Stalinism: not so “external”

Submitted by AWL on 23 November, 2021 - 9:29
The British Road to Socialism

Urte March, in their review of Corbynism: What Went Wrong? in Solidarity 614 cites their own comrade Tim Nailsea’s review of the Communist Party’s re-issued Britain’s Road to Socialism. This is to hammer their argument that Martin Thomas is wrong to blame Stalinism for many of Corbynism’s weak points when the finger should be pointed at the reformist character of the Labour party itself.

But, as Nailsea says in their review: “Britain’s Road to Socialism is, in fact, probably one of the clearest blueprints for reformist socialism one might find on the British left”. Since its publication in 1951 and arguably since the Popular Front period from 1934-5, Stalinism in its British form has been avowedly reformist.

In Britain, the CP had little of the pretence of being revolutionary (ultimately: reformist and class-collaborationist only “for now”) which it had elsewhere in Europe. Stalinism deeply infests and is intertwined with the reformist labour movement in Britain. To argue otherwise would only be to vindicate Stalinism as, even if deformed, an “external” revolutionary alternative. An idea which Workers Power might countenance but Solidarity won’t.

Stephen Wood, Southwark

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