[Marxism] Stalinist-Trotskyist bromance

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 5 08:49:29 MST 2014


I think Trotsky's encouragement of speculation on how socialist people
could use science (and not vice versa) is more relevant than ever with
climate change and its interaction with capitalism's waste, infrastructure,
etc.
As for Louis's point on latter day Stalinism, that's something a lot of us
have been wondering about -- especially the new lease on life of campism.
It's obviously not just a vestige of old-fashioned Stalinism. Nor is it
just social democracy in a new form. It draws on both in its own unique mix
which needs to be documented and analyzed.

On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM, DW via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu
> wrote:

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> On the relations of production...it was so much an "emphasis" on this that
> confused people, rather it was placid: the Left Opposition wanted to see
> the USSR industrialize as it was an increase in production and the forces
> of production (Labor + capital investment) that could lay the basis for a
> stronger collectivized economy, etc etc) which hitherto the country was not
> doing "despite" the NEP. The LO wanted a 'balance' in production that
> commodities could be traded, at least in kind, with the peasantry which
> some sectors (Kulaks and others) had accumulated during NEP. The threat of
> starvation of the cities was still there despite a generalized increase in
> production in the countryside and this had to re resolved.
>
> Stalin in his form of industrialization did so on steroids with an almost
> exclusive focus on heavy industry. And in fact, it wasn't just "some" who
> were confused, many Left Oppositionists went over to Stalin because they
> thought, along with this new found 'revolutionary socialism right this
> instant' under the "Third Period" analysis, thought that he had adopted the
> LO program, if not in name, in effect. They were of course incorrect. (this
> respresented the first wave of LOers capitulating to the Stalin faction).
>
> Eugenics: Trotsky was fascinating with science as many Marxists were...in
> fact Marxists generally were far more interested in science before the
> 1960s than afterward. So new theories that abounded were always taken
> seriously and this was a true for Trotsky as for most intellectually
> inclined communists. All this tied in with the need to increase the
> productive forces so as to eventually create the material basis for
> socialism (despite the current fad of 'anti-productivism' as excemplified
> by writers like Chris Williams, such views run contrary to almost all of
> Marxism at least historically). So science and technology were highly
> emphasised in the new Soviet state and continued into the Stalinist
> corruption of that state.
>
> Trotsky in one article that Louis notes goes into the idea of humans
> creating a 'new man'. Trotsky was no expert and was opining on the 'what
> if?' as many a columnist does today outside of their own expertises. This
> is no different. Read this in the essay Louis notes but here are the two
> quotes from the article:
>
>
> "One-year, five-year, ten-year plans of business development; schemes for
> national education; construction of new basic lines of transportation; the
> transformation of the farms; the program for improving the technological
> and cultural equipment of Latin America; a program for stratosphere
> communication; eugenics – all of these will arouse controversy, vigorous
> electoral struggle and passionate debate in the newspapers and at public
> meetings."
>
> and
>
> "While the romantic numskulls of Nazi Germany are dreaming of restoring the
> old race of Europe’s Dark Forest to its original purity, or rather its
> original filth, you Americans, after taking a firm grip on your economic
> machinery and your culture, will apply genuine scientific methods to the
> problem of eugenics. Within a century, out of your melting pot of races
> there will come a new breed of men – the first worthy of the name of Man."
>
> That's it. Now, there is another essay but I can't find it where he goes
> into this a bit more.
>
> Nuclear energy: the *entire* left was interested in nuclear power for
> peaceful purposes. Both the Daily Worker, The Militant, New International,
> Fourth International and Labor Action supported nuclear energy up until the
> mid-1960s when the tie between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons appeared
> to be locked at the hip. The first anti-nuclear stuff on the left didn't
> deal with safety so much as over the question of the Bomb, but until then
> the Bomb and energy were polemically separated in these articles and
> counterpoised to each otherby the left (correctly IMO).
>
> David
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