This study examines the complicated legacy of Stalinism in the twentieth century. The descent of the Russian Revolution into Stalinism has given rise to an oft-accepted truism that revolutions are like Saturn and will devour their own children. For anticommunists, Stalinism is condemned as a “bolt from blue,” whether an insidious contagion, Big Brother, or totalitarian reason that socialism cannot escape from. On the other end, Communists and their fellow-travelers have seen Stalinism as a force of historical necessity and the only way for the working class to reach a communist society. Both these twin camps accept a Dialectic of Saturn where Stalinism, whether for evil or good, is the preordained fate of all socialist revolutions. However, there is another position that views Stalinism as the product of material circumstance and class struggle. This position was represented by Leon Trotsky in his seminal work The Revolution Betrayed. In contrast to those who accept a mystical dialectic of Saturn, Trotsky argued that Stalinism can be rationally explained and was not inevitable outcome of socialism.
Doug Greene is an independent historian.
Introduction: Saturn and Her Children
I. Stalinism as a Bolt from the Blue: The Jewish-Bolshevik Contagion
II. Stalinism as a Bolt from the Blue: Big Brother
III. Stalinism as a Bolt From the Blue: The Counter-Enlightenment Project
IV. Stalinism as Historical Necessity: Rubashov and Terror
V. Stalinism as Historical Necessity: The Ambiguities of Western Marxism
VI: From Proletarian Jacobinism to Stalinist Thermidor
VII. Stalinism as Thermidor: Western Retreat and Eastern Reconciliation
VIII. Escaping Fate
Appendix: Domenico Losurdo: A Critical Assessment of Stalin: The History and Critique of a Black Legend
6/9/2023, New Books Network: