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Introduction: The importance of Stalin

On August 20, 1991, Yanayev's  ridiculous coup d'état was the last step in eliminating the remaining vestiges of Communism in the Soviet Union. Statues of Lenin  were torn down and his ideas were attacked. This event provoked numerous debates in Communist and revolutionary movements.

Some said it was completely unexpected.

In April 1991, we published a book, L'URSS et la contre-révolution de velours (USSR: The velvet counter-revolution),


Ludo Martens,  L'URSS et la contre-révolution de velours (Antwerp: EPO, 1991).

which essentially covers the political and ideological evolution of the USSR and of Eastern Europe since 1956. Now that Yeltsin  has made his professional coup d'état and that he has vehemently proclaimed capitalist restoration, our analysis still stands.

In fact, the last confused confrontations between Yanayev,  Gorbachev  and Yeltsin  were mere convulsions, expressing decisions made during the Twenty-Eighth Congress in July 1990. We wrote at the time that this congress `clearly affirms a rupture with socialism and a return to capitalism'.


Ibid. , p. 215.

A Marxist  analysis of the events that occurred in the Soviet Union had already led in 1989 to the following conclusion:

`Gorbachev  ... is implementing a slow and progressive, but systematic, evolution to capitalist restoration .... Gorbachev,  his back to the wall, is seeking increasing political and economic support from the imperialist world. In return, he allows the West to do as it pleases in the Soviet Union.'


Ibid. , p. 186.

A year later, at the end of 1990, we concluded our analysis as follows:

`Since 1985 Gorbachev  has not firmly and consistenly defended any political position. In waves, the Right has attacked. Each new wave has dragged Gorbachev  further to the Right. Confronted by further attacks by nationalists and fascists, supported by Yeltsin,  it is not impossible that Gorbachev  will again retreat, which will undoubtedly provoke the disintegration of the CPSU and the Soviet Union.'


Ibid. , p. 253.

`The Balkanization of Africa and of the Arab world has ensured ideal conditions for imperialist domination. The more far-seeing in the West are now dreaming beyond capitalist restoration in the USSR. They are dreaming of its political and economic subjugation.'


Ibid. , p. 245.

It is no accident that we recall these Marxist-Leninist   conclusions from 1989 and 1990. The dynamiting of statues of Lenin  was accompanied by an explosion of propaganda claiming victory over Marxism-Leninism.   However, only the Marxist  analysis was correct, was capable of clarifying the real social forces working under the demagogic slogans of `freedom and democracy' and `glastnost and perestroika'.

In 1956, during the bloody counter-revolution in Hungary, statues of Stalin were destroyed. Thirty-five years later, statues of Lenin  have been reduced to dust. The dismantling of statues of Stalin and Lenin  marks the two basic breaks with Marxism.  In 1956, Khrushchev  attacked Stalin's achievements so that he could change the fundamental line of the Communist Party. The progressive disintegration of the political and economic system that followed led to the final break with socialism in 1990 by Gorbachev. 

Of course, the media hark on every day about the clear failure of Communism around the world. But we must reiterate that, if there was a failure in the Soviet Union, it was a failure of revisionism, introduced by Khrushchev  thirty-five years ago. This revisionism led to complete political failure, to capitulation to imperialism and to economic catastrophe. The current eruption of savage capitalism and of fascism in the USSR shows clearly what happens when the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism   are rejected.

For thirty-five years, the revisionists worked to destroy Stalin. Once Stalin was demolished, Lenin  was liquidated with a flick of the wrist. Khrushchev  fought mercilessly against Stalin. Gorbachev  carried on by leading, during his five years of glastnost, a crusade against `Stalinism'. Notice that the dismantling of Lenin's  statues was not preceded by a political campaign against his work. The campaign against Stalin was sufficient. Once Stalin's ideas were attacked, vilified and destroyed, it became clear that Lenin's  ideas had suffered the same fate.

Khrushchev  started his destructive work by criticizing Stalin's errors in order to `re-assert Leninism  in its original form' and to improve the Communist system. Gorbachev  made the same demagogic promises to confuse the forces of the Left. Today, things have been made crystal clear: under the pretext of `returning to Lenin',  the Tsar returns; under the pretext of `improving Communism', savage capitalism has erupted.

Most people on the Left have read a few books about the activities of the CIA and of Western secret services. They have learned that psychological and political warfare is a fundamental and extremely important part of modern total warfare. Slanders, brainwashing, provocation, manipulation of differences, exacerbation of contradictions, slandering of adversaries, and perpetration of crimes that are then blamed on the adversary are all normal tactics used by Western secret services in modern warfare.

But the wars that imperialism has waged with the greatest energy and with the most colossal resources are the anti-Communist wars. Military wars, clandestine wars, political wars and psychological wars. Isn't it obvious that the anti-Stalin campaign was at the heart of all ideological battles against socialism and Communism? The official spokesmen for the U.S. war machine, Kissinger  and Brzezinski,  praised the works of Solzhenitsyn  and Conquest,  who were, by coïncidence, two authors favored by Social-Democrats, Trotskyists  and Anarchists. Instead of `discovering the truth about Stalin' among those specialists of anti-Communism, wouldn't it have been better to look for the strings of psychological warfare by the CIA?

It is truly not an accident that we can find today, in almost all stylish bourgeois and petit-bourgeois publications, the same slanders and lies about Stalin that were found in the Nazi press during the Second World War. This is a sign that the class struggle is becoming fierce throughout the world and that the world bourgeoisie is mobilizing all its forces to defend its `democracy'. During seminars about the Stalin period, we have often read a long anti-Stalin text and asked the audience what they thought of it. Almost invariably, they replied that the text, although virulently anti-Communist, clearly showed the enthusiasm of the young and poor for Bolshevism, as well as the technical achievements of the USSR; by and large, the text is nuanced. We then told the audience that this was a Nazi text, published in Signal 24 (1943), at the height of the war! The anti-Stalin campaigns conducted by the Western `democracies' in 1989--1991 were often more violent and more slanderous than those conducted by the Nazis in 1930s: today, the great Communist achievements of the 1930s are no longer with us to counteract the slanders, and there are no longer any significant forces to defend the Soviet experience under Stalin.

When the bourgeoisie announces the definitive failure of Communism, it uses the pathetic failure of revisionism to reaffirm its hatred of the great work achieved in the past by Lenin  and Stalin. Nevertheless, it is thinking much more about the future than about the past. The bourgeoisie wants people to think that Marxism-Leninism   is buried once and for all, because it is quite aware of the accuracy and the vitality of Communist analysis. The bourgeoisie has a whole gamut of cadres capable of making scientific evaluations of the world's evolution. And so it sees major crises and upheavals on a planetary scale, and wars of all kinds. Since capitalism has been restored in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, each contradiction of the world imperialist system has been exacerbated. When the working masses throughout the world face the specters of unemployment, misery, exploitation and war, only Marxism-Leninism   can show them the way out. Only Marxism-Leninism   can provide arms to the working masses of the capitalist world and to the oppressed peoples of the Third World. Given these great, future struggles, all this rubbish about the end of Communism is intended to disarm the oppressed masses of the entire world.

Defending Stalin's work, essentially defending Marxism-Leninism,   is an important, urgent task in preparing ourselves for class struggle under the New World Order.

next up previous contents index
Next: Stalin is of Up: Another view of Stalin Previous: Foreword

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995