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 Post subject: The Russian Revolution: A History
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:25 am 
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This is a bunch of posts attempting to summarise the history of the Russian revolution, in terms of its various elements. You may reply, or may not, but it is mostly continuous.

Lenin, Kamenev, Strikes, and the Bolshevik Revolution

Soon after the accession of the Bolsheviks, a railroad strike threatened to displace Lenin and Trotsky from the leadership, and insisted that the Bolsheviks allow the other 'leftist' Parties into their government. This was met by Kamenev, a relative of Trotsky and member of the first Politburo, responding by claiming that they should give in or negotiate due to the crippling effect the strike could have on the economy. After the notable efforts of the revolution, such domestic thinking may have come across as suspect. However, Lenin, as you might expect, was not too excited about this, perhaps noticing the impersonally made personal slight, and that if such considerations could take him down, they could take down whatever little the revolution had reached. In this, the question of the democratic principle, as condemned by Bordiga, raised its head again, seemingly with no need for Pannekoek to be involved - except perhaps in his earlier avatar in Luxemburg. How far could democracy be taken as a principle without it trivialising the revolution? Well, Lenin was no Menshevik, and had already implicitly answered that he did not wish to preserve the national-democratic forms of the first 1917 revolt, but perhaps attempted to marginalise this and left a lot implicit on this question. Lenin did do that often, but not always.

In any case, while the Bolsheviks are often condemned for their attempt to close down strikes, it is to be remembered that they early experienced strikes as not only a personal attack on the fledgling Bolshevik government, drawing on the impersonal name of the 'economy' as a stick to beat them with, but also as something destabilising and impractical, targeted against them. They hence had no unnecessary reverence for the form, by themselves. In this sense, Bordiga had to distance himself from the Russian Revolution and government, as otherwise his view on forms and their importance would come across as repetition, although at the same time they were in some ways more insistent about this, as personally invested in it. Lenin's being threatened with the sack because of 'the economy' might have come across as a disturbing reminiscence of their time pre-revolution, with capital taken for granted, and their lives beholden to such things, as well as the discouragement accompanying their revolutionary hijinks, and plausibly from the Mensheviks, not because of any plausible results but because it was 'impractical' - apparently, by this point, like them. What might also be strange is how impersonal power was used to try to effectively sack Lenin and Trotsky, apparently by conspiring with the rest of the Bolsheviks over economic matters by stating that they were economically redundant now, slightly strangely reminiscent of the impersonal power of capital. This is similar to the impersonal rejection of Hitler, which he stood against, but in this case Lenin was allowed to go on. The strike was, in any case, by this point a politically neutral entity, and effectively came across as 'anything but them,' which the Bolsheviks, given what they had just replaced, perhaps knew better than to listen to.

Now, Kamenev is a strangely repetitive figure in Bolshevik history. After this ruckus over the strike, which he was accused of negotiating with, and hence implicitly participating in - in which sense Lenin was hardly immune to 'Stalinist' logic, and indeed Stalin's being accused of 'paranoia' only makes sense by forgetting that he was a Bolshevik at the time, and was then called to represent them - this, and continued to be disparaged for this by Lenin, implying that though he thought there was more to it, he did not wish to act on this yet. He was hence identified with the popular leftist slur against the Bolsheviks, that they did not care about the proletariat, generally for reasons which would have actually led them to like the proletariat, if that was why they took their positions. However, he then became a member of the first Politburo who was, after suspicion, executed by Stalin for possibly stirring opposition to him. This has some history since Lenin's Testament, where they were forgiven but Stalin, in a weird repetition of Lenin's strike dilemma, was effectively excluded from any official role in the Party. It hence must come as no surprise that, as a result of the previous actions of the Party, Stalin became the next leader, and seemingly because of hatred towards 'the proletariat.' It must be also noticed how Lenin's relation to Kamenev approximates his relation to the proletariat generally as seen, namely as an ambiguous one, where he might occasionally act against them but nonetheless does not take this personally or essentially, while Stalin is not held to have shown this kind of activity. Now, in this, Lenin was actually not even subtle about it being a personal slight involving others conspiring against Stalin for being 'rude,' while Stalin generally didn't care about such things, and was mostly too fixated on the political realm to get passionate about the others, albeit perhaps with the abstraction characteristic of a caricature, rather than with the necessary negative general judgement about most of these that might accompany this. Obviously, Joseph Stalin generally avoided philosophy more than Lenin, despite likely being interested by the absolutism of the doctrine and having clear views on aesthetics, etc., while abstaining from such artistic pursuits, which were interconnected with his political views, but nonetheless you figure that there was a strict level of muffling to this that avoided it being a dichotomy, which would have quite different results. It must be noted how strange it is that Lenin's first reaction to Stalin is to speak of them personally, and their abstract 'rudeness,' when everybody else also took the opportunity to psychologise Stalin and assault him as paranoid, psychopathic, fearing, etc., and in general dealt with him on this level. Was it because of how much they liked Lenin, although any of them might have pretended so? Of course not.

In this, firstly, as capital made a virtue of success, to attack Stalin personally would generally seem to come up against the fact that he was the leader of a Party, and would hence have been avoided unless it was generally to be assumed that Stalin was not this, and that hence the target was a different Stalin who was more obscure. This would hence imply some form of equality. Secondly, as I may have said elsewhere, state capitalism in any sense implies a sharp enough dichotomy that the state itself would become dichotomised, as it is itself a public entity, and not a private ownership, and hence would become dichotomised in appearance and essence to the point where the angle of there being two Stalins, one not identified with the state, would make sense, and in that sense the attacks on Stalin psychologically could make sense as simple whoredom, although targeted at a Stalin, Joseph who was presumably aware that Russia was more laissez-faire that it claimed, and that a foreign entity cannot take on capitalistic tendencies without basing itself and being subjected somehow to these entities, which subjection was apparently difficult to fall into without graduating from a university. Notwithstanding which Stalin seemed to enjoy the death of many people with positions in such places, as well as most people who did so, so they must have at least got something right. Although slightly humorous, that statement is actually true, though. As such, the hypothesis that criticism of a dictatorship from people with little social thought or theory ultimately comes down to personal issues with someone turns out to hold. This can only be consistently done on behalf of capitalism if they are ultimately neglected in most any context, and always have been, otherwise they start acting like communists and as if that's just to be expected, but obviously and as is evident by the hollow reduction of their identity they were ultimately lying, as I of course am not, as I tend to be a target of personal slights from some undefined 'elsewhere' and this is peculiarly not that new, on some level.

Oh, hey, guys, so is this how you write the Bible according to Lenin? Everyone else has personal flaws, or something like that, ergo Lenin is vague and ambiguously just some personal 'good' man, and the rest of his stuff can just be neglected? But because of that he has to be contrasted to Stalin, whom is notable and whom he attacked in such a sense, to be viewed in such a light, in which sense these 'historical' things just write themselves. There was always a ghoul of sorts following Lenin and telling him that he should opt for inaction and to simply be an abstraction who is 'good,' which is merely itself either a Socratic 'form' or a ghost, and generally meant as the latter. Verily is it said that the spectre of Vladimir Lenin haunts the world, to paraphrase one Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, at least effectively. Someday we shall find it.

However, in Stalin's relation to Kamenev, we again get the idea that Kamenev is not suspect, just as the Bolsheviks were condemned for killing the Royal Family, although as anyone familiar with the Royal Wedding will know, that is quite excusable. Like with the strikes, this is covered over by claiming that hostility is unbecoming because they are in some sense on the same 'side,' although in the context this might not mean anything. Obviously most of Stalin's critics would have no particular affinity to Kamenev, which would make their death seem like a loss. As in Lenin's letter, though Kamenev might seem well-placed to commit faults - they have a Bolshevik heritage of some form of leadership, they were then placed in contention for leadership of this, and then rejected, while holding themselves personally responsible for Stalin's accession, and then allied with Krupskaya against him - they did not enact this personally, and hence were to get a pass. Their alliance with Krupskaya, despite their mostly formal relation to Lenin, was perhaps as close as one could find to the Russian Royal Family as could generally be found in Russia at the time, which was otherwise quite different. That he was killed need only state that Stalin was not Lenin, or did not hold their 'October affairs' to be impersonal and something that could be disregarded, but rather used their submission as a means of bringing them to the point of being killed, a means that would not be necessary if Stalin were not muffling more war-like tendencies. Yet we can see a similar trend here to the earlier strike.

While Lenin is usually attacked for his hostility to the proletariat, for instance due to such manifestations as opposed strikes, these usually did not go all the way to personally targetting him, as those strikes did, and in that sense it might be said that they were a bit too obvious, and not a primary example. However, admitting the fault in these would be just as much to disregard the form of strike, or proletarian forms of action (whatever these may be) and protest, in favour of adjudging their specifically communist content, which is specifically what we are supposed to not do. As such, they are effectively criticised for not acceding to that strike, or doing anything, which is in fact what Lenin is generally advised to do, and queerly praised for. Likewise, while Kamenev was connected with Lenin, suspected for opposing or working against Stalin, and executed, he was prior to this in active opposition to Stalin, and hence he is also a bit obvious, and not used as a primary example. However, nonetheless they are always assumed to be in opposition to Stalin as figures - people frequently aren't that concerned about dead Stalinist Russians - as in this case was enduring and hence their confession not to oppose him deemed an obvious lie, and again they have the strange synchronicity with the things which Stalin is attacked for and which are found problematic with his reign: he abandoned Lenin (whatever he stood for.), he killed people bureaucratically after extracting apologies, and was paranoid. Hence, the people of the USSR are not seen as harmonious with Stalin because of any cultural quirk, but because if they weren't, as they were not with Bolshevism generally, then he might have reason to be paranoid and aggressive, and hence they were all innocent but unfortunately enthusiastic about Stalinism, all Kamenev.

They were all innocuously drawn into saying things in favour of Stalin, but were all lying, and all hated him. This is what people commonly believe about Stalin. It is a complete circus. But that's how people get any pathos out of this. And hence Stalin was someone who found innocuous lambs in his citizens, and brought them over to his side, but nonetheless killed them. Hence, he killed 'his own people' - which nobody usually cares about, due to any respect for the Russian nationality (what?), but rather 'his people,' as in, they totally supported him. However, they were apparently not genuine in this, and hence all had to be suppressed. What might come across as a state facing enmity which tries desperately to popularise itself among its people, hence applying a notable effort (and isn't most criticism of the propaganda, for people who find advertising, promotion of politicians, promotion of the state, etc., fine, apparently, just mocking Stalin for putting effort into things, or being a 'try-hard'?), then turns into an oppressive state with no spur at all. Shock at Stalin, or mocking laughter at Lenin, requires that it not be merely a question, when somebody was killed by them, or such, whether or not they were innocent, or whether execution is alright, but rather that they were not correct, but nonetheless any of these people would form emblems against them and who are completely different so that they can be liked.

As far as 'show trials,' it's always unclear whom else Stalin was supposed to want them trialled by in a frequently-opposed state like the USSR. By people who are independent of the state? Then they'd be in opposition, firstly, and possibly start railing against the state, which is all that is being encouraged by this innovation, and secondly it's just opening things to foreign influence, but in general people have no idea whom they would rather decide, so far as the Soviet state was concerned. Negative Creep? Well, I'm sure we know what he would have decided. And, to return to a now-familiar theme, like people who talk about Stalin or bureaucrats as Negative Creep could passably be, if you were to kill the Miss Teen USA people, you would hardly need to punish the James Jared Abrahams's of the world - a strange thing to want to bother with in the first place - and could rather use them to replace Steve Irwin, whose scene has died out alongside the alt scene, to be replaced with better things. In any case electing people to pretend to be politically neutral in a politically charged state would be self-defeating for the Party which politicises issues, and electing people to be personally neutral in a state governed by a person would also be self-defeating, so other forms of trial simply had no other justification. Certainly, it would not help with the law, just because the law is a dictatorship by multiple people, which is best compared to slavery. So people did not want to bring up the law in comparing the USSR to anywhere else. Otherwise they are merely assuming Marxism in their own account, albeit in a mitigated form, because the law is limited in what it might say by circumstances and conditions, and hence not arbitrary, which of course they are not saying generally, and as such they are simply lying and trying to attack Marxists via Stalin in order to cover-up the social order they used to belong to, and in the name of the law. This is perfectly unfriendly of them, but people thus discussing the law would always get touchy about personal slights, because they had to assume that they were the law and that hence the law was not an arbitrary dictatorship over them at the time, because they were trying to contrast the two somehow in a society where such arbitrariness did hold. If they thought they were safe, they were substituting the populace for themselves, which is stranger. Stalin can be accused of doing both of these things, but did not.

While Lenin could have spent more time walking with the proletariat, like Kierkegaard, this would open him up to the charge of grandiloquence, and historical irony, while his distance seemed calculated to avoid such charges of being farcical. This doesn't mean that generally speaking people did apparently find Lenin comical - or apparently someone did, or told them to - but just that this was done carefully. Also carefully, 'Stalinists' almost always seemed to adhere to Stalin because 'someone told them that' he was good, or something else - the more 'subtle' of them were generally just doing this in a more pronounced way and taking their viewpoint and legitimacy from the rest - almost as if they were trying to off-load complicity on someone else, act as if they were unfairly swept up into something, or accede to charges of propaganda, hive-mind, etc. Attacks on them which went beyond this that was readily offered, however, were generally also attempts to attack someone else.

Kamenev therefore seems, like a ghoul, to smuggle himself in, in the same way, in the fields where people most condemn the Russian government - in the process, however, Kamenev always had to obscure himself in favour of the strikes, the pious Christians oppressed by Stalin, etc. (and nowhere, mostly, outside the Church would you find such a stringent attempt to believe that everybody in a particular bracket was good), and in brief was not himself liked or gaining attention - such that people apparently liked him, but not enough. You might think that this would end with Lenin and Stalin, but Lev Kamenev was then forgiven, as is typical, in 1988, by the government that did such things - perhaps a gesture without noticing that the people would hardly be likely to have much sympathy towards Kamenev himself or what he was held at least to believe generally - hence somehow continuing his stay. Was Gorbachev weak and ineffectual, just papering over cracks? Well, Kamenev seemed to think so, and so did Gorbachev. However, such excuses are generally seen as somehow slurs against Stalin, etc., when surely they would rather target Gorbachev's supplicant nature and unwillingness to be in any way offensive. In a sense, though, nothing Gorbachev did was new, as Khrushchev himself was associated with apologizing and trying to make up for Stalin's faults, and likewise previous Soviet figures generally kept such apology in and around the Party or using what mechanisms it lay available, like excusing Kamenev, while trying to preserve the Soviet Union's independence was something done already by Stalin, Lenin, etc., such that he could really do nothing new with the Soviet state machinery. Gorbachev hence found themselves in a bind. As a new ruler, they could not find a direction to follow, either one way or another, not even using their external actors or by a selective lack of independence - a dilemma not faced by previous Soviet rulers - or anything which was not already there in the Soviet state, and as such they either had to be a radical, and sublimate this choice, or merely submit and be unable to act, decisively and anew, and hence re-assert a state. That they may have had to be fairly suicidal to do this needn't escape one - they sacrificed a position in order to allow in things which valued nothing else? No they didn't. - but nonetheless they were in a position where a more difficult choice was present, and their answer not that different.

The NLP was presented, to the people and Party, as capitalism but 'better' - but then you had to ask, 'better' on which principle. If it was a capitalist state, one might assume that the Party meant a capitalism more appealing on its own principles. Hence, to the people in it. This was accurate, as they were a populist government. However, this implies that there was an element pulling away from it, as it does contain its own freedom to resist it, which is implicitly to dissent from itself. Both of these were necessary to produce a Stalinist state, which took in a sense both sides to extremes, politically. However, such a state merely had to preserve this, which is an issue. Nonetheless, in this sense, that it went further than this need not be considered a flaw, but rather a promising sign. The fact that Gorbachev was somewhat hemmed in in both directions, and hence came off as *****-footing whichever he did, was in itself a sign that it could endure either extreme in some sense, even the capitulation and apology of Gorbachev having been anticipated, although impurely and without response or evaluation at the time, and in that sense history seemed to proclaim that the Soviet Union was not over. People listened. As such, it had to be attacked until the end of capitalism, in order to keep this ghoul from calling people to something better. This end could not, then, be expected to take too long, as this would be too much of a demand and would likewise run out of novelties or responses. You might expect this, as, with Stalin, the Soviet state was already selecting for leaders with quite particular specifications, in accordance with what it was, and Stalin admittedly did allow the state to blur the lines after him such that none would leave an enduring legacy apart from the Soviet state, thus maintaining what Lenin created and which, people it might seem strangely hold, led to Stalin. The Soviet state was Lenin, Stalin, and then the distraught feelings of Americans played over and over again. Serves them right.

It might seem strange that Tibetan Buddhists hold that Lenin is Jesus. Nonetheless, they do.

_________________
"The thing [calculus] has taken such a hold of me that it not only goes round my head all day, but last week in a dream I gave a chap my shirt-buttons to differentiate, and he ran off with them."

- Friedrich Engels.

Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.

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