The origin of the degeneration thread?

Chris Burford 100423.2040 at
Sun Sep 22 02:23:31 MDT 1996

John's forwarding of Trotsky's Letter to Party Meetings
of 8th December 1923, confirms my impression from reading Stalin's
Pravda article of 15th December 1923, that this was the moment
when history took a decisive course. By the thirteenth congress in
May 1924 none of over 700 delegates supported Trotsky. So these
six months which include Lenin's death, are critical.

Other articles published from  Stalin that comment on Trotsky's

Report to 13th Conference of the RCP(B) 17 Jan 1924
Reply to Discussion 18 Jan 1924

The Thirteenth Congress of the RCP(B)
Reply to Discussion 27 May 1924

The Results of the Thirteenth Congress of the RCP(B) 17 June 1924

Trotskyism or Leninism? 19 November 1924

This last is already on the Marx Engels Internet Archives.

Hopefully the others as well as the article of 15th December could be
posted, so that there is reference material from both sides over this
critical period.

This completely open list is not the best arena for non-polemical
reexamination of the history and an understanding of the issues, though
of course people can try.  If Spoons were to devote a place for Marxist
history, I suggest that it is necessary to have ideas from various
sides about how the historically serious arguments should be organised.

I will therefore just say here that having
looked at the passage from Trotsky and now the subsequent criticisms by
Stalin, I am unclear whether two things logically come together or are
muddled up in the Trotskyist concept of "degeneration":

a) the question of democracy and centralism among party cadre,

b) the question of whether the party cadre can degenerate to form a
stratum to the extent that it changes the class character
of the socialist state.


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