Message-ID: <36BF6B37. 4B4B@infinet.com>
From a dialog on the marsist-lensist-list, 8 February 1999
Dan Christensen wrote:
Excellent question, Dan. Indeed, it's one of the most critical that could be asked. The Soviet economy was in very good shape by 1953, so there was little reason for working class disgruntlement; the Soviet Union's military power was second to only one; its political influence throughout the world was at an all time high; the amount of resources and land mass within its purview was tremendous and the number of people adhering to its ideology comprised one third of the world'spopulation. So what went wrong?
The answer lies within an historical perspective. Ever since the founding of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands of people externally and tens of thousands internally have worked for its demise. During the Civil War and the Intervention, enemies were relatively easy to identify. By in large, they were the ones with the guns shooting at you. Following their defeat more subtle anti-Marxist forces came on the scene. The Trotskyites and their allies worked within the Party and always gave the appearance of trying to improve and enhance its policies, procedures, and ideology while pushing alternative approaches. When their anti-Marxist alternatives repeatedly met defeat and were ultimately fully rebuffed, they sought to initiate an out and out revolt among the masses themselves in 1927. That was a failure from the outset and only succeeded in having its leaders expelled from the party and, in the case of Trotsky and a few others, exiled to lands beyond. Their defeats, unfortunately, made the Trots and their allies more determined than ever to remove those leading the Soviet government. Although they had repeatedly lost votes fair and square, they weren't about to accept the outcomes in quiet complaisance. So in the late 1920's and early 1930's they began to make ever more drastic decisions and engage in patently illegal physical activities. The spectrum of their nefarious deeds ranged all the way from wrecking equipment and sabotage to assassination, espionage, and collusion with hostile foreign powers in quid pro quo agreements. Ultimately the creators of this vast mound of mayhem were discovered, expunged, imprisoned, and sometimes eliminated, but not until a great deal of damage had already been done.
Because a significant number of present and past high ranking government and economic officials were involved and brought to justice, an understandable period of panic set in among Soviet leaders around 1937 in which, frankly, they were not sure who was to be trusted. So they opted on the side of caution by arresting and incarcerating people whom they had reason to believe were working in collaboration with the subversives. Unfortunately many people at this juncture who saw an opportunity to supplant or eliminate someone whom they did not like or wished to replace concocted stories to incriminate others. In many instances, the government was not sure who was telling the truth, so to be on the safe side they chose to act immediately and sort out the facts later, a more justified and evidential version of what the United States did to all the Japanese on the American west coast during WWII. In any event, the subversives and Fifth Columnists were crushed.
After WWII, however, the most sinister elements of all slowly worked their way into positions of power. These were not whites and foreign troops with weapons, they weren't people within the party advocating alternative strategies, tactics, and programs who subsequently chose sabotage, wrecking, assassination, and collaboration with foreign powers for assistance when they realized their programs weren't selling. No, these people were too sophisticated for that. They knew history. Instead, they supported concepts with which they did not agree, praised leaders they wanted to see removed, perfunctorily executed programs in which they had no faith, and, above all, bided their time waiting for an opportunity to strike. They oozed their way into the highest echelons of power by adhering to all the accepted norms and uttering all the accepted phrases. They were not about to pick up the gun or advocate policies that had no chance of being accepted by the Party or the masses. So they played it cool, bided their time, slowly marshaled their forces, gathered supporters, felt out sympathizers, and waited for the right opportunity to make their move. That came with the takeover of the American government in mid-January 1953 by the Eisenhower clique, an essentially fascist grouping that, unlike the Truman administration, had no qualms about assisting in the assassination of Stalin. By 1953 the Cold War was in overdrive and the Korean War had been raging for 3 years with no victory or end in sight. Having recently “lost” China and Eastern Europe and now stymied in Korea, the US ruling class was only in a mood for results, regardless of the means employed. Is it coincidental that Stalin was murdered approximately 6 weeks after the Nixonites took over. Further evidence that the new US ruling clique was going all out in a state of near panic lies in the the fact that the Rosenbergs were executed just 3 months after Joe’s demise, despite worldwide protests and demonstrations. Circumstantial evidence is admissible in every court of law and these circumstances are just too coincidental to be nonchalantly discounted. As I have said repeatedly, admittedly I can't prove this scenario, but I'll bet some top secret CIA files can.
Unfortunately the revisionist Khrushchovites who ultimately took over were not just a small clique but the leading edge of a significant body of people who had never had much interest in, or had lost commitment to, maintaining the kind of vigilance, self-discipline, energy, knowledge, and concern that must exist in good socialist leaders. Increasing numbers began to feel the Iron Curtain need not be as impervious as in prior years and through using every stratagem at their disposal they promoted every policy and individual sympathetic to their cause. By the time of Stalin's removal they had enough allies in key positions to initiate what amounted to a coup. As a result, private ownership of the means of Production, Distribution, and Exchange began to expand, inequalities began to accelerate, economic, national, and ethnic divisions began to exacerbate, exchanges of scholars, students and literature with capitalist states began to increase, incursions of bourgeois culture and decadence multiplied, etc. ad infinitum.
Understandably, all of these revisionist and menshevik surrenders ultimately led to the final debacle in August 1991. When Khruschov and Bulganin went to Yugoslavia in 1955 to kiss Tito and Nikita delivered that appalling speech to the 20th Party Congress in Feb. 1956, the die was cast, the outcome easily predictable. A major lesson to be learned from the latter is that when you mix pure water with oil, you get pollution, no matter how expensive the oil or how rich it may be.
As I have said on numerous occasions, the main means by which to avoid menshevik and revisionist takeovers is through periodic purges in which the party is cleansed via screenings and a reissuance of party cards that have been earned. A party is no different from a human being in one very vital respect. If you don’t take a bath periodically, the filth accumulates and you begin to stink. The trick is not only to know who should be the cleaner and who should be the cleanee--who should be the invitee and who should be the expellee--but knowing when the time is right.
For the Cause,