[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
The New York Times. 18 June 1931
STALINISM SHELVES WORLD REVOLT IDEA: TO WIN RUSSIA FIRST
Success of Socialism at Home Held Best of Propaganda for Conversion of Others.
VIEW IS DEEMED ORTHODOX
Huge Extent of Country Cited as Giving Possibility for Full Development of Marxism.
CAPITALISM HELD DOOMED
So Stalinists Feel They Are Not Violating Ideals in Directing Efforts to One Nation.
This is the third of a series of articles on Russia today by The New York Times Moscow correspondent, who is at present in Paris.
By WALTER DURANTY.
Special Cable to The New York Times.
PARIS. June 17--The essential feature of “Stalinism,” which sharply define its advance and difference from Leninism and is the key to the comprehension of the whole five-year plan, is that it frankly aims at the successful establishment of socialism in one country without waiting for world revolution.
The importance of this dogma which played a predominant role in the bitter controversy with Leon Trotsky and bitter with the “Rights” [Right-wing Russian Communists], cannot be exaggerated. It s the Stalinist “slogan” par excellence, and it brands as heretics or “defeatists” all Communists who refuse to accept it in Russia or outside.
Marx Once Attacked View.
Curiously enough, Karl Marx himself, in one of his earlier letters, described this theory as a fallacy and an illusion. Lenin, too, in his early belief that the World War would end in a stalemate from which a proletarian revolution would be the only issue, was reluctant to admit that a single Socialist State could flourish in a capitalist- therefore hostile— world. Trotsky after characteristic indecisiveness (he once told a Communist Youth meeting in Moscow that world revolution was ‘far far beyond the mountains”) tried to use Marx and Lenin to convict Stalin of heterodoxy.
Stalin had a clearer perception of Russia’s possibilities and the reserves of untapped energy in her people, barely less “virgin” than her soil. He saw, too, that the Soviet Union was not “one country” in the sense in which Marx wrote but a vast self-sufficing continent far more admirably fitted by its natural configuration and resources and by the character and ways of its population for a communist experiment than what Marx prognosticated in a compact industrial State like England.
It can fairly be argued, no doubt, that Stalin may have been pushed further by the controversy with the Trotsky and the Rights and by the enthusiasm of his younger followers than orthodox Marxism, would approve. Indeed, such noted revolutionaries as Emma Goldman and Angelica Balabanoff, with whom the writer recently talked, unite with Trotsky in accusing Stalin of “perverting” or even “betraying’’ the revolution.
But development along Stalinist lines became inevitable from the day the United States broke the war deadlock and brought about a post-war “capitalist stabilization” which, though they called it temporary, the Bolsheviki even now do not believe to be fatally shattered by the current world depression. For that matter, too, Lenin’s new economic policy was a flagrant retreat from orthodox Marxism, and if Stalin has had the will and strength to correct that change of the compass and bring back the Soviet ship back to the Marxist course he may surely be pardoned for a doctrinal adjustment required and justified by circumstances.
It does follow, however, that the theory of “Soviet Socialist sufficiency,” as it may be called, involves a certain decrease of interest in world revolution—not deliberately, perhaps, but by force of circumstances. The Stalinist socialization of Russia demands three things, imperatively—every ounce of effort, every cent of money, and peace. It does not leave the Kremlin time, cash or energy for “Red propaganda” abroad, which, incidentally. is a likely cause of war, and, being a force of social destruction, must fatally conflict with the five-year plan which is a force of social construction.
International activities are confined to the Communist parties of other countries and to a small group of zealots in Moscow, whose influence and importance are much more theoretical than real. Of course, Stalinism refuses to admit this openly, and takes refuge behind two theses—first, that world revolution is inevitable anyway as a result of capitalist economic rivalries (this is pure Marxist dogma which even zealots must accept); second, that the success of socialism in Russia is the best possible propaganda for the rest of the world.
But facts are facts, whether one admits them or not, and it is quite on the cards that the real source of the quarrel of Trotsky and foreign Marxist theoreticians with Stalinism is their realization that Stalinism, while retaining world revolution as an ultimate goal, has abandoned it as an immediate practical issue little less completely than the early Christian Church abandoned the millennium or second advent when Constantine made it the official faith of the Roman Empire.
In later articles the writer will show the effects of this abandonment on Soviet foreign relations and foreign trade.
© The New York Times. 1931. N.B. The executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, told The Washington Post on October 23 2003, that the newspaper would have no objection if the Pulitzer Prize Board wanted to revoke Mr. Duranty's award. Mr. Keller called Mr. Duranty's work "pretty dreadful. ... It was a parroting of propaganda." It will be taken as read that no royalties are due on this un-authorised reproduction of this article As such they are also perceived, as having no truthful value whatsoever, are only reproduced for academic and educational purposes, not intended to defraud The New York Times of any morally legitimate royalty revenue and are published without financial gain. In any event, the copyright for the above may well only reside, 70 years after its publication with the heirs of Walter Duranty, and with whom we have no personal animosity whatsoever. Nevertheless, any contention of copyright violation may by taken up under the jurisdiction of English Law. My service address for any legal correspondence is: Nigel Linsan Colley, 1, Crown Street, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, NG24 4UY. Any prosecution will, you can be assured, be defended in the public domain.
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