MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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Weaknesses in the struggle against opportunism

There is no no doubt that Stalin continued, during the latter years of his life, to struggle against social-democratic and bourgeois nationalist tendencies and against Anglo-American subversion.

Nevertheless, it is clear that this struggle was not done to the extent that was necessary to redress and reinvigorate the Party ideologically and politically.

After the war, which had required extraordinary professional effort on the part of military, technical and scientific cadres, the old tendencies of military professionalism and technocratism were substantially reinforced. Bureaucratization and the search for privileges and the easy life were also reinforced. This negative development was encouraged with the `dizziness of success': the tremendous pride that the cadres had developed from the anti-fascist victory often became presumptuousness and arrogance. All these phenomena undermined the ideological and political vigilance that was necessary to fight the opportunist tendencies.

Stalin struggled against particular forms of opportunism and revisionism. He thought that the class struggle in the ideological sphere would continue for a long time. But he was not capable of formulating a comprehensive theory of its basis and its social base. In other words, he was not able to formulate a consistent theory explaining how classes and the class struggle persist in a socialist society.

Stalin had not completely understood that after the disappearance of the economic basis of capitalist and feudal exploitation, that there would still exist in the Soviet Union fertile ground for bourgeois currents. Bureaucracy, technocratism, social inequalities and privileges allowed the development within certain sectors of Soviet society a bourgeois lifestyle and aspirations for the reintroduction of certain aspects of capitalism. The persistence of bourgeois ideology among both the masses and the cadres was an additional factor that encouraged entire sectors to veer towards anti-socialist positions. The adversaries of socialism always had important resources and ideological and material resources from imperialism, which never stopped infiltrating its spies and buying off renegades; the latter never stopped in their efforts to exploit and amplify all forms of opportunism within the Soviet Union. Stalin's thesis, according to which `There is no class basis, there can be no class basis, for the domination of the bourgeois ideology in our Soviet society', was one-sided and undialectic. It introduced weaknesses and errors in the political line.

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G. Malenkov,  Report to the Nineteenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952), p. 126.

Stalin was not able to define the adequate forms of mass mobilization of workers and kolkhozians to combat the dangers of restauration. Popular democracy should have been developed, with the deliberate intention to eliminate bureaucracy, technocratism, ambitiousness, and privileges. But the popular participation in such a defence of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not ensured as it should have been done. Stalin always underscored that the influence of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism was reflected in the Party through opportunist tendencies. But he was not able to formulate a theory about the struggle between the two lines in the Party. In 1939, summarizing the Great Purge, Stalin focused exclusively on `the espionage and conspiratorial activities of the Trotskyite  and Bukharinite  leaders' and on the manner in which `the bourgeois states ... take advantage of people's weaknesses, their vanity, their slackness of will'.

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Stalin, Leninism:  Selected Writings (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975), pp. 468--469.

Stalin clearly underestimated the internal causes that gave birth to opportunist tendencies, which, once infiltrated by secret services, became linked one way or the other to imperialism. Consequently, Stalin did not think that it was necessary to mobilize all of the Party members to combat opportunistic lines and to eliminate unhealthy tendencies. During the ideological and political struggles, all the cadres and members shoud have educated and transformed themselves. After 1945, the struggle against opportunism was restricted to the highest circles of the Party and did not assist in the revolutionary transformation of the entire Party.

It was by analyzing these weaknesses that Mao Zedong  formulated his theory about continuing the revolution:

`Socialist society covers a fairly long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education .... Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place.'

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Mao Tse-tung  and Lin Pao,  Post-Revolutionary Writings (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1972), p. 429.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995