Owen Jones owen.jones at
Sat Dec 11 07:11:02 MST 1999

> Ask the Russian people.. they dont want Lenin back. The Chinese dont want
> Mao back.  They might like communism, but they want freedom too.
> It has to be fundimentaly different the next time around, if there ever is
> one.  I'ce spoken to a local woman who's been with the Communist Party for
> decades and even she admits this is true.

 I'm sorry, but I simply do not accept that. Back with the collapse of
Stalinism in Europe, the bureaucratic regimes had erected thousands of
statues of Lenin across their countries, and these statues came to symbolise
these bankrupt regimes. With the Soviet bureaucrats' earlier denunciation of
Josef Stalin, Lenin was in every way - from statues to art, from school
badges to passports - put across as the very symbol of the dictatorships and
the systems the Eastern European masses lived under. Back in '91, everything
with Lenin on it was destroyed, because it was the symbol of the destruction
of Stalinism - ironically, whilst the bureaucrats who were so despised
carried out the counter-revolution and restored capitalism.

 Now, what I find slightly depressing is that much of the sentiments of the
Russian masses and their Eastern European cousins are more based on feelings
of nostalgia for how it used to be - under the deformed workers' states -
than any concrete political radicalisation. It is backward-looking, rather
than forward-looking; and often for the worst aspects of Stalinism - like
"strong leadership", "law and order", etc... Eastern neo-Stalinism therefore
takes the shape of these qualities, as well as populist ultra-nationalism
and anti-Semitic hatred. The idolisation of Lenin that returns is not out of
respect for him as a revolutionary or sympathy with his ideas, but because
he has been ingrained on the consciousness of the Eastern European masses as
the symbol of the old Stalinist regimes, which they have experienced and
have decided is the "smaller of two evils". I think most people on this
list, Trotskyist, Stalinist, Maoist or other will accept that there can be
no return to how things were. We look forward based on current analyses of
the capitalist system in order to work out the future shape of a workers'
state, based on our own means of analysis, and our own particular subset of
beliefs. It is for that every modern Marxist party (excluding the nostalgic
parties) has a radically different programme than those parties of 80 years

 We've seen the polls and surveys. A majority of Russian people think that
the Bolshevik Revolution was for the good rather than for the bad. People
march down the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, waving portraits of
Lenin (and less inspiringly, Stalin), and as STRATFOR has even pointed out,
not necessarily mainly elderly people as the bourgeois press likes to mock.
The current Russian regime is universally despised, by proletarian,
petty-bourgeois, and even bourgeois oligarch (who see a sinking ship they
fear will take them down too); and the masses look to how things were, to
the social security, the free education and health care, the free housing,
the paid better wages, the holidays provided for miners, the lack of poverty
and unemployment, etc... A real revolutionary working class Marxist party
could capitalise on this, using these sentiments to direct the masses to a
more forward-looking programme rather than nostalgia to the decayed system;
but instead they mix "return to the old system" with capitulation to the
Russian bourgeoisie and the most reactionary of ideas. There can be no
return to Stalinism, there can be a return to Bolshevism, which is the most
democratic, free, revolutionary system every devised in human history, based
on the principles of the dictatorship of the proletariat.


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