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From Bukharin to Gorbachev

   

The anti-Communist author Stephen F. Cohen  wrote in 1973 a very favorable biography of Bukharin,  who was presented as `the last Bolshevik'. It is touching to see how a confirmed anti-Communist `mourned the end of Bukharin  and Russian Bolshevism'!

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Cohen,  op. cit. , p. 381.

Another follower of Bukharin,  Roy Medvedev,  did the same in an epigraph:

`Stalinism cannot be regarded as the Marxism-Leninism   or the Communism of three decades. It is the perversions that Stalin introduced into the theory and practice of the Communist movement ....

`The process of purifying the Communist movement, of washing out all the layers of Stalinist filth, is not yet finished. It must be carried through to the end.'

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Ibid. , p. 382.

Hence the two anti-Communists, Cohen  and Medvedev,  presented Stalin's following the Leninist  line as a `perversion' of Leninism  and then, as irreconcilable adversaries of Communism, proposed the `purification of the Communist movement'! Of course, this is a tactic that has been well developed over the decades: once a revolution has triumphed and consolidates itself, its worst enemies present themselves as the best defenders of the `authentic revolution' that `was betrayed right from the beginning' by its leaders. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Cohen  and Medvedev's  theses were taken up by almost all the Khrushchevites.  Even Fidél Castro,  himself influenced by Khrushchev's  theories, has not always escaped this temptation. Yet, the same tactic was used by U.S. specialists against the Cuban revolution. Right from 1961, the CIA started an offensive for the `defence of the Cuban revolution' against the `usurper Fidél Castro'  who had `betrayed'. In Nicaragua, Eden Pastora  joined the CIA to defend `the original Sandinist program'.

Yugoslavia was, right from 1948, the first socialist country to veer towards Bukharinism  and Trotskyism.  Tito  received massive aid from the United States. Then Titoist  ideas infiltrated themselves in most of Eastern Europe.

During the seventies, Cohen's  book Bukharin  and the Bolshevik Revolution, as well as the one published by British social-democrat Ken Coates,  president of the Bertrand Russell  Peace Foundation,

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Ken Coates,  The Case of Nikolai Bukharin  (Nottingham: Spokesman, 1978).

served as the international basis for the rehabilitation of Bukharin,  who united the revisionists from the Italian and French Communist Parties, the Social-Democrats --- from Pélikan  to Gilles Martinet  --- and, of course, the different Trotskyist  sects. These same currents followed Gorbachev  right to the very end. All these anti-Communists united in the seventies to rehabilitate Bukharin,  the `great Bolshevik' that Lenin  called `the favorite of the whole party'. All claimed that Bukharin  represented an `alternative' Bolshevism and some even claimed him as a precursor of Eurocommunism.

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Blanc  and Kaisergruber,  op. cit. , pp. 11, 16.

Already, in 1973, the direction of this campaign was set by the openly anti-Communist Cohen: 

`Bukharinist-style  ideas and policies have revived. In Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, Communist reformers have become advocates of market socialism, balanced economic planning and growth, evolutionary development, civil peace, a mixed agricultural sector, and tolerance of social and cultural pluralism within the framework of the one-party state.'

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Cohen,  op. cit. , p. 384.

`This is a perfect definition of the velvet counter-revolution that finally triumphed during the years 1988--1989 in Central and Eastern Europe.

`If ... reformers succeed in creating a more liberal communism, a ``socialism with a human face,'' Bukharin's  outlook and the NEP-style order he defended may turn out to have been, after all, the true prefiguration of the Communist future --- the alternative to Stalinism after Stalin.'

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Ibid. , p. 386.

Gorbachev,  basing himself on these `vanguard experiences' of the Eastern European countries during the sixties and the seventies, himself adopted Bukharin's  program. It goes without saying that Cohen  was welcomed with open arms by Gorbachev's  Soviet Union as the great precursor of `new thought' and `socialist renewal'.

Note also that the `Bukharin  school' has much influence in Deng Xiaoping's  China.



next up previous contents index
Next: The Tukhachevsky trial Up: The trial of Previous: Bukharin's confession



Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995