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Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci (Part 1/3)

Leading Light Communism and the Writings of Antonio Gramsci

–Jacob Brown

Part 1/3: Cultural Hegemony

(llco.org)

A key component of the power of the bourgeoisie is through the use of what Italian communist Antonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony”. The global bourgeoisie of today, the Bourgeois “First” World, not only rules society through the brute force of the state. They also rule through the dominance of a society’s culture and ideas. The Bourgeois World dominates society not only with their armies, mercenaries, corrupt neocolonial politicians and police spies, but also through the propagation of their world view, values, customs, and ideology in society. As Karl Marx once wrote, “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” (1)

In daily life, the Proletarian “Third” World is primarily dominated by this cultural hegemony of the Bourgeois World. While the Bourgeois World often holds the entire Proletarian World at gunpoint, deploying military force is not the preferred mode of bourgeois domination. Today’s Bourgeois World uses overt imperialist aggression wherever their cultural control breaks down, but seldom before. Today, the Bourgeois World relies on the unwitting consent of the Proletarian World as a whole, a consent obtained through the Bourgeois World’s cultural hegemony. This means most of the Proletarian World today suffers from a “false consciousness” that takes the model of the Bourgeois World for granted, as something supposedly “natural” and not a result of global inequality and exploitation. Concretely, this means the Proletarian World is unaware of its necessity to unite to liberate humanity, to advance the species to Leading Light Communism.

Antonio Gramsci describes how this hegemony works in his Prison Notebooks:

“1. The “spontaneous” consent given by the great masses of the population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group; this consent is “historically” caused by the prestige (and consequent confidence) which the dominant group enjoys because of its position and function in the world of production.

2. The apparatus of state coercive power which “legally” enforces discipline on those groups who do not “consent” either actively or passively. This apparatus is, however, constituted for the whole of society in anticipation of moments of crisis of command and direction when spontaneous consent has failed…” (2)
While very much grounded in the historicist views of his time, Gramsci opposed economism and the Theory of the Productive Forces. Such crude economic determinism condemns the masses to delay the struggle for full communism indefinitely. Like Lenin, Gramsci proposed that the proletariat can take charge of history itself through militant class struggle, by waging a “war of maneuver” through their vanguard communist party. Beyond Lenin, Gramsci proposed that this communist vanguard wage a “war of position” in the ideological and cultural realm of society. (3) And beyond Gramsci, the masses of people in revolutionary China under Mao’s leadership were able to put these ideas into practice. This was both the case during the Chinese Civil War, and also (and especially so) during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. (4)

Reformists, social-democrats, and other modern revisionist forces have appropriated Gramsci’s theories for their own ends, emptying the theory of cultural hegemony of all revolutionary content. (5) They seek gradual entry into the existing superstructure of bourgeois society, as a means to counter bourgeois hegemony. These reformists see no fundamental role for a Leading Light Communist vanguard, and oppose building the New Power of the Leading Light.

These reformists hijacking Gramsci’s theories also do not differentiate between the Bourgeois World and the Proletarian World, and further deceive the world’s majority. They pretend that the exploited class in the world today is the same as it was in Gramsci’s time. A newer kind of revisionist, claiming the legacy of both Gramsci and Mao, ignores this global divide as well. Like the overt reformists, these First Worldist “revolutionaries” seek to gradually take leadership of the populist “left” forces within the Bourgeois World. These social-chauvinists call their deliberate hiding of the global divide between the Bourgeois World and Proletarian World “the universality of Protracted Revolutionary People’s War”. What outrageous piracy of People’s War by these social-imperialist revisionists! (6)

True revolutionaries, unlike reformists and revisionists, are Leading Light Communists united under the LLCO! We seek to build the New Power of the Leading Light. It is the independence of this New Power that is the basis for Leading Light Communist participation in and leadership of an anti-imperialist united front. The New Power of the Leading Light is a “state-in-miniature” in the Proletarian World to counter the cultural hegemony of the Bourgeois World and its agents, in preparation for Global People’s War to topple the global rule of the Bourgeois World. Even then, the victorious Leading Light must continue to spread its cultural hegemony globally. Only then can humanity be truly on the path to global equality and total liberation!

[Part 2/3: “Organic Intellectuals of the Leading Light” to follow shortly. Red Salute!]

Notes:

1. Karl Marx, “The German Ideology”, Volume 1 / Chapter 1 / Part B
2. Antonio Gramsci, “Selections from Prison Notebooks: The Intellectuals”
3. Antonio Gramsci, “Selections from Prison Notebooks: State and Civil Society”
4. http://llco.org/two-roads-defeated-part-3-proletarian-jacobins/
5. http://isj.org.uk/gramsci-versus-eurocommunism/
6. http://www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/gramsci_prpw.html

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Trotskyist “Permanent Revolution” is Counter-revolution

Trotskyist “Permanent Revolution” is Counter-revolution

–Jacob Brown

(llco.org)

Trotskyism in its various forms has outlasted most other revisionist lines of the same time period, going on 80 years since Leon Trotsky’s demise. The reasons for Trotskyisms persistence has very little to do with the successes of Trotskyist practice. Trotskyism’s persistence today has more to do with Trotsky’s excellent rhetorical skills in his speeches and writings, alongside a heavy dose of fawning by the agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The many different and often conflicting lines expressed by Trotsky are the basis for the dozens of splinter sects calling themselves “Trotskyist” today. We are not going to get distracted by Trotsky’s many wavering and conflicting positions, and focus only what political line is revealed by actual historical Trotskyist practice.

Trotskyism takes the current capitalist-imperialist system and its major superstructural components for granted, from the military to economic development. Trotsky’s theory of “Uneven and Combined Development” is an elaborate restatement of the revisionist Theory of the Productive Forces. In the preface of the American Edition of his work “The Permanent Revolution”, Trotsky writes:

“If we take England and India as the opposite poles of capitalist types, we must state that the internationalism of the British and Indian proletariat does not at all rest on the similarity of conditions, tasks and methods, but on their inseparable interdependence. The successes of the liberation movement in India presuppose a revolutionary movement in England, and the other way around. Neither in India, nor in England is it possible to construct an independent socialist society. Both of them will have to enter as parts into a higher entity. In this and only in this rests the unshakable foundation of Marxian internationalism.” (1)

Trotskyism glosses over the exploitative relationship between the imperialist exploiter nations and the colonized exploited nations. In the place of exposing this global social relationship for what it is, Trotsky refers rather to the “interdependence” of exploiter and exploited nations. Unlike many other revisionist lines that pretend that there are no great differences between exploiter and exploited, Trotskyism acknowledges these differences. Like other revisionist lines however, Trotskyism denies the contradiction between the two opposing forces.

The Trotskyist strategy of “Permanent Revolution” is based on this revisionist theory of “Uneven and Combined Development”. It is an adjustment of the more classic revisionist and chauvinist outlook that makes the imperialist country working bourgeoisie into the motive force. Since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution proved false the notion of “advanced” imperialist countries coming to socialist revolution first, the Trotskyist line on world revolution allows for the “backward” countries to breakout into proletarian revolution first.

According to this social-chauvinist theory however, such revolutions can only succeed in building a viable socialist transition to communism if revolution in the “advanced” imperialist countries immediately follows. For Trotskyists today, this especially implies the exploited Third World proletariat cannot build and expand the New Power without neocolonial “assistance” by the social motion of the First World working bourgeoisie.

Contrast “Permanent Revolution” with the strategy of Global People’s War. With the Global People’s War strategy of the Leading Light, the masses in the Proletarian World (the Third World) build the New Power. The New Power expands to deepens its roots, creating a “state in miniature”. The New Power of the Leading Light in command in the poorest places across Asia, Africa, and Latin America will gain the confidence of the masses, and their confidence in the old powers will wane.

The determination of the masses to defend the New Power institutions that serve them will pave the way to the next wave of People’s Wars. These People’s Wars will reinforce one another, and become a global tidal wave to sweep away the old powers and expand the New Socialism of the Leading Light all over the planet. The final phase of this Global People’s War will encircle and conquer the citadels of the Bourgeois World (the First World). The Global People’s War strategy of the Leading Light Communists turns the counter-revolutionary Trotskyist strategy of “Permanent Revolution” on its head. The end point of our strategy declares that the victory of Global People’s War will impose socialism on the populations of the Bourgeois World, whether these bourgeois populations want it or not! (2)

The revisionist rot of “Permanent Revolution” is further informed by the historical practice of Trotskyism regarding the role of the military. Leon Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War is often credited for preserving the newborn Soviet regime. However, this was not done without the use of heavy coercion towards Red Army officers, soldiers, and the masses alike. Trotsky emphasized the need for experts in the Red Army command, which meant the employment of ex-Czarist officers under the coercive supervision of political commissars. A harsh policy called “War Communism” was instituted that requisitioned all grain surpluses from the peasantry, to feed workers in the cities who were often coerced into production for the war effort. (3)

With the Russian Civil War coming to a close in 1921, the Kronstadt rebellion broke out among thousands of the Bolshevik Revolution’s most notable original participants. This signaled a course change for the Bolshevik leadership called the “New Economic Policy” with a retreat towards state capitalism. This was a way to soften the harshness of the War Communism policy for the masses. As Trotsky was the one to give the go ahead to crush the Kronstadt rebellion, it did not benefit his political profile in the eyes of the masses to oppose the NEP.

The experience of the NEP from 1921-1928 became something that 20th century rightists within the communist movement have sought to permanently implement, from Nikolai Bukharin to Deng Xiaoping. Again, policies like NEP were not part of Trotsky’s preferred revisionist line. The Trotskyist line fundamentally seeks to permanently implement a harsh policy like War Communism. Trotsky writes in his book “Terrorism and Communism”:

“While every previous form of society was an organization of labor in the interests of a minority, which organized its State apparatus for the oppression of the overwhelming majority of the workers, we are making the first attempt in world-history to organize labor in the interests of the laboring majority itself. This, however, does not exclude the element of compulsion in all its forms, both the most gentle and the extremely severe. The element of State compulsion not only does not disappear from the historical arena, but on the contrary will still play, for a considerable period, an extremely prominent part.”

“The introduction of compulsory labor service is unthinkable without the application… of the methods of militarization of labor.”

“Why do we speak of militarization? …No social organization except the army has ever considered itself justified in subordinating citizens to itself in such a measure, and to control them by its will on all sides to such a degree, as the State of the proletarian dictatorship considers itself justified in doing, and does. Only the army—just because in its way it used to decide questions of the life or death of nations, States, and ruling classes—was endowed with powers of demanding from each and all complete submission to its problems, aims, regulations, and orders.” (4)

There is a stark contrast between Trotskyist “Militarization of Labor”, and the role of the People’s Liberation Army under socialist China. The slogan of the People’s Liberation Army was “Serve the People”. Instead of using coercion against the masses, the PLA upheld Mao’s famous line on guerilla warfare, “move among the masses as a fish swims in sea”. The PLA was viewed by the masses as their own army, rather than the masses being the hostage possession of the standing army.

The 1960 “Four Firsts” campaign, the 1964 “Learn from the PLA” campaign, and the “Flying Leap” campaign by the PLA led by Lin Biao during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution emphasized communist politics and the mass line. (5) In contrast, “one-man management” and technical expertise was emphasized by the Red Army under Trotsky, as well as his “Militarization of Labor” line on economic development. The Trotskyist line has no reservation in putting the masses through the militarist meat grinder in the name of defending and consolidating socialism, so long as it aids a social-imperialist First World “workers revolution”. Trotskyism takes the customs, habits, “experts”, and politics of the capitalist-imperialist system for granted, rather than putting communist politics in command.

On gender oppression, the Trotskyists also take the current imperialist-backed global patriarchy for granted. The various Trotskyist sects are notorious liberals when it comes to the institutions that systematically oppress women and children in the Third World. They take the sex trade and the culture of pornography as a “given” under socialism, and tend to refer to their elimination under socialism as simply a matter of “guaranteeing full employment”. (6) Leading Light Communists believe that the masses of sex workers in the Proletarian World should not simply be paid more to rent their compliance to men’s sexual advances, or to simply make sex work process “safer” until the socialist economy develops. Rather, Leading Light Communists believe the masses of sex workers can actively combat the whole patriarchal system that sexually commodifies women and children. The masses of women in the Third World demand not only full equality, but total liberation!

It is possible to cut through many of Trotsky’s eloquent and conflicting statements based on the historical practice of Trotskyism. We can then condense the essence of Trotskyist revisionism, which is at its core a misanthropic anti-People ideology. In the same work calling for the “militarization of labor”, Trotsky explains his position on the relationship of the human species to labor:

“As a general rule, man strives to avoid labor. Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic: it is created by economic pressure and social education. One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal. It is on this quality, in reality, that is founded to a considerable extent all human progress; because if man did not strive to expend his energy economically, did not seek to receive the largest possible quantity of products in return for a small quantity of energy, there would have been no technical development or social culture. It would appear, then, from this point of view that human laziness is a progressive force.” (7)

Contrast this to how Karl Marx describes the relationship of the human species to labor:

“It is just in his work upon the objective world, therefore, that man really proves himself to be a species-being. This production is his active species-life. Through this production, nature appears as his work and his reality. The object of labor is, therefore, the objectification of man’s species-life: for he duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in reality, and therefore he sees himself in a world that he has created. In tearing away from man the object of his production, therefore, estranged labor tears from him his species-life, his real objectivity as a member of the species and transforms his advantage over animals into the disadvantage that his inorganic body, nature, is taken from him…

Estranged labor turns thus…[m]an’s species-being, both nature and his spiritual species-property, into a being alien to him, into a means of his individual existence. It estranges from man his own body, as well as external nature and his spiritual aspect, his human aspect.” (8)

Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky have diametrically opposite views on what makes human beings human! For Marx, humans have “species-being” through their productive interaction with the natural world (labor), unlike most other species on this planet. It is only in a class divided society, where humans are alienated from the product of their labor, that labor itself becomes dehumanizing.

In a general sense, Trotsky is correct that in class society “human laziness is a progressive force”, he obscures the fundamental point Marx makes about human labor being affirmative of what it means to be a human being. Trotsky takes alienated human labor for granted when he makes the false and misanthropic claim that “Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic…One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal.” Is there any wonder why Trotskyists don’t make a point about applying the mass line, putting communist politics in command, and building institutions that serve the people? Is there any wonder why the Trotskyists instead seek to impose “experts” who will slave-drive the masses with “military labor discipline”? Real communists, Leading Light Communists, seek to Serve the People. Fake “communists”, revisionists like the Trotskyists, seek to slave-drive the masses “for their own good”. What outrageous, reactionary poison!

Nevertheless, the call to “return to Marx” will do nothing to negate revisionist lines like Trotskyism. Indeed, all revisionist lines claim to have some thread back to the “original Marx”, whether emphasizing Marx’s Labor Theory of Value or other basics of Marxist social science. However, very few revisionist lines in existence today deal concretely with Marx’s Theory of Alienation. The reason is that this thread of Marxist thinking has consequences for one’s practical view of social class in the 21st century. This thread affirms the Leading Light Communist view on global class, much more than it affirms the retrograde lines of any other “return to Marx” cult group. (9)

Leading Light Communism breaks with a view of social class that is strictly tied to one’s relationship with the means of production. In turn, Leading Light Communism has revisited what the proletariat actually is today, based on an global egalitarian distribution principle. (10) Marx presented his Theory of Alienation as it affected the industrial worker, before the 21st century “Planet of Slums”. Even so, the same thinking from Marx about how human alienation in class society applies as much to the “declassed” slumdweller and subsistence farmer as it does the Third World factory worker. Each of those exploited social groups belong to the proletariat, because they are alienated from their fair share of the global social product, and thus alienated from their own humanity and from other humans.

Likewise, Marxism-Leninism and Maoism (including “Maoism-Third Worldism”) is also not enough to combat Trotskyism and other revisionist lines that uphold the Theory of the Productive Forces. There are many ways which the Leninists did not break sharply enough with some of these backward productivist ideas that Trotskyism represents, like “one-man management” and other organizing methods that undermined the proletarian dictatorship. The Maoists went even further in their break with Trotskyist and other productivist ideology. (11) Even still, the Maoists in China did not fully break with productivism, as evidenced by how they sought to “catch up” to the First World during the Great Leap Forward.

Of course, this productivism is fundamentally a revisionist line, nesting inside a basically correct “train is on two tracks” orientation of socialist development. It is not possible to “catch up” to the First World that has enriched itself off of imperialist plunder. The only way for the Third World to “catch up” to the First World, is for the Proletarian Third World to encircle and defeat the Bourgeois First World! (12) The consequences of not fully breaking with the Theory of the Productive Forces has led Maoism itself to represent a “crypto-Trotskyist” line since the 1970s. Both historically inside China and around the world today, Maoists uphold a crypto-Trotskyist line that centers on the social motion of the bourgeois First World majority populations. (13)

Even when we speak of the “Second Road” of Lin Biao’s PLA during the Cultural Revolution as a contrast to historical Trotskyist practice, we are not going far enough. The PLA until 1971 was indeed a model of a communist revolution breaking with the Theory of the Productive Forces. (14) This was especially the case during the Flying Leap, in correcting the errors that derailed the original Great Leap Forward. Due to the border clashes with the social-imperialist Soviet Union in 1969, Lin was compelled to derail the motion of the social experiments in the border regions of China.

More generally, if we don’t move beyond the “barracks socialism” of Lin, then we are in danger of falling back into Trotskyist military organizing principles, and not Leading Light Communist military organizing principles. This is why “Maoism-Third Worldism” is no longer sufficient to combat revisionist ideologies like Trotskyism. As comrade Prairie Fire writes:

“I led the charge to rehabilitate Lin Biao. Even so, I admit that we need more than simply “barracks egalitarianism,” which is a term I have used to describe the Lin Biao trend, which was really the only Maoist trend with an articulate program for transforming the Cultural Revolution into something permanent. I was listening to interviews with ex-Maoist red guards. The same Maoist youth who were rising up in 1967 were, by 1976, coming out to support Zhou Enlai. They were disenchanted with constant Maoist calls for mobilization, especially with little results to show for them by the end. I got the sense there was a kind of collective burn out there.”

“…Yes there were mass mobilizations and the New Power that arose in the People’s Liberation Army, but there was also a lot of police suppression, police method, police narrative and falsifications, lack of due process, brute force happening. At their best, the Maoists wanted a more structural and ideological analysis of counter-revolution, a more structural and ideological method of preventing it, in reality, they used the old methods probably as much as the new methods, often mixing them together. In practice, the Maoist break was not always as great as one would hope.” (15)

All in all, the “Permanent Revolution” of Trotskyism is counter-revolutionary in fact. The only way to combat Trotskyism and all revisionist ideology is to uphold Leading Light Communism, to build the New Power and prepare the way for world revolution!

Notes:

1. Leon Trotsky, “The Permanent Revolution” (https://archive.org/stream/permanentrevolut035092mbp/permanentrevolut035092mbp_djvu.txt)
2. PF, “Is Peoples’s War universal?” (http://llco.org/is-peoples-war-universal)
3. John G. Wright, “Trotsky and the Red Army” (https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/wright/1941/10/redarmy.htm)
4. Leon Trotsky, “Terrorism and Communism”, Chapter 8 (https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch08.htm)
5. PF, “Lin Biao as Barometer”, (http://llco.org/lin-biao-as-barometer)
6. Spartacist League (http://www.icl-fi.org/english/esp/58/conference.html)
7. Leon Trotsky, “Terrorism and Communism”, Chapter 8
8. Karl Marx, “Estranged Labour” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm)
9. Shah Alam, “Communist Revolution Universal”
10. PF, “Revisiting Value and Exploitation” (http://llco.org/revisiting-value-and-exploitation)
11. Kao Hung, “From Bernstein to Liu Shao-chi” (http://marxistphilosophy.org/BernLiu.pdf)
12. PF, “On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enough” (http://llco.org/on-counter-revolution-just-pointing-to-revisionists-is-not-enough)
13. PF, “Who and What are Trotsky-cons?” (http://llco.org/who-and-what-are-trotsky-cons)
14. PF, “Lin Biao as Barometer”
15. PF, “On counter-revolution: Just pointing to revisionists is not enough

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Gandhi, Non-Violence and the Liberation of the Proletariat from Imperialism

Gandhi, Non-Violence and the Liberation of the Proletariat from Imperialism

By End Imperialism and Serve The People

(llco.org)

Norman Finkelstein is a person whom we have a lot of respect for. Finkelstein has courageously and consistently combined impeccable scholarship with committed pro-Palestine activism. We have previously been pleased to see him support the right of armed resistance against Israel and state the benefits the military defeat of Israel would bring. However, we were surprised to learn that he has recently turned toward Gandhian solutions to the Palestinian national question. Finkelstein writes:

“A massive mobilization of Palestinians building on the non-cooperation tactics of the first intifada (commercial and tax strikes, popular committees) could again make the Israeli occupation ungovernable. Is it so far-fetched to imagine an “army” of Palestinian satyagrahis converging on the Wall, their sole “weapons” a pick in one hand and a copy of the ICJ opinion in the other? The ICJ stated that the Wall was illegal and must be dismantled. The Palestinians would only be doing what the world should already have done a long time ago. Who could fault them for enforcing the law? No doubt Israel would fire on Palestinians and many would be killed. But if their supporters in North America and Europe publicized the ICJ opinion, and if Palestinians found the inner wherewithal to persevere nonviolently, it seems probable that far, far fewer than 5,000 Palestinians would be killed before Israel were forced to desist. No one writing abroad from the comfort and safety of his study can in good conscience urge such a strategy that entails so much death. But Gandhi’s point nonetheless stands: if Palestinians have repeatedly shown a willingness to pay the ultimate price, doesn’t it make sense for them to pursue a strategy that has a better likelihood of success at a smaller human price?” (1)

We do not prescribe one single model for carrying out national liberation against imperialism. We believe that virtually any and all tactics which advance that glorious task are permissible. Non-violent protest is a valid tactic to apply to the mobilization of the masses for national liberation and it has, in fact, been widely practiced in Palestine. However, Leading Light Communists are certain that any national liberation movement which does not pursue armed struggle is bound to end in failure. Armed struggle is a prerequisite for national liberation and it is the responsibility of communists in the exploited nations to vouchsafe military means against the foreign occupation of their country and not to disarm until that end is achieved. We will reiterate this point later on. For now, this article proposes to examine the theory of Gandhiism as practised by M.K. Gandhi himself.

Gandhi’s Significance

To a great many Indians, the single most significant aspect of Gandhi’s life is that he successfully mobilized millions of people for the de jure overthrow of Brutish rule in their country. For Westerners influenced by the saintly reputation created for Gandhi by ruling class propaganda, Gandhi represents a citizen of a colony who led his people to freedom without the bloodshed usually associated with national liberation struggles. Gandhi’s example is routinely used by the latter to condemn armed national liberation struggles around the world, with the mistaken assumption that it is always possible to expel foreign occupiers by non-violent means. As such, Gandhiism is the favourite philosophy of conservative opponents of actual national liberation struggles and those who support the status quo of violent imperialist domination of the Third World.

Undeniably, Gandhi had a mass following and played a major role in the glorious struggle for India’s independence (inevitable though the withdrawal of the Brutish Empire from a crumbling economic base in India was). However, the means employed by Gandhi to achieve India’s putative “independence” led to the establishment of a decadent political system there which maintained its dependent relationship to imperialist capitalism. To the extent that Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian national liberation movement consolidated the power of a haute-bourgeoisie allied to feudal and imperialist class interests, Gandhiism can be described as a philosophy of counter-revolution. In what ways did Gandhi help maintain imperialism?

Gandhi’s Racism

Several years ago, the unveiling of a statue to Gandhi in Azania (southernmost Africa) resulted in an outcry of protest from people who knew that he was a racist lackey of the white settlers. During World War II, Gandhi had the gall to write to Hitler as a “friend.” He published an article advising the Brutish to submit completely to Hitler and Mussolini, should the latter invade “great” Britain. He also called upon the Jews to commit suicide en masse by hurling themselves off cliffs when the Nazis came.

The tale that Gandhi defended the oppressed against their oppressors is a colossal lie that continues to set the left back. The story is much told of how Gandhi, while living as a lawyer in Azania under Brutish occupation, was thrown off a train for sitting in a carriage reserved for whites. (Throughout the era of apartheid, and even today, he would have been considered “coloured” – above the Africans but below the whites under that political system.) That experience supposedly led him to fight for the oppressed. The truth is that he actively cultivated an alliance of the Indian population with the whites – AGAINST the Africans.

When Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress on August 22, 1894, his declared primary objective was: “To promote concord and harmony among the Indians and Europeans in the [South African] Colony.” His newspaper Indian Opinion launched on June 4 1904 with the words: “The object of Indian Opinion was to bring the European and the Indian subjects of the King Edward closer together.” Gandhi considered native Africans or Kaffirs to be racially inferior to both “colored” Indians and whites. On September 26, 1896, he protested white settler rule in Azania in the following chauvinist terms:

“Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

In 1904 Gandhi indignantly complained that superior Indians were being treated the same as the undeserving, lazy and unruly “natives”:

“It is one thing to register natives who would not work, and whom it is very difficult to find out if they absent themselves, but it is another thing – and most insulting- to expect decent, hard-working, and respectable Indians, whose only fault is that they work too much, to have themselves registered and carry with them registration badges.”

On September 9, 1905, Gandhi wrote an editorial in Indian Opinion saying:

“Now let us turn our attention to another and entirely unrepresented community – the Indian. He is in striking contrast with the native. While the native has been of little benefit to the State, it owes its prosperity largely to the Indians. While native loafers abound on every side, that species of humanity is almost unknown among Indians here.”

Gandhi here defended the apartheid system that the European settlers in southernmost Africa had devised as a means of consolidating their economic and political power over the African people who, far from being “lazy”, were the virtual slaves of the European bourgeoisie and their bourgeois “working class” and middle class hangers-on.

Gandhi’s strategy of creating a kind of loyal opposition to strict apartheid (specifically, those aspects which impinged upon the liberties of the “colored” petty-bourgeoisie, and even then very selectively) is in striking contrast to the struggle put up against that disgusting system by Indians later allied to the African National Congress. Many southern African “coloreds”, particularly of the working class, strove to create a nation free of white supremacy wherein all non-whites would enjoy equal citizenship. By contrast, Gandhi was a white supremacist defender of settler slavery and mass murder in Azania who advocated the legal ownership of firearms by “coloured” Indians there, but not for black Africans, and boasted of his successful campaign to prevent “kaffirs” from using public transport. Gandhi celebrated the massive European theft of African land and – in a theme reminiscent of every single massive land grab in modern history – argued that the superiority of the white race could be seen by its great land wealth and productivity in comparison to native fruitlessness (conveniently forgetting that whites had brutally robbed the natives of most of their land). Gandhi considered racial segregation properly in-keeping with his unfailing faith in the caste system of his native India. The following statement made by Gandhi in Indian Opinion of September 24, 1903 puts paid to any notions that Gandhi was not a loyal supporter of white racist rule in Azania:

“We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they [the European settlers] do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.”

Gandhi’s Loyalism

In the sense that loyalism is a political ideology justifying fealty to a colonialist power, Gandhi was a pro-British loyalist. Like Irish “nationalist” MP John Redmond in the same period, Gandhi abhorred violence when it was in the cause of his own country’s independence, but he actively promoted it when he campaigned for his countrymen to join the hated Brutish Army to fight for the interests of Brutish finance capital in World War I. In Ireland, revolutionary national martyr Pádraig Pearse is today chastised by “liberals” and historical revisionists for having argued for a “blood sacrifice” in the cause of Irish nationhood. Yet it is conveniently forgotten that Irish Republicanism’s political opponents in 1916, the so-called “moderates” in the Irish Nationalist Party, demanded a far more massive and costly blood sacrifice when they campaigned for Irishmen to go off to die in their thousands for the Brutish Empire. Similarly, Gandhi is today thought of as an apostle of non-violence, but he was quite happy to act as a recruiting sergeant for one of the deadliest and mightiest killing machines in the world in 1915, when he toured the country seeking “20 recruits from every village.” Hypocrisy? No. Merely the product of one politician’s enduring loyalty to capitalist interests. As Gandhi said:

“I discovered the British Empire had certain ideals with which I have fallen in love.”

But the core ideal of the Brutish Empire in Gandhi’s day and our own is popular submission to murderous militarism in the service of the super-exploitation of the downtrodden working masses. Who can love such “ideals” but an enemy of humanity?

Gandhi as Counter-Revolutionary in India

Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, alike in many respects to that espoused by Russian aristocrat Leo Tolstoy, was intended to guarantee the struggle for national independence in India would not disturb the rule of large propertied interests (the landlords and the big bourgeoisie). As such, to a great and increasing extent, India would be independent in name only, since these same class interests are bound to economic relations that subject Indian national democracy and development to the parasitic requirements of imperialist capital. They were thus in mortal fear of decisive revolutionary mass struggle. Any time the national movement seemed to be heading in a direction whereby it would run outside their control, the right-wing leadership of the Indian National Congress – representing the landlords and the big bourgeoisie – turned to Gandhi. Gandhi had successfully cultivated a reputation amongst the rural Indian masses for advancing traditional Indian values above regional and upper-class sectional interests and was, from that point of view, the perfect figurehead for the reactionary bourgeoisie to place at its head. From the time of the Hartal campaign against fierce and arbitrary Brutish repression in 1919, to the massive wave of proletarian strikes that swept India in 1921-1922 and right up to the Bombay Naval Mutiny of 1946, Gandhi advocated reform, caution and outright capitulation to “great” Britain (whose Royal Air Force had bombed rebellious parts of the country in 1928) whenever the national movement looked set to achieve its goal. As Comrade Rajani Palme Dutt wrote in 1940:

“This Jonah of revolution, this general of unbroken disasters, was the mascot of the bourgeoisie in each wave of the developing Indian struggle. So appeared once again the characteristic feature of modern Indian politics, the unwritten article of every successive Indian constitution – the indispensability of Gandhi (actually, the expression of the precarious balance of class forces). All the hopes of the bourgeoisie (the hostile might say, the hopes of imperialism) were fixed on Gandhi as the man to ride the waves, to unleash just enough of the mass movement in order to drive a successful bargain, and at the same time to save India from revolution.” (2)

Gandhi’s big bourgeois backers worked hand-in-glove with him to ensure the stability of a bourgeois-landlord social compact because they feared that revolution in the countryside would unleash social forces that would threaten their capitalist interests. As Lord Hailey (then Sir Malcolm Hailey), argued in the Indian Legislative Assembly in 1924:

“Anything like a real revolution in India would have most disastrous effects on that very class that is now represented in the Legislative Assembly and Provincial Councils; for among the ignorant masses of India, a political revolution would become a social revolution in a very short space of time.”

Imperialists like Hailey had nothing to fear on this score from “Mahatma” Gandhi, however. Gandhi expressly reassured his landlord backers, the bloodsuckers of India’s rural poor, in the following terms:

“I shall be no party to dispossessing the propertied classes of their private property without just cause. My objective is to reach your hearts and convert you so that you may hold all your private property in trust for your tenants and use it primarily for their welfare…. The Ramarajya of my dream ensures the right alike of prince and pauper. You may be sure that I shall throw the whole weight of my influence in preventing a class war … Supposing there is an attempt unjustly to deprive you of your property. You will find me fighting on your side … Our socialism or communism should be based on non-violence, and on the harmonious cooperation of labour and capital, the landlord and tenant.” (Gandhi, interview to deputation of United Provinces Zemindars, July, 1934, Mahratta, August 12, 1934).

Gandhi was a convinced supporter of the rights of property, that is, the right to exploit and oppress the working class. He wrote (and note the racist implications of his placing different skin color in the same category of “natural” disablement as different degrees of intelligence):

“My social theory is that, although we are born equal, that is to say, that we have a right to equal opportunities, nevertheless, we have not all the same abilities. By the nature of things, it is impossible that we should all be all of an equal stature, that we should all have the same colour of skin, the same degree of intelligence; and consequently is natural that some of us should be more fitted than others to acquire material gain. Those who are capable wish to acquire more, and they bend their abilities to this end. If they use their abilities in the best spirit, they will be working to the benefit of the people. These people will be ‘trustees’ and nothing more. I should allow a man of intelligence to gain more, and I should not hinder him from making use of his abilities.” (Gandhi, interview to Charles Petrasch, Le Monde, February 20, 1932).

The above statement is typical of Gandhi’s vile elitism. Arguably, it might be acceptable under a “more ideal” capitalism. But in reality, as capitalism becomes a fetter on production, the vast majority of the wealth in the world goes not to people who “earned” it through their allegedly superior endowments but rather to people who simply inherited it through circumstances of birth. That is true of the First World (where the wealth of the entire population is largely the fruit of colonialism and imperialism set up by prior generations), and it is certainly true of India, where the tiny elite inherits its status from its parents (even formally, through the caste system!). How many intelligent Indians never get the opportunity to learn to read? How many elites are by no means intelligent?

Gandhi was a dedicated anti-communist and totally opposed to the struggle of the proletariat for emancipation from wage-slavery, from his days in southern Africa when he advocated the setting up of an armed volunteer corps amongst Indians for the repression of African workers right to the end of his life. Thus, in the familiar language of every reactionary in all countries, Gandhi expressed his fear of “red ruin.”

“It has been suggested to me by a Congressman wielding great influence that as soon as I declared civil disobedience I would find a staggering response this time. The whole labour world and the kisans in many parts of India will, he assures me, declare a simultaneous strike. I told him that if that happened I would be most embarrassed and all my plans would be upset…. I hope I am not expected knowingly to undertake a fight that must end in anarchy and red ruin.”

Violence in India Since Gandhi

Gandhi’s “non-violent” method of liberating India proved to be anything but. The country split into three pieces, at least two of which are constantly at war. Tens of millions of people were forced to migrate because of their religious background. Instead of uniting the people around class interests, Gandhi was responsible for advocating the traditional feudal Indian caste system which would leave India’s millions of Muslims as second-class citizens in a Hindu-dominated polity. He therefore bears major responsibility for the violence surrounding partition. Leaving this issue aside, however, what has Gandhi’s “non-violent” and bourgeois elitist approach to national liberation given India’s people in comparison to what communist violence achieved in China?

As mentioned above, Gandhi was staunchly loyal to India’s landlords and the system of capitalist serfage which was in place during his lifetime. Gandhi professed a totally primitivist and anarchist belief in the superiority of small-scale farming in India. Despite the fact that he pragmatically took the side of India’s (re)burgeoning industrial bourgeoisie in the last years of Brutish rule, Gandhi expressed such “spiritual” nonsense as the following to his followers in 1909:

“It is not the British people who are ruling India, but it is modern civilisation, through its railways, telegraphs, telephone, and almost every other invention has been claimed to be a triumph of civilisation … Medical science is the concentrated essence of black magic … Hospitals are the instruments that the Devil has been using for his own purpose, in order to keep his hold on his kingdom … If there were no hospitals for venereal diseases or even for consumptives, we would have less consumption, and less sexual vice amongst us. India’s salvation consists in unlearning what she has learnt during the past fifty years or so. The railways, telegraphs, hospitals, lawyers, doctors and such like all have to go.”

This contempt for modern “civilization” is misplaced. Gandhi may have confused colonial-capitalism with modern industry – forgetting Great Britain’s ruination of India’s own in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – which enables the production of an economic surplus capable of being shared equally by the masses for their own benefit. Gandhi, who was educated at Oxford and was a recipient of big-bourgeois funding, of whom one astute Indian observer remarked that it was costing India millions to keep him in poverty, rejected free social healthcare for the working masses.

Gandhi’s high-faluting asceticism is not just words. It has a real-life impact. In 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was declared and two years after India was declared a sovereign state, both countries were at comparable levels of development, with China being generally poorer than India. Yet the subsequent historical record of both countries demonstrates that socialism brings wealth, health and culture to the masses, thereby saving millions of lives, whilst capitalism (particularly the private ownership of land) brings, disease and starvation leading to millions of unnecessary deaths. The following data is derived from UNICEF reports, 1984, 1986 and 1987 and was published by  MIM several years ago.

Population in 1949

China: 540 million
India: 510 million

Population in 1979

China: 800 million
India: 672 million

Under age 5 child mortality rate, 1945
(Figures per 1000)

India: 430
China: 520

Infant mortality under 1, 1945
(Figures per 1000)

India: 203
China: 280

Infant mortality rate under 1, 1985
(Figures per 1000)

India: 105
China: 36

Life expectancy at birth, 1949

India: 32
China: 32

Life expectancy at birth, 1985

India: 57
China: 69

Daily per capita calorie supply as percentage of daily requirements, 1983

India: 96%
China: 111%

These figures demonstrate that perhaps one hundred million lives were saved in China thanks to communism. We prefer the violent suppression of a portion of recalcitrant exploiters and oppressors – unwilling to peacefully retire their property and privilege – to the misery, hopelessness and mass death occasioned by “non-violent” capitulation to capitalism and imperialism. Gandhi’s bourgeois morality of “non-violence” has translated in practical terms since Indian independence was declared to a massive pile of millions of people starved to death or left to die of preventable diseases, because his politics of bourgeois rapprochement with imperialism left the social structures intact which cause these terrible things to occur. It has ultimately led to thousands of farmers committing suicide in rural India in the past few years and to widespread illiteracy, hopelessness and pig repression and the strengthening of imperialism on a world scale.

The Leading Light Communist Position on Revolutionary Violence

It is not for nothing that the bourgeoisie trumpets M. K. Gandhi and M. L. King: their turn-the-other-cheek politics plays right into the hands of the oppressor. The bourgeoisie wants “non-violence” only from the oppressed. As US boxer Muhammad Ali is reported to have suggested, the oppressor only calls for peace when he has already taken possession of everything by force. If the United States were really serious about “non-violence,” would it invest so much in armaments? Would it occupy Korea? Would it facilitate the overthrow of elected leaders in Honduras? Would it finance its proxy armies in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Would it rampage around the Muslim world like a mad dog killing, torturing and maiming men, women and children?

The United States, the UK, and the Zionist entity demand that the oppressed disarm themselves. That demand should immediately set off howls of laughter from the world’s oppressed, and for that matter from any right-thinking person. How can disarmament possibly be on the agenda when the oppressors, armed to the teeth, are going to keep their arms?

In a world dominated by western monopoly capitalism, war and violent international conflict are inevitable. To condemn any particular armed intervention by imperialism is to miss the point that the entire capitalist system today rests on militarism and the armed repression of the Third World masses by imperialism. Leading Light Communists detest any social system that imposes war as a necessity of life on humanity. We are advocates of the abolition of war. As Mao said:

“War, this monster of mutual slaughter among men, will be finally eliminated by the progress of human society, and in the not too distant future too. But there is only one way to eliminate it and that is to oppose war with war, to oppose counterrevolutionary war with revolutionary war, to oppose national counter-revolutionary war with national revolutionary war, and to oppose counter-revolutionary class war with revolutionary class war…. When human society advances to the point where classes and states are eliminated, there will be no more wars, counter-revolutionary or revolutionary, unjust or just; that will be the era of perpetual peace for mankind. Our study of the laws of revolutionary war springs from the desire to eliminate all wars. Herein, lies the distinction between us Communists and all the exploiting classes.”

With sorrow, we have seen what happens, from Chile to Nepal and from India to Palestine, when the people lay down their arms in the face of imperialism. Imperialism takes its chance and falls to feeding on its hapless victims. Therefore we say to Palestinians and to all other exploited Third World nations:

“The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds well universally, for China and for all other countries.”

Long Live Indian Liberation!
Long Live Palestinian Liberation!
Long Live the Victory of People’s War!

Notes

(1) Norman G. Finkelstein, ‘Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict: What we can learn from Gandhi’, http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/resolvi….rn-from-gandhi/

(2) R. Palme Dutt, India Today (London, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1940), 323.

Recommended Reading

Naresh Majhi, ‘Gandhi and African Blacks’, http://www.trinicenter.com/oops/gandhi2.html

Richard Grenier, ‘The Gandhi Nobody Knows’, Commentary March, 1983, 59-72

Sudarshan Kapur, Raising up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi (Boston, Beacon Press, 1992)

Fazlul Huq, Gandhi: Saint or Sinner? (Bangalore, Dalit Sahitya Akademy, 1992)

Kamran Shahid, Gandhi and the Partition of India (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Rajani Palme Dutt, ‘Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement: A Marxist View’ in Martin Deming Lewis, ed., Gandhi: Maker of Modern India (Boston, D.C. Heath and Co., 1965)

Rajani Palme Dutt, India Today (London, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1940)

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On May Day and Occupy in the USA

On May Day and Occupy in the USA

(llco.org)

On the first of May, many people celebrate International Workers’ Day or May Day. Even though the day has not always been widely celebrated in the United States, its origins trace back to labor struggles there. May Day commemorates the victims of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886. During a general strike by workers in Chicago, USA in 1886, a bomb was thrown by an unknown person. In response, the police fired into the crowd killing many workers. Also, many police died from friendly fire. At the first congress of the Second International in 1889, Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. In 1891, at the second congress of the Second International, May Day was formally recognized. Later, there were May Day riots in 1894. And in 1904, the International Socialist Conference in Amsterdam called for demonstrations to be held on May Day by social democratic and trade unions to establish the eight hour workday. May Day has since become celebrated in many countries around the world, sometimes as an official holiday. In the old socialist regimes, May Day was often one of their biggest holidays.

In the United States, May Day celebrations have diminished. The official holiday for workers is Labor Day, which is observed on the first Monday in September. Labor Day was established, in part, as an alternative to the radical May Day. Labor Day was promoted by more mainstream, reformist organizations like the Central Labor Union and Knights of Labor. Thus President Grover Cleveland moved the workers’ holiday to the Labor Day celebrated by the more reformist organizations in 1887. Fascist and reactionary states have often worked to eliminate or repress May Day. Even though the state actively worked to draw attention away from May Day, the main reason for the lack of strong May Day demonstrations in the United States can be traced to changes in global class structure. With the rise of US imperialism, the standard of living of workers in the United States increased. More and more concessions were won through reformist struggles. The economic burden was shifted onto Third World peoples. Social peace was won in the First World by increased exploitation and oppression of the Third World. Thus workers in the United States had less and less need of a May Day as workers in the First World became bourgeoisified. May Day became a holiday mostly for insignificant leftist sects and nostalgists. However, in the last decade, May Day has been revived due to protests by migrants in the United States against racism. Even so, May Day protests have been diminishing. The Occupy movement is seeking to revive May Day this year. Although, such a revival can be used by Leading Lights to educate and organize, the premises of the Occupy effort are deeply flawed. The revival of May Day is an honorable goal, however, Occupy profoundly misunderstand the balance of forces globally. A populist attempt to revive May Day, at best, will only gather support from the usual communities of activists and their allies. There may be some spectacles in a few major cities, but the kind of mass outpouring that Occupy expects will not happen. A real general strike will not happen. The general public in the United States simply does not want revolution nor is it in their interest to make real socialist, communist revolution. The conditions for real revolution do not exist in the First World, especially in the United States. The workers here do not have a class interest in uniting with the proletariat in the Third World. Workers in the First World have far more in common with their own overlords than they do with workers, peasants and lumpen in the Third World. Contrary to Occupy’s populist rhetoric, the reality is that most First World peoples are part of the metaphoric global 1 percent, not the global 99 percent. Populist movements in the First World tend to stroke up fascism and social imperialism, not proletarian internationalism. However, such movements will exist whether or not Leading Light participates. At least by participating, Leading Light has some ability to influence some attendees to break left toward internationalism, anti-imperialism, and communism instead of breaking right toward economism, chauvinism, populism, and fascism. Establish a pole for global equality, anti-imperialism and decolonization, revolutionary environmentalism, and Leading Light Communism this May Day. Criticize economism, populism, chauvinism, imperialism and social imperialism, fascism, and First Worldism generally. Participate. Educate. Lead.

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MIM: Review of the “Black Book of Communism”

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MIM: Review of the “Black Book of Communism”

(llco.org)

[Before MIM’s crackpot degeneration and despite their errors, MIM made some outstanding contributions to the proletarian struggle.]

The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press) is the bible of the anti-communist movement. The book is often cited as an academic work proving the barbarism of communism. Its figures for deaths under communism are probably the most cited of any other work on the topic. It has also been marshaled into the larger projected of trying to prove that socialism was worse than fascism. Thus, the book is used to not only let fascism off the hook, but as part of the revisionist project of rehabilitating fascism.

In 2001, MIM informed Harvard University Press of undeniable errors in The Black Book of Communism. MIM even got Harvard University Press’ Mark Kramer to admit that the book contained remedial math errors.

MIM’s work exposing the Black Book as a hack job was a great contribution to the international communist movement. So, we are reprinting MIM’s review of the Black Book of Communism. To read the full exchange between MIM and Harvard University Press, click here . This article unfortunately contains MIM’s gender spellings, we have chosen to publish it anyways. — MSH]

The Black Book

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes,Terror, Repression  Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin Translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999), 856pp. hb

reviewed by MC5, February 2000

The Black Book came out in France in 1997 and has provoked a storm of controversy since then. Now it has reached the shores of the English- speaking nations in translation through the dubious editorial choice of Harvard University Press.

MIM has already rebutted this book in the context of struggling against Internet fascists in 1999. Our challenge to the proponents of the book was: ” our critics become emotional and can’t use their methods to both sides of anything. The thread started because it was about famine only in allegedly socialist countries. The only problem was that they left out famine in the capitalist countries to give us a comparison!”(1)

Our fascist critics trumpeted this book against us all over the Internet as if something new were said. They cited the 100 million death toll in the introduction as the main message. Yet it remains that it is an 856 page book and there are no statistical comparisons of premature deaths between capitalist and socialist countries anywhere in the book, just as MIM charged all along. The reason is simple: the Communists doubled the life expectancies of the people of the Soviet Union and China. That is the overall picture. It does not mean there were not civil wars or executions, including some unjust ones, but overall, the violence of communism is less than that of capitalism, by far.

The simple scientific link missing in the minds of our critics is the link between poverty under a system of private property and death. Poverty under capitalism causes death from lack of food, a decent environment and adequate health care. Twist and turn as it might, the pre-scientific intelligentsia will never treat this fact in a systematic and thereby scientific manner despite 800 page wailings. It turns out that the capitalists have a Black Book of Capitalism forthcoming. It is like Lenin said about the capitalists bidding for the rope contract for the hanging of their class. We hope it teaches the people how a life expectancy is calculated and why it is superior to tallying millions of deaths in selective patches the way our critics do. The death toll for capitalism reaches 100 million from starvation alone, every 8 to 12 years as MIM has already discussed in its essays on this available on our FAQ web page. It is a measure of general ignorance of the public that purchases monopoly capitalist periodicals and the conscious evil of some intellectuals that the Black Book could create any stir at all with its 100 million figure while so many more die each decade under capitalism.

Overall, somehow or another, the Black Book of Communism has managed to raise the debate one notch. It is a measure of the success of the class struggle that the reactionary intelligentsia felt compelled to write an 854 page book touching on the death toll of communism. By seeking to put a number on the premature deaths caused by communist movements in the 20th century, the pre-scientific intelligentsia who wrote the book brought the subject right to the edge of science before recoiling in horror and retreating to atemporal moral dogmas more fit for inner spiritual reflection than discussion in public.
What is not scientific cannot produce unity, so the anti-communist authors split as the book went to press. Werth and Margolin –the authors of the Soviet, Chinese and other sections of the book disagreed with Stephane Courtois who introduced the book. Courtois suggested in the only comparison in the book that the communist movement was responsible for 100 million deaths, while the Nazis were only responsible for 25 million (p. 15) (which obviously excludes some of the more than 22 million Soviet peoples who died at the hands of Nazis, mostly civilians or the six million Jews or the millions of others of other nations including the Germans themselves.) Werth and Margolin reportedly said that Courtois inflated the figures to arrive at 100 million as the total death toll for communism.

The communism versus Nazism comparison was the only comparison of figures offered in the book and it is mostly a comparison of war time deaths with some extra and invented famine deaths thrown in on the Soviet side, which we will address further in the essay below. The Nazism vs. all communism comparison is easily recognized as absurd just on the basis that communism ruled in more countries decades longer. More importantly it is absurd, because the most deaths occur from the steady grind of daily life, not in war, and the Black Book of Communism simply does not compare life expectancy in ordinary life under socialism and capitalism–thereby whitewashing capitalist starvation, poor distribution of health services and environmental degradation. More intelligent anti-communists realized that Courtois’s mistakes as exposed by his co-authors might encourage the readers to undertake comparisons of death tolls and adopt a scientific approach. In addition, they knew that the masses would realize that the Nazis were stopped at millions killed instead of billions because of the Soviet troops who stopped the Nazis. Thus Courtois was aiming at the masses reading the uncritical filter of the monopoly capitalist media while Werth and Margolin were worried that some intellectuals might notice the huge holes in Courtois’s story.

Courtois obviously believes that tactically speaking, the media will buy anything anti- communist, because it is too ignorant or bought-off to do otherwise. So the question in the minds of the pre- scientific intelligentsia like Courtois becomes “how aggressively should we rehabilitate Nazism and attack communism?” As MIM has long said, there is nothing scientific about fascism. It is simply a ideology justifying open repression on behalf of capitalism. Hence, it is no surprise that intellectuals will never be able to put forward coherent, consistent and detailed books on fascism’s behalf. The authors are largely ex-communists who had thought communism is some kind of purified Christianity. They never understood the science involved in supporting communism. The anti-communists can take advantage of religious mysticism, selective human-rights absolutism and the relativism of post- modernism that is so trendy today, but they themselves can never put forward a coherent and historically detailed line themselves, for the same reasons that one religion can never conquer the whole world.

Idealism

The introduction by Courtois demonstrates that he is one intellectual who consciously manipulates the pre- scientific sentiments of the masses and other intellectuals. When it comes to communism, he correctly says, “there will always be some nitpickers who maintain that actual Communism has nothing in common with theoretical communism.”(p. 2) Yet he goes on to say, “Of course it would be absurd to claim the doctrines expounded prior to Jesus Christ, during the Renaissance, or even in the nineteenth century were responsible for events in the twentieth century.”(p.2 ) In his own mind, Courtois believes it is wrong to do to Jesus what he is doing to the communists by holding up some idealized scheme and measuring it against real life.

We agree that anyone who counter-poses a dogma goal to a reality is going to make numerous mistakes. We can only compare realities with realities and decide which reality is closer to the goal. Comparing “actual” life and “theory” is really ethical dogmatism and has nothing in common with scientific Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. “Theory” does not mean our long-range goals of what is right and wrong. Theory is the body of ideas that accurately describe how the world works in its vast mesh of cause and effect and change. Christians and other religious people are liable to substitute “Heaven” for “theory” and assume that Marx’s “communism” plays the same role as “Heaven” in their own thought. Not surprisingly they then find communism in practice to be flawed and hypocritical.

Courtois ends up quoting the same Catholic Church that supported the fascist Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany for his moral basis.(p. 29) His last sentence in the introduction quotes, “thou shalt not kill.”(p. 31) In return, the Cardinal Mindszenty foundation put up a favorable review of Courtois’s book on the web.

For this reason, Courtois feels justified when he says “our purpose here is not to devise some kind of macabre comparative system for crunching numbers.”(p. 15) We can only hope he contracts HIV and decides to forgo the “number crunching” and thus takes chicken soup instead of protease inhibitors.

Courtois is also the perfect case of what Stalin called a “social-fascist.” Claiming to be a social-democrat, Courtois has been attacked for fascist sympathies widely. Le Pen is his greatest admirer. It is so striking that it is not only defenders of Stalin who have noticed Courtois’s benefit to fascism. Even the social-democratic “Le Monde” in France had some complainers with regard to fellow social democrat Courtois.(p. xvii)

Fascism

Courtois attempts to blame Stalin for contaminating himself by signing a pact with Hitler in 1939.(pp. 5, 22) He says it was a crime. No where does he mention all the pacts that the capitalist countries signed with Hitler before Stalin did. It is typical in that most of the book’s distortions are by omission of comparative context.

The Polish signed in 1934 and the French and British of course had their Munich appeasement in 1938. In 1938, Stalin offered to attack Hitler over Czechoslavakia if either England or France sided with him and if the Polish granted passage through their territory. Instead, what happened is Poland took a slice of Czechoslavakia–the Teschen district–in a deal with the Nazis.(3) The fact that Stalin was the last to sign a pact with Hitler is not mentioned by Courtois, because by his own logic, the capitalist countries would be guilty of greater crimes than the socialist countries.

Supposedly these are the scholars, but it is MIM explaining the comparative context once again. Our readers should ask whose standards of scholarship are fairer, MIM Notes’s or the bourgeois scholars’. These bourgeois scholars do not even mention the capitalist countries’ agreements with Hitler while citing Stalin for “crimes” for signing agreements. This same Courtois does not mention anywhere why Hitler’s crimes stopped at the supposed 25 million mark–Soviet troops who defeated him–and these are supposedly historians. They are simply revisionist historians taking advantage of the youth for whom World War II is very distant.

Nor does Courtois or Werth mention the numerous and successful pro-Nazi rebellions throughout Europe when they talk about there being no reason to repress anyone in the Soviet Union and when they talk about how bad conditions in the USSR were that they drove people into the arms of the Nazis. If so, conditions were even worse in the capitalist countries, because Nazi fifth columns overthrew those European governments outright and paralyzed the anti- fascist fighting ability of all continental Europe except for the Soviet Union and mostly communist guerrillas in other countries.

The term “quisling” arose because of a former Norwegian “Defense Minister” who helped the Nazis overthrow the government of Norway in 1940–Vidkun Quisling. In France, in 1940, Henri Philippe Petain, a former Command-in-chief who achieved that post in 1917 headed a Nazi collaborator government in France seated in Vichy. Even the French bourgeoisie agreed he had to receive life imprisonment after World War II. The Belgian Leopold III surrendered his country to the Nazis unconditionally and was dubbed a collaborator.(3) In Sweden, the family that owned half of all the country profited from Nazi gold taken from Jews killed in the Holocaust. Assisting that family in the legal matters was the US future Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles–and of course, the Swedish government.(4) Not surprisingly, Finland joined the Nazi side in 1941, but less known is that the French premier Edouard Daladier had to resign in March, 1940, because his opposition to attacking the Soviet Union in Finland was unpopular! That’s correct: the French public and portions of the bourgeoisie wanted to attack the Soviet Union, not Germany in an effort to get on Hitler’s good side! Hungary and Bulgaria joined the Axis powers outright and made war against the Allies–greatly assisting Hitler in his invasion of the Soviet Union.

In all the above countries overrun in part by internal Nazism, there was also resistance to Nazism, but the point remains that Courtois and Werth failed to mention them while downplaying the threat of Nazi collaborators in the Soviet Union. If they wish to speak for the “human-rights” of Nazis and their collaborators, they should do so without denying that these sorts of fascists existed in the Soviet Union as they did everywhere in Europe. To do as Courtois and Werth do is distortion of the facts to suit a religious agenda of human-rights for fascists.

Karel Bartosek came closer to the truth saying “the repression was especially severe in countries that had sent troops to fight against the Soviet Union–Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia–where the NKVD deported hundreds of thousands to the Soviet gulags.”(p. 394) However, contrary to the impression left by Bartosek (p. 397), Bulgaria also sided with the Nazis as can still be found in common encyclopedias.(3) It is indicative that Bartosek chose to stress the fact that Bulgaria did not send troops against the Soviet Union without mentioning that Bulgaria was occupying Soviet allies in Yugoslavia and Greece–after having received a piece of Romania through the offices of Hitler. There were active fascists in countries other than Italy, Germany and Japan, but the Cold War historians needed to whitewash fascism in Europe, especially Eastern Europe in order to vilify Stalin.

For his part, Nicolas Werth wrote a whole chapter exonerating the peoples who sided with Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union and listed their executions in the midst of war as crimes counting against communism. Apparently the context of being in a war is not relevant to these selectively timeless historical moralists. Adam Shatz found Werth’s position to be too much as well, thus proving that not all historical commentators at this time are asleep while speaking: “His lament for the fate of the Vlasovtsky is particularly bizarre. Named after their leader, Andrei Vlasov, the Vlasovtsky were a group of Russian prisoners of war who defected to the German side in 1942. ‘On the basis of his anti-Stalinist convictions,’ writes Werth credulously, ‘Vlasov agreed to collaborate with the Nazis to free his country from the tyranny of the Bolsheviks.’ Vlasov paid with his life, and his 150,000 soldiers ended up wasting away in the gulag, an unhappy fate, to be sure. But it’s hard to get worked up, as Werth does, over the imprisonment of traitors whose ‘anti-Stalinist convictions’ led them to embrace the Nazis.”(5)

Having written about these Vlasov supporters and also about various Nazi centers that actually did exist in the Soviet Union amongst certain ethnicities (e.g. pp. 219-20, 223-4), Werth still says, “the elimination of potential and mythical ‘fifth columnists’ was at the heart of the Great Terror.”(p. 202) As some of his own work shows, there was nothing “mythical” about the fifth column and the number that sided with Hitler was greater than the number that Stalin executed in the “Great Terror,” according to Werth’s own accounting.

Later Courtois and Karel Bartosek want our hearts to bleed for the Germans who revolted against the Soviet occupation in 1953. (see photos & p. 439) After killing more than 22 million Soviet people, the Germans were lucky to be left alive. Had Stalin been as bad or worse, than Hitler, as Courtois says, no Germans would have been left alive to revolt.

Outside of the Great Leap in China, most of the accusations regard violence in the midst of war. Reading about Vietnam or the Soviet Union or Korea (which is still in a state of war), one would often be able to forget there was a war going on as atrocities were listed.

Anti-semitism and genocide more generally

By placing Nazism at one-quarter the danger of communism, Courtois rightly invoked a charge of anti- Semitism, even in the staid pages of the social- democratic “Le Monde.”(p. xv) While Stalin fought a war against Nazis and toward communism, the goals of the Nazis were always for extermination of all but the master race, which did not even include all whites.

Given his sympathy for the Soviet fifth column in World War II, it is not surprising that Ukrainian fascists quote Werth on their web pages, in the midst of their anti-Semitic filth.(6) Kooky or un-rebutted anti- Semitism was just beneath the surface throughout the book (e.g., p. 86, p. 99). The whole title of the book comes from the title of a book about the holocaust of Jews by Nazis also titled Black Book.

One bourgeois reviewer said that France lagged far behind in recognizing anti-Semitism from World War II: “In fact, the Jewish genocide barely registered among French intellectuals until the late 1980s, when Raul Hilberg’s seminal study, The Destruction of the European Jews, finally appeared in translation. The Russian gulag, as exposed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, had received far more attention thanks to the new philosophers of the 1970s.”(5)

Shatz went on to add: “After all, this was a country where, as the Princeton historian Anson Rabinbach observed in Dissent last year, ‘the demand for a ‘Nuremberg trial of communism’ has a particular connotation, frequently reiterated by Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front, to justify not prosecuting French crimes of the Vichy era.’ Since the book’s publication coincided with Maurice Papon’s trial on charges of Nazi collaboration during the Vichy years, French readers were invited to contemplate the notion that partisan resistance fighters, many of them communists and all of them in alliance with Soviet Russia, were on no firmer moral ground than a pro- fascist bureaucrat who sent Jewish women and children to the ovens.”(5)

Shatz complains about Stalin’s banning of a book that focussed on the Jews and World War II. Yet it is true that the Nazi genocide hit other ethnicities besides the Jews. The communists and Jews were only first in line for extermination by Hitler.

Even Nicolas Werth admitted this, if only in passing in the book and without impacting Courtois’s conclusions obviously. “The barbarism of the Nazis created some reconciliation between the Soviet government and the people, in that Germany classed Russians as sub-humans destined for extermination or slavery.”(p. 215) Also Courtois and a co-author correctly said, “Hitler considered that all Slavs were subhuman and hence were to be disposed of en masse.”(p. 320) Given that most Russians were white, Werth and Courtois should have also said that Hitler planned on the extermination of the vast majority of the world’s population. People seeking to equate Stalin and Hitler do so to whitewash racism and they take advantage of historical ignorance as Nazism recedes in time.

The Ukrainian famine

Throughout his essay, Werth talks about grain requisitions by the Soviet state as if grain so obtained disappeared and thereby caused rural starvation.(e.g. p. 121) No mention is made of city people’s non-negotiable rights with regard to eating. Even though the property system was no longer the capitalist style, he continued to refer to the grain as the “fruit of their[peasants’] labor”(e.g. p. 66, p. 148) that they were entitled to keep–omitting that some people work on much better land than others if there is no socialist cooperation to even out disparities in the means of production.

From 1923 to 1928, the peasants had a free market in grain. Yet, the bourgeois peasants blew their chance in 1928, because grain delivered to the cities was down to 4.8 million tons from 6.8 million the previous year. That spurred Stalin to favor collectivization of agriculture.(p. 142) No doubt, had Stalin let the peasants keep their grain, Courtois and Werth would have blamed Stalin for the starvation of people in the cities instead–unless Stalin changed the system to capitalism, in which case an 8 digit figure of peasants could die each year to this day without the bourgeois propagandists uttering a peep. Whether people starved in cities or in the countryside, Stalin was going to be blamed by these critics.

All along some of the fiercest resistance to doing the right thing centered in the Ukraine and Werth says the Ukrainian famine was the largest death toll Stalin was responsible for. The Ukraine is the equivalent of the US “breadbasket”–states like Iowa or Kansas. Werth admitted as much in a concluding throw-away sentence: “The richest and most dynamic agricultural regions, which had the most to offer the state and the most to lose in the extortionate system of enforced collectivization, were precisely the regions worst affected by the great famine of 1932-33.”(p. 168) The fact that these areas were the equivalent of Iowa should have been a clue that having the peasants just keep their food was not an option that should have been suggested lightly.

In 1929, more than 3,200 Soviet civil servants suffered terrorist attacks.(p. 145) 1,300 riots spread through the countryside in the years 1928-9. That is one indication of the class war going on. They had a history behind them of a movement called the “Greens” that also resisted requisition of food to the city.(p. 81-, p. 91- )

In the midst of this sort of political resistance, many Ukrainians resisted delivering grain to the state. Werth says that in response, Stalin starved 4 million of them to death in 1932-3 for a total of 6 million when other regions of the Soviet Union are counted for being in a similar situation.(p. 146)

New York’s newspaper the “Village Voice” of January 12, 1988 has already debunked the claims about the Ukrainian famine, as being wildly exaggerated and as having been created by fascist Ukrainians, in some cases caught in the act of fraud in propaganda creation.(7) Ludo Martens has also debunked poet, fiction-writer and government official Robert Conquest for his use of Nazi sources, Nazi collaborator sources and fiction books to buttress his most widely cited story of the Ukrainian famine.(8) 80,000 Ukrainians served in the Nazi army including some in the SS and that is the kind of human material that gets wide quotation.(p. 244)

Hence, while some people may have starved in the Ukraine, Werth’s numbers are inflated to the point where the Village Voice referred to the famine as a “hoax.” Nonetheless, Werth touches on the political choices some Ukrainians made. He quotes an alleged Stalin letter that MIM did not check on (because it was consistent with the times) as saying “the workers in your district–not just your district, but in many districts–went on strike, carried out acts of sabotage, and were prepared to leave workers from the Red Army without bread!”(p. 166) From MIM’s point of view, even if all the fascist propaganda were true, Stalin would have been correct to take harsh measures against those who disobeyed the law, cut back their farming and generally acted as the spoiled and privileged owners of the best farming land.

Where Werth and Courtois agree is that the political choice of some peasants to resist delivering grain to the state is not an act of violence in itself against the city-dwellers; even though realistically, food has to come from farmland, especially the Ukraine and other lands in question. They speak of the land as if it were only the property of peasants who live on it. When peasants cut back their work only to grow their own grain and contrary to law, Werth and Courtois defend them. Indeed, Werth comes out openly in saying his approach depends on not recognizing Soviet law. He said that “‘destruction of Soviet property’” and other items including “‘speculation’” should not be counted as crimes.(p. 206) In contrast, we socialists are happy to deport such Ukrainian people as they were deported by Stalin and replace them with people who will do something with the fertile land–because people’s lives are at stake and we see political games played by Ukrainians on breadbasket land as violence against city-dwellers.

The case of the Ukrainian breadbasket land is also important in reminding us why we have to oppose “local control” perfected under Tito’s “market socialism” in Yugoslavia and also adopted by anarchists in Spain. After a revolution implementing “local control,” people who happen to live on gold mines will become rich. People who live on the best land will have an easier time farming, and so on. “Local control” cannot be thought of as socialism, just a switch of owners. The central government has to play some role or the means of production are not truly socialist. Only when that day comes when people cooperate economically across large distances without coercion or reward will it be possible to take an easy-going approach to dividing up resources at the local level, because no one would think of hurting people in the rest of the country or the world based on their fortunate local position.

At a MIM Stalin talk coming out on CD, one critic from the audience said that Stalin induced the Ukrainian famine “for his own power.” When asked what Stalin used that power for, the critic had nothing to say. In the capitalist countries, the sights of the masses are lowered to persynal gain, such that when they see someone with vast power and no persynal gain, they have no idea what to say. Stalin did not gain from starving Ukrainian peasants, unlike the way capitalist speculators who hoard food gain when peasants starve. To say that Stalin did gain is a simple projection of life under capitalism to life under socialism where often the politicians also persynally gain from development, weapons or other deals they broker politically.

In contrast the most bourgeois peasants in the USSR known as kulaks did gain monetarily and persynally from speculation in grain by letting the cities starve. Stalin did not himself benefit from the New Economic Policy (NEP) that allowed the free market in grain. It was the peasants in the countryside actually trying to increase their own power for persynal gain, so our critic has the accusation against Stalin completely upside-down.

In no way are Courtois and Werth correct in equating the holocaust of Jews with the starvation of some peasants who sat on fertile land and decided not to obey the law or cooperate in a new economic system. They chose to cut back their work and hide their grain despite knowing what targets of production they were to reach and despite having come closer to meeting them in the past. It is not that Werth ever claimed these peasants were struck by typhoon or drought. They had a choice, unlike the Jews who are born Jews according to the racial theories of the Nazis.

Since Werth says that Stalin’s single largest crime was the alleged Ukrainian famine,(p. 263) our readers should note it carefully and decide how much credibility the overall criticism of the Soviet Union under Stalin has.

Admissions regarding the Soviet Union

As intellectuals, these fascist and fascist-leaning intellectuals could not help trying to distinguish themselves from historical simpletons. What is more, they claim to do so based on the study of the most recently released Soviet archives.

1. Citing the work of an A. Blum, Werth no longer believes Stalin masterminded the Kirov assassination in 1934. It was the killing of Kirov that resulted in a swing in Soviet public opinion toward a crackdown on “dissent” as World War II was progressing, notably the Japanese invasion of China in 1931 and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

2. Werth correctly believes Robert Conquest’s work on the “Great Terror” to be exaggerated, (p. 185) MIM would say fictional.

3. According to Werth, the 85% of executions after the Civil War in the Soviet Union and while Stalin was still alive (1922 to 1953), occurred in the “Great Terror,” also sometimes referred to as the “Purges” of 1936-1938.(9) However, Werth says the number of executions has been vastly exaggerated. The number was 681,692.(p. 191)

While everyone agrees that the majority of executions occurred in the 1936-1938 period–while the Soviet Union and Germany were already fighting each other in Spain– the numbers range wildly. Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko said that the “Great Terror” was responsible for 19 million deaths from 1935 to 1941, (10) while Werth says the figure is 720,000.(p. 206) This is just an indication of how wildly the bourgeoisie speculates against Stalin.

4. Purges in the Red Army prior to World War II were previously exaggerated and affected 30,000 out of 178,000 relevant cadres.(p. 198)

5. Documented cases occurred where all Mensheviks said to be shot were not shot but imprisoned.(p. 262)

Embarrassments to others in the anti-Stalin swamp

Because the bourgeoisie rushes to attack Stalin from an immense number of improbable angles, it is not surprising that its statements stand in contradiction all the time, even 47 years after Stalin’s death. Like prison cellmates with 47 years to practice their alibis, the bourgeoisie still can’t come up with a consistent story.

1. Werth’s essay tends to confirm that Bukharin was in fact a Liberal in the right-wing of the Communist Party with links to Yagoda, a security chief under Stalin. In 1918, Bukharin was criticizing the Cheka (internal security that arose in civil war) for its “‘excessive zeal of an organization filled with criminals, sadists, and degenerate elements from the lumpenproletariat.’”(p. 79)

In 1924, Bukharin again wrote to the head of the ex- Cheka then called the GPU. His name was Felix Dzerzhinksy. “‘It is my belief that we should now progress to a more liberal form of Soviet power: less repression, more legality, more open discussions, more responsibility at local levels.’”(p. 134) The other major Bolshevik leaders disagreed with Bukharin.

2. The famous Ukrainian anarchist Makhno organized bloody pograms against the Jews in 1919, just as Lenin charged. A picture continues to emerge of only Bolsheviks in the Ukraine as not anti-Semitic.(p. 96)(11)

3. Also contrary to some anarchists today who paint the anarchists as blameless, Werth points out that rebellion and class war against the Bolsheviks did continue into 1921. The Kronstadt rebellion did not occur in a context of social peace.

4. According to Courtois and a co-author, in 1937, Trotsky went to the French police to get French communist Jacques Duclos in trouble, despite having no evidence against him for a murder Trotsky wanted avenged. Trotsky relied on the French police to find the evidence and conduct the investigation.(p. 307)

China: more botched numbers

To their credit, the authors admitted that their criticisms of Asian communists and therefore most of their criticism of communism is speculative.(p. 459) The reason is that they would like the governments there to fall so that they can see the archives before they pass judgement.

The largest part of the 100 million deaths they are attributing to communism comes from the Great Leap, where they use the upper end of a range of estimates–43 million deaths. MIM recently reviewed this literature again in MIM Notes 203, since Harvard professor Roderick MacFarquhar’s book just came out in paperback.

Contrary to MacFarquhar who details all the actions the Communist Party took and how Mao made public self- criticism, Margolin says Mao refused to admit a problem during the Great Leap.(p. 464) He then goes on to list wartime atrocities in World War II by the communists.

Even more than MacFarquhar who misplaced a decimal in his single largest accusation against Mao to make it 10 times worse than it was, Margolin leaves us seriously questioning his basic quantitative skills. We can only hope it was the editors or translators who introduced the errors, but there were numerous basic mathematical errors in his chapter and no matter how one slices it, the chapter does not reflect well on the authors and editors.

“This last province [Anhui], in north-central China, was the worst affected of all. In 1960 the death rate soared to 68 percent from its normal level at around 15 percent, while the birth rate fell to 11 percent from its previous average of 30 percent. As a result the population fell by around 2 million people (6 percent of the total) in a single year.”(p. 492)

The above is such a bungle that it is difficult to sort out all the errors and curiously enough, it refers to Margolin’s biggest accusation at the provincial level. The first number is actually 68.58 per thousand. 68 percent is 68 per hundred. Once again, we have an error overestimating by a factor of 10. What is worse is the stupidity in saying that the mortality rate was 68 percent but only 6 percent died! In this way Margolin exceeds the stupidity of MacFarquhar’s mistake. Of course, the birth rates are similarly exaggerated by a factor of 10. At least MacFarquhar correctly reported these figures in a table in his third volume.(12)

In more obvious moralistic “have your cake and eat it too,” Margolin denounces the regime in China for creating a situation where “the birth rate fell to almost zero as women were unable to conceive because of malnutrition.”(p. 494) He does not realize that if that is true, his death toll must be very low, much less than the 20 million lower end estimate he uses. It’s clear that he has never sat down to think through questions like what goes into creating a life expectancy figure.
Further exceeding MacFarquhar by covering more years with his ignorance, Margolin says “For the entire country, the death rate rose from 11 percent in 1957 to 15 percent in 1959 and 1961, peaking at 29 percent in 1960. Birth rates fell from 33 percent in 1957 to 18 percent in 1961.”(p. 495)

Given this sort of record it is not surprising Margolin also botched the imprisonment rate figures where he momentarily got on the right track before falling off (and actually compared the imprisonment figures with the USA’s and found them equal in his own error-prone way). (p. 541) He apparently is OK with reporting 8 digit figures raw and re-reporting percentages, but anything actually involving his own understanding of division is suspect.

At one point saying that the peasants were too weak to harvest grain rotting on the farms, (p. 493) Margolin also says that once capitalist-style organization came into place, the peasants quickly ended the famine. (p. 496) Which was it Margolin? Were the peasants too weak as the Great Leap went on to harvest or just needing capitalist incentives? Nor does Margolin seem to flinch at saying the worst year was actually 1961,(p. 491) after the Great Leap had ended and widescale private farming and systems tantamount to it had come into play.

It is obvious that Margolin likes to study history, but his quantitative skills are so lacking it is no wonder that he came out against communism. His essay along with MacFarquhar’s error introduces further doubt into the basic competence of the people doing bourgeois academic research on the Great Leap. Anyone with any experience in mortality figures, life expectancies or statistics and the slightest knowledge of the Great Leap from any perspective should have caught Margolin’s mistakes right away and should have known off the top of their heads that what he was saying was impossible. Anyone with a high school education should have caught the mistakes if studying carefully. When talking about China with its large population and the potential for 8 digit famines, it is essential that an author be comfortable with numbers.

With regard to the charge of 100 million dead from communism, 85 million are from the Soviet Union and China, 20 million from the Soviet Union and 65 million from China.(p. 4) As we have just shown the crucial lynchpins to that argument concern a famine reported by Nazi collaborators in the Ukraine and a Great Leap toll where repeated and obvious arithmetic errors were published in the book. Together these two items account for 49 million dead out of 100 million alleged victims.

Conclusion

The book goes on to treat other countries as well, but those countries are all said to stem from the Leninist “genetic code.” Many of these other regimes that Courtois et. al. attack are not communist and as usual they omit significant facts such as the landslide Sandinista victory’s portion of the population (not just the voters) won in a bourgeois style election (p. 670) or the fact that their notion of “responsible” for deaths in the case of the Sendero Luminoso refers mostly to indiscriminate killings carried out by the government but which the Sendero Luminoso is “responsible” for because they started a civil war.(p. 680)

The Black Book sold 70,000 copies in four weeks in France.(13) Of course, the Wall Street Journal endorsed it as well as most of the rest of the bourgeois press. There are 175 entries in an Internet search using the “Google” search engine. Many of the book reviews can be seen by visiting MIM’s bookstore under reviewed books and going to the Amazon bookstore link for the Black Book. The positive reviews can be taken as an indication of the lack of historical knowledge of some, the weak quantitative skills of others and the overall conscious distortion of the bourgeoisie. In the end, MIM agrees that Courtois has recognized the truth about the media: it will buy anything anti-communist.

Despite his correct recognition of the nature of the monopoly capitalist media, Courtois will fail in his goal, because the truth regarding the overall situation is already widely available and cannot be excised from history by selective compilations of statistics or gruesome detail of death on one side of the capitalism versus communism conflict. Despite the whinings of the Solzhenitsyns, Khruschevs and other intellectuals and former party members, nothing will eradicate the fact that the average persyn lived longer under socialism than under capitalism.(14)

Notes:

1. http://x25.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=533524259&search=thread &CONTEXT=949783412.290127893&HIT _CONTEXT=942257934.934412361&HIT_NUM=1&hitnum=9

2. I thank HC88 for the following reference: William Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp. 296, 526, 563f.

3. www.encyclopedia.com

4. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/mn/mn.php?issue=144

5. http://www.linguafranca.com/br/9911/shatz.html

6. http://www.ukar.org/safer17.shtml

7. http://www.shss.montclair.edu/english/furr/vv.html

8. http://www.tiac.net/users/knut/Stalin/book.html

9. http://www.humanite.presse.fr/journal/1997/1997- 12/1997-12-10/1997-12-10-054.html

10. See our article on this at http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/faq/stalindeaths.html

11. For some examples of the half-assed anarchists who continue to support Makhno against Lenin, unfortunately we have to refer to some of the better anarchists including the Rage Against the Machine, the International Workers of the World http://iww.org/~jah/russia-rev-anar.html, the web sitewww.spunk.org and burn.ucsd.edu.

12. Roderick MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-1966, vol. 3, pb., (NY: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 7-8.

13. http://www.mindszenty.org/report/1998/feb98/feb98.html

14. We suggest readers follow the following links:http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/wim/mythsofmao.htmlhttp://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/faq/failure.htmlhttp://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/faq/philviolence.html

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Solving the Gordian Knot

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Solving the Gordian Knot, instruction on method and decisiveness

(llco.org)

According to legend, in the city of Telmissus, there was a massive knot looped again and again around the front of an oxcart. Rope over rope, the knot endlessly turned in on itself. It was said that the person who was able to untie the knot would conquer the world. Many pretenders had come before and been unable to solve the puzzle. Alexander examined the challenge that had defeated so many before. Looking at the knot, the student of Aristotle drew his sword and slashed away. The knot fell to the ground. Alexander went on to conquer.

We must be as Alexander: decisive, bold, creative. We must not fight battles on the enemy’s terms. Do not let them set the rules. We play by our rules. Do the unexpected. In debate, direct your blows at the heart of an enemy’s argument. Do not be distracted. Do not let your blows be deflected. Do not be baited with sophistry or lies. Our strength is we are armed with the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism. Truth is on our side.

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Who and What are Trotsky-cons?

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Who and What are Trotsky-cons?

(llco.org)

The term “Trotsky-con” has become part of the lexicon of populist paranoia in the First World. Despite its currency with red-baiters and anti-Semites, especially during the years of the Bush administration, the term does correctly refer to the  link between Trotskyism and a certain group of policy thinkers within the new generation of conservatives that emerged after World War 2. The SWP USA, a party from which many Trotsky-cons emerged, feebly dismisses any connection as fascist conspiracy theory, as though the link were a pure invention of the paranoid delusions of Lyndon LaRouche and Pat Buchanan. (1) Despite their protests to the contrary, there are deep theoretic links between Trotskyism and imperialism. Neo-con Stephen Schwartz proudly defends his Trotskyist past and prefers that “neo-cons” be called “Trotsky-cons.” (2) He goes so far as to say he will defend Trotsky “To my last breath, and without apology.” (3)

Very early on, Trotsky was engaged in various power struggles within the Soviet Union against the proletarian line of Lenin and Stalin. As early as 1926, in the infamous Clemenceau Declaration, Trotsky sought to use imperialist invasion of the Soviet Union as a way for his forces to seize power. Just as the Bolsheviks were able to take power during World War 1, Trotsky saw his forces similarly positioned to seize power. Into the 1930s, as Europe was polarized between fascists and anti-fascists, Trotsky, even though he criticized fascism, he did not see fascist invasion as the main danger.  Once again, Trotsky increasingly saw Stalin as the main danger to the Soviet Union, even on the eve of World War 2. Once one understands the essence of Trotskyism, it becomes apparent why one of the only times that Trotsky supported national liberation was for the Ukraine in 1939. (4) Trotsky advocated civil war in the Soviet Union and Ukrainian succession on the eve of Nazi invasion:

“In the Russian Bulletin of the Opposition (82-3), February-April, 1940, the following long paragraph appeared in place of the opening two sentences of the Sunday Express version: ‘…I consider the main source of danger to the USSR in the present international situation to be Stalin and the oligarchy headed by him. An open struggle against them, in the view of world public opinion, is inseparably connected for me with the defense of the USSR.” (5)

No doubt Trotsky saw his Clemenceau Declaration in the 1920s and, later, de facto support for the Nazis as having a parallel with 1917. Trotsky was hoping that an imperialist invasion of the Soviet Union, even one carried out by the Nazis, could catapult him to power just as the German invasion of World War 1 was a factor in the October Revolution of 1917. Trotsky was hoping to turn an imperialist war into his own brand of “revolutionary war” against Stalin and Soviet socialism. Trotsky saw himself riding to power on the backs of Nazi tanks. Just as Lenin’s strategy of turning imperialist invasion into revolutionary war has been named “revolutionary defeatism,” Trotsky’s strategy could be called “counter-revolutionary defeatism” since it turns Lenin on his head.

This extreme reactionary position is one element of Trotsky’s politics, a very important one. However, this does not exhaust Trotsky’s politics. Trotsky held contradictory, conflicting, confused positions, which is why Trotsky, at the same time, can appear to be anti-imperialist and anti-fascist. It took another, Trotsky’s follower, Max Shachtman, to work out the kinks, to put forward a more coherent form of Trotsky’s counter-revolutionary defeatist line. Shachtman called Stalinism, “the new barbarism.” In 1939, following the Soviet invasion of Finland, Shachtman followed James Burnham in arguing against the SWP USA’s nominal and weak-kneed defense of the USSR. They argued that the Soviet Union was not socialist and did not even deserve nominal support. Shachtman came to support the Western imperialists against the Soviet Union. Like Trotsky, Shachtman came to see Stalin as the main danger to the world. Like Trotsky, who agreed to testify on the crimes of Stalin to the anti-communist witch hunters in the Congress of the United States,  Shachtman was not above selling himself to the imperialists. The original Trotsky-cons, like Shachtman, are those who evolved from supporters of Trotsky’s so-called “Fourth International” into Cold Warriors for Western imperialism. If Trotsky is the father of the Trotsky-con movement, Max Shachtman is its mother. In addition, there has emerged a second generation of high profile intellectual Trotskyists, who mostly came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, who, like the earlier Trotsky-cons, have converted to become stooges for U.S. empire. Trotsky continues to have imperialist offspring, even to this day there is another generation of First Worldist, so-called socialists who support imperialism for similar reasons.

Although twisted opportunism surely played a role  in uniting Trotskyists and empire, the roots of the Trotsky-con phenomenon are much deeper, found within the ideology of Trotskyism itself. At the core of Trotskyism is the Theory of Productive Forces and its twin, the Theory of Permanent Revolution. The Theory of Productive Forces overemphasizes economic development as a factor in advancing revolution. According to such a  mechanical misreading of historical materialism, a society is unable to build socialism if it has not developed an economic base that approximates that of Western Europe at the time; it is, according to such Trotsky-cons and those with similar outlooks, impossible to build socialism unless a country has already gone through Western style capitalism. Much of Maoism is a rejection of and answer to this kind of phony Marxism. Mao showed how it was possible to bridge the gap between the most backward semi-feudal conditions and socialism with his theory of New Democracy. Mao showed how by harnessing the power of the masses, a communist party can lead countries whose development has been stunted by imperialism forward to socialism. The whole history of socialism validates Mao’s view. In the 1930s, under Stalin’s leadership, the Soviet Union had developed socialism at a breakneck pace in unfavorable conditions. Stalin had correctly predicted that it was necessary to build socialism as rapidly as possible; Stalin famously said the Soviet Union must catch up to the West or be annihilated. Not only were the Soviet masses able to build an economic base, they did so while making ever greater strides toward proletarian democracy. By the 30s, the Theory of Productive Forces had been refuted in practice by the living example of the Soviet achievement. By the late 30s, there was no excuse for anyone to uphold the Theory of Productive Forces or Permanent Revolution. Yet Trotskyists continued to ignore the reality in front of them. They continued to reject “Socialism in One Country” on a priori grounds. As Harry Haywood correctly points out, Trotskyist veered between defeatism and utopianism:

“From late 1922 on, Trotsky made a direct attack on the whole Leninist theory of revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. He denied the possibility (and necessity) of building socialism in one country, and instead characterized that theory as an abandonment of Marxist principles and a betrayal of the revolutionary movement. He published his own theory of “permanent revolution,” and he contended that a genuine advance of socialism in the USSR would become possible only as a result of a socialist victory in the other industrially developed nations.

While throwing around a good deal of left-sounding rhetoric, Trotsky’s theories were thoroughly defeatist and class collaborationist. For instance, in the postscript to Program for Peace, written in 1922, he contended that “as long as the bourgeoisie remains in power in the other European countries, we shall be compelled, in our struggle against economic isolation, to strive for agreement with the capitalist world; at the same time it may be said with certainty that these agreements may at best help us to mitigate some of our economic ills, to take one or another step forward, but real progress of a socialist economy in Russia will become possible only after victory of the proletariat in the major European countries.” (6)

Many Trotskyists rejected the possibility of socialism in the backward Soviet Union, or they rejected socialism there as “deformed.” According to view of Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution, real socialism’s only hope was for a more developed country to come to the aid of the Bolsheviks. Those who uphold this position today state that revolution in the underdeveloped countries of the Third World is impossible without the help of the “advanced” First World. So, they argue, it is necessary to have a revolution in Western Europe or the United States in order to develop socialism in the  the Third World generally. For these reasons, Trotsky and his modern followers reject the idea that the principal contradiction in the world is between imperialist and exploited nations. They see national liberation movements as incapable of making real proletarian revolution in Third World conditions. They are First World chauvinists who uphold versions of both the Theory of Productive Forces and Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution. This kind of position is echoed today by many overt Trotskyists and many covert ones. Such a view is found, for example, in the writings of many who were in the orbit of the RIM, another defunct fourth international.

James Burnham and Max Shachtman carried Trotsky’s criticism of Stalin to its conclusion. Not only was the mode of production in the Soviet Union not socialist, its mode of production was “bureaucratic collectivist,” worse than capitalism. Shachtman even suggested it was based on slave labor. (7) Anti-communist conservatives and liberals had long made exactly these kinds of claims. Thus it wasn’t long before Shachtman was on the side of the Unites States in the Cold War. Such Trotskyists end up supporting Western imperialism as progressive because it allegedly brings development, paving the way for future social change. In other words, Western-style capitalism and modernity are prerequisites to socialism. And, they argue, since imperialism brings Western-style capitalism and modernity, imperialism is progressive and should be supported. Such lines are CIA lines. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before such “communists” dropped any pretense to socialism at all. After abandoning any pretense of socialist revolution, the Trotsky-cons opted to use imperialism to export Western liberalism and modernity as, what they saw as, the best realistic option for the world. Stephen Schwartz noted the parallels between Bush’s grand designs of nation-building and exporting Western modernity with Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution in Bush’s Second Inaugural Address:

“‘The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.’ This sounds like it came right out of Trotsky’s bottle: The survival of socialism in the Soviet Union increasingly depends on the success of socialism in other lands. Neo-con Stephen Schwartz said that ‘those who are fighting for global democracy should view Leon Trotsky as a worthy forerunner.’” (8)

Trotsky’s Theory of Productive Forces, Theory of Permanent Revolution, and criticism of socialism as it existed in the Soviet Union, are linked. There is a clear path from Trotsky’s First World chauvinism to the imperialism expressed in paternalistic terms by the neo-conservatives. It is no accident that ex-Trotskyists became Reaganites and the movers and shakers establishment far-right policy thinkers. James Burnham founded National Review. Some of these new conservatives passed through Shachtmanite Young People’s Socialist League at one point or another or passed through the Socialist Party when Schachtman was still a leading figure.  Jeane Kirkpatrick, Joshua Muravchik, Carl Gershman, Penn Kemble are worth mentioning. (9) Ex-Trotskyist and Public Interest founder Irving Kristol (father of William Kristol editor of the Weekly Standard) founded an anti-Soviet CIA front, the International Congress for Cultural Freedom. (10) (11) Kristol wrote in 1983 that he was a “proud” member of Trotsky’s Fourth International in 1940. (12) Public Interest co-editor Nathan Glazer was close to the Trotskyist movement. (13) Also, defense intellectual Albert Wohlstetter had been a Shachtmanite in the late 1940s. Later, he was mentor to Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. (14) (15) These figures were the brainpower behind much of the conservative revival in the past decades.

There is another trend worth mentioning who are similar to Trotsky-cons, but do not identify as conservatives. Christopher Hitchens, an ex-Trotskyist, has been moving in a similar direction as  Trotsky-cons. Hitchens revels in his new found fame as one of the top promoters of war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Faux News never misses a chance to give Hitchens a soapbox to condemn “Islamofascism” and the anti-war movement. Hitchens was also a consultant to the Bush administration despite still claiming to be some kind of “leftist.” Because of his imperial “leftism,” Hitchens, like Sidney Hook who traveled Trotskyist circles and later worked for the CIA, is similar to Trotsky-cons, but is outside their conservative milieu. Some compare him more to the anti-Soviet liberals of the Cold War era. Even so, the underlying phenomenon is similar whether it is Hitchens or Irving Kristol. If one believes that socialism is impossible in the Third World, where development is lacking, one can easily come to see the “civilizing mission” and “manifest destiny” of the West as progressive and necessary — even though, as Lenin understood, decadent imperialism plays no progressive role in the contemporary world.

Another variation is the development of crypto-Trotskyism. Crypto-Trotskyism is Trotskyism under a Maoist cover. It is Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution disguised under false praise for the Cultural Revolution. For example, the RCP USA, at one point, claimed to be a Maoist party even though they rejected global people’s war as Lin Biaoism. (16)  In his infamous Conquer the World, their leader Bob Afakean, in all but name, upholds Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution and Theory of Productive forces. RCP USA advanced the claim that socialist revolutions can’t be sustained in the Third World without revolution carrying over into the developed First World, “the imperialist citadels.” Like Trotskyists before them, they sought to coordinate Third and First World revolutions through a fourth international led by First World organizations whose revolutions were deemed key, more important than those in the Third World. Thus they turn the Maoist truth, articulated by Lin Biao, that “the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggle of Asian, African, and Latin American peoples” on its head. They see the First World as the key, not the Third. With such a reactionary ideology, it is no surprise that they have disrupted and spread confusion within the communist movement worldwide.  Today, their Trotsky-con kin denounce “Islamo-fascism,” and the crypto-Trotskyists join the choir with their attacks against Iran. What kind of “Maoist” party holds anti-Iranian demonstrations in a climate where the imperialists are imposing sanctions and on the verge of military action? In fact, their Iranian fraternal party echos Trotsky when it writes that the Islamic state as a bigger enemy than the United States. They issue statements that parrot the imperialist denunciation of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and the alleged treatment of women there. They, along with RCP USA and similar groups, were de facto supporters of the recent CIA-backed attempted color revolution in Iran. What is really going on is that the Iranian “Maoists” implicitly seek a confrontation between the imperialists and the Islamic regime in order to advance their own interests, like Trotsky. Along with upholding, in all but name, the Theory of Productive Forces and the Theory of Permanent Revolution, RCP USA and its allies  increasingly attacksthe record of Lenin, Stalin and Mao in the same terms as the Cold War anti-communists. (17) They criticize revolutionary nationalism and reject the true Communists who understand that the vast majority of the First World population is thoroughly reactionary. These are not merely opportunist errors of Maoist organizations, they are systematic, reactionary errors. (18)(19) (20) This isn’t too say that there are not legitimate criticisms to be made of the communist tradition. However, the criticisms made by the Trotskyists and crypto-Trotskyists are, even when they happen to be correct, part of a reactionary package that must be rejected as a whole. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but that is not any incentive to buy the broken clock.

Contrary to Trotskyist claims, the experiences of the Soviet Union and China are proof that it is possible to build socialism in unfavorable conditions. In fact, revolutions are always born in unfavorable conditions. Revolutions happen, as Lenin stated, in the weakest links. They happen when the old society is failed. The proletariat and its allies are very resilient. They have shown that they can overcome the problem of development. By the end of the Stalin era, for example, the Soviet Union had become an atomic power and had become a match for the West technologically. They had raised life expectancy to nearly the level of the West. (21) Real existing socialism has shown that development and empowerment of the masses is not an antagonistic contradiction. Empowering the masses is key to development, as Mao understood. The Soviet Union and China, under proletarian leadership, traversed in a few decades what took hundreds of years and the bloody legacy of imperialism to accomplish in the imperialist nations.

According to Trotsky-con Stephen Schwartz, there is “a psychological, ideological and intellectual continuity” between Trotskyism and conservatism. (22) Some might suggest that these Trotskyist-to-conservative political evolutions are accidental, just coincidence. Although similar conversions can be found among the social democratic “left,” which has been hostile to communism from the outset, it would be hard to find such a congealed group of Washington ideologues coming out of any other trend claiming to be “socialist.” At bottom, Trotskyism is First Worldism. It fights for the First World against the Third World. In this respect, it is not different than any number ideologies in the First World, including fascism. Long before they embraced conservatism, the Trotsky-cons were advocating imperialism and White chauvinism. All Trotskyists are Trotsky-cons at heart.

Notes

1. Sam Manuel. “Jew-hatred, red-baiting: heart of claims of ‘neo-con’ conspiracy ” The Militant Vol. 68/No. 24 June 28, 2004 http://www.themilitant.com/2004/6824/.html

2. Dale Vree. “What Is A Neocon? & Does It Matter?” New Oxford Review December 2005
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news//posts

3. Stephen Schwartz. “Trotskycons? Pasts and Present.” National Review June 11, 2003 http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-schwartz.asp

4. Writings of Leon Trotsky, , “Ukrainian Independence and Sectarian Muddleheads.” Pathfinder Press, New York: 1973. Also see: http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/classics/text.php?mimfile=trotskyukraine.txt

5. Leon Trotsky. Writings of Leon Trotsky: NY: Merit Publishers, p. 124 (quoted from MIM, http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/classics/text.php?mimfile=trotskystalin.txt)

6. Harry Haywood. Black Bolshevik Liberator Press Chicago, Illnoisa USA 1978 p 178

7. Tony Cliff. The theory of bureaucratic collectivism:A critique 1948 http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1948/xx/burcoll.htm#n12

8. Stephen Schwartz. “Trotskycons? Pasts and Present.” National Review June 11, 2003 http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-schwartz.asp

9. John B. Judis. Trotskyism to Anachronism: The Neoconservative Revolution Foreign Affairs, July – August 1995 http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19950701fareviewessay5058/john-b-judis/trotskyism-to-anachronism-the-neoconservative-revolution.html

10. Leon Hadar. “The “Neocons”: From the Cold War to the “Global Intifada”” April 1991 http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0491/.htm

11. Paul Greenberg. “The ‘Shocked’ Treatment” Commentary December 9, 2005 http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/-1714r.htm

12. Flirting with Fascism June 30, 2003 http://www.amconmag.com/06_30_03/feature.html

13. John B. Judis. Trotskyism to Anachronism: The Neoconservative Revolution Foreign Affairs, July – August 1995 http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19950701fareviewessay5058/john-b-judis/trotskyism-to-anachronism-the-neoconservative-revolution.html

14. http://www.lycos.com/info/albert-wohlstetter–paul-wolfowitz.html

15. Trotsky’s ghost wandering the White House National Post June 07, 2003
http://www.prisonplanet.com/trotskys_ghost_wandering_the_white_house.htm also see

16. Bob Avakian. For a Harvest of Dragons. RCP Publications. USA:1983. p 150-151. “ ….to cling to at least aspects of Lin Biao-ism. Lin Biao was a top leader of the communist Party of China in the 1960s and he is associated with the line of singling out U.S. imperialism for a common onslaught from the “third world,” with simultaneous national liberation wars defeating U.S. imperialism throughout the “third world,” and even possibly destroying it altogether. His line (as expressed in a 1965 pamphlet [written by Lin Biao], Long Live The Victory of People’s War) represented the absolutizing of what was then the principal contradiction in the world (between oppressed nations and imperialism) — raising it out of context of world relations and contradictions in which it actually exists and treating it as a thing unto itself and virtually the only significant contradiction in the world. While recognizing the existence of revolutionary situations and favorable revolutionary prospects in many countries in the “third world” it exaggerated this into a tendency to treat the “third world” as an undifferentiated whole, ripe everywhere for revolution. Related to this, in upholding the importance of armed struggle as a necessary means for replacing the old order with the new and insisting on the fact that in many places in the “third world” it was possible and necessary to make armed struggle the main and immediate form of struggle — in opposition to the Soviet revisionist line that attempted to make economic development the main task in the “third world” neo-colonies — Lin Biao’s line exaggerated this to a point of virtually insisting that everywhere in the “third world” revolutionary warfare could and must be launched right away (in Long Live the victory, whether one dares to wage a people’s war is made the touchstone of distinguishing Marxism-Leninism from revisionism). As part of this whole line, the objective fact that the proletarian revolution had been delayed in the imperialist countries and that there was as yet no proletarian revolutionary movement there was absolutized, so that the prospect of such revolution in the imperialist countries was all but dismissed…
…But to attempt to cling to Lin Biaoism in the world situation of today, with all its profound changes since the 1960s, including the principal contradiction, can only have very serious and disastrous consequences…”

17. Bob Avakian. From Ike to Mao And Beyond Insight Press USA:2005 p 241-245

18.  Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology-
On Knowing and Changing the World Revolutionary Worker #1262, December 19, 2004 http://revcom.u s/a/1262/avakian-epistemology.htm

19. Bob Avakian. Conquer The World https://irtr.org/archive/marxleninmao.proboards43.com/index797a223fb67a05dea8905ab852594d01.html?board=math&action=display&thread=

20. Bob Avakian. From Ike to Mao And Beyond Insight Press USA:2005 p 245

21. Maoist Internationalist Movement. Stalin page http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/faq/sovietcomputers.html

22 Trotsky’s ghost wandering the White House National Post June 07, 2003
http://www.prisonplanet.com/trotskys_ghost_wandering_the_white_house.htm

post

Hitler’s Beneficiaries (2005) by Gotz Aly reviewed by Prairie Fire

aly

Hitler’s Beneficiaries (2005) by Gotz Aly reviewed by Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

Gotz Aly’s book Hitler’s Beneficiaries (2005) is a groundbreaking book. Aly breaks with the dogmatic view held by many myth-makers on the “left” that the German working class despised Hitler’s tyranny. It dispenses with the shared mythology found among almost all First Worldists, be they Trotskyist or Marxist-Leninist or whatever. Aly thoroughly shows that Hitler’s regime did not survive at the expense of German working class, but because of it. Hitler’s regime was able to stay in power, even when it was losing the war, because it was popular among ordinary Germans:

“Precisely because so many Germans did in fact benefit from Nazi Germany’s campaigns of plunder, only marginal resistance arose. Content as most Germans were, there was little chance for a domestic movement that would have halted Nazi crimes. This new perspective on the Nazi regime as a kind of racist-totalitarian welfare state allows us to understand the connection between the Nazi policies of racial genocide and the countless, seemingly benign family anecdotes about how a generation of German citizens ‘got through’ World War II.” (2)

Aly explains how the fascist regime’s imperial conquests were used to elevate the standard of living of ordinary Germans. This made the regime quite popular and dulled any resistance to its policies, including its radical racist policies. Nazi policy makers were very aware of the connection between imperial conquest, expropriation of the wealth of oppressed peoples, and domestic social peace. So much were they aware of this connection that they often sought to micro-manage every aspect of the plunder and exploitation of the conquered lands in order to assure continued German popular support. Aly’s book is important for those seeking to understand the relationship between the First World and Third World today. Just as the average German reaped benefits from German conquests, so too do First World workers reap huge benefits from the imperialist world system. Just as the Nazi regime designed a system to expropriate the wealth of oppressed peoples and other countries to benefit the German population, so too do policy makers today in the First World seek to benefit the populations of the First World at the expense of the Third World. The book is an important one for those seeking to understand how class structure changes due to imperialism.

Popular, Young and Radical

The word “Nazi” gets thrown around to mean all kinds of things. It is almost always associated with brutal, unpopular dictatorship. Though the Nazi regime was a brutal and unpopular dictatorship toward those that it oppressed, most Germans did not perceive it that way. Most Germans were not on the receiving end of its jackboot. According to Aly:

“The Third Reich was not a dictatorship maintained by force. Indeed, the Nazi leadership developed an almost fearful preoccupation with the mood of the populace, which they monitored carefully, devoting considerable energy and resources toward fulfilling consumer desires, even to the detriment of the country’s rearmament program.” (25)

Aly paints another picture of the regime, at least as it was experienced by Germans. Hitler’s regime was very popular, radical, and young. It was not perceived as representing the old, stale, conservative order. It was seen as very new and different. The Nazi revolution was seen as exciting. It was a revolution for and by the young. For example:

“When Hitler came to power in 1933, Joseph Goebbels was thirty-five years old. Reinhard Heydrich was twenty-eight; Albert Speer, twenty-seven; Adolf Eichmann, twenty-six; Josef Mengele, twenty-one; and Heinrich Himmler and Hans Frank, both thirty-two. Hermann Göring, one of the eldest among the party leadership, had just celebrated his fortieth birthday.” (13-14)

Later, during World War 2, according to one survey, the average age of mid-level party leaders was 34, and within the government 44. (14) Nazi leaders were some of the youngest in the world. Germans in their 20s and 30s were deciding major state policies. The Nazi young were shaping the world. They were deciding the fates of peoples and nations. Most Germans did not see the regime as oppressive and stogy, they saw the regime as redesigning a young and brave new world:

“For most young Germans, National Socialism did not mean dictatorship, censorship, and repression; it meant freedom and adventure.” (14)

Even during the war, the regime was popular:

“The German leadership created and maintained a kind of wartime socialism aimed at attracting the loyalty of ordinary citizens.” (53)

The regime was not dominated by conservative pessimism, but by youthful optimism about overcoming the old divisions between Germans. The regime saw the traditional divisions and inequality between Germans as a big part of the problems that faced the nation. The youthful spirit of the regime meant that it was more likely to take on ambitious social programs to overcome these divisions. The regime put a premium on unity and social peace, at least among Germans. This peace was more often than not bought at the expense of other peoples. Even though the Nazi ideology preached inequality between the races, it placed great importance on equality among Germans. This was the “socialist” aspect of “National Socialism.” Although, in reality, there was nothing truly socialist about the Nazi regime. There is no such thing as “National Socialism,” the only true socialism is internationalist. Real socialism does not merely represent the interests of a single nation’s workers. Real socialism represents the interests of the proletariat, which is the international revolutionary class. Socialism and communism should not be confused with nationalism.

Debt, Taxation, Aryanization

As the Nazi regime began its rearmament program, it borrowed extensively. As the regime rearmed, and even as it went to war, it sought to shift the burden away from ordinary Germans. The regime sought to keep the social peace. During World War 1, between 1914 and 1918, the average German’s standard of living fell almost 65 percent. The Third Reich did not want a repeat of this situation as they planned for World War 2. (35) In 1939, one Nazi law stipulated: “Previous standards of living and peacetime income levels are to be taken into account when calculating degrees of family support for members of the Wehrmacht.” (69) The Nazi regime sought a “socially just sharing of the burden” in the years leading up to the war and after. (38) The regime accomplished this in many ways. For example, the Nazis regime’s taxation policies were redesigned to lift the burden from the ordinary German. (55) The Nazi hierarchy rejected tax policies that would alienate their popular support.  (50) The Nazis implemented progressive taxation designed to create popular support. One Nazi report was happy of the successes in 1943: “People meet their financial obligations, mortgages are paid off, and court-ordered repossessions are on the decline.” (58) Tax breaks were especially extended to farmers and subsidies were extended (55) At the same time, the Nazis increase the tax burden on the wealthy. “The trend toward soaking businesses and the wealthy gained further momentum in the fiscal year 1942-43.” (62) Hitler also increased the burden on those who made “effortless income” through investments in the stock market. (65) Industrialists complained that the Nazi regime was siphoning off 80 to 90 percent of business profits in 1943. Even though this figure is an exaggeration, it gives a sense about the Nazi’s orientation to keep the social peace at home. (68)

In addition, the Nazis kept the social peace by increasing welfare and state benefits. They voted for an increase in social programs and in pension payments, especially for small-time pensioners. They called for “blue- and white-collar workers to be put on equal footing” to give them a preliminary taste of the harmonious future to come. This future would be achieved by “generous reform of the social welfare state in the interest of working people.” Over and over, the more ideological wing of the regime often intervened against the more pragmatic wing. Social peace and social benefits often won out over fiscal responsibility. Despite budget problems, people like Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, Heinrich Himmler, and Food and Agricultural Minister Herbert Backe intervened for ordinary Germans. Hitler was able to stay aloof from the debate. (57)

As it rearmed, made war, and sought to keep the social peace, the regime went into massive debt so much so that it faced eventual financial collapse. The Nazis borrowed from domestic and foreign sources. Eventually, they would strong-arm occupied countries into “loaning” the regime large sums. The Nazis had no intention of paying these sums back and entered them as revenue in their books. (266) The Nazis used whatever financial tricks were available to hide the true extent of their borrowing. In 1938, Göring stated, “I know no other way to keep my Four Year Plan and the German economy going.” (45) The borrowing reached a point where the only solution to keeping the German economy afloat was to cannibalize the Jewish population and, eventually other peoples. The cannibalization of Jewish assets was referred to as “Aryanization.” Aly writes:

“Forced to come up with ever more creative ways of refinancing the national debt, they turned their attention to property owned by German Jews, which was soon confiscated and added to the so-called Volksvermogen, or collective assets, which by no means restricted to German society, implied the possibility of dispossessing those considered ‘alien’ (Volksfremden) or ‘hostile’ (Volksfeinden) to the ethnic mainstream.” (41)

Aly writes:

“[The state] distributed material goods that improved the popular mood. The political leadership unambiguously directed civil servants ‘to act, in light of their special responsibility toward all the people, with corresponding understanding of the concerns and needs of family members of front-line soldiers.’” (70)

Aryanization was the transfer of Jewish assets into the hands of the regime and into the hands of ordinary Germans. (41) The regime sought the “definitive removal of Jews from economic life” and “transforming Jewish wealth in Germany into assets that will deny [the Jews] any economic influence.” (44)

“Aryanization was essentially a gigantic, tans-European trafficking operation in stolen goods. It may have taken different forms in different countries, but the ultimate destination of the revenues generated was always the German war chest. These funds enabled the Reich to defray its main financial burdens.” (184)

Aryanization took various forms from outright plunder of assets and terror against Jewish people to legal and quasi-legal measures. Banks and other financial institutions helped the process. “The bank directors were not the ones doing the actual plundering here, but they acted as accessories, helping maximize the efficiency of the dispossession campaign.” (50) Often, the transfer was thinly disguised. For example, the regime forced Jews to surrender their assets for government stocks and bonds. On paper, the Jews were compensated. (43) Göring stated:

“The Jew is being driven from the economy and is surrendering his economic assets to the state. In return he is being compensated. His compensation is noted in the ledger sheet and accrues a certain amount of interest. That is what he has to live on.”  (45)

In the end, the population would be driven into exile and liquidated in the Holocaust, never redeeming their property. For example, in 1938, Jewish liquid assets, according to one calculation, which excluded real-estate and business assets, totaled 4.8 billion reichsmarks which could be confiscated by the Reich.  The process was repeated again and again. This helped keep the state solvent. The state also took preemptive measures when Jews sought to flee or transfer assets out of Germany.  In 1938, the state issued an edict that the proceeds of the expulsion of Jews go directly to the Reich.  Jewish goods were sold at cheap prices to the public, while at the same time financing the regime’s war-chest and social democratic policies. (43-47) Librarian Gertrud Seydelmann recalled the auctions of Aryanized goods in Hamburg’s working-class districts:

“Ordinary housewives suddenly wore fur coats, traded coffee and jewelry, and had imported antique furniture and rugs from Holland and France… Some of our regular readers were always telling me to go down to the harbor if I wanted to get hold of rugs, carpets, furniture, jewelry, and furs. It was property stolen from Dutch Jews who, as I learned after the war, had been taken away to the death camps…” (130)

Aly writes:

“The Reich and its citizens also benefited from the increased availability of capital, real estate, and goods ranging from precious stones and jewels all the way down to the cheap wares sold at flea markets. The dispossession of the Jews also stabilized the economies and calmed the political atmosphere in occupied countries, greatly simplifying the task of the Wehrmacht. Goods sold off at less than their actual worth provided an indirect subsidy to both German and foreign buyers.” (248)

The regime sought to justify the plunder of Jewish assets with their racist, but also social democratic, ideology. Those who pushed for social democratic reform were also those who pushed the most genocidal policies. The two were linked. (57) In 1938, Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick stated:

“Assets currently in Jewish hands are to be regarded as the property of the German people. Any destruction of or decrease in their value means a decrease in the collective assets of the German people.” (45-46)

Selling off of Jewish goods also slowed down inflation, associated with the war. It also eased the tax burdens on ordinary Germans, yet more benefits accrued from plunder. (186) The Aryanization of assets helped keep the economy afloat, increased the luxuries available to the German population, and helped keep government benefits flowing. The policies were popular with ordinary German tax payers. The Aryanization of Germany would later become the model for a more ambitious Aryanization throughout occupied Europe. (46-48)

War, Occupation, Plunder

Even during the height of the war, Germans were, generally, satisfied with their lot. Just as the Nazis cannibalized Jewish assets in order to increase social peace, they also transferred value from those countries they occupied to Germany. Aly writes:

“[O]nce the Nazi state undertook what became the most expensive war in world history, the majority of Germans bore virtually none of the costs. Hitler shielded the average Aryan from that burden at the cost of depriving others of their basic subsistence.” (9)

“The Nazi regime required the constant military destabilization of the periphery in order to maintain the illusion of financial stability at the center of the Reich.” (40)

The regime designed elaborate methods to offset war costs and also to keep value flowing from the occupied countries to Germany in order to keep Germans happy. One way that they accomplished this was by requiring occupied countries to pay for their own occupation.

“Over the course of World War II, Germany mandated unprecedented contributions, along with compulsory loans and population-based ‘quotas,’ on the defeated countries of Europe. These financial tributes soon exceeded the total peacetime budgets of the countries in question, usually by more than 100 percent and in the second half of the war by more than 200 percent.” (77)

“By 1943 the majority of the Reich’s additional war-related revenues came from abroad, from foreign slave laborers in Germany, and from the dispossession of Jews as ‘enemies of the state.’ These sources of income underwrote a significant portion of Germany’s military efforts.” (79)

These occupation costs were used to exact more and more tribute from the defeated. For example, the French complained that the tribute paid to Germany for occupation costs was being used for things that had nothing to do with occupation. (78) In Greece, plundering wiped out “some 40 percent of real Greek income” in 1941. (248) This was part of a larger process of shifting the burdens of the war away from Germans onto other peoples.

Another way that the Germans offset their costs and plundered occupied peoples was through requisitioning materials needed on the spot from occupied peoples. Germans introduced Reich Credit Bank certificates, a kind of promissory note for services and goods used by the occupation forces. These were used so that the military did not have to forcibly confiscate goods. The certificates gave the plunder the appearance of legality, an air of legitimacy. The introduction of certificates was the introduction of a second currency:

“German bayonets forced the defeated enemy to accept ultimately worthless pieces of paper as a de facto equivalent of their own currency. The damage to the French economy was scarcely noticeable at first, while the German economy earned a tidy profit.” (88)

This was repeated elsewhere in occupied areas. This second currency made the short term transfer of value easier, but it also had the side-effect of destabilizing the local currencies of occupied peoples. This made long-term transfer of value more difficult because the introduction of a second currency controlled by the Germans wrecked the economies of the occupied peoples. The introduction of the certificates helped streamline the short-term plunder of occupied peoples. Later, in 1943, these certificates were withdrawn to stabilize the franc in France. (87) This was part of an ongoing conflict between policy makers. Some sought to transfer as much value back to Germany as immediately as possible to offset war costs and keep Germans happy. Others recognized that there would be a bigger pay off to Germans if the economies of occupied countries were kept stable. More value could be siphoned off to Germany in the long term.

Plunder was also carried on through other financial manipulations that benefited Germans at the expense of occupied peoples. The Nazi occupation forces disguised their plunder of the occupied peoples through currency manipulations that favored Germans. The Germans consciously manipulated currency exchange rates in their favor. Currency manipulation benefited both the German economy and soldiers in the occupied countries. Germany relied on the importation of raw materials to maintain its war effort and domestic production. Currency manipulation made the purchase and export of materials to Germany cheaper. It gave German soldiers in the occupied areas more purchasing power to buy more goods for themselves and allowed them to send more to Germany.  Manipulating foreign currencies both kept German consumers well supplied and it added to Germany’s war-chest. (76-81)

Plunder in Hand and Mail

German soldiers emptied the shelves of occupied countries. They plundered and stole. However, they also paid for goods that were radically undervalued. German policy was designed to crash the economies of the occupied countries to aid in value transfer to Germany. An intended effect of this was to increase the purchasing power of German soldiers. The goods they acquired were consumed by soldiers themselves or sent back home to Germany through military packages. Also soldiers carried goods back with them when they could. Many Germans look back fondly of the abundance of foreign luxuries made possible by the war. Germans who received goods from the occupied lands “boasted and bragged.” Aly quotes a German who lived through the period:

“I remember a number of nice things.. that friends and relatives would proudly unpack from parcels received from ‘abroad’… People had more respect for the sender and compared him favorably with those who hadn’t sent anything back.” (97)

Laws were changed to encourage the smooth flow of value to Germany. Deputy Finance Minister Reinhardt intervened to settled complaints on Germany’s northern and eastern borders. He invoked a decree by Hitler: “It is the Fuhrer’s will that as many foodstuffs as possible be brought back home from the occupied eastern territories and that customs authorities take a hands-off approach.” (106) Also, the customs border between Germany and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Monrovia was abolished. This prompted a “purchasing frenzy” among German soldiers. One official wrote, “the luggage nets of the express trains are packed to the roof with heavy suitcases, bulky packages, and stuffed bags.” Everyone, even those of high rank, were packaging their luggage with “the most extraordinary consumer goods – furs, watches, medicines, shoes – in nearly unimaginable quantities.” (97) One historian describes what the French called “potato beetles”:

“Loaded with heavy packages, German soldiers departed from the Gare de l’Est for home leave. They had been acquired in countless petty transactions, but they did significant damage to the French national economy, playing a significant role in the development of the black market and inflation. They were the reason it was increasingly difficult for everyday French people to procure the basic necessities.” (98)

In 1942, when debate arose over the failure to enforce customs policies, Göring intervened, “Mr. Reinhardt, desist with your customs checks. I’m, no longer interested in them… I’d rather have unlimited amounts of goods smuggled in than have customs duties paid on nothing at all.” The Nazi elite intervened against the bureaucracy and in favor of the ordinary German. Thus ordinary Germans benefited in a very direct and tangible way from the occupation of defeated peoples.

Conflicts again arose between those bent on helping the ordinary Germany by the immediate plunder and those with a more long-term approach. In these debates, Göring stated:

“It has been said that we need to restrict soldiers’ access to their pay, or it will cause inflation in France. But inflation is what I want to see more than anything else… The franc should be worth nothing more than a sheet of a certain type of paper used for a specific purpose. That will hit France exactly the way we want to hit France.” (105)

Throughout the war and occupations, debates arose within the regime about how best to transfer value out of the defeated and occupied countries. Bureaucrats weighed the pluses and minuses of short-term and long-term strategies. However, throughout, the Nazis were very aware to design occupation policies to benefit the German state, but also to benefit the ordinary German and keep the social peace.

Slavery

An estimated 8 to 12 million slave laborers, mostly from Eastern Europe, worked for the Nazi regime. They worked under dangerous and inhuman conditions, often in the German arms industry.  In the most infamous cases, especially in the East, German and German-backed enterprises  and organizations “worked to death [their forced laborers] in conditions of virtual slavery.” (161) Even capitalists complained on occasion. For example, conditions were so bad for forced laborers that sometimes German companies protested their treatment. For example, in East Prussia, German companies complained that Polish workers were being so brutally exploited that there was no incentive to work. They complained to the Nazi regime that the system was so brutal that it was hindering the ability to produce. Sometimes these workers received a nominal “pay” that was 15 to 40 percent lower than  the average German pay. They “paid” the workers as part of public relations to shield themselves from criticism. However, the reality is that the authorities invented a number of schemes to cheat their workers and confiscate this “pay.” For example, when Germans occupied northern Italy, in September 1943, they put more than half a million POWs to work in the Reich as forced laborers. “Pay” was deposited into an account supposedly set up for the workers’ families to be able to withdraw the funds. However, the pay never made it back to the families of the forced laborers. Rather, the funds were secretly converted into German treasury bonds to pay for external occupation costs. (156-161)

The Germans stole the possessions of forced laborers. For example, when forced laborers were conscripted in the Ukraine, “Possessions left behind as well as any cash” were handed over and sold. “Animal inventory (horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, geese, etc.) as well as hay, straw, and field crops” were offered up for sale to the economics command of the local Wehrmacht division. The money from the sale of the assets of forced laborers eventually made their way to the German treasury. In theory, these funds would be transferred back to their owners at a later date. The reality is the funds only made their way into German accounts. This pattern was repeated over and over. The plunder, exploitation and taxation of German forced laborers ended up benefiting the German populace. It gave the cash-strapped German welfare programs a boost. (163-164)

Fat Germans and the Starving East

The Nazis also enacted policies of total plunder, designed to both aid Germans and to destroy enemy populations. In 1941, Göring issued a statement,“As a general principle for occupied territories, only those who work for us should be assured of receiving the food they need.” He advocated “ruthless conservation measures” to ensure the flow of food to Germany. Some of the first to be affected by these policies were Soviet POWs. Goebbels noted: “The catastrophic starvation there exceeds all description.” In Riga, German soldiers discussed their “assignment to let Russian POWs starve and freeze to death.” By, February 2, 1942, 2 million of the 3.3 million Red Army prisoners, 60 percent, had died in the hands of the German camps or in transit. (174-175)

The policy of starving Soviet POWs and Jews was also applied to Soviet cities. Göring addressed an audience in 1942, telling them that “we are feeding our entire army from the occupied territories.” He went on to announce that food rations would be increased and there would be a “special allocation” for Christmas. Göring proclaimed:  “From this day on things will continue to get better since we now possess huge stretches of fertile land. There are stocks of eggs, butter, and flour there that you cannot even imagine.” He also announced that there would be an “opening up of space in the East” that would allow for a return of “near-peacetime conditions.” He promised that the war would be fought to “successful conclusion without major privations.” One report stated that “Göring spoke to the heart and stomach.” (175) Aly shows some representative statistics showing how much food was transferred:

graph1a

And:

graph1b

In 1942, one official wrote that his job was to relieve “the home front as much as possible from the need to send supplies.” All that was left over that  “the Wehrmacht couldn’t find a use for” was to be sent back to Germany.

“Huge amounts of wheat, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, and eggs are being transported for distribution to the Reich. If, as my wife wrote me, the few weeks of food production should see the successful delivery of sunflower oil, I can say with pride that I was directly involved in the operation.” (178-179)

In 1942, extra food sent back from the front was directed especially toward Germans engaged in hard physical labor, pregnant women, and Aryan senior citizens. Ordinary German citizens also benefited. Their access to food and purchasing power increased as a result of the plundering of food. One German recalled after the war, “During the war we didn’t go hungry. Back then everything worked. It was only after the war that things turned bad.”  (178-179)

German National “Socialism”

Nazis sought to advance the interests of Germans by creating a great German-centered empire.  This vision was linked to the subjugation of other peoples, including the genocide of the Jews and Eastern peoples. Other countries were to be subdued, their populations made to work for the benefit of Germans. Eastern peoples would be enslaved and exterminated, so their land could be settled. Hitler once compared his Eastern ambitions with the genocidal Western expansion of the United States in North America. This vision aimed at German social peace, at elevating the standard of living of ordinary Germans. Aly writes:

“The constant Nazi talk of needing more space and colonies, of Germany’s place on the world stage and eastward expansion, as well as of the imperative of ‘de-Jewification,’ was aimed at hastening a rise in the German standard of living, which the domestic economy alone could never have supported.” (317)

Himmler, in his capacity as Reich commissioner for settlement projects, stated:

“The territories in question have been conquered by armed campaigns as part of a war waged by all Germans [so that] the fruits of this victory may benefit the entire German people.” (306)

Reducing class differences was a big part of the plan to settle Germans in Eastern Europe. (30-31) Reducing divisions and social peace among Germans were a big part of Nazi ideology.  Hitler promised  equality to all members of the Volk. During the war, every member of the Volk was to be provided for. In 1940, an observer from the Social Democratic Party reported that in Berlin: “The working classes thoroughly welcome the fact that ‘the better off’ have, in practical terms, ceased to be that.” Rationing policies during the war strove for equality among Germans. (322)

Elevating ordinary Germans was a big part of Nazi policy. Their loyalty was secured through progressive taxation policies designed to lift the burden from working and lower-strata Germans. Their loyalty was bought by increasing their wages, purchasing power, and access to consumer goods.  Nazi policies sought to increase the benefits to ordinary German workers. They sought to expand privileges once reserved for the upper classes to the lower classes. For example, the Berlin regional warden of the German Labor Front was very energetic in his promotion of benefits to labor:

“In 1938 we want to devote ourselves more and more to reaching all those comrades who still think that vacation travel isn’t something for blue-collar workers. This persistent misconception must finally be overcome.” (21)

In 1943, at the height of the war, Nazis were fixated on keeping Germans happy. Martin Bormann stated: “The spending power of the broad masses is what’s important!” (57) Nazi policy did much to shift the burden off of ordinary Germans to the conquered peoples, but also to the upper classes in Germany:

“From the fall of 1941 onward, the political leadership blocked all proposals by finance experts to levy supplementary wartime taxes on the wages and everyday consumer spending of average Germans. They had no such scruples about taxing the upper classes.” (312)

All of these popular measures combined in National “Socialism.” The Nazi regime kept Germans well fed. It turned genocide and the conquest of other peoples into a gold rush. Ordinary Germans willingly participated. “[C] oncern for the welfare of Germans was the decisive motivation behind policies of terrorizing, enslaving, and exterminating enemy groups.” (309) Aly holds that it was the Nazi appeal to the stomach more than ideological pronouncements about the “master race” that kept the German population loyal. “The Nazi regime profited from the basic satisfaction of ordinary Germans, regardless of whether they felt a sense of attachment to or… distance from the party ideology.” (311) Because the regime sought to advance the interests of ordinary Germans, real resistance to the regime “from below” never materialized. Aly dismisses the myth-making that has surrounded a German supposed “resistance” to Hitler.

“Germans were kept passive and generally content by a lavish social welfare system that was paid for by these riches. The improvement in the public mood that came with increases in people’s material welfare…” (304)

“Nothing less than massive popular greed made it possible for the regime to tame the majority of Germans with a combination of low taxes, ample supplies of consumer goods, and targeted acts of terror against social outsiders. The best strategy in the eyes of the public-opinion-conscious Nazi leadership was to keep all Germans happy.” (324)

“Later, when the fighting was over, the fateful collaboration of millions of Germans vanished, as if by magic, to be replaced by a wildly exaggerated — and historically insignificant — record of resistance to Hitler.” (319)

This lack of resistance was also reflected in the size of the Gestapo:

“[T]he Gestapo in 1937 had just over 7,000 employees, including bureaucrats and secretarial staff. Together with a far smaller force of police, they sufficed to keep tabs on more than 60 million people. Most Germans simply did not need to be subjected to surveillance or detention.” (29)

The parallels today are obvious. Just as Hitler elevated the German population on the backs of the defeated peoples, First World peoples live on the backs of the Third World peoples. Just as people waited in vain for a German worker’s revolution against Hitler, they wait in vain for First World worker’s revolution. The Nazis were not defeated internally, the Nazis were defeated externally, by the Red Army. German workers did not oppose the Nazi regime because they benefited from it. They willingly joined in the cannibalization of other peoples. Today, First World peoples as a whole join with their own rulers against the peoples of the Third World. We are in the middle of yet another world war, a war by the First World against the Third World.This war only benefits the First World at the expense of the Third World. Just as Hitler was defeated by the Red Army, so too must the First World be defeated by a global people’s war led by Leading Light Communists.

Metaphysics versus Materialism

Karl Marx famously critiqued the idea that history should be explained as a series of great men. Instead of looking at history as the result of great men or cabals of great men, Marx looked at history scientifically. Marx looked at the world through the lenses of power. Marx traced historic and social phenomena back to power systems of classes, nations, and genders. Marx called this historical materialism. Aly applies historical materialism to the question of  how Nazism could have happened.

“So complex an answer to the question of how Nazism could have happened does not lend itself to mere antifascist sloganeering or didacticism of museum exhibits. It is necessary to focus on the socialist aspect of National Socialism, if only as a way of advancing beyond the usual projections of blame onto specific individuals and groups — most often the delusional, possibly insane Fuhrer but also the cabal of racist ideologues or the members of a particular class, like bankers and business tycoons, or certain Wehrmacht generals or the elite killing units. The chief problem with such approaches is they all suggest that a special group of evil ‘others’ bears culpability for Nazi crimes.” (8)

Aly extends our understanding of the relationship between fascism and social democracy. Aly’s book develops the analysis of the Comintern in the 1930s. Whether Aly is aware of it or not, Aly stands in the tradition of Marxists like Rajani Palme Dutt and the theories of “social fascism.” Aly casts aside “leftist” dogma. Rather Nazism is explained by ruthlessly looking at its material origin. The Nazis represented an alignment of social forces, which included German workers. German workers supported the Nazis. The Nazis returned the favor. In many ways, the Nazi’s politics was very similar to their social democratic opponents. It was Lenin who criticized the German and French social democrats when they supported the war efforts of their imperialist homelands in World War 1. The revisionists placed their own peoples, their own workers, ahead of the global proletariat by doing so. Lenin, by contrast, advocated the policy of revolutionary defeatism. Lenin sought the defeat of the Czarist empire in the hope that a defeat for his imperialist homeland could lead to a revolutionary situation. Contrary to Lenin, the revisionists of the Second International were the social imperialists and social fascists of their day. They were socialist in name, but in reality, they were imperialists. Even the Nazis’ official party name was the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Today, First Worldism is the main form of social imperialism and social fascism. Like the Nazis in World War 2 and the social democrats of World War 1, First Worldists may use Marxist and socialist rhetoric, they may even claim to care about the Third World, but, in reality, they seek to advance the interests of their populations at the expense of the vast majority of humanity. First Worldism raises the red flag to oppose the red flag. Like Lenin before, Leading Light Communism represents the interests of the proletariat and oppressed as a whole. Just as Lenin made the break with the kind of narrow, unimaginative, dogmatic thinking of his day, so does every real revolutionary scientist, so too does Leading Light Communism.

The First Worldist outlook is not based on scientific analysis, it is based on dogma. Aly helps demonstrate the bankruptcy of First Worldist chauvinism and the vulgar “workerism” that simply assumes that everyone who makes a wage or receives a salary has a common interest in socialism. Such “workerism” makes the assumption that all employees have a common class interest and can be aligned for socialism. To maintain that all of those who are employed, both in the First World and Third World, are part of the same class is pure metaphysics. The entire twentieth century has shown us that this is simply not the case. The reason that “communism” is considered dead today is that people can easily see that the rhetoric of those claiming to be “communist” does not correspond with reality at all. Even radical Islam, and its jihad against the West, draws the lines of friends and enemies more accurately than First Worldist so-called Marxism. By contrast, Leading Light Communism looks at the real world. Leading Lights look at the actual historical record; Leading Lights look at the actual way social forces align, not how we imagine them to align. Leading Light Communism has brought science back to communism. The Leading Lights have elevated revolutionary science to a whole new stage. Aly’s book is a powerful weapon in the struggle against dipshitism posing as Marxism.

Source

Aly, Gotz. Hitler’s Beneficiaries. Holt Paperbacks, USA: 2005

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Documents show Stalin went to great lengths to stop Hitler

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Documents show Stalin went to great lengths to stop Hitler

(llco.org)

In 1939, Stalin tried to make a deal with the West against fascist Germany. Recently declassified archive documents show the extent that Stalin went to in an attempt  to stop Hitler by offering an alliance to Britain and France on August 15, 1939. According to the documents, Stalin offered to commit one million troops to stand watch on the German border to deter Hitler from expanding World War 2. According to one source:

“The Soviet offer – made by war minister Marshall Klementi Voroshilov and Red Army chief of general staff Boris Shaposhnikov – would have put up to 120 infantry divisions (each with some 19,000 troops), 16 cavalry divisions, 5,000 heavy artillery pieces, 9,500 tanks and up to 5,500 fighter aircraft and bombers on Germany’s borders in the event of war in the west..” (1)

Had the deal been taken seriously, Stalin was prepared to up the level of support to double the number of Hitler’s fielded forces at the time. However, Stalin was rebuffed by the West.

A week later, August 23, 1939, Stalin made a treaty with Hitler after Germany attacked Poland. Stalin’s detractors criticize the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a purely opportunist move on behalf of a power hungry Soviet dictator. However, these documents indicate that, on the contrary, Stalin attempted to prevent World War 2. According to Major General Lev Sotskov, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact would not have happened had the West accepted Stalin’s offer of an alliance. It was only after being rejected by the West that Stalin was forced to sign a pact with Hitler in order to buy time to build up Soviet military strength.

Conservative leader Neville Chamberlain in Britain and the French had earlier, in 1938, enabled Hitler by allowing the German annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in the Munich agreement. The West warned Czechoslovakia not to invoke its treaty with the Soviet Union. The reality is that the West had more of a de facto treaty with Hitler than the Soviet Union. Later, the Soviet Union, not the West, would do the bulk of the fighting against the German armies.

It is estimated that around 50 million people died in World War 2. The Soviet peoples suffered 27 million deaths, more than all the other allied nations put together did. Stalin tried to prevent this catastrophe, the West sold-out humanity and enabled the Nazis. More than any single leader, Stalin prevented the victory of fascism in Europe.

The Western view of Stalin was shaped by imperialists, fascists, and other anti-communists, especially Trotskyists. In Russia, Stalin is viewed very differently. In poll after poll, Stalin, a Georgian, tops the lists as a great Russian leader. (2)(3)(4)(5) This latest revelation about Stalin shows just how skewed Western history is.

Notes

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew….ops-to-stop-Hit ler-if-Britain-and-France-agreed-pact.html�

2. Surprisingly enough, many Russians still miss Stalin’s strong handhttp://english.pravda.ru/russia/history/10-07-2008/105747-stalin-0

3. Last Tsar Leads Stalin in Poll on Greatest Russian http://www.javno.com/en/world/clanak.php?id=165426

4. GEORGIA: GEORGIAN PUBLIC CHOOSES STALIN AS IDEAL LEADER – POLL.(Brief Article)http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6465/is_200108/ai_n26275688�

5. Could Josef Stalin be made a saint? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew….de-a-saint.html

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Molotov, MIM, Dogma, and Stalin’s support for Israel

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Molotov, MIM, Dogma, and Stalin’s support for Israel

(llco.org)

Stalin was a great socialist leader, but it is important to tell the truth about his mistakes. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a high-ranking, important member of Stalin’s regime. Today’s Stalinists occasionally choose him as their favorite candidate to have succeeded Stalin in  “what if” fantasy histories. “What if Molotov had led the Soviet Union rather than Beria or Khrushchev?” they ask. One of the biggest questions about both Molotov and Stalin is why they supported an apartheid state like Israel. Decades later, Molotov states in his memoirs:

“Everyone objected [to recognizing the State of Israel] but us — me and Stalin. Some asked me why we favored it. We are supporters of international freedom. Why should we be opposed if, strictly speaking, that meant pursuing a hostile nationalist policy? In our time, it’s true, the Bolsheviks were and remained anti-Zionist… Yet it’s one thing to be anti-Zionist and anti-bourgeois, and quite another to be against the Jewish people. We proposed, however, an Arab-Israeli union, for both nations to live there together. We have supported this version if it could have been arranged. Otherwise we favored an Israeli state… Israel has turned out badly. But Lord Almighty! That’s American imperialism for you.”  (1)

The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) extrapolates on Molotov’s defense of Stalin:

“Stalin has been criticized for his recognition of Israel. There is a limit to what the revolutionary forces are capable of. In the case of the existence of Israel, the progressive forces were not able to stop its creation as a separate, exclusive state. Once created, the question became whether or not to recognize it. From Molotov’s quote above, it is clear that Stalin would not recognize the right to self-determination of only those nations with progressive impact, and that he said Molotov thought that not recognizing Israel would have been ‘against the Jewish people.’ They believed they should not oppose the fait-accompli in Israel, though they would have preferred a different outcome.” (2)

These are good examples of how not to approach political errors and history. In his memoirs, Molotov washes his hands of responsibility for Israel even though he had a big role in policies that aided Israel’s creation. Rather than accepting his errors, Molotov obfuscates. He shifts the blame onto United States, who subsequently became the main supporter of Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian peoples and wars against the Arabs. The genocide and wars continue to this day. MIM does not confront Molotov on his dishonesty. MIM articulates Molotov’s excuse better than Molotov. According to MIM, Stalin’s power was limited and he had no choice but to recognize Israel. Since the Zionists had won their war, what is gained by an infantile refusal to recognize them? This might make sense if all you had to go on was Molotov’s word. However, the reality is that Molotov is lying by omission. And MIM doubles down on the lie.

Stalin’s regime did more than extend de jure recognition to an already victorious Israel on May 18, 1948, they were the first. Several Eastern Bloc countries followed suit, extending de jure recognition to Israel before the United States, which only got around to de jure recognition by January 31, 1949. Golda Meir, one of Israel’s founding elders and Israel’s Fourth Prime Minister, wrote in her memoirs:

“… [T]he Soviet recognition of the State of Israel on May 18 was of immense significance to us.  It meant that the two greatest powers in the world has come together, for the first time since World War II, to back the Jewish state, and although we were still in deadly danger, we knew, at last, that we were not alone. It was in that knowledge – combined with sheer necessity – that we found the spiritual, if not the material, strength that was to lead us to victory.” (3) *

Stalin’s recognition of Israel gave a tremendous morale boost to the Zionists. It also boosted their international legitimacy and gave them diplomatic cover. What Molotov and MIM fail to mention is that  Stalin’s support for the Zionist movement goes back prior to the Israeli victory. The Eastern Bloc played a key role in the victory of the Zionists.

The Jewish Agency, an organization that later became the state of Israel, between June 1947 and October 31, 1949, began seeking weapons for Operation Balak. Weapons were procured using communist help in Czechoslovakia. As the communists became more influential after World War 2, material support for Zionism increased. The communist coup increased Czechoslovakia’s support for the Zionists. The Soviet Bloc arms shipments were very significant. Most of the arms were of German design. They were either leftover arms from World War 2 or new arms manufactured in Czechoslovakia using German designs. The arms shipments up to October, 1948 included: 34,500 P-18 rifles, 5,515 MG 34 machine guns with 10,000 ammo belts, 10,000 vz.24 bayonets, 900 vz. 37 heavy machine guns, 500 vz. 27 pistols. Other infantry weapons: 12 ZK-383 submachine guns, 10 ZK 420 semi-automatic rifles, 500 vz. 26 light machine guns (shipped, yet delivery not confirmed in Czech sources). Ammunition: 91,500,000 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridges, 15,000,000 9mm Parabellum cartridges, 375,000 13mm cartridges for MG 131, 150,000 20mm cartridges for MG 151, 375,000 7.65mm cartridges for vz. 27 pistol. Aircraft: Israeli Avia S-199, 1948, 25 Avia S-199 fighters, 61 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX fighters. (4) The Israelis continued to receive arms and support after 1948. In addition, the Soviet bloc provided weapons and tactical training the the Zionist insurgency. Eighty-one pilots and 69 crew specialists were trained. Some of these later formed the first units of the Israeli air force. The equivalent of a brigade of Jewish-Czech volunteers were trained on Czechoslovakian soil from August 20, 1948 until November 4, 1948. The Czechoslovakian codename for the operation was “DI,” an abbreviation for “Důvěrné Israel,” which means “Classified Israel.” A motorized brigade was also trained, but the war had been won before they were deployed. (5)

Golda Meir was especially appreciative of Stalin’s help, which saved their movement:

“Had it not been for the arms and ammunition that we were able to buy in Czechoslovakia and transport through Yugoslavia and other Balkan countries in those dark days at the start of the war, I do not know whether we actually could have held out until the tide changed, as it did by June, 1948. For the first six weeks of the War of Independence, we relied largely (though not, of course, entirely) on the shells, machine guns, bullets – and even planes – that the Haganah had been able to purchase in Eastern Europe at a time when even the United States had declared an embargo on the sale of shipment of arms to the Middle East. ” (6)

Elsewhere, she states:

“I shall always remember the profound understanding shown by the Russian authorities to the many problems of our young state.” (7)

Stalin’s aid to the Zionists is not some big secret. On May 14, 1947, before the Zionist victory that led to the Israeli state, the Soviet ambassador Andrei Gromyko announced:

“As we know, the aspirations of a considerable part of the Jewish people are linked with the problem of Palestine and of its future administration. This fact scarcely requires proof…. During the last war, the Jewish people underwent exceptional sorrow and suffering… The United Nations cannot and must not regard this situation with indifference, since this would be incompatible with the high principles proclaimed in its Charter…The fact that no Western European State has been able to ensure the defence of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and to safeguard it against the violence of the fascist executioners explains the aspirations of the Jews to establish their own State. It would be unjust not to take this into consideration and to deny the right of the Jewish people to realize this aspiration.” (8)

Although the Soviets said they preferred the partition, they also supported an Israeli state. So the Soviet support for Israel was not because Israel was a fait-accompli, as MIM claims. The socialist bloc had been giving moral, diplomatic, and material support to the Zionist insurgency long before its de jure recognition of Israel.

It is easy to see how the dishonest historical narrative arose. MIM approaches history as other dogmatic revisionists do. Their method is to construct a narrative in favor of their pantheon of revolutionary icons, then gather information that appears to support it, ignore what does not support it, make excuses, avoid political responsibility for errors. In this case, they present a small tidbit from Molotov that appears to the uneducated to sound reasonable. MIM leaves out the rest of the story because they are not interested in truth. The are not interested in the genuine historical record, they are interested in deflecting criticism from Stalin. They do not practice historical science, they practice apologetics. Truth does not matter. Defending Stalin on all things matters most, even if it means sacrificing truth. MIM uses this same method in their work on the Maoist era. All the more damning is that two of MIM’s cardinal points of unity involve historical claims about when the Soviet and Maoist revolutions were reversed. Either MIM was demanding unity about historical eras it did not understand or MIM was consciously misrepresenting these eras in an effort to be in line with Maoists internationally. Whether MIM was sloppy and ignorant or dishonest, their approach was not scientific. Unfortunately, MIM’s “cutting the toes to fit the shoes” approach to history is all too common among revisionists that claim to be communist. By contrast, the scientific, true communist historian goes where the data leads. He does not begin with picking good guys and bad guys, then proceed to cherry pick data to support the good guy and defame the bad guy. A serious historian looks at and presents all the data, even data which goes against his political instincts. A serious historian examines all possible reasonable narratives, weighing them against each other and the data. A serious historian integrates his narrative with what we know about systems of oppression. A serious historian is out to discover truth, even if truth goes against his political instincts.  We must uphold what is good in all things, all leaders, and reject the bad. We must uphold what is good in Stalin and come to terms with what is not. Writing history should not be like writing a novel.

Several factors led to Stalin’s support for Israel. After World War 2, the Soviet policy continued to be based on Lenin’s idea of continuous intra-imperialist conflict. Stalin thought that the Western allies of World War 2 would break down. As the imperialists sought more and more expansion, they would inevitably lead the world into another great war. Stalin saw the British empire as the strongest of the European powers after World War 2. The Zionist insurgency could be used to weaken British rule over Palestine. In addition, the British still wielded power and influence over those lands neighboring the Soviet Union’s southern flank. The Soviets had their buffer zone of satellite states in Eastern Europe, but were encircled in the south. The Zionist war against the Arabs was also a war against the British who had restricting migration and enforcing an embargo on Palestine in hopes of keeping the peace with the indigenous Palestinians. The British did not want to see their colonial possession destabilized or fall into sectarian conflict. Stalin was hoping to fan the flames of the conflict between the Zionists and the British. Golda Meir states, “There is now no doubt in my mind that the primary Soviet consideration was to get the British out of the Middle East.” (9) Furthermore, the Zionist movement had a strong pole that was perceived as leftist, socialist, anti-capitalist. The Kibbutz movement and Golda Meir herself represent this trend. Golda Meir and Molotov’s wife briefly discussed collective property in 1948:

“I had a much more interesting and rewarding encounter with another Soviet citizen at the reception given by Mr. Molotov on the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, to which all the diplomats in Moscow are invited each year… After I had shaken hands with Molotov, his wife, Ivy Molotov, came up to me. ‘I am so pleased to meet you, at last,’ she said with real warmth and even excitement. Then she added, ‘I speak Yiddish, you know.’

‘Are you Jewish?’ I asked in some surprise.

‘Yes,’ she said, answering me in Yiddish, ‘Ich bin a yiddishe tochter.’ (I am a daughter of the Jewish people.) We talked together for quite a long time. She knew all about the events at the synagogue and told me how good it was that we had gone. ‘The Jews wanted so much to see you,’ she said. We touched on the question of the Negev, which was being debated at the United Nations. I made some remark about not being able to give it up because my daughter lived there and added that Sarah wa with me in Moscow. ‘I must see her,’ said Mrs. Molotov. So I introduced Sarah and Yael Namir to her, and she talked to them about Israel and asked Sarah dozens of questions about kibbutzim, who lived in them and how they were run. She spoke Yiddish to the girls who were overjoyed when Sarah answered in the same language. When Sarah explained that everything in Revivim was owned collectively and that there is no private property, Mrs. Molotov looked troubled. ‘That is not a good idea,’ she said. ‘People don’t like sharing everything. Even Stalin is against that. You should acquaint yourself with Stalin’s thoughts and writings on the subject.’ Before she returned to her other guests, she put her arm around Sarah and, with tears in her eyes, said, ‘Be well. If everything goes well with you, it will go well for all Jews everywhere… after that conversation with us, Ivy Molotov had been arrested, and how earlier that day, we had watched the military parade in Red Square. I had so envied the Russians all those weapons on display – the tiniest fraction of which was beyond our means – and, as if he read my thoughts, Molotov had raised a glass of vodka to me later and said, ‘Don’t think we got those in a single day. The time will come when you, too, will have these things. It will all be all right.” (10)

Because there was some perceived ideological overlap between parts of the Zionist movement and the Soviet Union’s ideology, there was a hope that Israel might emerge as not just friendly to the Soviet Union, but as a satellite country, similar to the Eastern European people’s democracies. In this way, Israel could help not only break up the imperialist encirclement on the Soviet southern flank, but an Israeli people’s democracy could also become a southern buffer against imperialist attack.

The Arab world suffered in more ways than one. The Zionist war led to the racist, apartheid state of Israel. The genocide against the Palestinians continues. Israel has become the right hand of imperialism in the Middle East. Israel is on the front lines suppressing resistance movements and regimes on behalf of the First World. Israel is a kind of permanent, giant aircraft and troop carrier in the troubled region, always ready to do battle with the people. Recently, Israel has been called on to check Iran’s growing power in the region. In addition, in  almost every large region of the Third World there have been communist or nominally communist parties that seized state power: Asia, Latin America, Africa, all had genuine Marxist or nominally Marxist movements seize power. Even though the Arab world is very large, spreading over the whole of northern Africa and much of the Middle East, very few Marxist or nominally Marxist movements have gained any real significance. Conditions there are not fundamentally different than in other Third World countries. In the Middle East, nationalism, Baathism, and Islamic movements have, for the most part, led the concrete anti-imperial struggle, not Marxists nor revisionists. There was South Yemen’s pro-Soviet regime and forces in Oman connected to Yemen, but, on the whole, both real Marxism and revisionism have lacked strength in the Arab world. Even though Stalin changed his policy toward Israel in the following years, the international communist movement suffered from Stalin’s error.

During World War 2, Stalin’s regime had to resurrect Russian nationalism as a way of motivating the people to fight the Nazi invader. This carried over into the post-war years. Stalin’s Israel policy placed Russo-Soviet national or imperial interest above the interests of the global proletariat, including the Palestinians who were suffering an invasion by a racist enemy that eventually led to occupation and depopulation. Stalin placed the narrow geopolitical concerns of the Soviet Union as a country above the international proletariat. Even if Stalin was able to win Israel to his side on a more permanent basis, it should have been obvious that support for such an invasion and occupation would taint communism in the eyes of the Arab people. Stalin’s approach does not calculate in the agency and potential of the Arab people, a poor and colonized people. Instead of the masses making history, in such a worldview, geopolitical machinations by powerful states make history. Stalin was looking too much to powerful states, not class struggle as the motor of history. In the case of Israel, the Soviet outlook does not seem totally different from those of the Western imperialists. No matter what superpower won, the Arabs lost.

Other changes were afoot in the Soviet Union. The Soviet regime edged toward traditionalism in gender and culture during and after World War 2. Traditional roles were recommended to women again in Soviet art. After World War 2, for example, a genre about overambitious wives who neglect their children develops in Soviet literature. The Soviet support for Israel is another indicator of regression. Soviet foreign policy seems to be operating, in this case, according to the national interests of the Russo-Soviet state, not the global proletariat. The fight for communism appears to be taking a back seat both domestically and in foreign policy.

Maoist China split with the Soviet Union over its imperialist policies after Khrushchev delivered his famous “secret speech” criticizing Stalin at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956. Mao used Stalin as a battering ram against Khrushchev’s domestic capitalism and imperialist foreign policy. However, these tendencies that Mao so criticized pre-dated Khrushchev’s rise to power. Even though Mao posed as an orthodox Stalinist to criticize Khrushchev, the reality is that the these tendencies began to arise under Stalin’s watch. Interestingly, Stalin’s inner circle – Molotov, Malenkov, and Beria – all moved for a less confrontational Soviet foreign policy after Stalin’s death. At Stalin’s funeral, Malenkov unveiled a “peace initiative.” “There are no contested issues in U.S.-Soviet relations that cannot be resolved by peaceful means.” (11) The idea of “peaceful coexistence” between the Soviet bloc and the United States was mainly blamed on Khrushchev by the Maoists. This was one of the main reasons for the Sino-Soviet split. The claim that the contradiction between socialism and imperialism is non-antagonistic is thoroughly revisionist. Thus the Maoists correctly identified Khrushchev as a social imperialist. By the Khrushchev era, the Soviet state was really imperialist even if claimed to be socialist. When Mao’s own revolution went off the rails in the 1970s, Mao too began to place China’s narrow interest above that of the international proletariat. This is why Mao began to align with the West. This is why Mao aligned with the West in Angola, Bangladesh, Chile, etc. Just as such policies discredited the Soviet Union as it slid into revisionism, they also discredited Mao in the 1970s. Nationalism has proven a big danger to socialist regimes.

Leaders often play important, decisive roles. Leaders are often representatives of and concentrations of  great social forces. Great leaders, great geniuses, great warriors, can be indispensable. Even so, the analysis of history has to go beyond leaders. We should not organize our analysis of revolution and counter-revolution around a hero and villain. To do so is really just a version of what Marx criticized as the Great Man Theory of History. A truly scientific, materialist approach to history is looks beneath the surface. It is important to be honest with the masses. It is important to tell the truth, to have a real scientific attitude, about past revolutions. We are initiating the next great wave of revolution. It is important that we go further than all past revolutions. It is necessary that we achieve total revolution, Leading Light Communism. Only through a scientific account of the history of revolution can we really understand the errors of the past so that we can avoid them the next time we have power.

Friedrich Engels stated, “without theory, practice is blind.” Dogmatism blinds the people. It keeps the masses ignorant. Those who espouse dogma show a basic lack of trust in the masses. The masses can handle the truth. They are waiting for it. They demand it. Leading Light Communism is about rejecting all dogma. It is about advancing the science, pure and simple. It is about advancing the science in an all-round way, in history, in political economy, in aesthetics and culture, in power struggle, in military science, in constructing communism, in epistemology, and on and on. The proletariat must be given the weapons they need to liberate themselves, not dull knives, but sharp blades. Open your eyes. There is a new breakthrough, a new science, a new organization, a new leadership capable of leading us to victory. It is not about individuals. It is about the science, the masses, and the Earth.  There is a way to victory.

Notes

1. MIM. MIM Theory: The Stalin Issue. MIM. 1994 p. 43

2. ibid. p. 45

3. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947%E2%80%9349

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947%E2%80%9349

6. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

7. Syrkin, Marie. Golda Meir: Israel’s Leader. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1969 p. 234

8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union_and_the_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_conflict

9. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 pp. 230-231

10. Meir, Golda, My Life. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York, USA: 1975 p. 254

11. Zubok, Vladislav and Pleshakov, Constantine. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War. Seventh Printing. Harvard University Press. USA: 2003 p.155

* Golda Meir mentions, contrary to most accounts, that the Soviet recognition occurred after the US recognition. She may be confusing de jure and de facto recognition.