"Crisis of Leninism"; Conference Course

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sun Sep 15 17:01:48 MDT 1996

Louis G wrote:

>Sometime this year,  I would like to see some sort of an informal
>cybercourse on one of the lists that deals with issues arising out of the
>period 1985-1993 in the history of Communism.     We on the Left are,  I
>believe,  woefully lacking in analytical skills in dealing with this seminal

Trotskyism isn't. That Stalinism should prove bankrupt when it comes to
charting the historical progress of its glorious career should come as a
surprise to no-one, as it started out by combining the falsification of the
history of the October revolution with the destruction of the bearers of
the traditions of October. Its practical policies combined voluntarism
(wishful thinking) on a huge scale with the rejection of Marxist theory and
class analysis.

>This course would be intended as an overview and analysis of the origins,
>rise and decline of communist political and economic institutions in the
>twentieth century,  primarily in the Soviet Union (the first major communist
>power and progenitor of the model) and China (currently the remaining major
>communist power).

"Communist" being used in the bourgeois media sense of the word. Marxists
would prefer to use "workers' state" or "dictatorship of the proletariat"
to describe the kind of state involved, and "Stalinist" to designate the

>The focus would be morphological rather than historical;  the aim being to
>clarify the essentials of communist party organization as a system of
>political power and the command economy as a system of production and also
>as a foundation for a distinctive form of political rule.

Ontology rather than genealogy! Anything but *history*. Let's not look at
the policy decisions that went into building the Stalinist model, and
especially let's not look at the concrete alternatives that were posed
against the Stalinist line by the Left Opposition, for instance.

>We shall
>discuss the conditions under which these two institutions took shape,  and
>their successes and pathologies after they were consolidated.

How you can do this unhistorically is a mystery to me. Of course Marx and
Engels and Lenin never saw things in their historical development and would
never have dreamed of mixing up a morphology with a historical process.

>We shall then examine the ways in which,  and the reason why,  these
>institutions eventually began to unravel or collapse.    We will therefore
>focus upon the deeper institutional forces behind the rise,   consolidation,
>evolution,  and eventual decline of these party-states.

Is "deeper institutional forces" gobbledegook for *class* forces in the
various conjunctures of the class struggle? Or does it have no class
content at all?



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