Reply to a Stalinist Friend

-Rajesh Tyagi

One of our friends, in his article ‘Left out of the great Indian Tamasha’ has commented, on the article published on ‘the new wave’ titled –‘the general elections lead to the decimation of Stalinists’ (, in defence of Stalinism:

"Unfortunately some of the Trotskyite in India (for instance see the blog New Wave, in their all encompassing rage towards Stalinist principle and to ascribe everything wrong to Stalin, have been calling these and several such measures taken by the CPI(M) as ‘Stalinist policies’ and have termed CPI(M) a Stalinist party. Does the step taken up by the party in West Bengal constitute Stalinism or revisionism?

Would our learned friends—the firm defender of Bolshevism, care us to show from the collected works of Stalin or of people whom they call as Stalinists where they have endorsed such practice? If they can show this, only then they would have the right to indulge in such misleading phrase mongering."

It is imperative upon us to clarify the position on this very important aspect of the matter. The issue is why we call the parties like CPI and CPM, Stalinists? In the first instance, it is not we, but these parties proclaim themselves to be following the lead of Stalin and the Comintern under it. It is even otherwise beyond debate that these parties being sections of the Stalinist Comintern, have ever defied the general line laid by it. In their programme they claim this allegiance to the path of Stalin, which in their obviously false estimation, is the continuation of the policy of Marx and Lenin. Not only the leadership of the unified CPI continued to take direct commands from Stalin and the Comintern under it and carried out its decisions and resolutions, in a most obedient manner. Opposition to the 1942'Quit India Movement’ by the Communist Party was the example of this obedience to the bogus policies of the then Comintern. The unified CPI was a spoke in the command structure of Stalinist Comintern. CPM after its split in 1964, never dissociated itself from the roots of Stalinism, rather clung it to more than the CPI.

As a political current and a practical strategy, ‘Stalinism’ is marked by its innovation for the backward world, that there is a capitalist road to socialist revolution, and this in line with its ‘two stage theory’. Its false preaching that there is a section of national bourgeois against medievalism and imperialism, destroyed numerous revolutions the world over one after the other. After China, it was Spain, Germany, Iran, Iraq, and India etc. etc. where mature political situations were overturned in follow-up to the bogus policy of having the proletariat subjugated to the national bourgeois.

Leon Trotsky, explaining the special character of the epoch of imperialism, warned repeatedly, that in the entire world, much less in the backward world, there remained no revolutionary section of the bourgeois standing in opposition to internal reaction or imperialism, rather it was integrated with them both, through hundreds of strings. But Stalin continued to attribute revolutionary role to national bourgeois in backward countries and directed the communist parties to subordinate themselves to the bourgeois. Trotsky pointed out citing example of the October revolution, that it is only the dictatorship of the proletariat, which can fulfil the democratic tasks and that there can be no democratic revolution in alliance with the bourgeois. But Stalin insisted for preparation of a ‘Russian February’ instead of the ‘October’, which in the opinion of Stalin and his adherents, was the pre-requisite of ‘October’ and which cannot be executed unless the proletariat subordinates itself to the national bourgeois. Apart from the ‘British Road to Socialism’ the same policy of capitulation to the bourgeois and class-collaboration was advocated by Stalin in relation to Chinese Revolution, which led to complete destruction of the same in 1927. It was none, but Stalin, who was directly responsible for annihilation of the second Chinese revolution.

For detailed references to the writings of Stalin on this aspect of the matter, we would invite our Stalinist friend to see the book: ‘Hidden dynamics of the Chinese Revolution; Speeches and Writings of Leon Trotsky, 1925-1940)

Both Mao and Chen, who at that time blindly followed the command of Stalin, later evaluated this politics of Stalin. Let me quote from the article on ‘the new wave’ : is what Mao had to say in 1951, on the events in 1926:

"In his statements in 1926 Stalin had exaggerated the revolutionary capabilities of the Kuomintang; he spoke of it as the major revolutionary force in China. In 1926, Stalin invited the Chinese Communists to align with the Kuomintang, which he regarded as the united front of the revolutionary forces in China. Stalin said that one should take the Kuomintang's lead, follow that party, he openly said that the Communist Party had to subordinate itself to the Kuomintang. It was a major mistake, which paralysed the independent activity of the Chinese Communist Party for the mobilisation of the masses, to draw them on the side of the Communist Party.

Through the Comintern Stalin, who had become the Comintern's leader after Vladimir Illyich Lenin's death, gave the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party a great deal of wrong instructions."

After the crushing defeat of 1927, solely attributable to the capitulationist and class collaborationist policies of the Comintern, the CCP was forced to abandon the major industrial centres and take refuge in the countryside. Again Mao observed, about the situation at the eve of 1949:

“While Tchang Kai-chek's regime literally breaks down, Stalin explicitly asks for moderation, for seeking an agreement with the bourgeoisie, which was termed the "organic collaboration" with the bourgeoisie”.

Mao Tse-tung explains further in this connection:

"During the following period, Stalin also misjudged the situation in China and the chances for the development of the revolution. He continued to believe in the forces of the Kuomintang more than in the Communist Party's. In 1945, he insisted on peace with Tchang Kai-chek's partisans, on the united front with the Kuomintang and on the creation of a 'democratic republic' in China. In particular, in 1945, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party received a secret telegram emanating from the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (in fact, from Stalin), which called for Mao Tse-Tung to go to Tchoutsine to start negotiations with Tchang Kai-chek. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was hostile to this trip, for it feared a provocation on the part of Tchang Kai-chek; but I was forced to go, since it was Stalin's demand.

In 1947, even as the armed struggle against Tchang Kai-chek's partisans reached its peak, while our armies had victory in their hands, Stalin insisted that we settle for peace with Tchang Kai-chek, because he doubted the strength of the Chinese revolution."

The founder of the Chinese Communist Party, Chen Duxiu, in a letter dated 20 December 1929, (published as appendix to ‘The Hidden Dynamics of the Chinese Revolution: Writings and Speeches of Leon Trotsky on China, 1925-1940’), told the members of the CCP:

"I absolutely refuse to ignore the experience of the Chinese revolution, which the proletariat gained at so high a price. Ever since I, with my comrades, contributed to founding the Chinese Communist Party in 1920, I have faithfully applied the opportunist policy of the Communist International's leaders which has led the Chinese revolution to shameful and miserable failure";

Chen Duxiu, underlined the need to study the root causes of the failure:

"I can very clearly recognise that the objective causes of the failure of the Chinese revolution are of secondary importance and that the main point is that the error of opportunism is the error of our policy in regard of the bourgeoisie's Kuomintang".

Those reasons led Chen Duxiu, to join the Left Opposition and the IVth International, led by Leon Trotsky, who had resolutely opposed the Stalinist policy of class collaboration in China, and insisted from the very inception for an independent revolutionary policy of the proletariat.

So, this was the policy of Stalin, and not of its distortion by the poor CPI or CPM, refraction of which on Indian soil worries even my Stalinist friend so much. Defending Stalin, my friend has however missed to tell as to how the political policy pursued by the CPI and CPM is distinguishable from that propounded by Stalin.

After criticising ‘the new wave’, the Stalinist friend, then positions himself to speak from a typical nationalist (Stalinist!) platform. Instead of approaching the politics of the left (CPI, CPM), from the standpoint of the world working class, he calls for an applause for this Stalinist ‘left’ for insulating the Indian economy from zig-zags of world economy (which, for god sake, saved above all national bourgeois and its democracy, from virtual devastation!), he says:

“The Left deserves an applause that because of their persistent opposition to reforms in core financial sectors like Banking, Finance and Pension that Indian economy remained insulated from the recession sweeping the entire capitalist world. Even after the global financial meltdown and crumpling of the financial giants like AIG and Lehman Brothers, Indian banks and financial market were able to with stand the shock”.

So the concern of the Stalinist is for Indian banks and financial markets. Here comes real Stalinism! There can be no better example than this as to how the consciousness of the adherents of Stalinism remains trapped within the confines of nationalist perspective, essentially based upon collaboration between the proletariat and the bourgeois of a given nation and how it runs counter to the Proletarian Internationalism. Let the world proletariat suffer under financial meltdown,the‘Indian’ banks and financial markets, if remain insulated, applause!

Finally, it is not something attributable to this or that party, but the adherents of Stalinism as a whole, follow the same class collaboration based upon bourgeois nationalist perspective. Thus it is not for the sole reason that the CPI and CPM profess to Stalinism as their official doctrine, but their virtual adherence to the same principles and policies, recommended by Stalinist Comintern, which had become a trap for advancing proletarian movements in the world in the later three quarters of 20th century and till its own complete destruction in the last decade of the century. CPI, CPM are the classic example of the political legacy left behind by the Stalinism, before its own death.

It is for the younger generations now to dig the truth from the falsified ledgers of the last century, in the school of Stalinism and use the historic lessons of great revolutions of this century, both successful and failed, to illuminate the path of future victories, in the offing.

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