Ian you wrote that:
> the official verdict of the CCP that Stalin was 70% correct
> and 30% wrong is far too kind.>There is a good evaluation of
> internal CPSU evidence in *New Left Review*

The official verdict or the evaluation of the CPSU evidence is hardly
an arbiter of any view on the subject. It is like putting the sole
assessment of Thatcher or Regan in the hands of the Conservative Party
or the Republicans. As if that settled the debate.

> Social change depends on collective action, disillusion with the
> current system, and hope in prospects of a new beginning.

     Action - Disillusion - Hope
Are they not any other factors that can bring about social change such
as the material productive forces coming into conflict with existing
relations of production ! ! ! The task [of social revolution] only
arises when the material conditions for its solution exist, or are a
least in formation. I may be wrong but that was a contribution made by
a certain person in his analysis of political economy, but perhaps he
was mistaken.

Just being disgruntled with a society and hoping for the future is one
sided. When Marx and Engels discuss Utopian Socialism they point out
that sections of the aristocracy are equally disillusioned with
socialism and hope for a new beginning. But their collective action is
futile - as without favourable material conditions of production they
are left, like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.

This is not to say I am in favour of the opposite extreme of strict
economic determinism or technological determinism (aka Cohen ?) which
I think is equally un-Marxist. While we cannot make revolution or
attain communism merely by wanting it hard enough or convincing the
masses that they would like it better, on the other hand, we cannot
sit and wait for the course of history to do all the work for us
(perhaps a vanguard party might have a use afterall ;-)  ).

> Marx 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).

Don't forget that the bourgeoisie from its birth in the 15th or 16
century took about 300 years to get to the position of governing
society - so historically we are doing well.

The necessity of a time delay between  the physical revolution and the
a self-governing and self-productive classless society is the big
problem in Simon's arguments. Although I cannot find a nice quote from
Marx, my good old friend Engels points out that - following the
revolution - communism 'will develop more quickly or more slowly
according to whether the country has more developed industry, more
wealth, and a more considerable mass of productive forces'. Finally
just on the bit where you wrote: > 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.

Yes, I thought that is what you must have been the case. The problem
with emails (especially in regard to philosophical and political
debate) is that it is very often difficult to clarify exactly what
someone means. As Stalin said 'Everything is connected to everything
else' and if one has a consistent philosophy one's position on what
minor issue effects the logic of one's argument in relation to

Yours in clarification and consistency.


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