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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:36 pm 
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Shows how little you know about Marx. Ideology is neither the object nor the subject of his analysis.

You're just full of ****. Take it somewhere else please. You have yet to deal with the substance of any question; of any action in the history of the Russian Revolution. Says everything that needs to be said about your "Marxism"-- has nothing but a formal relation to the real history of class struggle.

Short version: You're just full of ****. Take it somewhere else please. You have yet to deal with the substance of any question; of any action in the history of the Russian Revolution. Says everything that needs to be said about your "Marxism"-- has nothing but a formal relation to the real history of class struggle.

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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Revolutionary theory is the enemy of revolutionary ideology, and it knows it.

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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Oh and regarding the red army-- anybody with the slightest knowledge of the composition of the red army knows that 3/4 of its non officer, non-NCO ranks were conscripted from villages. Villages in the early 20th century in Russia were agricultural, not industrial.

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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Trotsky was pretty big on using former Tsarist officers and military specialists in the Red Army as well. I mean, given the circumstances it was a half-decent fighting force, but you're going out on a limb to state it was really much of a 'proletarian' army. Trotsky actively argued the position in all of his military writings that class composition basically didn't matter to him in his capacity leading the Red Army. Seriously, you really just need to read what the man wrote about his own position to realize the army wasn't 'proletarian'. Additionally, most of the army's acting NCOs were party bureaucrats, primarily younger, drafted from the cities to bolster the morale of the force, because, well, as you've shown, party ideologues can be pretty damn well excitable when it comes to talking about proletarian red armies. Trotsky bemoans the loss of these fine bureaucrats often enough in his writings, blaming the loss of all the good revolutionaries in the civil war as one of the primary causes of the dreaded 'crisis of leadership', but if you have the tact to read between the lines, he basically says his army was comprised of Bolshevik ideologues and peasants who needed cultural education in modernity, via the army. ****, he actively had the more avant-garde propaganda painting/print displays that would travel to the front via train reduced down to repurposed medieval orthodox style art (see, Trotsky as the patron saint of Petersburg and other period art, as compared to say the work of Malevich, or, ****, read his godawful book on 'literature and art').

Anyway, as I've said, read some Trotsky, the man was an idiot in a number of regards, but he had some workable knowledge of how to be a good and proper bourgeois general.

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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:10 pm 
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So you've ignored the substance of my posts, and not answered my questions about sources, in order to make a semantic point about the word ideology, which in common parlance has acquired a meaning far broader than the more specific false-consciousness-type meaning assigned to the word by Marx. (I recommend you pick up the book Ideology by Terry Eagleton, who discusses these different shades of the meaning of the word in painstaking detail, if you have any sincere interest in this question beyond trying to use it as a weapon to haplessly attack me with.)

I am waiting on those historical sources that will show that the proletariat did not form the backbone of the Red Army. The sources I've consulted suggest that even as late as 1920 and 1921, the percentage of workers specifically (excluding peasants) in field units was upward of 20%. A deliberate effort was made by the revolutionary government to maximize the representation of workers on the front lines, and to ensure that among these were committed communists who were actually held to a higher standard than others serving in the same unit. Numerically the peasants outnumbered the proletarians, mostly due to the pragmatic considerations of a new state requiring military manpower to beat back foreign imperialist invasions in a society that was overwhelmingly peasant based. But when every single policy in effect (even after the decline of the initial and poorly coordinated red militias) was geared toward maximizing the influence of workers, particularly communist workers, within the ranks of the army, I find it difficult to accept any argument that claims that the backbone of the army wasn't the proletariat or that the army was just a bourgeois rabble of ex-peasants. The same holds true for the dependence on the new state on ex-Tsarist officers for professional military skills. You are conflating their presence with their constituting the very character of the military. By that same logic, we can conclude that the Democrats and Republicans are workers' parties with proletarians forming their backbone because their membership is dominated numerically by workers. We see once more the confusion between quality and quantity.

These criticisms suggest a lovely picture of what S. Artesian and co. would have argued in Russia in 1920. Despite being ravaged by imperial invasions, with proto-fascist elements armed and financed by imperialist powers seeking to crush the new state, it was unacceptable to rely on anybody but factory workers for military manpower. The vastly outnumbered and outgunned army would just have to relinquish power, lest it become a "bourgeois army."

At any rate, this is all far removed from the primary point of bringing up the presence of workers in the army, which is that Kronstadt (which, if I recall correctly was a military installation also staffed heavily by people fresh off the farm) featured workers attacking workers, and that politics cannot simply be read off from class status. If it did, you'd be pretty hard pressed to explain how a petty-bourgeois fellow such as Marx is worth naming a web site after. The implications of this, which you've desperately tried to run from, is the likelihood of having workers taking sides AGAINST a revolutionary movement. Then what do you with them? As with the issue of the military's reliance on some non-proletarian elements in 1921, all you have is criticisms rooted in comparisons with ideal situations, no practical alternatives to the decisions taken.

Or, to sum it up with a kind of eloquence we might expect from you, your ideas about revolution are pie-in-sky ******** that might make for nice daydreaming, but will provide no practical guidance to the difficulties a real movement will face once it seizes state power against hostile forces.


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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:32 pm 
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[quote="Solidarity"]So you've ignored the substance of my posts, and not answered my questions about sources, in order to make a semantic point about the word ideology, which in common parlance has acquired a meaning far broader than the more specific false-consciousness-type meaning assigned to the word by Marx. (I recommend you pick up the book Ideology by Terry Eagleton, who discusses these different shades of the meaning of the word in painstaking detail, if you have any sincere interest in this question beyond trying to use it as a weapon to haplessly attack me with.)

I am waiting on those historical sources that will show that the proletariat did not form the backbone of the Red Army. The sources I've consulted suggest that even as late as 1920 and 1921, the percentage of workers specifically (excluding peasants) in field units was upward of 20%. A deliberate effort was made by the revolutionary government to maximize the representation of workers on the front lines, and to ensure that among these were committed communists who were actually held to a higher standard than others serving in the same unit. Numerically the peasants outnumbered the proletarians, mostly due to the pragmatic considerations of a new state requiring military manpower to beat back foreign imperialist invasions in a society that was overwhelmingly peasant based. But when every single policy in effect (even after the decline of the initial and poorly coordinated red militias) was geared toward maximizing the influence of workers, particularly communist workers, within the ranks of the army, I find it difficult to accept any argument that claims that the backbone of the army wasn't the proletariat or that the army was just a bourgeois rabble of ex-peasants. The same holds true for the dependence on the new state on ex-Tsarist officers for professional military skills. You are conflating their presence with their constituting the very character of the military. By that same logic, we can conclude that the Democrats and Republicans are workers' parties with proletarians forming their backbone because their membership is dominated numerically by workers. We see once more the confusion between quality and quantity.

These criticisms suggest a lovely picture of what S. Artesian and co. would have argued in Russia in 1920. Despite being ravaged by imperial invasions, with proto-fascist elements armed and financed by imperialist powers seeking to crush the new state, it was unacceptable to rely on anybody but factory workers for military manpower. The vastly outnumbered and outgunned army would just have to relinquish power, lest it become a "bourgeois army."

At any rate, this is all far removed from the primary point of bringing up the presence of workers in the army, which is that Kronstadt (which, if I recall correctly was a military installation also staffed heavily by people fresh off the farm) featured workers attacking workers, and that politics cannot simply be read off from class status. If it did, you'd be pretty hard pressed to explain how a petty-bourgeois fellow such as Marx is worth naming a web site after. The implications of this, which you've desperately tried to run from, is the likelihood of having workers taking sides AGAINST a revolutionary movement. Then what do you with them? As with the issue of the military's reliance on some non-proletarian elements in 1921, all you have is criticisms rooted in comparisons with ideal situations, no practical alternatives to the decisions taken.

Or, to sum it up with a kind of eloquence we might expect from you, your ideas about revolution are pie-in-sky ******** that might make for nice daydreaming, but will provide no practical guidance to the difficulties a real movement will face once it seizes state power against hostile forces.


Well, there is simply far too much ******** to cut through here to go through it point by point, so I'll just take a shot at the more egregious bits here.

The democratic and republican 'parties' aren't exactly parties as you would understand the term, they're conglomerates of wealth thrown aimlessly at pseudo-contestations of power, that's it. They resemble a party about as much as the contestants of American idol. Either way, the big wigs of these parties are either bourgeois or looking to get a job for the bourgeois in question, most workers don't really give a **** for the proceedings of either group.

And yeah, you've basically confirmed the point that the 'proletarian' army didn't exist. It was a party bureaucracy propping up some peasants to fight in defense of its future machinations on power, how terribly proletarian. I don't need to source anything beyond your own aimless ****. Our dear old boy Leon needed specialists in his bourgeois army, to fight a bourgeois war, for a 'socialism' that we might get to see sometime in the undefined future, once peasants and workers are able to digest enough bourgeois culture to understand 'socialist' culture. It's a wretched selection of thinly veiled modernist ****, none of which was proletarian in regard to actual formal class composition or consciousness, that's it.
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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Um, no. The argument you and S. Artesian have been making is that the Red Army wasn't a proletarian army because when you counted all the members up, the majority were not proletarians, but instead were peasants, ex-Tsarist bureaucrats, etc. The crux of your argument is that determining the character of the army, determining which group constituted its backbone, is just a matter of numbers crunching. If we apply that same standard to the Republicans and Democrats, we can say that proletarians define the character of those parties, constitute their backbone, because they outnumber other class elements. Bringing up semantic issues about whether the Democrats and Republicans are "organizations" instead of parties, whether they are really one party or two, and other tangential topics that do not alter the essence of either of our points, is a transparent attempt at deflection. Nice try.

When it is all said and done, you both have to desperately grasp as these semantic irrelevances (quibbling over the definition of "party" and "ideology") because the very core of your political identification rests on condemning Bolsheviks for "repressing" workers and political parties with workers in them. Yet when pressed, you refuse to take any position on what to do if and when a segment of the working class stands in opposition to a revolutionary movement. You cannot answer this question because you will either have to maintain a fantasy world where being a worker automatically and uniformly creates revolutionary-socialist consciousness, and say that workers will all be on the same political page, in contrast to every single episode of potentially revolutionary mobilization that has ever occurred historically among the proletariat, so that it will be obvious "which side the workers are on." Or you will be forced to concede that determining whether a state is a workers' state, whether an army is a workers' army, etc., requires more than just the most vulgar of empiricist observations about the numbers of peasants in this platoon, or the number of workers arrested in that strike. Either option is unacceptable to you, so you just keep mum on the question and try to avoid having to answer it by blustering and insulting and bullying.


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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:56 pm 
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[quote="solidarity"]Or, to sum it up with a kind of eloquence we might expect from you, your ideas about revolution are pie-in-sky ******** that might make for nice daydreaming, but will provide no practical guidance to the difficulties a real movement will face once it seizes state power against hostile forces.


God, the irony of this is just so fucking great. The guy following a political trend which clings onto a 73 year old corpse is telling us that we have a "pie in the sky" view of revolution. The Russian Revolution and all its successors failed miserably, and their ashes which make up your contemporary rackets are little more than role-playing clubs. You're the last person who should be talking about pie-in-the-sky views.
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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:58 pm 
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[quote="tsm"]The democratic and republican 'parties' aren't exactly parties as you would understand the term, they're conglomerates of wealth thrown aimlessly at pseudo-contestations of power, that's it. They resemble a party about as much as the contestants of American idol. Either way, the big wigs of these parties are either bourgeois or looking to get a job for the bourgeois in question, most workers don't really give a **** for the proceedings of either group.


Let's also not forget that in the US, 40% of the population doesn't even vote in presidential elections. The working class is barely political.

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 Post subject: Re: Voila Lev
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:11 pm 
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To Solidarity: Here's what you wrote: No, a red army whose rank-and-file backbone consisted of the very workers who half a decade before had succeeded in expropriating the Russian bourgeoisie.

And here's what Trotsky wrote in Vol 1 of his military papers about the challenges of organizing the Red Army:

[quote2="Trotsky"]The Red Army was built from above, in accordance with the principles of the dictatorship of the working class. Commanders were selected and tested by the organs of the Soviet power and the Communist Party. Election of commanders by the units themselves – which were politically ill-educated, being composed of recently mobilized young peasants – would inevitably have been transformed into a game of chance, and would often, in fact, have created favorable circumstances for the machinations of various intriguers and adventurers.[/quote2]

Emphasis added. Kronstadt was not crushed by the very workers who half a decade earlier demanded all power to the soviets. Sociological studies looking at the economic background of the sailors at Kronstadt in 1921 show that those origins of those sailors had not changed greatly.

Further, Trotsky adds:

[quote2="Trotsky"]We assiduously recruited former NCOs of the Tsarist army. However, it must be appreciated that a considerable proportion of these had been drawn, in their time, from among the better-off sections in country and town. They were, predominantly, the literate sons of peasant families of the kulak type. At the same time, hostility towards the ‘men with the golden epaulettes’, meaning the officers, with their noble and intellectual background, was always a characteristic of theirs. Hence the split running through this category: they gave us many outstanding commanders and army leaders, whose most brilliant representative is Budyonny; but this same set of men also furnished many commanders for counter-revolutionary revolts and for the White Army.[/quote2]

And he concludes his synopsis of the struggle to form a red army with the following:
[quote2="Trotsky"]In the first period not only the peasants but also the workers were unwilling to join the Army. Only a very narrow stratum of devoted proletarians consciously set about creating armed forces for the Soviet Republic. And it was this stratum that bore the burden of the work in the first, most difficult period. The mood of the peasantry vacillated unceasingly. Entire regiments composed of peasants – true, in most cases they were quite unprepared either politically or technically – surrendered in the first period, sometimes without putting up a fight, and then later, when the Whites had enrolled them under their flag, crossed over to our side again. Sometimes the peasant masses tried to show their independence, and abandoned both Whites and Reds, going off into the forests to form their ‘Green’ units. But the scattered nature and political helplessness of these units foredoomed them to defeat. Thus, at the fronts of the civil war the relation between the basic class forces of the revolution found expression more vividly than anywhere else: the peasant masses, for whose allegiance the landlord-bourgeois-intellectual counter-revolution contended with the working class, constantly wavered from this side to that; but in the end it gave its support to the working class. In the most backward provinces, such as Kursk and Voronezh, where the numbers who evaded the call-up for military service amounted to many thousands, the arrival of the Generals’ forces on the borders of these provinces produced a decisive change in attitude, and impelled the masses of former deserters into the ranks of the Red Army. The peasant supported the worker against the landlord and the capitalist. In this social fact is rooted the final cause of our victories.[/quote2]

Now we can think whatever we want about using bourgeois officers (taking their families hostage) and building an army from "the top down." IMO, this is one area where I absolutely think the Bolsheviks had no alternative. But the fact remains, the soviets themselves were NOT built from the top down; were not representative of only a narrow stratum of the working classes.

I don't know if Trotsky's military writings were ever peer reviewed, but I'll take his word for it on the problems he had in molding a peasant based rank and file into effective maneuver battalions.

And right, I refuse to speculate on what is to be done if workers oppose the proletarian revolution-- although it's funny that you, in your speculations, side with a state that went on to torpedo every proletarian upsurge in history; you defend a state that absolutely acted in opposition to the workers revolution.

I'm sure you would only to be too happy to have a crack at "militarizing labor," replacing the corrupt bureaucratic trade union leadership with your own corrupt bureaucrats, breaking strikes, executing workers who have the temerity to criticize and challenge your little top-down fantasy of revolution.

Simple answer to your question: I would stand with the transit workers who struck in 1918, because if the workers can't strike, can't control, collectively, the conditions of their labor, then the revolution is not going to survive, no matter what, as subsequent history proved.

I would stand with the workers and sailors of Kronstadt in 1921 against a hollowed out non-soviet bureaucracy that consciously and knowingly lied and smeared those workers and sailors as being the tools, the weapons of the Whites.

You of course would stand with the "rrrrrrevolutionary BBBBBBolsheviks" who proved how revolutionary they were by slaughtering those in rebellion, after having conquered them, so that the party could maintain its rule, introduce the NEP, maintain its hegemony over the International, and effectively **** up every class struggle to emerge.

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