A dead ideology
sketch from A-infos
A revolutionary goes into Marxism 2001, arranged by Socialist Workers Party (UK).
Revolutionary: 'Ello, I wish to register a
(the SWP does not respond)
R: 'Ello, Stalinist?
SWP: What do you mean 'Stalinist'?
R: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a
SWP: We don't have time for your contribution,
R: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain
about this ideology what I embraced not half an
hour ago at this very conference.
SWP: Oh yes, the, uh, the Russian Bolshevik...
What's, uh... wrong with it?
R: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. Its
dead, that's what's wrong with it!
SWP: No, no, its, uh, . . . its resting.
R: Look, matey, I know a dead ideology when I see
one, I'm looking at one right now.
SWP: No no, its not dead, its resting! Remarkable
ideology the Russian Bolshevik, idn'it, ay?
R: The rhetoric don't enter into it. It's stone
SWP: Nononononono, no, no, its resting!
R: All right then, if its resting, I'll wake it up!
(shouting at the meeting)
'Ello Mister Bolshevik! Do you know that Lenin and
Trotsky advocated party dictatorship....
(SWP ignores point)
SWP: There, we replied to you.
R: No you didn't, that was you ignoring what I
SWP: We never!
R: Yes, you did!
SWP: We never, ever ignore anything...
R: (making the same point repeatedly)
Lenin and Trotsky eliminated workers democracy in
the army and in the workplace. The Bolsheviks
disbanded soviets with non-Bolshevik majorities.
All before the start of the Civil War. Lenin and
Trotsky both advocated party dictatorship.
Moreover, they explicitly argued for it and against
the idea of class dictatorship. This is your nine
o'clock alarm call!
(raises points at meeting and watches them get
R: Now that's what I call a dead ideology.
SWP: No, no.... No, it was stunned by the counter-
SWP: Yeah, counter-revolution stunned it, just as
it was about to implement socialism, workers' power
and democracy! The Russian Bolshevik stuns easily,
R: Um . . . now look ... now look mate, I've
definitely 'ad enough of this. This ideology is
definitely deceased and when I embraced it not 'alf
an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of
freedom and democracy in 1921 was due to it being
tired and shagged out following a prolonged civil
war, yet these events occurred before it started.
SWP: Well, its... its, ah ... probably pining for
R: PININ' for 1917!?!?!?! What kind of talk is
that? Look, why did it overthrow soviet democracy
the moment it got rejected in the soviet elections
in spring 1918? Why did it abolish by decree
elected soldier committees in March 1918? Why did
it reject workers' self-management by factory
committees and advocate one-man management with
dictatorial powers in the spring of 1918?
SWP: The Russian Bolshevik prefers centralised
power! Only that is true democracy-local elections,
soldier councils and factory committees don't
matter when you have a central government elected
by the soviets. Remarkable ideology, id'nit,
squire? Lovely rhetoric!
R: Look, I took the liberty of examining that
ideology when I got home, and I discovered that the
only reason that it was still in power in 1921 was
that it had imposed a one party dictatorship,
repressed all worker dissent, crushed waves of
strikes and protests and, finally, suppressed the
Kronstadt revolt (which was demanding free soviet
elections). Moreover, it justified party
dictatorship and claimed it had to be used in every
SWP: Well, o'course it had to do that! If it hadn't
crushed those popular movements then the Whites
would have won and no more soviet power. Give it
another chance and VOOM! Socialism!
R: VOOM!?! Mate, this ideology wouldn't go "voom"
if you put four million volts through it! Soviet
Power without soviet elections? Socialism without
workers management of production? Secret Police?
It is "childish nonsense" to draw a distinction
between dictatorship by the party and by the class?
"The dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible
in any other way but through the dictatorship of
the Communist Party"? Its bleeding demised!
SWP: No no, its pining!
R: Its not pining! Its passed on! This ideology is
dead! It has long ceased to be revolutionary (if
it ever was)! Its expired and become a
dictatorship! Its a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests
in peace! Its analytical processes are now history!
It shuffled away from the socialist movement,
imposed party dictatorship, and justified it time
and time again! This is an ex-socialist theory!
SWP: Well, I had better ignore what you are saying
and keep repeating the dogma.
(he takes a quick peek to the Central Committee)
SWP: Sorry comrade, I've checked and your three
minutes are up and we're right out of time.
R: I see. I see, I get the picture.
SWP: Fancy a copy of Socialist Worker?
R: Pray, does it talk about anarchism, the real
socialism from below?
SWP: Nnnnot really.
R: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS