[Marxism] Moderator's note/China

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Thu Nov 23 15:11:02 MST 2006


> CB: It would be interesting to hear the story about the backfiring of
> sending agents to help the German Communists overthrow the government.
> It has always seemed to me that this would be a general problem, not just
> in
> that particular case. That is, the Soviet Union could not stirup
> revolution
> in other countries, particularly the Great Power nations, without
> subjecting
> the local Communists to arrest and imprisonment, if not death, as spies
> and
> agents of a foreign power. Of course, this is exactly the tact that the
> U.S.
> took with respect to the CPUSA, charging it with being an agency of a
> foreign nation, trying to overthrow the U.S. government illegally; the
> McCarran Act *, I believe.


> Sending agents into foreign countries was a big mistake. The best thing
> would have been for the Kremlin to allow Communist Parties to function on
> their own, not only without interference by Comintern agents, but without
> the kind of de facto interference exhibited in the removal of Browder from
> office at the end of WWII and his replacement by William Z. Foster. This
> kind of meddling effectively turned CP leaders into political geldings.
The Soviets not only felt they had an internationalist responsibility to
assist the revolutionary process elsewhere - in Western Europe, it was
reaching the same boiling point as had brought the Bolsheviks to power in
Russia -  but that their own survival depended on it. So they naturally
provided financial support and political direction to their supporters.
Comintern agents were the only means of giving this decision effect. They
still remain indispensible in the age of the internet since advanced
communications continue to be  subject to interception and banks refuse to
clear transactions between suspect parties.

Given that they were financing these activities, it was understandable the
Soviets would be paying keen attention and trying to shape the program and
tactics of the Comintern and its sections. The Soviets had been through the
experience and successfully taken power so so their authority was largely
accepted rather than imposed.

The European revolutions failed, but the reasons were political and economic
rather than "organizational" -  having to do with both the evolution of
Soviet society and Western capitalism.  If you opposed the Stalinists, then
by extension you opposed their agents as "political geldings" - especially
if you attributed the failure of the world revolution primarily to Stalinist
control and manipulation of the foreign CP's.

Intervention isn't wrong in  principle, as seems to be suggested above, ibut
who is doing it, and for what reasons.  There's no disputing, as Charles
notes, that it can "backfire". But every government and mass organization
across the political spectrum has sent and continues to send its emissaries
in other countries to finance and strengthen the forces which they support
abroad, on the understanding that the struggle for power is ultimately an
international one. I can't imagine we'd renouce doing likewise if we had the

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