First Published: April 1968 in The Role of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement. The October Revolution vs. the “Cultural Revolution.”
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
J.V. Stalin represents the invaluable and heroic leadership of Marxism-Leninism in the struggle to smash world capitalism.
Under Stalin’s leadership internationally, the dictatorship of the proletariat of the first socialist country was consolidated, the Fascist imperialist axis was smashed and the Chinese Revolution of 1949 was accomplished. Stalin’s heroic leadership of the Soviet Union, the CPSU(Bolshevik) the Third International and the peoples’ forces in World War II brought the imperialist system that much closer to its final total destruction.
Comrade Stalin led the peoples’ forces and the Marxist-Leninists of the world from the strategic period in which the main contradiction facing world capitalism was the contradiction between the imperialists themselves to the present strategic period in which the main contradiction is between the oppressed nations and imperialism.
Because of the massive victories which the peoples of the world accomplished over imperialism and the irreparable damage done to world capitalism under his leadership, Stalin, fifteen years after his death, is still the man most feared, hated and slandered by US imperialism.
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Since the death of Stalin, the two main characteristics of the international situation have been (l) the intensification of the contradiction between the oppressed nations and US imperialism; and (2) the development of a policy in most socialist countries of betrayal of the oppressed nations based on the ascendancy of the national bourgeois class in the socialist countries.
In recent years the result of these developments has been the overthrow of leftist governments in Brazil, Ghana, Algeria and elsewhere, the bloody overthrow of the anti-imperialist regime in Indonesia, and the terrible defeat suffered by the Arab people at the hands of US imperialism and its Zionist lackey, Israel. These victories for US imperialism were made possible by the active collusion of Soviet revisionism.
It is no accident that Khrushchev revisionism gained ascendancy in the Soviet Union on the basis of attacks on the great Marxist-Leninist, J.V. Stalin.
For Stalin’s theoretical and practical leadership of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union is unparalleled in world history. In order to lead in the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the first socialist country, a country surrounded by the powerful, hostile capitalist world, Stalin and the CPSU(B) had to be expert (l) on the question of the Party’s leading role in the dictatorship of the proletariat – on the questions of party building, inner-Party struggle, on criticism and self-criticism; (2) on the question of developing a socialist economy by stages; and, most importantly, (3) on the question of the significance of the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country, not as an end in itself, but as a red base area for world revolution.
The main world significance of the rise of Khrushchev revisionism has been the betrayal of the oppressed nations by the socialist countries. And it is no accident that the betrayal of the oppressed nations is carried out on the basis of an attack on J.V. Stalin.
For Stalin wrote the classics of Marxist-Leninist science on the national question, the essence of national liberation. It was Stalin who wrote the “Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia,” key to the success of the October Revolution. And it was Stalin who, on the eve of the October Revolution, indicated the potential importance of the oppressed nations to the world proletarian revolution. It was based on his theoretical understanding that Stalin was able, in opposition to Trotsky and other opportunists, to illuminate the path of the Chinese Revolution – the revolution which today stands as the outstanding model for carrying gut new democratic revolution in opposition to US imperialism, and as the great red area around which the oppressed nations can be mobilized and vitalized.
Summing up the Party of Labor of Albania’s analysis of Stalin’s contributions to Marxism-Leninism, Comrade Enver Hoxha, in his Report to the Fifth Congress of the PLA on November 1, 1966, stated:
“Our Party has stressed and stresses it again that especially the question of Stalin is a basic question, for the revisionists concretized their attack on Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian dictatorship with their attack on J.V. Stalin. Our Party is of the opinion that the Marxist-Leninists and all the revolutionaries should defend Stalin from all the slanders and attacks of the revisionists and by their struggle make Stalin’s name and deed regain the place of honor they deserve. For Stalin was and remains a great revolutionary and a great Marxist-Leninist. He pursued a just and revolutionary general line, both in the internal and foreign policy. He has consistently adhered to the class struggle line and to that of the proletarian dictatorship, to the line of building socialism and communism and to the struggle against bureaucracy and the degenerated bourgeois elements. He led the Soviet people from one victory to another in bitter battle with all the enemies of the Soviet Union and socialism. J.V. Stalin has made great contributions to the formation and consolidation of the socialist camp and to the growth and strengthening of the international communist movement. Throughout his life of a revolutionary militant, Stalin waged a resolute struggle against imperialism, in defense of peace and people’s security; he faithfully pursued a proletarian internationalist policy of helping and supporting the oppressed peoples and the revolutionary national-liberation movements.”
This is why we are the Youth for Stalin.
In a move that would, if successful, strike a serious blow against historical and political debate and dialogue, Russian legislators may outlaw positive interpretations of the Stalin period of the USSR. This can only be seen as a sign of the increasing fascistization of Putin’s Russia and would follow similar legislation enacted in Ukraine.
Russian lawmakers will consider legislation that would make it illegal to justify publicly the Soviet government’s crimes under Josef Stalin. The author of the bill is Konstantin Dobrynin, the deputy chairman of the Federal Council’s committee on legislation and state infrastructure. He proposes equating any materials justifying the Stalin regime’s political repressions with illegal extremism.
“In recent years, an idealized, one-sided, historically inaccurate version of the Stalin era has become more and more widely promoted,” the legislation’s memorandum explains.
Dobrynin’s law would not apply, however, to denials that the Soviet state ever committed genocide or crimes against humanity. It would only ban justifications of crimes that have been “the object of official public condemnation” by Russia’s post-Soviet authorities.
The bill would also outlaw naming new geographical areas, territorial units, streets, and subway stations after figures who participated in Stalinist crimes. The legislation would not affect objects already named after such people, if it is the object’s first name historically.
“The Stalinist repressions were unprecedented in scope and affected all Soviet society as a whole,” Dobynin said.
Note: Since May 2014, Russia has banned the “rehabilitation of Nazism,” punishing anyone who denies the facts established by the Nuremberg trials. The law also bans disseminating false information about the activities of the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The proposed new law would thus follow the neo-liberal paradigm of equating communism and fascism.
This is something that has plagued me for a while now. Here we have someone who, through meticulous archival research, in the original language, is taking apart the single greatest slur made against socialism and proving it to be false. You would think that everyone would be jumping for joy and cheering him on. Not so. A certain new brand of “maoist” represented by KASAMA and the NCP (LC) not only opposes Grover’s efforts, but has tried to silence him (Carlos Rivera-Jones played an active role in the recent attempt to delete the Wikipedia article on Grover). In some case, they even revert to reactionary, bourgeois, and even snobbish arguments to try to discredit Grover, such as “his degree isn’t in history” or “he teaches at a middle-level college.”
Why would they act this way? Is it concealed anti-communism or is something else involved?
For the longest time, I felt that their actions revealed their anti-communist core; and while this still may be the case, I think that there is something more profound at play here. I think that they find Grover’s research threatening for a very different reason and in a very different way: Grover’s work challenges their version of “maoism.”
A certain rejection of Stalin has always been part and parcel of some brands of “maoism.” Mao himself famously judged Stalin’s legacy as “70% good and 30% bad.” Mao published critiques of Soviet economics and cited Stalin for supposed errors and excesses. This has been taken up by some “maoists” to demean the importance of Stalin’s work to ML theory and to lessen the importance of his legacy to the world communist movement. This also provided some “maoists” with a variant of the old trotskyite gambit of “Stalin was horrible, but if only Trotsky. . . ” The new and improved version being “The bad things that happened were because of Stalin, but Mao. . . ”
So, where did Mao’s criticisms of Stalin come from? Obviously, Mao had no insider experience of what was happening among the Soviet leadership while he was in Yenan. The only information Mao could have had about Soviet events before 1949 would only come from either published sources or report-backs from deputies who had traveled to the USSR. Mao would have had no access to archival documents relative to Soviet decisions or internal disagreements — the very archival materials Grover is now uncovering. So, where did Mao’s information about Stalin’s “errors and abuses” come from?
They came from Khrushchev.
If one looks at Mao’s criticism of Stalin and the indictments made by Khrushchev against the former Soviet leader, they are pretty much identical. The difference between the two being one of perspective and interpretation; with Khrushchev making his charges to condemn Stalin, while Mao accepted those charges, but argued that Stalin’s “mistakes” were outweighed by his contributions. One is saying these charges are damning, the other saying the charges are “minor”. But both accept the same charges.
Thus, by proving Khrushchev’s charges to be false, Grover is not only revealing Khrushchev to be a liar and opportunist, but he is also removing the foundation for much of Mao’s criticism of Stalin.
This, then, is utterly unacceptable to the “new-maoists” because it undermines their very raison d’etre, the very reason for their brand of “maoism” in the first place.