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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:47 am 
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Oh, and I have no concern with your motivations or your "character."


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 6:11 pm 
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I had in mind your criticism of my working hypothesis ("nothing but an abstraction, ahistorical, and anti-materialist")-- the terrain of the laws of capitalist development and the laws of the class struggle aren't directly situational/circumstantial. It's just an extrapolation, not about quarantining one specific element or force as though it can ever exist by itself.

Damn really, you met him?

I thought his phrasing of the subject of state power was very good. Specifically, that the existence of a workers' state opens potentials which have no other possible source (he articulates plainly: the capability to create or change the balance of revolutionary situations). But yea, the meat of it is categorizing when what's good for the workers' state is good for the revolution and when it isn't; and the necessity of valid class policies.

His statement on China is excellent, and relates to 'national revolutionary front':

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The crime of the C.I. in China (and this opinion is not in contradiction with the basic opinions of comrade Trotsky, it seems.) was NOT that the C.P. of China joined a national revolutionary front, but that the C.I. SUBSTITUTED the Kuomintang for the Communist Party, succumbed to Sun Yat Senism, introduced class collaboration against the class struggle, sacrificing the class struggle to this national revolutionary front against foreign imperialism, failing to raise the “Three Pillar” slogans and thus leading the civil war in village and towns on concrete demands of the masses against the native exploiters as well.


In its simplest formulation, it just sounds like participation in such a 'national revolutionary front' (like anything else) is contingent on the ability of the proletariat via its party to maintain its independence above all else, and work 'with it' so long as doing so facilitates or at least does not compromise class struggle necessity-- if those conditions are not possible, then neither is such participation.

Otherwise you get 1927; organizations like the KMT afforded privileges in the CI; or the shit that happened to the Turkish CP when Kemal was being courted.

I think the early treaties illustrate when what's good for the workers' state is good for the revolutionary movement (Brest-Litovsk) and when it isn't (Rapallo). The former gave the new state breathing room which advanced the revolution by marking its first tangible success-- the latter gave material aid and assistance to the same militarists who murdered Leibknecht and Luxemburg and shot down the German revolution.

What's troubling about it (and where hindsight is only helpful to a point) is whether the existence of such a state, no matter how ossified, still serves a tangible function in the class struggle. The global equivalent to the role even a relatively small trade union movement plays in a nation.

Like that comment from a German M-L recently, about how in the old days, the GDR was always 'at the bargaining table' in struggles between workers and bosses in West Germany-- and that the end of the GDR has assisted the employers at the expense of the workers. I've said before that if there's any truth to that statement, well, it's something to consider.

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Under those circumstances, confronting those tasks previously the "work" of capitalism, the "revolutionary" property relations, in their isolation, become but analogues to those of capital-- that is to say, analogous in the biological sense-- having a different origin but serving the same purpose.


This is tied in to the above. Yes, they are by no means communist relations, and they certainly do serve the same purpose for capital.

How valuable is their difference from those in traditional capitalist states for I) the working-class and II) the revolutionary movement?

When Weisbord says

Quote:
... it is possible to have an economic advance of the Soviet Union simultaneously with a setback to the world proletarian revolution.


He leaves out the above 2 questions (I imagine because neither he nor many others considered such an outcome a serious possibility).

But that is what did happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 7:33 pm 
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Yes, met him, several times. Almost weekly for awhile. Argued with him... big surprise, right? Drank wine with him and Vera. He had this theory that he could teach Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian simultaneously since they all shared the Latin root. I was the practice that disproved the theory.

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I thought his phrasing of the subject of state power was very good. Specifically, that the existence of a workers' state opens potentials which have no other possible source (he articulates plainly: the capability to create or change the balance of revolutionary situations). But yea, the meat of it is categorizing when what's good for the workers' state is good for the revolution and when it isn't; and the necessity of valid class policies.


That is the meat; the "workers' state" to be a workers' state has to 1)be subordinate to the international struggle against the bourgeoisie 2)has to truly embody workers' organizations of state power and that is specifically different than property relations (of which Trotsky made a near fetish, to the point where it obscured IMO what the "flip side" of U&C development, or permanent revolution, meant for the workers. 2) above-- workers organizations of state power--is a near impossibility in a single country, particularly a country with low agricultural productivity.

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Otherwise you get 1927; organizations like the KMT afforded privileges in the CI; or the shit that happened to the Turkish CP when Kemal was being courted.


Well yes, on both China and Turkey. Wasn't the KMT made or offered a full membership in the CI at some point?

But the critical point to remember is that the struggles in China, India, Bolivia, Vietnam, appear to be anti-colonial, national revolutions, when in essence they are proletarian revolutions, and the "national revolution" becomes not just an opposition to the proletarian core, but an attempt to pre-empt class struggle under a "national front."

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Like that comment from a German M-L recently, about how in the old days, the GDR was always 'at the bargaining table' in struggles between workers and bosses in West Germany-- and that the end of the GDR has assisted the employers at the expense of the workers. I've said before that if there's any truth to that statement, well, it's something to consider.


Kind of. I had a disagreement with a close friend who thought there was a "big plus" in the collapse of the fSU-- that the Stalinists would be shown to be intellectually bankrupt and simply disappear. My argument was the collapse of the fSU was first and foremost a victory for capitalism, another success in their offensive to fracture, and atomize the working class. That victory for the bourgeoisie far outweighed any positive that might be imagined. This was a defeat for the workers as was demonstrated by the horrific decline in living standards, dismantling of the productive base, the looting of hard assets.

I think what had transpired in the past-- the suppression of 1956, and 1968, the "accommodation" to the Catholic church and private agriculture in Poland, the self-coup of Jaruzelski and the attacks on the Polish miners, represented real defeats for workers globally at the hands of the fSU and dictated more or less the way subsequent struggle played out, with workers' movement unable to breakthrough the cocoon of "liberal capitalism" and "democracy" that was being spun around them. But the final collapse of the fSU was nothing but a defeat for workers brought about by the ruling apparatus (no, I do not think Russia was "state capitalist" or the bureaucracy represented a new class).

For the record, I usually say "I don't know what the Soviet Union was, but I'm certain what it wasn't. It was not state capitalism."

How important is the difference of the workers' state for the proletariat? Only to the extent that the revolution is not confined to a workers' state. That's kind of the ultimate proof of the accuracy of permanent revolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:28 am 
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That is the meat; the "workers' state" to be a workers' state has to 1)be subordinate to the international struggle against the bourgeoisie 2)has to truly embody workers' organizations of state power and that is specifically different than property relations (of which Trotsky made a near fetish, to the point where it obscured IMO what the "flip side" of U&C development, or permanent revolution, meant for the workers. 2) above-- workers organizations of state power--is a near impossibility in a single country, particularly a country with low agricultural productivity.


This is where 1) conflicts with the various frameworks for defining exactly what the USSR was, because the dissolution of the USSR was exactly "a victory for capitalism first and foremost" (I agree). It suggests that its simple existence over time was, at least, in conflict with the bourgeoisie (though even at best there's certainly no basis for claiming it was 'subordinate' to the struggle against the bourgeoisie).

Letters written in the last year of Trotsky's life coupled with post-war developments within the milieu he created only show the impossibility of his categories for the USSR (and the ones his acolytes came up with for Central/Eastern Europe after the war). There's one passage from "Again and Once More Again on the Nature of the USSR," that I've been fascinated by for awhile:

Quote:
Some voices cry out: “If we continue to recognize the USSR as a workers’ state, we will have to establish a new category: the counter-revolutionary workers’ state.” This argument attempts to shock our imagination by opposing a good programmatic norm to a miserable, mean, even repugnant reality. But haven’t we observed from day to day since 1923 how the Soviet state has played a more and more counter-revolutionary role on the international arena? Have we forgotten the experience of the Chinese Revolution, of the 1926 general strike in England and finally the very fresh experience of the Spanish Revolution? There are two completely counter-revolutionary workers’ internationals. These critics have apparently forgotten this “category.” The trade unions of France, Great Britain, the United States and other countries support completely the counterrevolutionary politics of their bourgeoisie. This does not prevent us from labeling them trade unions, from supporting their progressive steps and from defending them against the bourgeoisie. Why is it impossible to employ the same method with the counter-revolutionary workers’ state? In the last analysis a workers’ state is a trade union which has conquered power. The difference in attitude in these two cases is explainable by the simple fact that the trade unions have a long history and we have become accustomed to consider them as realities and not simply as “categories” in our program. But, as regards the workers’ state there is being evinced an inability to learn to approach it as a real historical fact which has not subordinated itself to our program.


But this seems to deviate from his category of 'degenerated workers state' by using a comparison that doesn't rely on.. explicit policy (subjective choice?). It's like he's saying that the counter-revolutionary policies are a separate matter from the tangible structure of different forms of labor organization-- that the policy of a trade union doesn't change its nature, and the policy of a workers' state doesn't change its nature. Granted, just that is a part of his general position ("Crisis of Leadership"), but the rest of his position makes this part seem insignificant.

That's much different from his general "legacy"; not to mention the theories of bureaucracy that he cultivated (not much of a jump from calling it a 'caste' to a 'class' to 'bureaucratic collectivism' and 'state capitalism'). But the interpretation in that passage seems far closer to reality-- how the USSR could be at best an impediment at worst an active opponent of the revolutionary movement, and still represent a point of struggle against the bourgeoisie (and how its dissolution could be a victory for capital).

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I think what had transpired in the past-- the suppression of 1956, and 1968, the "accommodation" to the Catholic church and private agriculture in Poland, the self-coup of Jaruzelski and the attacks on the Polish miners, represented real defeats for workers globally at the hands of the fSU and dictated more or less the way subsequent struggle played out, with workers' movement unable to breakthrough the cocoon of "liberal capitalism" and "democracy" that was being spun around them.


It makes me wonder exactly how much the European post-war labor movements and all that followed with them-- from 'Marxist' intellectuals to groupuscules to student radicalism to mass CP's etc.-- were guaranteed by the collateral of Soviet bullets, tanks, nuclear weapons and rubles.

The implosion of a broadly-defined labor movement to different degrees in different countries at the time of and after the end of the USSR makes me think it was at least a significant factor.

These parts of the hindsight available to us today make me appreciate Weisbord's comments all the more.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:11 pm 
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It suggests that its simple existence over time was, at least, in conflict with the bourgeoisie (though even at best there's certainly no basis for claiming it was 'subordinate' to the struggle against the bourgeoisie)


Well, yes and no. After all, Qaddafi, was "in conflict with the bourgeoisie;" the Baathists in Iraq; the Iranian Revolution; Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile, etc. and there's always the inter-capitalist wars. The difference isn't so much in the bourgeoisie's reaction, but rather the origin, the determinants, of the social organization. In the case of the fSU, it most certainly is a proletarian revolution.

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Some voices cry out: “If we continue to recognize the USSR as a workers’ state, we will have to establish a new category: the counter-revolutionary workers’ state.” This argument attempts to shock our imagination by opposing a good programmatic norm to a miserable, mean, even repugnant reality. But haven’t we observed from day to day since 1923 how the Soviet state has played a more and more counter-revolutionary role on the international arena? Have we forgotten the experience of the Chinese Revolution, of the 1926 general strike in England and finally the very fresh experience of the Spanish Revolution? There are two completely counter-revolutionary workers’ internationals. These critics have apparently forgotten this “category.” The trade unions of France, Great Britain, the United States and other countries support completely the counterrevolutionary politics of their bourgeoisie. This does not prevent us from labeling them trade unions, from supporting their progressive steps and from defending them against the bourgeoisie. Why is it impossible to employ the same method with the counter-revolutionary workers’ state? In the last analysis a workers’ state is a trade union which has conquered power. The difference in attitude in these two cases is explainable by the simple fact that the trade unions have a long history and we have become accustomed to consider them as realities and not simply as “categories” in our program. But, as regards the workers’ state there is being evinced an inability to learn to approach it as a real historical fact which has not subordinated itself to our program.


Yes, good for Trotsky, recognizing the increasingly counterrevolutionary role the Soviet state played internationally. What's gob-smacking unbelievable is that Trotsky chalks this off to being analogous to a trade union, giving us yet another demonstration on how and why his "workers' state = trade union" analogy is so inadequate, and serves really as a point of misdirection

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It's like he's saying that the counter-revolutionary policies are a separate matter from the tangible structure of different forms of labor organization-- that the policy of a trade union doesn't change its nature, and the policy of a workers' state doesn't change its nature. Granted, just that is a part of his general position ("Crisis of Leadership"), but the rest of his position makes this part seem insignificant.


Exactly right. Right trade union policy doesn't change its historical origin; does prove how inadequate that origin, that existence, is to advancing the revolution, to even maintaining its stated purpose of "defending" or stabilizing the living and working conditions of the class. And yes, its collapse would be a defeat for the workers, just as the defeat of the UP in Chile was a defeat, just as the decertification of a union is a defeat.

So extending Trotsky's analogy we would conclude that the workers state in isolation is inadequate to advancing the revolution, or even preserving it, as there can't be any preservation absent expansion. This, too me, is where Trotsky backs away from the "dark" implications of uneven and combined development, of permanent revolution.

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It makes me wonder exactly how much the European post-war labor movements and all that followed with them-- from 'Marxist' intellectuals to groupuscules to student radicalism to mass CP's etc.-- were guaranteed by the collateral of Soviet bullets, tanks, nuclear weapons and rubles.

The implosion of a broadly-defined labor movement to different degrees in different countries at the time of and after the end of the USSR makes me think it was at least a significant factor.


I think you need to distinguish the collateral of the fSU for the echo of the October Revolution. The latter? Yes. The former? Don't think so given where those Soviet bullets, tanks, weapons, and rubles actually went, what they achieved, and what they suppressed.

And... capitalism being capitalism, those movements were generated by the conflicts inherent in capital accumulation. The implosion of the labor movement follows from the attacks generated after the rate of profit peaked (in the US, and UK definitely) circa 1970, and the "long trek" to transfer wealth upward, and dismantle the "protections" afforded prior to the peak, using dramatic price swings in oil as the weapon of choice, (which of course has the added benefit of whipsawing the fSU economy).


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Well, yes and no. After all, Qaddafi, was "in conflict with the bourgeoisie;" the Baathists in Iraq; the Iranian Revolution; Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile, etc. and there's always the inter-capitalist wars. The difference isn't so much in the bourgeoisie's reaction, but rather the origin, the determinants, of the social organization. In the case of the fSU, it most certainly is a proletarian revolution.


Yes, exactly. But it still leaves open the substantive difference of this origin to the former examples and how this changes the relationship of the bourgeoisie to the USSR vs regimes resulting from 'inconvenient' national revolutions (and related phenomena; civil war/insurgency etc.). There’s also the unmistakable mark of the former on the latter.

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Yes, good for Trotsky, recognizing the increasingly counterrevolutionary role the Soviet state played internationally. What's gob-smacking unbelievable is that Trotsky chalks this off to being analogous to a trade union, giving us yet another demonstration on how and why his "workers' state = trade union" analogy is so inadequate, and serves really as a point of misdirection


I don't think it's misdirection at all, just incomplete. Others also started to articulate that same thought, but didn’t complete it either; but in Trotsky’s case, it’s easier to dismiss given the volume of material he produced that goes against what he says in that passage in that particular piece. That’s also what makes it frustrating, given his natural talent for articulating/writing at length—and this also makes it easier to dismiss. If he wanted to elaborate, he certainly could (and would) have.

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Exactly right. Right trade union policy doesn't change its historical origin; does prove how inadequate that origin, that existence, is to advancing the revolution, to even maintaining its stated purpose of "defending" or stabilizing the living and working conditions of the class. And yes, its collapse would be a defeat for the workers, just as the defeat of the UP in Chile was a defeat, just as the decertification of a union is a defeat.
So extending Trotsky's analogy we would conclude that the workers state in isolation is inadequate to advancing the revolution, or even preserving it, as there can't be any preservation absent expansion. This, too me, is where Trotsky backs away from the "dark" implications of uneven and combined development, of permanent revolution.


That's the thing: whether or not organizations derived from labor’s class struggles merit different treatment vs inter-class formations that have the effect of raising living and working conditions. I think that distinction is critical since it’s tied directly to class independence.

I don’t agree at all that the inadequacies either present at the origin or throughout the life cycle of a particular form of labor organization tell us definitively whether they “advance the revolution”. Applying that same criteria to the soviets in 1917 would lead one to conclude that the council-form doesn’t advance the revolution (they were full of Kerensky’s).

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I think you need to distinguish the collateral of the fSU for the echo of the October Revolution. The latter? Yes. The former? Don't think so given where those Soviet bullets, tanks, weapons, and rubles actually went, what they achieved, and what they suppressed.

And... capitalism being capitalism, those movements were generated by the conflicts inherent in capital accumulation. The implosion of the labor movement follows from the attacks generated after the rate of profit peaked (in the US, and UK definitely) circa 1970, and the "long trek" to transfer wealth upward, and dismantle the "protections" afforded prior to the peak, using dramatic price swings in oil as the weapon of choice, (which of course has the added benefit of whipsawing the fSU economy).


That may be a better way of putting it. I don’t know how deep to go on that subject.

I guess what’s bothering me is whether or not the forces pressing on the wider class and labor movement at that time (post-1970) are the same forces which coalesced in the dissolution of the USSR in the early ‘90s—that we’re looking at very diverse outcomes (from union busting to casualization to asset stripping) which are all in the same orbit, or subject to and the result of an identical force.

That's a sticky proposition given the proliferation of very absolutist definitions of what the USSR was. I'm not aware of any such definitions (based on various theories) that would have been capable of.. not predicting, but at least assimilating the actual course of its dissolution without having to perform theoretical contortions to make what happened fit.

You’re describing the reverse of what Weisbord speculated (observed?) in 1930:

Quote:
The industrialization of the Soviet State must tend greatly to strengthen the revolutionary movement and tend to hasten the end of capitalism. But the economic progress of the U.S.S.R. does not BY ITSELF NECESSARILY lead to an advance of the world revolution.


The ramifications of that are potentially huge, at least as it relates to making sense of the current historic moment and looking backward to autopsy the Soviet Union.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:27 pm 
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First comment:
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I don’t agree at all that the inadequacies either present at the origin or throughout the life cycle of a particular form of labor organization tell us definitively whether they “advance the revolution”. Applying that same criteria to the soviets in 1917 would lead one to conclude that the council-form doesn’t advance the revolution (they were full of Kerensky’s).


Absolutely not, because you are applying the wrong criteria. The criteria is not the personnel leading either the trade union or the soviet, but the trade union or the soviet as representing the class as a whole. The trade union does not, cannot, represent the class as a whole, is founded upon, organized around, the differentiation of the class between organized and unorganized, employed and unemployed. The soviet represents the class in its entire life, including outside the workplace. An example: in Flint, after GM changed its water supply because the river water was too corrosive, the UAW was effectively silent, while the residents of Flint were poisoned by the water. A soviet would never have allowed GM to change its water supply without changing that serving the general population.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:44 pm 
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Yes, exactly. But it still leaves open the substantive difference of this origin to the former examples and how this changes the relationship of the bourgeoisie to the USSR vs regimes resulting from 'inconvenient' national revolutions (and related phenomena; civil war/insurgency etc.). There’s also the unmistakable mark of the former on the latter.

There’s also the unmistakable mark of the former on the latter.

Yes, indeed, including the "displacement" of the proletariat, and its subordination to "national" "patriotic" elements.

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I don't think it's misdirection at all, just incomplete. Others also started to articulate that same thought, but didn’t complete it either; but in Trotsky’s case, it’s easier to dismiss given the volume of material he produced that goes against what he says in that passage in that particular piece. That’s also what makes it frustrating, given his natural talent for articulating/writing at length—and this also makes it easier to dismiss. If he wanted to elaborate, he certainly could (and would) have.


I agree, in part. Not deliberate misdirection or mystification, but incomplete and certainly not adequate for explaining the emergence of a counterrevolutionary "workers' state."

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I guess what’s bothering me is whether or not the forces pressing on the wider class and labor movement at that time (post-1970) are the same forces which coalesced in the dissolution of the USSR in the early ‘90s—that we’re looking at very diverse outcomes (from union busting to casualization to asset stripping) which are all in the same orbit, or subject to and the result of an identical force.


That's an important point. I've had numerous discussions with Goldner about this. My "instinct" tells me that the recovery from the 1991-1992 recession in the US would not have been quite as expansive in volume, and duration, without the collapse of the fSU-- that there's an element of "primitive accumulation" (a catchall term that I really don't like using) where the asset liquidation that was practiced in the US through LBO, private equity, stripping, etc. gets practiced on and in the fSU on a massive scale. I haven't ever done the numbers on it, being the lazy rat bastard I am, but..........

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You’re describing the reverse of what Weisbord speculated (observed?) in 1930:

Quote:
The industrialization of the Soviet State must tend greatly to strengthen the revolutionary movement and tend to hasten the end of capitalism. But the economic progress of the U.S.S.R. does not BY ITSELF NECESSARILY lead to an advance of the world revolution.


The ramifications of that are potentially huge, at least as it relates to making sense of the current historic moment and looking backward to autopsy the Soviet Union.


Yeah, well, that's one of the things I discussed with Weisbord; that we got a 180 out of the Russian Revolution; that the industrialization of the SU (when I was discussing this with Weisbord, the SU was not yet former) lead to an advance of counterrevolution, was part of the "harmonics" or "dis-" harmonics that defeated the proletariat and set the table for WW2, at an ever greater cost to the working class. Wish I could remember what Weisbord said in that discussion. Should have taken notes. Actually, I probably did. Don't ask me to find them.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:32 pm 
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The criteria is not the personnel leading either the trade union or the soviet, but the trade union or the soviet as representing the class as a whole.


I don't mean the leaders per se, but the workers for whom those leaders are representative. Generally when particular leaders are no longer representative of the workers, they select new ones (though this takes different forms--sometimes simply electing new ones, sometimes splitting an existing organization, etc.). I don't think it's a reach to say the majority of the working-class in February 1917 were not communists-- and that this has no bearing on the value of the council-form.

This ties into the question of the UAW and the Flint water crisis. Without a rising trajectory of struggle, episodes like the Flint crisis remain under the direct supervision of union leaders-- the same leaders who capitulate to Trump, chose Chrysler as the pattern bargaining target, showed their belly to Volkswagon, etc.

But there was some good that came from both the UAW and the wider trade union movement in Flint... but I get your point.

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Yes, indeed, including the "displacement" of the proletariat, and its subordination to "national" "patriotic" elements.


Looking back, it doesn't really seem like there has been many episodes where the actors on the ground 'got it right'-- maybe Paris 1871 and October 1917 stand alone.

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That's an important point. I've had numerous discussions with Goldner about this. My "instinct" tells me that the recovery from the 1991-1992 recession in the US would not have been quite as expansive in volume, and duration, without the collapse of the fSU-- that there's an element of "primitive accumulation" (a catchall term that I really don't like using) where the asset liquidation that was practiced in the US through LBO, private equity, stripping, etc. gets practiced on and in the fSU on a massive scale. I haven't ever done the numbers on it, being the lazy rat bastard I am, but..........


It's a clusterfuck of half-accurate numbers and shady shell NGO's and whatnot.

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I agree, in part. Not deliberate misdirection or mystification, but incomplete and certainly not adequate for explaining the emergence of a counterrevolutionary "workers' state."


I strongly believe it's incomplete because the trade union question itself has been left incomplete.

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Yeah, well, that's one of the things I discussed with Weisbord; that we got a 180 out of the Russian Revolution; that the industrialization of the SU (when I was discussing this with Weisbord, the SU was not yet former) lead to an advance of counterrevolution, was part of the "harmonics" or "dis-" harmonics that defeated the proletariat and set the table for WW2, at an ever greater cost to the working class. Wish I could remember what Weisbord said in that discussion. Should have taken notes. Actually, I probably did. Don't ask me to find them.


It's an area where existing theory came up far short; even deep into the 80's communists could still imagine (and regularly wrote about) a monolithic Stalinist bulwark even as the edifice of 'united front governments' around the world were rotting on their feet and the CPSU was committing seppuku.

WWII raises even more problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:12 pm 
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So once again, we move from more or less vehement disagreement to a sort of convergence-- not so much of answers, but of the questions raised by the actual course of history.

Still all the questions seem to stem from the unfinished nature, the interrupted course, the discontinuity of the Russian Revolution. How could it survive without an international revolution? What does it mean that it did survive not only without an international revolution but against the prospects for international revolution.

I think uneven and combined development is key-- and the more I read about the Middle East the more "key" it becomes. Short version: How is it possible to "support" or "endorse" "democratic forces" when the entire history of Syria, Egypt, Iraq etc shows that there is no basis for any democratic revolution?

BTW, you think fSU 1991-2002 is a clusterfuck? Don't even look at Syria.


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