* People who preach hard the word "socialism" are most likely actual socialists. That is, the people for whom an equal dispensation of porridge from the pot is way more important than technological and social progress.
* These are, first of all, non-Marxist socialists – anarchists, "democratic socialists", and the rest of them folkisch. But they have as a rule too straightforward misgivings about the USSR and communists to morally screw us up with hours-long rants on the topic of "why there was no socialism in the USSR".
* Secondly, these are the people whose ideological store remained at the level of the Second International. They have learned some Marx, diluted by Lassalle and distorted by Kautsky (and later retold by someone else unknown), but have decisively failed at Lenin, usually not on this question alone.
* Of the latter, the majority is comprised these days of all sorts of Cliffites and Trotskyites, erm… – the ones calling themselves Trotskyists, anyway. That is, about Trotsky personally, and about a bunch of his associates certainly it can not be said that they had remained on the pre-revolutionary level. They were on the level with their opponents in the VKP(b). But by the logic of factional struggle Trotskyist organizations in the West were massively stuffed with the splinters of the Second and the 2 ½ Internationals. Trotsky was their banner and point of crystallization, but these types were reluctant to get into the details of his doctrine and satisfied themselves with the previously acquired Menshevik education. Later on, after the WWII all the sane people escaped from there while the rest stewed in their own juice for a long time.
* Any discussion "about the nature of the USSR" with the participation of these people – and there are no other discussions of this topic – is trivial and of little interest for the communists and very quickly turns into a kind of Catholic canonization process. Highly initiated theologians waving kilometer-long sheets of quotations from the Fathers of the Church thoughtfully discuss whether or not the subject the dispute - the USSR, that is - is worthy of the High Title of Socialismтм
, or there are some Dark Spots on its biography that prevent canonization.
* This approach is logical for the people who use – consciously or subconsciously – the outdated definitions of socialism. Really, suppose socialism for us is synonymous with social justice and the ideal society, well, or at least with the ultimate goal of the movement. Then, first of all, it is indeed a high title, which has to be earned. And secondly, any injustice, any imperfection of the social system excludes a society from the pool of contenders for the title of socialist just by definition.
* Contributing to the confusion is the absence of a culture of thinking, which is very common among people with education in humanities, or without any systematic education. In order to consistently and systematically adhere under any circumstances to a once accepted definition, a fair amount of discipline of mind is needed, which is achieved by systematic training. Way more commonplace is the situation when a person verbally agrees with a definition, yet bases his reasoning not on it but on his intuitive notions about the subject. In this case, we see that the intuitive notions are formed by the literature, in which the word "socialism" was used in a completely different sense than that of today.( Read more... )