[lbo-talk] Edmund Wilson on Stalin

Julio Huato juliohuato at gmail.com
Sun Dec 11 07:35:17 PST 2011

Doug cited:

"This relation of the people to the dictatorship is the core of the whole Russian question and must be faced and dealt with by any advocate of socialism in America. It seems to me obviously impossible that s socialist government in the United States should resemble the state of things in Russia; and it is totally unrealistic for either the opponents or the champions of socialism to talk as if socialism would mean for us the naïveté’s of a Stalin regime."

Last summer, at Holden Village, WA, in almost every session there would be one or two people expressing concerns about purges, Gulags, cultural revolutions, death penalty, etc. My reply was that -- although the attempts of U.S. working people to direct history, whether we view them that way or not, would be part of the same historical tradition of the Russian and the Chinese revolutions -- the U.S. had an intellectual and political history so different from those of Russia or China. I usually ended my answer saying that I just couldn't envision the culture that had created iPhones, iPads, and i-Stuff all of a sudden producing a Stalinist regime without Stalin or a Cultural Revolution without Mao. And that reply went well with my audiences.

What Wilson wrote is not that different from what Isaac Deutscher and E.H. Carr wrote.

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