- Capitalism and Alternatives -

My Big fat hairy arse....

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on February 28, 19100 at 12:07:28:

In Reply to: If 'anyone' was going to be 'Stalin,' then your precious Mensheviks would have, too posted by Barry Stoller on February 28, 19100 at 00:39:44:

:You continually miss the finer points of my argument. Note these two

No, your argument consists of two main points - that Russia was economically unable to create socialism, and that Lenin acted against principles under duress of necessity.

:None of this is an attempt to deny that the Communist Party, under
Lenin's leadership, did not centralize the state unduly. Of course it
did, and history has condemned that as the great failing of the

Which can be summed up as Leninism led to Stalinism, i.e. that the praxis of a small group seizing the state, and attempting to build socialism against the majority of society, in an isolated economic backwater, is doomed to end in autocracy - as Lenin hisself wrote (citation in C.L.R. james' 'Lenin and teh Problem', see the C.L.R. James Reader), he basically simply re-built the tsarist state - the Stalinist invention of the personality cult was just the culmination of this trend.

:The precipitating factors for this tragic development, of
course, were an under development of industry and an overdevelopment of
peasant proprietorship in Russia---

i.e. a lack of capitalism, and an abundance of feudalism. remember this point, it will re-curr later - you seem blissfully unaware of the gaping contradictions in your own argument...

:(Let us acknowledge that the earliest capitalist forms of state were
every bit as harsh and autocratic as Stalinist Russia---owing, in part,
to the commensurate scarcity inherited from the undeveloped productive
forces of society at that time.)

Not quite as harsh, often close, but as I noted before, the develpment of world capitalism exacerbated the social contradictions...

:[snip - Engels quote proven what has been proven eighty times allready in this debate]

:All that said, the problem with Leninism = Stalinism is not only that it
is UNTRUE (was the N.E.P. 'Stalinism'?*), but that it leads to Communism
= Stalinism, which I hope you can appreciate is a bit of a problem
indeed. Do you get my meaning?

No, I sincerly hope that the working class is forever thrown away from the clutches of Lenin and his bastard get, and get to understand that any resemblance between leninism and socialism is purely co-incidental. i did not say, though, that Leninism = stalinism, I said leninism led to stalinism (although Lenin's rule was far from squeeky clean).

:The procapitalist 'socialists' were right?

The socialists who understood that we support capitalism against feudalism, that we need to develop the productive forces before we can establish socialism, that any attempt to establish socialism where "an under development of industry and an overdevelopment of
peasant proprietorship" exists, is doomed to end up in a dog eared dictatorship mired in blood. Look, your own argument, I have repeated your own words back to you, was what the menshaviks were saying, that Russia could not sustain a socialist revolt for teh very reasons by which you claim the bolshevik revolution failed. Ca't you see? Isn't it obvious?

:According to your mechanical understanding of historical materialism, if
the Mensheviks came to power, any attempts on THEIR part to inaugurate
socialism would have lead to Stalinism!

Yes! Exactly! Because the economic conditions, the social relations of production, would not support socialism - *anyone* who came to power would only have succeeded in producing a bourgeois revolution, in the same way as the Samurai revolt (warrior caste) brought about bourgeois rule in Japan. They could have avoided some of teh more authoritarian excesses of Stalnism by not having teh social relations of the state against society b so bad, certainly the Soviet state would have been significantly restrained by parliamentary democracy - as Martov noted in 'The State and Socialist Revolution', it becomes clear that Liberal Democracy is an essential componant, and not a mere add on, to the running of capitalism.

:Or are you simply saying that if they came to power, all they should
have done was to hand the state over to the capitalists? If so, why
bother? The capitalists ALREADY had control of the state.

Because they could have ensured a more favourable settlement, avoiding Bismarkian rule, and instituting Liberal democracy - yes, the menshaviks would have ended up as rulers, but I think there would have been big gains for the social conditions of the working class, in which they could begin to properly organise to buold socialism.

Where political liberty does not exist, the Socialists first duty is to strive for political liberty, and then fight for socialism.

:With capital in power (are you paying attention?), the peasants were
still terrorizing the landowners in the country as well as shooting
officers on the front. The Bolsheviks did none of that; the capitalist
conditions (including the war) did that. To say 'the Mensheviks were
right'---and let us recall that the Mensheviks supported the war---is
nothing more than saying 'things really were fine since the Tsar got the
boot.' And to say that would be ridiculous!

No, its not saying that at all - what it is saying, is that a small vanguard party, in a society where "an under development of industry and an overdevelopment of
peasant proprietorship" existed, would inevitably lead to a tyranous dictaorship.

:Capital produced the war that produced the class crisis in Russia.
Socialism was the only way out. If capitalism was the only option, why
then wasn't Kerensky making everyone happy? Considering the dictatorial
centralization he was effecting, even he was becoming 'Stalin' (under
capitalist conditions).

Yes, as Stalin was a Stalin under Capitalist conditions, and it was the job of committed socialists to fight to ensure dictatorshiop didn't come about, and that soem degree of political liberty was retained. For socialists of the time, I would say that 'the least worst way out' was perhaps the only option.

:The Bolsheviks took charge when all the other 'socialists' were
advocating nothing more than another capitalist regime---which clearly
was prolonging the class crisis!

And they solved the class crisis by becoming the new ruling class. the Social relations of capitalism continued, under new management, under new legimitimation. Political liberty was strangled at birth in russia.

:Your argument FOR the Menshevik supporters of capitalism is a bit like
saying, at a time of class crisis, the Democrats are better than the

Erm, no, because in America now you do not have "an under development of industry and an overdevelopment of
peasant proprietorship" and the material conditions of Russia generally. try this simple exercise "Russia was feudal, I live in a capitalist country", repeat that five times a day until it sinks in, if it doesn't, I have some very nice pamphlets by Olliver Cromewell you might care to read.

:Which is a real funny sort of 'socialism.'

What is a funny sort of socialism is one in which "an under development of industry and an overdevelopment of
peasant proprietorship" isn't a barrier to its own existence, because a vanguard party is here to save the fucking day.

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