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"All past history was the history of class struggles; these warring classes of society are always the products of the modes of production and of exchange."
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Trotsky's writings on China

Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:43 pm

So I finished listening to everything the MIA has in this section https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsk ... /index.htm so it's time I weigh in.

Holy fuck did the USSR screw the pooch. I'm listening to this at work almost slack-jawed to the point that a co-worker asked me what was wrong. The whole time I'm listening to it I can't help but think that nobody even understood 1917, perhaps even Lenin included. Trotsky's characterization of the policy of the USSR as Menshevist is spot-on and I begin to understand why Arty charges Trotsky with spinelessness when it comes to standing up to his own party. The kind of shit being pulled by the USSR makes me think the time to transition from the weapon of criticism to the criticism of the weapon had come with respect to the Stalinist bureau (not the USSR). On this point, however, I'd still like to know more about the power relationship between the Soviets, the Party, and the State before passing final judgement, also how that relationship evolved.

In the other thread on Olgin, Arty made reference to the 'dark' implications of the uneven and combined development of humanity. Let me take a stab at it. Russia was unable to industrialize, or solve the agrarian problem because the solution of those issues involved the undermining of previously existing private property (expropriating the land in particular). However, one cannot capitalistically undermine private property, so the old forms were preserved and used to extract a profit regardless. That was the problem, industrialization. The tool? A worker's state.

Drawing an analogy, if tribal human communities are warring over a watering resource using spears, and are suddenly given access to automatic firearms, those extremely advanced pieces of technology will be used to settle a tribal problem. With the caveat that automatic weaponry is extremely deadly in comparison to a spear and will likely result in far more death and destruction in the settlement of the question of a watering resource. The warring communities, additionally, will have no need to understand the technology in their possession that allowed them to achieve their aims, they just need to know how to use it.

With that in mind, Stalin and co. simply become the industrialists of the USSR that had no understanding of how they became industrialists. This is, however, the point at which I need to learn more about the internal dynamics of the Soviet state after 1917, all of the above is just gleaned from their behavior towards external affairs.

Switching topics, when Trotsky said this I almost had whiplash.

Trotsky wrote:If Japan is an imperialist country and if China is the victim of imperialism, we favor China. Japanese patriotism is the hideous mask of worldwide robbery. Chinese patriotism is legitimate and progressive.


The fuck is that? Earlier in the same work Trotsky writes.

Trotsky wrote:Chiang Kai-shek is the executioner of the Chinese workers and peasants. But today he is forced, despite himself, to struggle against Japan for the remainder of the independence of China.


Earlier on Trotsky had critiqued this exact perspective when he writes.

Trotsky wrote:In 1917, the Social Revolutionists and the Mensheviks sought to frighten us by declaring that the seizure of power by the soviets would mean the occupation of Kronstadt and Petrograd by the Allies. We answered: only the deepening of the revolution can save it.


Zinoviev did a fine job of critiquing this as well

Zinoviev wrote:The argument that the Chinese bourgeoisie “cannot” betray the Chinese workers because it “needs them for the struggle against foreign imperialism”, is a Menshevik argument. The Mensheviks always said that the Russian bourgeoisie would indeed like to betray the workers. but “could not” because it “needs them for the struggle against czarism”, (Martinov now that he has joined the Bolshevik party, repeats the same Menshevik platitudes with regard to the Chinese revolution that he preached with regard to the Russian revolution when he was a Menshevik.) In reality, the Chinese bourgeoisie has already begun to betray the national revolutionary movement (not to speak of the proletarian movement) as soon as it saw that the working class did not want to be only an instrument in its hands against the foreign bourgeoisie, but raised independent tasks of its own. The Chinese revolution can triumph only under the hegemony of the proletariat.


In all fairness to Trotsky, in the text where the offending line occurs, he does stress the need for an independence of the working class movement, but the slip is incredibly visible. His explicitness in earlier texts to the independence of the working class movement became veiled in the later text with the language of nationalism.

Re: Trotsky's writings on China

Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:22 pm

Trotsky wrote:
If Japan is an imperialist country and if China is the victim of imperialism, we favor China. Japanese patriotism is the hideous mask of worldwide robbery. Chinese patriotism is legitimate and progressive.


The fuck is that? Earlier in the same work Trotsky writes.

Trotsky wrote:
Chiang Kai-shek is the executioner of the Chinese workers and peasants. But today he is forced, despite himself, to struggle against Japan for the remainder of the independence of China.



Yep-- "struggling for the independence of China." Sure, as if such a thing were possible absent a social revolution.

Don't think I would ever characterize Trotsky as "spineless," but his unwillingness to break with the party certainly puts him in a trick bag. All in all, though, can you imagine how difficult it must have been to even think of breaking with the party?

Re: Trotsky's writings on China

Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:38 pm

Non-rhetorical question.

He did it before with the Mensheviks in 1917 no? Thought that experience would inform his decision.

Re: Trotsky's writings on China

Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:10 pm

Trotsky was never a real Menshevik though. And 'Menshevism' wasn't a party originally, it was a faction of the RSDLP.

For a different lens on the same issue, look at how long it took for the SPD left to break from the SPD and regroup organisationally. The SPD reichstag delegation voted for war credits in august 1914. The USPD wasn't founded until April 1917. People had been members of the SPD and devoted to it for years, sometimes decades. That kind of long lasting involvement makes splitting incredibly difficult on a psychological level.
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