Editorial from the December 1961 issue of the Socialist Standard
For Stalin, the final disgrace.
His simple grave now mocks the memory of the days when he was the great dictator, who could make Krushchev 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 Krushchev himself, speaking at the eighteenth Congress in 1938 on the extermination of Stalin's opponents:
. . . Our victory in defeating the fascist agents—all these despicable trotskyists, bukharinists and bourgeois nationalists—we owe above all to the personal effort of our great leader, comrade Stalin . . . Long live the towering genius of all humanity, the teacher and the guide who is leading us victoriously to Communism, our beloved comrade Stalin.Now that the truth about the "beloved comrade" is officially acknowledged in Moscow, we can expect some more rewriting of history, just as it was when Stalin wanted to eliminate the memory of his enemies.
In England the Communist Party will be in confusion for some time. Always taking their line from Moscow, they were among Stalin's worshippers, and disregarded the facts about the Russian dictator which Socialists, and others, put before them. The latest change of policy will be hard to swallow, even for them.
In the Kremlin the power struggle continues. Perhaps Molotov and Voroshilov will go as others have gone before them. Perhaps Trotsky will be posthumously reinstated. perhaps the Soviet government will gratify the historians who see similarities between twentieth century Russia and seventeenth century England by treating Stalin's corpse as Cromwell's was, after the Restoration. We can be sure that whatever happens will be excused in the name of the "Socialist Fatherland."
The Russian workers will probably accept this, in the manner of workers all over the world. How much more hopeful if they turned the belated denunciation of Stalin to good account. For what guarantee is there that Stalin's successors will be any better than the man they are now denouncing? None whatsoever. Yet the whole argument for having leaders must be in the assumption that they are beneficial to society. If they can turn out as Stalin did, the argument for them is destroyed. There is a lesson here for Russian workers and for those in other countries.
Let us repeat what we have often said before. The Soviet Union is not a Socialist country. It is a dictatorial capitalist country. Stalin was a dictator. So are Krushchev and his henchmen. All Socialist oppose systems like that in Russia.
Capitalism, whoever happens to be its leaders, can only bring misery and fear to the majority of people. It is useless to change one set of leaders for another. The real need is for the working class to gain enough knowledge to bring about Socialism.
That will be a world without dictatorships and suppression. Socialism will be a world of freedom.