[Marxism] Moderator's note/China
donaloc at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 22 04:56:43 MST 2006
>I don't think so, Michael. He (Lenin) saw the Soviet Union as a beachhead
>for the world revolution in contrast to Stalin who began to look inwards.
>At the very time the USSR was in full swing with the NEP, the Soviet Union
>was sending Comintern agents to help the German Communists overthrow the
>government. Of course, this backfired on them but that's another story
>altogether. Perhaps the best analogy is with Cuba during the OLAS years, in
>more ways than one unfortunately.
Lenin was having doubts about the potential of revolution in the main
imperialist centres soon after the October revolution. There is evidence
that Trotsky too had a similar belief at this time - although it dissipated
soon with him.
The core issue is that this view is eurocentric. It presents Soviet
interests in 'exporting' the revolution to the Western countries only i.e.
It is clear from the Baku conference that Lenin clearly saw that the
potential was not restricted to the imperialist core countries but in fact
sought to develop this in the colonial nations.
Stalin is portrayed as a man with no interest in exporting revolution. He
was personally involved in the invasion of Poland and was clearly committed
to that project. Further, he was instrumental in developing the Mongolian
revolution (which I suspect few Eurocentric marxists/trotskyists even
discuss). Also, Stalin was hugely involved in the Chinese revolution and
ensured that it retained its focus on achieving the democratic goals despite
the onslaught of the treacherous KMT and subsequently of the Japanese
The notion that Stalin wasn't interested in exporting revolution is
mistaken. He didn't do it in the manner the Trotskyists would like and
didn't share their confidence in the proletariat of imperialist centres but
he did actively promote it. His priority was consolidating the revolution in
his own state; however. Just consider Mao's view of Stalin and the then very
different opinion that Mao had of Khruschev. Doesn't this suggest that Mao
thought Stalin offered a qualitatively different amount of support to
Chinese Communists than his successors?
As for China, I think that I am insufficiently informed to make a definitive
judgement. But I will try to give some sense of my thoughts. Clearly, what
China's communist leadership are about is countering the imperialist threat
by any means necessary and they feel that if that requires capitalist growth
then so be it. In a sense, this comes from the Maoist dialectical principle
of the 'principle contradiction' a concept which I think is dangerous as it
is untrue and idealist. However, most Chinese immigrants I speak to have an
amazing understanding of this strategy.
I think that the Chinese might have achieved greater stability if they had
continued to pursue the socialist road. The greatest threat to China today
is not US invasion, I suspect, but US intervention with the aim of
increasing internal destabilisation. The growing divisions associated with
capitalism will only aggravate that. Chinese will no longer be as willing to
sacrifice for the common good when they live in such an unequal and selfish
society. My instinct then is that China should have not pursued the
capitalist road and it should have maintained the course where it used
socialist growth to maintain internal cohesion, unity and could maintain its
defences at an adequate standard. A pity that Mao adopted Stalin's earlier
rather than later approach to purges. Overall, I believe that as marxists
must base ourselves on a class-based analysis not one predicated on a crude
The two extremes of communist thought are Trotskyite delusions and sectarian
practices developed in imperialist centres where objective revolutionary
circumstances have not existed for generations and on the other hand
opportunist tail-ending of overseas third world national bourgeois
strategies to counter imperialism. The task, as always, is to chart a course
between idealist ultraleftism and right-opportunism. The lesson of 21st
Century socialism so far is that this new vision must be based on empowering
the proletariat and dispossessed layers themselves.
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