We human beings love to categorise and label everything. This important because each different label has slightly different meaning. The danger is that the same labels can be used, not to describe, but to disort, mislead and sometimes insult or abuse.

So we have under that heading, tyranny, dictatorship, despotism, absolutism, and your totalitarianism.

Assuming we want to describe rather than abuse. Totalitarianism therefore implies a kind of dictatorship when one previously political party has become institutionalised. A genuine political party ( as the word party implies, one party against others) can only exist really when others do. It’s a bit like gender, male and female are only genders because they both exist in contrast to one another. If there was only one gender then we could say quite logically there are no genders. Same with totalitarianism having a one party state is in fact a no party state. The institution calling itself a party like the CPSU or the Nazi Party were really state institutions which offered benefits to to those who deserved them for extra loyalty or service to the state.

This is different to previous systems only in the sense of trying to give the state tighter control over ideology. Absolute monarchy depended on the church to do this. Totalitarian states use the “ party” as the state’s ideological driving force to ( always unsuccessfully) control how everyone thinks. The Nazis were successful for a time in this since their state ideology on race had terrible consequences and justified conquest of “ lesser” peoples. Stalin’s super nationalist policies masquerading as “ communism “ ( no resemblance to anything written or uttered by Marx, Engels Lenin Trotsky Rosa Luxembourg or any of the great spectrum of socialist thinkers) were successful but the totalitarianism of the CPSU collapsed into the gangster capitalism that in reality it always was and now back to dictatorship.


The Bolsheviks and the Peasantry

The Russian Revolution was in itself a contradiction. Marx had pointed out that the interests of the peasantry, as a class, are contradictory to the interests of the working class. The peasantry need and want only one thing, freedom to own their own land, to be free of the landlord. Once this achieved they become an intensely conservative force. They have no interest in or any desire for socialism. Yet the Revolution was formed out of on alliance of the smaller working class and the massive peasantry. The interests of the two classes coincided on two things – the end of the War and the overthrow of Tsarism and the feudal Russian state – “ Peace, land, bread”.

The Civil War threw up further contradictions, the peasantry formed the bulk of Red Army led by the workers of Petrograd, Moscow etc. Yet they had no military expertise, the political commissars might be ex workers but they had no military experience, that expertise was found by recruiting former Tsarist officers.

The war in the name of the Workers and Peasants could only be won by the Workers declaring war on the peasants – which was the essence of War Communism.

The war, having been won, left the Bolsheviks with another contradiction. The revolutionary workers whom the Bolsheviks represented had themselves been atomised by the war. A starving famine stricken country, idle factories with no workers, the revolutionary soviets, supposedly representing workers’ democracy empty shells and international isolation. Yet the Bolsheviks are still in charge representing the ideals of socialism leading a non existent working class.

For the Bolsheviks there was only one Marxist answer. If the revolution was truly part of an international movement then the overthrow of capitalism would resolve the contradiction.

In a socialist Europe or better still a socialist world, the peasantry of Russia would be a minority, a problem that could be overcome gradually and without violence.

It is underestimated today how important this debate was at the time. One of the most interesting things I have read about this period is “ The Memoirs of a Bolshevik- Leninist “ a piece of samizdat writing that was published in 1974, having been smuggled out of the Soviet Union. The writer was active in the Civil war and served initially as code decipherer in Trotsky’s war room. He accompanied Trotsky on his travels on the train/ mobile HQ. After the war he was one of Trotsky’s staff and witnessed many of meetings of the Opposition. He was arrested in 1934 and was sent into exile to a work camp with other Oppositionists – later joined by right opposionists from Bukharin’s following. He was released in 1941 because of his military experience – the Trotskyists, or Bolshevik- Leninists as they called themselves having declared from imprisonment that they would support the war effort. He was rearrested in 1946 and sent to Vorkuta and not released until the thaw in 1962.

Sorry about the digression but his “rank and file” eyewitness account of the struggle in 1920’s centred around the issue of “ internationalism vs Stalin’s “ national “ socialism. They regarded this question as fundamental.

This contradiction of interest led to the many mistakes made but where any option was possibly wrong.

People often bring up the issue of Kronstadt – a bad mistake – probably, certainly a bloody and inhuman action, but had they not suppressed the rebellion, would it have undermined the war effort? Their problem was military opposition in the middle of a war. The background of this was also the Workers Opposition an influential faction in the party demanding the return of democracy in the soviets, inevitably involving the freedom for other political parties to compete. Lenin and Trotsky were united in defeating and expelling this faction – no bloodshed involved – but Kronstadt was its military expression and bloodshed was involved. A mistake? Or a mistake not to suppress the WO and allow free elections to soviets? The invasion of Poland, a mistaken belief that the Polish workers would join the revolution or a nationalist enterprise? Clearly, in my view a bad mistake by Lenin and Trotsky.

NEP was introduced to feed the country, to give the peasants what they wanted. The freedom to grow food and sell it in the market. Capitalist orthodoxy became the norm, the stock exchange, food exchange and profits made by the “ NEPmen. The Bukharin wing of the party saw this as a long term solution and Stalin deftly sided with them as a national policy. For the opposition it was buying time to build the international revolution. Zinoviev and Kamenev and their followers opted for Old Bolshevik loyalty realising their mistake in 1926 and allying with Trotsky’s Left Opposition.

In my view, Stalin’s solution, the so called “ Socialist Offensive” was the worst possible one only made possible by the creation of an artificial famine and slaughter on a scale the worst Tsars could not have envisaged. What did it create – national state capitalist police state that fell in 1990 without a whimper leaving Russia what it is today, an oligarchy of ex KGB gangsters who have plundered the assets of the state.


How Stalin helped the Nazis into Power.

Leon Trotsky wrote in 1932 his “ Aesop’s Fable” to sum up precisely what the results Stalin’s policies would be in Germany threatened with the rise of Nazism.

“A cattle dealer once drove some bulls to the slaughterhouse. And the butcher came at night with his sharp knife.

“Let us close ranks and jack up this executioner on our horns,” suggested one of the bulls. 

“If you please, in what way is the butcher any worse than the dealer who drove us hither with his cudgel?” replied the bulls, who had received their political education in Manuilsky’s institute [The Comintern].

“But we shall be able to attend to the dealer as well afterwards!”

“Nothing doing,” replied the bulls, firm in their principles, to the counselor. “You are trying, from the left, to shield our enemies—you are a social-butcher yourself.”

And they refused to close ranks.”

Key to this policy was its implementation in Germany by Stalin via the Comintern the Third ( Communist) International.

This was founded in 1919 by the Bolsheviks to replace the defunct Socialist International that died when the constituent socialist parties agreed in 1914 that they would support support their own governments in slaughtering workers from “ enemy” countries.

The Comintern as became to be known, consisted of delegates from newly formed communist parties across the world.

One can clearly see the mind of Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership of 1919 in the following resolution of that year.

The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to “struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state”.

The political struggle between the Bolshevik – Leninists represented by the Left Opposition led by Trotsky and joined in 1926 by Zinoviev and Kamenev with their substantial following and Stalin’s Centrist ( socialism in one country ie nationalist) group was not only crucial for the future of the Soviet Union but even more crucial to the future of the Comintern and the spread of revolution into Europe.

Lenin’s resolution was not just pious sentiment, it was a policy fundamental to the Soviet Union and to the world. The Bolsheviks had won a revolution but it was a precarious victory. Feudalism had been overthrown but not capitalism. Capitalism could only be overthrown when an International Soviet republic had been established. Even that was only a stage to the actual revolution, the abolition of the state itself and an international society of free and equal people.

Lenin’s position became that of the Opposition in 1926, while the centrist group built on the old tsarist state bureaucracy defeated them. Not democratically of course, but bureaucratically by preventing them from printing their programme, harassing them and actually preventing them from taking their seats in the Congress.

The Centrist great Russian Empire nationalists led by Stalin won out and all Bolsheviks who had any part in the revolution would eventually fall to his butcher’s knife.

As if to rub it in the Stalin group made

a “ left turn” in 1928 calling the violent, brutal and lethal collectivisation and industrialisation programme the “ socialist offensive”.

Socialist it was not but a declaration of war on the peasantry as a class and to establish capitalist relations through a brutal “ industrial revolution”. Not the normal capitalism of Western Europe but state capitalism.

This meant that the Comintern was no longer the means by which international Revolution would be fomented but nothing more than an arm of foreign policy to protect the interests of Soviet Union.

So the left turn became the absurd doctrine of “ social fascism” where other socialist parties in Germany, France and Spain were treated as greater enemies than the Fascists and Nazis themselves. Creating this massive division in the working class in Europe when all should be uniting to defeat fascism was a fatal policy.

So in Germany where the Communist Party was 8 million strong the party was told to ignore the Nazis and turn all their attacks on the Social Democrats.

In Spain in 1936, the Communists played but a minor role in preventing Franco’s nationalist coup, the major role was played by the Anarchists and the Trotskyists of the POUM.

The price of Stalin’s support for the Republic was a pro Soviet government and the destruction of the Anarchists and Trotskyists. This the defeat of the Republic was assured.

It is important to note that before Nazis came into power in Germany that they controlled a private army of 400,000 SA, in uniform, in barracks and being paid. So it’s a simple question, who paid the colossal sums necessary to do this? The capitalists of Germany paid because of the grow thing strength of the German Communist Party – 8 million strong in 1932 while the Nazis had passed their peak. In the last freely held general election of the Weimar Republic the Nazis lost 50 seats in the Reichstag from the July 1932 election. The Communists continued to gain. Had it not been for the absurdity and criminal idiocy of Stalin’s instructions to the the working masses of Germany could have easily prevented the Nazis from coming into power. But Stalin decided that the Communists should ignore the Nazis and turn their fire on the Social Democrats idiotically terming them “ social fascists”, even in Berlin the CP and the Nazis jointly organised a strike against the Social Democrat Council.

Stalin had a great responsibility for helping the Nazis get into power and Communists were the Nazis first victims. Trotsky from exile was urging the Communists to form a United Front with the Social Democrats – dominant in the trade unions, to prevent the Nazis from getting into power.

However, neither the big capitalist companies funding the Nazis or the Nazis themselves really believed they would get into power through parliamentary means or that the state apparatus would turn to them. It was easy, because two parties representing workers at war or at least the Communists were at war with the Social Democrats.

The Nazis had swallowed the myth of Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922, where the state had apparently given in to the might of the Blackshirts. Indeed in 1923, the Nazis attempted a similar putsch in Munich and failed. So they envisaged that it would be the SA who would be the instrument of seizing power in Germany. They played their part in 1933 by ensuring that together with Prussian police in particular that parties opposed to Nazis would not be able stand against them.

Having achieved power, with the support of capitalist class, the Nazi Government was not going to be able to tolerate another centre of power represented by this private army of thugs and malcontents. Also the rich backers who funded the SA would see no reason to continue funding it now that the threat of a workers’ revolution had been averted. The regular army leaders did not want the SA integrated into the German army nor did the officers want it either. So the logical thing was to wind the SA up. But the SA and it’s leaders did not wanting to be set up. Hitler and his fellow Nazis no longer wanted this now they were in control of the armed forces of the state. Hence the forcible liquidation the SA and it’s leaders.”

However, Nationalist and fascist governments can only survive by keeping the population occupied with war. So Stalin in making a deal with Hitler in 1938 thought he was protecting the Russian Empire. But in fact he was giving time for the Nazis to prepare themselves for their assault on Russia itself.


British Values – is there any such thing really as Britain?

British Values – is there any such thing really as Britain?

Great Britain started in 1704 with the Union of England with Scotland .This was done in a time honoured British way of bribing the Scottish nobility with lands and titles. This was challenged fairly quickly with two Jacobite rebellions. This provoked the British Government to bring British values to Scotland by means of the ‘Highland Clearances ” an act of brutal cleansing lead by the “butcher” Duke of Cumberland, affectionately known as Sweet William” in England and “Stinking Billy” in Scotland. This way clans and crofters were forcibly evicted, many murdered in the process by the “British” army full of “British values”. This was in fact the imperialist conquest of Scotland by England

Of course there’s India – colonised by a private company – the East India Company with its own army. Clearly allowing a private company to brutalise and exploit for the sake of private property is a key British value. When the Indians got fed up of it and rebelled, this was then “nationalised” by sending the regular army in – another key British value – use public money to protect private property.

Then there’s the Act of Union with Ireland. The English conquest of Ireland began with Henry II who encouraged a surplus of Norman no nobility to carve out estates for for themselves.

When the Irish resisted an army was sent to kick the Irish off their own land and plant English people there instead. This British example was repeated when the British Government told the Zionists they could do the same in Palestine. So kicking people off their own land and occupying it is a key British value.

Later followed the rising by the United Irishmen whose programme had a long history from the Levellers ( very British English losers) to the French Revolution. This cemented another principle- British values has nothing to do with equality. The Irish famine in 1848 demonstrated this British value once again. While millions were starving, the Anglo Irish landowners were exporting Irish wheat etc for profit. So once again the basic British value of protection of profits came to the fore. I could go on to the slave trade and the scramble for Africa but I’m tired of British values and it’s time the whole lot were stuck up Boris Johnson’s and the rest of the British Tory Party and most of the Labour Party’s collective arse.


The Horse Collar

The horse collar was one of the few important technical feudal innovations. I believe the Avars among others used it. It did not come into general use in Europe until 11th – 12th centuries. It’s impact was massive since the previous yokes or harnesses had decreased the pulling power of a horse to little more than an ox. This collar enabled the horse to use its full strength without choking. This meant that horses could pull a much heavier plough. The heavy plough produced much better crops and Europe enjoyed an increase in population generally as more land was put under cultivation. The increase in production led to greater surpluses as the growth in trade and towns and everything that went with it ( the 12th century “ renaissance “).

This growth came to a sudden halt because of the plague ( the Black Death). Because of the increased demand for labourers it also led ( particularly in England) to the undermining of feudal serfdom because lords were willing to poach peasant labourers by offering cash wages as increasing rates. This tendency increased after the Black Death because of the shortage of labour. So indirectly the horse collar led to the growth of capitalism.


What is Morality?

There’s no absolute morality god given. Morality in every society is the result of needs of that society, the balance of forces and so on. It’s a complex issue.

War disrupts that profoundly what was morally good or bad on the day before the war gets completely turned upside down.

In Britain on the day that war was declared on Germany every German human being became the enemy of every British human being. The moral code that said that killing is a crime became suspended if the the human being in question was a German.

A soldier, previously a law abiding citizen, is taken out of normal society and placed in a new military environment, given a lethal weapon, trained how to use it and a new moral virtue becomes that soldier’s imperative to show courage and bravery in being able to do what was previously a criminal act – to deliberately take the lives other human beings.

Attempts to prescribe humane rules of warfare – not killing civilians, looting and rape have always had little effect ( not no effect) in the face of the massive switch in moral values about the taking of human life.

So hypocrisy and contradiction will abound. The British prided themselves on how humanely we treated prisoners of war while at the same time dropping colossal numbers of bombs on those prisoners ‘ families in Germany.

The enemies of the state have to be downgraded as subhuman monsters the minute war breaks out. How else would you get a normal human being to murder another one?

in Germany the work had begun when the Nazis came into power. Political enemies went first, then the Jews were downgraded to the level of vermin and all Slavs designated at inferior.

This meant that no morality or law protected the Jewish population or those in Slavic countries. Crimes in Germany on German citizens were not crimes if committed on Jews or conquered populations. Released from normal morality a society of soldiers develop their own. One they would be horrified at in civilian life, yet are compelled by peer pressure and with the tacit support of their commanders.

This happens quickly. I remember when Thatcher launched her Falklands War on Argentina. Within days the media were talking about killing “ Argies” . It’s important to give the enemies a horrible nickname so you don’t have to consider them as humans any longer. Thatcher had no moral problem in sinking a ship ( the Belgrano) with 1000 young conscripts on board, each with a family who would grieve at their death.

In Vietnam the enemy were “ gooks” and so on and the atrocities young law abiding Americans inflicted on a population that was in now way threatening them at home beggars belief when it’s all over and returned to “ peacetime” morality.

I hope a future society will never see other human beings as dehumanised enemies and believe that war can resolve anything. The question was about rape. From a moral standpoint murder was a bigger crime than rape in civilian society, so if you can murder why shouldn’t you rob, loot and rape?

The criminals in my view are that ruling class who decide that a whole country is an enemy, tell people that a different and opposite morality applies and send young ordinary ( mostly) men to kill other ordinary human beings.


Personality and The USSR

Answers to this question that concentrate on the personalities of the people involved at top are not really historical nor true. To describe Trotsky “as a great ideas man but easily bored“ or as “ annoying “ is laughable. This was the man who planned the execution of the October Revolution and then built and headed the Red Army To victory over the Whites and their 14 western allies.

The revolution in Russia was always regarded by the Bolsheviks at that moment as nothing more than a stepping stone. Lenin reflected this view by his frank assessment in 1920 that the Soviet Union was capitalist state with communists in charge. Unless revolution became international, the rocky alliance between two antagonistic classes, workers and peasants would fail. The state he noted was actually administered by the Tsarist bureaucracy.

Not only that, by 1921, the working class who had carried through the revolution had virtually ceased to exist. The only way forward in the wake of this was NEP, as a holding policy to enable Russia to recover by allowing the capitalist market, regulated carefully, to resume to encourage the peasantry to grow and market food. A holding policy because the key to the revolution’s success lay not in Russia but in the capitalist world, initially Germany.

However, with absence of a vibrant working class, to sustain it , the Bolshevik Party itself was decaying. Some old Bolsheviks, particularly Stalin, who had played an insignificant role in the revolution and Zinoviev and Kamenev who had actually opposed the October revolution were tending towards an unmarxist position that socialism could be achieved within the Soviet Union. A socialist island in a capitalist world.

Great Russian bully is how Lenin described Stalin over the “ Georgian affair”. So a rift was developing. The Party took over the state in the name of the working class. Now the Tsarist bureaucracy was slowly taking over the Party.

It is worth recalling that in July 1917, the Bolsheviks had to share support In Petrograd, with another powerful left organisation – the Mezrayhontsy, the Inter District organisation. Not a catchy name, but in it were Trotsky,Rykov, Rakovsky, Lunacharsky, the great economist Preboensky, Radek and many others. It was Lenin who went in person to negotiate with this group on an amalgamation with the Bolsheviks. Most of these dominated the Central Committee after the union of the two parties was agreed.

Moreover after the revolution the Mezrayhontsy took all the major positions in the first Council of People’s Commissars – the government. Stalin, a mediocre and unnoticed figure was given the Workers and Peasants Inspection. It was through this channel and via his party position of general secretary that state bureaucrats with no Marxist understanding or background were recruited in ever greater numbers into the Communist Party. These people would have a nationalistic outlook one which Stalin himself was heading. Whereas in 1917, the Bolsheviks headed by Lenin and Trotsky and their left supporters could always call on popular support against the conservatism of the Old Boldheviks.

In 1926 when the struggle between left and right of the party was played out, the Left now joined by Zinoviev and Kamenev found that there was no mass working class who could support them. The Soviets themselves, in 1917 and 1918 vibrant organs of working class democracy were by 1923 empty shells filled with placemen and party hacks. The workers were either dead in the war, become party men or had become apathetic.

Before his final stroke, in 1922 Lenin had recognised how bad things had got and planned with Trotsky an assault on the Party bureaucracy in the 1922 Congress. A few day before it he suffered a stroke that paralysed him.

The Joint Opposition in 1926 laid out an extremely coherent plan ( Zinoviev and Kamenev had joined Trotsky) countering the horrific tendency towards the nonsensical concept of “ socialism in one country”. They failed as they were bound to. The Soviet population was politically supine. The peasants had their land, that’s all they wanted, the organised working class had gone. Who was to prevent Stalin using the bureaucratic mechanism of state control to defeat the Opposition.

The tragedy is, these great, humanitarian socialist thinkers Radek, Rykov, Rakovsky, Yoffe, Lunacharsky met their end at the hands of anti socialist bureaucratic police regime headed by Stalin. Only Trotsky survived, too big to kill, because in the popular mind at that time he was still closely associated with Lenin and the revolution.

The Bolsheviks failed and the Soviet Union collapsed into a murderous state capitalist bureaucratic nightmare because their principal failure was the failure of the revolution in Europe. The idea that the Soviet Union proves that Communism doesn’t work is nonsense, it has yet to be tried. The Russian revolution was the first step, but capitalism proved to be too strong. It won’t always be the case.


Religion is a form of Political Expression

Islam in Saudi Arabia is the means by which that ruling class expresses its political justification for exploiting and repressing its people. Any tolerance of any other view undermines it.

Christianity played the same role in Europe until quite recently. Where class ideology is expressed only in religious terms opposition will be expressed in those terms too – look at the English Civil War.

Protestant Christianity played the same role in Ireland – so Catholicism was seen as an political expression of opposition to British rule. Catholicism played a similar role in Poland under Stalinism. I’m sure the influence of the Church is waning now it’s ceased to be a focus of political opposition.

But as an opposition in 20 th century terms it couldn’t compare to proper working class movements like Solidarnosc for instance. Islam in Europe and America is not the expression of class rule like it is in Saudi, it’s either a cultural heritage of a particular community or for a minority it’s become a political expression of opposition to western imperialism.

The trouble is all religions are based on magic and myths are utterly useless as a political programme. In the early 20’s there were large unions organised – even soviets for a while in Iran for instance. We have a long way to go to get back to that.

Now we are seeing the repression of trade unions in Palestine – one has to wonder if Hamas is connected to this. It’s easy to understand why the Israeli govt wants to repress Palestinian trade Unions – but why is the Palestinian Authority doing this? We still tolerate religious control of schools in this country using public resources. No religion should be allowed to have any part whatsoever in public education.

In my view the left has been at best dithering on this question by confounding racism with “Islamophobia ” a term coined by the left itself. A religious political programme is always nostalgic, hailing some mythical golden age of the past. Isis calling themselves a “Caliphate” exemplifies this – a return to the golden times of the 9th century when Islam was on the march. The Diggers of the Civil war were similar hailing a golden age of pre Norman England. The people who are most similar today are Le Pen and Farage, hailing another mythical golden age of Colonial empire.

Religious extremism will lead to terrorism- if you are only accountable to some god it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, even if everyone is against you. The trouble is terrorism does what it says on the tin – it does provoke fear and terror – the result is a wave of revulsion that governments can and will ride on to take measures against everyone- especially those even remotely connected to the perpetrators. It will be counterproductive to their cause – but they won’t care because they are doing god’s work.

history Matriarchy socialism

Personality in History – Stalin vs Trotsky

We are dominated by film and tv drama when talking about politics especially around important events in history.

We forget that these struggles are simply the tip of the iceberg and these figures represent grassroots social forces.

Let’s take Trotsky vs Stalin for instance.

In 1905 the first Russian Revolution or attempted revolution occurred. This centred on St Petersburg ( later Leningrad) and industry that was rapidly growing. During this revolution the working class themselves with no input from any socialist thinkers or theorists came up with brand new democratic formation that was an advance on all previous ideas of what democracy was. This became known as the soviet .

The soviet was different being a council consisting of representatives of workplaces and workshops rather than geographical districts. In normal elections politicians promise everything and deliver very little, simply because once elected they serve a term and then spend the final period electioneering.

Representatives in the soviet were not elected for a fixed period and were recallable and replaceable at any time.

The important point here is that the Bolsheviks and most of the socialist parties at the time did not recognise it or understand it and were reluctant to get involved.

Trotsky, however, understanding Marxism, not as a bible but as a way of thinking realised that workers themselves had invented their own democracy. He went to St Petersburg and although he was a bourgeois highly educated scholar, workers of St Petersburg recognised his ability not only to articulate their demands and grievances but also to plan the way forward. For that reason he was elected President of the Soviet.

He was not a Bolshevik, his following in Party terms was a small group but he had a massive following among the unaligned workers of St Petersburg. So much so he was not afraid in 1907 to tell the workers of St Petersburg that Tsarism at this stage had proved too strong and for the workers to return to the factories under their capitalist bosses and to plan for the future.

No Lenin or Stalin or any other Bolshevik acquired support from ordinary working people in this way.

It was hardly surprising therefore that when he returned to Petrograd as it now was, he was immediately elected as President of the Petrograd Soviet. He was not a Bolshevik, his group, the Mezrayhontsy consisted of a large group of highly dedicated and advanced socialist thinkers. They had a very large following among the workers. The leaders of the Bolsheviks, with the exception of Lenin were opposed to the idea of a further revolution to overthrow Kerentsky’s government. Like Trotsky Lenin realised that the key was winning a majority in the Soviets now springing up everywhere. The Soviets at this stage truly represented the workers and soldiers in the towns and cities.

For this reason Lenin approached the Mezrayhontsy in July 1917 and proposed an amalgamation with the Bolsheviks. In the first Council of People’s Commissars ex Mezrayhontsy members dominated the the government with the exception of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev.

After the revolution and the civil war Russia stood in a perilous situation. To run the country the Tsar’s massive government bureaucracy down to grassroots local government still carried on administering the country. This bureaucracy, conservative, nationalist was a social force in itself. This is where Stalin comes in. A secondary figure in the revolution and civil war but an effective administrator was given the job of co ordinating government departments. He became the bureaucracy’s political expression through his party position of general Secretary he recruited into the party massive numbers of the people. So much so that by 1926, he was able to oust Zinoviev from his position as the virtual chief of the Leningrad party.

The struggle between Stalin and Trotsky was not a game of chess or checkers but a struggle between the weakened working class represented by Trotsky ( and Zinoviev and Kamenev who came over in 1926 to Trotsky’s side) and the state bureaucracy represented by Stalin’s centrist group. The intellectual abilities of the participants was secondary to the social/political struggle taking place as to whether the country was going to follow the socialist/ internationalist agenda or the conservative nationalist programme represented by Stalin.

The bureaucracy won and the Bolsheviks lost. Trotsky personally had such a following that putting him on trial was unthinkable he was exiled in 1929 with the official account being that he had voluntarily fled the country to side with the USSR’s enemies. Zinoviev and Kamenev who had “ betrayed” Stalin by joining Trotsky’s Opposition in 1927 were seemingly forgiven but then subjected to a Show Trial in 1936.

But one has to remember that although Trotsky himself was exiled he represented a powerful social / political current in Russia and many thousands of Oppositionists and anyone connected with them were murdered or sent to labour camps.

So a comparison between the cleverness of Trotsky with the cunning boorishness of Stalin is really a secondary issue.


Was the USSR Communist?

Marx & Engels

1 Revolutionary class the working class. China revolution based on the peasantry. Russia 80% peasantry in 1917.

2 So in China feudalism overthrown – read Marx what overthrows feudalism ? A bourgeois revolution.

3 The peasantry – an inherently conservative class. Once they have their own patch of land – that’s it.

3 Internationalism – the capitalist system is global no one can escape from it. Unless the revolution spreads into industrial countries it will fail. “ Socialism in one country” an un Marxist formulation disguising nationalism. Nationalism is a bourgeois concept.

4 The Workers State – Marx – a temporary stage where the workers take over the means of production then the state withers away to communist society where exploitation ceases to exist, instruments of the state, police, army disappear too. Russia and China ? Totalitarian police states exploiting the workers for profit State capitalism. Nothing whatever to do with Marxism. Lenin in 1919 “ This is a capitalist state that happens to be run by Communists” .

Trotsky Permanent Revolution and Lenin’s April Theses said the same thing, the bourgeois and socialist revolutions had to be carried out at the same time – the success of the latter depended on the revolution becoming international. Stalin’s triumph over the actual Bolsheviks represented by the Opposition in 1927 was a victory of the Tsarist bureaucracy over the barely existing working class. A victory of nationalism over communism. A counter revolution. China’s revolution was a destruction of feudalism – a bourgeois revolution.

The proof. The Soviet regime fell without a whimper. The state capitalists KGB became regular capitalists by simply dividing up the state’s assets between them. It remains a totalitarian police state.

China is a global player in world capitalism, imperialising and exploiting, lending money at a profit. Another totalitarian police capitalist state. Nothing whatever to do with socialism or Marxism.