It is ironic, but the western capitalist governments were not the biggest anticommunists of the planet. True, they claimed that communism was the biggest enemy of liberty, freedom and they supported anticommunist dictatorships. But when we look at the actual politics of the so called ”socialist” nations of the world between 1945 and 1990, we see a rather different picture. Although some progressive things were realized, the governments of Eastern Europe, the USSR and China were rather conservative on social issues and stood against workers rights such as the freedom to form a trade union and the freedom to strike!
Revolutionary socialists are anti-stalinists, therefore we stand in opposition to single party regimes who call themselves ”socialist”. Unlike social democrats or moderate socialists, revolutionary socialists did not reject the revolutionary principals of Marxism and Leninism. We rejected the dogmatic totalitarian system that was developed by Stalin and exported to all self-styled ”socialist” republics on the planet. Revolutionary socialists have never allied ourselves with governments who claim to be ”socialist”, but deny workers the right to form a trade union or the right to strike. Unfortunate most communists and too many leftists gave support to Stalinist regimes, fueling the anticommunist propaganda that all revolutionary leftists support totalitarianism!
Stalinism not only wishes to nationalize the means of production. It also wants to remove the petite bourgeoisie, shop-keepers and workers who manage the production for the capitalist class. Revolutionary socialists do not wish to nationalize all shops. It would be pointless to nationalize the property of a local bakery. Unlike the stalinists, we do not want state control over the economy. In fact, revolutionary socialists stand for bottom up planning. Democratic means must be used in this proces, social media can play a huge role in the planning and production of goods and services!
A Stalinist economy is centralized top down and inflexibel. There are only two states in the world who keep their economy deeply centralized. The most famous is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This classic Stalinist nation has banned private ownership of almost anything on paper. But in reality there are small businesses operating inside the DPRK. Also many high ranking officials have their own economic means to generate income for themselves!
North Korea’s planned economy is limited by the geographical location of the nation. Because its ruling ideology calls for minimum trade with other nations, the DPRK has almost completely isolated itself from the world. Most means of production are outdated, the nation has to run on technology produced 50 years ago. North Korea requires a lot of fuel to run their old machines, this is why there is a lot of power shortages. After 1991, cheap Soviet oil disappeared and Russian capitalists demanded market prices. China replaced Russia as main trading partner. Still the economy of the DPRK is a shadow of the South Korean economy!
The Republic of Cuba is seen by many communists as the last bastion of ”real socialism” against the capitalist world. Revolutionary socialists have never called Cuba a socialist nation, unless you belong to those who are blinded by the Castro propaganda machine. Although the island has a good health and education system, the top down centralized economy is limiting its economic abilities. This is why Cuban leaders have started with capitalist reforms which will produce a small class of wealthy Cubans. These Cubans will enjoy a higher standard of living because they own means of production. Sure, the government will keeps their hands on most critical parts of the economy, but like China it is very possible that Cuba moves towards state-capitalism, while the communist party keeps absolute political power!
To say that the the biggest anticommunists were the communists themselves is like saying that the biggest enemies of christianity were the christians themselves. But we make the case by presenting facts that support our theory, that Stalinist regimes were in fact deeply anticommunist in nature. We have to compare Marxist ideals with the reality that stalinism showed us. Did the working class gained control over the nations in question? If so then why did those ”socialist” regimes collapsed between 1989 and 1991. In only two years, all Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe were gone. Replaced by capitalist societies in which there is a huge gap, between the new bourgeoisie and the working class!
Marxism calls for the rule of the proletariat or working class. The class of people who have to sell their labour in order to gain income. Capitalists take their income from owing business, they get all the profits created by workers. Big capitalists like Donald Trump can hire people to do the job of running a business for them. Most big bosses however like to run their own enterprises, as it gives them power. To remove the capitalists from power we need a workers party on a socialist program. A party for workers, by workers!
Vladimir Lenin called for a disciplined party of workers to govern a socialist society. This is were stalinism claims to be loyal to leninism. In reality, Lenin never called for a single party state. He called for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the rule of the working class. The single party system grew out of the civil war and the White Terror of the counterrevolutionaries!
Anticommunists claim that Lenin created the single party state, because he wanted to rule unopposed. If this is so when why did he not removed all critics in the first months of his regime? Why was there no Red Terror in the first year after the October Revolution? How was it possible that the Menshevik Party was not fully banned until 1921, four years after the revolution? In fact only one organisation was banned by the Bolshevik government. A far-right monarchist movement called the Black Hundreds. These monarchists wanted a return to czarism, called for the total eradication of Jews and the destruction of the soviets (workers councils)!
The Red Terror came after anticommunist forces tried with violence to destroy the soviets. Lenin himself was attacked twice by counterrevolutionaries who opposed him. After he survived the second attempt on his life, Lenin called for the Red Terror to save the revolution from collapsing. It is true that many innocents were killed, but at the same time also many guilty people were stopped from murdering Soviet officials. However the harsh policy of the Soviet government could not prevent the White Terror against supporters of the soviets. In Baku (Azerbaijan) the local anticommunist government under British supervision, executed 26 members of the Baku Soviet. Finish anticommunists killed over 8.200 supporters of the shot-lived Finish Socialist Workers Republic in 1918. A year later the Hungarian Soviet Republic, was overrun by the reactionary Romanian Army. Their White Terror murdered over 5.000 people including Jews, communists and moderate socialists. Lenin knew the consequences of losing the Russian civil war!
After the defeat of the anticommunists in 1922, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was founded. However the nation was ruined after five years of brutal civil war. Famine had killed millions and most infrastructure lay in ruïnes. The communist party was the only force which held the USSR together. Soon only members of the party could become elected to the soviets, which turned them into rubber-stamp organisations. By late 1923, Vladimir Lenin became too ill and was replaced by a troika of Bolsheviks led by Joseph Stalin. This Georgian born individual would lay the groundwork of a political system, Lenin feared in the last months of his life. Although he wanted to fight Stalin at the upcoming party congress, Lenin died in January 1924 after a final stroke!
Stalin started with rewarding friends with good paid government jobs. These early stalinists would support him in the struggles against Bolsheviks who criticized Stalin. Slowly the ”Man of Steel” removed his critics from important government positions. By 1927 he made his final move and expelled all members of the Left Opposition. Criticisms of his rule was called ”counterrevolutionary” and hostile to the new state dogma called Marxism-Leninism (Stalinism)!
Although Joseph Stalin and his gang controlled the communist party by 1930. The man of steel feared the old Bolsheviks. People who led the revolution with Lenin, people who were still popular with a the masses. Although Leon Trotsky was expelled to Turkey, others like Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoview were re-allowed into the party after denouncing Trotsky. Stalin then turned against the rightist opposition led by Nicolai Bukharin, a younger Bolshevik and a supporter of the New Economic Politics. The stalinists had worked with the rightist opposition against Trotsky. But now the Red Czar no longer needed them. Bukharin lost his position on the politbureau in 1929. Like Zinoview and Kamenev he pleaded and begged, but Stalin wanted him gone!
Before the stalinists could start with the final elimination of Lenin’s party, they needed to remove even those who were too popular. Joseph Stalin never liked party members who were more popular then he was. Sergei Mironovich Kirov from Leningrad never wanted to be great. He was a loyal stalinist, supportive of Stalin since the late 1920’s. But when Kirov was elected into the party’s Central Committee with only three negative votes, Stalin started to fear him. Kirov was murdered by Leonid Nikolajev on 1 December 1934, outside his home!
Some say that the NKVD allowed Nikolajev to carry out the assassination. In any way it helped Stalin to start planning the purges. Grigory Zinoview was blamed as Nikolajev was forced to confess to a fictional plot by Zinoview, to kill the loyal Kirov. Leonid Nikolajev was found guilty and executed. Stalin then moved against Zinoview by expelling him and his supporters from the communist party. They were arrested and jailed. In prison after months of torture, they would confess to fictional crimes against the Soviet state!
In 1936 it was time to start the great purge. Stalin wanted all former critics gone, killed or silenced forever. The Moscow Trials resulted in the execution of the imprisoned; Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoview. The Stalinist government called them part of a fictional ”Trotskyite-Kamenevite-Zinovievite-Leftist-Counter-Revolutionary Bloc”. A bloc to overthrow Soviet power and install a ”Trotskyist” regime. By now it was typical for stalinists to call their revolutionary opponents ”trotskyite-fascists”!
The Great Terror lasted two years and killed between 600.000 and 1,2 million party members, workers and peasants. Not only civilians were arrested and trialed. Stalin also purged the military. Out of the six army marshals in 1936, only two survived.Vasily Blokhin was Stalin’s butcher. He killed many old Bolsheviks personally, this is why he was selected by the Man of Steel himself. Blokhin was a guy ready to go the dirty work of killing the ”enemies of socialism” as the Stalinist government claimed. He became also famous for killing the first two NKVD bosses, who fell out of favor with Stalin. Genrikh Yagoda was killed in 1938 and Nikolai Yezhov in 1940. All by a gunshot to the neck by Vasily Blokhin!
Not only members of the All Union Communist Party were murdered. The Stalinist terror machine also started to kill foreign communists. People who fled to the USSR in the hope of finding safety from anticommunist regimes. By the start of the 1940’s few original communist leaders had survived the purges. Those who did either kept their mouth or became dogmatic stalinist, with a slave loyalty to Joseph Stalin. The Red Czar was now in full control of both the party and the state. Party members were so afraid they kept on praising and applauding. Nobody dared to stop applauding the ”Great Stalin”. We still see this in North Korea were people are forced to praise the ”Great Leader” Kim Jong Un!
Communist parties had been purged of critical member since 1927. In the propaganda of the Communist International, the trials and execution of old Bolsheviks was presented as a ”victory of Soviet justice against the counterrevolutionary trotskyite-fascists”. In reality it was a move by the stalinists to turn the USSR into their personal empire. Loyal members of the party were rewarded and got good paid jobs, a nice home with electricity and running water. After the second world war, Joseph Stalin’s empire was greater then ever. He controlled puppet states in Eastern Europe and Soviet influence was feel-able in most nations of the world!
The capitalist USA feared what that could do to their own ambition. Many revolutionaries turned to the USSR as a role model. Most of not all communists in the 1950’s, believed deeply that the Soviet-Union had build socialism and was moving towards communism. The reality was different and revolutionary socialists knew this. But we were a minority as the workers movement was dominated by anticommunist social democrats and stalinists, who claimed to be revolutionary leftist!
A revolutionary who believed in the propaganda of Moscow was a young Argentinian dokter called Ernesto Guevara. Born in June 1928, Guevara became a communist after he saw the terrible reality of capitalist exploitation in Latin America. A major player in exploiting poor farmers was the American: United Fruit Company. This enterprise owned most of the farm land and was a key player in the international banana export. Guevara’s tour through Latin America led him to hate inequality and the system that created it!
Guevara joined up with Cuban revolutionaries to start a guerrilla war against dictator Batista in Cuba. After a five year conflict, the government collapsed and Ernesto Guevara became a minister in a new revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro. As minister, Guevara oversaw the land reforms which ended the monopoly of rich families. Even the wealthy family of Fidel Castro lost their lands. Although the Cuban Revolution ended capitalist rule, workers rule was not established. Like the Stalinist governments in Europe, Castro ordered government installed managers to run nationalized enterprises. Capitalist bosses were replaced by state bosses!
Minister ”Che” Guevara wanted to replaced the capitalist mindset with a socialist one. Although this is not wrong, the way it was implemented was not right. It was done by force and win out democratic consent of workers. The ”New Man” as Castro and Guevara saw it would be selfless and cooperative, obedient and hard working, gender-blind, incorruptible, non-materialistic and anti-imperialist. Problem was that their dictatorial way of leadership led many Cubans to immigrate to the USA. This was bad propaganda for Castro as the capitalist media claimed that people were fleeing ”Socialist Cuba” for the ”Free World”!
Those Cubans who did not behave according the dogma’s of Marxism-Leninism were called ”lazy” and ”counterrevolutionary”. It became forbidden to listen to western music like Rock-‘n-roll. Soon the Cuban government banned anything that was not in line with revolutionary dogma. Homosexuality was seen as a ”bourgeois perversion” and gay’s were prosecuted. On social issues the stalinists were conservative and tried to limit personal freedoms. We keep seeing this among communist parties in the former USSR. The Communist Party of Ukraine has called for a total ban on gay pride marches, it also wants to ban homosexuality. In Russia, the communist party sides with the conservatives in the Kremlin, by supporting reactionary laws against LGBT groups!
Revolutionary socialists agree that it would be better if we had a world free from dogmatic materialism, commercialism, consumerism and greed. A world free from these things would be huge improvement for humanity. But you cannot force this down on humans with a dictatorial government. This was the biggest mistake the stalinists made. They imposed their views on a top down system, with no debates or democratic participation from the actual working class. The Cuban Revolution by itself was not a workers revolution. It was a nationalist revolution led by idealistic guerrilla’s. Although the general population was happy with the removal of Batista, workers played no role in removing him!
Because stalinism favors a single party state, corruption grows easily. We can look at Eastern Europe for this corruption. Communist parties took control there as Soviet forces removed the old monarchies and fascist governments. By 1949, the nations of East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Albania were under Stalinist control. In all of these nations, the ruling parties gave special privileges to their members. Stalinists could shop in special stores which had western products, which were not available for Soviet workers. Also party privilege gave you the right to buy a car and you could travel to other parts of the USSR. Freedom of movement was less restrictive for those who were high ranking party members!
Yugoslavia was one of the few nations that broke with the Stalinist world as it rejected slave obedience to Moscow. Josip Tito was a proud man and refused to bow to Joseph Stalin. He was no slave to anybody and because his partisans liberated Yugoslavia on their own, he felt no personal loyalty to the Kremlin. Tito was told by Stalin how to run his nation and that was a bridge too far. He said that Moscow had no right to intervene in Yugoslav affairs. This angered the Red Czar who expelled Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau. Josip Tito did not care and ruled as President for Life until his death in 1980. On economic issues Tito broke with classic stalinism, by introducing both capitalist and socialist elements!
Yugoslav workers were told to run nationalized enterprises themselves. Enterprises were under self-management and compete with each other for profit. In a way, the economy under Josip Tito was a market economy under state ownership, run by workers themselves. This system collapsed at the end of the 1980’s when capitalism was reintroduced. After the brutal Yugoslav wars, capitalism now rules supreme in all former republics of Yugoslavia. Tito is only remembered by the elderly, who remember the days when they had a glimp of what is possible under a socialist system!
Other East European nations could not follow Tito’s direction. Most Stalinist leaders were happy enough to govern under Stalin’s eyes. East Germany’s leader Walter Ulbricht saw himself as the German Lenin, but he failed to understand why workers rose up against him in 1953. Stalinist Germany was build on massive propaganda and lies. With the birth of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, workers were told to work harder for lower wages to compete with the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany. This was very unfair because West Germany got billions through the Marshall Plan, while East Germany lost most of its means of production to the Soviet-Union. After the war, the Soviets had taken any undamaged machinery and moved it back to the USSR. The German Democratic Republic did not had the money nor the means to compete with the Federal Republic of Germany!
Joseph Stalin died in march 1953. His successors soon turned against the old Stalinist gang. Killers like NKVD boss Beria and executioner Blokhin, lost their jobs, status and party membership. Beria was executed in a classic Stalinist way, his pleading for forgiveness and rehabilitation fell on deaf ears. Blokhin ended up losing everything. He was found death in februari 1955 in his apartment. The official story was that he killed himself with alcohol. Although it also possible that the new KGB played a role too!
Workers in East Germany were told by Walter Ulbricht to work harder and longer. Angered by this they disobeyed their state managers and went on strike. Striking is illegal in most Stalinist nations and the East German government was in shock. What really caused Walter Ulbricht to panic, was the fact that many members of the ruling socialist unity party (SED), sympathized with the striking workers. Soviet tanks were called to end the strike by brutal force force. 55 strikers were shot death and more then 5.000 were arrested. The propaganda claimed that ”fascist elements in East Germany had tried to overthrow socialism”. In reality it was the working class who went on strike, against higher workload and longer hours. At first their demands were only economic, but soon evolved into political demands such as free elections and free speech, all denied to them by Ulbricht and his SED!
Poland has a proud history of working class actions against stalinism. Workers never accepted the totalitarian rule of the Polish United Workers Party. After the Hungarian uprising, the Polish stalinists realized they too were deeply unpopular. To compensate for this they started to boost state nationalism. We see it in all nations that are led by a communist party. The Workers Party of Korea evolved into a extreme nationalist party which can be called far-right today. Communist parties in Vietnam and China embraced nationalism so strong that they fight each other, over a few uninhabitable islands. Nationalism can also be found in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is loyal to ”Mother Russia” and boosts about Russian culture and traditions!
Nationalism is the only thing left for the communist parties in China and Vietnam. Since they embraced the capitalist economy and rule of greed, nationalism is the only ideological force left. They cannot use Marxism anymore as no worker in China and Vietnam, will believe the lies that they nations are workers states. It is true that the ruling parties still claim to be Marxist, but with Marxist they mean obedience to the communist party, not to Marxism as a revolutionary ideology!
In 2016 it is reported that China has more millionaires then the USA. Proofing how far the degeneration of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has come. There are many super rich but over 800 million Chinese remain poor and have to struggle against pollution, government corruption, exploitation and capitalist greed. The CCP stands with the new ruling class in suppressing workers rights. Western enterprises exploit millions of workers, who produce the majority of plastic products made today. For revolutionary socialists the rise of the billionaire class, proofs the anticommunist nature of the CCP!
There are two kinds of stalinists today in the year 2016. The classic ones and the reformed ones. Those who have reformed are called revisionists by the classic stalinists, because they are willing to accept that Stalin made ”mistakes” and killed innocents. These stalinists embraced Nikita Khrushchev and later Soviet leaders. But the classic stalinists reject any criticism of their icon Stalin. Chinese dictator Mao Zedong was a classic Stalinist who rejected the Soviet line of Khrushchev. Mao was supported by a number of anti-revisionist groups and the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania. This state was created by Enver Hoxha in 1944 and like Yugoslavia, Albania liberated itself from fascism!
Hoxha rejected Khrushchev and isolated his nation from the Eastern Bloc. In China, Mao Zedong’s insane politics led to the Great Leap Forward, which was a huge failure and a social catastrophe with over 25 million Chinese dying due to famine. It was a enormous embarrassment for the Chinese Communist Party, so Chairman Mao was moved into the shadows for his own good. In 1966 however he returned, to lead the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Another radical idea of Mao to purge China of its ancient culture and way of life by brutal force!
The Red Guards were created, made up of teenagers brainwashed with a deep hatred of anything that was not loyal to Mao Zedong. These Red Guards went into the country to destroy the old world by brutal force. Priests, teachers and even their own parents were denounced and victimized. They were bullied, intimidated and called ”class enemies” or ”right-wing scum” by these Red Guard terror groups. Many were beaten to death as police and army were told not to intervene!
The Cultural Revolution was brutal and unforgiving. Instead of moving China forward it brought the nation to a hold. However two years after the Red Guards were created Mao Zedong started to fear his own creation. His ”Hitler Youth” was so radical revolutionary that they started to question the legitimacy of communist party rule. Although brainwashed to see Mao as a living saint, the Red Guards were furious at the fact that party members enjoyed privileges and a better standard of living. The most radical Red Guards wanted to abolish all privileges and demanded that party members lived the life of a proletarian worker. This was surprisingly more in line with revolutionary socialist thinking. But for the bureaucrats of the communist party and even Mao himself, this was a bridge too far!
Mao ordered the People’s Liberation Army to stop the Red Guards from attacking party offices and high raking officials. By 1968, this became necessary as many party leaders were fearing for their lives. The Red Guards were so brutal and dogmatic that they could kill whole families. With unforgiving force, the PLA attacked Red Guards who refused to surrender. Mao Zedong himself ordered the guard disbanded which shocked the brainwashed teens. Boys and girls were crying as they were told to disband their movement. Those who did not gave up were hunted down and eliminated by the PLA. In the end, the radical Red Guards became victims of their own icon, who started to fear what he created!
With the death of Mao in 1976, the Cultural Revolution finally came to an end. Seven years later, Deng Xiaoping openend the first special economic zones, which allowed western capitalists to exploit Chinese workers. Deng lay the groundwork for the state-capitalist counterrevolution. Stalinist regimes across the world were happy that China now moved into the reformed camp. Albania and North Korea remained the last states who kept true to classic stalinism. North Korea however had in fact renounced Marxism-Leninism as ruling ideology in 1972. It was replaced by the personal ideology of Kim Il Sung called Juche, a mixture of stalinism, nationalism, militarism and isolationism. North Korea removed the last portraits of Marx and Lenin in 2009. All references to communism was purged from the North Korean Constitution that same year!
Stalinism was an anticommunist ideology. It gave the capitalist media a very powerful weapon against the political left. A weapon which is still used to scare people on television, see Glenn Beck for that. Stalinism returns from its grave when the capitalist media is attacking leftists, who call for socialism. Nobody wants a regime like that of these two dictators. However because all members of communist parties supported stalinism, the media of the world wrongly portrays the USSR and other former people’s republics as ”communist states”!
Revolutionary socialists have never been on the side of these ”communist states”. We reject the common believe that stalinism was communism. Classic stalinists may blame the downfall of the USSR on people like Khrushchev and Gorbachev. But the real reasons for the collapse of ”real existing socialism” was because it was a dictatorship over the proletariat. Workers were able too see straight through the pseudo-Marxist propaganda of the communist parties. They knew the truth and by 1990 had enough of 70 years of corruption, party privileges and political oppression in the name of Marxism-Leninism (Stalinism)!