Thursday, June 30, 2005

If you go carrying...

Currently, I'm reading Mao : the untold story / by Jung Chang and John Halliday - which I will review, hopefully, in the August Socialist Standard.

I won't, therefore, go into here, quite what I will say in that review (I wait until I finish books to critique them) - what I will say, though, is that it is forceably reminding me of one thing.

I have for some time lamented the impact the Bolshevik coup had on the workers movement, making socialism harder to explain or propagate - I still experience ubiquitous claims at Hyde Park that we'll (even without wanting to now) end up having to send everyone to Gulags.

But even skimming this slice of history, in conjunction with The Spanish Civil War / Hugh Thomas - it becomes clear what an absolute cancer on humanity emerged from that stroke. While the yanklander frothing at the mouth right may well froth at the mouth, surely, with the experience of Soviet foriegn interventions, there was a clear pattern of the promotion of murder and torture in the world.

This is not to say, though, that socialists or anyone else should have sided with Yankland in the cold war; but that a clear, and explicit repudiation backed by understanding of the monstrosity of the Soviet regime was an is necessary.

Put another way, I believe the left needs a revolution, as the precondition for any genuine advance. Tolerance of the fans of psychopaths and mass murderers is not on. Any acolyte of Mao, or Stalin, or Lenin is an enemy of the working class - pure and simple. The lesson needs to be learnt.

Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler.

Repeat, rinse, and spit.

17 Comments:

Blogger Reidski said...

Whattevah

1:49 PM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

What did the Bolsheviks make it harder to "explain"?

2:32 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Er, Socialism, what it is, how to go about getting it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

But what socialism is and how it is possible to achieve it has always (since long before Marx's day) been a subject of struggle and debate. Surely the Bolsheviks put these debates/struggles on the table in a way never achieved before or since?

3:13 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I'd suggest they put gangsterism and thuggery on the table, and left it to fester before our eyes. They eleveated it to being the essence of socialism, to the extent that a wretched non-entity like Mao - a sadistic slug - could be elevated to supreme power.

So when we have to debate bolsheviks, we're debating the indefensible pursuing the unpalatable, and so any discussion of the ideas of socialism are lost when trying to reach any human being of even moderate conscisence.

3:35 PM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

So you take a balance, objective view of the Bolsheviks then? As a human being of less than moderate "conscisence" (conscience? consciousness?), I suppose the debate ends there.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Well, a balanced objective view is that they elevated terror and massacre beyond being a tool of policy to a matter of principle - that'd the objective fact, and it stretches back to as far as the very early days of the revolution.

That's objective.

4:07 PM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

Wouldn't a balanced, objective view take into account the subjective and objective reasons/causes of that "terror and massacre"? Your version sounds like a Bond film to me. Did the Bolsheviks live under a mountain and run around in orange boiler suits?

4:24 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Any acolyte of Mao, or Stalin, or Lenin is an enemy of the working class - pure and simple. The lesson needs to be learnt."

You omitted Trotsky, presumably because he never got a real chance to show what he could do. His inclusion would not invalidate the statement, though.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Subjective/objective reasons? - there certainly would be plenty - but the fact is that the bolshevik high command did sit in the Kremlin or wherever issuing instructions for massacres, cold bloodedly. They exported a torture network, and instituted one internally as well. I'm sure Wlasingham had motives for building his Elizabethan police state, but I don't consider understanding them to be a requirement for building a socialist movement.

Yes, I forgot Trotsky, it seemed, so easy, somehow...

10:37 AM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

Of course I agree with you more than disagree. Essential reading: http://www.isf.org.uk/ISFJournal/ISF2/isf2a8.htm

I suppose what I am taking issue with in particular is this idea:

"I have for some time lamented the impact the Bolshevik coup had on the workers movement, making socialism harder to explain or propagate."

To me, to "lament" the Bolshevik seize of power in 1917, or the Russian revolution more generally, is to see the history of working class struggles and revolutions as a series of lamentable mistakes. This is a despairing vision, not an inspiring (revolutionary?) one. (And no, I don't think an inspiring vision means doing damage to the objective facts, however horrifying some of those might be.)

3:10 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Well, I hold that the bolsheviks were the counter revolution, much under the influence of the late Maurice Brinton on that one.

I don't think lamenting mistakes is unrevolutionary, we must learn from them - ther eis a positive message from the bolshevik coup, which is that it must never be repeated.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, to "lament" the Bolshevik seize of power in 1917, or the Russian revolution more generally, is to see the history of working class struggles and revolutions as a series of lamentable mistakes.

You've got it completely wrong. To lament the Bolshevik seizure of power is to lament the betrayal of the revolution, a revolution that up to that point had been a democratic and socialist one. To lament the Bolshevik's seizure of power is to lament the defeat of a working-class struggle and the restoration of the Tsarist state. The Bolsheviks staged a counter-revolution, and then dismantled a newly-created system that was democratic, progressive and offered the prize of genuine socialism. They destroyed the chances of socialism, in Russia and around the world.

1:28 AM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

The Bolsheviks were the counter-revolution? I don't agree with that either (not in the form posited by "anonymous" anyway). But that's not the SPGB view is it? I thought the SPGB view was that the Russian Revolution was a bourgeois revolution carried out by the Bolsheviks (and soviets, see Adam Buick's "The role of the soviets in Russia's bourgeois revolution), not a socialist (working class) revolution that was defeated and betrayed by the Bolsheviks. Have you split with the SPGB on this Bill?

10:55 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Well, I don't see the SPGB having a monolithic view on the precise nature of the Russian revolution - I've been clear for many years that I take a view that the bolsheviks were the counter-revolution - dismantling the democratic gains of the February revolution - much as Cromwell and the Jacobins dismantled popular democratic aspects of earlier capitalist revolutions.

11:12 AM  
Blogger DespairToWhere said...

Well, we've both heard all this before, haven't we? My view of the revolution is coloured mainly by John Reed's and Trotsky's account of it, although I've also read a fair share of libertarian/anarchist/left-communist critiques. That's all from me. Look forward to the Mao review Bill. Have you seen Ellis Sharp's comments here?
http://ellissharp.blogspot.com/2005_05_01_ellissharp_archive.html

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to that 'review'like a hole in the head. You are a phony... I reserve my judgement until the end... but then chant,chant, chant. Rubbish all rubbish.

BTW Trotsky is a saint, repeat Trotsky is a saint.

BTW Bill that sadistic slug Mao who so called elevated himself to power... Tony Blair elevated himself to power, you would probably elevate yourself to power if given half the opportunity within a party. UHHH

Mao did nothing like this. He was engaged in a life and death struggle and the Chinese people genuinely loved and respected him and for good reason. You are all over the place like a mad woman's knitting and this is a non-debate.
Ciao

10:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home