Lenin's "What Is To Be Done?" Analysis

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andy g
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Aug 3 2012 09:15

S Artesian - agree with lots of that, the actual history of Bolshevism is much at odds with the standard interpretation of WITBD and the relation of party and class is not one of externality or unilateral dictation.

Jacob - I haven't read Lars Lih's Lenin Rediscovered yet, only some of his shorter writings. Is on my to do list though! I'm interested to see how his re-translation of WITBD compares to other versions.

Proletarian - dead briefly (and probably poorly), Marx argued for support for Irish national independence on a few grounds. Firstly, he argued independence would lead to the expropriation of absentee English landlords and thereby seriously weaken the British ruling class. Secondly, he argued that British imperialism had impoverished Ireland and led to mass emigration to Britain. Desperate Irish immigrants could be compelled to undercut "native" labour, driving down wages and contributing to an emnity towards the Irish. Thirdly, the separation of Ireland and Britain would undermine nationalist consciousness amongst British workers - he talks somewhere of Ireland being the lever to set the British working class in motion.

There is a section on the MIA collecting Marx's writing on Ireland if you want to read further...

proletarian.
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Aug 3 2012 14:11

Thanks andy g

mciver
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Aug 5 2012 01:34

What Is To Be Done? is instructive because it shows Lenin's prescience and single-minded fanaticism. He sensed that without a flexible, interventionist, ruthless militarised machine like his party, working class' action in Russia would oscillate, its energy would dissipate and be misused by rival rackets, thus hindering the final victory of 'the proletariat' (meaning his racket).

Lukács, Trotsky, Hal Draper and various apologists have presented this portable army of 'professional revolutionaries' as something heroic, a selfless trainer, the proletariat's own organic laboratory, expressing the 'historic needs of the class struggle'. These lullabies minimised and concealed the totalitarian practices of early and late Bolshevism. The huge SPD, with all its 'democratic traditions', contained similar tendencies (exposed by Michels and Machajski prior to WW1), which erupted brutally as xenophobic chauvinism in 1914-19. This was not accidental or due to 'degeneration' or 'betrayal'.

Dave B has hit on a raw nerve on this thread: Bolshevik-Imperial German collusion in WW1. This is a murky and unclarified episode in the history of Bolshevism. Nevertheless, the claim (not by Dave B) that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were 'spies' or 'agents' of the German High Command in WW1 is absurd and unproven. It has always deflected attention from something truly revealing, like Zeman's assertion that "The aims of the Imperial Government and the left wing of the Russian revolutionaries coincided to a high degree."

Indeed this was the case up to November 1918 -- the Central Powers wanted Russia's surrender after the collapse of the Kerensky offensive of July 1917, and the Bolsheviks needed a separate peace to consolidate their power. The Russian exit allowed the German High Command to move battle-seasoned divisions to the Western Front after the predatory Brest-Litovsk Treaty, galvanising the German offensive in France before the arrival of American troops. This short-lived alliance between German imperialism and the new soviet republic haunted supporters of Bolshevism like Luxemburg. The escalating carnage of British, French, German and American troops followed, implicating 'internationalist socialism' in the prosecution of the war. The collusion also freed German troops (and Freikorps) to crush social movements in Germany after its military defeat.

Because relations of domination minimise or exclude scruples and ethics, it seems pointless to criticise the Bolsheviks for accepting German High Command funding, prior to October, as it would be to criticise the Hohenzollerns for Realpolitik. It appears that Lenin 'took the money and ran' -- even the train journey through 'enemy country' implied some hidden wheeling and dealing. But that didn't make Lenin a German spy or agent, as it didn't transform Martov, who returned via the same way. It doesn't appear that the Kaiser or the German High Command expected Lenin to be their 'agent' -- Lenin and the Bolsheviks were just supposed to do their own thing in Russia: take power and call for a separate peace. It was a gamble for both sides, but there was no written contract, and the few in the party who knew, probably Krupskaya, Radek, Hanecki-Fürstenberg and a couple of others, never spoke (Stalin ensured this in the Great Purges). Lenin and the Bolsheviks invested well whatever funds came from the German 'black budget' -- the prize was, surprise surprise, a whole state apparatus!

Dave B has simply uncovered facts, something alien to leftist rhetoric, for which mentioning unpleasant things shows a lack of ... 'integrity'.

This would be useful: "I have it all in electronic format so I can cut and paste at will if required."

Nevertheless, this passage doesn't seem to be in the 1984 paperback edition of Sukhanov's The Russian Revolution "... it was revealed after a raid of the Pravda offices that they [the Bolsheviks] were flush with cash and had been receiving massive amounts of money from some unknown sources."

In pages 454-6, dealing with the wrecking of the Pravda printing offices in July 1917, there is no mention of cash being found. Perhaps the source is from another work? It would be useful to clarify this citation by Sukhanov.

The Kühlmann telegram of 3 December 1917 cited by Dave B is damning, if not a forgery: "It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under different labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ, Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow basis of their party."

So, there's apparently conclusive evidence that at least part of the Bolshevik activity after April 1917 was funded by the German High Command through Helphand-Parvus's shady operation in Copenhagen-Stockholm.

A 1976 article in Soviet Studies by Alfred Erich Senn states the following about the relation of the Bolshevik Hanecki and Helphand:

"We have considerably more grounds for suspicion in considering the activities of Jacob Furstenburg-Hanecki, a Polish supporter of Lenin who also worked for Parvus in Scandinavia. Polish and Soviet historians insist that Hanecki's relationship to Parvus was strictly one of business. Dubious as this may seem, we have no hard and fast evidence to the contrary in the period before the February revolution. Hanecki's possible role in the transmission of German money in the summer of 1917 is another question, but one which goes beyond the bounds of this article."
http://www.revleft.com/vb/lenin-and-german-t69340/index.html?s=31f7adffe1dad377794f3e7c58c19684&s=0df0910aed706f51b15f053bf3cea8ae&

Contrary to what the commissars of RevLeft claim, this article by no means "debunks the allegations that Lenin took money from the Germans."

This other source, a work by Anthony Sutton, is interesting, though connected to a fanatical Presbyterian source:

http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/bolshevik_revolution/chapter_03.htm

Sutton states : "We now know that the Sisson Documents were almost all forgeries: only one or two of the minor German circulars were genuine. Even casual examination of the German letterhead suggests that the forgers were unusually careless forgers perhaps working for the gullible American market. The German text was strewn with terms verging on the ridiculous: for example, Bureau instead of the German word Büro; Central for the German Zentral; etc."

Interesting -- it sounds like a deliberate attempt, since 1918, to undermine the credibility of the original sources, by mixing authentic material with forgeries.

However, Sutton adds an even more bewildering comment: "One puzzling aspect in the light of the story in this book is that the documents came to Edgar Sisson from Alexander Gumberg (alias Berg, real name Michael Gruzenberg), the Bolshevik agent in Scandinavia and later a confidential assistant to Chase National Bank and Floyd Odium of Atlas Corporation [Sutton seems to be confusing the businessman Alexander Gumberg with Michael Gruzenberg, alias Mikhail Borodin, a sinister Stalinist and Comintern agent]. The Bolshevists, on the other hand, stridently repudiated the Sisson material [what other hand? According to Sutton, 'Gumberg' was a Bolshevik agent himself!] . So did John Reed, the American representative on the executive of the Third International and whose paycheck came from Metropolitan magazine, which was owned by J.P. Morgan interests [this is false, Reed no longer wrote for Metropolitan]. ... Probably the connections between the Morgan interests in New York and such agents as John Reed and Alexander Gumberg were highly flexible [?]. This could have been a Gumberg maneuver to discredit Sisson and Creel by planting forged documents; ..."

But Sutton's book may be bizarre disinformation as well (in 2001?), or just a hack job with a fundamentalist agenda.

Trotsky attempted to divert attention from the Sisson documents: "In 1918 -- that is, after the October Revolution -- a press bureau of the American government triumphantly published a collection of documents connecting the Bolsheviks with the Germans. This crude forgery, which would not stand up under a breath of criticism, was believed by many educated and perspicacious people, until it was discovered that the originals of the documents supposed to have been drawn up in different countries were all written on the same machine." (History of the Russian Revolution, Sphere Books, London 1967, pp 115-16).

But as Sutton's book suggests, it would be rash to dismiss the whole of the Sisson evidence without further research. It should be said that Trotsky protests too much in his attempt to whitewash Lenin and the Bolsheviks. For example, he cites Lenin's break with Helphand and Lenin's 30 years as a revolutionary as sufficient evidence that Lenin wasn't a 'hireling' [spy or agent] of the German Government. But although this slander was easy to dispel, it was a diversion -- the collusion was the real issue, and that charge has been much more difficult to deny, because of the (as yet inconclusive) historic documentation. But to simply reject the collusion, using demagogic arguments like Trotsky's, won't do.

It should be said that this great paragon of revolutionary truth, had no hesitation to slander, with the whole of the Bolshevik government, the doomed revolt of the Kronstadt sailors in March 1921, accusing them of being led by White Army officers, 'Entente interventionists', French counter-intelligence agents and 'Black Hundreds'. Could he have written: ... you can say without exaggeration that March 1921 was the month of the most gigantic slander in world history?

Certainly not, the slander campaign was followed by a ferocious crushing of the revolt by the Red Army and Cheka. What credibility can this Bolshevik butcher have then? Following the tradition, though in ridiculous and microscopic scale, the ICC apparatchiks have slandered oppositionist as 'agents' and 'parasites' since 1981, and will never recant.

Funding was essential to underwrite the Bolsheviks' propaganda and agitation after the fall of Tsarism. Bolshevism was always in dire need of funding, after all, a political racket must be run like a business venture, even as an underground operation. In its early years, Lenin's faction filled its coffers with bloody bank hold-ups (with the usual collateral damage), legacy-hunting and fictitious marriages. The need to print and distribute the illegal press, compete with rival rackets and expand the 'organising' grew exponentially in 1917. There was no moral barrier that would have stopped Lenin from taking German money, even if he was never involved directly in the dealings (Radek and Hanecki were the likely links with Helphand).

The collusion of course doesn't transform the Russian Revolution into a conspiracy, unleashed by 'German gold'. The workers in the cities, the troops in the trenches and the peasants in the countryside, were acting according to their own interests, in the middle of a war leading to economic and social collapse. But as said above, funding was a vital component for the social actors conflicting in a disintegrating economy. Lenin would have made a pact with the devil (or Kaiser) to obtain the needed cash (one can see the beaming faces of approving apparatchiks).

For a fascinating speculative scenario of the 'sealed train incident', based on the existing evidence, see Michael Pearson:

http://www.yamaguchy.com/library/pearson/pearson_18.html

This is reminiscent of Solzhenitsyn's Lenin in Zurich, a persuasive account of Lenin the sociopath.

It could also be said that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were, for a while, the only true Russian patriots, because both Tsarism and Kerensky's Provisional Government had plunged Russia into a disastrous war and Kerensky was keeping it in the war. After his arrival, Lenin's stated that after the soviets took power (meaning his party), it would be OK to be defencists (and thus die for the 'socialist fatherland'). Of course a new imperial army (a 'Red' one) had to be rebuilt first, which took some time. After the Civil War, it continued to be of great internal use, like in Kronstadt and other mopping-up operations.

The much vaunted greatest moment in human history was not followed by other majority working classes, but was strangled from within in Russia. Thus the 'greatest moment' ended with Bolshevism as a junior accomplice of German imperialism. None of the other fragmented movements (Berlin, Munich, Budapest, Turin, etc) had a chance, which didn't stop the myth of a 'world revolution' being peddled today. The 'permanent revolution' was in fact a permanent war against the Russian population, which endured it from 1914 to 1921, followed by a genocidal famine in the Volga- Ural region. Such are the 'greatest moments of human history' in the minds of the possessed.

Had the Russian labour republic been joined by 'proletarian' Germany, Poland, Hungary and Italy, and if we go by the example of the Bolshevik archangels, this would have meant a new predatory bloc, in effect German, Polish, Russian and Italian imperialisms pitted against the Entente powers. The world war would have continued with blockades, trench warfare and blitzkriegs for a few more years, under militarised economies underwritten by the law of value. Forget 'soviet power', the 'transition' and the end of human alienation, although much of the cannon-fodder would have sung the Internationale as they went over. Who would have been leading these 'proletarian bunkers'? Who, indeed, but these well-known apostles of humanism: Luxemburg, Liebknecht, Jogiches, Leviné, Dzerzhinsky, Unszlicht, Béla Kun, Szamuely and Bordiga.

There was no need for Lenin to be 'an agent' of another imperialism, he aimed to head his own 'socialist fatherland' and got away with it. 'Running civil society under siege' was the winning formula. The intrinsic 'socialist patriotism' of the labour republic doesn't deny heartfelt panegyrics to 'internationalism'. This Enlightenment vision was inherited from the 18C 'bourgeois revolutions', passing through the Paris Commune of 1871 and ending up in the myth of the 'world revolution' of 1917-28. The labour republic, or 'proletarian bastion', is the ideal national model of left communist cults and the débris of Trotskyism today. It's the only legacy of 1917.

As the overtures of Alf to S. Artesian and andy g demonstrate ("I agree wholeheartedly with S Artesian... Agree also with andy g's points....", post 20), both traditions, the left communist and the Trotskyist, agree on fundamentals. They flow from the same cesspool. Still, a left communist agreeing wholeheartedly with... 'agents of the left of capital' is a touching example of odi et amo. Unfortunately for Alf, the love is unrequited, as S. Artesian blurted out last December: "Anyway, one more reason not to read anything by the ICC. They should be ashamed of themselves. They sound like strutting little left-Stalins." (post 36, http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/i-have-left-icc-devrim-08072011?page=1 (post 36) Incidentally, 'left Stalins' is nonsensical -- like saying 'extremely evil Satan'.

There's a relation between S. Artesian's Ingsoc bellowing and his politics -- a political vision attracts its own cadre. He is isn't a 'wannabe' racketeer but a fully fledged one, possibly attached to a Trotskyist or left-communist gang (the two ideologies share a lot in common, as this thread shows). This rancorous 'militancy' is what defines S. Artesian as a racketeer, not his amusing belief that the October Revolution was, and remains, the greatest moment in human history. That merely shows his penchant for destructive fantasies, something he shares with Alf's & Mandrill's shamanic meanderings (which never mention shamanism's bloody appetite for human sacrifice and cannibalism).

On an amusing note: S. Artesian firmly believes that Lenin's memory elicits wet dreams among millions: "Giving a fuck about Lenin isn't the issue, ..., yeah as a matter of fact millions do." But he promotes more aphrodisiacs, to allay boredom: "Giving a fuck about the Russian Revolution, giving a fuck about uneven and combined development [the mind boggles], giving a fuck about the international nature of the struggle against capitalism,..." (post 24)

Keep on fucking, comrade S. Artesian...

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Book O'Dead
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Aug 5 2012 03:23
mciver wrote:
What Is To Be Done? is instructive because it shows Lenin's prescience and single-minded fanaticism. He sensed that without a flexible, interventionist, ruthless militarised machine like his party, working class' action in Russia would oscillate, its energy would dissipate and be misused by rival rackets, thus hindering the final victory of 'the proletariat' (meaning his racket). [...]

I deleted ninety percent of your post in this reply to save bandwidth and because most of it has nothing to do with "What Is To Be Done?"

I'm not a Leninist and probably never will be (at my age), but I don't like irrational and unedifying attacks against Lenin, Trotsky or the Russian revolution. I do not agree with many of their theories by I hold them in great regard and admiration. I am intolerant of anti-Leninist bigotry.

On the other hand, If you decide to take your pants off and wear them for a hat while screaming insults at Stalin, I will gladly hold off the paramedics till you're tired out and rendered harmless by your own exhaustion.

I can be a nice guy sometimes.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 5 2012 10:50
Book O'Dead wrote:
I'm not a Leninist and probably never will be (at my age), but I don't like irrational and unedifying attacks against Lenin, Trotsky or the Russian revolution. I do not agree with many of their theories by I hold them in great regard and admiration. I am intolerant of anti-Leninist bigotry.

On the other hand, If you decide to take your pants off and wear them for a hat while screaming insults at Stalin, I will gladly hold off the paramedics till you're tired out and rendered harmless by your own exhaustion.

I can be a nice guy sometimes.

why? why would you admire people who sabotaged and suppressed a revolution? they didn't intend to do that,but its what they actually did.

And if you hate Stalin you should also hate the people who created the conditions that enabled him to take power, he didn't com out of no where through force of will or anything like that, the Bolshevik party created a centralist dictatorship out of a revolution and Stalin won a power struggle within that, he'd never have been able to do what he did without the hard work of Lenin, Trotsky and many others in suppressing workers control.

S. Artesian
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Aug 5 2012 13:50

I do intend to keep on fucking, just as long as I can get it up, and when age adds an obstacle, well "better living through chemistry" takes on real meaning.

To be a "racketeer" you have to get some personal material gain out the actions being undertaken. Now I don't expect someone like McIver, who clearly has no understanding of capitalism, or Marx for that matter, to understand what a material gain is, entranced as he is with his version of the "great man" thesis, the great evil man thesis, but personal material gain is fundamental to racketeering. Any evidence of personal material gain here?

My "skin in the game" is quite simply the class character of the October Revolution. Was a "democratic revolution" viable? Was capitalism viable? Were there organs of dual power? Were those organs, organs of the working class? Did those organs take power? I get no, no, yes, yes and yes as answers to those questions.

Anybody else have an event in history where those answers appear in that sequence? If yes, please let me know. Always on the look out for greatest events in human history.

What McIver produces is so much blather. He claims that there is no evidence that Lenin or the Bolsheviks were agents of the German High Command so that he can produce paragraph after paragraph arguing exactly that. The "evil great man" of history thesis is now supplemented with the "super-efficient, manipulative Hun" thesis.

Just look at this:

Quote:
Dave B has hit on a raw nerve on this thread: Bolshevik-Imperial German collusion in WW1. This is a murky and unclarified episode in the history of Bolshevism. Nevertheless, the claim (not by Dave B) that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were 'spies' or 'agents' of the German High Command in WW1 is absurd and unproven. It has always deflected attention from something truly revealing, like Zeman's assertion that "The aims of the Imperial Government and the left wing of the Russian revolutionaries coincided to a high degree."

Indeed this was the case up to November 1918 -- the Central Powers wanted Russia's surrender after the collapse of the Kerensky offensive of July 1917, and the Bolsheviks needed a separate peace to consolidate their power. The Russian exit allowed the German High Command to move battle-seasoned divisions to the Western Front after the predatory Brest-Litovsk Treaty, galvanising the German offensive in France before the arrival of American troops. This short-lived alliance between German imperialism and the new soviet republic haunted supporters of Bolshevism like Luxemburg. The escalating carnage of British, French, German and American troops followed, implicating 'internationalist socialism' in the prosecution of the war. The collusion also freed German troops (and Freikorps) to crush social movements in Germany after its military defeat.

You see, it's nonsense to call Lenin and the Bolsheviks agents of the German High Command but... but Lenin and the German command colluded. No, no agents, colluders, co-conspirators , that's the ticket.

And this is just too precious: The escalating carnage of British, French, German and American troops followed, implicating 'internationalist socialism' in the prosecution of the war. The collusion also freed German troops (and Freikorps) to crush social movements in Germany after its military defeat

Right out of the 2nd Intl school of deflection. The Bolsheviks' removal of Russia from the war, the Bolsheviks' and their appeals for peace without annexations, the Bolsheviks' walking away from the negotiating table, declaring non-participation, with the High Command seizing that "collusion" or lack of collusion? as an opportunity to march on Petrograd when the Russian economy and military simply could not have sustained a resistance..... that "implicated" international socialism in the prosecution of the war.......NOT the actions of the social-democratic parties in supporting the war... nope, that had nothing to do with it. You see in the upside down jabberwocky world of McIver, withdrawal is collusion, and as big brother McIver knows, peace is actually war, slavery is actually freedom, and ignorance is strength... his strength, certainly.

And such actions by the Bolsheviks allowed the Freikorps to take actions against the workers. Sure it did, not the class struggle in Germany, not the actions of the very same social democrats who tolerated, accepted, welcomed the Freikorps against the workers, just as the 2nd Intl had accepted the war.. but the Bolsheviks. But remember that doesn't mean Lenin and the Bolsheviks were agents of the German High Command. Just colluders.

Or maybe dupes?

The interests of the German command, in getting Russia out of the war, coincided with the interests of the Russian members of the Zimmerwald Left to get Russia out of the war? No shit Sherlock. Dog bites man, and so what?

Well then, what are we to say about the British and French support of the... provisional govt. with its Menshevik and SR ministers?

Yeah, I'll stand by my assessment of the October Revolution-- "all power to the soviets" sounds better to me than "restore capital punishment at the front," and the bullshit that seeks to blame the Bolsheviks for the war, and the suppression of the workers in Germany, thereby excusing capitalism and its real, explicit, acknowledged agents, the social democrats of Germany, of the provisional govt. in Russia, of the would be wannabee "all power to the... incapable of surviving... Constituent Assembly."

McIver may or may not be a racketeer, but he is certainly a dishonest person.

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Aug 5 2012 14:46
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Book O'Dead wrote:
I'm not a Leninist and probably never will be (at my age), but I don't like irrational and unedifying attacks against Lenin, Trotsky or the Russian revolution. I do not agree with many of their theories by I hold them in great regard and admiration. I am intolerant of anti-Leninist bigotry.

On the other hand, If you decide to take your pants off and wear them for a hat while screaming insults at Stalin, I will gladly hold off the paramedics till you're tired out and rendered harmless by your own exhaustion.

I can be a nice guy sometimes.

why? why would you admire people who sabotaged and suppressed a revolution? they didn't intend to do that,but its what they actually did.

And if you hate Stalin you should also hate the people who created the conditions that enabled him to take power, he didn't com out of no where through force of will or anything like that, the Bolshevik party created a centralist dictatorship out of a revolution and Stalin won a power struggle within that, he'd never have been able to do what he did without the hard work of Lenin, Trotsky and many others in suppressing workers control.

I don't hate Stalin; he's dead: I hate Stalinism. Besides, "hate" in my vocabulary is too strong a thing to direct against mere mortals. Hate is best reserved for principalities.

I unequivocally oppose Leninism, and I blame Lenin, Trotsky and their party for paving the way for the repressive, anti-socialist, anti-working class government they helped create. But their blame can only go so far if you take into consideration the material conditions and the historical circumstances that prevailed at the time and which were the primary forces at work in the Russian revolution.

I admire Lenin for being a revolutionary who gave his life to help his country survive a crisis. That goes for Trotsky as well.

It would be hypocritical of me to admire Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, because he was a revolutionary and not admire Lenin who never owned another person's body as if it were merchandise.

baboon
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Aug 5 2012 19:14

Hello. My name is B. and I'm a racketeer. I support a united, centralised, international organisation of the working class.

Just as there's a class line between "all power to the soviets", "turn the imperialist war into a civil war" and the imperialist and counter-revolutionary carnage pursued by the ruling class around and after WWI - German Social Democracy, the Provisional Russian Government and the agencies and policy of Britain and France, so there's a class line between the bolshevik revolution with Lenin and Stalinism.

Stalin was the first classical author of "Leninism" with his "Foundations of Leninism" in 1924. The same time saw the development of the personality cult - something Lenin abhorred - got up within the bureaucracy led by the Kamenev, Zinoviev, Stalin troika. This "Leninism" and "Marxist-Leninism" was used as a weapon against all the left oppostions that continued to struggle against the tide of the strengthening of the counter-revolution which culminated in the state capitalist theory and practice of "socialism in one country".

The mistakes of the Bolsheviks, of the working class, were legion. But they took place in a workers' movement that didn't have a blueprint nor all of the answers. The idea of the party taking power, a major error, was extant in the workers' movement at the time. It was only in the early twenties that the KAPD began to expose the contradiction of taking power, identifying with the state after a successful insurrection.

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Aug 5 2012 22:34

(in reply to Red Hughs post) I think the SR were already part of the International before the war, no? At least their program was based largely on Social-Democracy. Btw, Dave B, here's a text by Chernov (rather muddled I feel): http://libcom.org/library/der-wende-zweier-epochen-victor-chernov

Ok, so I wanted to raise the issue that if the SR also "applied Soc.-Dem. to Russia" (as if Soc.-Dem. wasn't an international phenomenon) and were more successful in terms of support, Barrot could at least have compared the differences between SR and RSDLP (both the M and B-wing) in their.. well, degree of "Kautskyanism"?

Also, it's not true when he writes

Quote:
The Democratic Centralists, the Workers' Opposition, and the Workers' Group were crushed for having denied the "leading role of the party".

at least of the Democratic Centralist; there's a short text which I like to share, and which I think shows that they organized their opposition precisely because the party was being destroyed; http://libcom.org/library/democratic-centralism-eduard-dune

mciver
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Aug 6 2012 09:19

S. Artesian, post 67

"To be a 'racketeer' you have to get some personal material gain out the actions being undertaken. ... personal material gain is fundamental to racketeering. Any evidence of personal material gain here?"

Sorry, I wouldn't have the time to follow your financial or 'give-a-fuck' affairs, so I can't tell if you are into pimping. But that's one meaning of racketeering.

Rackets is used here to denote political gangs, like on: http://libcom.org/library/on-organisation-jacques-camatte

Unfortunately you speak like you belong to a Leninoid political gang, or racket. Fredy Perlman examines these practices in his 10 Theses on the Proliferation of Egocrats http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/perlman-fredy/1977/thesis-egocrats.htm

See if it fits, but it refers more to practices of domination found in political sects, than to isolated individual propensities.

Now let's see this: "What McIver produces is so much blather. He claims that there is no evidence that Lenin or the Bolsheviks were agents of the German High Command so that he can produce paragraph after paragraph arguing exactly that."

Pay more attention to what you read. Yes, there's evidence, and also a difference between being an agent and a colluder/collaborator. Two independent parties can collude, or collaborate. In this case one of the parties was far stronger. But the weaker wasn't its agent or Gauleiter. Nothing in the history of Bolshevism suggests that their politics were determined by a foreign government. Not even by the Okhrana, in spite of Malinovsky. Political conspiracies exist, but as part of wider social conflicts. Some state secrets remain sealed forever, depends on what's at stake.

As stated previously, during WW1, the interests of the German government and Lenin's coincided, both saw they could benefit from using each other. Of this collusion, there's considerable evidence. It's important too because it confirms that even as small, persecuted party, Lenin's faction already behaved as a portable government, negotiating with the powerful. The German High Command took this for granted in 1917, as Helphand had, who knew.

Michael Pearson, author of The Sealed Train explains that tracing the funding channels to the Bolsheviks is inconclusive:

"There is corroborating evidence, such as Eduard Bernstein’s assertion of support amounting to 50,000,000 marks [mentioned also by the historian J. Carmichael, and cited by Dave B], the logic of the Germans’ backing the Bolsheviks because of their peace policy, the lack of other major sources of funds for the party for a very major propaganda effort, the flow of money through the Fürstenberg commercial channel. However, the bastion of the case is the [German] Secretary of State, who must be regarded as a prime source of the expenditure of his own department.

The big weakness of the case is the complete lack of evidence from Bolshevik sources, although this is not surprising. After Lenin’s death in 1924, all documentation concerning Lenin was by law placed under government control—and censorship. Before that date, the whole issue of German assistance—which of course Lenin consistently denied—was far too traumatic for any Bolshevik to mention, though it is probable that very few knew of it.

Although the fact that Lenin received German funds is regarded as proved, by me and many others, the evidence regarding the channels employed to convey it to the party is inadequate. Almost certainly, the key to this puzzle is Jacob Fürstenberg, but it has never been completely substantiated. ..."

Advice: consult sources before you blather. Pearson's research is quite thorough (though dating from 1975). http://www.sunray22b.net/sealed_train.htm

"The interests of the German command, in getting Russia out of the war, coincided with the interests of the Russian members of the Zimmerwald Left to get Russia out of the war? No shit Sherlock. Dog bites man, and so what?"

No, the aims of the German High Command didn't coincide with 'the interests of the Russian members of the Zimmerwald Left to get Russia out of the war.' The 1915 resolution of the Zimmerwald Left made no concessions to pacifism. It stated: "It is the task of the Socialist parties, as well as of the Socialist opposition in the now social-imperialist parties, to call and lead the laboring masses to the revolutionary struggle against the capitalist governments for the conquest of political power for the Socialist organization of society. ... Civil war, not civil peace – that is the slogan!" http://www.marxists.org/history/international/social-democracy/zimmerwald/draft-resolution.htm

This 'coinciding', as alleged by S. Artesian, didn't exist. It wouldn't have pleased the German High Command, and surely Helphand didn't offer it as a supportable Russian pacifism. Neither Lenin's slogan 'turn the imperialist war into a civil war', and by implication 'unleash a national war against the imperial belligerents or invaders', would have attracted German funding. Those 'class struggle' slogans' didn't turn the tide for the Bolsheviks. 'Land, peace and bread' did. What convinced the German High Command to agree to the 'sealed train' or to any funding of the Bolshevik party was the separate peace, the pacifist promise that allowed the Bolsheviks to attain a growing mass following in Russia. The survival of Russia as a nation state desperately required the immediate cessation of war, something that only the Bolsheviks strove for consistently as a mass party, priming themselves to inherit and rebuild the collapsing state.

(A point aside -- Russian members of the Zimmerwald Left were a handful, the signatories of the draft resolution of the leftwing delegates were only Lenin and Zinoviev. It is unlikely that the German government would have bothered colluding with two isolated extremists who advocated the end of empires, including the Hohenzollerns. By 1917 the situation had changed and the more agreeable 'civil peace' aim was on the table, from both sides.)

"Well then, what are we to say about the British and French support of the... provisional govt. with its Menshevik and SR ministers?"

An inane question -- why would this support be an issue? The governments of Britain and France naturally supported their new 'democratic' ally. The Provisional Government re-committed Russian support for the war aims of the Entente Allies. Yet this didn't make Kerensky and his Ministers 'agents' of the Entente. Russia was a vital part of the Allies, but with its own imperial strategy and ambitions.

The concordance of interests between both states, the German under the Kaiser, and the Russian under Lenin, undermined forever the 'revolutionary' pretence of a labour republic. Lenin fulfilled his aim but the German side imposed savage and huge reparations/annexations at Brest-Litovsk, even after Russia had, in effect, surrendered. But after the treaty was signed in March 1918, an inevitable collaboration developed between the German Army and the Red Army for around 8 months, as the Civil War ensued and the Entente sent troops hoping to retain Russia in their camp (see Piero Melograni's Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution, and other historians). Brest-Litovsk was annulled when Germany was defeated, so the investment in Lenin was lost. However, the collaboration between the Red Army and the (re-branded) Reichswehr was resumed after Rapallo in 1922, and continued well until the 20s. This certainly helped the emergence of the Nazi Wehrmacht.

The victory of Bolshevism demonstrates the dead-end of any labour republic programme. The victorious 'proletarian bastion' could only remain within the confines of the world's state constellation. Its economy would be determined by global trade and the law of value, forcing it to enter into alliances with 'the class enemy' and participate in predatory wars. Its own war mobilisation and technology would strive to replicate that of its 'enemies'. This is in the nature of things, as the affirmation of labour through a 'proletarian revolution' can only be a governmental changeover, remaking but keeping the same state structures. Class conflict is suppressed by military rackets, as regional soviets and workers' councils become redundant in a totalitarian war economy. The 'world revolution' appears as a demagogic afterthought, the saving deus ex machina of a paranoid fortress. But the very consolidation of a war economy (to 'defend socialism'), replacing autonomous democratic organs in civil society, dispels the chances of spontaneous solidarity elsewhere.

"McIver may or may not be a racketeer, but he is certainly a dishonest person."

Just like Dave B, who lacks 'integrity' because he presents historic evidence beyond the apparatchiks' brainband. It would be worrying if S. Artesian, and other racketeers, thought otherwise.

S. Artesian
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Aug 6 2012 12:26

Blah blah blah blah...........

What you avoid of course is the central issue-- the class nature of the October Revolution. So perhaps I've been too subtle with you. Can you describe in any number of words, the class content of the October Revolution?

What was its historical, social basis-- or was it simply a coup, financed by German gold, which the Bolsheviks repaid by.... how? By negotiating at Brest? By walking away from the table when the terms were unacceptable? [Let me guess, that walk-out was staged? Colluded upon, just so Germany could occupy more territory?]

If you read Dave B then you know that he doesn't make his charge of German gold as a solitary accusation. It's part of the argument that Lenin's and the Bolsheviks' program was for capitalism; their view that the revolution would be capitalist. It's part and parcel of Dave's apparent support for the Mensheviks and the "sovereignty" of a constituent assembly. He makes the charge of German gold as part of his analysis of the class nature of the October Revolution.

I reject the notion of "collusion" based on my view of the class nature, the class causes of the October Revolution.

Brest-Litovsk was not pay back for a loan; unless you think Lenin's near-panic, and near-panic it was, about the advance of Germany after the end of the talks; the flight from Petrograd; the Bolsheviks brutal division of "revolutionary war" was all more stage-acting and collusion.

But this all comes down to what the class content of October was. So enlighten us

What you avoid, of course, is any support for your claim that the Bolshevik collusion somehow made "international socialism" responsible for the war; what you repeat is your nonsense that the October Revolution, and the Bolsheviks withdrawal from the war was responsible, now not only for the Freikorps, but also for the Nazi Wehrmacht. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Nach Lenin, Hitler

Nope, not a Leninist, not now nor have been a member of a "Leninist gang," or an ultra-left gang, guess I'm just a gangster without a gang, or maybe a gangster of fucking. Don't buy Lenin's notion of a party, his bit on imperialism, his national self-determination, among many other things. Just think the October Revolution was a proletarian revolution, and not the work of a "sociopath"-- as you say citing Solzhenitsyn-- [talk about the "mind-boggling," that's got to take the cake; using the arch-reactionary Tsar-lover as source for characterizing Lenin's personality. Priceless].

Yeah, I'm a racketeer and a pimp. Just love your retro-chic situationist vocabulary.

Here's one for you, you scum-sucking gob of spit, underneath your archaic situ-rhetoric, you're nothing but a dissembler, and an apologist for social-democracy. "Just like Dave B."--indeed

Let me know how to get in contact with you, so we can give each other the opportunity to say these things face-to-face, and avoid wasting everybody's time with my repeating the same questions and you repeating the same non-answers.

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Railyon
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Aug 6 2012 14:19
S. Artesian wrote:
My favorite line ever:
Quote:
(I'd even go as far as saying that if the Soviet Union never happened, he wouldn't have acquired a higher status in the Marxist scene than Kautsky or Pannekoek because of the irrelevance of his theories

Priceless. Right, if the Russian Revolution hadn't occurred, Lenin would... would have been hunted down and imprisoned or killed, or he might have escaped again to Switzerland or Sweden.... but mos' def' if the RR had never have happened.... you and I wouldn't be discussing Lenin. Actually, I bet I wouldn't be alive, given the fact that my grandparents were Russian Jews.

Comrade, that's not an analysis based on historical materialism.

Well, wasn't really meant to be a serious statement because this what-if stuff is always pretty dodgy (I bet that was just my roosterism showing in its constant lashing out against the Great Leaders!). Then again, lefties are pretty much all about the what-if and ought-to stuff.

S. Artesian wrote:
The point is the RR did occur, and what has to be sorted is Lenin's role in it. WITBD played very little role in it. The overvaluation of WITBD as having some relevancy to the RR is, along with the other mythological baggage, an obstacle to understanding of the importance of the Bolsheviks to the revolution, and importance that includes both strength and weakness.

And Lenin's Imperialism has to be one of the most incomplete, ill-formed, misused, and basically detrimental texts ever to be paraded about as "revolutionary."

To me Lenin seems more like a "doer" than a great theoretician. A practitioner in the most literal sense. And that's exactly why, as I can understand why some hold him in high regards in the context of the actual RR, I fail to see why he is still hailed as a brilliant mind by what feels like 80% of the communist scene. Even you say that WITB played very little role, so it begs the question how it is any more relevant now than it was then especially in the light of the ongoing fragmentation of the working class, which makes all the citing of WITB by certain Leninists1 nothing more than wishful thinking.2

  • 1. Kontrra tongue
  • 2. at least in Western Europe and the US, this may be a bit different in other parts of the world where the political landscape might look differently - one might also come to the conclusion that if a genuine socialist revolution was gonna happen anytime soon, its epicenter might be in China
S. Artesian
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Aug 6 2012 14:50

I think that everything Lenin wrote, including his notebooks, was written for polemical purposes, that includes WITBD and Imperialism, neither of which amounts to a Marxist analysis of the subject of the inquiry.

The issue, let me repeat, of importance, at least IMO, is not the content of WITBD, which was certainly proven to be mistaken by 1905, much less 1917, but the content of the Russian Revolution.

Now I accused Dave B of posting tendentious and dishonest bullshit regarding the so-called "collusion" between Lenin and the German High Command; the reason for the accusation is that Dave B's real political, polemical purpose is his opposition to the October Revolution; to the demand for "all power to the soviets" and his obvious sympathy and support for the constituent assembly, which the Mensheviks and the SRs, not to mention the Kadets, saw as a sovereign body to replace the soviets.

That's a class distinction-- not one of "democracy" or organs of "civil society" as some would like it to be, but one of which organs of which class will rule. Lenin and the Bolsheviks who supported him said "soviets." Anybody who didn't understand that this was a question of class, of proletariat vs. bourgeoisie is at best ignorant, at worst dishonest.

Why is WITBD still such a totem among Leninists? The question is the answer. Historical obsolescence generates its own followings.

I think from the moment of the assumption of power, the working class, not just the Bolsheviks, [however at the moment of revolution, there is no doubt that the Bolsheviks were representative of the workers, and viewed as the defenders of the soviets] was overwhelmed by the immensity of the work that had to be undertaken.

Lenin, IMO, and those around him were absolutely terrified, panicked that they would repeat the experience of the Paris Commune, and so would make almost any agreement to avoid that fate. Almost any. Apparently the German demands at Brest-Litovsk were one agreement they could not make, despite Lenin's advocacy of settlement. Remember, the Bolsheviks walked away from Brest-Litovsk, did NOT settle, and settled only as the German army approached Petrograd.

But I don't think WITBD "contains the seeds of Stalinism"-- or that it prefigures the Bolsheviks later suppression of the Left SRs, the deployment of that monstrosity called the Cheka, the disempowerment of the soviets, or the attack on the Kronstadt rebellion.

History is not the product of pamphlets or sociopaths.

S. Artesian
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Aug 6 2012 15:27

Oh... and before I lose sight of the original issues.

1) I think the OP makes a very interesting point about the content of WITBD; in that it does not propose a monolithic party, and does in fact argue for a democratic centralization

2) the OP makes another important point regarding the first months of the first year or so of Bolshevik rule, when democracy is still practiced at the lower levels of the party, and among those lower levels that participate in non-party working class formations; while democracy at the "top" withers.

3) Here's what Dave B. originally posted that produced by "tendentious and dishonest" remark:

The Left SR’s were superficially more principled than the Bolsheviks and were thrown out after attempting their own coup against the Bolsheviks. For amongst other things, the Bolsheviks being funded and bankrolled by the German capitalist class.

The Left SRs did not ever attempt a coup against the Bolsheviks. Even the assassination of the German count Mirbach was not executed as part of a plan to overthrow the Bolsheviks. Moreover, I can find no reference to the Left SRs ever accusing the Bolsheviks of being "funded and bankrolled by the German capitalist class."

If the great McIver has any references to such Left SR accusations, he should post them.

Oh... and please qualify "superficially more principled." In what way were the Left SRs actually unprincipled? That they didn't walk out on the soviets? That they didn't support a constituent assembly. That they supported a revolutionary war against Germany? That they participated, in an early stage, in the organization of the Cheka, in order to prevent and curb "excesses"? Or is it simply a matter of not being able to find any sources for asserting the Left SRs too were funded and bankrolled by the German capitalist class?

As it is, I'll stick with my characterization of Dave B's remarks as tendentious and dishonest.

mciver
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Aug 6 2012 17:02

To you know who, post 72

"Yeah, I'm a racketeer and a pimp. ... Here's one for you, you scum-sucking gob of spit, underneath your archaic situ-rhetoric, you're nothing but a dissembler, and an apologist for social-democracy. ...

Let me know how to get in contact with you, so we can give each other the opportunity to say these things face-to-face, and avoid wasting everybody's time with my repeating the same questions and you repeating the same non-answers."

What a charming well of generosity -- a surprise & gracious repeat-invite, from somebody who flunked finishing school. However, it's doubtful that we shall enjoy a gallant tête-à-tête, unless there's a harpsichordist playing Couperin's Les fastes de la grande et ancienne Ménenstrandise on the background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4UVchj9GVw And, if the salon is in the Bronx, S. Artesian as host will have to fork out a first class Air France return ticket, but this should be affordable, if his 'give-a-fuck' racket is what he has confessed to.

S. Artesian
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Aug 6 2012 19:15

We won't be meeting in a salon, and a return ticket won't be necessary.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's be clear. one should never say digitally or in print what one doesn't have the courage to say to face to face. Certain people taking being attacked as "pimps" "racketeers" etc.personally and are highly offended, given the associations of dishonesty, and abuse of women associated with such smears.

Me? I take it personally, so sue me. And I've always made it a point to say only those things in print I would say to a person's face. So if I call McIver a scumbag, a gob of spit, a dishonest, disingenuous dissembler, I would indeed welcome the opportunity to say such things directly, just so there could be no misunderstanding. And I travel to France a lot, so if I'm spending on first class airfare, believe me, I'm spending it on myself, not him.

But let's leave that alone for the bit and focus once again on those questions our fashionable, erudite, cultured, and finishing school graduate avoids answering--

the class nature of the October Revolution;

the collusion [noun, 1. secret agreement or understanding for nefarious purposes; conspiracy; fraud; trickery--- OED, Camatte to the contrary notwithstanding] of the Bolsheviks with the German High Command. Simply put, was the October Revolution an instance of collusion?

the claims that the Left SRs attempted a coup against the Bolsheviks.

the claim that the left SRs accused the Bolsheviks of being "bankrolled" by the German High Command.

the class nature of the constituent assembly

was such a constituent assembly even viable

Was it "land, bread, peace" as McIver, and so many "real-politikers" claim "won" the allegiance of the Russian people to the Bolsheviks, or was it that other slogan, the one without which "land, bread, peace" could have no meaning, i.e. "All Power to the Soviets"?

Those are the issues, at least for me. Does one support the taking of power, the overthrow of the Provisional Government, and its replacement, by the soviets?

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Railyon
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Aug 6 2012 20:15

Dave B
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Aug 6 2012 20:34

I think the argument is made that I am a Menshevik for advocating a constituent assembly, as an essential part of a bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia.

And that would have been, according to ‘Marxist’ theory, an ‘essential’, ‘necessary’ and ‘inevitable’ stage in the socio-economic/historical development of Russia from Feudalism etc. etc.

Actually I have the luxury of not needing to advocate any such thing; and take advantage of it.

All I need to do is to state the fact that that was Bolshevik policy certainly up to the end of 1916 and probably even a bit beyond.

There are plenty of examples but I will just choose this one for the moment from 1911;

Quote:
When we look at the history of the last half-century in Russia, when we cast a glance at 1861 and 1905, we can only repeat the words of our Party resolution with even greater conviction:

“As before, the aim of our struggle is to overthrow tsarism and bring about the conquest of power by the proletariat relying on the revolutionary sections of the peasantry and accomplishing the bourgeois-democratic revolution by means of the convening of a popular constituent assembly and the establishment of a democratic republic”.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1911/mar/19.htm

To try and put it into a modern historical context the idea was to overthrow a feudalistic corrupt and crony dictatorship and replace it with a democratic system that would be capitalism, as nothing else would be possible.

The ambition was that the aimed for bourgeois-democratic republic in Russia would become immediately of the advanced kind found in mature capitalism ie Switzerland, Holland and Britain etc.

Where revolutionaries were free to hang out, hold their conferences and write their intellectual pamphlets for the erudition of the working class, and the final communist stage etc.

There is a kind of parallel situation going on now if not as regards the somewhat messy Arab Springs in North Africa, then in the Gulf States ie Bahrain and Eastern Saudi Arabia.

I don’t need to take a position on that at the moment.

But the Bolshevik (and mainstream Menshevik) Marxist ‘pardoxical’ position (re Lenin’s Two Tactics 1905) was to support and encourage the capitalist revolution and the ‘democratic republic’ .

Or if you like the democratic republic and the capitalist revolution.

So;

Quote:
That is why a bourgeois revolution is in the highest degree advantageous to the proletariat. A bourgeois revolution is absolutely necessary in the interests of the proletariat. The more complete and determined, the more consistent the bourgeois revolution, the more assured will be the proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie for Socialism. Only those who are ignorant of the rudiments of scientific Socialism can regard this conclusion as new or strange, paradoxical. And from this conclusion, among other things, follows the thesis that, in a certain sense, a bourgeois revolution is more advantageous to the proletariat than to the bourgeoisie. This thesis is unquestionably correct in the following sense: it is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie to rely on certain remnants of the past as against the proletariat, for instance, on

page 45

http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/TT05.html

Actually the ‘evil econonomists’ in Lenin’s ‘What Is To Be Done’,predominantly perhaps a splinter group from mainly the ‘Mensheviks’; couldn’t stomach the Marxist theory of having to tell the workers that more capitalism would be good for them.

And they or ‘economism’ preferred to just advocate the support of the workers in their general day to day struggle against the immediate enemy, the capitalists class; and drop abstract Marxist theory about the necessity for the further development of capitalism in Russia etc.

And that the workers would figure out the rest later and the deeper theoretical understanding would develop on its own from working class struggle against capitalism from both within a feudal political system and after it. Etc etc.

The Anarchist and left SR’s, or the Narodnik ‘proto Maoist’ types, albeit coming from different perspectives thought that some kind of socialism was possible in Russia.

Lenin panned the idea thus,in 1914.

Quote:
The economic development of Russia, as of the whole world, proceeds from feudalism to capitalism, and through large-scale, machine, capitalist production to socialism.

Pipe-dreaming about a “different” way to socialism other than that which leads, through the further development of capitalism, through large-scale, machine, capitalist production, is, in Russia, characteristic either of the liberal gentlemen, or of the backward, petty proprietors (the petty bourgeoisie). These dreams, which still clog the brains of the Left Narodniks, merely reflect the backwardness (reactionary nature) and feebleness of the petty bourgeoisie.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/jun/19.htm

Actually Lenin clearly never did break with that idea; in his unequivocally advocating state capitalism in 1918.

The post 1917 Leninist innovation was that; that that part of the economical historical process should or could be carried out by a party representing Marxism and the working class.

[Skipping over the historical ‘irony’ of the Bolsheviks using German State capitalist funds in order to copy it and become the Political ‘Junkers’ themselves;]

Quote:
..........our task is to study the state capitalism of the Germans, to spare no effort in copying it and not shrink from adopting dictatorial methods to hasten the copying of it. Our task is to hasten this copying even more than Peter hastened the copying of Western culture by barbarian Russia, and we must not hesitate to use barbarous methods in fighting barbarism.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/may/09.htm

The justification for the Bolshevik coup was made to the gullible working class by Trotsky just before the Bolsheviks enacted it.

And that was that the Bolshevik coup was necessary to stop the bourgeois classes ‘preventing the Constituent Assembly’.

And he finished with the ‘Menshevik’ slogan;

“long live the Constituent Assembly!

And I cut and paste from Cliff quoting Sukanov for convenience

Tony Cliff Trotsky: Towards October 1879-1917
15. Towards the insurrection

Quote:
At last on 5 October the central committee bent to Lenin’s will and resolved, with only one dissenting voice – Kamenev’s, to withdraw from the Pre-Parliament on its first day. Trotsky succeeded in convincing the Bolshevik delegates to the Pre-Parliament that they should boycott this body – again with only one vote against.

On 7 October Trotsky read out a fighting statement at the Pre-Parliament. This was probably the first time he appeared as the main Bolshevik spokesman. Sukhanov describes the scene:………..

‘The officially stated aim of the Democratic Conference,’ Trotsky began, ‘was the elimination of the personal regime that fed the Kornilov revolt, and the creation of a responsible government capable of liquidating the war and promoting the convocation of a Constituent Assembly at the appointed time……………..

………. If the propertied elements were really preparing for the Constituent Assembly in a month and a half, they would have no grounds for defending the non-responsibility of the government now. The whole point is that the bourgeois classes have set themselves the goal of preventing the Constituent Assembly ...’

There was an uproar. Shouts from the right: ‘Lies!’

……….. The propertied classes, who provoked the uprising, are now moving to crush it and are openly steering a course for the bony hand of hunger, which is expected to strangle the revolution and the Constituent Assembly first of all.

‘Nor is foreign policy any less criminal. After forty months of war the capital is threatened by mortal danger. In response to this a plan has been put forward for the transfer of the government to Moscow. The idea of surrendering the revolutionary capital to German troops does not arouse the slightest indignation amongst the bourgeois classes; on the contrary it is accepted as a natural link in the general policy that is supposed to help them in their counter-revolutionary conspiracy.’

The uproar grew worse.

The patriots leaped from their seats and wouldn’t allow Trotsky to go on speaking. Shouts about Germany, the sealed car and so on. One shout stood out: ‘Bastard!’

……………………….The chairman called the meeting to order. Trotsky was standing there as though none of this were any concern of his, and finally found it possible to go on.

We, the Bolshevik fraction of the Social-Democratic Party, declare that with this government of national treachery and this “Council” we –’

The uproar took on an obviously hopeless character. The majority of the right got to their feet with the obvious intention of stopping the speech. The chairman called the speaker to order. Trotsky, beginning to lose his temper, and speaking by now through the hubbub, finished:

‘–……... We appeal to the people: Long live an immediate, honourable democratic peace, all power to the Soviets. All land to the people, long live the Constituent Assembly!’

All the Bolsheviks stood up and walked out of the assembly hall to the accompaniment of shouts ‘Go to your German trains!’

http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1989/trotsky1/15-towards.html

It wouldn’t and shouldn’t matter one jot I suppose if the Anarcho-Bolshevik revolution in Russia was accepted as a terrible mistake to be learned from.

The anarchist have at least disowned it.

Our contemporary Bolshevik boors and pigs still want to see as it as some kind of model to be repeated.

S. Artesian
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Aug 6 2012 21:53

Brilliant, Dave B., so the fact the the Bolsheviks were not "left enough," in that they equivocated, vacillated, over the CA, were ambivalent in the extreme, even endorsing it, until actually taking power at which point it became obvious that two sovereign powers could not exist, and the soviets would have to give way to the CA, that's supposed to convince us that the CA was, in fact, the way to go?

Sure it was, if you thought the Russian Revolution was a bourgeois-democratic revolution; but the whole point of permanent revolution, which is the political expression of uneven and combined development is that such a bourgeois democratic revolution is in fact, not impossible, but obsolete.

The Bolsheviks were duplicitous in their statements, policies re the CA? Agreed. Absolutely. They sure were. Much better to have simply come out and said that such a body was obsolete. The prov govt only had such power as the soviets allowed it, and the CA also would only have power that the soviets allowed it, or that it took from the soviets.

Gee.....taking power from the soviets....?? Isn't that what the Bolsheviks are pilloried for doing? So why the romance with the CA?

Does anyone actually think that a "liberal democracy" a "capitalist democracy" could have survived in Russia?

Government by Constituent Assembly was an impossibility, or, only would have been possible with the suppression of the soviets. With that suppression, the CA itself would have been done away with.

We have the experience of every popular front that proves exactly that, from China, to Spain, to Chile.

Thanks for admitting Dave B. that the basis for all your posturing is your support for "bourgeois-democratic" revolution.

mciver
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Aug 7 2012 00:24

Post 77

"We won't be meeting in a salon, and a return ticket won't be necessary."

What a shame, no Bronx then. Hope I won't develop a tik or insomnia over this.

"... one should never say digitally or in print what one doesn't have the courage to say to face to face. Certain people taking being attacked as "pimps" "racketeers" etc.personally and are highly offended, given the associations of dishonesty, and abuse of women associated with such smears."

Really? Suppose moi and my laptop live on top of the Aconcagua, how could I possibly arrange a gallant tête-à-tête there to exchange the pleasantries you seem to go for? Sorry, your chivalry may have to defer to practicalities.

I will just add, on this, that as long as we don't live in a police state, I will feel free to tell political racketeers what I think of them, in print or face to face. But normally I'm spared their presence and would strenuously avoid their company. Concern for one's mental well-being must be a priority.

On pimping. So this isn't true? Well, that's a relief. You confessed to being a pimp yourself, so don't take it so personally. Maybe you were just having a laugh, about something you may want to be, unconsciously, but aren't. Possibly projecting? If you see a therapist, you should inform her/him of this potential career change. Sorry if you felt I was abusing and smearing your gender (I certainly got the wrong end of the stick there!), but as I didn't call you a pimp (that would have been a double faux-pas) before you confessed to being one, apologies aren't really needed.

Regarding the unhappy status of racketeer, although you admitted to being one too, I truly apologise as you insist that you don't belong to any racket (in the political sense), so you clearly aren't one, and I believe this version. Yet surely you must see that if you defend the politics and traditions of Leninoid rackets, this will give some people the wrong impression.

I regret that I won't fill in the long questionnaire you kindly forwarded. Most of the questions require research that you can do yourself. The interpretation of course is a different thing, and I can't see the benefit of exchanging more pleasantries with you.

S. Artesian
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Aug 7 2012 01:00
Quote:
I regret that I won't fill in the long questionnaire you kindly forwarded. Most of the questions require research that you can do yourself. The interpretation of course is a different thing, and I can't see the benefit of exchanging more pleasantries with you

Says it all. Cowardice being your currency. Can't answer a concrete question about concrete conditions, but you can whimper about "civil society" and "democracy." Lame is as lame does.

Reach across the channel there, gutless, and clasp hands with Dave B. and his endorsement of "bourgeois democratic" revolution. Suits you, and to a tee. I'll be in Paris in September, care to meet?

Nah... didn't think you would. As we used to say back in the day, "nothing but shit in your blood."

rooieravotr
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Aug 7 2012 13:19

Can this shouting match stop?

andy g
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Aug 7 2012 13:57

awww... I was really enjoying it! Apart from being in the right S Artesian is definitely wimming the "put down" battle!! "nothing but shit in your blood", classic!

mciver
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Aug 7 2012 14:00

A bit indelicate this poetry, no? -- because of the deadly sepsis or septicaemia, unlikely that humans can function with 'nothing but shit in the blood'. Maybe a golem?

However, Artesian Wells can be contaminated with human or animal excreta for a long time until they are disinfected. Meanwhile, the ensuing damage by intestinal parasites is high. In some cases, these wells aren't disinfected for years, making Artesians chronic sources of parasites and full-blown infections.

The struggle against this additional parasitism, found in Artesians, thus constitutes one of the essential responsibilities of Bolsheviks today, and is part of the tradition of their bitter struggles against contagion. Today it is one of the basic components in the preparation of the Winter Palaces takeover of tomorrow, and in fact is one of the determining factors both of the moment when the Bolshevik Party can arise again and its capacity to play its role in the decisive battles of the disinfected proletariat.

andy g
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Aug 7 2012 14:03

ahem, as I was saying, S Artesian definitely has the edge in the put down stakes........

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jonthom
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Aug 7 2012 14:41

S. Artesian vs mciver: a trailer

mciver
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Aug 7 2012 14:43

"ahem, as I was saying, S Artesian definitely has the edge in the put down stakes......."

How profound. Nothing else but 'put down stakes'. That's indeed the content of Bolshevik games today: ignorant and savage put downs, amalgams, slanders and hardly contained rage and threatening violence, inability to question first assumptions and engage with what's in the mind of 'the other'. It's a tradition now embedded in the very tissue of domination. This school of gross and humourless diatribes, ad-hominem attacks against opponents, ending up in unbridled statist terror, comes mostly from historic Bolshevism. It wiped out anything decent that existed in the 19C labour movement. It took over by storm, this veritable school for thugs and hoodlums, no better than the right wing gangs of pogromists and local Freikorps pitted against them.

S. Artesian
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Aug 7 2012 15:27

Christ McIver, quit whining. You sound like a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs. You whimper about ad-hominem attacks after spraying around your charges of racketeering, pimping, gangsterism; after you refuse to answer directly issues regarding the class content of what those you defend are defending-- for example Dave B.'s homage to the bourgeois-democratic capitalist revolution, which he thinks should have occurred, and would have occurred if only it hadn't been for the German gold.

You call people pimps and gangsters and racketeers and when you get challenged on your choice of abusive language, when you get called out, you moan about threats of violence. Grow up. You obviously are very used to saying things from afar, from a safe distance.

I'm not threatening any violence. I do promise you that should you have the temerity to call me a pimp to my face you can expect a big flying gob of spit in yours, and then you can take whatever action you deem appropriate. Is that violence? Where I come from, calling someone a "pimp" is like spitting on someone, and demands a response in kind. If I called someone a "pimp" to his face, I'd be prepared for that person to respond. And I wouldn't whimper if that person responded as he saw fit rather than as I saw fit. You don't like that? Then go practice your slurs somewhere else.

We have a serious issue raised by Dave B.-- that the October Revolution was a coup against the "normal" course of historical development-- a bourgeois democratic revolution-- that would have, and in his estimate should have taken place. So when Dave B. enters his comments about German gold, and supposed Left SR coups, that's what he really means, as once again he has confirmed. And so those initial remarks of his, deployed to obscure what he really wants to say are simply tendentious and dishonest.

You take that dishonesty to a grandiose level with your absurd arguments that retreat and surrender, and that it was, of the Bolsheviks after rejecting and walking away from the original conditions of Brest-Litovsk "tainted" international socialism with responsibility for the war [as opposed to the previous 4 years of social democratic capitulation]; and contributed to the Freikorps assaults on the German working class.

The serious issue is the serious issue: Was the "normal" expected course and outcome of the class struggle in Russian 1917 a "bourgeois democratic capitalist revolution"? If so, then what of the soviets? With or without German gold?

If not, then what alternative was there to the overthrow of the Prov Govt, the dispersal of the constituent assembly, and the prosecution of the civil war? With or without German gold.

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Book O'Dead
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Aug 7 2012 15:51
mciver wrote:
"ahem, as I was saying, S Artesian definitely has the edge in the put down stakes......."

How profound. Nothing else but 'put down stakes'. That's indeed the content of Bolshevik games today: ignorant and savage put downs, amalgams, slanders and hardly contained rage and threatening violence, inability to question first assumptions and engage with what's in the mind of 'the other'. It's a tradition now embedded in the very tissue of domination. This school of gross and humourless diatribes, ad-hominem attacks against opponents, ending up in unbridled statist terror, comes mostly from historic Bolshevism. It wiped out anything decent that existed in the 19C labour movement. It took over by storm, this veritable school for thugs and hoodlums, no better than the right wing gangs of pogromists and local Freikorps pitted against them.

Yours is a case of what Issac Deutscher called "taking umbrage with history".

mciver
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Aug 7 2012 19:24

Book O'Dead

"Yours is a case of what Issac Deutscher called "taking umbrage with history".

In his many contortions, Deutscher was a propagandist for Stalinism and Maoism. He wasn't taking any umbrage with history, he floated to wherever it took him, making sure it was within the shores of power. His biography of Trotsky is a subtle and systematic undermining of his ex-guru's doctrinaire (and mostly erroneous) predictions, and a tacit support for Stalin's modernising barbarism. Deutscher liked his history safe, progressive, the type who uses Hegel to justify abominations.

Your approving mention of such corrupt semi-Trotskyist may be a further indication of your vision of life and politics -- expressed in the pathological admiration for 'great leaders' like Lenin and Trotsky. As red national-socialists, they, with Stalin, were the first totalitarians of a new type, using the hopes and aspirations of millions of workers and peasants to create a Panoptikon paradise for them. How you balance this with being a nice guy, is up to you -- obviously, you do it well, and keep a happy conscience.

What would an 'edifying attack' against Lenin and Trotsky be? Can you give an example? Noteworthy that you feel that criticism of your 'great heroes' indicates mental instability, requiring sectioning. Post-Stalinist totalitarians thought like this too, and incarcerated 'lunatics' and irrational bigots in asylums (probably parasites and CIA agents) who dared question the socialist paradise. You say you are not a Leninist and probably never will be. But it's never too late, age has nothing to do with it, but a supple spine, like Deutscher's.

Railyon's inane visual (78) is in keeping with his posts: innuendos, imprecise but loaded aspersions, a sort of trolling intriguer. Here's an example:

"Railyon wrote:
lettersjournal wrote:
Hello Railyon,
What do you mean by active "counter-revolution"?

Well, I put counter-revolution in quotation marks because the actions themselves were of course not revolutionary in any sense.

What I meant by it is more of a shorthand for trying to interfere in the active organization among the proletariat, and I think that was something you were against, right?

I mean, I can see the justification in that if one thinks that our actions run contrary to our goals but it clashes with our views so it's not exactly an easy situation to resolve...

I am still confused. What "active organization among the proletariat" do you think I disrupted or interfered with?

What are "our actions", "our goals", and "our views"? I think it's curious that you leave open the possibility that your actions, goals, and views are all in conflict with each other."

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/critiques-nihilist-communism-29042012?page=1

Railyon evaded replying to lettersjournal's rational and relevant queries. Of course Railyon had this right, even after waffling incoherent and false claims. But others have, equally, the right to point this out, for the record.