Stalin etc.

E.C.Apling E.C.Apling at
Sun Aug 8 04:05:11 MDT 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-marxism at
> [mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of Yoshie Furuhashi
> Sent: 07 August 1999 12:25
> To: marxism at
> Subject: Re: Stalin and the POWs

---quote from Mark Jones snipped---
Yoshie asked:
> One may also ask: why was capitalism restored? Why did Eastern bloc
> citizens find it so difficult to resist restoration? Why have
> Russians been
> unable to generate a powerful grassroots movement to topple the weak
> Yeltsin regime and rebuild socialism upon a new foundation? You'd rightly
> point to imperialist encirclement, insertion into the world market, etc.
> However, while I understand your desire to expose capitalist crocodile
> tears and blithe application of double standards,  I think it would be
> amiss to ignore the ill effects of repression executed in the name of
> socialism upon *citizens' political capacity*. Isn't it that socialism
> needs active, intelligent, & enthusiastice citizen-workers (unlike passive
> consumers under capitalism) who love (not just passively accept) socialism
> to safeguard its achievements and bring it to a higher level (especially
> under the context of capitalist encirclement)?
> Yoshie
 Mark Jones has posted an extensive reply to Yoshie's question, and to
comments by Lou Proyect, in his message with subject Re: marxism-digest V1
#1195  posted at Sat 07/08/1999 16:19, but he seems to have skimmed over
Yoshie's final question, which is a crucial one not just for the success of
a revolution, but for the continuing success of the new regime.

In this connection I recall the comment of Oliver Cromwell to the "grandees
of Parliament" as to his policy for the New Model Army in 1640 that:
(paraphrased from memory): "I would prefer a russet-coated Captain who knows
what he fights for and loves what he knows to what you call a gentleman and
is nothing else."  And under him the New Model Army was a body of dedicated
free men in which Leveller opinions prevailed - but after victory?

Mark says what seems to me to succintly sum up the failures of Soviet
leadership from the 50s on and the absence of those qualities in the Soviet
citizenry so rightly seen as necessary by Yoshie:

>  Soviet victory was so absolute, comprehensive and stunning
> that no-one questioned it: as Stalin said, the war was an 'all-round test'
> of the Soviet system, which it passed. Those who had endured so much, and
> won so much, saw no reason to change much and once they had the bomb, they
> felt secure. But what they in fact inherited, politically speaking, was a
> corpse: a party and state so completely warped by the Thirties and
> Forties, by the whole climacteric of Soviet collectiviation and
> industrialisation, followed by the staggering human and material
> losses of the war (which in fact the USSR NEVER made good)
> that it was truly a factory under martial law,
> militarised and unthinking, and deprived of intelligent leadership
> (Khrushchev was simply a fool). Ideological regeneration might have
> been possible under different external circumstances, but the realities of
> Containment placed a terrible premium on stability redefined as
> political paralysis. There was too much to lose, and nothing
> for that particular leadership to gain, from embarking on
> the absolutely-necessary Cultural Revolution.

I agree with Mark that we are spending too much time discussing the 30s and
40s - the time of Soviet success - and two little discussing its decline and
fall in the 60s-80s....

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