Archive | February 5th, 2016

Stalin

NOVANEWS

Maurice Thorez 1960

Source: Fils du Peuple, Editions Sociales, Paris, 1970;

Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;

CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.

In 1950 Thorez suffered a stroke. He went to the Soviet Union to recover, and was there until April 1953, a month after Stalin’s death.


At Barvikhs, and then during my stay on the banks of the Black Sea, I several times received the unexpected visit of Stalin, with whom I conversed in Russian.

Stalin worried about the care I was receiving, about my food. One day he said to me: “the cook prepares French meals for you: grilled meats? many vegetables? This is good. You should also drink a little wine” (the doctors had forbidden this). And he told me that during his adventurous life as a revolutionary he had once been cared for in a hospital in Viatka — today Kirov — where, to comfort him, he’d been made to drink French wine. “It was very good,” he stressed. Stalin had oranges and lemons brought to me. He himself chose the regions and cities where I was to stay.

At the beginning of 1952, feeling better, I wanted to return to France in order to more closely participate in the work of the Party. Stalin came to see me in Gagra. “Nou, vy sobiraietess ouiezjat“…”So, you’re getting ready to leave? But you aren’t yet fully recovered. You have to be patient; this is an important quality in a revolutionary. France isn’t going to vanish. You will see it again, and you’ll have every possibility of serving it.”

One evening, finding myself beside the Black Sea, I had a telephone conversation with Stalin: “Did you know,” he said, laughing, “ that the enemies of the working class in France claim that I am keeping you by force in the Soviet Union? They are putting up posters calling for your ‘liberation’ and return to France! They’ll doubtless be less happy when they see you arrive…”

It was in October 1952 that I heard Stalin speak for the last time from a tribune. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was holding its 19th Congress. Stalin exhorted the Communists to take up the flag of democratic freedoms and national independence that the decadent bourgeoisie had thrown overboard.

Speaking for the first time since my illness, I had the joy of saluting the guides of the Soviet proletariat.

The political situation in France continued to preoccupy me. The Pinay government had intensified the war in Vietnam and signed the treaties of Bonn and Paris. It had fallen in December 1952, but its successors tried to have recourse to décrets-lois, and sought to modify the constitution, in order to pursue a policy based on the Marshall Plan and the Atlantic Treaty. In my correspondence with France, I insisted on the problem of workers’ unity.

On March 5, 1953, struck down by a stroke, Stalin died. I shared the deep affliction felt by the Soviet people and Communists of the entire world.

Stalin had been an eminent Marxist theoretician, a great organizer, a firm fighter for communism. For more than thirty years he had occupied the post of Secretary General of the Central Committee of his party.

After Lenin’s death he supported the intransigent struggle against all the enemies of Marxism: Trotskyists, right opportunists, bourgeois nationalists. His book “Questions of Leninism” played a great role in the formation of Communists in all countries. It was under his direction that the people of the USSR constructed socialism and carried off their victory in the Second World War.

Nevertheless, Stalin committed grave errors, especially in the last period of his life. Success and praise turned his head. An appreciation of his two sides — the positive and the negative — was given in the documents of the 20th Congress of the CPSU and in the June 1956 resolution of the Central Committee of that party: “On the means of overcoming the cult of the personality and its results.”

Stalin committed the error of putting in the forefront the thesis of the worsening of the class struggle in 1937, at a moment when the exploiting classes had been eliminated in the USSR, and when there were only two friendly classes: the workers and the peasants. He transformed into a rule of the life of the state and the Party certain limitations to democracy that had been inevitable during the period of ferocious struggle against the class enemy and its agents, and then during the war against the fascist invaders. He committed errors in the appreciation of the strategic situation on the eve of the unleashing of military operations.

His errors caused grave prejudice to the Soviet people and the workers movement. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the personality cult didn’t turn the Communist Party of the USSR from its Leninist orientation, that it didn’t and couldn’t change the nature of the Soviet state. We can see this by the way the Communist Party of the USSR corrected the errors and defects of the preceding period, and by the élan that the work of the 20th and 21st gave to the work of communist construction and the fight for peace.

 


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On the Steps taken by the CPSU against Stalin

NOVANEWS

Shibdas Ghosh

An open letter to Comrade Khrushchev and other comrades abroad

Source: Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) (used with kind permission)

Date: November 16-18, 1961

First published March 1, 1962

HTML Markup: Salil Sen for marxists.org September, 2007

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Evaluation of Comrade Stalin after Khrushchev had usurped the leadership of the CPSU and the state and had denigrated Stalin in the name of fighting out the cult of personality.


Comrade Khrushchev 1
And Other Comrades Abroad

Dear Comrades,

The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU under the leadership of Comrade Khrushchev decided to make an assessment of the role of Stalin, considered infallible and above criticism by almost all the communists throughout the world before that decision of the Twentieth Congress. The beginning then made has found its culmination in the decisions of the Twentysecond Congress of the CPSU on this score. These decisions express themselves in various measures adopted in the USSR since then — all of which are intended, more or less, to erase Stalin from public memory. Publication of his writings has been prohibited. Quotations from his works are scrupulously avoided. Towns and villages, parks and streets, collective farms and so many other institutions that are associated with him and bear his name are being renamed. His portraits and statues are being pulled down. His body has been removed from the Lenin-Stalin Mausoleum, now renamed Lenin Mausoleum. The measurers mentioned above and similar other measure are directed, in the opinion of the present leaders of the CPSU, at counterblasting  and finally eradicating, the anti-communist tendencies and practices allegedly indulged in by Stalin. These are mainly the practice of the cult of the individual in general and of Stalin-cult in particular. The other charges levelled at Stalin are violation of inner-party democracy, growth and establishment of bureaucracy in party-life and administration and, lastly, abuse of power resulting in loss of lives of many innocent persons.

Difference in communist world

That there are major differences between different communist parties over the relative appreciation of values of Stalin as made by the CPSU under the leadership of Khrushchev as also over the above-mentioned measures as means to fight out the cult of the individual cannot be denied. These differences have already manifested themselves in diverse forms and expressions. Several communist parties, in toeing the line advanced by Khrushchev, are at work in their respective countries to completely black out Stalin or to level him, at best, with communists of ordinary rank. It is reminiscent of the mechanical support given at the time of Stalin to whatever would come from the CPSU. Some other communist parties, on the contrary, because of their blind allegiance to Stalin, have developed an anti-Khrushchev bias and gone to the other extreme. The more rabid of the latter group have gone so far as to burn the effigy of Khrushchev in denunciation of whatever he has said or done with regard to Stalin. There are still others who, though in general agreement with the line of Khrushchev, are finding it extremely difficult to reconcile the past with the changed situation of the present. In utter ideological confusion they have raised the demand that henceforth the centre of leadership for guiding the communist movement should not be located in any single country and that there should be more than one such centre. All these signs and expressions bear testimony to the unchallengeable fact that the world communist movement is confronted today with a serious ideological crisis — a crisis of such a magnitude that it has led to an open breach of diplomatic relations between Albania, on the one hand, and several other socialist states, including the USSR, on the other, all belonging to the great camp of peace and socialism. It is our apprehension that the serious ideological confusion prevailing at present in the communist movement, if not rightly resolved in time, may, in the long run bring about a new phenomenon in world history, when people would witness that communists of different countries, instead of further cementing the unity between them and making rapid strides for the establishment of world communist society, are at loggerheads with each other and hinder the march for the realization of the cherished ideal of world communist society. This apprehension of ours cannot be altogether ruled out in the context of the recent breach of diplomatic relations between Albania and some other socialist countries and unfortunate events resulting therefrom; rather they are indicative of the possibility of such a situation. The gravity of the matter, in the circumstances, can hardly be over-emphasized.

Necessity of open polemical discussion

In our considered view, it is definitely harmful for the communist movement to deny the differences between different communist parties over the question of relative appreciation of values of Stalin and the measurers adopted by the CPSU with regard to him. An ostrich-like policy of self-delusion will worsen the situation. A thorough critical examination of all the questions connected with the issue should be made. It should, preferably, take the form of an open polemical discussion by different communist parties and masses of peoples. Because, only by such an open polemical discussion can the ideological differences between different communist parties be brought out in sharp relief and then correctly resolved. This is the Leninist way of educating the class and then the masses; it is the way of learning from the class and the masses also. In matters ideological there should never be any glossing over the differences, no finding of via media, as means to bypass the differences. Only a resolute struggle can dispel the mist of ideological confusion and bring the communist movement back to the correct path and thereby strengthen it. Hence, in this particular respect which involves principle, the policy of hush hush should not at all be encouraged. It is true that some comrades apprehend that an open polemical discussion on the policy adopted by the CPSU under the leadership of Khrushchev with regard to Stalin and the various reactions thereto in the communist world will lead to the weakening of unity between different communist parties which may, in the long run, bring about open rupture. This apprehension seems to us to be influenced by commonplace idea about communist unity. The unity between different communist parties is not so weak and loose that it will fall like a pack of cards as soon as the Leninist principle of criticism and self-criticism is objectively practised in the form of an open polemical discussion on the question of Khrushchev’s policy with regard to Stalin and various reactions thereto among the communists. And if, in fact, such brittle is the unity then it is anything but communist unity, and the sooner it is replaced by real communist unity based on the correct understanding of the nature and character of unity between different communist parties the better. The entire life of Lenin teaches us that, let alone the weakening of unity and rupture, open, frank and free polemical discussions and uncompromising ideological struggles conducted by him had always the salutary effect of consolidating and strengthening the unity between different communist parties. The practice in the post-Lenin period of keeping all controversial matters limited within the four walls of closed door meetings of different communist parties and the policy of hush hush pursued are in no small measure responsible for the lack of proper understanding of mutual relationship between different communist parties. For the healthy growth and development of proper understanding, the old policy and practice must be discarded.

Why this open letter

As an integral part of the world communist force, the Socialist Unity Centre of India cannot remain an idle spectator to the serious ideological crisis that confronts the world communist movement today, centring round the relative appreciation of values of Stalin and the measures adopted by the CPSU under the guidance of Khrushchev to fight out the cult of the individual in general and Stalin-cult in particular. In this respect, our party does not think it correct to support the one and oppose the other of the views mentioned earlier. A formalistic, dogmatic and mechanical approach to the problem will not mend matters; hence a critical analysis is essentially needed. In response to that pressing necessity and actuated by the revolutionary urge of contributing our mite to the struggle for solving the serious ideological crisis which the communist movement faces now, we feel it our bounden duty to place before all the fraternal communist parties in general, and Comrade Khrushchev, in particular, our say in the matter. Hence this open letter. We hope and trust that this will receive from the comrades the attention it deserves.

There should not be any bias

Before entering into the main topic, it is our fervent appeal not to consider the problem from anti-Khrushchev or anti-Stalin bias. There is not an iota of doubt that a correct appraisal of what had happened during the period of Stalin’s leadership is to be made, not for the purpose of either unnecessarily glorifying or sullying Stalin but for ridding the communist movement of its defects and shortcomings and strengthening it; we are concerned with the uphill task as to how we, the communists, can remove the root cause that gave birth to and nurtured the cult of the individual in general and Stalin-cult in particular  —  an  obnoxious  idea  and  practice  which  has landed the communist movement in the present ideological confusion and crisis. The proper approach to the problem should,  therefore,  be  not  from  the  point  of  view  of  fighting Stalin the man, but with the avowed aim of eradicating the root cause of the cult of the individual from the communist movement.

So-called explanations for growth and development of cult of individual

It goes without saying that the cult of the individual is alien to the Marxist-Leninist concept of collective leadership. It is also admitted that in the later part of Stalin’s life this non-Marxist cult grew, developed and dominated in the party-life. It is equally true that it has done incalculable harm to the communist movement. There can be no disagreement with Khrushchev and other leaders of the CPSU in so far as these points are concerned; but at the same time, we cannot but say that no serious attempt from any quarter has yet been made to bring to light the root cause of the cult of the individual and fathom the pernicious effects of it on the communist movement. Up till now we have come across three explanations of it which in our opinion are erroneous. Let us examine them. In analysing the cause of the cult of the individual, some comrades hold that the ‘negative qualities of Stalin’ are solely responsible for the growth and development of the cult. This sort of analysis is absolutely unscientific, inasmuch as it overemphasizes the role of an individual in history and considers individual traits and qualities absolutely independent of material conditions and the objective process. Besides, in every individual there are negative qualities, there may be difference in degree but they are there in every man. But the mere existence of the negative qualities in an individual does not, in all cases, lead to defects. It is only under suitable conditions that the negative qualities can become the dominating feature of character. In the absence of these suitable conditions conducive to the growth and development of the cult of the individual in a communist party of CPSU’s standing, Stalin, in spite of his strong personality, would have utterly failed to practise and involve others in the practice of the cult of the individual. To probe the conditions under which the ‘negative qualities of Stalin’ could become dominating feature of his character, it is necessary to examine the role of his colleagues in the leading body of the CPSU and that of leaders of different communist parties in their relation with the CPSU vis-a-visthe individual role of Stalin. Furthermore, those traits of Stalin’s character which are being branded by the present leaders of the CPSU as his negative qualities require scientific examination on the basis of correct understanding of communist moral values, distinctly different from bourgeois humanist moral values, before they are accepted as such. Unfortunately, no light has been thrown by any of the present leaders of the CPSU on this score. There are some other comrades who in their zeal to defend Stalin and whatever he had done argue that the peculiar conditions in which Stalin had to work in order to protect the first socialist state in the world from internal danger and external aggression were such that there could be no escape from the practice of the cult of the individual and other concomitant evils under the circumstances. No serious Marxist can accept this logic. It is no Marxism; it is vulgar materialism born of the absurd concept of economic determinism which the renegades of all ages had tried to pass off as Marxism. Under the same condition, a party may move correctly or commit mistakes. But to explain the activities of a party just as the outcome of objective conditions obtaining at a given time, is to negate the subjective role, practise tailism, economic determinism and sink into the concept of fatalistic inevitability. There are still some others who attribute the growth and development of the cult of the individual to socio-economic conditions in the country. These persons may be divided into two categories. One section consists of communists no doubt; but because of their low level of consciousness they overemphasize  the objective conditions, minimize the subjective role and unknowingly chew the cud of economic determinism to the detriment of communist movement. In the other section fall the social democrats who, inspired by their invidious motive of undermining the socialist system, have taken up the issue as a means to carry on a slanderous propaganda against the USSR and other socialist states, in particular, and communism in general. Thus, comrades, none of the above three analyses can correctly explain the root cause of the growth and development of the cult of the individual. But the fact is that unless the root cause is correctly found out and determinedly fought out, the cult of the individual cannot be extirpated. And what is the root cause ?

Root cause of cult of individual

We have been, all through, noticing that despite tremendous growth, development and success, the communist movement during Stalin’s time was as a whole contaminated with and consequently suffered from serious defects and shortcomings. In our opinion the root cause of the growth and development of the cult of the individual lies precisely in these defects and ideological shortcomings. What are these ? It is our study that during the period of Stalin’s leadership the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the sense of authority was confused with authoritarianism. This confusion has implanted the seed of the cult of the individual in the ideological sphere. There is no doubt that in Marxism-Leninism also the sense of authority works. But this sense of authority has nothing in common with authoritarianism which precludes struggles with the authority, is based on blind acceptance of authority, considers the authority as infallible and above criticism and ultimately deifies it. Such a blind sense of authority is incompatible with the dialectical understanding of the sense of authority, which does not preclude rather presupposes struggles, not of antagonistic nature, with the authority precisely with the object of uniting with and strengthening it. This confusion was instrumental in replacing the dialectical relationship by formal relationship between different communist parties, resulting in the degeneration of democratically centralized world communist organization into a mechanically centralized world body. It has its internal reaction on the individual communist parties as well; the struggle between the leader of the collective whole and the rest of the party completely disappeared. In short, struggles of ideas virtually ceased to exist in party life. In the absence of struggles and ‘discussion in dialogue’ in party bodies, democratic centralism is bound to degenerate objectively into practice of centralism based on formal democracy, which in its wake gives birth to a bureaucratic leadership at the top, isolated from the rank and file at the bottom; the dialectical process of thinking is replaced by a mechanical process of thinking and the dialectical relation between the leaders and the rank and file is replaced by a mechanical relation when the former, playing the role of Prime-Mover, issue directives for the latter to carry these out blindly and mechanically. And even when a discussion takes place between the leaders and the rank and file, it is done not as a means to ensure ‘discussion in dialogue’ in party bodies but to explain the point of view of the leaders. The presence of a powerful personality in the party under these circumstances fosters the growth and the development of the cult of the individual centring round that personality, while the absence of any such personality leads to the formation of groups inside the party ;   but all the same, bureaucracy exists and operates from the top in both the cases. Where groups exist, the leadership of the party takes shape through adjustments and compromises between different groups and formal party unity is maintained there by the humanistic appeal of anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist movements to the rank and file for maintenance of the unity. The  leadership thus formed and functioning is, needless to mention, contrary to the Marxist-Leninist concept of collective leadership. In our view, mechanical understanding of the sense of authority coupled with the presence of the powerful personality of Stalin was responsible for the growth and development of the cult of the individual in general and Stalin-cult in particular.

Collective leadership is not just committee decision

In the discussion by some responsible comrades on the cult of the individual, words like “inner-party democracy” and “collective leadership” etc. are being used in such a manner as to indicate that there is some defect in their understanding. The ideas of inner-party democracy and collective leadership are inseparably linked up with the concept of democratic centralism, the Leninist principle of party organization. Democratic centralism is the fusion of centralism with proletarian democracy. It must always be borne in mind that proletarian democracy is not formal democracy which is only a reflection of bourgeois social order. Proletarian democracy is based on proletarian world outlook. So, not even the most formally democratic Constitution with the most liberal provisions can achieve democratic centralism in a party. Its success depends mainly on the necessary ideological standard of the members of the party so as to ensure ‘discussion in dialogue’ in the party body and on the conscious proletarian revolutionary role of the members of the party. With authoritarianism having full sway and in the absence of actual struggles and interaction of ideas in the party, ‘‘discussion and decision on major problems in party bodies’’, however indispensable these may be  for collective leadership, don’t ipso facto establish collective leadership. In bourgeois parties also “discussion and decision on major problems in party bodies’’ take place. But no sensible man will, on this ground, say that collective leadership operates in bourgeois parties. Same is the case with a working class party where democratic centralism has degenerated into practice of centralism based on formal democracy. “Discussion and decision on major problems” in such parties at best amount to a committee decision. Collective leadership is not just a committee decision. Social consciousness in the form of collective knowledge of the members of the party is collective leadership.

Sense of ultra-democracy working

In the discussions by some responsible comrades referred to earlier, a very wrong tendency is often noticed. The blind sense of authority of the past is yielding place to the opposite sense — the tendency of discarding the sense of authority itself. This is pure and simple bourgeois way of reacting to things. This tendency, if not fought right now, is apt to develop among a section of the communists with low level of consciousness the anarchist idea of ultra-democracy which is not only fundamentally opposed to Marxism-Leninism but also a subtle means to establish the most rotten type of authority, namely, individual dictatorship under cover of anti-authority phrasemongering in party life. Leadership means real and concrete leadership. Those who speak of collective leadership in  general  terms  instead  of  real  and  concrete  leadership, try to reduce the party to the position of a motley crowd.Collective leadership always signifies leadership in a concrete form.

Tendency to negate leading role of leader

Carried away by the extreme tendency of disowning authority itself, some communists are even refusing to recognize the leading role of the leader. Khrushchev in his Report to the Twentysecond Congress of the CPSU has said : “The Soviet people, led by the Party, have by their labour and heroic struggle made great progress in socialist construction. They triumphed in the Great Patriotic War against fascism. But you will remember that at the time of the cult of the individual, all the achievements and victories of the Party and the people were attributed to one man”, meaning Stalin. It is perfectly true that unnecessary glorification of the leader must be discouraged at all costs; deification of the leader is to be done away with from communist practice. But the emphasis with which the leader, on the one hand, and the party and the people, on the other, are being counterpoised, is, according to us, fraught with the danger that it may make immature members of the party minimize the leading role of the leader. Let not the wrong practice of the past, i.e. the habit of unnecessary glorification to the absurd extent of even deification of Stalin, push the communists now to the other extreme. Let not the ‘hurrah making’ propensity of the time of the Stalin-cult be replaced by an equally wrong tendency of rejection of the sense of authority itself and non-recognition of the leading role of the leader. It must be borne in mind that the role of the individual has not yet been exhausted in our society. In society as well as in the party, individuals do play significant roles. It is incorrect to assume that in a communist party all the members are of equal standard and calibre. So long as difference in the standard of members exists, there is bound to remain difference between the leader and the rest of the collective whole. This difference is the basis of the leading role of the leader. To forget this distinction between the leader and other members of the party is tantamount to self-deception. It means keeping one’s eyes shut to the immensity of the task of raising the ordinary members to the advanced level of the leader. It means shirking responsibility to carry out this task. It means holding brief for the anarchist idea of ultra-democracy, a subtle way to ensure one’s own position as the leader of the party. Moreover, the party is not just the conglomeration of its members. It is not merely the sum of the party organizations. The party, at the same time, represents a single system of these organizations, their amalgamation into a single organic whole. The leader in the party occupies the same position as is occupied by the centre of nerves in a human body. To refuse to recognize the leading role of the leader is to equate the centre of nerves with the rest of the human body. It goes without  saying that even in the lowest party unit, namely a cell of three members, all are not of the same position. The mere existence of three members in the cell does not make it a party body. It becomes a party body only when one of the three members becomes the leader and the remaining two his followers. The collective knowledge of the members of the cell expresses itself  through its leader. Without this expression of concrete leadership, a body does not become a party body. This principle of party organization works from the cell, the lowest unit, to the Central Committee, the highest unit of the party. The tendency to abjure the leading role of the leader and abhor the sense of authority, as distinct from authoritarianism, is to reduce the communist parties organizationally into social-democratic parties, incapable of conducting revolutionary battles of the proletariat and leading the masses to power.

Method of appreciating values

In this connection, another point needs to be clarified. Does the attribution of achievements and victories of the party and the people to Stalin mean negation of the role of the CPSU, the Red Army and the Soviet people and usurpation of their credit by Stalin, an insinuation implied in the words of Khrushchev quoted hereinbefore ? To a communist, it should not mean so because the leading role of the leader can operate only when the party, the class and the masses are in action. So it is not correct to counterpoise their roles. When it is said, as the present leaders of the CPSU also are saying, that Lenin founded the first socialist state in the world, does it mean that he did it alone ? Does this attribution of achievements and victories of the party and the people to Lenin mean negation of the heroic role of the Bolshevik Party ? Does it even amount to usurpation by Lenin of all the credit of the party and the people ? To a communist it means none of these. It is just a simple expression of recognizing the leading role of Lenin as the leader of the Bolshevik Party, the architect of the October Revolution. It is the way of appreciating the values of a superior comrade without which a communist can never raise his ideological standard and lead the struggle for emancipation. The attribution of credit to Stalin for the great progress in socialist construction and victories in the Great Patriotic War achieved by the CPSU, the Red Army and the Soviet people is to be understood in this light.

Real means to eradicate cult of individual

So, the danger of the cult of the individual lies not in offering praise to the leader, nor even in the magnitude of the praise. Sense of authority even is not responsible for it. It is precisely the blind sense of authority, i.e. authoritarianism, the absence of dialectical relation between the leader of the collective whole and the rest of the collective whole, between the leadership as a whole and the rest of the party and the degeneration of democratic centralism into practice of centralism based on formal democracy that create conditions favourable for the growth and development of the cult of the individual. If the blind sense of authority remains, the dialectical relation between the leaders and the rest of the members in party bodies is conspicuous by its absence and practice of centralism based on formal democracy in place of democratic centralism continues, then notwithstanding “discussion and decision of major problems in party bodies”, the conditions that give birth to the cult of the individual will remain in force and, the conditions remaining in force, the obnoxious cult is sure to exist, maybe not in the old form but definitely in some form or other. It should be realized that the problem of the cult of the individual is not one of individuals. The cult of the individual can very well be practised in a much subtler form under conditions of authoritarianism by a committee as well as it can be practised by an individual. Hence, the only means to root out the cult of the individual and eliminate its baneful effects is to banish for good the mechanical understanding of the sense of authority and replace it with the dialectical understanding of the sense of authority, shun the practice of centralism based on formal democracy and establish, in actuality, the principles of democratic centralism in the party by raising the ideological standard of comrades to such an extent as can ensure ‘discussion in dialogue’. Unfortunately, in place of removing the conditions that conduced to the growth and development of the cult of the individual, Khrushchev and other leaders of the CPSU are endeavouring to fight Stalin the man. In the case of a living personality it may be necessary to fight the individual in order to restrict him from creating further complications. In the present case that question does not arise, because the man accused of practising the cult of the individual is long dead and only the cult and the conditions that engendered it remain. Stalin was a great revolutionary. His clarion call to root out bureaucracy and red tapism from administrative and party apparatus, his biting sarcasm against windbags who were past masters in the art of demonstrating their loyalty to Stalin and the party and his determination to clear the party of idle chatterers — all these embodied in his Report to the Seventeenth Congress of the CPSU — still ring in our ears. What a sad end that the head of such a tried revolutionary was turned ! What a downfall ! Stalin’s life once again demonstrates the correctness of the Marxist dictum that it is neither honesty nor sincerity alone but the process that in the final analysis determines the course of events. A wrong process — honesty and sincerity notwithstanding — is sure to bog us down. Stalin’s life once again proves that by our blind allegiance and support to the leader we bring downfall not only to ourselves but also to the leader whom we deify.

Confusion about leading communist party

The blind sense of authority has had disastrous effects on the international communist movement also. The dialectical process necessary for guiding the world communist movement was completely neglected at the time of emphasizing the role of the leading communist party in the world communist movement. The position occupied by Stalin in the party-life of the CPSU served as prototype of the relationship between the CPSU and other communist parties. The same blind sense of authority worked here also in place of dialectical sense of authority. As a result, the same mechanical concept of Prime Mover guided the mutual relationship between communist parties. It was the CPSU that would decide on every question; the business of all other communist parties was to give blind support to the stand of the CPSU. This idea of the leading communist party is alien to Marxism-Leninism. The idea of the leading communist party in the world communist movement does not presuppose an unchangeable permanent leadership of the leading party on every question; nor does it signify blind obedience to leading party and blind acceptance of whatever it decides.It presupposes, on the contrary, struggles which are not antagonistic in nature and interaction of ideas with the leading communist party and which help, objectively, to realize the dialectical process indispensable for collective leadership. It is even comprehended that on any particular question the correct line may be advanced by any party other than the leading party, in which case the line of that particular party, as it expresses the collective leadership on that specific question, is accepted by all. This, of course, does not alter the position of the leading communist party as such and make the other particular party the leading party because its position as the leading communist party is dependent on so many other factors. There is no doubt that as the founder of the first socialist state in the world, as the possessor of rich experience of socialist construction in its own country, as the head of the world socialist camp with huge scientific, technological and other resources at its disposal, the CPSU occupies the position of the leading communist party in the international communist movement — a position it will continue to enjoy for long.2 But this undisputed fact does not signify that it is the CPSU that is to decide on all questions and formulate the lines, and other communist parties are to lend blind support to these. Unfortunately, this very thing happened at the time of Stalin’s leadership and reduced most of the communist parties to the position of vassals of the CPSU. It not only jeopardized the dialectical process of thinking, necessary for the growth of collective leadership, but also developed the unhealthy trend of branding any and every difference with the CPSU as an anti-Soviet stand and a renunciation of proletarian internationalism. Nothing can be more incorrect than this. Guided by the fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism and the spirit of proletarian internationalism, any communist party can definitely differ with any other communist party and, for that matter, even with the CPSU. In such a case, the difference cannot by any stretch of imagination be characterized as an anti-Soviet stand and anti-proletarian internationalism. Unfortunately, the old trend still persists in the communist world; otherwise, how can disagreement with the decisions of and measures adopted by the Twentysecond Congress of the CPSU with regard to Stalin, which are definitely not decisions and measures of the world communist forum, be branded as anti-Sovietism, anti-proletarian internationalism in the case of the Albanian Party of Labour ? Only those who suffer from formalism and lack of proper understanding of the complex dialectical process involved in maintenance of unity between different communist parties will take any difference with any decision of the CPSU to be anti-Sovietism, anti-proletarian internationalism. They confuse difference with antagonism and forget that collective leadership grows and operates through the dialectical process of struggle and interaction of ideas and not through renunciation of struggle. It must be realized that the unity between different communist parties is not based on formalistic mechanical relation, nor the difference between them is of antagonistic nature. The relationship between different communist parties is governed by the dialectical principle of “unity-struggle-unity” on the basis of new understanding of values of life fundamentally different from bourgeois humanist moral values and cemented by the common aims and objectives of world proletarian revolution and establishment of world communist society. But the tragedy is that the international communist leadership headed by Stalin, though basically correct on almost all major questions then confronting the communist movement, was not free from formalistic process of thinking. We find the same non-dialectical and formalistic process of thinking, the same methodology still being followed. So the danger of fundamental deviations from Marxism-Leninism still remains.

Soviet foreign policy vis-a-vis programme of world proletarian revolution

Due to formalistic process of thinking, there prevails a confusion in the matter of understanding the relation of the foreign policy of the USSR directed from the state plane with the programme of international proletarian revolution. Most of the communist parties consider the two as one and the same. This is grossly erroneous. There is no denying that the foreign policy of the USSR and the programme of international proletarian revolution supplement each other and are in the common interest of establishing world socialist order, yet there is a contradiction between the two. The aim of the Soviet foreign policy is to consolidate the forces of socialism, create further and deeper antagonism among the imperialist-capitalists, isolate the less adventurous in the imperialist war camp from the more adventurous, defend and maintain world peace and thereby create objective conditions for the growth, development and success of world proletarian revolution. The aim of the programme of world proletarian revolution is to provide the general guidelines for successful revolution in different countries. The duty of the communist parties in colonies, semi-colonies and capitalist countries is to apply creatively this general line in their respective countries. It is none of their business to make parrot-like repetition of the measures adopted for the foreign policy of the USSR or of the general line of the international communist forum blindly. Dialectics teaches us to study the contradiction of the particular with the general. Every serious communist knows that the general policy of the international communist forum gives the general guiding principle which is to be applied differently in different countries. The concrete analysis of concrete conditions which differs from country to country and the concrete application of the general guiding principle in different countries with different objective conditions constitute the living soul of Marxism. Without these, Marxism would become a dogma. It is because of the difference in conditions in different countries that there exists a contradiction between the general programme of international proletarian revolution and the particular programme of revolution in a given country. Anyone who loses sight of this contradiction between the general and the particular commits the error of formalism. This being the relation between the general programme of world proletarian revolution adopted by the international communist forum and the particular programme of revolution of a communist party in a given country, it is only scientific to conclude that there are contradictions of non-antagonistic nature between the foreign policy of the USSR and the programme of revolution of a communist party in a given  country. Lack of understanding of the contradiction between the general and the particular and that between the foreign policy of the USSR and the programme of revolution in their respective countries had, at the time of Stalin’s leadership, reduced most of the communist parties to robots. The position has not improved much since then. Whatever may be the strength of a robot, it can never apply the general policy of world revolution creatively in its own country and lead the masses to revolution and power. The history of the Communist Party of India is the history of such robot-like activities. The international communist leadership cannot be absolved of the defects responsible for this state of affairs. It has been our experience that whenever we tried to bring the defects of the communist movement to the notice of different communist parties abroad, our say had fallen on deaf ears simply because we were critical of the Communist Party of India, the history of which is the history of an unending series of fundamental deviations from Marxism-Leninism, the latest being its national chauvinistic stand in support of Pandit Nehru, head of the Indian capitalist state on the question of Sino-Indian border dispute. Even if it is assumed that we are non-communists (a completely incorrect assumption born of formalistic understanding of the relationship between different communist parties and strengthened by the vile propaganda of the Communist Party of India), what harm can there be if our say is given consideration ? Did not Lenin give hearing even to his class enemies ? To our sorrow, we find that the Leninist quality of learning is wanting to a great degree now. In this connection, we like to add further that contrary to the living spirit of Marxism-Leninism, communists also have developed the peculiarly bourgeois habit of judging the merit of a case not on the basis of correctness and justness of the stand but on consideration of the organizational strength at the back of the case. Had such a stand been encouraged by Lenin, the Spartacus Group in Germany would not have received the unstinted support it got from him against the powerful Social Democratic Party of Germany. To eradicate the cult of the individual from the world communist movement, the role of the CPSU as the leading communist party should not be understood to mean that the leadership of the world communist movement on all issues must invariably lie with the CPSU; the formalistic conclusion that to differ with the CPSU is to renunciate internationalism must be replaced by the dialectical understanding of the relationship between different communist parties based on the dialectical principle of  “unity-struggle-unity” which presupposes struggle and interaction of ideas with the CPSU expressly for the purpose of strengthening the collective leadership of the international communist forum. Frankly speaking, we do not find any sign of this dialectical approach.

Same wrong process, same blindness still prevail

As in the past Stalin was blindly raised to the level of ‘demi-god’, so also, at present, he is blindly depicted as a ‘Satan’ responsible personally for all the ills from which the communist movement suffered in his time. As in the past the international communist leadership, headed by the CPSU and Stalin, was considered infallible and above criticism and any and every difference with the decision of the CPSU was condemned as anti-communism, anti-proletarian internationalism, so also, at present, the leadership of Khrushchev is considered infallible and above criticism, and to differ with the decisions of the CPSU under the  leadership of Khrushchev is being branded as anti-Sovietism, anti-proletarian internationalism. Where then is the difference in approach, outlook and process of thinking ? The same blind sense of authority, the same non-dialectical methodology in the process of thinking and process of movement, the same formalistic understanding of the relationship between different communist parties which were responsible during the period of Stalin’s leadership for the growth and development of the cult of the individual in general and Stalin-cult in particular, are still at work. Our appeal to the present international communist leadership is that these defects and shortcomings of Stalin’s time have to be overcome. Let a correct process be adopted towards that end. In the absence of that process and without removing the root cause of and the conditions that gave birth to the cult of the individual, it is naive to expect to re-establish the Leninist principle and practice of collective leadership. All other attempts are sure to install in place of Stalin cult another no less obnoxious cult, may be the Central Committee cult, or the leading communist party cult or even Khrushchev cult. No serious communist can remain indifferent to this possible danger.

Cause of mistakes — lowering of ideological standard

But what, after all, led to these mistakes ? What made different communist parties confuse the dialectical understanding of the sense of authority with authoritarianism ? Why could they not detect the practice of centralism based on formal democracy in place of democratic centralism ? How could they give up the dialectical principle of “unity-struggle-unity” and accept, instead, the formal understanding of unity between different communist parties ? Why did they confuse the idea of leading communist party with the idea of an unchangeable permanent leadership of the leading communist party on each and every issue ? In our opinion, all these mistakes were the result of considerable lowering of the general standard of consciousness of the communists at large. It is true that in the post-Lenin period the communist movements in colonies, semi-colonies and capitalist countries had tremendously developed organizationally. But this development by itself does not prove that the level of ideological consciousness of the communists had also risen at a rate commensurate with the organizational development of the communist movement. In fact it did not rise; the above mentioned  mistakes are definite proofs of it. That such lowering of ideological level can take place in spite of organizational development of communist movement is no new phenomenon. Lenin himself had to stress this phenomenon in his lifetime. The lowering of the general standard of consciousness of the communists was, according to us, mainly due to two factors. Firstly, the philosophical development of Marxism-Leninism which ought to have been made in the face of multiplicity of newer problems of life and class struggles and in keeping with the spectacular progress of natural sciences that marked the post-Lenin period, was not made. There might be so many reasons for this deficiency, but it is, no doubt, a fact the truth of which can be proved by a simple example. Nobody would, perhaps, deny that at present the phenomenon of individualism and the bourgeois sense of liberty are in the ideological sphere stiff obstacles in the path of development of class struggles in advanced countries. The situation calls for a critical discussion of the sense of humanist moral values vis-a-vis proletarian moral values. But not a single work that can claim to have dealt with the problem authoritatively and comprehensively has come out in the post-Lenin period. Secondly, like the proverbial one-eyed deer, the communist leaders in general, to a very large extent, neglected the important task of conducting ideological struggles inside the party to raise the ideological standard of thousands and thousands of young communists who were drawn into the vortex of communist movements and kept themselves busy mostly in organizational activities. Complacent at the rapid and enormous growth and development of the communist movement, the leaders of the Communist Party of India even developed an antipathy to theory. All that they demanded of the rank and file were loyalty to the party and blind discharge of practical duties. We have no direct knowledge of conditions that prevail in other countries; but from what we have seen in India, and in analysing the cause of the mistakes mentioned before, we feel that the same sense of complacence at the organizational development of the communist movement and the same tendency of deprecating critical attitude to theory and of giving unilateral stress on loyalty of the members of the party and to their practical work, were at work in every country. As a result of this neglect of ideological struggles, the lowering of standard of consciousness has been so great in our country that even the standard of Lenin’s time is hardly to be found, not to speak of the standard of consciousness necessary  to cope with the multiplicity of newer and newer problems that confront life and the environment today. It should better be admitted that the present-day communist movement owes much of its growth and development to the decay of imperialism obtaining at present, to the humanistic appeal to common men of anti-imperialist struggles in colonies and semi-colonies, to the liberal sentiment against capitalist exploitation of peoples in advanced countries and to the superiority of socialist system over capitalism. Of the people all over the world joining the communist movement and strengthening it now, all are not attracted and attached to it by their conscious communist conviction; indeed very few of them are steeled in communist education. Such a condition prevailing, there is little chance of uplifting the general ideological standard of the communists. The call of the hour, therefore, is to relentlessly wage thorough ideological struggles covering all problems of life, thought and organization.

Revisionist tendency

Enrichment of Marxism-Leninism is, of course, called for in the light of newer problems confronting life, thought and organization. But it can be only on the basis of a correct understanding of the fundamentals of Leninism and appreciation of the services and contributions of Stalin to it and the communist movement, without which there is every possibility of sinking into revisionism. We are constrained to say, and, on behalf of a fraternal party, we feel it our bounden duty to point out, that the tendency which is being revealed in the evaluation of the existing international situation as made by the present leaders of the CPSU in their talks on the question of war and peace, in their concept of the general law of revolution, in their approach to the application of the policy of peaceful co-existence of the two systems, in the steps taken by them against the Albanian Party of  Labour and the Socialist State of Albania and, lastly, in the measures adopted by them with regard to Stalin, which is tantamount to de-Stalinization, is fraught with the danger of sinking into revisionism. Comrades, there is no denying that the present international situation offers unprecedented opportunities for successful overthrow of imperialism-capitalism. We are, so to say, on the threshold of world proletarian revolution. The need of the hour is to seize these opportunities and utilize these as best as we can in the cause of world proletarian revolution. But it is indeed a pity that when the situation is such, we, the communists, are groping in ideological confusion instead of sharpening our consciousness, weakening our unity instead of cementing it more and making rapid strides towards the establishment of world communist society, allowing the communist parties in capitalist countries to suffer from parliamentary illusions instead of helping them dispel such illusions and behaving in such a manner as to gradually reduce the communist parties in the capitalist countries to parliamentary parties. The sooner this state of affairs is overcome the better. Let all of us put our heart and soul in that task.

Facts relating to “abuse of power” to be placed before international communist forum

Apart from the charge of the practice of the cult of the individual and consequent violation of inner-party democracy levelled at him, Stalin has been held guilty of abuse of power resulting in loss of lives of a large number of innocent persons. Khrushchev in his Report to the Twentysecond Congress has alluded to some of these unfortunate incidents. Referring to these, he has said in his concluding speech : “This is what the cult of the individual means”. This, in our view, is an over-simplified statement. Because, the loss of lives of innocent persons, however shocking, does not by itself constitute the cult of the individual which can very well be practised without the killing of innocent persons. The cult of the individual is of much deeper origin; we have already discussed it. That many an innocent person had to lose his life on suspicion of anti-state activities during Stalin’s time is undisputed. Even Stalin himself admitted it in his Report to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU. In his Report to the said Eighteenth Congress, we find the following words : “It cannot be said that the purge was not accompanied by grave mistakes. There were unfortunately more mistakes than might have been expected. Undoubtedly, we shall have no further need of resorting to the method of mass purges. Nevertheless, the purge of 1933-36 was unavoidable and its results, on the whole, were beneficial”. So it cannot be said that there was concealment of those unfortunate incidents from the party; on the contrary, Stalin placed everything before the Party Congress including the mistakes committed in this respect, convinced the party of the reasonableness of the actions taken and made his position perfectly clear. There was, no doubt, grave miscarriage of justice in more cases than might have been expected. But how far was Stalin personally responsible for that and to what extent the bureaucracy that was entrenched in power was guilty of the excesses are yet to be determined. But without doing that, Stalin is being held personally guilty of committing the massacres. It is one thing to say that Stalin, as the leader of the party and head of the administrative apparatus, ought to have taken notice of the mistakes beforehand and checked them; he failed to do that and hence, to that extent, he was guilty of dereliction of duty and responsible for the loss of lives of so many innocent persons. But it is altogether a different thing to accuse him of personal vendetta. If there is any proof substantiated by facts that Stalin deliberately abused power, knowing full well that he was abusing power, then those facts should be placed before the international communist forum not only to verify the authenticity of those facts but also to arrive at a correct reading of them. Facts are, no doubt, very important but reading of facts is more important. It is from the same set of facts that the imperialist-capitalists and the communists reach different conclusions, because of different readings of the same facts. In India the hirelings of the Indian bourgeoisie are creating a row that “in the USSR there is nothing which can be scientifically called history. The communists everywhere have little faith in facts; they distort history and rewrite it in such a way as suits their purposes. When Stalin was in power, he ordered the historians of the USSR to write history in his interest. Now that Stalin is gone and Khrushchev is in power, a different history is being written”. These true sons of the gentry, some of whom are lecturers and professors of history in colleges and universities and not historians in the proper sense of the term, confuse history with a chronicle. History is not merely a collection of facts; it, at the same time, is a scientific study of those facts. And in the matter of this reading of facts, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat stand poles apart. To give rebuff to the slanderous campaign of the bourgeois hirelings against the communists in general and the USSR in particular, as well as to verify the authenticity and arrive at a correct and uniform reading, it is necessary to have all facts relating to the ‘cases of abuse of power by Stalin’ examined by the international communist forum. We are constrained to say that from the facts placed by Khrushchev at the Twentysecond Congress, we arrive at conclusions different from his. We shall deal with these later on. If the reading of facts differs among communists, it is all the more imperative that these should be placed before the international communist forum for verification of their authenticity and a correct reading of these. Besides, Stalin was not the leader of the CPSU only ; he was the teacher and leader of the world communist movement. So, any question connected with the evaluation of Stalin can never become the sole concern of the CPSU. It is of equal concern to other communist parties. The measures adopted by the Twentysecond Congress of the CPSU with regard to Stalin have assumed greater importance because of the fact that firstly, it may have the effect of de-Stalinization which in its wake will challenge the very understanding of Marxism-Leninism obtaining at present which is, so to say, Stalin’s contribution as distinct from Trotskyism-Titoism, and secondly, Khrushchev does not intend to limit the measures within the four corners of the USSR but is determined to have them carried out in other countries with the help of respective communist parties. It is wrong to expect of the communist parties that before knowing the facts about the ‘excesses committed by Stalin’, verifying their authenticity and  arriving at a correct reading of these, they should support the measures adopted by the CPSU blindly. Blindness to Stalin was responsible for the cult of the individual ; the same blindness cannot, hence, be allowed to persist.

Communism begins where humanism ends

The proper assessment of the role of an individual requires not only a correct appraisal of his defects and shortcomings but also a due appreciation of his services and contributions. But strangely enough, though Khrushchev in his Report to the Twentysecond Congress has stated : “Stalin must be credited with great services to the Party and the communist movement and we give him his due”, yet the proceedings of the Congress show no reference to the great services of Stalin ; rather we get accounts of his ‘negative qualities’. The qualities of Stalin which have been characterized as his negative qualities are yet to be established beyond doubt as such on the basis of proper understanding of communist ethics. It is our impression that this has not been done. Because, so far as we could gather  reports from various sources, it is our feeling that the way the cases of the ‘excesses committed by Stalin’ were placed, the way the Congress reacted to the ‘revelation’ (it is not a revelation inasmuch as Stalin himself referred to this in the Eighteenth Congress of the party), and the psychological make-up exhibited thereby are enough indications that very few of the delegates to the Twentysecond Congress were steeled in communist ethics. They were mostly guided by humanist moral values. This may sound somewhat strange but nevertheless it is a fact. Comrades, communist moral is fundamentally different from humanist moral values both in content and character. In the annals of human society, humanism is not the last word. It is undoubtedly the most lively air that the oppressive bourgeois thinking is capable of producing. But the march of progress of society does not stop there and hence, the sense of moral values does not find its zenith in humanism. Communism begins where humanism ends. Only on the ashes of humanist moral values can communist moral values grow and prosper. Only with proper understanding of communist ethics can many of the traits of Stalin’s character be correctly appreciated, which, judged by the yardstick of humanist moral values, would appear as negative qualities of character. Stalin might have committed many mistakes ; but mistakes do not by themselves establish prevalence of negative qualities of character in Stalin. That is why we are in favour of  placing the whole matter before the international communist forum for determining all the questions connected with the matter. Even if it is assumed for the present that towards the later part of his life Stalin concentrated enormous power in his hands and in many cases abused it which resulted in the loss of lives of many innocent persons, it only touches a fringe of his activities as the leader of the CPSU, not to speak of his activities as the leader of the world communist movement.

Stalin — a giant communist leader

Who can deny that just as Lenin in his struggle against the revisionists and the centrists safeguarded the Marxist theory of state and the dictatorship of the proletariat from distortion and effacement, and by generalizing upon the historical experience of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, made brilliant contribution to Marxism, so also Stalin in his struggle against the Trotskyites and the Bukharinites safeguarded Marxism-Leninism from distortion and effacement and by generalizing upon the historical experience of the period of general crisis of capitalism and further disintegration of world capitalist market, enriched Marxism-Leninism. Stalin’s works on problems of Leninism, his contributions to the national question, to the question of linguistics, to the problems of socialism in the USSR and to revolutionary military science, in particular, are treasures of revolutionary science. To minimize the leading role of Stalin as a great communist leader which the present leaders of CPSU are objectively doing by their refusal to publish his works, is to withhold due appreciation of his values. In fact, the present understanding of Leninism, as distinct from social-democracy and Trostskyism, is due to Stalin. Trotsky claimed to be a Leninist, though he had fundamental differences with Stalin in the understanding of Leninism. The followers of Trotsky call themselves Leninists. They accept Lenin as an authority ;   what they differ with is Stalin’s interpretation of Leninism. The social-democrats and the Trotskyites are not considered as communists because of their non-acceptance of the understanding of Marxism-Leninism as interpreted by Stalin. Stalin’s understanding of Leninism is the correct understanding of Marxism-Leninism. This understanding has brought the communist movement to its present stature. It will, of course, be further enriched in the light of experience of newer problems and developments ;  but nevertheless, the basic understanding of Marxism-Leninism as established by Stalin will remain and guide the communists in the course of its further development and progress. Indeed, like his precursors Marx, Engels and Lenin, Stalin also is an authority on Marxism-Leninism. To black out Stalin would have the inevitable result of disowning his authority and consequently of rejecting his interpretation of Leninism, which is the present-day understanding of Marxism-Leninism. To the future generations, the chapter of relentless struggle waged by Stalin against the Trotskyites and the Bukharinites to safeguard the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism would remain dark and black and they would be deprived of the opportunity of being ideologically steeled. It would mean invitation to all sorts of counter-revolutionary ideas to pass for Marxism-Leninism and the ideological foundation of the communist movement would suffer a setback. In short, it would objectively uncrown Lenin himself.

Stalin — architect of theory of peaceful co-existence

Not only as a theoretician of outstanding calibre but also as an able practical organizer of the communist movement, Stalin should be remembered along with Marx, Engels and Lenin. If Lenin founded the first socialist state in the world, it was Stalin who consolidated it as the citadel of peace and socialism. If Lenin had established the Third International, Stalin’s leadership was responsible for giving that infant organization a mighty shape. Furthermore, it was the leadership of Stalin that guided the struggles for the establishment of the People’s Democracies. The credit for the unprecedented growth, development and success of the communist movement in colonies, semi-colonies and capitalist countries — serious defects, shortcomings and consequent setbacks notwithstanding, lies with his leadership. It is, no doubt, Lenin who sowed the seed of the theory of peaceful co-existence of capitalist and socialist systems. But it was Stalin who gave structure to this seed as a theory and made this the pivot round which the Soviet foreign policy moves even now. It is Stalin and not Lenin who is accused by the camp-followers of Trotsky as a counter-revolutionary class-collaborationist for establishing the idea of peaceful co-existence of the two systems as a theory and applying it in practice in Soviet foreign policy. But it is astounding that not only Stalin’s role as the founder of theory and practice of peaceful co-existence is being denied but also a campaign is being conducted very subtly to create the impression that it is Khrushchev who is the architect of the theory of peaceful co-existence of two systems and who is waging battles against the followers of Stalin who are non-believers in the theory and  practice of peaceful co-existence and insist on adoption of warpath. Stalin’s analysis of the present world situation, his elaborations on the theory of peaceful co-existence of two systems, the Soviet foreign policy deduced by him on the basis of this theory and so many other contributions of him are being reproduced, followed and reiterated even now by the present leaders of the CPSU but without any acknowledgement to Stalin. This attitude appears to us to be inconsistent with communist ethics. Recognition of the superiority of a colleague, let alone of the leader, in some matter does not lower one who acknowledges the superiority; on the contrary, appreciation of a superior quality in another helps a man to develop himself as a communist. A man who suffers from a sense of inflated ego becomes vain and conceited and falls victim to the cult of the individual. Similarly, one who wilfully minimizes the historical role played by another, also practises the cult of the individual from the reverse direction. Practically this is being practised by withholding due appreciation of the great services of Stalin to the party and the communist movement. May we ask the present leaders of the CPSU a few questions about Stalin ? Was Stalin just one of the other leaders of the CPSU or was he head and shoulder above his colleagues ? Was the role played by him in the communist movement on a par with those of other contemporary communist leaders or did he play a distinct role of the leader of all other leaders of the communist movement of his time ? He had, no doubt, his shortcomings. But it is one thing to point out these shortcomings and caution the communists against these, but it is altogether a different thing to depict him as an  ordinary communist. What reason can there be other than bias for the effort to show Stalin as a communist of ordinary calibre, which is neither real nor serves any revolutionary purpose. May we ask who other than Stalin with his shortcomings, among the living or dead leaders of the CPSU, is nearer to Lenin ? The activities of a communist should always be actuated by revolutionary necessity. What revolutionary necessity is being served by blacking out Stalin ? What all genuine communists want is that the root cause of the cult of the individual must be removed, the legacies of that anti-communist practice done away with, effective steps taken so that it may not pollute the communist movement in future and ordinary communists become good communists like Stalin minus his shortcomings, through proper education. Is it necessary to black out Stalin to do these, or is it imperative that communists should cultivate the positive qualities of the character of Stalin more and more ?

Time for correct appreciation of values of Stalin has come

In defence of complete blackout of Stalin’s services to the communist movement, some argue that since in the past his services had been widely acknowledged and referred to, it is not necessary to mention these at present. We have here in mind Comrade Mikoyan.3. who, when he was in India a few years back, was reported by the local press to have advanced this logic. The argument is hardly tenable because it does not touch the issue at hand. The point is not whether Stalin’s services should be referred to as frequently as they used to be in the past ;  the point is that due appreciation of his values should be made. In spite of frequent references to Stalin and his services, a correct appreciation of his values could not be made, nor was it possible under the then atmosphere of all-pervading influence of the cult of the individual in general and especially Stalin-cult. All assessments of his values then made were blurred by blind allegiance to Stalin. It is only now when the atmosphere has been freed of this blindness that a correct appreciation of his services to the communist movement can be made. So it should be done now. Besides, a point worth noting in this context is that a very bad tendency is expressed in measures to blackout Stalin. The tendency is of obeying a leader and teacher so long as any of his shortcomings is not noticed, but as soon as any shortcoming comes to light, he is denounced. In this tendency is inherent the idea that a leader is without shortcomings, a very dangerous idea that engenders blindness to the leader and paves the way for the practice of the cult of the individual.

Personally Stalin or administrative bureaucracy responsible

Now about the cases cited by Khrushchev as examples of ‘abuse of power by Stalin’. Everyone of us knows what constitutes the difference between an error and a crime. In the absence of any definite proof, it can never be contended that the ‘abuse of power by Stalin’ which was responsible for the death of many innocent persons, was actuated by criminal motive. The Twentysecond Congress has not furnished any such material. In the circumstance, it is impossible to conclude like Khrushchev that ‘That was no simple error. It was a calculated, criminal, adventurist policy’. The cases referred to by Khrushchev may have other probable explanations than what Khrushchev has tried to establish. It is accepted on all hands that at the time of Stalin, bureaucracy entrenched itself in the administrative apparatus. However much he might have disliked it (proof of his dislike is to be found in his condemnation of bureaucracy in the Report to the Seventeenth Congress), he became circumscribed by the bureaucracy and had to depend on it for carrying on day-to-day administration. The loss of lives of the innocent persons might have been due to this bureaucracy. Stalin might have given it the seal of his approval in the formal way as the head of administration. This reading of the situation is corroborated by facts stated by Khrushchev in his concluding speech to the Twentysecond Congress. Take the case of Yakir, Svanidze and others referred to by Khrushchev. They were, even according to Khrushchev, very loyal to the party and to Stalin. One of them was a near relation of Stalin and all were his close comrades. The loyalty to Stalin was so great that when shot at, Yakir shouted :  “Long live the Party ; Long live Stalin”. Their loyalty to him was known to Stalin himself. Had Stalin been actuated by personal consideration, he would not have ordered to shoot down his faithful comrades; he could have easily saved their lives. But he not only approved the punishment but also did not even feel sorry when the news of their death was brought to him. Khrushchev has used this fact as an additional weapon to prove the cruelty of Stalin. How to account for this seemingly strange conduct of Stalin — approving capital punishment of his close and loyal comrades and not feeling at all sorry for their death. Stalin was completely satisfied on the basis of the report of the  administrative apparatus that they were guilty of treason and in a truly revolutionary spirit he had done his duty. A humanist will fail to appreciate the character expressed in such acts. To a revolutionary, revolutionary necessity stands supreme; all other things like love, affection, personal relationship, friendship etc., which to a humanist are so important and precious and make life worth living are subordinated to it. If revolutionary necessity calls for the execution of the closest comrade, a revolutionary does it with supreme satisfaction. It does not occur to Khrushchev but it may be a fact that Stalin approved the capital punishment of Yakir, Svanidze and his other close comrades-in-arms on consideration of revolutionary necessity. It may be that his judgement was vitiated by incorrect information received about them from administrative bureaucracy. In that case it becomes an error and not a crime. This appears to us to be the only probable explanation; otherwise no explanation can be offered as to why Stalin should order for and feel happy over capital punishment of comrades loyal and faithful to him.

Consideration of time factor

We have already explained as to why the shortcomings cannot be brushed aside on the ground of difficult objective conditions then prevailing within and outside the USSR. It would be incorrect also to completely ignore the time factor. There was the secret intelligence service document showing that the German General Staff had some agents in the Red Army — a document, now proved a forged one, was not considered so at that time. The fascists and the imperialists were planning to launch an attack on the Soviet Union. The counter-revolutionaries within the country were trying to raise their heads. Careerists and even directly hostile elements had infiltrated into the party, some of whom even managed to occupy high positions in the party. At such a critical time, strong and quick measures had to be taken to weed out the enemy. In such a situation, along with a large number of guilty persons, quite a good number of innocent persons lost their lives. The leaders of the CPSU, especially Stalin, ought to have exercised more caution. But it now transpires that necessary caution was then lacking. Lack of necessary caution cannot be defended but it cannot but be admitted that at critical times, it is not uncommon also. In any case, subjective evaluation of an incident, however shocking, without taking into consideration the time factor, is not  desirable inasmuch as it leads us to wrong conclusion. Suppose, another leader of the CPSU after a lapse of say, twenty years of further progress and consolidation of socialism comes up and holds Khrushchev personally guilty of killing a large number of innocent persons at the time of suppressing the counter-revolution in Hungary. Will he be correct in holding Khrushchev personally guilty of cruel acts ? We emphatically say — no. At critical times when the revolution is at stake, force has to be applied to smash the counter-revolutionaries along with whom many innocent persons may be killed. It may be that the acts of punishing the persons who were later on proved to be innocent were actuated by Stalin’s deep concern to defend, consolidate and strengthen socialism in the USSR. In that case, for wrong judgment, he cannot be characterized as a criminal — it is a bona fide error.

Role of Stalin’s colleagues

Lastly, we like to mention another point. A communist is never afraid of admitting mistakes. But is the Leninist principle of criticism and self-criticism being correctly followed ? If Stalin acted arbitrarily, violated inner-party democracy, practised the cult of the individual and abused power, what were his comrades, his colleagues doing then to bring  the matter to the notice of the party and put him in a straitjacket ? Did Khrushchev, Mikoyan and other colleagues of Stalin then play their part correctly and courageously ? None of the present leaders of the CPSU was at the time of Stalin an ordinary member, too weak to have his voice heard by the party. Most of them were members of the Central Committee. They could have corrected Stalin, if they so desired and seriously attempted. If they dared not oppose him (an unthinkably bad trait of character in case of a revolutionary is cowardice), they could at least refrain from fanning his ego. But they, on the contrary, joined in the chorus to deify Stalin. This was, in no small measure, responsible for turning the head of even a tried revolutionary like Stalin. The argument that concentration of enormous power in the hands of Stalin prevented the present leaders of the CPSU from acting rightly and courageously is unacceptable. Because, after all, it is the party which gave power to Stalin. If the party so decided, it could strip him of all powers. Why no attempt was made to bring the situation to the notice of the party ? The bourgeois press published a report in this connection. It is reported that a delegate was heard to put a question to Khrushchev, when the latter was describing the cases of ‘abuse of power by Stalin’. ‘‘What were you people doing then ?” — asked the delegate, unobserved. Khrushchev could not identify the voice. He wanted to know the name of the comrade who put the question. The delegate dared not rise and tell Khrushchev his name. He, in keeping with the dictum that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’, decided to remain unobserved. After a few minutes of dramatic pause and silence, Khrushchev answered, “We did exactly what the comrade who has raised this question is doing now”. So goes the report. We do not know how far it is true. If it is true, then it is a sad commentary on the standard of delegates to the Congress. Besides, however enjoyable the repartee of Khrushchev is, it is no reply to the question. We feel that it is high time that the whole question of ‘abuse of power by Stalin’ were re-examined on the basis of available facts and the roles of not only Stalin but also other colleagues of him in the matter investigated.

Lead communist movement to new victories

Before we conclude we appeal again to the leaders of the international communist movement, especially to Comrade Khrushchev, to consider this study of ours as a piece of criticism of a fraternal communist party belonging to the socialist camp headed by the USSR. We cannot but feel deep concern at the magnitude of confusion that confronts the communist movement in the ideological sphere on the question of relative appreciation of values of Stalin. In the interest of getting over the confusion and strengthening the unity between different communist parties, it is necessary to have a correct evaluation of Stalin. Freeing the communist movement of the root cause of the cult of the individual, removing the legacies of Stalin-cult, achieving closer unity between different communist parties on the basis of dialectical understanding of the mutual relationship between them, steeling comrades in communist education and thereby consolidating and strengthening the communist movement are important tasks of today. The world situation now offers unprecedentedly favourable scope for accelerating the course of world proletarian revolution. We have full confidence in the international communist leadership and hope that it will rise to the occasion, successfully carry on the ideological struggle, remove the ideological confusion and guide the communist movement to new and newer victories.

Comradely yours,
Shibdas Ghosh
General Secretary
Central Committee
Socialist Unity Centre of India

Notes

1. Subsequently turned a renegade.

2. It has already been stated that the leadership of the CPSU was later on usurped by the revisionists.

3. Subsequently turned a renegade.


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Stalin’s Place in History

NOVANEWS

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

April 5, 1956

[Extracted from the People’s Daily editorial of 5th April, 1956.]

After Lenin’s death Stalin as the chief leader of the Party and the state creatively applied and developed Marxism-Leninism. In the struggle to defend the legacy of Leninism against its enemies – the Trotskyites, Zinovievities and other bourgeois agents – Stalin expressed the will and wishes of the people and proved himself to be an outstanding Marxist-Leninist fighter. The reason Stalin won the support of the Soviet people and played an important role in history was primarily that he, together with the other leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, brought about the triumph of socialism in the Soviet Union and created the conditions for the victory of the Soviet Union in the war against Hitler; these victories of the Soviet people conformed to the interests of the working class of the world and all progressive mankind. It was therefore quite natural for the name of Stalin to be greatly honoured throughout the world. But having won such high honour among the people both at home and abroad by his correct application of the Leninist line, Stalin erroneously exaggerated his own role and counterposed his individual authority to the collective leadership, and as a result certain of his actions were opposed to certain fundamental Marxist-Leninist concepts he himself had propagated….

Marxist-Leninists hold that leaders play a big role in history. The people and their parties need forerunners who are able to represent the interests and will of the people, stand in the forefront of their historic struggles, and serve as their leaders. But when any leader of the Party or the state places himself over and above the Party and the masses, instead of in their midst, when he alienates himself from the masses, he ceases to have all-round, penetrating insight into the affairs of the state. As long as this was the case, even so outstanding a personality as Stalin could not avoid making unrealistic and erroneous decisions on certain important matters… During the later part of his life, Stalin took more and more pleasure in this cult of the individual and violated the Party’s system of democratic centralism and the principle of combining collective leadership with individual responsibility. As a result, he made some serious mistakes: for example, he broadened the scope of the suppression of counter- revolution; he lacked the necessary vigilance on the eve of the anti- fascist war; he failed to pay proper attention to the further development of agriculture and the material welfare of peasantry; he gave certain wrong advice on the international communist movement, and, in particular, made a wrong decision on the question of Yugoslavia. On these issues, Stalin full victim to subjectivism and one-sidedness and divorced himself from objective reality and from the masses.

The cult of the individual is a rotten carry-over from the long history of mankind. The cult of the individual is rooted not only in the exploiting classes but also in the small producers. As is well known, patriarchism is a product of small-producer economy…

The struggle against the cult of the individual, which was launched by the Twentieth Congress, is a great and courageous fight by the communists and the people of the Soviet Union to clear away the ideological obstacles blocking their advance…

It must be pointed out that Stalin’s works should, as before, still be seriously studied and that we should accept all that is of value in them, as an important historical legacy, especially those many works in which he defended Leninism and correctly summarized the experience of building up the Soviet Union. But there are two ways of studying them – the Marxist way and the doctrinaire way. Some people treat Stalin’s writings in a doctrinaire manner and therefore cannot analyse and see what is correct and what is not and everything that is correct they consider a panacea and apply indiscriminately, and thus inevitably they make mistakes. For instance, Stalin put forward a formula that in different revolutionary periods the main blow should be so directed as to isolate the middle-of-the-road social and political forces of the time. This formula of Stalin’s should be treated according to circumstances and from a critical, Marxist point of view. In certain circumstances it may be correct to isolate the middle forces, but it is not correct to isolate them under all circumstances. Our experience teaches us that the main blow of the revolution should be directed at the chief enemy and to isolate him, whereas with the middle forces, a policy of both uniting with them and struggling against them should be adopted, so that they are at least neutralized; and’as circumstances permit, efforts should be made to shift them from their position of neutrality to one of alliance with us in order to facilitate the development of the revolution. But there was a time – the ten years of civil war from 1927 to 1936 – when some of our comrades crudely applied this formula of Stalin’s to China’s revolution by turning their main attack on the middle forces, singling them out as the most dangerous enemy; the result was that, instead of isolating the real enemy, we isolated ourselves and suffered losses to the advantage of the real enemy. In the light of this doctrinaire error, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China during the period of the anti-Japanese war formulated a policy of developing the progressive forces, winning over the middle-of-the roaders, and isolating the diehards for the purpose of defeating the Japanese aggressors…

Some people consider that Stalin was wrong in everything. This is a grave misconception. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist, yet at the same time a Marxist-Leninist who committed several gross errors without realizing that they were errors. We should view Stalin from a historical standpoint, make a proper and all round analysis to see where he was right and where he was wrong and draw useful lessons therefrom. Both the things he did right and the things he did wrong were phenomena of the international communist movement and bore the imprint of the times. Taken as a whole the international communist movement is only a little over hundred years old and it is only thirty-nine years since the victory of the October Revolution; experience in many fields of revolutionary work is still inadequate. Great achievements have been made, but there are still shortcomings and mistakes….

Reactionary forces the world over are pouring ridicule on this event: they jeer at the fact that we are overcoming mistakes in our camp. But what will come of all this ridicule? There is not the slightest doubt that these scoffers will find themselves facing a still more powerful, forever invincible, great camp of peace and socialism, headed by the Soviet Union, while the murderous, bloodsucking enterprises of these scoffers will be in a pretty fix.

 

Transcription by the Maoist Documentation Project.
HTML revised 2004 by Marxists.org


Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

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To You Beloved Comrade

NOVANEWS

Paul Robeson

Originally Published: New World Review, April, 1953

Transcription: Marxist-Leninist Translations and Reprints

HTML Markup: Brian Reid

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

There is no richer store of human experience than the folk tales, folk poems and songs of a people. In many, the heroes are always fully recognizable humans—only larger and more embracing in dimension. So it is with the Russian, Chinese. and the African folk-lore.

In 1937, a highly expectant audience of Moscow citizens—workers, artists, youth, farmers from surrounding towns—crowded the Bolshoy Theater. They awaited a performance by the Uzbek National Theater, headed by the highly gifted Tamara Khanum. The orchestra was a large one with instruments ancient and modern. How exciting would be the blending of the music of the rich culture of Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khrennikov, Gliere—with that of the beautiful music of the Uzbeks, stemming from an old and proud civilization.

Suddenly everyone stood—began to applaud—to cheer—and to smile. The children waved.

In a box to the right—smiling and applauding the audience—as well as the artists on the stage—stood the great Stalin.

I remember the tears began to quietly flow and I too smiled and waved. Here was clearly a man who seemed to embrace all. So kindly—I can never forget that warm feeling of kindliness and also a feeling of sureness. Here was one who was wise and good—the world and especially the socialist world was fortunate indeed to have his daily guidance. I lifted high my son Paul to wave to this world leader, and his leader. For Paul, Jr. had entered school in Moscow, in the land of the Soviets.

The wonderful performance began, unfolding new delights at every turn—ensemble and individual, vocal and orchestral, classic and folk-dancing of amazing originality. Could it be possible that a few years before in 1900—in 1915—these people had been semi-serfs—their cultural expression forbidden, their rich heritage almost lost under tsarist oppression’s heel?

So here one witnessed in the field of the arts—a culture national in form, socialist in content. Here was a people quite comparable to some of the tribal folk of Asia—quite comparable to the proud Yoruba or Basuto of West and East Africa, but now their lives flowering anew within the socialist way of life twenty years matured under the guidance of Lenin and Stalin. And in this whole area of development of national minorities—of their relation to the Great Russians—Stalin had played and was playing a most decisive role.

I was later to travel—to see with my own eyes what could happen to so-called backward peoples. In the West (in England, in Belgium, France, Portugal, Holland)—the Africans, the Indians (East and West), many of the Asian peoples were considered so backward that centuries, perhaps, would have to pass before these so-called ’colonials’ could become a part of modern society.

But in the Soviet Union, Yakuts, Nenetses, Kirgiz, Tadzhiks—had respect and were helped to advance with unbelievable rapidity in this socialist land. No empty promises, such as colored folk continuously hear in the United States, but deeds. For example, the transforming of the desert in Uzbekistan into blooming acres of cotton. And an old friend of mine, Mr. Golden, trained under Carver at Tuskegee, played a prominent role in cotton production. In 1949, I saw his daughter, now grown and in the university—a proud Soviet citizen.

Today in Korea—in Southeast Asia—in Latin America and the West Indies, in the Middle East—in Africa, one sees tens of millions of long oppressed colonial peoples surging toward freedom. What courage—what sacrifice—what determination never to rest until victory!

And arrayed against them, the combined powers of the so-called Free West, headed by the greedy, profit-hungry, war-minded industrialists and financial barons of our America. The illusion of an “American Century” blinds them for the immediate present to the clear fact that civilization has passed them by—that we now live in a people’s century—that the star shines brightly in the East of Europe and of the world. Colonial peoples today look to the Soviet Socialist Republics. They see how under the great Stalin millions like themselves have found a new life. They see that aided and guided by the example of the Soviet Union, led by their Mao Tse-tung, a new China adds its mighty power to the true and expanding socialist way of life. They see formerly semi-colonial Eastern European nations building new People’s Democracies, based upon the people’s power with the people shaping their own destinies. So much of this progress stems from the magnificent leadership, theoretical and practical, given by their friend Joseph Stalin.

They have sung—sing now and will sing his praise—in song and story. Slava – slava – slava – Stalin, Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands.

In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin—the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future.

Yes, through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. Most importantly—he has charted the direction of our present and future struggles. He has pointed the way to peace—to friendly co-existence—to the exchange of mutual scientific and cultural contributions—to the end of war and destruction. How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom. He leaves tens of millions all over the earth bowed in heart-aching grief.

But, as he well knew, the struggle continues. So, inspired by his noble example, let us lift our heads slowly but proudly high and march forward in the fight for peace—for a rich and rewarding life for all.

In the inspired words of Lewis Allan, our progressive lyricist—

To you Beloved Comrade, we make this solemn vow
The fight will go on—the fight will still go on.
Sleep well, Beloved Comrade, our work will just begin.
The fight will go on—till we win—until we win.

 

Paul Robeson Archive
Biographies & Tributes
J. V. Stalin Archive

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Tribute to Stalin

NOVANEWS

Jawaharlal Nehru

Source: Labour Monthly, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, April 1953.

Publisher: The Proprietors, Trinity Trust, 134, Ballards Lane, London, N3

Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

WHEN we think of Marshal Stalin, a panorama of the history of the last 35 years passes before our eyes. All of us here are the children of this age and have been affected by it in many ways. We have grown up not only participating in our own struggles in this country but, in another way, with the mighty struggles that have taken place in this world, and we have been affected by them. And so, looking back at these 35 years or so, many figures stand out; but perhaps no single figure has moulded and affected and influenced the history of these years more than Marshal Stalin. He became gradually almost a legendary figure, sometimes a man of mystery, at other times a person who had a rather intimate bond not for a few but with a vast number of persons.

He proved himself great in peace and in war. He showed an indomitable will and courage which few possess. Perhaps when history comes to be written about him, many things will be said and we do not know what varying opinions may be recorded in subsequent generations. But everyone will agree that here was a man of giant stature, a man who, such as few do, moulded the destinies of his age and although he succeeded greatly in war, a man who ultimately will be remembered by the way he built up his great country.

Again, people may agree or disagree with many things that he did or said. But the fact remains that he built up that great country, which was a tremendous achievement. In addition to that, and this was a remarkable fact which can be said about very, very few persons—he was not only famous in this generation but he was in a sense intimately concerned, if I may say so, with vast numbers of human beings. At any rate, vast numbers thought of him in an intimate way, in a friendly way, in an almost family way, certainly in the Soviet Union, and by many others too outside.

I have known people who were associated with Marshal Stalin or the work that Marshal Stalin did and who subsequently disagreed with him. They told me that while they disagreed with him, they felt a personal wrench because of the personal bond that had arisen between them and him, even though they had not come near him or had merely seen him from a distance.

So here was this man who created in his lifetime this bond of affection and admiration among vast numbers of human beings, a man who has gone through this troubled period of history. He made mistakes in the opinion of some or he succeeded—that is immaterial—but everyone must necessarily agree about his giant stature and about his mighty achievements.

So it is right that we should pay our tribute to him on this occasion, because the occasion is not merely the passing away of a great figure but, perhaps in a sense, the ending of an era in history.

Of course, history is continuing, and it is rather absurd, perhaps, to divide it up into periods as historians and others seek to do. History goes on and on. Nevertheless, there are periods which seem to end and take a fresh lease of life and, undoubtedly, when a very great man passes away who had embodied his age to a great extent in a certain measure there is an end of that particular period.

I do not know what the future will hold. But, undoubtedly, even though Marshal Stalin has passed away, because of the great hold he had on their minds and hearts, his influence and memory will continue to exercise people’s minds and inspire them. He has been described by many persons, including some who have been his great opponents on the world stage, and those descriptions vary and sometimes are contradictory. Some of them describe him as a frank and even gentle person. Others describe him as hard and ruthless. Maybe he had all these features in him. Anyhow, a very great figure has passed away.

He was not technically head of the Soviet State, but Marshal Stalin was something much more than the head of a state. He was great in his own right, whether he occupied office or not, and I believe that his influence was exercised generally in favour of peace. When war came he proved himself a very great warrior. But from all the information that we have had, his influence has been in favour of peace even in these present days of trouble and conflict.

I earnestly hope that his passing away will not mean that that influence which was exercised in favour of peace is no longer to be available. Perhaps I may express the hope that this event may loosen all our minds a little from their rigidity in all countries, and that we may view the present problems of the world not in that rigid way which develops when people are continually in conflict and argument with each other but in a somewhat more responsive and understanding way, so that his death may serve to bring us more to think of this troubled world and to endeavour even more than before to secure peace in this world and to prevent any further disaster and catastrophes from happening.

[Mr. Nehru disclosed that when news of Marshal Stalin’s serious illness came, he was reading a long report from the Indian Ambassador in Moscow about the recent interview; at which Stalin expressed his desire that world peace might not be broken.]

He expressed then, also, his goodwill for India and sent his good wishes to our country and to some of us. And it was interesting how he discussed with our Ambassador some of our cultural problems, showing a certain knowledge which was slightly surprising. He discussed—it may interest the House—the languages of India, their relationships, their parentage and their extent, and our Ambassador gave him such replies as he could on the subject.

So, while paying our tribute on this occasion, we may also hope that the world may be excited by this event into thinking more in terms of peace.

 

Notes

This tribute was delivered by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in moving the adjournment of Parliament in India as a mark of respect on March 6. The State Assemblies in India also stopped their debates to pay tribute. The reprint is by courtesy of the India News.


J.V. Stalin Archive

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Stalin’s Legacy

NOVANEWS

James Klugmann

Source: Labour Monthly, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, April 1953.

Publisher: The Proprietors, Trinity Trust, 134, Ballards Lane, London, N3
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

AS we mourn the death of the world’s greatest working-class leader, we receive a magnificent gift and guide for those fighting in Britain in the cause of socialism—the first volume, in English, of Stalin’s Collected Works[1]. This is a contribution of the very first order to the publication in the English language of the classics of creative Marxism; an outstanding event in the spread of Marxist thought and teaching in Britain.

The first volume, of what is to be a series of sixteen, contains the bulk of his writings in the period of 1901 to April 1907, many available in English for the first time. These are the writings of the young Stalin who inspired and led the early Bolshevik organisations in Transcaucasia, writings most of which first appeared in the illegal Georgian Marxist journals, mainly edited and directed by Stalin himself.

This was the period when Stalin organised and led the great May Day demonstration in Tiflis in 1901, hailed by Lenin’s Iskra as an event of historic importance for the whole of the Caucasus; when Brdzola (Struggle), the first illegal Marxist newspaper in Georgia was founded on Stalin’s initiative, second only to Iskra itself as a Marxist newspaper in Russia. Stalin created the Marxist organisation in Batum and the Batum Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, himself organising and leading the famous political demonstration of the Batum workers on March 9, 1902. He led the struggle against opportunism in the Transcaucasian labour movement, fighting for the unity of the workers of different nationalities-Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanians and Russians. Then came his arrest, exile to Siberia and escape. Returning, illegally to the Caucasus in February, 1904, he led the huge strike of the Baku workers (December, 1904) and secured a collective agreement with the oil owners, first of its kind in the Russian working-class movement. He consistently and trenchantly fought against the Transcaucasian Mensheviks, defending and spreading the ideas and teachings of Lenin. It was the period when Stalin led the 1905 Revolution in the whole of Transcaucasia, the period when he first met Lenin, and when after the defeat of the 1905 Revolution, side by side with Lenin, brilliantly defended the theoretical foundations of Marxism in his series of articles published under the title of Anarchism or Socialism? Stalin, though still a young man, showed himself already as an outstanding Bolshevik leader combining the deepest theoretical understanding with daily concrete practical leadership of the revolutionary struggle.

The study of this first volume of Stalin’s works shows how consistently he defended and spread the teachings of Lenin, how from his early revolutionary apprenticeship he emerged as the companion-in-arms of Lenin. The illegal Marxist press edited by Stalin in Transcaucasia, especially the Brdzola (Struggle) and the Proletariatis Brdzola, both edited by Stalin, carried to the Transcaucasian workers the messages of Lenin’s Iskra and Proletary, most often through the pen of Stalin, many of whose articles in these papers are reproduced in this first volume. His Briefly About the Disagreements in the Party; his two Letters from Kutais and his Reply to a Social Democrat brilliantly defend Lenin’s conception of a proletarian Party as put forward in his famous What is to be Done? Stalin underlines again and again the need to give a socialist consciousness to the labour movement, to combine the labour movement with socialism:

What is scientific socialism without the working-class movement?—A compass, which, if left unused, will only grow rusty and then will have to be thrown overboard.

What is the working-class movement without socialism?—A ship without a compass which will reach the other shore in any case, but would reach it much sooner and with less danger if it had a compass.

Combine the two and you will get a splendid vessel, which will speed straight towards the other shore and reach its haven unharmed.

Combine the working-class movement with socialism and you will get a Social-Democrat movement which will speed straight towards the ‘promised land’.
(Briefly about the Disagreements in the Party, p. 104).

In his Proletarian Class and the Proletarian Party (January 1, 1905), Stalin discusses the first paragraph of the Party rules, supporting the organisational principles of the Party as Lenin had expounded them, and enlarging upon Lenin’s ideas:

Is not our Party a fighting Party? Since it is, is it not self-evident that our Party will not be satisfied with a platonic acceptance of its program, tactics and organisational views, that it will undoubtedly demand that its members should apply the views they have accepted. Hence, whoever wants to be a member of our Party cannot rest content with merely accepting our Party’s program, tactical and organisational views, but must set about applying these views, putting them into effect.

But what does applying the Party’s views mean for a Party member? When can he apply these views? Only when he is fighting, when he is marching with the whole Party at the head of the proletarian army. . . . Clearly, to be a Party member one must belong to one of the Party organisations.
(The Proletarian Class and the Proletarian Party, pp. 66-67).

Throughout the period of preparation for and carrying through of the 1905 revolutionary struggle, Stalin consistently, brilliantly and very trenchantly, supported and expounded Lenin’s strategy and tactics of the hegemony (leadership) of the proletariat in the bourgeois democratic revolution, the need for an armed insurrection and for the detailed preparation for such an insurrection, the aim of establishing a provisional revolutionary government. These views are brilliantly put forward in Stalin’s clear, logical, powerful manner in many articles in this first volume of his works and especially in his Present Situation and the Unity Congress of the Workers’ Party, published first in 1906.

Lenin himself quickly came to realise the great revolutionary capacities of the young Stalin, his deep theoretical understanding of Marxism and his brilliant powers as a practical leader of the struggle. ‘Every district in Tiflis has been inundated with splendidly written leaflets in Russian, Georgian and Armenian’, wrote Lenin’s Iskra on September 15, 1902, referring to the activities of the Tiflis Marxists led by Stalin. Lenin often referred to the activities of the Transcaucasian Party organisation as a model of proletarian internationalism. Stalin’s two Letters from Kutais of September October, 1904, were forwarded to Lenin who referred to Stalin as the ‘fiery Colchian’ and the translations of these letters were found amongst the correspondence of Lenin and Krupskaya with the Bolshevik organisations of Russia. Stalin’s Reply to a Social Democrat which appeared in the Proletariatis Brdzolain August, 1905, was praised by Lenin for its excellent formulations. Special mention of the activities of the Bolshevik organisations in Transcaucasia, led by Stalin, was made at the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in a Resolution on ‘The Events in the Caucasus’ moved by Lenin himself, in which he referred to these organisations as ‘the most militant in our Party’.

One of the greatest features of all Stalin’s work—his combination of the most profound theoretical understanding and constant theoretical explanation with the most consistent revolutionary practice and the utmost simplicity and clarity—is reflected throughout these earliest writings of the young Stalin. Here you find him as the revolutionary leader explaining in all detail the problems of preparing insurrection, organising fighting squads, arming the workers (Armed Insurrection and our Tactics; Two Clashes; Marx and Engels on Insurrection). You find him as the moving, passionate agitator calling on the workers to struggle, producing leaflets that stir to action, full of hatred of the cruel autocracy, and deepest feelings for the suffering of the people—simple, lucid, moving, stirring, with clear slogans leading to concrete immediate action (Workers of the Caucasus, It is Time to Take Revenge; To Citizens Long Live the Red Flag; To all Workers). Here you find Stalin the brilliant expounder of dialectical materialism, of the principles of scientific socialism, confounding the Anarchists and the Mensheviks, exposing their contradictions and their opportunism and explaining in words that all can understand, startling in their simplicity, stark in their clarity, the deepest issues of philosophy, of the strategy and tactics of the working-class struggle (Anarchism or Socialism?). From the style of Stalin alone—its simplicity, its illustrations from the daily experience of the workers, its logic, its humanity and warm love for those for whom he is writing and his bitter hatred for the enemies and misleaders of the working class, how much there is to learn!

The young Stalin was full of boundless confidence in the working class. ‘The revolutionary proletariat alone is destined by history to liberate mankind and bring the world happiness’, he wrote in the first work printed in this first volume, in the first issue of the illegal Brdzola, in September, 1901. ‘Only the working class, and the people generally, who in the struggle have nothing to lose but their chains, they, only they, constitute a genuine revolutionary force’, he writes in No. 2-3 of the same paper. ‘But in order to be able to play this leading role the working class must organise in an independent political party’ (The R.S.D.P. and its Immediate Tasks, p. 30). To organise this ‘independent political party’, Stalin, from the very first days bent all his great energy, and it is this task, the problems of it, and the fulfilment of it, that runs like a red thread through all this first volume of his collected works.

He sees the leading role of the working class, but he sees too that if only the working class can lead the struggle, the struggle can never be won by the working class alone. His early writings are full of discussion of the vital problem of winning allies for the working class, and isolating at each stage the essential enemy. He constantly directs his shafts against the splitters of the working class, against those who try and disarm the working class by harnessing them through class collaboration to the class enemy. He exposes the methods by which reaction tries to defeat the workers, using violence on the one hand and concessions on the other:

The fight against the proletariat is waged by means of bullets and laws everywhere. . . . Recall the years 1824 and 1825 in constitutional England, when the law granting freedom to strike was being drafted, while at the same time the prisons were crammed with workers on strike.
(Factory Legislation and Proletarian Struggle, December, 1906, p. 293).

But, he adds wisely, even when concessions are made and laws are passed to head off the struggle of the workers ‘that, however, does not mean that the proletariat cannot utilise such laws’.

Already in his earliest writings, Stalin shows himself as a master of the national question. In his Social-Democratic View of the National Question of September, 1904, he foreshadows the ideas that he was to develop later in his Marxism and the National Question. Amongst his earliest leaflets is his Long Live International Fraternity (February, 1905), a stirring appeal for unity of Armenians, Tatars, Georgians and Russians, to unite against those who try to sow enmity between the nationalities of Russia, against those who organise pogroms against Armenians and Jews. ‘Divide and rule’, writes Stalin, ‘such is the policy of the tsarist government’; and in its place he puts forward the glorious slogan ‘Long Live International Fraternity’.

Those who hate the working class and the people, those who hate peace, those who hate and fear the conception of international fraternity, have always hated and feared Stalin, the man of peace, of international fraternity, the champion of the working class and the people who labour. They feared and slandered him in his life and they feared and slandered him at his death. Stalin always liked to quote the watchword of the German Socialist Bebel: ‘What pleases our enemies is harmful to us’. (Vol. I, p. 185 and p. 269). The writings and the actions of Stalin were never pleasing to the enemies of peace and of the people. In these early works of the young Stalin, already comrade-in-arms of Lenin, already a great leader of the working-class movement, already deep theoretician of Marxism, there is a profound wealth of lessons for those who fight for socialism or who are building socialism in all countries. The publication in English of the first volume of Stalin’s works is an outstanding event for the labour and progressive movement in this country.

Notes

1.  J. V. Stalin. Works, Vol. 1, 1901-1907. (Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow; Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 426. 5s.). Date of publication to be announced shortly.


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You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

NOVANEWS
Image result for WAHHABI FLAG
  • Alastair Crooke Fmr. MI-6 agent; Author, ‘Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution’

BEIRUT — The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse.

THE SAUDI DUALITY

Saudi Arabia’s internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom’s doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.

One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism), and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. (The latter was then no more than a minor leader — amongst many — of continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.)

The second strand to this perplexing duality, relates precisely to King Abd-al Aziz’s subsequent shift towards statehood in the 1920s: his curbing of Ikhwani violence (in order to have diplomatic standing as a nation-state with Britain and America); his institutionalization of the original Wahhabist impulse — and the subsequent seizing of the opportunely surging petrodollar spigot in the 1970s, to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home towards export — by diffusing a cultural revolution, rather than violent revolution throughout the Muslim world.

But this “cultural revolution” was no docile reformism. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab’s Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived all about him — hence his call to purge Islam of all its heresies and idolatries.

MUSLIM IMPOSTORS

The American author and journalist, Steven Coll, has written how this austere and censorious disciple of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab, despised “the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who travelled across Arabia to pray at Mecca.”

In Abd al-Wahhab’s view, these were not Muslims; they were imposters masquerading as Muslims. Nor, indeed, did he find the behavior of local Bedouin Arabs much better. They aggravated Abd al-Wahhab by their honoring of saints, by their erecting of tombstones, and their “superstition” (e.g. revering graves or places that were deemed particularly imbued with the divine).

All this behavior, Abd al-Wahhab denounced as bida — forbidden by God.

Like Taymiyyah before him, Abd al-Wahhab believed that the period of the Prophet Muhammad’s stay in Medina was the ideal of Muslim society (the “best of times”), to which all Muslims should aspire to emulate (this, essentially, is Salafism).

Taymiyyah had declared war on Shi’ism, Sufism and Greek philosophy. He spoke out, too against visiting the grave of the prophet and the celebration of his birthday, declaring that all such behavior represented mere imitation of the Christian worship of Jesus as God (i.e. idolatry). Abd al-Wahhab assimilated all this earlier teaching, stating that “any doubt or hesitation” on the part of a believer in respect to his or her acknowledging this particular interpretation of Islam should “deprive a man of immunity of his property and his life.”

One of the main tenets of Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine has become the key idea oftakfir. Under the takfiri doctrine, Abd al-Wahhab and his followers could deem fellow Muslims infidels should they engage in activities that in any way could be said to encroach on the sovereignty of the absolute Authority (that is, the King). Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels. He held that such sentiments detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God, and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any prayer to saints and dead loved ones, pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, religious festivals celebrating saints, the honoring of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and even prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead.

“Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. “

Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity — a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. The list of apostates meriting death included the Shiite, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, whom Abd al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all.

There is nothing here that separates Wahhabism from ISIS. The rift would emerge only later: from the subsequent institutionalization of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab’s doctrine of “One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque” — these three pillars being taken respectively to refer to the Saudi king, the absolute authority of official Wahhabism, and its control of “the word” (i.e. the mosque).

It is this rift — the ISIS denial of these three pillars on which the whole of Sunni authority presently rests — makes ISIS, which in all other respects conforms to Wahhabism, a deep threat to Saudi Arabia.
BRIEF HISTORY 1741- 1818

Abd al-Wahhab’s advocacy of these ultra radical views inevitably led to his expulsion from his own town — and in 1741, after some wanderings, he found refuge under the protection of Ibn Saud and his tribe. What Ibn Saud perceived in Abd al-Wahhab’s novel teaching was the means to overturn Arab tradition and convention. It was a path to seizing power.

“Their strategy — like that of ISIS today — was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. “

Ibn Saud’s clan, seizing on Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine, now could do what they always did, which was raiding neighboring villages and robbing them of their possessions. Only now they were doing it not within the ambit of Arab tradition, but rather under the banner of jihad. Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab also reintroduced the idea of martyrdom in the name of jihad, as it granted those martyred immediate entry into paradise.

In the beginning, they conquered a few local communities and imposed their rule over them. (The conquered inhabitants were given a limited choice: conversion to Wahhabism or death.) By 1790, the Alliance controlled most of the Arabian Peninsula and repeatedly raided Medina, Syria and Iraq.

Their strategy — like that of ISIS today — was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. In 1801, the Allies attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

A British official, Lieutenant Francis Warden, observing the situation at the time, wrote: “They pillaged the whole of it [Karbala], and plundered the Tomb of Hussein… slaying in the course of the day, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, above five thousand of the inhabitants …”

Osman Ibn Bishr Najdi, the historian of the first Saudi state, wrote that Ibn Saud committed a massacre in Karbala in 1801. He proudly documented that massacre saying, “we took Karbala and slaughtered and took its people (as slaves), then praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and we do not apologize for that and say: ‘And to the unbelievers: the same treatment.'”

In 1803, Abdul Aziz then entered the Holy City of Mecca, which surrendered under the impact of terror and panic (the same fate was to befall Medina, too). Abd al-Wahhab’s followers demolished historical monuments and all the tombs and shrines in their midst. By the end, they had destroyed centuries of Islamic architecture near the Grand Mosque.

But in November of 1803, a Shiite assassin killed King Abdul Aziz (taking revenge for the massacre at Karbala). His son, Saud bin Abd al Aziz, succeeded him and continued the conquest of Arabia. Ottoman rulers, however, could no longer just sit back and watch as their empire was devoured piece by piece. In 1812, the Ottoman army, composed of Egyptians, pushed the Alliance out from Medina, Jeddah and Mecca. In 1814, Saud bin Abd al Aziz died of fever. His unfortunate son Abdullah bin Saud, however, was taken by the Ottomans to Istanbul, where he was gruesomely executed (a visitor to Istanbul reported seeing him having been humiliated in the streets of Istanbul for three days, then hanged and beheaded, his severed head fired from a canon, and his heart cut out and impaled on his body).

In 1815, Wahhabi forces were crushed by the Egyptians (acting on the Ottoman’s behalf) in a decisive battle. In 1818, the Ottomans captured and destroyed the Wahhabi capital of Dariyah. The first Saudi state was no more. The few remaining Wahhabis withdrew into the desert to regroup, and there they remained, quiescent for most of the 19th century.

HISTORY RETURNS WITH ISIS

It is not hard to understand how the founding of the Islamic State by ISIS in contemporary Iraq might resonate amongst those who recall this history. Indeed, the ethos of 18th century Wahhabism did not just wither in Nejd, but it roared back into life when the Ottoman Empire collapsed amongst the chaos of World War I.

The Al Saud — in this 20th century renaissance — were led by the laconic and politically astute Abd-al Aziz, who, on uniting the fractious Bedouin tribes, launched the Saudi “Ikhwan” in the spirit of Abd-al Wahhab’s and Ibn Saud’s earlier fighting proselytisers.

The Ikhwan was a reincarnation of the early, fierce, semi-independent vanguard movement of committed armed Wahhabist “moralists” who almost had succeeded in seizing Arabia by the early 1800s. In the same manner as earlier, the Ikhwan again succeeded in capturing Mecca, Medina and Jeddah between 1914 and 1926. Abd-al Aziz, however, began to feel his wider interests to be threatened by the revolutionary “Jacobinism” exhibited by the Ikhwan. The Ikhwan revolted — leading to a civil war that lasted until the 1930s, when the King had them put down: he machine-gunned them.
For this king, (Abd-al Aziz), the simple verities of previous decades were eroding. Oil was being discovered in the peninsular. Britain and America were courting Abd-al Aziz, but still were inclined to support Sharif Husain as the only legitimate ruler of Arabia. The Saudis needed to develop a more sophisticated diplomatic posture.

So Wahhabism was forcefully changed from a movement of revolutionary jihad and theological takfiri purification, to a movement of conservative social, political, theological, and religious da’wa (Islamic call) and to justifying the institution that upholds loyalty to the royal Saudi family and the King’s absolute power.

OIL WEALTH SPREAD WAHHABISM

With the advent of the oil bonanza — as the French scholar, Giles Kepel writes, Saudi goals were to “reach out and spread Wahhabism across the Muslim world … to “Wahhabise” Islam, thereby reducing the “multitude of voices within the religion” to a “single creed” — a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were — and continue to be — invested in this manifestation of soft power

It was this heady mix of billion dollar soft power projection — and the Saudi willingness to manage Sunni Islam both to further America’s interests, as it concomitantly embedded Wahhabism educationally, socially and culturally throughout the lands of Islam — that brought into being a western policy dependency on Saudi Arabia, a dependency that has endured since Abd-al Aziz’s meeting with Roosevelt on a U.S. warship (returning the president from the Yalta Conference) until today

Westerners looked at the Kingdom and their gaze was taken by the wealth; by the apparent modernization; by the professed leadership of the Islamic world. They chose to presume that the Kingdom was bending to the imperatives of modern life — and that the management of Sunni Islam would bend the Kingdom, too, to modern life.

“On the one hand, ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.”

But the Saudi Ikhwan approach to Islam did not die in the 1930s. It retreated, but it maintained its hold over parts of the system — hence the duality that we observe today in the Saudi attitude towards ISIS.

On the one hand, ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.

ISIS is a “post-Medina” movement: it looks to the actions of the first two Caliphs, rather than the Prophet Muhammad himself, as a source of emulation, and it forcefully denies the Saudis’ claim of authority to rule.

As the Saudi monarchy blossomed in the oil age into an ever more inflated institution, the appeal of the Ikhwan message gained ground (despite King Faisal’s modernization campaign). The “Ikhwan approach” enjoyed — and still enjoys — the support of many prominent men and women and sheikhs. In a sense, Osama bin Laden was precisely the representative of a late flowering of this Ikhwani approach.

Today, ISIS’ undermining of the legitimacy of the King’s legitimacy is not seen to be problematic, but rather a return to the true origins of the Saudi-Wahhab project.

In the collaborative management of the region by the Saudis and the West in pursuit of the many western projects (countering socialism, Ba’athism, Nasserism, Soviet and Iranian influence), western politicians have highlighted their chosen reading of Saudi Arabia (wealth, modernization and influence), but they chose to ignore the Wahhabist impulse.

After all, the more radical Islamist movements were perceived by Western intelligence services as being more effective in toppling the USSR in Afghanistan — and in combatting out-of-favor Middle Eastern leaders and states.

Why should we be surprised then, that from Prince Bandar’s Saudi-Western mandate to manage the insurgency in Syria against President Assad should have emerged a neo-Ikhwan type of violent, fear-inducing vanguard movement: ISIS? And why should we be surprised — knowing a little about Wahhabism — that “moderate” insurgents in Syria would become rarer than a mythical unicorn? Why should we have imagined that radical Wahhabism would create moderates? Or why could we imagine that a doctrine of “One leader, One authority, One mosque: submit to it, or be killed” could ever ultimately lead to moderation or tolerance?

Or, perhaps, we never imagined.

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Tribute to Stalin

NOVANEWS

William Gallacher

Source: Labour Monthly, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, April 1953.

Publisher: The Proprietors, Trinity Trust, 134, Ballards Lane, London, N3

Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

THE people of the Soviet Union, the progressive forces and the Peace Movement throughout the world have suffered an irreparable loss through the death of our great and well-beloved Comrade Joseph Stalin.

In the first decade of this century we read often in the columns of Justice and in our monthly magazines of the activities of the Russian Social Democrats, particularly so during the 1905 revolution and the London Congress in 1907. But although considerable interest was aroused by these events and by the intense participation of the Russian representatives in international congresses, it must be admitted that the names of the leaders of the Russian revolutionaries didn’t register in our minds, not mine, at any rate. It wasn’t till 1917 that the name of Lenin shone out like a bright red star in the working-class firmament. The great genius of Marxian strategy had by then fashioned the powerful working-class weapon, a party of a new kind, that was to lay the bourgeois low.

In 1920 I was in Moscow attending the Second Congress of the Communist International. There I formed a warm friendship with Comrade Sergieff Artyom, a miners’ leader who had been abroad and who spoke good English. He was a member of the Political Bureau of the Bolshevik Party and from this comrade I first heard the name of Stalin. He never tired of talking about this great comrade. Always, he told me, when some weighty problem was before them, ‘all eyes turned to Comrade Stalin’. Stalin, he said, was the man beyond all others that Lenin and the Political Bureau depended upon. I didn’t see Stalin during that visit. He was at the front with the Red Army. At Tsaritsin, with Comrade Voroshilov, he worked out the strategy that destroyed forever the hopes of the counter-revolutionaries and their imperialist backers. In doing so he had to discard the plan prepared by Trotsky and the old generals, which would have led the Red soldiers into a swamp of kulakism, into a trap. Trotsky was brusquely pushed aside, old generals were replaced by younger and thoroughly reliable comrades. From this the legend was started that he was ‘rude’ and ‘ruthless’. A judge of men and of situations, his great knowledge of Marxism-Leninism and his understanding of the class struggle enabled him to take the course that saved the revolution and routed its enemies. If he had been a petty-bourgeois ‘intellectual’ he would have lost the revolution and earned the praise of the workers’ enemies. But to save the revolution—that was ‘rude’, ‘ruthless’.

In 1923, I met him for the first time. Lenin’s illness had provided the enemies of the party with the opportunity of switching the party away from the path of Leninism—or so they thought. But they came up against the rock-like strength of Lenin’s greatest disciple, Joseph Stalin. Let anyone who cares read the story of that period. The wild fulminations of the wreckers in the party and in the Press; the quiet crushing replies of Stalin that won for him increasingly the admiration and love of the party and the people of the Soviet Union. ‘We will build Socialism in Russia’, Lenin said. ‘It can’t be done’, said the Mensheviks, ‘You must wait till the capitalists develop heavy industry’. ‘It can’t be done’, said the waverers, ‘You must wait till the workers in advanced capitalist countries take power.’ ‘It can and will be done’, said Stalin, and through the years his wise guidance has led the Soviet people along the Lenin road to a happy, joyful life.

In 1927, at the Tenth Anniversary of the Revolution I made a short speech to the Red Army in the Red Square. There had been rumours of a gang of traitors using the occasion to disrupt the demonstration and start street-fighting. My speech was devoted to unity against the enemy without and within. ‘These agents of the capitalist enemy who seek to disrupt our forces, turn them out of your midst’, I exclaimed. When my speech was translated, Comrade Stalin reached across the others and shook me warmly by the hand. Then a short time later I was asked to go over to the Mochovaya to speak against one of the gang who had appeared at an hotel window and was shouting at the demonstration. But when I got to the Mochovaya there was no need for my services. The workers had dealt very effectively with the situation. A group of them rushed into the hotel and had not several Red Army men been there, it would have fared ill with the egomaniac who attempted to disrupt the anniversary demonstration. When I got back to the Red Square and reported what had happened, I saw the lines crinkling round Stalin’s eyes and the quiet smile on his lips as he listened to and nodded appreciation of the translation. But I will never forget him as I saw him that day. He knew, as we all knew, that the enemies of the party, the enemies of the Revolution, were going to make a desperate attempt to break up the 10th Anniversary demonstration, but he stood there calm and steady with an abiding faith in the working class, a faith justified then as it was so often after in the years that lay ahead. Calm and steady. Yes, there on the Lenin mausoleum in 1927, and there again in the much more exacting day 14 years later, with the Nazi hordes hammering at the gates of Moscow. See him there, strong and resolute, undaunted, inspiring his people to new courage and new great effort.

‘We’ll drive the enemy out of our Soviet land and out of every occupied country in Europe’. To the outside observers it was impossible. But this our comrade, with his knowledge of and faith in the people, could face and accomplish the impossible. The Great Patriotic War over, socialist reconstruction was taken in hand. What amazing progress has been made, what mighty undertakings have been carried through. In no capitalist country has the like ever been seen. But then the road they travel is the Lenin road that leads to the new and happy life only Communism can give.

Along that road they were confronted with many problems. The transformation of the age-long peasant economy to collective farming. Impossible! It can’t be done. But it was done. Then the First Five Year Plan, designed to create heavy industry and make the Soviet Union independent of the imperialist countries. How the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois press sneered at this majestic conception. ‘The craziest scheme that was ever promulgated’. ‘It will break down before it is started’. But it didn’t break down. In four years the great Five Year Plan was completed and the Soviet Union was well on the way to becoming the greatest industrial country in the world. From a ruined economy in a backward peasant country they made that amazing journey in a few short years, while here in Britain with statesmen like Baldwin, MacDonald, Attlee and Churchill we travel in the opposite direction. From being the wealthiest country in the world we are steadily drifting to ruin. A second Five Year Plan and then a third, and had it not been for the war and its fearful toll in life and the terrible devastation, the new society would by now have neared completion.

The final problems have been discussed and under Stalin’s guidance the answers have been found. Mourn as we do his passing we take pride in the knowledge that three months before his death he published The Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. Here as anyone can read is the guide to the last stage on the road to the completed Communist society where, as was the dream of the pioneers, ‘Each will give according to his ability and each will get according to his need’. So his life ended with his work completed, for the Party and the Soviet people still under his wise guidance will go forward, resolute as he was resolute—to the new truly free society of Marx and Engels, of Lenin and of Stalin.


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Stalin and the Future

NOVANEWS

R. Palme Dutt

Notes of the Month

Source: Labour Monthly, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, April, 1953.

Published: The Proprietors Trinity Trust, 134 Ballards Lane, London, N3.

Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid

Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


‘Our task is to transform sorrow into strength.’—MAO TSE TUNG, March 10, 1953.
 

THE genius and will of Stalin, the architect of the rising world of free humanity, lives on for ever in the imperishable monument of his creation—the soaring triumphs of socialist and communist construction; the invincible array of states and peoples who have thrown off the bonds of the exploiters and are marching forward in the light of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin; the advance of the communist movement throughout the world.

For Death, he taketh all away, but these he cannot take.

After nearly six decades of tireless theoretical and practical activity and political leadership, rising from height to height of achievement and from triumph to triumph, the greatest disciple and successor of Marx and Lenin completed his lifework on March 5, 1953. He was working and giving leadership to the very last hour when the fatal stroke bore down upon him on March 1. He died within nine days of the seventieth anniversary of the death of Karl Marx. And what a lifework in those years from the world of 1895 to the world of 1953—from the darkness of Tsarism to the glory of Soviet emancipation and the transition to communism. Through all the storms of a thunderous dawn, of the dissolution of an old era and the birth of a new, he steered the ship of human hopes and aspirations with unflinching tenacity, courage, judgment and confidence. Now the road lies plain ahead. Departing, he could say with Bunyan:

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me to be a witness for me.

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There are moments in history when an instant sums up an age. Such a moment was when the news of the death of Stalin struck a chill in the hearts of the overwhelming majority of human beings throughout the entire world. The days of grief that followed revealed that the whole world—with the exception of a tiny handful of evil maniacs—mourned the loss of Stalin. Not merely in the socialist world, but from France to India the flags were lowered. That patient file of mourners, ten miles long, and sixteen deep; hour after hour in the icy cold of Moscow’s streets, to pay their last tribute before the bier of Stalin, spoke the great heart of the Soviet people more profoundly and more eloquently than a million ballot boxes. History knows no parallel to this. When Lenin died, millions and millions mourned him in every country of the world, with a universality that had never before been known for any man in the moment of his death. Hitherto the recognition of greatness across the barriers of countries and continents, of nations and language, of race and colour, has had to await the verdict of generations and of centuries. Communism has changed this. Already through Communism the human race begins to become one kin. Nearly thirty years have passed since the death of Lenin. If millions and scores of millions in every country of the world mourned the death of Lenin, hundreds and hundreds of millions have mourned the death of Stalin. Not merely the thousand million human beings either already in the countries of the camp of socialism or consciously supporting its aims. Also the further hundreds and hundreds of millions, not yet politically awakened, but recognising in the name of Stalin the symbol of the champion of the oppressed and the exploited over the whole earth, the main target of the hatred of the imperialist oppressors and exploiters, the tireless fighter for peace, the shield and bulwark protecting humanity from the horrors of a third world war. Only the tiny handful of fomenters of war, the parasites and their hirelings, reviled him. Like a penetrating searchlight, the loss of Stalin laid bare the contours of the modern world; the light and the darkness; the masses of the common people, and the ravening enemies of humanity; the friends and the enemies of progress; who is for peace and who is for war.

Hyena Howls

In contrast to the feelings of the common people, the hacks and hirelings of the subsidised sheets of the millionaires—fearful of this universal grief and its meaning, guiltily conscious of the contrast between the mighty constructive achievement of Stalin’s leadership and the abject bankruptcy and worsening conditions associated with their own chosen leaders, and panic-stricken at the rising wave of the demand for peace—set to work to try to turn the current and poured out day after day on a scale never before equalled, with a depth of infamy beating their own lowest records, a turbid torrent of filth and lies, compounded in equal parts of barbaric ignorance and malice, which only served to reveal their own degradation and will remain on the record as a measure of their ‘civilisation’. The jackals and wild asses sought to dance on the grave of the dead lion. While the body lay scarce cold upon the bier, the servants of the millionaires proclaimed in screaming headlines across the page their witches’ feast of rejoicing over the death of the leader of the people. The pigmies of Transport House, conscious of their own abject failure to achieve socialism or bring any result save worsening standards, chronic crisis, colonial wars and the heaviest militarisation of any country in the world, in the service of the expanding profits of the great monopolies and American overlords, assiduously scribbled to ‘debunk’ the ‘myth’ of Stalin and expose his ‘colossal blunders’. Would that we could enjoy a few such ‘blunders’ here, which have cleared out forever the capitalists and landlords, raised twelvefold the standards of living of the people, smashed fascism and built a mighty fraternal alliance of states of the working people. which alone do not bow the head to the American Moguls.

High-Principled Gentlemen

Most revealing of all, perhaps, was not so much the screaming and reviling of the sensation-mongering press, as the casual remark of the editorial of the most ‘respectable’ Conservative Daily Telegraph on March 7 —within one day of the news of the death:

If anything could convince the Russian people of the sincerity of our will for peace, it ought to be the fact that, at this delicate moment for their rulers, we are not going to swoop down upon them like a vulture from the skies.

A remarkable demonstration of the ‘will for peace’. Perhaps an even more remarkable demonstration of the present frame of mind of our official rulers who can actually boast in public of such a singular piece of self-denial. ‘You see what high-principled gentlemen we are. When our neighbour bows his head in grief, we do not immediately plunge a knife in his back. Are we not wonderful models of virtue?’ The ethics of the American gangster have indeed travelled fast to become the tacit assumption of the reasoning of the Foreign Office. The scribe has given away more than he intended. The illumination which was intended to fall on the virtue of resistance to such a temptation falls much more powerfully on the peculiar nature of the temptation which has been resisted. And perhaps even the temptation was resisted, not so much because of superior virtue, as because of the very sure knowledge that the strength and vigilance of the Soviet people is not for one moment diminished even in the hour of grief and bereavement.

The Fight for Peace Goes Forward

Let the gentlemen of the Daily Telegraph and the Foreign Office, of the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, who calculate so glibly on the ‘crisis’ to follow the death of Stalin, and think the moment opportune to redouble the sending of their bombers and their agents into the territories of the people’s democracies, take due note. The deep grief which has assailed the Soviet people, the working people of all countries, and all progressive mankind, over the loss of Joseph Stalin, and now also of Klement Gottwald, will never for one moment weaken, but will on the contrary strengthen and steel the determination of all to go forward for the great aims to which Stalin devoted his entire life and showed the way forward for all —the aims o£ peace and international co-operation, of political, social and economic freedom, of communism. The calm strength and unity of the Soviet people in their hour of bereavement, as they have closed their ranks around their Communist Party and Soviet Government, under the leadership of Georgi Malenkov, has set the example for all in this time of testing. Above all, the fight for peace unites, and must unite, the widest range of the most diverse political outlooks, states and peoples. There are new dangers. There are new opportunities. The need for a meeting of the Heads of States is greater and not less. Life goes forward. The fight for peace goes forward.

Into Action

In this number we print tributes to the memory of Joseph Stalin from the Chairman of the Communist Party, from the Chairman of the Society for Cultural Relations with the U.S.S.R. and from the Prime Minister of the Indian Government. We print also a review of the first volume of the Collected Works of Stalin in English, which will bring new wealth of Marxist understanding to the British labour movement, together with the famous survey by Stalin of the lessons of the British General Strike twenty-seven years ago, which reads today as freshly as when it was first delivered and brings also lasting lessons for the labour movement of this country. The commemoration of Stalin, the profund study of his teachings and example, and the absorption of the rich treasury of the inheritance he has left us—all this is now and will continue the indispensable weapon for further advance. The teachings and example of Stalin live on in the present. They live on by and through the use we make of them inaction. The truest commemoration and honour to Stalin can only be finally expressed, not in words, but in deeds. Stalin taught us above all the meaning of ‘living Marxism’, as he called it, which is never content to rest on the study and interpretation of the past, but tirelessly and alertly advances to meet new problems and new conditions and find the path forward. With strengthened understanding, with deepened recognition of our responsibilities, we must go forward to tackle the problems of the present situation in the light of Stalin’s teaching. The enemy does not wait. The hour calls for renewed vigilance, for action.

On Guard

During these hours of loss and of commemoration the international situation has not stood still. On the contrary, crowded events have demonstrated alike the new and intensified dangers of extended war and sudden reckless strokes of aggression, and at the same time the strengthened basis in popular support, and in the universal alarm over the reckless threats of the aggressive war camp, to carry forward to a new stage the fight for peace. In the frenzied language of a Dulles the ‘Stalin era’ is now succeeded by what he is pleased to call the ‘Eisenhower era’ in the same grandiloquent tones with which Hitler used to speak of his ‘Third Reich’ ‘to last for a thousand years’—it lasted for twelve. The aggressive plans of the Eisenhower-Dulles strategy are pressed forward in the Far East. The visit of Eden and Butler to Washington has revealed a new depth of surrender on the part of Britain’s rulers. On the other hand, the opposition is rising in Britain and in Western Europe, no less than in Asia, to the aggressive war plans. Despite all the ‘big stick’ thumping of Dulles during his European tour, and his ultimatum for ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements for West German rearmament by April 1, the Rome compromise of France and the Bonn Government was scarcely announced before its precarious fragility was demonstrated. The economic situation is deteriorating in Western Europe, and above all in Britain. The demand extends for a reversal of the present disastrous course, for a lightening of the burden of rearmament and of trade bans, and for a renewed initiative for negotiation and peace. Such is the nature of the present situation, pregnant with possibilities for war and for peace. The repeated incidents during these recent days of Western military planes violating the frontiers of the socialist world and being brought down are a sympton of the critical character of the present situation. The war-mad lunatics are at large, but the strength of the peace camp continues to grow. The heart of this fight is now here in Britain.

A New Capitulation

What fruits did Eden and Butler bring back from their pilgrimage to their Mecca of Washington? ‘Meagre’ was the best euphemism that the Press could find to describe the outcome. ‘A somewhat meagre result’, was the judgement of the Observer diplomatic correspondent. ‘Meagre’, said the Daily Herald editorial. The Times spoke of ‘disappointment at the absence of positive results’. But indeed there were very ‘positive results’—from the standpoint of the American aggressors. Britain accepted to impose a self-blockade on trade with China, thus dealing a blow at Hong Kong, at British shipping and at Britain’s export markets. In return, Eden gratefully pocketed two venerable eggs as new ‘concessions’. First, that the United States would support the new proposals to Iran, which had already been presented as joint U.S.-British proposals on February 21, before Eden left, so that this ‘concession’ was a dummy; while in the meantime the ‘Miriella’ and other tankers under the control of companies ultimately reflecting American financial interests merrily drew the nationalised oil from Iran and cocked a snook at British protests about ‘stolen oil’. The second ‘concession’ was even more sensational: to recapitulate the promise made to Churchill a year ago about ‘consultation’ in the use of the bomber bases in Britain. With these two dummies in his pocket to display to an admiring Churchill, Eden happily sailed home to strike the promised blow at Britain’s trade with faithful promptitude by the new Board of Trade Order, published on March 16 and coming into force on March 31. Japan’s trade with China (with American finance heavily behind the Japanese industrialist) is allowed to soar in the name of ‘economic necessity’. Ceylon goes stoutly forward with the mutually beneficial rubber-rice trade agreement; and the American Press regretfully admits that there is really no alternative, since otherwise Ceylon would starve. The blow falls, not so much on China, as on Britain. The ‘cold war’ on Britain is intensified by the Eisenhower-Dulles Administration of the American Multi-Millionaires with the obliging aid of Mr. Eden and Mr. Butler.

Convertibility?

The economic-financial negotiations have been shrouded in a veil of reticence, in which the verbose and vague communiqué makes one significant reference to the necessity for Britain to pursue ‘sound internal policies’. But it appears likely that the outcome will prove no less menacing for Britain. The Dominions Premiers’ Conference plan, which Butler brought with him for humble submission to his American masters, is reported to have been a plan for a partial or limited convertibility of sterling, subject to American concessions in the field of tariffs and investment and the provision of new dollar credits to sustain sterling after the removal of a fixed exchange. Such a plan was clearly designed to counter the American demand for full convertibility, that is, for the destruction of the sterling bloc, by a substitute which would appease the Dominions’ demand for more dollar releases, and at the same time correspond to the strategy of powerful interests in the City which were demanding partial convertibility and consequent devaluation as a means to attack standards in Britain and lower costs, and thereby carry forward the fight of sterling against the dollar. It is evident that this plan was ‘reported’ to the authorities in the United States. There is no evidence that it was approved, or that agreement was reached in this long-drawn battle of sterling and the dollar.

‘Dependable Ally’?

Significance attached to the report on Britain’s crisis released by the semi-official U.S. Committee for Economic Development (described as ‘an important private group of American business men and economists’ with ‘close links with the Republican Administration’) at the moment of the arrival of Butler and Eden. This report, according to the Press (Observer, March 1), made ‘a candid analysis of British economic weaknesses’, and pointed out that

these weaknesses are not, as was thought until recently on both sides of the Atlantic, merely the effect of the economic dislocation of the post-war years, but are deep-seated and will not disappear automatically with the passage of time.

Hence the fear that Britain might try to escape from the American net. The Report picked out (Manchester Guardian, March 2)

a growing tendency in Britain to minimise the seriousness of the Soviet threat and the need for rearmament. . . . Under the pressure of economic difficulties British morale could waver and Britain could drift towards neutralism.

From this gloomy analysis the conclusion was drawn that

the United States must go on helping Britain indefinitely if Britain is to survive as a dependable American ally.

In other words, hand out an occasonal retainer to the faithful vassal to keep him docile—together with a few lectures on how to economise and cut down his disgraceful social services. It is possible, however, that the British people may desire to ‘survive’ for other purposes than to be ‘a dependable American ally’, especially when the ‘dependable American ally’ becomes the ‘expendable American base’, whose chances of ‘survival’ could be highly dubious.

Economic Warning Signals

Indeed, while the American patron sanctimonously lectures Britain for economic unsoundness, chronic crisis and impending bankruptcy, it is not so certain that the economic health of the patron is quite so blooming as professed. It is impossible to ignore the economic warning signals which are accumulating in the capitalist world, including in the United States, and which may profoundly affect the issues of war and peace. The short-term stimulus of rearmament and the reckless expenditure on the aggressive war in Korea is giving place to the longer term disorganising effects of the rearmament and war policy, not only in the vassal countries of the United States, but also in the United States. The following table is instructive:

U.S. MILITARY EXPENDITURE AND GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT
(Annual increase in billions of dollars)
 

1948      1949      1950      1951         1952

Military Expenditure            +3.4      +3.5      -1.5      +17.6         +11.5

Gross National Product     +9.2      +1.1      +22.4      +26.1         +8.0

 

(The Banker, March, l953.)

Thus the productive increase had begun to sag in 1949, and was given a big upward spurt through the Korean War in 1950 and 1951. But by 1952 the rise in production had fallen behind the rise in arms expenditure.

Contradictions of Rearmament Economy

Rapid expansion of productive power has been accompanied by falling consumption levels of the population. Mounting agricultural surpluses demonstrate the developing farm crisis; farm prices have fallen 15 per cent. during the past 23 months, while food consumption per head is seven per cent. below the level of 1946 (National Guardian, February 26, 1953). Previously Marshall Plan expenditure provided a market for agricultural surpluses; now ‘economic aid’ has given place to ‘military aid’, which economically weakens the countries receiving it even more than the previous ‘economic aid’. Thus the conditions develop, as with the previous Hitler economy, in which the rising contradictions consequent on the rearmament and war policy can only either lead to still more reckless rearmament and new aggression—the demand of the Republican majority—or else compel a basic reversal of existing policies. This is the situation underlying the crisis of foreign policy of the Eisenhower Administration and the whole Atlantic Alliance which is now developing. The alternatives of war or peace-new aggression or the path of negotiation—grow increasingly sharp.

Western Europe and Britain

If the economic danger signals are visible in the United States, they are clamorous in Western Europe, and above all in Britain. The Economic Survey of Europe Since the War, published by the secretariat of the United Nations European Economic Commission, has had to admit the staggering contrast between the economic decline or stagnation of the countries of ‘Western Europe’ (including Jugoslavia and Greece! i.e., more correctly, the capitalist countries of Europe in the American orbit) and the soaring advance of ‘Eastern Europe’, i.e. the countries of socialism and people’s democracy independent of the United States. The economy of ‘Western Europe’, the Report records, ‘has stagnated for the past eighteen months’, while ‘the Eastern European Governments have on the whole planned successfully’, and industrial development in the Soviet Union has ‘continued at a rate surpassing that in any Western European country’ and ‘is increasing at a much faster rate than can be expected for Western Europe (The Times summary, March 6). After all the paeans about ‘American aid’, the Survey now gloomily admits that American dollar aid ‘has done very little to relieve, and may indeed have aggravated’ Britain’s dollar problem (who was right and who was wrong in 1947?). United Nations statistics have indicated that the industrial output of Western Europe in 1952 has shown no advance on 1951, and that of Britain has declined by three per cent., while that of the Soviet Union increased by 11 per cent., of Bulgaria by 18 per cent., of Poland by 20 per cent., and of Hungary by 24 per cent. Every public statement of Mr. Butler in the United States was a melancholy lament that Britain is spending two-fifths of its budget and using one in eleven of its population for military purposes, at the expense of productive, trading and export needs. Yet the policy which leads to these disastrous results is still blindly pursued.

Towards the Revolt of the Vassals

It is not surprising that in these conditions voices should begin to sound increasingly, both in France and in Britain for a change of course: against the reckless aggressive plans of the United States’ rulers in the Far East; for a reduction of the burden of armaments; and for negotiations with the Soviet Union and with the Chinese Government. All the hectoring and bludgeoning of Dulles on his European tour has not been able to check the rising anger and resistance to Nazi rearmament. In significant recent editorials on February 6 and 8, the French newspaper Monde declared:

We shall be unable to follow the United States into a possible general war with China. We shall refuse to let the United States forge an evergrowing number of German divisions in Europe. . .

America would do well to reflect twice. . . . For the peoples of Europe cannot accept such a policy. A third world war . . . would bring the final annihilation of Europe. This is known to all Europeans who will never accept a general war unless there is Russian aggression. No propaganda, no threats can modify this.

Within one week the reply came from the American semi-official organ, the New York Times. On February 15, its diplomatic correspondent, James Reston (the same whose questions received the final statement of Stalin for peace), announced grimly that General Eisenhower, while he may ‘consult’ the Atlantic vassals before any ‘important’ moves, ‘will not wait their approval’. He went on:

This is no mere war of nerves. Not only are all sorts of military and naval schemes under consideration, but certain specific moves, including at least one new military move, have been planned and approved. Beyond that one cannot go.

The choice of the path of war or of peace is growing very sharp.

Stalin and the Fight for Peace

The wise and tireless leadership of Stalin for peace during these post-war years has been carried forward by Malenkov with his historic declaration of March 15:

At the present time there is no such controversial or unsolved question which could not be settled by peaceful means on the basis of the mutual agreement of the countries concerned. This concerns our relations with all States including in that our relations with the U.S.A. The States interested in the maintenance of peace can be assured at present as well as in the future of a lasting peaceful policy of the Soviet Union.

There speaks the legacy of Stalin to us all today. During all these critical post-war years, in the face of all the provocations and bellicose utterances from powerful circles in the West, in the face of all the frenzied rearmament, encircling offensive bases and local wars of aggression, the calm voice of Stalin never ceased to proclaim that war between the countries of socialism and the countries of capitalism is not inevitable, that the common people of all countries can prevent it, that war could only become inevitable if the peoples let themselves become entangled in the web of lies of the warmakers.

To the very last, in that final public utterance of his answers to the New York Times in December, 1952, and in his interview with the Indian Ambassador in the beginning of this year, the voice of Stalin never ceased to call for peace, for the cessation of the present wars in progress, for the reduction of armaments, for the negotiation of the leading Powers on whom rests the final responsibility of war or peace, for international co-operation. Let that voice be heeded before it is too late. The co-operation of the British and Soviet peoples for peace could ensure the victory of peace. Such a victory for peace could ensure a new and happier future for Britain and the world. In those last months of ceaseless and redoubled theoretical and practical activity before his death Stalin marked out with sure hand and unshakable confidence and optimism the path to the future. May the teachings, the example and the inspiration of Stalin guide us all in our efforts henceforth to reach to what he proclaimed in that final speech to the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as the ‘radiant future for the peoples’.

R.P.D.
March 18, 1953.


R. Palme Dutt Archive

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‘Dangerous precedent’: Turkey denies Russian observation flight along Syrian border

NOVANEWS

© Wikipedia
Antonov An-30 Aircraft

Turkey has set “a dangerous precedent” by denying an observation flight over its territories bordering Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, vowing a “relevant reaction” to Ankara’s violation of its obligations under the international Open Skies Treaty.

The Treaty on Open Skies which came into force in 2002 allows unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 signatories, which includes Turkey. However the Russian An-30B plane was banned from conducting its surveillance flight over Turkish territory which was scheduled for February 1-5, without any prior warning.

“After the arrival of the Russian mission to Turkey and the announcement of the desired itinerary, the Turkish military officials refused to allow the inspection flight citing an order from the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” the head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, Sergey Ryzhkov, said in a statement.

This is the first time that Turkey has refused a Russian observation flight over its territory. Since 2006 under the Treaty on Open Skies, Russia conducted approximately two observation flights a year. Turkey has flown over Russian airspace approximately four times a year.

But as tensions between Turkey and Russia intensified following the downing of the Russian jet in November, Ankara has refused the implementation of the treaty.

“The itinerary included the observation of areas adjacent to the Turkish border with Syria, as well as airfields that host NATO warplanes,” Ryzhkov pointed out. A previous statement, issued on February 1, specified that a Russian oversight flight would be conducted along an agreed route. Furthermore, Turkish monitors on board would have the opportunity to control the use of surveillance equipment.

Tensions deteriorated further last week, when neither Ankara nor its NATO allies offered any proof after accusing Russia’s Su-34 bomber of violating Turkish airspace. Moscow sees the latest development as a violation of the treaty and has warned that “relevant action” will occur in response.

“As a result of violations of the requirements of the Treaty and unconstructive actions on the part of Turkey, a dangerous precedent was created of an uncontrolled military activity of an Open Skies Treaty member state,” Ryzhkov said. “We are not going to leave without proper attention and relevant reaction violations of the Open Skies Treaty on the part of the Turkish Republic.”

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the upper house’s international affairs committee, said that the Turkish violation of the treaty further complicates Russian-Turkish relations.

“This is unfortunate and does not contribute to the exit from this crisis, in which Russian-Turkish relations are currently in. This is a clear violation of Turkey’s international obligations under the Treaty on Open Skies,” he told TASS.

In a separate development the Russian Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that another group of Russian inspectors would visit Turkish army ranges and get briefed by the Turkish military command, as part of the framework of the 2011 Vienna document aimed at building confidence and security.

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