‘Worried about the Russia Question’
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 7:43 AM
Subject: The Russian Question
Of course I’m quite worried about the Russian Question, particularly because I think we have to have a decision on it in time for the next issue of 1917, and I see no possibility of any compromise which does leave the door open for some sort of Kautskyan theory of ultra-imperialism.
I chatted a little to Josh today on IRC and had a brief telephone conversation with Christoph, and so far as it is possible to be sure, the three of us are on the same wavelength on this one.
Perhaps it can be accepted that there is a certain similarity between pre-1917 Russia and Russia today.
It is very clear that Lenin saw Russia as imperialist. He saw it as having certain specific features, but he saw it as fundamentally imperialist.
And so it is again today.
I gather that you are going to be driving up to St Catherine’s with Josh later in the week, and I hope you get a chance to discuss the issue carefully with him.
|Subject:||RE: The Russian Question|
|Date:||Sun, 5 Oct 2008 19:18:27 -0400|
I agree that the discussion is worrisome. I have some regrets that you and I did not have a chance to discuss it before it went into the general hopper. I am not sure that I see why we have to have it in the next issue of the paper.
I can tell you that the whole issue is diverting me from other important work, on top of my already stretched personal situation. I have not been able to devote as much time and energy as I would like. thought it very important to deal with Sam, and I am doing the talk on the US election that Josh said he was unable to for the BroSocs and Jason failed to produce a draft of. I am not feeling like I have the time or energy to get this done as well as it should be and would like to slow the tempo of developments re imperialist discussion.
I am not sure if you have noticed but I have been attempting not to introduce characterizations that might polarize things into the discussion. I think that it is an objective question and that everyone is motivated by a desire for us to come up with the correct position.
Of course these things tend to have a life of their own. I have thus far resisted contacting people to discuss things because I have wanted to slow things down rather than speed them up and see if it is possible for us to work back to broaden the areas of agreement. I think that it would be best for the organization if we have a longer, deeper discussion, rather than an accelerated one. Of course if we are confronted with a major showdown we will have to have something to say, but on the Georgia thing I think that the line we worked out was sufficient.
I can talk to Josh of course but so far we have not engaged very successfully on the issue. We had one round at the local last week and I said that I thought it was important that (as I understood things) in the IEC we all agreed that in any forthcoming political/military confrontation that we would have to look at the concretes very closely to determine our position and not have an automatic default setting and that suggested to me that there was still a lot of common ground. He said that he did not agree to that at all and that he would have an automatic setting. That was troubling to me.
I tend to think that we have a genuinely difficult and unprecedented situation. I think that we need to think it through as best we can. I want to avoid unflattering labels as long as possible. I am not sure how to proceed exactly, but I tend to favor a lengthier rather than a speedier process. I think that we want to try, if at all possible, to arrive at a situation where as many comrades as possible come to an agreement on the basis of a higher understanding. I also think that the discussion to date has been useful and that everyone knows more than when we started.
I would of course like to see if it is possible to work together toward a common understanding, or at least elements of that. It is a pretty important issue with a lot of potential implications