What is Lüko looking for?

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Sat Sep 27 14:33:58 MDT 2003


El Sábado 27 de Septiembre de 2003 a las 12:48,
dmschanoes dijo sobre Re:What is Lüko looking for? que:

> Dearest Nestor,
>
> As Levi Stubbs sang, "you know that I love you..." BUT  "can't help
> myself..."
>

One of my best loved quotes is Shakespeare's "never runs smooth the
course of true love" ;-)

>  L.'s remarks may or may not be "useful" but your remarks, your
> reinterpretation is just wrong-- flat out dead wrong.. and a trip guide for
> getting nowhere.. but to avoid any possible distortion, let me parse....
>
> NG:What I am defending is _not_ a group of persons but a societal structure,
> and I am doing it _only_ as against what replaced it.
> _________________
>
> 4Tops:  Do you mean the bureaucracy?  Is that what you are defending?

No, not at all. Please read my postings again. I am absolutely
against the bureaucratic coffin where the October Revolution found
itself introduced to. What I try to defend is what was worthwhile,
what was still alive, in the regime that came out from the
Revolution. On this we fully agree when you state that

> the structure to defend is the legacy of the Russian Revolution against the bureaucracy's tendency to
administer the impulse to capitalist restoration.

Now, when you further say that:

> The bureaucracy represents and compresses in its organization the
> inadequate development of the material base of the revolution-- the
> poor level of relations between city and countryside, manufacturing
> and agriculture

I can't but agree but feel something is missing. It is the "period"
at the end of the sentence that is unacceptable. We are always
thinking in terms of "what is to be done", are we not?  Then, I feel
that if I were living in a metropolitan country such as you are as
lucky/wretched to happen to do, I would be trying to answer what
follows, as an inevitable coda to the statement by you above: How was
it that the October Revolution, which must admittedly be understood
as a part of a _global_ revolution, was left alone to grapple with
such odds such as were involved in the material base of the former
Tsarist Empire? That is, once and again: what is the burden of
responsibility falling on the Left and the working class in
imperialist West?

>
> NG:Trotsky himself explained that the bureaucratic system was a
> middle-of-the-road-house between capitalism and socialism, and that it would
> eventually turn either socialist (that is, forwards) or capitalist (that is,
> backwards).
> _________________________
>
> 4Tops: There isn't any middle road about it

Well, this is a very serious statement, indeed. Then, Martov was
right? Was the October revolution a terrible mistake to do?  Were
Lenin and Trotsky putschists?

Let us say that the Bolsheviks made a bet, the bet to international
revolution, and with them the whole exploited masses of the former
Empire. The other bet was to accept for the former Empire the destiny
of Turkey or worse. This was what the Mensheviks, in the end, would
have brought about (not before allowing the Kadets back into power)
if they had been successful in defeating the Bolsheviks and the
Soviets, for example through imposition of the Constitutional
Assembly.

According to you, "absent the international revolution there was no
going forward, or the only going forward was enabled through
advancing the prospects of barbarism."  This takes me immediately to
the idea that the whole planet has to wait for the proletarians in
the Imperialist West to wake up one morning, say "Enough!" after a
good couple of salutary yawns, and take to the streets against the
imperialist bourgeoisies. While this does not happen, we are all
doomed to "unmaterial notions" such as "Trotsky's awkward "political
revolution"".

I disagree: this notion was not as unmaterial as you say: the
hydrophobic reaction of the bureaucracy -and the Western media and
regimes, BTW- against Valery Sablin in 1975 was the best
demonstration that you are wrong. They both really went to hunt and
kill Red October.

> NG:Marx's hatred for Napoleon did not distract him for a single second of
> his struggle against those who destroyed Napoleon, nor did it turn him an
> anti-Napoleonic. If you read the "18th Brummaire" carefully, you will
> realize that Marx compares Napoleon in his greatness to Louis Napoleon in
> his pettiness, which is exactly what he expected the French people to do.
> _______________
> 4Tops: This is more than Just A Little Misunderstanding (Contours) of Marx
> and Marxism.  First, while you claim you are defending not an individual but
> a social structure and then you begin defending an individual.  Do you mean
> to equate Stalin  with Napoleon?  That is an ahistorical analysis and points
> out the limit of analogy.   Stalin was no Napoleon.

Of course. Neither Robespierre was Cromwell. But this is not what
really interests here. Both were the heads of bureaucratic and in
many senses reactionary deformations of previous revolutions. The
comparison is by no means mine. Lenin, Trotsky, Deutscher and Carr,
to my knowledge, were the first ones to point out the similitudes.

There is even a pun that (according to Trotsky) Lenin exchanged with
him during the civil war about some Blagonravof, a resourceful
military who both wondered wether would be a new Napoleon
(Blagonravof seems to mean in Russian something similar to
Bonaparte). Both were already beginning to have some insight about
the danger of a Bonapartist outcome of the Revolution. Neither
thought of Stalin, however. But this is how history works, it is
always cunning and never repeats itself _ad litteram_ but yes _ad
nauseam_ at the level of the structural meaning of events.

[...]

> NG:It seems to me that in the current moment, it is ESSENTIAL to restablish
> consciousness of all that was lost with this violent restoration of
> capitalism in the fSU
> _____________________________
>
> 4Tops:  But that can't be done by nostalgia for the regime that acted as the
> conduit for that restoration.


I don't know where did you find a drop of 'nostalgia' in my own
writings. Of course not. But it is not me, nor you David, who can do
the critical balance of the regime. It is the former Soviet peoples
and the current fSU revolutionary intelligentsia (which I hope
exists).

Where we agree is, somehow, on what follows:

> And that can't be established without an
> international assessment of the role of the Soviet Union in the history of
> modern capitalism.

I would however perform a characteristically Marxist operation on the
above: "And that can't be established without a Soviet assessment of
the role of modern capitalism in the international history of the
Soviet Union".  Because what I am stressing on these postings is the
_international_ character of the Soviet revolution, a character that
was not achieved _because of other proletariats than the Soviet
proletariat_!


> NG: (b) as I have already told cdes. in the First World, it is alsoESSENTIAL
> to understand why didn't _you_ and _your working classes_in Western Europe
> come to the struggle when it was most necessary.
> ______________________
> 4Tops:  So tell us again Nestor, why didn't me and my working classes come
> to the struggle, and please do it concretely, referring to the specific
> struggles between 1918 and 1939.  And please account for the role of the
> Soviet Union which had unparalleled influence with our working classes.

No, David, I am not the one to tell you anything. I am working in my
own country, and it is in the debates within my own country that I
feel entitled to tell people what to do (because this is what I do
myself). I will give you a couple of very humble ideas, David,
however:

(a) in Germany (and this thread is -as will always be- turning around
Germany once and again), it was the Social Democratic party, which
enjoyed undisputable mass support and not only among the petty
bourgeoisie (such as was the case with the Mensheviks after the
Revolution) who made it well sure that the greatest and boldest
leaders of a proletarian revolution were duly killed. This is a
historic responsibility that any serious German revolutionary must
take into account when drafting a comment on "what went wrong in the
East".

(b) I understand that at the eyes of an average Western proletarian
the Soviet Union was not precisely the image of paradise. Against
this, proletarians in the imperialist West did not -nor, to my
knowledge, _do_ they nowadays- confront the actual image of their own
capitalism at work, which is not basically what you see in Queens
(the Suburra of the Modern Rome). It is basically what you see in,
say, Calcutta, Quetzaltenango, or Ouagadougou.

As compared to conditions of living in Hoboken, 1932, I am absolutely
sure that, say, Novosibirsk, 1932, was horrendous.  I would even
accept that Novosibirsk must have been horrendous as compared to
black Birmingham, Alabama (which is perhaps false). As compared to
democratic-bourgeois regime in England (and to stretch things as I
did on the previous sentence: even as compared to the Hungarian
regime by the same years), Stalinism must have looked as evil as it
was.

But why not comparing with _what their own governments established
the colonial world over_? Isn't there a great burden of
responsibility on the leadership here, and a burden of selfishness in
the class?

I don't deny that, as you very well state one has to "account for the
role of the Soviet Union which had unparalleled influence with our
working classes". But what you don't realize is that I am kicking the
ball into your own side of the field, because what I am feeling that
deserves understanding is "the role of the Western proletariat which
had unparalleled influence with the Soviet Revolution"  and its fate.

I understand that you can't see internationalism in what follows,
David:
>
> NG:I can't honestly understand what does a German Marxist do when, instead
> of scrutinizing the record of its own Left and working class as regards the
> Soviet Union, scrutinizes the record of the Soviet bureaucracy and
> (indirectly) of the Soviet masses who found no way to shrug it off their
> shoulders.Honestly and comradely, Lüko, I feel that you are failing to your
> duty. Germany is still, and will be while capitalism exists, the cornerstone
> of the European building. Your responsibilities are highest.Why, instead of
> talking to us about the Soviet bureaucrats, you don't talk to us on the
> Social Democrat bureaucrats in Germany, who have lost in Bayern against 61%
> vote to the Christian Democrats? Aren't there working class votes in that
> 61%? What are you able to tell us about the German working class? What about
> the consequences of unification? What about the Ostalgie?

I am not parochial. I am considering the revolution as a truly
international event. Thus I summon those cdes. I value most to take
up their own tasks, seriously, within this international symphony.
Revolution is such an international event that we are all still
waiting for you to be succesful, as well as (I guess) you are waiting
for us to be succesful at our turn.

In order to be succesful, however, we must understand our own
environment to the last millimeter. That is what I try to expose.


Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _



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