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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #306 - Culture, Read: Huhn and Mattick, "Stalin, Trotsky: Lenin's Legacy" (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 1 Aug 2020 07:46:42 +0300

At the crossroads of political theory and the history of the Russian Revolution, Stalin, Trotsky: Lenin's Legacy , published by Spartacus editions, offers a vitriolic critique of the role of the Bolsheviks in this revolution. ---- Bringing together texts by Willy Huhn and Paul Mattick, this work attacks the idea according to which there would be a major rupture between Lenin and Stalin, and that Trotsky would have been the real defender of the ideas of Lenin, misled by the bloodthirsty Stalin. ---- In fact, according to Huhn, the authoritarian worm was in the fruit of the Bolshevik Party from the start. If Trotsky had been able to succeed in taking over from Lenin, he would only have followed the general line of this party, which sees itself as the vanguard of the proletariat. The party would therefore have a vocation to lead society and to subject the proletariat to a dictatorship exercised in its name. At no time does Trotsky deviate from this line.

In 1921, when it came to crushing the sailors from Kronstadt who were protesting against the confiscation of power by the Communist Party, his hand did not tremble. Above all, in the early 1920s, at the end of the Russian Civil War, Trotsky proposed an extreme measure: the militarization of work.

According to this delusional plan, the whole of the Russian working class should be recruited into the army and subjected to barracks discipline to revive production, with Trotsky as supreme eminence, then commander-in-chief of the armies ... Lenin's plan which is adopted, liberalizing the economy and allowing small private companies to revive.

Trotsky, another Stalin ?
It is also for these reasons that Trotsky, once ejected from power by Stalin, takes care not to carry his criticism of the USSR too far: he describes it as a workers' state badly managed by a bad bureaucracy.

In reality the USSR was not a workers' state: it was state capitalism with a new all-powerful ruling class, the party bureaucracy. If Trotsky, and his following, his Trotskyist followers never knew how to make this fundamental criticism, it is because in reality they did not intend to give back power to Russian workers.

Their objective was quite simply to take a new direction for the state capitalism applied by Russia. If this debate has lost some of its relevance since the collapse of the USSR, this book is nonetheless interesting: it allows us to understand how far "real socialism" was concretely removed from communist society. he was promising.

Matt (UCL Montpellier)

Willy Huhn, Paul Mattick, Stalin, Trotsky: the legacy of Lenin , Paris, Spartacus, 2019, 182 pages, 13 euros.

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