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The Centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution: a Legacy to Celebrate

by Marcus Papadopoulos, October 2017 edition of Russian Mind

This month, commemorations will be held in towns and cities across Russia to mark the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Whilst the state and system that the revolution gave birth to – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Soviet communism – is no longer in existence today, the positive legacy of this pivotal event in history has endured in modern-day Russia. Indeed, as a result of the political, economic and social carnage of the 1990s in Russia, stemming directly from the collapse of the Soviet system, and which Russians continue to be haunted by to this very day, the legacy of what was officially known in the USSR as the Great October Socialist Revolution continues to receive more and more prominence within all age groups in Russia today, including the young.

It is also the case that people from outside of Russia will also be commemorating the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, such was the magnitude of the event and what it meant, in practice, to ordinary people the length and breadth of the world.

So what did the Bolshevik Revolution initiate? And why is its legacy so significant for Russians and others peoples, too?

The coming to power in Russia of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik party, on 7th October, 1917, ushered in the first socialist state in history. For the first time, the ordinary man and woman had reached the pinnacle of power in a country. And their views and needs would now be at the core of decision-making in Russia.

The Bolsheviks quickly began carrying out reforms which would both inspire people around the world and set a precedent for other countries to replicate.

The Soviet Union, in 1920, was the first country in history to introduce free healthcare for its citizens. For the first time ever, all Russians, regardless of background, would be entitled to free medical treatment, including medications and operations. That was a truly remarkable reform and one that enabled the Bolsheviks to claim, with justification, the moral high ground over the capitalist world. Furthermore, progressive politicians in other countries, such as those from the Labour Party in Britain, were inspired by the Soviets’ healthcare system and this significantly contributed to their campaign for a National Health Service in the UK, which eventually came about in 1948. Incidentally, British politicians and journalists, today, erroneously claim that the UK was the first country in the world to give birth to a national healthcare system; this accolade actually goes to the Soviet Union.

Today, it is all too easy to take for granted a national healthcare system. And we should always remember that in 2017 the United States still does not provide free healthcare to its people; in America, the concept of treating its citizens for free is regarded by American politicians and, sadly, many doctors as being at odds with the American way of life, which is, in essence, about putting money and profits before the welfare of people. So whilst the Russian people have been enjoying free healthcare for nearly 100 years as a result of the Bolshevik revolution, the American system continues, to this very day, to deny its own people this most fundamental of human rights.

Education was another area that the Bolsheviks completely overhauled and, in doing so, set a shining example to the rest of the world. Compulsory education for all Soviet children was introduced, while higher education – in colleges and universities – was made free.  The Soviets constantly emphasised to children and young people the importance of education and reading, and this would eventually result in the Soviet Union having one of the most skilled labour forces in the world, together with a highly educated population.

Illiteracy in the Soviet Union, which had plagued the old Russia and handicapped her economic and industrial endeavours, was eliminated within a relatively short period of time by the Bolsheviks. By 1900, literacy levels in Imperial Russia was less than 30 per cent; however, by the end of the 1930s, literacy in Soviet Russia was approximately 75 per cent, and by the end of the 1950s this figure had risen to nearly 100 per cent. [Editor’s note: For comparison purposes, by 1950, the literacy rate in the UK was 90%.]

The Bolsheviks averred that the right to a free and good quality education was the right of all children and young people in Russia. And by having created an education system that was one of the most revered in the world, the Soviets laid the foundation for the USSR to eventually become one of the leading countries in science, engineering, medicine, industry, space and health.

Healthcare and education were, indisputably, two of the greatest achievements of Soviet communism, and following 1945 the communist countries in Eastern Europe emulated the Soviet system, which yielded tremendously successful results for their respective populations. The rest of the world marvelled at the Soviet education system.

In England today, the education system has largely been turned into a business. Infant and primary schools are rapidly turning into academies, which is privatisation by the backdoor, while universities charge students, on undergraduate courses, an average of £9,000 per year – and this does not even include accommodation costs. The UK should be ashamed of itself.

The next area that the Bolsheviks excelled in was the emancipation of women. How many women in the world today, when celebrating International Women’s Day, on March 8, know that the origins of this day are to be found in Soviet Russia? Because Lenin gave women the same rights as men in political and social matters; so, for instance, women and men were afforded equal pay, women were given the vote and were free to enter politics, and a minimum wage was introduced in which both sexes were paid equally. The Bolsheviks also introduced paid maternity-leave and legalised abortion.

The Soviet Union was a beacon in the world for women’s rights and gave a whole new meaning to gender equality. And the fact that the first woman in space – Valentina Tereshkova – was a Soviet speaks volumes about the Bolsheviks’ contribution in bringing equality to women.

The overriding importance of industrialisation was not lost on the Soviets, especially Joseph Stalin. What the Soviets achieved in industrialising Russia was nothing short of a miracle.

While by 1914 Imperial Russia was starting to industrialise, the Tsars did not have the foresight or drive to put together a strategy for industrialising the country on the scale required. However, within a very short period of time, beginning in the late 1920s and lasting throughout the 1930s, Soviet Russia was industrialised on a scale never witnessed before in history, which saw the country go from a backward, peasant economy-based one to a modern, industrialised one. Now, it is true that much of that industrialisation was achieved at a terrible human cost, with Stalin attaching no importance at all to the individual (it must be said, however, that Russians have historically favoured collectivism over individualism, and Peter the Great was one such Tsar who used similar methods to Stalin in strengthening Russia, though not on the same scale – but his mindset was, nevertheless, the same as the Soviet leader). Despite the human cost, which should never be forgotten, Stalin transformed the USSR into a country whose industrial sector matched that of the West’s. As the saying goes, Stalin found Russia with the wooden spoon and left it with the atomic bomb.

The industrialisation of the USSR was to benefit the Soviet people for decades but, most importantly, it played a cardinal role in the Red Army’s victory over the Wehrmacht and thereby help to save the Soviet people from extermination at the hands of the Nazis. The Imperial Russian Army collapsed in the Great War because it did not have the required industrial sector to sustain it on the front line. But the Red Army had a juggernaut of an industrial sector that enabled it to firstly blunt the German armies and then eventually to destroy them. Russia is in existence today partly as a consequence of the Soviets’ industrialisation of the country. That is a legacy of the October Revolution which is sacred.

There were so many achievements stemming from the Bolshevik Revolution that I simply do not have enough room, here in this article, to mention them all. From engineering to science to space to sports to the military to transport to literature – the list is almost endless. But I would like to tackle, albeit briefly, negative appraisals on the Bolshevik Revolution which exist in the world today.

Firstly, there were, undeniably, terrible excesses in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, with many innocent people being arrested and executed. And the crimes committed by Stalin, in particular during the 1930s, remain, and justifiably so, a bloody stain on the Soviet era. But the Tsars also committed heinous crimes against their own people, while countries such as Britain and America also have dark and bloody episodes in their respective histories. Tens of millions of Indians died because of British rule in India, while millions of Native Americans perished because of the actions of European Americans. No country and no people are saints – not America, not Britain and not Russia. Human beings can be extraordinarily enlightened but can also be extraordinarily brutal. And the history of the world proves that.

Secondly, the Bolsheviks’ public campaign for atheism and their subsequent persecution of all religions in the Soviet Union, especially Christianity, requires a far more impartial and in-depth discourse than what is currently occurring in modern-day Russia.

Many priests were killed and many churches and monasteries were destroyed on the orders of the Soviet authorities, representing a dark chapter in Soviet history. Whilst the actions of the Bolsheviks can never be justified, on the grounds of humanity and culture, they can be explained. Because the Russian Orth0dox Church, during the years of the Tsars, was far from innocent. The church was the spiritual defender of the absolute and brutal monarchs who ruled Russia over hundreds of years, and for this the church was rewarded with great prominence in Russia society, resulting in it accumulating vast amounts of wealth and land. While the ordinary Russian was living in abject poverty and without a means to education and healthcare, the leadership of the church was living a life of luxury and privilege and was indifferent to the suffering of the Russian people. Senior priests were leading a lifestyle which totally contradicted the teachings of Jesus Christ. It was therefore inevitable that anger and resentment amongst the Russian population towards the church was widespread by the turn of the twentieth-century. And it was that anger and resentment which explained why the Soviet authorities, supported by significant numbers of Russians, began a brutal campaign against the church. Action, reaction. Unacceptable behaviour by the church was met with an unacceptable response from the Bolsheviks.

Russia, throughout its history, has achieved many remarkable feats. That was the case under both the Tsars and the Communists. Russian history is one of the richest, most magnificent, most captivating and most mysterious in recorded history. Russians have much to be proud of as a people; they have made invaluable contributions to mankind.

The Great October Socialist Revolution, as it truly was, is another glorious episode in the history of Russia and, without a doubt, one of its greatest. The revolution gave birth to a country which would eventually become a superpower and the most powerful state in Russian history. But, even more importantly than that, the revolution gave the Russian people and, indeed, all of the others peoples who went from being citizens of the Russian Empire to citizens of the USSR, something they had never really experienced before: security and stability, in the form of education, healthcare, jobs, housing, welfare and pensions.

The Bolshevik Revolution is when the needs of the ordinary man and woman, for the first time in human history, came to the fore in a country and dictated government policy. That is something to rejoice about, especially in a world today where the focus is on money and materialism, with little attention given to providing the ordinary person with the fundamentals in life. Let us celebrate, with pride, on 7th October, the centenary of a most remarkable event in history.

Dr Marcus Papadopoulos is the publisher and editor of London-based Politics First magazine, which is a non-partisan publication for the British Government and the UK business community.  He is also a regular television and radio commentator specialising in Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, Syria and British politics. He holds a PhD in Russian/Soviet history from Royal Holloway, University of London.

50 Comments

  1. Diogenes says

    For someone claiming to hold a Ph.D., this piece is embarrassingly sophomoric in its enthusiastic praise of a bloody tragedy, carelessly written, sloppy, careless with facts, sweeping in its generalizations.

    And this is just a howler: “For the first time, the ordinary man and woman had reached the pinnacle of power in a country. And their views and needs would now be at the core of decision-making in Russia.”

    I have long had a high opinion of Off-Guardian, but this piece is largely puerile nonsense and does not bring credit to this site–not so much because of the view it expresses (objectionable though it is), but because of the utter incompetence and unpersuasiveness of the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rtj1211 says

    I think it is a bit presumptious to assume that paying for adult education is intrinsically wrong. I know a lot about Uk education, both the free system and the paying system , having used both.

    The reality is that if student bear no financial responsibility for going to University, more are likely to be slapdash in their choice of courses, less focussed on why they wish to go in the first place and what they will do at the end of it. The taxpayers subsidise lazy, unfocussed students who concentrate more on pulling women, getting drunk and playing student politics….

    The reality of most undergraduate science courses is that they are glorified information processing modules. A good preparation to become a financial analyst, had economics/business been presented that way, but no preparation for being a scientist. They are therefore best targeted at intellectual second raters who need no practical teaching and a waste of time for intellectual first raters who would benefit from two years concentrated practical training. Of course, the snobs in Britain poor scorn on an A student who would suggest the equivalent of going to technical college, which is why a lot of talent is wasted in Bratain and always was.

    No schoolteacher will tell this truth as schools are judged on A levels and university entry, not whether students actually go to study in the right place. School is a feeder for universities and children are acceptable collateral damage.

    If you are investing your own money, you are more likely to do proper due diligence. Many University brochures print lies as a mis-selling exercise and several over the past 20 years would have been found guilty in courts if cases had been brought against them. Your career prospects nosedive if you hold academic charlatans to account….

    The fact is that many organisations are now taking university-quality entrants at 18 as they believe more value will be added in house than at university.

    I wonder if the author really understands the nature of the education con in Britain in the 21st century? You will learn more relevant skills travelling the world, getting work experience and sowing your wild oats than you will on campus at the University of Sussex……

    Like

  3. Canuckshevsky says

    The author has the date wrong. Yikes. OK, maybe just a typo. That should be NOVEMBER 7, 1917, and mention should be made that Russia used another calendar with the date OCTOBER 25, 1917. Hence the revolution was named the Great October Socialist Revolution in that country.

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  4. My view is that NO revolution should be celebrated: they are the result of human failure to evolve progress through discussion. Revolutions are conducted by ruthless fanatics, planned & funded by ruthless, greedy Banksters, power-crazed all.

    All appear totally devoid of human empathy.
    Was it Stalin who said: “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths, a statistic.” ?
    This website attributes almost 62 million deaths to the glorious Soviet Gulag Empire:
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM#TOP

    Both Fascism & Communism were founded, funded & fostered by Banksters & their favoured crony corporations:
    Book: Pawns in the Game, by WWII Canadian Naval Intelligence officer, William Guy Carr.
    Book: The Creature from Jekyll Island, by G. Edward Griffin.

    Banksters have funded both sides of every war since the Napoleonic & every revolution since the 1640 – 1660 English Revolution. Rothschild & pals had planned & funded this & their reward was the charter for the Bank of England, 1694.
    This gave them the boon of “The Gold Standard”: the ability to loan out £10 for every £1 they had in their vaults.
    Do some maths.
    This legalised fraud is ongoing & the source of both Bankster & Brit/Zio/U$ Empire wealth & power.
    It is now known as fractional reserve banking/lending.
    The ability to create money out of thin air & lend it out at interest.

    Communism was & is an attempt to dominate, at a very basic level of existence, the 99%, by the 1%, with ~9% being a favoured political & police class to administer the monster. While pretending it’s for the benefit of the 99%.
    Fascism was & is a slightly more honest version of the exact same monster, & is the system we exist under in the West, albeit disguised as democracy.

    John Doran.

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    • “My view is that NO revolution should be celebrated: they are the result of human failure to evolve progress through discussion. Revolutions are conducted by ruthless fanatics, planned & funded by ruthless, greedy Banksters, power-crazed all.”

      Then your view is pure reactionary garbage that serves only the interests of the ruling class that you claim to oppose. Anyone who dares to raise their head above safe (ruling class assigned) boundaries and against the (ruling class approved) mantra of “peaceful protest” is to be deemed an agent of the capitalist oligarchy ruling our planet. Your denunciation of revolution per se instantly turns into another enforcement mechanism for the system that provokes revolutionary change.

      Note also the racist undercurrent of your take: that the Haitian revolutionaries were wrong to violently boot out the French exploiters and slave owners, because instead they should have “evolved progress through discussion”. What laughable TRASH.

      “Was it Stalin who said: “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths, a statistic.” ?” This is a popular meme, but in fact Stalin never said that. It’s ironic that you believe the capitalist media – the same media firmly in the hands of the elite you claim to oppose – when they churn out anti-communist detritus, just like this:

      “This website attributes almost 62 million deaths to the glorious Soviet Gulag Empire:”

      This ridiculous science-fiction “estimate” is typical of hipster anti-communism, which goes to great lengths to show its liberal pro-capitalist credentials by first agreeing with and then parroting and magnifying the “well known facts” about Stalin, among them that he “killed tens of millions of his own people”. In reality, if the Soviets had killed 62 million people (and these are only the ones attributed to the gulag system. Millions more deaths have been attributed to the Soviet state, such as in the Ukrainian famine) then we have to contend with the over 20 million who died fighting the Nazis. That’s 82 million people dead in the Soviet Union from gulags and Nazis alone – and yet the USSR reached superpower status, achieved world-class science, literacy and education, universal housing and health care, and an incredible rate of industrialization. You know perfectly well that this doesn’t make sense. Your motive here is naked anti-communist chauvinism.

      “Both Fascism & Communism were founded, funded & fostered by Banksters & their favoured crony corporations:”

      What utterly puerile, insulting garbage.

      “Book: Pawns in the Game, by WWII Canadian Naval Intelligence officer, William Guy Carr.
      Book: The Creature from Jekyll Island, by G. Edward Griffin.”

      Let me guess: these guys are both white Christian conservatives with no beef against communism. Yeah, right.

      “Communism was & is an attempt to dominate, at a very basic level of existence, the 99%, by the 1%, with ~9% being a favoured political & police class to administer the monster. While pretending it’s for the benefit of the 99%.”

      Right, which is why it’s denounced by the capitalist state, why children are taught to fear it, why myths abound about it, why people believe that the gulag system “killed 62 million people”, why the capitalist world arrayed vast resources and forces to contain and destroy communism, and why the US state, on behalf of its ruling class, backed and armed dozens of right-wing dictatorships throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe to halt what they termed the “Red Menace” and the “International Communist Conspiracy”. Your claim that communism is an attempt to dominate the 99% is disgusting on multiple levels, especially given that 1) its theoretical framework – class-based historical materialism – provides the most cohesive model for understanding capitalist-imperialism, capitalist crises and capitalism in general; 2) it has consistently been communists who have been on the frontlines against fascism, imperialism, national chauvinism, racism, sexism, and every other vile “ism” used by the capitalist ruling class to divide, exploit, rob and murder the working masses of the world. Right now, Indian, Filipino and Turkish communists are absorbing bullets at the hands of the fascist security forces while you snivel about communism being the work of “Banksters”, as though Goldman Sachs getting bailed out with tens of billions of dollars is somehow the sort of thing that Marx wanted to emulate.

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      • I repeat: revolution is a ploy by Banksters, using fanatics, to gain power, money & control.

        Revolutions & wars are conducted through loans, generating debts which interest is charged on, benefiting Banksters. Rebuilding countries AFTER wars & revolutions requires loans also: a win win for Banksters.

        You praise the theory of Communism, which in practice turns countries into prison camps with barbed wire borders & machine gun towers pointing inward to prevent enterprising people escaping.
        You ignore the time-proven facts that central totalitarian control always leads to economic collapse, & can never work. You ignore the famines, barbarities & savagery of Russia, China, Cambodia……?

        You dismiss the two excellent books I reco’d without a solid critique, just juvenile insults?

        Here’s another book for you to ignore: Merchants of Despair by PhD nuclear engineer Robert Zubrin.
        It shows nuclear energy as safe & clean, demonised by the Fake News Main Slime Stream Media, to keep us enslaved to oil, to the benefit of the Bankster Globalist 1%s.
        It also shows how the stupid Communist Totalitarian Govt was suckered into the dreadful, barbaric & self-harming one child policy.

        You praise Communism? You accuse me of racism? What sort of idiot are you?

        Evolution through education is much to be preferred to revolution, so expensive in both debts & lives.

        Like

  5. Did the Bolsheviks fans celebrate in Las Vegas early Monday morning?

    Why did the writer omit praise for the CHEKA and the NKVD? Surely Comrade Marcus is aware of their achievements in the science of making people disappear?

    Let’s not forget the glorious state paid vacations in the scenic Gulags!

    Like

  6. The societal advances as well as the totalitarian oppression of soviet Russia are both indisputable.
    I regard the 20th century histories of West and East as largely determined by the decline of Christianity as the fundamental conceptual framework for understanding human life, and its replacement by the fossil fuel society. The idea of a society founded on a purely materialist vision of human existence is what frightens me most about the Russian history. Both Communism and Capitalism were branches of the replacement to Christianity – i.e. ‘the religion of progress’, which is basically a story of humans’ journey from the cave to the stars (powered by burning 500million years of stored sunlight).
    This religion of progress is now failing, just as Christianity did in the latter 19th century. Its claims and the realities of our world are beceoming too divergent for people to accept. The delusional pronouncements about a resurgent communism founded on automation and AI not withstanding, as people stop believing that life will get better and better for us humans, a void opens up (and this is happening already). The grasping at last century’s failed ideologies of fascism or socialism is the first reaction.
    All things have their time.

    [All this from John M Greer].

    Like

    • Wrong. The October Revolution is what made it possible for the proletariat to assume state power and for their hegemony to be imposed on the bourgeoisie. Without proletarian hegemony, without DICTATORSHIP imposed on the bourgeoisie, one cannot have socialism. Perhaps you could elaborate, however. How do you think socialism should be implemented? How should the proletarian hegemony be defended?

      Like

  7. BigB says

    Shall we call it progress? I mean, I prefer this article to the recent Comrade Gowans ‘Red Pill’ post: at least there is mention of the Red Terror this time (along with a perfunctory analysis of the Red Holocaust). Perhaps the next article will mention Lavrenti Beria: and how he was misunderstood? Even a cursory reading of Sutton would show that nearly all Soviet technological and industrial advancement (including the bomb and MIRV capability); came via the diplomatic bag – courtesy of the West. As did much of the financing [Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution]. Dr Papadopoulos even replicates Comrade Gowans same old weak moral philosophy: the Tsars did it; the British did it; the Americans did it; so moral equivalence is a sufficient justification, ok??? No. But still no mention of the environment: as if humanities socio-political and industrial-economic activity has no impact whatsoever on the environment? How do you judge an industrialisation process a “miracle”: without an environmental impact assessment? By applying ideologically tinted thinking???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Typical white supremacist, capitalist fundamentalist trash analysis ascribing all achievements of socialism to the “West”. How boringly predictable.

      “Perhaps the next article will mention Lavrenti Beria: and how he was misunderstood”

      It should definitely mention how he has been mercilessly lied about.

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  8. Ah, Dupes and their Holy Days! They go together like bread and butter… or propaganda and public opinion! Even Kerensky saw through Lenin (on his “sealed”… laugh… luxury train) but Lenin’s backers (and their descendants) run the Media, so despite the fact that it’s glaringly obvious that German Industrialists (among others) funded the October (Color) Revolution which effectively ruined Russia for nearly a century, led to the taking of more Serfy lives than Hitler, Churchill and Roosevelt combined and misdirected, divided and diffused Socialism in America when it was gathering real strength… let’s all celebrate another victory for the Puppet Masters. Because they’re so good at what they do! (I mean, seriously, there are still some credulous puppies out there who believe in the heartwarming legends of Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, Uncle Obama and Fidel … because they saw it on TV).

    Like

    • “German Industrialists (among others) funded the October (Color) Revolution which effectively ruined Russia for nearly a century”

      Errr…no. It was actually the Nazi invasion that did that. Why would you be so blinkered as to glaze over that part of Soviet history?

      “led to the taking of more Serfy lives than Hitler, Churchill and Roosevel”

      Only delusional anti-communist dupes tinged with white supremacist leanings believe this embarrassing science fiction nonsense. It’s incredibly ironic that the “Stalin killed more people than Hitler” trope/meme is waved around by you even as you claim to be AGAINST the capitalist media. Something isn’t adding up. Could you, by any chance, prove to us that you’re not yourself a Rothschild/German industrialist/Zionist plant? Or at least tell us how you can claim to be something other than a credulous puppy when you believe that the USSR killed more than racist imperialist killers in the service of capitalism (an awfully convenient story to whip out when anyone makes a move away from pro-capitalist narratives: “But look at what happens when people get rid of capitalism! Stalin murdered more people than Hitler!”)

      “misdirected, divided and diffused Socialism in America when it was gathering real strength”

      Errr..no. That would be J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI who did that, along with decades of anti-communist corporate and government propaganda relentlessly driven into the minds of children and adults alike. Blaming the Soviets for the actions of American internal security agencies and the capitalist class is simply bitterness and jealousy that the Soviets had the audacity to attempt socialism while people like you twiddled your thumbs throwing bile at those who took the most decisive role in fighting the Nazis.

      ” (I mean, seriously, there are still some credulous puppies out there who believe in the heartwarming legends of Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, Uncle Obama and Fidel … because they saw it on TV).”

      Right, because Stalin is promoted as a heartwarming legend on American TV.

      Like

      • Har. No, True Believer. No. The Soviet defeat-by-attrition of the Absurd Reich was part of the very effective scheme to oblige two rival industrial-state entities (which had each been set-up with deranged socio-political coups that couldn’t have happened without deep-pocket support from Capitalists: Hitler got his loan and the Bulshitvists got theirs) to neutralize one another… another successful Intelligence project. The USSR was stunted/ crippled for decades until Fidel helped to finish it off, while West (and then all of) Germany became an embarrassingly compliant suburb of Langley.

        (And, of course, Hoover’s FBI was also part of the greater, not always tightly-organized, plot against Decent Human Life; it’s not either/or, it’s on a continuum).

        Now, I’m personally against Materialism, War, Status Fetishism, Neo-Manic Consumption and all the gross social and personal sicknesses that Capitalism brings us. I believe a genuine, good-faith iteration of Socialism (somewhere along the lines of the Social Democracies, with basic income, free health care and education, rationally robust taxation, et al) can help.

        But I know a century of clanging pseudo-paradoxes and “coincidences” when I see one. And most of the true-believing “Communists” I know were raised by the Bourgeoisie… it’s an Oedipal Obsession with them and a kinky twist in White Privilege. I have the advantage of being from The Congenital Underclass. I can see it all a little more clearly than my privileged friends.

        One question: how did you find out about the Heroic Exploits of the Communist Saints in the first place…? Surely not via the media apparatus (which includes “education”) owned and controlled by the Capitalists…? Laugh. Because that wouldn’t make sense, would it? Rhetorical question.

        I figured out something was very wrong, years ago, when I kept seeing all the pro-Fidel myth-making promulgated by such radical organs as Life Magazine. You’ll get it, too, when you come out of your trance: they want you to believe in Fidel. Why?

        I don’t blame you at all: you’ve been brainwashed by Propagandists so slick and effective that they make Joe Goebbels look like Jerry Lewis in comparison.

        Like

        • “Har. No, True Believer. No.”

          You ascribed more deaths to the Soviet state than racist imperialists Hitler and Churchill combined; this makes you a anti-communist true believer (of the Useful Idiot variety to boot, unfortunately).

          “The Soviet defeat-by-attrition of the Absurd Reich was part of the very effective scheme to oblige two rival industrial-state entities (which had each been set-up with deranged socio-political coups that couldn’t have happened without deep-pocket support from Capitalists: Hitler got his loan and the Bulshitvists got theirs) to neutralize one another… another successful Intelligence project. The USSR was stunted/ crippled for decades until Fidel helped to finish it off,”

          But, but…you just ascribed the USSR’s stunting to the Soviet state… Now you’re saying it was the Nazis after all. As for Castro helping to “finish it off”, one can only dream of what convoluted scheme you’ve cooked up in the bowels of your mind. You ascribe magical powers to Castro that he simply never had, and yet I’m the one who believe in legends?

          “while West (and then all of) Germany became an embarrassingly compliant suburb of Langley.”

          But…but…you just described the Soviet Union as having been established at the whim of Capitalists and that it divided and undermined the Socialist movement in the United States. East Germany must already have been an embarrassingly compliant suburb of Langley by your lights.

          “(And, of course, Hoover’s FBI was also part of the greater, not always tightly-organized, plot against Decent Human Life; it’s not either/or, it’s on a continuum).”

          What’s “Decent Human Life”? What are its features? Where can I learn about it?

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        • “I believe a genuine, good-faith iteration of Socialism (somewhere along the lines of the Social Democracies, with basic income, free health care and education, rationally robust taxation, et al) can help.”

          So capitalism with the edge taken off, a la Bernie Sanders’ “socialism”.

          “But I know a century of clanging pseudo-paradoxes and “coincidences” when I see one. And most of the true-believing “Communists” I know were raised by the Bourgeoisie…”

          Most communists in the world are peasants and workers…Why should I privilege your First World anecdote as somehow representative of what communism is?

          “it’s an Oedipal Obsession with them and a kinky twist in White Privilege.”

          It’s supremely ironic for you to be saying this. Social Democracy fetishism, analysis by personal anecdote, conspiracy-centric Red baiting and faux anti-capitalist posturing are all common motifs among those infected with white privilege.

          “I have the advantage of being from The Congenital Underclass. I can see it all a little more clearly than my privileged friends.”

          Not at all, given that you think Social Democracy somehow substitutes for working class political hegemony and thoroughgoing social revolutionary change. You don’t really want to get rid of capitalism; you just want to make it “more fair”. You sure seem to be disappointingly pedestrian given all your talk about everyone else being a CIA plant. Really, Social Democracy is the most imaginative and radical social formation you can get behind? I had to cringe violently when you mentioned “rationally robust taxation”, for I could see that you want to dangle it as a substitute for the overthrow of current class relations. Essentially, you’re taking the Sanders route: “If you get behind capitalism, I’ll throw some extra social programs your way.”

          “One question: how did you find out about the Heroic Exploits of the Communist Saints in the first place…? Surely not via the media apparatus (which includes “education”) owned and controlled by the Capitalists…? Laugh. Because that wouldn’t make sense, would it? Rhetorical question.”

          Communist websites and books.

          “I figured out something was very wrong, years ago, when I kept seeing all the pro-Fidel myth-making promulgated by such radical organs as Life Magazine. You’ll get it, too, when you come out of your trance: they want you to believe in Fidel.”

          Right, the Fidel who they keep telling us has driven his country into the ground.

          “Why? I don’t blame you at all: you’ve been brainwashed by Propagandists so slick and effective that they make Joe Goebbels look like Jerry Lewis in comparison.”

          Oh boy, you’ve fallen off the deep end, haven’t you? Oh dear.

          Like

          • “Right, the Fidel who they keep telling us has driven his country into the ground.”

            That’s precisely the point: an object lesson in the awful price of “noble failures”.

            You clearly don’t understand Mass Psychology as well as your (our) Masters do. No problem. Believe what you will!

            S

            Like

              • You don’t understand my point; you think I’m arguing from both sides of the proposition because you don’t understand any side of it; the two sides of the “unfasifiable hypothesis” address two sides of the same clever coin.

                There is the intended effect on YOU to consider, and the intended effect on your Demographic Opposites. For you , Lenin/Marx/Fidel should appear to be heroes; for some Liberals they should appear to be noble-but-misguided; for the vast majority of the West’s electorate they should be The Boogieman and/or Satan.

                The two essential demographics targeted: a minority of Believers like you, to make Communism feel like an imminent threat to the “homeland”… and the “threatened”, that majority of anti-Leftist burghers who considered Marx The Boogieman.

                Communism functioned as the “repugnant cure that is worse than the disease” that would make Capitalism feel like the only feasible system, with all its “flaws” (understatement), and uni-age, immature pseudo-revolutionaries like you served to reinforce that perception among the majority, despite the fact that the majority was/is suffering under Capitalism.

                Much more moderate, livable and realistic alternatives were always possible… even tweaking Capitalism to the extent that sane regulations were brought back, and added to, and enforced would be better than what exists now. A world with a few (laws-bound) millionaires in it is a real problem for no one (especially for people who aren’t brainwashed by Materialism into accepting Materialist Hierarchy: a millionaire doesn’t have to be any more sinister than just some fucker willing to trade all his/her precious time to accumulate more bullshit)… but a world full of billionaires means starvation for the many. We could jail the (or some) fucking bankers and The System could be rolled back to a pre-billionaire condition and be cleansed of large gouts of corruption and arcane financial trickery… if the Masses weren’t so turned off by all that talk of “revolution”. No blood need be shed; private property needn’t be abolished (because: what a stupid fucking idea: even dogs have private property) people merely need to organize and opt out and rebuild the version that works for The More-or-Less-Sane Many instead of the Creepy Psychopathic Few.

                Again: the people in charge know Human Psychology. They know how to play precisely the tunes that you and your demographic opposites will dance to. It took them centuries to learn this and their literal survival depends on it.

                Because emotional adolescents like you keep talking about “revolution” and “Communism”, in concert with the constant promotion of Boogieman Communism by Capitalist Media, Capitalism remains fairly well-inoculated against substantive change for the better. You are part of an unthinking chunk of ballast that keeps The System flexibly stable. Congratulations.

                And your talk of “Revolution” is singularly laughable. It’s nothing but adolescent macho nonsense.

                Like

            • StAug: “You clearly don’t understand Mass Psychology as well as your (our) Masters do.”

              Also StAug: limits himself to mumbling about “rationally robust taxation” and thus deflecting questions about radical systemic change.

              Your path-of-least-resistance, let’s-fix-the-world-within-proscribed-limits approach is a glaring and embarrassing manifestation of First World mass psychology at its most subservient.

              Like

              • “Your path-of-least-resistance, let’s-fix-the-world-within-proscribed-limits approach is a glaring and embarrassing manifestation of First World mass psychology at its most subservient.”

                Oh, yeah, impressive young macho quasi-revolutionary rhetoric there! Exciting. Are you wearing camouflage pants from The Gap? Do you just wander from “riot” to “riot” and throw rocks at various Starbuckses with the Black Bloc? (Oh wait, I forgot: the Black Bloc are mostly cops)

                You’re writing to me from one of those cool Revolutionary Cells, designed to infiltrate the managerial levels of the municipal infrastructure, while, at the same time, unifying the urban cadres of the disenfranchised proletariat… right? Unlike most of your fey, twee, impotent comrades who are little more than the disaffected offspring of the faded middle class, you have a genuine rapport with (and no fear of) the actual rank and file of what armchair revolutionaries call “the workers”… many of whom have no work, no education, no common cause and no patience for your post-Suburban daydreams (they want Bling).

                If you weren’t a “Commie,” you’d be a Goth. Cool. Just let me know a week before you guys bomb the power station, okay? I’ll stock up on solar cells.

                Unless of course what’s really going to happen is nothing much at all until you find an okay job, get older, laugh at your younger self and die like everyone else in an Empire you have no understanding of and even less control over. Yeah, probably that one.

                Ok, Thanks!

                Like

          • ““One question: how did you find out about the Heroic Exploits of the Communist Saints in the first place…? […]

            ‘Communist websites and books.'”

            [fell out my chair laughing] Thanks for that.

            Like

            • “[fell out my chair laughing] Thanks for that.”

              Translation: if the media says anything good about communism, that’s proof that the Capitalists who own the media are behind communism (heck, if they say anything bad about communism, that’s ALSO proof that they’re behind communism!); and if communist books and websites, not part of the mainstream media, say good things about communism contra the mainstream media, that’s also proof that the Capitalists who own the media are behind communism.

              [falls out of chair laughing at the hypocrisy and preening arrogance] Thanks for that invaluable “logic”.

              Like

              • Nah, you’re not very bright. I was chuckling at your Gosh/Golly assertion that you first heard about Communism through the forbidden media of Communist websites and books (via strictly Communist Internet)…
                ooops! The Capitalists let some revolutionary knowledge through the other side of the Iron Curtain! Those books are strictly forbidden! No wonder you are so WOKE! Laugh

                Like

                • What an utterly meaningless retort.

                  When a country approaches a revolutionary situation – when the capitalist state is compelled to bear its military and police fangs more openly and brazenly – communist books will be banned overnight, and you know it. The only reason they’re tolerated at present is because the bourgeoisie and its state don’t currently view communism as a threat due to capitalist culture and discourse being hegemonic and the communist movement being so pathetically minuscule.

                  “No wonder you are so WOKE! Laugh”

                  Liberal garbage canards don’t impress me. They seem to impress you, though, with your promotion of the “virtuous cycle” of capitalist economic and middle-class growth.

                  Like

                  • “When a country approaches a revolutionary situation – when the capitalist state is compelled to bear its military and police fangs more openly and brazenly – communist books will be banned overnight, and you know it.”

                    I’ve always wanted to meet someone from the 1950s. Interesting.

                    Like

  9. Alan says

    Solzhenitsyn advised between 1918 and 1957 Bolshevism had claimed sixty six million lives. What system is worth that loss, let alone one that should be celebrated?

    Like

    • I ask this quite impartially, but in the same period, how many lives did Capitalism claim? I can think of quite a few millions off hand (for example famines in British ruled India) and since you can’t call the Nazis Bolsheviks, on whose account should their death toll be recorded?

      Like

    • How did he reach those figures?
      And as others have said, western imperialism probably outscores that figure.

      Like

      • Big B says

        It doesn’t matter (in this context) how many victims Western imperialism had (or Nazism either): whether Capitalism outscored Communism 2:1 or 10:1 in intentional deaths – there is no moral justification to be had for the ideological crimes against humanity perpetrated in the name of the former Soviet Union (or Communism globally). None. The system has to be assessed on its own merit: difficult, but not impossible, to isolate in the context of an overall self-organised networked system (there was plenty of opposition to Communism, as we know).

        And, going forward into the 21st century, every past system has to be assessed for its environmental record: as this will be the overarching concern to design a (New Socialist) system to cope with the unique set of life threatening conditions we find ourselves facing. Which aspects of the past do we intend to take forward? On this criteria alone: Communism has little to offer. It was an abject failure; a failed experiment; even if it was a ‘workers paradise’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • artpropbob says

      Does that include losses at the end of the first world war, losses during the Civil War (1917-1922) (estimated at 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians), Spanish Flu and losses during the Second World War (about 17 million Soviet civilians plus 10 million Soviet soldiers died in World War II)

      “Disease had reached pandemic proportions, with 3,000,000 dying of typhus alone in 1920.”

      Like

    • You do realize that the same Solzhenitsyn also hoped and agitated for the victory of Hitler and the Nazis over the USSR? And that the figures he bandied about are simply absurd, given the actual demographics of the USSR during the very same period?

      Like

      • Big B says

        Vaska: ok, 66 million is ridiculous – so what would be an impartial figure for the Red Terror, forced collectivisation, deaths in the gulags, etc? I’m genuinely interested in your POV.

        Like

          • Manda says

            Typo leading to misquote, 20 million deaths not 22 million .was the number mentioned during Stalin era in the discussion.

            Like

            • BigB says

              Thanks Manda: but that still leaves Lenin, the Red Terror, Civil War (excluding the White Terror ), NEP, etc – preceding Stalin: and the period of 1953-1991 – succeeding him. So the question is still open if Vaska (or anyone else) wants to come back.

              Like

            • 20 million is still ridiculous. Its political function is to paint Soviet socialism as “worse than Hitler”, a favorite capitalist/conservative/white “race realist” trope so that the one system that has seriously challenged capitalism can be painted with a black brush, thus dissuading the world’s masses from looking beyond capitalism.

              Like

        • It’s not a matter of points of view but of facts. The simple demographics of the USSR show conclusively that the numbers bandied about in the West are a fantasy creation in the service of anti-Soviet propaganda. And, since the figure of 20 million mentioned in the RT interview with Stephen Cohen Manda posted a link to includes those who died prematurely (i.e. were not killed) during the Stalin era, it’s not just difficult but impossible for me to derive from it an actual figure of those unjustly executed.

          Like

      • The poor old ostrich died for nothing says

        Solzhenitsysn served in the Red army and objected to atrocities against German civilians. That’s hardly agitating for Hitler.

        Like

    • bevin says

      In this case Solzhenitsyn was talking nonsense. No harm in that, exaggeration and provocation are part of what makes novelists so lovable.
      The fault lies with those who, knowing that the man had neither means nor motive to give an accurate or honest account, repeat his nonsense.
      One minor but not trivial consequence of all these silly games with statistics is that they trivialise not only massacres but honesty itself.
      And then we have, lineal descendants of the fascists, those who suggest that Lenin was a dupe of the German government, Wall St and, of course, it was all paid for by Rothschild and his co-religionists.
      The truth, inspiring to all democrats, is that from day one the Russian Revolution was driven by popular energy. It was the Russian soldier who, doing what soldiers in every trench in Europe longed to do, denounced the war and went home. It was those soldiers-unguided by Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Cadets or the US Embassy- took the land, their collective inheritance, back into the hands of the cultivator. It was the workers in the cities, most of them barely a generation removed from the land, who propelled the communists to power in the revolutionary councils.
      It was an epochal event, no more connected with Stalin’s purges or the casualties of the “Civil” War-in fact a war of intervention by 21 foreign powers, a desperate attempt to drown socialist experimentation in blood- than the persistent and massive Cold War which began in 1918 and is still going on.
      Many things went wrong in the Soviet Union but most of them are connected if not directly caused with the campaigns against it and those inspired by it, (campaigns which in Italy became fascism, in Germany Naziism, in France Petainism, in Spain the Francoism that still has momentum).
      Lloyd George bears much more responsibility for all those who died in the struggle against Bolshevism, later the USSR and finally the national liberation struggles in the Empire, including China, which have been going on since 1917.
      For the arithmetically minded those would include the hundreds in Amritsar, the millions in Bengal, starved by the Raj in 192, the millions of victims of that cleverly constructed ‘partition’ of 1948 and, of course the tens of millions in Africa, Latin America, east Asia and the Middle East whose deaths are directly attributable to capitalism, either in its imperial robes or its more workaday clothing in sweat shops, slums or inquisitions carried out to cut the poor and disabled off from benefits.
      Happily it would seem that the common people of England have lit upon an appropriate way of celebrating the centenary of 1917- it will be up to the capitalists whether they use their power to thwart democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bevin says

        “the millions in Bengal, starved by the Raj in 192” 1942-3.
        And this was but the latest in a series of ‘famines’ caused by British rulers which recur in Indian history after 1757 with the regularity of trade cycles, which is what, in a sense, they were.

        Like

      • Big B says

        @Bevin: “And then we have, lineal descendants of the fascists, those who suggest that Lenin was a dupe of the German government, Wall St and, of course, it was all paid for by Rothschild and his co-religionists.”

        And then we have those, for whatever reason, who refuse to acknowledge or read Antony Sutton.

        “In a few words: there is no such thing as Soviet technology. Almost all — perhaps 90–95 percent — came directly or indirectly from the United States and its allies. In effect the United States and the NATO countries have built the Soviet Union. Its industrial and its military capabilities. This massive construction job has taken 50 years. Since the Revolution in 1917. It has been carried out through trade and the sale of plants, equipment and technical assistance”. 1972 testimony before Subcommittee VII of the Platform Committee of the Republican Party

        As catalogued in his 3 volume academic work “Western technology and Soviet economic development: 1917 to 1930; 1930 to 1945; 1945 to 1965” from the Hoover Institute. For the casual reader: “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution”; “National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union”; and “The Best Enemy Money Can Buy”; which looked at the role of military technology transfers to the Soviet Union up to the 1980s. I’m not suggesting you read it all, but maybe you could acknowledge it? Preferably before labeling others “lineal descendants of the fascists” who have??? 😉

        Like

        • Worth mentioning Sutton’s writings about the Wall Street connections to the Third Reich, and the persistence of its underlying cult in the sororities of the Ivy League.

          I’ve read nothing suggesting any fascist leanings.

          Like

    • “Solzhenitsyn advised between 1918 and 1957 Bolshevism had claimed sixty six million lives.”

      Solzhenitsyn was full of shit. Being locked in a gulag doesn’t make you an authority on the statistics of the Soviet state’s body count. 66 million is frankly a lurid and ridiculous figure without the faintest possibility of being accurate.

      Like

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