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Can Leninism ever truly become Communist?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 23 Nov 2014, 12:30
Quote:
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.


Why not just let the people lead themselves? Lenin's vanguard party theory (certainly when put into practice) always ends up with the party ruling over the people because it thinks it knows better than the people.

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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.


Separation between the people and the state apparatus can be overcome by making the state subject to the rule of the people, not the rule of the party.

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You can't plan something like that. But Lenin knew much about the French Revolution and how former allies can become your worst enemies.


You're talking in terms of individual political careers (Lenin's enemy was Trotsky etc.). If the people had had a genuine ability to elect and recall whoever they like, they would have voted out anyone who was trying to revert the USSR to capitalism. It doesn't matter whether your "worst enemy" is in power, if the people want that person to be in power, so be it. That's democracy.

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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.


How about the fact that Lenin advocated getting rid of Stalin shortly before he died?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
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Post 23 Nov 2014, 15:00
The fingerprint of any unequal system is the ownership of a crucial part of the production chain in the hands of a certain group of people, while the rest of society is devoid of ownership of that exact crucial part of the production.

For example :

Mercantilism : Haute burgeoise is the owner of the means of distribution.
Industrial capitalism : Burgeoise is the owner of the means of production.
Financial capitalism : Burgeoise is the owner of the finance capital. (its more complex than that, but you got the point).

So in the URSS, the nomenklaturas are the owners of the political power.

See ? Stalinists think that by producing the collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and of the financial markets, this automatically means that we have socialism. But, both intelectual and political "capital" should be distributed in order to produce socialism.

Else, we have a society where everyone is the owner of a lot of things, but by having the intelectual, cultural, ideological, political capital being the exclusive ownership of a certain group, that group can, via their exclusive powers, steer the collective against socialism.

Thats what we got in URSS.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 23 Nov 2014, 16:34
Quote:
Why not just let the people lead themselves? Lenin's vanguard party theory (certainly when put into practice) always ends up with the party ruling over the people because it thinks it knows better than the people.

And it does. Every man with a bit of political experience knows that the people in general has no understanding of political strategy. If our fellow citizens were ants they could follow a pre-programmed revolutionary path and "lead themselves". But they are not. If the people was a single man he could decide what to do. But the people is made of millions of men and women. The people, actually, is a mere unscientific abstraction. If you ever manage to have the whole people discuss politics into a single room, you will see that at the end of the day some men, groups, factions, with more political experience, authority, or eloquence, will manage to impose their views. If someone tells you that the people should "lead itself", he is either an idiot or a quack doctor.

For us, Marxists, the people is actually leading itself as long as some men and women, who come from the people itself, are ruling in the interest of the oppressed masses against their oppressors.

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Separation between the people and the state apparatus can be overcome by making the state subject to the rule of the people, not the rule of the party.

There will always be a separation between the state and the people, that's in the very nature of the state to be separated from the people. You can reduce this separation but you can't overcome it totally, because as long as a special group of people, or as Lenin said, "special bodies of armed men", will have to decide for the rest, there will be a separation. You can try to improve this situation by increasing popular control, but even there the "rule of the people" will remain a mere reification because the "people" is made of different persons, with different interests and different views and will soon split on sectarian lines (except of course in a perfect communist society, but in a perfect communist society, democracy itself becomes meaningless) wich might in return result in a greater separation betwen the "special bodies" and the people. In his Utopia, Thomas More's described a society in which people were not allowed to talk about politics except in special public places. Unfortunately that's not possible in real life.

The main key to democracy in a socialist system is not institutional, it's social and cultural. I believe that there is 2 important concepts: trust and routine. If you have both, everything will go well.

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It doesn't matter whether your "worst enemy" is in power, if the people want that person to be in power, so be it. That's democracy.

No that's bourgeois democracy, not democracy. If you had allowed the French people to vote in 1789, the people would have voted for Louis Capet and Robespierre would have lost his head. That wouldn't have been democratic because political power is much more than the freedom to "choose". It's the possibility to defend your own interests.

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How about the fact that Lenin advocated getting rid of Stalin shortly before he died?

This has been discussed a lot of time, and Stalin even read the letter to other party members. It's hard to tell what would have happened if Stalin had been removed from his position as General Secretary. That wouldn't have solved the problem between other party members, and Lenin never said that Stalin should be expelled from the party.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 23 Nov 2014, 17:01
Quote:
And it does. Every man with a bit of political experience knows that the people in general has no understanding of political strategy. If our fellow citizens were ants they could follow a pre-programmed revolutionary path and "lead themselves". But they are not. If the people was a single man he could decide what to do. But the people is made of millions of men and women. The people, actually, is a mere unscientific abstraction. If you ever manage to have the whole people discuss politics into a single room, you will see that at the end of the day some men, groups, factions, with more political experience, authority, or eloquence, will manage to impose their views. If someone tells you that the people should "lead itself", he is either an idiot or a quack doctor.


Although the party tends to be comprised of people who are better educated and knowledgeable about particular elements of statecraft, the problem in the USSR was that the party thought this and so didn't allow the people the chance to rule themselves. The party was essentially saying 'we know best, the people can't be trusted'.

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There will always be a separation between the state and the people, that's in the very nature of the state to be separated from the people.


Yes but we can at least narrow that gap by allowing the state to become a genuine function of working class rule. In true socialism the state is under the democratic control of the working class. In the USSR the state was under the autocratic control of the CPSU.

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The main key to democracy in a socialist system is not institutional, it's social and cultural.


Says who?

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I believe that there is 2 important concepts: trust and routine. If you have both, everything will go well.


Sounds horrendous! As I interpret this, you want people to just keep their heads down and let the party tell them what to do. All individual thought, opinions and expression are forbidden.

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This has been discussed a lot of time, and Stalin even read the letter to other party members. It's hard to tell what would have happened if Stalin had been removed from his position as General Secretary. That wouldn't have solved the problem between other party members, and Lenin never said that Stalin should be expelled from the party.


But as a Stalinist who believes that Stalin was a good Leninist, what's your opinion of Lenin's testament? If Stalin had truly been a good Leninist, surely he would have taken Lenin's advice and resigned?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 24 Nov 2014, 01:13
Quote:
Although the party tends to be comprised of people who are better educated and knowledgeable about particular elements of statecraft, the problem in the USSR was that the party thought this and so didn't allow the people the chance to rule themselves. The party was essentially saying 'we know best, the people can't be trusted'.

You would need to define precisely what you mean by "ruling itself". I'm affraid that even in our bourgeois democracy political parties (and money) are especially important to decide who will run for the next elections. And I have yet to see the CPSU saying that the people couldn't be trusted. There was elections in the USSR.


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Yes but we can at least narrow that gap by allowing the state to become a genuine function of working class rule. In true socialism the state is under the democratic control of the working class. In the USSR the state was under the autocratic control of the CPSU.

That's only partially true. It was also under the control of the working class (through worker unions for example) and the people (elections). What would you have done in their stead? Would you have allowed bourgeois parties to coexist alongside the CPSU? Or minor "democratic" parties like in China and North Korea?

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Says who?

Marxism in general. Political institutions are part of the superstructure, and unlike the bourgeoisie we don't believe that everything can be solved by changing the institutions.

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Sounds horrendous! As I interpret this, you want people to just keep their heads down and let the party tell them what to do. All individual thought, opinions and expression are forbidden.

Horrendous? It is. Routine is especially horrendous for people like you and me, because that's exactly what we see in our peaceful (or somewhat) bourgeois societies. But if you read Lenin's State and Revolution and other works you will notice that in Lenin's political theory routine is especially important for the transition to communism.
Individual thought can't be forbidden, and expression shouldn't. But in a society in which routine has replaced the usual political chaos, in which everything looks natural, in which the people trusts the ruling representatives or delegates, where is the need for political conflicts anymore? Engels defined the abolition of the State as the "conversion of political rule over men into an administration of things and a direction of processes of production."

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But as a Stalinist who believes that Stalin was a good Leninist, what's your opinion of Lenin's testament? If Stalin had truly been a good Leninist, surely he would have taken Lenin's advice and resigned?

You are speaking about Lenin's "addition" to a letter written after Stalin's phonecall to Krupskaia. I guess that if Lenin had actually thought that Stalin should be removed he would have written something more serious than an "addition" to a letter written a few days ago. Lenin says that Stalin should be replaced by someone "who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc." So basically Lenin was saying that Stalin had much qualities but a big default, that of being "too rude". Who could have replaced Stalin then? Who would have had all of Stalin's qualities but without the default of being too rude? Basically nobody. So my opinion is that Lenin was trying to give a lesson to Stalin for his phonecall to Krupskaia.

But why did Stalin said that to Krupskaia? Do you know why?
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
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Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 24 Nov 2014, 20:02
Quote:
You would need to define precisely what you mean by "ruling itself". I'm affraid that even in our bourgeois democracy political parties (and money) are especially important to decide who will run for the next elections. And I have yet to see the CPSU saying that the people couldn't be trusted. There was elections in the USSR.


Allow members of the working class to occupy all positions within the state and be democratically elected to these positions freely and fairly by the working class as a whole. The USSR had "professional revolutionaries" parachuted into key positions of state and who were ultimately unaccountable to the people.

The party never said the explicitly, I'm implying this was the message its actions sent out. And elections in the USSR were hardly free and fair. No wonder Stalin won with 99% of the vote in 1937 with the NKVD activities scaring people into voting for him. For other positions the party could often appoint people without any consultation with the people at all.

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That's only partially true. It was also under the control of the working class (through worker unions for example) and the people (elections). What would you have done in their stead? Would you have allowed bourgeois parties to coexist alongside the CPSU? Or minor "democratic" parties like in China and North Korea?


Why not allow bourgeois parties? Surely that is a sign of your faith in the masses? After all, would the workers really rise up and overthrow the old regime just so they could vote the capitalists or monarchists back into power? If Soviet socialism was such an incredible system then why would the workers ever elect any other (non-socialist) party? This is what I mean when I say the party had no trust in the people.

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Marxism in general. Political institutions are part of the superstructure, and unlike the bourgeoisie we don't believe that everything can be solved by changing the institutions.


If you are going to have institutions at all after the revolution, they need to be democratic. Otherwise it cannot be considered the rule of the people if the people have no say in the function of the state.

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But in a society in which routine has replaced the usual political chaos, in which everything looks natural, in which the people trusts the ruling representatives or delegates, where is the need for political conflicts anymore? Engels defined the abolition of the State as the "conversion of political rule over men into an administration of things and a direction of processes of production."


The people will only trust the ruling representatives when the ruling representatives trust the people. And define routine? Everyone conducts a routine every day, both under capitalism and socialism. I get up and go to work in the same job every day. I'm sure I'd continue doing that after the revolution.

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You are speaking about Lenin's "addition" to a letter written after Stalin's phonecall to Krupskaia. I guess that if Lenin had actually thought that Stalin should be removed he would have written something more serious than an "addition" to a letter written a few days ago. Lenin says that Stalin should be replaced by someone "who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc." So basically Lenin was saying that Stalin had much qualities but a big default, that of being "too rude". Who could have replaced Stalin then? Who would have had all of Stalin's qualities but without the default of being too rude? Basically nobody. So my opinion is that Lenin was trying to give a lesson to Stalin for his phonecall to Krupskaia.


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ngress.htm

It was a letter to Congress, and just because the section on Stalin's removal appears as an addition, doesn't mean we can discard its importance. It is clear that Lenin wants Stalin removed and is essentially asking the other members of the CC to choose a suitable replacement (although Lenin does give a somewhat guarded endorsement of Trotsky).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
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Post 25 Nov 2014, 00:47
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Why not allow bourgeois parties? Surely that is a sign of your faith in the masses? After all, would the workers really rise up and overthrow the old regime just so they could vote the capitalists or monarchists back into power? If Soviet socialism was such an incredible system then why would the workers ever elect any other (non-socialist) party? This is what I mean when I say the party had no trust in the people.

The whole point of a revolution is to overthrow violently the parties of the dominant class. Those parties are not supposed to survive the revolution. In our Marxist doctrine, political parties represent the interests of classes. But our aim, as communists, is to abolish classes.

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Allow members of the working class to occupy all positions within the state and be democratically elected to these positions freely and fairly by the working class as a whole.

The constitution allowed that. The constitution even allowed to recall the elected deputies, which is something that was don't even have in most of our bourgeois democracies. But are you trying to say that we should allow counter-revolutionaries to be democratically elected? Your problem is that you don't understand that a revolution is not a dinner party, as Uncle Mao used to say. It's good to have some great ideas about democracy in general, but in a revolutionary and unstable situation, some non-democratic measures have to be taken. From the bourgeois point of view, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not democratic, but from our point of view this dictatorship is democratic because its aim is to overthrow completely the old ruling class. During the French Revolution the point of view of the counter-revolutionaries was that it was immoral and non-democratic to sacrifice innocent people in order to strike the counter-revolutionaries, to use terror as a mode of government. But from our revolutionary Marxist, Jacobin point of view, it was the most democratic thing to do.

If I had to change something in the Soviet institutional system, that wouldn't be that.

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No wonder Stalin won with 99% of the vote in 1937

Where have you seen that?

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The people will only trust the ruling representatives when the ruling representatives trust the people. And define routine? Everyone conducts a routine every day, both under capitalism and socialism. I get up and go to work in the same job every day. I'm sure I'd continue doing that after the revolution.

That's part of what we call routine, indeed. If we manage to reproduce this routine in a socialist society, a different society, then our socialist society will be as much strong as capitalist systems managed to be.

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It was a letter to Congress, and just because the section on Stalin's removal appears as an addition, doesn't mean we can discard its importance. It is clear that Lenin wants Stalin removed and is essentially asking the other members of the CC to choose a suitable replacement (although Lenin does give a somewhat guarded endorsement of Trotsky).

It does of course. Because something like that was really important, Lenin would have written it in the letter itself. The fact that he decided after Stalin's phonecall to his wife (why did you call her? Answer mer), to dictate this addition, discredits the content itself. But that would be a problem only if Lenin was actually serious with what he wrote. If Lenin actually wanted Stalin removed, why would he say that his substitute would have "only one advantage", which is something quite positive for Stalin?

And no, I'm sorry but Lenin doesn't endorse Trotsky. In his letter he describes the "qualities" of the "outstanding leaders" of the CC, Lenin and Trotsky, and he criticizes both of them. But there is something more for Trotsky. Lenin writes: "I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." Reminding in this letter that Trotsky was a non-bolshevik is something quite harsh. So would a guy like that "[differ] from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc."? The answer is no.

If Lenin thought that Trotsky should have replaced Stalin, he would have written that Trotsky should have replaced Stalin. And he would have been wrong.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 25 Nov 2014, 14:10
Trotsky had been a non-Bolshevik.

Also considering that the Left Opposition's concrete suggestions and criticisms (from the beginnings of the Stalin period to their liquidation) were pretty much always legitimate, there is just no basis for saying that "Trotsky replacing Stalin" would have been wrong (I think Trotsky would have preferred to remain Commissar for War).

Also the way you talk about routine is truly horrendous.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Nov 2014, 15:52
Quote:
Trotsky had been a non-Bolshevik.

In 1923 when Lenin was ill, Trotsky, who had started a fight with Zinoviev and Kamenev, wrote a pamphlet (The New Course) to defend himself in which he was basically saying: "Ok, I was not a bolshevik, but actually I was a bolshevik even before Lenin himself became one because my theory of the Permanent Revolution was more bolshevik than Lenin's own bolshevism and it's not true that I underestimate the role of the peasantry.
" In 1924 Trotsky criticized sharply Zinoviev's and Kamenev's attitude during October in his book "The Lessons of October". So the same year Kamenev wrote "Leninism or Trotskyism?, and in 1925 Zinoviev published "Bolshevism or Trotskyism". Stalin, who decided to defend Zinoviev and Kamenev published "Trotskyism or Leninism" in 1924. Zinoviev and Kamenev tried to expel Trotsky from the party but Stalin refused (what a pity).

So the disagreements between Trotsky and Zinoviev-Kamenev started long before Lenin's death. Lenin probably understood that this disagreement was quite a problem, and so he had this written in his letter: "I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." This basically means: "Ok Trotsky, you might be right about Zinoviev and Kamenev, but don't forget that you were/are not a bolshevik either. So stop giving lessons to other people."

Lenin's testament must have been a political shock for Trotsky, and maybe more for him than for Stalin. The latter was only criticized for beeing "too rude"! And Lenin probably knew that his fellow comrades had already started to struggle for the leninist legacy. So politically, this sentence was a bomb.
Last edited by OP-Bagration on 25 Nov 2014, 16:49, edited 3 times in total.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 25 Nov 2014, 15:54
Who cares if trotsky was a bolchevique ?

What happens is that Trotsky is way more developed intellectually than Stalin. Stalin was a troll, and nothing better than that. With Trotsky you can argue, debate. With Stalin all you get is shot or sent to siberia.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Nov 2014, 16:48
The main question is: Is AldoBrasil more intelectually developped than Stalin or is he a troll?
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 25 Nov 2014, 18:08
Whoa, just a few days off and this thread had exploded.


I still protect my favour of Marxism, or call it Stalinism if you want.

In my opinion, the State is a necessary tool for the transition from Private Property society to Public Property society. Here is the evolution diagram of the State during Revolution course:

Revolution begin -> Repressive State (Civil War era) -> Repressive State + Production Organizer (NEP, Stalin and post-Stalin era) -> Production Organizer (not achieved yet, our future work) -> End of Revolution

And the State contains the dangerous seed of counter-revolution (revert back to Private Property). In fact, our ancestors had gone through this era too, but in opposite direction.

In the past: Public Property era -> Production Organizer -> Production Organizer + Theft of Public Property -> Production Organizer + Repressive State -> Repressive State -> Private Property era.

Because the future is unknown, we can research the past in order to learn more about the transition era. If I have free time, I will open a thread about Ancient China during the transition era.
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 25 Nov 2014, 20:15
OP-Bagration wrote:
The whole point of a revolution is to overthrow violently the parties of the dominant class. Those parties are not supposed to survive the revolution. In our Marxist doctrine, political parties represent the interests of classes. But our aim, as communists, is to abolish classes.


Ok, how about a plurality of workers' parties? How come capitalism is able to survive so well despite allowing Marxist parties to exist?

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The constitution allowed that. The constitution even allowed to recall the elected deputies, which is something that was don't even have in most of our bourgeois democracies.


Just because the constitution said it doesn't mean it was allowed in practice.

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But are you trying to say that we should allow counter-revolutionaries to be democratically elected?


But when the party has a monopoly on the state then only the party gets to decide what a "counter-revolutionary" is. Typically, the CPSU decided that anyone who posed even the slightest threat to the party was a "counter-revolutionary". There was no objective judiciary, independent of the CPSU, which was allowed to determine whether someone wanted to overthrow the revolution. Therefore people could be declared "counter-revolutionaries" for the heinous crime of disagreeing with state policy.

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From the bourgeois point of view, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not democratic, but from our point of view this dictatorship is democratic because its aim is to overthrow completely the old ruling class.


Under the dictatorship of the proletariat the old ruling class is overthrown (and it wasn't democratic for the workers either).

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During the French Revolution the point of view of the counter-revolutionaries was that it was immoral and non-democratic to sacrifice innocent people in order to strike the counter-revolutionaries, to use terror as a mode of government. But from our revolutionary Marxist, Jacobin point of view, it was the most democratic thing to do.


Where does Marx say to use terror as a mode of government?

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Where have you seen that?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Uni ... tion,_1937

I can't seem to find anything which disputes these results

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That's part of what we call routine, indeed. If we manage to reproduce this routine in a socialist society, a different society, then our socialist society will be as much strong as capitalist systems managed to be.


This is so obvious I'm amazed you even felt the need to bring any of it up!

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It does of course. Because something like that was really important, Lenin would have written it in the letter itself. The fact that he decided after Stalin's phonecall to his wife (why did you call her? Answer mer), to dictate this addition, discredits the content itself.


I didn't call her, Stalin did. He called her to voice his disapproval of her actions and verbally abused her. Why does this discredit the content?

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If Lenin actually wanted Stalin removed, why would he say that his substitute would have "only one advantage", which is something quite positive for Stalin?


The testament shows that Lenin still had great respect for Stalin and his abilities. However, Lenin still wanted Stalin to be removed and clearly felt that there were suitable candidates available to replace him (he calls Trotsky 'perhaps the most capable man in the present C.C.'), otherwise he wouldn't have suggested that Stalin be removed in the first place.

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And no, I'm sorry but Lenin doesn't endorse Trotsky. In his letter he describes the "qualities" of the "outstanding leaders" of the CC, Lenin and Trotsky, and he criticizes both of them. But there is something more for Trotsky. Lenin writes: "I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." Reminding in this letter that Trotsky was a non-bolshevik is something quite harsh. So would a guy like that "[differ] from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc."? The answer is no.


He says Trotsky is not to blame for having been a non-Bolshevik.

Also, what are your thoughts on Lenin's praise of Bhukharin and Pyatakov who Stalin had executed in the purges? Was Lenin wrong to praise them or was Stalin wrong to purge them?

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If Lenin thought that Trotsky should have replaced Stalin, he would have written that Trotsky should have replaced Stalin.


He is asking the Central Committee to decide 'That is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead...' Lenin is just putting forward his thoughts and suggestions, that's why he doesn't give a full endorsement of Trotsky.

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So the disagreements between Trotsky and Zinoviev-Kamenev started long before Lenin's death. Lenin probably understood that this disagreement was quite a problem, and so he had this written in his letter: "I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." This basically means: "Ok Trotsky, you might be right about Zinoviev and Kamenev, but don't forget that you were/are not a bolshevik either. So stop giving lessons to other people."


Lenin advocates getting rid of Stalin because he can forsee a split occurring in the party. '[Stalin's rudeness] may appear to be a negligible detail. But I think that from the standpoint of safeguards against a split and from the standpoint of what I wrote above about the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky it is not a (minor) detail, but it is a detail which can assume decisive importance.' If he sees the split occurring between Stalin and Trotsky and he advocates getting rid of Stalin in order to prevent a split, we can only conclude that he favours Trotsky as leader.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Nov 2014, 23:30
Quote:
Ok, how about a plurality of workers' parties? How come capitalism is able to survive so well despite allowing Marxist parties to exist?

The main problem is that you are not supposed to have different worker parties when you consider that political parties represent classes. You can have different currents, different views of the world, of the strategy and tactics amongst the working class. But something like that should be allowed inside the party itself. The second problem is that compared to a system with only one political party, in which all problems are resolved democratically, by a decision of the majority, a system with different political parties would be based on confrontation, which is how bourgeois democracy works. It would be easier for the enemies of the working class to spread chaos inside the country. Look at what happened in Poland with Solidanorsc. A system which would allow cohabitation between "democratic" parties, isn't theoretically impossible. It exists in China. But from the point of view of the Marxist doctrine, this system could be only temporary, it would be risky, and could only result of a historic compromise with other political parties.

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Just because the constitution said it doesn't mean it was allowed in practice.

It was probably used in some circumstances, just like secret ballot which was introduced in the USSR by Stalin.

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But when the party has a monopoly on the state then only the party gets to decide what a "counter-revolutionary" is. Typically, the CPSU decided that anyone who posed even the slightest threat to the party was a "counter-revolutionary". There was no objective judiciary, independent of the CPSU, which was allowed to determine whether someone wanted to overthrow the revolution. Therefore people could be declared "counter-revolutionaries" for the heinous crime of disagreeing with state policy.

Most probably. I think that we could have created a special body, inside the Party or the State, which would have devoted its action to the protection of the rights of individuals such as freedom of expression, and guaranteed the respect of the Constitution. This should have been done after WWII, since after the victory against Nazi Germany the USSR became stronger than ever and could allow a "normalization" of political life, something that you can't have in a revolutionary period which demands special extrajudicial measures.

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Under the dictatorship of the proletariat the old ruling class is overthrown (and it wasn't democratic for the workers either).

It's not overhtrown completely and not definitely. Especially as long as foreign powers will remain bourgeois.

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Where does Marx say to use terror as a mode of government?


"Vae victis!

The purposeless massacres perpetrated since the June and October events, the tedious offering of sacrifices since February and March, the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... /11/06.htm

This is a Jacobin idea, very close to what Robespierre used to say during the French Revolution. Lenin totally endorsed this.

"Above all, during and immediately after the struggle the workers, as far as it is at all possible, must oppose bourgeois attempts at pacification and force the democrats to carry out their terroristic phrases. They must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses – instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated – the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction."

"If the forces of democracy take decisive, terroristic action against the reaction from the very beginning, the reactionary influence in the election will already have been destroyed."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... 50-ad1.htm

The tactical ideas expressed there are totally endorsed by Lenin who says basically the same things regarding the relation between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie in their common struggle for the overthrow of tsarist autocracy in Russia.


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I can't seem to find anything which disputes these results

The result itself disputes what you say. It's a legislative election and the result expressed mean that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union+ independants obtained 99.3% of the votes at the Soviet of the Union as opposed to 0.7% who voted against (which basically means that there was only one candidate, which explains the outcome). The CPSU obtained 461 seats and independants obtained 108 seats. I see nowhere that Stalin had obtained 99% of the votes for himself. He probably did obtain a score like that, but according to your own Wikipedia article there was some opposition to Stalin itself. So he might have obtained less than the average. But can we clonclude that this was a phoney election? No.

This was the first direct election with secret ballot. So basically this election was a step forward. Moreover, according to Getty, "The Stalinist leadership took the constitution very seriously and indeed, for a while, prepared to conduct contested elections." Which means that they probably had in mind the kind of system that you would have expected. However they finally decided to run non-contested elections. Yet, as Getty says: "Even after making the decision to restrict the elections to single candidates, Stalin was not at ease. Because of the posibility of write-ins or crossed-out ballots, the regime still feared that the elections could turn out badly for them."

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neretin/misc/getty.pdf

So as you can see, political decisions in the "stalinist" system were not as simple as one could think at first sight.


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He says Trotsky is not to blame for having been a non-Bolshevik.

No, you misunderstand the quotation. Lenin says that Kamenev and Zinoviev can be blamed for the October episode ("no accident"), but that they shouldn't be blamed more than Trotsky for his non-bolshevism: "but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." He doesn't say that Trotsky shouldn't be blamed. He says that you can't blame Zinoviev and Kamenev more than you could blame Trotsky. So he is saying to Trotsky that he should shut up and remember that he was (and maybe remain) a non-bolshevik.

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Also, what are your thoughts on Lenin's praise of Bhukharin and Pyatakov who Stalin had executed in the purges? Was Lenin wrong to praise them or was Stalin wrong to purge them?

If I remember correctly Lenin says that Bhukharin was the greatest theoretician of the party but that he couldn't understand dialectics. Which implies that he wasn't the best Marxist. Considering what Stalin wrote on Bhukharin's letter, he probably thought that Bhukharin was actually guilty of betrayal. So what Lenin wrote about Bukharin is irrelevant in this regard, it's a totally different matter. I would have prefered that nothing had happened after Lenin's death of course.

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Lenin advocates getting rid of Stalin because he can forsee a split occurring in the party. '[Stalin's rudeness] may appear to be a negligible detail. But I think that from the standpoint of safeguards against a split and from the standpoint of what I wrote above about the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky it is not a (minor) detail, but it is a detail which can assume decisive importance.' If he sees the split occurring between Stalin and Trotsky and he advocates getting rid of Stalin in order to prevent a split, we can only conclude that he favours Trotsky as leader.

You confuse removing Stalin from his position as General Secretary and "getting rid of Stalin". Stalin would have remained a member of the CC, with the same position as Trotsky. The problem is that Lenin never said that Stalin should be replaced by Trotsky, and didn't give a name either, most probably because he didn't thought that Stalin could be actually replaced. It was more like a warning for Stalin. The split eventually occured, althoug the trotskyists were a very tiny minority, but as we have seen Stalin wasn't the only one responsible for that. Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky bore as much responsibility in this.

Unlike actual Stalinists I don't believe that Stalin was Lenin's natural successor. Lenin was more clever than Stalin, he was more daring, he had also more authority (and kindness maybe). I believe that he would have found some clever methods to keep the USSR alive, more audacious methods. If I side with Stalin, it's because I despise Trotsky and believe that compared to him Stalin had a much better understanding of Leninism and Marxism, and he was more artful. No actually Trotsky wasn't a bolshevik, and moreover he was an arrogant bureaucrat. The more I read Trotsky's works, the more I hate him.
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Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 26 Nov 2014, 00:28
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The main problem is that you are not supposed to have different worker parties when you consider that political parties represent classes.


The bourgeoisie manage it very well.

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You can have different currents, different views of the world, of the strategy and tactics amongst the working class. But something like that should be allowed inside the party itself.


Not when Lenin banned them.

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a system with different political parties would be based on confrontation, which is how bourgeois democracy works. It would be easier for the enemies of the working class to spread chaos inside the country. Look at what happened in Poland with Solidanorsc.


Then how do the bourgeoisie manage it so well? They aren't even the majority class in society! Why do you think that the proletariat would hate the capitalists so much as to overthrow them in a violent revolution, only to vote them back into office immediately afterwards? Do you have no faith in the working class as the ruling class?

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Most probably. I think that we could have created a special body, inside the Party or the State, which would have devoted its action to the protection of the rights of individuals such as freedom of expression, and guaranteed the respect of the Constitution. This should have been done after WWII, since after the victory against Nazi Germany the USSR became stronger than ever and could allow a "normalization" of political life, something that you can't have in a revolutionary period which demands special extrajudicial measures.


Well then this is why the party cannot have a monopoly on state power.

I acknowledge those quotes from Marx and Engels (didn't know Marx has said them). Although to be fair they are talking about the workers and the party in the moment of the revolution itself, not as a mode of government once the revolution has been consolidated. Stalin's government of terror occurred 20 years after the Russian Revolution and long after the Bolsheviks had secured state power.

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The result itself disputes what you say. It's a legislative election and the result expressed mean that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union+ independants obtained 99.3% of the votes at the Soviet of the Union as opposed to 0.7% who voted against (which basically means that there was only one candidate, which explains the outcome).


Yeah because having one candidate is really democratic


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I see nowhere that Stalin had obtained 99% of the votes for himself. He probably did obtain a score like that, but according to your own Wikipedia article there was some opposition to Stalin itself. So he might have obtained less than the average. But can we clonclude that this was a phoney election? No.


It may not have been Stalin directly standing but it was certainly Stalin in charge in the USSR (as shown by the massive cult of personality). And I never said the elections were phoney, but they were certainly coerced given that the NKVD were going around arresting, torturing and murdering supposed "enemies" of the regime. Saddam Hussein got 100% of an 11.4 million turnout in 2002. It may well have been true considering the horrific things the Baathist state was prepared to do to its own citizens for any suspected reasons of disloyalty.

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No, you misunderstand the quotation. Lenin says that Kamenev and Zinoviev can be blamed for the October episode ("no accident"), but that they shouldn't be blamed more than Trotsky for his non-bolshevism: "but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." He doesn't say that Trotsky shouldn't be blamed. He says that you can't blame Zinoviev and Kamenev more than you could blame Trotsky.


The key word here is 'personally' - i.e. although some might equate Kamanev and Zinoviev with the October incident, and Trotsky with non-Bolshevism, none of them can be blamed personally for these perceived faults. None of them are personally responsible. He is trying to lessen any blame on all three of them.

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If I remember correctly Lenin says that Bhukharin was the greatest theoretician of the party but that he couldn't understand dialectics. Which implies that he wasn't the best Marxist. Considering what Stalin wrote on Bhukharin's letter, he probably thought that Bhukharin was actually guilty of betrayal. So what Lenin wrote about Bukharin is irrelevant in this regard, it's a totally different matter. I would have prefered that nothing had happened after Lenin's death of course.


So you think Lenin was right about Bukharin and that Stalin shouldn't have had him killed?

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You confuse removing Stalin from his position as General Secretary and "getting rid of Stalin". Stalin would have remained a member of the CC, with the same position as Trotsky.


Fine, remove Stalin. The fact is Lenin is saying that if Stalin is removed, he will need to be replaced. Lenin is also saying that it is up to the CC to make the decision, not him. That is why he only provides a vague (and critical) endorsement of Trotsky, not an outright recommendation.

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The problem is that Lenin never said that Stalin should be replaced by Trotsky, and didn't give a name either, most probably because he didn't thought that Stalin could be actually replaced. It was more like a warning for Stalin.


If Lenin merely wanted to warn Stalin then why did he publicly advocate removing him? Why did he not merely stick to his private warning to him?

You have been so rude as to summon my wife to the telephone and use bad language. Although she had told you that she was prepared to forget this, the fact nevertheless became known through her to Zinoviev and Kamenev. I have no intention of forgetting so easily what has been done against me, and it goes without saying that what has been done against my wife I consider having been done against me as well. I ask you, therefore, to think it over whether you are prepared to withdraw what you have said and to make your apologies, or whether you prefer that relations between us should be broken off.

It's not the threat of removal but it is certainly not good news for Stalin. If Lenin never actually wanted Stalin replaced but just wanted to scare him, why did he inform the entire CC that he did want Stalin replaced (possibly by Trotsky)? Was he not worried that the CC might act on his words when he never actually meant them?

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If I side with Stalin, it's because I despice Trotsky and believe that compared to him Stalin had a much better understanding of Leninism and Marxism, and he was more artful.


Have you actually read Trotsky and studied his theories (I haven't, before you ask)?
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Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Nov 2014, 02:38
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Not when Lenin banned them.

Lenin has always said that anyone should have the freedom to give his opinion inside the party, and even outside the party, even publicly, as long as the question has not been settled collectively.

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Then how do the bourgeoisie manage it so well? They aren't even the majority class in society!

They are not the majority but factory workers (the most revolutionary part of the proletariat according to Lenin) are not and were not the majority either. The bourgeois, with all the petty bourgeois, plus a part of the peasantry, represent an important part of the population. However they don't manage it "so well" in all circumstances. For exemple, we know from archive evidences that when the Italian Communist Party was close to size power by legal "democratic" means, the USA and other countries had decided to organize a coup. Fortunately the Italian Communist Party failed to size power. The bourgeoisie allows political freedom only as long as its rule isn't threatened.

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I acknowledge those quotes from Marx and Engels (didn't know Marx has said them). Although to be fair they are talking about the workers and the party in the moment of the revolution itself, not as a mode of government once the revolution has been consolidated. Stalin's government of terror occurred 20 years after the Russian Revolution and long after the Bolsheviks had secured state power.

The problem is that state power was far from being secured. It's hard to tell when state power is "secured". During the French revolution it wasn't secured until, let's say, 1802, but it was secured internally through Napoleon's authoritarian government. Napoleon had no gulag, but he managed to re-establish slavery, which is worse, and had thousands of men killed in his wars. The Bolsheviks sized state power in 1917, but it wasn't secured until the 1930's. And then they had to prepare for a war against Germany.

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Yeah because having one candidate is really democratic

Compared to having no candidate it's much better.

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Saddam Hussein got 100% of an 11.4 million turnout in 2002. It may well have been true considering the horrific things the Baathist state was prepared to do to its own citizens for any suspected reasons of disloyalty.

Those figures were a joke of course, because they also said that the attendance was 100%. With a respected secret ballot, even if Saddam had been both feared and respected in the country, he couldn't have obtained more than 70%. The intention of the Soviet leaders was totally different, as Getty shows. And since they feared the outcome of the election, it also means that they didn't tried to, or couldn't, give totally forged figures, and that the ballot was actually secret. So there was no much they could do to prevent someone to vote "no" or write something instead, with possible dramatic consequences for the authority of the Soviet leadership.

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The key word here is 'personally' - i.e. although some might equate Kamanev and Zinoviev with the October incident, and Trotsky with non-Bolshevism, none of them can be blamed personally for these perceived faults. None of them are personally responsible. He is trying to lessen any blame on all three of them.


You still fail to understand what Lenin says.

Lenin never said that "none of them are personally reponsible", which would be, of course, totally stupid! That wouldn't make any sense. If someone isn't responsible for what he does or say, then who is responsible? God almighty?

The sentence isn't "the blame for it can't be laid upon them personally", it is: "but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." This means that although you can blame Zinoviev and Kamenev for October (no accident!) you can't blame them personnaly anymore that you could blame Trotsky for his non-bolshevism = if you really want to blame Zinoviev and Kamenev, you will also have to blame Trotsky. So Lenin is telling to Trotsky: now just calm down and stop accusing Kamenev and Zinoviev because they were not more guilty than you were.


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So you think Lenin was right about Bukharin and that Stalin shouldn't have had him killed?

Lenin said that "his theoretical views can be classified as fully Marxist only with great reserve." But that no reason to kill him. I said that Stalin killed him for a different reason. Bukharin was accused of plotting against the State. If he actually did that, Stalin had to kill him. If he didn't, then Stalin must be blamed for having him killed.

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If Lenin never actually wanted Stalin replaced but just wanted to scare him, why did he inform the entire CC that he did want Stalin replaced (possibly by Trotsky)?

If you want to scare Stalin, or at least to force Stalin to change his methods, involving the CC is a good thing, don't you think? Lenin was probably perfectly aware that the CC wouldn't have obeyed him if he had said that Stalin should be replaced by Trotsky. Lenin had a strong authority but he had been away from political work for some time. He was ill, he couldn't write anymore, he had to rely on his wife and secretaries, so his authority was probably considerably weakened.

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Have you actually read Trotsky and studied his theories (I haven't, before you ask)?

I have read some stuff. I have explained there in my bad English the main differences between Lenin's theory and Trotsky's Permanent Revolution:

viewtopic.php?f=108&t=52169

Important differences, strong opposition between the two me. See what Loz and me wrote there: viewtopic.php?f=128&t=52077

So when Trotsky opposed the other CC members, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin, on the question of worker unions, they said that he hadn't abandonned his theory of the Permanent revolution. Trotsky's answer: " To this day, I persist in considering that the thoughts I developed at that time are much closer, taken as a whole, to the genuine essence of Leninism than much of what a number of Bolsheviks wrote in those days."

Wow. More than 10 years of opposition between Lenin and Trotsky, with personal attacks and insults, and yet Trotsky's theory was "closer to the genuine essence of Leninism." How treacherous! How arrogant!

"The theory of the permanent revolution led directly to Leninism and in particular to the April, 1917, Theses." Wow! Trotsky invented Leninism and the April Theses, even before Lenin did!


I'm sorry but when you read such disdain for Lenin's own works, such arrogance, written in an indigestible and bombastic style, you just want to go buy an icepick.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
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Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 26 Nov 2014, 20:13
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Lenin has always said that anyone should have the freedom to give his opinion inside the party, and even outside the party, even publicly, as long as the question has not been settled collectively.


What a shame this was not put into practice under Stalin.

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The bourgeoisie allows political freedom only as long as its rule isn't threatened.


Why can't socialists be the same?

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The problem is that state power was far from being secured. It's hard to tell when state power is "secured".


No state is ever totally secure. However, modern democratic bourgeois states are clearly secure enough as to allow communist parties to exist. This pays dividends for them because it allows them to appear completely democratic in the eyes of the world.

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Compared to having no candidate it's much better.


If you are going to have a genuine election you need more than one candidate to be standing. One candidate is the same as no candidate.

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So there was no much they could do to prevent someone to vote "no" or write something instead, with possible dramatic consequences for the authority of the Soviet leadership.


Not much they could do?! The press was in state/party hands, freedom of expression was curtailed by the NKVD, people were being tortured and imprisoned for trumped up political reasons. The Soviet leadership had a huge amount of state apparatus at its disposal in order to prevent a significant "no" turnout!

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You still fail to understand what Lenin says.

Lenin never said that "none of them are personally reponsible", which would be, of course, totally stupid! That wouldn't make any sense. If someone isn't responsible for what he does or say, then who is responsible? God almighty?

The sentence isn't "the blame for it can't be laid upon them personally", it is: "but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky." This means that although you can blame Zinoviev and Kamenev for October (no accident!) you can't blame them personnaly anymore that you could blame Trotsky for his non-bolshevism = if you really want to blame Zinoviev and Kamenev, you will also have to blame Trotsky. So Lenin is telling to Trotsky: now just calm down and stop accusing Kamenev and Zinoviev because they were not more guilty than you were.


You have missed out the crucial piece of grammar in this sentence: the comma after 'personally'.

I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev [See Vol. 26, pp. 216-19] was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky.

This signifies that the segment 'any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky' equates with the previous segment 'but neither can it be laid upon them personally'. He is exonerating all three of personal blame.

Suppose Lenin were simply talking about Zinoviev and Kamanev. The revised sentence would read:
'I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but the blame for it cannot be laid upon them personally.[my revision]'

However, the original sentence contains the word 'neither' which signifies an equal comparison between two different "objects" in a negative form (i.e. not one nor the other). Therefore when Lenin exonerates Zinoviev and Kamanev (the first "object", if you like) of personal blame but predicates this with 'neither', he is implying that the second "object" (Trotsky) is just as equally exonerated of personal blame. The comma after personally separates the two objects. The word 'neither' implies a negative association (i.e. either Zinoviev+Kamanev and Trotsky are not to be blamed personally) which means the words 'any more' compares all three in an exonerating way, rather than implying all all share some equal level of personal guilt.
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Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Nov 2014, 22:37
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Why can't socialists be the same?

It's not that we can't, the problem is that we are not supposed to. Capitalism is a society built on class antagonisms a

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If you are going to have a genuine election you need more than one candidate to be standing. One candidate is the same as no candidate.

No candidate = no elections. With one candidate at least you can vote "no" or write whatever you want on the ballot.

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Not much they could do?! The press was in state/party hands, freedom of expression was curtailed by the NKVD, people were being tortured and imprisoned for trumped up political reasons. The Soviet leadership had a huge amount of state apparatus at its disposal in order to prevent a significant "no" turnout!

That's not what Getty says.


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You have missed out the crucial piece of grammar in this sentence: the comma after 'personally'.

That's exactly the answer I was expecting but no, I haven't missed it. The comma is grammatically absurd because this sentence isn't made of two independent clauses. I have the French version at home which confirms that. If someone has the original English version at home we could see if the comma comes from the translator or from Marxists.org.

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Suppose Lenin were simply talking about Zinoviev and Kamanev. The revised sentence would read:
'I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but the blame for it cannot be laid upon them personally.[my revision]'

No because the meaning would be totally different. There you are implying that you can't blame Zinoviev and Kamenev personnally. Lenin, however, says that they can't be blamed personnally anymore than Trotsky could be. That's totally different.

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However, the original sentence contains the word 'neither' which signifies an equal comparison between two different "objects" in a negative form (i.e. not one nor the other). Therefore when Lenin exonerates Zinoviev and Kamanev (the first "object", if you like) of personal blame but predicates this with 'neither', he is implying that the second "object" (Trotsky) is just as equally exonerated of personal blame. The comma after personally separates the two objects. The word 'neither' implies a negative association (i.e. either Zinoviev+Kamanev and Trotsky are not to be blamed personally) which means the words 'any more' compares all three in an exonerating way, rather than implying all all share some equal level of personal guilt.

I shall just recall that the October episode with Zinoviev and Kamenev was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky."

In this sentence we have 2 parts. The first part is called the main clause (in green). The second part is called a subordinate clause (in blue). Neither is a subordinate conjunction, which means that it expresses the connection between the two parts, and the subordination of the second part to the first.

The first part says that what Kamenev and Zinoviev did was "no accident". So Lenin implies that they can be blamed personnally. Neither, there, means that the first part of the sentence isn't enough, i.e. that it's not enough to recall that they can be blamed personnally for what they did in October. You also have to temper your accusations by saying that you can't blame them more (any more) than you could blame Trotsky.

The comma isn't grammatically correct because commas should be used to separe two independant clauses: "Anymore than Trotsky" isn't an independant clause.

The French translation could give you some insight, especially since French and English are very close languages:

"Je me contenterai de rappeler que l'épisode d'octobre de Zinoviev et de Kaménev n'était assurément pas un fait accidentel, mais qu'il ne peut pas (neither) plus (anymore) lui (him) être imputé à crime personnellement que le non-bolchévisme à Trotski."

There, as you can see, the French translation, which is written in a very good French, and is very close to the English translation, keeps the comma between the two clauses, but there is no other comma because it would make no sense. Your "crucial piece of grammar" has disappeared. There is a comma in the Russian text, and the English translator probably just kept the comma. However, the comma is certainly not "crucial", because it simply can't change anything to the sentence.

The French translation is probably more serious, because instead of writing "the blame for it cannot be laid upon them personally", the translator wrote: "the blame for it cannot be laid upon HIM personnally". And the translator explains that it's probably a mistake, mistake which has disappeared in the English translation.

I will ask comrade Kirov what he thinks about the Russian text.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
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Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 27 Nov 2014, 00:39
Quote:
It's not that we can't, the problem is that we are not supposed to. Capitalism is a society built on class antagonisms a


And socialism isn't?

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No candidate = no elections. With one candidate at least you can vote "no" or write whatever you want on the ballot.


Voting no against one candidate is not something people would inherently want to do because the people know they are not getting any type of elected representative if the no vote wins. 'Vote no and get no prime-minister!' Therefore it is inherently biased in favour of the sole candidate standing. The whole point of a plurality of candidates is that, whoever wins, the people get an elected representative.

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That's not what Getty says.


So you deny that the newspapers were owned by the party-state? You deny that the NKVD ever purged anyone? You deny that the part-state was able to issue vast amounts of pro-Stalin propaganda?

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That's exactly the answer I was expecting but no, I haven't missed it. The comma is grammatically absurd because this sentence isn't made of two independent clauses. I have the French version at home which confirms that. If someone has the original English version at home we could see if the comma comes from the translator or from Marxists.org.


What else do you expect me to go on? I can only assume that the Marxists.org version is correct as I have no other version.

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In this sentence we have 2 parts. The first part is called the main clause (in green). The second part is called a subordinate clause (in blue). Neither is a subordinate conjunction, which means that it expresses the connection between the two parts, and the subordination of the second part to the first.


'Neither' is a coordinating conjunction which means that the second clause is not subordinate to the first.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_%28grammar%29

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The first part says that what Kamenev and Zinoviev did was "no accident". So Lenin implies that they can be blamed personnally.


No, just because he is saying it was no accident does not automatically imply that they can be blamed personally. They could be blamed professionally, or for being influenced by matters outside their control, or for many other potential reasons.

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Neither, there, means that the first part of the sentence isn't enough, i.e. that it's not enough to recall that they can be blamed personnally for what they did in October.


But as I have shown, 'neither' is a coordinating conjunction meaning that the first part of the sentence is enough to stand on its own.

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There, as you can see, the French translation, which is written in a very good French, and is very close to the English translation, keeps the comma between the two clauses, but there is no other comma because it would make no sense. Your "crucial piece of grammar" has disappeared. There is a comma in the Russian text, and the English translator probably just kept the comma. However, the comma is certainly not "crucial", because it simply can't change anything to the sentence.


Well I am no grammar expert (and neither are you by the looks of it!) but I have shown that you are wrong about the word 'neither' which ultimately shows that Trotsky is just as personally blameless as Zinoviev and Kamanev.
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Soviet cogitations: 2293
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 27 Nov 2014, 04:13
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And socialism isn't?

No. Socialism is supposed to be classless.

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Voting no against one candidate is not something people would inherently want to do because the people know they are not getting any type of elected representative if the no vote wins. 'Vote no and get no prime-minister!' Therefore it is inherently biased in favour of the sole candidate standing. The whole point of a plurality of candidates is that, whoever wins, the people get an elected representative.

They would have to find another candidate.

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So you deny that the newspapers were owned by the party-state? You deny that the NKVD ever purged anyone? You deny that the part-state was able to issue vast amounts of pro-Stalin propaganda?

I'm not trying to deny anything and I don't care. You have an interesting paper there, you should read it. Getty says that the Soviet Government feared the result of the election. This is enough to disprove your claim that the Soviet Government could control everything, including the outcome of the election.

http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neretin/misc/getty.pdf

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'Neither' is a coordinating conjunction which means that the second clause is not subordinate to the first.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_%28grammar%29


Neither in this situation, in association with "but" (but neither), is used as a subordinating conjunction because it connects an independant clause (green) and a dependant clause (blue). The dependant clause is subordinate to the first because the object is contained in the first sentence:

"but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally..." The blame for what? The answer is in the first clause, so the second clause can't stand on its own. It's a dependant clause.

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No, just because he is saying it was no accident does not automatically imply that they can be blamed personally. They could be blamed professionally, or for being influenced by matters outside their control, or for many other potential reasons.

This is illogical. If someone is blamed "for being influenced by matters outside [his] control" he is blamed personnally nonetheless. If you can't blame him personnally it means that it was an accident.

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But as I have shown, 'neither' is a coordinating conjunction meaning that the first part of the sentence is enough to stand on its own.

No, it's a subordinating conjunction. In a subordinating conjunction the first part of the sentence also stands on its own. The difference with a coordinating conjunction is that the second part can't stand on its own. But anyway what does that change to your point?

We are not discussing the first part (the green one), which is clear. We are discussing the second part. And in the second part Lenin says that Zinoviev and Kamenev are not any more personnally guilty for the October episode than Trotsky is for his non-bolshevism. Lenin is NOT saying that they are not responsible or that they shouldn't be blamed personnally. On the very contrary, in the first part of the sentence, he said that it was "no accident". Lenin isn't trying to exonerate them, he is trying to temper Trotsky's attacks against Zinoviev and Kamenev. Lenin is trying to defend Zinoviev and Kamenev without exonerating them for what they did.

Edit:
I have been looking at the Russian text, and the comma is grammatically correct in Russian. For example if you want to say Anton is as much strong as Igor, you can write: "Антон так cилeн, как Игорь". In English or in French, the comma would make no sense. You can't write: "Anton is as much strong, than Igor." Or "Anton est aussi fort, que Igor". Russian looks closer to German there.
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