Leninism and "Stalinism"

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sun Oct 13 17:42:35 MDT 1996


Chris is riding for a fall with all this bluster of his:

>I challenged that Stalin's summary of Leninism
>written within a few months of Lenin's death, (even if
>it was revised later in widespread editions, - and that
>has to be established) is not demonstrably at variance with
>Lenin's writings.
>
>As impassioned a denouncer of "Stalinism" as Hugh, has failed to
>demonstrate that. Even on the section in Foundations of Leninism,
>the national question, where Trotskyists are usually most confident
>that Stalin was wrong. Even with a quote about an Emir, that at
>first sight a non-polemical poster, like Wei En Lin, thought
>might be a grammatical error.
>
>If the demon poster Hugh, with no holds barred, needs "good time"
>to demonstrate this point, it cannot be demonstrated. (I am sure
>you take that as the compliment it is intended to be, Rodders old
>chap.)

At the moment, for me, the point isn't urgent. It can and will be
demonstrated, all in good time. You ask in your time, I reply in mine.


>Nor does it make sense to confuse the issue by suggesting I am a
>Stalinist. As a member of Democratic Left which has a constitution
>closer to that of the Spoons collective than Leninist democratic
>centralism, I cannot be an orthodox follower of Stalin, and would
>not claim to be even close to one. What I do think we have to try to
>achieve on this list, coming from different traditions, is some attempt
>to analyse history seriously and not just polemically.

You are a Stalinist. You defend his positions as much as you dare. And
particularly you defend the Soviet bureaucracy against the
Bolshevik-Leninist opposition.

You share the main characteristics of Stalinist politics. We've repeated
them so often that it's obvious you're into serious denial with these
issues:

Socialism in One Country  (defended very vigorously by yourself in the
run-up to this present thread)

The Two-Stage Theory of Revolution (defended very vigorously by yourself in
relation to South Africa and the ANC)

Class Collaboration (ditto)

and

A Bureaucratic Regime completely lacking Workers' Democracy (part of the
above bargain).


>To use the term "Stalinist" so promiscuously is to demonstrate how
>meaningless this key concept is to Hugh, that it is merely the dark
>side of an idealist representation of Trotskyism. A sort of
>Manichean polarisation of serious discussion of all the good on one
>side and all the evil on the other.


The use is not at all promiscuous. You don't like it cos it fits too well.

And the attitude towards Stalinism is a clear dividing line between the
healthy currents in the socialist movement and political necrosis. On
questions of thought and programme, rejection of Stalinism is imperative.

This is naturally not at all the same as saying that it is impossible to
form united fronts with workers who might be following Stalinist (eg CP or
Maoist) or indeed reformist (Labour) or even bourgeois leadership (eg
Peronist workers in Argentina, Democrats in the States).

Cheers,

Hugh




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