Next: The young Stalin
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In all capitalist countries, the economic, political and ideological
pressure exerted by the bourgeoisie on Communists is incredibly strong.
It is a permanent source of degeneration, of treason, of slow descent into
the other camp. But every treacherous act requires ideological
justification in the eyes of the one who is committing it. In general,
a revolutionary who engages on the downward slope of opportunism
`discovers the truth about Stalinism'. He or she takes, as is, the
bourgeois and anti-Communist version of the history of the revolutionary
movement under Stalin. In fact, the renegades make no discovery,
they simply copy the bourgeoisie's lies. Why have so many renegades
`discovered the truth about Stalin' (to improve the Communist movement,
of course), but none among them has `discovered the truth about
A discovery which would be much more important for
`improving' the anti-imperialist struggle! Having a record of half a
century of crimes in the service of the British Empire (Boer War in
South Africa, terror in India, inter-imperialist First World
War followed by military intervention against the new Soviet
republic, war against Iraq, terror in Kenya, declaration of the
Cold War, aggression against antifascist Greece, etc.),
probably the only bourgeois politician of this century to have equalled
Every political and historical work is marked by the class position of
its author. From the twenties to 1953, the majority of Western
publications about the Soviet Union served the bourgeoisie's and the
petit-bourgeoisie's attacks against Soviet socialism. Writings by
Communist Party members and of Left intellectuals trying to
defend the Soviet experience constituted a weak counter-current in
defending the truth about the Soviet experience. But, from 1953--1956,
and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would take up, bit by
bit, all the bourgeois historiography about the Stalin period.
Since then, revolutionaries in the Western world have been subject to a
terrible and unending ideological onslaught about the crucial periods
in the rise of the Communist movement, particularly the Stalin era. If
led the October Revolution and drew the main lines for building
socialism, it was Stalin who actually put those lines into action
for thirty years. The bourgeoisie's hatred is of course concentrated on
the titanic task achieved under Stalin.
A Communist who does not adopt a firm class position with respect to the
misleading, one-sided, incomplete or false information that the
bourgeoisie spreads around will be lost forever. For no other
subject in recent history does the bourgeoisie denigrate its adversaries
so fiercely. Every Communist must adopt a attitude of systematic
mistrust towards all `information' furnished by the bourgeoisie (and the
about the Stalin period. And he or she must do
everything possible to discover the rare alternative sources of
information that defend Stalin's revolutionary endeavor.
But opportunists in different parties dare not directly
confront the anti-Stalin ideological offensive directly, despite
its clear anti-Communist goal.
The opportunists bend backwards under pressure, saying
`yes to a criticism of Stalin', but pretending to criticize Stalin `from
Today, we can sum up seventy years of `criticisms from the Left'
formulated by the revolutionary experience of the Bolshevik Party under
Stalin. There are hundreds of works available, written by social-democrats
and `independent' Left intellectuals.
Their points of view have been taken up and developed by
We can better understand today the real class meaning of
these works. Did any of these criticisms lead to revolutionary
practices more important than the work under Stalin? Theories are, of
course, judged by the social practice they engender. The
revolutionary practice of the world Communist movement under Stalin
shook the whole world and gave a new direction to the history of
humanity. During the years 1985--1990, in particular, we have been able
to see that all the so-called `Left critics' of Stalin
have jumped onto the anti-Communist bandwagon, just countless
ecologists, all found themselves in the movement for `liberty, democracy
and human rights', which liquidated what remained of socialism in
Eastern Europe and in the USSR. All these `Left criticisms' of Stalin
had as final consequence the restoration of savage capitalism, the
reinstatement of a merciless dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the
destruction of all social gains, cultural and political rights for the
working masses and, in many cases, to the emergence of fascism and of
reactionary civil wars.
initiated the anti-Stalin campaigns in 1956, those
Communists who resisted revisionism and defended Stalin were affected
in a peculiar manner.
In 1956, the Chinese Communist Party had the revolutionary courage to
defend Stalin's work. Its document, `Once more on the experience of
the dictatorship of the proletariat',
all over the world. Based on
their own experience, the Chinese Communists criticized certain aspects
of Stalin's work. This is perfectly normal and necessary in a
discussion among Communists.
However, with the benefit of time, it seems that their criticisms were
formulated too generally. This negatively influenced many Communists
who lent credibility to all sorts of opportunistic criticisms.
For example, the Chinese comrades claimed that Stalin did not
always clearly distinguish the two kinds of contradiction, those among
the people, which can be overcome through education and struggle, and
those between the people and the enemy, which require appropriate means
of struggle. From this general criticism, some concluded that
Stalin did not properly treat the contradictions with Bukharin, and
ended up embracing Bukharin's social-democratic political line.
The Chinese Communists also stated that Stalin interfered in the affairs
of other parties and denied them their independence. From this general
criticism, some concluded that Stalin was wrong in condemning
politics, ultimately accepting
as a `specifically Yugoslav
The recent events in Yugoslavia allow one to
better understand how
since his break with the Bolshevik Party,
followed a bourgeois-nationalist line and ultimately fell into the U.S.
The ideological reticence and errors enumerated above about the Stalin
question, occurred in almost all
A general conclusion can be drawn. In our judgment of all the episodes
during the period 1923--1953, we must struggle to understand
completely the political line held by the Bolshevik Party and by Stalin. We
cannot accept any criticism of Stalin's work without verifying all
primary data pertaining to the question under debate and without
considering all versions of facts and events, in particular the
version given by the Bolshevik leadership.
Next: The young Stalin
Previous: Stalin's work takes
Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995