[Marxism] Back in the USSR

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Tue Feb 5 19:43:12 MST 2013

On 2/5/13 12:25 PM, Ken Hiebert wrote:
If I am reading you correctly, the problem with
Leninist groups has been not simply that they have tried to apply a
political strategy that they misunderstood. In some instances it is
because they have tried to apply a mistaken strategy that was
advocated by the leaders of the Russian revolution .

(Louis Proyect responds)


Paul Le Blanc argues that Lenin created a new kind of party but this was not something that happened either in 1903 or in 1912. It happened after 1917 and it was a disaster. Lenin approved the expulsion of Paul Levi under the norms of "democratic centralism". As understood in 1921, this meant that the central committee of all Comintern parties was not in their respective countries but in Russia. When Levi was removed for going public over his objections to the dead end ultraleftism of Bela Kuhn, the Comintern's man forced on the German party, the German party was left in the hands of mediocrities all to willing to act on dictates set down by Comintern leaders, including Trotsky who insisted that a revolution in Germany be timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Awful, simply awful. 

Ken Hiebert responds:
Thank you for forthrightly expressing your view.  I have had some education on the Russian Revolution and the founding of the Third International, but I am sure there are many people on this list (including yourself) who know more about it than I do.  
Nevertheless, I will venture some comment, mainly in the form of questions.  
No one suggests that the leaders of the Russian Revolution were out of touch with reality when it came to Russia itself.  They demonstrated their political capacity by making a revolution.  So how could they have so wildly misread the situation in the more advanced capitalist countries?  Remember that some of them had lived abroad in Europe. In Trotsky's case in the U. S. as well.

Surely no one is suggesting that they set out to weaken the socialist movement in the advanced capitalist countries.  I raise this because later, under Stalin, the bureaucracy did pursue policies that were damaging to the workers movement elsewhere.  Their policy choices were based on their self-interest as a bureaucracy in Russia.  But should we extend that to the original leaders of the Russian Revolution?

More information about the Marxism mailing list