In the Light of Marxism

Questioning of an Historical Period

Elif Çağlı

May 1991

Author’s Foreword

In 1991 when I wrote this work my main aim was on the one hand to investigate a socio-economic fact which put its stamp on history for a period of over seventy years and on the other hand to express an irreconcilable attitude against the Stalinist tradition which falsified entirely the Marxist theory. Also I needed to make clear the points of distinction of my conclusions from the other views which I disagree.

I suppose I could manage not to pay attention to any dogmatic and unscientific concerns apart from the concern of grasping the reality in the light of Marxism in my effort to express my views. I believe it is the correct attitude to defend the historically rightful and revolutionary position of a great revolutionist like Trotsky against all the accusations of the Stalinists and centrists. But I am also convinced that the course that is taken by those who head towards wrong destinations hiding behind the name of Trotsky is not a way out.

It is of great importance to make it clear the differences of the conclusions that I arrived at on the historical experience from various views which have been put forward over the years. However such aspects which were taken into consideration during the collective discussions that served to clarify my views were not echoed in the first writing of the book. The main reason for this was that I considered it better to draw the reader’s attention to an understanding on the basis of the fundamental ideas of Marxism, which had been forgotten and distorted, rather than to the conclusions of various writers.

After a decade following the first edition of this book I deemed it necessary to expand some chapters when I went through my work. But at the same time I found it more useful to present some chapters of the book to the reader untouched as the book was written in the heat of important events and Gorbachev’s SU was still in existence. I must remind the reader that the expressions used in these chapters reflect the observations and predictions made in those days. Therefore I left those time expressions like “today”.

On the other hand, I added two new chapters (8 and 9) for this edition devoted to the critique of the theory of “state capitalism” and some other views that have been developed by other writers in order to give a general idea on our differences with these views. However the examination of these views have been deliberately kept to the limits which I consider suitable for the scope of the book. Leaving a further detailed inquiry for the future I just concentrated on immediate aspects for the time being.

In 1991 when I wrote the book I had to refer to some secondary sources as I was not able to obtain the original sources at that time. Now for this edition I changed these secondary references to the originals as far as I could reach them. And also I retranslated some of the quotes the available Turkish translations of which I consider incorrect or inadequate. But I stated the Turkish references in brackets for the readers.

As I stated in the Introduction I do not regard it a correct attitude at all to claim to have developed a fully-fledged theory or to create a new sect only on the basis of some differences on the definition of the nature of the Soviet Union. And finally I must state that I believe every serious criticism that can contribute to the struggle of seeking the truth and building the future will help me see my errors and enrich us.