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Dudley Edwards

Discrediting the Socialist Idea

(October 1975)

Letter, Militant, No. 274, 10 October 1975.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Dear Comrade,

I am just old enough to remember the enthusiasm with which the organised workers of Britain greeted the October Revolution of the Russian Workers in 1917. As a life-long Trade Unionist and Socialist I have supported that revolution ever since.

However I think the blinkered view of the world expressed by Comrade Ivor Pearce in his letter (October 3, 1975) in no way helps the struggle towards the world socialist revolution today.

The essence of Lenin’s tactics was to tell the workers the truth however unpleasant this might be. My life time experience has taught me that it is ‘political treachery’ to use Comrade Pearce’s fierce mode of expression, to tell those not yet convicted of the need for socialism, that the political set-up in the USSR in any way corresponds with the kind of society visualised by Lenin in his work State and Revolution. I advise Comrade Pearce to read or re-read this book.

The truth is that while the state ownership of the means of production and distribution has, in Russia, shown this is the best way to plan an economy (despite the inevitable wastage of Stalinist methods) on the other hand the political gains of the workers were lost when Stalinism abolished the original workers’ democracy of Lenin and replaced it by a political system dictating everything from the top. This resulted in the appearance of a vast self-perpetuating bureaucratic caste.

To be true this vested interest will eventually be overthrown by the Russian working class and it will no longer have to carry through the economic and social revolution which the workers in the West will have to make.

What has helped the capitalist media to confuse some of the workers, Comrade Pearce, is the fact that when at the 20th Congress of the CPSU the crimes of the Stalinist period were admitted by the platform, some of the charges previously made in capitalist papers (for their own ends) turned out to be true. It is those who in a bigoted way had insisted that the leadership of the USSR could do no wrong who played (and still do) the role of discrediting the socialist idea, because they had refused to admit what was obviously true.


Yours Fraternally
Dudley Edwards

P.S. By the way, since ‘Communist’ Russia and ‘Communist’ China constantly attack each other, which in Comrade Pearce’s view is guilty of what he calls “political treachery”?

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