Voices from Russia

Friday, 27 October 2017

Bolshevik Revolution Was an Escape From Disaster

We Did It!

Sergei Lukin

1960

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S E Kurginyan, the leader of the Essence of Time movement, said on 26 October live on-air on the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov TV show on Pervy Kanal:

The Great October Socialist Revolution saved the country from total collapse and disintegration. The February Revolution marked the collapse of the Russian Empire, followed by many months of troubled times that nearly plunged the country into permanent non-existence. The disaster of February happened, everything began to break down, and this collapse would’ve been total had not the Bolsheviks come.

Kurginyan cited Lieutenant-General A I Denikin (a leading general of the anti-Bolshevik White movement in the Russian Civil War), who recognised that the Bolsheviks, despite their small numbers, had no equals when it came to state-building in 1917:

It turned out that there was a group of about 30,000 or 50,000 people who were extremely passionate, sufficiently educated, and most importantly, and had a dream; it relentlessly removed any obstacles in the way of making this dream a reality. This is why this group rescued everything from the grasp of total collapse and disintegration.

Kurginyan explained:

In this sense, October wasn’t a revolution, but rather a post-catastrophic reintegration. This is what we called “‘falling on an attractor”. This rescue kindled hope for a new social and spiritual future in the whole world. A great flame of a colossal historical hope blazed; therefore, it isn’t serious to say today that it was “an event of minor importance”. The Great October and the Ten Days that Shook the World changed the world in the most fundamental way.

27 October 2017

Essence of Time

http://eu.eot.su/2017/10/27/sergey-kurginyan-bolshevik-revolution-was-an-escape-from-a-disaster/

Revisiting the 1917 October Revolution

Although it didn’t live up to all of its ideals, the world was a better place for the USSR. After all, the USA didn’t live up to all of its ideals, either…

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To some the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia still stands, a hundred years on, as the single most important emancipatory event in human history. For such people, it commands greater importance than the Reformation or the American and French Revolutions preceding it, in that it went further than religious or political emancipation to engender social emancipation; and with it, an end to the exploitation of man by man that describes the human condition fashioned under capitalism. Meanwhile, to its detractors, October ushered in a dark night of communist tyranny that, per Marx, profaned all that was holy and all that was solid melted into air. This rendering considered October, along with fascism, to have been part of a counter-Enlightenment impulse, one that arrived as the harbinger of a new dark age. However, the attempt to place communism and fascism in the same category is facile in the extreme; it fails the test of history. The real and historically accurate relationship between both of those world-historical ideologies is that fascism was responsible for starting the Holocaust, but communism (in the shape of the Soviet Red Army) ended it.

That Russia in 1917 was the least favourable country of any in Europe for socialist and communist transformation is indisputable. Marx averred in his works that the starting point of communism is when a society’s productive forces have developed and matured to the point where existing forms of property relations act as a brake on their continuing development. By then, the social and cultural development of the proletariat incubated a growing awareness of their position within the existing system of production, thereby effecting its metamorphosis from a class “in itself” to a class “for itself” and, with it, its role as the agent of social revolution and transformation. Marx wrote:

No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.

The error in Marx’s analysis was that rather than emerge in the advanced capitalist economies of Western Europe, communism emerged on the periphery of the capitalist centres (Russia, China, and Cuba et al) under conditions, not of development or abundance, but under-development and scarcity. From a vantage of exile in Switzerland, Lenin saw with uncommon clarity how the First World War presented revolutionaries across Europe with a clear choice. They could either succumb to national chauvinism, fall into line behind their respective ruling classes, and support their respective countries’ war efforts, or they could use the opportunity to agitate among the workers of said countries for the war to be turned into a civil war in the cause of worldwide revolution. It was a choice separating the revolutionary wheat from its chaff, leading to the collapse of the Second International, as (with few exceptions) former giants of the international Marxist and revolutionary socialist movement succumbed to patriotism and war fever. Lenin observed:

The war came; the crisis was there. Instead of revolutionary tactics, most of the Social-Democratic [Marxist] parties launched reactionary tactics, went over to the side of their respective governments and bourgeoisie. This betrayal of socialism signifies the collapse of the Second (1889-1914) International; we must realise what caused this collapse, what brought social-chauvinism into being and gave it strength.

The ensuing chaos, carnage, and destruction wrought by four years of unparalleled conflict brought the so-called civilised world to the brink of collapse. The European continent’s ruling classes unleashed an orgy of bloodshed in the cause not of democracy or liberty, as the Entente powers fatuously claimed, but over the division of colonies in Africa and elsewhere in the undeveloped world. From the left, or at least a significant section of the international left, the analysis of October and its aftermath is coterminous with the deification of its two primary actors… Lenin and Trotsky… and the demonisation of Stalin, commonly depicted as a peripheral player who hijacked the revolution upon Lenin’s death, whereupon he embarked on a counter-revolutionary process to destroy its gains and aims. Isaac Deutscher wrote in the second volume of his magisterial three-part biography of Trotsky, The Prophet Unarmed:

The Bolsheviks were aware that only at the gravest peril to themselves and the revolution could they allow their adversaries to express themselves freely and to appeal to the Soviet electorate. An organised opposition could turn the chaos and discontent to its advantage even more easily because the Bolsheviks were unable to mobilise the energies of the working class. They refused to expose themselves and the revolution to this peril.

The harsh reality is that the cultural level of the country’s nascent and small proletariat, whose most advanced cadre perished in the Civil War, was too low for it to take the kind commanding role in the organisation and governance of the country Lenin had hoped and anticipated. He had to admit:

Our state apparatus is so deplorable, not to say wretched, that we must first think very carefully how to combat its defects, bearing in mind that these defects are rooted in the past, which, although it’s been overthrown, hasn’t yet been overcome, hasn’t yet reached the stage of a culture, that has receded into the distant past.

Stalin’s victory in the struggle for power within the leadership in the wake of Lenin’s death in 1924 was, if we believe conventional wisdom, due to his Machiavellian subversion and usurpation not only of the party’s collective organs of government but the very ideals and objectives of the revolution itself. However, this describes a reductive interpretation of the seismic events, both within and outside Russia, that were in train at this point. Despite Trotsky’s determination to hold onto the belief in the catalysing properties of October with regard to European and world revolution (which he shared with Lenin), by 1924 it was clear that the prospect of any such revolutionary outbreak in the advanced European economies was over, and that socialism in Russia would have to be built, per Bukharin, “on that material which exists”. Trotsky and Lenin’s faith in the European proletariat proved wrong, while Stalin’s scepticism in this regard proved justified. Returning to Isaac Deutscher:

After four years of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s leadership, the Politburo couldn’t view the prospects of world revolution without scepticism… Stalin wasn’t content with broad historical perspectives that seemed to provide no answer to burning, historical questions… extreme scepticism about world revolution and confidence in the reality of a long truce between Russia and the capitalist world were the twin premises of his [Stalin’s] “socialism in one country”.

The five-year plans introduced by Stalin, beginning in 1928, took place under conditions of absolute necessity in response to the gathering storms of war in the West. Stalin declared in 1931:

We’re fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us.

When it comes to those who cite the human cost of October and its aftermath as evidence of its unadulterated evil, no serious student of the history of Western colonialism and imperialism could possibly argue its equivalence when weighed on the scales of human suffering. Here, Alain Badiou reminded us:

The huge colonial genocides and massacres, the millions of deaths in the civil and world wars through which our West forged its might, should be enough to discredit, even in the eyes of “philosophers” who extol their morality, the parliamentary regimes of Europe and America.

Ultimately, no revolution or revolutionary process ever achieves the ideals and vision embraced by its adherents at the outset. Revolutions advance and retreat under the weight of internal and external realities and contradictions until they arrive at a state of equilibrium that conforms to the limitations imposed by the particular cultural and economic constraints of the space and time in which they are made. Although Martin Luther advocated the crushing of the Peasants Revolt led by Thomas Munzer, can anyone gainsay Luther’s place as one of history’s great emancipators? Likewise, whilst the French Revolution ended not with liberty, equality, fraternity, but Napoleon, who can argue that at Waterloo the Corsican general’s Grande Armée fought for the cause of human progress against the dead weight of autocracy and aristocracy represented by Wellington? In a similar vein, Stalin’s socialism in one country and resulting five-year plans allowed the USSR to overcome the monster of fascism in the 1940s. This is why, in the last analysis, the fundamental metric of the 1917 October Revolution is the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942. Moreover, for that, whether it cares to acknowledge it or not, the world will forever be in its debt.

26 October 2017

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201710261058554269-october-revolution-1917/

27 October 2017. What Happened to Free Speech? Russia Allows Dissenting Voices on Its Media… What About America?

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If it’s true Twitter banned RT, it’d demonstrate the ideological collaboration between state and corporate sector. Very troubling move…

26 October 2017

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

Editor:

Read this. It’s about Russian counter-propaganda methods and there are few idle words in it (The Saker can be an insufferable anti-Semite at times; it does surface a bit, but it isn’t his focus here). Look at these excerpts:

One of the techniques Russian talk-shows regularly use is to show a short report about the latest crazy nonsense coming out of the USA or Europe and then ask a pro-US guest to react to it. The “liberals” (in Russian political terminology, a hopelessly naïve pro-Western person who loves to trash everything Russian and who hates Putin and those who support him) are intensely embarrassed and usually either simply admit that this is crazy nonsense or try to find some crazy nonsense in the Russian media (there’s plenty of that, too) to show that “we’re just as bad”. No matter what escape route they choose, the “liberal” ends up looking like a total idiot or a traitor. …

The only people who can seriously accuse the Russian government of trying to crack down on opposition pro-Western political parties or anti-Putin ideas are folks who have no factual knowledge about Russia at all. Either that or they’re deliberately lying. That includes the vast majority of Western political leaders (in the USA and in Europe) who now scramble to increase the budgets of traditional Western propaganda outfits such as VOA/RL/RFE or who want to create new propaganda outlets to “bring a democratic message to the Russian people”. In reality, the Russian people get a daily dose of Western propaganda (AKA “democratic message”) courtesy of the Kremlin, and that’s something that the imbeciles in power in the West can’t even begin to imagine, never mind deal with. …

In the age of the Internet and satellite TV, you can’t target your message solely at a domestic audience, nor can you prevent the other guy’s propaganda from reaching your own domestic audience. The Americans still operate as they did in the mid 1970s… they target their biggest propaganda efforts at the domestic audience as if the entire world didn’t carefully parse everything CNN and the rest of them say, and they believe that the West is only unpopular in Russia because of “Putin’s control of the media”. It’d be impossible to be more out of touch with reality than these people. The truth is that about 80 percent or more of Russians support Putin precisely because they’re exposed to the Western propaganda machine and its message on a daily basis. …

Furthermore, and at the risk of sounding like a Russian propagandist myself, I’d say something that’s quite evident, but still hard to believe… Russians have no need to lie, their propaganda is fundamentally truthful, fact-based, and logical. There’s no Russian equivalent of the Pokemon story. When western leaders demand that Russia withdraw her forces from the Donbass, Russians have no need to make up some convoluted story about how the Russian military is in the Donbass, but that these forces are as invisible to the observer on the ground as they are invisible to the satellites in space. The Russians don’t have any need to lie about their operations in Syria because what they say they’re doing there and what they’re actually doing there is one and the same… liberating Syria from Daesh. I could multiply the examples, but my point is simple… unlike their American counterparts, Russians don’t engage in policies that they can’t justify before their own public opinion or before the public opinion of the rest of the planet. Sounds simple? Then, why is it that the USA seems to be comprehensively unable to say the truth about anything they do? Being truthful doesn’t prevent Russians from being crafty, however, and the way they “jiu-jitsu” Western propaganda output to their own benefit is very clever. Clearly, somebody in the Kremlin learned painful lessons from the dysfunctional and, frankly, ridiculous Soviet propaganda machine. …

Okay, the Russian counter-propaganda effort is very sophisticated and effective. However, is it ethical? I think that it very much is. Here’s why. Firstly, as I said, Russians don’t fabricate lies. What they report is usually factually true (I say “usually” because I know too much about how journalism really works behind the scenes to have any illusions of the “they always say the truth” kind). Secondly, they use the enemy’s own stupidity. Nobody would call Aikido “unethical”, yet you use your opponent’s moves and force against him (“combining forces” in Aikido terminology). Thirdly, outrageous, over the top, and disgusting as some of the clowns shown on Russian TV are, they don’t misrepresent the reality of [the West]. Yes, sure, true Russophobes are a tiny minority in the West (at least, where the people are concerned… especially in southern Europe and the USA), but Russophobes or their puppets practically control the régimes in power in the West. As for the Western media, it’s wall-to-wall Russophobic to such a degree that I’d call it unambiguously racist.

Therefore, yes, Russians use the immense arrogance and poorly-concealed hatred for Russia of some of the more pompous and least-intelligent representatives of the West to paint an absolutely fair and accurate representation of the Western ruling élites. If the message were “everybody in the West hates you”, then, this’d be grossly unfair, deceptive, and unethical. However, if the message is “the Western élites hate you”, then, the message is absolutely fair, truthful, and ethical. …

One of the main weaknesses of the US political élite is that they never bothered to seriously study political science, never mind Marxism and, even less so, Hegelian dialectics. Which is too bad for them because they now completely overlook the fact that the internal contradiction of the [Western] propaganda machine creates a reaction that’ll make Russia Today, Sputnik, and the pro-Russian Internet even more attractive to Western audiences than it already is. In fact, every effort to crack down on “Russian propagandists” will only serve to strengthen the latter, making the perusal of pro-Russian sources something sexy and exciting.

However, don’t expect American “liberals” to admit any of the above. American “conservatives” are on a holiday from reality, but American “liberals” live in a shibboleth-soaked “alternative reality” that has no grounding in the real world at all. At least, “conservatives” worship money and power, which are real, although somewhat amoral and ruthless. The “liberal” doesn’t consult reality at all… after all, didn’t they vote for Hillary Clinton and continue to defend her (and her manifestly-evil programme) today? I need to add no more…

BMD

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