E. Germain

Where Is the Soviet Union Going? 6

Why Workers Should Defend the USSR

(July 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 30, 27 July 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The brutality with which Stalin operates in the Soviet buffer zone in Eastern Europe provides countless imperialist agents with a convenient pretext to unleash their anti-Soviet agitation, the moral preparation for the third world war. The sole aim of all these gentlemen is to reintroduce capitalism in Russia; their hypocritical lamentations about the “freedom of the peoples,” about “democracy,” against “pillaging,” are only despicable formulas veiling the real demand, the colonization of Russia by Wall Street.

If these gentlemen were really concerned about “freedom of the peoples,” they would strive for the immediate independence of India, for the withdrawal of imperialist troops from Indo-China, Indonesia, Germany and Italy. As touches their horror of applying terror against “innocent people,” they clearly and noisily showed their real attitude by their frantic applause when the atomic bomb blasted Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the map of the world.


Even in the ranks of the revolutionary movement, the barbaric methods with which Stalin treats the occupied countries have been advanced as sufficient ground for changing our attitude toward the USSR. We are forced to conclude that comrades holding such views have hitherto nursed illusions about the nature of the bureaucracy.

It has invariably employed the most brutal methods to achieve its aims. The forced collectivization in Russia, for example, certainly took more victims than all the bureaucratic measures in all the occupied countries. However, in the past we were never guided in determining our attitude toward the USSR by moral or subjective factors, but solely by sociological analysis, by the class criteria. We must proceed the same way today.

This is why we must decisively reject all attempts to identify Soviet expansionism with imperialism, the policy of expansion of finance capital. Imperialism has the following very specific features: export of capital; superexploitation of colonial masses; expropriation of small artisans and small farmers; imperialist policy is a barrier to the development of the productive forces.

Soviet expansionism is characterized by absolutely different features: nationalization of heavy industries; agrarian reform; pillaging of a part of the industrial equipment. To the extent that this policy has durable effects, they will result in a development of the productive forces.

While imperialism in the colonies rests on the most reactionary social forces, primarily on the large landed proprietors, the bureaucracy in the occupied countries is forced to direct its blows principally against these forces, and lean, even if hesitantly, on the independent action of the masses with the aim of limiting it, holding it back and eventually crushing it.

This was clearly demonstrated not only in Poland and Czechoslovakia but also recently in Berlin when the Soviet High Command, within the framework of its policy of blackmailing imperialism, supported a large popular anti-Allied demonstration.

Different Ends

If the policy of the bureaucracy in the occupied countries, while employing identical methods, nevertheless arrives at ends diametrically opposed to those pursued by imperialism, it is because Soviet society is a society diametrically opposed to that of decaying capitalism.

When we surveyed the internal evolution of Russia since the war, we noted that all the theories claiming that we are confronted with a new exploiting society and that the bureaucracy in Russia constitutes a new exploiting class, are unable to explain the zigzags and the many contradictory features in the internal policy of the bureaucracy, principally the recent “left turn.”

We have shown that these zigzags fundamentally confirm the analysis of Trotsky, according to which the bureaucracy does not constitute a new class having well-defined interests, but a Bonapartist caste, a parasitic growth upon the proletariat. This caste – while constantly trying to play off the polar tendencies against each other, the pro-capitalist tendency against the proletarian – is forced in the end to defend the collective ownership of the means of production, the source of all its privileges. We have also shower that contrary to these theories of a new exploiting class, the danger which threatens Soviet society is really that of capitalist restoration.

What Defense Means

For all these reasons we conclude that fundamentally Russia remains a degenerated workers’ state. An attack by an imperialist power against the USSR would aim to transform Russia into an imperialist colony. The effects of such an attack, even if partially successful, would be, as the conquests of Hitler clearly demonstrated, to throw Russia back several centuries, to throw the Russian masses back to a level of exploitation surpassing anything hitherto known in the capitalist world. Against such an attack the world proletariat and the Russian proletariat are obliged to defend the USSR to the hilt in order to preserve the remaining conquests of the October Revolution.

But this policy of defense of the Soviet Union against imperialism does not at all mean the slightest apology, justification, or silence about the crimes of Stalin. We defend the Soviet Union by carrying on throughout the world the revolutionary class struggle against our own capitalists; the Russian proletariat combines the policy of defending the USSR with the policy of waging an implacable struggle against the bureaucracy, which constitutes in Russia the most dangerous objective ally of world capitalism.

As for the occupied countries, we believe that the discredit thrown on the Soviet Union by the barbarous methods of Stalin and the demoralization of the proletariat which results from them, far outweigh the strategic “advantages” of this policy. For this reason we demand the “immediate withdrawal of the Red Army” from these territories, connecting up this slogan with our entire struggle in these territories which, proceeding from the reforms introduced since the Russian occupation, must consist of achieving the abolition of capitalism and the creation of a federation of independent Soviet Republics.

All over the world our policy of defense of the Soviet Union, far from “objectively supporting” Stalinism, delivers mortal blows to it, for this policy is identical with our general strategy, that of the world proletarian revolution.

(The above is the final in a series of six articles analyzing trends in the Soviet Union since the end of the war. This series was translated from the French by John Garrow.)

Last updated on 22 June 2021