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Thread: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

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    Default The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    He's certainly a figure who divides opinion as we have seen from some recent posts in other threads. On the one hand under the leadership of Stalin the Soviets saved Europe from the tyranny of fascism as well as oversaw many positive developments in the USSR however there are innumerable accusations leveled against him, from manufacturing famines to ordering the murders of thousands. How much of this is attributable to black propaganda and how much is true? And how responsible was Stalin personally for what happened in the USSR (good and bad) given its governmental structure? What's the legacy of "Stalin's Russia"? And as for the legacy of the man himself,his writings undoubtedly have value but does he really leave an ideological legacy significant enough to warrant the term "Stalinism" or is it merely a term of abuse?

    What are some good books to read about Stalin and what works by the man himself are worth studying?

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    There are probably some communists and even parties who would describe themselves as Stalinist but I would see little that he did in the theoretical sphere to enrich or develop Marxism such as Lenin did, for example, in Imperialism and the Revolution. He seems to be main stream Marxist-Leninist to me. Trotskyites say that "Stalinism" is the theory of the possibility of developing "socialism in one country" but this is a position adopted by the Bolshevik Party on the basis of theoretical work done by Bukarin, I believe. Stalin had little to do with it. It was also a position supported by Lenin.

    In terms of writing he is probably best know for "Marxism and the national question".

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/a...913/03a.htm#s1

    For me however "Economic problems of socialism in the Soviet Union" may be more important. It sough to oppose economic ideas that were being promoted in the Soviet Union which would have undermined socialism. Ideas which were embraced after his death and the 20th Congress of the Party which saw the course of the Soviet Union changed and the road of capitalist restoration embarked upon.

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/a...lems/index.htm

    This article: Stalin and the making of the political economy of socialism gives a good overview of the issues involved.

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...n2/polecon.htm

    Also, while I am reluctant to promote anything to do with the British and Irish Communist Organisation I have to say that they produced in the late 60's two valuable pieces on Stalin's "Economic problems of socialism" which will be of interest to anyone concerned with Marxist political economy.

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...COstalinEP.pdf

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...oblPartTwo.pdf
    Last edited by Sam Lord; 04-03-2015 at 04:14 AM.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    There are probably some communists and even parties who would describe themselves as Stalinist but I would see little that he did in the theoretical sphere to enrich or develop Marxism such as Lenin did, for example, in Imperialism and the Revolution.
    Yes, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist)is Stalinist, or at least, views Stalin as a worthy successor of Lenin.

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    There are probably some communists and even parties who would describe themselves as Stalinist but I would see little that he did in the theoretical sphere to enrich or develop Marxism such as Lenin did, for example, in Imperialism and the Revolution. He seems to be main stream Marxist-Leninist to me. Trotskyites say that "Stalinism" is the theory of the possibility of developing "socialism in one country" but this is a position adopted by the Bolshevik Party on the basis of theoretical work done by Bukarin, I believe. Stalin had little to do with it. It was also a position supported by Lenin.

    In terms of writing he is probably best know for "Marxism and the national question".

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/a...913/03a.htm#s1

    For me however "Economic problems of socialism in the Soviet Union" may be more important. It sough to oppose economic ideas that were being promoted in the Soviet Union which would have undermined socialism. Ideas which were embraced after his death and the 20th Congress of the Party which saw the course of the Soviet Union changed and the road of capitalist restoration embarked upon.

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/a...lems/index.htm

    This article: Stalin and the making of the political economy of socialism gives a good overview of the issues involved.

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...n2/polecon.htm

    Also, while I am reluctant to promote anything to do with the British and Irish Communist Organisation I have to say that they produced in the late 60's two valuable pieces on Stalin's "Economic problems of socialism" which will be of interest to anyone concerned with Marxist political economy.

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...COstalinEP.pdf

    http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.or...oblPartTwo.pdf
    Many thanks Sam, much too digest there. Can you recommend a more conventional biography of Stalin, the ones I've come across all seem to be of the "evil tyrant" kind.

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    the ones I've come across all seem to be of the "evil tyrant" kind.
    Probably because he was a murderous psychopath, only surpassed in the mass-murder stakes by Mao Zedong.
    Thus all which you call Sin, Destruction—in brief, Evil—that is my true element.

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by TotalMayhem View Post
    Probably because he was a murderous psychopath, only surpassed in the mass-murder stakes by Mao Zedong.
    Why not elaborate a little TotalMayhem... if you are going to make sweeping statements you should really back them up, it's a discussion site after all.

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Saoirse or anyone else interested, although not specifically devoted to Stalin, the book "Red Flag" is reasonably objective in its assessment of him I think.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6675452-the-red-flag

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post

    What are some good books to read about Stalin
    This book ''A century of violence in Soviet Russia'' by Alexander N. Yakovlev, might be helpful. One critic says...''“Among the best 250 pages you will ever read on Stalin.”

    Another.. “Well documented. . . . [Yakovlev] provides a systematic and keenly insightful analysis of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet system up to its collapse. . . . This is a book that deserves to be widely read.” http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300103229

    The author draws on his own experiences and privileged access to State and Party archives.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by TotalMayhem View Post
    Probably because he was a murderous psychopath, only surpassed in the mass-murder stakes by Mao Zedong.
    Nice to see you back, TotalMayhem. This is a viewpoint that needs to be heard.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by pluralist View Post
    Saoirse or anyone else interested, although not specifically devoted to Stalin, the book "Red Flag" is reasonably objective in its assessment of him I think.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6675452-the-red-flag
    I read the comments on the book, and they were mainly lukewarm or negative. Odd that it had all those stars.

    Most of what is published on Stalin is either idolatry or iconoclasm.

    I'm thinking perhaps an examination of some of his writing might be one of the more objective approaches.

    Something early - later, when he was the boss, he may have had co-writers.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R


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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R



    Wow, all the flounced are becoming unflounced. This thread will attract anti-communists like a honey pot bees. Which is all that really needs to be said with regard to the legacy of Stalin and the USSR of his time.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Nice to see you back, TotalMayhem. This is a viewpoint that needs to be heard.

    Really? Only a Trotskyite could pen something like that.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post

    Something early - later, when he was the boss, he may have had co-writers.
    Getting better by the minute.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: The Legacy of Stalin and Stalin's U.S.S.R

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    No serious person takes Trotsky seriously. Trotskyism is for student dilettantes, leftist social democrats, opportunists who want to pursue political careers while comforting themselves that they are doing something for the oppressed, and agents of all shapes and colours. It has never been embraced by the workers in any country in over a century and never will. It is essentially a 5th column of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement .. splitting and wrecking everywhere.

    Lenin knew Trotsky well and amongst other things described him as a "Pustozvon" ("bell", man who talks much and does nothing), "svin'ya" (pig), "podlec iz podlecov" (scoundrel of scoundlers), "iudushka" ("Judas"/traitor), "politicheskaya prostitutka" (political prostitute) and coined a Russian proverb when he said "pizdit kak Trotskiy" - "to lie/*****/bullshit like fu**ing Trotsky".

    Some Lenin quotes on Trotsky:

    Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in fact once more with the Mensheviks); and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on "individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies". One day Trotsky plagiarizes from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarizes from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions.
    Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators. And these gentlemen do not stand on ceremony where the Party is concerned.
    Trotsky's particular task is to conceal liquidationism by throwing dust in the eyes of the workers... It is impossible to argue with Trotsky on the merits of the issue, because Trotsky holds no views whatever.
    Trotsky behaves like a despicable careerist and factionalist ... he pays lip-service to the party and behaves worse than any other of the factionalists.
    What appeals to the liquidators and Trotsky is only the European models of opportunism.
    The obliging Trotsky is more dangerous than an enemy! Trotsky could produce no proof, except "private conversations" (i.e., simply gossip, on which Trotsky always subsists), ........ . How obliging Trotsky is!
    ..it is this Judas who beats his breast and loudly professes his loyalty to the Party, claiming that he did not grovel before the Vperyod group and the liquidators. Such is Judas Trotsky's blush of shame.
    We say: Gentlemen, members of the groups that trust Martov and Dan, and want to "unite" with them, all of you August bloc people, Trotskyists, Vperyodists, Bundists, and so on, and so forth, please come out in the open and show your true colours!
    The conciliators call themselves Bolsheviks, in order to repeat, a year and a half later (and specifically stating moreover that this was done in the name of Bolshevism as a whole !), Trotsky's errors which the Bolsheviks had exposed.
    The basis of this bloc is obvious: the liquidators enjoy full freedom to pursue their line in Zhivoye Dyelo and Nasha Zarya “as before”, while Trotsky, operating abroad, screens them with r-r-revolutionary phrases, which cost him nothing and do not bind them in any way.
    The bloc comprising the liquidators, Trotsky, the Vperyod group, the Poles, the pro-Party Bolsheviks (?), the Paris Mensheviks, and so on and so forth, was foredoomed to ignominious failure, because it was based on an unprincipled approach, on hypocrisy and hollow phrases.
    By just touching upon Trotsky's mistaken views, ....... Trotsky's major mistake is that he ignores the bourgeois character of the revolution and has no clear conception of the transition from this revolution to the socialist revolution. ........., we shall at least expose the fallacy of those arguments of Trotsky.
    Trotsky's "workers' journal" is Trotsky's journal for workers, as there is not a trace in it of either workers' initiative, or any connection with working-class organizations ..
    ...Everybody knows that Trotsky is fond of high-sounding and empty phrases.
    ..that fact proves that we were right in calling Trotsky a representative of the "worst remnant of factionalism.....
    .Although he claims to be non-factional, Trotsky is known to everybody who is in the least familiar with the working-class movement in Russia as the representative of "Trotsky's faction..
    Trotsky, however, possesses no ideological and political definiteness, for his patent for "non-factionalism", as we shall soon see in greater detail, is merely a patent to flit freely to and from, from one group to another.
    Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, pompous and high-sounding phrases to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky.
    ..there are a number of theoretical mistakes in Trotsky's and Bukharin's theses: they contain a number of things that are wrong in principle. Politically, the whole approach to the matter is utterly tactless. Comrade Trotsky's "theses" are politically harmful.
    Trotsky declares: "It is an illusion" to imagine that Menshevism and Bolshevism "have struck deep roots in the depths of the proletariat". This is a specimen of the resonant but empty phrases of which our Trotsky is a master
    This truly "unrestrained " phrase-mongering is merely the "ideological shadow" of liberalism. Both Martov and Trotsky mix up different historical periods.
    Trotsky distorts Bolshevism, because he has never been able to form any definite views on the role of the proletariat in the Russian bourgeois revolution.

    This question needs only to be put for one to see how hollow are the eloquent phrases in Trotsky's resolution, to see how in reality they serve to defend the very position held by Axelrod and Co., and Alexinsky and Co.
    In the very first words of his resolution Trotsky expressed the full spirit of the worst kind of conciliation, "conciliation" in inverted commas, of a sectarian and philistine conciliation, which deals with the "given persons" and not the given line of policy, the given spirit, the given ideological and political content of Party work. ...... and the "conciliation" of Trotsky and Co., which actually renders the most faithful service to the liquidators and otzovists, and is therefore an evil that is all the more dangerous to the Party the more cunningly, artfully and rhetorically it cloaks itself with professedly pro-Party, professedly anti-factional declamations.

    And typical of the views of the Bolshevik Party as a whole on Trotskyism ..

    The Congress summed up the discussion on the trade unions' role in economic development, condemned the ideas of the Trotskyites, the Workers' Opposition, the Democratic Centralism group and other opportunist trends, and approved Lenin's platform by an overwhelming majority, terming the trade unions as a school of communism, and suggesting measures to develop trade union democracy"
    Last edited by Sam Lord; 05-03-2015 at 05:50 AM.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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