From Turning Point
Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Khrushchev
(In Defense of Stalin)
In its March issue, Turning Point
immediately made its position clear "Against the Revisionism of the 20th
CPSU Congress" and in defense of Stalin. This April-May issue
outlines the analysis which determines our position. In these few
pages, we do not attempt to place under the microscope the component parts of
the Hitler-type "big lie" which is Khrushchev's creative contribution to the
extension of Marxism-Leninism. However, future issues will offer a
detailed expansion of all parts of this outline. Although this is only an
outline analysis, we hope that serious and honest Communists and non-Communists
will find it useful as a guide in the consideration of those elephantine
facts of Khrushchevism which hardly require a microscope. As far as we know
- and we most earnestly hope we're wrong - this is, at the moment, the only
document in the world in defense of Stalin. It should surprise no old reader of
TP that we, who have never been afraid to attack opportunism (even to the
point of expulsion from the CPUSA), are the defenders of Stalin; similarly, it
should surprise no one that professional yes-men are content to accept
uncritically any and all pronouncements of Khrushchevism.
I - From Death to Posthumous Murder
1. Stalin died - naturally or unnaturally - on March 6.1953. If
the reader takes offense at this precipitate speculation, we will further offend
him by (a) pleading guilty and (b) demanding acquittal! Preposterous? Allow us
to explain such crafty procedure. No one who accepts with equanimity the 1001
anti-Stalin innuendos of Khrushchev can possibly quibble with our single
speculation. Since, at the moment, innuendos have demoted facts, we are trying
to "adjust" to the spirit of the 20th Congress. We are trying in our most
studied, un-sectarian manner to "adjust" to the fashion by neutralizing - in
this one case - our distaste for speculation. Having disposed of what may turn
out to have been a justifiable speculation, we ask the reader to note that from
this point on, we restrict ourselves to a few very important facts and to an
analysis of their consistency.
2. After the death of his body, Stalin's name was kid-napped!
This, also, is preposterous - but not speculation or innuendo. The name
Stalin disappeared more and more from the pages of Pravda and the
Communist Information Bureau organ, For A Lasting Peace, for A People's
Democracy. We will offer a typical and important "before and after" example.
On Dec. 5, 1952, while Stalin was still alive, the CIB organ reported the Soviet
celebration of the Stalin Constitution - "named by the people after its
brilliant creator." Exactly one year later, in a CIB article on the same
anniversary (which it described as "one of the most outstanding dates in the
history of mankind"), the name of the Constitution was purged of its author, and
Stalin'- contributions were completely ignored.
3. Less than four months after the death of Stalin (June 23,
1953), Beria was arrested as a spy for the following: Britain, the
counter-revolutionary "Mussavatists" in Azerbaijan (in 1919!) and the
On Dec.2, 1953 Beria and six important associates were executed without
having had an open trial. Subsequently, others connected with Beria were
similarly executed, and countless others removed from responsible positions.
Beria and his associates were murdered because they opposed from inception the
"big lie" which materialized at the 20th Congress.
4. The break with Tito was blamed on Beria (a preliminary
towards blaming Stalin), and the break was healed by placing complete blame on
the Soviet Union and by "adjusting" Communism to conform with Titoism.
5. The CPSU leadership projected a "thaw" look - an advertised
atmosphere of new freedom of expression. This was fanfared by Ehrenburg's
unbelievably poor and dishonest novel, "The Thaw." The freedom to be
irresponsibly anti-Stalin (a very broad target) was painstakingly made clear.
6. The CPSU leadership juggled personnel into and out of
position for the forthcoming Congress. Victims included important leaders:
Nizanov, head of the Uzbekistan CP; Puzanov, Premier of the Russian Soviet
Federated Socialist Republic; Gedvilas, Premier of the Lithuanian Republic; etc.
The editor and assistant editor of October were removed.
7. Malenkov and Molotov were "damaged" into conformity in an
unpolished manner. Malenkov was attacked for slighting heavy industry and for a
formulation on the cultural question in his report to the 19th Congress in l952.(2)
He was forced to resign on the grounds of inexperience. (He has since made it
clear that he is now experienced in the advisability of conforming to
Molotov was attacked for something he had never said - that the
S.U. had "only" the foundations of Socialism. Molotov had actually said,
"Together with the Soviet Union, where the foundations of a
Socialist society have already been built, there are also those people's
democratic countries which have taken only the first but very important
steps in the direction of Socialism." (Our emphasis.) As should be
understandable to anyone but a sophist, Molotov does not imply that "only" the
foundations of Socialism have been built in the S.U.; he states that they "have
already been built." Furthermore, his use of the word "only" later in the
sentence in reference to the People's Democracies makes this doubly clear.
Molotov was being given the needle, and, unfortunately, he fainted. He
recanted a thought he had not expressed. Both Malenkov and Molotov buckled
and became part of the unanimous Khrushchev collective - Malenkov, so far, more
8. The 20th Congress was held in Feb. 1956 - after the "thaw"
had produced enough slush to accommodate the needs of Khrushchevism. The
Congress made two basic changes: (1) Proletarian Revolution was branded
dogma, deleted, and replaced by the peaceful attainment of Socialism; and (2)
Stalin was socially damned by innuendo for his alleged "cult of the individual"
- the designation used by Trotsky in his biography of Stalin!! Since the
official innuendo was shocking but incomplete (in that it allowed people to
evade a complete recognition of the consequences). Khrushchev delivered a
clarifying address at a secret session from which even the representatives of
the fraternal Communist Parties were barred. This secret speech was
officially leaked unofficially to the international press for world-wide
distribution - to Communists and others. A new and ingenious channel for the
mass distribution of secret information! No item of this pornography thus
distributed has yet been rejected by the manufacturers.
9. The speech and its reverberations (Peking to Warsaw to New
York) inform us that Stalin was a monstrously and pathologically suspicious
murderer, an anti-Semite, a bungler responsible for an alleged Soviet
unpreparedness in 1941, a demoniacal destroyer of the best brains of the Soviet
army, a coward of note in the Second World War, a conceited, subjective,
arbitrary madman, a senile, phobia-ridden dictator - who shot his second wife in
a rage at having been criticized. It is possible that Khrushchevism is taking to
match its versatility in defamation with Stalin's versatility in analytical
10. In the post-Congress period, leaders of other CP's followed
suit, choosing their own national scapegoats in, a weird ward-healers' battle
for career security. They bravely advanced clarifications of "peaceful
revolution" and expansions of the slanders against Stalin.
11. The re-shuffling process has logically included the
rehabilitation of a history-full of renegades. The recent vindication of Rykov
(accompanied by the denunciation of Vyshinsky) is only a bud; we will yet see
the blooming of the Zinovievs, Kamenevs, Bukharins, and finally Trotsky - if the
Soviet people give whorticulturist Khrushchev that much more time in their
already trampled garden.
12. As a result of the 20th Congress, all the age-old slanders
of world capitalism, as styled by world Trotskyism, were "rehabilitated"
as facts, and Stalin was turned into a vehicle for proving the Orwellian
stupidity of the Soviet people, all Communists, and Communism itself. Never has
Communism been twisted so much in so little time with such great sadism.
We have just given an aerial map of the range of Khrushchevism
from the death of a man to the temporary coma of an idea. Even before the
details are filled in, we believe that there oozes forth such a convincing
miasma of unconvincing flip-flop hypocrisy that, inevitably, a naive passenger
would have to characterize his embarrassed presence aboard Khrushchev's
Meteor as "Gullible's Travels."
II - "Dogma" of Revolution vs Peaceful Revolution
Let us consider the main contribution of the 20th
Congress. It substituted a peaceful, parliamentary, constitutional attainment
of Socialist power for the Proletarian Revolution. Worse than this a Marxist
cannot do. It deserves a Stalin Prize for Revisionism! Any man has the right to
believe that the confidence of a BEAUTY like Khrushchev can cause the
transformation of the BEAST of capitalism into the CHARMING PRINCE of Socialism.
However no man has the right to pervert the nobility of the fairy world into the
vulgarity of Khrushchev's philistine underworld.
Constitutional Communism is a case of hoodwinking through the
stolen trademark of Marxism-Leninism and the misleading label of peaceful
revolution. Below, we will analyze the motive behind this revision; here we will
insist only on the fact: removing force and violence from the theory of
the proletarian revolution is removing Marxism-Leninism by force and
We realize that even at this late date, a few quotes are not
enough to prove the necessity for proletarian revolution. But, we remind
the reader, we have not been trying to prove anything of the sort
- in this article. We are simply arguing that Khrushchevism has no right to
operate under the famous and meaningful banner of Marxism-Leninism.
We will do this briefly in the following manner. We will
measure the formulation of Khrushchevism against a definite statement of Lenin,
speaking very much in the name of Marx and Engels. Lenin said:
"The panegyric Engels sang in its [violent revolution's
honour, and which fully corresponds to Mari's repeated declarations (recall
the concluding passages of the "The Poverty of Philosophy" and the
"Communist Manifesto," with their proud and open declaration of the
inevitability of a violent revolution; recall Marx's "Critique of the Gotha
Program" of 1875, in which, almost thirty years later, he mercilessly
castigates the opportunist character of that program) - this panegyric is by
no means a mere 'impulse,' a mere declamation or polemical sally. The
necessity of systematically imbuing the masses with this and
precisely this view of violent revolution lies at the root of the whole of
Marx's and Engel's doctrine. The betrayal of their doctrine by the
social-chauvinist and Kautskyan trends which now predominate is brought out
in striking relief by the neglect of such propaganda and agitation by
both these trends.
"The substitution of the proletarian state for the bourgeois
state is impossible without a violent revolution." ("State and Revolution")
"It is not true that we regard violence and civil war as the
only way to remake society..."
Khrushchevism, as officially embodied in the Resolutions of the
CPSU 20th Congress, says that the peaceful attainment of Socialism by a
constitutional majority is perfectly possible.
"However, the greater or lesser degree of intensity which
the class struggle may assume and the use or the non-use of violence in the
transition to socialism depends not so much on the proletariat as on the
degree of resistance put up by the exploiters to the will of the
overwhelming majority of the working people and on the use of violence by
the exploiting class itself. There is no doubt that in a number of
capitalist countries, where capitalism is still strong, where it has a huge
military and police apparatus at its disposal, the sharp aggravation of
class struggle is inevitable." (Resolution, CIB 3-2-56)
Mikoyan is less subtle and more worried about the reformist
smell of this formulation, so he makes matters worse:
"That is why the question of the possibility of peaceful
revolution in separate countries should not be confused with reformism. It
should be remembered that revolution - peaceful or not peaceful - will
always be revolution, while reformism will always remain a fruitless
marking of time." (CIB 3-2-56)
Lenin (who lived before the catastrophes of Spain. Greece.
Guatemala, etc.) seems to have had more foresight than his remodelers have
hindsight. In "Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky," Lenin almost
"Never except in the sentimental fantasies of the
sentimental simpleton Kautsky - will the exploiters submit to the decision
of the exploited majority without making use of their advantage in a last
desperate battle or series of battles.
"The transition from capitalism to Communism represents an
entire historical epoch. Until this epoch has terminated, the exploiters
will inevitably cherish the hope of restoration, and this hope will
be converted into attempts at restoration."
Let us examine the seeming qualification of the "peaceful
revolution" entered by Khrushchevism.
(1) The qualification is a facade for Khrushchev's embarrassment
at his abrupt and open distortion of revolution into peaceful revolution.
Therefore, he seems to qualify his revision - generously allowing for the
exceptional possibility of a violent revolution in certain cases. If Khrushchev
were really qualifying, he would have done the obvious - stated, as examples,
certain countries where his peaceful revolution is impossible - or possible. But
there are no clarifying examples. Perhaps, Khrushchev didn't want to be
too clear and specific. Perhaps he preferred to avoid stating too openly that in
the U.S., the citadel of world imperialism, the working class will establish its
power without resort to force!! Or - why didn't he eliminate the U.S. by stating
that, of course, elected socialism would be impossible here.
Obviously, he didn't want to. Remember, Khrushchev has explained
his previous inhibitions against open expression. He made his explanations at
that famous burlesque where he stripped himself of what little Marxist covering
he had (in a manner which all enemies of Marxism-Leninism considered most
pleasing and stimulating). He explained that he and his fellow performers could
never really let loose during Stalin's lifetime because that demoniacal enemy of
exhibitionism frowned them into paralysis with his evil eye. Now Stalin is dead,
and we accept the fact that our Gypsy Rose Lee of Socialism can expose exactly
those areas of thought he deems advisable.
(2) But perhaps Khrushchev's qualification was clear to all the
CP leaders of the world - and we simply don't speak his language? Exactly! It
seems that immediately after the Congress, most of the CP's (and especially the
CPUSA) had a ball. The CPUSA declared that Khrushchev's ideas were exactly the
ideas which they contributed for the international edification of Communists at
their Foley Square trial. The CPUSA explained that Khrushchev's qualification
regarding an exceptional necessity for violent revolution was not meant to apply
to the U.S.
Did Togliatti understand Khrushchev's qualification? He
understood that Italy can get socialism peacefully! Did Duclos understand it? He
understood it as well as Togliatti, who understood it as well as Pollitt, who
understood it as well as Foster and Dennis, etc.
So, really, the qualification was a psychological massage
designed to soothe the nervousness of those who discerned too much of a basic
revision of Marxism-Leninism.
(3) When he removed the heart of Marxism and substituted a
qualification, Khrushchev left a rubber glove at the scene of the crime. He
tampered with the Russian Revolution itself. He did this by borrowing from the
Foley Square revisionism of the CPUSA its famous distortion of the Russian
Revolution known as the "peaceful development" episode. We are told that - of
all people - Lenin himself believed in the possibility of peaceful revolution.
This misrepresentation is attempted despite the fact that Lenin's major energies
were spent exposing other revisionists who similarly misrepresented Marx and
Engels. Khrushchev says:
"It will be recalled that in the conditions that arose in
April 1917, Lenin granted the possibility that the Russian Revolution might
develop peacefully, and that in the spring of 1918, after the victory
of the October Revolution, Lenin drew up his famous plan for peaceful
socialist construction." (CIB organ, 2/17/56) (Our emphasis)
We will devote a complete article to this in the near future,
but we long ago exposed this in detail in an article on Foster's deposition in
the Foley Square trial. In a section of the article which we called "Expurgated
Version of the Russian Revolution," we said:
"Lenin speaks carefully of a peaceful development of
the revolution. He speaks of one part - of one rare episode within a
revolution... Lenin analyzed this transition as one from the first stage
(the bourgeois democratic revolution) to the second stage (the socialist
revolution). The "April Theses" were offered in a relatively peaceful period
between the two stages. But Lenin insisted that the Bolshevik work of the
transitional period must be a preparation for insurrection."
Regarding another allusion to "peaceful development" made in
October, we said:
"Lenin's statement was made in an article which appeared on
Oct. 9-10. Mark the date. Foster does not mention that exactly on Oct. 10,
'the historic meeting of the Central Committee of the Party took place at
which it was decided to launch the armed uprising within the next few days.'
["Short History," p.205]"
We pointed out that Lenin "makes it clear that the Soviets can
secure a peaceful development of the revolution only on the basis of having
Does this sound like the peaceful winning of socialism?
Going back to Khrushchev's quote, does Lenin's "famous plan for
peaceful socialist construction" drawn up "after [AFTER!] the victory of the
October Revolution" prove the possibility of a peaceful revolution? Does
"construction" mean "revolution"? So much did Khrushchev want to attain the
peaceful respectability of Social Democracy that he equated
post-revolutionary construction with the violent overthrow of the
bourgeoisie - and hijacked Lenin's name to help advertise the act.
Is Khrushchev attempting to prove that violent revolution, which
he says is no longer needed, was never really used? An
honest Communist should choose: is he defending Marxism or anti-Marxism? If he
cannot accept the essence of Marxism, he really should not trouble himself over
the secondary problem of the role of Stalin. Such worry is wasteful; he can hate
Stalin on general principles - for having believed in the essence of
We underline this main revision of Khrushchev because it is the
spotlight which picks up and throws into context all the innuendos and outright
slanders. And, if this is true, one must, as a Communist, immediately condemn
the alien ideology of Khrushchevism even before we consider its "Sunday
Supplement" collection of gossipy tidbits.
IlI - "Cult" vs the Role of Stalin
The second main contribution of the 20th Congress was the
attempt to distort the role of Stalin. Yet, as our original statement of
position said, "the fact that the present opportunism could not be conducted
in his name guarantees Stalin's honorable and creative role." By some joyous
quirk of nature, there is no direct connection between the decomposition of a
body and its contributions. Although there is no such thing as immortality, an
idea and its results come the closest. It is stupidity raised to an art-form
when a Khrushchev attempts to erase Stalin's contributions from history. A man's
contributions can in one moment be ignored and in the next moment memorialized;
they can in varying degrees be forgotten or recollected; but they cannot be
erased because their effects become part of the continuity of history. Even the
most uninformed but honest Communist must realize that there is a
marked difference between (1) an extension of Marxism-Leninism based on new
"key" facts and (2) a distension of Marxism-Leninism based on new "keyhole"
facts - offered in a Walter Winchell-Nikita Khrushchev manner.
This outline will not attempt to prove contributions and
disprove vilifications. However, it will attempt to place a few main
points in focus.
1. The over-all role of Stalin is that of a devoted, persistent
guardian of Marxism-Leninism - as Lenin before him was of Marxism. This
statement does not equal infallibility; it means exactly what it says. But, to
say this is to say "the most" about a Communist, and it is for this reason that
we campaign for the renascence of Communism under the slogan of
2. Stalin is the man who believed that Socialism could he built
in one country - and then acted as the engineer. In order to do this, he had to
tear to shreds the opposite ideas of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, etc.
This he did over a long period. When the defeated ideologists of the
impossibility of Socialism in one country departed from the arena of theory and
entered the practice of uniting with enemies in order to destroy the Soviet
Union, they were unmasked at great length in open trials and destroyed.
3. In protecting the S.U. and in building Socialism, Stalin
followed the "impolite" ideas of Lenin, utilizing the contradictions of the
hostile capitalist world. Just as Lenin used divisive pacts (e.g. Brest-Litovsk
Treaty) during the first World War, Stalin, in the face of an approaching second
World War, used the Soviet-German pact. History has proven what an
important breathing space this was - how the S.U. gained from this tactic and
Germany lost fatally. But, on Khrushchev's list, Stalin, the bungler, was
surprised by Hitler's attack.
4. In little more than a decade, the S.U., under the leadership
of Lenin (who died in 1924) and Stalin, built from the ruins of civil war and
intervention the strongest army in the world. This army under Stalin defeated an
"invulnerable" fascist axis. Khrushchevism is as stupid as its charge that
Stalin was a bungler and a coward in World War II. We say that any man who
insists that Hitler could have been defeated without heavy losses is a
charlatan - an obvious one. It would have taken the "headline mentality" of
a Khrushchev to have attempted to stop at one fell swoop Hitler's army at the
Soviet border. Such a showpiece would, at the best, have left Hitler's army
stunned but intact.
Stalin, it seems, made poor headlines for a long time, all the
time that Hitler's army penetrated and over-extended itself into open
jaws. But when the jaws closed permanently and decisively at Stalingrad, the
whole world knew that the turning point had been reached.
The reader must forgive us for giving Stalin so much credit for
Stalingrad. But it's permissible. Haven't his enemies yielded all credit to him
for this bungling? A mad Stalin insisted on the fantasy of picking up heavy
industry and transporting it by rail to the Urals. Then the fool did it. We all
know that it isn't so bad when a madman projects a mad plan. "Steady people" can
mock at will. But when a madman turns his fantasies into actualities, he becomes
downright insulting to "plodders." Then, "plodders" cannot mock; they can only
5. We would be most interested in a Khrushchevist critique of
Stalin's most famous contributions on the National Question. Stalin did not only
theorize about the National Question; he built successfully the most complex
multi-national Socialist state. Is it possible to erase from history the
exciting fact that in the S.U., nations which had no written language were not
only encouraged to develop their languages but were given, through science and
Marxist principle, a created notation!
6. The man who created the Stalin Constitution, the most
democratic constitution in the history of the world (because it underwrites its
ideas with practical guarantees), is called a despot - a mean one, at that. A
shrewd Khrushchev would have slandered Stalin as a "benevolent" despot; a stupid
Khrushchev could not bear the expenditure of the extra word.
Khrushchevism does not attack the Stalin Constitution. It
deletes the author and then attacks him for promoting ideas alien to the
constitution. Meanwhile, it produces articles about the glories of the
constitution. It's as if we were to delete the author of the Gettysburg address,
and then insist that the author failed to show up at the memorial meeting
because he was busy elsewhere shooting his second wife.
7. Stalin was not only the architect of Socialism after Lenin's
death but he was the only current theoretician on the transition from Socialism
to Communism. On the one hand, he exposed dizzy schemes for rushing the
transition; on the other hand, he exposed the fear of proceeding. In the last
work available to us, "Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR," he left the
only mature theoretical advice on progress to Communism. His vilifiers have so
far failed to offer a youthful improvement over his "senility."
8. Stalin was allegedly an obstacle in the path of science. He
dared ally himself with the theories of Lysenko who conducted a battle for the
implementation of the ideas of Michurin. (Khrushchevism fails to attack Lenin
for his support of Michurin.) TP thinks that Lysenko's ideas are correct,
but suppose the reader disagrees? Let us remind him that for over a decade the
Soviet government under Stalin encouraged both sides in this argument to battle
it out and provide the S.U. with the correct answer. It is to Stalin's great
credit that he took what will be proven the correct position. But who can claim
or prove that he did not allow the contest of scientific opinion.
9. Stalin warned the Soviet people never to take their leaders
for granted or they would never discover the fakers. He warned them to keep
alive their right of recall because, like their enemies, they, too, had
hypocrites in high places who could not be trusted. Stalin said:
"I cannot say with absolute certainty that among the
candidates (1 beg their pardon, of course) and among our public figures
there are not people who resemble political philistines more than anything
else, who in character and make-up resemble people of the type referred to
in the popular saying: 'Neither a candle for god nor a poker for the
devil.'" (Speech on the occasion of his nomination to the Supreme Soviet,
We have mentioned a few of Stalin's main contributions, and we
have quickly indicated his integrity. Now, we will be asked: didn't Stalin have
faults? We think he did. And does any man have a right to criticize him? Yes,
but let that man be specific and prove the fact underneath his criticism. Let us
not hear "impressionistic" sounds about Stalin's bungling in agriculture, war
and whatnot. We demand chapter and verse - not grapevine gossip.
One can say this for Stalin's attitude toward polemic: he was
not a dabber. When he entered a polemic, he did it with unanswerable logic. And
sometimes he abstained from certain prominent fields of cultural polemic (at
least as formal pronouncements go) because he did not consider his judgment of
Well, we are asked, does TP have anything to criticize
Stalin for? Certainly, but we will qualify those criticisms carefully. This
article is not concerned with our criticisms of Stalin, but we will use one
example in order to prove a point against Khrushchevism. We criticize
Stalin exactly where his worst enemies would praise him, exactly where they
extend his errors.
Turning Point can accept no justification for the
dissolution of the' Communist International - an important factor in the
weakness of the world Communist movement. Very little detail of the reasoning
behind the dissolution has come out, but we believe that every Communist
should have opposed this. Very few did. Such criticism of Stalin will not
make the Khrushchevites happy; they have just dissolved the' Communist
Information Bureau which was an important step back towards international
integration of the Communist movement.
However, Stalin believed in reconstituting international
contact. It is for this reason that we value the speech which Stalin made
to the 19th Congress of the CPSU in 1952. This is a very unusual speech for
Stalin. There are no detailed reports on the S.U. - just a few very much
emphasized points. It is the sincere, warm message of a man offering some last
reminders. Speaking of the CPSU's brother Parties, Stalin said:
"it is their confidence that we particularly prize... It
would be a mistake to think that, having become a mighty force, our Party is
no longer in need of support. That is not true. Our Party and our country
have always needed, and will need, the confidence, the sympathy and the
support of fraternal peoples abroad... Naturally, our Party
cannot remain indebted to the fraternal parties, and it must in its turn
render support to them and also to their peoples in their struggle for
emancipation, and in their struggle for the preservation of peace. As
we know, that is exactly what it is doing." (Our emphasis~
Stalin continued that it was now less difficult for CP's to work
"because the bourgeoisie... has become more' reactionary, has lost its ties with
the people and has thereby weakened itself."
Khrushchev, too, thinks that work is easier, but from a
different point of view. In his mind, the stronger the Socialist sector the more
reasonable and progressive the bourgeoisie becomes - sensible enough to allow
the peaceful election of Socialism. In Stalin's mind, the bourgeoisie becomes
more desperate with each advance of Socialism; it certainly
does not yield to Socialism.
Our criticisms of Stalin are modified by his: report to
the 19th Congress because his internationalism is prominently obnoxious to his
IV - The Meaning of Khrushchevism
Khrushchevism, a current form of revisionism and opportunism,
is the attempt to dissolve the contradiction between peaceful coexistence and
world revolution. A dialectical materialist does not attempt to dissolve the
insoluble. He does not attempt to solve such contradictions as: the longer you
live, the closer to death you come. (He does not dissolve this contradiction by
taking a position against longevity!) World revolution is inevitable: no one can
delete it from the agenda. Peaceful coexistence is desirable and necessary. A
world war today would be an A & H bomb war, and that might mean the destruction
of the earth. The longer peaceful coexistence is enforced (and it is actually
enforced by the might of the Socialist sector - not by Khrushchev's diplomatic
exhibitionism), the stronger the Socialist sector becomes, the closer we get to
world Socialism and the harder it is for capitalism to launch a world 'var. But
this does not mean that peaceful revolution becomes more possible; on the
contrary, capitalism becomes more desperate and violent. Capitalism may not be
capable of launching a world war, but it is always capable of launching an
internal class war. There should be nothing frightening about this contradiction
- except to men who, in the absence of a Stalin, are collectively un-Marxist.
But the Khrushchevites insisted on dissolving this
contradiction, and successfully found the only way - by removing part of the
contradiction, the proletarian revolution. Of course, this isn't a real solution
but the imaginary removal of part of the problem. The men behind this
"solution" are attempting to head off maturing revolutions and liberation
movements; they would postpone socialism (to use Malenkov's adjusted timetable)
for something less than a hundred years!
The bloodiest example is Algeria, which is fighting for that
very self-determination which Marxism-Leninism has proclaimed the right of all
peoples. Have the leaders of the French and Soviet CP's a twinge of
international solidarity? Yes - solidarity with the French Empire. Khrushchev
"that a correct solution of the given question can he found,
with due regard, naturally, for the legitimate rights and national
interests of the peoples of the French Union.." (CIB, 10-7-55)
What "legitimate rights"? What "national interests"? - except
self-determination, which Khrushchev denies in the interests of French
imperialism! The French Union is nothing less than the technical name for the
remnants of the French Empire.
Thorez echoes this in his speech to the 20th Congress. He
generously allows the Algerians - not self-determination but - the right to
exist in what seems to be a democratic imperialism:
"They [French Communists] are fighting for recognition of
the fact that the Algerian nation exists, for the establishment of a real
French Union composed of free and equal peoples." (Our emphasis.)
And so, on March 12, 1956, the French CP supported the Mollet
government in its war against the Algerians in order to preserve France's
Khrushchevism means placating the hostile world by the
deletion of the MOST HATED IDEA and its MOST HATED EXPONENT. To the
hostile world, the most hated idea is the proletarian revolution, and its most
hated exponent in our time is Stalin. Lenin would explain (as he did in the case
of Marx) that he has been dead long enough to escape nomination.
This is bourgeois ideology, substituting opportunism for
principled Marxist-Leninist diplomacy. This is an appeal to one's enemies
instead of the organization of one's friends. This is building on the
backwardnesses of the movement instead of its strength.
Why did this happen so suddenly? Here the answer is simple fact.
As we now know too well, these men could not perform this operation on
Marxism while Stalin was alive. Stalin's death made this freedom of
irresponsible revision possible. But how could a man like Stalin leave behind
him such a bunch of turncoats? This is a dangerous question. One might as well
ask: why did Lenin leave his assortment - with the exception of Stalin
who defended the Lenin heritage? Why did the heritage of Marx and Engels have to
await rediscovery by Lenin? It is ridiculous to blame great men for their
failure to leave behind them other appropriately great men.
But why was there no one to defend Stalin? Is this true? By
elimination (literally!) Beria was the one top leader who did defend Stalin
firmly - with the reward of murder. The unanimity of the Central Committee was
made possible by the removal of the exception, the dissident Beria.
How about the people? Our answer to this is one word which will
carry special significance in Russian history and Georgian history -
TIFLIS! All the facts and all the bodies are not yet uncovered, but the example
of Tiflis proves to the rest of the S.U. and the rest of the world that the
Soviet people are not the imbeciles Khrushchevism takes them to be. Leaders tend
to degenerate in mass quantities because of the alleged requirements for "big
operators." But a whole people which has lived for so many years under Socialism
cannot be so callous and degenerate. It simply has to find its methods. Tiflis
was an alarm to the Soviet people. We will see which outlives the other - the
name Khrushchev or the "collective" name Tiflis.
Perhaps, Stalin, in his time, received too many testimonials
from unproductive parasites, but the greatest real testimonial to Stalin
was the Tiflis demonstration.
One has to remark on the hate that streams from the present
leaders over the memory of Stalin. They hate Stalin for his intransigence, for
his scorn of their present theories. Lacking the ability to offer constructive
creative ideas to the world, they settle for salesman-gimmicks. They mount the
international podium and act corny and undignified because they want to be
indiscriminately "well-liked." They want to prove that, unlike Stalin, they can
get along with the enemies of Socialism.
Stalin had a word to say on this:
"One thing or the other: either we continue to pursue
a revolutionary policy... in which case international capital will do
everything it can to hinder our advance; or we renounce our
revolutionary policy and agree to make a number of fundamental concessions
to international capital-in which case international capital, no doubt, will
not be averse to 'assisting' us in converting our Socialist country into a
'good' bourgeois republic."(4)
V - Effects of the CPSU 2Oth Congress
Khrushchevism is the worst blow to Socialism, the worst
disgrace in the history of Communism - without exception! Khrushchevism will
undoubtedly go down in history as the degeneration of almost the complete
leadership of world Communism. (We say almost because there will be those
exceptional leaders (like Zachariades, newly deposed leader of the Greek CP, and
some leaders of the Indian CP) who will refuse to become Khrushchevites.
Khrushchev-time is that period during which the formal
leadership of international Communism sabotaged revolutionary and national
liberation movements. It will be noted that in this period Khrushchev set out
like a not-so-lean Don Quixote to calm down the class struggle. Khrushchev-time
is the period during which Communism decided to become' Social Democracy -
during which Communist Parties, begging Socialist Parties to unite, solved the
problem by themselves becoming Socialist Parties. Khrushchev-time is the end of
the CPSU's leadership of the world Communist movement - a defeat by default.
Khrushchev-time is a temporary loss of direction in the CPSU itself. This means
unavoidably, a slowed pace in the transition from Socialism to Communism in the
S.U. The S.U. is still a Socialist state, and it is still for peace. But
nothing is static; Socialist states move forward to Communism or they
slide back towards capitalism (imperceptibly at first).
But isn't there some good in Khrushchev? It has often been said,
very morally, that even the worst man has a little good in him. It is sometimes
necessary to add that the positive ingredient in the negative man tends to be
involuntary. On this basis, we can admit that Khrushchev is an involuntary
reorganizer of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism. He will help Communists turn to the
reorganization of real Communist Parties. Out of the renascence of individual
CP's will come the reconstruction of a Communist International which will be the
integrating force behind the building of world Communism.
Communists who wondered at the wasteful retreats of their own
CP's will now see the international consistency behind what appeared to
he a national exception. They will now be able to diagnose not only the
private pox of opportunism but the international epidemic. In the process of
this clarification, the forthcoming Marxist-Leninist-Stalinists will shed the
last remnants of their sloppy thinking habits. "Hackiness" will be replaced by
integrity - a quality which has long been buried under the tombstone of
"practicality." Doubletalk will no longer be the trademark of the talented
leader but of the "big operator." (Most people consider this desirable but
impossible. Most people settle for too little!)
An important positive result of Khrushchevism will be the
simple, orderly fact of inventory: who are the scoundrels, and who
are the honest Communists? All Communists have an involuntary vote in
this matter; all are showing their hands. The scoundrels are showing their hands
quickly. Revolutionary rank-and-filers will in most cases, after an
understandable delay, show theirs. They are now, in great part, understandably
flabbergasted. It not only rained - but it poured, and it poured excrement.
History has no choice but to allow time for a bit of disinfecting. During this
ugly inventory, a soiled Communism will not especially be open for business
as usual. Responsible people (TP included) will be busy with brooms,
mops, and strong deodorizers and disinfectants! How could it possibly be
The important activity in Communism today is, of necessity, the
healthy splitting of Revolution from Constitutionalism. Better to have
intelligent confusion for the moment than permanent idiotic unanimity.
Communists of integrity will not only discover kindred spirits but they will,
during this period, discover themselves.
Khrushchevism is acting as a great centrifugal separator. The
merry-go-round of opportunism is whirling faster and faster. As the speed
increases those who are not immune to philosophical dizziness will become
directionless. Some will tire of the sound of Khrushchev's rebuilt
Kautsky-calliope and jump off. Others will not have the conviction to jump off
until the sheer centrifugal force flings them off. These will, for a while, lie
on the ground, dizzy, nauseated, depressed, as the painted horses whiz by,
oscillating up and down but in the same spot. But after a while, they will pick
themselves up and look about this world for less circular progress.
We grant that even spectators grow dizzy watching. One cannot
blame them. One can only suggest that if they will back away from the scene just
a little, they will discover that the gaily painted merry-go-round rotates
rhetorically but fails to leave the spot- Those who want to move ahead to
Socialism (or in the S.U. to Communism) will leave this sorry amusement center
(a concession operated for the benefit of capitalism) and work for the
resurrection of Communism.
VI - The Secret of Principle
Politics, as everyone knows, is a pretty dirty mess. Now, the
Communist arena has been besmirched. We grant that anyone who knows the
whereabouts of a real ivory tower has the right to retreat thereto. We,
unfortunately, not knowing the right people, are unconnected with real ivory
towers and the imaginary ones are not practical. Therefore, we have no
alternative but to fight for Socialism and for a revolutionary movement which
will make that fight possible and effective. We would remind all other
Communists (omitting the ones who own real ivory towers) that they also have no
alternative but the continued fight for Socialism. The depression that sets in
with this horrible mess is little comfort - except masochistically. The only
real comfort is understanding causes and cures.
At this point of temporary defeat, what attitude is absolutely
necessary for a functioning Communist? Stalin would advise us by pointing to
Lenin, defeated by Plekhanov, Axelrod, Martov, etc. at the Stockholm Congress:
"…he was not a jot like those leaders who whine and
lose heart when beaten... 'Don't whine Comrades, we are bound to win for we
are right'... Lenin was never a captive of the majority, especially
when that majority had no basis of principle... he did not fear on
such occasions literally to stand alone against all, considering - as
he would say - that 'a policy of principle is the only correct policy.'"
("Lenin", a memorial speech, 1924.)
A study of Lenin yields the invaluable secret that a principled
man wins in the course of an imposing sequence of "principled" defeats. Many
people desire Socialism. During certain periods, few can face the necessity of
getting it the hard but possible way. The history of Socialism is a
series of imaginary quick easy roads to Socialism.
Khrushchev has sent the Communist movement toppling to rock
bottom. But if we are at the bottom, let us take advantage of the rock.
Let us build a movement based on solid principle - not on expediency. Let us
proclaim mental courage the password. Above all, let us promote the brain - not
We have to do today what Lenin had to do. We have to dig up
Marxism and gather together a solid corps of comrades who, without asking
anyone's permission, will decide to create a Communist Party in its original
spirit, the spirit that moved Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Because the
distortion of Stalinism is a cover-up for the distortion of Marxism-Leninism,
let us say without hesitancy that our campaign operates under the
unpopular slogan: IN DEFENSE OF STALIN.
1) Findings of the Soviet Supreme Court.
2) In the Dec.1955 Kommunist, the
CPSU's theoretical organ, Malenkov (unnamed but unmistakably identified) was
attacked for "scholastic misconceptions." His ideas were misrepresented.
One would never gather from the attack on him that Malenkov (with the benefit of
a live Stalin) had attacked "hackwork," "mediocre and drab productions," and the
absence of "the fire of satire."
3) For a detailed examination of this period in
the Russian Revolution, see Vol. III, No. 2-3, 1950 Turning Point.
4) Stalin Works, Vol. 11, p. 53.