Marxism and Stalinism

Marxist assessments of Stalinism. What was the class nature of the Stalin-Khrushchev-Brezhnev USSR? And of other countries modelled on it? What has been the legacy of Stalinism for the left?

Chapter 4: Superstition or struggle?

Chapter 4: Superstition or struggle?

The workers against Stalinism

The search for the original sin of Bolshevism has exercised tired and demoralised socialists for at least 50 years. Like characters in an ancient Greek drama, they seek the explanation for the Stalinist plague in some violated taboo.

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Chapter 3: The scarecrow of Stalinism

Chapter 3: The scarecrow of Stalinism

Can the tiger be skinned claw by claw?

In part 2 of his written oration on parliamentary democracy and those whom he denounces as its enemies (Observer, January 17 1982), Michael Foot attempts to answer the challenge he had posed to himself in part one.

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Amendments on imperialism and on Stalinism (English)

Amendments on imperialism and on Stalinism, from Paul Hampton

2. Imperialism

During the nineteenth century the capitalist mode of production spread across the globe. British capitalists and their state promoted capitalist relations through trade and military rivalry with other European powers, through the establishment of formal colonial rule over territories and by informal control over politically independent states such as Argentina.

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The Weekly Worker Group's (CPGB)Turkish Mentors

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Sean Matgamna

It will be helpful first to outline the general ideas that formed the basis of the peculiar variant of Stalinism propounded by the group which today calls itself the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and publishes the Weekly Worker.

The group was originally called The Leninist. All its distinctive ideas on Stalinism were picked up from a faction of the Communist Party of Turkey, Workers' Voice, which separated from the Moscow-recognised party at the beginning of the 1980s. Its views were put out in English-language pamphlets and an English-language monthly, "Turkey Today".

The ideas of the Turkish Stalinist "Workers Voice" organisation, mentor of the early Weekly Worker Group ("CPGB")

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Under the sign of the oxymoron

The Weekly Worker group/Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) originated as a small, still ultra-Stalinist, offshoot from the New Communist Party (NCP), which was a stone-age Stalinist breakaway from the real CPGB in 1977.

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Negri, democracy and the legacy of Stalinism

By Alan Johnson

Hardt and Negri's best-selling book, Empire (and Negri's Insurgencies) are systematically hostile to democratic politics and to democratic authority, both in the capitalist present and the post-Empire future. They are typical of a far left that, though not Stalinist, still lacks a certain structure of feeling and response concerning liberty and democracy that the Stalinist experience should have given it.

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CPGB/WW: Never Stalinist?

Before responding at any length, best wait until Mark Fischer gets further in his promised series of articles. By then WW readers should have an idea of his substantive arguments, and, with luck, sight of the "substantial piece" by Sean Matgamna which he is "centrally" responding to, Sean's "Critical Notes" , rather than just quotations filleted so as to "prove" that the AWL misrepresents CPGB/WW politics.
One point, however, cries out for immediate comment: Stalinism.

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New AWL study course starts 9 May

The AWL in London will start a new study course on Thursday 9 May: "Understanding the history of the 20th century in order to make the history of the 21st - A Marxist study course on the rise and the nature of Stalinism". Each session will be run three times - on Thursday evening, and on the following Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening - and you can attend at any one of the three times each week, so as few people as possible miss sessions.

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Review: 'The Road to Terror' and 'Russia’s Stillborn Democracy? From Gorbachev to Yeltsin'

Marx noted in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte that the bourgeois crisis of mid-nineteenth-century France was resolved in the cry: “Rather an end with terror than terror without end.” Stalinism was an end with terror, as a new book of light commentary and heavy reproduction of documents confirms.

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The Johnson-Forest tendency

Footnote to Cliff's state capitalism in perspective, in Workers' Liberty 56, June 1999.

Not all the Workers' Party were bureaucratic collectivists.

A sizeable minority were state capitalists, convinced by the arguments of C L R James and Raya Dunayevskaya (who began by logically saying Russia was just a fascist state and in 1947 rejoined the SWP-USA, which was pledged to support and defend the "fascist state capitalism"!)

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Stalin's Russia: Capitalism without capitalists?

“When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean”
Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

History is full of hybrid and exceptional formations which cannot be slotted tidily into one category or another” writes Martin Thomas in Workers’ Liberty 43. I heartily agree. Why then does Martin devote so much energy to attempting to do just what he cautions against — slotting the hybrid, exceptional, formation that was Stalin’s USSR into a tidy category of “State Capitalism”?

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Was Stalinism a "third road"?

Your analysis of “the political significance of the debate on the nature of Yeltsin’s Russia and of the USSR” leads us to pose a number of questions.

In the introductory paragraph, you say that “the basic question is not that of a theoretical label for the Stalinist state. It is the question of where we stand in history, the question of knowing where we are in the historical processes of development of the working class and of capitalism”. If we understand correctly, theoretical analysis is useful in your eyes only if it allows us to situate ourselves in the struggles we have to wage. If that is what you mean, it seems correct to us. But what you do mean by “Stalinist state”? All the states ruled by a Stalinist bureaucracy are certainly Stalinist states, but what social reality is there behind them? Is it the same in China, in Cambodia, in Eastern Europe, and in the USSR?

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How should Che Guevara be commemorated?

In Workers’ Liberty 42 , Helen Rate rightly criticises the Socialist Workers’ Party’s opportunistic attitude towards Che Guevara. The thirtieth anniversary of his murder, this October, prompted much discussion of his legacy, both on the left and in the bourgeois press. Although I agree with Helen’s overall assessment of Guevara, I think that certain issues about his life and politics need to be drawn out more sharply than an article which focuses on the SWP is able to do. Recent biographies of “El Che,” particularly one by John Lee Anderson, have shed new light on his place in history and allow us to make a more balanced assessment.

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