Trotsky's "analytical abilities": From personal experience

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at husc.harvard.edu
Fri Sep 13 07:51:07 MDT 1996


Louis G.,
	 I'm not asking these questions to needle you but why do you use
the term Leninist?  And are you familiar with Trotsky's writings about the
bureacratic dictatorship *besides* Revolution Betrayed?
	
			-- Jeff Booth
			

On Thu, 12 Sep 1996, Louis R Godena wrote:

>
> Vladimir Bilenkin does not like my answer to Jeff Booth's suggestion that I
> use Trotsky for the "Crisis of Leninism"
>
> >> Jeff,  I am not using Trotsky,  et al for an analysis of 1985-93 for the
> >> same reasons I would not use Edward Bellamy's *Looking Backward* (1887) for
> >> a course on the Reagan Administration.     Neither writer was especially
> >> prescient in his analytical abilities and was,  in any case,  long dead
> >> before the events to be studied occurred.
>
> And gives me an opportunity to revise it:
>
> >Busy as I am now, I'd like to tell about one of my own experiences
> >with Trotsky's book, in hope that Louis will reconsider its exclusion
> >from his book list.
>
> I have taken the liberty of excising Vladimir's rambling account of his
> article in the RCWP's newspaper and the response it received from some
> Russian Communists.    While I congratulate Vladimir for his efforts,  I am
> still at a loss as to how it bears the slightest relevance to the topic I am
> proposing for "The Crisis of Leninism" Seminar.  If he goes back and
> re-reads my post (part of which is quoted above),  he can readily see that I
> was not criticizing Trotsky's ability to analyze,  only his ability as a
> prophet,  soothsayer,  or as someone who could be depended upon to reliably
> predict the future.    Trotsky was none of these.    I am interested in the
> devolution of the Leninist party norm in the era of the 1980s and 90s.
> This is not a Trotsky-Stalin debate,  and I don't wish it to become such.
>
> Vladimir closes with a personal innuendo:
>
> >Louis Godena is an educated Marxist.  But this is not enough.  Many
> >were and are educated Marxists ...and also solid bourgeois philistines.
> >But Louis is also and above all is a son of the American working class.
>
> Thanks,  Vladimir.    I don't know if I'm a  "solid" anything.    I do think
> that we as Marxists are better served by contemporary analysis of complex
> problems that are thoughtful,  honest,  and above all,  represent "solid"
> empirical and analytical methods.    When I read something,  I always ask
> three questions:  a) what,  that is new,  does the author(s) have to say on
> the subject?   b) does s/he have the story right?   c) what in the
> author(s)'s methodology or approach can I use in my own work?    Is the mark
> of a bourgeois philistine.    Perhaps.
>
> A poor thing,   but my own.
>
>
> Louis Godena
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