- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Chuck ( Virginia ) on November 30, 1999 at 18:17:31:

In Reply to: Stollerism a good mix of slanders and contradictions? posted by Lark on November 29, 1999 at 15:01:54:

: OK Barry seems to be advocting his owh ideology here since, characteristically of any trot I've ever met,

His own or Trotsky's? Which is it?

: he commands a real knowledge of bolshevik literature,

Yes he does; which, by the way, makes your backbiting seem pretty darn lazy.

: doesnt endevour to read alternatives or opposing views

Sure he does - he quoted Business Week not too long ago. And besides, he reads your posts, does he not?

:and notably hasnt joined a party under the leadership of anyone else so he must think he's the only really capable leader the worlds ever had (ignoring the fact that if people acted for themselves instead of becoming reliant on leadership there'd be a lot less bolshevik style putschs).

Non Sequitur. And how do you reconcile your last sentence with the fact that, in even the broadest, longest, and most vigorous of workers' struggles (e.g. France 1936 and 1968; Germany 1918-23; Italy 1920, 1948, and 1969; and Spain 1931-37) the working masses DID NOT gain a clear understanding of the tasks of the struggle, or did so only to an insufficient degree?

: But I cant be trusted

Yes, liberals can't be trusted.

: and lie all the time (At least Barry can agree with the Neo-Conservative scums there) so I better pull some quotes out of the air to validate my case.

Since when does pulling "... some quotes out of the air" validate anything?

:Barry's sectarian views etc. are evident form this page where everyone who disagrees with his mix of naive enthusiasum for dictatorship, centralism and authoritarianism is a weak minded liberal

No. What he has been saying all along is that people (e.g. liberals) who advocate "some inequality" are petit-bourgeois socialists and do not belong in a proletarian party.

:(yes, I can imagine Barry's Utopia of a mean world without feeling, weakness or mistakes populated by steelly willed, iron hearted Trotskyists or is that 1984) and he's even got Marcos to join his rabble now.

Well that's funny because Orwell was a member of the P.O.U.M. in Spain (i.e. he was a Trot). And don't forget about me - I agree with Barry and Marcos.

: Here we go with evidence of the contradictions inherent in Bolshevism:

: "The great Leninist innovation, hardly present in Marx, was the concept and reality of party rather than movement. The party became convinced that it was the embodiment of the working class, indeed of an international working class, just as clearly as the Jacobin Club had, for a moment of time, believed that anyone who opposed them was opposing the purest expression of that will; even worse, anyone who did not actively support them, or even failed to work hard, was a traitor or a saboteur.

There is more than one 'model' of the party to be found in Marx, Engels, and Lenin - though all of them envisaged a centralized vanguard working to fuse socialist theory and consciousness with the spontaneous labor movement.

: Lenin's doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat is well known, as is his argument in the state and revolution and elsewhere that the party was the vanguard of history.

Where in "State and Revolution" does he state this?

:He was an intellectual and marginally more tolerant than Stalin who succeeded him.

"Marginally" more tolerant? Are you kidding?

:But the old leftist view in the 1960's 'Lenin good, Stalin bad', now seems throughly suspect if one simply reads what he wrote and recalls what he did(See especially A.J. Polan, Lenin and the End of Politics (methuen,1984)).

Sure. Lenin and Trotsky were substitutionists in 1920 and 1921 (e.g. the ban on opposition parties and factions within the party). These were the dark years. Yet, from the beginning of 1922 to his death in 1924, Lenin showed every sign of being horrified by the bureaucracy and he was determined to struggle against it.

:He would probably have imprisoned or exiled most socialist opposition but killed many fewer people than Stalin; yet his beliefs in absolute historical necessuty created tge apalling state of mind in which party dissidents were not simply punished but had to be brought, by whatever means, sometimes psychological as much as physical, to confess errors, not to admit to differences. There were no honest differences, only unpurged bourgeois deviations [Arthur Koestler's novel Darkness at Noon is still the best acccount of this, the interrogation of the old Bolshevik ideologist by the new Stalinist apparatnik]. Their opponents were not even allowed to die honourably, as revolutionaries themselves had often done in autocratic regimes.

: Lenin had siad that the party embodied the consciousness of the working class, Stalin crudified this into his notorious 'Aside from the influence of the party there is no conscious activity of the workers'. (there can be no Christians without the Church). Myth has it that Trotsky, hating Stalin and hunted by Stalin, was Lenin's true heir if the famous 'Testament' of Lenin had ever been published. But Consider his words, in the Soviet Party Congress of 1924:

: The party in the last analysis is always right, because the party is the single historid instrument given to the proletariat for the solution of its fundamnetal problems. I have already said that in front of one's own party nothing could be easier than to acknowledge a mistake, nothing easier than to say: all my criticisms, my statements, my warnings, my protests - the whole thing was a mere mistake. I, however, comrades, cannot say that, because I cannot think it. I know that one cannot be right against the party. One can be right only with the party, for history has created no other road for the realisation of what is right. The English have a saying: 'Right ot wrong, my country' With far greater histroic justification we may say: right or wrong, on seperate particular issues, it is my party'
: [Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: a Political Biography]"

: From Bernard Crick's "Socialism", Chapter 4: 'Marx and Marxism:Theory and Practice', 1987, Open University Press.

Since you are fond of secondary quotes, consider this:

"Did the substitutionist formulas of Lenin and Trotsky in 1920-21, in spite of their subsequent struggle against the bureaucracy, help the development of the general ideology that wrecked the Bolshevik party? To a certain degree undoubtedly - but much less than is often assumed. For the party leaders and cadres had a choice between the positions expressed in 1920-21 and those of 1922-23, which after all were in line with the Bolshevik tradition up until 1919. Many old Bolsheviks joined the opposition in 1923. Bukharin at least hesitated until the beginning of 1923. So the balance sheet is that the majority of cadres took wrong decisions for reasons of their own, not because they had been misled by Lenin." ("Power and Money", Ernest Mandel, p.124, Verso)

: So in the last analysis the Bolsheviks where people who idealised the worst elements of imperialism and tsarist centralist totalitarian autocracy, Trotsky being no exception. What does Mr. Stoller have to say for himself now? Or am I just another liberal weak minded Utopian?

Finishing up:

"The real tragedy of the Russian Revolution at that moment in history is that the leading cadre of the Bolshevik party did eventually understand the danger of Stalinist Bonapartism and despotism - BUT NOT TOGETHER AND NOT AT THE SAME TIME, rather later than sooner, when it could no longer be stopped from reaching the extremes of the mid to late thirties. Essentially this delay was due to a lack of understanding of a new social phenomenon, the rise to power of the priveledged bureaucracy in a workers' state. Nearly all the cadre paid dearly for the delay with their lives" (IBID, p.125, author's emphasis).

Barry has consistently argued for job rotation and instant recall of party members and yet you demonize him as a Stalinist. Go figure.

By the way, did I mention that I HATE THE BOURGEOISIE?

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup