|July 9th, 2011||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bolshevik Strategy: Attack & Mock Competition; Set Up False Fronts
V. I. Lenin
How the Socialist-Revolutionaries Sum Up the Revolution and How the Revolution has Summed Them Up
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow, Volume 15, pages 330-344.
We have often had occasion during the past year (1908) to discuss the current situation and trends among the bourgeois democrats in Russia. We have noted the attempts made with the aid of the Trudoviks to restore the Osvobozhdeniye League (Proletary, No. 32 ): we have described the democratic stand taken by the peasantry and their representatives on the agrarian and other questions (Proletary, Nos. 21 and 40 ); and we have shown by examples quoted from Revolutsionnaya Mysl the amazingly shallow thinking of the Socialist-Revolutionary group, which imagines that it is ultra-revolutionary (Proletary, No. 32). To make the picture complete we must now examine the official publications of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. In 1908, four issues of Znamya Truda were published (Nos. 9 to 13, No. 10–11 being a double number ), and a special Report from the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party on the First Party Conference and the fourth meeting of the Party Council, both held abroad last August. Let us examine this material.
“The party,” say the S.R. Central Committee in their Report, “was faced with the task of summing up the results of that period of the great Russian revolution, now over, during which the town proletariat was the principal and often almost the sole actor.” That is very well said. It is a true statement of the case most unusual for the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Five lines further down, however, we read: “The triumph of the counter-revolution has merely strikingly confirmed the truth, which we never doubted from the very outset, that a successful Russian revolution will either be the work of a mighty alliance of the forces of the town proletariat and those of the toiling peasantry, or will not be brought about at all. So far this alliance has existed only as an idea, embodied in the Socialist-Revolutionary programme which was brought into being by the realities of Russian life. It scarcely began to come into existence. Its rebirth is a matter for the future....”
Now see how long the Socialist-Revolutionaries were able to stick to the truth! Anyone who is in the slightest degree familiar with the Socialist-Revolutionary and Social-Democratic programmes knows that they differ radically in the following: 1) the Social-Democrats declared the Russian revolution to be a bourgeois revolution; the Socialist-Revolutionaries denied this; 2) the Social-Democrats maintained that the proletariat and the peasantry were distinct classes in capitalist (or semi-feudal, semi-capitalist) society; that the peasantry is a class of petty proprietors that can “strike together” against the landlords and the autocracy, “on the same side of the barricades” with the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution, and that in this revolution it can, in certain cases, march in “alliance” with the proletariat, while remaining quite a separate class of capitalist society. The Socialist-Revolutionaries denied this. The main idea in their programme was not that an “alliance of the forces” of the proletariat and the peasantry was necessary, but that there was no class gulf between them, that no class distinction should be drawn between them, and that the Social-Democratic idea concerning the petty-bourgeois character of the peasantry, as distinct from the proletariat, is utterly false.
And now the Socialist-Revolutionaries are trying to slur over these two radical differences between the Social-Democrat and the Socialist-Revolutionary programmes with glib specious phrases! From the way these gentlemen sum up the revolution one would think that there had been no revolution and no Socialist-Revolutionary programme. But, my dear sirs, there was a Socialist-Revolutionary programme, and the whole difference between it and the programme of the Social-Democrats was that the fundamental, theoretical section of the former was based on the denial of the petty-bourgeois character of the peasantry, the denial of any class distinction between. the peasantry and the proletariat. . There was. a revolution, my dear sirs, and the chief lesson it taught was that in their. open mass actions the peasantry displayed a class nature of their own, distinct from that of the proletariat, and proved themselves to be petty-bourgeois.
You pretend that you have not noticed this. You do see it, but are merely trying to ignore an unpleasant fact revealed by the revolution. You acted, not “in alliance” with the Trudoviks, but completely merged with them—and this at crucial moments when the open revolution reached its climax—the autumn of 1905 and the summer of 1906. The legal organs of the press at that time were Socialist-Revolutionary-Trudovik organs. Even when the Trudovik and Popular Socialist groups were formed, you were not in alliance, but in a bloc, he., practically merged with them in the elections to the Second Duma and in the Second Duma itself. Unlike the programme of the Trudoviks and Popular Socialists, your own programme suffered defeat in all the open and truly mass actions of the representatives of the peasantry. both in the First and in the Second Dumas the overwhelming majority of the peasant deputies adopted the agrarian programme of the Trudoviks and not of the Socialist-Revolutionaries.. The Socialist-Revolutionaries themselves,, in their purely Socialist-Revolutionary publications, from the end of 1906 onwards, were obliged to admit that as a political trend the Trudoviks were petty-bourgeois, that underlying this trend were the “private-property instincts” of small proprietors (see the articles written by Mr. Vikhlayev and other Socialist-Revolutionaries against the Popular Socialists).
The question arises, whom do the Socialist-Revolutionaries wish to deceive by “summing up the results” of the revolution and concealing the fundamental and most important result in the process?
Why did the peasantry during the revolution form into a separate political party (or group)—the Trudovik party? Why did the Trudoviks and not the Socialist-Revolutionaries become the party of the peasant masses during the revolution? If the Socialist-Revolutionaries think this was accidental, it’s no good talking about either results or programmes, for then instead o! results and programmes we get chaos. If it was not accidental, but a result of the fundamental economic relations in modern society, then the correctness of the principal and cardinal point in the programme of the Russian Social-Democrats has been proved by history. The revolution has drawn in practice the class distinction between the peasantry and the proletariat that we Social-Democrats have always drawn in theory. The revolution has proved conclusively that a party, which aspires to be a mass party, a class party, in Russia, must either be Social-Democratic or Trudovik; for it is these, and only these, two trends that the masses themselves clearly marked out by their open actions during the most important and crucial moments. As the events of 1905-07 have proved, intermediate groups were never able to merge with the masses at any time or on any issue. And this also proved the bourgeois character of our revolution. Not a single historian, not a single sane politician, can now deny that the political forces in Russia are divided primarily between the socialist proletariat and the petty-bourgeois democratic peasantry.
“The alliance of the forces of the town proletariat and those of the toiling peasantry ... has so far existed only as an idea.” This is an utterly confused and false phrase. The alliance, of proletarian and peasant forces has not been merely an “idea”, nor did it “scarcely begin to come into existence”; it was a characteristic feature of the whole of the first period of the Russian revolution, of all the great events of 1905-07. The October strike and the December insurrection on the one hand, the local peasant risings and the mutinies of soldiers and sailors on the other, represented that very “alliance of the forces” of the proletariat and the peasantry. It was unorganised, inchoate, often unconscious. The forces were inadequately organised, dispersed, without a central leadership that was really capable of leading, and so forth. But it was undoubtedly an “alliance of the forces” of the proletariat and the peasantry, the main forces which breached the ramparts of the old autocracy. Unless this fact is understood, it is impossible to understand the “results” of the Russian revolution. The flaw in the conclusion drawn by the Socialist-Revolutionaries is that they say “trudovoye” instead of Trudovik peasantry. This slight, negligible difference, a seemingly imperceptible difference, actually reveals the gulf that lies between the pre-revolutionary dreams of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the reality that the revolution finally brought to light.
The Socialist-Revolutionaries have always used the term trudovoye peasantry. The revolution revealed the political physiognomy of the present-day Russian peasantry and has proved it to be a Trudovik trend. In that case the Socialist-Revolutionaries were right, you will say? That is not so. History in its irony has preserved and perpetuated the Socialist-Revolutionaries’ term, but gave it the connotation that was predicted by the Social-Democrats. On the moot question as to the petty-bourgeois nature of the labouring peasantry, the history of the revolution has shared the honours between us and the Socialist-Revolutionaries as follows: to them it gave the word and to us the substance. The labouring peasants, whom the Socialist-Revolutionaries lauded to the skies before the revolution, proved during the revolution to be such Trudoviks that the Socialist-Revolutionaries had to disown them! And we Social-Democrats can and must now prove t.hat the peasantry is petty-bourgeois not only by using the analysis given in Marx’s Capital, not only by quotations from the Erfurt Programme, not only by facts and figures from the economic researches of the Narodniks and from Zemstvo statistics, but by the behaviour of the peasantry in the Russian revolution in general and the facts concerning the composition and activities of the Trudoviks in particular.
No. We have nothing to complain of the way history has shared the honours between us and the Socialist-Revolutionaries.
Znamya Truda, No. 13, p. 3, says: “Had the otzovists succeeded in turning the Social-Democrats back to their extreme militant principles, we would have lost some useful material for polemics, but we would have acquired an ally in consistent militant tactics.” And a couple of lines ear lier it says: “The struggle for freedom and socialism would only stand to gain if the Left wing took the lead both among the Cadets and among the Social-Democrats."
Very good, Messieurs Socialist-Revolutionaries! You want to pay compliments to our “otzovists” and “Lefts”. Allow us, then, to return compliment for compliment. Permit us, too, to avail ourselves of “useful material for polemics”.
“Let a number of parties, including the Cadets, Trudoviks and Social-Democrats, support the fiction that a constitutional system exists by their participation in the pasteboard travesty of a Duma” (Znamya Truda, ibid.).
So the Third Duma is a pasteboard travesty. This phrase alone is more than sufficient to show the abysmal ignorance of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Most esteemed directors of the central organ of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Third Duma is much less a pasteboard institution than the First and the Second Dumas were! Your failure to grasp this simple fact only confirms the correctness of what Proletary said about you in its article “Parliamentary Cretinism Inside Out”. You are repeating word for word the common delusion of the vulgar bourgeois democrats, who try to persuade themselves and others that bad, reactionary Dumas are pasteboard institutions, while good, progressive Dumas are not.
As a matter of fact, the First and Second Dumas were pasteboard swords in the hands of the liberal-bourgeois intellectuals who wanted to scare the autocracy a little with the threat of revolution. The Third Duma is a real, not a pasteboard, sword in the hands of the autocracy and the counter-revolution. The First and Second Dumas were pasteboard Dumas because their decisions did not reflect the actual balance of material forces in the struggle of the classes in society, and were mere hollow words. The importance of these two Dumas lay in the fact that behind the front row of Cadet constitutional buffoons were clearly seen the real representatives of that democratic peasantry and that socialist proletariat who were really making the revolution, fighting the enemy in an open mass struggle, but had not yet been able to crush him. The Third Duma is not a paste board Duma, for the simple reason that its decisions reflect the actual balance of material forces brought about by the temporary victory of the counter-revolution and are, there fore, not mere words but words converted into action. The importance of this Duma lies in the fact that it has given all the politically undeveloped elements of the people an object-lesson, showing the relation between representative institutions and the actual possession of state power. Representative institutions, even the most “progressive”, are doomed to remain pasteboard institutions so long as the classes represented in them do not possess real state power. Representative institutions, however reactionary they may be, are not pasteboard if the classes represented in them do possess real state power.
To call the Third Duma a pasteboard travesty is an example of the extreme shallowness and extravagant revolutionary phrase-mongering that have so long been the specific distinguishing feature, and the chief quality of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.
Let us proceed. Is it true that the Third Duma is “the fiction of a constitutional system"? No, it is not. Only people ignorant of the elementary principles taught by Lassalle nearly half a century ago could say a thing like that in an official party paper. What does a constitution mean, most worthy members of that elementary propaganda circle known as the Socialist-Revolutionary Party? Does it mean that more “freedom” and better conditions of life exist for the “toiling people” with a constitution than with out one? No, only the vulgar democrats think that. The essence of a constitution is that the fundamental laws of the state in general, and the laws governing elections to and the powers of the representative institutions, etc., express the actual relation of forces in the class struggle. A constitution is fictitious when law and reality diverge; it is not fictitious when they coincide. The constitution of Russia in the period of the Third Duma is less fictitious than it was in the periods of the First and Second Dumas. If this conclusion arouses your ire, Messieurs “Socialists"-"Revolutionaries”, it is because you do not understand what a constitution is, and cannot tell the difference between a fictitious and a class constitution. A constitution can be a Black-Hundred, landlords’ and reactionary constitution, and yet be less fictitious than some “liberal” constitutions.
The trouble with the Socialist-Revolutionaries is that they are ignorant of Marx’s historical materialism and Marx’s dialectical method; they are wholly under the spell of vulgar bourgeois-democratic ideas. For them a constitution is. not a new field, a new form of the class struggle, but an abstract blessing like the “legality”,., the “law and order”, the “general good” of the liberal professors, and so on and so forth. In reality autocracy, constitutional monarchy and republic are merely different forms of class struggle; and the dialectics of history are such that each of these forms passes through different stages of development of its class content, and the transition from one form to another does not (in itself) at all eliminate the rule of the former exploiting, classes under the new integument. For instance, the Russian autocracy of the seventeenth century with its Boyar Council and boyar aristocracy bears no re semblance to the autocracy of the eighteenth century with its bureaucracy, its ranks and orders of society, and its occasional periods of “enlightened absolutism”; while both differ sharply from the autocracy of the nineteenth century, which was compelled to emancipate the peasants"from above”, although pauperising them in the process, paving the way for capitalism, introducing the principle of local representative institutions for the bourgeoisie. By the twentieth century this last form of semi-feudal, semi-patriarchal absolutism had also become obsolete. Owing to the growth of capitalism and the increase in the power of the bourgeoisie, etc., it became necessary to introduce representative institutions on a national scale. The revolutionary struggle of 1905 became particularly acute around the issue as to who was to convene the first all-Russian representative institution, and how. The December defeat settled this question in favour of the old monarchy; and in these circumstances the constitution could be nothing else than a Black-Hundred and Octobrist one.
In a new field, under institutions of the Bonapartist monarchy, at a higher stage of political development, the struggle is again beginning with the effort to overthrow the old enemy, the Black-Hundred monarchy. Can a socialist party refuse to make use in this struggle of the new representative institutions? The Socialist-Revolutionaries have not even the wit to pose such a question: they make shift with phrases, and nothing but phrases. Listen to this:
“At the present time we have no parliamentary channels of struggle—we have only non-parliamentary channels. This conviction must become deep-rooted everywhere, and we must relentlessly fight every thing that prevents it from becoming so. Let us concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle!"
This Socialist-Revolutionary argument is based on the celebrated subjective method in sociology. Let the conviction become deep-rooted—and the trick is done! It never occurs to the subjectivists that convictions as to whether particular channels are available or not must be tested by objective facts. But let us look at the Report and the resolutions of the conference of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. We read: “...The sombre lull of the hard times, or rather, the time of social stagnation we are now passing through” (p. 4)... “the consolidation of the reactionary social forces” ... “the fact that the energy of the masses is shackled” ... “among the intellectuals, the most impressionable section of the population, we see exhaustion, ideological confusion and the ebb of forces from the revolutionary struggle” (p. 6), and so on, and so forth. “In view of all this, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party must ... (b) disapprove, for tactical reasons, of schemes for partial mass actions which under present conditions may result in the fruitless waste of popular energy” (p. 7).
Who are the “we” in “we have only non-parliamentary channels of struggle”? Obviously a handful of terrorists, for none of the tirades quoted here contains even a hint of the mass struggle. “The fact that the energy of the masses is shackled” ... and “concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle”—this simple contrast shows us yet once more how historically true it was to call the Socialist-Revolutionaries revolutionary adventurists. Is it not adventurism for people to indulge in catchy phrases about concentrating on means of struggle which they themselves admit the masses are at present unable to apply? Is this not the old, old psychology of the intellectual in despair?
“Let us concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle.” This slogan was correct in one of the most re markable periods of the Russian revolution, the autumn of 1905. In repeating it uncritically at the present juncture the Socialist-Revolutionaries are acting like the hero of the popular fable who would persist in shouting the most inappropriate greetings. You have not understood, my dear sirs, why the boycott slogan was correct in the autumn of 1905; and in repeating it now, uncritically, unthinkingly, like a catchword learned off by heart, you are displaying, not revolutionariness, but just plain foolishness.
In the autumn of 1905 nobody said anything about “the fact that the energy of the masses was shackled”. On the contrary, all parties agreed that the energy of the masses was seething. At that moment, the old regime offered a consultative parliament, obviously with the intention of splitting these seething forces and appeasing them, if only for a moment. At that time the slogan: “Concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle”, was not the stock-phrase of a handful of ranters, but the battle-cry of men who really were at the head of the masses, at the head of millions of fighting workers and peasants. The fact that these millions responded to the call proved that the slogan was objectively correct, and that it expressed not merely the “convictions” of a handful of revolutionaries, but the actual situation, the temper and t.he initiative of the masses. Only ridiculous pedlars of politics can repeat this slogan and in the same breath say that “the energy of the masses is shackled”.
And, since we have mentioned the ridiculous, we simply must quote the following gem from Znamya Truda. “Let us leave it [the government] tête-à-tête in the Duma with the Black Hundreds and with the party that obeys the latest government order, and take our word for it that if ever these spiders are capable of devouring each other, this is the very situation in which they will do so”.... This “take our word for it” is inimitable and positively disarms an opponent. “Take our word for it”, reader, that the leading articles in Znamya Truda are being written by a really sweet Socialist-Revolutionary school miss, who sincerely believes that the “spiders” will begin to “devour each other” if the opposition withdraws from the Third Duma.
The clause concerning the Cadets in the resolution on our attitude towards the non-proletarian parties adopted at the London Congress was most severely criticised by the Mensheviks. Scarcely less severe was their criticism of the clause which deals with the Narodnik or Trudovik parties. The Mensheviks tried to prove that we were indulgent with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, or were covering up certain sins which Marxists had long ago proved they were guilty of, and so forth. There were two reasons for the Mensheviks’ vehemence on these points. One of them was their fundamental disagreement with us in our appraisal of the Russian revolution. The Mensheviks insist that the proletariat must make the revolution together with the Cadets, and not with the Trudovik peasantry against the Cadets. On the other hand, the Mensheviks don’t understand that the open action of the masses and classes in the revolution has changed the situation and, in some cases, the character of the parties. Before the revolution the Socialist-Revolutionaries were only a group of intellectuals with Narodnik ideas. Would this description be correct after the revolution, or even after 1906? Obviously not. Only those who have learned nothing from the revolution, can uphold the old view formulated in this way.
The revolution has proved that this group of intellectuals with Narodnik ideas are the extreme Left wing of an exceedingly broad and undoubtedly mass Narodnik or Trudovik trend, which expressed the interests and point of view of the peasantry in the Russian bourgeois revolution. This has been proved by the peasant insurrections, by the Peas ant Union, by the Trudovik group in three Dumas, and by the free press of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Trudoviks. But the Mensheviks have failed to understand this. They regard the Socialist-Revolutionaries from a doctrinaire point of view: like doctrinaires, they see the flaws in other people’s doctrines, but do not see what real interests of real masses, which are a driving force in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, are expressed or concealed by those doctrines. The Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is pernicious, fallacious, reactionary, adventurist, petty- bourgeois—cry the Mensheviks. Not one step further, not one word more; all else is the work of the devil.
Now that is where your mistake begins, we say to the Mensheviks. True, the Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is pernicious, fallacious, reactionary, adventurist and petty- bourgeois. But these vices do not prevent this quasi-socialist doctrine from being the ideological vestments of a really revolutionary—and not compromising—bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie in Russia. For the Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is only a tiny rivulet in the Trudovik, i. e., peas ant-democratic torrent. As soon as the open struggle of masses and classes begins, events immediately compel us all, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike, to recognise the fact, to admit the Socialist-Revolutionaries to the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, establish closer relations with the Soviets of peasants’, soldiers’, post and telegraph workers’, railwaymen’s, etc., deputies, enter into election agreements with them against the liberals, vote with them in the Dumas against the liberals, and so forth. The revolution has not refuted our opinion of the. Socialist-Revolutionaries but corroborated it. But in doing so it has not left the question in its previous shape and position; it has elevated the question to an incomparably higher plane. Previously the question was one only of comparing doctrines, ideologies and the policies of various groups; now it is a matter of comparing the historical activities of the classes and masses which follow this or a kindred ideology. Formerly the question was, is what the Socialist-Revolutionaries say correct? Are the tactics of this ideological organisation correct? Now the question has arisen, what, in effect, is the behaviour of those sections of the people which consider themselves supporters of the Socialist-Revolutionaries or of ideas akin to theirs (the “labour principle”, etc.)? The Mensheviks’ error is due to their failure to understand this change that the revolution has brought about.
But apart from the reasons mentioned, this change is important also because it has strikingly revealed the relation of classes and parties. The lesson our revolution teaches is that only parties which have a definite class backing are strong and able to survive, whatever turn events may take. Open political struggle compels parties to establish closer relations with the masses, for without such ties parties are naught. Nominally, the Socialist-Revolutionaries are independent of the Trudoviks. Actually, however, during the revolution, they were compelled to join forces with the Trudoviks, on pain of being completely eliminated from the political arena. And it can safely be said that at the next rise of the revolutionary tide the Socialist-Revolutionaries (however loudly they may shout now about their complete independence) will again be obliged to join forces with the Trudoviks, or with similar organisations of the masses. The objective conditions of social life and the class struggle are more powerful than pious intentions and written programmes. From this aspect, which is the only correct one, the present rift between the Trudoviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries is merely evidence of the disintegration of the petty-bourgeois movement, of the lack of steadfastness on the part of the petty bourgeoisie, who are unable to band together in adverse conditions and who “drift apart”. On the one hand, we have the Trudoviks—unorganised, unsteady, wavering, without any firm political line in the Third Duma, but undoubtedly springing from the masses, connected with the masses, expressing the needs of the masses. On the other hand we have a handful of Socialist-Revolutionary “otzovists”, who have no ties with the masses, who are frantic with despair, losing faith in the mass struggle (see Revolutsionnaya Mysl) and concentrating on terrorism. The extreme opportunism of the Trudoviks (bearing in mind the stand of the revolutionary peasantry) and the extreme, purely verbal and meaningless, revolutionariness of the Socialist-Revolutionaries are two limitations of one and the same petty-bourgeois trend, twin symptoms of the same “disease”, viz., the instability of the petty bourgeoisie, their incapacity for systematic, persevering, staunch and concert ed mass struggle.
These facts throw a new light on the present Duma tactics of the revolutionary parties and, in particular, on the question of otzovism. “We have no parliamentary channels of struggle,” cry the boastful Socialist-Revolutionary intellectuals. Who are “we”, gentlemen? Intellectuals without the masses have never had, and never will have, either parliamentary or non-parliamentary means of struggle of any importance. What masses followed or supported you yesterday, during the revolution? The Trudovik peasantry. Is it true that they have “no parliamentary means of struggle"? It is not true. Look at the debates on the agrarian question in the Third Duma. You will find that on this issue the Trudoviks undoubtedly voiced the needs of the masses. Consequently, the smart phrase of the Socialist- Revolutionaries is nothing more than empty phrase-mongering. In 1908, the peasant masses voiced their demands from the rostrum of the Duma, and did not engage in “non-parliamentary” action. That is a fact that no amount of “Left” screeching and the shouting of Socialist-Revolutionary otzovist phrases can obscure.
What was the reason for this? Was it because the “conviction” that non-parliamentary channels are preferable was shaken? Nonsense. The answer is that in this period objective conditions had not yet caused widespread unrest among the masses or stirred them to direct action. If that is the case, and it certainly is so, it was the duty of every party that takes itself seriously to avail itself of indirect channels. The Socialist-Revolutionaries were unable to avail themselves of such channels—and what happened? Only that the Trudoviks made a very bad job of it, made a thou sand times more mistakes than they would have done had t.hey been guided by a party; they stumbled and fell very often. Out of touch with their class, with their masses, the Socialist-Revolutionaries “concentrated” on phrase-mongering; for in practice they did nothing at all in 1908 to promote “non-parliamentary means of struggle”. This dissociation of the Socialist-Revolutionaries from their social roots immediately begins to aggravate their besetting sin— extravagant, unbridled boasting arid bragging, as a means of covering up their impotence. “Our Part.y can congratulate itself,” we read on the first page of the Report ... election to the conference by “really existing [think of that now!] local party organisations” ... “unanimity of feeling was reached on all questions”... “this was truly the attainment of unanimity” (ibid.), and so on and so forth.
It is not true, gentlemen. With these loud words you are trying to drown the voices of dissension which have been heard quite distinctly, both in Revolutsionnaya Mysl (spring 1908) and in issue No. 13 of Znamya Truda (November 1908). This ballyhoo is a sign of weakness. The non-party opportunism of the Trudoviks and the “party” boastfulness, isolation and phrase-mongering of the Socialist-Revolutionaries are two sides of the same medal, two extremes in the disintegration of one and the same petty-bourgeois stratum. It was not for nothing that during the revolution, when the struggle brought out all the different shadings, the Socialist-Revolutionaries tried, but tried in vain, to conceal their wavering between the Popular Socialists and the Maximalists.
The cart is in the ditch. The horses have slipped their harness. The coachman sits astride a milestone with his cap at a jaunty angle, and “congratulates” himself on his “unanimity”. Such is the picture of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Such are the results of Socialist-Revolutionary otzovism, which has recalled a handful of intellectuals from the arduous, persevering, but the only really serious and fruitful work of educating and organising the masses, in order that they should indulge in loud and meaningless catchwords.
Last edited by Mike Parker; July 9th, 2011 at 09:24 AM.
|July 9th, 2011||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2007
February 6, 1976
Raymond Rocca: The Trust Breaker
"The Rock," as Angleton called Raymond Rocca, was a tall, bearded man in his early sixties, who shuffled around with the same slight stoop as Angleton's. He also had two giant Cattleya orchid plants, no doubt from Kensington Orchids, flanking his front door. "They are prize winners," he said, as he ushered me into his suburban hose in Fall Rivers, Virginia. Even though he was just recovering from a serious heart operation, he agreed to see me on Angleton's recommendation. He had served under Angleton almost his entire career in intelligence. He had been first employed by Angleton in the OSS at the end of World War II in Italy to keep track of the fragmentary intelligence reports taken from German, Italian and Vatican archives, clues to who did what during the war would prove invaluable in the postwar in determining who could were the targets of blackmail and coercion. Then, he followed Angleton to the CIA. When Angleton organized his counterintelligence staff, he became his Head of Research. Here he was took charge of what Angleton called "the serials;" the pieces of information left over from previous cases, which might someday fit into other jigsaw puzzles. When Angleton was fired from the CIA in January 1975, he was also let go.
Angleton had told me during our tour of Kensington Orchids that I could not "even begin to understand" the role of the KGB defector Nosenko unless I first acquainted myself with a Soviet operation in the nineteen-twenties called " The Trust," He then recommended that I see "The Rock" who had, according to Angleton "pieced it together with monk-like devotion." "The Trust," Rocca explained, lighting up a professorial pipe, was a clandestine organization that operated in the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1928. Its official title was the Monarchist Union of Central Russia. Supposedly, its purpose was to overthrow the Communist regime in Russia and restoring the Czarist Monarchy. Since its headquarters, and cover, was a municipal credit association in downtown Moscow, it became known among anti-communist conspirators outside of Russia as "The Trust."
Anti-communist exiles in Europe first heard of the existence of this resistance organization in September 1921 from a Soviet official named Aleksandrovich Yakushev. On his way to an international lumber conference in Oslo, he slipped away from his delegation and contacted a leader of the anti-Communist movement in Estonia. He explained to him that though he was outwardly working for the Communists, he, and other high officials of the Soviet government, had come to the conclusion that Communism was infeasible in Russia. He also confided that they had formed a group, The Trust. He claimed that it had been so successful in recruiting government officials disillusioned with Communism that it was now the underground equivalent of a government-in-exile, with its members infiltrated in all key ministries, including the secret police. He then asked to be put in touch with other leaders of the anti-Soviet movement abroad, suggesting that The Trust would act as the "service organization" for them inside Russia. It would arrange through its network of collaborators smuggle out whatever secret document these exile groups needed.
Within a year, this offer was relayed to exile groups in Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Helsinki-- and accepted. The exile groups outside of Russia received secret documents on the Soviet economy which they then passed on to Western intelligence services, which paid them handsomely for the information. This triangular trade in secrets-- from The Trust to the exiles to west intelligence-- continued for six years. The Trust also furnished fake passports and visas for exiles to smuggle themselves, or their relatives, in or out of Russia. It also delivered arms and supplies to their partisans. It even contracted to undertake sabotage and assassination missions for them in Moscow and Petrograd. One by one, all the exiled leaders came to accept The Trust. So did the intelligence services of France, Germany, England, Austria, Sweden and Finland.
But what did this anti-Soviet group have to do with Nosenko— or the JFK assassination, I asked?
Rocca held up his hand, asking for patience. "The Trust was not an anti-Soviet organization, it only imitated one." In reality, he continued, the Trust was a creature of the Soviet secret police. Its purpose was not to overthrow Communism, but to manipulate real anti-communist organizations into misleading the West.
"What of Yakushev?" I asked.
Rocca explained that he was a "dangle." A "dangle" is someone who feigns disaffection to his government and, like bait, is put in the path of opposition intelligence services. Yakushev, under the control of the secret police, was able to offer precisely the kinds of help--especially in saving relatives-- that the exiles were most likely to be enticed by into the trap. Since the secret police was running the show, it could guarantee the success of the smuggling and assassinations. It also staged sufficient dramatic encounters, such as car chases and gun fights, to lend a convincing air of reality to the masquerade. (It even arranged tours of the "underground" for emigre writers through carefully staged "Potemkin villages.")
The deception succeeded in neutralizing most of the anti-Communist exile groups, and luring back into the Soviet Union leading anti-Communists, such as Sydney Reilly and Boris Savinkov, who were arrested, given show trials and executed. As an added bonus, it earned enough money from the sale of secrets to eleven western intelligence services to finance all the activities of Soviet intelligence for a decade.
I found it difficult to comprehend how Soviet intelligence could deliver secret documents to its enemies. Wasn't the loss of this information damaging to the Soviet Union? Rocca replied that it was "disinformation," or, as Rocca defined it, data which is purposefully supplied to an enemy to mislead him. It can be either fabricated or factually accurate information, or a mixture of both. Its aim, in any case, is to provoke one's opponent to make the wrong move. In peacetime, it can be a means for achieving a geopolitical end. Whereas Clausewitz defined war as policy accomplished by "the sword in place of the pen," Rocca viewed disinformation as the replacement of the sword with the pen -- albeit a poison one.
In the case of the Trust, Soviet intelligence, under orders of Lenin himself, presented to western intelligence services a picture of dire Soviet economic weakness. The message was that Communism was all but over, and that Russia was moving of its own accord towards a capitalistic system. The implication was that western intervention in the Soviet Union was unnecessary. By making it appear that this information was stolen by dissidents, Soviet intelligence made it that much more credible to the West.
When the deception began to wear thin in 1929, Soviet intelligence ordered the head of the Trust, Edward Opperput, to himself "defect" to the West in Finland. Opperput then confessed to Finnish interrogators that The Trust was a sham organization from the start. His revelations had the calculated effect of demoralizing the exiles and sewing confusion among the western intelligence services that had depended on The Trust for its information about Russia. This final coup accomplished, Opperput re-defected to Russia, and returned to his duties in the Soviet secret service. He was a "dispatched defector."
Rocca explained that in the intelligence business defectors were defined as either "bona fide" or "dispatched" depending on who controlled their actions. If a defector chose to change sides, and by doing so sincerely put himself under the control of American intelligence, he was "bona fide." If a defector only pretended to change sides, and remained under the control of the KGB or another hostile intelligence service during his contact, he was "dispatched." "Was Nosenko thought to be a dispatched defector?" I asked. I assumed that this was the bearing that The Trust had on the Nosenko case.
"He could have been dispatched," Rocca answered, almost casually." He delivered a message to the CIA about Oswald that could have been disinformation cooked up by the KGB." He discussed the issue entirely in the conditional tense, as if it was nothing more than a hypothetical case.
"But was there any evidence that he was dispatched?"
Rocca lit his pipe, and shook his head. "Ah now you're talking about operational data. I was never involved in that. I thought you just
Full CIA report: http://jmw.typepad.com/files/simpkin...foundation.pdf
|August 25th, 2011||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2007
This is more about tactics or bearing than strategy. From Louis Fischer’s essay, speaking as of his 1922 visit, in The God That Failed:
|August 31st, 2011||#4|
|August 31st, 2011||#5|
Join Date: May 2009
Interesting and insightful observations. Maybe a line can be drawn from there to the Trojan Horse of Jewish Neoconservatism pulled in through the gates by the Reagan Administration.
|September 21st, 2011||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2007
[The early revolutionaries in Russia cleared the way for the Bolshevik takeover by assassinating reformers who might have staved off revolution.]
Gale Encyclopedia of Russian History:
Peter Arkadievich Stolypin (1862 - 1911), reformist, chairman of the Council of Ministers, 1906 - 1911.
Peter Arkadievich Stolypin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1906 - 1911, attempted the last, and arguably most significant, program to reform the politics, economy, and culture of the Russian Empire before the 1917 Revolution. Stolypin was born into a Russian hereditary noble family whose pedigree dated to the seventeenth century. His father was an adjutant to Tsar Alexander II, and his mother was a niece of Alexander Gorchakov, the influential foreign minister of that era. Spending much of his boyhood and adolescence on a family estate in the northwestern province of Kovno, Stolypin came of age in an ethnically and religiously diverse region where Lithuanian, Polish, Jewish, German, and other communities rendered privileged Russians a distinct minority. Stolypin's nationalism, a hallmark of his later political career, cannot be understood apart from this early experience of imperial Russian life.
As did an increasing number of his noble contemporaries, Stolypin attended university, entering St. Petersburg University in 1881. Unlike many noble sons intent on the civil service and thus the study of jurisprudence, Stolypin enrolled in the physics and mathematics faculty, where among the natural sciences the study of agronomy provided some grounding for a lifelong interest in agriculture. Married while still a university student to Olga Borisovna Neidgardt (together the couple would parent six children), the young Stolypin obtained a first civil service position in 1883, a rank at the imperial court in 1888, but a year later took the unusual step of accepting an appointment as a district marshal of the nobility near his family estate in Kovno. He spent much of the next fifteen years immersed in provincial public life and politics.
Scholars generally agree that these years shaped an understanding of imperial Russia, and the task of reform that dominated his later political career. Of primary importance was his experience of rural life. For much of the 1890s the young district marshal of the nobility also led the life of a provincial landowning gentleman. Residing on his family estate, Kolnoberzhe, Stolypin took an active interest in farming, managing income earned from lands both inherited and purchased. He also experienced the variety of peasant agriculture, perhaps most notably the smallholding hereditary tenure in which peasant families of nearby East Prussia often held arable land.
Stolypin's understanding of autocratic politics also took shape in the provinces. There he first encountered its peculiar amalgam of deference, corruption, bureaucracy, and law. In 1899 an imperial appointment as provincial marshal of nobility in Kovno made him its most highly ranked hereditary nobleman. Within three years, in 1902, the patronage of Viacheslav von Pleve, the Minister of Internal Affairs, won him appointment as governor of neighboring Grodno province. Early 1903 brought a transfer to the governorship of Saratov, a major agricultural and industrial province astride the lower reaches of the Volga river valley. An incubator of radical, liberal, and monarchist ideologies, and the scene of urban and rural discontent in 1904 - 1905, Saratov honed Stolypin's political instincts and established his national reputation as an administrator willing to use force to preserve law and order. This brought him to the attention of Nicholas II, and figured in his appointment as Minister of Internal Affairs, on the eve of the opening of the First State Duma in April 1906. When the tsar dissolved the assembly that July and ordered new elections, he also appointed Stolypin to chair the Council of Ministers, a position that made him the de facto prime minister of the Russian Empire.
His tenure from 1906 through 1911 was tumultuous. Typically, historians have assessed it in terms of a balance between the conflicting imperatives of order and reform. Ironically enough, contemporary opponents of Stolypin's policies, most notably moderate liberals and social democrats who pilloried Stolypin for sacrificing the possibilities of constitutional monarchy and democratic reform to preserve social order, offered opinions of his politics that found their way, however circuitously, into Soviet-era historiography. In this view, Stolypin favored punitive force, police power, clandestine financing of the press, and a general negligence of the law to dominate political opponents and assert the preeminence of a superficially reformed monarchy. Hence, in August 1906, he established military field court-martials to suppress domestic disorder. More drastically, he undertook the so-called coup d'état of June 3, 1907, dissolving what was deemed an excessively radical Second State Duma and, in clear violation of the law, issuing a new electoral statute designed to reduce the representation of peasants, ethnic minorities, and leftist political parties.
A second view, shared by a minority of his contemporaries but a majority of historians, accepted that Stolypin never entirely could have escaped the authoritarian impulses widespread in tsarist culture and especially pronounced among those upon whom Stolypin's own influence most depended - moderate public opinion; the hereditary nobility, the imperial court; and ultimately the tsar, Nicholas II. Given such circumstances, without order the far-reaching "renovation" (obnovlenie) of the economic, cultural, and political institutions of the Empire envisioned by Stolypin would have been politically impossible. Of central importance to this interpretation was the Stolypin land reform, first issued by administrative decree in 1906 and approved by the State Duma in 1911. This major legislative accomplishment aimed to transform what was deemed to be an economically unproductive, politically destabilizing peasant repartitional land commune (obshchina) and eventually replace it with family based hereditary smallholdings. Yet, the reform initiatives of these years were not limited only to this "wager on the strong," but extended into every important arena of national life: local, rural, and urban government; insurance for industrial workers; religious toleration; the income tax; universal primary education; university autonomy; and the conduct of foreign policy.
In September 1911, Stolypin's career was cut short when Dmitry Bogrov assassinated him in Kiev. Once a secret police informant, Bogrov's background spawned persistent rumors of right-wing complicity in the murder of Russia's last great reformer, but by all authoritative accounts the assassin acted alone. Some scholars argue that Stolypin's political influence, and especially his personal relationship with Nicholas II, was waning well before his death, in large measure as a result of the western zemstvo crisis of March 1911. Yet, Abraham Ascher, Stolypin's most authoritative biographer, credits the claims of Alexander Zenkovsky that Stoylpin was contemplating further substantive reforms of the empire's administrative and territorial structures in the last months of his life. Stolypin's historical reputation continues to be the subject of scholarly debate, the character and consequences of his policies intertwined with larger debates about the stability and longevity of the tsarist regime.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/peter-a...#ixzz1YbQZy6Za
Alexander II of Russia Biography
Alexander (Aleksandr) II of Russia (Александр II Николаевич) (April 17, 1818–March 13, 1881) was the Emperor (Tsar) of Russia from March 2, 1855 until his assassination. Born the eldest son of Nicholas I of Russia, Alexander's early life gave little indication of his potential, and up to the time of his accession in 1855, few imagined that he would be known to posterity as a great reformer.
Insofar as he had any decided political convictions, he seemed to be imbued with the reactionary spirit predominant in Europe at the time of his birth, and which continued in Russia to the end of his father's reign. In the period of thirty years during which he was heir apparent, the moral atmosphere of St. Petersburg was unfavorable to the development of any originality of thought. Government was based on principles under which all freedom of thought and all private initiative were, as far as possible, suppressed vigorously. Personal and official censorship was rife; criticism of the authorities was regarded as a serious offense.
Alexander received the education commonly given to young Russians of good family at that time: a smattering of a great many subjects, and a good practical acquaintance with the chief modern European language. He took little personal interest in military affairs. To the disappointment of his father, who was passionate about the military, he showed no love of soldiering. Alexander gave evidence of a kind disposition and a tender-heartedness which were considered out of place in one destined to become a military autocrat.
In 1841 he married the daughter of the grand-duke Louis II of Hesse, Maximilienne Wilhelmine Marie, thereafter known as Maria Alexandrovna. The marriage produced six sons and two daughters. Following his wife's death in 1880, Alexander formed a morganatic marriage with his mistress Princess Catherine Dolgoruki. Together they had two sons and two daughters.
Alexander succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father in 1855.
The first year of Alexander's reign was devoted to the prosecution of the Crimean War, and after the fall of Sevastopol to negotiations for peace. Then began a period of radical reforms, encouraged by public opinion but carried out with autocratic power. (The rule of Nicholas, which had sacrificed all other interests to that of making Russia an irresistibly strong military power, had been tried by the Crimean War and found wanting. A new system needed, therefore, to be adopted.)
All who had any pretensions to enlightenment declared loudly that the country had been exhausted and humiliated by the war, and that the only way of restoring it to its proper position in Europe was to develop its natural resources and thoroughly to reform all branches of the administration. The government therefore found in the educated classes a new-born public spirit, anxious to assist it in any work of reform that it might think fit to undertake.
Fortunately for Russia the autocratic power was now in the hands of a man who was impressionable enough to be deeply influenced by the spirit of the time, and who had sufficient prudence and practicality to prevent his being carried away by the prevailing excitement into the dangerous region of Utopian dreaming. Unlike some of his predecessors, he had no grand, original schemes of his own to impose by force on unwilling subjects, and no pet projects to lead his judgment astray. He looked instinctively with a suspicious, critical eye upon the panaceas which more imaginative and less cautious people recommended. These character traits, together with the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed, determined the part which he was to play. He moderated, guided and, in great measure, brought to fruition the reform aspirations of the educated classes.
Emancipation of the serfs
Though he carefully guarded his autocratic rights and privileges, and obstinately resisted all efforts to push him farther than he felt inclined to go, Alexander for several years acted somewhat like a constitutional sovereign of the continental type. Soon after the conclusion of peace, important changes were made in legislation concerning industry and commerce, and the new freedom thus afforded produced a large number of limited liability companies. At the same time, plans were formed for building a great network of railways—partly for the purpose of developing the natural resources of the country, and partly for the purpose of increasing its power for defense and attack.
Then it was found that further progress was blocked by a formidable obstacle: the existence of serfdom. Alexander showed that, unlike his father, he meant to grapple boldly with this difficult and dangerous problem. Taking advantage of a petition presented by the Polish landed proprietors of the Lithuanian provinces, and hoping that their relations with the serfs might be regulated in a more satisfactory way (meaning in a way more satisfactory for the proprietors), he authorized the formation of committees "for ameliorating the condition of the peasants," and laid down the principles on which the amelioration was to be effected.
This step was followed by one still more significant. Without consulting his ordinary advisers, Alexander ordered the Minister of the Interior to send a circular to the provincial governors of European Russia, containing a copy of the instructions forwarded to the governor-general of Lithuania, praising the supposed generous, patriotic intentions of the Lithuanian landed proprietors, and suggesting that perhaps the landed proprietors of other provinces might express a similar desire. The hint was taken: in all provinces where serfdom existed, emancipation committees were formed.
The deliberations at once raised a host of important, thorny questions. The emancipation was not merely a humanitarian question capable of being solved instantaneously by imperial ukaz (edict). It contained very complicated problems, deeply affecting the economic, social and political future of the nation.
Alexander had little of the special knowledge required for dealing successfully with such problems, and he had to restrict himself to choosing between the different measures recommended to him. The main point at issue was whether the serfs should become agricultural laborers dependent economically and administratively on the landlords, or whether they should be transformed into a class of independent communal proprietors. The emperor gave his support to the latter project, and the Russian peasantry accordingly acquired rights and privileges such as were enjoyed by no other peasantry in Europe.
On March 3, 1861, the sixth anniversary of his accession, the emancipation law was signed and published. Other reforms followed in quick succession during the next five or six years: army and navy re-organization; a new judicial administration based on the French model; a new penal code and a greatly simplified system of civil and criminal procedure; an elaborate scheme of local self-government for the rural districts and the large towns, with elective assemblies possessing a restricted right of taxation, and a new rural and municipal police under the direction of the Minister of the Interior.
These new institutions were incomparably better than the ones which they replaced, but they did not work such miracles as the inexperienced enthusiasts expected. Comparisons were made, not with the past, but with an ideal state of things which never existed, either in Russia or elsewhere. Hence arose a general feeling of disappointment, which acted on differently-minded people in different ways.
For some years Alexander, with his sound common-sense and dislike of exaggeration, held the balance fairly between the two extremes; but long years of uninterrupted labor, anxiety and disappointment weakened his zeal for reform, and when radicalism began to resort to the formation of secret societies and to revolutionary agitation, he felt constrained to adopt severe repressive measures.
Alexander II resolved to try the effect of some moderate liberal reforms in an attempt to quell the revolutionary agitation, and for this purpose he caused an ukaz to be prepared creating special commissions, composed of high officials and private personages who should prepare reforms in various branches of the administration.
Suppression of Poles
At the beginning of his reign, Alexander expressed the famous statement "No dreams" addressed for Poles, populating Congress Poland, Western Ukraine, Lithuania, Livonia and Belorus. The result was January Uprising that were suppressed after 1.5 years of fighting. Thousand Poles were executed, tens of thousands were deported to Siberia.
The price for suppression was Russian support for Prussian-united Germany. 20 years later, Germany became the major enemy of Russia on continent.
All teritories of the former Poland-Lithuania were eluded from liberal polices introduced by Alexander. The martial law in Lithuania, introduced in 1863 lasted for 50 next years. Native languages, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belorussian were completely banned from printing texts, Polish were banned both oral and written from the all provinces except Congress Kingdom.
On the very day on which this decree was signed—March 13, 1881—he fell victim to a Nihilist plot. While driving on one of the central streets of St. Petersburg, near the Winter Palace, he was mortally wounded by the explosion of hand-made grenades and died a few hours afterwards. The assassination was carried out by the radical revolutionary group Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) which hoped to ignite a social revolution. The members Nikolai Kibalchich, Sophia Perovskaya, Nikolai Rysakov, Timofei Mikhailov, Andrei Zhelyabov were arrested and sentenced to death. Gesya Gelfman was sent to Siberia. The Tsar was killed by the Pole Ignacy Hryniewiecki (1856-1881), who died during the attack. Hryniewiecki was a Pole from Lithuania (Bobrujsk, now Babruysk, Belarus), where suppression of Poles and persecutions were the harshest. It included complete ban on Polish langauge in public places, schools and offices.
On the site where he was wounded, the Cathedral of the Resurrection on Blood was erected.
|November 17th, 2011||#7|
Join Date: Jul 2007
The history of the Cambridge Spies shows how shrewdly the Bolsheviks understood and penetrated a culture quite alien to them. When Americans think of the British class system they either find it quaint and amusing (Upstairs, Downstairs on PBS ), or are morally outraged at its inegalitarianism. Soviet spymasters, mostly jews not so prone to sentimentality, arrived at two key insights into British society. First, Oxbridge graduates with the right connections were set to climb quickly up the ladders of the diplomatic and intelligence bureaucracies, where they could serve simultaneously as espionage agents and agents of influence. Second, for men of this pedigree, Marxist leanings at university could easily be forgiven by the Establishment as a youthful indiscretion. The mole needed only “sheep-dipping” into respectable right wing circles. Hence Kim Philby was reinvented in Spain as a journalist sympathetic to Franco, and, together with the flaming fag Guy Burgess, joined the prewar Anglo-German Fellowship. The slate was wiped clean.
Cold War intelligence competition with the CIA was similarly to the Soviets’ credit. They were street smart professionals, many hardened survivors of the WWII red “resistance.” The CIA’s WASP leaders, by contrast, were idealistic dilettantes straight from the Ivy League and Wall Street. Anglo bullshit about “the playing fields of Eton” notwithstanding, US covert operations in Eastern Europe were effortlessly rolled up by the communists, the agents slaughtered en masse. Philby’s treachery (then as MI6 liaison) was only part of the problem. As the Cuban fiascoes were to prove, the CIA preppies were better at big picture planning than at mundane tasks like operational security, and were poor judges of people unlike themselves—in sum, they were boys doing a man’s job.
These sources, while not entirely consistent, all point to the essential seriousness of the Soviet side:
Cambridge Spies (TV mini-series 2003)
Amazon.com: The Very Best Men: The Daring Early Years of the CIA (9781416537977): Evan Thomas: Books
Amazon.com: The Very Best Men: The Daring Early Years of the CIA (9781416537977): Evan Thomas: Books
Last edited by Mike Parker; November 17th, 2011 at 10:07 AM.
|November 17th, 2011||#8|
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Butte, MT
"Don't pick a fight with an old man, If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you." -John Steinbeck
|November 23rd, 2011||#9|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cumbria, England
The Ivy League WASPs were similar to the Cambridge brits. I don't know of any caste of ex-cop hardcases in the early CIA.
|November 24th, 2011||#10|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Amazon.com: Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey (9781574889901): Bayard Stockton: Books
|December 9th, 2011||#11|
Join Date: Jul 2007
[The Bolsheviks decisively rejected the patriotards of the left.]
The Revolutionary Masses
The diverse leftist groups embraced a variety of attitudes towards the war. Most Socialist-Revolutionaries and other peasant-orientated socialist groupings, such the Trudoviks, advocated ‘defensism’. The essence of this approach was expressed by the Trudovik spokesman Alexander Kerensky, who urged the working people first to ‘defend our country and then set it free’. Many Mensheviks were in favor of pacifism, while the Bolshevik leader, from his exile in Switzerland, preached outright defeatism insisting on ‘turning the imperialist war into a civil war’.
The scale of the war confirmed Lenin’s radicalism. To him it was an irrefutable proof that the final crisis of capitalism had arrived. In the work Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism published in 1916, Lenin argued that by the end of the nineteenth century capitalism in advanced capitalist countries had reached its highest and last stage - imperialism. The war arose from the irreconcilable internal contradictions of ‘bourgeois’ societies and the growing conflicts between imperialist capitalist powers over colonial profits. The class struggle became ever more intense. Mounting economic crises escalated into a general crisis of the capitalist system which spilled over in the catastrophe of world-wide war.
The war marked the death agony of capitalism and opened the way to revolution. The task of the proletariat and Social-Democratic parties of the belligerent countries was to transform the imperialist war into a series of revolutionary civil wars against their capitalist governments, which would ultimately lead to the triumph of a world revolution.
At Lenin’s insistence the slogan of ‘revolutionary defeatism’ was adopted by the Central Committee of RSDLP as early as the autumn of 1914. The Bolsheviks denounced the war as unjust and predatory on all sides of the conflict and called on the workers of the belligerent nations to seek the defeat of their own ‘bourgeois’ governments. Lenin and his adherents hoped that the implementation of this slogan in practice would lead to the collapse of the imperialist states and the transformation of the the First World War into a world revolution.
The decision of the German Social-Democratic Party to support the German government in 1914 confirmed Lenin’s fear that, at the moment of truth, moderate socialist parties would support the bourgeoisie. From this time he saw the moderate socialists as enemies, fighting for, rather than against, the bourgeoisie. Lenin’s suspicion of them was further vindicated at two international conferences of the socialist Left in Switzerland, the first in Zimmerwald in 1915 and the second at Kienthal in 1916, at which he presented his ‘defeatist’ program. Lenin’s extreme defeatist views were rejected even by these radical leftist gatherings. Only a small minority supported his stand that it was impossible to attain socialist revolution without wishing for the defeat of one’s government and actively working for such a defeat.
Undisturbed by the objections to his strategy in the ranks of the leftist socialists, Lenin continued to work, with his characteristic stubbornness and ruthlessness, for the realization of his ideas. By 1916 the defeatist slogans began to gain popular support leading to the rise of the pacifist movement in the army and navy. Instances of insubordination to officers, refusals to advance, mass surrenders, desertions multiplied. At some parts of the eastern front Russian soldiers even fraternized with the enemy troops. The continual growth of the Bolsheviks’ influence - both at the front and in the rear - spelled grave dangers to the authorities.
Revolutionary Defeatism and World War Two
During the First World War the German revolutionary, Karl Liebknecht declared "the main enemy is at home”. Lenin, elaborated the policy or revolutionary defeatism. By this he meant that the defeat or an imperialist power at war was preferable to a victory won at the cost of the class truce at home.
These policies were in direct contradiction to the patriotism and nationalism being whipped up by the bosses of Europe and the USA. They were also in contradiction to the policies of the reformist traitors of the Socialist International. They called on the working class to give up the class struggle and murder each other on the battlefields in order to defend their respective fatherlands – fatherlands owned and ruled by the bosses.
To this day revolutionary defeatism remains the only consistent and internationalist policy for workers in the event of wars between imperialist states. And it applied in the Second World War, just as much as the first.
Marxism's attitude to war has nothing to do with pacifism. War is an ever present feature of class society. In the imperialist epoch, when class antagonisms have reached their highest level, war has engulfed the whole world twice.
To get rid of war we will have to destroy capitalism itself. Its overthrow will necessarily involve armed insurrection. This is why the working class cannot renounce violence.
Every country at war claims the other side started it, that the other side has carried out atrocities, that it is fighting to liberate a small country and so on. Against this we have to approach every war from the standpoint of class. We have to ask what class forces are involved? What is the class nature of the warring states? Will the workers' international struggle be advanced or set back by the victory of one side or another?
In answering these questions Lenin showed how victory for any imperialist power would strengthen not only its area of exploitation, its internal and external prestige, but also reactionary nationalist sentiments within the working class. And, if class peace was maintained to help the war effort, the real interests of the working class would suffer enormously. Working class organisations would be tied to the state, living standards would be sacrificed to the war effort and democratic rights would be suppressed.
Instead of voting for the bosses' war budget in parliament, rallying workers to the army and sacrificing pay and conditions to the "war effort'" the workers' organisations should carry on fighting their own exploiters.
None of this means that Marxists favour the victory of one rival imperialism over another. Revolutionary defeatism is defeatism on all sides. So we do not advocate workers helping the enemy bosses by sabotaging production, spying for the enemy etc. The class struggle would carry on even if the defeat or our own bosses becomes a reality.
There are "just" wars which Marxists do support. These include not just the workers' armed insurrection and the defence or a healthy workers' state. Marxists support semi-colonial countries in their wars of national liberation and unification against imperialism. We do so regardless of the political regime or the immediate causes or the war.
Likewise we support the defence or degenerate workers' states at war with imperialism, even though political power has been usurped by the Stalinist bureaucracy.
The false Marxists of the Socialist and Communist Parties did not simply echo the bosses patriotic calls to die for the fatherland in World War Two. They tried to utilise Marxism's support for wars of national liberation and defence of workers states to rally workers to support the Allied war effort.
The Stalinists argued that since the USSR was allied to Britain, France and the USA revolutionary defeatism had to be suspended. Strikes and mutinies by British workers and soldiers harmed the defence of the USSR, they argued.
One of the best refutations of this argument came from Stalinism itself, in an earlier phase.
British CP leader Emile Burns wrote:
"But supposing fascist Germany attacks the USSR; are you now in favour of the workers supporting the British and French governments in an attack on Germany? Under no circumstances. Such action would help the German capitalists to represent the war as one of national self-defence; it would immensely strengthen the British capitalists and weaken the British workers; it would put British imperialism in the event of victory in a favourable position for attacking the USSR; it would mean suppressing the inevitable revolt in India." (The Labour Party arid the menace of War, 1935)
This was exactly what class peace in Britain, supported by the CP, led to.
Revolutionary defeatism means agitating in every factory, regiment and ship for the class war. Such agitation begins with economic strikes or the defence of soldiers' political rights. But it is aimed at the creation of workers' and soldiers' councils which could form the basis of working class power.
Marxists do not fear the onset of war. We recognise that, despite the initial upsurge in patriotism in the first stages of war, the horrors and privations it brings and the militarisation of society lead to the re-emergence of class struggle in a sharper form.
War is an act of desperation for capitalism. The century of wars signifies it is in its death agony. War and revolution are the fundamental features of the imperialist epoch - and revolutionary defeatism is the strategy essential for turning war into revolution.
|January 3rd, 2012||#13|
Join Date: Jul 2007
|April 21st, 2012||#14|
Not just set up false fronts, but take over existing bodies and fill them with gooey jew nougat. The Zalinsky (cheap) parts in the Callahan (expensive, high quality) box strategy you might remember from Dan Akroyd in "Tommy Boy."
How To Be a 'Principled' Beltway 'Libertarian'
Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo on April 21, 2012 07:48 AM
Mark Ames's article in The Nation that mocks the Cato Institute's supposed "independence" from its donors provides a few examples (among hundreds more, one can be sure) of what it takes to be a beltway "libertarian." These include:
Put the notorious John Yoo, defender of torture and the abolition of civil liberties during Bush's "war on terra" on your Supreme Court Review editorial board.
Publicly attack critics of the neocon "war on terra" as "terrorism's fellow travelers."
Call for yet another war by invading Pakistan.
Call for expanded FBI spying on Americans through warrantless wiretapping.
Call on Congress to expand and strengthen the odious PATRIOT Act.
Fire any genuine anti-interventionists on your foreign policy studies staff and force others to resign.
Hobnob with the likes of Tom DeLay and Dick Armey.
Pretend to be a "Gay Rights" organization while kissing up to people like Dick Armey who once called Barney Frank "Barney Fag."
Boast of how many of your former employees got appointments in the Bush administration.
Consider the placement of the chief funder of the neocon movement and all of its warmongering, Rupert Murdoch, on your board to be the coup of the century.
Have employees who give loads of money to Republican Party politicians.
Hire many former GOP political hacks to pretend to be "policy analysts."
Two things missing from Ames's list are: "Wage a vicious and malicious smear campaign against Ron Paul"; and, "After ignoring Ron Paul, the most prominent critic of the Fed in the past thirty years, at your annual monetary conference for 29 years, you finally get around to inviting him to speak there since he has become so enormously popular and will attract a crowd to your boring and predictable conference that no one cares about." Note: Dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of Fed bureaucrats have spoken at Cato's annual monetary conference over the years.
The extreme hypocrisy of Ames and The Nation should also be pointed out by saying that The Nation would never, ever, publish an article that challenges the independence of leftist academics whose research is funded by the government.
|June 7th, 2014||#15|
Bread and Circuses
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Jewed Faggot States of ApemuriKa
Blog Entries: 1
100 years ago, Europe was beset by WWI.
Just 3 years later, Lenin's Bolshevik Party led workers to power in Russia.
How did a party of only 8,000 members in February 1917 grow to a quarter of a million in less than nine months, and win the majority of workers, peasants, and soldiers to take power in a virtually bloodless October Revolution?
How was this party constructed? How were its members educated and developed? How did it weather repression and the ebbs and flows of the struggle? What practical lessons can 21st-century socialists gain from a careful study of Bolshevism?
|bolsheviks, strategy, the trust, vladimir lenin, winners|