18 thoughts on “Yet another podcast”

  1. Aaaaaaaargh…

    […]

    Well, I guess I have no one but myself to blame, when I finally decided to check out this particular podcast, expecting to find something new, inspiring, and positive, something to attenuate the hectic times we live in now. How foolish of me to forget the timeless wisdom of the great philosopher Eyore d’Onkey: “Hope is the fist step towards disappointment”.

    Professor have been discussing the topic of the Russian conservatism here on his blog for several years now. He had been very steady and unrelenting in reiterating the fruits of his academic research in the form of blogposts, articles, interviews and podcasts (while having to entertain his clueless/single issue obsessed hosts).

    TL;DR: there is nothing new here. Absolutely. If you are a regular reader here – move along, spare your time for something more useful.

    And this is bad. On the one hand, whether preached from the pulpit of the one-sided media platform, or being questioned by completely ignorant/not interested in the topic people, Professor Robinson’s scientific findings are not subject to the rigorous analysis and critique. Which, in turn, means, that there is no hope for a new, revised and expanded, edition of his latest book on the Russian Conservatism AND there is not much hope for the upcoming book on the Russian Liberalism to be any better.

    The overall Professor’s style and approach to present his historical findings about the Russian conservative thoughts are pretty much the same no matter the medium – clipped, sound bite-y and totally detached. In fact, they are so detached from the larger historical context, that he might as well be talking about the “applied minarchism of the Hobbiton”, with his audience(s) reacting in pretty much the same way – and the same level of contribution to the treasure trove of Humanity’s collective knowledge.

    Due to these unfixed flaws, present in this particular podcast and elsewhere, you WON’T hear Professor finally mouthing some important things, without which his analysis would appear severely lacking. Things, like this:

    1) Conservatism (any conservatism) is a reactionary political position. Full stop. Go ahead, and say it out loud. Then, having done that (and why wouldn’t you?) own up to everything, that this implies.

    2) Conservatism is a political position held by either a potential losers of the changing status quo or by those who are already political has-beens from the self-described elite (and their clients and parasites). Again – this must be said out loud.

    3) Conservatism (any conservatism) reliably fails in its promise to “conserve”, otherwise there won’t be new forms of the conservatism.

    4) Logically stemming from the pp 1-3: any conservatism is the ideology of the powerless.
    Good old edgy adage presupposes, that “the power corrupts”. Well, guess what? Powerlessness corrupts as well – some times even more forcefully! Examples of this are a-plenty. Either the so-called “political discourse” within tight-knit groups of the ideological losers (be they conservative, liberals or the faux “Left”) degrade to the level of high-brow Ivory Towers demagoguery or pointless talks “about politics” in the modern equivalents of the “cozy dissident’s kitchens” ™. The end result is quite predictable – a birth of the sect-like rigidity and unflexability of the positions for the outside world, combined with the pettiness, intrigues and general assholery in treating your fellow “sect members” for the internal consumption.

    Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “politics” as:

    a: the art or science of government
    b: the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
    c: the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government

    The, ah, “shenanigans” that afflict a truly powerless ideological movement, which I described above, ensure, that there won’t be p. “c” for them, due to growing gulf between their sect and the general population, and, therefore, no prospect of p. “b” let alone “a”. Which, inevitably, leads us to:

    5) Conservatism (any conservatism) eventually ceases to be a political ideology. You, Professor, had been dealt a very strong hand by having so much of your “heroes” being either “religious/theological scholars” or shifty dreamers. Again and again, you fail to said it out loud, as if the topic is religiously nefandous for you. Why?

    To put it in simple(r) terms – any conservatives (and so-called Russian liberals, who are the subjects of Professor’s future volume) are unfit to rule. They kinda know that and don’t strive particularly hard to change this sad reality – their own ideological rigidness is more important. They are still, though, considered to be a “distinct voice in the marketplace of the political ideas” (c), contributing, pro forma, to the hollow illusion of the “diversity and pluralism of the political spectrum” (c).

    Their Sense of Self-Importance ™ thus inflated (your own words and book(s) contribute to that, Professor) these ideological sects are, sadly, remain unquiet. Nothing seems to be nefandous to them, even as their grasp on the objective reality-beyond-their-sect-confines is slipping even more. Is it really such a surprise, that “any conservatives” often resort to what in the hindsight could only be described as “bad calls of judgment”, by latching lamprey-like to some real political forces, and sharing with them their tattered “legitimacy” and “respectability”, no matter what? Is it, therefore, a real wonder, that, say, Ivan Ilyin would respond in eye-brow raising approving manner, first, to the Italian fascists, and then to Hitler’s coming to power? Is it, therefore, such a surprise, that “blue-brown” alliance of the so-called “real liberals” and the nationalists, aimed against the “leftists” (and, you know, more often than not – Russia) became a de-facto political mainstream in the Eastern Europe (and the engine for the 2014 coup d’etat in the Ukraine)?

    Curious souls are eager to know the answers… to these rhetorical questions.

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    1. Do I assume correctly that what is left of the Communist Party in Russia is part of the spectrum of “conservatism”?

      A conservatism that is stuck in a time and a model of Marxist interpretation by Lenin (capitalism is not necessary to develop a socialist/communist society) that led to the development – because capitalism was almost nonexistent so traditional Marxian development (capitalisms as the force to free the produktive capacities of humans from the fetters of feudalism) was impossible – of a “State Capitalism”.

      Where the state acted – or tried to act as espoused by Stalin – as both the capitalist appropriating to itself the “frozen labour- as which Marx defined capital – and the socialist state which appropriated to itself the role of the speaker of worker power – with the attending disastrous societal and political development in Russia and the countries that made up the USSR and the Warsaw Pact?

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      1. “Do I assume correctly that what is left of the Communist Party in Russia is part of the spectrum of “conservatism”?”

        If you are talking about the KPRF (i.e. the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) then two things could be said about it for certain. One – it’s more a “brand owner”, rather than something overtly ideological. Two – it is still a political party, which could not be said about other… entities… that are classified as such in Russia.

        Being a political party necessitates a healthy dose of populism. The old Soviet joke “Yes, I was politically waving to and fro, but I waved together with the general line of the Party!” could be applied to *any* political party anywhere. Yes, including in the blessed democratic capitalist West.

        Russians are mostly distrustful of the term “reforms” and promise of “change” (gee, I wonder why…). Therefore, any political party could easily score points by being opposed to any given change, especially, if they could pass it as being opposed to the “Powers That Be”.

        In a fashion, the KPRF is indeed a part of the “conservatism” spectrum. It’s leader Zyuganov’s cowardice in 1996 underscore the fact, how leery they are from actually coming to power. Since then, it became only worse. But this is true not just for the KPRF – pretty much all of our Russian parties are powerless and happy to be so. So when you read a Western analysis about “prospects” of such and such party in “influencing”, let alone taking part in the formation of the Government of Russia (the Cabinet of the Ministers), then you are reading a product of the addled mind.

        “A conservatism that is stuck in a time and a model of Marxist interpretation by Lenin (capitalism is not necessary to develop a socialist/communist society) that led to the development – because capitalism was almost nonexistent”

        Capitalism in the Russian Empire was sooooooo “nonexistent”, that Lenin wrote an entire book about it (“The Development of Capitalism in Russia”), where he proved, with real examples, that, ACTUALLY, its omnipresent and triumphant as of c. 1899.

        “Where the state acted – or tried to act as espoused by Stalin – as both the capitalist appropriating to itself the “frozen labour- as which Marx defined capital – and the socialist state which appropriated to itself the role of the speaker of worker power – with the attending disastrous societal and political development in Russia and the countries that made up the USSR and the Warsaw Pact?”

        […]

        This paragraph is, like, entirely factually wrong, but checks all the boxes on the “Western Ideological Myths about the USSR”. “Disastrous societal and political development in Russia”, my ass!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘It’s leader Zyuganov’s cowardice in 1996 underscore the fact, how leery they are from actually coming to power. Since then, it became only worse.”

    BERNIE!

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    1. “This paragraph is, like, entirely factually wrong, but checks all the boxes on the “Western Ideological Myths about the USSR”. “Disastrous societal and political development in Russia”, my ass!”

      Thanks for your response, but that is the “analysis” of Russia in German communist (Maoist) circles I frequented in the 1970s and was part of. Russia at that time was seen as communism gone wrong and without democratic legitimization by the workers, a top down system that allowed the party to control the state and reap the benefits whereas the workers still suffered from “state” exploitation.

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      1. “[T]hat is the “analysis” of Russia in German communist (Maoist) circles I frequented in the 1970s and was part of. “

        Last time I checked it, Germany is still part of the West. Also, you should probably add in the brackets after the “communist” the so-called “third-worldists” and Trotskytes – by now, also purely Western, ah, entities. They, btw, are covered by me under the “faux” left, and, together with dem-schizoids of the former USSR and the Socialist Camp, plus the “proper conservative”, form the Axis of the Powerless Has-Beens.

        Isn’t it a wonder, that said Western fauxt left, politically impotent yet highly opinionated, in their desire to prove that they are not Kremlin Stooges ™, start parroting trickle-down ideological points from their own (i.e. capitalist and pro US of A) governments?

        […]
        […]

        [No, not really. “The USSR’s state capitalist” said by said “Leftists” is their trademark – like LGBTIAQs+ castrated 6 coloured rainbow, or allusion to the “helicopter rides” by the rightards]

        […]

        “Russia at that time was seen as communism gone wrong and without democratic legitimization by the workers, a top down system that allowed the party to control the state and reap the benefits whereas the workers still suffered from “state” exploitation.”

        That’s why a simple combine-harvester driver from a provincial kolkhoz had ABSOLUTELY no hope of rising throught the Party and the State ranks, even ending up as the head of the USSR.

        Oh, wait!.

        [But, on the second thought – oh, no!]

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  3. “That’s why a simple combine-harvester driver from a provincial kolkhoz had ABSOLUTELY no hope of rising throught the Party and the State ranks, even ending up as the head of the USSR.”
    And this is your piece of evidence for a worker controlled state? Hey, even Obama a product of “miscegenation” was able to become president of some minor country – this is evidence that racism does not exist in this peculiar nation?
    If you label all Marxists that disagree with the USSR ever having anything to do with “communism” as “faux left” I wonder who is left of the left in your not so humble opinion?

    I seems to me that you are wedded to the unshakeable believe that any critique of the “real existing” socialism in the USSR and the Warsaw pact is a sign of “western myth” and at worst “propaganda”.

    As to the question of state capitalism’s existence under Stalin and a “Western Myth” – here analysis by marxists (of the west):

    Click to access state-capitalism-in-russia-cliff.pdf


    “Under capitalism the consumption of the masses is subordinated to
    accumulation. Sometimes consumption increases at the same time as
    accumulation, at other times it decreases while accumulation rises;
    but always, in every situation, the basic relationship remains.
    If we follow the history of Russia from October, we find that until the
    advent of the Five-Year Plan this subordination did not exist, but from
    then on expressed itself in unprecedented brutality……
    If the regimes in Eastern Europe and USSR were post capitalist and
    in 1989 there was a restoration of capitalism, how was the restoration
    achieved with such astonishing ease?”

    https://www.umass.edu/pubaffs/chronicle/archives/02/10-11/economics.html
    ” Under a true communist system, says Resnick, the workers would control all aspects of production and decide how any surpluses are used. But in the wake of the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks imposed a layer of state managers to operate industry in the name of the people. That system, which Resnick and Wolff call “state capitalism,” actually ceded decisions about the use of profits to government officials.”

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/1933/stalin_report.htm

    “Stalin (or more probably some member of his staff) had the ingenious idea of quoting the leading capitalist newspapers and outstanding figures in the world of capitalist finance and industry as testimony to the success of the plans for industrialising Russia. Looked at from the point of view of publicity the idea was a clever one, but what does it mean when the capitalist chorus sings the praises of Russia? Does a socialist and working-class movement ever expect or receive commendation from the mouthpieces of capitalism?”

    A to Capitalism in Russia – here the words of the man himself:
    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116179.pdf?v=a831b5c6a9ff133d9da25b37c013d691
    ” This unprecedented growth of production cannot be regarded as the simple and ordinary development of a country from backwardness to progress. It was a leap by which our Motherland became transformed from a backward country into an advanced country, from an agrarian into an industrial country………….”
    and Stalins “evidnce” that industrialization of the USSR was “differnt” from normal “capitalist” development? That here:
    “The Soviet method of industrializing the country differs radically from the capitalist method of industrialization. In capitalist countries, industrialization usually starts with light industry…. But this is a long
    process, which takes a long time, running into several decades, during which you have to wait while the light industry develops and do without heavy industry. Naturally, the Communist Party, could not take this path. The Party knew that war was approaching, that it would be impossible to defend our country without heavy industry..”

    So the main difference between capitalism in the west and the “NON CAPITALIST” development in the east is a matter not of principle but of methodology? That is it? State capitalism called by any other name is still THAT.

    As I said – my take on the system in the USSR was less a “western myth” but actually based on what one might call “Chinese Propaganda” that was widely available in Germany in the seventies and of course contained the works by Mao, Newspapers etc.

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    1. “And this is your piece of evidence for a worker controlled state?”

      That’s my evidence of the USSR being run by the proletariat as class.

      “If you label all Marxists that disagree with the USSR ever having anything to do with “communism” as “faux left” I wonder who is left of the left in your not so humble opinion?”

      No, I label only losers, found a plenty in the West, who has nothing under their belt in the way of achievements, and who are voluntary co-opted by the local capitalist Establishment. Exhibit “A” – Japan’s ComParty.

      I don’t label as faux left parties, with the practical experience of implementing the communist theories, who, yes, often criticized the USSR and disagreed with it policies – like China’s Communist Party and the rest of the ruling parties. But – just because I don’t label them as “faux” Left, doesn’t meant that I have to agree with them or consider them beyond reproach.

      “As to the question of state capitalism’s existence under Stalin and a “Western Myth” – here analysis by marxists (of the west)”

      From your very own source:

      “Born in Palestine to Zionist parents in 1917, Ygael Gluckstein became a Trotskyist during the 1930s and played a leading role in the attempt to forge a movement uniting Arab and Jewish workers. At the end of the Second World War, seeing that the victory of the Zionists was more and more inevitable, he moved to Britain and adopted the pseudonym Tony Cliff.

      In the late 1940s he developed the theory that Russia wasn’t a workers’ state but a form of bureaucratic state capitalism, a theory which has characterised the tendency with which he was associated for the remaining five decades of his life. Although he broke from “orthodox Trotskyism” after being bureaucratically excluded from the Fourth International in 1950, he always considered himself to be a Trotskyist although he was also open to other influences within the Marxist tradition.”

      […]

      Ho-hum. A butthurt loser Trot, wedded to a single issue. Kicked out by fellow Trots (that’s like for a prostitute to be fired from brothel for lecherousness).

      Stephen Resnick is equally distinguished mensch. Although he and his co-author Wolf could not be called “Marxists”.

      Edgar Hardcastle was a (small “s”) socialist, who, in the end, also got himself kicked out by his fellow Socialists. He was a researcher of Marxism, yes. But not a Marxist.

      Ho-hum. Marvelous! 🙂

      “A to Capitalism in Russia – here the words of the man himself:”

      I sincerely hope, that you actually read Lenin’s monograph. Very enLYTTENing stuff. Like his central thesis, that the capitalism already won in Russian village. Your original comment posits, that “because capitalism was almost nonexistent so traditional Marxian development (capitalisms as the force to free the produktive capacities of humans from the fetters of feudalism) was impossible”. If the Russian Empire was mostly agrarian country but the capitalism already won in the agrarian sector, how could it be “nonexistent”?

      You follow by quoting… Stalin. Uhm, why? But, yeah, sure, let’s cherry-pick quotes from it:

      “And so, how should our victory over the enemies be interpreted? What can this victory signify from the point of view of the state and the development of the internal forces of our country?

      Our victory signifies, first of all, that our Soviet social system was victorious, that the Soviet social system successfully passed the test of fire in the war and proved that it is fully viable.

      As we know, the foreign press on more than one occasion asserted that the Soviet social system was a “dangerous experiment” that was doomed to failure, that the Soviet system was a “house of cards” having no foundations in life and imposed upon the people by the Cheka, and that a slight shock from without was sufficient to cause this “house of cards” to collapse.

      Now we can say that the war has, refuted all these assertions of the foreign press and has proved them to have been groundless. The war proved that the Soviet social system is a genuinely people’s system, which grew up from the ranks of the people and enjoys their powerful| support; that the Soviet social system is fully viable and stable form of organization of society.

      More than that. The issue now is not whether the Soviet social system is viable or not, because after the object lessons of the war, no skeptic now dares to express doubt concerning the viability of the Soviet social system. Now the issue is that the Soviet social system has proved to be more viable and stable than the non- Soviet social system, that the Soviet social system is a better form of organization of society than any non-Soviet social system.”

      You loudly wonder at the strawman, that:

      “So the main difference between capitalism in the west and the “NON CAPITALIST” development in the east is a matter not of principle but of methodology? That is it? State capitalism called by any other name is still THAT.”

      That’s not what is said. A country could be both capitalist and back-ass agrarian (e.g. Poland, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, inter-war China and Latin America, etc, etc). Stalin is speaking about industrialization only. I, I’m astonished at the Olympic level of the mental gymnastics you had to perform, to draw a conclusion, that the USSR’s pre-war industrialization makes it somehow capitalist.

      From the same source:

      “To put an end to our backwardness in agriculture and to provide the country with the largest possible amount of market grain, cotton, and so forth, it was necessary to pass from small peasant farming to large-scale farming, for only large-scale farming can employ modern machinery, utilize all the achievements of agricultural science and provide the largest possible quantity of market produce. But there are two kinds of large-scale farming – capitalist and collective. The Communist Party could not take the capitalist path of developing agriculture not only on grounds of principle, but also because that path presupposes an exceedingly long process of development and requires the preliminary ruination of the peasants and their transformation into agricultural labourers. The Communist Party therefore took the path of collectivizing agriculture, the path of organizing large farms by uniting the peasant farms into collective farm’s. The collective method proved to be an exceedingly progressive method not only because it did not call for the ruination of the peasants, but also, and particularly, because it enabled us in the course of several years to cover the entire country with large collective farms capable of employing modern machinery, of utilizing all the achievements of agricultural science and of providing the country with the largest possible quantity of market produce”

      Or, what, kolkhozes are capitalist now? Where have you seen the margin in all of that?

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      1. In capitalist production labour is socialized, but the excess (profit) is appropriated by the owner.
        If the owner is the state, than this appropriation definitely points to a state capitalism. Or do you maintain that each “kolkhoze” could determine how to proceed with the dispersal of the “frozen labour”? Did the excess not just pass on into the coffers of the state?
        The question is then – how democratic is this state in permitting its members full participation in the control of industry and the disposal of the profits by industry?
        Marx clearly spoke of a democratic socialism, and excuse me that I do representative democracy hold to be a prime example of the worst type of democracy.
        Was it not rather a top down command chain that organized production and withheld (“managed”) profits?
        Anyway, I find a further discussion of state of the so called “socialist” state of the USSR rather fruitless, as I see enough evidence that Stalinism set up a state capitalism without much democratic control and not a “socialist” system of production and organization of labour.

        If you maintain that the USSR was an example willfully misrepresented by hostile forces as a neither communist nor socialist state I wonder how it was so relatively easy for a few members of the leadership to basically turn the USSR into a capitalist society called the RF?

        If there were no internal contradictions between the actual system – state capitalism without effective control by labour – and the ideological underpinning: why did it so easily collapse?
        Why was the leadership so easily able to act against the will of the people? or was that will to maintain a socialist society already too much compromised that no resistance was forthcoming?

        The damage done by the collapse of the USSR to labour movements around the world is incalculable.
        The enemies of socialism can either point out the fact that truthfully the USSR never was a socialist society, that this construct falsified anything democratic socialism stands for – or having it both ways pointing out falsely that the collapse showed that socialism -> communism cannot work for human society, that capitalism is the only way production can be effectively organized.
        In either case – socialism has lost, made into a “failed” theory of a possibility to humanely and collectively organize and control industrial production

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      2. I answer most of your questions in veeeeeery long comment (let’s wait for the Professor to approve it/extract from the filters – it’s been alread a day since I posted it). But as for:

        “I wonder how it was so relatively easy for a few members of the leadership to basically turn the USSR into a capitalist society called the RF?”

        answering this would require even more space and effort. TL;DR – de-facto, Perestroika amounted to the Menshevik coup within the Party. If anything, it proved only that to avoid another 1991 you might need another 1937.

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      3. answering this would require even more space and effort. TL;DR – de-facto, Perestroika amounted to the Menshevik coup within the Party.

        Hmm, ok, historically the losers. They didn’t succeed. Since already then it was clear Russia needed to prepare for WWII? …

        The label TL;DR – on the internet sometimes may rightly–beyond twitter–suggest inner incoherence or missing focus.

        On the other hand: your more or less constant overflowing hostility should signal to nitwits like me that in “the West” we better prepare for WWIII?

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  4. Look, Moritz – I get it. Baby duck syndrome and all that. You really took to heart whatever your self-designated “Maoist” acquaintances had been propagating, which, by pure “coincidence”, just repeats all the usual Trotskyte talking points. So, for the sake of clarity, stop calling them “Maoists” – they were Trots, the handshakable Marxists for the capitalist Establishment. The fact, that you quote Trots and their sympathizers extensively, only underscores that point.

    How can you describe Trotskysm in just one word? It’s Menshevism – nothing more or less. Aka “opportunism”, aka “seeking agreement with the class enemies”. And who are the Mensheviks? They are agents of the bourgeoisie in the labour movement, or to quote Lenin, “the half-bourgeois elements of the proletariat”. In the past their “flock” consisted of the so-called “labor aristocracy”, new industrial proletariat from the former peasants and intelligentsia (e.g. professor Preobrazhensky in Bulgakov’s “Heart of the Dog”). Is it a wonder then, that nowadays Trotskysm (i.e. Menshevism) is so popular among the Western (inevitably – bourgeois) intelligentsia and the creative class, so that they are called derisively “Bohemian Bolshies”, despite having no relations to the ideology of the RSDRP(b)?

    [Leaving aside the fact, that Trotsky was, at first, not only not a member of the Bolsheviks, but their adversary, who joined them only when it became obvious for him that they’re becoming a real power. Hmm… a powerless highly opinionated individual throwing his lot with someone who can provide him with a real power – where did we see that?!]

    What’s the chief ideological difference between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks? First of all, in the hegemony of the proletariat in the Revolution. Lenin’s idea was that the dictatorship of the proletariat would a special form of the class union – the union of the proletarians with all non-proletarian workers. According to him, in the Revolutionary struggle the proletariat must lead all the rest workers as allies. In the context of the Russian Empire, it meant, first of all, the poorest (i.e. the absolute majority) of the peasantry. Mensheviks (Martov, Akselrod et al) OTOH were devoted to the truly autistic cherry-picking of Marx’s words and it was them, not the Bolsheviks who treated his works like a Bible (doesn’t matter that examples from Germany in 1840s are not extrapolated 1:1 for 1900s Russian Empire… let alone the modern world). They were postulating, that as the petite-bourgeoisie leads to the developing of the capitalism, and because the peasantry bears within itself the strong petite-bourgeoisie – they are enemies (you know, over 80% of the Russian Empire’s population), not allies. Cheered by this “fact”, Mensheviks were against the proletarian Revolution, considering it either impossible or doomed to failure. It is them, who were waiting for the “correct” capitalism to magic(k)ally happen in Russia as a precondition for the “right kind” of Revolution i.e. bourgeois one – which the proletariat must support! (Lenin, btw, noticed, much to their dismay, that the Marx wrote that the task of the revolutionaries to make the period of the liberal bourgeois democracy as short as possible).

    Trotsky in his “Our political tasks” expressed complete solidarity with the Mensheviks’ ideas. He wrote: “Muzhik (i.e. Russian peasant) is a an objective anti-socialist guarantee”. Trotsky is more coy in this first of his big theoretical works. He still claims to support the proletarian revolution and the creation of the proletarian government… but says nothing about the inclusion of the representatives from over 80% of the people (i.e. peasantry). Instead, he implicitly plan to “find a solution” for them with the help of the “European comrades”, after the triumph of the World Revolution. Creepy implications aside, this, ah, “dream sequence” of his ends up reiterating the same Menshevik trope – too early, need to wait for the “proper” Revolution (in Europe… any moment now… juuuuuuuust wait for it…). That was one of the earliest examples of the “horseshoe theory” in action – Martov was furiously “handshaking” Trotsky for his conclusions, and this “affection” of the Mensheviks towards him will remain forever.

    Another common reference point between the Mensheviks and Trotsky is their denial of even the possibility of the practical creation of the socialist society in a single separate country. Trotsky wrote, that the malign mass of the petite-bourgeoisie (once again, Russian peasantry making 87+% of the population) will “corrupt” the proletariat – totally denying even possibility of reverse influence. Mensheviks likewise were dissing Lenin employing blind formalism in the faux Marxist approach. Lenin meanwhile proved the inequality of the village and the city, that the latter will always lead and direct the former. Thanks to Stolypin’s reforms, the amount of the “pure” proletariat in the village grew exponentially – as well as the general anger and opposition to the established system.

    Trotsky have a very definite style in his writings – he also employed nafandus approach, at not voicing, but, logically implying some things, “unspeakable” for a real Bolsheviks. His insistence (held long before the ascent of the “Dreadful” Stalin), that one can’t build a socialist state in a single country, because “World Revolution, yadda-yadda-yadda”, then begs a question – what are you planning to build then in Russia? Having dealt with the last vestiges of the feudalism, this leaves only two options – socialism or capitalism. Trotsky intransigently “forbade” Russia to develop into socialism, therefore implying, that you shouldn’t even try to build it here (that’s some doomer level defeatism here). Suuuuuuurely, it’s by pure coincidence then, that the Mensheviks, from the safe coziness of the foreign salons and clubs (where they also hobnobbed wit the White Guard émigrés), began propagating pretty much the same ideas – albeit, from the right wing of the spectrum.

    What Trotsky have been after Lenin’s death? In 1924-27 he was engaged in disorganization work within a party, while hobnobbing with the foreign capitalists while being in charge of doling out new concessions. The latter alone shows that he find out the answer to the above mentioned dilemma, by trying to weaken the socialist institutions, while very independently working in bringing the (foreing) capital back to the Soviet Russia. In doing the former, btw, he yet again showed his “coincidental” support of the Menshevik position, of direct sabotage of the CentCom decisions and a view on the inter-party discipline. Believe it or not, but the party can’t live in the state of the perpetual Congress/S’jezd, voting on any and all propositions, no matter how small or trivial. Instead, in lieu with the principle of the “democratic centralism”, there is room for discussion and criticism, yes, but once you voted for the executives, please, be so kind as to follow their decisions. “Democracy”, in this formula, doesn’t mean “anyone does only what pleases him/her/zir/them/whatever”. Is it, once again, such a surprise then, that supporters of this “democracy according to Mensheviks/Trotsky” are so prevalent among the Western “bohemians” then? Lenin in his famous “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”, rightly diagnosed them:

    “To the individualism of intelligentsia… any proletarian organization and discipline seems to be a serfdom.”

    […]

    “… Comrade Axelrod notes the antagonism between proletarian and radical intelligentsia’s tendencies in our party.

    In this comrade Axelrod is certainly right. The presence of this antagonism (and not only in the Russian Social Democratic Party) is beyond doubt. That’s for sure. Everyone and everyone knows that it is precisely this antagonism that largely explains the division of modern social democracy into revolutionary (orthodox) and opportunistic (revisionist, ministerial, reformist), which has been fully revealed in Russia over the last ten years of our movement. Everyone also knows that it is the proletarian tendencies of the movement that are expressed by the orthodox, and the democratic-intelligentsia tendencies – by the opportunist Social Democracy.”

    […]

    “The proletariat is not afraid of organization and discipline, gentlemen who care about their younger brother! The proletariat will not worry about Messrs. professors and high school students, who did not want to join the organization, would be recognized as party members for their work under the control of the organization. The whole life of the proletariat is being brought up to organize much more radically than many intellectuals. The proletariat, which in any way became aware of our program and our tactics, will not justify the backwardness in organization by referring to the fact that the form is less important than the content. Not the proletariat, but some intelligents in our party lack self-education in the spirit of organization and discipline, in the spirit of enmity and contempt for the anarchist phrase.”

    […]

    “It is the factory, which seems to some of them to be only a scarecrow, that’s the highest form of the capitalist cooperation which united, disciplined the proletariat, taught it how to organize, and put it at the head of all other strata of the working and exploited population. It was Marxism, as the ideology of the proletariat trained by capitalism, that taught and teaches wavering intilligents the difference between the exploiting side of the factory (a discipline based on the fear of starvation) and its organizing side (a discipline based on joint labor, united by the conditions of highly developed technically production).

    The discipline and organization, which are given with such difficulty to the bourgeois intelligentsia, are especially easily assimilated by the proletariat precisely because of this “factory school.” A mortal fear of this school, a complete lack of understanding of its organizing significance are characteristic precisely of the methods of thought that reflect the petty-bourgeois conditions of existence, giving rise to the kind of anarchism that the German Social Democrats call Edelanarchismus, that is, the anarchism of a “noble” master, petty gentry’s anarchism, I would say. This petty gentry’s anarchism is especially characteristic for the Russian nihilist. The party organization seems to him a monstrous “factory”, the subordination of a part to the whole and of the minority to the majority seems to him “enslavement” (see Axelrod’s feuilletons), the division of labor under the leadership of the center evokes tragicomic cries from him against the transformation of people into “wheels and cogs”

    […]

    “To people accustomed to a loose robe and shoes of family-circle Oblomovschina, the formal charter seems narrow, and cramped, and burdensome, and base, and bureaucratic, and serfdom, and embarrassing for the free “process” of ideological struggle. Petty gentry’s anarchism does not understand that a formal charter is necessary precisely to replace narrow circle ties with a wide party connection. Communication within the circle or between circles was unnecessary and impossible to formalize, for this connection was based on friendship or on unaccountable, unmotivated “trust.” Party ties cannot and should not be based on either one or the other; it must be based precisely on a formal, “bureaucratic” (from the point of view of a licentious intellectual) revised charter, strict observance of which only guarantees us from circle tyranny, from circle whims , from the circle methods of the dump, called the free “process” of ideological struggle.”

    […]
    “…a conflict of autonomism and centralism, democracy and “bureaucracy”, tendencies to weakening the strictness and to increasing the severity of organization and discipline, the psychology of a wavering intelligent and a seasoned proletarian, intelligentsia’s individualism and proletarian solidarity”

    That was in *1904*. Slam-bang – lo and behold, for suddenly Trotsky and his minions began voicing the very same complaints two decades latter – and his epigones are voicing them still. Hmm, could it because, y’know, they are still a bunch of immature bourgeois intilligents and bohemians, with the terminal case of the “better-than-though anarchism”? /[I wonder out aloud knowing the answer full well in advance].

    What the Menshevism wants? To make the labour movement “handshakable” for the bourgeoisie. Trotsky by:

    a) Denying the need for the discipline and organized party;
    b) Insisting on introducing factions;
    c) Cozying up to the foreign capital beyond the line of duty
    d) Start-uping the “unions” made up of the shed fringe from the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks
    etc, etc.

    in effect tried to accomplish the same, while positioning himself as the “lion of the Revolution”.

    Speaking of which – Trotskytes adore beyond reason their idea of the “permanent Revolution”. Like virtually everything with these unimaginative formalists, it’s derived from Marx’s “Address to the central committee…” (1850). On the one hand, it all goes back to their loathing of the petite-bourgeoisie, which they plan “to jump over”. Lenin rightfully called this idea “ridiculously left-wing”, because, AGAIN, said petite-bourgeoisie made up more than 4/5 of the population in Russia. Leaving aside the difference between the “permanent” and “continious”.

    Finally, the issue that kickstarted this mega-commentary. One can’t ignore his twilight exile years idea fix – when he began calling the USSR not the communist, but the imperialist *state capitalist* power. According to him, instead of craptons of burzhujs the USSR is now saddled with one “collective super capitalist”, aka the Party. Stipulating, that because it was some kind of “mega-monopoly”, then, therefore, the Soviet Union was the most imperialist power out there. Lenin long before this Trotsky initiated kipesh, wrote, that the socialism “is nothing other than a state-capitalist monopoly, which is turned for the benefit of the entire people and, thus ceasing to be a capitalist monopoly.”. Yes, surplus product is likewise taken, because under socialism the alienation of labour is lesser, but still happens, BUT… This surplus product goes into the public funds of consumption, and not for the enlargement of the exploitation/enlargement of the consumption for the benefit of the owners of the surplus value.

    Was there a “monopoly” in the USSR? Yes. Was there only one (in effect) bank? Sure. But there were no bankers, as well as other capitalist speculators. Thus no one spent the surplus value for the typical of the imperialist power things, like the increase of the exploitation (i.e. the alienation of even more of surplus value) and the (limitless) enlargement of the consumption for the benefit of the monopolist capital. End of story.

    [Another instance of horseshoe theory – Trotsky in his late work implied, that should a war come to the USSR, “the Regime” won’t last even two weeks, be cause no one would fight for it. He even used such example – during the Civil War in Spain after the blackout after a bombraid had been lifted, they found anti-Stalin graffiti on the walls. Trotsky slyly implies that he has the people in Moscow to write something even more forceful, should the bombers start target Moscow. At the same, in the plans for the “Barbarossa” there were also bold claims, that in just 2 weeks “the Regime” will experience a coup. Gee, I wonder – where did the Nazis get these ideas?

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    1. I want to thank you very much for your response and the work you put in it, and will respond to it later after having read and thought about it.
      Much appreciated.
      Having been inculcated into some form of Marxist thought from the age of 16 during my time as a apprentice in of all things the Farbwerke Hoechst – successor of Nazi supporting IG Farben – till about 18 and having to join the German army involuntarily I was later after studying agriculture, constructing a live in Canadas North of all places, raising a family and generally living a life of mostly an independent contractor, only infrequently able to further read Marx and Marxists, more so after the Internet became a viable option to read more and more up to date than a library could supply.
      I guess the Baby Duck syndrome might well apply.

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  5. “[T]hat is the “analysis” of Russia in German communist (Maoist) circles I frequented in the 1970s and was part of. “

    KPD/AO
    KPD/ML???

    Rosa and Karl traditions for me somehow. But yes, from a right-of-the-stronger (fascist?) perspective one could label them losers, more than that. Is someone losing his life an over-loser?

    MLHG were Maoists?

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      1. hmmm, ok. We are on the internet no doubt.

        But thanks anyway vs our dear Lytt, I realize I know nothing. I met one member in Berlin ages later, around 1983-4? Curious. No doubt with limited grasp of the overall context. Didn’t like her, or chairmen Enver as puzzled by the lady I found out.

        Anyway, I loved your contribution. 😉

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