Max Shachtman


It Is Time to Understand

Continued Confusion Leads Only to Disaster

(March 1944)

From The New International, Vol. X No. 3, March 1944, pp. 68–72.
Copied with thanks from the Workers’ Liberty book The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism, vol. 1.
Marked up by A. Forse for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Confusion as to the aims of Russia in the war is gradually dissipating from the minds of her Anglo-American allies. What antipathy there is in London and Washington is based on indignation at the thought that Moscow should aim, in general, at extending its oppression and exploitation to other lands and peoples, inasmuch as up to now this has been the exclusive prerogative of the capitalist imperialisms; and in particular that it should extend its rule over territories which Russia’s allies believe ought to be their vassals or slaves. However, the military situation is such that the Honorable Allies find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to translate their competitor’s antipathy toward the unfolding of Russia’s imperialist program into effective obstacles. They must make the best of a trying dilemma, and bide their time.

The Theory of the SWP

Confusion about Russia in the ranks of the Trotskyist movement, or, more accurately, in the part of it represented by the Socialist Workers Party, is not, however, being dissipated. The contrary is unfortunately the case. For it, Russia continues to be a workers’ state, which has been degenerating day-in, day-out, for twenty years, which is now a life-long prison of the working class (to use the SWP’s own words), which establishes not less than semi-slavery wherever it extends its sway (to use Trotsky’s own words), but which does not cease for all that to be a workers’ state which must be unconditionally defended and supported in the war.

Furthermore, according to the SWP, Russia is a “counterrevolutionary workers’ state.” The state is proletarian because property is nationalized; it is counter-revolutionary by virtue of the Stalinist political regime, the bureaucracy. What makes it counter-revolutionary? Is it for capitalism? Is it for restoring private property? No; the fact is that it defends nationalized property “in its own way.” Is it for maintaining capitalism in the countries it conquers? No; the fact is that it abolishes capitalist private property in these countries and reorganizes the economy to correspond exactly with Russia’s. Well then? Well, it is counter-revolutionary because it is a deadly enemy of the working class everywhere and a violent opponent of the proletarian revolution. But is not the essence of a social revolution the expropriation of the ruling class and a fundamental change in property relations? And is that not exactly what the Stalinist bureaucracy, its army and its police, do when they conquer new territory, as in the Baltic and Balkan countries? To this question the SWP replies with a triumphant affirmative. But then, what is the class character of this social revolution carried out by the Stalinist bureaucracy? The SWP rejects our theory that this bureaucracy is a new class (without as yet offering a single word of argument against it). Good. But the question still remains. Is this social revolution a proletarian revolution? No answer – except Trotsky’s above-quoted remark that when Stalin nationalizes the property of the conquered countries, he reduces the proletariat to semi-slavery. Is this social revolution a socialist revolution? No answer – except in the not very courageous form of the assertion that Stalin is carrying out “the extension of Soviet property forms.” And the Russian army, which is the bureaucracy’s completely controlled instrument in this “extension of Soviet property forms”? This army must be defended and supported, says the SWP. But – at the same time, “we are against the seizure of new territories” by the Kremlin!

What is clearly implicit in all this? The Stalinist bureaucracy is carrying out a revolution that is new in history, namely, a counter-revolutionary socialist revolution; we support the army which seizes the countries in which the bureaucracy carries out this revolution; we are opposed to the seizure of the countries in which this revolution is carried out; but this opposition is purely verbal inasmuch as we support, and call upon the workers to support, the army which is assigned to seize these countries.

The SWP has dug itself deep into the shelter of this galimatias of a dogma. But the realities of life, to which we have repeatedly added some wisely-unanswered critical remarks, have subjected it to such a merciless pounding that the position has become utterly untenable. Instead of abandoning it openly and in time, the SWP vacillates helplessly between clinging to it and the urge of some of its members to shift to a more easily held position. Fundamentally – and this is the source of the growing confusion – it represents vacillation between an objective capitulation to Stalinism and an advance to revolutionary Marxism. If these alternatives seem exaggerated, it can only be because documentation has not yet been supplied for the analysis. Let us supply it.

Wright on Stalin

In The Militant of January 29 appears an article by the now dubiously renowned John G. Wright called Red Army Victories Alarm Stalin’s Allies. It is sensational only in that it brings to a new low the position that The Militant has been developing on the question of Russia. In view of the startling views expressed in it – and it is written, let us note, by one of the Fiercest of the Fierce among the “Trotskyists” – the reader will surely not be bored by even a lengthy quotation:

But the whole point is that the capitalists refuse to reconcile themselves to the price that Stalin needs and demands, that is, the strengthening of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. Stabilization of capitalism in Europe is impossible without a capitalist Poland as a – “buffer” in order to keep the Soviet system isolated in preparation for its eventual destruction. Churchill and Roosevelt know this, and are working to this end.

The establishment of the Curzon line, that is, in essence the reservation of the 1939 borders gained by Stalin through his previous deal with Hitler, would weaken Poland as the pivot of this indispensable capitalist ‘cordon sanitaire.’ Furthermore, implicit in the Kremlin’s territorial demands is the extension of Soviet property forms to the whole of Poland. That this threat is not distant is borne out by the latest pronouncement by Stalin’s Union of Polish Patriots calling not only for the inclusion of Silesia, Pomerania, East Prussia and Danzig in a – “New Poland,” but also for the seizure of Polish landed estates, their division among the peasants and “the nationalization of industries and mines taken from the Germans”. (Daily Worker, January 28)

Inasmuch as Polish industry is almost wholly in the hands of the Germans, the realization of this program would signify the complete destruction of Polish capitalism and a giant step in the inevitable extension of Soviet property forms far beyond the frontiers of 1939.

In its turn, this carries a twofold threat to capitalism: first, in addition to strengthening the USSR immeasurably, it would greatly hamper further attempts to isolate it. Second, the revolutionary wave in Europe, especially in Germany, would receive so mighty an impulsion from such developments in the territories of former Poland, let alone Silesia, East Prussia, etc., that the attempt to drown the coming European revolution in blood would be rendered well-nigh impossible.

In any case, Roosevelt and Churchill will not voluntarily surrender to Stalin a single section of capitalism, no matter how tiny. Each advance of the Red Army, however, poses this issue pointblank and brings more and more sharply to the forefront the basic antagonism in the camp of the “United Nations” – the irreconcilable class conflict between the “democratic” capitalists and the Soviet Union, even in its degenerated condition under Stalin.

... But the irreconcilable class forces underlying the new crisis cannot be definitely suppressed or overcome by Stalinist intrigue and imperialist diplomacy. Inescapably they must and will manifest themselves in a life-and-death struggle between the forces of “democratic” capitalism and the Soviet Union. (Emphasis in original)

We ask the reader to overcome his revulsion and read the above a second and a third time so as to get its full flavor. It is the flavor of Stalinist degeneration – not of the “workers’ state” this time, but of SWP theory and policy. What Wright says openly – poor fellow! – without the slightest feeling that it is shameful, is substantially identical with what the Stalinist bureaucrats say among themselves to the accompaniment of hilarious winks and jovial nudges in each other’s ribs. That is how they justify their arch-hypocrisy and double-dealing to themselves and to the initiated and more reliable followers: “Of course we are still fighting for socialism, only with our new policy it is easier because we are fooling the bourgeoisie. Intrigue? Yes, but infernally clever and – successful. The working class? What is that, anyway?”

Stalin’s Great achievements

According to Wright (and remember, this is one of the most obstreperous of the self-appointed Genuine Trotskyists talking):

  1. Stalin not only needs but demands the strengthening of the Soviet Union. It used to be said that he was weakening it. If this is no longer the case, why should not the thoughtful communist worker, who is also for the defense of Russia, say to himself: I will continue to support Stalin, but now with the approval of the Trotskyists.
  2. Stalin is undermining the stabilization of capitalism in Europe, which means undermining capitalism itself. It used to be said by the Trotskyists that he is helping stabilize capitalism, that he is an agent of world capitalism, its tool, but they must have been joking. Stalin is actually “strengthening the USSR immeasurably” (immeasurably! says Wright, for he is no man to mince words). He and his so-called bureaucracy are giving a mighty impulsion to the revolutionary wave in Europe, so mighty, indeed, “that the attempt to drown the coming European revolution in blood would be rendered wellnigh impossible.” So, pursues the thoughtful communist worker, I will continue to support this underminer of capitalism, this strengthener – this immeasurable strengthener – of the Soviet Union, this mighty impeller of revolutionary waves.
  3. Stalin is fighting for the “extension of Soviet property forms to the whole of Poland,” and “ – this threat is not distant,” either. Stalin is fighting for an immediate, direct overthrow of capitalism in Poland, its “complete destruction,” which means “a giant step in the inevitable extension of Soviet property forms.” (Immeasurable strengthener; giant stepper; why not Man of Steel and Genial Leader?) No capitalist Poland means no capitalist stabilization anywhere in Europe. It used to be said that Stalin’s role and goal were exactly the opposite of all this, but that was just a manner of speaking. Now the Marshal of Marshals is fighting for the socialist revolution against capitalism, with giant steps at that. The communist worker will continue to draw his conclusions – all, of course, provided he takes Wright seriously for the capitulator to Stalinism that he is.
  4. Blank, blank, blank. These blanks used to be occupied by warnings that the triumph of Stalin not only “carries a twofold threat to capitalism,” but a multiple threat to the working class, its interests and its aspirations. But what are such bagatelles compared to the “extension of Soviet property forms” by Stalin and the somewhat degenerated but highly nationalized GPU? And inasmuch as Wright is concerned only with big things and not with bagatelles like the enslavement or semi-enslavement of the workers by Stalin, the working class simply does not exist anywhere in his article. It need not be warned, it need not be guided, it has no particular function to perform or role to play, it does not exist in Wright’s excited scheme of things. The advances of the Russian army (for no good reason in the world The Militant continues to call it the Red Army) poses “pointblank” the issue of… the struggle between capitalism and Stalin’s property forms; they bring “sharply to the forefront” the irreconcilable class conflict, between irreconcilable class forces, manifesting themselves in a life-and-death struggle. Class conflict? Class forces? Life-and-death struggle? Between whom, do you think? The bourgeoisie and the proletariat? No, “between the – “democratic” capitalists and the Soviet Union,” “between the forces of “democratic” capitalism and the Soviet Union.” The working class? What is that, anyway? That is something you leave out. Important is the fact that Stalin’s “property forms are extended” over the working class of Poland and elsewhere, like a running noose over a mustang, so that it can be bridled and saddled with a “workers’ state” which is degenerated, Bonapartist, counter-revolutionary, a prison for the workers, in which they do not rule, have nothing to say, and are totalitarian slaves, but which is, thank God, nevertheless a workers’ state.

Where, the reader may now ask, is the confusion? Wright is not so much guilty of confusion as of splattering a ninety-nine per cent pure Stalinist poison on the pages of The Militant. The confusion of the SWP, we said, lies in the oscillation between Wright and the revolutionary Marxian position. Wright’s article evidently evoked sufficient dismay to cause the editors of The Militant to attempt at least a partial disavowal of his views, without, of course, indicating by as much as a word that there are two views and a conflict between them. That falls under the heading of educating the reader, you see.

The answer to Wright

In the two issues following Wright’s monstrous article, The Militant published two editorials, one unsigned, Program for Poland, and the other more official yet, signed by “The Editors,” and entitled Stalinism and the Danger to Europe’s Coming Revolution.

The first opens refreshingly enough with a highly deserved rebuke, and not just at bourgeois commentators, but at Wright, who is equally guilty. “In the current dispute over the Polish question, public attention has hitherto been concentrated exclusively upon the views and proposals of the various governments involved… Not one of these powers [England, the United States, the Polish government in exile, or Stalin] has signified any intention of permitting the Polish people to determine their future. They propose to settle all questions solely through the reactionary methods of traditional power politics.”

So far, so good. What follows is even better.

The Polish workers and peasants however have not suffered the horrors of the Second Imperialist War and fought against the Nazi beasts in order to pass under the yoke of any other dictatorship, whether it comes from the west through the restoration of the old regime backed by Anglo-American bayonets or whether it comes from the east in the person of the Bonapartist bureaucracy of Stalin. While the diplomats of the “United Nations” secretly bicker for the most advantageous terms, the Polish masses are waging their own independent fight for freedom against the national oppression of the Nazis and the social oppression of capitalism.

The Polish people don’t want any more lords and masters over them. They want to decide for themselves what system of society and what kind of government they shall have. And, despite the conspiracies and deals between the capitalist owners and the Stalinist bureaucrats, the Polish workers and peasants will speak the last word on these vital questions ...

In their struggle for such a free and independent socialist Poland, the Polish workers and peasants will find powerful friends and allies, not in the Anglo-American capitalists or the Stalinist bureaucrats who threaten to replace the fascist oppressors, but among the insurgent masses of the rest of Europe.

The words come late, but not too late. In any case, they are excellent. Wright should be compelled to write them on a blackboard one hundred times a day for three months before he is permitted to speak or write another word on any question relating to Russia. At the same time, however, the editors, and the SWP in general, cannot be permitted to continue with their evasions and double-talk, with putting forward a new line, or half line, without abandoning the old. In other words, they cannot be permitted to remain confused and, above all, to confuse others.

First: The editors tell us that “the advanced Polish revolutionists are anti-Stalinist, but they are pro-Soviet. They understand that despite Stalin, the Soviet Union is nevertheless unlike the capitalist world.” Unlike in what way? In that it is a workers’ state of one kind or another? The editors delicately refrain from saying. Not once, in either editorial, do they refer to Russia as a workers’ state – the pen is beginning to stutter. Russia is unlike the capitalist world, not despite Stalin but precisely because of him (that is, Stalin as a synonym for the ruling bureaucracy). In Russia today we have neither a capitalist nor a workers’ state but a new social system which we call bureaucratic collectivism. It is increasingly clear that the SWP has reached a complete blind alley in its attempt to maintain that this anti-workers’ state is proletarian and at the same time to maintain any kind of revolutionary policy for the situation in Europe. You cannot get out of this blind alley, as the two editorials try to do, by stressing the latter and remaining discreetly silent about the former. The contradiction is only ignored but not eliminated.

Stalin, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

Second: The editors point out that the “capitalists are first and foremost concerned with the property forms in the occupied territories, they are concerned with the preservation of the capitalist system in Europe.” Correct. And Stalin? Is he for maintaining the capitalist “property forms” in the occupied countries, or is he, as Wright quite correctly shows, for destroying them and substituting “Soviet property forms”? Now, IF the mere existence or establishment of nationalized property in a country gives it a workers’ state (degenerated or otherwise), as the SWP dogma reads, then does not Stalin’s aim at a social revolution in Poland (i.e., the “extension of Soviet property forms”) bear, fundamentally, a proletarian class character, which is, consequently, socialist in tendency?

The SWP can escape this inexorable conclusion from its dogma only in one of three ways: (a) by asserting that Stalin aims to maintain capitalist private property in the territories he conquers, a prediction it would be well-advised not to make; or (b) by claiming that a basic change in property forms and property relations, such as Stalin will clearly attempt, does not constitute the hallmark of a social revolution, a conclusion violating all history and all the teachings of Marx and Trotsky on the point; or (c) by agreeing with us that while it would mark a social revolution, it would be carried out by a new class which is neither bourgeois nor proletarian.

Third: The capitalists fear expropriation of their property not only by the socialist proletariat, but even by the Stalinist bureaucracy. Right. But the editors add: “The European peoples have aspirations and aims entirely different and opposed to those of Stalin.” Entirely different? What about the “Soviet property forms” which are by themselves enough for a workers’ state? Do not the European peoples, in so far as they are socialistic, have a common, if not an identical, aim with Stalin in the matter of “property forms”? That follows incontrovertibly from the SWP’s theory, and to write about “entirely different” aims and aspirations is a mighty brash and cavalier way to dismiss one’s own dogma! The fact is that “entirely different” is fairly correct.

Despite the argument of the SWP that nationalized property is what makes Russia a workers’ state – an argument that implies a fundamental community of interests between the Stalinist bureaucracy and the socialist proletariat – nothing of the sort is true. Where property is state-owned, control of the state is control of society as a whole. Where the working class controls the state, as was the case in the early years of the revolution, it is a workers’ state; the form in which property is owned (in this case, state ownership) is filled with one social content, one class content. Where the bureaucracy controls the state, and in a totalitarian way, as has been the case in Russia for almost a decade, the same property form is filled with a fundamentally different social or class content; entirely different property or social relations are established; the working class rules in no sense whatever, but is ruled over and exploited.

The failure to understand this simple idea is what is breaking the neck of the SWP. Explicitly, the SWP rejects this idea. Implicitly, it is dragged into giving the most reluctant, tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of its validity. That is why it now feels obliged to support the workers of the capitalist countries, not only in fighting capitalism, but also in fighting against the “extension” of the rule of the “workers’ state” over themselves. Example? Interestingly enough, it occurs in connection with Poland, as we shall now show.

The Philosopher’s Stone in 1939 and 1944

Fourth: When Poland was first partitioned by the Berlin and Moscow gangster-imperialists, the question arose in the SWP of what attitude to take toward the Russian army (there was, of course, no dispute about the question of the German army). The majority said: Support the Russian army! We, of the then minority, said: Support neither army; organize the “third camp” of the independent proletarian struggle against the imperialist war and for workers’ socialist power; teach the Polish masses that they must struggle against both oppressors who threaten them, even though the two are not socially identical, that they must prepare, beginning right now, for the uprising against both reactionary sides.

All of Trotsky’s vast capacity for irony was tapped to ridicule this idea, to the uncontrollable chuckling of the majority.

Shachtman began by discovering a philosopher’s stone: the achievement of a simultaneous insurrection against Hitler and Stalin in occupied Poland. The idea was splendid; it is only too bad that Shachtman was deprived of the opportunity of putting it into practice. The advanced workers of eastern Poland could justifiably say: “A simultaneous insurrection against Hitler and Stalin in a country occupied by troops might perhaps be arranged very conveniently from the Bronx; but here, locally, it is more difficult.” We should like to hear Burnham’s and Shachtman’s answer to a “concrete political question”: “What shall we do between now and the coming insurrection?”

The irony was, however, lost on us. In the first place, the Marxists had heard this same “annihilating” poser put (not by Trotsky, to be sure) about what the Czech workers should do “between now and the coming insurrection” while their country was occupied by troops, about whether a simultaneous insurrection against Hitler and Benes could be arranged very conveniently from the Bronx, from lower Manhattan, from Coyoacan, or even in Prague. In the second place, as in Czechoslovakia, it was not a matter of “arranging an insurrection” in Poland. The question was one of a political line of revolutionary socialist opposition to both reactionary war camps, one of training and preparing the workers in such a spirit, and of arming them with such a policy that they would not fall victim to Hitler’s army or Stalin’s, but move closer to the day when they could settle accounts with both.

Be that as it may, let us look at the SWP “Program for Poland” four years later. The Russian, alias the Red Army, is again approaching Poland. Where is The Militant’s courage? Why does it not say, as it did in 1939, that the Polish proletariat and peasantry should support the Russian army and work for its victory? There is not a blessed syllable about this in either of the two editorials! (There is indeed one vague, indirect and ever-so-mealymouthed reference to the Russian army, with which we shall deal below.)

The emphasis now, in 1944, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the emphasis in 1939. Now we are told that the Polish workers and peasants have not “fought against the Nazi beasts in order to pass under the yoke of any other dictatorship, whether it comes from the west ... or whether it comes from the east in the person of the Bonapartist bureaucracy of Stalin.” Bravo! Late, but welcome nevertheless. (We were once denounced indignantly for “coupling” the two dictatorships, for putting them on the same plane. Now ...) And the Poles “will find powerful friends and allies, not in the Anglo-American capitalists or the Stalinist bureaucrats who threaten to replace the fascist oppressors, but among the insurgent masses of the rest of Europe.” Again, bravo! And the Poles “are likewise aware of the counter-revolutionary role of Stalin and his clique. They know of the oppression of the nationalities and the peoples inside the Soviet Union. They understand that Stalin’s Kremlin gang come into Poland not as liberators but as oppressors.” A double and triple bravo! The Poles, we are glad to see, understand, and the editors of The Militant also ... finally ... understand, at least in part.

Does this mean that the Polish vanguard elements should oppose both the Hitler forces and the Stalin forces? Does this mean that The Militant, too, has begun “by discovering a philosopher’s stone: the achievement of a simultaneous insurrection [Ha-ha-ha!] against Hitler and Stalin [Ho-ho-ho!] in occupied Poland”? From the quotations above, one would think so. The Poles do not want to pass under Stalin’s dictatorship; the Stalinist bureaucrats are not their allies or friends; they are counter-revolutionary; they come not as liberators but as oppressors. And one would think so, also, from the already mentioned fact that the editorials have nothing to say about supporting the Russian army, about helping it to victory, about being the “best soldiers in its ranks.” Is silence on this key point supposed to reveal the superior political and revolutionary qualities of the editors over us, who have stated our views forthrightly and unambiguously for over four years?

And yet there is a sentence about the Russian army and Poland. Here it is, from beginning to end: “They [the advanced Polish revolutionists] understand the great opportunities that are opening up for the Polish people and their struggle because of the victorious advance of the Red Army.” Here the bold editors bring up short. They add not a single word. Desperate reality pulls at their tongue, but the dogma has them by the throat! So, all they can emit is a mean little cowardly squeak that can be interpreted whichever way you please.

The “Red” Army “Offers Opportunities”

In what sense does the victorious advance of the Russian army offer great opportunities to the Polish revolutionists? In the same sense in which the victorious advance of Eisenhower’s army offered opportunities to the Italian revolutionists? In the sense in which the victorious advance of the Japanese army offered opportunities to the Burmese? In other words, in the sense that the Russian advances so weaken the enemy, who is sitting right now on the necks of the Poles, that they can more easily deal a death blow to him, without in the slightest way doing anything to help seat the “liberating” Stalinist armies on their necks? Interpreted this way – and it was only in this sense that it was valid in the case of Burma, for example – what The Militant says is not untrue.

But does it follow from this, as The Militant editors have argued for so long, that the Polish masses should defend and support the Stalinist armies, work for their victory? It does not follow in the case of Russia in Poland any more than it did in the case of Japan in Burma, or in similar cases elsewhere. That is what followed for The Militant from 1939 onward. Does it still?

If it does, then The Militant might at least have the sorry courage of a Wright and blurt it out so that all may know that it still stands where it stood before – the ambiguous phrase, plus the enormous silence, give rise to doubts. In that case, let The Militant explain why the Poles must offer all resistance possible to the “Kremlin gang [who] come into Poland not as liberators but as oppressors,” who are not “friends and allies,” but must not resist – on the contrary, must defend and help to victory – the Russian army, even though this army is, in Trotsky’s words, “an instrument in the hands of the Bonapartist bureaucracy.” In other words, if The Militant holds to its old position, let it explain why Poles must oppose the executioner while helping him fire the gun (the “instrument”) which is aimed right at them. If we may paraphrase Trotsky’s irony about the “simultaneous insurrection,” and paraphrase it for an idea to which, we think, it properly applies: “The idea is splendid! it is only too bad that the editors are deprived of the opportunity of putting it into practice.”

However, if what once followed for The Militant no longer follows, it is doubly its duty to say so and to explain why. And if it no longer follows, away with these miserable subterfuges and double-talk! Instead of deceitful sentences such as we have quoted, The Militant should be saying to the Polish and all other workers that the Stalinist army is advancing under the banner of Stalin, Kutuzov and Ivan the Terrible for the purpose of reducing them to slavery! That would be a real step forward and lead directly to an even more important advance.

It is high time this step was taken. It is high time to understand. The European proletarian revolution is maturing. This is no longer the expression of a mere wish, in any sense. We have already seen the actual outbreak of the first stage of the revolution in Italy. With even one eye we can see the growth of the revolutionary forces in the popular underground movements in other countries.

The Militant sees, as the editors so correctly put it, that Stalin “threatens to dismember Germany; he threatens the German people with slavery. If the blood of the Russian and German masses continues to redden the territories of the eastern front, the responsibility in major measure rests on Stalin and his counter-revolutionary regime.” It refuses to see, or to say, that its “workers’ state” is precisely this Stalin and his counter-revolutionary regime; that the “nationalized property” is precisely the foundation of power of this Stalin and his counter-revolutionary regime; that the misnamed Red Army is precisely the instrument of this Stalin and his counter-revolutionary regime – of the state that threatens Germany and other lands with dismemberment, the people with slavery, and the revolution with such a bloodbath as even Anglo-American imperialism might well shrink from.

Up to now, all this preposterous and reactionary mumbo-jumbo about Stalin’s Russia being a workers’ state and Stalin’s Bonapartist army being “Trotsky’s Red Army” which is bringing socialism to Europe, has been little more than a tragedy. Tomorrow, for all that we hope for and work for in Europe, and for us here, it can become a first-class disaster.

Isn’t it time to understand this? The question is addressed to those who have retained the capacity and the will to understand. They will not prove to be, we hope, too few.

Shachtman button
Max Shachtman
Marx button
Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 4 April 2015