Voices from Russia

Friday, 27 October 2017

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/

Sunday, 27 August 2017

27 August 2017. What Trickles Down Is NOT Prosperity…

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We all know what trickles down… it smells horrible, it makes an ungodly mess, and it’s BROWN. What gushes upwards? It’s the value of our labour, going into the boodle bags of the oligarchs and their upper-middle minions. However, a spectre is haunting Mar-a-Largo… more and more young people are waking up to the fact that they’re screwed, stewed, and tattooed by the oligarchs. You can’t stop it… you can delay it… you can hurt it… but you can’t stop it. Comrade Karl was right after all…

We have nothing to lose but our chains…

BMD

Friday, 11 April 2014

Right Sector Terrorists Seized KPU Obkom HQ in Rovno

01 Nazi-Book-Burning

THESE are the spiritual fathers of the Right Sector! ANY QUESTIONS?

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ZIK.ua said that Right Sector terrorists seized the KPU Obkom headquarters in Rovno. They demanded the banning of the KPU and handing its offices to local authorities because the KPU leadership “connived in separatist activity in the eastern and southern Ukraine”. They removed books, newspapers, portraits of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, and busts of Lenin and Iosif Stalin from the office. ZIK.ua said, “The terrorist leaders promised that they’d give the portraits and busts to a museum. Immediately after seizing them, they burned the books and other printed material outside the building. They sealed off the office, hanging placards that it was ‘under Right Sector protection’. The people inside the office when the Right Sector terrorists raided it offered no resistance and left. There wasn’t any violence, but verbal spats broke out between two groups of women… one supporting the KPU, the other supporting the Right Sector. KPU Obkom leader Aleksandr Voznyuk said, ‘The office is private property; there’ll be an appropriate reaction’”.

Editor:

This shows that even the Western Ukraine is in contention. Many ordinary people oppose the Banderovtsy scummers… not everyone endorses the neo-Nazi platform of the fascists and their Uniate running dogs. Note well that the USA supports terrorists and book burners in the Ukraine… just as it did in Nicaragua (Somoza), Cuba (Batista), Chile (Pinochet), Vietnam (Thiệu), Iran (Pahlavi), and Guatemala (Ríos Montt), to name only a few places where the USA intervened to bloody effect since 1945.

If you support the junta, you support neo-Nazism. What about THAT, Bill Kristol?

BMD

11 April 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_04_11/Ukraines-Right-Sector-activists-seize-regional-office-of-Communist-Party-website-9486/

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Statement of the Voronezh KPRF Obkom: Stop the Nazi Pogroms in the Ukraine!

00 Riots in Kiev 02. 06.02.14

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Events in the Ukraine become more alarming and dramatic. In some areas, well-organised radicals seize power from local authorities. Supporters of the legitimate government and law enforcement officials are victims of psychological and physical terrorism. The supposedly “peaceful” and “democratic” countries refuse to see the Orange/Brown orientation of the Euromaidan activists in Kiev. So-called “freedom fighters” or simple human rights advocates don’t set the tone there… it’s set by openly fascist and anti-Russian bandits. Amongst the bloody events in the Ukraine, one saw attacks on the KPU headquarters, and harassment of party activists and ordinary party members. In Kiev, vandals trashed the offices of the KPU Central Committee. They looted property and seized documents. They desecrated our banners and smashed other party symbols. The attackers drew their symbol on the walls of the building… the Nazi swastika. In classical Nazi tradition, they had a bonfire in the courtyard of books by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Previously, fascists attacked KPU premises in Simferopol, Sumy, and Chernigov, marking them with Nazi symbols. In a number of cities, Banderovtsy destroyed monuments to Lenin; they desecrated memorials to our victorious Soviet soldiers. What’s happening isn’t just reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s… it’s a tragic repetition of the history of Bandera’s ultra-nationalist criminal gang.

Not by chance, the first targets of these rabid thugs were Communists and symbols of the Soviet era.  Leftist patriots, supporters of justice and friendship amongst peoples, have always been a major threat to any of the bourgeois dictatorships. Spinning off into lawlessness and looting, these Ukrainian heirs of the hateful ideology of Nazism grasp for power. Today, their goal is the KPU, but it’s clear that the impunity these brutalised gangsters enjoy will give them a taste for more violence… it’s clear that in future they won’t hesitate to smash anyone that their “Führer” declares enemies. We must stop the frenzy of these nationalist outlaws immediately! Procrastination may result in massive casualties. Russia’s spineless position played a tragic role in this. Swept away by the allure of the Olympic Games, it didn’t find it necessary to help to the fraternal Ukrainian people, to all Russians living in the Near Abroad. Today, the Russian government and leadership must take a more consistent and tough stance to the “Ukrainian question” or similar events to those happening in the Ukraine will inevitably happen in our country! We should condemn the actions of rightwing nationalist groups at the international level. We must demand an impartial investigation into the activities of their “leaders!”

Communists in Voronezh Oblast appeal to all left-patriotic political and public organisations, all sensible forces of the Voronezh Oblast, and concerned citizens of Russia and other Soviet Republics once unified in the USSR. We need to combine our strength to help our fraternal people; we demand the immediate cessation of political killings and violence. Otherwise, we can have a repeat of the “Euromaidan” in our country! A repeat of the treacherous “ Belavezha Accords coup” could be fatal to the integrity and sovereignty of Russia, so we must prevent it!

The people of Ukraine have the right to build their lives without outside influence, without political and social terror!

Hands off the fraternal Ukrainian people!

Hands off the KPU!

No to fascism! 

26 February 2014

KPRF.ru

KPRF official website

http://kprf.ru/party-live/regnews/128729.html

 

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