ALLIANCE 46   July 2002:
APPENDIX ONE of: REFLECTIONS ON CURRENT SECTARIAN FORAYS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT.
Correspondences from the e-list of ISML Regarding:
These messages run in a thread that starts from a question concerning Dimitrov: posed by Cmde MG. The messsages show that the reply from Hari Kumar specifically highlights both the views of Alliance (& its ally the Communist League) and those of Revolutionary Democracy (message 1):     In reply Cmde David Viggiani (Message 2) voiced his alarm on the viewpoint of Alliance: and insisted that there was no evidence to directly implicate Dimitrov as more than simply 'mistaken':     This led to a further extended discussion between David Viggiani and Hari Kumar (messages 5, 6, 7, 8) - with interjections from J.Walker (Message 3 - supporting Cmde Viggiani) & also from Bhagat Singh (largely consisting of advice for further reading messages 4 &  9).
    This thread leads to an open invitation (Message 6, 7) for a debate to answer the questions posed by the exchange between Viggianni & Kumar. This invitation was extended to all participants of the exchange on the list - and others also.
    Noticeably none of the specific questions posed to the list by by Kumar (message 6) or by Merwanji to Singh specifically (Message 10) have received a reply.
June 22nd 2002.


Table Contents of these Messages from the e-List of ISML:
Number 1: Message 2359 From: Hari Kumar;  Nov 4, 2001;
Number 2: Message 2376; From Viggiani David;  Nov 7, 2001;
Number 3: Message 2377; From: J.Walker;  Nov 8, 2001;
Number 4: Message 2381; From: Bhagat Singh;  Nov 13, 2001;
Number 5: Message 2385; From: Viggiani David; Nov 13, 2001;
Number 6: Message 2388; From: Hari Kumar; Nov 14, 2001;
Number 7: Message 2424; From: Viggiani David; Nov 19, 2001;
Number 8: Message 2393; From Viggiani David; Nov 14, 2001;
Number 9: Message 2688; From Bhagat Singh; Jan 14, 2002;
Number 10: Message 2804; From: Jehangir Merwanji; Mar 1, 2002;


Number 1:
Message 2359 of 3140 From: Hari Kumar; Date: Sun Nov 4, 2001;
Subject: Re: Dimitrov and Comintern
Cmde MG, You have asked this below question:
> Who is Dimitrov and how did he distort the Leninist position of 2 stages of revolution?

I fear that you have not thus far had any congent reply to your important question. You have had a rant and some comments - but perhaps not any attempt to analyse the core of Dimitrov-ism. We therefore have some old materials, that we have now re-loaded upon the new Alliance web-site. See these below:
____________________________________________________________
COMPASS: COMMUNIST LEAGUE No.111: UNITED FRONT TACTICS
http://ml-review.ca/aml/CommunistLeague/COMPASS111-UNITEDFRONT.HTM

THESES ON THE ANTI-FASCIST UNITED- FRONT (Adopted by the Communist League, January, 1975); Originally Printed Combat Number 1; March 1975.
http://ml-review.ca/aml/CommunistLeague/COMPASSTHESESFASCISM.HTM

ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST) Number 12 January 1995 GEORGII DIMITROV AND THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY http://ml-review.ca/aml/AllianceIssues/ALL12-DIMITROV.HTM
_______________________________________________________________
I would point out that despite the claims of other organisations that the views of Communist League and Alliance are "anti-Marxist-Leninist" and "traitorous" etc; etc; - they REFUSE despite repeated requests of the CL and Alliance, and indeed the personal requests of Cmde Bland - to provide substantiation of their claims.
One should acknowledge - that an explicitly pro-Dimitrov article has indeed been written. This is by "Revolutionary Democracy" of India and can be found at:
http://revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv5n2/dimitrov.htm

It is perfectly true that although this evades the central thorny issues on Dimitrov, it is of interest. It is not central in our view, and in now way attempts to deal with the analyses that are verbally labeled as "pro-capitalist". Unlike Revolutionary Democracy we are happy to acknowledge that there needs to be a further and detailed, open scientific and Marxist-Leninist debate on the substantive issues.
We acknowledge their article.
We will address Eggers elsewhere.
Fraternal Greetings, Hari



Number 2: From Viggiani David Date:  Wed Nov 7, 2001;
Subject:  Dimitrov
Hari,
Having only been able to download the 1995 article on Dimitrov from the Alliance site and having just finished reading it, my initial response is, say it ain't so! How can a working class hero like Dimitrov be labeled a revisionist of all things!
The article was very interesting and enlightening reading for me, especially the sections on Bulgarian
politics. I had no idea, for example, how the BCP's ultra-leftism was synchronous with the  Comintern 'third period' (pre-Dimitrov leadership).
However, at the begining of the article there were three thesis or 'arguments' presented. The first
argument is the traditional one where the assumption is that Stalin controlled Comintern and that despite all the permutations fascism was inevitable in the countries it took power. This is a thesis I've never really felt comfortable with. It seems very clear that if there was a United Front in place in the late 1920's and early 1930's Hitler would not have been able to gain power in Germany.
The second thesis is that Stalin sabotaged Comintern to preserve the Soviet Union, blah, blah, blah...
This, of course, is just silly.
The third thesis, the Alliance's new thesis, is that Dimitrov et al were deliberate, criminally culpable
revisionists who were bent on disrupting the socialist revolution before the outbreak of WWII and after the War acted as class collaborationists with the bourgeoise.
Well, I have a problem with this on two levels. First, regarding the activities of Dimitrov and the BCP post WWII, I would certainly say that their attitude toward the bourgeoise can be seen as similar to the NEP policy of the post civil war Soviet Union. Both, from a pure ML sense were 'revisionist' but nonetheless necessary considering the objective conditions of the time.
Second, the accusation that Dimitrov was a fascist patsie or even secretly in cohoots with the fascists is simply that, an accusation. There was nothing presented in the article to back it up. Dimitrov was
not harmed (if you call 'only' being put in prison for a crime he didn't commit being unharmed), i.e. killed because he was able to transform his trial into a cause celebre and to thoroughly expose Nazi
machinations. This, combined with the still incomplete hold on power that the Nazi's had at the time, to me better explains the 'leniancy' that Dimitrov received.
I propose a third thesis or argument this time employing Ocham's Razor(alway better, in my opinion, than elaborate conspiracy theories as an explanatory tool). Dimitrov was tied to a party, the BCP, that had a history of ultra-leftisim and sectarianism. This enabled him to feel very comfortable with the Class-Against-Class position of the Comintern at a time when he was begining to get more heavely involved with the organization. This policy was obviously mistaken, but it is also obvious that he was not out of synch with many other communists of the period, with the exception of Stalin.
After the war his platform sounds very much like the New Democracy of Mao and the CCP. It was certainly something in the air at the time, what type of influence each leader had on the other would be interesting to pursue. Also, the position was not, overall, out of step with the post WWII communist position throughout Europe with the exception of Albania. It may have gone too far, it may have not been principled enough but that does not mean that Dimitrov had some kind of criminial agenda to overturn socialism.
Therefore, I think it is proper to analyze the mistakes that Dimitrov made, but I think that the
Alliance has made an untenable leap in logic when they present Dimitrov's motivation as to be deliberately that of an enemy of the people.
We honestly don't know what Dimitrov's motivation was and considering the historical context and the evidence it is certainly unjustified to accuse his mistakes to be anything other that what they were - mistakes. 

Number 3: Message 2377; From: "J.WALKER" Date: Thu Nov 8, 2001;
Subject: Re: Dimitrov
I thought this post on Dimitrov was brilliant (see below). So much of  Marxist Leninism seems to be
based on conspiracy and secret  revisionists working against the working class that one
wonders if there were ever any true Marxist Leninist other than Stalin and Hoxha. Revolutionaries have always found themselves in difficult  situations as they are emarking (embarking?-Ed) on territory no one has ever been  before - creating Socialist Countries, fighting emergent fascism,
etc. - it is not as easy to do the right thing as it is for modern 'true' Marxist Leninist to attack them in hindsight. Che argues that it is only at the period around the revolution that people begin to
make their own history and Marx argues that men make there own history but only under the pre-existing conditions. If one is free to succeed one is also free to make mistakes and one doesn't have to be a revisionist to do things that end up not being the right decision for the working class movement.
I have lots of criticisms of Lenin, Stalin, Lukacs, etc. but I recognise that they were operating in terribly difficult and restricted times and they made the decisions that they thought were for the best or were the least worst option. Most of the time we cannot know what would have happened if they had taken a different road.
What ever the problems with Dimitrov he seems to me to have done more for Communist than any of his modern day detractors seem to.
This is NOT an attack on any individual so please don't launch an attack on me, it is about a tendency that we probably all have to make heroes better than they were and failures to have been traitors.
Comradely regards,
John Walker


Number 4: Message 2381; From: Bhagat Singh; Date: Tue Nov 13, 2001;
Subject: Re: Dimitrov
In response to the posts below.
There are a number of writings of importance on the two stages of people's
democracy, There is Dimitrov's Speech to the 5th Congress of the BCP of 1948, this includes also a
discussion of the History of the Bulgarian Party, and the construction of socialism in
the country. Care should be taken to read the pre-Nikita editions.
Dimitrov on the 2 stages should be read in conjunction with the writings of Bierut and Rakosi on the same question. We also now have available Stalin's views on this question. See the Discussion of 22
February 1950 in J.V. Stalin: "5 Conversations With Soviet Economists 1941-52" in Revolutionary Democracy Vol.IV No 2, September 1998. (www.revolutionarydemocracy.org).
Further on Dimitrov.
Hitherto his Diary covering 1933-49 has only been available in Bulgarian (Sofia, 1997). Now Part 1 is available in German. It is valuable as it gives the evolution of Comintern policy and the discussions with Stalin and the Soviet leadership prior to policy changes.
Also of value is:
ed A. Dallin and F.I. Firsov: Dimitrov and Stalin 1934-43. Letters from the Soviet Archives. Yale University Press, 2000. This volume consists mainly of Dimitrov's letters with some notings of Stalin.
The reason why there are resemblances between Dimitrov's views on New Democracy
and Mao's views is that both have their common origins in Comintern policy which evolved in relation to the national-revolutionary wars in Spain and China after 1936.
If one has access to the Communist International journal a large number of
Dimitrov's articles can be located. The other major source of his writings is the 14 Volume edition which came out in Bulgarian in 1954. Volume 14 has Dimitrov's important speech directed against the treachery of Tito.
Dimitrov's dealings with the CPC between 1936 and 1944 including extracts from the Diary appeared in Revolutionary Democracy Vol. V. No. 2, September 1999.
Especially valuable is the devastating fraternal criticism of Mao.
BS 

Number 5: Message 2385; From: Viggiani David; Date:  Tue Nov 13, 2001;
Subject:  Re: ISML Re: Dimitrov
Comrades
I highly recommend the Revolutionary Democracy site. I've just begun to mine its resources and have found it to be excellent.
Hari included in his original posting about Dimitrov a link to Vijay Singh's commentary on some selected extracts from Dimitrov's diary of the 1930's. Having read it after I posted my comments on the Alliance article I can now see that my insticts were correct regarding the mutual influence between Dimitrov and Mao. And now we have Bhagat Singh's contributions to this interesting phase of the communist movement.
Having never really read much by Dimitrov except his famous report to the 7th Congress of the CI and the "Peoples Front" I have just recently ordered the three volumes of Dimitrov's Selected in English - from Australia of all places. It seems clear to me that Dimitrov was a pivitol figure in the international communist movement and that he was extremly clear headed when it came to managing it's objectives during a fluid, to say the least, period in history.
Finally, just because he influenced Mao and may have in turn been influenced by the latter does not
necessarily make him a Maoist. Which brings me to another question posed by Muhamed Gessan about the Cultural Revolution.
I think that looking back, Mao and the CPC should be commended for their principles stand against the Kruschevites. I also think that up until the Cultural Revolution (and this is not to make a blanket
criticism of the whole GPCR) they were on the right path - albeit a crooked one- to socialism and
communism. I think, however, that Mao's idealization of the dialectical method as some type of new
metaphysics ended up being self-destructive both to China and the CPC - since it ushered in a
counter-revolution.
Marxism uses the dialectical method as a powerful analytical tool to analyze socio-economic and hence political structures. The method also demonstrates that these structures do not come into being haphazardly but that a pattern can be discerned when they are looked at historically. It also projects, based on the developments in the past, a future outcome that if certain things were to occur would
most likely happen.
Mao takes this dialectical "tool," and specifically as far as the GPCR is concerned, imbeds it as a
metaphysical character of the CPC (and any communist party for that matter). So instead of the party being the leading aspect of a social movement for change - the dialectical "antithesis" to the dominate social "thesis" of the age - it is now the microcosmic embodiment of these larger socio/historical forces. This move can only set up a scernio for perpetual conflict, thereby nullifying the peaceful consumation of history in a worldwide communist society which was and is the great abiding hope all ML's.
David


Number 6: Message 2388; From: Hari Kumar; Date: Wed Nov 14, 2001;
Subject: Re: Dimitrov
Dear Cmde DV, TW, CEMOPI & BS:

I have been away so my reply is late. However I am glad indeed that Cmde BS has entered into more active voice. On this topic especially.
At this juncture I will invite ALL submitted contributions to be  printed/web-printed in a
detailed forthcoming Alliance issue on the overall topic. We hope that this will allow a fuller - and possibly resolving - discussion on the very thorny issues. That was always the intent of the CL & Alliance that stated specifically that their views needed detailed discussion/rebuttal. We have argued that the issues  need active exploration and not simply a denial. We have not insisted that our view was right - but that it needed rebuttal by ML-ist scientific debate. This latest round of discussions in black-and-white are therefore very helpful and encouraging.
OTHER POINTS:
Regarding the further referencing of Cmde BS: regretably - at least to my mind, the letters in the Yale UP book recently published - is marginal. Unless cmde BS has some specific references therein that he thinks are of especial note??
Re: The Diary - naturally this is potentially of more interest. I gather that this has been scheduled for an English edition - again by YUP. If indeed the German version contains "smoking guns" - in either
direction - of relevance, perhaps cmde BS can make this clear.
TO COMRADE DV:
I too would support the judicious use of Occam's Rzor.
However, like any other cutting edge - it needs to be sharpened, else it merely bleeds needlessly.
Therefore, I would suggest that to be most 'cutting' and less 'bleeding' - the Razor needs to deal with these (at the minimal) central questions:
1) Is it very likely that Dimitrov was released from prison by  benevolence of the Nazis? OR is it even true that the Fascists were "so frightened of the working class storm", that they released him?
If this is NOT the explanation for his springing from prison - what  is?
2) Is the distortion of correct UF actions that occurred in the Comintern - First from Ultra-left swings - then to Ultra-Right swings:
a) Correct?
b) The responsiblity of Stalin?
c) The responsibility of other forces dominating the CI?
d) The responsiblity of "honest mistakes"?
e) The responsiblity of "hidden revisionists"?
3) What role did Dimitrov's perversion of the UF tactics play in regards to the "United Front" Governmental perversions of ML-ist strategy in France?
4) Why did Stalin accept the wind up of the CI?
5) Why did Stalin initiate the Cominfrom expressly without Dimitrov's  participation?
Cmde DV:
Occam's Razor ought to be sharped to deal with those matters, in my view at least.
A couple of additional comments:
YOU SAY this:
> The first argument is the traditional one where the assumption is that Stalin controlled Comintern >and that despite all the permutations fascism was inevitable in the countries it took power. This is a >thesis I've never really felt comfortable with. It seems very clear that if there was a United Front in >place in the late 1920's and early 1930's Hitler would not have been able to gain power in >Germany.

MY REPLY:
That is correct, and is part of our overall analysis in fact.
YOU SAY:
> The second thesis is that Stalin sabotaged Comintern to preserve the Soviet Union, blah, blah, >blah...
> This, of course, is just silly.

REPLY:

We agree. But - let us ask you :
"Were there any mistakes of CI policy? If so, what were they, who made them, and are they defesnible today?"

YOU SAY:
> Well, I have a problem with this on two levels. First, regarding the activities of Dimitrov and the >BCP post WWII, I would certainly say that their attitude toward the bourgeoise can be seen as >similar to the NEP policy of the post civil war Soviet Union. Both, from a pure ML sense were >'revisionist' but nonetheless necessary considering the objective conditions of the time.
MY REPLY:
I do NOT think the situations are comparable for the following reasons:
i) The NEP was a temporary RETREAT - the situation post WW2 was exactly the opposite, a situation where the Soviet State had not only saved the world to overwhelming working class world recognition, but had created a bloc through the national liberation movements encircling Western Europe of countries breaking through to socialism.
Dimitrov was BRAKING that encirclement in his country - Bulgaria.
ii) JVS was trying HARD TO PUSH the stages BEYOND the National Democratic Revolution in those countries - to the 2nd stage.

YOU SAY:
> because he was able to transform his trial into a cause celebre and to thoroughly expose Nazi
> machinations. This, combined with the still incomplete hold on power that the Nazi's had at the >time, to me better explains the 'leniancy' that Dimitrov received.
MY REPLY:
I admit we do not have a document that is is signed by the Nazis & Dimitrov that says "I am a Nazi Pastie". But we are after all taking about things that sometimes can not be submitted to paper. To me, the thought that the Nazis were intimidated by Dimitrov in a court-room is pretty strange. I am not aware of much evidence that the Nazis were intimdated by much other than the USSR and partisans fire-power.

YOUR THIRD THESIS:
> I propose at third thesis or argument this time employing Ocham's Razor(alway better, in my >opinion, than elaborate conspiracy theories as an explanatory tool). Dimitrov was tied to a party, >the BCP, that had a history of ultra-leftisim and sectarianism. ........ ETC
MY REPLY
This is pretty plausible, and indeed was something we explictly imply in the Alliance article on Bulgaria. But your overall thesis, does still require a degree of sharpening to the Razor as I have already suggested, to deal with other matters.

Regarding the subsequent point you make - ie Dimitrov's similarity to Mao's views post-war, this we have put above in our point that JVS was pushing for something else. As an aside, even if something is "in the air" it is necessary for a ML-ist leader to make the independent analysis. Of course Honest mistakes are often made - and we naturally accept that. Nonetheless, if there is a pattern of
behaviour - Occam's Razor needs to be especially sharp when it comes to cleaving surface reality away from any deeper truths without any undue hemorrhage. The patient cannot bleed to death naturally!
FOR A SUMMARY:
I can only ask that IF WE HAVE MADE A MISTAKE _ A DETAILED REBUTTAL be offered. This debate that has opened from Cmde MG's acute question - is VERY helpful- we feel.
But it must go further.
Fraternal Greetings to all Comrades on the list.
Hari Kumar for Alliance.



Number 7: Message 2424; From: Viggiani David; Date: Mon Nov 19, 2001;
Subject: Re: ISML Re: Maoism , Dimitrov
Hari

3 mos. is "doable." Thanks for all the new links re. Dimitrov, the Spanish Civil War, etc. I'm looking
forward to digging into them.
David
--- Hari Kumar wrote:

> Cmde D:
> 1) You are welcome.
> 2) The next issue is almost ready & is ...naturally on current   issues.
> Thus the deadline for you & ANY OTHERS WISHING TO
> SUBMIT ON THE PRO > CON DEBATE RE DIMITROV: let us say 3 months?????
> Fraternally,
> H



Number 8: Message 2393; From Viggiani David; Date:  Wed Nov 14, 2001;
Subject:  Re: ISML Re: Dimitrov
Good Lord, Hari, I new you were going to make me work for it!
Okay, I take up the challenge, but it's going to take some time since I am going to have to ground myself much more thoroughly in Dimitrov's writings before I can really feel confident that I understand his position. As I mentioned in another email, I have just recently ordered the first three volumes of his selected from Australia and am expecting them in a few weeks.

Also, since you demand an accounting of CI policy during the 30's I guess I am going to have to read up on that as well. Do you know anywhere on the net where primary documents of the CI might reside? Or can you recommend a monograph?

However, I will make a couple of preliminary remarks on some of your comments.

First, you ask:
"Is it very likely that Dimitrov was released from prison by benevolence of the Nazis? OR is it even true that the Fascists were "so frightened of the working class storm", that they released him? If this is NOT the explanation for his springing from prison - what is?"

My answer to both questions is NO. The Nazi's, of course, never did anything out of benevolence and they weren't necessarily frightened by the working class - although they may have had concerns about their ability to govern effectively with most of the working class in revolt or at least extremely discontent.
Rather, I think both domestically and internationally the Nazis, at the time, were concerned with legitmacy.
I think that Dimitrov embarrassed them at the trial, but because he was so well known and respected internationally the Nazi's - in the very early years of their regime - did not feel they could risk both
domestic and international condemnation by killing him.
You say that you have no hard evidence linking Dimitrov to the Nazis, I say you need it before you
make such a serious accusation. Especially regarding someone of such stature as Dimitrov.
Historically, in America, a quick way to discredit your opponent in mainstream political debate is to
call him a "socialist" or even worse a "communist."
This type of "red baiting" without any evidence serves only to narrow and constrict debate, its a non
sequitor.
I have a much easier time accepting the accusation that Dimitrov advocated and to some extent implemented revisionist policies - even though I don't agree - because at least then there is something tangible (his writings, CI policy, etc.) to disagree about.
And by the way, one does not necessarily lead to another. If it is shown that Dimitrov was a
revisionist that doesn't necessarily make him a secret Nazi agent!
Last, you mention that JVS was pushing hard for socialist revolution in Eastern Europe and that
Dimitrov was putting on the breaks in Bulgaria. But wasn't he the first premier of a socialist Bulgaria?
To me, and again I don't know enough about it yet, Dimitrov was arguing for a type of New Democratic status within the framework of a newly independent society working its way toward socialism. New Democracy, as far as I understand it, was never meant to be understood as something that happens outside of socialism, but as the very early, early stages of an
initial socialist seizure of power. It's the first step towards socialism not a step away.
Now, I don't necessarily agree with the theory, but I don't believe that Dimitrov's Bulgaria was the weak link in post WWII revolutionary Europe because it manifested New Democratic tendencies.
David



Number 9: Message 2688; From Bhagat Singh; Date: Mon Jan 14, 2002;
Subject: CPSUb Obituary of Comrade Georgi Dimitrov

In the light of the discussion on Georgi Dimitrov on this list not so long back it may be of interest to
learn that the CPSU b Obituary of Cde. Dimitrov signed by the Soviet leadership including J.V.Stalin is now available on the website of Marxist Leninist Translations and Reprints:
www.mltranslations.org/
Click on the What's New section.



Number 10: Message 2804; From: Jehangir Merwanji; Date: Fri Mar 1, 2002;
Subject: Dimitrov
This is to Bhagat Singh: Pl(ease) explain what u mean by:
"My reading of Dimitrov's statement of 1946 is that he is saying (in the conditions of 1946 when socialism was not on the agenda) that the passage (to socialism) is rendered possible without the dictatorship of the proletariat and not that there was a possibility of constructing socialism without the dictatorship of the proletariat."

You then go on to say:
"The statement ran as follows:
"The popular democracy is neither socialist nor Soviet. It is the passage of democracy to socialism. It creates the conditions favorable to the development of socialism by a process of struggle and work. Each country will arrive at socialism in its own way. The advantage of the peoples democracy is that this passage (to socialism) is rendered possible without the dictatorship of the proletariat. This possibilty is due to the example of the Soviet Union and to the lessons of all the struggles led in the world by the proletariat.
(Cited in W.Z.Foster "The New Democracies", New York, 1947, pp.16-17)."
I presume this is the Foster of the US CP.
Regards,
JM


 

ML Review     |     Alliance ML     |   WB Bland Archive    |    Albania Society