Hobsbawm, Amis and Stalinism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 3 08:25:11 MST 2002


Martin Spellman wrote:
>
> 	If 'Stalinist' is just a synonym for 'CP member' then, yes, Hobsbawm was a
> Stalinist. But this is not very penetrating or helpful.

In fact, I doubt if the term Stalinist had much use after the
mid-1950's. That's based on the narrow definition of the term that
Trotsky used in the 1930s, when the Moscow Trials et al defined the
objective framework in which revolutionaries operated.

I would suggest that by the mid-1950s the CP's had pretty much been
transformed into a kind of social democracy. This tendency was of course
accelerated after the Kremlin had dispensed with all efforts to maintain
a centralized international apparatus, either through the Comintern or
the Cominform. All the brutality and revolutionary posturing of the
1930s had all but disappeared. Furthermore, there is a great deal of
evidence that the CP's were far more sensitive to the needs of ordinary
workers than the SP's ever were. That being said, the CP's could be a
formidable obstacle to revolutionary mass action, as was obviously the
case in France and Italy in the 1960s.

As Jose Perez has pointed out on several occasions, there was little
need to maintain a Trotskyist movement after this period, more so after
the victory of the Cuban revolution. This victory should have driven a
nail into "Stalinism" and its dialectical opposite Trotskyism. With the
former constituting a kind of reformism in permanence, the latter never
could never transcend its own sectarian origins. Castro simply brushed
aside these arcane disputes and attempted to create a revolutionary
movement based on the realities of Cuban society, just as Lenin did of
course. While constructing this movement, Castro looked to the Cuban CP
for support just as any sensible revolutionary would. When they found
themselves at loggerheads, Castro was resourceful enough to push them
out of the path of the deepening Cuban revolution.


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