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Peoples' Republics vs. Soviet Republics

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 21 Oct 2012, 08:12
Can anyone give me information on why Stalin got so interested in Peoples' Republics?
Thus far only the extraordinary user Ismail has given a reasonable explanation.

That other forum...171edit


In my mind, a staunch Leninist would opt for Soviet Republics in post-war Europe, as Lenin pointed out in his National and Colonial Questions.

Quote:
Federation is a transitional form to the complete unity of the working people of different nations. The feasibility of federation has already been demonstrated in practice both by the relations between the R.S.F.S.R. and other Soviet Republics, and by the relations within the R.S.F.S.R. in respect of nationalities which formerly enjoyed neither statehood nor autonomy.

In this respect, it is the task of the Communist International to further develop and also to study and test by experience these new federations, which are arising on the basis of the Soviet system and the Soviet movement. In recognising that federation is a transitional form to complete unity, it is necessary to strive for ever closer federal unity, bearing in mind, first, that the Soviet republics, surrounded as they are by the imperialist powers of the whole world—which from the military standpoint are immeasurably stronger—cannot possibly continue to exist without the closest alliance; second, that a close economic alliance between the Soviet republics is necessary, otherwise the productive forces which have been ruined by imperialism cannot be restored and the well-being of the working people cannot be ensured; third, that there is a tendency towards the creation of a single world economy, regulated by the proletariat of all nations as an integral whole and according to a common plan. This tendency has already revealed itself quite clearly under capitalism and is bound to be further developed and consummated under socialism.


http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/leni ... jun/05.htm


Sure these things were mostly drafted in Yalta, but come on... Why couldn't we have Soviet Socialist Republics in Poland, Rumania, Finland(which could have been Red at a moments notice), Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia(if the Partisans wanted to join- which at that time they would have), and Greece, and later, after being capable of beginning the Socialist stage of production, countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, etc.? All preferably lead from Moscow under Leninist Democratic Centralism.


Now I can understand arguments saying that the Soviet Union already started the Socialist stage long before those countries did, but are they really expected to start from scratch?
The bourgeois state is contradictory to Socialism, and for that reason they must be ruthlessly destroyed and replaced with competent workers' states under a system of Soviets.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Komsomol
Post 21 Oct 2012, 15:45
The initial post in the thread was
Quote:
" Eastern European countries where called the countries of 'peoples democracy'

but the 'demo' in democracy means people, so its 'peoples people rule'

Didn't any ideologue realize how stupid it sounds? "


Its funny wikipedia's articles on People's Republic used to say that the Socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea meant People's People's People's People's Korea.

I would answer though that each of those words have a different concrete-historical context than their mere Greek and Latin etymologies. On an aside I've always wondered what the significance was of the Republic of China being The Mínguó of China, while the People's Republic of China is The (Rénmín) People's Gònghéguó of China. Which means that the PRC and ROC use different terms for the word Republic, and I have wondered what the significance of that is.

Check out this thread viewtopic.php?f=134&t=52630 for an earlier SE discussion on the nature of People's vs Soviet Democracies

The idea of "People's Democracy" has been criticized by those who say it is essentially a form of the "free people's state" that Marx criticized Lasalle for in the Gotha Program. Marx and Lenin affirmed that there could never be a all-people's state empty of class content, only a bourgeois or proletarian class dictatorship.

Quote:
The question then arises: What transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present state functions? This question can only be answered scientifically, and one does not get a flea-hop nearer to the problem by a thousand-fold combination of the word 'people' with the word 'state'. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... a/ch04.htm


When Lenin criticized the term Social Democracy, it was not just for the practical political reasons of the desertions of the Bernsteins, Kautskys and Plekhanovs but also for the scientific reason that class-neutral democracy was not a goal of the Party nor even possible.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... s/ch12.htm
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Philosophized
Post 21 Oct 2012, 19:28
Well, under the conditions of so-called "socialist occupation", things seem to look different though. A soviet system cannot be imposed because soviets are essentially institutions of self-organization. At the same time, the Soviet Union refused to hand these countries back to imperialism, for very legitimate reasons. So I think it's obvious that their states were neither dictatorships of the proletariat, nor dictatorships of the bourgeoisie - unless you want to extend the meaning of "bourgeoisie" so far as to include the Stalinist bureaucracy, or claim that they constitute a "new class" (as lots of leftcom currents have done). I think that both options are problematic, since it's hard to make out a clear class barrier between the population and leadership of deformed workers' states - which is also the best description for these states: They were, quite literally, states of workers, and their deformation consisted in their bureaucratic leadership.

Of course Marx and Lenin maintain that states are never devoid of class content. But I think it would be wrong to take this definition in an absolute manner and apply it to reality in a schematic way without allowing for intermediate states and temporary exceptions. Of course states are typically class states, but states don't just exist without change. There is constant class struggle, and in revolutionary situations of course there can be phenomena such as dual power or failure of any class to secure power. Of course a state will always tend to be used by one class to oppress another, but Soviet rifles and the Iron Curtain went a long way in maintaining this unnatural disequilibrium. But in general, I think there is an obvious trend that where there is no workers' control, the bourgeoisie will sooner or later reassume power. This can happen very suddenly, within a mere two years, as in the GDR, over a slightly longer timespan, as in the USSR, or in a slow process spanning several decades, as in China. Cuba is the most democratic workers' state, and it seems to be the most secure one.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 22 Oct 2012, 16:48
Thanks guys.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 22 Oct 2012, 19:44
Mabool, that was an amazing analysis. I agree a 100%.
This is why a democratic approach to socialism must be the prefered way, whenever it's possible.


"Where Argentina goes, Latin America will go".
Leonid Brezhnev

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Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
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Post 22 Oct 2012, 21:45
Oh, that's just basic Trotskyism.
(It amazes me as well...)
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
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Post 23 Oct 2012, 05:43
Didn't Lenin once say that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the highest form of democracy?
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Post 23 Oct 2012, 12:02
Yes, he did, in the State and Revolution.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 24 Oct 2012, 19:51
If the party is left alone to own the Means of Production, and the workers' don't have a medium through Soviets, then the concept of Peoples' Democracies seems pretty failed.

Leninism is based on a dichotomy between the workers and the party. The Peoples' Democracies are based upon Bourgeois Liberal Democracy and the party. It is a recipe for disaster, and it will only lead to Revisionism or Opportunism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 25 Oct 2012, 20:55
Yes, this is quite on the spot. It's an extremist version of reformism, really. It is, essentially, the same state socialist bullshit that social democrats fantasize about, only without the market fetish.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 26 Oct 2012, 04:25
Is there really a qualitative difference between the People's Democracies of Eastern Europe and Asian and the Soviet Union of Stalin's 1936 Constitution, which acknowledged that class conflict no longer existed in the USSR? Much less the All-People's State of Khrushchev and Brezhnev? In what way did the allied Patriotic and Democratic parties of E.Europe and China contribute to the subversion of socialism? The E. European states did claim to be dictatorships of the proletariat as much as the USSR, with the peasants and petite bourgeoisie serving only as allies. The USSR was likewise a state of worker's and peasants as symbolized in the Hammer and Sickle.

How is the Marxism of China, Vietnam, Cuba, Albania, less revolutionary, democratic, proletarian, creative and dynamic than the Marxism of Stalin, Khruschev and Brezhnev?

The Revolutionary Democracy archive has an extensive collection, demonstrating that the People's Democracies claimed to be Dictatorships of the Proletarian as much as the USSR, and were recognized as such by Stalin and the Soviets.

http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/#pd

Quote:
"The régime of people's democracy is the new type of State organisation of the people's power in the countries of Central and South-East Europe. The example of the countries of the people's democracy confirms the correctness of the theoretical thesis of Lenin and Stalin concerning the international importance of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the essence of various political forms in the period of the transition from capitalism to Socialism. Comrade Stalin teaches that the régime of the countries of people’s democracy in Central and South-East Europe fulfils the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that the States of people's democracy are one of the forms of the dictatorship of the .proletariat."


While I understand the Trotskyist critique of People's Democracy as a form of Stalinism, I do not see how any Stalinist, Maoist, Hoxhaist, or Brezhnevite could concede that People's Democracy was a lesser form of proletarian state than Stalin's USSR. Even most anti-stalinists don't consider People's Democracy to be qualitatively WORSE than Stalinism, they precisely criticize it for being the SAME as Stalinism.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 27 Oct 2012, 06:50
The Russian Revolution only began because the Bolsheviks won a majority in the local Soviets. It was the mandate of the workers that a Socialist state be created under the guidance of a Vanguard party, but the workers still kept their power through the Soviets.

In the Eastern Bloc, you simply had Partisans and the Red Army "liberating" oppressed people, while crafting up a few councils which had little influence... In China, you had mostly Peasants.

How can any of these states be considered Socialists? Perhaps a very low form of Socialism at best...


May I ask, what was Stalin's plan for the Peoples' Democracies? Were they supposed to eventually become Soviet-run Proletarian Dictatorships when the workers overthrew their governments?
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Post 27 Oct 2012, 15:55
My point is that, if you want to take the Trotskyist position that there was genuine worker's democracy under Lenin, but Stalin lead a counter-revolution. That is a legitimate coherent position, although one of disagreement.

But to say that there was greater worker's democracy in the USSR of Stalin than in the People's Democracies, is not a defensible or coherent position.

The People's Congresses or various forms of representative bodies claimed to be fulfilling the same form of worker's democracies that the soviets were in the USSR. The status of the peasants in the Eastern Bloc and China was identical to their status in the 1936 Soviet constitution.

Again I challenge anyone to make the case that there was more worker's democracy in the Soviets under Stalin, than there was in E.Europe or Asia.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 27 Oct 2012, 17:29
heiss93 wrote:
My point is that, if you want to take the Trotskyist position that there was genuine worker's democracy under Lenin, but Stalin lead a counter-revolution. That is a legitimate coherent position, although one of disagreement.

That position is rather boring, especially when Stalin, in 1923, differentiated the differences between Trotskyism and Leninism.

Quote:
The People's Congresses or various forms of representative bodies claimed to be fulfilling the same form of worker's democracies that the soviets were in the USSR. The status of the peasants in the Eastern Bloc and China was identical to their status in the 1936 Soviet constitution.

From what I know of Stalin, he believed the Peasants were allies of the Proletariat and it was the duty of the Proletariat to transform them into their class. Did that even happen in China, since they didn't really have a Proletarian class?

Anyway, it seems like Socialism from below, as existed to a respectable extent in the USSR, is more legitimate than Socialism from above.

The so-called "State Socialism" of Stalin was far more decentralized than what existed in the Eastern Bloc.
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Post 27 Oct 2012, 17:40
You might want to read some of the works of Nick Knight http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Knight_(professor) Especially Rethinking Mao: Explorations in Mao Zedong’s Thought

He debunks many of the claims of Sinologists and China-watchers that Maoism represented a deviation from orthodox Marxism and a substitution of the peasantry for the working class. Mao always insisted that the Proletarian would be the leading class of revolution and the party. The Peasants as in the October Revolution served as allies and auxiliaries.

Stalin's justification for abolishing all parties in the USSR, was that parties represent political classes. The only two political classes in the USSR was the working class and the peasantry who have no class interests separate from each other.

As for Stalin's USSR being more decentralized, a common criticism of the People's Democracies in Hungary and Yugoslavia is that they were far TOO decentralized and tended towards a market socialism.

The People's Democracies of China and Albania were far more anti-revisionist than the so-called Soviets of Khrushchev and Brezhnev. It is the content of the state that counts, not the name.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 28 Oct 2012, 21:35
Havee3333333 wrote:
May I ask, what was Stalin's plan for the Peoples' Democracies? Were they supposed to eventually become Soviet-run Proletarian Dictatorships when the workers overthrew their governments?
The People's Democracies were dictatorships of the proletariat. Their origin differed from the Soviet Union but they still embarked on socialist construction and their form of state organization was quite alike that of the USSR; just as the USSR the soviets fulfilled administrative functions, the East European states had people's councils and other similarly-named organs.

heiss93 wrote:
In what way did the allied Patriotic and Democratic parties of E.Europe and China contribute to the subversion of socialism?
Their roles after the 40's were basically insignificant. They never influenced any policies or exerted any notable pressure. In China during the "Hundred Flowers" period and in Czechoslovakia during the Dubček administration there were attempts to make them more active and autonomous but that didn't last long.

According at least to early Soviet pronouncements (40's-50's) the democratic parties were to eventually cease existence at some unspecified date. This did occur in Yugoslavia (if we count its brief coalition government), Hungary and Romania while the other states retained their parties, as is known, all the way to 1989. Albania never had any coalition government so it never had any democratic parties, a fact which Socialist Albanian sources considered a good thing.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Post 29 Oct 2012, 07:14
Did China have State and Collective farms like Russia? I haven't done a lot of reading on Mao, simply because I take him for a Revisionist.

heiss93 wrote:
Yugoslavia

Not that I'm advocating for a stateless development of Socialism, as the Anarchists do, but Stalin did count on the Workers' Unions(which were independent in some areas) to conduct the 5 year plans with the guidance of the state.

Quote:
It is the content of the state that counts, not the name.

I wasn't exactly saying the opposite.

I'm not exactly knowledgeable on this topic, so I take these peoples' councils as created from scratch by the state.
Ismail wrote:
Their origin differed from the Soviet Union but they still embarked on socialist construction and their form of state organization was quite alike that of the USSR; just as the USSR the soviets fulfilled administrative functions, the East European states had people's councils and other similarly-named organs.

Well I don't disagree with that- they were obviously on a path to Socialist construction. Where they just on a lower form?

Not to sound like a Liberal and say that the Soviet system is the only valid form of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, but what was wrong with a Soviet system instead of these Peoples' systems? Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary all had Soviet movements in their history, so why couldn't they just join the USSR?
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Komsomol
Post 29 Oct 2012, 10:16
Havee3333333 wrote:
Where they just on a lower form?
I don't quite get what you mean by "lower form."

Quote:
Not to sound like a Liberal and say that the Soviet system is the only valid form of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, but what was wrong with a Soviet system instead of these Peoples' systems? Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary all had Soviet movements in their history, so why couldn't they just join the USSR?
Because that would cause massive uprisings and the downfall of those governments. In Poland the USSR was equated with the Russian Empire and always seen as suspicious by a large majority of Poles, while the USSR could not have annexed eastern Germany without going to war with the West, etc.

The People's Democracies had their own revolutions. It'd make no sense to impose a Soviet system, especially since it's not quite clear what that even means. What about the Fatherland Front committees in Bulgaria, wherein no government policies could be decided without their consent? What about the national liberation councils in Albania and Yugoslavia which were created during the war and were the basis of the new state power constructed after it?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jul 2012, 03:04
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Pioneer
Post 30 Oct 2012, 02:14
Ismail wrote:
I don't quite get what you mean by "lower form."

If the Soviet Union had been on the path of Socialism for so long, did these countries just start from scratch in comparison?

Quote:
What about the Fatherland Front committees in Bulgaria, wherein no government policies could be decided without their consent? What about the national liberation councils in Albania and Yugoslavia which were created during the war and were the basis of the new state power constructed after it?

Of course the self-liberated countries through Partisanship is another question. They obviously couldn't be annexed.

Thanks for the other explanations.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 30 Oct 2012, 10:06
Havee3333333 wrote:
If the Soviet Union had been on the path of Socialism for so long, did these countries just start from scratch in comparison?
Yes.
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