You wrote:
>Were we reading the same article as mine was littered with
>vilifications of Stalin and the Bolshevik revolution. You talk of
>some on the left of turning Marxism into a secular religion well the
>charge could be made that others have turned it into a secular
>While I would not normally go out of my way to argue
>against these sorts of attacks I did so because his vilification
>obsured the nature of that society. It set up an Aunt-Sally in order
>to make his argument look like the only reasonable way forward way.
I suppose one person's reasoned critique can be another person's
vilification. I think, though, that while the vilifications of Conquest,
Solzhenitzen, (and, in a different way, some supporters of Trotsky) are
over the top, the official verdict of the CCP that Stalin was 70% correct
and 30% wrong is far too kind. But I don't want to argue the historical
record. There is a good evaluation of internal CPSU evidence in *New Left
Review* a few years ago that supports Meszaros' position, I think.

>This is what I think is the danger of projecting a future communism
>society. As if this was some objective reality which will come about
>in a specific and detailed form which we can ever predict from within
>a class-based society. That it will happen is a prediction that Marx
>could make from the particular historical point from which he wrote.
>But he knew only too well that a detailed sketch was beyond his
I don't want a detailed sketch. Social change depends on collective action,
disillusion withe the current system, and hope in propsects of a new
beginning. These things develop historically and through the conditions of
life. But they still need to develop, and they will require more than a
blind leap of faith. Collective ownership of the means of production will
call for capacities for sensible collective action, which Marx thought
workers would be schooled in sufficiently by the factory system. Marx also
spoke of the necessity of the working class being schooled for 20, 60, etc
years in struggle for social change before it is fit for governing society
(and production). This seems a serious underestimate of the time required.
Will I live to see it? I don't know.

>You point about feudal culture existing in pre-revolutionary Russia,
>China etc. was a bit confusing as did not feudal culture continue
>post-revolution and does it not still occur in bourgeois society
>right up to today. I notice that both you and I still live in a
>Bourgeoie society with an hereditary head of state and 90 artistocrat
>still sit in its second chamber. Feudalism may have died but the body
>has not decayed away yet. And where it may no longer exist in an
>economic sense its cultural aspects still continue.
Well, I agree. In fact, I  suggested that feudal culture lives on in our
society more than we might suppose. I mentioned pre-revolutionary Russia
and China as cases where that was especially rather than exclusively so.

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Head, Dept of Philosophy,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Philosophy Dept, School of Humanities,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2556

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