There is a BUT that follows my ‘throat clearing remarks’ that are otherwise in furious agreement with this link. (Nolan Peterson – Reporting from Ukraine Since 2014 and Countering Russian Propaganda Narratives.)

Much of this interview is simply clear headed ‘outsider’ observations that point to why Putin’s Russia will lose and Zelensky’s Ukraine will win, provided the west keeps up material support that is required, which I think they will. I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, other than saying as Zelensky does, the west ought do much more and do it faster!

I think 100% of Ukraine must – and I believe will be liberated, and over the next few years Ukraine will become a ‘normal’ western country, and a crucial and militarily strong member of NATO. But the Ukrainian masses will be coping with a shattered economy, and it will be massively impoverished and contain more traumatized people than any other European country. Green policies will not just be a slow up to further development but will if not opposed and defeated cost lives. This war is only a first step forward towards the bright future that I am currently enjoying in the advanced industrialized ‘lucky country’ of Australia.

Yet we only have to consider the corruption of the likes of Berlusconi (who was born in 1936 in Milan Italy) and that is important to remember to understand how trivial that small yet important (massively costly in lives and suffering) first step actually is. We ought to reflect on the history of struggle in Italy to prepare our mindset for the coming struggle in Ukraine because quite blatant frauds and self-serving phony ‘leaders’ are also going to sprout like mushrooms in Ukraine. Oligarch scum like Berlusconi rose to the top in Italy and these types will continue to do well in Ukraine as well. The elites will always try to grab the wealth of a county liberated by working class blood. The oligarch class are not just going to vanish!

But as is correctly said, a journey of 1,000 miles always begins with the first step, and to drive that point right the way home, we can all recall the Irish farmer advising the US tourist “Ah Yes, well now if I was going to democracy, I wouldn’t be starting from here!” So, working class people had better keep a sharp eye open for our own class interests. Class interests may be a currently unpopular theoretical issue, but that won’t be the case when the scramble for ownership rights takes off after the war.

In this interview one glaring point slips by and is genuinely muddle-headed thinking as soon as we reflect upon it in the Ukraine war context.

This blind spot is so ubiquitous in liberal, conservative and (thus) pseudo-left circles that the interviewer who shares the bias can’t even spot the elephant as it enters the room. But it is an elephantine problem for pro-democracy people of all stripes.

2014 WAS far more serious than many western people realized and those of us pointing to it at the time were quickly ignored, and told we were war mongers and did not understand how powerful these ‘unpleasant’ Russians were etc.. The supposed adults in the room understood that concessions had to be extended to the obviously imperialist aggressor country. The limp response of the western liberal elites pointed DIRECTLY to a failure to make revolution for democracy! Too little too late was the inevitable result. Western leadership was zero and the Putin type fascists drew their lessons and as a result became both emboldened and deluded!

So IMV back in 2014 an unnoticed political bankruptcy fell on those liberal, conservative and pseudo-leftists who had agreed with a view they shared with Putin. Putin, like all tyrants wants stability and predictability in a world where they and their sort can get on with their aggrandizement and exploitation in (for them) peace!

Both the interviewee and the interviewer are obvious and determined current opponents of Putin. Both will I believe now firmly stick with the Ukrainians no matter what happens. And that is the very good news! I also believe this attitude of solidarity and unity of purpose will spread no matter what horrors unfold over the next few years.

But in this interview at about the 7:30 point, the well-known Putin viewpoint gets blurted out. After pointing out that the brave Ukrainians are fighting for their democratic revolution, Nolan Peterson says; “Some people just can’t compute that. Maybe they’re so jaded by the misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

So, all right-thinking people can nod away at yet another repetition of this semi-religious trope. But it is bankrupt and always has been. It is a failure to understand how democratic revolution does require armed struggle and is nothing if not protracted and ‘costly’. Failure to even understand the requirement for revolution is at the very heart of this western liberal foolishness.

Failure of the west to keep going with protracted democratic revolution and develop and expand that revolution led directly to Putin, and his kind all round the world being emboldened by the feeble west of the Merkel and Obama types! They did bugger all in 2014! How many times did we see these sick liberals shaking Putin’s hand while he continued to spread his anti-democratic gangster conduct right round the planet!

Obama abandoned the people of Syria as the classic example of his most egregious anti-democratic failures. Merkel funded Putin with huge gas pipeline income and did so while the Ukrainians were fighting against Putin’s anti-democratic invasion. All western leaders did almost nothing while the cancer spread! Instead, they held dopey conferences about the F…ing weather! They economically crippled western countries and strengthened anti-democratic forces and countries!

These and other pseudo-left leaders did not increase the required military spending. They did F…all to drag the people of Africa out of their poverty by a rapid industrialization program. Leaving the door ajar for the anti-democrats like the Russians and Chinese to spread their poison and meddle on that continent, which they have. Naturally the refugee flows from around the world are not flowing to Russia or China and all the other non- democracies as a rule though for example a North Korean may flee to China.

It’s my contention that the west has now no credible theory to move forward with but almost universally bleats a false understanding of what democracy and the democratic revolution is all about. The tyrannies are openly returning to what they have always known and that is czarist like ‘stability’ and the required suppression of lower-class peoples and anyone else that stand in the way! But the west is all at sea and has been for decades and now constantly battling woke madness is the current depth of the obvious idiocy any genuine leftist and rightist democrats are forced to be dealing with on an almost daily basis.

Over these directionless last few decades, the western media and ruling elites have lost their collective marbles. For just one example they have given distractive attention even to children like Greta Thunberg when by rights she had earnt no right to speak and ought to have been doing some study. The dominant western ruling elites have been the liberals and simply could not deal with the complexity of the real struggle of people like Malala Yousafzai, Ayan Hirsi Ali, who both had earned rights to speak as had others who had real skin in the game but were simply not woke enough. These two were slowly pushed to the back by the weight of the liberal -BBC type- bias. While those with the bias had and have, no answer whatsoever to the big issues of our times. Issues like refugee flows as a result of the ongoing ‘natural’ or organic development of a industrial world as it moves through its capitalist stage. Refugees are also flowing as pure Putinesque imperialist or fascist policy, an there is no direct answer to that either!

The western ruling elites -in Dr. Frankenstein manner- lost control and became overrun with the current pseudo-left dominated ‘woke’ nightmare that had been on its ‘long march’ through the universities and hence slowly through the bureaucracies! The anti-democrats across the world drew the appropriate lessons and their long ‘soft’ and very minor retreats were aggressively reversed. Democratic progress stalled yet again.

The western liberal elites now dominated the cultural high grounds and -for example- have of late constantly attacked Erdogan as he struggled to both keep democracy in Turkey, and deal with the western failures all around him. Erdogan has had to deal with millions of refugees! They are the product of the anti-democrats. The big issues such as the wind back of fascism and Islamofascism especially in the swamp of the Middle East and North Africa fell to Erdogan! The ball picked up after the attacks of 9/11 by the US was now fumbled and dropped by the directionless western ruling elites. The handful in the US war cabinet of GWB who changed policies failed to even draft ‘the memo’ explaining to the world what they were really up to and failed miserably to spread the reasoning behind this change of direction far and wide. Being directionless and without the theory of and for the democratic revolution the next lot that took charge retreated and almost tried to revert to the old policies but found they couldn’t; so then they distracted themselves and easily fell into the anti-carbon dioxide climate fad popularized by their defeated champion Al Gore no less! True believers of utter rot!

Where are the current crop of Hitchens to speak up and in doing so shame all ‘good liberals’ into bleating even more excuses? That is what they do; bleat excuses for the constant sell outs of all the world’s people’s struggling for democracy AND industrial development! A development necessarily fueled by fossil fuels!

As obvious as Putin’s anti-democratic crusades is the bastardry of the ‘realists’, who would now and have always sold-out real democracy. But so too do the woke and others in these ruling elites be they dopey greens, open liberals, conservatives (neo or not) or painted ‘red’ in the pseudoleft.

That ‘war is tragic’ is not at issue – of course it’s tragic, but the reality that Baathism and all manner of fascism -like Putin has put on display in Ukraine since 2014- will not cease until it is stopped IS at issue and the world’s leading liberals have comprehensively failed to respond to this reality. For eight long years they did not much more than sit on their duffs and pretend to be the adults in the room! While talking twaddle about the weather!

Genuine leftists maintain that fighting back is not tragic.

Nolan Peterson has now gotten very real and knows that there is a pseudo-left bleating about peace and calling for negotiations! He knows they must be opposed! Consider Scott Ritter! How revolting can you get? But the west must be prepared to fight and that means an ongoing capacity to fight! We can’t just magically have the capacities required! Who can bear to watch the likes of ‘Democracy Now’ or Chomsky drone on in his venerated dotage? Clueless is just not strong enough a term for what is going on in 2023!

We democrats in 2023 require most of all an understanding that the west is all in for the genuinely democratic revolution! So that requires an understanding of what that means because it is not the simple vote that some people seem to think it is.

So, when set against Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus or the neighbors in Iran; Syria; Egypt; Palestine; Saudi Arabia; Bahrain; and so on (Especially where either Russia or China or where western ‘realist’ policies still hold sway) Iraq’s democratic revolution is clearly well along the always twisting and turning path that the democratic revolution follows. All these other places will travel a similar path even if they have currently hardly started! So ‘cast aside all illusions and prepare for struggle’ is the motto to cling to! The liberation of Iraq is now so stark as the various elections roll on cycle after cycle, yet this liberal trope still gets thrown around by our new democratic revolutionaries!

How can good liberals not notice that these anti-democrats hold exactly the same view over this recent Afghanistan started Iraq centered western war-making as they do themselves? It is well known that Putin and Assad (two blatant examples of the type abounding to the point of being almost ubiquitous in ruling class circles) were opposed to the war to liberate the various Iraq peoples from their lawful tyrant Saddam Hussein. Good liberals even called it illegal to liberate them! They jumped up and down like the Geoffrey Robinson types demanding accountability no less, before shrugging their shoulders and dropping the whole matter as if they were powerless. As Arthur reminded us; Yes of course it was illegal! Revolutions make laws, laws do not make revolutions! All revolution is illegal! Who among these liberals have not chanted ‘no blood for oil’? Yet many years on, how could they not have noticed that if an invading force doesn’t install puppets but instead enables free and fair elections then they couldn’t possibly steal oil! They are left with no functional theory and so they bleat that therefore the war was lost! How idiotically circular can you get?

Because it’s a big blind spot that slips by unnoticed (yet if seen can’t be unseen) IMV we have to go back to some very basic issues to reveal why it’s almost ubiquitous among otherwise clearly intelligent pro-Ukraine, pro-democracy people.

Vlad ‘the lar’ is a tyrant behaving as any previous Czar! He is an anti-democrat and will not disappear without a protracted armed struggle that will see him eventually defeated and the sooner the better. Nevertheless, his surviving supporters WILL simply go underground and continue their ongoing struggle against democracy. That is the nature of political opponents. So we must remind ourselves as the protracted war goes on that, ‘Where the broom does not reach the dust will not disappear of its own accord.’

Eventually there will be no open enemy, instead the enemy will regroup underground and pretend to be a democrat by day and operate as a gangster by night! That is how it works in the real world. Revolutions proceed as two steps forward and one step back. But after another century or two has passed there is no going back and now almost no one wants to reinstate the Kaiser or the Czar etc.. But this can’t be a good enough answer for us!

I would go further and say that no matter what the west does now (after all just think how revolting this ‘leadership’ is from Macron to Trudeau and so on as they prattle their green poison) this revolution will roll on. It will roll on and into Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Syria, Iran etc etc. But the point is this is what a democratic revolution ALSO looks like.

A great many westerners having no understanding of their own history and the role played by quite conservative religious types in their own democratic struggles could not see it when it was infant like and swaddled in middle eastern garb. That was after the events of 9/11 declared to even the blind that there was a world-wide Islamo-fascist movement that had and has to be fought! Thus, a credible strategy had and has to be devised to win that war that was declared ready or not on that never to be forgotten day of infamy.

Some, like the Thatcher’s and Reagan’s of the world couldn’t, only a few decades back, even see the real struggle in South Africa just a few years earlier than 9/11! Our ruling classes carried on life while Mandela sat in prison just as Marwan Barghouti still does today! Thatcher could see the problem when it sprang from Argentina and tried to swallow the Falkland Islands, but she could not see it in Ireland. After the Irish armed struggle spread to the financial center of London, Blair managed to break that historical log jam and peace has come to Ireland, even while the British continue to lie to themselves.

Reagan, in pre-Obama style, tried to sell the British out over the Falklands, and US General Haig was shown the door by Thatcher in no uncertain terms and Reagan was THEN forced by reality to come to his senses! But these conservatives were democratically blind to South Africa and the war for greater Israel still bumbled along as it does to this day.

37 Responses to “Theory”

  1. 1 patrickm
    Why Ukraine’s strategy terrifies the Russian army | Defence in Depth
    ‘Tide is turning against Putin’ on NATO security plans for Ukraine | Roger Boyes

  2. 2 Steve Owens

    I think that the problem is with theory and this dates back to Lenin. The February revolution saw 2 great advances. One was Universal suffrage and the other was free speech both of these landmark gains were produced by the February revolution. Lenin arrives in April and he says another revolution is needed. All the party leaders look at each other and say well this is new this is not what we have been saying. Lenin sells them this idea based on the we are not going to create socialism we are just going to spark a European revolution. When he announced at the Soviet that the bolsheviks (a party that at the time smaller than the Australian party in 1945)were going for revolution the place broke out in laughter.
    Anyhow Lenin succeeded but the European revolution didn’t but it was never going to. There was no revolutionary party anywhere else in Europe.The closest they got was in Germany but 180 revolutionaries dead and it was over. Lenin made a mistake Russia was not the spark. He was against holding an election but the party over ruled him it got 25% of the vote which was probably the high water mark of their popularity.
    So Lenin ended Universal suffrage and destroyed free speech by 1921 there were not publications other than party publications. The 1921 ban on factions was the death knell for intra-party democracy and within a short time the only acceptable opinion was enthusiastic support for building socialism which was an impossible task. As Russia, China and Cambodia have proved all you can build is a mad dictatorship.
    Lenin was wrong about European revolution he was wrong to say to the Soviet people that they could have no say in who composed the government and he was wrong to silence them.

  3. 3 Steve Owens

    This mistake of Lenin’s had worldwide consequences. The party leadership had control over who was and wasn’t a member so it was relatively easy to run a shame internal democracy as the only comrades allowed to vote were the comrades vetted by the leadership. The international parties were subordinate to the International which was dominated by the ruling group inside the CPSU. So when the Chinese communists were ordered to merge with the KMT obedience is the only option. When the KDP was ordered to support a Nazi initiated referendum the only option was obedience. It reach Australia’s shores. After WW2 Moscow said that the depression would return and that the CPA should initiate a miners strike. Some in the CPA objected saying that now wasn’t the right time. They were just removed and replaced by people who could take orders.
    The big problem for anyone who wants to defend orthodox communism is where has everybody gone? In 1945 the party had over 20,000 members in todays numbers that would be 120,000. So the question is where are the 120,000 communists? Oh and the 20,000 weren’t just paper members like the ALP. In those days members had to be active and were vetted for ideological purity.

  4. 4 Steve Owens

    The problem in theory for those who uphold Marxism Leninism Maoism is Deng. Now if your theory is that Deng was a dangerous capitalist roader then how do you explain his treatment? Liu was stripped of his party membership placed under house arrest tortured and died in custody. Deng’s son was “thrown” from the 4th floor of a building and made a paraplegic but Deng’s treatment was quite different. No loss of party membership, no torture (that I know of)and placed in a factory to work. Then rehabilitated at Mao’s direction and placed as Vice Premier 3rd in the power structure to the chairman.
    An odd outcome for the man who on Liu’s death became the countries number one capitalist roader.

  5. 5 Stephen

    Deng was purged again but only after Mao’s death. Odd isn’t it that the only thing stopping his purge was Mao.

  6. 6 Steve Owens

    The way I understand it is that this drama played out due to personal loyalties rather than politics. Mao clearly protected Zhou EnLai from attacks from the left and Zhou clearly protected Deng as did Mao.
    Deng met Zhou when they were in France Deng was 17 and Zhou 23. They formed a strong personal bond.
    Then we move to 1935 and the Zunyi conference. It’s here that Zhou and I presume Deng (he was there) throw their weight behind Mao and their support (at least Zhou’s support) is crucial in making Mao CCP leader. Up until then he has been sidelined in his struggle against Moscow’s preferred leadership.
    We also know anecdotally that Mao held Deng in high regard as he reportedly told Khrushchev that Deng was the one to watch.
    I can’t see how the final days of Mao can be understood other than through the prism of personal loyalty.

  7. 7 Steve Owens

    When I say mad dictatorships I mean stuff like this

    Imagine a scientist being sentenced to death because he opposes the idea of applying Marxism Leninism to plant life. He objects to the idea that wheat has a proletarian character and that wheat grains can learn.
    I kid you not.

  8. 8 patrickm

    So that rules theory out for you given (as the above post demonstrates) your far to sloppy in your entire approach! Now given your political stance is hopeless might I suggest returning to a study of economics as some kind of desperate last hope perhaps.

  9. 9 patrickm

    Here is something you could agree or disagree with and make a useful effort over. Ought Australia repudiate the anti cluster munitions treaty? Given the current lessons that are in our face I say both that we ought to and that the ALP under their current leadership most probably wont. Also it would seem urgent to begin a nuclear industry to generate all that will be required of our AUKUS undertakings.

  10. 10 Steve Owens

    Look I can demonstrate how these regimens degenerated into madness,
    Example one Lysenko agronomy. The whole communist world took it as an article of faith that Marxism Leninism could be applied to plants. Scientists who disagreed could be and were sentenced to death as counter revolutionaries. China took up the theory and its one reason for the Great Leap famine as farmers planted “proletarian” grain very close together because “proletarian” grain didn’t compete but cooperated with other grain. The failure of these policies should have been self evident but in China people lied about harvests because truth telling was way more dangerous than telling the higher ups whatever they wanted to hear.
    There was the campaign against sparrows. Do you know that the sparrows of China are descendants of sparrows imported from the USSR because exterminating sparrows was a disaster.
    Pig iron. Bill Brugger commented that when he visited China there were piles of useless pig iron everywhere a product of the insane back yard furnace program.
    The biggest problem with mad dictatorships is the apathy it fosters in the population. When a Khrushchev or a Deng come along the population don’t care because they are sick of the bullshit, sick of having to pretend that everything is great when everything is clearly not great.
    You may hale totalitarian regimens that lack free speech but have you noticed the distinct lack of enthusiasm from anyone other than religious fanatics?

  11. 11 Steve Owens

    I’m happy to talk about cluster munitions. I have nothing against them I have nothing against a nuclear industry or AUKUS.
    I’m more interested in why you think that the people in Ukraine didn’t deserve the right to vote or the right to free speech.
    If you are going to argue that the people of Ukraine have rights why did they not have the same rights a hundred years ago?

  12. 12 patrickm

    You are ranting against Lenin as if there was a democratic alternative and there was not. What there was was WW1 and an empire that had all manner of ratbag imperialist forces meddling in; they -the imperialists- were never about liberation! There was a fight for democracy led by communists that was not able to come to power in anything like a peaceful and democratic manner. After that it all went a bit pear shaped.

  13. 13 Steve Owens

    OK I’m happy to go slowly. Why did the Bolsheviks seize power?

  14. 14 Steve Owens

    The answer is that the Bolsheviks took power in order to spark a European wide revolution.
    This did not happen it was never going to happen because there were no other revolutionary parties in Europe.
    This was Lenin’s failure in theory.

  15. 15 Steve Owens

    “There was a fight for democracy led by communists” There was no such thing. There are certain fundamental aspects to democracy and these were not embraced by the Bolsheviks. Whether its democracy of a nation wide vote or a workers council vote or a vote inside a political party. These democratic norms are free speech, free association and free election process.
    In 1921 Russia none of these democratic norms existed. They had all been extinguished by the Communist Party.
    The Bolsheviks were quite open about it the party ruled because the party embodied the advanced people where as the population the workers and even minority groups within the party were backward. By 1921 no group in the country was allowed to express ideas that were not the parties ideas. As I pointed out this reached a ridiculous level when people were sentenced to death for opposing the parties endorsed view on plant biology.
    Now you can claim that the party ruled because it had the best ideas but you can’t claim it was leading a democratic revolution. Well before 1921 Russia was a totalitarian state not a democracy.

  16. 16 Steve Owens

    by mid 2018 every other political party had been expelled from the soviets even a party like the International Mensheviks who had opposed WW1 and supported the reds during the civil war. The problem for the Bolsheviks was they were losing popularity fast, membership of the Left Social Revolutionaries was exploding due to things like the return of the death penalty, executions without process, food requisitioning and the fact that Bolshevik party members were entitled to better food rations.
    I think that the 15 demands drawn up by the Kronstadt sailors is instructive. Non of the demands are counter revolutionary the sailors put them forward as a starting point for negotiation. It must be admitted that this “threat” was met with lies and bullets and once the sailors surrender with mass executions. Leading a democratic revolution yeah a shameful thing to claim. Only democratic if you think the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea is democratic.

  17. 17 Steve Owens

    If a party runs in an election loses and then closes the parliament, that is not democracy. When a party gains a majority in workers councils and then expels every other party within 8 months,that is not democracy. When the most militant sailors in the revolution put forward demands and are met with lies and bullets, that is not democracy. When every voice is silenced, every other party banned, that is not democracy. When dissidents within the party are expelled, that is not democracy.
    When a party signs the Brest/Litovsk treaty that contains secret clauses, that is not democracy.

  18. 18 Steve Owens

    I understand that you are planning to write a defense of Soviet democracy which I think is a very good thing to do. In the mid 1990’s I read a book that I thought was very instructive on this topic. It is Samuel Farber’s Before Stalinism :The Rise and Fall of Soviet Democracy
    Here is his defense of this book against more orthodox critics

  19. 19 patrickm

    Just to begin the refocus that I think is required to deal with the theory.


    I consider the Russo Ukrainian war to be a world changing part of a wider picture that has spread before humanity all this century since war was declared ‘ready or not’ on 9/11/2001. Death and suffering has once again focused progressive’s on the most important of our age-old problems. The problem affects reformists and revolutionaries in equal measure and it does so from whatever perspective they have decided that they personally must be involved. Some aspects of the current fighting in Ukraine reminds me just a little of the long struggle of the Irish but mostly I am daily reminded just how lucky I am in Australia.

    In the trenches right now you will easily find people motivated by the desire for the independence of their western focused country and they may well be native Russian speakers. There are others who fight for their national liberties and they fight not just for their country but for their nation. They see the fight through the eyes of a long oppressed nation freeing itself from the Russian empire. Others are involved in the revolution to rid Ukraine of the corrupt ruling elites contending for political and economic power. These last elements whatever their very small number are advanced proletarians who fight to be free from another form of oppression where a minority own and control the means of production and the propertyless ‘only work here as and when the owning classes need to make use of our laboring power’.

    All (whatever their motivation) fight both a) to stay alive and b) to make their personal contribution to the democratic revolution.

    These 3 reasons for fighting are now and always have been ‘intersectional’ juggling exercises for any that knowingly try to make democracy exist where it doesn’t yet. And as for those simply swept up in the unfolding of historical events, both a and b are just as much ‘a bit of a lottery’ anyway. Naturally we mere mammals all eventually fail at the first but the second issue over these last 300 years has made only very marginal progress and some say it’s too early to pass judgment on even the earliest of these events. Zhou Enlai on the Effects of the French Revolution: “Too Early to Say.” Quote or No Quote? – Professor Buzzkill Here I have to say that I had always taken the older explanation as to what was meant by Zhou and so I’ve always thought about the issues from that perspective and I do so now even as I see the alternative report as the far more credible explanation.

    But even if it’s not ‘too soon’ and we do have quite a bit to ‘say’ about the effects of the English, French and American revolutions, nevertheless in our struggle to understand how people can further the democratic revolution in our own time I just don’t think we can get very far if we forget about war and its attendant death, suffering and destruction! IMV we won’t get far with any review of the 20th century or the struggle and wars stretching another 100 years back if we lose sight of war. Those who do lose sight of issues of armed struggle will -if they are in the political contest for power- not have armed struggle lose sight of them! From Chile to China and right round the clock we have seen what fate befalls the unarmed.

    So here is the basic problem outlined in what I believe to be the classical marxist form.
    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 good universally, for China and for all other countries.

    But while the principle remains the same, its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in varying ways according to the varying conditions. Internally, capitalist countries practice bourgeois democracy (not feudalism) when they are not fascist or not at war; in their external relations, they are not oppressed by, but themselves oppress, other nations. Because of these characteristics, it is the task of the party of the proletariat in the capitalist countries to educate the workers and build up strength through a long period of legal struggle, and thus prepare for the final overthrow of capitalism. In these countries, the question is one of a long legal struggle, of utilizing parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organizing trade unions and educating the workers. There the form of organization is legal and the form of struggle bloodless (non-military). On the issue of war, the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries oppose the imperialist wars waged by their own countries; if such wars occur, the policy of these Parties is to bring about the defeat of the reactionary governments of their own countries. The one war they want to fight is the civil war for which they are preparing.[1] But this insurrection and war should not be launched until the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, until the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight, and until the rural masses are giving willing help to the proletariat. And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside’ and not the other way about. All this has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries, and it has been proved correct by the October Revolution in Russia.

    China is different however. The characteristics of China are that she is not independent and democratic but semi-colonial and semi-feudal, that internally she has no democracy but is under feudal oppression and that in her external relations she has no national independence but is oppressed by imperialism. It follows that we have no parliament to make use of and no legal right to organize the workers to strike. Basically, the task of the Communist Party here is not to go through a long period of legal struggle before launching insurrection and war, and not to seize the big cities first and then occupy the countryside, but the reverse.

    When imperialism is not making armed attacks on our country, the Chinese Communist Party either wages civil war jointly with the bourgeoisie against the warlords (lackeys of imperialism), as in 1924-27 in the wars in Kwangtung Province [2] and the Northern Expedition, or unites with the peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie to wage civil war against the landlord class and the comprador bourgeoisie (also lackeys of imperialism), as in the War of Agrarian Revolution of 1927-36. When imperialism launches armed attacks on China, the Party unites all classes and strata in the country opposing the foreign aggressors to wage a national war against the foreign enemy, as it is doing in the present War of Resistance Against Japan.

    All this shows the difference between China and the capitalist countries. In China war is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organization. …

    “In China the armed revolution is fighting the armed counterrevolution. That is one of the specific features and one of the advantages of the Chinese revolution.”[3] This thesis of Comrade Stalin’s is perfectly correct and is equally valid for the Northern Expedition, the War of Agrarian Revolution, and the present War of Resistance Against Japan. They are all revolutionary wars; all directed against counter-revolutionaries and all waged mainly by the revolutionary people, differing only in the sense that a civil war differs from a national war, and that a war conducted by the Communist Party differs from a war it conducts jointly with the Kuomintang. Of course, these differences are important. They indicate the breadth of the main forces in the war (an alliance of the workers and peasants, or of the workers, peasants and bourgeoisie) and whether our antagonist in the war is internal or external (whether the war is against domestic or foreign foes, and, if domestic, whether against the Northern warlords or against the Kuomintang); they also indicate that the content of China’s revolutionary war differs at different stages of its history. But all these wars are instances of armed revolution fighting armed counterrevolution, they are all revolutionary wars, and all exhibit the specific features and advantages of the Chinese revolution. The thesis that revolutionary war “is one of the specific features and one of the advantages of the Chinese revolution” fits China’s conditions perfectly. The main task of the party of the Chinese proletariat, a task confronting it almost from its very inception, has been to unite with as many allies as possible and, according to the circumstances, to organize armed struggles for national and social liberation against armed counterrevolution, whether internal or external. Without armed struggle the proletariat and the Communist Party would have no standing at all in China, and it would be impossible to accomplish any revolutionary task.

    Our Party did not grasp this point fully during the first five or six years after it was founded, that is, from 1921 to its participation in the Northern Expedition in 1926. It did not then understand the supreme importance of armed struggle in China, or seriously prepare for war and organize armed forces, or apply itself to the study of military strategy and tactics. During the Northern Expedition it neglected to win over the army but laid one-sided stress on the mass movement, with the result that the whole mass movement collapsed the moment the Kuomintang turned reactionary. For a long time after 1927 many comrades continued to make it the Party’s central task to prepare for insurrections in the cities and to work in the White areas. It was only after our victory in repelling the enemy’s third “encirclement and suppression” campaign in 1931 that some comrades fundamentally changed their attitude on this question. But this was not true of the whole Party, and there were other comrades who did not think along the lines presented here.

    Experience tells us that China’s problems cannot be settled without armed force. An understanding of this point will help us in successfully waging the War of Resistance Against Japan from now on. The fact that the whole nation is rising in armed resistance in the war against Japan should inculcate a better understanding of the importance of this question in the whole Party, and every Party member should be prepared to take up arms and go to the front at any moment. Moreover, our present session has clearly defined the direction for our efforts by deciding that the Party’s main fields of work are in the battle zones and in the enemy’s rear. This is also an excellent antidote against the tendency of some Party members to be willing only to work in Party organizations and in the mass movement but to be unwilling to study or participate in warfare, and against the failure of some schools to encourage students to go to the front, and other such phenomena. In most of China, Party organizational work and mass work are directly linked with armed struggle; there is not and cannot be, any Party work or mass work that is isolated and stands by itself. Even in rear areas remote from the battle zones (like Yunnan, Kweichow and Szechuan) and in enemy-occupied areas (like Peiping, Tientsin, Nanking and Shanghai), Party organizational work and mass work are co-ordinated with the war, and should and must exclusively serve the needs of the front. In a word, the whole Party must pay great attention to war, study military matters and prepare itself for fighting.

    Prior to, during WW1 and in the ongoing fight throughout the Czarist empire Russian democrats found themselves in a similar condition such that ‘Without armed struggle the proletariat and the Communist Party would have no standing at all in [the vast czarist empire], and it would be impossible to accomplish any revolutionary task.’

    How to fight this revolutionary war is what the struggle for democracy has been about even if in the west the struggle at least currently takes a legal form!

    To be continued…

  20. 20 Steve Owens

    The Quote about the French revolution was probably a translating error He was asked about the French revolution and he answered about the 1968 events in France.
    I’m talking democracy and you are talking vanguard politics. When I was 18 I spoke to a Nazi. He said that democracy was no good because the people are backward and ignorant. Why on earth would you let backward and ignorant people make the decision?
    You see vanguard politics everywhere. Take Ireland, the anti treaty mob saw themselves as the embodiment of the nation they had done the fighting and the dying they weren’t going to agree to anything less than a republic. The election was basically a referendum on the treaty and the pro treaty side scored an overwhelming victory. So the anti treaty mob opted for war. This is vanguard politics where a group decides that it and it alone represents the will of the people,the class or whatever.Even if the majority of the people disagree silly backward people.
    Now the question that we are addressing is was Lenin leading a democratic revolution and whether you approve of Lenin or not the answer is no.
    Lenin was focused on power. He would have ruled through the duma but he didn’t get the numbers, he would have ruled through the Soviets but he quickly lost the numbers and he would rule through the party and by 1921 party democracy became a dead letter. It’s quite easy to see in 1922 you have the letter of the 22 and for the crime of writing a letter the 22 were punished. A couple were expelled from the party and the leading letter writer Shlyapnikov was removed from his position in the Metal Workers Union.

  21. 21 Steve Owens

    We are in a great position being able to review history with a lot more facts than the participants had.
    Lenin thought that Europe was on the verge of revolution and that the Russian revolution could act as a spark.
    Looking back now it is hard to see how he could have come to this conclusion. Germany was never militarily stronger than in 1917 Austria looked a little shakier but this was about food shortages. The French did suffer a military mutiny but they kept that pretty quiet. So some social conditions were in Lenin’s favor and Finland broke out into civil war but the reality remained that there was no other revolutionary party in Europe and the peace he signed forbade Russia from interfering with what the Germans were about to unleash in Finland.
    As with all vanguards Lenin was happy to use democracy if it helped him but equally as happy to over ride democracy if it didn’t help. Well why not the Bolsheviks were the embodiment of proletarian politics.

  22. 22 Steve Owens

    Here’s the issue you claim that communists were leading a revolution for democracy. Well lets look at the facts. In November of 1917 they overthrew democracy but its OK they argued for replacing national election democracy with the direct democracy of soldiers/workers/peasant council democracy a change from representative to direct democracy. I have no problem with that. The problems start 8 months latter with all other parties being expelled from the Soviets and Soviets that had no Bolshevik majorities being dis banded. Again I can live with this as an emergency measure due to the civil war that was unfolding. What is harder to reconcile is when the civil war is winding down. The response to people demanding a restitution of democracy in the Soviets are lies and bullets and the restriction of democratic practices within the party. And total censorship.

  23. 23 patrickm

    2024 will mark ten years since Putin once more ordered his Russian gun carriers to undemocratically move and they did so with widespread ‘democratic’ cover from some classically anti war westerners. Take the following example.
    ‘The real threat is war and its a strange world but is it really that strange?
    Fifthly The wellbeing of the people of the Crimean Peninsular is of concern but so far no lives have been lost and the authorities are conducting some sort of democratic process. My point was that I am unconcerned who rules Crimea, Ukraine, Russia or stand alone independant. What matters is the human rights of the people not the specific administrative structure.

    Lastly I think that there are some superficial similarities between Crimea and the Sudatenland in that both had majorities that favoured either Hitler or Putin but the difference that is significant is that giving the Sudatenland to Hitler significantly changed the balance of military forces in Europe (the Sudatenland having armaments factories and other military assets) while the significant military asset of the Crimea is already in Russian hands.’

    Ten years on and democracy is not the slightest bit on any radar when it comes to dealing with the territory that Russia is still occupying in Ukraine. Nor will it be. What is on the agenda is the defeat of the Russian gunmen by the Ukrainian ‘gunmen’ and in the process dealing with any collaborators. The current agenda for democrats is the expulsion to Russia of anyone who thinks they are or want to be Russian, even if they were born in Crimea. If they want to be with Putin then people can take a short drive across the bridge he built and not come back.

    At some point the bridge to Russian tyranny won’t be functioning anymore and people will have to scramble onto the ‘lifeboat’ ferries. Even those many Russian sympathisers who don’t really want Putin rule anymore have no real choice but to head off to Putanville because supporting the making of war on Ukraine soil over the last ten years (under whatever democratic cover) has now altered who gets to stay and have a vote and what they get to vote about!

    So we can say that a complicated understanding of the democratic process and associated dilemmas has now replaced the naive but actually unreal democracy of the past. People can now discover what was always on the agenda for the country and the nation and the people of Ukraine. The ‘war’ for democracy is clearly ‘intersectional’ as the nation as a whole seeks national liberation just as the country mobilises for its independence and the advanced among the people begin to stir for more revolution against their corrupt and exploitative oligarch owning class.

    Democracy was never the simple fig leaf that could cover all these issues from what was our 2014 Garden of Eden ignorance and a decade on we have all had more than one bite from the fruit of this tree of knowledge. Distant war has been our constant meal!

    ‘Red Blob aka steve owens September 1, 2014 at 9:44 pm
    All Im saying is that the rebels in the East could easily be over run by the Ukraine army but for the fact that Putin wont let that happen.
    Foaming against Putin will not stop him, the sanctions are a joke that wont stop him. If Ukraine ups the fighting they will come off second best. If they are expecting real help from the West then they are deluded. Their best option is to sit down and start discussing what they can salvage.
    This has not got anything to do with what I think is right but is just looking at the facts and suggesting what is likely to bring about a resolution. The other option is WW3 are you advocating WW3?’

    If, just for now, we let Obama and the rest of the western liberal rabble ‘leadership’ off the hook for their criminal negligence and breathtaking incompetence and focus on the openly anti democratic types, then the statistics over this last decade reveal that Putin and his merry band of knuckle dragging HIRISE cellar dwellers have been responsible for the deaths of over a million people! They have stood firmly in the way of any democratic evolution let alone revolution. After that decade they will now reap the whirlwind they so richly deserve but it is no thanks to any anti war crowd!

    The struggle for democracy…who, what, where, when, how and why in Ukraine can tell us a great deal about how and why Lenin and Mao were genuinely fighting for democracy in their now long ago times and far away places.

    If people keep an eye on the maps and various situational reports -as I do- then they will know that virtually every day now, the armed forces of Ukraine (AFU) are getting relatively stronger. The AFU daily recapture some small amount of their country’s territory but more importantly the strategic position of the two armed forces alters slightly. This is because of both where and how they are regaining their territory.

    They are slowly ‘sawing’ the Russian occupation forces in two. What is left of Kherson plus Zaporizhia and the Crimea peninsula are at some point all going to be effectively cut off from sufficient supply and become as Ben Hodges has always maintained ‘untenable’ for the Russians. The sawing will continue uninterrupted right through the coming winter and once split apart the Russian army will have a giant Putin problem on their hands and the Putin regime must be ended to end this war.

    Since Napoleon declared it, all soldiers know that artillery conquers and infantry occupies! Today (2/10/23) saw a record 48 pieces of artillery destroyed by the AFU. UA-MOD-Total combat losses of the enemy.xlsx – Microsoft Excel Online (

    The AFU have effective infantry steadily working forward because they move under their own ‘artillery’s’ protective umbrella. The AFU out range the Russian guns; then find and destroy them and only then clear the much less protected Russian infantry from their positions. Often, it then becomes a supply chain exhaustion battle that eventually decides the day and forces the Russians to finally run to the next tree line where they seem to always find the situation is not really that much better. The good point for these troops being that they’re still alive and having done a runner once will be more inclined to do it again.

    As we can see from youtube etc, the thoughts of surrender are now more than brewing in a few isolated Russian formations. The sentiment that the situation is pointless is spreading deeper through the layers of ‘fixed’ Russian troops. But we can’t look here for a short term end because this is a WW1 style slaughter fest and it’s a war where the enemy has eyes all around.

    It’s not just in the capacity of both sides to continue to field further formations where we must look either. It’s the capacity to get them trained, equipped and moved forward that counts as a first step only. With evidence of 70 yr old tanks now in the field Russian capacity to hold that front is now at the demonstrably not able to stage.

    Troops have to fight somewhere that is of consequence that is what counts. They must be moved into a viable position along this massive front line but moved without much concentration because almost everything is now seen. To concentrate on this battlefield is to be a target and quickly destroyed!

    The Russians have no credibly armed and trained reserves left to plug the gaps that are spreading by the day. The Russians failed as an effective army of conquest and the war that Putin set out on was long ago lost. But the war he has now gotten caught up in is field by field infantry warfare and he is losing that as well.

    The obvious conclusion -in short- is that the Russian front line is in a precarious position as winter rapidly approaches because their supply chain is now under constant attack. The Russians are short of even maintenance levels of supplies right throughout the occupied territories. So when the cupboard is bare at any point then mini encirclement ‘thunder runs’ are more to be expected than a return to mobile warfare on a broad scale, though that too will come again towards the end.

    Small infantry breakthroughs with the focus constantly on the destruction of Russian artillery is this stage of this war’s format and it’s working very well. For example the Russians are slowly but consistently losing ground around their ‘victory’ pile of rubble called Bakhmut. The AFU will, at some point in the next few months, as a result of this steady progress, totally destroy or force into a rapid chaotic retreat the Russians that are currently fixed in Bakhmut. It’s important for the Russians strategic morale that it not fall yet, it is just as obvious that it will. When it does it will mark another spectacular milestone on the road to failure. It will highlight for the disgruntled Russian elites the requirement for Putin’s personal demise. The Russian scramble that will follow is predictable enough to guarantee the fate of Lukashenko. This fall in morale may not break the Russian forces and start the required revolt but it won’t bring them back together either. The rot is now all the way through and all that we await is the final ‘load’ event that it can’t hold to surprise us. Meanwhile the unenthusiastic, dragooned Russians keep doing their job! But I’ll wager that not one with any brain now believes in victory.

    ‘Red Blob aka steve owens August 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm
    Well there was a revolution in Ukraine. I think that after any revolution borders are often redrawn. It was clear that a sizable population in the East were unhappy with the new regimen, they were pro Russian and Im sure Putin was giving them material support.
    In this situation it would have been advisable for the new Ukrainian government to open up negotiations with the rebels there was stuff to discuss and the new government could have offered greater autonomy, federalism or just aknowledgment that the rights of the rebels would get a fair hearing.
    The government decided to invoke the military option which could have worked if Putin had stood aside but I never expected Putin to stand aside and low and behold thousands of Russian troops have decided to spend their annual leave in Ukraine.
    I cant see the logic of the Ukrainian government if they win militarily they will rule over a hostile population in the East. If they loose Ukraine could be set afire by war with a much more powerful neighbour and if they think that they can drag the West in well they are in for an even bigger shock.’

    That last paragraph is actually a logic free zone. They will win militarily and there was never going to be any other way to win. They won’t rule over a hostile population in the East. Ukraine was set afire when it suited Vlad (because the borders never made sense so did not suit defender of Ukrainian democracy Vlad the honest) and the West was slowly dragged in, kicking and screaming, anyway!

    Ten years later the war rages and the Ukrainians now have a genuine people’s army and that is what will prove decisive. What is more is that the world’s democracies are supplying this AFU at least enough weapons to do the required job. For example a new weapons system called the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) is, along with F16 aircraft and some Abrams Tanks and perhaps some ATACMS, still to be deployed. These GLSDB’s are not yet a proven system but they are expected to be in use very soon and they appear to me to be just what the AFU requires to continue to destroy the Russian supply train and their defensive trenches and so forth. Furthermore, systems that have had their past glory moments such as the Bayraktar are returning to prominence as the quantity of the equipment that countered them is now evidently drying up.

    But a slow predictable rollback of the Russians is not how the war will now unfold. Instead what is about to happen is a dramatic collapse in the Russian ability to hold big regions of what they currently still do.

    The slow grind since the AFU commenced their ‘spring’ offensive has destroyed so much of the frontline Russian artillery that the AFU has now mortally wounded the Russian ‘god of war’. The slow progress through the minefields and months of trench clearing infantry fighting has now brought Ukrainian artillery forward with sufficient anti-aircraft and infantry support to now begin to dominate the central supply lines crucial to the Russian ‘middle’. Consequently over the next year the occupying Russians are going to be cut in two and because the bulk of the Russian forces are positioned on the front lines and effectively fixed there by the threat from their opposite numbers the roll up of these troops in this end-on turkey shoot in Sergeant York manner is predictable. Large formations of frontline Russian troops will soon be cut off from supplies because the AFU have found the way around rather than now having to go through the defense lines. Ukrainian artillery is now a machine like a mechanical hammer swung against Russians pinned against their own paralysis and incompetence as an anvil.

    When a large Russian formation is either forced to surrender or is essentially destroyed and a supporting flank routed a partial domino effect possibility will arise leading to a major event from within the un-suppliable Russian occupiers. Just as the doomed but dramatic Wagner leadership rebellion foreshadowed the next TINA moment will arise and a withdrawal of a large Russian column will mark the beginning of the end for Putin and what remains of his then confused terror leadership elements. Perhaps civil war in Russia breaks out beyond this point and the Ukrainians can then offer free passage out for all who want to go home.

    What a great day this record breaking day has been!

    (716) Ben Hodges – Compilation of 4 Silicon Curtain Interviews with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges – Oct-22 to Jun-23 – YouTube

  24. 24 Steve Owens

    Whats is the point of demolishing my theories? Am I a theoretician? What I’m trying to do in response to your claim that Communists were leading a democratic revolution in 1917 is to look at the theories of leading Marxists at the time.
    A departure that Lenin made from Marxist theory was to argue that Europe was ripe for revolution and that a Russian revolution could spark Europe wide revolutions. This was a new idea and not the position of the Bolshevik party when he returned in April.
    You are a self proclaimed Leninist. I expect that you are versed in his theory. All I want you to do is explain how the Russian revolution could spark other revolutions when no other country had a revolutionary party.

  25. 25 Steve Owens

    “Regarded from the world-historical point of view, there would doubtlessly be no hope of the ultimate victory of our revolution if it were to remain alone, if there were no revolutionary movements in other countries. When the Bolshevik Party tackled the job alone, it did so in the firm conviction that the revolution was maturing in all countries and that in the end—but not at the very beginning—no matter what difficulties we experienced, no matter what defeats were in store for us, the world socialist revolution would come—because it is coming; would mature— because it is maturing and will reach full maturity. I repeat, our salvation from all these difficulties is an all Europe revolution. Taking this truth, this absolutely abstract truth, as our starting-point,…”

  26. 26 patrickm this is great news!

    As to your last post, I think you are so far from understanding what this stuff is all about I hardly know where to start. But IMV you’re not really trying to understand. Lenin’s words seem about right to me!

  27. 27 patrickm

    J Peterson seems to be channeling Steve! Especially towards the end when he gets stuck into the communists.

    Ah the joy! Even a foolish British Trot was head and shoulders above the crass anticommunist twaddle.

  28. 28 Steve Owens

    Jordan Peterson is a far right ideologue and a very poor historian. Christopher Hitchens at least has a theory about the revolution degenerating. My question to you is, were the Communists really leading a democratic revolution as you claim and if so why within Lenin’s lifetime were there no free elections of any sort and why were the democratic norms of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly absent?
    All you have to do to refute me is to explain how this revolution was democratic.

  29. 29 Steve Owens

    You might be best off to start with a definition of democracy.

  30. 30 Steve Owens

    I’m still interested to learn how a proletarian revolution in Russia was going to cause proletarian revolution in Europe. No other European country had a revolutionary party. Revolutionaries like Luxembourg sat in prison. OK Finland had a civil war but Lenin signed the Brest/Litovsk treaty agreeing that the Russia would not intervene.
    If as I believe there was no prospect of revolution breaking out anywhere then Lenin’s theory is false.
    This does not surprise me he sided with orthodoxy against revisionism and that proved to be wrong. He backed Hilferding on Imperialism and the export of Capital and that was wrong. He accused the Kronstadt mutineers of being Whites and that was wrong and then claimed they had been pushing for a reestablishment of the Constitutional assembly and that again was wrong.

  31. 31 Steve Owens

    I’m still interested to know how you square the circle. Up till April 1917 Bolshevik theory was that a Socialist revolution in Russia was impossible without a European Socialist Revolution. In April Lenin argues for a proletarian revolution as a spark that would ignite revolution in Europe (Lets face it he meant Germany) Lenin had difficulty getting Bolshevik papers to print his views eventually they did as his personal view not as Bolshevik theory.
    But Look at the state of Germany. In April 1917 the Germans were winning the war the Social Democratic Party was pro war the antiwar group split away lead by Kautsky, Bernstein and Hasse hardly a revolutionary left. The revolutionary left were in prison.
    I can understand why people would support all power to the soviets a proletarian rather than a socialist revolution but I can’t see how anyone could argue as Lenin did that the revolution would act as a spark given that the most active anti war free socialist was Karl Kautsky.

  32. 32 Steve Owens

    The world is still waiting to hear how you think that the Communists were leading a democratic revolution.
    Lets just refresh
    Nov 1917 overthrow of universal suffrage
    July 1918 expel all other political parties from the Soviets and close down Soviets where Bolsheviks were in minority
    1920 Treaty of Moscow guaranteeing Georgian independence
    1921 close down last non party publication
    1921 Invasion of democratic Georgia to overthrow Georgian democracy eight months after the Soviets had given Georgia security guarantees.
    1922 Pledge support for IRA in its attempt to overthrow democracy in Ireland.

  33. 33 patrickm

    I would like to know who in the western world’s leadership ranks in 1912-3 you are proposing to be the genuine democrats, because clearly you don’t believe that communists were!

  34. 34 Steve Owens

    Please do not try and move the goal posts. You said that the Communists were leading a democratic revolution in Russia. I’m sure that lots of “Communists” bought that nonsense and adopted the propaganda view of history.
    I think that the October revolution can be defended on democratic grounds I’m surprised not surprised that you don’t make the revolutionary democrat argument but I understand that if you make the revolutionary democracy argument then it comes up hard against Bolshevik practice. I do recommend a reading of Sam Faber.
    The big problem for Bolshevik theory is the idea that the Russian revolution could be saved from it’s inevitable reversal by a revolution in Germany. Just tell me how did anyone in April 1917 come to believe that Germany was on the verge of revolution?
    Lenin was wrong and he must have known he was wrong.
    If you want to discuss this topic you need to start with Lenin’s ideas in April 1917.

  35. 35 Steve Owens

    Lenin never recovered from his break the chain at it’s weakest link mistake, as late as Oct 20 1920 at the 9th All Russian Conference of the Communist Party he claimed that England had become a new zone of proletarian revolution against world wide imperialism.
    Now if you bumped into anyone who claimed that England had become a new zone of anti imperialism. Well it’s just nonsense. I’m not so sure anymore that Lenin understood that he was talking nonsense maybe he was in fact deluded.
    Ask any Irish person in 1920 if they thought that the level of industrial action in the UK was a harbinger of anti imperialism.

  36. 36 Steve Owens

    I guess that there are three issues with the Bolsheviks and democracy one is the July 1918 decision to ban all other parties from the Soviets. At a pinch this is excusable on the grounds that the civil war was starting and a firm hand needed to be taken in this emergency. But this argument fails once the civil war is over and you get Kronstadt sailors making basic democratic demands. Now you can argue that the situation was so fragile that Kronstadt needed suppressing but did the sailors who surrender need to be executed? Where in democratic theory does it state that you shoot prisoners?
    Third is the 1921 decision to implement total censorship. Really free speech could survive the civil war but not the peace?
    There are other issues of theory one is the invasion of Georgia 8 months after signing a treaty with the government of Georgia and the other is Lenin’s incorrect assessment that a revolution in Russia would spark a revolution anywhere else.

  37. 37 Steve Owens

    You seem unaware that anyone other that Jordan Peterson was critical of the Bolsheviks on the grounds of democracy but may I just point out that Julius Martov was critical of the October coup and yes people like John Reed called it a coup at the time. Rosa Luxembourg was critical about seizing power by a party that lacked majority support. Emma Goldman despaired at the lack of democracy, Kautsky criticised the extinguishment of democracy in Georgia. Alexandra Kolltani and Alexander Shlyapnikov critisied the lack of democracy with Lenin famously (LCW vol32 p 206)declaring that Shlyapnikov’s error would need to be resolved with a gun (a few years latter it was) Trotsky one of the main culprits eventually admitted that destroying democracy at all levels was a mistake. Chomsky is very critical of the lack of Soviet democracy. I still recommend Sam Farber whose analysis that democracy died through a combination of external forces and the ideas that the Bolsheviks held.
    Lenin was clear in that he thought that the parties ideas would predominate even when the masses were in opposition to those ideas.

Leave a Reply