UNITE! Info #19en: 4/4 Social-imperialism's Afghan war
[Posted: 09.10.96]

[Continued from part 3/4]


A) *The root cause of the revisionist support for the new tsars*
What are the social causes of such a revisionism, such a com-
pletely fake "Marxism", that even wholeheartedly supports the
aggression of an imperialist superpower against a third-world
country? What was it that made a small number of persons here in
Sweden, for instance, extremely friendly towards Soviet social-
imperialism - an arch-reactionary power rightly hated and des-
pised by an overwhelming majority of people - even at a time,
some 20 years ago, when that power was visibly not only oppres-
sing and exploiting a number of East European peoples but also
threatening this country and several other European countries

And still today, there are some purported "Marxists", in various
countries, who are weeping over the (partial) downfall of that
reactionary power. Why?

Can it be blamed on ignorance? To a certain small extent, in
some cases, perhaps yes. Under the rule of imperialism, in our
time, there is always massive suppression of information to "or-
dinary people". Thus, those who live in regions of the world
very far from the former Soviet Union and not so directly af-
fected by the political and military activities of that power
may well have had greater difficulties in seeing through its
mask of "socialism".

But for people calling themselves "Marxists", ignorance on such
a matter cannot be much of an excuse. If you're to become a
Marxist and try to guide and lead other people politically,
you're obliged, among other things, to inform yourself on the
vital matters in the world, and it cannot be said that today,
for instance, the utterly reactionary character of the Soviet
Union of the last few decades is something that you can miss, if
you study Marxism in some way and take a somewhat closer look at
world events - no matter in which country you live.

The extremely pro-social-imperialist revisionism that was ex-
pressed recently, for instance, by some persons writing to the
Jefferson Village Virginia Marxism list in the main has a very
definite social cause. On this, I'll quote from an article,
originally written in 1973 and published in English in 1976,
which I intend later to post in full too.

It's a passage from "The International Situation, Europe and the
Position of the Marxist-Leninist Parties", written by Klaus Sen-
der, chairman of the KPD/ML(NEUE EINHEIT), Germany, in his exile
here in Malmoe, Sweden, in 1973; English translation made by
me in co-operation with others and published in Britain in 1976
(pp 19-20):

"The Soviet Union was formerly a connecting link between the
oppressed nations and peoples in the East and the proletarian
revolution in the West. It was a fundamental principle of the
Soviet Union to give fully equal state rights to the peoples and
nations formerly oppressed by the tsar and to aim at developing
and promoting these countries in the economic respect as well.
But with the establishment of revisionism was also re-erected
the old, tsarist, prison for the people of all nationalities."

"A prop for Soviet revisionism is opportunism, or rather a hand-
ful of rich countries' exploitation of foreign countries from
which imperialism is extracting additional giant profits enab-
ling it to bribe the upper stratum of the working class and to
unburden the people of these rich countries of the dirty and
hard labour. The tendencies connected with this, towards philis-
tinification and petty-bourgeoisification of part of the working
class, were, and still are, a certain protection against the
emergence of a genuinely Marxist-Leninist movement, against
there being fought a real ideological struggle which would un-
mask Soviet revisionism completely."

"What one the one hand is causing opportunism must, on the
other, cause an intensification of international class struggle.
Modern revisionism has its root cause in the massive, extensive
exploitation of the countries of the third world. And it is from
this aspect that it must necessarily reveal itself the most. The
Soviet revisionists' social-imperialism is bound to clash openly
with the oppressed peoples and nations. Such a power as the so-
cial-imperialism of the Soviet revisionists must fear to the ut-
most every genuine movement, every movement of the oppressed
peoples and nations for independence and every genuine Communist

"Soviet revisionism today has become a vanguard of political
reaction in the world. This is what the Marxist-Leninists must

In the social-imperialists' Afghan war, 1979-89, that which was
predicted here was confirmed. That power did clash openly with
an oppressed people.

What Klaus Sender had written about "philistinification and
petty-bourgeoisification" eventually came true about him and
his party too. In the late 1980s, this earlier so important -
though always very small - genuinely proletarian revolutionary
force degenerated and turned into that in reality bourgeois
force today somtimes posting things on the Net as <klasber@aol.

B) *The Trotskyite and openly-bourgeois "theory" of "Stalinism"*

In 1917, there was the great Russian revolution, and in the
years immediately following this, the socialist Soviet Union was
formed. From the late 1950s on, capitalism was completely re-
stored in the Soviet Union and that former socialist state
turned into a pillar of reaction, from which in the mid-1970s
even the main danger of large-scale imperialist war emanated.

These are the most basic facts about the Soviet Union, although
things are not quite as simple as stated here in this fashion.
 From the very beginning, there were certain deformations in this
socialist state. And a number of reactionary, revisionist and
social-imperialist, actions were undertaken by the Soviet
leadership long before the end of the 1950s too. There are se-
veral questions of history concering the first socialist state
which still remain open. They need to be investigated.

These problems of course have facilitated the continued advocacy
of a reactionary "theory" which attacks what it calls "Stalin-
ism". In the above-mentioned discussion on the Jefferson Vil-
lage Virginia Marxism list, some people rightly condemned the
aggression against Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, but they
said that this aggression was an expression of "Stalinism".
Openly bourgeois media have presented things in a similar man-
ner too.

But the essentially upside-down character of this description
of things is obvious. What was the standpoint of the Soviet re-
visionists, who perpetrated the aggression in Afghanistan, con-
cerning Stalin? As is well-known, one of the most important
turning-points in the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet
Union was the 20th party congress of the CPSU in 1956 and the
"secret speech" held by Khrushchov, the first openly revisionist
Soviet leader, at that congress, in which he totally *repudia-
ted* Stalin and tried to blacken him as "completely reactiona-
ry". The later revisionist regime under Brezhnev, which was the
one mainly responsible for the genocidal aggression against Af-
ghanistan, had made some small modifications in their standpoint
concerning Stalin but had by no means stopped supporting their
forerunner's condemnation of him.

On the other hand, the genuine Marxist-Leninists, i.e. those who
adhered to Mao Zedong's correct repudiation of modern revisio-
nism and of Soviet social-imperialism and who of course condem-
ned the aggression of that power in Afghanistan, in the main
*supported* Stalin, while also criticizing his faults.

So what people might, with the least justification, be called
"Stalinists" in connection with Afghanistan - those who repu-
diated Stalin and perpetrated the aggression against that coun-
try or those who defended him in the main and condemned that
aggression? Obviously, only the latter, if the term "Stalinist"
is to have any meaning at all. But it's in precisely the *con-
trary* way that the Trotskyites and some openly bourgeois media
have used that term in this connection. Clearly, their "theory"
is an utterly confused one.

What's wrong with the term "Stalinism"? Basically, the fact
that it doesn't distinguish between the dictatorship of the
bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The openly bourgeois media of course never have recognized the
fact that the class character of the Soviet Union, at a certain
point in its history, changed. The question of more precisely
when the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union took
place is one on which some different theories might be argued -
because of those still unsolved questions of history. But the
fact that, in the 1960s at the latest, the former dictatorship
of the proletariat in that state had been replaced with a dic-
tatorship of the bourgeoisie is incontrovertible. The "theory"
of "Stalinism", calling the actions of the revisionist regime in
the Soviet Union under Brezhnev etc "Stalinist", pretends that
that regime had the same basic character as the one under Sta-
lin's leadership, which is untrue.

The Trotskyites are using the term "Stalinism" to denote - what?
They themselves have always advanced that theory, on the Soviet
Union, that it's a "worker's state though with bureaucratic de-
formations". They have been saying this about the Soviet Union
*after* capitalism in fact was restored in that state too. This
is extremely reactionary. It flagrantly goes against the clearly
visible facts.

Do the Trotskyites with their term "Stalinism" want to denote
suppression? So it seems. But there are two quite opposite kinds
of suppression, just and unjust. One kind is by a socialist
state against counter-revolutionaries, which is just suppres-
sion. Another kind is suppression against the masses, which is
unjust. Now it's the case that under Stalin's rule, there *was*
a considerable amount of such unjust suppression too, and not
only just suppression. Here there are some important questions
of history on which much more clarification is needed. But when
describing things, you must at least differentiate between the
two kinds of suppression. That's what the adherents of Trotsky
are *not* doing.

Do they want, by their use of the term "Stalinism", to denote
unjustified military intervention? There *were* some such ac-
tions undertaken by the Soviet Union under Stalin. One clear
case of it was the assault on Finland in 1939-40. That was in
fact a *social-imperialist* type of war on the part of the So-
viet Union, which, nevertheless, had *not* yet turned into a
social-imperialist state. The second war of the Soviet Union
against Finland, the one of 1941-44, was a *just* war on its
part, since Finland was then supporting the Hitler fascists'
aggression - a support which of course the Soviet Union in
part had provoked itself by its earlier unjust action against
that country, but anyway.

Typical for at least certain trends within Trotskyism too is a
tendency to describe the entire World War II as an "imperialist"
war, that is, an "unjust" war on the part of "all" the warring
parties, though in fact that war of course was in the main an
anti-fascist one, with certain imperialist elements involved as
a secondary aspect.

To call the Soviet revisionists' aggression in Afghanistan a
"Stalinist" war is unjustified and misleading too, since the
main war actually led by Stalin was a *just* one, that against
the invading Hitler fascists. The fact that the Stalin regime in
the Soviet Union also was responsible for certain military ac-
tions which must be condemned as unjust is, despite everything,
a *secondary* aspect of that regime.

It may be true that this secondary aspect was a rather important
one. Very murky do some things seem to be which were done by the
Soviet government in 1939-1940 and early 1941 in relation to
Hitler fascism. And these things also have a certain prehistory
which likewise merits a closer investigation. But still, to call
the Soviet revisionists' Afghan war a "Stalinist" one is basi-
cally misleading.

C) *Briefly on the superpowers as rivals and allies*

In the issue of the last weekend (5-6.10.96) of the US imperia-
lists' newspaper International Herald Tribune, there was an ar-
ticle on Afghanistan (by Philip Bowring on p. 8, "Kabul Reaps a
Whirlwind as the World Watches") in which the earlier aggression
by the social-imperialists against that country was described as
a "Soviet-U.S. proxy war". The present situation was commented
on in the following terms:

"If Afghanistan is to survive at all as a political entity
playing its historical role as a buffer state, some loose,
Swiss-style federation seems the only plausible solution. That
might have been possible had the Soviet-U.S. proxy war in Af-
ghanistan not been followed by the U.S.-Iranian cold war. For
now, however, it is only a dream."

Here, obviously, speaks a mouthpiece of another US imperialist
faction than that which supported (with or without quotation
marks) the Afghan resistance against the social-imperialists.
Was that war *in essence* a "Soviet-U.S. proxy war"? No. It had
some elements of such a proxy war in it, but, like the Vietnam
war, which some people have likewise tried to make out was such
a war, it was in the main an aggression by a foreign reactionary
power and a struggle on the part of the people against that ag-
gression. That is, it was mainly a "North-South" conflict, *not*
in the main an "East-West" one.

In that recent IHT article is visible the element of superpower
*partnership*, the desire by US imperialism to team up with Rus-
sian new tsarism in order to jointly dominate and oppress the
rest of the world. Historically, one reason why Soviet social-
imperialism became such a grave military threat to a number of
European countries some 20 years ago, for instance, was the fact
that one faction within US imperialism needed and wanted that -
economically much inferior - power as a counterweight against
socialist China, in the first place, and also as sword of Da-
moceles, in the second place, against European countries and
peoples, in order to "keep them in their place", this not least
also because in Europe, there were certain forces at least po-
tentially raising a "threat" of proletarian revolution.

As one trait in US imperialist foreign policy, today too, as
some 20 years ago, there is - besides that rivalry with Russian
new tsarism that still remains - also a tendency to try to use
that tsarism as a bullying "bear on a chain" against some
European and other countries. One small expression of this was
that misleading and in fact more or less condoning description
of the new tsars' Afghan war as a "proxy" one. By some writers
in the IHT, the fact that the Soviet Union had more than 100,000
own troops in Afghanistan and with its own air force massively
bombed the villages in that country, appearently has already
been "forgotten".

So those "Marxists" who have likewise "forgotten" this fact are
in "good company", one might say. They may not have much chance
of actually becoming Najibullahs themselves. But they can "com-
fort" themselves with the fact that their standpoint tallies
with that of a not inconsiderable faction within that main reac-
tionary power of today, US imperialism.

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