[Marxism] work - ability - needs

Paul Van Britsom paul at gnostica.be
Fri Jun 13 08:32:26 MDT 2008

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: "Paul" <paul at gnostica.be>
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 3:45 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] work - ability - needs

> 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.
> That seems mostly right. Tentatively, I think the label may also carry
> some further ideological freight: it incorporates the myth that when
> revolutionary efforts fail it is because of bad (evil) leadership -- a
> sort of subterranean sectarianism without sects, as if Roman Catholicism
> could continue to exist without the Pope as long as one continued to
> hurl diatribes against the Anti-Pope.

Your comparison only *looks* right. Surely Roman Catholicism could and would 
continue to exist withouth the Pope. There would still be the college of 
cardinals and als long as they hurl diatribes against the Anti-Pope, or 
Anti-Christ for the matter, all will be pretty well for RC church. That's 
also why most of us don't see Stalininism as a problem with Stalin. (which 
we have too, btw) The personality cult wasn't the problem - the problem was 
that a new bureaucratic class emerged, and Stalin served them well.

Of course the countries listed about have differences, and cannot be 
subsumed to just one category. But they do have a lot in common, things we 
don't believe to have anything to do with Marxism-Leninism:

- a layer of (corrupt) bureaucrats
- all one-party states
- the party is always right-attitude (Die Partei hat immer Recht)
- ...

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