1917 - revolution for freedom & equality: Workers' Liberty 3/11

The nature of Stalinist imperialism

Published on: Thu, 10/05/2007 - 17:38

By Hal Draper

THERE is a paradox - only an apparent one - in the development of Stalinist imperialism. Stalinism arose out of the counter-revolution in Russia under the slogan of building “socialism in one country” as against the perspective of “world revolution” represented by the Bolshevik left wing under Trotsky. An historic internal struggle took place within the party under these different banners, in which, as everybody knows, the Stalinist wing won out.

To the Stalinists, the theory of “socialism in one country” which they put forward meant: Let’s keep our eyes fixed on our problems

Russia's 1917 Revolution: Kerensky, head of the government that Lenin ousted, debates Max Shachtman

Published on: Wed, 09/05/2007 - 10:42

SELDOM does history record the former head of a government, deposed by social revolution, facing up in an open debate 34 years later to a modern representative of the same ideological current which swept him from power. This was the situation in the February 8 [1951] debate at the University of Chicago where Max Shachtman confronted Alexander Kerensky, the head of the régime which was overthrown by the great Russian Revolution.

To recall to consciousness all the relevant facts of that vast revolution and vindicate its democratic and socialist aims and achievements, Shachtman, national

Why for socialists the working class is central

Published on: Thu, 12/04/2007 - 10:46
Author

Max Shachtman

WE consider ourselves as heirs of the Trotskyist movement when it was a living movement in the full sense of the word, when it represented the imperishable tradition of revolutionary Marxism. And today, 25 years after the founding [in 1928] of that movement, looking backward with a minimum of maudlin sentimentality and a maximum of calm, objective and reasoned analysis — what do we celebrate on this 25th anniversary?

What do we seek to represent in the working class movement as a whole, of which we are an inseparable part? What fundamentally justifies our independent and separate existence,

How not to quote Lenin

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:43

AS noted in the accompanying summary of the debate, Kerensky spent much of his time working over scraps of quotations from Lenin — from different periods, contexts, and articles indiscriminately, — la Boris Shub — under the heading of a discussion of the Russian Revolution and democracy.

While it takes at least ten times longer to nail one of these forgeries than it takes to reel off the distorted quotation, Shachtman was able to take them up effectively.

Here is one of the "quotations" which Kerensky tossed off, for example. Quite often it was impossible for the audience to determine from

The Stalinist social system

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:41

By Max Shachtman

IT is impossible to discuss any important political problem of our time, let alone take a part in resolving it, without a clear understanding of what Stalinism really signifies.

It is just as impossible to get such an understanding from the writings and speeches of capitalists, their statesmen, politicians, hangers-on, apologists, or any other beneficiaries of their rule. They are quite capable of describing the notorious vices of Stalinism. Its true social significance, however, escapes them, and so also therefore does the simple secret of combating it effectively.

For the

The new Russian imperialism

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:35

By Max Shachtman

The best way of facing the facts and, thereby, answering the question “What do the Russians want in the occupied countries” is to ask “What do the Russians do in the occupied countries?”

Enough data has now been collected to establish the following outline of Russian economic policy in the occupied countries:

1. Russia strips the industries of machinery and other equipment and transports it to Russia. (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Korea and Manchuria.)

2. Russia imports large masses of slave labourers to add to the slave labour armies of Russians who make up a

The October Revolution Was Made For Freedom in equality!

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:34

By Max Shachtman

THE fortieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution of November 7, 1917, has been celebrated all over Russia and in many other countries. The triumph of that revolution marked the most important dividing line in the history of mankind: between the end of the age of capitalism and the beginning of the age of socialism. That is how every thoughtful person judged it at the time, and the judgement remains fundamentally sound.

The forty following years have shown, it is true, that this line is not as straight and clear as we first believed. It has often been twisted and tangled

October was a true working class revolution

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:31

By Max Shachtman

THE Independent Socialist League does not subscribe to any doctrine called Leninism. It does not have an official position on the subject and I am pretty certain that nobody could get the League to commit itself officially on a term which has been so varyingly and conflictingly defined as to make discussion of it more often semantic than ideological or political.

To me, and surely to most of our comrades, Leninism is a question primarily of historical importance in our time. Most often what is in people’s minds is the Russian Revolution and democracy as the road and aim of

Trotsky taught us class action

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:30

By Max Shachtman

TWO years ago, an assassin in the employ of the Stalinist camarilla that rules Russia drove a pickaxe into the head of Leon Trotsky and killed him.

The way of the assassin, Jackson-Morand, was typical of the way of his masters. Even before the fight between them and Trotsky broke out in the Communist Party of Russia, they never faced him in fair and square debate or struggle.

They always operated best from behind the scenes, skulking in the corridors and the dark corners, for the weapons they employed to crush the revolutionary ideas and socialist ideals represented by

What is Trotskyism?

Published on: Mon, 09/04/2007 - 10:25
Author

Sean Matgamna

Click here for the debate around this contribution.

19th and 20th century socialism is a house of many rooms, cellars, attics, alcoves, and hidden chambers (not to speak of private chapels and “priest-holes”).

There are in it the utopian socialists of our pre-history reformists and revolutionists, parliamentarians and insurrectionists, “direct action” anarchists and union-building syndicalists, council communists and kibbutz-building utopian Zionists.

And then fascists sometimes proclaimed themselves socialists (national-socialists). So did many Third World political formations, often more

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