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The New International, September 1947



Liston M. Oak Objects


From The New International, Vol.&mnsp;XIII No. 7, September 1947, p. 223.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In The New International for August, A. Rudzienski exposed me as a “social democratic innocent.” The error that he thinks I made was to write that some aspects of the situation in Poland reminded me of the NEP period in Russia and other phases are similar to the Kerensky period between February and October, 1917. I predicted that in Poland the Stalinists will not stage an October coup d’etat and destroy the “bourgeois” state structure, but will take over the existing governmental apparatus, which serves their purpose and the purposes of Soviet imperialism.

This echoes the Stalinist concept of the “bourgeois democratic revolution,” Rudzienski asserts, falsely accusing me of characterizing the present puppet regime as a “popular democracy.” He thinks the democratic revolution was exhausted in Poland between 1918 and 1926.

Historical analogies are always dangerous and inexact and misleading – mine as well as the Trotskyist analogy between the French and Russian Revolutions, the Thermidor reaction and Bonapartism. History never repeats itself exactly; the differences are usually greater than the similarities. My casual comparison between the Poland of 1945–1947 and the Russia of Kerensky and Lenin was not a brilliant one. But Rudzienski’s distortion of my whole meaning is a typical piece of Bolshevik polemical hypocrisy.

My entire article was devoted to proving that the regime in Poland is not democratic, has little mass support, and is a Russian-dominated dictatorship headed toward totalitarianism. I did not write that a democratic revolution – bourgeois or proletarian – is taking place in Poland, but that the democratic socialist revolution had been suppressed, drowned in blood, by the Red Army and the NKVD and Polish Communist quislings – as it was in Russia by the Bolsheviks under Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

Rudzienski’s error is in thinking that the democratic revolution – “bourgeois” or otherwise – is ever exhausted. It is as continuous a process as man’s eternal struggle for freedom. The Polish people are still faced with the task of achieving democracy – and they certainly cannot win liberty by establishing dictatorship, whatever its label. Certainly pre-war capitalism cannot be successfully re-established in post-war Poland; but neither Trotskyism nor Stalinism is the way to socialist democracy.

Liston M. Oak

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