- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Pandering again, RD?

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 16, 19100 at 14:23:23:

In Reply to: No morals.. posted by Red Deathy on February 15, 19100 at 18:13:13:

: "Parties do not make revolutions, only nations" Marx, interview with Chicago tribune - interesting quote methinks, just randomly bubbled to my mind...

You know, that one-liner ALWAYS 'bubbles to your mind,' RD, and always without the proper citation so I can check the context.

Recall, if you will, these quotes:

It is the specific duty of the leaders [of the proletarian struggle] to gain an ever clearer understanding of the theoretical problems, to free themselves more and more from the influence of traditional phrases inherited from the world, and constantly keep in mind that socialism, having become a science, demands the same treatment as every other science---it must be studied. The task of the leaders will be to bring understanding, thus acquired and clarified, to the working masses, to spread it with increased enthusiasm, to close the ranks of the party organizations and of the labor unions with ever greater energy.(1)


The Communists..., are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.(2)

Sure sounds like parties have SOMETHING to do with revolutions, RD---like leading them.

: Those hostages, prey recall, were officers and officials of the government, not their families - nor, cf. krondstadt, were they the families of workers...

: Violence is hopelessly impractical - every dead person is a brother, mother, sister, friend - all of which causes bad blood. Further, the terror is the tool of a minority, it is necessary for a minority to impose its will, a socialist movement would have no need of terror, or the essentially counter-revolutionary social relations of a terror.

First mistake: I wasn't discussing specific tactics or specific numbers, I was merely pointing out that Marx did not rule out terror (hostages, etc.) in the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Trotsky's interpretation of Marx, therefore, is correct.

Second mistake: Some violence is very practical. Without violence, there would be no bourgeois in the first place. Recall Trotsky's observation (in the same essay) that democracy came into the world by anything BUT democratic methods.

Third mistake: The majority of workers and peasants supported the Bolsheviks avidly. You infer a coup. If this was the case, and if the Bolsheviks were (as you allege) a minority, then why did they allow the peasantry individual holdings in contradistinction to their (Marxist) beliefs (see Lenin's 'The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,' Collected Works volume 28, Progress Publishers 1965, p. 309)? If they were the terrorist minority you claim, why did they not simply collectivize agriculture? Why institute the N.E.P. instead?

: [P]recious few capitalists were on the receiving end of the red terror.


: Violence is inherently anti-social, counter productive, and destructive of necessary resources.

Excuse me?

A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is an act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other by means of rifles, bayonets and canon---all of which are highly authoritarian means. And the victorious party must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. (3)


The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution.(4)

Now, hurry up, RD, and turn all these explicit quotes into equivocal, liberal mush...



1. Engels, The Peasant War in Germany, International 1926, p. 29, emphasis added.

2. Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, International 1948, p. 22, emphasis added.

3. Engels, 'On Authority,' Marx & Engels Selected Works volume 2, Progress Publishers 1973, p. 379, emphasis added.

4. Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, International 1948, p. 44, emphasis added.

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