Fw: Re: Facts on Google and facts in the minds

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Sat Dec 15 14:35:59 MST 2001

On Sat, 15 Dec 2001 14:04:05 -0300 "Gorojovsky" <Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar>
> En relación a Re: Facts on Google and facts in the minds , 
> el 15 Dec 01, a las 0:18, Mark Jones dijo:
> > At 14/12/2001 21:59, Nestor wrote:
> > 

> > Lenin thought that the Russian revolution would inevitably be 
> destroyed
> > unless there was also a revolution in Germany. In the long run, 
> Lenin was right,
> > wasn't he? The Soviet Union could not survive in the face of 
> relentless and
> > bitter opposition by encircling capitalist states.

Well, the 'orthodox' Marxist position was always, that a revolution
in Russia could not ultimately be successful, unless it was
followed by proletarian revolutions in the advanced capitalist
countries in the West.  That was the position that Marx took
on a possible Russian revolution in his correspondence
with Narodniks, in which he suggested that he was more
sympathetic with their position than he was with that of his
own disciple Plekhanov.

Lenin and Trotsky as far as I can tell held the same basic
view as Marx's.  They believed that the October Revolution
was doomed unless it was followed by revolutions in
the Western countries, particularly Germany.

The failure of these revolutions to materialize, helped
to lead to a parting of the ways between Trotsky and
Stalin.  For Trotsky, a renewed emphasis on "permanent
revolution" was what was required if the October Revolution
was to retain its vitality.  While for Stalin, what was needed
was a concentration on "socialism in one country."
Trotsky's position IMO was the more 'orthodox' one,
while Stalin's was arguably the more realistic one
in light of the conditions then previaling both within
the USSR and in the outside world, where the post-1917
revolutionary upsurge had faded away.

> > 
> This is where our roads depart, dear Mark. In my own view, the 
> "bitter 
> opposition by encircling capitalist states" was a lot less 
> responsible for the 
> ultimate outcome of the drama than the profoundly erroneous (thus 
> criminal, in 
> the sense of Talleyrand's famous "This is worse than a crime, Sire, 
> this is a 
> mistake") policies adopted by the leaders of the fSU after the death 
> of Lenin 
> and the expulsion (and eventual assassination) of Trotsky. 

Part of the problem here is that Mark and Nestor are both right.
The October Revolution was ultimately doomed to failure, if
it could not lead to revolution in the West.  But it is also
true that Stalin made a number of errors that helped
to seal the fate of the USSR in the decades following
his death.  Just to cite one such error, I would suggest
that the purging of the officer corps of the Red Army in
the late 1930s went a long way in undermining Soviet
military preparedness.  Just to pose a few counterfactuals,
I would suggest that if that purge had been avoided,
the Red Army would have been in much better shape
in 1941.  Either Hitler would have not dared to attack
the Soviet Union, in which case the Soviet Union having
been spared the devastation of WW II would have in the
postwar era in far greater economic and political health
and would have been in a good position to play a hegemonic
role in the postwar period.

If Hitler had nevertheless, attacked the USSR, the Red
Army would have defeated the Germans a lot earlier
than they did.  Upon defeating Germany, the Red Army
would probably then have swept into Western Europe,
and Soviet soldiers may well have found themselves
washing their boots in the waters of the Atlantic
and the Mediterranean.  Under such circumstances
either the Cold War as we experienced it may either
have been avoided altogether, or if it had occurred,
it would have ended in a Soviet victory, as a result
among other things of successful workers revolutions
in the West.

Faced with the issues of the absorption of Western
Europe, the  Stalinist Soviet Union would have
had to liberalize much earlier than it did.  But since
it would have been doing so under much more
favorable economic and political circumstances,
the "destalinzation" of the Soviet Union would
have had a much greater chance of success.
In any case, we would be living in much different,
and probably, socialist world.  Even if Stalin was
correct that immediate conditions required an
emphasis on "socialism in one country," it was
still the case that he made errors which blunders
even in his own terms and which helped to
make  the prospect  of revolition in the West,
increasingly remote.

> One of the main trends of this school of mind and praxis was to 
> reserve 
> "politics" to the "big ones". Under this assumption, of course the 
> USSR was 
> dead from the very beginning. In a sense, you are stating a case for 
> self-
> fulfilling prophecy.

I think that it must be admitted that the Soviet experiment
at best, faced some pretty long odds.  Mark is certainly
right about that.  Nevertheless, it is also the case
that Stalin and his successors made some awful
blunders that hastened the doom of the Soviet Union.

> I know that here is where the actually essential debate begins, but 
> this is 
> precisely where I have to quit, because there are too many urgent 
> things to do 
> in Argentina now (where the ruling clique is full gas towards 
> dollarisation), 
> and I must put all my energy there.
> Cheerfully sorry,
> Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
> gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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