Edgar Hardcastle

What Stalin Forgot To Mention

Source: Socialist Standard, May 1933.
Transcription: Socialist Party of Great Britain
HTML Markup: Michael Schauerte
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Joseph Stalin delivered a report on the Russian Five-Year Plan to a meeting of the Russian Communist Party in January, 1933, and Modern Books, Ltd., have published it in an attractively got-up 2d. pamphlet. Stalin (or more probably some member of his staff) had the ingenious idea of quoting the leading capitalist newspapers and outstanding figures in the world of capitalist finance and industry as testimony to the success of the plans for industrialising Russia. Looked at from the point of view of publicity the idea was a clever one, but what does it mean when the capitalist chorus sings the praises of Russia? Does a socialist and working-class movement ever expect or receive commendation from the mouthpieces of capitalism? In short, Stalin over-reached himself, and showed up in a clear light the position the Russian Bolshevik politicians have come to occupy, in their own minds, in relation to the capitalists outside Russia. One of the passages of praise for Russia reproduced in the pamphlet is a speech by a prominent banker, Mr. J. Gibson Jarvie, chairman of United Dominions Trust, Ltd., delivered at the City Business Club in Glasgow on October 20th, 1932. Stalin quotes extensively from the speech those passages in which Mr. Jarvie said what an amazing success the Five-Year Plan has been.

Now read the passage that Stalin carefully omitted to quote:

While Russia might be officially described as the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, and might claim to be a Communist State, nevertheless that country to-day was, unquestionably, practising state capitalism, incorporating a modified form of private capitalism. He felt that as Russia advanced from one Five-Year Plan to another, private capitalism in some form or another would become increasingly strong, but—and this was the point capitalist countries must bear in mind—if she advanced according to plan she must, as a nation, become invulnerable. (Times, October 21st, 1932)

In other words, Mr. Jarvie gives a fairly good description of Russia’s social system and the direction in which it is tending, and his fears are the ordinary ones of the capitalist in one country threatened by the competition of another capitalist country. In one thing, however, he is wrong. Capitalism in Russia is no more invulnerable than it is anywhere else. It will produce the same evils and call for the same remedy as capitalism elsewhere, i.e., the organisation of a Socialist movement.

Stalin should take more care how he selects his quotations.