[Marxism] work - ability - needs
shmage at pipeline.com
Fri Jun 13 08:12:38 MDT 2008
On Jun 13, 2008, at 6:13 AM, Angelus Novus wrote:
> Shane Mage:
>> We know that Stalinism destroyed this possibility in
>> Russia and China, and smothers it in Cuba.
> The word "Stalinism" seems to play a similar role in
> the Trotskyist lexicon that "authoritarian" plays for
> Anarchists. Namely, it is an empty signifier without
> much clear meaning that serves to express the
> disapproval or distaste of the speaker.
> Subsuming China, the USSR, DDR, Cuba et al to a single
> category obscures far more than it explains.
"Empty signifier"??? Stalinism is no metaphysical category under
which something is "subsumed." It is a very real ideology not only
determining social/political/economic practice where its adherents
hold power but also holding a pernicious psychological grip on all too
many would-be "leftists." The defining features of
the Stalinist syndrome (as both institution and ideology) include:
-Identification of the system/ideology as "Communist" or "Socialist."
Especially characterization of the Stalinized "USSR" and its
satellites as "socialist."
-Rule by a single party whose leadership, chosen by cooptation,
monopolizes political discourse and outlaws the existence of
opposition political parties, internal democracy within its own ranks,
and independent workers' press and unions.
-The conception of "socialism" as economic centralization under a
state planning agency exercising property rights in a largely
nationalized economy, exempt from democratic control, and imposing
wage, price, and production decisions on the predominant part of the
-Solidarity with the Stalinist counterrevolutionary bureaucracy of the
"USSR" historically (as by retroactively supporting Stalin
against the Bolshevik oppositions) and in practice (at least until
open power conflict between ruling bureaucracies, as China and
-The existence or justification of a police-state apparatus exempt
from either judicial or democratic control and exercising the powers
of arbitrary arrest over "suspected" oppositionists and censorship
over public communications media.
"Thunderbolt steers all things...it consents and does not consent to
be called Zeus."
Herakleitos of Ephesos
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