two views that shook the world

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The Federalist's Tyler Bonin purports to analyze Soviet ideology, and suggests ominously that "this ideology has resurfaced in the United States." Bonin writes that "All speech was loosely interpreted as subversive, and thus the Gulags swelled with political prisoners, especially during Stalin's regime:"

Corruption became a mainstay of the Soviet political system, and continues to pervade Russia today. Russia continually scores low on indices of press freedom, and journalists are silenced or disappear frequently. Vladimir Putin continues to consolidate power. Thus, when considering this bit of Soviet history, two elements present themselves in the context of the modern United States.

Would these elements be Trump's totalitarian tendencies and his idolization of Putin? Of course not. When Bonin sees "a single ideology by silencing and ultimately eliminating all competing ideas," he thinks of "U.S. college campuses today:"

Student activist groups are continually attempting to prevent and ultimately eliminate speech from campuses that contradicts their own ideas, as well as speech that serves as a possible hindrance to activists' collective goal of implementing their social justice agenda. Countless cases have occurred... [...]

Granted, this is not on a scale congruent to the Bolshevik revolution. However, the justification of silence for a larger, collective goal is unnerving, both among our government and the growing activist movement in U.S. colleges and universities.

Any effort to infringe on liberty in the name of a collective goal must be viewed with suspicion. History teaches us that liberty truly is a safeguard against violence and a worldview forced upon us.

Historian and activist Paul Le Blanc takes a more sober look at the lessons and legacy of the Russian Revolution:

It is a pleasure to be with you on this hundredth anniversary of the overthrow of Tsarist tyranny. It is a remembrance that can inspire us in our current struggles against the multiple tyrannies of our time: the tyranny of the wealthy multinational corporations and the governments they control and the vicious policies which they carry out, for their immense profit. For their profit, but at our expense: at the expense of our quality of life, our freedoms, our cultural and natural environment, and more. [...]

The revolution had begun when the workers and peasants - some of them in uniform thanks to being conscripted into the Tsar's army and navy during the incredibly bloody and horrific First World War - overthrew the Tsarist regime in February (according to our own calendar it started on March 8th, International Women's Day).

In this the workers and peasants and soldiers and sailors who fought the revolutionary battles had formed their own democratic councils (soviets) to organize and coordinate their efforts.

Le Blanc points out that "the keystone of the whole effort was the notion that the great majority of people - those whose lives and labor keeps society running - are the ones who should run society," and notes that "such a victory could only be secured on a global level, through revolutionary internationalism."

When we look at the actual history of how the revolutionaries actually functioned over the years, we see that this means not simply lecturing to and at people, but especially in listening to them, learning from them, and integrating what we understand with what they understand.

We also see that it means our being involved in actual struggles in which larger numbers of people are involved or are ready to be involved - struggles not for revolutionary socialism, but struggles for bread, for at least a modicum of elemental dignity, for an expansion of at least some limited rights and well-being.

He ends on an optimistic note:

Some of us who are older are running out of time for engaging with such wrestling - but those of you who are younger, with all of your courage and energy and creativity, will have an opportunity to do amazing things in the spirit of Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin and so many others who represent the traditions of the October Revolution.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on October 26, 2017 12:15 PM.

Remembrance of Letters Past was the previous entry in this blog.

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