I think there is a qualitative difference between Lenin and Trotsky's disciplinary actions and Stalins. The former were answerable to a party that still represented the politically conscious workers. Kronstadt is probably the best example of a workers' state killing rebellious workers who threatened the survival ot the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Stalin was not accountable to advanced workers. He stacked the party with his cronies. He recruited politically backward elements. He suppressed the opposition. He killed his opponents. He was answerable to the bureaucracy and ultimately imperialism which coexisted with him relatively peacefully. Especially when they collaborated to kill revolutionaries.
Saying Lenin and Stalin both used repressive or tyrannical methods is to fall foul of the bourgeois method that equates regimes in terms of the degree of bourgeois democracy or totalitarianism. In this way Lenin becomes not only the precursor to Stalin but also Hitler.
I cannot prove these points merely by debating the past, we need to look to the present and future actions of Stalinist/mensheviks and Bolshevik/Leninist/Trotskyists to test them out in practice.
Backward to the dictatorship of the proletariat yes, but only in order to go forward.
Comrades who havent seen it might like to read and comment on the article "For a New World Party of Revolution" which discusses the 'soviet era' in Class Struggle No 31 its on http://www.geocities.com/communistworker/cs31.html
On 5 Apr 00, at 20:13, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> Since I'm new and only been reading along for a few weeks, I don't know the
> proper protocol for new "introductions" here. My sense is that what is said
> is more important than who, so I won't go through and list every one of
> Marx's works I've read. As to the other stuff, I'd describe myself as a
> union organizer (you can deduce which Union by reading my email address)
> striving mightily to avoid becoming Just A Trade Unionist who's fortunate
> enough to work for a union which encourages taking the long view and, shall
> we say, having a perspective out of the mainstream.
> Anyway, onto the debate (attributions snipped):
> The automatic linking of Bolshevism with Stalinism, and the idea that
> Stalinism grew necessarily and organically out of the revolutionary
> Bolshevism of Lenin and Trotsky.
> This is important. What deal of responsibility does revolutionary
> Bolshevism bear for the Stalinist counter-revolution, Rob? It's this
> kind of statement that makes me say your positions are typically SoD
> and Kautskyite -- Stalinist tyranny as an automatic consequence of
> Bolshevism and not as a diametrically opposed aberration.
> I'm not convinced that Stalinism was a automatic consequence of Bolshevism,
> but I do believe it's existance was fostered by Leninism. To wit, many of
> the more extreme manifestations of Stalinism were present in some form during
> Lenin's tenure. For example, the use of the medical apparatus as an
> instrument of repression and discreditation. Lenin frequently, in the name
> of the proletariat, required Party members to submit to his (not the
> doctor's) medical cures, such as periods of "rest" in comfortable places away
> from the capital. This backfired on him when Stalin was appointed by the
> Politburo to monitor his care after his stroke(s) and effectively and
> efficiently cut him out of the loop.
> Also, the state that Lenin erected was a sprawling bureaucracy, which by it's
> very nature spawns inter(and intra)group rivalries and struggles for power.
> Plus, that bureaucracy had one man effectively at it's head who ultimately
> called the shots. And, he set up an apparatus (the Central Control
> Commission, the Cheka, etc.) to ensure the ideological purity of the Party,
> which was later used by Stalin in his purges.
> So I suppose the question here is how do we avoid repeating the scenario and
> instituting one regime with another, how do we avoid throwing out the
> bourgoisie and merely replacing them with another ruling class "in the name
> of the workers" which becomes more attached to preserving its own interests
> and seeking power for itself?
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