The Marxists Internet Archive has just made available a 1953 text by Raya Dunayevskaya, “Malenkov Pledges H-Bomb and Caviar.” This document appeared in Correspondence, the newspaper of the group that had been known as the Johnson-Forest Tendency until 1951, when its members openly broke with Trotskyism and left the Socialist Workers Party to embark upon an independent existence. 1953 was an important year for the group, and in particular for Dunayevskaya. Stalin died in March and the intense study of Hegel’s philosophy Dunayevskaya had been engaged in since 1949, when she translated Lenin’s notes on the Science of Logic for use by her and her co-leaders of the tendency, C.L.R. James and Grace Lee, culminated in two letters written in May which dealt with—among other things—Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind (or Spirit, as is more commonly translated today). Dunayevskaya considered these two letters (which are available in The Power of Negativity) her most important theoretical contribution up to that date.
“Malenkov Pledges H-Bomb and Caviar,” continues Dunayevskaya’s sharp focus on post-Stalin political and social developments in the U.S.S.R. Apart from the emphasis on the reaction of the bureaucracy to the death of Stalin, the piece is of interest for its treatment of what can be called the fundamental kinship between the two state-capitalist powers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Her discussion of Henry Wallace, who as Roosevelt’s Vice-President had made a goodwill visit Siberia in 1944 and made laudatory comments about the conditions in the Kolyma prison camp (see Robert Conquest’s discussion of the visit to the camp in The Great Terror), is particularly interesting. Wallace chronicled his trip in Soviet Asia Mission (1946).