Who's a Marxist? (was: Khrushchev's speech)
musides at SPAMadelaide.on.net
Thu Aug 5 04:46:40 MDT 1999
There are two ways to approach the division: in regards to existing
prejudice (eg, the non-marxist educated readers), and in regards to the
Everyone here knows the sort of shit kids today learn in school.
Simplistic history likes to teach about personalities, they learn a bit
about Joe Stalin. Stalin is given the grand throne of "the greatest
murder" of the century, Hitler follows somewhere down, and so does Mao
Tse-Tung, and some others, etc. (Churchill and Truman are found on the
Some of us have the fortune of curiousity, and so read alittle bit
more, to find out more about these people. Invariably, it is the
bourgeois scholarship we encounter, and invariably, our opinion
remains. Some of us, even smaller in number, still don't like this
opinion, so we dig deeper: to the source. For those few who <italic>can
find</italic> and penetrate the readings of Stalin, for example, what
might catch our eye; already deep in layers and layers of filth?
Perhaps the liquidation campaigns, the trials, etc, etc? It is nearly
impossible to not see him in a negative view.
Now the truth.
The truth can be complicated. This is a sort of phrase that applies
well to Stalin. It is a complicated truth. The executions of nearly
every Lenin-era member of the Bolshevik party are "complicated".
The truth is complicated, partly, because there are ways to tell it.
Partly, because there are tools you need to understand it.
Here we have people who, whether they like it or not, hate Stalin.
They come to marxists.org to learn about Marxism. The fact is, with
Stalin immediately present, that learning is going to be hindered.
People will leave before starting.
If Stalin can be put aside, the fundamentals learned, the tools
collected and used with various others, then a "newbie" now Marxist can
approach Stalin free of bourgeois chains and with the hammer of Marxism
Is this not reasonable?
On "good" or "bad" Marxist analysis. You know as well as I do this is
bullocks. Marxism is a theory and practice, it is not defined by "good"
or "bad" achievements.
What is in dispute is whether or not they are Marxist.
<excerpt> It just identifies them as people who contributed to the body
This is a broad range. Adam Smith was a huge contributor of Marxist
theory. Yes, this is obvious. But we plan to have his writings up some
day. Do we put Adam Smith with Karl Marx? Of course not. There is a
necessity for a seperate section, so what is the standard of
People do not, of course, have name tags. We have to decide. Do we put
everyone in the Marxist section who called themselves Marxists?
Nevermind what they said and did? Everyone is familiar with Marx's
statement: "If that is what it means to be a Marxist, then I am not a
It seems reasonable to take a step further, and decide who is and who
is not a Marxist by some independent measure of judgement. This means
we have to do what cannot be done with perfection, what is necessarily
clouded, biased, and certainly falliable.
On the validity of our choices, one issue is the facts. What are they?
What is the truth, and what not? One thing I am certain of is that many
Bolsheviks were executed for plotting to overthrow the Soviet
government. This alone is not enough to make any coherent decision, but
it goes a distance in helping to shape other "evidence".
Mass murders do not make a person non-Marxist. It is a matter of who
is being murdered, no? Bolsheviks were members of the so-called
proletarian vanguard. Such members who <italic>ushered in</italic> the
revolution, who fought through the Civil War, who battled ravaging
famine throughout the country. Unless I am completely out of water,
Marxism has something to say about the solidartiy of the proletarian
class -- that Communists are <italic>not opposed</italic> to other
working class parties.
To defend Stalin, it is necessary to see the old Bolsheviks, new
Bolsheviks, military officers, bueraucrates, etc, etc, reveresed sides
to the bourgeoisie. I think Mark Jones is now at efforts to build such
a case. I have said as much on the list and to Mark privately, that I
look forward to reading this, and that I am happy to mark and post
everything Mark has posted on the list, into a new section of the
Soviet History Archive.
You have suggested we explain our opinions of those we do not consider
Marxists, but include them in the section. If we believe them not
Marxist, but include them as Marxist, we are contradicting ourselves in
action, and following something else. What would that be?
So, we have seperated them in accordance to our decision. We should
outline why, so the reader can decide for themselves. This is a valid
point, and you are right; we must explain our bias. When time is more
ready we will accomplish this.
If you can offer an analysis, proving they were Marxist, then I will
at the least bring it to the board the next time we can discuss this
issue. Other comments are welcome. Thanks for your critisms.
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