- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Marx, Lenin & Trotsky

Posted by: Porgie Tirebiter on December 08, 1999 at 15:43:40:

Having at least a cursory understanding of these men is essential to understanding what is happening in the world today. This is true for Marx especially, as his notion of class is indispensable to having any critical understanding regarding the propaganda with which we are BOMBARDED every day. Lenin and Trotsky were not only learned Marxist scholars and theorists but in addition were trying to build the world's first workers' state. As if that weren't enough, their new nation was met with immense hostility from the capitalist powers, most notably from the United States and Britain who were launching secret attacks and, in 1918, penetrated westward from Vladivostok to Lake Baikal. Here ththey supported Czech and White Russian forces that had declared an anticommunist government headquartered at Omsk. Briefly American maintaned front lines as far west as the Volga, and didn't leave until April 1, 1920.

Few Americans are aware of this historical fact, but its story is available in N. Gordon Levin's book "Woodrow Wilson and World Politics: America's Response to War and Revolution" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.)

Together, the writings of these men provide a solid basis from which to start understanding why the capitalist powers behave as they do. Lenin's work on imperialism is particularly insightful and prescient--though it was written decades ago, it has worn quite well with time.

Now, Barry Stoller is one very competent scholar who has written extensively on this site. Stoller's contributions here are scholarly, well researched and accurate. His essays are a direct challenge to those shrill voices in the Western popular media which have been almost 100% successful in misrepresenting, distorting and demonizing these men. One piece that comes to mind is Stoller's essay on job rotation in which he showed how essential this practice would be to any fully democratic society. He also showed how the "communist brutes" (as they're portrayed by the capitalist media and educational systems) not only realized this but took steps to see it implemented.

The writings of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky have been and still remain relevant, indispensable and accurate. And Stoller's work shows hard wor and dedication in their study. However important they are, they nevertheless suffer one major defect, though its no fault of their own. That defect is the sad fact that just the names Marx, Lenin and Trotsky send shivers down the spines of most people who've had the misfortune of being schooled in a capitalist country.

We can see evidence of how deeply capitalist indoctrinate their people right here. This web site has its share of contributors whose only motivation seems to be aligning themselves with power. Look at this fellow 'Frenchy', for example. When he reads the names Marx, Lenin or Trotsky, the poor son-of a gun can't even sit straight! You can almost feel him bouncing around his chair with his hyperventilating wise-ass letters about the Communist Beasts and how the United States is a bastion of Freedom. His responses are straight out of Rush Limbaugh's radio programs: "You must have gone to graduate school!" "My relatives are Chinese immigrants and they LOVE this country!" "The liberals have taken over Science! When will their yoke of tyranny be finally lifted?" "If Marx had his way, we'd all be giving Castro a blowjob while slaving away in a re-education camp! Thank God for McDonald's!"

This Frenchy character has demonstrated time and time again that he knows absolutely nothing of Marx's writings or socialist theory, yet he still rails against socialism as if he's on his own personal crusade to be the greatest sucker-up to power that the U.S. corporations could hope for.

Now, Frenchy very accurately points out that countries such as the Soviet Union and China have done despicable things in the name of Marxism. But has anyone ever asked this Frenchy to show where, in Marx, he advocated the slaughter of innocent people? Where, in Marx, is there even an elaborate blueprint for the organization of a post-capitalist society, with the exception of those ten lines or so in the Communist Manifesto?

It's doubly frustrating when one realizes that Frenchy hasn't even read Adam Smith, whom the capitalists have dubbed as their theorietical godfather. Even a cursory reading of Adam Smith shows that he was in no way an apologist for unregulated free enterprise. Indeed, Smith was at pains to point out that economicf advance can have undesirable social consequences. Smith wanted unions to have the same power to bargain for higher wages that the masters had in keeping the wages low. Smith would have been dead-set against the union busting which is one of the animating principles of the U.S. government. The "Bill from Japan" guy gave Frenchy and that other one--"Dr Cruel" he calls himself--a challenge. A challenge which neither of them answered.

It's just as well they didn't reply. Frenchy in particular likes to hide behind a wise-guy pose when he's cornered, and them is content with calling names. His real motivation, of course, is not to win any friends here, rather to do as I mentioned before--align himself with power. He likes to put himself on the side that's winning. Frenchy only wants to suck on the Big Tit, as it were. With this as his motivation, there's really no use talking to him.

But sadly, it's the Frenchies and their bumber-sticker wisdom about "human nature" that dominate the rhetorical landscape of today. The Dr. Cruel's are there, too, but they're a little more sophisticated. Frenchy is a bumper-sticker, Dr. Cruel is a comic book. But they share the same motivation, sucking up to power rather than committing themselves to the rigors of critical thinking.

Then there's that Gort character, who stands quite impressed with his own success in the world of business. Anglo-Saxon discipline and Protestant frugality allowed him to save money and start his own company, which failed, but God Bless America! He's back and better than every, living in the great city of L.A. where the only thing between individuals and success is their personal responsibility and character. Gort is one of those "pulled up by his own bootstraps" fellows. Well, good on him, but how can we make him realize that that not the way the corporations running the world are at all. It's the workers who are pulling the Boeings, the Raytheons, and the Exxons, etc. by the bootstraps, and we're doing so to the tune of 450 billion dollars a year in corporate handouts, and another 300 billion or so in wasteful military spending. To Gort I ask: Why don't you expect the same self-reliance from corporations that you expect from the working poor and expected from yourself?

At any rate, the names Marx, Lenin and Trotsky have been so sullied, the populace's critical abilities so addled, that it's worthless even using them in a public forum such as this. Pardon the pun, but these names just throw up too many 'red flags.'@I'll continue to read them, as I will continue to read Noam Chomsky, Ed Herman, Howard Zinn, William Greider and others. But I'll keep all the names to myself, like I do the time of day when I'm wearing a watch. I don't go around shouting what time it is, but if anybody asks I have it right there on my wrist.

Porgie Tirebiter

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