Hal Draper



A Dissent from Shachtman’s View

(Spring 1958)

From The New International, Vol. XXIV No. 2–3, Spring–Summer 1958, pp. 146–147.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

To the Editor:

May I briefly state for the record my disagreement with the views on Lenin and Leninism which were put forward by Max Shachtman in his article A Re-Evaluation of the Past. His newly discovered strictures against Lenin appear to me to be based on factual inaccuracy, historical misrepresentation, and curious logic. They also strike me as being a transitional stage in a rather precipitous transformation of political thinking; for example, Shachtman’s strange argument that Leninism “invites” putschism needs only easy adaptation to become the argument that Leninism “invites” Stalinism. I regret that circumstances make impossible an article; such as I would otherwise write, discussing the historical questions raised; hence this note.

It is true that I have myself criticized and rejected some views of Lenin’s (such as “revolutionary defeatism”), for in my opinion he made quite a number of mistakes; but I do not think that this is any reason to go along with the overwhelming pressure inherent in the reactionary American climate to “repudiate” Lenin, his role as a great revolutionary leader, or the essentially liberating character of the Russian Revolution, which was destroyed by Stalinism.

A Reply to Draper
by H.W. Benson

Last updated on 13 January 2020