I think that’s a right-wing and very conservative if not reactionary impulse. Stalin was the gravedigger of the revolution. Or as Trotsky put it, a river of blood separated Lenin from Stalin. The revolution was made by ordinary people in 1917 — first women, who then called workers into the streets. Eventually, the soldiers went over to the crowds, and you had a revolution. Tsarism was gone. In 1917, there was a euphoria of popular participation, committees, resolutions, and so forth.Ordinary people eventually have to go back home, make a living, take care of the kids, make dinner. Eventually, that democratic and participatory revolution was consumed by foreign intervention, the civil war, the breakdown of the economy, and the building, by the Bolsheviks, of a centralized, authoritarian state. If I write a second volume about Stalin, I’ll write about the period 1917 to the death of Lenin in 1924, about how the Soviet state was built, and how it turned from this more participatory, Paris Commune kind of ideal that you find in Lenin’s book State and Revolution into what eventually became a one-party state under Lenin, and eventually the Stalinist tyranny that destroyed most of the Leninist cadres in 1937.There should be no apology by people on the Left for Stalin. It’s true, of course, that he achieved many things: a forced, and quite crude, but successful industrial revolution, the literacy campaigns, the victory over fascism, the destruction of Nazism, the end of the Holocaust. But Stalinism was the nadir of the Soviet experiment. It was a bloody, ruthless period. It destroyed many of the important achievements that were won earlier. It made the country stupider by decapitating the party and decapitating the intelligentsia, and turning people into cogs, or little screws, as Stalin put it.Marxism and socialism are basically a democratic expansion of bourgeois liberal democracy. It’s the empowerment of ordinary people. Stalinism was the usurpation of power from the people, the decimation of the trade unions and the independence of ordinary people into a top-down dictatorship. Despite some of its achievements, it shouldn’t be celebrated.

Source: How Josef Stalin Became a Bolshevik

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