Some points on Stalin (and Mao)

Stalin and Mao

Stalin and Mao

More and more these days, particularly among those calling themselves ‘Maoists’ and ‘post-Maoists’ it is becoming fashionable to go after Stalin and his legacy, to critique ‘Stalinism’ and to talk of ‘going beyond Stalinism’. There seems to go along with this a summation of Stalin that completely negates his successes, or that at least says that his errors were primary and successes were secondary, and that, overall Stalin should be thrown out. I want to seriously engage this trend, from my personal point of view. I’m not an expert, but I’ve read a few books and I’ve had a few discussions with people who have varying summations of Stalin and his contributions to the experience of proletarian revolution. This article, I hope, will only be the beginning of a series of discussions regarding this and related questions.

To begin with, lets get a few things out of the way. First, I do not believe that the question of Stalin is the cardinal question before Marxist-Leninists today. It is not the basis of rebuilding the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement following the series of splits that occurred after his death and then the death of Mao Zedong. It is an important issue, but the basis of rebuilding unity among Marxist-Leninists should be based on agreement on Marxist-Leninist principles (rather than personalities) and anti-imperialist practice, i.e., proletarian internationalism. A summation of the experiences of the international communist movement is, of course, an integral part of building unity on the basis of principles. The 1999 declaration of the International Communist Seminar goes into this as well: “When parties have different ideological opinions concerning various questions, they can gradually surmount them in a process of common practical struggle against the international bourgeoisie, that strengthens confidence in the noblest ideals of humanity and eliminates all forms of opportunism, liberalism and dogmatism.”

Second, “Stalinism” does not exist. It is another term for Leninism, and, based on bourgeois and revisionist slanders, it is a term that attempts to undermine the principles of Leninism.  

Third, I should state clearly that Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist. I tend to agree, for the most part, with the summation of Stalin put forward by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the article, On the Question of Stalin. This article is part of a larger polemic with the revisionists of the Soviet Union led by Khrushchev. In this polemic the Chinese communists correctly argued that the revisionists were “completely negating” Stalin’s legacy as part of a concealed attack on the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. The summation in that article basically is an attempt at an “overall, objective and scientific analysis of Stalin’s merits and demerits by the method of historical materialism and the presentation of history as it actually occurred.”

“On the Question of Stalin”

Regarding Stalin’s merits, the CCP writes:

  1. Stalin fought tsarism and propagated Marxism during Lenin’s lifetime; after he became a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party headed by Lenin; he took part in the struggle to pave the way for the 1917 Revolution; after the October Revolution he fought to defend the fruits of the proletarian revolution.
  2. Stalin led the CPSU and the Soviet people, after Lenin’s death, in resolutely fighting both internal and external foes, and in safeguarding and consolidating the first socialist state in the world.
  3. Stalin led the CPSU and the Soviet people in upholding the line of socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization and in achieving great successes in socialist transformation and socialist construction.
  4. Stalin led the CPSU, the Soviet people, and the Soviet army in an arduous and bitter struggle to the great victory of the anti-fascist war.
  5. Stalin defended and developed Marxism-Leninism in the fight against various kinds of opportunism, against the enemies of Leninism, the Trotskyites, Zinovievites, Bukharinites, and other bourgeois agents.
  6. Stalin made an indelible contribution to the international communist movement in a number of theoretical writings which are immortal Marxist-Leninist works.
  7. Stalin led the Soviet Party and Government in pursuing a foreign policy which on the whole was in keeping with proletarian internationalism and in greatly assisting the revolutionary struggles of all peoples, including the Chinese people.
  8. Stalin stood in the forefront of the tide of history guiding the struggle, and was an irreconcilable enemy of the imperialists and all reactionaries.
  9. Stalin’s activities were intimately bound up with the struggles of the great CPSU and the great Soviet people and inseparable from the revolutionary struggles of the people of the whole world.
  10. Stalin’s life was that of a great Marxist-Leninist, a great proletarian revolutionary. [I have changed the formatting of the text here from separate paragraphs to a numbered list, simply to make the discussion simpler - CZ]

Regarding Stalin’s errors, the CCP writes:

It is true that while he performed meritorious deeds for the Soviet people and the international communist movement, Stalin, a great Marxist-Leninist and proletarian revolutionary, also made certain mistakes. Some were errors of principle and some were errors made in the course of practical work; some could have been avoided and some were scarcely avoidable at a time when the dictatorship of the proletariat had no precedent to go by.

  1. In his way of thinking, Stalin departed from dialectical materialism and fell into metaphysics and subjectivism on certain questions and consequently he was sometimes divorced from reality and from the masses.
  2. In struggles inside as well as outside the Party, on certain occasions and on certain questions he confused two types of contradictions which are different in nature, contradictions between ourselves and the enemy and contradictions among the people, and also confused the different methods needed in handling them. In the work led by Stalin of suppressing the counter-revolution, many counter-revolutionaries deserving punishment were duly punished, but at the same time there were innocent people who were wrongly convicted; and in 1937 and 1938 there occurred the error of enlarging the scope of the suppression of counter-revolutionaries.
  3. In the matter of Party and government organization, he did not fully apply proletarian democratic centralism and, to some extent, violated it.
  4. In handling relations with fraternal Parties and countries, he made some mistakes. He also gave some bad counsel in the international communist movement. These mistakes caused some losses to the Soviet Union and the international communist movement. [Again, I have broken a paragraph in the text here into a numbered list - CZ]

Out of all of this the CCP argues that Stalin “was primarily correct, and his faults were secondary,” that “it is necessary to safeguard what was primary in Stalin’s life, to safeguard Marxism-Leninism, which he defended and developed” and that “it would be beneficial if the errors of Stalin, which were only secondary, are taken as historical lessons so that the Communists of the Soviet Union and other countries might take warning and avoid repeating those errors or commit fewer errors.”

More on Stalin’s merits

Regarding what the CCP writes about Stalin’s merits, there is little to take issue with. Stalin led the construction of socialism in the world first socialist state. He is also primarily responsible for leading the defeat of fascism in the Second World War. This work is beyond comparison and there is much to learn from it. It would do well to highlight some points on a theoretical level. Many of Stalin’s detractors insist that he is not much of theorist, and we find what is sometimes made into a variant of this criticism from the Chinese above (in saying that Stalin “fell into metaphysics and subjectivism”), but we should remember that Stalin’s collected works fill over a dozen volumes, and these volumes only go up to the 1930s (thereafter the publication was discontinued after Stalin’s death by the Khrushchev clique).

Stalin wrote five texts that I would consider essential reading for any revolutionary Marxist-Leninist:

  1. The Foundations of Leninism
  2. Dialectical and Historical Materialism
  3. Marxism and the National Question
  4. Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR
  5. History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) – Short Course

The first two are for the most part expository and to a certain extent over simplify. They explain the theories of Marx and Lenin in a simple and straight-forward way and are a good starting point for further study. They are important in that they are an attempt to popularize Marxism-Leninism among both the rank and file of the CPSU and the broader masses of workers and peasants. Such a popularization is neccessary for the consolidation of socialism. The textbook, History of the CPSU, which was written by Stalin and approved by the Central Committee of the CPSU, is a similar popularization. Regarding this text, Mao wrote, “It is the best synthesis and summing-up of the world communist movement of the past hundred years, a model of the integration of theory and practice, and so far the only comprehensive model in the whole world.”  Stalin’s essay on dialectics is also a very good popularization, and Mao certainly develops on it and deepens it in his essays, On Practice and On Contradiction. In On Contradiction Mao said that Stalin’s Foundations of Leninism was “a model for understanding the particularity and the universality of contradiction and their interconnection.” Stalin’s work on the national question had a tremendous influence on Lenin, and is recognized as paramount even by his detractors. He also wrote a significant article on socialist political economy based on a summation of the experience of socialist construction in the USSR. Mao Zedong, though of course critical (see Mao’s Critique of Soviet Economics), insisted that everyone should closely study this text.

Furthermore, Stalin’s writings defending Marxism-Leninism from the ‘Left’ and Right opportunism of Trotsky and Bukharin in the course of socialist construction enriched Marxism.

Stalin also contributed to the communist movement here in the United States. Though Khrushchev’s revisionism would ultimately seize the CPUSA in the 1950s and neccessitate the struggle for anti-revisionists to build a new CP beginning in the 1960s, Stalin nonetheless played an important role by intervening to stop factionalism from tearing apart the Communist Party of the United States in its early years. Furthermore, he helped to challenge white chauvinism and initiate the development of the Comintern line on the African American National Question which remains central to the revolutionary movement in the U.S.

A closer look at Stalin’s errors

It is in the enumeration of Stalin’s errors that the discussion gets interesting. Briefly, in the enumeration of his errors above, I believe that points 2 and 3 are overstated. I think it clear, if we look at “history as it actually occurred” that this is the case. These two points are held over from the earlier CCP document, On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat which tails behind the ‘critique’ put forward by the Soviet revisionists to a considerable degree. This is not to say that there are no examples of points where Stalin “confused the two types of contradictions” or went outside the norm in terms of democratic centralism. I think much of this is overblown, however, and given the fact that the Soviet Union was facing problems that no country had ever faced before there was much that could not have been foreseen or avoided. Of course the CCP document admits this fact. Ludo Martens does well to address some of these points in his article On Certain Aspects of the Struggle Against Revisionism. The 4th error is more important and deals with Soviet “great-nation chauvinism” in relation to other parties in other countries. There are some real criticisms to be made here, but I won’t dwell on this point for now.

The 1st error, regarding metaphysical thinking and subjectivism, is the main point to address in terms of Stalin’s errors. There is a quote from Ludo Martens’ book, Another View of Stalin, that gets to the heart of these errors. It is worth quoting at length here.

There is no no doubt that Stalin continued, during the latter years of his life, to struggle against social-democratic and bourgeois nationalist tendencies and against Anglo-American subversion.

Nevertheless, it is clear that this struggle was not done to the extent that was necessary to redress and reinvigorate the Party ideologically and politically.

After the war, which had required extraordinary professional effort on the part of military, technical and scientific cadres, the old tendencies of military professionalism and technocratism were substantially reinforced. Bureaucratization and the search for privileges and the easy life were also reinforced. This negative development was encouraged with the `dizziness of success’: the tremendous pride that the cadres had developed from the anti-fascist victory often became presumptuousness and arrogance. All these phenomena undermined the ideological and political vigilance that was necessary to fight the opportunist tendencies.

Stalin struggled against particular forms of opportunism and revisionism. He thought that the class struggle in the ideological sphere would continue for a long time. But he was not capable of formulating a comprehensive theory of its basis and its social base. In other words, he was not able to formulate a consistent theory explaining how classes and the class struggle persist in a socialist society.

Stalin had not completely understood that after the disappearance of the economic basis of capitalist and feudal exploitation, that there would still exist in the Soviet Union fertile ground for bourgeois currents. Bureaucracy, technocratism, social inequalities and privileges allowed the development within certain sectors of Soviet society a bourgeois lifestyle and aspirations for the reintroduction of certain aspects of capitalism. The persistence of bourgeois ideology among both the masses and the cadres was an additional factor that encouraged entire sectors to veer towards anti-socialist positions. The adversaries of socialism always had important resources and ideological and material resources from imperialism, which never stopped infiltrating its spies and buying off renegades; the latter never stopped in their efforts to exploit and amplify all forms of opportunism within the Soviet Union. Stalin’s thesis, according to which `There is no class basis, there can be no class basis, for the domination of the bourgeois ideology in our Soviet society’, was one-sided and undialectic. It introduced weaknesses and errors in the political line.

Stalin was not able to define the adequate forms of mass mobilization of workers and kolkhozians to combat the dangers of restauration. Popular democracy should have been developed, with the deliberate intention to eliminate bureaucracy, technocratism, ambitiousness, and privileges. But the popular participation in such a defence of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not ensured as it should have been done. Stalin always underscored that the influence of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism was reflected in the Party through opportunist tendencies. But he was not able to formulate a theory about the struggle between the two lines in the Party. In 1939, summarizing the Great Purge, Stalin focused exclusively on `the espionage and conspiratorial activities of the Trotskyite and Bukharinite leaders’ and on the manner in which `the bourgeois states … take advantage of people’s weaknesses, their vanity, their slackness of will’.

Stalin clearly underestimated the internal causes that gave birth to opportunist tendencies, which, once infiltrated by secret services, became linked one way or the other to imperialism. Consequently, Stalin did not think that it was necessary to mobilize all of the Party members to combat opportunistic lines and to eliminate unhealthy tendencies. During the ideological and political struggles, all the cadres and members shoud have educated and transformed themselves. After 1945, the struggle against opportunism was restricted to the highest circles of the Party and did not assist in the revolutionary transformation of the entire Party.

It was by analyzing these weaknesses that Mao Zedong formulated his theory about continuing the revolution:

`Socialist society covers a fairly long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education …. Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place.’ (pp. 282-284)

I think Martens’ criticism here is basically correct, and gets to the heart of what the CCP was getting at in talking about “metaphysics and subjectivism”. So to what extent, really, does Mao go ‘beyond’ Stalin, if at all?

As a recent statement by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization put it,

Mao fought against some of the mistaken ideas that were put forward at various times by others in the socialist camp, including the Soviet Union. He led the fight against modern revisionism, which pretends to ‘revise’ Marxism while in truth undermining Marxism’s basic revolutionary principles. In general the anti-revisionist struggle helped Marxist-Leninists clarify a number of pressing theoretical and practical issues.

The 1999 declaration elaborates on this point:

… Mao Zedong made a contribution of international importance. He proceeded to transform the democratic revolution into socialist revolution, undertook socialist construction, put forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate the gains of socialism.

Mao draws Lessons from the USSR

In an article called “Krushchov’s Phoney Communism and its Historical Lessons for the World“, the ninth comment that makes up the larger Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, some of the lessons that Mao drew from this struggle concerning how to avoid capitalist restoration were outlined in fifteen points.

How can the restoration of capitalism be prevented? On this question Comrade Mao Tse-tung has formulated a set of theories and policies, after summing up the practical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat in China and studying the positive and negative experience of other countries, mainly the Soviet Union, in accordance with the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, and has thus enriched and developed the Marxist-Leninist theory of the dictarorship of the proletariat.

The main contents of the theories and policies advanced by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in this connection are as follows:

FIRST, it is necessary to apply the Marxist-Leninist law of the unity of opposites to the study of socialist society. The law of contradiction in all things, i.e., the law of the unity of opposites, is a fundamental law of materialist dialectics. It operates everywhere, whether in the natural world, in human society, or in the human thought.

The opposites in a contradiction both unite and struggle with each other, and it is this that forces things to move and change. Socialist society is no exception. In socialist society there are two kinds of social contradictions, namely, the contradictions among the people and those between ourselves and the enemy. These two kinds of contradictions are entirely different in their essence, and the methods for handling them should be different, too. Their correct handling will result in the increasing consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the further strenghtening and development of socialist society.

Many people acknowledge the law of the unity of opposites but are unable to apply it in studying and handling questions in socialist society. They refuse to admit that there are contradictions in socialist society — that there are not only contradictions between ourselves and the enemy but also contradictions among the people — and they do not know how to distinguish between these two kinds of social contradictions and how to handle them correctly, and are therefore unable to deal correctly with the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

SECOND, socialist society covers a very long historical period. Classes and class struggle continue to exist in this society, and the struggle still goes on between the road of socialism and the road of capitalism. The socialist revolution on the economic front (in the ownership of the means of production) is insufficient by itself and cannot be consolidated. There must also be a thorough socialist revolution on the political and ideological fronts.

Here a very long period of time is needed to decide “who will win” in the struggle between socialism and capitalism. Several decades won’t do it; success requires anywhere from one to several centuries. On the question of duration, it is better to prepare for a longer rather than a shorter period of time.

On the question of effort, it is better to regard the task as difficult rather than easy. It will be more advantageous and less harmful to think and act in this way. Anyone who fails to see this or to appreciate it fully will make tremendous mistakes. During the historical period of socialism it is necessary to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat and carry the socialist revolution through to the end if the restoration of capitalism is to be prevented, socialist construction carried forward and the conditions created for the transition to communism.

THIRD, the dictatorship of the proletariat is led by the working class, with the worker-peasant alliance as its basis. This means the exercise of dictatorship by the working class and by the people under its leadership over the reactionary classes and individuals and those elements who oppose socialist transformation and socialist construction. Within the ranks of the people democratic centralism is practised. Ours is the broadest democracy beyond the bounds of possibility for any bourgeois state.

FOURTH, in both socialist revolution and socialist construction it is necessary to adhere to the mass line, boldly to arouse the masses and to unfold mass movements on a large scale. The mass line of “from the masses, to the masses” is the basic line in all the work of our Party. It is necessary to have firm confidence in the majority of the people and, above all, in the majority of the worker-peasant masses. We must be good at consulting the masses in our work and under no circumstances alienate ourselves from them.

Both commandism and the attitude of one dispensing favours have to be fought. The full and frank expression of views and great debates are important forms of revolutionary struggle which have been created by the people of our country in the course of their long revolutionary fight, forms of struggle which rely on the masses for resolving contradictions among the people and contradictions between ourselves and the enemy.

FIFTH, whether in socialist revolution or in socialist construction, it is necessary to solve the question of whom to rely on, whom to win over and whom to oppose. The proletariat and its vanguard must make a class analysis of socialist society, rely on the truly dependable forces that firmly take the socialist road, win over all allies that can be won over, and unite with the masses of the people, who constitute more than ninety-five per cent of the population, in a common struggle against the enemies of socialism.

In the rural areas, after the collectivization of agriculture it is necessary to rely on the poor and lower middle peasants in order to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the worker-peasant alliance, defeat the spontaneous capitalist tendencies and extend the policies of socialism.

SIXTH, it is necessary to conduct extensive socialist education movements repeatedly in the cities and the countryside. In these continuous movements for educating the people we must be good at organizing the revolutionary class forces, enhancing their class consciousness, correctly handling contradictions among the people and uniting all those who can be united.

In these movements it is necessary to wage a sharp, tit-for-tat struggle against the anti-socialist, capitalist and feudal forces — the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bourgeois rightists, and the embezzlers, grafters and degenerates – in order to smash the attacks they unleash against socialism and to remould the majority of them into new men.

SEVENTH, one of the basic tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat is actively to expand the socialist economy. It is necessary to achieve the modernization of industry, agriculture, science and technology, and national defence step by step under the guidance of the genaral policy of developing the national economy with agriculture as the foundation and industry as the leading factor. On the basis of the growth of production, it is necessary to raise the living standards of the people gradually and on a broad scale.

EIGHTH, ownership by the whole people and collective ownership are the two forms of socialist economy. The transition from collective ownership to ownership by the whole people, from two kinds of ownership to a unitary ownership by the whole people, is a rather long process. Collective ownership itself develops from lower to higher levels and from smaller to larger scale. The people’s communes which the Chinese people have created is a suitable form of organization for the solution of the question of this transition.

NINTH, “Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend” is a policy for stimulating the growth of the arts and the progress of science and for promoting a flourishing socialist culture. Education must serve proletarian politics and must be combined with productive labour. The working people should master knowledge and the intellectuals should become habituated to manual labour.

Among those engaged in science, culture, the arts and education, the struggle to promote proletarian ideology and destroy bourgeois ideology is a protracted and fierce clas struggle. It is necessary to build up a large detachment of working-class intellectuals who serve socialism and who are both “red and expert”, i.e., who are both politically conscious and professionally competent, by means of cultural revolution, and revolutionary practice in class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment.

TENTH, it is necessary to maintain the system of cadre participation in collective productive labour. The cadres of our Party and state are ordinary workers and not overlords sitting on the backs of the people. By taking part in collective productive labour, the cadres maintain extensive, constant and close ties with the working people. This is a major measure of fundamental importance for a socialist system; it helps to overcome bureaucracy and to prevent revisionism and dogmatism.

ELEVENTH, the system of high salaries for a small number of people should never be applied. The gap between the incomes of the working personell of the Party, the government, the enterprises and the people’s communes, on the one hand, and the incomes of the mass of people, on the other, should be rationally and gradually narrowed and not widened. All working personell must be prevented from abusing their power and enjoying special privileges.

TWELFTH, it is always necessary for the people’s armed forces in a socialist country to be under the leadership of the Party of the proletariat and under the supervision of the masses, and they must always maintain the glorious tradition of a people’s army, with unity between the army and the people and between the officers and men.

It is necessary to keep the system under which officers serve as common soldiers at regular intervals. It is necessary to practice military democracy, political democracy and economic democracy. Moreover, militia units should be organized and trained all over the country, so as to make everybody a soldier. The guns must forever be in the hands of the Party and the people and must never be allowed to become the instruments of careerists.

THIRTEENTH, the people’s public security organs must always be under the leadership of the Party of the proletariat and under the supervision of the mass of the people. In the struggle to defend the fruits of socialism and the people’s interests, the policy must be applied of relying on the combined efforts of the broad masses and the security organs, so that not a single bad person escapes or a single good person is wronged. Counter-revolutionaries must be suppressed whenever found, and mistakes must be corrected whenever discovered.

FOURTEENTH, in foreign policy, it is necessary to uphold proletarian internationalism and oppose great-power chauvinism and national egoism. The socialist camp is the product of the struggle of the international proletariat and working people. It belongs to the proletariat and working people of the whole world as well as to the people of the socialist countries.

We must truly put into effect the fighting slogans, “Workers of all countries, unite!” and “Workers and oppressed nations of the world, unite!”, resolutly combat the anti-Communist, anti-popular and counter-revolutionary policies of imperialism and reaction and support the revolutionary struggles of all the oppressed classes and oppressed nations.

Relations among socialist countries should be based on the principles of independence, complete equality and the proletarian internationalist principle of mutual support and mutual assistance. Every socialist country should rely mainly on itself for its construction. If any socialist country practices national egoism in its foreign policy, or, worse yet, eagerly works in partnership with imperialism for the partition of the world, such conduct is degenerate and a betrayal of proletarian internationalism.

FIFTEENTH, as the vanguard of the proletariat, the Communist Party must exist as long as the dictatorship of the proletariat exists. The Communist Party is the highest form of organization of the proletariat. The leading role of the proletariat is realized through the leadership of the Communist Party. The system of Party committees exercising leadership must be put into effect in all departments.

During the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the proletarian party must maintain and strenghten its close ties with the proletariat and the broad masses of the working people, maintain and develop its vigorous revolutionary style, uphold the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of its own country, and persist in the struggle angainst revisionism, dogmatism and opportunism of every kind.

All of this is developed from the summation of Stalin that is outlined above, as well as from looking at the revisionist policies of Krushchev that were sometimes called the “three ‘peacefuls’ and two ‘wholes’”: “Peaceful Competition”, “Peaceful Coexistence”, “Peaceful Transition”, “the Party of the Whole People” and “the State of the Whole People”. These theses developed by Mao are the core of the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat

Mao’s theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat is a response to Stalin’s most significant mistake, his non-dialectical assment of class and class struggle in socialist society, and was developed out of the struggle against revisionism, both internationally and in China. For Stalin, without a clear understanding of the place of class and class struggle in socialist society, it was simple enough for Krushchev and co. to come to power and to begin the process of undermining the socialist system and restoring capitalism, a process that would take more than 35 years. Hua Guofeng put it this way:

China completed in the main the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production in 1956. From then on, a new question confronted the Chinese revolution – whether contradictions, classes and class struggle still exist in socialist society, whether it remains necessary to continue the socialist revolution and how this revolution is to be carried on. This is also a question for which no correct answer has been found in the international communist movement for a long time.

No ready answers to this question could be found in the Marxist-Leninist works of the past. Marx and Engels founded the doctrine of scientific-socialism and the principles of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but they had no experience of the victory of the proletarian revolution and therefore such a question had never been posed for them in a concrete way. Lenin developed the Marxist thesis on the dictatorship of the proletariat in both theory and practice, pointing out that after the proletariat seizes political power, acute and complicated class struggle still exists as does the danger of capitalist restoration, and that it remains necessary to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat. But Lenin died too early to see with his own eyes the completion of the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production and it was impossible for him to answer the question clearly and definitively. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist. He inherited the cause of Lenin and led the Soviet people in achieving socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization and winning victory in the anti-fascist war. In practice, he waged resolute struggles against various counter-revolutionary bourgeois representatives who had wormed their way into the Party. Yet, theoretically he did not acknowledge that after the collectivization of agriculture, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between the socialist road and the capitalist road continued in the Soviet Union. For a long time, he did not look at socialist society from a materialist dialectical viewpoint of the unity of opposites, but saw it as an integrated whole where there is only identity, but no contradictions. Under the influence of this idea, there prevailed in the international communist movement for a long time the viewpoint which refused to recognize that class struggle continues between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie after the completion of the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production, that such class struggle will manifest itself in the form of the struggle between two different lines within the Party, and that the danger of capitalist restoration remains.

And what is the basis of this? Bourgeois right, the socialist principle of distribution according to work, and so on. Furthermore, the transition from the bourgeois-democratic to the proletarian-socialist revolution helps to foster the development of the bourgeoisie inside the party itself.

In a period of democratic revolution…there were also opportunists, revisionists, and chieftains of various opportunist lines inside the Party; they were agents of the bourgeoisie and other exploiting classes in the Party, but for the bourgeoisie as a whole, they were merely its appendages. Since the landlord and comprador-capitalist classes held the reins of government at that time, the nucleus and the main force of the bourgeoisie, its headquarters and its chief political representatives were outside and not inside the Party…

The principal contradiction in the entire historical period of socialism is the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. With the balance of class forces having undergone a change, the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie finds expression in the Party in an increasingly profound and acute way. Thus the capitalist-roaders emerge in the Party as the force at the core of the bourgeoisie as a whole and become the main danger in subverting the proletarian dictatorship and restoring capitalism (Fang Kang, “Capitalist-Roaders Are the Bourgeoisie Inside the Party,” quoted in Two, Three, Many Parties of a New Type). 

Basically, what this is saying is that in the new-democratic revolution, which is a two stage process, there is a fundamental shift in orientation of the revoltion as it moves form the one stage to the other. As this shift occurs, the national bourgeoisie transforms from ally to target of the revolutionary forces. Some comrades do not make this transition. On this point Mao said:

To consolidate New Democracy, and to go on consolidating it for ever, is to engage in capitalism. New Democracy is a bourgeois-democratic revolution under the leadership of the proletariat. It touches only the landlords and the comprador bourgeoisie, it does not touch the national bourgeoisie at all. To divide up the land and give it to the peasants is to transform the property of the feudal landlords into the individual property of the peasants, and this still remains within the limits of the bourgeois revolution. To divide up the land is nothing remarkable  —  MacArthur did it in Japan. Napoleon divided up the land too. Land reform cannot abolish capitalism, nor can it lead to socialism.

In place of a conclusion

This article is only a small part of a greater discussion. There are many points in it that I have only touched on that I hope to return to later. There are also many related points which this article deals with to a certain extent and which I hope to develop further. The question of Stalin is not a historical question, at least not in the academic sense. It is not a matter of developing some kind of ‘apologetics’ for the USSR and Stalin’s policies. It is a question of the summation of experience in the Marxist sense. Much of this work has already been done, but there is still need for clearification on several points, and there is a need to look into Stalin’s practical and theoretical work. 

The CCP put forward a famous formula summing up Stalin’s merits and errors - 70/30. In in Be Activists in Promoting the Revolution (1957), Mao wrote,

We have put Stalin’s portrait up in Tien An Men Square. This accords withthe wishes of the working people the world over and indicates our fundamental differences with Khrushchev. As for Stalin himself, you should at least give him a 70-30 evaluation, 70 for his achievments and 30 for his mistakes. This may not be entirely accurate, for his mistakes may be only 20 or even 10, or perhaps somewhat more than 30. All things considered, Stalin’s achievments are primary and his shortcomings and mistakes are secondary. On this we take a view different from Khrushchev’s.

Really I don’t think the 70/30 ratio is the most important thing. For myself, given what I have said above, I may be one of those who count Stalin’s mistakes “only 20 or even 10″. Certainly some of the most vibrant Maoist parties today, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) uphold Stalin as a great Marxist-Leninist. This illustrates the point that not all ‘Maoists’ are anti-’Stalinist’. It seems to be primarily a Western phenomenon. But of course the most important thing regarding Stalin is still to critically engage his work. Stalin developed the science of Marxism-Leninism. Of course Mao developed the science as well and was able to understand some things that Stalin was not. I think this has everything to do with the limits of experience. Going back to the beginning of this discussion, we should remember that Mao warned against the the wholesale negation of Stalin’s legacy. Unfortunately this is what many ‘Maoists’ are doing these days. They call it “moving beyond” or critique of “dogmatism” but what is it really? Mao warned, “The revisionists, the Right opportunists, pay lip-service to Marxism; they too attack ‘dogmatism’. But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism.”

Mao said this regarding Stalin: “For the great majority of mankind today are suffering, and mankind can free itself from suffering only by the road pointed out by Stalin and with his help.” Ulitimately this remains true. Today, this means undertaking a critical engagement with Stalin’s work as a weapon for revolution.

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13 responses to “Some points on Stalin (and Mao)

  1. The contraverse between “maoism” and “stalinism” is in fact an artificial one.
    For Mao Zedong it was just the point: there is a big country, the USSR, were they made revolution and were building a socialist society for the FIRST TIME in history.
    In China we will make our own revolution, and we wil do this taking our own responsability to develop our political line, our way to organise the working class in alliance with the majority of the peasants.
    But we have to study the first experience to learn as much as possible, also of mistakes that are made and sometimes already recognized by the CP-USSR itself. We will also study and have experience in problems were in the USSR they perhaps not found the time to solve.

    And of course, studying the revolution and socialism of the USSR, that mean study the official rapports and analyses made by the sister-communist party…. And the most important official representative of that party is its president….. And that was Stalin.
    But in the same time there were some members of the CPC who had been a long time in the USSR (as in fact also Tjang Kai Tjek –or how you write it- the leader of the Kwo Ming Tang) Some of those members of the CPC who were in the group of those “stalinists” become later fascists as for example Tang Kwotau (I hope I spell correct his name) They defended some dogmatic points in the CPC. They were called “stalinists” but were in fact MORE stalinist than Stalin himelf (as Deng Xiaoping was sometimes more “maoist” than Mao himself – before his death … as Kruthov was more “stalinist” as Stalin… before the death of Stalin).

    Mao studied the book of Stalin “problems of socialism in the USSR” and commented it. That is normal, that is not pro-Stalin or anti-Stalin. That is just studying the first scientific analyse of problems of socialism and the the first experience in finding answers.
    And Mao just wanted based on this study, enrich the analyse of problems of socialism with the new experience.

    I am analysing on this moment the acute problem of revisionism in the international communist movement. One of the important issues is, to have a real historical materialist view on the history of the development of the political line in the CP-USSR and the CPC. And to study the whole of texts of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong to counter the “picking of quotes” by revisionists. With those chosen quotes they want to prove their revisionist line. Deng Xiaoping is a master in quoting Marx, Engels Lenin and Mao Zedong. (about Stalin he is rather silent)
    Results of this I will put on my weblog.

  2. Two of the critiques of Stalin by Martens seem contradictory and don’t make sense to me. On one hand he is criticized for being metaphysical and not understanding that class struggle continues under socialism. On the other hand he is criticized for confusing contradictions within the party with contradictions among all the people and unduly enlarging the scope of the battle against counterrevolutionaries. In my mind this means he’s simultaneously being confused for ignoring class struggle, while engaging in it too ruthlessly.

    My other point is I don’t know why so much focus is always placed on “Stalin’s errors” and not Mao and “Maoists”. For surely, none of what Stalin did even comes close to erring as much as Mao. Supporting reactionary and racist regimes and collaborating with imperialism against the USSR was a terrible mistake. Propagandizing against the USSR in imperialist media was a terrible mistake. There are numerous issues of counterproductive ultra-sectarianism. The CCP never or rarely conducted criticism of other parties in a comradely Marxist way. There are the issues involved with the excesses of class struggle during the GPCR. It is quite hypocritical for the Mao-era CCP to criticize Stalin for #2. There’s also the matter of the fact that the CCP initially applauded and agreed with the revisionist CPSU Congresses conclusions, only to turn against them later.

    This is what Mao said about the 20th (1956) Congress:

    “The Soviet comrades, the Soviet people, have acted in accordance with Lenin’s instructions. They have achieved brilliant successes in a brief space of time. The recent 20th Congress of the CPSU likewise worked out many correct political propositions and condemned shortcomings in the work of the party. It can be said with confidence that in future their work will develop on an exceptionally great scale.”

    Furthermore, Liu Shaoqi wrote of the same Congress:

    “”The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, held in February this year, is a most important political event of world-wide significance. It not only outlined the magnificent sixth five-year plan and a number of most important political directives aimed at furthering the cause of socialism and condemned the personality cult, which had led to serious consequences in the party, but it also advanced proposals for the further promotion of peaceful co-existence and international co-operation and made an outstanding contribution to the relaxation of international tension.”

  3. Anonymous:

    1. You are confusing the criticism of Martens (addressing the metaphysics and non-dialectical approach to class struggle) with the criticism of the CCP in “On the Question of Stalin” for confusing antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions and “unduly enlarging the scope of the battle against counterrevolutionaries”. Nonetheless, I think the issue is not about the degree of “ruthlessness” in class struggle but rather about the application of materialist dialectics to the class struggle. The main point is that he did not recogize that it was primarily a class struggle internal to social forces in the USSR but instead chalked most of it up to a struggle against agents of imperialism, and thus primarily a result of contradictions external to the USSR. If one gets this question, between the primacy of either internal or external contradictions wrong, then the material basis of the contradictions cannot be understood and the contradictions cannot really be resolved in a favorable way. For more on the primacy of the internal contradictions, see Mao’s On Contradiction: “The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal.”

    2. It think it strange to try to set out to determine “who makes the most mistakes” between Stalin and Mao. It isn’t very helpful towards improving our understanding of Marxism-Leninism and seems to me to be a fundamentally sectarian exercise, which is not what this post is about. That said, I fundamentally disagree with many of your criticisms and don’t think they accurately portray what really happend, at least internal to China. I tend to think the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was overall quite good and neccessary, for example. The “excesses” really shouldn’t be on Mao, and in fact he constantly tried to slow things down and keep things non-antagonistic (for more on this see Mobo Gao, The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution). On the other hand, I think you are correct to say that the CCP made some mistakes in foreign policy. Certainly they were not much better or worse than Brezhnev’s rotten policy of “non-capitalist development”. I think these geo-political questions are not the primary problems we should concern ourselves with, however, in comparison to how class struggle is conducted in their own countries and how socialist construction is carried out. As for focus being placed too heavily on Stalin, and not Mao, maybe you are right. I write a lot of stuff defending Stalin. Maybe more should be written defending Mao from the sorts of wild slanders he is subjected to these days. Both Stalin and Mao certainly deserve this sort of balanced, Marxist-Leninist criticism.

    3. You raise some points about the Chinese changing their line regarding Soviet revisionism. I made that point above as well, but you’ve illustrated it nicely. There are two things that should be considered there. First, at that time the Rightists had significantly more power in the CCP than during the GPCR, and this is reflected in the increased polemic that comes later. Second, the degree of Soviet revisionism was not absolutely clear until it was thoroughly systematized by the time of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. But yes, the CCP should indeed be criticized for tailing the revisionists initially following the 20th Congress of the CPSU. Again, I said this in the article, but since you’ve raised it we have gotten into it a little deeper, which is good.

  4. 1. You’re right, I confused two different criticisms as being from the same source. My point was that the criticism of Stalin on one hand for ignoring class struggle combined with the criticism that he took the struggle against counterrevolutionaries to the masses doesn’t make much sense. Thanks for making the distinction between external and internal threats. The fact is there was a large number of imperialist agents working within the USSR. But it’s also very inaccurate to claim that “privileges” were protected when the purges were largely directed, not at “political enemies” but at bureaucrats and people who took privileges. Also, the CCP’s analysis of “class” used for the basis of their claim that class struggle continues under socialism is suspect, for they claim that criminal/black market activity constitutes a “class”. I’ve never read anywhere where Marx or Lenin considered criminals to be a “class”. If they did they called it them the lumpenproletariat, not the bourgeoisie. The CCP cannot locate a clear “class enemy” internal to the USSR to justify their statement that class struggle continues after socialism has been established. There is no material basis for one.

    2. I think there’s plenty of petty bourgeois defenses of Mao. People like Slavoj Zizek, fairly mainstream “Marxist” theorists like Althusser, etc, all approve/approved of Mao. There’s a reason why there’s “Post-Maoism” and not “Post-Stalinism”. Anti-Revisionists usually feel the need to address Stalin’s “mistakes” as articulated by the CCP and never or rarely do the same for Mao.

    My point is not to say Mao should be criticized more but rather why Stalin is singled out for these criticisms so often especially considering the errors made by Mao. I’m against all “sectarian exercises”, including efforts spent attacking the Soviet Union for 35 years of its existence. We should learn from the mistakes of Khrushchov and revisionist errors, but in a productive way. It is often treated like a counterrevolutionary/imperialist coup occurred.

    On the point of the GCPR, I agree that it had many good aspects. I also agree that the USSR purges against counterrevolutionaries were necessary. The point was excesses occurred in both events, and therefore the CCP has no authority to criticize Stalin for such an error.

    The foreign policy question is more important than you say, I believe. Especially when one of the main criticisms of revisionism is the “peaceful co-existence” in the face of nuclear weapons and Brezhnev is criticized heavily for supporting national liberation movements that aren’t avowedly Marxist-Leninist, as opposed to supporting apartheid regimes and imperialists.

    I’m of the opinion that support for Pretorian South Africa and Pinochet is quite a bit worse than support for the Baath Party or Ben Bella.

    3: I disagree with your assessment of why the CCP changed their line. In 1960, the Rightists were completely in power in China, since it was the beginning of the aftermath of the Great Leap Forward. The GPCR hadn’t occurred yet. In 1960 the CCP began making their criticism of the USSR public. In 1956, I’d argue, Mao’s factions had considerably more power than in 1960 (Mao resigned in 1959), as Mao was very popular after the success of the first five year plan.

  5. I don’t want to keep going back and forth, so I’ll give you the last word on most of what you’ve written there. I do want to clear up one point regarding the bourgeoisie in the party.

    Lenin was clear that the main target of the socialist revolution is capitalism and the purpose of the dictatorship of the proletariat is class struggle.

    Between capitalism and communism there lies a definite tranition period which must combine the features and properties of both these forms of social economy. This transition period has to be a period of struggle between dying capitalism and nascent communism—or, in other words, between capitalism which has been defeated but not destroyed and communism which has been born but is still very feeble.

    He goes on to say:

    The economic system of Russia in the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat represents the struggle of labour, united on communist principles on the scale of a vast state and making its first steps—the struggle against petty commodity production and against the capitalism which still persists and against that which is newly arising on the basis of petty commodity production.

    He also says,

    The class struggle does not disappear under the dictatorship of the proletariat; it merely assumes different forms.

    And he goes on to say,

    The class of exploiters, the landowners and capitalists, has not disappeared and cannot disappear all at once under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The exploiters have been smashed, but not destroyed. They still have an inter national base in the form of international capital, of which they are a branch. They still retain certain means of production in part, they still have money, they still have vast social connections. Because they have been defeated, the energy of their resistance has increased a hundred and a thousandfold.

    (Economics and Politics in the Era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat)

    That’s what Lenin said about class struggle under socialism, but he never saw socialist construction undertaken in full. He died to soon.

    “Capitalist-roaders” actually don’t own means of production, either in the form of big industry (which have been nationalized) or farms (which have been collectivized to a considerable degree). But they do continue, due to their position, to weild considerable power over them. And because socialism is a transition from capitalism to communism, embodying characteristics of each, there are contradictions there. The national bourgeoisie was a huge social force in China following liberation and became a target of the revolution late in the game. Many party members became representatives of this class even after the means of production were nationalized. The black market was a part of this, but not all of it. I don’t think the CPP made the claim that the black marketeers consisted of a class as you say. That’s not what they are talking about and really misses the point.

    Importantly, we can’t look at class in a scholastic way. We have to look at class in a dialectical way. After the proletariat seizes power class relations are different. The proletariat is no longer the exploited class, but rather the class in power. Likewise, the bourgeoisie is no longer the ruling class but the ruled class deprived of ownership of the means of production. Does the proletariat disappear? No. Who is exercising dictatorship? Does the bourgeoisie disappear? No. Whom is the proletariat exercising dictatorship over?

    Within socialist relations of production you also have bourgeois right, a complex wage scale, distribution according to work (rather than according to need), contradictions between mental and manual labor and between town and country, and so on. All of these represent birthmarks from the womb of capitalism that continue to exist even though the system of ownership has changed. It the role of socialism to try to progressivly remove these birthmarks and resolve the contradictions in order to transition fully to a classless, communist society.

    The national bourgeoisie is with the revolution so long as its targets remain feudalism and imperialism, but they oppose the revolution when capitalism becomes the target. Party members who ally themselves with them and may have themselves joined the revolution for patriotic, nationalist or petty bourgoeis reasons also oppose socialist construction and try to restore capitalism on the basis of these “birthmarks”, which, as Lenin said, engender capitalism daily and hourly.

  6. I am a Communist and am opposed to Trotskyism. I think that Stalin achieved some great successes for the majority of the Soviet people, but committed some crimes and made errors. I feel we need to model Socilaism on his successes and learn from the mistakes. I feel that some Marxist-Leninists deify Stalin and that this is an error and against the dialectics. On the whole I think the successes outweighed the mistakes, and would probably give it a 70/30 ratio. Does this still make me a Marxist-Leninist? Please can you comment and give me your reasons as I am quite new convert to Communism. I just don’t want us to be dogmatic. Much appreciated.

    • The “crimes and errors” part means the repressions of 1937-38. Always.
      History has been completely rewritten around the 1930s, the revolutionary history of the Soviet Union, and the person of Joseph Stalin. As for Stalin, the reason has to do with Hitler. He is an undeniable capitalist-imperialist monster, impossible to excuse, and who can only partially be covered up. (Hitler and the Nazis were worse than you think. Staggering thought, hard to believe, but true.) A fictional “Stalin monster” must be manufactured and set up alongside to distract.
      So, the anti-communists and cold warriors have rewritten history with the kind assistance of the Khrushchev revisionists.
      Once the equation Stalin=Hitler has been achieved it becomes much more than a matter of opinion. It becomes something the imperialists use to kill people. If Stalin=Hitler it is easy to do Saddam=Hitler and kill millions of people.
      The linchpin of the whole filthy business is Khrushchev, the traitor. His world famous “secret speech” is taken as holy writ on the “crimes” of Stalin. In fact nothing he said was true – see the recent book, “Khrushchev Lied” by Grover Furr.
      The present is very like the 1930s. There is vastly more than the little touched on here.

    • On further thought in response to Comrade Si, I should say that I do not think Stalin committed any crimes during the repressions. There were innocent people who suffered, that is true, but Stalin was not the person responsible.
      One of the main persecutors of the innocent was Khrushchev. According to the Russian historian Yuri Zhukov, Kh. wanted 70,000 people repressed. According to Grover Furr he complained that Stalin would OK only a small proportion of his list. Khrushchev of course never made any self-criticism for anything. That is the way of traitors.
      Kh.’s biggest lie was that there were no significant political divisions in the Soviet Union prior to WW II. Contemporary accounts concerning the principal defendants of the repressions like Bukharin were quite clear that the Soviet authorities had proved their case against the plotters. See “Mission to Moscow” by Joseph E. Davies, for one example.
      The anticommunists and cold warriors have their story that the accused were innocent and they are sticking to it. They got it right from the Mouth of St. Khrushchev himself, blessed be his name. Facts and logic are not relevant. There are too many august reputations, salaries, etc. on the line for them to give up.
      The truth stands: there were several plots to overthrow the Stalin government. Some of them had links to Hitler. It was right to repress them, the rage of the oppressors at the destruction of their class brethren notwithstanding.
      Now, as to the numbers: some reputable scholars conclude there were an enormous number of executions, around 700,000, based on archival evidence. On the other hand my sense of reality insists so many people could not have been executed without destruction of the entire political, administrative, and military apparatus of the Soviet Union. Had that been done it is very hard to see how the Soviet Union withstood the fascist onslaught.
      A recent book by the late Geoffrey Jukes, “Stalingrad to Kursk,” gives some interesting numbers from a Russian source concerning the Red Army. (p. 25) There were 35,000 officers discharged in 1937-38. Of that number, 9508, about one fourth, were arrested. The bulk were discharged for habitual drunkenness, incompetence, etc. Of his Russian source Jukes says he gives an, “admittedly incomplete list 1,763 names” of those who were “shot, died in prison, or committed suicide.” Around 19,000 were rehabilitated and most restored to rank by the time of the German invasion.
      The anticommunists will insist to their dying day that all the officers were shot. Facts are irrelevant, reputations everything with this sordid crowd.
      But there you have it, around 5% executed among those dismissed in the ARMY!!! On the eve of World War II !!! Applied to the 700,000 figure the same percentage (the Army would surely be maximal) would give 35,000 executions. It’s still a dreadfully high number but it makes sense in the light of history. Some innocent people suffered. Some guilty people got away. Khrushchev was surely one. Whatever the errors, better the suppression of the counterrevolutionaries than not.
      Of course many questions are unanswered here. But the history of the 1930s has long been rewritten by the anticommunists. Much effort of correction is needed. (How the heck did I end up writing such a long thing? And it’s still too short.)

  7. That sounds like a Marxist-Leninist evaluation of Stalin to me, comrade.

  8. Lenin said:

    “The exploiters have been smashed, but not destroyed. They still have an inter national base in the form of international capital, of which they are a branch. They still retain certain means of production in part, they still have money, they still have vast social connections. Because they have been defeated, the energy of their resistance has increased a hundred and a thousandfold.”

    What’s the first strength of the overthrown exploiters that Lenin lists? International capital.

    Bring it down to brass tacks: There is considerable evidence that Tukachevsky, Trotsky, etc., were conspiring with the Germans, and this was in a revolution only about twenty years old. In China, up to modern times, much of the most determined opposition is found in the provinces bordering Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Burma. In modern Cuba, if there is an opposition demonstration, most of the people in the demonstration will have a computer in their house which they got from the U.S. embassy. And no counter-revolutionary plot in Cuba, from 1959 on, posed as serious of a danger to the country as the foreign invasion that occurred at the Bay of Pigs.

    Of course the victorious proletariat can, in a relatively short time, eliminate most economic survivals of capitalism. If a handful of petty traders survive, this will cause trouble, but nothing on the scale of capitalists who are in control of most of the industry, agriculture and the press.

    Changing attitudes, eliminating bourgeois attitudes which survive in the minds of the people after the economic basis for them is gone, takes longer. The best theoretical treatment I have seen of this problem is to be found in Althusser.

    But there is no hope of putting an end to class struggle until socialism is achieved on a world scale. Particularly in the case of socialist nations surrounded by powerful enemies, the role of international capital is huge.

    What happened in the Soviet Union, the reason for the decay of the Soviet Union is an interesting question, but there is no real reason to suppose that Mao’s explanation is correct, still less that his solution was correct.

    North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba are doing just fine without a cultural revolution. On the other hand, the Communist Party of China itself has recognized that the cultural revolution was largely a mistake for China. It caused enormous problems, cost the party a considerable number of excellent cadre, set back development by a considerable amount, and resulted in the deaths, according to Deng Xiao Peng, of a large number of people.

    The charge that Liu Shao Chi contemplated the restoration of capitalism in China is absurd.

  9. Very fundamental and enlightening analysis.

  10. We the Communists

    A very-well written article with good links to study materials for a communist student. I am looking for more details on Trotsky’s permanent revolution vs CPSU stand, and its merits given the circumstances of the times. Any good links to study, comrades?

  11. We the Communists

    …. and got it right here in this site! Should’ve looked further before commenting……cheers

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