Marx thought that the Utopians were not realistic enough about what they wanted to achieve, and especially about the means required to achieve those goals. He thought they were, what nowadays we would call, wimps. Marx, of course, like his worthy successor Lenin, thought (like Stalin, Lenin's worthy successor) that you "could not make an omelet without breaking eggs". In other words, without murdering a lot of people. And, the more the merrier.
And, of course, Stalin was an enthusiastic murderer.
Hm, this is not true at all. "Wimps" is not the right word for Utopians. More "unrealistic." I will concede yes, Marx, Engels and Lenin did believe that a violent revolution was necessary to overthrow capitalism. This was more of a description than a prescription, because just about every social revolution in history has been met with some sort of violence, to one degree or another. But to call Marx, Engels and Lenin advocates of mass murder is like calling Rousseau, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson or even Abraham Lincoln "mass murderers." We communists are not pacifists, but we genuine Marxists do not advocate senseless violence. We believe that violence is most likely to be necessary in the creation of a worker's state, and that the state will be defending itself against counter-revolution. Thats just the nature of revolution, and the less violent the merrier. Lenin, in a letter to the American workers, said something along the lines that a peaceful revolution would be wonderful, but that all depends on the actions of the ruling class using their state against the masses. Let us not forget that the actual Bolshevik Revolution, the actual seizing of power by the soviets of state power, was essentially bloodless, and the civil war didn't start until 1918 with the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Pact, the dissolution of the constituent assembly (which had actually been pushed for and called upon by the Bolhseviks prior to the October Revolution and was dissolved for denying the will of the majority of the populace in the soviets.) Just about every social revolution that I can think of that ended in violence was a defensive act on the part of the revolutionaries. (American 1776 revolution-defense against British and Tory reactionaries, French Revolution-defense against monarchist forces, American Civil War-defense of the legitamcay of the bourgeois republic against the semi-Feudal South, Paris Commune-defense against French Army, etc. etc.) The same can be said of the RSFSR: the Soviet Republic was defending itself against the counter-revolutionary forces (not to mention 14 foreign nations who were invading at the time) I do not deny that atrocities were commited, even if the White Forces were far more atrocious than the Reds (which they were). But can we condemn the revolution, or its revolutionary leaders, for making a revolution? If so, we must be able to condemn revolutionaroes who bourgeois society upholds as heros as well. I do not condemn any of these revolutionaries, but I do not try to legitimize that which cannot really be legitimized: war. I think war is a sad and horrible thing, but I doubt its going to go away so long as there is class inequality. So I think the attack on Lenin, Marx and Engels is not called for.
And now, of course, to the Stalin question. Plain and simple, Stalin was not Lenin's "worthy successor." Lenin never really saw much in Stalin except that he was just another Bolshevik party member. Stalin was given the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party RSFSR when Lenin was ill, but this says nothing of Lenin's "respect" for Stalin. That post was, when Lenin held it, nothing more than managerial post that had to gain votes just like everyone else. In fact, the record shows that Lenin was often in the minority of the party and had to fight hard to win a majority vote, whereas as what Stalin said, went. Stalin completely destroyed the deomcratic functioning of both the worker's councils and the party itself. Stalin's actions were a reaction against
both Marx and Lenin's ideas for a worker's state. Even with the concept of the vanguard party, Lenin constantly defended the concept against attacks of Blanquism, constantly saying that "we are Marxists, not
Blanquists." This means that the party depended on mass support, unlike Stalins concpetion of beauracratic centralism in which orders come from above, instead of the actual Leninist conception of Democratic
Centralism, in which a voluntary organization of pro-revolutionary activists, united in agreement with a general political program, would vote and the majority rule would decide party policy
group thought, as Stalin would have it.) The idea of inner party factions in the Bolshevik Party was a given until the introduction of the NEP, when economic conditions where so bad that the party needed much more unity. I don't agree with Lenin's banning of factions, but I do understand it was only a temporary measure and was even decided on by a majority vote. Unfortunately, the opportunist Stalin would raise this temporary measure to a level of principle. And of course, we see niether in the works of Marx or Engels, or in any of Lenins works from WITBD
to his greatest and most fundamental work The State and Revolution.
In fact, Lenin has multiple drafts of constitutions and essays in which he constantly calls for first amendment type rights. After all, it was Lenin who said "Any cook should be able to run a country."
And let us not forget Lenin's last testaments, where he clearly denounces Stalin and other beauraucratic and opportunist types in the party and, in his articles on reorganization, lays down a plan for improved education for Russia, electrification of the entire nation, and most importantly, the reorganization of the worker's and peasants inspection, which was an entirely non-partisan
(as in it wasnt all one party) organization of the masses that was responsible for checking the power of the soviet beuracracy. Lenin also stressed that power in the central executive commitee needed to be spread up to "100 people" (actual quote) so that executive power was not in the hands of one or a few. I will post the testaments, which were supressed by Stalin, on here in their English translation.
Lenin's Last Works
---------- Post added 05-06-2010 at 12:30 PM ----------
I have always thought of communism as the ideal ideology that does not recognise humanity is not ready for it. Or it does not consider mans inability to place others before him self. When man has no need to want more and more or has the essential moral fortitude to be grateful with an equal share, then communism would be the natural outcome.
It reminds me of the ancient monastries where the common good is more important than the individual. In its perfection, who can say thats wrong.
Hm, I would argue that this is the Utopian vision of communism, not the Marxist one.
---------- Post added 05-06-2010 at 12:34 PM ----------
I find it interesting that his feelings were such, given that the very existence of Marxism as an ideal smacks of utopia. What were his thoughts, I wonder about the realities of achieving ideals.
I posted this on another thread the other day, and its imo a good, down to earth way of distinguishing Marxist socialism from Utopian or Anarchist views of socialism.
No, I m not an anarchist. I believe that our society should strive toward a stateless society, but unlike anarchists, I don't think abolishing the state immediately will solve the problem. The state, as I see it, is rooted in the irreconcilable struggle between classes, in this case working class vs. capitalist class. Currently, the capitalist state is predominantly in power throughout the nations of the world. I believe that a worker's state
needs to be established as a first phase toward stateless and classless societies, because class division won't disappear overnight. The worker's state, in which the majority working class will be the ruling class, will set the basis for the economic withering away of the capitalist class and the transformation of all members of society into free-laborers, thus eliminating the class division over time. Only then will a stateless society be able to exist, I believe. This is the fundamental difference between Marxist socialism and anarchism.