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The Militant, 6 July 1946

M. Stein

World Socialism and the Kremlin

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 27, 6 July 1946, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Is it Stalin’s aim to overthrow capitalism in the United States and Great Britain and to establish his rule over these two countries and thus control the entire world?

In a series of articles for the Scripps-Howard press (New York World Telegram, June 12, 13, 14) Max Eastman answers this question in the affirmative. Last week we showed the utter falsity of Eastman’s “reasoning.” He rests his flimsy arguments on a quotation from a book by Stalin, The Problems of Leninism, first published 22 years ago. He fails to analyze Stalinist policy over this period to determine whether the dead letter of the printed word corresponds in any way to the living reality. He offers as gospel truth an old quotation in face of the fact that everything Stalin has since said and done refutes both Stalin’s 1924 quotation and Eastman’s writings of 1946.

But the irony is that the very book which according to Eastman allegedly proves Stalin’s designs for world revolution actually proves the direct opposite.

The book Problems of Leninism appeared in two editions in Russia in Spring and Autumn 1924. In the first edition Stalin still defended the traditional Marxist concept of a world socialist revolution. He said that:

“the main task of socialism – the organization of socialist producton – still remains ahead. Can this task be accomplished, can the final victory of socialism in one country be attained, without the joint efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries? No, this is impossible ... For the final victory of socialism, for the organization of socialist construction, the efforts of one country, particularly of such a peasant country as Russia, are insufficient. For this the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are necessary.”

Stalin’s Revision

But in the second edition of his book Stalin threw out this formulation and substituted in its place the nationalist doctrine, which marked Stalin’s departure from revolutionary Marxism and which laid the “theoretical” foundation for “nationalistic socialism.” In the revised edition, he said:

“After the victorious proletariat of one country nas consolidated its power and has won over the peasantry for itself, it can and must build up the socialist society.”

This change of line in the interval between the two editions of the same book took place in a characteristic Stalinist manner. No explanation was ever made, no theoretical justification for it was given. It was simply sneaked in. It represented in reality a falsification by the author of the first edition of his own book. All the subsequent editions of the book as well as the English edition base themselves on this second and basically revised version. Eastman is well acquainted with the facts in the case. It has been amply explained by the Trotskyist movement. If Max Eastman “overlooks” all these facts it is because Wall Street’s propaganda campaign for World War III requires that Stalin be pictured as a revolutionist.

Yet it was in the name of the nationalist doctrine of socialism in one country that the Communist International was liquidated, and the Communist Parties the world over became converted from revolutionary instruments into pliant tools of Stalin’s foreign policy. To them was assigned not the revolutionary role of overthrowing capitalism at home, but the role of border patrols for the Soviet Union.

All the zigzags in the policies of rhe Stalinist parties, all their twists and turns, all their somersaults, can acquire meaning only if one understands that under Stalinist control these parties have no independent role to play. They are instruments of the ruthless Kremlin regime, betraying the interests of the working class and their socialist aspirations. The Stalinist parties are used as pressure groups in all deals between the imperialists and the Kremlin.

Needless to say, the theory of socialism in one country has meant in reality socialism in no country. It was nothing but a snare for the Soviet masses. The Stalinist bureaucracy which stands on the back of the Russian workers is interested solely in the defense of its bureaucratic caste privileges and the defense of these privileges against the Soviet masses. This is why the bureaucracy must maintain a regime of terror. This is why the monstrous bloody purges have been sweeping the tortured Soviet land in one devastating wave after another. This is why millions of Soviet workers are systematically uprooted and condemned to slow death in forced labor camps in desolate Siberian regions.

Wall St. Purpose

It suits the purposes of Wall Street to identify this regime of terror with socialism in order thereby to discredit socialism, and Eastman, like so many other bankrupt ex-radicals, is now playing their game of falsification. The Stalinist terror regime reflects the terror of the bureaucracy in the face of a working class it has deceived so cruelly for over two decades. It fears the day of reckoning and retribution.

The fear of the working class which grips the Stalinist bureaucracy is not confined to the Soviet Union alone. The bureaucracy fears revolution abroad no less than the imperialists do. This is why they were able to work in perfect harmony to crush the German working class and prevent it from rising up and settling its own accounts with the Nazis. This is why the Stalinists continue to hold ministerial posts in capitalist cabinets of France, Italy and in other countries. This is why revolutionists are persecuted so mercilessly in the countries occupied by Stalin’s armies.

The Kremlin bureaucracy fears the independent action of the workers. Anything the bureaucracy cannot control it seeks to destroy. And revolutions cannot be controlled by bureaucratic edict. This is why any genuine revolutionary movement directed against capitalism must of necessity be likewise directed against Stalinism.

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