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Dennis/Michael Berrell's historical falsehoods

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  • ozleft
    By Bob Gould Michael or Dennis Berrell, or whoever he is from day to day (just so the rest of us aren t terminally confused he should consider using one or
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2004
      By Bob Gould

      Michael or Dennis Berrell, or whoever he is from day to day (just so
      the rest of us aren't terminally confused he should consider using
      one or another name consistently) has put up a post about the Left
      Opposition that is almost entirely inaccurate and false.

      He repeats the Stalinist accusation of the time that the Left
      Opposition wanted to prematurely abolish the NEP. That was always a
      Stalinist falsification. It's not defensible to make that kind of
      assertion without citing some sources. There's a fairly substantial
      literature on the Soviet economic debates of the 1920s, by Marxists
      and serious bourgeois academics, and some documents from those
      debates are available on the web.

      Richard Day, Moshe Lewin and Alec Nove and R.V. Daniels have
      published books and articles of considerable length on those Soviet
      economic debates. Those three scholars are, in fact, the major
      authorities. On Ozleft are a couple of articles from the Slavic
      Review, one about the Left Oppositionist Preobrazhensky, and the
      other about the Bukharin associate Sokolnikov.

      None of the authorities who've studied the literature accuse Trotsky
      and the Left Opposition of campaigning for the premature abolition of
      the NEP.

      All the books and documents of the struggle underline that the
      economic debate took place within the framework of accepting the NEP
      but struggling to modify or improve it in various ways. The argument
      between the Left and Right Oppositions was about allocating resources
      within the NEP framework.

      It was the gravedigger of the revolution, Stalin, who emerged from
      the shadows to smash the NEP, abolish the market and introduce forced
      collectivisation. Berrell seems to be so ignorant that he's not aware
      that Trotsky attacked forced collectivisation and the abolition of
      the NEP in The Revolution Betrayed.

      He seems unaware that Rakovsky attacked the abolition of the NEP on
      behalf of the Left Opposition in his three Letters to the Party in
      successive years in the early 1930s, sent from the Stalinist prison
      in which he was confined.

      Berrell has a bee in his bonnet about justifying the capitalist
      restoration in China and he tries to fit past socialist history into
      that framework, but he should do us the courtesy of at least treating
      the history with respect and care. It seems pretty clear that Berrell
      is working his way towards developing a justification of Stalin's
      policies.

      There's nothing in the work of any of the serious scholars in this
      field that justifies the proposition that the Left Opposition wanted
      to abolish the NEP.

      We're all pretty busy, and more immediate political arguments often
      seem more pressing than historical questions, but people should not
      be allowed to get away with perpetuating total myths about socialist
      and communist history by reviving hoary and discredited Stalinist
      lies.
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