Stalinism and party lines

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sun Sep 8 14:40:31 MDT 1996


On Sun, 8 Sep 1996, Hugh Rodwell wrote:

> His pro-Stalinist line deserves much rougher treatment than I have handed out.
>
> His attempts to *hide* his pro-Stalinism even more so.
>


Louis: One thing that has been extremely educational for me is to observe
the "Stalinist" Louis Godena's articulation of his inner conflicts about
the whole PCP affair and his continuing candor about Soviet history. He
cites EH Carr approvingly and discusses the whole question of antisemitism
in the USSR with frankness.

On the other hand, what we get from Rodwell is behavior more appropriate
for a Duma. He thinks he some kind of delegate from the Morenoite
Fourth International and makes speeches to the admiring throngs.

The truth is that Godena's inner contradictions and wrestling over which
approach to take to a variety of questions is much more in the Bolshevik
tradition than anything we get from Rodwell.

Doug asks the question of what contemporary Trotskyism comes across as a
collection of do-nothing ranters. I think the main explanation for that is
that it lives in a very insular world. Each sect-cult has its own "Trotsky
for today" and this guru tends to make all of the major political
decisions unilaterally. The central committees, which tend to be loaded by
toadies to the guru, rubberstamp his decision.

What's odd in the case of Rodwell and Malecki is that the former could
well be the only Morenoite in England and Malecki is the only Spartacist
in Sweden. But both of them come across more dogmatic than any of the
other Trotskyists on the list from more substantial denominations.

As we move toward the 21st century, more and more Marxists will begin to
reject the whole notion of "democratic centralism" that occupies such an
important part of the orthodoxy of such sects.

I have Zinoviev's history of the Bolshevik Party, the proceedings of the
2nd congress of the Comintern and Theodore Draper's book on the
early days of the CPUSA. Over the next few weeks, I will try to illuminate
how Lenin's Bolshevik party was distorted out of all recognition by
Zinoviev and why this model has been so harmful for the revolutionary left
in the 20th century.



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