Jurriaan Bendien j.bendien at
Tue Jan 2 15:59:20 MST 2001

Hi Charles

Whether I am more familiar with Stalinist ideas I cannot tell at this stage.
I regard Marx and Engels only as a sort of basis. Lenin admittedly writes
some good things, but basically I hate Leninist/Stalinist party culture, I
hate the villifications and Russian swearing and so on which
pseudo-Leninists still try to mimic today (for example the American SWP).
Lenin and leninism isn't what it is cracked up to be.   In the years prior
to the 1917 revolutions, the bolshevik party consisted mainly of dour
"committee men", petty bureaucrats, gangsters and all sorts of riffraff,
plus some workers. It was a rather anarchistic, disorganised party which
frequently couldn't get itself organised. It couldn't foresee political
developments and was taken by surprise by all the important political
events. Even at the time of the October insurrection, the leadership was
disunited and several bolshevik leaders betrayed the exact time of the
insurrection. For an inside look at the bolshevik party, read for example
the account by Shliapnikov (Alison & Busby). Very few good books exist on
what the bolshevik party was really like precisely because of the Stalinist
rewrite of history.  People who regard the bolshevik experience as a model
for today are just ridiculous in my view. They don't really know what they
are talking about. Sure, to do politics you need a party but one fitted to
todays conditions.

>  Doesn't convince you of what ? What do you get out of _The Manifesto of
> the Communist Party_ ? Anything ?
The Communist Manifesto is a brilliantly prophetic document sketching
historical trends which only fully matured much later. But in the nature of
the thing it is also fully of rhetoric. Splendid rhetoric but still
rhetoric. If you are interested in believing in an ideological catechism
then maybe you "believe'" in the CM but that is not my cup of tea.



More information about the Marxism mailing list