Reassessing Nikita Khrushchev

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed May 9 09:22:49 MDT 2001

>>> hliu at 05/09/01 10:59AM >>>

Stalin did a lot of things not so much because he was evil, but because of
revolutionary dialectics.
Luther could be considered a Stalinist.  Or more accurately, Joseph Vissarionovich
Stalin (1879-1953) would in fact fit the definition of a Lutheran diehard, at least in
revolutionary strategy if not in ideological essence.  Like Luther, Stalin would
suppress populist radicalism to preserve institutional revolution, and would glorify
the state as the sole legitimate expediter of revolutionary ideology.
Early Protestantism, like Stalinism, would become more oppressive and intolerant than
the system it would replace.  Ironically, puritanical Protestant ethics celebrating
the virtues of thrift, industry, sobriety and responsibility, would be identified by
many sociologists as the driving force centuries later behind the success of modern
capitalism and industrialized economy.  Particularly, ethics as espoused by Calvinism
which in its extreme would advocate subordination of the state to the Church,
diverging from Luther's view of the state to which the Church is subordinate, would be
ironically credited as the spirit behind the emergence of the modern Western
capitalist industrial state.


CB: Yes, although I didn't say Stalin was evil. I said he acted illegally. The Party
must have rules, which because of its status amount to laws.  No individual, even the
General Secretary is above the Party rules and laws. Lenin did not place himself above
the Party rules and laws. I suppose these could be considered Party ethics, but
nonetheless, no individual party member is above the rules.

K and the Party seemed to have a lot of evidence that Stalin violated Communist Party

And beyond this I am saying that Stalin and his group did not act pragmatically.  I
don't see where any extraordinary exception to the rules would be justified by the
situation. I don't see where killing and imprisoning all those Party members helped
the revolutionary process in the SU, practically speaking.


K's de-Stalinization followed the path of the Counter Reformation along the line of
the Jesuits.  K erroneously identified the Party strength as its weakness and vice
versa, laying the foundation for the Party's eventual self destruction.

The Western Left never understood the necessity of terror as a revolutionary tool
while it sheepishly accepts the structural terrorism of the bourgeoisie.  What
destroyed the Soviet revolution was not the lack of freedom, but the demand for the
wrong kind of freedom.


CB: But here I am focussing specifically on the terror used against Party members.
There is no Leninist principle I know of that would teach use of terror against the
Party as there is much evidence that Stalin's group was involved in. Terror against
the bourgeoisie and counterrevolutionaries is not in the same category as use of
terror in Party struggles. The latter is not a Leninist principle.

But aside from any Leninist principle, the evidence as I know it does not support  any
claim that the Stalin group's demolition of so many Party cadre helped the
revolutionary or proletarian dictatorship in the SU. In other words, "Luther" made
some serious pragamatic errors here in use of terror in the "church". It did not help
the effectiveness of the CP in advancing socialist revolution.

Sure there is treachery. But note that in his report Khrushchev teaches that when
those two clowns ( I used to know their names; one was a character in the movie _Reds_
) told the Kerensky government about about the insurrection the night before in
October 1917, terror was not used against them. They later had leading positions even
! This demonstrates the depth of Leninism.

But it also seems very clear that the Stalinists used terror against Party members who
were not traitors. That is not correct practice, regardless of it being evil.


China is facing the same struggle and the outcome is still in doubt.  Freedom is
always the result of revolutionary success, never the cause of it. Those who accuse
China specifically and communism generally of suppressing freedom are merely playing
into the hands of the bourgeois strategy of counter-reformation.


CB: With respect to rough stuff in the Party, I have only limited knowledge about the
Cultural Revolution.  But I do not think the Stalinist Party purges were justifiable
as a "critique" of bourgeois elements or influences in the CPSU. Too many old
Bolsheviks got hit.

Henry C.K. Liu

More information about the Marxism mailing list