A Critical Appraisal of
November 1, 2022
‘On The Historical Experience of
The Dictatorship of The Proletariat’
(Written and Published by CPC’s People’s Daily)
Polemics on Classics – In Defence of Stalin
Since late forties, there has been going on a wave of wild attacks on Stalin as well as Soviet Socialism as built and led by him after the death of Lenin. The most recent one has been triggered by a dwarf like Kavita Krishnan, a Polit Bureau member of CPI (ML) Liberation group – the only Naxalite outfit that openly joined the rubbish bin of Indian Khrushchevites and even called Gorbachev as ‘comrade’ Gorbachev, once giving red salutes to him – the man who engineered and presided over the dissolution of USSR. Therefore, it is natural that it invited a fierce counter attack, apart from other revolutionary sections, from the members and intellectuals attached with one or the other Naxalite group. Kavita Krishnan is being ”honoured” with so many ”tags” and ”labels”, including that of being a hidden Khrushchevite. However, there was nothing hidden in this. However, many of such revolutionaries will seldom accept the fact that Mao and CPC led by him had also attacked Stalin, though craftily, by praising Khrushchev’s wild vilification campaign against Stalin patronisingly and in the name of this well-known false ground that he (Khrushchev) was doing a great job by eradicating the poisonous cult of individual built around Stalin (and also allegedly encouraged and fostered by him) that had led to serious deviations in state affairs, Soviet social life as well as in party life since 1930s. It may be a matter of surprise for many of the comrades of different CPI(ML) factions that the well-known anti-Stalin essay ”On the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat” supplemented Khrushchev’s vilification campaign at the most crucial time from the point of view of Khrushchev’s final victory in the CPSU. Who wrote this essay? It was written by CPC and published by the People’s Daily press just after the Khrushchev’s infamous speech delivered in the 20th Congress of the CPSU. It also predates to its first ever publication in the USA.
Even this most recent attack, as ever before, is of the same nature; that Stalin was a dictator as bad as or even worse than Hitler; that the socialism practiced under his leadership was akin to autocratic dictatorship and similar to fascist dictatorship; that there was no democracy, even not as much as that found in liberal bourgeois democracy and et al. This is the same old wine in a new bottle. This has been the continuous campaign of the western and American imperialism since the end of the second world war.
However, the first ever ”mighty” blows came from within the communist camp, particularly from the country where the October Revolution was accomplished and the powerful union of Soviet socialist republic (USSR) capable of defeating the dreaded fascist Hitler was established. In the 20th Congress of CPSU held in 1956, Khrushchev who happened to become the leader of the CPSU and Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, started the most virulent vilification campaign against Stalin. But, like all other traitors, he was a coward. The blows came secretly in a secretly held meeting consisting of Khrushchev’s most trusted followers. Others, who Khrushchev didn’t believe would keep it secret, were excluded. No document containing the Khrushchev’s secret speech was provided to foreign fraternal delegates who were also selected according to Khrushchev’s wishes. But it wasn’t all that was to come. As if what transpired in the secret speech wasn’t enough, the Khrushchev’s vilification was supplemented by CPC forthwith, just after the 20th Congress of CPSU, by writing the above-mentioned essay ”on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat” that not only justified the Khrushchev’s campaign but made it palatable to other communist parties of the world. The method applied was a patronising one.
This article, that constitutes a part of a series of articles to be published under the headline ”In Defence of Stalin”, humbly tries to single-mindedly unravel the above method, as applied by CPC, to supplement Khrushchev. However, it also touches on some theoretical aspects (such as on contradiction and from the masses to the masses) inasmuch as the CPC’s above mentioned essay forays into, while pursuing its patronising method of criticising Stalin. However, we would like to take up these theoretical aspects once again so that an in-depth analysis is done and published in further issues of The Truth.
When we ask ourselves as to what would have been the purpose of writing this essay at a time when a wild vilification campaign against Stalin was afoot, while the CPC already knew it, we get only this answer: CPC wrote this essay to rationalise, supplement, encourage and, on the whole, to patronise Khrushchev’s slanderous campaign against Stalin, otherwise the timing of the publication of this essay remains unexplainable. By this time, the ”secret speech” wasn’t published. Who else than a dedicated anti-Stalin could write this piece at that time? If CPC hadn’t come out with this article, the communist revolutionary ranks of the world would have certainly exploded like a bomb on the ”secret speech” and its author, especially when they would have come to know and read it for the first time. This booklet from the pen of Mao wiped out any such possibility. CPC’s and Mao’s high prestige thus came as rescuer of Khrushchev. On the other hand, even if we suppose that such a sum up of the historical experience of DOP was at all needed, a different time could have been chosen, so that no help whatsoever was provided to Khrushchev – the running dog of imperialism – who was hell bent upon harming and taking the international communist movement off the track. But just the opposite happened. CPC came to supplement Khrushchev, instead of exposing his real intentions.
What we exactly find in this piece is that it all along admires Khrushchev’s efforts of maligning the image of Stalin in the name of the so called courageous steps taken to combat the problem of the cult of individual, allegedly encouraged and built by Stalin around himself and also to rectify other past mistakes that had allegedly surrounded, engulfed and taken over the state and party affairs due to this overgrowing cult, affecting even the relations with fraternal parties in the whole world.
After a few years, CPC wrote ”Once again on the historical experience of the proletariat” in which central allegations against Stalin remains intact, but CPC shown signs of having revised some of its positions about Khrushchev and softened his attitude towards Stalin. It was at best a half-hearted retreat, as if done under pressure of circumstances and also without proper explanation, whereas the CPC’s central positions with respect to Stalin didn’t change to any considerable extent. It didn’t change much even during and after the GPCR. Taking this into consideration, I therefore have decided to restrain my comments in this article to the first essay only. The comments however are wide in range and also cover some theoretical aspects, as stated before.
I also beg our readers to forgive me for lengthy quotes which are necessary to present the whole picture for those readers who might not have read this essay.
Let us begin with quoting the very first two paragraphs of HEDP –
”The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union summed up the fresh experience gained both in international relations and domestic construction. … The question of combating the cult of the individual occupied an important place in the discussions of the 20th Congress.The Congress very sharply exposed the prevalence of the cult of the individual which, for a long time in Soviet life, had given rise to many errors in work and had led to ill consequences. This courageous self-criticism of its past errors by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union demonstrated the high level of principle in inner Party life and the great vitality of Marxism-Leninism. In history and in all the capitalist countries of today, no governing political party or bloc in the service of the exploiting classes has ever dared to expose its serious errors conscientiously before the mass of its own members and the people. With the parties of the working-class things are entirely different. The parties of the working class serve the broad masses of the people; by self-criticism such parties lose nothing except their errors, they gain the support of the broad masses of the people. For more than a month now, reactionaries throughout the world have been crowing happily over self-criticism by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with regard to this cult of the individual. They say: Fine! The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the first to establish a socialist order, made appalling mistakes, and, what is more, it was Stalin himself, that widely renowned and honoured leader, who made them! The reactionaries think they have got hold of something with which to discredit the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and other countries. But they will get nothing for all their pains. Has any leading Marxist ever written that we could never commit mistakes or that it is absolutely impossible for a given Communist to commit mistakes? Isn’t it precisely because we Marxist-Leninists deny the existence of a “demigod” who never makes big or small mistakes that we Communists use criticism and self-criticism in our inner-Party life? (Emphases in bold added by us)
So, as the above quote from the essay under discussion, CPC puts its stamp of approval on the vilification campaign against Stalin in no uncertain terms. However, the method that transpires shows that the CPC, unlike Khrushchev, is cautious and exercises maximum vigilance when it resorts to supplementing Khrushchev, knowing fully well that Stalin’s achievements as a great Marxist-Leninist leader and teacher of the world proletariat as well as his image of being a life-long revolutionary or the bugbear of imperialism can’t be erased easily. Mao is here in no way comparable to Khrushchev who became ”naked as a servant of imperialism” while trying to hastily painting Stalin’s image with black colour. Mao also knew that Stalin commanded great honour of the oppressed people and the world proletariat. Seeing this, Khrushchev’s slander was unpalatable and wasn’t going to be accepted either by the CPC’s rank and file or of any other party. It is only CPC that using its high prestige made it palatable and acceptable to the largest possible audience among the oppressed people and world proletariat. The method applied was an accordingly a very intelligent one, one of pouring a lot of praises in the start, while towards the conclusion at any stage cleverly criticising what was of central importance in the debate. Let us see how.
”With the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the people and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Lenin, established the first socialist state on one-sixth of the earth. The Soviet Union speedily carried out socialist industrialization and collectivization of agriculture, developed socialist science and culture, established a solid union of many nationalities in the form of a union of the Soviets, and the formerly backward nationalities in the Soviet Union became socialist nationalities. During the Second World War, the Soviet Union was the main force in defeating fascism and saving European civilization. It also helped the peoples in the East to defeat Japanese militarism. All these glorious achievements pointed out to all mankind its bright future—socialism and communism, seriously shook the rule of imperialism and made the Soviet Union the first and strong bulwark in the world struggle for lasting peace. The Soviet Union has encouraged and supported all other socialist countries in their construction, and it has been an inspiration to the world socialist movement, the anti-colonialist movement and every other movement for the progress of mankind. These are the great achievements made by the people and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the history of mankind. The man who showed the Soviet people and Communist Party the way to these great achievements was Lenin. In the struggle to carry out Lenin’s principles, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, for its vigorous leadership, earned its credit, in which Stalin had an ineffaceable share. After Lenin’s death Stalin, as the chief leader of the Party and the state, creatively applied and developed Marxism-Leninism. In the struggle to defend the legacy of Leninism and against its enemies—the Trotskyites, Zinovievites and other bourgeois agents—Stalin expressed the will and wishes of the people and proved himself to be an outstanding Marxist-Leninist fighter. The reason why Stalin won the support of the Soviet people and played an important role in history was primarily because he, together with the other leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, defended Lenin’s line on the industrialization of the Soviet state and the collectivization of agriculture. By pursuing this line, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union brought about the triumph of socialism in the Soviet Union and created the conditions for the victory of the Soviet Union in the war against Hitler; these victories of the Soviet people conformed to the interests of the working class of the world and all progressive mankind. It was therefore quite natural for the name of Stalin to be greatly honoured throughout the world. But, having won such high honour among the people, both at home and abroad, by his correct application of the Leninist line, Stalin erroneously exaggerated his own role and counterposed his individual authority to the collective leadership, and as a result certain of his actions were opposed to certain fundamental Marxist-Leninist concepts which he himself had propagated. On the one hand, he recognized that the masses were the makers of history, that the Party must keep in constant touch with the people and that inner-Party democracy and self-criticism and criticism from below must be developed. On the other hand, he accepted and fostered the cult of the individual, and indulged in arbitrary individual actions. Thus, Stalin found himself in a contradiction on this question during the latter part of his life, with a discrepancy between his theory and practice.” (emphases in bold added)
If we first dissect the quote into pieces and then examine them carefully, first separately, and then on the whole, what we find is exactly what I have said above, pouring praises in the start and then in the conclusion criticising Stalin on the basic question involved in the debate i.e., taking the same position as Khrushchev in the main. To understand it let us take up what is given in bold with superscripts, one by one.
One with the superscript 3
It reads ”The man who showed the Soviet people and Communist Party the way to these great achievements was Lenin”.We find that this sentence is loaded with some important misplacement of timing of ”great achievements” and error in giving credit for those ”great achievements”. If it is not the lack of articulation, then it is an intentional misplacement aimed to undermine the great and almost the single-handed role of Stalin on the top in establishing a strong Soviet and workers’ state as one of the mightiest citadels of the world proletariat in the absence of great Lenin.
Let us come to the point. Lenin is being given credit for the great achievements such as, for example, the rapid socialist industrialisation and collectivisation of agriculture (see the sentences above the superscripted sentence) that took place in the period in which Lenin wasn’t alive to directly preside over these ”great achievements.” Then how come Lenin is being given credit. It means that here the name of Lenin was being unnecessarily but purposefully dragged i.e., to belittle Stalin’s image by contrapose it to Lenin’s. Stalin always said that he was just a humble disciple of Lenin and nothing else. So, the credit goes to Lenin finally, for whatever was achieved in the USSR. But that is not the issue here. The kind of attempt in CPC’s piece is aimed at something else. Here CPC uses Lenin to discredit Stalin, thinking no one will object. We know only Lenin’s name could have achieved this purpose of CPC. But only those, who are unaware of actual history and do not have any experience of such tricks and gimmicks, can be deceived by such dishonest presentational exercises.
Superscripted Sentence no. 4
It reads ”In the struggle to carry out Lenin’s principles, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, for its vigorous leadership, earned its credit, in which Stalin had an ineffaceable share.” Here Stalin is being treated as a shareholder of the credit earned by CC of the CPSU, and not as a leader of the CC of the CPSU that earned this credit under his leadership. Strange as it is, we can overlook this misplacement. Above sentence could be said about the period when Lenin was alive and leading, while Stalin was one of his closest comrade-in-arms and thus has ineffaceable share in the credit earned by CPSU under Lenin’s leadership and guidance. The period of achievements in the above quote doesn’t accord well with the way of presentation of real facts by CPC. The straight fact is that it was Stalin who led the USSR and the CPSU in the most difficult times after the death of great Lenin, almost leading the party members single-handedly when all the so called big leaders of Lenin’s time, except a few of them, were opposed to him and his idea (that was actually Lenin’s) of construction of socialism, rapid socialist industrialisation and collectivisation of agriculture, without which the USSR couldn’t have defeated the German fascists in the second world war. This was also the time when detractors were adding in number and broadening their bases everywhere and in every institution of the USSR. In all these years, Lenin’s teachings acted like inspiration and guide to him. It is obvious and as clear as day light. There is no need to especially mention or underline it. But it does not mean that CPC has the right to drop his name according to its own subjective wishes. Is this a correct way on the part of CPC to write about Stalin, a great leader, as having ”ineffaceable” share in the credit earned by the CPSU? Will anyone accept this method of summing up Stalin’s role? I hope none.
Equalising a leader of the stature of Stalin with other CC members must have some other intent. It is another matter that Stalin always considered himself as one of them and never put himself above the CC or CPSU. It is he who always said that eulogising a leader beyond a point leads to deviation. He taught us that no one is infallible. But acting in opposite manner and equalising all others with great leaders and teachers, also shows having particular intentions.
Superscripted Sentence No. 5
It reads – ”On the other hand, he accepted and fostered the cult of the individual, and indulged in arbitrary individual actions. Thus, Stalin found himself in a contradiction on this question during the latter part of his life, with a discrepancy between his theory and practice.” So, we find here that an open attack is coming from CPC which is similar to what was initiated by Khrushchev in his secret speech. Let us ask a simple question. Does CPC provide any fact in support of its allegations against Stalin? NO. One doesn’t find any even in the latter pages. This is an example of a purely subjective analysis of a great leader like Stalin that must be born out of some prejudices.
Let us come to another quote from the essay (on page 9) where it again accuses Stalin without facts.
”Marxist-Leninists hold that leaders play a big role in history. The people and their parties need forerunners who are able to represent the interests and will of the people, stand in the forefront of their historic struggles and serve as their leaders. It is utterly wrong to deny the role of the individual, the role of forerunners and leaders. But when any leader of the Party or the state places himself over and above the Party and the masses instead of in their midst, when he alienates himself from the masses, he ceases to have an all-round, penetrating insight into the affairs of the state. As long as this was the case, even so outstanding a personality as Stalin could not avoid making unrealistic and erroneous decisions on certain important matters. Stalin failed to draw lessons from isolated, local and temporary mistakes on certain issues and so failed to prevent them from becoming serious mistakes of a nation-wide or prolonged nature.
During the latter part of his life, Stalin took more and more pleasure in this cult of the individual, and violated the Party’s system of democratic centralism and the principle of combining collective leadership with individual responsibility. As a result, he made some serious mistakes such as the following: he broadened the scope of the suppression of counter-revolution; he lacked the necessary vigilance on the eve of the anti-fascist war; he failed to pay proper attention to the further development of agriculture and the material welfare of the peasantry; he gave certain wrong advice on the international communist movement, and, in particular, made a wrong decision on the question of Yugoslavia. On these issues, Stalin fell victim to subjectivism and one-sidedness, and divorced himself from objective reality and from the masses.”
Superscripted Sentence No. 6
It reads ”Stalin failed to draw lessons from isolated, local and temporary mistakes on certain issues and so failed to prevent them from becoming serious mistakes of a nation-wide or prolonged nature”. Here we can see that accusation labelled by CPC without supporting facts is becoming wilder and bolder. Even then, efforts are on to still make it as palatable as possible. This is only thing that separates CPC’s accusation from Khrushchev’s.
Superscripted Sentence no. 7
It reads that ”During the latter part of his life, Stalin took more and more pleasure in this cult of the individual, and violated the Party’s system of democratic centralism and the principle of combining collective leadership with individual responsibility. As a result, he made some serious mistakes such as the following: he broadened the scope of the suppression of counter-revolution; he lacked the necessary vigilance on the eve of the anti-fascist war; he failed to pay proper attention to the further development of agriculture and the material welfare of the peasantry; he gave certain wrong advice on the international communist movement, and, in particular, made a wrong decision on the question of Yugoslavia. On these issues, Stalin fell victim to subjectivism and one-sidedness, and divorced himself from objective reality and from the masses.”
Seeing it, one feels what else could have been said against Stalin that didn’t resemble what was said by Khrushchev in his secret speech? It is now clear that something is intentionally driven home in the minds of the people, the proletariat and the oppressed people of the whole world, especially on the eve of publication of the ”secret speech” in the USA? The strangest of all the accusation is that Stalin didn’t exercise vigilance on the eve of anti-fascist war by way of broadening the scope of suppression of counter-revolutionaries, and this is being said about a leader who led the Soviet people and army to snatch away almost an impossible victory from the jaws of Germans, while in western Europe, the German fascists got successes after success, blitzing as they were in nature, due to the help of the infamous ”fifth column” that meant a hidden German column (called the ”fifth column”) consisting of traitors in government, army, media and parties of the invaded country. Did CPC meant that Stalin committed mistakes by suppressing the ”fifth column” consisting of traitors and counter-revolutionaries who had broadened their bases in different establishments within the USSR, including that at the highest levels of the Red Army and the Communist Party? CPC even criticised Stalin on the question of Yugoslavia and the traitor Tito. What he meant by this? CPC also questioned the material welfare being provided to Soviet peasantry. But, can CPC claim that under its own leadership peasantry and agriculture fared any better compared to Soviet peasantry?
He concludes the above paragraph in this manner –
”The cult of the individual is just one such force of habit of millions and tens of millions. Since this force of habit still exists in society, it can influence many government functionaries, and even such a leader as Stalin was also affected by it. The cult of the individual is a reflection in man’s mind of a social phenomenon, and when leaders of the Party and state, such as Stalin, succumb to the influence of this backward ideology, they will in turn influence society, bringing losses to the cause and hampering the initiative and creativeness of the masses of the people.”
With this, CPC’s subjective criticism about the cult of individual, allegedly found in Stalin, reaches its zenith saying Stalin succumbed to an age-long backward ideology. The tone is, as expected, patronising, as if, even though Stalin committed these fundamental mistakes, CPC and Mao are kind enough, unlike Khrushchev, to allow Stalin to remain in the position of leadership in the communist movement for his great achievement, as if to say, those great achievements were accidental and didn’t match with the ideological backwardness of Stalin!
Now, after so many decades since these lines were penned, one can now well understand who brought losses to and who caused hampering of the cause of communism, Stalin or Khrushchev? Equally, the question of with whom CPC and Mao sided at the most critical juncture as viewed from the point of view of victory of modern revisionism led by Khrushchev, can be also settled and resolved with facts.
CPC further writes –
The socialist productive forces, the economic and political system of socialism and the Party life, as they develop, are increasingly coming into contradiction and conflict with such a state of mind as the cult of the individual. The struggle against the cult of the individual which was launched by the 20th Congress is a great and courageous fight by the Communists and the people of the Soviet Union to clear away the ideological obstacles in the way of their advance.
Here in the sentence marked with superscript 9, as also in the whole paragraph from where it has been taken, CPC’s intention behind holding the ”secret speech” in high esteem and to hail it as a great and courageous fight against Stalin’s cult and other past mistakes, has come out in true colours. At this juncture, a simple question can be asked from CPC, if Khrushchev’s step was really courageous, why was it made secretly? So far as Khrushchev being courageous is concerned, even after taking under his control, by hook or by crook, the leadership of the party and the state, he couldn’t muster enough courage to get his ”secret speech” published in the USSR! But even then, CPC says it is a courageous act on the part of Khrushchev, the agent of imperialism! And who is Stalin, by the way? A person, who even today, when he is no more and has been lying in his grave for decades, is the only bugbear of today’s imperialism. CPC chose to side not with Stalin but Khurushev, and this fact is something that has only exposed CPC and Mao, and not Stalin. After decades of heaping scorn over his dead body, only he is the beckon of light and hope for the oppressed people and the mercilessly exploited proletariat of the whole world. Soviet socialism that he built and led is still the only living source of revolutionary fervour and propaganda for the proletarian masses and oppressed people, even though it was destroyed from within by the agents of world capitalism long ago. Can anyone else is like Stalin or Lenin (of course along with Marx and Engels) whose memory is still so much cherished among the toiling masses and revolutionaries on the one hand and the same memory produced fear and fury in the hearts of the exploiters, on the other? History has proved who was what.
The situation, that emerges after reading this piece, suggests that more than the steps taken by Khrushchev, CPC’s effort to justify his steps looks far more courageous, though in a negative sense. It is too much courageous to be defended. A comparison of two situations can be made, between many decades since the time this article was written on the one hand, and the present-day time when many things have been cleared up, on the other, on the basis of which one can decide: who did really bring incalculable harm to the international communist movement, Stalin, Khrushchev or Mao? The present-day question is not about judging Khrushchev or Kavita Krishnan. He (Khrushchev) and all such renegades have been already judged by the real course of events of history and well placed in the dustbin of history. Such names as those of Khrushchev and his followers like numerous Kavita Krishnans are taken with complete distain today. We must not get worried by them. When the citadels of world capitalism are collapsing under the ongoing and unrelenting economic crisis, the incessant cries of such renegades are all about telling the people of Europe, America and the whole world – Beware of the ideals of Soviet socialism! Even if it was exploitation free, yet there was no democracy, not even as much as that provided by liberal democracies! These cries are cries of people who are sitting in the sinking boat that world capitalism is. Hence no one is going to get impressed by these agents of world capitalism. They will completely get outdated in due course of time. The main question of today is this: How should we evaluate the author of this piece that once pretended to sum up the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but turned out as the rescuer of the worst ever revisionist like Khrushchev?
Against Stalin on Contradiction
To prove Stalin’s ideological naivety or lack of knowledge about the nature and character of contradictions present in socialism/communism, CPC or Mao writes (on page 18) –
”Some naive ideas seem to suggest that contradictions no longer exist in a socialist society! To deny the existence of contradictions is to deny dialectics. The contradictions in various societies differ in character as do the forms of their solution, but society at all times develops through continual contradictions. Socialist society also develops through contradictions between the productive forces and the relations of production. In a socialist or communist society, technical innovations and improvement in the social system inevitably continueto take place; otherwise, the development of society would come to a standstill and society could no longer advance. Humanity is still in its youth. The road it has yet to traverse will be no one knows how many times longer than the road it has already travelled. Contradictions, as between progress and conservatism, between the advanced and the backward, between the positive and the negative, will constantly occur under varying conditions and different circumstances. Things will keep on like this: one contradiction will lead to another; and when old contradictions are solved new ones will arise. It is obviously incorrect to maintain, as some people do, that the contradiction between idealism and materialism can be eliminated in a socialist or communist society. As long as contradictions exist between the subjective and the objective, between the advanced and the backward, and between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between materialism and idealism will continue in a socialist or communist society, and will manifest itself in various forms. Since man lives in society, he reflects, in different circumstances and to varying degrees, the contradictions existing in each form of society. Therefore, not everybody will be perfect, even when a communist society is established. By then there will still be contradictions among people, and there will still be good people and bad, people whose thinking is relatively correct and others whose thinking is relatively incorrect. Hence there will still be struggle between people, though its nature and form will be different from those in class societies. Viewed in this light, the existence of contradictions between the individual and the collective in a socialist society is nothing strange. And if any leader of the Party or state isolates himself from collective leadership, from the masses of the people and from real life, he will inevitably fall into rigid ways of thinking and consequently make grave mistakes. What we must guard against is that some people, because the Party and the state have achieved many successes in work and won the great trust of the masses, may take advantage of this trust to abuse their authority and so commit some mistakes.
This is all against Stalin, though indirectly, by using the word ”some” in place of Stalin. Why this indirect method? Perhaps to confuse naïve readers or cadres who won’t have accepted such a direct criticism of Stalin. So, to get such criticism swallowed through their throat, this indirect method seems to have been used.
Let us use the same method of dissection and examination as done earlier.
The sentence marked with superscript number 11 reads – ”To deny the existence of contradictions is to deny dialectics. The contradictions in various societies differ in character as do the forms of their solution, but society at all times develops through continual contradictions. Socialist society also develops through contradictions between the productive forces and the relations of production.” The first question arises, who denies existence of contradictions? Stalin? Rather it is CPC which can be accused of not understanding Marxist dialectics rigorously as his presentation is, as if, no unity or correspondence ever exists between the sets of opposites in the chain of contradictions that propel development of matter. For example, if contradiction between productive forces and production relation standing at one plane is solved, either peacefully (when working class power is in power) or violently through revolution (when bourgeoisie are in power), what remains is the correspondence between the productive forces and production relation, the two opposites that constitutes the existence of contradictions, without which development of productive forces, production and society cannot go forward, as we see during a crisis under capitalism. Proletarian Revolution is aimed at resolving this contradiction between these two opposites. After revolution, it is unity or correspondence between these opposites that develop productive forces. New production relations are established by introducing socialist relations due to which in place of contradiction, a correspondence or conformity between the two is established. The aim of a socialist revolution is only this. After the victory of every class struggle, the new production relation always conforms, even for the smallest possible period, to the level of productive forces as existing at that point of time.
When this unity or correspondence spurs the development of productive forces and society to new level, only then contradictions once again flare up. It is the further development of productive forces, the most mobile and revolutionary element of production that leads to emergence of a lack of correspondence between production relation and productive forces. Production relation continually lags behind the productive forces in socialism as development of productive forces are freed of all chains due to constantly upgrading living standards of life of the working masses. Productive forces develop much faster in socialism than in capitalism. But every time, contradiction of a new higher level, not of the same old level, emerges. Without this, there can be no vertical development, either in society or in the nature.
In other words, ”continual contradiction”, as CPC says, as if no unity is ever achieved between the two opposites, is a useless phrase and doesn’t help understand dialectics involved in the real process of development. ”Continual contradictions” as such can’t lead to development.
Theoretically, what does the concept of ”Continual contradictions” mean? It probably means that the contradictions are never resolved in a manner of vertical sublimation. They only change their character and forms which means that they are resolved only horizontally, in the form of changes in forms and character, while repeating in a circular form.
A matter exists not only as a result of continual contradiction between the two opposites, inherent and built in every matter, but in the form of ”unity of opposites”. Without the resolution of the contradiction, however temporary it may be, between the two opposites, which results in unity and correspondence between these opposites in a matter, however temporary, there can’t be any existence of matter, let alone its development. The solution of contradictions leading to unity and conformity between them at a given level is what is key to the existence along with vertical development of matter from one level to another higher level. The concept of ”Continual contradiction” doesn’t in anyway help us understand the process of the (dialectical) development of matter in finer details. The solution of contradiction that leads to a higher level of development as well as the resultant next round of higher level of contradiction is vertical sublimation of contradictions, as described in the of negation of negation in which Mao did have no faith. Let us see what Stalin says about it –
”First the productive forces of society change and develop, and then, depending on these changes and in conformity with them, men’s relations of production, their economic relations, change.”
Does the production relation also affect productive forces, in its own turn? Yes, of course. Without this, dialectics becomes meaningless. But the question is: Do the constant changes in production relations, imposed from outside (to maintain the validity of the theory of ”continual contradiction”) and coming to being on its own and not as a result of development of productive forces coming into being actually, spur the productive forces? No. There is always an intervening period during which unity happens to occur that leads to development which once again brings contradictions into being but of higher level corresponding to the level of new development. Only in this sense only, there is maintained a continuity of contradiction. It means that between one and the other contradiction of higher level, there must exist an intervening period, however short, in which the unity between the opposites not only exists but also leads to development and this development alone is responsible for the new level of contradiction coming into being actually.
Can the production relation go too far on its own without establishing correspondence with the productive forces at every level of development and progress in production relation? No, it can’t. Development or progress in Production relation from lower to higher level can’t go too far without having correlation with the material development at every level. In the same manner, production relation cannot lag behind for too long if development has to take place. Stalin writes that inasmuch as the productive forces can develop in full measure, it is possible only when the relations of production correspond to them. Therefore, the production relation must, sooner or later, better sooner than later, come into correspondence with the productive forces.
Hence the concept or theory of ”Continual contradiction” is meaningless, at least in the way it has been presented in the essay, particularly, when it is examined from the point of view of the Marxist theory of ”negation of negation.” This applies to Nature as well, with certain modifications.
Without correspondence and with continual contradiction, there can be no existence. It will rather lead to destruction as we can see it happen in every field of material and social life. Under capitalism, the very basis of proletarian revolution is the lack of correspondence or unity between production forces and production relation or between the socialised character of production and private appropriation that leads to violent disruption in social life. Continuous lack of correspondence can destructive. When Rosa Luxemburg writes that mankind is destined to choose between socialism or barbarism, it reflects the same thing that we are discussing. If a correspondence between production relation and productive forces is finally not achieved, the existence of mankind and human society may come at risk due to resultant violent crises that may lead to war, nuclear war in the present circumstances, and complete destruction. That is where the private capitalist ownership of the means of production is in glaring incongruity with the socialised character of the process of production and the level of productive forces. This incongruity is the economic basis of socialist revolution whose purpose is to destroy the existing relations of production and to create new relations of production corresponding to the character of the productive forces. That is why ”the productive forces are not only the most mobile and revolutionary element in production, but are also the determining element in the development of production.”
Next sentence in bold letters marked with superscript 12 reads – ”Things will keep on like this: one contradiction will lead to another; and when old contradictions are solved new ones will arise” This is again a wrong way of presentation. when examined more closely, one contradiction can’t lead to another contradiction automatically but in the manner explained above, in the form of change of quantity into quality or development in quantity until a determining point after which quantity turns into quality. The theory of ”one contradiction leading to another” doesn’t and can’t lead to any development. The change or development in quantity is what we can understand as development that brings contradiction into being at a higher level to produce a qualitative change, a basic development after which a new contradiction will emerge after a certain level of quantitative changes. Contradiction in matter can also lead to development in a reverse manner. Contradictions may also lead to chaos, anarchy and destruction, if not resolved. Such a contradiction continues a repeated motion like in a given circle. If contradictions persist at the same level i.e., keep repeating itself in a circle and only their forms change, it can’t lead to development, from a lower to a higher level of development? According to dialectics, the process of development is not a simple process of growth. Here is what Engles says in ”Dialectics of Nature” –
”Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard the process of development as a simple process of growth, where quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open, fundamental changes…they occur not accidentally but as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes”. Stalin adds that ”the dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development should be understood not as movement in a circle, not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from an old qualitative state to a new qualitative state, as a development from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher.”
The contradiction is contradiction between two opposites that exists in a matter, according to dialectics. They constitute, as Stalin says, ”negative and positive sides of things, their past and future, something dying away and something developing”. The struggle between the opposites is constituted of the struggle between ”the old and the new, between that which is dying away and that which is being born, between that which is disappearing and that which is developing” – as Stalin states. The unity of what is dying and what is emerging a new is what is always present in the matter, otherwise the matter will not exist. This is the meaning of the internal content of all contradictions that leads to development; the internal content of the transformation of quantity into quality, in which without development of quantity until some determining point, the qualitative change that brings contradiction to new level is unimaginable and impossible. This development in quantity can’t take place unless there is unity of opposites despite of them being engaged in contradiction and conflict. The final stage of development in quantity, after which it changes into quality, is visible as a rapid and instant process, yet it is a fact that an intervening period exists between one leap and the other, during which quantity develops because of unity of opposites, albeit along with their struggle.
A proletarian revolution is also a rapid change like the one ”that shakes the world in ten days”, but behind its rapidity lies a period of constant development. A qualitative change is affected by the proletarian revolution only due to constantly growing and accumulating quantitative changes (development of productive forces precisely) that keeps taking place in the womb of old society, under capitalism, that represents a higher level of contradiction compared to what it was during a qualitative change from feudalism to capitalism. Hence, contradictions must also change their level vertically in the process of development from lower to higher level. This is what Stalin excellently shows –
”The dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development from the lower to the higher takes place not as a harmonious unfolding of phenomena, but as a disclosure of the contradictions inherent in things and phenomena, as a “struggle” of opposite tendencies which operate on the basis of these contradictions.”
This is what is called the struggle of opposites. But we must remember and be aware that these contradictions can’t be imposed or implanted in things from outside. It is often heard that because contradictions are necessary for development, they must be implanted if there is found none at a time. They are posited internally or within the essence of things as Lenin says, by their own, constituting the very process of existence and development of matter. In other words, Dialectics is a science of study of these contradictions, not the science of implanting contradictions for the sake of development.
To sum up, it must be clear that if contradictions between opposites leads to higher level of development, it only means that contradictions must be resolved (overcome in Stalin’s words) so that a temporary unity (either of a shorter or a longer period is another thing that depends on many factors) is attained so that quantitative changes occur to bring into reality another higher level of disclosure of contradictions effecting a qualitative leap in the process of development. And it continues, never ceases, but not in the sense that there is no unity amidst the constant struggle of opposites. Hence this is why Marxist dialectics also demands a historical, interrelated and scientific approach to social phenomena without which the existence and development of society that has gone through different phases and stages can’t be ever explained.
Dialectics is a science that doesn’t cover up the contradictions, rather unravel them, but never implants them from outside for the sake of development. This is rubbish. Only when they are unraveled, they can be ”overcome” or resolved. This is the essence of contradictions between opposites or class struggle itself.
The superscripted sentence number 13 reads – ”It is obviously incorrect to maintain, as some people do, that the contradiction between idealism and materialism can be eliminated in a socialist or communist society. As long as contradictions exist between the subjective and the objective, between the advanced and the backward, and between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between materialism and idealism will continue in a socialist or communist society, and will manifest itself in various forms”.
Here it is more than absurd to say that the contradictions between productive forces and production relation will also exist in human society under communism. This is typical of Chinese creative Marxism that overstretches imagination to a limitless extent. It however needs another article to completely and rigorously deal with this that presents dialectical theory of thesis and antithesis in such a manner.
See the superscripted sentences marked 14 that reads – ”Therefore, not everybody will be perfect, even when a communist society is established. By then there will still be contradictions among people, and there will still be good people and bad, people whose thinking is relatively correct and others whose thinking is relatively incorrect. Hence there will still be struggle between people, though its nature and form will be different from those in class societies”.
It means that struggles among people will continue even when ”each according to his ability, and each according to his necessity” principle would be implemented on the basis of corresponding development of production and technical level of society under communism. Then for what are people fighting? CPC says that its forms will be different from those seen in class society? In that case, it must have explained these forms, at least in the fewest of words. As it hasn’t done, it is meaningless to debate over this. However, it also needs another rigorous article to thrash the issues involved here.
Let us also see the superscripted sentences marked 15 that reads – ”What we must guard against is that some people, because the Party and the state have achieved many successes in work and won the great trust of the masses, may take advantage of this trust to abuse their authority and so commit some mistakes.”
This (according to which the party and the state may taking advantage of the trust of the people) is possibly true even when communism will arrive, as CPC has already told that struggle among people will exist even in a communist society, made up of all countries of the world, as the final outcome of world socialist revolution, taking place in different countries at different times inspite of our wishes, due to different level of development of contradictions in different countries. But it is surprising that CPC talked this kind of non-sense that shows it doesn’t know the state and the communist party will all disappear with the arrival of communism. They would disappear, then from where does the question arise that they may take the advantage of people’s trust in them. If CPC is talking about the victory of communism in one country (we know, CPC was once, at the time of great leap forward, racing with Khrushchev-led USSR to reach communism first and become a winner!) he must have known that the victory of communism is not possible in one or two countries alone, however near we may reach it under socialism.
On theory of ”from the masses, to the masses”
CPC writes –
”In all practical work of our Party, correct leadership can only be developed on the principle of “from the masses, to the masses.” This means summing up (i.e., coordinating and systematizing after careful study) the views of the masses (i.e., views scattered and unsystematic), then taking the resulting ideas back to the masses, explaining and popularizing them until the masses embrace the ideas as their own, stand up for them and translate them into action by way of testing their correctness. Then it is necessary once more to sum up the views of the masses, and once again take the resulting ideas back to the masses so that the masses give them their whole-hearted support . . . and so on, over and over again, so that each time these ideas emerge with greater correctness and become more vital and meaningful. This is what the Marxist theory of knowledge teaches us”
It looks very promising, but only on the surface. In actuality, it departs from the Leninist vanguard role of the communist party in leading the masses of workers and other sections of the people including the peasants. It also betrays from the Marxist theory of knowledge which doesn’t base only on the crudest and rudimentary knowledge of masses rather makes it a departure point for acquiring deeper, wider and higher knowledge. Such a presentation of the theory of seeking truth may also lead to tailism of masses whose possibility it amply provides because of its faulty departure point for seeking truth from practice.
Knowledge obtained from the masses in general, though they are very important from the point of view of materialist basis of knowledge that puts seeking truth on the right track i.e., from practice and practical activities, can’t be the basis of the guiding knowledge of the party which has to steer a whole epoch, beginning with socialist proletarian revolution to transition from socialism to communism, if the Leninist principle and way is to be precisely followed. In short, for Lenin, like Marx, believed that the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself, but Lenin, unlike Marx, recognised the tortuous path, full of obstacles and serious difficulties, through which the working class has to emancipate itself. Otherwise, capitalism would have been done away with long ago.
Under capitalism, though workers and exploited people are aware of their exploitation and methods and forms of their immediate fight, yet they aren’t generally imbued with revolutionary theory of socialism and the art and science of making a successful revolution. To say this is not to disregard the masses. To say this is actually to recognise, as Lenin did, that making a successful proletarian is often very difficult without an advanced detachment, made up of the most advanced elements of the proletariat itself, going ahead as their forerunners, while riding on the proletariat’s valiant acts and leading from the front, without which and without their having got adequately trained with, making revolution under imperialism at this stage will remain a utopia.
It doesn’t mean that Lenin’s theory of a vanguard party in the form of an advanced detachment made up of professional revolutionaries, or Lenin’s insistence on the need for a vanguard revolutionary party, was based on this idea that the working class will be liberated by a party built and made up of or filled with professional revolutionaries, who will stand over or outside its ranks. We very well know that Lenin had vehemently opposed blanchism or theory of individual heroism and terrorism, which is based on a passive majority waiting for a small minority, standing in isolation to them, to come and liberate them. This is totally rubbish as far as Leninist theory of advanced detachment is concerned. Lenin had proposed for the first time in Russian social democracy the formation of a party of the proletariat made up of trained professional revolutionaries. Without the Bolshevik party that was built on this basis, the October Revolution cannot be imagined, let alone being successfully achieved.
Mass Line as advocated above by CPC or Mao contains elements of mass tailism that leads the party to trail behind the masses, whereas mass line that Lenin explained and practiced advocated was based on a party as the vanguard of the proletarian but not standing outside the ranks of the masses fighting for their liberation. It advocated as one capable of leading the masses and not trailing behind them. Lenin-led Bolshevik party stood for a mass line as against Mensheviks which advocated for a party that could lead the masses while basing on their backward ideology. Influenced as they are by bourgeois and other ruling class thoughts, they tend to trail behind the capitalists.
The concept of a Mass Party is certainly not the Leninist concept. Leninism doesn’t teach us in the name of mass party that a revolutionary party should always strive to embrace majority whatever the situation may be and must wait to act decisively till last person or people are reached up to and brought in fold. It is certainly not Leninist concept of a revolutionary Party.
Probably, that is why Lenin was successful in leading the working-class masses against any chance to slip into parliamentary form of embracing majority. German Social-democratic Party led by Kautskyites was such a mass party and that’s why failed to act at the time when it was mostly needed to act decisively.
Lenin’s party was not a mass party but pursued a revolutionary mass line. Most importantly, it didn’t embrace majority since the very beginning, but could be able to ride on the crest of the great majority of the masses when it really mattered and was most needed.
Why did CPC become successful in making revolution in 1949 is a many-sided story. The role of Stalin’s leadership and help was of paramount importance in the success of Chinese revolution, from directly helping to establish the revolutionary military academy to halting the Japanese advance in the east during last phase of revolutionary war, only after which CPC could gain victory. This, however, doesn’t mean at all that the role of Chinese people and CPC is to be undermined as a revolution can be made just by outside help, however important role it may have played. This is only in response to those who make disproportionate declarations according to which the role of Stalin is massively undermined in guiding the Chinese revolution. This once again demands a separate independent article.
The essence is that under capitalism, and particularly at the stage of monopoly stage, the rule of capital has pushed a substantial section of the working class in such a penury, back-breaking conditions of toil and political-ideological backwardness that they cannot be successful in liberating themselves, if left on their own. The matter of the fact is that without a vanguard party of the most conscious and most advanced elements of the working class, united under the ideological and organisational centralisation of its own vanguard party, the dream of proletarian revolution cannot be brought into reality. However, it is unforgettable as well as unforgivable to believe that this vanguard party can ever afford to act in isolation standing over or outside the working class ranks and acting in betrayal of democracy within its ranks from top to bottom. To be continued in the next issue …
 CPC was present in the secretly held meeting.
 This article was written by the Editorial Department of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) on the basis of a discussion at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It was published in Renmin Ribao on April 5, 1956 2
 This seems to have been written with an intention to undermine the great role played by Stalin in establishing a strong Soviet state in absence of Lenin. Detailed explanation is in the main body.
 Here Stalin is being treated not as a leader of the CC of the CPSU but just as good as any other CC member. Detailed explanation is in the main body.
 In essence, Stalin was not a good communist. Detailed explanation is in the main body.
 Here CPC or Mao is more explicit in his criticism of Stalin, but again without any supporting facts! CPC says that the nature of Stalin’s mistakes is of a serious, nationwide and prolonged nature. But where are the facts supporting this statement. Detailed explanation is in the main body.
 Here areas where Stalin allegedly did serious mistakes are being cited, meaning CPC is trying to supply facts. But again, it doesn’t, finally. For example, if we ask what errors Stalin made on the question of Yugoslavia, we have no answer. Then, why Shouldn’t we conclude that by resorting to such criticism, CPC supplemented Khrushchev in defaming Stalin? see for detailed comments is in the main body.
 See for comments in the main body
 So, the secret speech of Khrushchev is being hailed as a great as well as courageous fight against Stalin’s cult and other past mistakes originating from this. see for more detailed comments in the main body.
 This is indirectly (by using the world ”some” in place of Stalin’s) aimed against Stalin. Why this indirect method? Perhaps to confuse naïve readers or cadres who, it was believed, won’t accept such criticism. The whole presentation of the idea of contradiction doesn’t conform to Marxist way of presenting contradictions dialectically.
 This presentation is as if no unity or correspondence ever exists in the chain of contradictions that propel development. See for more detailed explanations in the main body of the article.
 This is again wrong when examined more closely. One contradiction can’t lead to another contradiction automatically, without a change of quantity into quality or development in quantity until a determining point comes after which quantity turns into quality. See for more detailed explanations in the main body of the article.
 Here it is more than absurd. See in the main body.
 It means that struggles among people will continue even when ”each according to his ability, and each according to his necessity” principle has been implemented on the basis of corresponding development of production and technical level of society under communism. Then for what are people fighting? CPC says its forms will be different from those seen in class society? In that case, he must have explained these forms at least in the fewest of words. As he hasn’t done, it is meaningless and doesn’t command attention. Marx and Engles have already spoken on this in plenty. People don’t need to learn in this regard from Chinese leaders.
 This is possibly true even when communists arrive, as CPC has already told above. But it is surprising. Doesn’t he know that state and communist party will all disappear with the arrival of communism in the whole world? If he is talking about victory of communism in one country (we know, CPC was once, at the time of great leap forward, racing with Khrushchev-led USSR to reach communism first and become a winner) he must have known that the final victory of communism is not possible in one or two countries alone.