Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Socialism in an Age of Nitpicking....

Dear SIAW,

"You think we exaggerate? Try these for a start: abortion and divorce on demand; collective management of industry; narrow pay differentials and strictly regulated "perks" for managers; voluntary collectivisation of farming; stricter limitations on the death penalty than in any other European state at that time; freedom of expression, except (as in similar wartime conditions anywhere else) for active opponents of the state; free health care; treaties and trade agreements openly negotiated and published in full ... The Bolshevik government of 1917-24 was as much a victim of its circumstances as a shaper of them, and of course not every proclaimed policy was fully implemented, any more than any government's could have been in conditions of revolutionary upheaval, blockade and military intervention by the western powers and Japan, and civil wars launched by shifting alliances of assorted enemies."

This'll be the state that abolished the death penalty (against Lenin's preferences[1]), only to have Trotsky sentence them to be shot instead [2]. The regime that abolished censorship. The regime that withdrew fuel from Soviets that had the temerity to vote for Martov over Lenin[3]. The regime that re-instituted and intensified Tsarist conditions for political prisons[4]. The regime that gunned down its own soldiers in the back to make them put down rebels[5]. The regime Against which workers solidly struck, in strikes which under any other regime would have leftists panting over the revolutionary situation[6].

Let's face it, it was the bolshevik's decision to seize power as a conscious minority against the unconscious majority which necessitated building an apparatus of terror which Stalin was able to take command of - so, ably as MacLeod would have it.

I'll post this e-mail on my own blog - http://impossibilist.blogspot.com.


Bill M.


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