Did Stalinism end in the 1950s?

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at planet-interkom.de
Fri Dec 6 06:55:39 MST 2002

Louis Proyect wrote:
> Bob Gould:

I'm not really responding to anything specific in this discussion. I
just want to report briefly on my experiences with the Irish CP when I
first came into revolutionary politics at the end of the 1960s and teh
British CP in the mid-1970s.

Whatever about the USA the Irish CP (including the leadership, who were
all veterans of teh 1930s) still adopted the traditional Stalinist
attitude to Trotskyists in the late 1960s. When, for example, some
members of teh Connolly Youth Movement wanted to discusss the
Stalin-Trotsky split they were threatened physically, some were even
beaten up. I can distinctly remember being denounced as a
Trotsky-fascist by a burly Stalinist. And I can also remember having to
defend Trotskyist speakers on anti-Vietnam demos from Stalinist thugs.

Again in the British CP (and in allied sections of the Labour Party
student organisation) my experiences in the 1970s were of an
idealisation of high Stalinism and openly expressed regrets that they
couldn't deal with us like their fathers' generation - the Trotskyist
left was just too strong in the student movement for them to get away
with it. But I distinctly remember confrontations with Turkish
Stalinists, some of which ended up in violent clashes, in the late

Even though the politics had by then become "social-democratised"
(shorthand for the rightward shift) the political culture associated
with high Stalinism (including threats of violence and even actual
physical attacks on Trotskyists) survived in western Europe long past
the 1950s.

Einde O'Callaghan

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