Forwarded from Anthony (Cuba)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Mar 28 13:45:44 MST 2001

Hi Lou:

Re: Richard Fidler letter to Revolutionary History

Could Stalinists lead socialist revolutions? Can they still? Richard's
letter seems to implie that the notion that Cuba is somehow Stalinist is in
contradiction with the recognition of a socialist revolution there.

"Forty years after the victory of socialist revolution in Cuba, Tennant is
unable even to accept that Cuba is a workers state, referring to it as a
(Stalinist) "People's Democracy". Your short editorial indicates that your
review stands on the same sectarian ground."

My own view is that - contrary to what many Trotskyists believed, and may
still believe, most of the social revolutions that occurred in the last
century were led by Stalinists of one variety or another. These include
Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Albania, Yugoslavia, and all of the
Eastern European countries liberated by the Soviet army.

Furthermore, my view is that underlying the anti-democratic internal party
traditions transmitted by Soviet Stalinism through the Third International
and the Soviet international apparati (not limited to the International,
but also including the KGB, the Soviet Army, diplomatic corps, etc.), is a
deformation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR.

The USSR in its first years was NOT a workers democracy, it was a workers
dictatorship (which is more democratic in fact than any capitalist

Revolutionary dictatorships were necessary for the social revolutions which
happened after WWII to survive. In other words they were born, they
survived, because they were dictatorships.

Unfortunately those dictatorships ahd been infected to one degree or
another with two perfectly absurd and historicalically malignant traditions
of Stalinism: 1) That the bureaucratic dictatorship of the workers state
under Stalin equalled socialism (or even more ludicrous communism). 2) That
socialism was possible in one country, or in one group fo countries - even
when they were isolated from the greatest accumulations of wealth,
technology, industry, and human talent on the planet.

The disease was weaker in some cases, and stronger in other cases.

It was weakest in Cuba, where the leadership of the revolution was not
really a part of the Stalinist tradition, but only adhered to the Soviet
Union after it had achieved state power. It was the only one of the
revolutions mentioned above which was not born Stalinist, but became
infected shortly after birth - when its natural defenses against the
disease were much stronger than when it was in the womb.

(My views are substantially the same as Nahuel Moreno's in Revolutionary
Dictorship of the Proletariat and Revolutions of the 20th Century)


PS. While I think it is true as Richard says that Tim Wohlforth and Tennant
didn't recognize socialist revolution when it hit them in the face, others
who were Shacmanites and Healyites did recognize it - Hal Draper I think
was an example.

Louis Proyect
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