The Scientific Socialist Trend and Stalinism
Originally published in two parts, appearing in Scientific Socialist, Vol. 3, Nr. 1, Fall 1999 and Vol. 4, Nr. 1 Spring 2000
Scientific Socialism is the revolutionary trend in the American working class movement. This trend has the primary objective of building a new vanguard Party of the proletariat - an objective initially set but subsequently abandoned by the now defunct Marxist-Leninist movement (1967-1990). The movement’s abandonment of this goal was not accidental but resulted from capitalism's general repression as well as disruptive activities organized by its state. In fact, our incipient Scientific Socialist trend emerged within the Marxist-Leninist movement as one section of the forces that was fighting against the state's social-fascist fifth column, a retrograde entity that was infecting the ranks with pseudo-Marxist ideology and politics to sabotage the work of building a new revolutionary party. But we were ill-equipped for this battle and the wrecking activities of the political police succeeded.
Because the movement had been ruined, it became necessary to launch a new initiative. And because the vulgarization and denigration of Marxism-Leninism were key in ruining the movement, a primary concern in continuing the work for Party reconstruction was to elevate theory to its proper level. Towards this end, one of the first major tasks was to uphold the fundamental role of theory in forming a revolutionary trend. Ultimately, this required a struggle to clarify the very concept of theory and its organic connection to the ideology and politics of the working class. Accordingly, this front of struggle has been closely linked to major practical tasks that are essential to the process of building the new Party, the most important of which is the formulation of the program for proletarian revolution in the
One very important lesson learned in these struggles was that revolutionary politics for the American working class cannot be mechanically lifted from the classics of Marxism-Leninism. While they will necessarily be based on and consistent with the scientific ideology and theory embodied in the classics, they can only be brought to fruition by assimilating Marxism-Leninism as a guide to action through intensive study and skillful application of its laws, theses, and principles to national and international conditions.
Scientific Socialism holds that an integral part of the Marxist-Leninist theory was developed by the CPSU(B) and Stalin after Lenin's death. From the Scientific Socialist perspective, this is a fact which cannot be ignored, let alone denigrated, by any group or party claiming to be Marxist-Leninist without its organization winding up in the camp of counter-revolution as a tool of neo-fascism and social-fascism. Therefore, the position taken toward the CPSU(B) and Stalin has decisive and far-reaching practical consequences. The reasoning behind this position is grounded in the proletarian class stand and a scientific understanding of the proletariat's historic struggle. It reflects a revolutionary consciousness and orientation that has been absent in the US for nearly five decades, i.e. since the neo/social-fascist cabal liquidated the Communist Party USA as the revolutionary proletarian vanguard in the early 50s.
Although the US Marxist-Leninist Movement included a tendency to defend the CPSU(B) and Stalin, none of the participating groups associated with this tendency treated the theory and history of the revolutionary Soviet proletariat seriously. They did not apply the lessons of the theory and history to American conditions to work out their programs and politics. Much of their activities concerning Stalin, for instance, amounted to skewed applications of his theory on the national question and general sloganeering and pamphleteering against the slanders made against him by neo-fascism and its trotskyite adjuncts. Consequently, while some in the MLM even went so far as to characterize the issue of Stalin as the "demarcation line" to sort out "genuine" Marxist-Leninists from "opportunists," and "revisionists," no viable demarcation was achieved. Nor could it have been. Revolutionary politics and practice are what distinguish true Marxist-Leninists from impostors, and these politics were largely blocked in the old movement.
Scientific Socialist has carried analyses, detailing how and why the previous attempts to rebuild a new Communist Party failed. Especially damaging were the disorientation spread by social-fascist Mao Zedong "thought" and the sabotage engineered by political police of the state's internal security forces who, posing as Marxist-Leninists, had heavily infiltrated our ranks from top to bottom. Inspired by Maoism, numerous “correct lines” were pushed by numerous groups, fracturing the movement along sectarian lines. Communist politics could not be formulated and united upon by a young, unknowledgeable, and inexperienced movement riddled by anti-Communists. Maoism compounded these problems insofar as it was touted as the “Marxism-Leninism of our era,” thus pushing the theory and history of the CPSU, the experience of the Soviet Union, and the significance of Stalinism well into the background. Also, the Party of Labor of Albania’s leading role in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement was eclipsed by massive amounts of Chinese propaganda, made available by the
state through major distribution centers across the country. The rank-and-file was then ordered by the social-fascist “leaders” to “fully grasp” Maoism and to “widely distribute” this propaganda with religious zeal, “hailing” Chairman Mao, the Chinese Communist Party, the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, etc. The upshot was that Maoism not only sabotaged revolutionary politics in the Marxist-Leninist Movement; it also alienated this movement from the American working class, which, despite the bourgeoisie’s claims to the contrary, is not very religious. US
During the latter half of the 70s to mid 80s the Party of Labor of Albania effectively exposed and repudiated Maoism and other brands of social-fascism as agencies of imperialism, thus providing valuable assistance to those parties and groups of the International Marxist-Leninist Movement who were fighting to purge their ranks of anti-Marxist theory and practice. But the PLA’s effort had little positive influence on party-building groups in the
, for by then they had been led too far astray by the social-fascists. US
Between the late 80s and early 90s, the counter-revolution in
resulted in even more disarray. A number of organizations simply dissolved and disappeared. Some remained, and a few others came on the scene to continue the struggle for the party against corruption and liquidationism in the movement. However, these also quickly slid into the enemy camp, becoming additional units of the state-manufactured "left." Among them sprang another troop of social-fascists - the "modern Marxist-Leninists" that not only spread confusion on the causes of the counter-revolution in Albania but on a whole series of questions concerning the theory and history of the CPSU(B), the role of Stalin, and the Socialist experience in the USSR. In these matters they distinguished themselves by their “boundless enthusiasm” for “new thinking” which ultimately purged revolutionary theory and politics from the Marxist-Leninist Movement. Albania
Thus, imperialist reaction and the sabotage of the social-fascists were the major factors causing the demise of Party building efforts that brought about the effective collapse of the Marxist-Leninist Movement by 1990. In the midst of the miserable, confusing, and, to many, demoralizing circumstances then prevailing, Forces for Change, which would later develop the Scientific Socialist trend, saw that it was imperative to begin the work to try again. In fighting for a new trend, FFC began its work by defending Marxism-Leninism against the waves of political confusion that had inundated the movement.
As part of this defense, in December of 1990, FFC was the first in the
to condemn the imperialist agent Alia and his treacherous policies that directly assisted reaction in overthrowing Socialist construction in US . It rejected the idiotic rationalizations promoted by the "modern Marxist-Leninists" to justify Alia's blatant rightist line for "greater democratization" and for "perfecting the Socialist relations of production." Later, FFC's sober assessment of what had taken place in Albania led to a more objective evaluation of the major strengths and weaknesses of the PLA's political line during Hoxha's tenure. Albania
At this point it became clear that in addition to analyzing the causes of failure of the movement in the
, it was all the more necessary to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the CPSU(B)'s history and Stalin's contribution to Leninism. Moreover, closer attention was given to the theory and politics of the Communist Party USA during its revolutionary years - attention that the Marxist-Leninist Movement continuously neglected because of its narrow preoccupation with the Party’s Browderite influences. These tasks were viewed as essential for preparation to revive Party reconstruction and continue the struggle for Socialism. Indeed, the realization dawned that any real development of the theory and politics for the American proletarian revolution had to be squarely based on the lessons provided by the Bolsheviks, the Soviet working class and the International Communist Movement (1922-1956). US
In 1990 FFC began to publish and distribute pamphlets and bulletins as a new voice on key issues regarding Party building as well as analyses on the national and international situation. In 1994, Scientific Socialist was launched, a theoretical review that carried more comprehensive analyses of problems associated with Party building and which proposed a Bolshevik line of march for proletarian revolution in the US. A major objective of the Scientific Socialist trend has been to lay the foundations for merging revolutionary politics with the American working class movement. This, of course, has not been a simple and easy task because of very serious objective and subjective obstacles.
One extremely serious obstacle is the obvious lack of revolutionary forces operating in the country. A durable proletarian movement for democracy and Socialism can only begin to be built by a powerful vanguard group of revolutionary leaders which at present is non-existent. While there are a number of parties and groups who declare themselves to be Communist, Socialist, etc., not one of them is grounded in the theory and practice of Bolshevism and Stalinism. A good number of them are social-fascist - socialist in words but fascist in deeds - operating under the auspices of the neo-fascist state.
The social-fascists get away with their hypocrisy because of the continuous misinformation they spread to defame, ignore, or distort Stalinism. Their activities neatly dovetail the neo-fascist state’s heavy-handed attempt to de-facto outlaw Stalinism from the intellectual and political life of the country.
Ideological brainwashing reinforced by political repression, including various forms of terror have been crucial in the state's operation to squelch revolutionary thought and action. The lock-out of such thought and action will persist until the revolutionary-minded and progressive individuals who honestly view themselves allied with the cause of democracy and Socialism discard the dead wood that clutters their political thinking and prevents them from embracing Scientific Socialist theory and practice. The first step in this direction requires that they adopt the revolutionary attitude and position toward the anti-Stalinist propaganda of the neo-fascist state and its Trotskyite, Krushchevite, and Maoist agents.
The scientific approach to dealing with all of reaction’s ideological and political attacks on this front begins with a clear understanding of their source and context. Simply put, this means viewing the class enemy as the source and the class struggle as the context.
Imperialism, like all other reactionary and oppressive systems, relies heavily on deception and terror to fend off its inevitable revolutionary overthrow. The politicians, propagandists, and scribblers in the pay of the monopolists falsify the history and distort the theory of the international working class to negate and rule out proletarian Socialism as the next progressive step of humanity. At the same time, the ruling circles use the state apparatus at their disposal to suppress those forces who cleave to the revolutionary path. Since the 1920s, fascism and its social-fascist adjuncts have formed a cabal to effect this strategy. And since the mid-fifties, they have been successful in derailing world revolution.
It is clear that imperialism has won some major battles of the class war. Yet they are powerless to stop the class struggle. So although it is true today that no mass revolutionary proletarian movements exist and no proletarian Socialist country remains, it cannot be said that labor and democratic struggles are things of the past. On the contrary, in the now-deepening crisis that is sweeping the world, these struggles are breaking out more frequently and with greater intensity than they have for many years. This is the logic of history and the class struggle.
The current crisis shows that imperialism, as the last and long-moribund stage of capitalism, is in the throes of extreme, chaotic decay, resulting in the decomposition of capitalist relations. World capitalism's present crisis, which began at the beginning of this decade, marks a new stage in its general crisis. It is causing economic dislocations, political turbulence, and reactionary violence not seen since the crisis of the 30s and World War II.
As this crisis deepens and spreads, it is devastating and undoubtedly will continue to devastate economies of entire countries, increasing the unemployment and exploitation of the working class. As the class contradictions between labor and capital intensify, the monopolists are trampling on and undoubtedly will continue to trample on even formal “democratic rights,” further restricting the freedoms of the masses. And, as the inter-imperialist rivalries grow ever more antagonistic, the imperialists are unleashing and undoubtedly will continue to unleash aggression and war, resulting in more misery and death for the peoples and more destruction of their homelands.
This in broad terms is the “bridge to the new millennium” that the fascist-imperialists are “building”: one that leads to further exploitation, oppression, reigns of terror, and war.
But the international working class movement and its progressive allies are like swelling oceans beneath this bridge and threaten to sweep it into oblivion by rising in revolution for New Democracy and Socialism.
Today we see the imperialists growing increasingly fearful over the "social and political instability" in many countries of the world. The specter of revolution still haunts the bourgeoisie despite the "collapse of Communism" in the Soviet bloc, the overthrow of Socialist construction in Albania, and the capitalist-friendly "market-style Communism" in China, Cuba, and Vietnam. Although the "cold war" has supposedly ended, reaction has not at all stopped braying its fanatical liturgy worshipping capitalism as the indisputable benefactor of the world and damning Communism as the greatest evil ever visited upon humanity. In fact, now when world capitalism is rapidly deteriorating, imperialism has intensified its ideological assault by denying even the prospect for the Socialist revolution to occur. In this "post cold-war period," US neo-fascism in particular is attempting to "prove" that only the most backward and brutal forms of capitalism offer hope in its "new world order."
Reaction's main objective in this perverse ideological campaign is to prevent the working class and democratic movements from taking a revolutionary turn. The monopoly-bourgeoisie knows that, in the first place, these movements cannot possibly take this turn if they are cordoned off from revolutionary theory - if the most able and militant individuals in these movements lack competent knowledge and understanding of the historical experience of the international proletariat's struggle for Socialism. Anti-Communist and pseudo-Communist dogma is pumped out ad nauseum precisely to immunize the workers against “dangerous ideas,” that is, against this knowledge and understanding.
Neo-fascism and social-fascism coordinate their attacks on Marxism-Leninism and Socialism in hopes of destroying it, much like the medieval papacy hoped to destroy science and the critical, rational thinking that emerged at the end of the middle ages. But they will not succeed. The retrograde forces in the world, despite their relentless attempts to impede scientific enlightenment and social progress, have never been able to destroy the ongoing popular struggles of the masses for freedom and democracy - struggles that have ultimately led to earth-shaking events, struggles that have invariably galvanized the most advanced theory and political thought of the times, paving the way for a new society.
The reactionary ruling classes have always viewed revolts and revolutions against their dictate with extreme fear and hatred. Naturally. It is these revolts and revolutions that defied their tyranny and strove to end their barbarous oppression by throwing off the chains of the enslaved masses. In response, the tyrants perpetrated the most bloody, heinous crimes against the peoples to safeguard their positions of power and wealth.
Yet at the very time the ruling classes go down on all fours and launch the most ferocious violence and terror against mass actions for emancipation, they shamelessly accuse the rebellions as being the source of evil and suffering. Such machinations were commonplace throughout the epoch of feudalism. The English monarchs scorned the masses who rebelled against their despotism as "unruly mobs" and "murderous hoards," and vilified their leaders, such as Wat Tyler and William Wallace as "thieves," and "bloody men." The German barons and clergy labeled the peasants in a similar fashion when they rose up against the tyranny of the landed nobility and the church, while their greatest champion, Thomas Munzer, was defamed as an "instrument of Satan." And the French aristocracy and its conservative bourgeois allies were equally contemptuous of the French revolutionary masses and their most ardent representatives - the Jacobins
It is the modus operandi of reactionary class rule to try to defend the status quo by criminalizing progressive or revolutionary change and by vilifying those who lead it. This should be understood as part and parcel of the class war that reaction wages to justify the atrocities it commits against those who would liberate themselves from the yoke of slavery.
As in the epochs of the past, the epoch of industrial capitalism and the epoch of imperialism have also unfolded in the struggles between opposing class and social forces - between the oppressors and the oppressed, between reaction and progress. Revolutionary Labor arose on history's stage to overthrow Capital's exploitative and despotic rule. Today, in this most moribund and chaotic period of the epoch of imperialism, the struggles between the working class and the capitalists, between all the democratic forces and the fascist-imperialists are continuing and growing.
The struggles of the proletariat inevitably lead it onto the revolutionary road for overthrowing the old order. But unlike previous movements for liberation, the proletarian revolution has the mission of building a new society free not only from every form of class exploitation, but from any type of class oppression by a parasitic, ruling minority. Today, the first major objective of the revolution in an imperialist country like the US is to replace the financial oligarchy’s neo-fascist state with a popular democratic government, run by the masses and led by the working class, acting as a transitional form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which will expropriate the oligarchy and other monopoly capitalists and prepare the conditions for constructing Socialism.
By this very fact, the mere potential of working class struggles assuming a revolutionary character poses the greatest threat to imperialism. Is it any wonder then that the ideologues, scholars, and political puppets of the financial oligarchies paint the proletarian revolution and its leaders in the darkest of colors? They routinely manufacture lying propaganda, criminalizing the revolution and vilifying its leaders to justify all means at their disposal up to wide-scale terror to defeat “the red menace.” At the same time these “thinkers,” who as Marx explained “make the perfecting of the illusion of the (capitalist) class about itself their chief source of livelihood,” produce mountains of fabrications to present fascist-imperialism in a favorable light.
However, both history and the contemporary reality pass a clear verdict on who the real criminals, villains, and enemies of the proletariat and peoples are.
History has shown to what extremes the bourgeoisie will resort to in defending its dictatorship over the working class and its democratic allies. The Revolution of 1848-49 in Europe, and the Paris Commune of 1871 sharply illustrated what Engels meant when he spoke of the industrial bourgeoisie's "insane cruelties," unleashed against the workers who had attempted to overthrow their oppressors. Tens of thousands of defenseless prisoners were massacred in reprisal.
Nevertheless, these were just previews of the mass terror and butchery that the bourgeoisie would unleash on the revolutionary proletariat in the 20th century. If the industrial capitalists acted with insane cruelty in their attacks to safeguard their position and power against the working class, the monopoly capitalists can only be described as fiendish in their all-out war to crush the movements for democracy, national liberation, and Socialism. Fascism, neo-fascism and social-fascism have been pounded into imperialism's spear-heads in this war.
Throughout its bloody counter-revolution, monopoly capitalism has especially targeted the proletarian vanguards for attack, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering tens of thousands of Party members, including top leaders. Lenin's untimely death can be mainly attributed to the wounds he suffered from a botched assassination attempt by a social-fascist agent of reaction. Liebknecht, Luxenberg, and Thaelmann, who were members of the principal leadership of the German proletariat, were summarily executed - the former two by the German white-guards, the latter by the nazis. Gramsci, a leader of the Italian Communist Party, suffered for many years in fascist jails and was slowly tortured to death by the squalid conditions existing there. The Russians Kirov and Zhadnov, the Bulgarian Dimitrov, the Czech Gottwald, and the Pole Bierut, all militant Stalinist leaders, were secretly murdered by social-fascist conspirators. And Stalin himself was assassinated in the putsch of the social-fascist fifth column that began the overthrow of Socialism in the USSR.
Many more examples could be cited to illustrate how all Parties affiliated with the Third International were targets of reactionary terror campaigns before, during, and after the rise of fascism, which became the monopoly capitalists’ main instrument to violently suppress the revolutionary working class movements around the world.
But imperialist reaction goes far beyond the persecution and murder of Party members and leaders. It also intimidates, persecutes, or assassinates other prominent, democratic leaders who fight for the popular demands of the working class and people. But the most nefarious measure that reaction resorts to is the wanton terror it unleashes against the masses who stand on the side of democracy and Socialism. Since the monopoly bourgeoisie cannot possibly change the fundamental conditions that give rise to the revolutionary proletarian and democratic movements, it uses all means at its disposal to crush these movements, including the mass murder or forced expulsion of civilian populations that support them and even those that take politically neutral positions. For imperialism, people, like trees, can be “clear-cut” when it has no practical use for them or when they stand in the way of its “vital interests.”
The bourgeoisie’s ferocious brutality against civilians dates back to industrial capitalism’s period of colonization in the 19th century. Millions of people were massacred or “resettled” if they “obstructed” the “big powers” scramble for colonies, land, labor, and raw materials. Millions more perished from famine and disease visited upon them on colonialism’s road to “progress.” Imperialism, however, did much more in designing a deliberate policy for wars of extermination as well as methodically carrying out atrocities. With the rise and threat of proletarian revolutions, the monopoly bourgeoisie escalated the use of mass terror to systematically wipe them out.
Fully backed and receiving indispensable aid from the big imperialist powers, the White armies which tried to overthrow the young Soviet Socialist Republic (1918-1920) committed numerous atrocities against the peaceful population in the former territories of the Russian empire. Frank bourgeois historians cannot but admit to the "horrible brutality" of Russian reaction's tactics, which led to the massacres of untold numbers of inhabitants of captured villages, including women and children.
Soon after World War I, fascism, a creature of imperialism, of capitalism in decay, reared its ugly head. The hitlerite war-machine, ultimately built to destroy the USSR, was funded and assisted by both the German and other imperialists, including the Americans, British, and French.
Fascist regimes are the lackeys of the ruling oligarchies in whatever countries they operate. They are the "last, best hope" for the monopolists who are trying to stave off the revolution. During World War II, tens of millions of people fell victim to fascism's maniacal dream to "rid the world of Bolshevism." In the Soviet Union alone more than 12 million civilians were butchered by the nazi invaders when they declined to welcome the hitlerites as their "liberators."
Unbridled terror against civilian populations as a means to crush democratic resistance to imperialist domination and dictate continued in the immediate post-World War II period with US-led wars to “stop the spread of communism.” North Korea became the biggest target of this terror campaign after the imperialists “lost China.” Almost a half million civilians of this small country, which was virtually defenseless against air attack, were killed by massive bombing raids, including those who fell to the latest weapon of mass destruction that US neo-fascism had dispatched to the scene: napalm.
In fact, since the rise of world neo/social-fascism in the mid-fifties, tens of millions of non-combatant men, women, and children have been cut down by open imperialist aggression and “covert” dirty wars around the globe. It has been estimated that the percentage of civilian deaths in the scores of conflicts that have taken place over the last 20 years has risen to unprecedented levels. While in World War II civilians already comprised 67% of all war-related deaths, during the 80s this figure rose to 75%, and in the 90s it jumped to 90%.
The aggression and terror now employed by the imperialists and their puppets have reached truly diabolical proportions. Force and violence are being systematically unleashed in the vain attempt to reconcile the exacerbated class contradictions of decaying capitalism. They are used in all spheres to settle the problem of “markets” in a degenerative inter-imperialist war for re-division of the world. And they have become the main means to wage the on-going counter-revolution.
Increasingly, the problem of “markets” is being settled by military aggression and intervention of the “big powers” in the world’s “trouble-spots” which result in tremendous carnage and destruction. Additionally, reactionary nationalist and religious extremist “movements” are secretly spawned by imperialism’s ruling circles and their war machines as armed units of predatory war and counter-revolution. Supplied with “programs,” financing, weapons, and other resources from imperialism’s foreign espionage services, these units provoke and organize national, “ethnic,” religious, and civil strife among the masses in countries that are hotbeds of inter-imperialist rivalry and/or where progressive movements are gaining in strength and threaten neo-fascism’s “new world order.” Whether their particular objective is to prop-up or overthrow a quisling and corrupt bourgeois government, as storm troopers of counter-revolution their tactics are the same: terrorize, divide, and exterminate workers and peasants to stop the forces of progress by eliminating the mass support they have won through their just struggles. The turmoil and horrendous massacres in sections of the African continent, which the fascist press is now calling Africa’s “First World War,” provide numerous examples of these tactics.
But in its vicious frenzy to halt progress, reaction is fully exposing the chaotic and sickening decay of world capitalism. The atrocities it commits against humanity to defend capitalism establishes incontrovertible proof that this system is indefensible.
On the other hand, the logic and history of the class struggle prove that the proletariat, by dint of its class nature, does not employ such savage measures to achieve its aims. This is because it is guided by an outlook diametrically opposed to that of the bourgeoisie. For decades, fascist ideologues have been whining about how the “Soviet Union murdered millions of peasants.” It is a nazi lie. Proletarian revolutions are organized to abolish the capitalist system, not exterminate people. Their strategy is to change the economic and political bases that sustain the bourgeoisie and other reactionary, exploiting classes. This was the strategy employed by the Soviet proletarian dictatorship to eliminate the kulaks -- the rich landowning peasants -- as a class. The class was “murdered” not its members.
It is absurd to think that in its struggle for political power, even in its most violent phase, the revolutionary vanguard leads the working class to terrorize the masses and commit atrocities against them. It has never been the case, nor could it ever be the case. The vanguard directs its revolutionary force against the reactionary force that is desperately trying to hold back or turn back the wheel of history, against the force that wants to retain or restore the exploitative class relations. The most violent clashes of these opposing forces take place in the insurrectionary struggles to seize state power, but even in these clashes the organized, armed proletariat does not target masses of people, but fights, first and foremost, to destroy the armed mechanisms of the reactionary state that attempt to save the despotic rule and interests of capital.
The CPSU(B) under Stalin's leadership consistently waged the revolutionary class struggle guided by this outlook both in overthrowing capitalism and in building a democratic, Socialist society.
To reaction Stalin is a tyrant. But as Stalin himself once pointed out, only political ignoramuses can accept this accusation as true - they who know nothing about how the vanguard party and Socialist state organize and implement democracy for the working class and the masses. Socialism, like capitalism is a class dictatorship; however, it is radically different insofar as this is a dictatorship of the majority, the working people, over the minority, the disenfranchised exploiter class that the revolution has taken down. Of course, any system that forcibly forbids the capitalists the “liberties” of exploiting and oppressing the proletariat and people can only be viewed by this parasitic class as a “brutal tyranny.” Stalin openly admitted that the Socialist state must act ruthlessly in this regard. But even the moderate measures that were taken by the CPSU(B) to suppress reactionaries, hitlerite spies, assassins, and gangsters have led to endless lying babble about “Stalinist terror” by fascism’s scholars.
That’s how they earn their living.
From the working class perspective, Stalin was a leader that exemplified the highest virtues of the revolutionary proletariat, leading it to victory at a time when world imperialism had trained all of its weapons on the revolution and Socialism in order to wipe them out.
One of these virtues was his staunch devotion to inner-Party democracy and discipline, which act as safeguards against any leaders, no matter how high their post, from making or implementing decisions outside the control of the collective. In their more candid statements, the same imperialist politicians who called Stalin a dictator, voiced frustration that he could not make certain commitments at Allied conferences during the second world war until he received approval from the Politburo.
Another of Stalin’s outstanding strengths was his uncompromising stand in defending the interests and goals of the of the international proletarian and democratic movements. Stalin could not be bought out; he would not capitulate to the fascists and imperialists; he rejected all of their bribes and stood impervious to all of their pressures. Furthermore, he possessed the political foresight and intelligence to see through their deceptions and plots, which he skillfully exposed on numerous occasions not only to defend Socialist construction in the Soviet Union but to strengthen the world proletariat's ability to effectively struggle against its class enemies.
Stalin and the Stalinists stayed the course of revolution in the face of reaction’s massive armed frontal assaults and its secret plots of internal aggression - assaults and plots that the imperialists arrogantly thought would bring the Soviet Union and the revolutionary proletariat to their knees. But imperialism’s dreams of conquest repeatedly landed on the rocks. Consequently, Stalin incited the most pathological hatred of all the mortal enemies of the revolution. Only when imperialism mobilized entire legions of its espionage services in collaboration with social-fascist gangsters and resorted to the most Byzantine, subterranean plots and acts of assassination did it succeed in destroying Socialism and democracy in the USSR and the Socialist camp.
This analysis of the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the countries of New Democracies differs markedly from that offered by the US Marxist-Leninist Movement, which either downplayed or completely ignored imperialism's role in the counter-revolution.
The MLM placed the blame for Socialism's defeat mainly or entirely on "revisionism" and the "revisionists," namely, on the social-fascist Khruschevite clique and its rightist theory and practice. But this explanation not only downplays or ignores the links between the Khruschevite fifth column and neo-fascism which together formed a cabal to coordinate the internal aggression that paved the way for the social-fascist coup; it also implies that Stalin and the Bolsheviks were themselves responsible for the "rise of revisionism" because of their failure to foresee and combat it effectively. The Maoists go further, openly accusing Stalin of neglecting to wage the “ideological struggle" and a "cultural revolution" against revisionism, which, they claim, weakened the Party and led to its degeneration.
The truth of the matter is, however, that there were intense struggles taking place both inside and outside the CPSU(B) from 1945-1953 between the Bolsheviks and imperialism’s flunkies - - the social-fascists. It was no accident that the "leaders" of the American Marxist-Leninist movement censored much information on this period of struggle. Literature and documents concerning it were withheld from the rank-and-file because their content completely contradicts the "line" that Stalin and the Stalinists were ignorant of the American-led neo-fascist counter-offensive and the social-fascist threat.
Moreover, by denigrating Stalin either openly or obliquely, the Maoists and latter-day "Marxist-Leninists" have themselves attempted to justify their revision of the historiography of the International Communist Movement, insinuating that because of Stalin’s “errors,” the revolutionary class struggle of the Soviet proletariat virtually stopped when Lenin died. They need "Mao more than ever" or "return to the classics," that is, to Marx, Engels, and Lenin in the deliberate attempt to erase Stalin and the Stalinists from the Marxist-Leninist calendar.
Their treachery is transparent. The revolutionary class struggle on the theoretical, economic, and political fronts continued and advanced under the leadership of the CPSU(B) and Stalin. Stalin was the continuer of the work of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He developed the theory of Marxism-Leninism while leading the struggle to fight for, build, and defend Socialism in the conditions of imperialist encirclement and fascist aggression.
That Stalin was a Marxist-Leninist, a Bolshevik, and a martyr for the cause of the revolutionary proletariat is an axiom and beyond dispute. The contents of this thesis stem neither from "cult worship" nor from a political bias. They are based on the historical record and the evaluations made by the CPSU(B) and the International Communist Movement. Therefore, Scientific Socialists draw the conclusion that Marxism-Stalinism more accurately denotes the theory and politics of the revolutionary proletariat today.
Marxism-Stalinism is the way of the working class vanguard as a revolutionary force. Any other way will ultimately lead to flaccid, reformist politics and the betrayal of Socialism. The fascist-imperialists are terrorized and convulse at the prospect of a resurgence of Stalinist theory and practice. They have ordained their high priests of propaganda to carry out a holy mission: portray Stalin as the modern Satan, and thus provide the ideological basis for exorcising the evil of Stalinism from the working class movement.
What is the position of Scientific Socialism on the volumes upon volumes of rabid, anti-Communist and anti-Stalinist propaganda pumped out over the last 50 years? It is clear and direct. The yellow line that runs through all of them has been lifted from the nazis and trotskyites. Much of it was exposed as lies and fabrications by the CPSU(B) and the International Communist Movement during Stalin’s lifetime. After the coup, which led to the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the New Democracies, reaction escalated its ideological assault, inflating the same yellow line by concocting a mythological system about Stalin and the CPSU(B), filled with stupid and fantastic stories.
Science rejects myth, which essentially blurs the distinction between illusion and reality and presents the fantasies of the imagination as truth. Therefore, Scientific Socialists hold that these stories about Stalin and the CPSU(B) are not deserving of serious examination or rebuttal. Moreover, the latest, widely promoted books of "new revelations" published by certain "respected scholars" who have been rummaging through "Soviet archives" are just more tomes of the fossilized neo-fascist line. There is really nothing new about them; the latest myth-makers simply regurgitate the same old stories embellished with additional falsifications and more devious distortions.
These also include writings in the gothic horror tradition, illustrated by the recently published Black Book of Communism. However, such "Black Books," are also nothing new. The first one came out after the Revolution of 1848-49 - - one that Engels described as a "crude compilation, which bristles with deliberate falsifications, fabricated by two of the most contemptible police scoundrels of our century." Flagrant falsifications also provide this new "non-fiction best-seller" edition of the Black Book with its most "damning indictments of Communism." They too bristle with enfeebled deceits, such as equating Socialism with fascism and misrepresenting social-fascist regimes, for example, China and Cambodia, as Socialist, besides chewing the cud on the “horrors of Soviet gulags," etc. The "academics" who wrote the book do, nevertheless, claim to be first to add up the millions of "victims of Communism." A brilliant piece of bourgeois “work,” no doubt.
False premises based on lies and distortions are inherent in fascism’s "logic" and its mythological system.
These lies and distortions about Communism and Stalinism must be combated; the mythological system must be taken down. But is it the proletarian vanguard’s responsibility to expose every lie and bogus argument that world fascism manufactures to defame the Socialist revolution and its leaders?
Anyone who thinks clearly and seriously about this matter must see that this ideological struggle would be unproductive and diversionary. The Scientific Socialist trend does not defend Stalin by ruminating on the details of the historical record to prove what he was not. Some organizations take this tack and do constructive educational work on Stalin and the CPSU(B). However, we think that the proletarian vanguard must take a different approach to dealing with the problem.
Fascist lies and slanders must be branded. The fascist mythology must be both condemned and ridiculed. Arguing over this or that detail would mean, practically, entering into debate and discussion over issues that were settled long ago. And with whom? With neo-nazi propagandists and publicists, with intellectual wrecks, who make their sordid careers by fabricating bigger, more sensational stories about “Stalinist barbarism” while justifying a “new world order” that imperialism enforces by killing millions of people and laying waste to entire countries. For leaders of the working class to engage in such a "debate" would be rotten liberalism at best, because it would lend credibility to reaction's diatribes against Stalin and Communism.
But even more to the point, it is necessary to ask, “How would this ‘defense’ of Stalin benefit the working class? It should be clear that it would not benefit the workers at all because arguing about Stalin with the class enemy is, in fact, deserting the class struggle. For the vanguard, the most meaningful defense of Stalin and the CPSU(B) is to learn and apply the theory developed by them to plan and organize the proletarian revolution. It must assimilate Marxism-Stalinism to hammer out revolutionary politics for the American working class and people in order to lead them against the oligarchy and neo-fascism.
In addition to learning from the Soviet Bolsheviks, it is also of particular importance for the advanced elements to study the experience of the Communist Party USA before it became a social-fascist mechanism of the state. It should be recognized that the CPUSA was much stronger from the 20s to the early 50s than the Marxist-Leninist Movement gave it credit for. Despite serious weaknesses and deviations, the Party was still grounded in Stalinism. That is why it was targeted for ferocious attacks by reaction, especially after World War II.
Science and politics are of primary concern to proletarian leaders today, and Stalin's development of the revolutionary science and practice is what interests them. The Scientific Socialist trend has been attempting to apply Stalinism to US and international conditions. This is an absolute necessity to raise the red banner that the CPUSA and the American Marxist-Leninist Movement tossed down and are now trampling in the dirt.
While the trend overall is still in its embryonic stage, its theoretical foundations and analyses have produced politics that respond directly to the major needs and interests of the working class and people. These politics agree with the outlook and goals of the vanguard of the proletariat, of all those who aspire to democracy and Socialism.
The American Stalinists call for the overthrow of the neo-fascist state and the establishment of a popular democracy through mass participation and led by the working class. As a transitional form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, this new democratic state will liquidate the rule of the financial oligarchy, the social-class base of neo-fascism, and the banks and industries it owns and controls will become the property of the state. Other monopolies and big capitalist enterprises of both industry and agriculture will also be expropriated from the bourgeoisie and placed under state control, paving the way for the construction of Socialist society.
The only means to effect such a revolution are a powerful vanguard Party and strong, independent unions. In addition to building and uniting these basic components of the workers’ revolutionary movement, the proletariat must win support from democratic organizations of the oppressed masses and the intermediate strata by fighting for demands that reflect their progressive interests. The Popular Front against exploitation, plunder, neo-fascism, and imperialist war is the main tactical and strategic lever to bring about revolutionary change.
As the period of "stable" moribund capitalism evaporates before the decomposition of capitalist relations, the labor and democratic struggles are, by necessity, rising to combat the anti-worker and anti-popular policies of world neo-fascism. This development, which is also taking place in the US, signals that the forces for progressive change are irresistible.
American revolutionaries must take this development seriously and prepare themselves and the working class to organize and lead these forces. One key task in this direction is to combat imperialism's ideological suppression of Stalinism. They must reject, condemn, and ridicule anti-Communism in all its neo/social-fascist forms and embrace the simple truth that progress demands the science developed by the revolutionary proletariat, not the mythology dreamed up by reaction's high priests.