Voices from Russia

Sunday, 15 April 2018

15 April 2018. N S Gumilyov on Peace and the World

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N S Gumilyov isn’t well-known in English… poetry is notoriously hard to translate. Nikolai Stepanovich loved wordplay, and that’s almost impossible to render in another language. In the above quote, he played on the fact that мир means both “peace” and “world” in Russian… you can only trick out the meaning from the context. There’s much of that sort of thing in Gumilyov’s works… it’s why so many Russian-speakers love his poetry and writing.

BMD

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Bright Resurrection Brings Us a Day of Hope, Solidarity, the Affirmation of Eternal Values, and the Triumph of Justice

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Dear brothers and sisters, my comrades and friends!

We celebrate the Bright Resurrection of Christ, when life triumphed over the tragedy of death. During the upcoming Bright Week, we ever more clearly feel the unity of our citizens, so different, yet equally and passionately lovers of our Motherland, our history, our traditions, and our culture. Let us be united in joy and in sorrow, patient in trials, and persevering in our noble aspirations.

Recent events revealed the essence of all that accompanies us on the ascent towards Truth and the affirmation of the Good. Russia’s return to its mission as a great power sparked fierce opposition from our long-time enemies, whose weapons are lies, threats, defamation, and slander. However, we’ve already gone through that. One hundred years ago, 14 countries launched an intervention against young Soviet Russia. At that time, the new country issued a “Decree on Peace”, which was a call for all countries participating in the brutal war to begin peace talks immediately. The answer to this was intervention, an iron fist punched at our country. The ultimate goal of the intervention was to tear the country into pieces and have the forces of the interventionist countries control the remainder. However, from the taiga to the sea, the Red Army proved to be stronger than its foes were. Moreover, it was a new workers and peasants army, inspired by ideals of equality and social justice. The victory came not only from members of the oppressed strata of society, but tens of thousands of former tsarist officers, honest representatives of the once-well-to-do classes, and many foreigners united under the slogan “Hands off Soviet Russia!”

Furthermore, the solidarity of the working people and their love for the oppressed and besieged Fatherland prevailed over the interventionists. We stood and we won. In less than two decades, a new aggression leapt against our country, with most of the states of so-called “civilised” Europe taking part, whose leaders cowardly indulged the forces of evil, leading many to march under the banner of Hitler’s fascism. Again, we didn’t bow to their diktat, and as the great Pushkin said about the Napoleonic era in Europe, “our blood redeemed Europe with liberty, honour and peace”. Three-quarters of a century ago, at the Great Victory, again our state called for peace… “peace” was the first word written by Soviet children in their notebooks. The biggest sin is betrayal, but unrepentant sinners are even worse. Forgetting about their sins during the fascist era, our neighbours now trample on the past in hatred and insult the glory of their heroic compatriots who wiped absolute evil off the face of the earth at the cost of their blood. This is what F M Dostoyevsky said, who wrote about our nearest neighbours in The Diary of a Writer in 1877:

Maybe, for a whole century, or even more, they’ll tremble for their freedom and fear the power of Russia; they’ll curry favour with European states, they’ll slander Russia, gossip about it and intrigue against it … Of course, in a moment of serious misfortune, they’ll all certainly turn to Russia for help. No matter how they hate, gossip, and slander us in Europe, flirting with her and assuring her of love, but they’ll always instinctively feel something for us (of course, in a moment of trouble, but not before), that Europe is the natural enemy of their unity, it has and always will remain such, and if they exist in the world, then, of course, it’s because of the fact that Russia acts as a magnet, drawing them all to itself, which constrains their integrity and unity.

In our history, we aren’t the first to face furious pressure from our neighbours to our country. Moreover, we usually didn’t have to fight off the dark forces alone. Now, we don’t feel any support from the working people of those countries under the thumb of financial and oligarchic capital. The people remain silent, victims of social engineering and sophisticated methods of controlling the mass consciousness. Political technology replaces politics, information replaces knowledge; naked calculation and profit, not conscience, measures the actions of individuals and peoples. In such a situation, it isn’t easy to stop the procession of evil in the world. Being in the ring with multinational ill-wishers, as Russia’s philosopher Ilyin pointed up, the individual Russian and the Russian nation rallies and thus answers the challenges of the time. We are fully satisfied that the ideas of equality and social justice are at the forefront of our struggle and that the people’s expectations increasingly push the authorities to implement measures that facilitate the implementation of these requirements. We should say that the authorities try to respond to the urgent demands of the people. However, these are piecemeal measures; we need a long-term strategy.

We understand that half-hearted, partial, “cosmetic” measures won’t help us to transform the State into a truly socialist people’s state, when decision-makers aspire only, as Mayakovsky said, “to protect the safety of their familiar places”. It requires a hard-nosed attitude towards those who neglect the interests of the people and the state, which hinder the development of the country, which condone the plunder of its riches. We’ll continue to seek relentlessly to bring forward a humanistic view, to demand the implementation of the equality of all citizens of our state, to fight for equal access to its wealth, and to make those in power answer to the people for everything that happens in the country. Again, Russia needs to focus itself. For the sake of the good of the country, we must unite all our efforts and thoughts.

Congratulations on the Bright Resurrection to the clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church, all Orthodox Christians, and to all people of goodwill! I wish peace to the peoples, happiness and family harmony to all citizens of our country, and new achievements on our path to revive our Motherland! Let the bright ideals of goodness, equality, justice, solidarity, and dignity, the eternal values of the Christian faith, become our communist ideal.

To the Resurrection of Christ!

7 April 2018

G A Zyuganov

Head of the KPRF faction in the RF Gosduma

Chairman of the TsK KPRF

KPRF.ru

KPRF official website

https://kprf.ru/party-live/cknews/174630.html 

Monday, 12 March 2018

12 March 2018. Only in Russia… What is Nearest to the Russian Heart?

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“Drink is the joy of the Rus… we couldn’t live without it!”

Thus it was in the time of St Vladimir… thus it is today. As it was, as it is, as it ever shall be… now, pass the bottle, it’s my turn…

BMD

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

How Social Darwinism Destroyed America From the Inside: Or, What Happens When the Average Person Believes in the Survival of the Fittest

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Whenever I look at the USA today versus its rich-world peers, an observation leaps out at me. America’s built a society on a kind of furious single-minded dedication to one idea… Social Darwinism (or the survival of the fittest). Let’s begin with the obvious. Its economy is modern history’s greatest machine for the survival of the fittest. The winners deserve extreme fame, fortune, and power… Elon Musks’ 55 billion USD (3.11 trillion Roubles. 348.83 billion Renminbi. 3.58 trillion INR. 71.42 billion CAD. 70.87 billion AUD. 44.58 billion Euros. 39.71 billion UK Pounds) bonus… but the losers don’t even deserve to live. Forget healthcare, savings, incomes, and so on. I step over them on my way to the café. Now, if you’re an average American, perhaps you don’t see the problem with all this. “So what?”

The problem is that Social Darwinism can’t build a healthy economy for the very people who believe in it, ever, period, full stop… even though I’d bet most Americans probably still think “survival of the fittest” is the best form of social organisation in history. Once you see how I also bet you’ll think it’s both funny and sad. What does “survival of the fittest” mean? It means an erosion or elimination of the average, doesn’t it? It means that only the top percentage (whether it’s 20 percent or 1 percent) of some population really makes it. However, the average person who believes in it so fiercely isn’t in there, he’s at the 45th, maybe 50th percentile, if he’s lucky. LOL. Funny and sad, no? Survival of the fittest comes back to haunt even the average person, the one who’s become, somehow, at least in America, its staunchest global advocate.

That’s precisely what’s beginning to happen in America now. The average person now has less than 1,000 USD (56,557 Roubles. 6,343 Renminbi. 65,036 INR. 1,300 CAD. 1,288 AUD. 810 Euros. 722 UK Pounds) in savings, a shrinking real income, a falling life expectancy, and no possibility of retirement, ever. They are going to live a shorter, harder, meaner, dumber, nastier life… than their peers elsewhere, or their grandparents. The survival of the fittest that Americans champion is working perfectly at destroying them. Social Darwinism is giving “survival” to the “fittest”, those at the very top (let’s say the top 10 percent), while punishing the very average, at the 50th percentile. The average person who thought, strangely, that being average wouldn’t somehow get him selected out. However, that’s what “survival of the fittest” does… select out the average. Hence, a middle class collapsing in three ways:

  • becoming a smaller part of society
  • a falling quantity of life
  • a falling quality of life

Survival of the fittest is annihilating the average person in America, even though that very average person seems to admire and long for it… that’s Social Darwinism’s ghastly revenge. In fact, seeing all but super-rich millennials struggle to have kids and make families, one might even say that Social Darwinism is working perfectly in taking away the reproductive chances of the weakest. However, I don’t think we need to be quite so reductive to say it’s a failed way to think about organising a society.

How is American Social Darwinism annihilating the chances of the average person? Well, American society is an arena for the survival of the fittest… it doesn’t protect the vulnerable. By design, there are no real safety nets, social systems, or public goods, while all America’s peers enjoy these things. For example, it ties healthcare to a “job”, and only then to a dwindling number, because if you aren’t productive, you don’t deserve to live. However, even if you’re productive, your income is stagnant. That’s Social Darwinism tuned perfectly… being productive or efficient is barely enough to hang on, it’s having just enough “fitness” to live at the edge of “survival”. Therefore, the survival of the fittest has kept America from building the basic systems and goods that the rest of the world’s rising quality of life depends on… healthcare, education, transportation, public media, welfare, and so on.

Why should the average person enjoy any kind of investment in him? Why should the poor? They aren’t fit. Therefore, they beg corporations and hedge funds to provide the basics of life, as they laugh at him. Meanwhile, the average person in America doesn’t really cry out for these things, because he still believes in the survival of the fittest, yet all the while, the problem is that he isn’t the fittest. Maybe, he’s at the 50th percentile of fitness… shouting that only those at the very top are fit enough to survive. How funny. How sad. How’s one to prosper, then? Well, who defines “the fittest”, anyway? The fittest do. Therefore, our socio-economic problem soon becomes a cultural problem. Let me put that more clearly. Is “fittest” the top 30 percent? The top 10 percent? Who decides? If it’s the top .01 percent, they’d keep “fittest” as small as possible, won’t they? That’s what happened in America… once, “survival of the fittest” might have meant the top 40 percent of society; now, it’s barely the top 10 percent. How does that kind of erosion even within Social Darwinism happen?

Everywhere in America, the élite tell the average that they must bow down to this terrible god of Social Darwinism. It’s the only god. It’s the best god, who’ll one day reward them with… what? Flying cars? Immortality? They dangle all manner of things before them. However, the reality is simpler… by definition, the average person can’t win these things, ever, for that’s what “survival of the fittest means”. Still, every single day, the American élite tell average Americans the same thing, in newspaper columns, cable news segments, books, films. Self-help, the prosperity gospel, stock tips, home flips, Reality TV shows about the rich and powerful, bootstraps, fame, money, glory… “Live your best life!” … “You don’t owe anyone anything!” What’s the common thread? What’s it all really saying? It just recapitulates Social Darwinism, isn’t it? Until people are more or less indoctrinated, American culture really says something like this:

Social Darwinism is the greatest ideology the world has ever known! Have faith! Your reward is coming, too… you too can be one of the fittest!

Therefore, the élite parade celebrities and tycoons before Americans, exhorting them:

Be more like this!

The first problem, obviously, is that 90 percent of people in society aren’t ever going to be the fittest. Nevertheless, here’s the problem inside that one. The élite are themselves winners of a contest of survival of the fittest. They tell people what worked for them, but that’s all. They have no incentive whatsoever to look past their own biases and say, “Social Darwinism isn’t working for anyone but us!” Why would they? Do you see the cultural issue? There is a contest in which the “fitness” one needs to “survive” rises and keeps rising. Once, it was maybe 30 percent of Americans; now, it’s maybe 10 percent. Now, you can hardly blame the poor average person for succumbing to this furious onslaught of propaganda, but he’s a fool… an average person believing in an ideology that says he himself shouldn’t survive. Therefore, he doesn’t. How funny all this is. How ironic. How tragic, too.

America is discovering the hard way what happens when the average person supports his own self-destruction, economically, socially, and culturally. Social Darwinism has resulted in America becoming something like the modern world’s grimmest dystopia… a place where kids massacre each other every few days and no one cares enough to lift a finger to help them. Why is that? You see, the endpoint of Social Darwinism brings us to the darkest place of all. Being a more savage predator than the next person is the only guarantee of “fitness”. However, a predatory society isn’t a very nice place to be, is it? That’s why the countries in which it was born, and then used… Britain, Germany, Italy… rejected it and consider Social Darwinism now a stain upon history. Will America ever outgrow Social Darwinism? I doubt it. The forces above are difficult to change. When the average person believes he himself is nothing but a ritual sacrifice to the gods, dark ages fall upon us.

17 February 2018

Umar Haque

Eudaimonia

https://eand.co/how-social-darwinism-destroyed-america-from-the-inside-7909acc6e099

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