RSU Presentation: ‘Stalinism’ is Leninism in practice

The following presentation is from the UVU Revolutionary Students Union. The Marxist-Leninist cannot agree with everything said in this presentation, particularly concerning the so-called “forced collectivization” (see Ludo Martens’ Another View of Stalin chapters 4 and 5) and also Stalin’s response to the German invasion of the Soviet Union (see Geoffrey Roberts’ Stalin’s Wars, pp. 89-95) and holds an overall more positive view of Stalin. However, such an enthusiastic defense of Stalin’s contributions to the theory of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of socialist construction should be encouraged and commended. Anyone interested in looking more deeply into these questions is encouraged to look at Long Live the Universal Contributions of Comrade Joseph Stalin and the material collected there:

Q&A can be found on Youtube. Please see also their recent presentation on the PFLP.

8 responses to “RSU Presentation: ‘Stalinism’ is Leninism in practice

  1. This is generally a well-thought and well-researched presentation, very informative. The part about Stalin being afraid he would be arrested when the Nazis invaded is new to me. The source is Simon Sebag Montefiore, who is little more than a professional anti-Communist.

    Both Zhukov and Molotov say they were with Stalin in the Kremlin at that moment, dealing with the situation. I believe them, not Montefiore.

    • David,

      Thanks for commenting. I agree that it is an excellent presentation.

      If you read the link I posted above to Stalin’s Wars, you’ll see that Geoffrey Roberts mentions Zhukov’s, Kaganovich’s and Molotov’s memoirs and says that they all basically back up the pictures of Stalin as hard at work on the day of the invasion. He also admits that they were die-hard Stalin supporters (especially Kaganovich and Molotov, and Zhukov had contradictions with Khrushchev), so he says if you don’t believe them then he also actually consulted Stalin’s appointments log. On the day of the German invasion, Stalin’s day began at 5:45 AM with a meeting with Molotov, where they decided that Molotov would give a radio address on the situation, which Stalin heavily edited there on the spot. Stalin met with Dimitrov, then head of the ECCI, at 7:00 AM. Stalin had many more meetings throughout the day and gave more than 20 directives. Roberts compares this to the story told here, Montefiore’s story about Stalin going into a panic and trying to resign, and says that it comes from Khrushchev’s speech at the XXth Congress.

      Too many people accept these stories at face value without analyzing them. I think when Mao made his famous 70/30 assessment of Stalin’s merits and errors, he was guilty of the same thing. It is fine to be critical of Stalin’s errors, but we must seek truth from facts.

  2. …. and I think that that quote of Mao (I have to see it in the context of a whole text, to be really sure…) was done in a period that the so-called 28 communists (chinese communists that followed course in the Soviet-Union) claimed to be “real stalinists” while preaching dogmatic theories. And the authority of Stalin was sometimes mis-used by the “so-called lettres and advices by Stalin to the CCP” but were in fact lettres and advices coming of the leadership of the Soviet-CP (in which were some cadres who you can consider to be “trotskyte”.) … and were based on the information of “soviet-advisers” of the CCP.

  3. The 70-30 quote appears in Mao’s essay, “On the Ten Major Relationships,” published in April of 1956, immediately after the notorious Twentieth Congress of the CPSU. Other relevant texts from the Communist Party of China include “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (1959, I think) and “On the Question of Stalin,” 1965.

    It’s my impression the CPC gets more positive on Stalin as time passes from the shock of the Twentieth Congress.

  4. I did not look at all of the presentations, but what I saw was really good.

    One can have allot of debates about the contributions of Stalin and say things should have gone different.

    But in the end, the basic point is that Stalin moved things forward, in a big way. He was a true revolutionary.

    Thanks for putting this video on your web site. The brother who made this talk from the RSU is a serious communist and I hope others will look at what he has to say.

  5. About the famous 70-30 assessment:

    It always seemed a little odd to me that Mao would have said such a simple quantitative thing about a topic as inclusive and qualitative as the assessment of Stalin. It’s so specific you can’t really tag it to anything. Mao must have wanted to get people to figuring out what he meant, get them thinking.
    “70-30” doesn’t mean a thing out of context. If you get through your daily routine at only a 70-30 level, you’re having rather a bad day. But let’s consider the context of Stalin’s times, and the challenges that arose.

    Stalin had to defend the Party and the revolution in the wake of Lenin’s death against the left and right deviationists who would have negated Lenin’s line, i.e., Trotsky, Bukharin, etc. He had to bring the NEP to an end and begin socialist industrialization; begin the drive for collectivization of agriculture; lay out and fulfill the Five Year Plans; steer a course against the enmity of the imperialist countries; prepare the military defense of the Soviet Union; develop education and culture; establish democratic unity of nationalities in place of the old tsarist “prison-house of nations;” defeat the treacherous intrigues of the imperialist countries, especially Britain, to leave the Soviet Union isolated in the face of Nazi aggression; crush the counter-revolutionaries who sabotaged socialism and intrigued in the face of Hitler; defeat Nazism, win World War II . . .
    This is going on a bit already, but a 70-30 assessment in any one of these things would be a big accomplishment for anyone. Of the totality of Stalin’s actions, it can only mean an extraordinary level of achievement.

    While we’re at it here’s a correction: “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” referred to in my comment above, is not an article but a subtitle in an article from the CPC in 1964 titled, “On Khrushchev’s Phony Communism and Its Historical Lessons for the World.”

    • What you say makes a lot of sense.

      Indeed, in “On the Ten Major Relationships” (1956), Mao wrote,

      “In the Soviet Union, those who once extolled Stalin to the skies have now in one swoop consigned him to purgatory. Here in China some people are following their example. It is the opinion of the Central Committee that Stalin’s mistakes amounted to only 30 per cent of the whole and his achievements to 70 per cent, and that all things considered Stalin was nonetheless a great Marxist. We wrote “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” on the basis of this evaluation. This assessment of 30 per cent for mistakes and 70 per cent for achievements is just about right.”

      Later, in a 1957 article called “Be Activists in Promoting the Revolution,” Mao said,

      “A word in passing about our differences with the Soviet Union. First of all, there is a contradiction between us and Khrushchov on the question of Stalin. He has drawn such a black picture of Stalin, and we do not agree with him. He has made Stalin so terribly ugly! This then is no longer a matter that concerns his country alone, it concerns all countries. We have put Stalin’s portrait up in Tien An Men Square. This accords with the wishes of the working people the world over and indicates our fundamental differences with Khrushchov. As for Stalin himself, you should at least give him a 70-30 evaluation, 70 for his achievements 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 achievements are primary and his shortcomings and mistakes are secondary. On this point we take a view different from Khrushchov’s.” [My Empahsis – CZ]

      Note that Mao says “at least” a 70-30 evaluation, and goes on to say that maybe it is more or less. I think this indicates that there were differences among the Chinese Communist Party leadership in evaluating Stalin and that Mao’s own view was more positive, and probably that the evaluation of Stalin was changing and growing more positive in the Chinese Party, as you indicated in another comment above.

      All of that said, if you don’t mind, David, I’d like to correct your correction:

      “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (1956) is indeed a seperate article, and can be found here:

      “Khrushchev’s Phoney Communism” (1964) is here:

  6. Good catch on the correction, Josh! The earlier piece must be taken with reservations because at the time it was written the CPC did not yet know what Khrushchev was up to.

    Sometimes we think the political lines of the great revolutionaries came to them all in one piece and in finished form. The class struggle is not like that!

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