Re: [OPE] One party state?

From: Paul Bullock <>
Date: Thu Jun 11 2009 - 06:17:48 EDT

Anders ,

i don't really understand your opening lines. Are you suggesting that there
were no disagreements within the Bolshevik party, or between it and the
mensheviks, or between its spokespersons and Trotsky' often 'outsider'

Evidently not because you then talk about antagonistic differences within
the Bolshevik if this was a special kind of
'difference'...compared to the smooth pleasantries bwteen SR members? .....

An ideological struggle isn't one where personal antipathy or personal
antagonism is the hall mark, but ideas.

 "Kremlological anecdotes -(?????) this time on the Irish Easter Rising"...
if you want I can send you Trotsky's references to the rising, and Lenins
constrasting view.

As for the rest of your note I'm afraid I can't really follow it... since
I'm not an in-house or ex FI, ex Maoist or whatever.... Jerry's response to
my note seems more to do with current issues.


Paul B

----- Original Message -----
From: "Anders Ekeland" <>
To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:24 PM
Subject: RE: [OPE] One party state?

> Hi Paul B,
> I do not have - and I guess that goes for you too - time just now to have
> a long exchange on these important issues. I just wondered if you had any
> real, documentar basis for saying that Lenin waged "ideological struggles"
> against Stalin/Trotsky which all interested in these issues had
> overlooked, but as expected - you offered nothing substantial.
> On the contrary - and as usual - Kremlological anecdotes - this time on
> the Irish Easter Rising - being "patronising". It is IMO a bit sad that
> you do not realise how far from a real debate putting such type of
> arguments forward is.
> On the more fundamental issues I am convinced that it was the Bolshevik
> faction that contained antagonistic differences, between a mainly
> democratic, and a mainly authoritarian/sectarian/terrorist wing (Bogdanov,
> Stalin), cfr. the continual problems Lenin had with the "committee men"
> and their "sectarianism" (other currents, parlamentary work, methods of
> work, view of workers councils etc. etc.).
> Just take the the fact that Lenin's lieu-tenant Bogdanov demanded that the
> Petrograd Soviet (lead by Trotsky!) should plead loyalty to the Bolsh.
> faction etc.
> The fact that Stalin&Co without much pity exterminated Lenin's closest
> comrades IMHO - shows where the real antagonisms were, but of course he
> story is much more complicated/dynamic.
> But in a way Stalin was the "Rote Arme Fraktion" of his day - very
> antagonistic of the rest of the democratic, normal, common sense left. Of
> course, conditions were dramatically different in Russia then and the
> "West" in the seventies, so the analogy is just meant to say that Stalin
> actually was politically very far from teh "democratic bolshevism" of
> Voronsky, Lunacharsky. The critique of the mjezdu-raiontsy (Trotskys
> group, rings regrattably very true regarding the "leninistic" practices of
> SWP-UK. Lenin had one foot in both camps - just as contradictory (and
> correct!) as he was on the nature of the revolution before the
> April-theses.
> I think that the democratic wing of the B-faction should have allied
> itself with Martov's left Mensheviks. It isolated the revolution that they
> did not. Zinovjev and Kamenjev - and a majority of the party, but the lack
> of vision/understanding of Martov, and the consequent impatience of
> Lenin&Trotsky made this alliance (and workers democracy) impossible.
> But this whole story is so loaded with myths, distortion of facts that it
> takes a weeks seminar only to agree on the most elementary facts, to have
> a common basis for analysis. Just to take one example - how to explain
> that in many (most?) industrial cities in Russia, the RSDLP first split in
> 1917, in some instances first after October?
> I disagree with the negative evaluation of Trotsky's "theory" of the
> party, f.ex. leading FI member Francois Vercammen, that the theory of the
> party was Trotsky's weakest point. I am "shocking" my FI comrades by my
> radical reinterpretation of the Russian revolution (and the Chinese, Cuban
> etc.). My views are clearly marginal, but after having studied the
> literature (f.ex. LeBlanc, Cliff ....) I do not find any interpretation
> that really gives a good explanation. LeBlanc cannot finish his very well
> intended project of portraying Lenin as a fundamental democrat, neither
> can Cliff. IMO they both bring very interesting material - that cannot be
> contained in their explanatory framework.
> Regarding the link between New York intellectual circles - influenced to
> some degree of "trotskyism" and the present day neo-cons ... bringing in
> such "evidence" just confirms my opinion that this is not *yet* a serious
> debate, based on a willingness to look at the lessons of October with an
> open mind, but just another attempt to "defend" ones political identity. I
> hope - when we have time - that the debate can start from "scratch". We
> all know that many "Stalinists" from the thirties became neo-cons, that
> many ultra-left -68 left-wingers became neo-cons, are we going to base our
> judgement on regression analysis of the number of neo-cons to the number
> of intellectuals "at risk" of becoming neo-cons? Or maybe "Event history
> analysis" would be more appropriate, since this really is "career"
> analysis? ;-)
> Since I in my youth was a Maoist I know such political identity-protective
> mechanisms in and out, from myself and from my comrades.
> So unless you have anything substantial to offer as a proof of Lenin's
> "ideological struggles" - let's just stop here.
> But let's also return to these issues when you have learned some lessons
> (from life, from books) and is more open to real debate. The issues really
> merit discussion, but not the myths, not cheap arguments like the Irish
> Easter rising or the trotskyism => neo-con. There will be no hard feelings
> or "patronising" from my side - I also had to learn some lessons - so I
> hope "you come through, too".
> Regards
> Anders E
> At 13:55 10.06.2009, you wrote:
>>That was an interesting map of the development of the neo-cons as an
>>offshoot of Trotskyism
>>From: [] On
>>Behalf Of Paul Bullock []
>>Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 2:17 PM
>>To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
>>Subject: Re: [OPE] One party state?
>>this is surprising.. surely you must be aware of Trotsky's early centrism,
>>and what I think was an invidious role for many years with respect to
>>Bolshevism. He tried to reconcile parties/ sections of the movement that
>>were clearly impossibly at odds. His early judgements eg on the Irish
>>Rising are shockingly patronising compared to Lenin's astute judgements.
>>This doesn't meean to say lenin wouldn't talk to him of course! Trotsky
>>himself relates ( in his rather self satisfied 'My Life',) the dressing
>>he got from Lenin in a railway station about his attitude to 'fund
>>and the 'respectibility' of the opposition/revolutionary trends/
>>Once reconciled to Bolshevism there is no doubt he played a first class
>>role, but as soon as we get to the question of the organisation of labour
>>after the revolution he still doesn't seem to get it. The debates, the
>>struggles for party policy demonstrate, as any historical period will,
>>futility in the simplistic views about individuals.
>>But the main issue is why TODAY, NOW, the modern Trotskyists label
>>themselves such. In my opinion, because they took a systematically anti
>>Soviet position and tioday usually an anti communist position, and have
>>sought (ironically for them exactly like the neo-cons by the way
>>) to link themselves to Trotsky's positions in later life. In general they
>>are radical petty bourgeoise socialists who draw the line at actually
>>confronting their domestic imperialism (its ok to attack other
>>indeed the further away from home the more radical they will sound -
>>although their attacks on Chavez or Cuba are solid instances of this
>>as such. eg Look at their support for Polish 'Solidarity' and how history
>>has already revealed its reactionary role to the lay observer. But that is
>>completely different story.
>>Paul B
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Anders Ekeland" <>
>>To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
>>Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 12:36 PM
>>Subject: Re: [OPE] One party state?
>> > David Yaffe wrote:
>> >>Your resort to slogans when your back is against the wall. I am a
>> >>Marxist
>> >>and a Leninist. I believe Lenin was correct in his ideological struggle
>> >>against Stalin and Trotsky.
>> >
>> > The idea that Lenin waged an "ideological struggle" against both Stalin
>> > and Trotsky sees strange to me. Where in Lenin's writings do you find
>> > such
>> > struggles, and to do regard Lenin to always have been correct in these
>> > struggles in the light of historical experience, i.e. with the benefit
>> > of
>> > hindsight.
>> >
>> > Regards
>> > Anders
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> >
>> >
>> >
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Received on Thu Jun 11 06:24:16 2009

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