Sudden Stalin: Trump would like it (I guess)

2017/01/19

Printed source in Russian: Сталин И.В. Об основах ленинизма / Вопросы ленинизма: изд. 11-е. — М.: Государственное издание политической литературы, 1952. — 652 с. — С. 1-80. — Отрывок (с. 78-80).

Stalin J.V. Foundations of Leninism / Works. Volume 6, pages 71-196. — Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow: 1953. — Excerpt.

The full dark side story you can find here (if you dare): https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1924/foundations-leninism/ch09.htm

IX. Style in work

I am not referring to literary style. What I have in mind is style in work, that specific and peculiar feature in the practice of Leninism which creates the special type of Leninist worker. Leninism is a school of theory and practice which trains a special type of Party and state worker, creates a special Leninist style in work.

What are the characteristic features of this style? What are its peculiarities?

It has two specific features :

a) Russian revolutionary sweep and

b) American efficiency.


The style of Leninism consists in combining these two specific features in Party and state work.

Russian revolutionary sweep is an antidote to inertia, routine, conservationism, mental stagnation and slavish submission to ancient traditions. Russian revolutionary sweep is the life-giving force which stimulates thought, impels things forward, breaks the past and opens up perspectives. Without it no progress is possible.

But Russian revolutionary sweep has every chance of degenerating in practice into empty “revolutionary” Manilovism* if it is not combined with American efficiency in work. Examples of this degeneration are only too numerous. Who does not know the disease of “revolutionary” scheme concocting and “revolutionary” plan drafting, which springs from the belief in the power of decrees to arrange everything and re-make everything? A Russian writer, I. Ehrenburg, in his story The Percommon (The Perfect Communist Man), has portrayed the type of a “Bolshevik” afflicted with this disease, who set himself the task of finding a formula for the ideally perfect man and…became “submerged” in this “work.” The story contains a great exaggeration, but it certainly gives a correct likeness of the disease. But no one, I think, has so ruthlessly and bitterly ridiculed those afflicted with this disease as Lenin. Lenin stigmatised this morbid belief in concocting schemes and in turning out decrees as “communist vainglory.”

“Communist vainglory,” says Lenin, “means that a man, who is a member of the Communist Party, and has not yet been purged from it, imagines that he can solve all his problems by issuing communist decrees” (see Vol. XXVII, pp. 50-51).

Lenin usually contrasted hollow “revolutionary” phrasemongering with plain everyday work, thus emphasising that “revolutionary” scheme concocting is repugnant to the spirit and the letter of true Leninism.

” “Fewer pompous phrases, more plain, everyday work…” says Lenin.

” “Less political fireworks and more attention to the simplest but vital…facts of communist construction…” (see Vol. XXIV, pp. 343 and 335).

American efficiency, on the other hand, is an antidote to “revolutionary” Manilovism and fantastic scheme concocting. American efficiency is that indomitable force which neither knows nor recognises obstacles; which with its business-like perseverance brushes aside all obstacles; which continues at a task once started until it is finished, even if it is a minor task; and without which serious constructive work is inconceivable.

But American efficiency has every chance of degenerating into narrow and unprincipled practicalism if it is not combined with Russian revolutionary sweep. Who has not heard of that disease of narrow empiricism and unprincipled practicalism which has not infrequently caused certain “Bolsheviks” to degenerate and to abandon the cause of the revolution? We find a reflection of this peculiar disease in a story by B. Pilnyak, entitled The Barren Year, which depicts types of Russian “Bolsheviks” of strong will and practical determination who “function” very “energetically,” but without vision, without knowing “what it is all about,” and who, therefore, stray from the path of revolutionary work. No one has ridiculed this disease of practicalism so incisively as Lenin. He branded it as “narrow-minded empiricism” and “brainless practicalism.” He usually contrasted it with vital revolutionary work and the necessity of having a revolutionary work and the necessity of having a revolutionary perspective in all our daily activities, thus emphasising that this unprincipled practicalism is as repugnant to true Leninism as “revolutionary” scheme concocting.

The combination of Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism in Party and state work.

This combination alone produces the finished type of Leninist worker, the style of Leninism in work.

— — —
NOTES:

* Manilovism — futile daydreaming, smug complacency, inactivity; characteristic of Manilov, a character in Gogol’s “Dead Souls” (online dictionary multitran.ru).

** First publication in «Pravda», in 1924.

COMMENT

Here Stalin gives concise description of the social functions (economics engineer), which in our times is usually described as exceptionally a role of an entrepreneur, combined with a lot of lofty and vague explanations and elitist’s mystery (such as «only about 5% of the population have entrepreneurial talent», etc.) and only after that supported by artificial construction of «social responsibility in business» (which a Natural born businessman needs in the same way as a dog needs a stop lights).

So modern bourgeois ideologists put the cart in front of the horse. And they need the horse just because an entrepreneur (a capitalist) freed of any social brakes or moral — it’s a horrible creature, destructive force and cannibal, which none of any sadists from ISIS can even closely match (see multiple and graphic documental evidences of it, for example, at Marx and Engels writings, where you can also find explanation why the bourgeoisie as a class was forced to constrain by law all the private entrepreneurial appetites and the level of war of all against all).

The structure of the text is also interesting. Stalin are using so called «pyramidal» or tree-like structure, as it recommended in best modern books on composition of non-fiction writing. Firstly, he gives us the gist shortly (main point). Then, he successively gives us main arguments, which are supported with more narrow and particular arguments further in lower levels.

According to Stalin, the main elements of Leninist’s working style are the required parts of the dialectical duality, of unity and struggle of opposites, of the driving antagonism, which presence provides the capability of development and the ability to produce a stable results. The efficiency of the approach was proved by 512% in ultra hard conditions.

The main elements of Leninist’s working style (subsets of interrelated entities and concepts)

Revolutionary vision American efficiency
Strategy Tactics
Goal Means
Morals Pragmatism
How it should be How it is
Inspiration Work
Boldness Persistence
Social responsibility Business

I bet you may meet the duality many times in modern so called motivational books with the cooking formula of success (something like «Clear vision and Persistence!», «Bold dreams + Hard work», or «Think big and Never give up», etc.).

It is interesting also, that Stalin uses cases (typical examples) as arguments (which is common practice in nowadays in business and business schools) and as such he uses examples of literary writings as a most typical generalization and illustrates by it his own views. (The hint on the movie topic: how to spend leisure time fun and with use for the propaganda).

In short: the guidelines to follow, brothas.

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