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Fascism, Hitler, and now, Lenin???

I couldn't help but be impressed by Bush's most recent propaganda speech. In his pathetic drive to compare anything 'Islamic' with Fascism, Bush has now made another blatant historical falsfication: lumping Hitler and Lenin together as fascist dictators.
Sadly, we've been subjected to the 'Lenin is like Hitler' lie since we were very young, and it depresses me to see people on the left fall victim to this consciously-placed trick. If anyone were to actually read anything by Lenin (which nobody has if they have a masters in poly-sci), they would be more likely to compare him to Ghandi, Martin Luther King, or any humanitarian who has dedicated his life for social progress.
cynic 06.Sep.2006 12:28

Kronstadt sailor

Yeah, Lenin was a religious pacifist, not the inventor of "the dictatorship of the proletariat".

no 06.Sep.2006 12:57

Nick Cooper nickcooper@(nospam)indymedia.org

I don't know what Lenin said, it is true I have not read his books. But I do know what he did. He dissolved the constituent assemblies. He introduced war communism including death penalties in worker discipline, and obligatory labor. He set up the agricultural monitoring that would be used by Stalin to starve Ukrainians (a genocide). He created a bloodbath for those who had a different vision at Kronstadt. He exiled 200 more intellectual style prominent critics.

When you are in this type of war against the state, you become closed to criticism and empowerment of the people. You can't teach them how to eventually become free, only how to be soldiers and slaves.


It feels strange to say this... 06.Sep.2006 15:31

Dennis McLain

But Bush is actually closer to the truth than you. Lenin was no tambourine tapping hippy, no subcontinental transcendental. He was a take no prisoners, we're gonna break some eggs to make the omelette utopian.
He had a calling to create a new world, free from exploitation. He was not about to let some bourgeoius morality stop him from doing what was needed. Do you think he disagreed with others who assumed that the revolution would be violent? He wasn't engaged in some petty political adjustment, or an exchange of one power group for another. He was making a new world. And yes, if you are going to create that much change people will resist. Like the kulaks, or anyone else who did not want the revolution to suceed. And if they resist they must not be tolerated, they must be eliminated so the world can grow out of this exploitative stage.
And like any other leader who thought that he was going to usher in utopia, he was an arrogant gas bag capable of justifying anything. He was a mass killer, and what he left behind was even worse. He utterly wasted a century of human progress.
So, is his policy a match with Hitler's? No, but policy is not what defined these blood soaked 20th century totalitarians. It is their quest for utopia through control of all aspects of life, so that the world will be remade in their image. Yes, they define utopia differently. And they both made hell for those in their shadow.
Now, are there parallells with Al Queda, Taliban, Salafists and SCIRI militias? Uh, that would be a yes.

Lenin no Hitler but! 06.Sep.2006 16:15

Danny still red

We should attack the rubbish talk of ever-closer-to-fascist Bush. Surely, Lenin was no Hitler but he was no Rosa Luxemburg or Emiliano Zapata either! And the type of state "socialist"/state capitalist dictatorship Lenin helped found practically ruined the liberating idea of socialism in the 20th century! Get real! Look who came after Lenin, Stalin! Now, less than a century later, people are struggling to build libertarian-democratic-horizontalist socialisms. We don't need another Lenin. Back to Bush. We should attack him because he represents the country club Republican - capitalist - militarist - Christian elites which are trying to build a new type of authoritarian corporate rule, of course, with some of the Same Old Shit mixed in too. And we can acknowledge that there are reactionary sectors of Islam, as in many religions. But Bush's Christianity ain't progressive either.

Get a clue! 06.Sep.2006 21:40

anon

What do you think the Red Terror was? Lenin murdered millions of people before Stalin ever came along. Just because Stalin was worse doesn't exhonerate Lenin. You're reading at the level of history the government wants us to have and feeds us in school. You know that saying, who controls the past controls the future?

Aaw, you're just wasting your time trying to make any sense out what Bush says. 06.Sep.2006 22:01

Fred Bauer

Whenever I hear him I turn it off or leave the room. I was just at the airport in Anchorage and had to listen to a Bush speech because it was coming over every speaker and out of every TV monitor like 1984.

Long live Lenin! Down with Bush, Stalinism, Trotskyism and anarchism! 06.Sep.2006 22:28

A Northwest proletarian revolutionary (old school)

Just because Stalin distorted Lenin's ideas (and Marx's) in such a way as to give them a different class content and consolidate a state-capitalist tyranny does not invalidate Lenin's ideas or his decades of revolutionary work. (And, by the way, Rosa Luxemberg highly respected Lenin and considered him a comrade---just as he highly respected her and considered her a comrade.)

But revolutions can be defeated. Revolutionaries and entire revolutionary parties can abandon revolutionism for the ideas of the bourgeoisie. (We saw plenty of the latter in this country in the late '70s and '80s, so there's no mystery about the process.) And this is what Stalin and the Bolsheviks did. This does not mean that their former ideas and practices were wrong however, only that they abandoned them and took up the standpoint of another class.

Personally, I think Lenin's standpoint, method of analysis, and many of his theoretical conclusions stand up well after a hundred years, with each passing day proving their validity. Moreover, I think studying and applying them is necessary if we're to develop the necessary ideological and theoretical foundations for a new mass revolutionary movement in this country. After all, activists in the late '60s and early '70s studied many theorists, but those who went the farthest and did the most studied and began applying Lenin's scientific method and ideas (along with those of Marx, Engles, and others). Pamphlets like "Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism", "The state and revolution", "What is to be done?", and "'Left-wing' communism, an infantile disorder" were read over and over.

Today, the conditions are maturing for another generation of young activists to begin looking into these works in a mass way. In fact, it's heartening that a number of young people in the Northwest already are---and I don't mean Trotskyists or the RCYB! Of course, they have to deal with people screaming "get real!", and generally saying nay. But revolutionary people are able to brush this kind of stuff aside. After all, we're determined to turn the present world upside down.

And, really, despite 70 years of Stalinist and Trotskyist distortions, what other theory but Marxism-Leninism is known for upholding MASS revolutionary struggle to smash the bourgeois state, step-by-step overthrow all exploitative relations between people, and usher in a classless (communist) society? So people seriously wanting to deal with U.S. imperialism, the world environmental crisis, the oppression of women, attacks on immigrants, etc., etc., naturally gravitate toward this theory---as much as Bush, the liberals, the university professors, the trade union bureaucrats, and all of "respectable" society hate it. (Their hatred is O.K. because we intend to overthrow all of them.)

Market-worship. Post-modernism, eclecticism and parallelism. On the left, Trotskyism and anarchism. This is the rubbish that has filled the void since the decline and defeat of the revolutionary movements of the '60s and '70s. But the materialist dialectics, working-class standpoint, and fundamental theories of Marx and Lenin are superior to all of them. Don't take my word for it, however, dear readers. Defy tradition and defy the nay-sayers of the left. Look into some of the pamphlets I noted above, or others. Judge them for yourselves.--Frank Arango

"Without a revolutionary theory there cannot be a truly revolutionary movement."

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi 06.Sep.2006 23:51

F.A.

Lenin was not a pacifist, didn't preach turning the other cheek if a racist spit on you (as King did), etc. If humankind was going to liberate itself there needed to be a proletarian socialist revolution, an act of mass violence.

Of course, Lenin and other revolutionaries didn't (and don't) think this way because they liked violence. No, they knew that to end wars and violent repression and oppression the basis for these things had to be destroyed: that is capitalism, and class society in general.

So, if one were to compare Lenin to someone else it might be more appropriate to compare him to Malcolm X or Fred Hampton than to King---Malcolm who was abandoning his Muslim and other ideas while step-by-step moving to increasingly revolutionary ideas before he was assassinated; and Fred, who was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago P.D. with a copy of Lenin's "What is to be done?" laying beside his bed.

But, really, making such comparisons seems pretty worthless to me, and I'm not into making them. Instead, let's use our intellectual tools to learn what we can from those who came before us while discarding what we think were errors on their part.

violent revolution? 07.Sep.2006 01:36

max

I take exception to the above comment by F.A., in that 'violent revolution' is what Lenin advocated.
If one reads Trotsky's 'The Russian Revolution' (and everybody should), they would find that the state power was 'seized' with hardly a shot fired. How did this happen? The army, in conjunction with the vast majority of workers in the citys, simply displaced the existing state authorities, whose power was
based on decrees and orders, but absolutely no support from the population. It is sad that so-called radicals like Chomsky and Zinn ascribe to the falsified version of events, which likens the insurrection to a government coup, ignoring overwhelming evidence as to mass support the Bolsheviks recieved. The real blood that was spilt in the revolution was at the instigation of the displaced ruling classes, who, with the help of nearly every imperialist government (including the U.S.), started the counter-revolution in the guise of a civil-war. When Lenin died he was mourned by endless lines of working-class people waiting in sub-zero tempatures-- dictators like Mussolini, Stalin (and soon to be Bush) were spit on and cursed after death. We don't need idiots like Bush or Chomsky to tell us about Lenin's legacy, the adoration he recieved from the Russian public is proof enough of his life's work.

HA HA! 07.Sep.2006 02:09

Rosa

Wow, look at all the progressives take sides with Bush on this one - very telling !! At least one had the guts to mention he'd never read anything by Lenin. But 'he knows what Lenin DID' !!! All you know is a couple of policies that the Russian government enacted, completely void of any context of events.
War communism is bad!!! Maybe you could think of a better policy to deal with the approaching armies of
every military in the western world; Or maybe better yet, preach to the hordes of working-class people who willingly died in defense of the revolution, and tell them that what they did was 'bad'. This pompous attitude is only possible by those who've never read anything credible from the era, but have memorized some catch-phrases or one-liners to save them the trouble of actual study. Fascism thrives off ignorance, keep up the good work.

IMHO, we are arguing over semantics... 07.Sep.2006 06:41

Pravda or Consequences

"Der Fuhrer", "Il Duce", and "The Decider" are fascists generally defined as governing by the merger between capitalism and government which includes anti-communism.

Lenin and Stalin were equally assholes to the world with the greatest of intentions, but they were not fascists because their arrogance lied in their belief that a political committee and not market forces controlled by speculators could determine the needs of the people.

I realize that government's responsibility is to preserve the welfare of its citizens, but government's ability to lead is suspect which is why anarchy and worker-owned enterprises is a better way.

Kronstadt 1921: Bolshevism vs. Counterrevolution 07.Sep.2006 11:41

Spartacist

Right from the start, the anarchists made common cause with open counterrevolutionaries over Kronstadt. Prominent American anarchist Alexander Berkman's 1922 pamphlet, The Kronstadt Rebellion, was based largely on a spurious 1921 account entitled The Truth About Kronstadt published by the Social Revolutionaries (SR), bitter opponents of the October Revolution. In 1938, the Kronstadt lie machine was rolled out again—in the form of Ida Mett's The Kronstadt Commune—this time in an effort to deflect Trotsky's devastating critique of the role of the CNT anarchist union leaders (in league with the Stalinists) in derailing the Spanish workers revolution. (For more on the Spanish Revolution, see Felix Morrow, Revolution and Counterrevolution in Spain [New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1938].) Shortly before his death in 1945, Voline (V. M. Eichenbaum), a leading Russian anarchist in 1917-21, added his authority to the anti-Bolshevik frame-up with an indictment that relied on the mutineers' own lying proclamations (Voline, The Unknown Revolution [Kronstadt 1921 Ukraine 1918-21] [New York: Libertarian Book Club, 1955]). Today, a resurgent anarchist trend again seizes on alleged atrocities by Lenin and Trotsky's Bolsheviks in Kronstadt to inflame anti-communist prejudices among young activists in the post-Soviet era.

Right from the start, Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolshevik spokesmen pointed out that the uprising had been embraced with alacrity and even publicly forecast by the counterrevolution in exile; that former tsarist officers in the Kronstadt garrison like General A. N. Kozlovsky figured prominently in the mutiny; that the Kronstadt sailors of 1921 were no longer the "pride and glory" of the workers revolution, as Trotsky had called them in 1917, but a relatively privileged and demoralized layer tied to the peasant villages. In 1938, as he exposed the perfidy of the anarchist misleaders in Spain, Trotsky also shot down the recycled Kronstadt slanders, writing "Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt" and "More on the Suppression of Kronstadt." He wrote scathingly:

"The Spanish government of the 'People's Front' stifles the socialist revolution and shoots revolutionists. The Anarchists participate in this government, or, when they are driven out, continue to support the executioners. And their foreign allies and lawyers occupy themselves meanwhile with a defense...of the Kronstadt mutiny against the harsh Bolsheviks. What a travesty!"

—"Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt," 15 January 1938

from  http://www.icl-fi.org/english/esp/59/kronstadt.html


if you want to take part in the discussion..... 07.Sep.2006 14:52

steve

UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES!!!!!


anyone who hasn't read either John Reed's, the Ten Days that Shook The World, Leon Trotsky's The History of the Russian Revolution, or any other version of events written by a non-capitalist, should have very little say on the matter.

I imagine that alot of the above people are parroting Noam Chomsky's take on the revolution, applying his idealized anarchist utopia to the world of real life -- such people will always be let done by real social progress, only to support directionless rebellions that inevitably get crushed.

Face it people: every era of social change, for good or bad, required leadership. Under a system of class domination, leadership, in some way or another, will be required. Disregarding this obvious lesson of history, and to teach the 'other' 'better' way, is not only hypocritical, but serves the purpose of misleading, and thus aiding the elite.

Trotsky on fascism 07.Sep.2006 20:25

GRINGO STARS

In the 30's, Trotsky argued that fascism was a mass movement based in the middle class, but backed by big capital, that sought to destroy the working-class movement. Again and again he called for united working class action against the nazi movement.

Sound familiar?

 http://www.isreview.org/issues/02/trotsky.shtml

A certain "lumping together" that holds up....and that has ruffled feathers 08.Sep.2006 00:13

Frank

The original article was dealing with Bush's absurdly lumping Hitler and Lenin together as fascist dictators. This was followed by six comments, several of which actually agreed(!) with Bush in a qualified way, and one which said no, Lenin was not a Hitler, but then tried to blame Lenin for the Stalinist state-capitalist tyranny that developed after his death.

The October revolution in Russia went farther than any proletarian revolution yet has; and this great experience is rich in positive lessons for all those who today work for a new round of revolutions all over the world. Yet ultimately the revolution was defeated. Thus, how the Stalinist tyranny developed, what the basis for it was in the economy and culture, etc., are questions that also interest revolutionaries. Our goal is not to be defeated again. So it was from this framework that I denounced Stalinism and Trotskyism in contradistinction to Marxism-Leninism in the seventh comment.

Suddenly we started receiving comments saying read this or that either by Trotsky (not Lenin) or by present-day Trotskyists. Problem is that covered with many "left" phrases, on issue after issue Trotsky essentially agreed with Stalin, while both stood in opposition to Leninism. I think that this is convincingly shown in the series of articles at  http://home.flash.net/~comvoice/00Trotskyism.html. A revival of Leninism is not going to come from the Trots.

this is ridiculous 08.Sep.2006 15:42

yeah you

You can see just by the way these people write that they're living in the past. Russia in 1900 is not America in 2006. Anything written that long ago is going to be less and less relevant to changing anything today. For that matter, America in 1968 is not America today. America in 2000 is not America today. There is no instruction manual for the next revolution.

No, Trotsky essentially DISagreed with Stalin. 08.Sep.2006 19:15

GRINGO STARS

Marxism is more relevent than ever.

I agree that traditional Trotskyism is irrelevent. But Trotsky had many excellent ideas, as did Lenin and Marx, that should serve as revolutionsary guidelines for social, economic and political justice.

Joseph Green, in a link above, culls Trotsky's private writings for evidence that Trotsky was a sectarian character assassin. Ironic/hypocritical that this is what Green proves himself to be.

Perhaps Trotsky should be further researched from a different perspective?:
 http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-1/543/543_09_Intenationalism.shtml
 http://www.socialistworker.org/2003-2/461/461_08_Hallas.shtml
 http://www.isreview.org/issues/21/trotskyism_reassessed.shtml
 http://www.isreview.org/issues/39/results_prospects.shtml

Lenin is greatly respected by any sane Trotskyist:
 http://www.isreview.org/issues/05/lenin.pdf
 http://www.isreview.org/issues/37/infantile.shtml

to 'yeah you' 08.Sep.2006 22:53

DEX

You are right...kinda.

present day america is not Russia in the 1900's.

This is not 1968 either.

Anyone who blindly says that we should do what lenin and trotsky did is not a real socialist.

History does have lessons for us though.

There were many lessons to be learned from that particular era of Russia, not to mention 1968 in the U.S.

Why did one succeed (however short-lived), and why did one not even get off the ground?

Really analyzing these events requires study and comparison, and not simply discounting one because it was 'authoritarian', while idealizing the other era that accomplished next to nothing.