Max against anti Stalinism?

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Apr 21 22:38:29 PDT 1999

Dear Max,

You said something dismissive about wimpy anti Stalinist Leftists. I just found in the bookstore EH Carr's *Twilight of the Comintern* which will shed light (I imagine) on the Stalinist handcuffing of Communist Parties during important turning points in the workers' movement. It will also let me get a handle on the united front strategy that Dimitriov's epigone Chris Burford has been promulgating here.

There were however a few notable theoretical contributions by Stalinists: the British Communist Party's *Twelve Lessons in Political Economy* 1933 (Grossmann, a Stalinist, gets lumped in here with the social fascists, but still there are moments of interest); TA Jackson's *Dialectics* 1936 (see discussion in *Proletarian Philosophers* by Sartre scholar Jonathan Ree who argues that Jackson's work was the finest product of his time); William J Blake's *Marxian Economic Theory and Its Criticism* 1939; Henryk Grossmann *The Law of Accumulation and the Breakdown of the Capitalist System* 1929. After WWII, the following were published: Alfred Sohn Rethel *Intellectual and Manual Labour*, *Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism*, Jack Lindsay *Marxism and Contempory Science*, George Thomson *Capitalism and After* (3 short volumes), and Galvano Della Volpe, *Logic as a Positive Science*.

No one I know takes Georg Lukacs' Stalinist work seriously, though I think there are real insights in *Destruction of Reason* and a few of the essays in *Marxism and Human Liberation*, ed. E San Juan (see Tom Rockmore's critical study of Lukacs *Irrationalism*; Lukacs' aesthetics seem to be clearest indication of the degeneration of a great Marxian mind, so Donna tells me).

There is also the question of Maurice Dobb's economic history of the Soviet Union, which I understand never dealt in any detail with the purges...even the very last editions. EP Thompson argued Althusser was a theoretical Stalinist, but I consider him overrated. At any rate, if you ever do decide to come out as an unrepetant Stalinist, perhaps you may want to presently keep an eye out for some of these books in your local used stores. You are going to need the back up, firepower, ax-picks, etc. You may also want to get Mark Jones to resub.

Also do read some of the work of those Stalin murdered too--II Rubin, EA Preobrazhensky, Leon Trotsky, N Bukharin, Karl Radek and the history of the nameless shot down at Kronstadt (see Paul Avrich's history which is an indictment of course of the Leninism that Stalin extended). There is also Mao's *Critique of Soviet Economics*. I think you will find that Mattick took whatever contributions there were in Stalinist economics and combined them with Rosa Luxemburg's political theory to revive Marxism as the theoretical defense of the self emancipation of the working class after the mutilation of Marx by Leninists, Stalinists and Maoists.

Yours, Rakesh

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