Saturday, March 7, 2009


Davies, on page 47 of No Simple Victory provides an interesting description of Marxism-Leninism: ". . . Marx was not planning change through massive violence. On the contrary, as he worked away in the Reading Room of the British Museum, financed by his friend Friedrich Engels, who was a factory-owner in Manchester, Marx was thinking of socio-political processes that were maturing of their own accord and that would some day deliver the revolution 'like an apple falling from the branch'. In this light it is not unreasonable to speculate that he would have turned in his grave if he could have seen what the Bolsheviks had actually made of his theories."

"The Leninist part of Marxism-Leninism supplied the guidelines for practical political action. It told how a group of highly disciplined activists could manipulate their opponents and seize power; how they could transform their revolutionary opposition group into a dictatorial state executive; and how the organs of a one-party state could control all elements of society and all their activities. Leninists used the language of Marxism and democracy, but twisted its meaning to their own purposes. Hence 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' envisaged the dictatorship of the ruling party over the proletariat; 'socialism' meant Lenin's personal variant of socialism, i.e., Communism; 'the party' did not mean just a political party, but an all-embracing organization with monopoly powers; and democracy' meant the coercive subordination of the people to the state, i.e., tyranny."

On page 48, Davies writes, "Yet two things the Bolsheviks could not fix. One was a competent economy. The other was a firm institutional link with western Europe. They were internationalists. They believed they had a universal remedy for all nations; and they knew that their revolution in backward Russia could not survive in recognizable form unless they linked up with an advanced industrial country like Germany. So they repeatedly attempted to forge a link. In the summer of 1920 they sent the Red Army westward in the most serious such attempt. Unfortunately, to march from Russia to Germany, their forces had to cross Poland; and the Poles were not disposed to see their own new republic trampled on. At the Battle of Warsaw, the Red Army was badly beaten. Lenin's big experiment in international expansionism collapsed. The network of Communist states stretching from Moscow to Berlin, which Lenin had briefly hoped for, never came into being. Instead, a more limited Soviet Union had to be formed from just three republics: Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine. It opened for business son 1 January 1924. But the long-term goals were never abandoned."


After this, Russia reacquired the previous colonies of Tsarist Russia and then after World War II it acquired Eastern Europe. A devoted Communist would not say it that way, but the method was the same as that described above. In each of these counties a "group of highly disciplined activist" would take over the country, and while that fell short of the democratic ideals of the west, it satisfied Russia. But one should be able to understand that the Soviet expansion after World War II was found to be alarming by many in the West. Roosevelt and Truman fancied that they could understand and get along with Stalin, but Truman at last gave up on him. He naively underestimated Soviet espionage in America, but Communist expansion was plain for him to see.

Yes, I know and have encountered many anti-Americans who have turned this business upside down. It is the poor Soviets who wanted to be left alone, who were "forced" to take over Eastern Europe because of the "threat" of the evil West, etc. But this is nonsense. What the Soviet Union did was consistent with their ideology. And if we look at the "ideology" in the West we see Western Europe under an American umbrella, during the Cold War, turning to a naïve pacifism. And America was so clearly not an aggressive nation that Gorbachev engaged in perestroika with no fear that America was going to do anything aggressive against Russia. Nevertheless, the anti-Americans like American Indians of old are regular dancing around their fires, working themselves into frenzies, painting themselves with war paint and brandishing their spears and tomahawks in a threatening manner. This seems a great superstition to me: fearing something that doesn't exist.

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