible for certain military
actions which must be condemned as unjust is, despite
everything, a *secondary* aspect of that regime.=20
It may be true that this secondary aspect was a rather important
one. Very murky do some things seem to be which were done
by the Soviet government in 1939-1940 and early 1941 in
relation to Hitler fascism. And these things also have a certain
prehistory which likewise merits a closer investigation. But
still, to call the Soviet revisionists' Afghan war a "Stalinist" one
is basically misleading.=20
C) *Briefly on the superpowers as rivals and allies*
In the issue of the last weekend (5-6.10.96) of the US=20
imperialists' newpaper International Herald Tribune, there was
an article on Afghanistan (by Philip Bowring on p. 8, "Kabul
Reaps a Whirlwind as the World Watches") in which the
earlier aggression by the social-imperialists against that
country was described as a "Soviet-U.S. proxy war". The=20
present situation was commented on in the following terms:
"If Afghanistan is to survive at all as a political entity playing
its historical role as a buffer state, some loose, Swiss-style
federation seems the only plausible solution. That might have
been possible had the Soviet-U.S. proxy war in Afghanistan
not been followed by the U.S.-Iranian cold war. For now,
however, it is only a dream."
Here, obviously, speaks a mouthpiece of another US imperialist
faction than that which supported (with or without quotation
marks) the Afghan resistance against the social-imperialists.
Was that war *in essence* a "Soviet-U.S. proxy war"? No. It
had some elements of such a proxy war in it, but, like the Vietnam
war, which some people have likewise tried to make out was
such a war, it was in the main an aggression by a foreign=20
reactionary power and a struggle on the part of the people against=20
that aggression. That is, it was mainly a "North-South" conflict,=20
*not* in the main an "East-West" one.
In that recent IHT article is visible the element of superpower
*partnership*, the desire by US imperialism to team up with
Russian new tsarism in order to jointly dominate and oppress
the rest of the world. Historically, one reason why Soviet
social-imperialism became such a grave military threat to
a number of Eourpean countries some 20 years ago, for=20
instance, was the fact that one faction within US imperialism=20
needed and wanted that - economically much inferior - power=20
as a counterweight against socialist China, in the first place,=20
and also as sword of Damoceles, in the second place, against
European countries and peoples, in order to "keep them in
their place", this not least also because in Europe, there were
certain forces at least potentially raising a "threat" of=20
As one trait in US imperialist foreign policy, today too, as some
20 years ago, there is - besides that rivalry with Russian new
tsarism that still remains - also a tendency to try to use use that=20
tsarism as a bullying "bear in a chain" against some European=20
and other countries. One small expression of this was that
misleading and in fact more or less condoning description of
the new tsars' Afghan war as a "proxy" one. By some writers in
the IHT, the fact that the Soviet Union had more than 100 000=20
own troops in Afghanistan and with its own airforce massively=20
bombed the villages in that country, appearently has already =20
So those "Marxists" who have likewise "forgotten" this fact
are in "good company", one might say. They may not have
much chance of actually becoming Najibullahs themselves. But
they can "comfort" themselves with the fact that their standpoint
tallies with that of a not inconsiderable faction within that main
reactionary power of today, US imperialism.
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