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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 5:45 am 
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There are no tricks here. The only issue is are Olgin's criticisms accurate? Just in case you forgot, here's what you quoted from Olgin:

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Trotsky denies the uneven development of the capitalist countries under imperialism. He denies the entire Leninist analysis of imperialism as forming one integrated whole that must inevitably be broken through by the proletarian revolution in its weakest spot. He thinks that the internal and external contradictions of imperialism are not sharp enough to make a breaking of the imperialist front in a single country possible. He thinks that the forces of the proletarian revolution are not strong enough to be able to break the front of imperialism in a single country. True to his covering up defeatism with revolutionary phrases he puts forward the idea of a revolution in one country supported by revolutions in other countries, but this cannot eliminate the fact that he says to the workers of every country, “You cannot make a revolution alone; you are sure to be defeated; wait till other countries begin; if there is no revolution elsewhere, you are doomed”,—which is tantamount to denying the possibility of any revolution at all.


So: 1) Does Trotsky deny the uneven development of capitalist countries under imperialism?
To answer that, we need a)to understand what uneven and combined development is; b)assess Trotsky's analysis of actual expressions of uneven and combined development in countries like.......Russia, China, etc.

2) Does Trotsky deny the entire Leninist analysis of imperialism as forming one integrated whole that must be broken through by the proletarian revolution at its weakest spot...?
To answer that we need the accuser to explain precisely a) what Olgin means by "integrated whole;" b) Lenin's "theory" of imperialism c)where Trotsky specifically denies, or rejects the this "theory" as a whole.

3)Does Trotsky ever argue that the "contradictions" of imperialism, "internal" and "external" whatever that may mean, are not "sharp enough"-- another nonsense term-- to make a break through in a single country possible?
To answer that we need concrete analysis of Trotsky's evaluation of such eruptions-- say in Russia, China, or Germany. We get to include Spain in this, since Spain was a classic condition of uneven and combined development even though Olgin is writing in 1935.

4) Does Trotsky's analysis of uneven and combined development ever amount to telling workers in any country "to wait" to engage n class struggle, the struggle for power, "until other countries begin"? Did Trotsky ever indicate anything like that when assessing real struggles, say again in Russia, China, Germany, France, Spain?

Now if the answers to those questions are not what Olgin claims they are, then the criticisms are not "serving" the purpose claimed for them-- advancing a revolutionary critique against a force of "counterrevolution"-- and we need to assess what the real purpose is.

So if you care to answer those questions, fine. I don't think you do. You haven't even attempted to answer a single one of them, yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 9:32 am 
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So if you care to answer those questions, fine. I don't think you do. You haven't even attempted to answer a single one of them, yet.


Quite the contrary. I’m delighted that we can finally move to one of the real subjects of this discussion.

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1) Does Trotsky deny the uneven development of capitalist countries under imperialism?
To answer that, we need a)to understand what uneven and combined development is; b)assess Trotsky's analysis of actual expressions of uneven and combined development in countries like.......Russia, China, etc.


1) Literally, the answer is No. I don’t think it’s much of an observation to say that Trotsky denied the interpretation of combined and uneven development regurgitated in Olgin’s pamphlet.

a) I don’t know of a text where Trotsky is more explicit in his definition of U&C than ‘History of the Russian Revolution’:

“Unevenness, the most general law of the historic process, reveals itself most sharply and complexly in the destiny of the backward countries. Under the whip of external necessity their backward culture is compelled to make leaps. From the universal law of unevenness thus derives another law which, for the lack of a better name, we may call the law of combined development – by which we mean a drawing together of the different stages of the journey, a combining of the separate steps, an amalgam of archaic with more contemporary forms. Without this law, to be taken of course, in its whole material content, it is impossible to understand the history of Russia, and indeed of any country of the second, third or tenth cultural class.” (Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, 1930)

If there’s a better example, let me know.

b) Ok, let’s look at China. How deep in the subject and how far back do you want to go? I’d prefer to look at the divergences related to 1927, since they prompted Trotsky to elaborate not only his conception of uneven and combined development as it pertains to China but also to explicitly and openly elaborate his (and the Left Opposition’s) derivative political positions on the Chinese revolution (and there’s a lot of accessible documents). But wherever/whenever.

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2) Does Trotsky deny the entire Leninist analysis of imperialism as forming one integrated whole that must be broken through by the proletarian revolution at its weakest spot...?
To answer that we need the accuser to explain precisely a) what Olgin means by "integrated whole;" b) Lenin's "theory" of imperialism c)where Trotsky specifically denies, or rejects the this "theory" as a whole.


2), as well b) and c) have the same answers, and are found in the direct references Olgin makes to Trotsky’s writings in the fourth chapter ‘Socialism in One Country’: Trotsky’s 1906 ‘Our Revolution’ and 1917 ‘Program For Peace’ specifically.

The accusation isn’t that Trotsky says it’s impossible for the proletariat to ‘break the chains of imperialism’ at its weakest link; only that it’s impossible for the proletariat to successfully consolidate and defend state power without the direct (state) support of the proletariat of the advanced-industrial nations in such circumstances where it does break the chain at its weakest link.

a), Olgin explicitly defines what he meant by ‘integrated whole’ at the beginning of that same fourth chapter:

Quote:
The third characteristic includes the concept of “the inevitability of war under imperialism and the inevitability of a coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe and the colonial revolution in the East, thus forming a united world front of the revolution as against the world front of imperialism”. (See Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism; Stalin, Foundations of Leninism; Program of the Communist International.)

What follows from this analysis is that there exists an imperialist system of world economy which represents an integral unit; that this unit is continually rent asunder and exploded by the contradictions inherent in it, and that the proletarian revolution which has ripened everywhere, even in the comparatively backward countries, because the system as a whole is ripe for it, may break the chain of world imperialism in its weakest link.

This view of imperialism as an integrated system, and of the proletarian revolution as breaking through in that place where imperialism is weakest, gives the clue to the understanding of the proletarian revolution.
(Olgin, Chapter 4)

The opening remarks there on the nature of anti-colonial/anti-imperialist struggle are tied to the different conceptions of U&C as well.

Quote:
3)Does Trotsky ever argue that the "contradictions" of imperialism, "internal" and "external" whatever that may mean, are not "sharp enough"-- another nonsense term-- to make a break through in a single country possible?
To answer that we need concrete analysis of Trotsky's evaluation of such eruptions-- say in Russia, China, or Germany. We get to include Spain in this, since Spain was a classic condition of uneven and combined development even though Olgin is writing in 1935.


3) Same as 2). Did Trotsky ever say a break through in a single country is impossible? No. But he did say very clearly that the durability of such a victory is impossible.

Trotsky most certainly rejected the framework of the debates that took place at the X plenum judging by his article “The ‘Third Period’ of the Comintern’s Mistakes,” even though it doesn’t reference the specific controversy of the primacy of ‘inner contradictions’ or ‘outer contradictions’ of imperialism in the ‘Third Period’ (since he rejected the ‘third period’, why would he?).

Quote:
4.Does Trotsky's analysis of uneven and combined development ever amount to telling workers in any country "to wait" to engage n class struggle, the struggle for power, "until other countries begin"? Did Trotsky ever indicate anything like that when assessing real struggles, say again in Russia, China, Germany, France, Spain?


4) Basically the same answer as 1). In both cases the kernel is the real existence of the Soviet Union; its development, its trajectory and the implications of this kernel in other areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 10:18 am 
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I'm going to interject, though my reasons for doing so seem to be evaporating, and suggest that rather than discuss each issue piecemeal here, we pick a single historical subject and hash it out in an independent topic. Not just hash it out, but give the literature background from which information is being drawn so that the unwary observer can orient themselves. So if the first historical subject we want to look at is the russian revolution we'd probably start back from 1905 to help us answer questions related to the role of the peasantry which is a point of contention between Trotsky and Lenin, a list of works to read up on to familiarize ourselves with the history and issues at hand would be helpful for everyone not already familiar with them.

If you guys are fine with the current back and forth, however, feel free to continue, but I as someone fulling willing to concede historical ignorance on these questions am having a hard time withdrawing useable knowledge from it and probably will just have to go read Trotsky and others and return to this topic at a later date to get something out of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 10:29 am 
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So 1 and 4-- Trotsky's arguments re U&C development, and the compelling forces surrounding class struggle are not as Olgin presents them. Good

Leaves 2 and 3. Trotsky did not say what Olgin says he said, that a breakthrough was impossible in any single country. Olgin argues that's what Trotsky said. But you would move the accusation o a speculative level-- Trotsky says that the proletariat will not be able to maintain its power in a single country, isolated from other countries.

OK, I think Trotsky was absolutely correct, and that has been confirmed by history.

Even leaving aside the issue of what constitutes proletarian power, and if the fSU exhibited that characteristic, it's quite clear that the proletariat in power did not outlast the bourgeoisie in power; that the proletariat could not maintain its power in the face of its isolation, and the pressures of the world market. 75 years? 75 years that includes the destruction of the proletarian revolution through the overt policies of the fSU and the official CPs.

But the issue of whether or not Trotsky thought the proletariat could maintain its power in the long run is a stalking horse-- as it takes a theoretical consideration for the future and attempts to say that Trotsky has made that the immediate, practical, tactical, programmatic principle for actions in class struggle.

So then we need to look at Trotsky and the LO's actions in the immediate, practical, tactical areas, and if those actions discounted, opposed the proletariat's ability to take and maintain power:

so advocacy of industrialization, at the expense, but buffered, mitigated, of the peasantry (the only way it could be done in the absence of an international revolution): is that discounting, opposing, the consolidation of proletarian power? The answer is clearly no.

so the opposition to subordinating the proletariat to the "nationalist" "revolutionaries," a la China: is that discounting, opposing the consolidation of proletarian power?

so the opposition to the destructive "left turn" of the 3rd International-- identifying social democratic labor organizations as "social fascist": is that discounting, opposing the development of proletarian power?

so the opposition to subordinating the proletariat to the "liberal, democratic" bourgeoisie through the popular front: is that discounting, opposing the development of proletarian power?

so the advocacy of proletarian democracy in the institutions of the Soviet Union: that's discounting, opposing the consolidation of the proletariat?

Trotsky's writings on China are important, and yet they are clearly marked by a cautiousness in his approach. Too cautious in my opinion. The 3rd Intl became the facilitator of counterrevolution in China.

The issue of China, which is in fact the issue of uneven and combined development is the question of the subordination of the proletariat's power to the bourgeoisie. It is not a bit ironic, but perfectly fitting, that Olgin and the rest can and do accuse Trotsky of doubting the ability of the proletariat to consolidate power in any country, while and when at the same time, Olgin and the other wannabe gravediggers impose policies and actions that pre-empt the proletariat from grasping that power. That's not ironic; that's how ideology works-- to obscure the actual relations of classes in order to maintain the existing relations of power.

So...did the fSU, through its organization of leadership internationally act to prevent the proletariat from seizing power in one, or another, nation?

It all comes down to that. All appeals to "contradictions" internal, external, dialectics, dialectical materialism to the contrary notwithstanding.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 10:31 am 
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I'm not fine with any of this. RM at origin explicitly rejected the "normalization" of pro-Stalin discourse. Why the fucking change?


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 11:30 am 
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If you want to call it a change, it's largely due to the changes in personnel on the admin staff having the collective historical knowledge of the admin diminished to the point where distinguishing between these two things.

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We are willing, eager even, to explore the "common issues" that engender questions, disagreement among "leftists." We do so to develop a communist analysis, critique, position, maybe even strategy, or [be still my heart] program. Once we have established that, we wrap it up. With a sticky, and make it a permanent record of the development of a Red Marx position.


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Now this process is NOT available to those who wish to defend Soviet tanks in the streets of Prague 1968, the Afghan secret police 1978, Evo Morales supplying MINUSTAH with troops to suppress the rebellion in Haiti, or any version of any popular front, past present or future. Nor is it available to those in favor of restricting immigration to the advanced countries of capitalism.


is very difficult for me because I haven't read on aforementioned topics. Essentially the 'authority' here is no authority on history, and simultaneously assumes good faith from both you and mike given past working relationships. Mike claims to have once been hung-up on some of the theses from Nihilist Communism, as I was at one point too. I found discussion of the matters quite helpful in escaping the trap, which I recognised I was in at the time. If mike wants to take a step back and acknowledge he's trying in good faith to escape a pro-Stalin position it would be most helpful. Essentially I'm viewing this as an intervention, where the collective knowledge of redmarx is used to expedite the recovery that would otherwise require the efforts only of the individual.

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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 12:34 pm 
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I have zero interest in engaging in another discussion about the "crimes of Trotsky"-- or Trotskyism as "counterrevolution in disguise." Nor do I think it makes it any better to disguise the discussion as "uneven and combined development" vs. "socialism in one country." Such discussions do not, as Olgin himself demonstrates, critical inquiries into the direction class struggle must move in order to advance to a point of power, but only serve an ideological purpose, to obscure the forces at work in such struggles. .

Not for nothing has no Stalinist, no "official" member of the CPSU ever been able to produce a historically accurate account of the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the revolution in China 1927-1929, the rise of fascism in Germany, the defeat of the Unidad Popular in Chile, the dissipation of the the revolutionary struggle in Portugal 1974; the failure of the MNR in Bolivia, etc. etc. etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 3:15 pm 
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For what it's worth, we did let Creep stick around the board, despite him being a Hoxhaist, although that was on the basis he didn't try to engage in debate on contentious topics.

I think there is a big difference between Nihilist Communism on the one hand which is a theoretical tendency based on a series of blog posts, and Stalinism on the other hand which for years was basically an arm of the Russian state.

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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Well, we actually invited Trotskyists to leave RM, as we made it clear that this was not a board friendly to self-styled Leninist/Bolshevik individuals or groups. Now if mhou wants to proclaim that Stalin is the heir to Lenin, that's fine. If he wants to argue that here, that's not fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:06 am 
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Zanthorus wrote:
I think there is a big difference between Nihilist Communism on the one hand which is a theoretical tendency based on a series of blog posts, and Stalinism on the other hand which for years was basically an arm of the Russian state.


Just psychologically, it's possible to swing from one to the other, like DNZ first was a fan of Gilles Dauvé. Again just psychologically, when mhou first wrote an article critical of union (their astroturfing) on the ICC site, then swung 180 degrees, perhaps they were embarrassed by their initial view (or even fear to be seen as a radical which can lead to repression) and then sought the extreme opposite in an attempt to cover up (which in case of mhou would be really not necessary, as the unions' practice of astroturfing was exposed even by mild liberals like the Daily Show with Jon Stewart some years ago).


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