[Marxism] Re: From Marxmail home (Clancy Sigal and Frida)

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at optonline.net
Wed May 4 05:18:47 MDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "rrubinelli" <rrubinelli at earthlink.net>

> If you want to ignore the issue of international revolution vs.
> "socialism" in one country, united class front vs. cross class popular
> front, destruction of independent worker leaders and organizations  in
> Asia and Europe, the minor question of direction and pacing of economic
> transformation of the Soviet Union, etc. etc.... I guess you could fill
> in that empty space with the literary pretension of a "more literary
> Stalin."

Actually, the issue in economics was of pacing, not direction. The Workers 
Opposition and then the LO were the first to insist on forced 
collectivisation, not Stalin, but Trotsky and others.

As other questions, Trotsky was against the Popular Front strategy not on 
principle, but cause he believed that in Europe and in most places it was 
being implemented, workers unity could be achieved between the Communist and 
Social-Democratic parties.

 In places lacking such mass political proletarianism, such as Ethiopia, he 
was very much the popular frontist. And he defended "Socialism in one 
Country" by fact with things such as his support of the Invasion of Finland. 
Again, can't have it two ways, how can you both export revolution and be a 
deformed workers state? No, it was a "raison d'etat", not an 
internationalist logic, that led to Trotsky defending this invasion.

This is a problem and a function of Trotskyites behaving like Stalinists, 
elevating tactics and strategies to the level of principles.

> And no Carlos, you are mistaken the first backer of a mass purge, purge
> not being the same thing as extermination, and of the Cheka, was Lenin,
> not Trotsky.  Or more accurately, Lenin and Trotsky together...

While I did omit Lenin because we weren't talking about him, at least you 
admit to Trotsky's pivotal role.

> that's only important for the detail oriented.

Actually not. Details are *precisely* what we are talking about!!! LOL

An advantage of coming from an anti-revisionist position is that except for 
the cults, and even there, we are open to criticism of our "Leaders". You 
should see RCPers "interviewing" SpongeBob after it became a common "insult" 
for Bob Avakian, for example. Or even the (in)famous Mao-on-Stalin 70/30 

While I like to beat over the head people like Hari Kumar who smack of 
historical revisionism in their santification of Stalin, I also like to beat 
over the head people, like Louis and yourself, who santify Trotsky to levels 
that don't match the historical reality or even his own writings!

If we are to provide a coherent (and useful!!!) critique of what went wrong 
with the socialist experience in the 20th Century, we must have no fetishes, 
and we must have no gods: Neither Trotsky or Stalin were saints, nor were 
they demons. Trotskyites are quick to point out to the (mostly bourgeoise 
produced) death toll as a glaring difference, yet during the time Trotsky 
was in power, the death toll was more or less the same in proportion. Or is 
it a "detail" the 25,000 who died in Kronstat?

 There was a preemtive civil war in the late 30s on the part of the Soviet 
State. Doesn't excuse Stalin, but doesn't prove Trotsky a saint either.

Furthermore, and this is not for the detail oriented, I think we must revise 
the shorthand use of Stalin and Trotsky to refer to what were in fact 
movements containing millions upon millions. We are actually being 
bourgeoise historians in this sense.

I point to Venezuela as a practical example. While the international 
trotskyites celebrate Chavez's friendship with Alan Woods and other 
trotskyites figures, his mention of Trotsky in a positive light, and his 
older brother comes from an anti-revisionist tradition and gives interviews 
to Alan Wood's grouping, the process in Venezuela is one that is decidedly 

It is actually, ideologically, a practical application of what I advocate, 
which is to learn from the writtings and history of all of those who claimed 
to be part of the marxist tradition, to develop new theory and practice and 
to move forward. This process requires an intellectual honesty that sees 
value in, for example, calling Trotsky a "more literary Stalin", yet is also 
being able to defend the principles both Stalin and Trotsky represent.


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