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Soviet Union

Book Review - 'The ABC of Communism'

Bolshevik primer

'The ABC of Communism' by N. Bukharin and E. Preobrazhensky. Penguin, 8s.

For half a century Bolshevism has been a blight on the working class movement. But recent years have seen an important tendency, especially among many young workers, not only to recognise Russia as state capitalist but also to question Bolshevik methods and the theories from which they are derived. To do this many have been going back to the classics of Marxism and Leninism and it is no accident that over the last few years several major works which have been unavailable for decades have suddenly been republished as commercial propositions. So the very fact that Penguin now find it profitable to bring out from its mothballs the ABC of Communism is significant.

The Death of Khrushchev

The former director of Russia, who died last month. was not a member of the SPGB so this is not that kind of an obituary. Nor is it a salute to the passing of a "great man" in the manner of the capitalist press (whether so-called left or right). Rather do we take the opportunity of the passing of the former despot (one of the rare cases in the Soviet Union of an ousted top man who managed to die of old age), to point out that this man, who started to climb the ladder of Russian power nearly fifty years ago, has contrived to die with his country as far from justifying its assumed title of socialist as ever it was. In fact it is probably true to any that nowadays there are far more people around who fail to register shocked surprise at our contention that Russia is a capitalist country, like all other countries in the modern world.

The End of Utopia?

NO MORE UTOPIAS—this was the bold headline above an article in the European section of the Guardian on 27 September written by Norberto Bobbio and which had originally appeared in the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Bobbio thinks that the collapse of what he calls "the communist regimes" in eastern Europe and, particularly Russia, means the end of communism as an idea which has persisted in one form or another for 2000 years.

And he seems to know what communism (we also call it socialism—the two words mean the same) means:

Editorial: Stalin - the God Who Fell

For Stalin, the final disgrace.

His simple grave now mocks the memory of the days when he was the great dictator, who could make Khrushchev caper like a court jester.

It mocks, too, the memory of the fulsome praise that was heaped upon him when his pitiless rule was at its height. Here is part of a poem which was published in Pravda on August 28th, 1936:

    O Great Stalin, O Leader of the Peoples,

    Thou who didst give birth to man,

    Thou who didst make fertile the earth,

    Thou who dost rejuvenate the Centuries.

    Thou who givest blossom to the spring . . .

And this is Khrushchev himself, speaking at the eighteenth Congress in 1938 on the extermination of Stalin's opponents:

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