Raya Dunayevskaya 1956

Without a Past And Without a Future

Source: News & Letters, March 30, 1956. This piece appeared as Dunayevskaya’s regular column, “Two Worlds: Notes from a Diary.”
Transcribed: by Kevin Michaels.

The 20th Congress of the Russian Communist Party which met on February 15, 1956 in Moscow, was the first to be convened since Stalin’s death in 1953. It wasted no time in launching a campaign against him. The First Deputy Premier, Anastas Mikoyan, perfunctorily dismissed the heretofore sacred Stalin-History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and asked, “How can you justify our lack of an accepted history of the party for two decades?”

A Tragic Farce

“So the Russians are rewriting history yet once again,” I heard one Russian specialist say, “I understand that they now publish their Encyclopaedia in loose-leaf form.”

These vainglorious bureaucrats, without a past and without a future, rule over a land of 200 million, are armed with the H-bomb and are reaching out for world domination. Let us see what is new and what is old in their latest rewrite of history. The last two decades evidently need “correction.” Mikoyan specifies the period to go back “about 20 years.”

“About 20 Years”

Lenin died not “about 20 years” ago, but 32 years ago. He left a Will in which he called Stalin “rude and disloyal” and asked that he be “removed from his post of General-Secretary.”

Instead of removing Stalin, the present leadership collaborated in hiding the Will, which to this day had never been published in Russia. To talk only of “about 20 years” means the bureaucracy is anxious somehow to skip a decade. It is the decade in which they helped Stalin not alone to maintain his post but to transform it into one of dictatorial power.

Above that struggle for power that followed Lenin’s death, was the struggle against the newly-established workers state itself. Indeed, the struggle for power among the bureaucracy was only the reflection of the counter-revolution that took from the Russian workers their rights and freedom, instituted bureaucratic planning. In a word, established a relationship between worker and management that in no essential respect differs from that in Western countries.

“About 20 years” correctly sums up the basis on which they mean to begin their rewrite. No one who had not participated in the counter-revolution, following the death of Lenin, is included. Trotsky is therefore excluded. Indeed, their present establishment of “collective leadership” is only a farcical imitation of Stalin’s struggle for power against Trotsky on the basis of a collective leadership against alleged one-man rule. Not only that, with the sole exception of Tito, there is not a living person whom they are “rehabilitating.” Not only are those to be “rehabilitated” dead, they are those who, in the first place made their peace with Stalinism. As for Tito, he has power in his own right, rules over a country which is strategically placed, is flirting with “the West” and the Russian bureaucracy needs him. He is of the same cloth as they.

When To Struggle For World Domination

As we can see, the truth is that the entire “collective leadership” lives by virtue of Stalin’s leadership which brought them to power.

It is the only foundation for all exploitation: the rulers continue to sit in the seats of power and rule while the workers continuer to slave the harder and produce the more.

This does not mean that there have been no changes initiated at this congress. Tito is one of those changes. Stalin had, in fact, lost power long before he died. Not that anyone dared challenge him. Be he ceased to represent the bureaucracy which wanted a breathing spell between wars, while he was so drunk with power that the was in a mad rush for world domination the day after World War II concluded. The bureaucracy that dared not challenge his rule openly, “collectively” plotted to hasten his natural death. He no sooner was dead than the Korean war came to a conclusion, on the one hand, and some internal changes occurred within Russia.

Although they “collectively” agreed that Stalin was in their way when he was alive, Stalin was no sooner dead than a new struggle for power began. But by now the regime is too crisis-ridden to dare public trials. That, and not the “collectivity” of leadership, is the reason why Malenkov was not “liquidated” when he lost out to Khrushchev.

Greater and more terrifying than the “myth of Stalin” is the present identification of revolutions with counter-revolutions under the gigantic fraud of an alleged return to Leninism. The only way the present “collective leadership” could follow out the Leninist principle is to remove themselves from power.

If Khrushchev, the heir, is not all that Stalin was, his ambition and appetites are just as insatiable. It was merely a question of when to fight for world power. History, however, will not give the new pretenders to world rule another period of “about 20 years.”