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Can Leninism ever truly become Communist?

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Soviet cogitations: 78
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 04:03
This is a question I have been asking for some time now in my own head. It seems to me that what happened in both the USSR and China (and other countries) is that "the vanguard Party of the Proletariat" got into power with the most excellent of intentions. However, said Party was run by those pesky things known as human beings. And those humans that had power found that they liked it. And so, they soon became an exploiting class!

So, where does Marxism-Leninism go from here? Can there ever be a form that doesn't result in gross exploitation? I mean, seriously. I am a Communist, a member of the CPUSA. I think the ideals are great. But how do we put them into practice without destroying the very ideals we have come to champion? Any ideas? I would love some input, as this has bothered me for years.
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 16 Nov 2014, 13:27
You are correct in your critique of Leninism, in my opinion. My solution is that the party's only goal should be to establish the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the rule of the working class. After this there is no reason that the party should still exist. Therefore the party should make the abolition of itself one of the key aspects of the revolution. As soon as the revolution and the rule of the working class has been established (i.e. the workers' state has been put in place - but not under the rule of the party), abolish the party.
Soviet cogitations: 78
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 14:10
Hello, RedBritain. That is an interesting idea. Of course, the next question then becomes, when the Worker's State is in place, and the Party is abolished, if in fact the workers are NOT yet able to rule, then what? I can see Lenin's point, that the Russian masses weren't yet ready to rule themselves, but of course, we see what happened to the Party under Stalin, as I pointed out... So, i don't know quite how to deal with it myself, but there you are.
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Soviet cogitations: 208
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 16:54
gRed Britain wrote:
You are correct in your critique of Leninism, in my opinion. My solution is that the party's only goal should be to establish the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the rule of the working class. After this there is no reason that the party should still exist. Therefore the party should make the abolition of itself one of the key aspects of the revolution. As soon as the revolution and the rule of the working class has been established (i.e. the workers' state has been put in place - but not under the rule of the party), abolish the party.


Why do you not think about the "Great Purge" as a kind of "abolishing the Party"? Later on, they even removed the post of General Secretary.
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
Let's work hard and do valorous deed!
Soviet cogitations: 78
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 17:22
I'm not exactly sure he meant to suggest that the Party should be abolished by killing everybody who got in the way of the guy at the top! I have mixed views of Stalin, but come on now...
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 16 Nov 2014, 18:13
Quote:
Hello, RedBritain. That is an interesting idea. Of course, the next question then becomes, when the Worker's State is in place, and the Party is abolished, if in fact the workers are NOT yet able to rule, then what? I can see Lenin's point, that the Russian masses weren't yet ready to rule themselves, but of course, we see what happened to the Party under Stalin, as I pointed out... So, i don't know quite how to deal with it myself, but there you are.


If Lenin had been an orthodox Marxist he would have seen that Russia needed a bourgeois revolution, not a proletarian one. The reason why the Russian workers were not able to rule themselves is because Russia had not yet developed capitalism to a sufficient level. If we look at capitalism in developed countries we see that the workers are much better educated and have more free time and opportunity to study etc. Therefore they are much better prepared to be the ruling class than the vast mass of uneducated peasants in Russia in 1917 were. This is one of the reasons why the Soviet Union was fundamentally flawed from the start; the ruling class was never allowed to rule because the party wouldn't let them.

Quote:
Why do you not think about the "Great Purge" as a kind of "abolishing the Party"? Later on, they even removed the post of General Secretary.


I've heard this argument being offered by Marxist-Leninists as a way of excusing the purges. The trouble is, if we take it as true, it completely discredits Leninism. The idea that Stalin orchestrated the purges in order to wrest control of the Soviet state from the CPSU implies that it was the Leninist vanguard party system which was responsible for the party being in that position (i.e. control over the state) in the first place. And since Marxist-Leninists claim that Stalin was an orthodox Leninist, this ends up being a very confusing analysis (Stalin using Leninism to correct Leninism which was fundamentally flawed
).
Soviet cogitations: 78
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 16 Nov 2014, 18:27
Quote:
Why do you not think about the "Great Purge" as a kind of "abolishing the Party"? Later on, they even removed the post of General Secretary.


Quote:
I've heard this argument being offered by Marxist-Leninists as a way of excusing the purges. The trouble is, if we take it as true, it completely discredits Leninism. The idea that Stalin orchestrated the purges in order to wrest control of the Soviet state from the CPSU implies that it was the Leninist vanguard party system which was responsible for the party being in that position (i.e. control over the state) in the first place. And since Marxist-Leninists claim that Stalin was an orthodox Leninist, this ends up being a very confusing analysis (Stalin using Leninism to correct Leninism which was fundamentally flawed
).


I am inclined to agree with this analysis. If one is a Leninist, one can hardly use Leninism to CORRECT Leninism. That defeats the whole purpose of Leninism! It makes very little sense to claim that one believes an ideology when one is going to then correct said belief with said belief. A thing that negates itself is no longer itself. It is nothing. 3-3 is not 3. It is 0. Marxism-Leninism corrected by Leninism is Marxism alone. Leninism no long exists at that point. It has been "nothinged" out, if you will.
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Soviet cogitations: 208
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 17 Nov 2014, 09:58
gRed Britain wrote:
I've heard this argument being offered by Marxist-Leninists as a way of excusing the purges. The trouble is, if we take it as true, it completely discredits Leninism. The idea that Stalin orchestrated the purges in order to wrest control of the Soviet state from the CPSU implies that it was the Leninist vanguard party system which was responsible for the party being in that position (i.e. control over the state) in the first place. And since Marxist-Leninists claim that Stalin was an orthodox Leninist, this ends up being a very confusing analysis (Stalin using Leninism to correct Leninism which was fundamentally flawed ).


Pardon me, but if that is Leninism, then I am not a Leninist...

State and the Party is just a tool for our cause (achiving Socialist society). What make Communism (Marxist Socialism) different from other kind of Socialism is Class Struggle and Diatatorship of the Proletariat. But you must not forget that Class Struggle and Diatatorship of the Proletariat (State and the Party) are the relics of the past... What we want is a society that devoid of those things.

And this is the fault of Soviet Communists in the 1930s to 1990s. They were dizzied in success... They want to maintain the State and the Party, mistaking it for real Socialism. Stalin and some people can see the truth that the Party and the State is unwanted neccessity, but most didn't (Khrushchev and Brezhenev). I can compare it to an evil sword that can corrupt its user.

That why I support the Great Purge, it cleansed the evil from the sword, even that made the sword weaker... Because when the war is finished, we will discard that sword.

gRed Britain wrote:
If Lenin had been an orthodox Marxist he would have seen that Russia needed a bourgeois revolution, not a proletarian one. The reason why the Russian workers were not able to rule themselves is because Russia had not yet developed capitalism to a sufficient level. If we look at capitalism in developed countries we see that the workers are much better educated and have more free time and opportunity to study etc. Therefore they are much better prepared to be the ruling class than the vast mass of uneducated peasants in Russia in 1917 were. This is one of the reasons why the Soviet Union was fundamentally flawed from the start; the ruling class was never allowed to rule because the party wouldn't let them.


Excuse me, but I will not respect Lenin if he was an "orthodox Marxist" like you said. If he didn't stand in the side of the Proletariat, I wouldn't call him a Communist. And beside, the Soviet Union was fundamentally flawed from the start, the real reason Soviet Union was collasped is that we losed the World War II, that's all. History is cruel, it only has winner and loser, and we are the losing side (temporary).
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
Let's work hard and do valorous deed!
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 17 Nov 2014, 20:05
Quote:
State and the Party is just a tool for our cause (achiving Socialist society). What make Communism (Marxist Socialism) different from other kind of Socialism is Class Struggle and Diatatorship of the Proletariat. But you must not forget that Class Struggle and Diatatorship of the Proletariat (State and the Party) are the relics of the past... What we want is a society that devoid of those things.


Yes

Quote:
And this is the fault of Soviet Communists in the 1930s to 1990s. They were dizzied in success... They want to maintain the State and the Party, mistaking it for real Socialism. Stalin and some people can see the truth that the Party and the State is unwanted neccessity, but most didn't (Khrushchev and Brezhenev). I can compare it to an evil sword that can corrupt its user.


Well your argument rests on whether the Soviet state was still needed in 1937, only 20 years after the revolution and with the USSR still very much an undeveloped country both economically and socially. Leninist theory clearly implies the need for a strong state and with the party to retain a strong position within that state after the revolution. With Russia being so backward in 1917, it was clear that Russia would need a long period of development in order to catch up with the developed capitalist countries. Do you think Lenin thought the USSR could do that without a state in 20 years?

Secondly, Stalin still retained the state during his rule. He purged millions of people but kept the state institutions they worked in intact. Just because Yezhov was purged doesn't mean the NKVD was abolished, far from it. Also, look at how the economy remained in state hands. Party authorised five year plans were implemented with the new industry being controlled by the state. Agricultural collectivisation saw grain seized by the state. Stalin's cult of personality saw huge amounts of propaganda created and distributed by the state.

Quote:
That why I support the Great Purge, it cleansed the evil from the sword, even that made the sword weaker... Because when the war is finished, we will discard that sword.


How can you support the purge? Apart from the fact that a great many people caught up in it were innocent people who actually contributed a lot to Soviet society, it clearly failed in the long term as you ultimately admit as you blame Khruschev and Brezhnev for their retention of the state after Stalin's death. If the purge had truly done as you said it did, Khruschev would never have become the Soviet leader.

Quote:
Excuse me, but I will not respect Lenin if he was an "orthodox Marxist" like you said. If he didn't stand in the side of the Proletariat, I wouldn't call him a Communist.


It is foolish to think that any society is prepared to build communism at any point in time. Russia in 1917 was not ready and the reality on the ground ultimately came to reflect that. Lenin's vision tried to force it on Russia hoping it would trigger revolutions in western Europe (where Marx predicted it would first break out). When this failed to happen, Lenin actually began instigating bourgeois-type reforms (the NEP) to develop Russia (essentially carrying out the bourgeois revolution) until Stalin came in and begun to force socialism onto a people who were not economically or socially prepared for it, and whom Stalin didn't trust to rule themselves anyway.

Quote:
And beside, the Soviet Union was fundamentally flawed from the start, the real reason Soviet Union was collasped is that we losed the World War II, that's all. History is cruel, it only has winner and loser, and we are the losing side (temporary).


The Soviet Union collapsed because they lost WWII? Where to start on that one...
Soviet cogitations: 78
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2014, 02:42
Pioneer
Post 18 Nov 2014, 00:15
But here comes the NEXT question. The only form of Communism that has ever really been tried IS Marxism-Leninism. Of course, you can add things, like Maoism, or Titoism, or Maoism-Hoxhaism, but you can't take away Marx or Lenin, or you end up with something the world has not seen before. So if we establish that Leninism is unworkable (at least without major modification), where do we go from here? Because Lenin had a point. Russia was at a point in history when the Proletariat was NOT ready to rule itself.

But if the end result will be the dictatorship of the Party,one might as well live under the Tsars. Dictatorship is as it does. No one form is better than another. Being told that you will do X or you will be shot is nobody's idea of "a worker's paradise", I'm afraid, I don't care if its led by a Communist Party, a fascist party, or for that matter, a standard bourgeois party that you might find in the USA.

So, how do we resolve this little situation? I'm more of a Marxist myself, rather than a Leninist. Although the CPUSA, of which I am a member, is indeed Marxist-Leninist, I try to be polite to the various modes of thought, and hope that people holding them will do the same.

I have to run at the moment. Do take care til next time.
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Soviet cogitations: 208
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 18 Nov 2014, 10:51
You have the misconception that Stalin alone rule the USSR. Stalin and his comrades were a faction in the Party, nothing more, nothing less.

gRed Britain wrote:
Leninist theory clearly implies the need for a strong state and with the party to retain a strong position within that state after the revolution.


You misunderstand Leninism, the State is only a tool. How strong it should be, will depend on how strong our enemy is and how grave the situation is. Even Engels had said that in "On Authority". In Ancient Roman Republic, when the tribe was in war, the Senate let a Dictator (the decider) had highest authority. In peacetime, of course the power will return to the Senate. We need a heavily bureaucratic, rifing with old Tsarist officials in 1920s, but in 1930s, they need to be removed. They even conspired with the capitalists outside USSR. There are many purges before Great Purge, but only the Great Purge decimated the old forces.

gRed Britain wrote:
Secondly, Stalin still retained the state during his rule. He purged millions of people but kept the state institutions they worked in intact. Just because Yezhov was purged doesn't mean the NKVD was abolished, far from it. Also, look at how the economy remained in state hands. Party authorised five year plans were implemented with the new industry being controlled by the state. Agricultural collectivisation saw grain seized by the state. Stalin's cult of personality saw huge amounts of propaganda created and distributed by the state.


Of course we still needed the State because the capitalist world still existed. But the State had been weaken considerably. The Army had been purged. Even NKVD was purged. That is the reason our Army was so weak during 1941. But neccessary, because if not, the Army and NKVD would do a coup d'état before Nazi invaded us.

The Economy Management aspect of the State is not the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It is the Public Property that Karl Marx had envisaged. We need to develop it further, not hinder it.

gRed Britain wrote:
Apart from the fact that a great many people caught up in it were innocent people who actually contributed a lot to Soviet society


The Revolution need many sacrificing, even the innocents. It was a war, and we cannot go back. Many innocents was dead, but do you know the reason? It is because the enemies were inside our State and Party. And you said we didn't need a purge?

gRed Britain wrote:
it clearly failed in the long term as you ultimately admit as you blame Khruschev and Brezhnev for their retention of the state after Stalin's death. If the purge had truly done as you said it did, Khruschev would never have become the Soviet leader.


Just like Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev were only the representives of a faction. They are the new-socialist-statemans (Nomenklatura) who had risen during the World War II, when we need to reinforce the State again in order to defeat the Nazi. They were not anti-communist like the old generation (1920s-1930s), but they didn't want to continue the Revolution. Not to mention that US Hegemony kinda justified their choices. The market socialists people also supported them, because they same opponents in the Party.

gRed Britain wrote:
It is foolish to think that any society is prepared to build communism at any point in time. Russia in 1917 was not ready and the reality on the ground ultimately came to reflect that. Lenin's vision tried to force it on Russia hoping it would trigger revolutions in western Europe (where Marx predicted it would first break out). When this failed to happen, Lenin actually began instigating bourgeois-type reforms (the NEP) to develop Russia (essentially carrying out the bourgeois revolution) until Stalin came in and begun to force socialism onto a people who were not economically or socially prepared for it, and whom Stalin didn't trust to rule themselves anyway.


It is only foolish to you, who didn't benefit from Socialism, but not me. And Stalin didn't force Socialism into people, read his "Dizzy from Success". And if Stalin had forced Socialism like Che, he would lose his life pretty quickly.

gRed Britain wrote:
The Soviet Union collapsed because they lost WWII? Where to start on that one...


Soviet Union won the World War II, but the Communists lost. A terrific defeat. We even had to compromise with the capitalists in order to exist.
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
Let's work hard and do valorous deed!
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 18 Nov 2014, 11:35
gRed Britain wrote:
Leninist theory clearly implies the need for a strong state and with the party to retain a strong position within that state after the revolution.


Insult removed

In The State and Revolution, Lenin wrote:
The proletariat needs the state — this is repeated by all the opportunists, social-chauvinists and Kautskyites, who assure us that this is what Marx taught. But they “forget” to add that, in the first place, according to Marx, the proletariat needs only a state which is withering away, i.e., a state so constituted that it begins to wither away immediately, and cannot but wither away.


Besides, y'all would do well to reflect on the fact that Leninist theory at no point, ever, envisages a one party system. The one party dictatorship was a consequence of the civil war. Before October, the Bolsheviks consistently called on the reformist leaders of the Soviets to take power, so that the ideological struggle between the parties could be carried out - peacefully, democratically - in the Soviets after the establishment of Soviet power. This is still what genuine Leninists want to see in the future.

Of course there will be parties in the Soviets - you cannot have a system of democratically elected representatives without them combining into some kind of factions. That is not a bad thing. It is a bad thing to have a one party dictatorship, but I'm confused as to why "no party" would be better than many parties.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 19 Nov 2014, 21:37
Yaakov001 wrote:
So if we establish that Leninism is unworkable (at least without major modification), where do we go from here?


Something other than Leninism? Revert to classical Marxism? Since the Marxist-Leninist states ultimately all collapsed, perhaps it's best that we avoid Leninism in the future?

Yaakov001 wrote:
Because Lenin had a point. Russia was at a point in history when the Proletariat was NOT ready to rule itself.


Exactly, so why would anyone want a proletarian revolution under these conditions?

Engelsist wrote:
You have the misconception that Stalin alone rule the USSR. Stalin and his comrades were a faction in the Party, nothing more, nothing less.


Stalin had the final word and authority. Why would there be such a vast cult of personality around Stalin and Stalin alone if there were other people in the USSR who had similar levels of authority? Where was Molotov or Beria's cult of personalty?

Engelsist wrote:
You misunderstand Leninism, the State is only a tool. How strong it should be, will depend on how strong our enemy is and how grave the situation is. Even Engels had said that in "On Authority". In Ancient Roman Republic, when the tribe was in war, the Senate let a Dictator (the decider) had highest authority. In peacetime, of course the power will return to the Senate. We need a heavily bureaucratic, rifing with old Tsarist officials in 1920s, but in 1930s, they need to be removed. They even conspired with the capitalists outside USSR. There are many purges before Great Purge, but only the Great Purge decimated the old forces.


Old Tsarist officials? Most of Lenin's original politburo was purged! Many of these were senior communists who had openly campaigned against tsarism and had fought for the revolution! Was Bukharin a tsarist official? Was Trotsky?

And if the purge was so successful as you claim, how come Khruschev was able to come to power so quickly after Stalin? Surely he should have been killed in the purge?

Engelsist wrote:
Of course we still needed the State because the capitalist world still existed. But the State had been weaken considerably. The Army had been purged. Even NKVD was purged. That is the reason our Army was so weak during 1941. But neccessary, because if not, the Army and NKVD would do a coup d'état before Nazi invaded us.


This makes no logical sense. If the entire Soviet army and NKVD had had the power to launch a coup prior to the Nazi invasion, don't you think they would have just overthrown Stalin and his "faction"? Why would they simply sit around and allow themselves to be purged? If Stalin was just one faction within the CPSU, getting rid of him using the combined forces of the entire NKVD and Soviet army would have been easy.

The answer is because Stalin wasn't purging the state, just individuals within the state. Yezhov was purged; the position of Head of the NKVD was not.

Engelsist wrote:
The Economy Management aspect of the State is not the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It is the Public Property that Karl Marx had envisaged.


Do you have an exact quote from Marx about that?

Engelsist wrote:
The Revolution need many sacrificing, even the innocents. It was a war, and we cannot go back. Many innocents was dead, but do you know the reason? It is because the enemies were inside our State and Party. And you said we didn't need a purge?


Why were there enemies inside the state and party? If they had actually put the state in the hands of the people then they would have been able to genuinely elect who they wanted, rather than allow the party to appoint whoever it wanted regardless of the people's wishes. Careerists appeared in the party because the entire state-party structure encouraged careerism!

Engelsist wrote:
It is only foolish to you, who didn't benefit from Socialism, but not me.


It's foolish according to orthodox Marxist theory.

Engelsist wrote:
And Stalin didn't force Socialism into people, read his "Dizzy from Success".


I think being told to join a collective farm or else have all your grain rations withdrawn and the threat of imprisonment or worse counts as force.

Mabool wrote:
Besides, y'all would do well to reflect on the fact that Leninist theory at no point, ever, envisages a one party system. The one party dictatorship was a consequence of the civil war.


The one party dictatorship was instigated by Lenin when the Bolsheviks seized power. Although Lenin explicitly doesn't talk about a one party system, his theory nonetheless incorporates a strong state and the concept of the vanguard party. The fact that this vanguard party deliberately claimed a monopoly over this state while excluding all other leftist parties (e.g. Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries) means that the Bolsheviks created and maintained a defacto one party state almost from day one. At no point did Lenin actually allow the Russian workers and peasants to decide these things for themselves. The Constituent Assembly elections in 1917 gave clear victory to the Socialist Revolutionaries, but this, the only indicator of popular will at the time, was dissolved.

The problem lies in the vanguard party theory, which is incompatible with democracy. How can you proclaim a party to eternally be the vanguard party while still allowing it to be subject to the whims of a genuine democratic process? In other words, if the vanguard party were to be voted out of office by the soviets, how could it still claim to call itself the vanguard party? The Bolsheviks realised this threat and so made sure the vanguard party could never be held accountable to the will of the soviets.

Mabool wrote:
Of course there will be parties in the Soviets - you cannot have a system of democratically elected representatives without them combining into some kind of factions. That is not a bad thing. It is a bad thing to have a one party dictatorship, but I'm confused as to why "no party" would be better than many parties.


I have no problem with there being parties - i.e. groups within democratic state institutions who unify according to particular ideas and principles - after the revolution, but I distrust the idea of the communist party having a dominant role. After all, what is the point of a communist party in today's capitalist world? To organise the overthrow capitalism, the destruction of the old state and the the implementation of the new workers' state. Once that is done, what is the role of the communist party? In all previous examples the communist party (with theoretical justification from Lenin's vanguard party idea) sees itself as having a right to dominance over the state and society after the revolution. After all, the vanguard party must have dominance over the state by default, right?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 20 Nov 2014, 09:44
In your mind, things like absolute power existed, but in history, even the greatest king cannot go against the system. You only said Stalin do this, Stalin do that, but cannot see there were bloody battles fought behind the curtain.

You talk about Bukharin, Trotsky,... were old Bolsheviks. Did being old Bolsheviks mean that they were more right than new Communists? I do not care about old Bolsheviks or not, what I care about is what they were doing in that time.

You talking about purging the people, not the state, but can you imagine a state without people? A state is only strong with talented people, getting rid of people is making the state weaken.

You blame the cult of personality, but can you imagine the love of people have for Stalin? The people aren't Communists like us, they do not understand that Communism is the reason of their happiness. They attributed the reason to Stalin. Come from a Soviet bloc country, I can understand why they love their leaders so much. Can you imagine the joy and happiness of the people when just a few decades before, they had had to live like slaves, but then they lived the lives of dignity? But do not mistake that Communists believed in that cult of personality, it was only a tool.

You think that the Army and NVKD could not do a coup. Yes, if they were alone, but the chess game had two players. The Revolution is the war between Communism and Capitalism.

About Public Property, do I need to quote Marx? If Private Property is abolished, it will be natural that we need an Organization to manage and control production. Naturally, the State will do this job. But this job is not the essence of the State. Its essence was to repress, not to manage.

Please quote about forced collectivization in Party's documents. The Party only talked about the liquidation of kulaks as a class. Forced collectivization is the consequence of bureaucratic State. And the Party had corrected it.

The Party isn't elected by the people, right. It is not democratic, right. But we can only have the luxury of democracy when the situation allow it. Being undemocratic don't mean that the Party cannot represent the Proletariat, just like being a King don't mean that you cannot represent the Landlords.

P.S: Foolish according to theory, but where is the theory come from?
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
Let's work hard and do valorous deed!
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 20 Nov 2014, 18:22
gRed Britain wrote:
The one party dictatorship was instigated by Lenin when the Bolsheviks seized power. Although Lenin explicitly doesn't talk about a one party system, his theory nonetheless incorporates a strong state


How can you say that in the light of the quote I gave in my previous post? Is it not obvious that, in the light of State and Revolution, the Soviet project went terribly wrong and not at all according to plan?

Quote:
and the concept of the vanguard party. The fact that this vanguard party deliberately claimed a monopoly over this state while excluding all other leftist parties (e.g. Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries) means that the Bolsheviks created and maintained a defacto one party state almost from day one. At no point did Lenin actually allow the Russian workers and peasants to decide these things for themselves. The Constituent Assembly elections in 1917 gave clear victory to the Socialist Revolutionaries, but this, the only indicator of popular will at the time, was dissolved.


Why was the Constituent Assembly dissolved? Because the Soviets took power. As soon as there is Soviet power, any constituent Assembly becomes superfluous. The Congress of Soviets - an infinitely more reliable indicator of "popular will" (which is irrelevant anyway because the only majority that needs to be convinced is the majority of workers) - democratically voted to assume state power as soon as the Bolsheviks had gained a democratic majority. This was the entire revolution. Everything that happened afterwards was forced on the Soviet government by the forces of reaction.

Quote:
The problem lies in the vanguard party theory, which is incompatible with democracy.


No! But yes, I think this is the main point. You claim that the "vanguard party theory" as a concept is to blame for Stalinism. I would blame the concrete conditions of Russia instead. (Of course, this separation only works to a degree. Bolshevism is of course a product of Russian conditions.)

Quote:
How can you proclaim a party to eternally be the vanguard party while still allowing it to be subject to the whims of a genuine democratic process?


In the Trotskyist tradition, we define "vanguard" as that part of the working class which actually stands at the forefront of class struggle (and of course I believe that this is how Lenin intended the term to be interpreted). That means, you can't just proclaim yourself to be the vanguard. Either you lead the struggle or you don't. At the moment, the vanguard of the working class consists of the most courageous shop stewards, radical left politicians like Chavez, workers who lead wildcat strikes, etc. The purpose of the "vanguard party" (a term that, I believe, has never been used by genuine Leninists much. It's mostly a product of Stalinist falsification and Western propaganda) is to organize this vanguard into a centralized (meaning, effective) organization, so as to enable it to fulfill its historical mission and achieve decisive victory in class struggle.

That means that a "vanguard party" is only a "vanguard party" so long as it really leads the struggle. For example, under the leadership of the Militant tendency, Liverpool Labour was, objectively, the vanguard party of the Liverpool workers. After the destruction of Militant, Liverpool Labour ceased to play that role. Up to the mid-thirties, the CPSU was the vanguard party of Russian workers. After it was drowned in blood by Stalin, it ceased to play that role. Due to the massive radicalization into the SSP that has taken place in Scotland due to the independence referendum, the SSP is moving towards becoming a vanguard party for Scottish workers, but it could deviate from that path at any time.

On the other hand, it's also possible for two vanguard parties to coexist, for example in Greece you have SYRIZA and KKE, in Spain you have PODEMOS and IU.

So I would argue that any talk of "eternal vanguard parties" is alien to the very concept of the vanguard. The vanguard party is where the vanguard is, and that is an objective factor. The Marxists must try to rally the vanguard around themselves, but of course they can fail. In fact, they've mostly been failing at doing that ever since Stalinism destroyed the Comintern.

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In other words, if the vanguard party were to be voted out of office by the soviets, how could it still claim to call itself the vanguard party?


It couldn't! If the party loses the support of the masses, it deserves no better.

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The Bolsheviks realised this threat and so made sure the vanguard party could never be held accountable to the will of the soviets.


It's true that (some) Soviet elections were manipulated as early as 1919. That was wrong. It shouldn't happen. I would claim it was an act of desperation in a vicious civil war, and an early foreshadowing of the degeneration that would later happen under Stalin - ultimately a product of Russian backwardness and the isolation of the revolution. Another important event in degeneration was the Ban on Factions in 1921.

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I have no problem with there being parties - i.e. groups within democratic state institutions who unify according to particular ideas and principles - after the revolution, but I distrust the idea of the communist party having a dominant role. After all, what is the point of a communist party in today's capitalist world? To organise the overthrow capitalism, the destruction of the old state and the the implementation of the new workers' state. Once that is done, what is the role of the communist party?


The real work only begins after the workers' state is implemented. Then, society is faced with the alternative of either moving on towards socialism, or falling back into capitalism. The workers' state is a transitional period between two irreconcilable socio-economic formations, capitalism and communism, and as such, it is unstable on the long run. When a workers' state degenerates, or when it comes into being as a deformed workers' state from the outset, sooner or later you will end up in capitalism again. And this means there is a real need for Marxists to do politics in a workers' state in order to fight against tendencies of degeneration and guide society towards socialism. Only when society has safely arrived in the first phase of communist society does the need for politics disappear, and "rule over persons" will be replaced by the "administration of things". As long as "rule over persons" is a necessity, it had better be done by Marxists.

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In all previous examples the communist party (with theoretical justification from Lenin's vanguard party idea) sees itself as having a right to dominance over the state and society after the revolution.


I would say that this constituted a gross misrepresentation of Lenin's ideas. First, all previous examples were consciously modeled on the degenerated Soviet Union. All the bad things and failures of the USSR (like the one party system and the Ban on Factions) were claimed to be good things. This corresponded to the interests of the bureaucratic cliques at the top of those states.

However it must be said that the justification was more complex in reality. For example, most Eastern European states had actual free elections after the war, which were won by the communists. They based their dominance on this popular mandate (of course it's ridiculous to claim to have been given a right to rule for 40 years just because of one single election, but it's not quite as crude as "Lenin said so").

But no, I wouldn't say that the post-30's CPSU or SED had a "divine right" to dominance over their respective states. In fact I would say that the East German protesters' demand for free elections was extremely progressive, because of course, if a party is not subject to constant criticism and actual pressure from the masses, it will definitely degenerate. It's insane to expect a party to do its job right if it can never lose its power.

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After all, the vanguard party must have dominance over the state by default, right?


Well no. The post 30's USSR was a workers' state that was not led by a vanguard party. It didn't even have a vanguard party (because the vanguard was locked up in GULAG). The Marxist party (or parties - I would much prefer to see a workers' state with several Marxist parties, so that the failure of one of them won't mean a general failure of Marxism, which would be disastrous. As I said, several vanguard parties can coexist and this might be a very good thing actually) of a workers' state must constantly, relentlessly struggle for mass support in the Soviets, factory committees, and trade unions. Such a struggle can only happen if there is an opposition. If the opposition (which could be anything from anarchists to "market socialists" - I doubt that openly bourgeois parties would have any success in a workers' state if it's not as irredeemably deformed as the Eastern European ones. However the bourgeoisie would probably have agents in all the opposition parties) wins an election, the Marxists should concede this and struggle even harder to win the next election.

This is the real meaning of the "aggravation of class struggle" in the workers' state, not what that dickhead Stalin said. Or rather, the aggravated class struggle in the USSR had to be carried out by such inhumane, brutal, uncivilized methods because the political sphere of struggle was completely blocked by the Soviet state's terrible bureaucratic deformations. This is the lesson we should be drawing.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 20 Nov 2014, 21:47
Engelsist wrote:
In your mind, things like absolute power existed, but in history, even the greatest king cannot go against the system. You only said Stalin do this, Stalin do that, but cannot see there were bloody battles fought behind the curtain.


If Stalin wasn't the only one in power then how come he was the only one to have a cult of personality?

Engelsist wrote:
You talk about Bukharin, Trotsky,... were old Bolsheviks. Did being old Bolsheviks mean that they were more right than new Communists? I do not care about old Bolsheviks or not, what I care about is what they were doing in that time.


You said the purges were about getting rid of old tsarist officials. Bukharin and Trotsky (and many others) were never tsarist officials. As to the significance of the Old Bolsheviks, many of them had joined the party well before the revolution (often at a young age) and had spent time in exile in Siberia and in tsarist prisons. After all this work for communism, why would they suddenly decide to throw it all away and try and restore capitalism once the Bolsheviks came to power? It makes no sense.

Engelsist wrote:
You talking about purging the people, not the state, but can you imagine a state without people? A state is only strong with talented people, getting rid of people is making the state weaken.


The state was not purged of its institutions. If it had been, things like the NKVD would have been abolished completely. People in the state were purged only to be replaced by other people. Therefore people were purged, not the state. And a state filled with incompetent people is merely an incompetent state. What would be the point of it? You either have a state or you don't, and if you're going to have a state, you make sure it is filled with competent people. Marx's idea of the withering away of the state does not involve staffing it with increasingly incompetent people


Engelsist wrote:
You blame the cult of personality, but can you imagine the love of people have for Stalin? The people aren't Communists like us, they do not understand that Communism is the reason of their happiness. They attributed the reason to Stalin.


I thought you said Stalin didn't have full authority? Therefore why should they only love Stalin and not the other people who presumably had authority? You talk about the Russian people (who overthrew the old order!) as if they were idiots. And you also acknowledge that many innocent people were purged. Why the hell would they and their families and friends love Stalin? Finally, the cult of personality was not a spontaneous product of the people, it was created and propagated by the state (which was controlled by the party).

Engelsist wrote:
Please quote about forced collectivization in Party's documents. The Party only talked about the liquidation of kulaks as a class. Forced collectivization is the consequence of bureaucratic State. And the Party had corrected it.


Funnily enough, I don't have access to the Soviet archives. Still, you acknowledge that forced collectivisation did occur and blame it on a bureaucratic state. Don't you understand that if you purge one set of bureaucrats and replace them with another, the state is still bureaucratic?

Engelsist wrote:
The Party isn't elected by the people, right. It is not democratic, right. But we can only have the luxury of democracy when the situation allow it. Being undemocratic don't mean that the Party cannot represent the Proletariat, just like being a King don't mean that you cannot represent the Landlords.


The king took advice from landlords; Stalin purged loyal old friends like Bukharin. The USSR was never democratic from the start because the party never trusted the people to be able to lead themselves.

Engelsist wrote:
P.S: Foolish according to theory, but where is the theory come from?


Can't find the exact quote now but here is a similar one from the German Ideology:
(1) In the development of productive forces there comes a stage when productive forces and means of intercourse are brought into being, which, under the existing relationships, only cause mischief, and are no longer productive but destructive forces (machinery and money); and connected with this a class is called forth, which has to bear all the burdens of society without enjoying its advantages, which, ousted from society, is forced into the most decided antagonism to all other classes; a class which forms the majority of all members of society, and from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness, which may, of course, arise among the other classes too through the contemplation of the situation of this class.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... .htm#d1%29

The Russian proletariat did not form the majority of all members of Russian society in 1917. A majority proletarian population is only achieved by the development of the capitalist mode of production in that society. Therefore Russia had not undergone sufficient capitalist development in 1917 in order to launch a successful proletarian revolution.


Mabool wrote:
How can you say that in the light of the quote I gave in my previous post? Is it not obvious that, in the light of State and Revolution, the Soviet project went terribly wrong and not at all according to plan?


I think we can both agree the Soviet project went wrong, we just differ on when and why. You seem to think it went wrong after Lenin, and while I do acknowledge Stalin had a big part to play in this, I also think the seeds of its failure were already partially in place in 1917.

Mabool wrote:
Why was the Constituent Assembly dissolved? Because the Soviets took power. As soon as there is Soviet power, any constituent Assembly becomes superfluous. The Congress of Soviets - an infinitely more reliable indicator of "popular will" (which is irrelevant anyway because the only majority that needs to be convinced is the majority of workers) - democratically voted to assume state power as soon as the Bolsheviks had gained a democratic majority. This was the entire revolution. Everything that happened afterwards was forced on the Soviet government by the forces of reaction.


But as my German Ideology quote above says, the proletariat needs to be the majority class in society. One could argue that the overwhelming sentiment in Russia in 1917 was petty-bourgeois, not proletarian. Lenin acknowledged that the peasantry are petty-bourgeois in nature, not proletarian. The results of the Constituent Assembly elections showed a clear win for the Socialist Revolutionary Party, not the Bolsheviks, because of the vast amount of peasant support they received. Since this is the only gauge available of national mindset at the time, we can only conclude that the Russian Revolution was the imposition of a proletarian government on a people with an overwhelmingly unproletarian national mindset. This is one of the reasons why the Russian revolution was flawed from the start, and also a reason why the Bolsheviks never trusted the people to actually rule themselves: they were aware that they were ruling a people who were inherently petty-bourgeois in nature - the peasants!

Mabool wrote:
No! But yes, I think this is the main point. You claim that the "vanguard party theory" as a concept is to blame for Stalinism. I would blame the concrete conditions of Russia instead. (Of course, this separation only works to a degree. Bolshevism is of course a product of Russian conditions.)


The way I see it, the vanguard party encouraged the Bolsheviks to attempt to implement a proletarian system on an overwhelmingly non-proletarian people. If the Bolsheviks hadn't seized power, the revolution of 1917 could well have been a petty-bourgeois (ultimately leading to a bourgeois) revolution as its overwhelming class character would have dictated.

Mabool wrote:
The purpose of the "vanguard party" (a term that, I believe, has never been used by genuine Leninists much. It's mostly a product of Stalinist falsification and Western propaganda)


Well Lenin said this in What is to be Done?

'In our time only a party that will organise really nation-wide exposures can become the vanguard of the revolutionary forces.'

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... bd/iii.htm

Seems to be implying the party can become the vanguard.

Mabool wrote:
That means that a "vanguard party" is only a "vanguard party" so long as it really leads the struggle.


That's all well and good until the party becomes removed from all democratic accountability to the people (not that it ever had any!). The people of the USSR could never actually use the democratic process to elect their leaders fairly or really influence party decisions. The trouble is, the party was still technically the vanguard (it's not as if any other group was leading the people). Therefore the party was the vanguard in that it had ultimate authority over the people, but not the vanguard in that it was completely unaccountable to the people's will.

A party can surely only classify itself as the vanguard if there are other parties and groups in existence which are clearly not the vanguard. Otherwise the party is the vanguard purely by default.

Mabool wrote:
Up to the mid-thirties, the CPSU was the vanguard party of Russian workers.


Hadn't all other parties been banned before then? Thus the party was only vanguard by default.

Mabool wrote:
It couldn't! If the party loses the support of the masses, it deserves no better.


But since the CPSU never allowed itself the chance of being voted out of office (i.e. made not the vanguard), how could it ever have genuinely considered itself to the be the vanguard?

Mabool wrote:
The workers' state is a transitional period between two irreconcilable socio-economic formations, capitalism and communism, and as such, it is unstable on the long run. When a workers' state degenerates, or when it comes into being as a deformed workers' state from the outset, sooner or later you will end up in capitalism again.


Especially when the majority of the population is petty-bourgeois in nature!

Mabool wrote:
As long as "rule over persons" is a necessity, it had better be done by Marxists.


This is what the vanguard party thought/thinks. The trouble is, what happens when the people vote for representatives who aren't Marxists? The vanguard party knew the answer: don't allow such democracy to occur in the first place! The people can't be trusted!

Mabool wrote:
I would say that this constituted a gross misrepresentation of Lenin's ideas. First, all previous examples were consciously modeled on the degenerated Soviet Union. All the bad things and failures of the USSR (like the one party system and the Ban on Factions) were claimed to be good things. This corresponded to the interests of the bureaucratic cliques at the top of those states.


I agree. The thing is, some Trotskyites claim that Lenin's ban on factions was temporary. Trouble is, I haven't seen any evidence which suggests that.

Mabool wrote:
The Marxist party (or parties - I would much prefer to see a workers' state with several Marxist parties, so that the failure of one of them won't mean a general failure of Marxism, which would be disastrous. As I said, several vanguard parties can coexist and this might be a very good thing actually) of a workers' state must constantly, relentlessly struggle for mass support in the Soviets, factory committees, and trade unions.


Or perhaps just not have parties at all. Just have each individual being a pure representative of the people of his/her constituency and therefore not tied to party lines or particular campaigns. I suppose this could just lead to defacto parties but I think it's something worth considering.
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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 21 Nov 2014, 21:40
Most of the answers you will receive from the stalinista majority here will revolve around "the history of ideal things". Most Stalinists, like most liberals, understand things as a matter of reified objects and not as a matter of facts and effects.

So if some official government position is abolished, stalinists will say : Hey ! They abolished the position of general secretary of the party, this means that power returned to the soviets !

Marx was very critical of the capitalist history exactly because he could see past those ideological facade and measure how things worked in the material level.

I suggest you read some of my older posts because i try to follow exactly that line of reasoning you suggest.
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Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 22 Nov 2014, 11:29
Quote:
Well Lenin said this in What is to be Done?

Of course, What is to be Done? is probably Lenin's most famous book. And if people like Mabool started reading Lenin, they would soon discover that many of the ideas that they falsely attributed to Stalin originate from Lenin. Then their mind would have only two possibilities: denial or acceptance. Those who would follow the path of denial would start believing that, at the end of the day, Lenin became a trotskyite. This way the worship of Lenin could continue without conflicting with their petty-bourgeois ideals. Form without substance.

Quote:
It couldn't! If the party loses the support of the masses, it deserves no better.

If the workers of Russia had voted prior to the 1917 revolution, they might well have voted against the Bolshevik Party. But that wouldn't have changed anything to its position as a vanguard party, because the vanguard isn't the shepherd leading it's cheptel but the portion of the working class that is the most advanced on the path to revolution. So even a tiny party, without support from the masses, can be at the vanguard.

I must stress that this idea of vanguard comes from military strategy. And as long as you will try to replace cold military strategy by petty-bourgeois sentimentalism you will stay far away from Lenin.

Quote:
On the other hand, it's also possible for two vanguard parties to coexist, for example in Greece you have SYRIZA and KKE, in Spain you have PODEMOS and IU.

I don't see how SYRIZA could be called a vanguard party.

Quote:
The USSR was never democratic from the start because the party never trusted the people to be able to lead themselves.

The French Revolution did nothing better. Yet saying that the French Revolution wasn't democratic would be the most stupid thing to say. Actually your definition of democracy is biased because it is bourgeois. If democracy stands for "power of the people" then it means, for a Marxist, that a system in which the means of production are not in the hands of a class of exploiters, in which the political representatives are not separated from the people because they come from popular organizations (worker unions, political parties...) is much more democratic than a system ruled by bankers, lawyers, bosses, shareholders, even if this system has more support from the people.
What made the French Revolution a democratic revolution, although the majority of the population was probably against it, was that, for the first time since hundreds of years, the old class of exploiters had been overthrew. As simple as that.

Quote:
The workers' state is a transitional period between two irreconcilable socio-economic formations, capitalism and communism, and as such, it is unstable on the long run.

A worker's state can't be a transitional period, it's only a state. It's a state in a transitional period between capitalism and communism, but it's only a tiny part and not even the bulk of what makes this transitional period possible. This state is unstable on the short run, but it's not unstable on the long run. On the long run, it "vanishes", but it's perfectly stable.

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I've heard this argument being offered by Marxist-Leninists as a way of excusing the purges. The trouble is, if we take it as true, it completely discredits Leninism. The idea that Stalin orchestrated the purges in order to wrest control of the Soviet state from the CPSU implies that it was the Leninist vanguard party system which was responsible for the party being in that position (i.e. control over the state) in the first place. And since Marxist-Leninists claim that Stalin was an orthodox Leninist, this ends up being a very confusing analysis (Stalin using Leninism to correct Leninism which was fundamentally flawed ).

It looks like you are calling Marxism a "very confusing analysis", but that's not surprising if you are confused. Marxism is confusing for people who don't understand dialectics. For a Marxist everything is "flawed", including the Leninist party. What's the problem with that?
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 22 Nov 2014, 15:28
OP-Bagration wrote:
If the workers of Russia had voted prior to the 1917 revolution, they might well have voted against the Bolshevik Party. But that wouldn't have changed anything to its position as a vanguard party, because the vanguard isn't the shepherd leading it's cheptel but the portion of the working class that is the most advanced on the path to revolution. So even a tiny party, without support from the masses, can be at the vanguard.


But what's the point of being the vanguard party if you aren't leading the people (i.e. have the confidence and support of the people)? Here in Britain we have loads of tiny communist parties who all claim to be the vanguard party, and no-one cares about that because no workers support them. It's very easy to say 'we are the vanguard'; it's quite a different thing to actually be the vanguard.

OP-Bagration wrote:
Actually your definition of democracy is biased because it is bourgeois. If democracy stands for "power of the people" then it means, for a Marxist, that a system in which the means of production are not in the hands of a class of exploiters, in which the political representatives are not separated from the people because they come from popular organizations (worker unions, political parties...) is much more democratic than a system ruled by bankers, lawyers, bosses, shareholders, even if this system has more support from the people.


Nationalisation of the means of production is not automatic democracy. Nationalisation meant production was owned by the state. However, since the Soviet state was never held accountable to the workers and peasants, they couldn't actually exercise their so-called "ownership" over the means of production. The CPSU never allowed the workers to actually run their own state, and since production was owned by the state, this meant the workers never truly owned the means of production.

OP-Bagration wrote:
It looks like you are calling Marxism a "very confusing analysis", but that's not surprising if you are confused. Marxism is confusing for people who don't understand dialectics. For a Marxist everything is "flawed", including the Leninist party. What's the problem with that?


So Lenin's secret plan all along had been to get rid of all his fellow comrades who had launched the revolution with him except for Stalin?

And dialectics is a load of unscientific junk. Read Rosa's essays to rid yourself of any attachments to dialectics.
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Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 23 Nov 2014, 03:33
Quote:
But what's the point of being the vanguard party if you aren't leading the people (i.e. have the confidence and support of the people)? Here in Britain we have loads of tiny communist parties who all claim to be the vanguard party, and no-one cares about that because no workers support them. It's very easy to say 'we are the vanguard'; it's quite a different thing to actually be the vanguard.

That's true. But the contrary is equally true. There is no point in leading the people if you don't know where to go.

Quote:
Nationalisation of the means of production is not automatic democracy. Nationalisation meant production was owned by the state. However, since the Soviet state was never held accountable to the workers and peasants, they couldn't actually exercise their so-called "ownership" over the means of production. The CPSU never allowed the workers to actually run their own state, and since production was owned by the state, this meant the workers never truly owned the means of production.

The main idea is that a society in which the means of productions are owned collectively (by the state or by workers directly) is more democratic than a society in which the means of production are owned by a tiny minority of exploiters. By and large, this is true. And it was true in the Soviet Union too, especially since a lot of workers could take part in decision-making through their organizations (party, worker unions...). Andropov even said that there was "too much democracy" in the Soviet Union. This democracy however is imperfect and incomplete, because of bureaucracy, i.e. separation between the people and the state apparatus. This separation can't be overcome, but you can reduce it. And it's true that the Soviet Union failed in this regard.

Quote:
So Lenin's secret plan all along had been to get rid of all his fellow comrades who had launched the revolution with him except for Stalin?

You can't plan something like that. But Lenin knew much about the French Revolution and how former allies can become your worst enemies. The problem was that nobody inside the party had Lenin's authority, and Lenin knew that very well. He knew that something like this could happen after his death, and he feared it. But Stalin isn't the only one accountable for that.
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