Response to white_wolf (Reply #59)
Mon Jul 30, 2012, 04:22 AM
LooseWilly (4,470 posts)
65. Everyone that I disagree with is an asshole... it's just a rhetorical flourish, no need to blush...
I think you are right, that it was Stalin who decided that Socialism could be enacted in one country.
From what I've read, by Anna Louise Strong, who was a Moscow reporter during Stalin's tenure in power, Stalin gleaned from the people of Russia that they had no patience with the theorists that Socialism couldn't be enacted in one country alone (especially a country as backward as Russia was at the time). So Stalin decided that it could be done, because he had deduced that the people were convinced that it could be done.
So he pushed that it should be done, and anyone who argued otherwise (most notably Trotsky) found themselves without any popular support... and in Trotsky's stubborn-ass case... exiled.
And the people did it. They built railroads and steel plants and collectivized farms (occasionally having to execute Kulaks who sabotaged their efforts...) and built an infrastructure that made the Japanese think twice about invasion via Manchuria. The Nazis may've thought twice, but not thrice... and they paid the price for likewise assuming that socialism couldn't be put into place in one country.
The fall of the USSR does, though, beg the question. Was Stalin, ultimately, wrong?
Were the backward peoples of the USSR in 1924 ultimately wrong?
You apparently say yes. I say no. Lenin, being dead, seems undecided. He did clarify a number of points of Marxism for the US Communist Party before he went though... including the issues of racism and imperialism, and how they relate to Marxist theory.
I think Stalin was right, though, because, at the time, the people were with him, or rather he was with the people. Whenever the people, the workers and even the rest, are behind a thing, it is possible. The peoples of the USSR were ready to build for themselves... and they did so.
On the other hand... even if the people are ready, if they are lead by someone like Trotsky, or you, who doesn't believe in them or what they are capable of... then it isn't possible.
Stalin, in my opinion, whatever his faults, made it possible for the peoples of the USSR to build socialism... and part of what Stalin did to make that possible was to exile Trotsky... and it was only by the genius embracing of the hopes of the people by Stalin, and the exiling of Trotsky among other things, that the USSR was able to industrialize sufficiently to withstand the onslaught of the Nazis... and thereby save the world from fascism.
Yes, in my opinion Trotsky nearly turned the world over to the Nazis. The UK and the US swooped in to mop up after the USSR, under Stalin's leadership, had done the dirty work of a war of attrition (much as France had done in WWI).
The more I look at it, the more I think Stalin is the greatest hero of WWII... Stalin and the people of the USSR.
Would more freedoms to criticize the central committee have been nice? (Rosa Luxemburg's point, as I recall) Yes... but... war never really ended for the USSR. It went from hot to cold... but there was always threat, always espionage/sabotage.... always the threat of the West.
Complaints about giving too much power over to a committee/bureaucracy are tautological. They are always valid.
The question to ask though isn't whether there were abuses by the bureaucracy/central committee... but whether or not they succeeded in what they were tasked to do... and they did until Gorbachev came along and succumbed to the West and privatized the economy, allowed inflation to swallow all the savings of the people while foreigners and gangsters were the only ones with hard assets enough to buy/take over all the industries of the country... and foreign "advisors" like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner steered a country into poverty, starvation, prostitution, destitution and desperation ... after that same country had been the first power in space.
Compared with the "decentralization" under Gorbachev, Summers & Geithner, the "despotism" of Stalin doesn't seem so bad to many... which explains why Stalin is still respected in many parts of Russia.
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