Voices from Russia

Saturday, 4 November 2017

4 November 2017. Tuesday is the Centenery of the Great October

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Tuesday is the 100th anniversary of the Great October. Yes… Russia was on the Julian Calendar in 1917, so 25 October was 7 November according to the Gregorian usage. Russia was in chaos… the Upper-Middle class had thrown Russia into ungovernable convulsions due to their ill-advised putsch in February against the tsarist state. They had nothing to replace it… they were like Trump and his pack of ravening jackals. They acted without consideration for consequence… they had no ideology or weltanschauung to unite around. It was simply, “Off with his head”… one can tell the measure of the rebels by noting that they didn’t scruple at putting the state into free-fall during a time of war. One can say what you will about Lenin and the Bolsheviks. However, as Lieutenant-General A I Denikin (a leading figure in the anti-Bolshevik White movement in the Russian Civil War) recognised:

It turned out that this group of about 30,000 or 50,000 people were extremely passionate, sufficiently educated, and most importantly, 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.

Whether one likes it or not, the Whites plunged the country into the abyss without thought for the future. You may hate V I Lenin… you may hate socialism… but you have to admit that Lenin’s foes had no programme nor did they have a unifying belief to rally the narod.  They imprisoned the tsar (whom they could’ve used as a unifying figurehead) and they decapitated the state. The White defeat in the Civil War was more spiritual than physical or military. They simply had no ideology… they were nihilists (like Clinton and Trump in our day). Like it or not, the Bolsheviks did have an ideal and the will to carry it out.

Whether one likes it or not, the Bolsheviks saved Rus for the future. For that, all future generations of Russians owe them thanks.

BMD

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Saturday, 28 October 2017

28 October 2017. What Modern Russia Thinks of the Great October… As Seen in Piter

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In the square opposite the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, workers are installing a replica of an armoured car used in the 1917 October Revolution. It has the motto Vrag Kapital! That means “Enemy of Capital”. That doesn’t sound too friendly to neoliberalism and free enterprise, does it? Methinks that the touted death of socialism may turn out to be wishful thinking. A spectre DOES haunt Mar-a-Lago and Tarrytown…

The Great October still lives! That does have implications for the USA and its soulless evil capitalistic programme…

BMD

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/

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