Martin Spellman martinwriter at
Wed Sep 24 06:57:00 MDT 2003

"Round and round we go, down and down we go..." - That Old Black Magic

Talk about 'those who do not understand the past are condemned forever to
repeat it'!

	It seems to me that Bob Gould's problem, apart from the severe case of
literary diarrhoea he has, is that instead of taking down the calendar on
New Year's Day 1956, he turned it over and went back to January 1955 again
and has relived that year over and over: he is stuck.

	For all the problems Stalin and Stalinism created it is over. Stalin died
over 50 years ago and the neo-Stalinists like Suslov; Brezhnev and
Ponomaryov have gone too. So has the socialist community of nations and the
world communist movement. There are some pathetic and idiotic residues, like
the Joseph Stalin Society, but they have no influence or significance.

	But at least the world communist movement (the 'Stalinist' movement in BG's
eyes) had its 1956 and its reconstructions and assessments. What of the
Trotskyist movement? What have they learned and moved on to? Of course, for
all the difference it made to the Communists they might has well not
bothered to reform because they would be damned by Gould and his ilk
whatever they did. Perhaps before he imbibed the 'Transitional Programme'
Bob was brought up a Catholic and saw the devil behind every error and
transgression in a way he would later see Stalin behind every false step.

	If all socialists can do is discuss the issues of the 30s; 40s and 50s and
rake over old stuff then it is doomed as a movement. To see Stalinism as a
continuing problem which we need screeds of text to understand is to live in
a world 50 years in the past, as Gould seems to do.

	Trotskyists seemed to see Stalinism as an impediment to workers struggle in
the same way as Communists (Stalinists if you will) saw reformism and social
democracy. But now it is gone what is the excuse? Part of the problem is to
realise that, despite Stalinism's greater responsibility, Trotskyism was no
alternative: both were sources of sectarianism which maimed the socialist
movement in the last century. But I don't think anyone is going to give
Martin a grant to research this any time soon.

Says Bob:
> Such people are sometimes a bit too old to change.

	But not you eh Bob? I think I'll gather up some copies of 'The Foundations
of Leninism'; 'The Organisation of the Bolsheviks in Transcaucasia';
'History of the CPSU(B) Short Course' and some of Sharkey's old pamphlets
and stuff like that and smuggle them into Bob's shop when I visit Aussie.
Someone may bring them up to the till and give him a shock! They may also
remind him to get a new calendar.

Martin Spellman

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