Class Analysis of the Stalinist State [formerly, Old M...]
Mohammad J Alam
alam.m at neu.edu
Sun Feb 3 19:46:05 MST 2002
The previous reply to this post was nothing but an angry puff of air.
Short, terse, quasi-polemical quips that address neither the arguments as a
whole, any of its premises or any of its points.
I am not familiar with which "British Trotskyist sectarianism" you are
referring to...nothing in my post really reflects the position of either
the CMI or the ISO. Nor at the grand age of eighteen have I adopted any
*cemented* position, nor will I at the grander age of eighty, on how the
It was my own personal current way of thinking, based on political
development, historical events, and some ideas from Fanon, Cesaire, and
In any case, attempting to strip the attitude and get to the ideas:
"Yes, those uppity Cubans should have learned not to try to overthrow
capitalism before they had achieved the labor productivity of Merrie
Olde England. Of course, the lack of such labor productivity is
exactly what drove them to revolution."
This is not a judgement on who should have launched a revolution when. It
is an observation about the failure of satellite socialism to build
industry in poorer countries. Again, you can get all defensive about it and
defend all its achievements, but the point is we obviously need to work
towards a world revolution and not just praise a guerrilla movement on an
island with a dictator, to accomplish justice and equality on a global
scale. Which is of course, what this is all about.
"Yes, they lacked independence. But by the same token, they lacked
infant diarrhea mortality rates on a scale that are common to the
And since they lacked democratic socialism they now lack that low mortality
rate. The issue here is not how temporarily successful some socialistic
enterprises were, the issue is how to make them Permanent. Imperialism is
national 'independence' without stability; Stalinism is stability without
independence. While you are busy choosing between the two, I propose we
motion for both independence and stability.
"I don't think there's much point to defending a workers state today
that no longer exists, but we had an obligation to defend them when
they were around. At least Trotsky did. "
We have an obligation not be cult members. We have an obligation to look at
the circumstances in which Trotsky said what, how his predictions in those
circumstances bore out, and what to do based on analysis of today.
Interestingly you responded to nothing I said about Trotsky's quotes and
predictions in the 40's.
"On this list, we actually give prizes to the people who defend
workers state effectively, deformed or not, against imperialism. You
may win a booby prize for grand indifference."
Indifference towards irrelevance, yes. I defend neither capitalism nor
Stalinism. Trotsky's pretext for defending such states was his firm belief
in the possibility of political revolution within them. That possibility is
dead. Such states, existing in isolation, have cliques that can defend
their position by pointing to imperialism as the justification for all
their misdeeds. And they do so until the state collapses.
"We prefer undeformed socialism to deformed socialism. We prefer
deformed socialism to capitalism. What you prefer is your business."
I prefer a world revolution along democratic socialist lines. You basically
prefer deformed socialism to capitalism even as it is an impediment to
genuine socialism. Marx's dialectical setup about the contradictions of
capitalism have become clearer, not hazier, with the collapse of the USSR.
You fail to acknowledge this. It is as though Marx looked at a pregnant
mother, ie. european capitalism, predicted the makeup of its child, ie.
socialism, but then the mother swallowed a pill, i.e colonialism, and the
born child turned out deformed and hideous, ie. Stalinism. You are more
interested in cradling this dead infant than finding an antidote to the
It is amazing that any Marxist will actually angrily defend a completely
dead and defunct form of socialism that had the historical lifespan of a
gnat. Stalinism is a horrible caricature, an abberation of socialism and,
judging by historical record, immune to political revolutions and
inevitably ending up in complete collapse. All this obsession with crude
materialist fetishism, ie. "property relations", in the face of all
contrary evidence of the last half-hundred years is ridiculous. As I
pointed out with a number of Trotsky's own quotes, he did not even defend
the idea as fervently as you are now--and in the face of all developments
of a half century.
Marxism cannot be reduced and simplified to a matter of mere property
relations and productive forces; that is only a prerequisite for the
emancipation and freedom from class antagonisms--the achievement of
*really* human history and the banishment of human pre-history. The
historical records stand indisputably: the superstructural burden of
Stalinism results in the ruin of both infrastructure and superstructure. It
is unviable. It is irreversible. If such was not the case, Stalinism would
have been an anomolous abberation of only a few--and not ALL of the 3
dozen-- countries that went socialist. The latter is a testament to the
fact that something about capitalism--the colonial/core relations--was
preventing the birth of a frutitious world socialist enterprise during the
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