Trotski, dialektiikka ja talvisota (jota Trotski luuli sosialisminlevityssodaksi ja kannatti...)

Risto Koivula , 10/12/2012 11:16:54 PM, 364682

” Preamble

This Essay was largely written long before the 2007/8 crisis in UK-Respect deve-loped, as well as that which seems to have been building inside the UK-SWP (Uni-ted Kindom Socialist Workers Party = Britannian trotskilaispuolue = barrikadidemari- puolue, trotskistit eivät käytä nykyään kommunisti-nimeä, ainakin ennen kuului myös Työväenpuolueeseen tai ainakin jäsenet kuuluivat molempiin) since then.

... Indeed, the author of the book that originally prompted me into writing these Essays (John Rees) is now no longer in the UK-SWP!

However, these crises were predictable given the things you will read below, as are the many more we will witness on the Far Left in the coming years -- the recent split in the IMT being perhaps the latest example.

Alas, fragmentation seems to be the only thing we are good at!

... A word of warning: this Essay should be read in conjunction with Essay Nine Part One -- where many of the things I appear to take for granted below are discussed in detail, and substantiated --, and Essay Ten Part One, where this part of the story is concluded.

[DM = Dialectical Materialism; MD = Materialist Dialectics.]

This particular Essay has suffered more than most for being published before it was finished. As I note on the opening page of this site:

I am only publishing this on the Internet because several comrades whose opinions I respect urged me to do so, even though the work you see before you is less than half complete. Many of my ideas are still in the 'infancy' stage, as it were, and need much work and time devoted to them before they mature.

In addition, this Essay has been written from within the Trotskyist tradition, but because I have found that my work is being read by other Marxists, I have had to incorporate an analysis of the negative influence dialectics has also had on Communism and Maoism. Since I am far less familiar with these two political currents, many of my comments in this area are much more tentative than they are elsewhere. I will add more material as my researches continue.

It's also important to underline what I am not doing here: I am not arguing that MD has helped ruin Marxism and therefore it's an incorrect theory. My argument is in fact the reverse: because MD makes not one ounce of sense, no wonder it has helped cripple our movement. Nor am I blaming all our woes on this theory (note the italicised word "helped" in the previous sentence!) -- anyway, that's one of the main themes of Essay Ten Part One. [Several earlier Essays posted here (i.e., Essays Two through Eight Part Three, and Essays Eleven Part One to Thirteen Part Three) show why I think MD and DM make no sense at all.] ”

” Hence, because MD appeared to demand it, all good Trotskyists were required to defend the USSR as a workers' state --, albeit "degenerated". As Trotsky argued at length [in Trotsky, L: In Defense Of Marxism (New Park). (1971)], only those who failed to "understand" dialectics would disagree:

... "A vulgar petty-bourgeois radical is similar to a liberal 'progressive' in that he takes the USSR as a whole, failing to understand its internal contradictions and dynamics.

When Stalin concluded an alliance with Hitler, invaded Poland, and now Finland, the vulgar radicals triumphed; the identity of the methods of Stalinism and fascism was proved. ”

RK: Tässä on oikaistava troskia, että molo-ribbe-”etupiirisopimus” ei ollut mikään sotilas- eikä muukaan liitto, vaan kahden vastakkaisen sotilasliiton normaaliolotila silloin, kun ne eivät sodi.

Rosa: ” They found themselves in difficulties however when the new authorities invited the population to expropriate the land-owners and capitalists -- they had not foreseen this possibility at all! Meanwhile the social revolutionary measures, carried out via bureaucratic military means, not only did not disturb our, dialectic, definition of the USSR as a degenerated workers' state, but gave it the most incontrovertible corroboration. Instead of utilizing this triumph of Marxian analysis for persevering agitation, the petty-bourgeois oppositionists began to shout with criminal light-mindedness that the events have refuted our prognosis, that our old formulas are no longer applicable.... (pp.70-71)

"Tomorrow the Stalinists will strangle the Finnish workers. But now they are giving -- they are compelled to give -- a tremendous impulse to the class struggle in its sharpest form. The leaders of the opposition construct their policy not upon the 'concrete' process that is taking place in Finland, but upon democratic abstractions and noble sentiments.... (p.74)

"Anyone acquainted with the history of the struggles of tendencies within workers' parties knows that desertions to the camp of opportunism and even to the camp of bourgeois reaction began not infrequently with rejection of the dialectic.

Petty-bourgeois intellectuals consider the dialectic the most vulnerable point in Marxism and at the same time they take advantage of the fact that it is much more difficult for workers to verify differences on the philosophical than on the political plane. This long known fact is backed by all the evidence of experience.... (p.94) ”

RK: Huomattavan hieno ja terävä huomio Trotskilta...

Rosa:” "The opposition circles consider it possible to assert that the question of dialectic materialism was introduced by me only because I lacked an answer to the 'concrete' questions of Finland, Latvia, India, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and so on.

This argument, void of all merit in itself, is of interest however in that it characterizes the level of certain individuals in the opposition, their attitude toward theory and toward elementary ideological loyalty. It would not be amiss, therefore, to refer to the fact that my first serious conversation with comrades Shachtman and Warde, in the train immediately after my arrival in Mexico in January 1937, was devoted to the necessity of persistently propagating dialectic materialism.

After our American section split from the Socialist Party I insisted most strongly on the earliest possible publication of a theoretical organ, having again in mind the need to educate the party, first and foremost its new members, in the spirit of dialectic materialism.

In the United States, I wrote at that time, where the bourgeoisie systematically instills (sic) vulgar empiricism in the workers, more than anywhere else is it necessary to speed the elevation of the movement to a proper theoretical level.... (p.142) ”

RK: Tuo ”USA:n vulgaariempirismi” oli mm. behaviorismia. Trostki joutui NL:ssa ns, pedologiajutussa napit vastakkaain L.S.Vygotksin ja Ivan Pavlovin ja instrumentaalisten ehdollisten refleksien olemassaolon todistajan Anatoli Ivanov-Smolenskin kanssa.

” ”Pedologia Venäjällä ja NL.ssa.

Venäjällä pedologian ideoita omaksuivat ja kehittelivät V.M.Behterev, G.I.Rossolimo, A.P. Nečajev ym., samalla kun I.P.Pavlov ja hänen koulukuntansa asennoituivat asiaan läpikotaisin kriitisesti (= kielteisesti, ts. pitivät "pedologiaa" haistapaskantieteenä).

NL:ssa pedologia ”saavutti kehityksen huipun” 1920-30-luvuilla, erityisesti satuaan Lev Davydovič Trotskin kannatuksen, kun pedologia ”risteytettiin frudismin kanssa. ” !

Tämä tarkoittaa että Pavlov oli lujasti napit vastakkain myös Leo Trotskin kanssa, eikä vain Nikolai Buharinin kanssa, jota hän ei päästänyt edes sisään tutkimuslaitokseensa, vaikka tämä oli ministeri! ”

"This impulse in the direction of socialist revolution was possible only because the bureaucracy of the USSR straddles and has its roots in the economy of a workers' state. The revolutionary utilization of this 'impulse' by the Ukrainian Byelo-Russians was possible only through the class struggle in the occupied territories and through the power of the example of the October Revolution. Finally, the swift strangulation or semi-strangulation of this revolutionary mass movement was made possible through the isolation of this movement and the might of the Moscow bureaucracy.

Whoever failed to understand the dialectic interaction of these three factors: the workers' state, the oppressed masses and the Bonapartist bureaucracy, had best restrain himself from idle talk about events in Poland...." (p.163) [Trotsky (1971). Bold emphases alone added. Minor typos corrected. I have quoted Burnham's res-ponse in Appendix C, where we will see that many of Trotsky's claims about what the Red Army would or wouldn't do in Finland and the Baltic States were wildly inac-curate, as Trotsky later had to admit. So much for the predictive powers of DL.]47a ”

All this helped cripple the politics of the Fourth International and demobilise militants in the run-up to WW2 -- whose cadres, even while they were advocating a principled anti-imperialist stance, were quite happy to defend Stalinist Imperialism.

And, as if to compound this monumental error, Trotsky used dialectics to justify the murderous invasion of Finland!

All so contradictory, all so dialectical!48 ”

”Rosan” mielestä ”siosilaistien” olisi pitänyt varauksettomasti ja kaikinpuolisesti asettua AKSELIVALTOJEN PUOLELLE! Hän on siis TANNERISTI, minkä olen jo muutenkin huomannut, liekö vielä suomalainenkin!

Suomen tämän hetken ”trotskilaista” ja heidän ”dialektiikantiedoidtaan” täällä:

” Hesari, saman yhtymän "TIEDE" ja trotskistien nuorisojärjestön Sosialistiliiton lehti "Murros" ("Rodunjalosksella/keeninsiirrolla "sosialismiin"!"???) lallaavat kumottua hölmöoppia kuin Harvajärkiopiston Marc Hauser ei olisi kärynnytkään sepittämästään "keenimoraalista":

Rosa: ” As Callinicos pointed out above, devotion to dialectic prompted OTs (”orto-doksitrotskilaiset”) to argue that Red Army tanks were capable of bringing socialism to Eastern Europe in the absence of a worker's revolution (a line that was in fact in agreement with the analysis concocted by the Stalinists!). Substitutionism justified by another dose of dialectical double-dealing.

Yet more dialectical disasters, yet more dead workers, yet more ordure heaped on Marxism.

Are you beginning to spot a pattern here?

After Trotsky was murdered by a Stalinist agent, the application of 'scientific dialec- tics' to the contradictory nature of the USSR (and its satellites in Eastern Europe and elsewhere) split the Fourth International into countless warring sects, who have continued to fragment to this day.

Indeed, this is the only aspect of practical dialectics that Trotskyists have managed to perfect as their movement continues to splinter under its own 'internal contradictions'. ”

RK: ”Käytännöllinen dialektiikka” ei ole aivan samaa kuin dialektinen materialismi, vaikkei mikän estä dialektiikkaa käyttämästä käytännönkin ohjenuorena, enne kaikkea varjelemassa liian yksioikoisilta johtopäätöksistä.

Rosa: ” Chief among which is the following: Trotsky's heirs couldn't quite decide which was the more important principle - loyalty to their founder's 'dialectical method', or to Marx's belief that the emancipation of the working class must be an act of the working class itself.

If they choose the latter, the emancipation of the working class can't be an act of the Red Army (in Finland,Eastern Europe or even North Korea), 'Third World' guerrillas (in China, Cuba, Nepal, Peru, etc.), nationalist/'progressive' dictators, or even radi-calised students - to name just a few of the groups that have been 'dialectically sub- stituted' for the working class by assorted Trotskyists ever since. Socialism from be-low replaced by socialism from above,courtesy of this boss-class theory. [Of course, this is one application of the LEM that Dialectical Trotskyists can't dodge.]

[LEM = Law of Excluded Middle.] ”

RK: Nuo vallakumoukset eivät olleet ”Puna-armeijan tekemiä” olemukseltaan: esi-merkiksi Albanian ja Serbian vallankumoukset tapahtuivat jo ennen Barbarossaa, ja niillä yhdessä kreikan-Italian sodan kanssa, joka sitoi Saksan parhaita vuoristojouk-koja (joita oli myös Suomessa ja Norjassa) Balkanille, oli tärkeä rooli Barbarossan epäonnistumisessa, Moskovan ratkaisutaistelun voitossa.

” Operation Barbarossa

Particular importance was ascribed to the capture of Moscow. The plan set forth in detail the tasks of army groups and armies,and also the order of cooperation among them and with allied forces, as well as with the air force and navy, the tasks of which were also specified. The initial date for the attack — May 1941 — was set back to June 22 (the final order was issued June 17) as a result of the operations carried out against Yugoslavia and Greece. A number of documents were worked out to supplement the directive of the OKH, such as an evaluation of the Soviet Armed Forces, a directive on misinformation, an estimate of the time needed to prepare the operation, and special instructions. ”

Rosa: ” Indeed, if it were possible to create workers' states in this way (deformed / degenerated or not), then Stalinism is indeed "progressive", and Pablo was right.

And, it's little use complaining that this contradicts Trotsky's belief that Stalinism is inherently counter-revolutionary (as these comrades try to do, again on sound 'dia-lectical' lines), for, if everything is contradictory, then on equally sound 'dialectical' lines, so is Stalinism. On such a basis, the former USSR is both counter-revolutio-nary and 'progressive' all rolled into one -- as we (allegedly) saw when its forces invaded Afghanistan. [This link leads to an article which is plainly the Spartacist equivalent of the "Retreat is attack" claim of Ai Ssu-ch'i, we met earlier.]

[I hasten to add that I do not think Stalinism is progressive; quite the reverse, in fact. But, if I were a DM-fan, I could easily 'prove' it's the most progressive force in human history -- and its opposite.] ”

RK: Pitävä looginen todistaminen tapahtuu erityistieteellisten teorioiden SISÄLLÄ, jollainen DM filosofiatieteellisenä järjestelmänä sellaisenaan ei ole. Se antaa kyllä elementtejä kuten yleiskäsitteitä myös niihin erityistieteellisten teorioiden tiukkoihin sisäisiin todistuksiin, jotta ne todella olisivat tiukkoja.

Rosa: ” Dialectics has been used, and is still being used, to justify every conceivable form of substitutionism. To take one more example: dialectical dissembling allowed Ted Grant to invent yet another contradictory idea -- "Proletarian Bonapartism" -- in order to account for the fact that the Stalinist regime in the former USSR, and the Maoist clique in China, was actually oppressing the supposed ruling-class: i.e., workers! [The ghost of Ai Ssu-ch'i lives on!]

All this dialectical dithering has seriously wounded Trotskyism. It might never recover. At present the signs are not too good. The difficulties recently experienced in UK-Respect are just another sign of this long-term malaise. ”

RK: meitä leninistejä ei kauheasti häiritse, jos dialektiikka vahingoittaa trotskismia eli barrikadidemareita (jotka mm. kannattvat ”periaatteellisesti” EU:ta...

Rosa: ” Woolley dialectical 'thinking' has infected the movement from top to bottom to such an extent that mundane tactical discussions are often rendered opaque in the extreme (a faint echo of the gobbledygook churned out by dialecticians engaged in 'High Theory'). ”

” In addition, we have even seen how Trotsky scandalously used it to justify Stalin's invasion of Finland,and how the application of this theory to the allegedly 'Deformed' and/or 'Degenerated' Workers' States in the fSU and Eastern Europe split the Trot-skyist movement into countless warring sects. It was also employed by NOTs (”anti-ortodoksitrotskistit”) to justify the theory of State Capitalism - and then used by OTTs to 'refute' that very theory, in order to show how "un-dialectical" it was -- just as it has been deployed to rationalise substitutionist strategies of every stripe! ”

RK: Hyökkäys Suomeen ei todellakaan ollu tarkoitettu ”yleiseksi sosialistisen maan toimintamalliksi”, aivan kaikkea muuta. NL ajoi pystyyn nykyisen YK:n kaltaista kan-sainvälisen oikeuden järjetelmää, ja tämä oli hyökkäys myös sen silloista järjestel-mää vastaan. Hyökkäysoli äärimmäinen poikkeustapaus ja tarpeen NL:lle Aatun huijaamiseksi. Suomen johto pyrki itkin sotaan, ja sitä he myös saivat, mitä olivat tilanneetkin.

Rosa: ” Given such a shameful and opportunist history, one would have thought that serious Marxists would want to disown anything that remotely resembled the 'dialec-tic', especially if their particular version of it is indistinguishable from the lethal STD stain -- or, from the "wooden", "revisionist"/"abstract" MIST/OT/NOT version (depen-ding, of course, on which one of these traditions the reader does not belong to).

Finally, the quotation from Marx that opened this section simply said that the dialec-tic was an "abomination" to the bourgeoisie. He did not qualify these words. He cer-tainly did not rule out a "wooden" version of it being an "abomination".What he wrote has to be modified considerably to make his words fit the picture the above counter-claim wishes to paint.

To be sure, Marx did say that "in its rational form it is a scandal and an abomination to the bourgeoisie". But, "wooden" forms can be no less rational. Anyway, this response begs the question as to what the "rational" form of the dialectic is, or even whether there is such a thing as a "rational" form. If, as these Essays have shown, DM/MD have no "rational" form -- just a rotten core --, then wooden or plastic, there's no detectable difference between them. ”

RK: ”Rosa” on tuossa läpikotaisin väärässä.

Rosa: ” These observations similarly apply to the usual reason given why DM is al-most universally rejected by ruling class hacks -- which is that DM is an "abomina-tion" because it shows that all social forms are subject to change,etc. But, if in reality ruling-class hacks reject DM since it threatens their ideological belief that certain social forms are unchangeable (or, which are 'natural'), then why didn't the Stalinist ruling class reject it on similar grounds? Why did they become its most enthusiastic supporters and proselytisers? ”

RK: Erittäin hyvä kysymys! (Varsinkin, kun dialektiikka on tosiasiassa täyttä asiaa.)

Rosa: ” [Or, if you aren't a Trotskyist: why do "revisionist" OTs and NOTs also accept the dialectic?]

The reason is pretty clear: DM allowed STDs to justify any old line coming out of the Kremlin, and its opposite, the very next day!

[Again, if you are a Maoist or a Stalinist: DM/MD allowed OTs and NOTs to 'justify' their opposition to the 'genuinely' socialist regime in Stalin's Russia, etc., -- since, once more, it can be used to rationalise anything you like and its opposite.] ”

RK: Perätöntä. ”Rosa” ei tunne dialektiikkaa eikä muutakaan tiedettä.

Rosa: ” Naturally, these questions are all the more ironic when we recall that DM can't actually account for change! ”

RK: Perätöntä.Erityisen hyvin se kuitenkin toimii olemassa olevan objektiivisen edis- tyksellisen tiedon puolustamisessa poliittisia ja uskonnollisia hyökkäylsiä vastaan.

Rosa: ” However, in general the answer to these questions is not too difficult to find. It has been maintained here (especially in Part One of this Essay) that DM is the ideology of substitutionist elements in the Marxist movement; that is, DM/MD is the ideology of petty-bourgeois and de-classé revolutionaries. ”

RK: Ei ole. Se ei ylipäätään ole poliittinen vaan tieteellinen ideologia perusluonteeltaan. Historiallinen materialismi on sitten poliittisempi.

Rosa: ” If that is so, one should expect to find that only those ruling-classes (i.e., those comprising petty-bourgeois professional revolutionaries, or the bureaucratic elements that have descended with modification from them, or from other layers in society) --, which have themselves arisen as a result of the degeneration of a prole-  tarian revolution (etc.) --, would find DM/MD conducive to their interests. As we have seen that is precisely what we have found. ”

RK: Täysin väärä luulo, jopa troskilaista liikettä koskien. Sikäläiset dialektikot ovat edistyksellisempiä ja enemmän oikeassa kuin antidialektikot, jotka ovat tanneristeja, kuten ”Rosa”.

” In which case, other ruling-classes (i.e., those that have no pretension, need or desire to substitute themselves for the working-class) would not wish to adopt DM / MD since they have theories of their own that 'justify'/rationalise their position, thank you very much.

In other words, MD found their place in STD-theory -- not because that theory had become wooden and lifeless in their hands -- but because it was of use in rendering the working class wooden and lifeless, and therefore all the more easily substituted, and thus removed from its active role in history. ”

Dialektiikalla on harvinaisen aktiivinen edityksellinen rooli historiassa, vaikka se toimiikin erityistieteiden,yhteiskunnassa mm. taloustieteiden välityksellä.

Rosa: ” Since MD is the theory that ideologically 'justifies' all forms of substitution (since it is capable of 'justifying' anything), it's hardly surprising that this theory fails to appeal to those not wishing to substitute themselves for workers (i.e., the non-Stalinist bourgeoisie).

Now, if you are a MIST or an STD reading this, the answer is equally clear: one would expect Trotskyist 'wreckers' to adopt dialectics, too. What better theory to latch onto if you want to argue that the former socialist states (the USSR, Eastern Europe and Maoist China, for example) aren't permanent, but will disappear one day (as indeed they have), than the dialectic? ”

Ei Stalin rakentanut ”ikuista yhteiskuntajärjestelmämallia”, vaikka erityisesti Buharin niin vaati.Stalin polemisoi juuri tuota käsitystä vastaan kirjassaan ”Sosialismin talou- dellisia ongelmia”,ja pitää sitä pahan periaatteellisena virheenä ja koko poliittisen ta- loustieteen tehtävän ja luonteen väärinymmärtämisenä. Hän asettaa tehtäväksi löy-tää sosilaimin ja kapitalismin perustavat objektiiviset lait, jotka tekevät niistä nimen-omaan kapitalismin ja sosialimin. Teos on ainakin kapitalismin osalta ajankohtaisem- pi kuin koskaan aikaisemmin. Ja teos on taatusti dialektisen tutkimusotteen läpitunkema.

Stalin ei tarkoittanut niillä objektiivisilla peruslaiella vain ”sitä, miten NL:ssa on tehty”, kuten sitten myöhemmin saattoivat tarkoittaa esimerkiksi Brezhnev ja Taisto Sinisalo.

Rosa: ” From Lenin's claim that no one fully understands Marx's Kapital who has not fully understood all of Hegel's Logic, down through the wranglings between Lenin and Rosa Luxembourg, 51a on to the attempt made by Trotsky to justify the revolu-tionary defence of the fSU as a "degenerated workers' state" (coupled with his scan-dalous defence of Stalin's invasion of Finland), down to the interminable use of 'dia-lectics' within OTGs to justify the latest tactical change (on the basis that such swit-ches are 'dialectical' -- i.e., openly contradictory -- and that this is something that re-commends them [”Rosan” ”määritelmä” n tässä läpkotaisin väärä: dialektiset vasta-kohdat NIMENOMAAN EIVÄT OLE MUODOLLISLOOGISIA vastakohtaia, ja loogi-set ja dikalektiset rirtiriidatkin ovat kasi eri asiaa, jotka harvoin käyvät yhteen siten, että muodollislooginen ristiriita olisi ”dialektisen ritiriidan kuva”!]), on to the harangu-ing of every other revolutionary group for failing to see things the same way (in view of the fact that everyone else adheres to an "abstract"/"wooden"/"formal" version of dialectics) --, to the use of dialectical jargon to rationalise this or that bout of secta-rian point-scoring, and then on to the use of the very same theory to 'justify' the cen-tralisation of power in the former communist states on the basis that everything is contradictory anyway, to the regular and over-night 180 degree about-turns in policy -- and finally down to TAR with an ill-advised use of the word "algebra" in its title. 52

Although substitutionist tendencies within Bolshevism act like the proverbial bacteria in a dead or diseased body, it's important to be aware of the class- and ideological-source of this infection: an ancient and well-entrenched ruling-class philosophical tradition in the hands of petty-bourgeois theorists. ”

RK: Aristoteles oli Aleksanteri Suuren orja. Tai ainakin joka tapuksessa hänen kotiopttajansa siviiliammatiltaan.

Valitettavasti ennen vain johtavien luokkien jäsenet saattoivat tehdä tiedettä. Monet kyllä elivät aivan kadunmiehen tapaan ja osallistuivat tarvittaessa miekka tai tikari tai pyssy kädessä vallankumouksiinkin, kuten vaikkapa Sokrates, Zenon Elealainen ja Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

Rosa: ” Given all that has gone before, unless we are clear that DM has played a significant role in preventing Marxism from being "seized by the masses" (on this see Part One of this Essay, and Essay Ten Part One) -- and hence in exacerbating the chronic sickness of Dialectical Marxism itself -- unless we are clear about these things, millions more dead workers are all we can ever expect from our efforts.

Followed, of course, by a Dead Movement. ”

RK: Rosa jauhaa paskaa asiasta, josta ei tiedä mitään. Hän ei myöskään arvostele Marxin, Leninin tai Stalinin kirjoituksia.

Rosa. ” 48. The invasion of Finland is still defended to this day by OTs. A recent example of tortured OT 'logic', employed to explain away the class treachery of the Hitler/Stalin pact, can be found here:

"One final instructive historical debate that highlights the role of the dialectic occur-red within the [US-]Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1939 and 1940. Up until that time the generally accepted position of the party called for the 'unconditional support of the Soviet Union.' This orientation flowed from an analysis that concluded that the Soviet Union was a 'workers' state,' meaning that the economy had been nationa-lized so that capitalists could no longer operate. However, the Soviet Union was also categorized as a 'deformed' workers' state because Stalin had crushed all democratic impulses, instituted a totalitarian regime, and stifled dissent. ”

RK. Rosa ei määrittele tuota ”totilateralismia”. Koko termin esiti eräs höyrähtänyt frankfurtisti vasta sodan jälkeen.

Rosa: ” In a genuine socialist society workers as a class control the state so that the majority truly rules, and with that crucial stipulation absent, the SWP was not prepa-red to designate the Soviet Union a 'socialist' society. The concept of a 'workers' state' signified that a crucial step had been taken in the direction of socialism with the nationalization of the economy, but only a step. Consequently, the SWP defen-ded the Soviet Union with respect to its nationalized economy but at the same time called for a political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy and institute a state democratically controlled by the working class.

"But in 1939 the SWP was convulsed by internal debate, prompted by the Hitler-Stalin pact, which included the division of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. This historic event triggered the creation of a minority within the SWP, led by Shachtman, Burnham, Abern and Bern, who challenged the party's established position on the Soviet Union on several different fronts. Their position demanded that, because of Stalin's pact with the devil, as it were, the party must cease defen-ding the Soviet Union, despite the nationalized economy. This conclusion was also based on the conviction that the Soviet Union had become 'imperialist.' However, they disagreed among themselves on the question of whether it was still a workers' state. Burnham argued that it was not, on the grounds that genuine workers' demo-cracy was absent. Shachtman was prepared to retain the designation of 'workers' state,' but with the attached provision that it was imperialist.

"Trotsky, who was very close to the party, vigorously defended the established line of the SWP. In the course of the debate he accused the opposition of failing to ap-proach the questions at hand dialectically. His opponents countered that dialectics was either irrelevant or inimical to a scientific analysis. It will be instructive to exa-mine these charges and counter charges more closely. As we shall see, although both sides appear to be using the same words, they were speaking two fundamentally different languages.

"Trotsky's position rested on the conviction that the achievement of socialism is a protracted struggle. Burnham, demanding instant results, refused to applaud even partial steps in a progressive direction, and in this respect his analysis was undialec-tical. Because the Soviet Union was not a consummate socialist society, it was not one at all. But profound transformations are never linear.The construction of a revo- lutionary society with a new culture at times will encounter setbacks, especially when the bourgeoisie is struggling desperately to regain power and the world imperialist powers are threatening at the gates. In fact,the Soviet Union had already been inva- ded by western imperialism, with the United States in the lead,shortly after the revo- lution, contributing to a bitter civil war. The west also slapped an economic embargo on its revolutionary enemy that at times paralyzed the economy. Having lost many of its most dedicated revolutionaries during the civil war, the Soviet Union could not help but falter as it staggered forward toward the dawn of a new historical period. Burnham, however, remaining blind to this larger context, was content to dispense judgments as if the course of the revolution flowed directly and exclusively from the moral fibre of its leaders.

"Shachtman, while maintaining that the Soviet Union was a workers' state, argued persistently that it was nevertheless implementing an imperialist agenda and for this reason should not be defended with respect to these kinds of adventures:

"'It is entirely correct, in my opinion, to characterize the Stalinist policy as imperialist, provided, of course, that one points out its specific character, that is, wherein it dif-fers from modern capitalist imperialism.... Stalin has showed himself capable of pur-suing imperialist policy.That is the fact.. Like every bureaucracy, the Stalinist is inte-rested in increasing the national income not in order to raise the standard of living of the masses but in order to increase its own power,its own wealth, its own privileges.'

"In order to understand why this is not a dialectical analysis, one must return to the classic Marxist theory of imperialism, which Trotsky championed. Marx argued that because capitalists compete with one another, each must strive to minimize produc-tion costs. This means procuring the cheapest labour and raw materials available. When these assets are located in less developed countries, capitalists from advan-ced industrialized nations readily resort to military force to seize control of them, thereby assuring their survival in the face of intense competition. In other words, the contradictory interests among capitalists propel them onto the road of imperialism, making imperialism the logical consequence of capitalism.

"Shachtman conceded that what he called Soviet imperialism was fundamentally dif-ferent from all other examples of modern imperialism since it was not linked to capi-talism. But when it came to giving this designation some kind of historical footing, Shachtman was at a complete loss. He could only explain it in terms of psychologi-cal impulses, such as the bureaucracy's desire to 'increase its own power, its own wealth, its own privileges,' impulses that could conceivably arise at any time in histo-ry. There was no grounding of this analysis in a historically specific economic base. There was no attempt to organically link it to other social domains. Instead, the term dangled alone, detached, and so simply became another way of referring to the greed of specific individuals, which hardly amounts to an analysis at all. In this respect, the approach was entirely undialectical.

"Like Burnham, Shachtman seemed incapable of understanding the Soviet Union in light of the larger imperialist context. Although the major western capitalist countries were prepared to fight among themselves over the acquisition of colonies, they were united in their determination to destroy the Soviet Union. Even the best of Soviet governments would have been compelled to play one capitalist government off against another, simply in order to stall for time in the hope that other revolutions would break out in advanced industrialized countries, enabling it to escape its isola-tion. Stalin's pact with Hitler for the division of Poland was certainly in part an effort to keep German imperialism from taking all of Poland, which would have brought it flush with the Soviet border. It was as if the minority was intent on condemning an individual for running a few stop signs while failing to take into consideration the car had been hijacked and a gun was pointed at the driver's head.

"Trotsky's analysis, consistent with the Marxist emphasis on the economic founda-tion of society as the propelling force of historical change, placed the primary cont-radiction between western capitalist-imperialist countries on the one hand and the Soviet Union with its nationalized economy on the other, the fundamental historical struggle was being waged between these antagonists.Although Trotsky condemned the Hitler-Stalin pact, he nevertheless situated it within, and subordinated it to, this broader context and was thus still prepared to defend the Soviet Union in relation to imperialist aggression. The Shachtman opposition, however, ignored this broader historical struggle in favour of a moral condemnation of the Soviet Union's foreign policy.Hence the Hitler-Stalin pact offered sufficient grounds in the eyes of the mino- rity for abandoning the defense of the Soviet Union altogether. In this way the mino-rity failed to provide any analysis of the fundamental contradictory forces at play at this historical conjuncture, including any indication of the direction in which events were likely to unfold. In fact, they viewed calls for consideration of this historical context as a kind of dodging the question of the significance of the Hitler-Stalin pact, upon which they launched their attack. For them, the crucial question was posed in these terms: 'What is the character of Russia's role in the present war -- not the war as it was foretold on this or that occasion, and not the war into which this one may or will be converted, but the present war?'

"So the members of the minority, instead of viewing themselves as part of a histori-cal process, withdrew themselves from the collective struggle and assumed the role of the spectator on the sidelines,dispensing moral pronouncements as they pleased. Although many have found such a role to be egotistically gratifying, they seldom, if ever.contribute to the advance of history.Here the isolated ego becomes the point of departure for all judgments, not humanity in the process of creating a better world, and for this reason the chasm between Trotsky and the majority on the one hand and the minority on the other became unbridgeable.The latter soon split altogether." [Ann Robertson, quoted from here; bold emphases added. Spelling modified to ag-ree with UK English; quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. For Burnham's views, see here.]

Of course,readers will have noticed the "undialectical" approach of comrade Robert- son, who seems to think Imperialism is an unchanging feature of the world (so that Marx's analysis is rendered eternally valid, frozen in theoretical space), just as they will no doubt have registered the fact that the only rationale offered by Robert-son for her defence of the imperialist aims of the former USSR is predictably,dialectical.”

January 10, 1940

” Dialectics And Finland

Trotsky complains that I do not take dialectics seriously, limiting myself to "rather cynical aphorisms". I have not, it seems, the proper attitude of respect toward sacred doctrine, and this is unbecoming in a Marxist. It is true that, considered as an alleged scientific theory, I do not take dialectics seriously, any more than I would take seriously, as alleged scientific theories, any other theology or metaphysics. How can I take a doctrine seriously when, during the course of an entire century, its alleged "laws" or "principles" have never even been formulated -- they have only been named, given titles. How can I even say whether I agree or disagree with, for example, the "law of the change of quantity into quality", when no one yet has told me or anyone else what that law says? Of what use are all the metaphors (good and bad) and the "examples" brought forward to illustrate the "law" when no one has yet stated what they are supposed to be illustrating?

It would be the easiest thing in the world to make me take dialectics seriously, and to persuade me of its truth, if it is true. All that would have to be done is the following: Formulate its laws in a clear and unambiguous manner, in such a manner that the terms used in the formulation refer directly or indirectly to objects or events or procedures or operations that are publicly recognizable in the experience of any normal human being; and show what predictions can be made about the future on the basis of deductions from these laws. Then I will grant that dialectics is significant, and will take it seriously. Show, second, that on the basis of deductions from these laws predictions about the future can be made that are verifiable and verified, and that they enable such predictions to be made as well as or better than any alternative proposed hypotheses. Then I will grant that these laws are not merely significant but true. An Open Letter to Burnham on dialectics is announced. It will give an opportunity for this enlightenment. Looking back over the hundred years' failures of the past, I am not over-optimistic about its coming this week.

I do not take dialectics seriously as a scientific doctrine, but I take very seriously indeed the uses to which dialectics is put in some political disputes, in particular by Eastman, the anti-dialectician, in his way, and by Trotsky in the current dispute. I object, and very strongly, to the substitution of theological disputation in the manner of the Council of Nicaea (which split Europe over the question of whether the Son of God was of "one substance" or "similar substance" with the Father), of loose metaphors and platitudes about science and pseudo-science in the style of the 19th century popularisers of Darwin, for clear discussion of the genuine issues of the politics of 1939 and 1940.

Consider: the opposition raises questions with reference to the war, the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the actions of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Finland. The reply is: the problem is whether or not Russia is a workers' state. The opposition demonstrates convincingly that a decision on the definition of the class character of the Soviet Union can't answer the strategic and tactical issues posed to the movement. The reply is: the problem is the laws of dialectics. (There is a fourth stage which does not appear in written documents: the abominable personal gossip with which the Cannon clique corrupts its followers.) In an analogous manner, the opposition makes and proves concrete criticisms of the conservative and bureaucratic Cannon regime. The reply is: the problem is the alien petty-bourgeois social roots of the opposition.

Why is dialectics brought into the dispute? In the first instance, as an obvious and mechanical manoeuvre, which deceives no one of "trying to drive a wedge into the ranks of the opponents." But more generally: to evade issues that can't be and have not been answered on their own legitimate plane, to escape from an inconvenient reality to a verbal jousting ground, to confuse and turn aside the attention of the membership from the actual problems that face them, to -- in the century-sanctioned way of all "authority", all "dogma", all bureaucracy -- brand the critic as heretic so that his criticism will not be heard. The textbooks ("the school bench") give a name to this device: Ignoratio Elenchi or Irrelevant Conclusion. The remarks on it of Whately -- a contemporary of Darwin, by the way -- are not, however, themselves irrelevant:

"Various kinds of propositions are, according to the occasion, substituted for the one of which proof is required:... and various are the contrivances employed to effect and to conceal this substitution, and to make the conclusion which the sophist has drawn answer, practically, the same purpose as the one he ought to have established. I say 'practically the same purpose', because it will very often happen that some emotion will be excited -- some sentiment impressed on the mind -- (by a dexterous employment of this fallacy) such as shall bring men into the disposition requisite for your purpose, though they may not have assented to, or even stated distinctly in their own minds, the proposition which it was your business to establish."

Let us suppose, however, that I accept the entire first half of Trotsky's article, that I grant my errors on dialectics, and accept dialectics as the key to truth and socialism. What has changed with reference to the political issues in dispute, the problems discussed in the second half of his article? Nothing has been changed a centimetre. Everything remains just as it was when dialectics had never been mentioned. For Trotsky does not in any respect whatever establish any connection between what he says about dialectics in the first part of his article, and what he says about the defense of Russia, the Soviet-Finnish War, and the "organizational question" in the second half. Does anyone doubt this? Let him re-read the article, and see for himself. It follows therefore that the entire discussion of dialectics is totally irrelevant -- as Trotsky himself presents the discussion -- to the political questions. "Consciousness grew out of the unconscious, psychology out of physiology, the organic world out of the inorganic, the solar system out of nebulae...." Very well; let it be so. Now show us how from generalizations of that type it follows -- even by the most dialectical of logics -- that...the Red Army is introducing workers' control in Finland and we ought to defend it.

The fact that Trotsky thinks and says there is a necessary connection between his dialectics and his politics has nothing to do with the question of whether there actually is such a connection. All through history, men have thought and said that there were connections between their scientific investigations or practical decisions on the one hand and their theologies or metaphysics on the other. Pasteur said that there was such a connection between his bacteriology and his Catholic faith; Einstein today between his field physics and his pantheistic idealism; Millikan finds God proved in his cosmic rays.

Either the dialectics is relevant or irrelevant to the empirical and practical questions in dispute. If it is irrelevant, to drag it in is scientifically useless. If it is relevant, the empirical and practical questions can in any case be settled on their own merits on the basis of the available evidence and our goals. In neither case is a decision as to dialectics required.

Trotsky writes: "To demand that every Party member occupy himself with the philosophy of dialectics would be lifeless pedantry." I want to enquire: if it is true, as Trotsky claims, that dialectics is "the foundation of scientific socialism", if rejecting does, as he declares, define the one who rejects as an alien class influence, if dialectics is indeed the method whereby we can solve correctly political problems, then by what conceivable principle does Trotsky conclude that it would be "lifeless pedantry" for more than a few Party members to occupy themselves with it? Rather would we have to say that dialectics must be the first and last study of all party members if they wish to be consistent and clear-headed revolutionary socialists.

Or must we seek another kind of explanation for Trotsky's dictum: There is one doctrine -- the "secret doctrine" -- for the elite, the leaders, the inner circle; and another -- the vulgar doctrine -- for the mass, the ranks, the followers. What is the relation of the followers to the secret doctrine? They are not to know it, to study it, to test it in their own conscious and deliberate experience: that is excluded as "lifeless pedantry." But may they then consider it unimportant, or reject it? Not on your life: then they are alien class elements. No: they must believe, they must have faith. As for the doctrine itself, it is safe in the hands of the elite; they will bring it out on appropriate occasions (a sharp factional fight, for example) to smite and confound the Enemy.

For my own part, I do not believe in Faith.

My friend and colleague Max Shachtman (may he forgive me for the reference, as I must, perforce, forgive him for what he has recently written about me) says: I do not really understand much about dialectics; I am only a humble student of the subject; of course I believe in it as all good Marxists must. This attitude is not unique in Shachtman. Whenever I have talked to any pro-dialectics party comrade about dialectics -- or tried to talk about it -- I have been given the same response (except, to be complete, in the case of Wright, who seems to think he understands dialectics because its words so well express the conflicts and shifts and confusions in his own attitudes and actions). We do not really understand it; we believe of course; we can't formulate its laws; we can't tell you how you can test them; some day we hope to get around to studying it. This response is as characteristic of pro-dialecticians in the Cannon clique as in the opposition. Few even pretend to "understand", for example, the first part of the Trotsky article which I am now discussing.

Now I ask Shachtman and all these comrades of the party: if you don't understand it, if you can't explain or prove it, why then do you "believe" it? Whence springs your faith?

Throughout the centuries, it has been characteristic of religious groups to have two doctrines: the "esoteric" doctrine of the "inner circle", the monopoly and carefully guarded secret of the high priests; and the "exoteric" doctrine of the "outer circle", for the followers. Is this not exactly the situation with dialectics -- whether or not you "believe" in dialectics? And the existence of an esoteric doctrine is always potentially reactionary, anti-democratic. It is so because the esoteric doctrine is by the nature of the case irresponsible, not subject to control by the humble followers, a weapon in the hands only of the priests.

For the method which I advocate -- the method of science -- there is only one doctrine, available to all. And what it says is subject always to tests that can be made by any normal man. There is no revelation, and no short cut, and no prophet.

I conclude on dialectics with a challenge:

In the letter dated January 3rd it is clearly implied that my attitude toward dialectics is incompatible with my being editor of the theoretical journal of the party. In the article (p.11) it is stated explicitly that my rejection of dialectics represents the influence of another class.

First I want to ask: Where in the program of the Socialist Workers Party or the Fourth International is a belief in dialectics made part of the programmatic basis of our movement, the acceptance of which defines the conditions of membership? And if it is not, by what right does Trotsky or any one else attack me politically or object to my editorship of an organ of the International on the grounds of my attitude toward dialectics?

Is not our movement founded on its program, decided by conventions representing the membership? Or -- do we communists hide our views, and is our real program something different from our public and adopted program?

But if Trotsky is justified in what he says about dialectics, and the conclusions he draws in connection with dialectics, I say further:

Let him propose to the forthcoming convention that this lack in our program be filled, that the convention adopt a specific clause, to be added to the Declaration of Principles, affirming acceptance of the philosophy of dialectical materialism.

If he does not make such a proposal, then only one of two conclusions is possible: either what he is now writing about dialectics is not meant seriously, is mere polemical rhetoric for the faction fight of the moment; or dialectics is indeed an esoteric doctrine, not suited for the public opinion of the party to pass upon, but a private monopoly of the priests.

If he does make the proposal, it is true that he will have only one precedent in the history of labour politics: Stalin's program adopted at the Sixth Congress of the Comintern, in which the abandonment of Marxism was consummated. I confess that I should not like to feel that our movement is ready to regard such a precedent as appropriate.

The Finnish Invasion And The Perspective Of The Third Camp

If by a "workers' state" we mean that form of society transitional from capitalism to socialism, then Russia today can be considered a workers' state only on the basis of its nationalized economy. Of those various major features of the "transitional society" described in advance (in State and Revolution, for example), no one, absolutely no one in any political camp except that of the Stalinists themselves, maintains that any other socialist factor remains in Russia today except the nationalized economy. Nationalized economy, must, therefore, in the view of those who hold that Russia is a workers' state, be a sufficient condition for so characterizing it, and by a workers' state Marxists have always meant, from Marx on, that form of society which is transitional from capitalism to socialism.

The assumption therein involved I, of course, reject. I hold that at least one other major condition is necessary for that form of society which is transitional to socialism -- namely, workers' democracy; and that therefore Russia today is incorrectly characterized as a workers' state. This was Marx' opinion; and his opinion has been entirely confirmed by the experiences of the last fifteen years of Soviet history.

Nevertheless, even if the assumption is granted, if it is thus further granted that Rus-sia today is a workers' state, this will not at all suffice to motivate a tactic of defense of the Soviet State and the Red Army in the present war (just as, conversely, if the assumption is denied and it is thus denied that Russia is a workers' state, this will not by itself suffice to motivate a tactic of defeatism). We can't deduce a tactic of defense from our definition of the Soviet state any more than we could deduce it from the "law of the negation of the negation." Nor are we aided further in determining our tactic by the assumption that nationalized economy, in and by itself, divorced from the concrete social and political and historical relations which form the context of the nationalized economy, is "progressive" (an assumption which is involved in the initial assumption of our "dialectical" defenders of the workers' state doctrine -- an assumption which effectively eliminates all the changing actual reality which they say dialectics teaches us to take into account, and substitutes: a static, abstract category).

The general strategic aim of our movement is the world proletarian revolution (and socialism). We all hold (in words, at any rate) that this aim is now a goal not for the indefinitely remote future, but for the present period, that is, for the war and the postwar period. We concretize our goal in the statement of our "war aims" -- united socialist states of Europe, the Americas, a free Asia and Africa, a world federation of socialist republics. Presumably we mean these seriously.

Any tactic we propose, therefore, can be justified only by proof that, directly or indirectly, it is in fact the best available means for reaching our general strategic goal.

Even granted, then, Trotsky's assumptions, granted that Russia is a workers' state, the tactic of defense can be justified only if certain additional propositions are, in fact, true.

These would have to include: (a) Defense of the Red Army is in fact the best available means of defending the nationalized economy (which, for the purpose of discussion, let us assume to be in and of itself progressive); (b) Defense of the Russian nationalized economy as a primary task is the best available means for promoting the world revolution.

But everyone grants (in words, at least) that the defense of Russia is not the only major necessary means for achieving our general strategic aim; other necessary means include, certainly: the overthrow of Stalinism; colonial revolts; the lifting of the revolutionary consciousness of the masses; the deepening of the class struggle throughout the world, in at least several major nations to the point of successful proletarian revolution. In and of itself, defense of the present (i.e., Stalinist) Russian state and the Red Army, even if 100 per cent successful, would be of not the slightest value in achieving our goal; on the contrary, would make our goal impossible, since it would mean only the continuation in power and the extension of Stalinism.

The two propositions required by Trotsky to justify the tactic of defense therefore involve a third: (c) Defense of Russia in the present war does, in fact, serve as the best available means, or as an integral part of the best available means, for promoting colonial revolts, the lifting of the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, the overthrow of Stalinism, the deepening of the class struggle throughout the world (including, naturally, Russia itself and those countries against which Russian military action is conducted), and the completion of this struggle in successful revolutions.

Unless these three propositions are true, then the tactic of defense is not justified -- no matter what may be the truth about dialectics and the definition of the Russian state. Their truth can be established in one way and one way only: not by changing quantity into quality or uniting opposites, but by relating them to the relevant evidence that can be brought to bear from modern historical experience -- including prominently the evidence presented by the first months of the war itself.

As soon as these propositions are formulated, it is clear that Trotsky and the Cannon clique have utterly failed to present sufficient evidence to permit us to regard them as true. Proposition (a), especially on Trotsky's premises (which include the belief in a "fundamental contradiction" between the bureaucracy and the nationalized economy) is certainly at best very doubtful, and becomes increasingly doubtful as we observe the economic program in the small Baltic countries -- now Russian provinces, in the declaration of the Kuusinen government, and for that matter in Poland, or if we estimate the probable effects of increasing economic collaboration with Germany.

But it is Propositions (b) and (c) which are crucial; and any child should be able to realize that all the evidence from the beginning of the war, far from giving any remote likelihood of their truth, shows them to be undeniably false.

Trotsky, concentrated on the sociology and psychology of polemics, does not recognize explicitly the nature of the scientific problem posed in the dispute. Nevertheless he is compelled to give it implicit recognition. He seems to sense that all the thousands of words he has been writing since September on the "workers' state" and dialectics are beside the point; and he tries to introduce at last -- a few hundred words out of the many, many thousands (chiefly on p.10 of the mimeographed version of the article I am now discussing) -- some evidence for the truth of the key proposition (c).

What is this alleged evidence? I will quote the central sentences:

"In the second case (Poland and Finland) it (the Stalinist bureaucracy) gave an impulse to the socialist revolution through bureaucratic methods....

"...the resolution (of the opposition on Finland) does not mention by so much as a word that the Red Army in Finland expropriates large land-owners and introduces workers' control while preparing for the expropriation of the capitalists...they (the Stalinists) are giving -- they are compelled to give -- a tremendous impulse to the class struggle in its sharpest form.... The Soviet-Finnish war is evidently already beginning to be completed with a civil war in which the Red Army finds itself at the given stage in the same camp as the Finnish petty peasants and the workers, while the Finnish army supports the owning classes, the conservative workers' bureaucracy and the Anglo-Saxon this 'concrete' civil war that is taking place on Finnish territory.

"As for the Kremlin it is at the present time forced -- and this is not a hypothetical but a real situation -- to provoke a social revolutionary movement in Finland...."

Now the first thing to be observed about this alleged evidence is that the whole world -- including Trotsky himself -- knows it to be false. Nothing of this kind has happened or is happening. Trotsky, indeed, admits it to be false when, in the letter dated January 5th (to "Joe"), evidently replying to the qualms his statements about Finland had raised even in the stern breasts of the Cannon clique itself, he "explains" what he wrote by saying...that such things did happen -- in Poland! -- and will happen in Finland. But what he said in the article was that they had happened and were happening in Finland. (From where, by the way, Comrade Trotsky, did you borrow this method of "explanation"?)

(In passing, it was the opposition that pointed out, long ago, that an embryonic civil war began in Poland; and this fact was repeatedly denied and ridiculed by Cannon.)

What did actually happen -- so far as we can learn by sifting all the reports -- in Poland, Finland (and let us not forget Lithuania and her two sisters), up to now?

In Poland, important manifestations of the class struggle, including embryonic revolutionary steps, began -- before the Red Army marched and independently of Russia -- with the military and civil breakdown of the Polish bourgeois government. This is a normal and natural occurrence in all countries, whatever the character of the opposing army, when the home government goes to pieces. In a number of towns (including, apparently, Vilna and Warsaw itself) embryo "Soviets" arose on a loose basis, with labour and other popular organizations assuming de facto many of the tasks of sovereign power; in the villages, peasants began ousting the landlords -- or, more exactly, the landlords had already run away.

It is quite possible (though the evidence is far from clear) that in some sections the march of the Red Army excited certain hopes -- at least hope in comparison to the fears of the advance of the Reichswehr, and even encouraged some peasants to bolder steps in occupying the land of their former masters (who were no longer there to oppose them). These hopes were in the shortest time liquidated, together with the persons of any peasants or workers hardy enough to persist in them. The regime of Stalinism -- and Stalinism without completely collectivized economy -- was imposed by the representatives of the GPU. In the Vilna region the embryo "soviet" was smashed and the militants killed, in preparation for handing the territory back to bourgeois Lithuania.

Then the Red Army took over the three small Baltic states. Anyone who thought that in that action "the Kremlin (was) provoke a social revolutionary movement" was rapidly undeceived. From the reports, a few underground communists began to show their heads. With public statement (released in the world press) and by police action, the Red Army joined the Baltic government in shoving those heads down again, and in reinforcing bourgeois rule and capitalist economy in those nations.

Meanwhile, it was revealed to all who had initially doubted it that Hitler and Stalin had divided Poland in complete and prior agreement.

These events were observed by the workers and peasants of the world, and above all, we may be sure, by the workers and peasants of the other nations bordering Russia -- not least by the people of Finland. Not being highly skilled In sociological definition nor belonging to the inner dialectical circle, they drew nevertheless, in their humble way, certain conclusions (where they had not already drawn them from the Trials and Spain). Their conclusion, in short, was: the Red Army in this war is not our ally.

The propaganda campaign began against Finland, and then the invasion. For a number of days, the Red Army triumphantly advanced. The Kuusinen government was proclaimed, issued its program (a bourgeois, not a proletarian program, by the way, in spite of Trotsky's dialectical deduction that the Kremlin must use social revolutionary policies -- bureaucratically carried out; the Kremlin did not consult Trotsky).

What was the effect -- the actual effect that happened, not the effect that we can read about in our former theses (which coincides with what Trotsky writes in the present article) or deduce from theories? The effect was, not to stimulate, but to wipe out what there had been of the class struggle (and there had been more than a trace of it) in Finland, to throw the Finnish workers and peasants into the hands of their own bourgeoisie. This is proved, first, by reports which, properly sifted, can legitimately be believed; but, second, independently, by what may be deduced from (1) the failure of the Kuusinen government to excite any favourable response and (2) the high morale of the Finnish army which is obviously supported by a huge percentage of the population. This last fact the NC majority and Trotsky explain by the shockingly Philistine argument that the Finnish army has such good supplies and training -- as if the Red Army were equipped with bows and arrows.

This reaction was not surprising. Knowing the Red Army fought against their interests, and seeing no third alternative, the Finnish workers drew what seemed to them the only possible conclusion under the circumstances: to fight desperately for the bourgeois "fatherland"; with the third alternative (an Independent struggle for freedom and power against the main enemy, at home, and the invading enemy) excluded, they chose what appeared to them as the "lesser evil". Those responsible for this reactionary conclusion are the imperialists on the one hand and the Stalinists on the other (and all others!) who, ruling out the third camp, posed the choice exclusively as either Mannerheim's army or Stalin's.

On the other side, according to our theses (War and the Fourth International), the Russian soldiers and workers should have been reacting as follows: "Within the USSR war against imperialist intervention will undoubtedly provoke a veritable outburst of genuine fighting enthusiasm. All the contradictions and antagonisms will seem overcome or at any rate relegated to the background. The young generations of workers and peasants that emerged from the revolution will reveal on the field of battle colossal dynamic power." But (to paraphrase a remark of Trotsky's), "events did not recognize our theses." In the Finnish war, the Russian soldiers and workers have shown -- just the opposite, as everyone knows. There is no mystery here. The soldiers fight so poorly, so unenthusiastically, because -- though without benefit of dialectics -- they understand clearly enough that in this war the Red Army fights not for but against their interests and the interests of workers everywhere, and of socialism.

Who is it who is closest to socialist consciousness; those Soviet soldiers and workers who recognize the reactionary character of the war, are resentful and distrustful of it, and show no enthusiasm for it; or those (notably including the GPU) who are whipped up into a frenzy of Stalino-patriotism for it? We, the opposition, say: the former. Trotsky is compelled by his doctrine to say: the latter.

But, in the further course of the Finnish war, will not the class struggle re-assert itself in Finland? Certainly, as we have declared from the beginning. When the Finnish defense and the Finnish government begin to crack, just as in Poland the overt class struggle will re-appear; workers and peasants will take social revolutionary steps, will, perforce, begin moves toward independent power and sovereignty. Above all will they do so if there are revolutionists and militants among them who have not, meanwhile, been functioning as spies of the counter-revolutionary Red Army, but have made clear to them that their struggle, in the first instance directed against the main enemy at home, finds an also implacable enemy in the Kremlin and all its institutions, that the Red Army marches in not to aid them but to crush them; and if internationalists within the ranks of the Red Army have guided in a parallel manner the ranks of the Red soldiers, urging them to throw off the yoke of the Kremlin-GPU and to join in common struggle against their oppressors with the Finnish workers and peasants -- not to obey the orders of the Kremlin to reduce the workers and peasants of Finland to a new type of slavery.

Does the policy of the Kremlin (through "compulsion" or voluntary will, it does not matter) in reality stimulate the class struggle, the social revolution? If so, then Marxism has been wrong from the beginning, for then the struggle for socialism can be carried on by bureaucratic-military means as a substitute (good or bad) for the popular, conscious and deliberate mass struggle of the workers and peasants. To accept Trotsky's interpretation of the events of the present war is to accept the theory of the Bureaucratic road to socialism. I refer the reader to Max Shachtman's excellent discussion of this point in his recent reply to this same article of Trotsky's.

But is not the Kremlin stimulating the social revolution by its new policy, both directly through its own state agencies, and by the new line of the Comintern? If this is true -- as Trotsky now holds -- we can't possibly explain intelligibly to the workers the meaning of the new line of the CI (and we have not done so up to now -- everyone recognizes that from reading our press), we have no sufficient reason for not re-applying for admission as a faction of the CI. [CI -- Communist International, RL.]

No. The present policy of the Kremlin stimulates the class struggle and is "socialist" only in the same general sense as Wilson's policy with reference to "defeatism" in Germany in 1917-18, or Chamberlain's policy in his broadcasts to and leaflet-droppings on Germany today, or Hitler's similar appeals. These "revolutionary" policies -- with respect to the enemy country -- are all simply supplementary military-strategic devices. As a matter of fact, in this sense the most "radical" of all of them at the present time is Hitler's, not Stalin's: Hitler's New Year speech was far more "socialist" than the proclamation of the Kuusinen government. True enough, the nation employing this device is always playing with social dynamite -- above all in this war. Even Chamberlain's propaganda is capable of "stimulating the class struggle" within Germany under appropriate circumstances -- but we hardly support it, for that reason (though we do support the class struggle, no matter how stimulated). But the more usual effect is for it to aid in stifling the class struggle in the enemy nation, (precisely because it is not internationalist in character, and because the workers understand it as merely a manoeuvre of a rival oppressor). This is just what has happened in Finland, just as in Germany after the Chamberlain leaflet raids.

Cannon and Trotsky tell us: But then you want the imperialists to take over the Soviet Union. This is nothing but the standard slander which has always been directed against those who uphold the internationalist position of revolutionary defeatism. We are for the defeat of all the belligerent armies and the overthrow of all the belligerent governments; but for defeat and overthrow not by the opposing armies in the field, but by the third camp, by the workers of each respective country.

But Cannon and Trotsky say nothing of the meaning of their alternative in relation to the general strategic aim, to the world proletarian revolution. How, just how, will a defensive tactic with respect to the Red Army serve the development of the revolution, how in this war -- not the war of our theses -- where the Red Army fights, in alliance with the Reichswehr, for the defense, preservation and extension solely and simply of the power, privileges and revenues of the counter-revolutionary bureaucracy? Trotsky and Cannon do not tell us, can't tell us. And yet their position could rest only upon a clear, convincing and reasonable answer to this question.

The position of the opposition is based upon the perspective of the collapse of existing governments, upon the optimistic expectation of mass revolt against the war. It is summed up as: the strategy of the third camp. In this war, the actual war which has broken out and is now going on, the revolutionists must take their stand unambiguously in the third camp, the camp of the workers and peasants, of the oppressed of the entire world, of the peoples of India and Africa, the camp of struggle against the camps of all the belligerent powers and the belligerent governments. Today the troops of the third camp are atomized, disordered and disorganized, scattered through the framework of society. Tomorrow their ranks will close; they will form in great army corps; the popular army of India, the revolting Negro divisions of Africa, the workers' fronts of Germany and the Ukraine and France and the United States.... But they will do so successfully only if the troops of tomorrow can hold clearly and simply and unambiguously before themselves the firm strategic aim: the third camp, the camp of struggle against the war and the war-makers, for workers' power and socialism.

Trotsky and Cannon, desperately clinging to a doctrine no longer adequate to meet the test of events, have abandoned the strategy of the third camp. How revealing that even the phrase (used so effectively -- after being mistakenly borrowed from the opposition -- in putting forward the revolutionary position in the ALP controversy between Rose and the Stalinists) has dropped out of the party press and agitation! They have joined one of the belligerent camps, one of the war camps. In this can be seen the basic defeatism of their perspective (they, who accuse us of being defeatists!), defeatism toward the possibility of successful proletarian revolution in the course of the war. They are compelled, more and more, to argue for Stalinism as the "lesser evil" (their description): this lesser evil is the goal they place before the workers -- a fine goal indeed to inspire revolutionary struggle! They must reason in terms of the maintenance of existing governments (what if, Cannon asks in debate, Finland takes over northern Russia?). Everything is turned upside down. The strategic aim of world revolution issuing out of the war is subordinated to defense of Russia. Their whole policy becomes oriented around the tactic of defensism with respect to the Red Army -- on the very best account, the part usurping the place of the whole. For the sake of a hand the head and heart are sacrificed.

Trotsky has permitted a frantic clinging to a false doctrine to drive him, in short, to a policy of defeat and desperation.

What The Record Shows

In the article, The War and Bureaucratic Conservatism, we analyzed the character of the Cannon group, its regime, and its present policy. We showed that it is not a principled tendency, but a permanent clique; that its only real policy is self-maintenance; that it on all occasions subordinates political to organizational questions; that in actuality it has no genuine program, but only the substitute for a program -- the substitute being usually borrowed from Trotsky.

In the present dispute, Trotsky puts forward the program which the Cannon clique appropriates, and Trotsky supports -- unconditionally -- the Cannon clique. It does not, however, follow that the analysis which we made of Cannon's present policy applies also to Trotsky. I wish now to examine briefly the political record of Trotsky since August 21st with the aim of throwing some light on the problem of how Trotsky has reached his present impasse, in which he finds himself upholding an incorrect political perspective, a false analysis of events, and a sterile, cynical and rotten bureaucratic clique. I will draw only upon facts which are well known, and which can be checked at every point.

For more than a week following the first announcement of the Nazi-Soviet agreement -- the most startling International shift of recent years, and obviously of the most peculiar moment to the Fourth International -- Trotsky made no public statement to the press. He then gave out two short and very general statements in which he did not attempt any analysis or prediction; in fact they summed up to little more than the view that there was nothing much to be said about the agreement. Trotsky issued no statement -- so far as we know -- on the outbreak of the second world war, the most momentous event in the history of mankind. In fact, he has to this day made no general analysis of the war and its meaning, a lack which has been widely remarked among the general public.

Since the war began, Trotsky has made only two specific predictions of any importance. The first was when the Red Army was mobilizing on the borders of Poland, when Trotsky stated that Stalin did not know why the army was mobilizing. A short time later he was compelled to recognize that the Polish invasion had been carried out by prior agreement with Hitler. A few weeks before the Finnish invasion, Trotsky was preparing an article for a magazine. According to an outline of this article which was received in New York, he therein predicted that there would be no Finnish invasion (that year at any rate) but that the issues would be "compromised".

The first major article written by Trotsky was the one which was published in the New International (The USSR and the War). This did not concern itself in a single sentence with the problems and prospects of the war already started, but with the most general possible theoretic issues. The second (published in an internal bulletin) was on the class character of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile (and continuing through the present) have been numerous shorter documents dealing with the internal factional struggle, the overwhelming percentage of them concerned with such issues as the character of the groups in the party and their methods, etc. The next long document (the one here under discussion) brought in one new subject: the dialectics; and a new document (the Open Letter to me) on the same subject is now promised. The only specific statements about current events in this document (those on Finland) turn out, by Trotsky's own admission, to be false.

So far as I am aware, he has said nothing about the taking over of the three Baltic countries. And nothing was said about the taking over of Poland and the invasion of Finland until after these events occurred.

Let us sum up the undeniable general features of this 4½ months' picture: virtually no specific predictions, and those made disproved by events; nothing specific foreseen in advance; no proposals or guides for action in advance; a minimum concern with the major historical action now occurring -- the second world war; a maximum of energies devoted either to general theoretic questions (up to and beyond dialectics) or immediate internal polemic.

This picture has a great political-symptomatic importance. This is easily grasped when we compare it with Trotsky's almost invariable political record in connection with other major historic occurrences (none of which since the Russian revolution approaches the significance of the second world war) -- such as, for example, the German events or the Trials. There, while not neglecting general theoretic concerns or internal factional struggle when necessary, Trotsky has been distinguished over all other political figures in the entire world for precisely what is absent now: for immediate and constant reaction to the events; for exact predictions, so often brilliantly confirmed; for stating at every stage guides for the action of the workers; for illuminating by specific analysis the meaning of actually occurring events. The whole world knows this.

To the present picture, we must, unfortunately, add further elements: Trotsky not merely supports the Cannon regime, but whitewashes it 100% -- an attitude which even its most ardent follower in the party could not even pretend to justify by objective reference. Trotsky not merely condemns the opposition, but slanders it, misstates and distorts not merely its views but its very words. Trotsky (for example, in the sheaf of letters of the first days of January) indulges in absurd exaggerations.

Now Trotsky has amply proved by his entire career that he above all takes ideas, doctrine, principles seriously, that he bases himself upon and operates from principles. When we keep this in mind, the picture of these months falls into a classic and often repeated pattern: the pattern of one who proceeds from a theory, who is motivated in his actions by that theory, but where the theory itself is false. Clinging to the theory becomes under these circumstances an act of desperation; and the desperation communicates itself to the actions, even to the very style.

The theory, the doctrine, at all costs. But the doctrine is not in accord with events. Then, refusing to abandon the doctrine, there are only two solutions: to evade events (by treating, say, of very general theoretic questions or of dialectics), and to falsify events to bring them into accord with the (false) doctrine. No intent to deceive is involved in this: it follows almost automatically when one clings desperately to a false doctrine.

Therefore also the opposition must be smashed at any cost. The only vehicle for the doctrine is Cannon (who will accept any doctrine that suits his clique['s] purpose). Therefore complete support for Cannon. But here, too, just as in treating international events, Trotsky must pay a heavy price -- and the price, alas, is assessed not merely against Trotsky but against the International and indeed in the last analysis against the workers everywhere -- for his false doctrine. To implement his (false) doctrine he finds he can utilize only a rotten bureaucratic clique; but by supporting this clique he becomes an accomplice in and defender of its crimes against the movement.

If we realize that Trotsky proceeds seriously and firmly from theory, and that this theory with relation to the war is false, his present political position, and the manner of his political and organizational intervention in the party dispute -- so puzzling and often shocking to many comrades -- become at once intelligible. (This of course is not that "class analysis" which Trotsky demands from all Marxists. All that such analysis could mean in his case would be: what social group is aided by the effects of Trotsky's present policy? The answer is perfectly evident: the Russian bureaucracy. His present policy is a deviation from the direction of the international proletarian struggle for socialism, toward Stalinism.)

The party and the International face in the immediate future the most serious decision of many years. We will either be dragged by a false doctrine, a distorted perspective, and a bankrupt regime into a blind gulf where the waves of the war will leave us floundering and finally drown us; or we will, with however painful a wrench, break out onto the high road, the best soldiers in the one army to which we can give our loyalty; the army of the third camp.

January 10, 1940

Much of content of the post-war debates in the Fourth International is pre-figured in the above, especially Burnham's comments about the allegedly progressive role of the Red Army in spreading socialism by bureaucratic means. Indeed, if we ignore Burnham's comments about dialectics, this critique would form a centrally important part of Tony Cliff's criticism of Stalinism and of the orientation of the Fourth International toward it.

Indeed, many of the points Burnham raises here and in Science and Style anticipate some of my own criticisms of DM. The difference is that I remain a Trotskyist, and always will. ”

Hienoa, että Trotskin kannat talvisotaan tulevat esiin.

(Jos Muuten Trotski eikä Lenin oli johtanut Venäjän sosialistista vallankumousta, hän tuskin olisi tuosta vaan allekirjoittanut Suomen itsenäisyyttä.)



materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 359981 , Risto Koivula , 26.03.2012 01:54:04 ]
    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 359982 , Risto Koivula , 26.03.2012 02:01:21 ]
    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 359985 , Otto Mäkelä , 26.03.2012 02:25:37 ]
        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360012 , Risto Koivula , 26.03.2012 15:04:02 ]
            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360018 , tyy , 26.03.2012 15:28:54 ]
            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360109 , Otto Mäkelä , 28.03.2012 16:59:16 ]
                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360129 , Risto Koivula , 29.03.2012 01:45:50 ]
    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360035 , JuhaHuuhaa , 26.03.2012 20:44:05 ]
        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360036 , Risto Koivula , 26.03.2012 23:42:25 ]
            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360045 , JuhaHuuhaa , 27.03.2012 10:42:01 ]
                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360052 , Risto Koivula , 27.03.2012 14:51:25 ]
                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360102 , tyy , 28.03.2012 15:50:04 ]
                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360128 , Risto Koivula , 29.03.2012 01:40:14 ]
                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360153 , pulivari , 29.03.2012 13:32:32 ]
                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360177 , Risto Koivula , 29.03.2012 20:26:45 ]
                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360183 , pulivari , 29.03.2012 22:12:52 ]
                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360187 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 08:36:16 ]
                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360193 , pulivari , 30.03.2012 11:32:18 ]
                                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360224 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 17:28:39 ]
                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka   [ 360232 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 20:09:42 ]
                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka   [ 360339 , pulivari , 03.04.2012 15:01:33 ]
                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360324 , pulivari , 03.04.2012 10:46:58 ]
                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360338 , riiviö , 03.04.2012 14:53:57 ]
                                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360340 , pulivari , 03.04.2012 15:29:38 ]
                                                                Periaatteellinen mallinnettavuus   [ 360341 , Jaakko Kankaanpää , 03.04.2012 15:40:34 ]
                                                                    Periaatteellinen mallinnettavuus   [ 360344 , pulivari , 03.04.2012 16:50:31 ]
                                                                        Periaatteellinen mallinnettavuus   [ 360345 , Jaakko Kankaanpää , 03.04.2012 18:35:13 ]
                                                                            Periaatteellinen mallinnettavuus   [ 360351 , pulivari , 03.04.2012 20:22:26 ]
                                                                                Periaatteellinen mallinnettavuus   [ 360357 , Jaakko Kankaanpää , 03.04.2012 21:32:12 ]
                                                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360379 , riiviö , 04.04.2012 13:04:46 ]
                                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360385 , pulivari , 04.04.2012 13:56:56 ]
                                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360392 , riiviö , 04.04.2012 16:14:43 ]
                                                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360395 , pulivari , 04.04.2012 17:24:31 ]
                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360414 , Risto Koivula , 05.04.2012 03:43:44 ]
                                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360435 , pulivari , 05.04.2012 15:56:07 ]
                                                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360516 , Risto Koivula , 07.04.2012 04:58:39 ]
                                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360517 , Risto Koivula , 07.04.2012 07:20:35 ]
                                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360524 , pulivari , 07.04.2012 12:33:18 ]
                                                                            Hoosiannaa, VYSIIKASTA-lallaaa...!!!   [ 360545 , Risto Koivula , 08.04.2012 03:39:03 ]
                                                                                Pyhitetty olkoon Leninin valtakunta, tapahtukoon hänen tahtonsa...   [ 360556 , pulivari , 08.04.2012 15:30:17 ]
                                                                                    Pyhitetty olkoon Leninin valtakunta, tapahtukoon hänen tahtonsa...   [ 360575 , Risto Koivula , 09.04.2012 01:48:21 ]
                                                                                        Pyhitetty olkoon Leninin valtakunta, tapahtukoon hänen tahtonsa...   [ 360669 , pulivari , 13.04.2012 20:01:59 ]
                                                                                            Pyhitetty olkoon filosofia...?   [ 360679 , Dorcas Gustine , 14.04.2012 21:07:01 ]
                                                                                            Fysiikasta fysiikalla fysikoidaan fysiikkaa fysiikaksi...   [ 360682 , Risto Koivula , 15.04.2012 02:54:44 ]
                                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360518 , pulivari , 07.04.2012 09:55:38 ]
                                                                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360526 , Risto Koivula , 07.04.2012 14:04:50 ]
                                                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360534 , pulivari , 07.04.2012 18:20:47 ]
                                                                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360548 , Risto Koivula , 08.04.2012 10:04:35 ]
                                                                                    valematerialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360561 , pulivari , 08.04.2012 17:46:06 ]
                                                                                        "Japetuksen" sekoilut...   [ 360577 , Risto Koivula , 09.04.2012 05:04:19 ]
                                                                                            "Japetuksen" sekoilut...   [ 360586 , Risto Koivula , 09.04.2012 15:29:22 ]
                                                                                                Koivulan sekoilut...   [ 360601 , pulivari , 10.04.2012 12:52:31 ]
                                                                                                    Koivulan sekoilut...   [ 360603 , Risto Koivula , 10.04.2012 18:31:52 ]
                                                                                                        Koivulan sekoilut...   [ 360608 , pulivari , 11.04.2012 08:24:32 ]
                                                                                                            Risto Koivula esiintyy LAITTOMASTI toisen henkilön nimellä   [ 360609 , pulivari , 11.04.2012 11:20:04 ]
                                                                                                                Risto Koivula esiintyy LAITTOMASTI toisen henkilön nimellä   [ 360615 , Niilo Paasivirta , 11.04.2012 12:06:02 ]
                                                                                                                R. Tyyne   [ 360634 , Risto Koivula , 11.04.2012 23:32:30 ]
                                                                                                                    R. Tyyne   [ 360642 , pulivari , 12.04.2012 08:17:11 ]
                                                                                                                        R. Tyyne   [ 360654 , Risto Koivula , 12.04.2012 15:15:00 ]
                                                                                                                            R. Tyyne   [ 360659 , pulivari , 12.04.2012 16:57:50 ]
                                                                                                                                R. Tyyne   [ 360663 , Risto Koivula , 12.04.2012 18:19:48 ]
                                                                                                                                    Risto "Kriminaali" Koivula...   [ 360667 , pulivari , 13.04.2012 16:56:32 ]
                                                                                                                                Wikin sekoilut   [ 360664 , Risto Koivula , 12.04.2012 18:20:25 ]
                                                                                                                                    Wikin sekoilut   [ 360665 , Risto Koivula , 12.04.2012 23:57:48 ]
                                                                                                                                        Wikin sekoilut   [ 360668 , pulivari , 13.04.2012 18:00:55 ]
                                                                                                                                            Wikin sekoilut   [ 360671 , Risto Koivula , 14.04.2012 12:49:39 ]
                                                                                                                                                Wikin sekoilut   [ 360780 , pulivari , 20.04.2012 18:13:09 ]
                                                                                                                                                    Wikin sekoilut   [ 360791 , Risto Koivula , 21.04.2012 08:58:07 ]
                                                                                                                                                        Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363343 , Vesa Tenhunen , 16.07.2012 10:52:04 ]
                                                                                                                                                            Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363356 , Risto Koivula , 16.07.2012 17:19:12 ]
                                                                                                                                                                Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363361 , Vesa Tenhunen , 16.07.2012 17:48:29 ]
                                                                                                                                                                    Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363362 , Risto Koivula , 16.07.2012 18:07:56 ]
                                                                                                                                                                        Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363382 , Vesa Tenhunen , 16.07.2012 21:35:31 ]
                                                                                                                                                                            Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363706 , Risto Koivula , 09.08.2012 01:59:41 ]
                                                                                                                                                                                Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363735 , Niilo Paasivirta , 11.08.2012 04:54:15 ]
                                                                                                                                                                    Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363363 , Risto Koivula , 16.07.2012 18:08:30 ]
                                                                                                                                                                        Tiedoksi RK:lle   [ 363736 , Zaphod B , 11.08.2012 07:56:36 ]
                                                                                                                                                                            Tiedekeskustelua vai maailman tylsin small talk -palsta...   [ 363737 , Risto Koivula , 12.08.2012 00:23:07 ]
                                                                                                            Wikin sekoilut   [ 360630 , Risto Koivula , 11.04.2012 21:52:01 ]
                                                                                                                Wikin sekoilut   [ 360644 , pulivari , 12.04.2012 09:37:56 ]
                                                                                            Koivulan sekoilut...   [ 360600 , pulivari , 10.04.2012 12:30:03 ]
                                                                                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 364176 , Risto Koivula , 21.09.2012 01:07:30 ]
                                                                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 364202 , Risto Koivula , 23.09.2012 01:24:01 ]
                                                                                        Materialistinen dialektinen logiikka jytää vääristelyistä huolimatta   [ 364225 , Risto Koivula , 24.09.2012 04:31:04 ]
                                                                                            Trotski, dialektiikka ja talvisota (jota Trotski luuli sosialisminlevityssodaksi ja kannatti...)   [ 364682 , Risto Koivula , 12.10.2012 23:16:54 ]
                                                            Koivulan pseudotieteellinen emergenssikäsitys   [ 360437 , pulivari , 05.04.2012 18:13:49 ]
                                                                Koivulan tieteellinen emergenssikäsitys   [ 360455 , Risto Koivula , 06.04.2012 04:36:52 ]
                                                                    Koivulan emergenssikäsitys   [ 360467 , pulivari , 06.04.2012 11:40:49 ]
                                            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360210 , JuhaHuuhaa , 30.03.2012 15:17:10 ]
                                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360201 , JuhaHuuhaa , 30.03.2012 13:33:49 ]
                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360169 , JuhaHuuhaa , 29.03.2012 15:54:56 ]
                materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360093 , Otto Mäkelä , 28.03.2012 15:26:16 ]
                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360097 , tyy , 28.03.2012 15:44:13 ]
                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360130 , Risto Koivula , 29.03.2012 01:48:49 ]
                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360127 , Risto Koivula , 29.03.2012 01:33:06 ]
                        Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360195 , Otto Mäkelä , 30.03.2012 11:55:22 ]
                            Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360198 , Jaakko Kankaanpää , 30.03.2012 12:10:03 ]
                                Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360207 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 14:29:37 ]
                                    Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360286 , Pena , 02.04.2012 09:58:33 ]
                                        Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360299 , Risto Koivula , 02.04.2012 17:51:50 ]
                            Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360204 , TomiP , 30.03.2012 13:54:54 ]
                                Dialektisen materialismin "pseudotiede"...   [ 360208 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 14:53:16 ]
                            Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360205 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 14:20:23 ]
                                Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360270 , Otto Mäkelä , 01.04.2012 12:13:49 ]
                                    Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360284 , Risto Koivula , 01.04.2012 23:34:26 ]
                                Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360287 , Pena , 02.04.2012 10:02:38 ]
                                    Dialektisen materialismin pseudotiede   [ 360298 , Risto Koivula , 02.04.2012 17:48:25 ]
                    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360285 , Pena , 02.04.2012 09:37:57 ]
                        materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360297 , Risto Koivula , 02.04.2012 17:46:39 ]
            materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360047 , JuhaHuuhaa , 27.03.2012 11:48:51 ]
    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360038 , Tomppa , 27.03.2012 00:37:02 ]
        Otsikoinnista   [ 360146 , jukx , 29.03.2012 11:42:19 ]
            Otsikoinnista   [ 360188 , Risto Koivula , 30.03.2012 08:48:04 ]
    materialistinen dialektinen logiikka?   [ 360173 , pulivari , 29.03.2012 17:29:07 ]
    Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360416 , Pena , 05.04.2012 08:15:35 ]
        Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360418 , Dens511 , 05.04.2012 09:10:20 ]
        Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360438 , Risto Koivula , 05.04.2012 18:16:57 ]
            Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360511 , Pena , 06.04.2012 23:29:09 ]
                Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360514 , Risto Koivula , 07.04.2012 02:05:20 ]
                    Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360611 , Pena , 11.04.2012 11:40:38 ]
                        Koivulan huijaus?   [ 360620 , Jaakko Kankaanpää , 11.04.2012 12:20:30 ]


Leon Trotsky

Balance Sheet
of the Finnish Events

(April 1940)

Written: 25 April 1940.
First Published: Fourth International, Vol.1 No.2, June 1940, pp.41-44.
Translated: By Fourth International.
Reprinted: Leon Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism, New York 1942.
Checked Against: Leon Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism, London 1966, pp.212-222.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2003. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

They Couldn’t Foresee

“WE” FORESAW the alliance with Hitler – write Shachtman and Burnham – but the seizure of Eastern Poland? the invasion of Finland? – no, “we” couldn’t foresee these events. Such completely improbable and utterly unexpected events necessitate, they insist, a complete upheaval in our politics. These politicians labored under the impression apparently that Stalin needed an alliance with Hitler in order to roll Easter eggs with him. They “foresaw” the alliance (when? where?) but couldn’t foresee what it was for and why.

They recognize the right of the workers’ state to maneuver between the imperialist camps and to conclude agreements with one against another. These agreements should, obviously, have as their goal the defense of the workers’ state, the acquisition of economic, strategical and other advantages, and, if circumstances permit, the extension of the base of the workers’ state. The degenerated workers’ state attempts to gain these ends with its own bureaucratic methods, which at every step come into conflict with the interests of the world proletariat. But exactly what is so unexpected and so unpredictable about the Kremlin’s attempt to get as much as it could from its alliance with Hitler?

If our ill-starred politicians failed to foresee “this” it is only because they fail to think a single question seriously through to the end. During the protracted negotiations with the Anglo-French delegation in the summer of 1939, the Kremlin openly demanded military control over the Baltic States. Because England and France refused to grant him this control, Stalin broke off negotiations. This alone clearly indicated that an agreement with Hitler would secure Stalin at least control over the Baltic states. Politically mature people the world over approached the matter from precisely this standpoint, asking themselves: Just how will Stalin accomplish this task? Will he resort to military force? And so on. The course of events depended, however, a great deal more on Hitler than on Stalin. Generally speaking, concrete events cannot be predicted. But the main direction of the events as they actually unfolded contained nothing essentially new.

Because of the degeneration of the workers’ state, the Soviet Union turned out at the threshold of the second imperialist war to be far weaker than it need have been. Stalin’s agreement with Hitler had as its objective the securing of the USSR from a German assault and, generally, securing the USSR from being drawn into a major war. While seizing Poland, Hitler had to protect himself on the East. Stalin was compelled, with Hitler’s permission, to invade Eastern Poland in order to avail himself of some supplementary guarantees against Hitler on the Western boundary of the USSR. As a result of these events, however, the USSR acquired a common frontier with Germany, and by virtue of this very fact the danger from a victorious Germany became much more direct, while Stalin’s dependence on Hitler was greatly increased.

The episode of the partitioning of Poland had its development and sequel in the Scandinavian arena. Hitler could not have failed to give some intimation to his “friend” Stalin that he planned to seize the Scandinavian countries. Stalin could not have failed to break into a cold sweat. After all, this signified complete German domination of the Baltic Sea, of Finland, and hence constituted a direct threat to Leningrad. Once again Stalin had to seek supplementary guarantees against his ally, this time in Finland. However, he met with serious resistance there. The “military excursion” dragged on. Meanwhile Scandinavia threatened to become the arena of major warfare. Hitler, who had completed his preparations for the blow against Denmark and Norway, demanded that Stalin conclude an early peace. Stalin had to cut his plans short, and renounce sovietizing Finland. These are the salient features of the course of events in the European Northwest.


Small Nations in the Imperialist War

Under the conditions of World War, to approach the question of the fate of small states from the standpoint of “national independence,” “neutrality,” etc., is to remain in the sphere of imperialist mythology. The struggle involves world domination. The question of the existence of the USSR will be solved in passing. This problem which today remains in the background, will at a certain moment come to the forefront. So far as the small and second rate states are concerned, they are already today pawns in the hands of the great powers. The sole freedom they still retain, and this only to a limited extent, is the freedom of choosing between masters.

Two governments struggle for a while in Norway: The government of the Norwegian Nazis, covered by the German troops in the South, and the old social-democratic government with their King in the North. Should the Norwegian workers have supported the “democratic” camp against the fascist? Following the analogy with Spain, it might at first glance appear as if this question should be answered in the affirmative. In reality this would be the crudest kind of blunder. In Spain there was an isolated civil war; the intervention of foreign imperialist powers, however important in itself, nevertheless remained of secondary character. What is involved in Norway is the direct and immediate clash between two imperialist camps in whose hands the warring Norwegian governments are only auxiliary tools. On the world arena we support neither the camp of the Allies nor the camp of Germany. Consequently we have not the slightest reason or justification for supporting either one of their temporary tools within Norway itself.

The very same approach must be applied to Finland. From the standpoint of the strategy of the world proletariat, Finnish resistance was no more an act of independent national defense than is the resistance of Norway. This was best demonstrated by the Finnish government itself which preferred to cease all resistance rather than have Finland completely transformed into a military base of England, France and the United States. Secondary factors like the national independence of Finland or Norway, the defense of democracy, etc., however important in themselves, are now intertwined in the struggle of infinitely more powerful world forces and are completely subordinate to them. We must discount these secondary factors and determine our policy in accordance with the basic factors.

The programmatic theses of the Fourth International on the war gave an exhaustive answer to this question six years ago. The theses state: “The idea of national defense especially if it coincides with the idea of the defense of democracy, can most readily be utilized to dupe the workers of small and neutral countries (Switzerland, in particular Belgium, the Scandinavian countries ...).” And further on: “Only petty-bourgeois blockheads (like Robert Grimm) from a god-forsaken Swiss village could seriously believe that the World War into which he will be drawn is a means for defending the independence of Switzerland.” Other petty-bourgeois equally stupid imagined that world war is a means for defending Finland, that it is possible to determine proletarian strategy on the basis of a tactical episode such as the invasion of Finland by the Red Army.


Georgia and Finland

Just as during strikes directed against big capitalists, the workers often bankrupt in passing highly respectable petty-bourgeois concerns, so in a military struggle against imperialism, or in seeking military guarantees against imperialism, the workers’ stateeven completely healthy and revolutionary – may find itself compelled to violate the independence of this or that small state. Tears over the ruthlessness of the class struggle on either the domestic or the international arena may properly be shed by democratic Philistines but not by proletarian revolutionists.

The Soviet Republic in 1921 forcefully sovietized Georgia which constituted an open gateway for imperialist assault in the Caucasus. From the standpoint of the principles of national self-determination, a good deal might have been said in objection to such sovietization. From the standpoint of extending the arena of the socialist revolution, military intervention in a peasant country was more than a dubious act. From the standpoint of the self-defense of the workers’ state surrounded by enemies, forceful sovietization was justified: The safeguarding of the socialist revolution comes before formal democratic principles.

World imperialism for a long time utilized the question of violence in Georgia as the rallying cry in mobilizing world public opinion against the Soviets. The Second International took the lead in this campaign. The Entente aimed at the preparation of a possible new military intervention against the Soviets.

In exactly the same way as in the case of Georgia, the world bourgeoisie utilized the invasion of Finland in mobilizing public opinion against the USSR. The social-democracy in this case too came out as the vanguard of democratic imperialism. The unhappy “third camp” of the stampeding petty-bourgeois brings up the rear.

Along with the striking similarity between these two instances of military intervention there is, however, a profound difference – the present USSR is far from being the Soviet Republic of 1921. The 1934 theses of the Fourth International on War declare: “The monstrous development of Soviet bureaucratism and the wretched living conditions of the toilers have extremely reduced the attractive power of the USSR for the world working class.” The Soviet-Finnish war revealed graphically and completely that within gunshot of Leningrad, the cradle of the October revolution, the present regime of the USSR is incapable of exercising an attractive force. Yet it does not follow from this that the USSR must be surrendered to the imperialists but only that the USSR must be torn out of the hands of the bureaucracy.


“Where Is the Civil War?”

“But where is the Civil War in Finland which you promised?” demand the leaders of the former opposition, who have now become the leaders of the “third camp.” I promised nothing. I only analyzed one of the possible variants of the further development of the Soviet-Finnish conflict. The seizure of isolated bases in Finland was as probable as the complete occupation of Finland. The seizure of bases presupposed maintaining the bourgeois regime throughout the rest of the country. Occupation presupposed a social overturn which would be impossible without involving the workers and poorer farmers in civil war. The initial diplomatic negotiations between Moscow and Helsinki indicated an attempt to solve the question in the way it was solved with the other Baltic states. Finland’s resistance compelled the Kremlin to seek its ends through military measures. Stalin could justify the war before the broadest masses only by sovietizing Finland. The appointment of the Kuusmen government indicated that the fate awaiting Finland was not that of the Baltic states but that of Poland, where Stalin – no matter what the amateur columnists of the “third camp” scribble – found himself compelled to provoke civil war and to overthrow property relations.

I specified several times that if the war in Finland was not submerged in a general war, and if Stalin was not compelled to retreat before a threat from the outside, then he would be forced to carry through the sovietizing of Finland. This task by itself was much more difficult than the sovietizing of Eastern Poland. More difficult from a military standpoint, for Finland happened to be better prepared. More difficult from a national standpoint, for Finland possesses a long tradition of struggle for national independence from Russia, whereas the Ukrainians and the White Russians were fighting against Poland. More difficult from a social standpoint, for the Finnish bourgeoisie had in its own way solved the pre-capitalist agrarian problem through the creation of an agricultural petty-bourgeoisie. Nevertheless the military victory of Stalin over Finland would unquestionably have made fully possible an overthrow of property relations with more or less assistance from the Finnish workers and small farmers.

Why then didn’t Stalin carry out this plan? Because a colossal mobilization of bourgeois public opinion began against the USSR. Because England and France seriously posed the question of military intervention. Finally – last but not least in importance – because Hitler could wait no longer. The appearance of English and French troops in Finland would have meant a direct threat to Hitler’s Scandinavian plans which were based on conspiracy and surprise. Caught in the vise of a twofold danger – on one side from the Allies and from the other, Hitler-Stalin renounced sovietizing Finland, limiting himself to the seizure of isolated strategical positions.

The partisans of the “third camp” (the camp of the stampeding petty-bourgeois) now piece together the following construction: Trotsky deduced the civil war in Finland from the class nature of the USSR; inasmuch as no civil war occurred, that signifies the USSR is not a workers’ state. In reality there was no necessity whatever for logically “deducing” a possible civil war in Finland from a sociological definition of the USSR – it was sufficient to base oneself on the experience in Eastern Poland. The overturn in property relations which was accomplished there could have been achieved only by the state that issued from the October revolution. This overturn was forced upon the Kremlin oligarchy through its struggle for self-preservation under specific conditions. There was not the slightest ground for doubting that under analogous conditions it would find itself compelled to repeat the very same operation in Finland. That was all I pointed out. But conditions changed during the course of the struggle. War, like revolution, often develops abrupt turns. With the cessation of military operations on the part of the Red Army, naturally there could be no talk of the unfolding of civil war in Finland.

Every historical prognosis is always conditional, and the more concrete the prognosis, the more conditional it is. A prognosis is not a promissory note which can be cashed on a given date. Prognosis outlines only the definite trends of the development. But along with these trends a different order of forces and tendencies operate, which at a certain moment begin to predominate. All those who seek exact predictions of concrete events should consult the astrologists. Marxist prognosis aids only in orientation. I made reservations several times as to the conditionality of my prognosis as one of several possible variants. To clutch now, as the rock of salvation, at the tenth rate historical fact that the fate of Finland was temporarily determined on the pattern of Lithuania, Latvia and Esthonia rather than the pattern of Eastern Poland can occur only to sterile scholastics or – the leaders of the “third camp.”


The Defense of the Soviet Union

Stalin’s assault upon Finland was not of course solely an act in defense of the USSR. The politics of the Soviet Union is guided by the Bonapartist bureaucracy. This bureaucracy is first and foremost concerned with its power, its prestige, its revenues. It defends itself much better than it defends the USSR. It defends itself at the expense of the USSR and at the expense of the world proletariat. This was revealed only too clearly throughout the entire development of the Soviet-Finnish conflict. We cannot therefore either directly or indirectly take upon ourselves even a shadow of responsibility for the invasion of Finland which represents only a single link in the chain of the politics of the Bonapartist bureaucracy.

It is one thing to solidarize with Stalin, defend his policy, assume responsibility for it – as does the triply infamous Comintern – it is another thing to explain to the world working class that no matter what crimes Stalin may be guilty of we cannot permit world imperialism to crush the Soviet Union, reestablish capitalism, and convert the land of the October revolution into a colony. This explanation likewise furnishes the basis for our defense of the USSR.

The attempt of the conjunctural defeatists, i.e., the adventurers in defeatism, to extricate themselves from their difficulty by promising that in the event the Allies intervene they will change their defeatist policy to a defensist one is a contemptible evasion. It is in general not easy to determine one’s policies according to a stop watch, especially under wartime conditions. In the critical days of the Soviet-Finnish war, as has now become known – the Allied general staffs reached the conclusion that serious and quick aid to Finland could come only through destroying the Murmansk railway by bombing it from the air. From the point of view of strategy this was quite correct. The question of intervention or non-intervention by the Allied air forces hung by a hair. From the same hair apparently, the principled position of the “third camp” also dangled. But from the very beginning we considered that it was necessary to determine one’s position in accordance with the basic class camps in the war. This is much more reliable.


No Surrender to the Enemy of Positions Already Won

The policy of defeatism is not punishment of a given government for this or that crime it has committed but a conclusion from the class relationships. The Marxist line of conduct in war is not based on abstract moral and sentimental considerations but on the social appraisal of a regime in its reciprocal relations with other regimes. We supported Abyssinia not because the Negus was politically or “morally” superior to Mussolini but because the defense of a backward country against colonial oppression deals a blow to imperialism, which is the main enemy of the world working class. We defend the USSR independently of the policy of the Moscow Negus for two fundamental reasons. First, the defeat of the USSR would supply imperialism with new colossal resources and could prolong for many years the death agony of capitalist society. Secondly, the social foundations of the USSR, cleansed of the parasitic bureaucracy are capable of assuring unbounded economic and cultural progress, while the capitalist foundations disclose no possibilities except further decay.

What unmasks the noisy critics most of all is that they continued to consider the USSR a workers’ state at a time when Stalin was destroying the Bolshevik party; when he was strangling the proletarian revolution in Spain; when he was betraying the world revolution in the name of “People’s Fronts” and “collective security.” Under all these conditions they recognized the necessity of defending the USSR as a workers’ state! But no sooner did this same Stalin invade “democratic” Finland, no sooner did bourgeois public opinion of the imperialist democracies – which covered up and approved all Stalins’ crimes against the communists, the workers and the peasants – raise a howl to the skies, than our innovators immediately declared: “Yes, this is intolerable!” And following Roosevelt they declared a moral embargo against the Soviet Union.

Educated witch-doctor Burnham’s reasoning on the theme that by defending the USSR we thereby defend Hitler, is a neat little specimen of petty-bourgeois fatheadedness which seeks to force contradictory reality into the framework of a two-dimensional syllogism. By defending the Soviet Republic after the Brest-Litovsk peace did the workers support Hohenzollern? Yes or no? The programmatic theses of the Fourth International on war which deal in detail with this question, establish categorically that agreements between a soviet state and this or that imperialist state do not place any restrictions upon the revolutionary party of that state. The interests of the world revolution stand above an isolated diplomatic combination, however justifiable the latter may be in and of itself. By defending the USSR we struggle far more seriously against Stalin, as well as Hitler, than do Burnham and Co.

It is true, Burnham and Shachtman do not stand alone. Leon Jouhaux, the notorious agent of French capitalism, also waxes indignant over the fact that the “Trotskyists defend the USSR.” Who should be indignant if not he! But our attitude toward the USSR is the same as our attitude towards the CGT (General Confederation of Labor) we defend it against the bourgeoisie despite the fact that the Confederation is headed by scoundrels like Leon Jouhaux who deceive and betray the workers at every step. The Russian Mensheviks likewise are howling: “The Fourth International is in a Blind Alley!” because the Fourth International still continues to recognize the USSR as a workers’ state. These gentlemen themselves are members of the Second International, which is led by such eminent traitors as the typical bourgeois mayor Huysmans, and Leon Blum, who betrayed an exceptionally favorable revolutionary situation in June 1936 and thereby made possible the present war. The Mensheviks recognize the parties of the Second International as workers’ parties but refuse to recognize the Soviet Union as a workers’ state on the ground that at its head stand bureaucratic traitors. This falsehood reeks with brazenness and cynicism. Stalin, Mobtoy, and the rest, as a social layer are no better and no worse than the Blums, Jouhaux, Citrines, Thomases, etc. The difference between them is only this, that Stalin and Co. exploit and cripple the viable economic foundation of socialist development, while the Blums cling to the thoroughly rotted foundation of capitalist society.

The workers’ state must be taken as it has emerged from the merciless laboratory of history and not as it is imagined by a “socialist” professor, reflectively exploring his nose with his finger. It is the duty of revolutionists to defend every conquest of the working class even though it may he distorted by the pressure of hostile forces. Those who cannot defend old positions will never conquer new ones.

April 25, 1940