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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 5:46 am 
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To the degree that Olgin was not the originator of what he was saying (including quoting or referencing Stalin directly in the text) that kind of background is necessary since Olgin did not elaborate. It seems to have been taken for granted at the time that all of this would be familiar to the reader, which it might have been among some (most?) CP members in the 1930's.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 8:02 am 
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mhou wrote:
To the degree that Olgin was not the originator of what he was saying (including quoting or referencing Stalin directly in the text) that kind of background is necessary since Olgin did not elaborate. It seems to have been taken for granted at the time that all of this would be familiar to the reader, which it might have been among some (most?) CP members in the 1930's.


If we're Marxists then when know that if what people says doesn't correspond to the actual substance of social conditions, then what those people are saying must be serving some other material interest.

So to start we don't need to go to the "meta" issues of socialism and proletarian dictatorship. To start we need to evaluate Olgin's remarks for any correspondence to reality, to the real content of uneven and combined development, to the notion of an integrate capitalism, to Trotsky's actual assessments of the prospects for revolution in less developed countries, to the peasantry etc.

If you haven't done that work, if you haven't investigated that correspondence or lack thereof, then there's no point in pursuing this discussion.

Now, transparently, Trotsky's analysis of uneven and combined development was not what Olgin claims it was; transparently, Olgin's claim that Trotsky disregards or underestimates the peasantry (a favorite shibboleth of the Stalin school) is false; transparently, Olgin's representation of Lenin's so-called theory of imperialism is a misrepresentation; transparently, Olgin's claim that Trotsky proposes that workers in individual countries do not even attempt revolution is false.

So then, what material interests does Olgin's arguments represent?

That's the issue-- not what socialism means now or in 1927; not what Marx means by material conditions, or the conflict between means and relations of production-- as Olgin has disqualified himself by his false presentations from trying to assess those other issues.

So then....if you haven't done the research, and if you don't want to take on the actual content of what U&C development is; what "integrated imperialism" means; what SIOC actually embodied as an expression of self-interest of the fSU bureaucracy as opposed to class interest of workers, there's no point to the discussion, and what you are pursuing is nothing but an ideology.

So what's your understanding of uneven and combined development? permanent revolution? "integrate imperialism"? Where and exactly how does anyone accept for a second, without engaging in massive denial or distortion the notion that Trotsky urged passivity and the impossibility of revolution in individual countries when he a) was president of the Petrograd soviet b)headed the military revolutionary committee c)articulated the proletarian nature of the RR before 1905 d)organized the Red Army into a force capable of combating counterrevolution e)articulated tactics, strategies, and programs to advance proletarian revolution in China, France, Spain, etc etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Beyond any broadening of the discussion to tangential or greater subjects, the context I'm talking about is far more functional. Specific phrases and terminology ('inner and outer contradictions of imperialism') were the product of specific party discussions and works, contemporaneous to Olgin's pamphlet. I don't think it's helpful to impugn his use of this phrase as evidence of his ignorance on the subject of imperialism without accepting that these terms have a specific meaning as a result of said party discussions and works (X plenum) and clearly represent said results even though he doesn't say so-- its a given that his readers would know this (in 1935).

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So then, what material interests does Olgin's arguments represent?


The USSR --> CC CPSU --> CI --> NC CPUSA

Which doesn't answer the actual question: the class nature of the Soviet state, which is at the very core of Olgin's characterizations of Trotsky/Trotskyism (and the reverse, the theory, politics and practice of Trotsky/Trotskyism in relation to the CI/CPSU/USSR/labor movement/revolutionary movement/proletariat).

Edit: Approaching that can take the form of contrasting Lenin's 'democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry' with Trotsky's 'permanent revolution' or any number of other specific discussions. Olgin's text isn't sufficient to get beyond what was the position of the CPSU on Trotsky/Trotskyism.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:04 pm 
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You're equivocating (a polite term for bullshitting), and evading the actual issues. Olgin presents "criticisms." Those criticisms claim to have some sort of connection to the relations of classes in the world. Those criticisms then can be judged on the basis of the actual relations.

When you do that, assess those criticisms in light of actual class relations, as expressed in the actual actions of Trotsky during the Russian Revolution, the criticisms are exposed to be ignorant, and dishonest. Doesn't matter what the accepted verbiage was in the party at this or that time. If he's repeating that language uncritically, and that language is wrong-- then he's either being ignorant or dishonest. Subservience to a "line" is not a revolutionary virtue.

This all shows up in practice-- when you have the official CPs demanding, forcing, class collaboration with the bourgeoisie; acting against proletarian independent movement and struggle; when rather than Trotskyists urging passivity, you have the Stalinists claiming, for example in Vietnam in 1945, that there can be no proletarian revolution, only a democratic one, and thus welcoming the British into Saigon, and suppressing worker resistance.

Have you done even the slightest investigation into the role of the Stalinists in Spain? in France? In Vietnam?-- or before the consolidation of Stalinism, the role of the 3rd Intl in China-- enforcing subordination of the proletariat to the KMT?

WTF? T


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:17 am 
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mhou's famous drunken debating style:


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Your reply throws around the term 'disqualifying' on the basis of terminology that has its own specific meaning that you don't seem to be aware of.

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Have you done even the slightest investigation into the role of the Stalinists in Spain? in France? In Vietnam?-- or before the consolidation of Stalinism, the role of the 3rd Intl in China-- enforcing subordination of the proletariat to the KMT?


So we don't have to broaden the discussion, but we have to broaden the discussion?

Glad to see you can recycle Noa, but the broadening happened at exactly this point in SA's post:

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The logical outcome is that only a proletarian revolution is possible in any country, developed or undeveloped, but that the material conditions for socialism, as opposed to proletarian revolution, can only be established internationally, with the success of the proletariat in more than 1 or 2 or 3 countries.

We know exactly where SIOC led, where all this gibberish against permanent revolution got us-- it got us to the defeat of the proletariat in Spain, China, France, Vietnam, etc. and eventually to the destruction of the former Soviet Union.

This issue was settled long ago-- by the class itself in October 1917. And then settled and resettled by defeats of the workers' by and through the actions of the fSU.


So if the subjects you raise are out of bounds, let's hear from Trotsky on Trotsky on some of what Olgin's text says:

The question of the estimation of the peasantry in this connection is of the greatest political importance. I absolutely deny that the formula “permanent revolution,” which applies wholly to the past, in any way caused me to adopt a careless attitude towards the peasantry in the conditions of the Soviet Revolution. If at any time after October, I had occasion for private reasons to revert to the formula, “permanent revolution,” it was only a reference to Party history, i.e., to the past, and had no reference to the question of present-day political tasks. To my mind, the attempt to construct an irreconcilable contradiction in this matter is not justified either by the 8 years’ experience of the revolution, through which we have gone together, or by the tasks of the future.

Equally I refute the statements and reference to my alleged “pessimistic” attitude towards the progress of our work of Socialist construction in the face of the retarded process of the revolution in the West. In spite of all the difficulties arising out of our capitalistic environment, the economic and political resources of the Soviet dictatorship are very great. I have repeatedly developed and argued this idea on the instructions of the Party, particularly at international congresses, and I consider that this idea preserves all its force for the present period of historical development.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:44 pm 
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Are you even aware of what you are quoting? "Permanent revolution" does not involve a disregard or an underestimation of the peasantry, contrary to what the Stalinists claimed. In fact, the condition of the peasantry, of agricultural relations of production, the fact that contrary to Lenin's distortion of those conditions, capitalist relations of agriculture were NOT taking hold in the Russian countryside; that such relations COULD NOT be introduced by the Russian bourgeoisie, is what uneven and combined development is all about, and what determines that a social revolution, which has to augment the productivity of agriculture if it is to survive, must be proletarian at core; and must be international to succeed.

And yes Trotsky is saying that the work of "socialist" construction must go ahead even under the conditions of the ebb of world revolution. But let's be clear-- it wasn't socialist construction; Trotsky was advocating the development of industry; the "advantaging" of the proletariat over the rural economy; transferring surplus from countryside to industry. That's not socialism. That's economic development under the direction of, and reproducing, the proletariat. That's quite different from claiming that socialism in one country is a practical possibility.

Your so-called "broadening the discussion" was, and remains, simply the attempt to evade the testing of Olgin's assertions against the real history of the class struggle. As I pointed out, you are simply using the phrase as a form of misdirection. I didn't broaden the discussion. I refuted Olgin's misrepresentation of what "uneven and combined development" is.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 8:17 pm 
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I know exactly what I quoted: Trotsky answering some of the charges that were leveled at him at least from the early 20's that would later be reproduced in Olgin's text.
His letter to the CC in 1925 is longer, but those two points quoted in particular are relevant to the content of Olgin’s text. Trotsky claimed there was no theory of permanent revolution after October 1917, that it belonged “wholly to the past” and “had no reference to the question of present-day political tasks.” The accusations against him was in part based on his propagation of his version of this past as a matter of ‘present-day political tasks’. He finally said so openly after his expulsion from the CP/USSR in his book ‘Permanent Revolution’:

“The theory of the permanent revolution now demands the greatest attention from every Marxist, for the course of the class and ideological struggle has fully and finally raised this question from the realm of reminiscences over old differences of opinion among Russian Marxists, and converted it into a question of the character, the inner connexions and methods of the international revolution in general.”

And conveniently then raises the derivative position on the peasantry:

” Assessed historically, the old slogan of Bolshevism – ’the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry’ – expressed precisely the above-characterized relationship of the proletariat, the peasantry and the liberal bourgeoisie. This has been confirmed by the experience of October. But Lenin’s old formula did not settle in advance the problem of what the reciprocal relations would be between the proletariat and the peasantry within the revolutionary bloc. In other words, the formula deliberately retained a certain algebraic quality, which had to make way for more precise arithmetical quantities in the process of historical experience. However, the latter showed, and under circumstances that exclude any kind of misinterpretation, that no matter how great the revolutionary role of the peasantry may be, it nevertheless cannot be an independent role and even less a leading one. The peasant follows either the worker or the bourgeois. This means that the ‘democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry’ is only conceivable as a dictatorship of the proletariat that leads the peasant masses behind it.”

The democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry was confirmed by the experience of October? Socialist construction in the USSR? Permanent revolution a relic of the past?
Which one of us is building an ideology again?

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That's not socialism. That's economic development under the direction of, and reproducing, the proletariat. That's quite different from claiming that socialism in one country is a practical possibility.


Right, so when I raised that exact question earlier on it was one of evasion and diversion (“There's a lot to talk about here. We should define the 'material conditions for socialism'”) but now it's an acceptable subject? Give me a break.

I still can’t understand this inflated non-issue over an objection to your flippant and superficial denial of context. I don’t care if a Stalinist wrote it, that’s a bullshit hyperbolic reaction. It’s no accident that Olgin wrote this text. His earlier public praise of Trotsky became a political liability several years later, likely prompting him to be the CPUSA’s “expert on Trotskyism”. That the text utilized the language of the contemporary CI isn’t irrelevant unless you think that what it says is de facto irrelevant and whatever it did say wouldn’t change anything viz a viz your criticism of whatever it is (or isn’t) saying.

If you don’t want to talk about Olgin’s text, or any of the other issues that you raised in relation to it, what’s the point?


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:14 pm 
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You're hilarious-- as if somehow, there is any credibility to "accusations" separate and apart, distinct from the class relations inside the Soviet Union; separate and apart the destruction of the the struggle for revolution by the actions of the CPSU, and the 3rd International-- as if all those "accusations" exist separate and apart from the concrete actions, and relations, taken and formed with the defeat of revolution, and the presentation of the false issue, socialism in one country, as some sort of gut check, measure of "class patriotism."

That Trotsky would seek to defend himself against the "accusations" by denying any conflict or contradictions or significance to the theory attributed to him is indeed Trotsky's great weakness. It is his subservience to "official Bolshevism" that is Trotsky's greatest failure-- his unwillingness to go outside the party if necessary, as certainly Lenin threatened, and would have, over the issue of "revolutionary war."

But that weakness of Trotsky says nothing about the content of the theory of permanent revolution itself; nor of Trotsky's understanding of uneven and combined development. That weakness, the attempt to gloss over the absolute inaccuracy of say "democratic dictatorship of proletariat and peasantry, or Lenin's "theory"-- and it hardly deserves to be called a theory-- of imperialism doesn't make any of the assertions of Olgin about "internal and external contradictions" about "integrated wholes" about Trotsky's theory condemning the proletariat anywhere to passivity a bit more accurate.

That Olgin uses the same words, the "official" vocabulary approved by the 3rd International does not make those words any more accurate, any less ignorant, in the analysis of what and how capitalism reproduces itself. It shows only the lack of critical analysis, the use of erudite sounding phrases that in reality mean nothing except as an indication of the utterer's own loyalty to the propagation of ignorance. It's like, not its exactly the same, as the CPSU's flogging of "dialectics" and "dialectical materialism" as somehow the secret code, and secret handshake, such that anything and everything can be dismissed, ignored, explained, or resolved, simply by saying "dialectics" or "dialectical materialism."

That you cannot deal with the real content of uneven and combined development; that you cannot even venture a criticism of Olgin's "critique" which is nothing but a distortion of U&C development, a distortion which had already, and would repeatedly, doom revolutionary struggles-- says most of what needs to be said.

You pretend to talk about "context," yet you studiously evade the actual historical context of what was precipitating this so-called criticism of Trotsky by....hacks, and those who couldn't wait to line-up as grave-diggers of the proletarian revolution. That's the context that matters.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 4:28 am 
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It's difficult to discuss " the actual historical context of what was precipitating this so-called criticism of Trotsky by....hacks" when any attempt to do so is taken as evidence of 'diversion', 'evasion', 'misdirection' on my part.

No one said that the content of 'inner and outer contradictions of imperialism' does anything. I pointed out that it's a thing, given that you used that exact phrase as evidence of Olgin's ignorance. If you make that mountain out of molehills any bigger, Norwegian tourists are going to want to climb it.

Quote:
that you cannot even venture a criticism of Olgin's "critique"


Olgin's text is nothing but a compilation of the criticisms of Trotsky/Trotskyism by the CC CPSU (and Stalin in particular) from the 20s-30s; it's a greatest hits album--not an LP.

It'd be like a music critic attacking David Bowie's Changes One as if it were an album and not a Best Of. Can you do that? Sure. But if that critic has a lot to say about the relative worth of the song Diamond Dogs because it's a big departure from Space Oddity, the problem isn't with the compilation, it's in the two distinct albums they came from and the trajectory of Bowie's career in the span between their separate recording/release.

Olgin was under political pressure which suggests why he wrote it, and there's absolutely nothing 'original' in this text so far as I can tell, down to the writing style. The only thing that makes it noteworthy in any sense is that it's a condensed compilation of the criticisms and accusations against Trotsky in the 20's-30's in English under one title. As you just said:

Quote:
as if all those "accusations" exist separate and apart from the concrete actions, and relations, taken and formed with the defeat of revolution, and the presentation of the false issue, socialism in one country, as some sort of gut check, measure of "class patriotism."


And also right back at you-- I'm not going to help you polish that golden calf as if that's the price of admission to discuss the 'concrete actions and relations taken and formed with the defeat of the revolution'.

Trotsky's deliberate political practice was just 'weakness'? Really?

Quote:
You pretend to talk about "context," yet you studiously evade the actual historical context of what was precipitating this so-called criticism of Trotsky by....hacks, and those who couldn't wait to line-up as grave-diggers of the proletarian revolution. That's the context that matters.


I'm definitely doing that now.

It's a neat trick: accuse me of avoiding Olgin's text when I raise the actual issues, then accuse me of avoiding the actual issues when I go back to Olgin's text.


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