The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part II

Dear Readers:

Continuing with this historical piece written by reporter Dmitry Lyskov, the headline blazes:  Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well!

Leontief’s equations: “Und zis is why vee need zee Kapitalism!”

Where we left off, the Soviet coal miners strikes of 1989 had jumped, rather exponentially, from purely economic demands (“We need soap!  Oh, and food too!”) to radical political demands, including the dismantling of the USSR and the introduction of American economic “advisors”.

Yesterday I mentioned Wassily Leontief, whose name I misspelled because I forgot to google him and check the spelling – my bad!  Apparently the Soviet coal-miners were huge fans of Leontief’s economic theories and wanted him to lead the Market Reforms project.  By then, Leontief was very old (born in 1905) but still alive and kicking (he didn’t die until a decade after these events, in 1999).  According to his wiki, Leontief had several run-ins with the Cheka in the 1920’s, he tricked them by claiming to have cancer (he lied), so they allowed him to leave the country, and he went on to run the Economics Department at Harvard University.  Leontief’s major contribution to Economics was his theory of Input-Output Analysis, which earned him a Nobel Prize.  Input-Output Analysis studies how the outputs of one assembly line are used as the inputs to a different assembly line.  Before Leontief, economists had believed that assembly lines operated completely autonomously of each other.  [Is a very weak little joke, Comrades.]

As I mentioned, the coal miners received the blessing of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov, which emboldened their crusade to import Leontief.  They wanted to sit at his feet and learn all the wisdom from the Master.  Leontief never came, but even after their basic demands for soap and money had been met, the miners continued on, with ever-ballooning demands.  They were on a roll!

Did Gorby try to deceive the strikers?

Lyskov interviewed a participant of those events, guy by the name of Mikhail Kislyuk, who was the Deputy Chairperson of the Kuzbass Strike Committee.  According to Kislyuk, the strikers didn’t trust the Kremlin as far as they could throw it.  There was the paranoid perception that Moscow was trying to deceive them.  Gorbachov met with several of the strike committees, but never showed his face in the Kuzbass.  “After that, we became disillusioned in him and started to issue political demands as well, including the resignation of the President and the government.”

After this, the strikers naturally turned to Boris Yeltsin as their natural ally.  Like the strikers, Yeltsin hated Gorbachov and also had come to hate the Soviet “regime”,  the Nomenklatura, and Communism in general.  In the spring of 1990 the miners sent an Agitprop train to Moscow, demanding the election of Yeltsin as the Chairperson of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Republic.  The miners picketed the Congress delegates and threatened a general strike.  “Without our support,” Kislyuk averred, “it is highly dubious that [Yeltsin] would have been elected Chairperson of the Supreme Soviet of Russia.”  And the amazing thing is that Kislyuk was able to emit such an utterance and not hang his head in shame.

[to be continued]

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The Difference Between Workers State And Workerism, A Case Study – Part I

Dear Readers:

On my blog, we have had some interesting discussions about the nature of socialism and what constitutes a so-called “workers state”.  Obviously, a “workers state” would be a state in which the major economic assets are owned by the entire working class.  But what would that mean, concretely, for an individual worker?  Would it mean that he would exert overbearing influence on the government?  Not exactly…  That would be analogous to affirming, that in a capitalist country every capitalist is a little king and gets to tell the government what to do.  Hardly…  Individual capitalists are often at odds with their government.  Marx stated this point very clearly in his Communist Manifesto:  “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

A proud member of the Penguin Communist Youth Group

With emphasis on the words “common affairs” and “whole bourgeoisie“, not “my bourgeois neighbor Bob”.  Since Bob is an idiot who cannot rule even inside his own home, let alone the entire nation.  And if this is true of capitalists, who are a minority among the overall population, how much triply true must it be of workers, who number in the millions?  You can’t have millions of people running the nation, it would be like bedlam.  They must elect a representative executive committee.  And the decisions of that committee are not necessarily going to suit everyone.  That’s just politics.

So this morning I saw this historical piece written by Dmitry Lyskov, it fits into this theme perfectly, and it actually serves as a case study on why individual workers and even groups of workers, even mascots of the industrial proletariat (such as Coal Miners) cannot always be trusted.  Yeah, most of the time these guys are the Salt of the Earth, but not always.  Lyskov’s piece deals with recent Russian history of 20 years ago.  The headline reads:  Miners Assisted In the Deconstruction Of the USSR And Almost Destroyed Russia As Well.

Lyskov starts with the events of the “Trans-Siberian” strike which began in 1989, brought down the transportation system, and cut Russia in two.  Initiated by desperate miners, the strike helped to bring Boris Yeltsin and his “team of reformers” into the government.  And the miners did not limit their demands to the economic:  They demanded market reforms and helped to bring about the restoration of capitalism.  In this regard they are similar to the Polish Solidarity movement which turned Marx on his head by using the power of the industrial working class to destroy the workers state and return to capitalism.  An irony much appreciated by the international bourgeoisie who applauded these efforts.  And which, by the way, can serve as a reliable litmus test:  If the Westie media adores something, then you can be sure that whatever process they are praising, even if it’s a workers strike, cannot bode well for the actual socialist movement.

Kuzbass Miners Strike 1989

The strikes began in 1989, in the coal-mining regions of Vorkuta and Kuzbass, as the so-called “Soap Revolt”.  The grimy miners would come up from their shift, go to take a shower and find there was no soap in the bin.  At that time (various root causes hypothesized by economists)  the Soviet economy was in the grip of some type of ridiculous systemic glitch, under which ordinary consumer products suddenly disappeared from the shelves of the stores:  Everything from soap to cigarettes.  And the workers did as workers do — and quite rightfully — they went on strike and demanded their most basic rights.  The strikes then spread everywhere, even to the Donbass.  Initially the demands were not even so much economic, as just basic:  The workers demanded food, basic consumers goods, etc.  But then, rather quickly, as the political “vanguards” inserted themselves, the demands took on a highly-charged and anti-Communist political character:  The Vorkuta Strike Executive Committee demanded (1) the repeal of the Constitution of the USSR, (2) to reduce by 40% the apparatus of bureaucracy, (3) to invite American economist Vasily Leontiev into the country to conduct “reforms”, and (4) to award complete economic independence to the coal mines.  The Kuzbass committee went even further and demanded that the mines be allowed to engage in foreign trade with their product, by passing the Soviet Foreign Trade Ministry!  Miners were promised lavish bonuses and a gilded seat at the capitalist trough.

From the Tribune of the Supreme Soviet, Mikhail Gorbachov declared that the demands of the miners were just.

[to be continued]

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Kadyrov to France: “It’s your own damn fault!”

Dear Readers:

So, this past Saturday night (May 12), a knife-wielding assailant screaming “Allahu Akbar!” went on a rampage in the center of Paris, stabbing people at random.  He murdered one person and injured four others.  French police are investigating this incident as a terrorist act; and ISIS has claimed credit, saying the crazy guy was one of their “soldiers”.  Crazy guy in question being 21-year-old ethnic Chechen Khamzat Azimov, who was shot dead by the French police.

Scene of the knife attack

Afterwards, the French government made their usual pious and self-righteous utterances, of the nature of “We will not be cowed,” “We will not yield an inch to the enemies of Freedom” (French Prez Macron), yada yada yada.  As if such empty words are supposed to bolster the public and rally them around their idiotic and short-sighted leadership.

This piece from the Russian press gives the reaction of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.  Kadyrov lecturing the French government and media and, quite rightfully, telling them:  “Don’t blame Chechnya for this.  It’s your own damn fault!”  Kadyrov is sick of people blaming Chechnya and stereotyping Chechens as terrorists.  Especially Westies like the French, who aided and abetted the real Wahhabist terrorists for years and decades.  Although it must be said, that the English and Americans bear more blame than the French; yet the French were not far behind.

Monsieur Micron: “We will not be cowed by the enemies of free-dumb!”

When Azimov was finally gunned down, he didn’t have any papers on him.  But the French police were able to match his fingerprints and learn who he was.  Born in 1997, he had left Chechnya probably while still a child, and obtained French citizenship in 2010.

Here is the major soundbite quote from Kadyrov’s angry reaction:  “He was only born in Chechnya.  But the way he was raised, the formation of his personality, his views and his convictions, all took place in French society.  The Western countries created cozy conditions for those who are hostile to Russia as a whole, and to Chechnya in part.  [Western] special services assist their activities in the zones of armed conflict in the Middle East, they use [these terrorists] to beef up the ranks of the [Satanic] Iblis State. It stands to reason that some of their subordinates go rogue and commit such crimes.”

Ramzan then goes on a vague sort of rant about French society being too permissive, and the government not allowing parents to do their job with child-rearing.  As opposed to Chechnya, where parents are strict and raise their children properly without government interference.  But Ramzan’s cultural criticisms are, sort of, contradicted by the next part of the story, where it turns out that Azimov’s parents are radical jihadists themselves.  This is probably why they moved to France, where they received a warm welcome as “refugees” from Russian oppression; and this is probably exactly how they raised their son to be.  Just sayin’….

Ramzan Kadyrov: If this boy had grown up in Chechnya, he would have turned out okay.

Anyhow, after a crime such as this, it is normal for the police of both nations to question the families of the perp; and this is being done.  In Russia, the FSB is questioning Azimov’s family to make sure none of them are involved, or are secret jihadists.  To this point, Chechen government official Jambulat Umarov pointed out the hypocritical double standards of the French:  For sure they will be detaining for questioning Azimov’s parents in Paris; and yet will criticize the FSB for questioning his close relatives in Chechnya.  Probably will call it repressive Soviet-style police-state blah blah.

And sure enough, according to the French radio, Azimov’s parents have been detained in Paris.  As news comes out, we learn that the French police have been suspicious of this family since 2016.  The whole family apparently held to radical Islamist views.  The apple did not fall far from the tree, to the grief and dismay of the randomly-murdered passerby’s family.

The rest of this piece, which was written by reporter Viktoria Fedotova, goes on to give a chronology of Islamist terrorist attacks against France, and the various theories and old debates as to what breeds terrorists (e.g., ghetto-ization, etc.).  But rightfully rejects such theories as it is pretty clear to all now what is the root cause of terrorism:  The Salafist ideology itself, which promotes extreme violence, and even random violence, as an end in itself.

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Russia: No More Mr. Nice Guy In Syria – Part III

Dear Readers:

Today finishing my review of Krutikov’s piece entitled:  “An Overly Liberal Attitude Towards the Militants Is Leading Syria To Disintegration”.  Specifically, Krutikov is worried that decentralized governments are emerging in the areas recently cleansed of jihadists.  In order to reassert its authority, the central Damascus government, army and police need to have at least some repressive capabilities, in case any really egregious jihadists stayed behind to foment trouble.  But, according to Krutikov, the Russian Military Police, with an overly laissez-faire attitude are preventing their Syrian friends from conducting such filtering operations and door-to-door searches.  A former terrorist can simply trim his beard and stroll around wherever he likes without showing an ID, and the terrorists can also get fake ID’s to hide themselves and what they were doing during the past five years of war.  When questioned, a person can just cavalierly claim that he lost his documents, pass himself off as a terrified war refugee, and invent for himself a new name; which gets validated with a Russian stamp.  And so he gets a laminated ration card.

Example of American-based ration for Arabs

As a result, the central government has lost some authority, the locals only listen to their locally-elected officials, and some of them only trust the Russians anyhow.  It also seems that Russia has acquired quite a lot of power over the lives of these ordinary people, since they are the ones stamping the ration cards!

It was precisely this necessity to feed hungry people very quickly, that led to the disintegration of proper “kontr-razvedka” (counter-intelligence).  Shortcuts had to be taken, and chaos theory took over.  There were incidents of terrorist sleeper-cells committing diversions in the rear.

All of this is highly upsetting to the legitimate repressive organs of the Syrian state.  The newspaper VZGLIAD was able to get exclusive and secret interviews with disgruntled members of the Mukhabarat (the Syrian secret police).  It goes without saying that Krutikov feels a professional affinity with these agents, since he himself used to be in the KGB, therefore he and they would tend to share the same professional attitude to problem-solving.

A Mukhabarat officer and a local volunteer

Anyhow, according to Krutikov, the Mukhabarat feel that their influence in the Syrian government is being diminished, especially with the restrictions of their duties on the battlefield.  They helped to win the war, but feel they are being pushed out of the process to win the peace.  This situation has led to more friction within the Damascus government; and that’s an unpleasant thing, especially from the political point of view.  Given that the liberated territories are not yet properly re-integrated into the unified national identity.

In Douma and Eastern Ghouta, recently liberated from the terrorists, the Russian Military Police are calling the shots; and not even allowing government forces in.  The local population are taking full advantage of this situation, secretly flipping off the Damascus government while under the protection of their “older brothers”, the Russians.

Well, so be it.  But Krutikov sees a risk that these guys (in Douma, for example) might try to take it even further and demand autonomy.  And if they get it, then a thousand other towns will demand it too.  The danger is not that Syria will be transformed into a Federation, but that it will disintegrate and collapse altogether.  And that is unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to happen.

What Is To Be Done?

In the final few paragraphs, Krutikov seems to, sort of, go back on some of the things he was saying before, and offer a more moderate approach to the problems that he has detected.

Krutikov is not calling for the Mukhabarat to be allowed to run wild and cleanse all of Douma.  But he believes it is necessary to work out a new method of civilian government for the territories and regions.  Otherwise, the formation of a New Syria will go into a dead end; and even the ability to conduct uniform elections across the whole of Syria might be brought into question.

The good news is that the Eastern Aleppo situation was resolved satisfactorily.  And perhaps a uniform solution for all of the Syrian regions is not even possible.  But at the very least, it is necessary to go very quickly to a “passportization” system:  Everybody must carry a verified passport.  And then to gradually restore civilian authority, while avoiding excessive “cleansing” and excessive violence.  Experience shows, that winning the peace is several degrees more difficult, than winning the war!

The temptation to resolve these issues with the brute force of the Shabiha has been avoided.  Now is the time to think with one’s head.  And this is an area where the Russians can shine.

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Russia: No More Mr. Nice Guy In Syria – Part II

Dear Readers:

Continuing with Krutikov’s piece entitled:  “An Overly Liberal Attitude Towards the Militants Is Leading Syria To Disintegration”.  Where we left off, the Al Qaeda grouplet Tahrir Al-Sham had bargained their way (and overly favorable conditions) out of the Damascus suburbs and into the Terrorist Sanctuary of Idlib.  Krutikov is critical of this “overly liberal” kid-gloves treatment of the militants, and also of the Russian role in these various negotiations.  He believes that it undermines the authority of the Damascus army and police; and could lead to the disintegration of the central Syrian government in the final analysis.  Hence, his sounding of the alarm.

Homs Rebs catch a smoke break before boarding their Escape Bus to Turkey

The fact that Russian negotiators are leading these efforts finds (perhaps counterintuitive) support from the local populations who have been recently liberated from the militants.  In fact, according to Krutikov, it is the locals who insist on the Russian Military Police taking over policing functions in these villages; one does not need special psychic powers to guess the reason why this might be the case.  The alternative being Syrian army/police conducting door-to-door searches and rounding up “the usual suspects”.  As opposed to which, I reckon that the Russian soldiers are seen as the honest broker here, not being parties to the original feuds which, in addition to imperialist meddling, may have contributed to this egregious blow-up.

Lucky Rebs get free bus ride out of Ghouta

In the areas of Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk and Ar-Rastan, as well as numerous populated points in the Homs and Hama provinces, with the Headchoppers slinking away on air-conditioned luxury buses, administrative government has transferred back, or is in the process of transferring back, into the hands of the local organs elected by the citizens, supposedly under the assistance of the regional Governor.  The goal is to return to civilian rule; hence the Syrian army, and especially the counter-intelligence forces (known as the Mukhabarat) are in principle excluded; not to mention the legendary pro-government Alawite paramilitaries known as the Shabiha.  The influence of the civilian governors is limited to the distribution of humanitarian aid.  In which process the Russian army — once again — plays a predominant role as honest broker, ensuring that nobody waltzes off with said humanitarian aid.

Emblem of the Russian Military Police

In other words, nothing in this process is conducive to reestablishment of central authority and leads, rather, to local and decentralized rule, in the cities and towns recently vacated by the terrorists.  The local populations are getting used to administering themselves, relying on the Russian Military Police to guard them against the outside world.  They gratefully accept the humanitarian aid while remaining in a state of self-rule.

Initially these trends were explained by the harshness of the Mukhabarat and Shabiha (in cleansing the villages of terrorists) in the first year of the counter-offensive.  Things changed with the liberation of Eastern Aleppo, when the “kindly and tolerant” Russians put a stop to some of the harsher practices.  This helped to increase local trust towards the Russians, and even to the Damascus government.  But then things started to bend too far in the “tolerance” direction; to the point where verification and filtering of the population was almost completely done away with.  People are no longer asked to produce their identification documents.  It is considered mauvais ton to ask the impertinent question:  “And what have you been doing for the past five years?”

[to be continued]

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Russia: No More Mr. Nice Guy In Syria – Part I

Dear Readers:

Today I have this piece by Evgeny Krutikov, a capable military analyst and reporter who has been covering the Syria War.  Krutikov is a patriotic gadfly who, instead of going “Rah Rah Russia” often sounds the alarm about potential problems that he foresees.  The headline to this piece translates as:  “An Overly Liberal Attitude Towards the Militants Is Leading Syria To Disintegration”.  Krutikov’s tone is critical towards the type of Russian “meddling” which results in more jihadists living to fight another day.

Local Syrian woman thanks Syrian soldier for saving her from ISIS

Krutikov sees a budding conflict between the Syrian Special Forces and the Russian Military Police.  For example, certain populated areas have been liberated from the jihadist militants, and yet not completely returned to the jurisdiction of the central government in Damascus.  In these areas, Russian Special Forces are preventing the Syrians from conducting a proper door-to-door “cleansing” operation, as in rounding up the usual suspects.  Krutikov states that this Russian “softness” is creating a crisis that needs to be resolved pronto.

As the war grinds on with the end pre-ordained, certain militant enclaves are surrendering, one by one, but taking their sweet time about it.  Most of the jihadists have been herded to Idlib.  Latest enclave of militants ready to pack their bags: the town of Ar-Rastan, in the Homs Governate.  The militants have their surrender tactics down to a science now, or perhaps an art:  The Salafists bargain like camel traders right up until the last minute, eking out more favorable conditions for their retreat.  But eventually they will all end up in Idlib, now known as the “Goblins Retreat”, aka Syria’s hellhole.

The situation is different in the former Palestinian refugee camp known as Yarmouk, near Damascus.  Some of the less radical grouplets took advantage of the situation to make new demands.  As a result of this, the Al-Qaeda affiliate Tahrir Al-Sham was able to bargain favorable conditions which they had not earned on the battlefield.  For four years these terrorists had surrounded and besieged two major Shiite villages in the Homs Province.  The villages were never actually taken:  The locals survived on their own, unprotected by government or police, having no connection with Damascus, defending themselves with their own home-grown militias, getting by on smuggling and contraband.  These years of isolation shaped a new culture.

Logo of the aptly-named terrorist group Al-Sham

When Al-Sham proposed to finally leave these people alone in return for favorable conditions of egress, the Syrian government took the offer.  It was decided that there was too much risk (both to army and local populations) in forcibly removing the terrorists; therefore they were allowed to leave in peace.  Krutikov also surmises that the deal might have been proposed by the local Shiites of these villages themselves, who were tired of their ordeal and wanted it to end; and not necessarily by the militants.

Which leads to the statement of a problem that is not often spoken aloud:  The role of Russian mediators in crafting these deals…

[to be continued]

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Chase/Trotsky: The Ultimate Sequel – Part III (E)

Dear Readers:

As promised, this is the very last installment of my Chase/Trotsky series, all 3 series in fact.  They started with a bang and ended with a whimper. Here is the link to Part III-A of this series. If you are reading ALL 3 series from the beginning, then link to Part III-A, and that will contain a link to all the previous entries for Part I and Part II, which were penned some months back. Then read:

Part III-A itself, III-B, Part III-C, Part III-D,

and then this one, which is III-E.   For those who followed this all the way through, I thank you and I hope you learned something interesting!

So, that’s pretty much it for Part III of Professor Chase monograph “Trotsky In Mexico”.  Yesterday my respected commenter Ryan Ward pointed out that the good Professor should not be held accoutable for mis-use of his monograph on behalf of, say, Furries, Militant Red Youth, and other Stalinist sects worldwide.  That’s very true, and is a good point.  It is the duty of historians (and everybody else, actually) to go wherever the facts take them.  However, I do believe that it is legitimate, when reviewing somebody else’s work, to give an idea of the critical reception it received, that’s part of the “metadata”, so to speak.  For example, a review of Moby Dick could not help but mention, that Melville’s masterpiece was not well received in its time, when it first came out.  Metadata, baby.

But still, Senator, the Chase monograph is no Moby Dick, unless one posits that Trotsky was Professor Chase’s white whale, which he simply had to bring down or he couldn’t rest at night in his hammock.  Why else so many insinuations of the type [paraphrasing] e.g., Trotsky claimed he and Rivera had broken up, but we can just assume that he was lying about that; or, Why would Trotsky possibly pretend to care about the fate of Blackwell, a man with whom he had ideological differences?  [See Part II-D for a discussion of the Blackwell Affair.]

And suchlike unscholarly zingers.  Which are sometimes reminiscent of Grover Furr’s research on the Moscow Trials, in which he occasionally resorts to arguments of the type:  “I wouldn’t put it past them to… [commit all these various crimes]…”

After recapping his major points, Professor Chase sings his final aria, summing up all his research in the final 3 paragraphs, which I translate from Russian to English:


Unfortunately, we know nothing about Trotsky’s intentions in that period, since he never spoke about them openly.  Historians are always faced with these problems when they attempt to interpret the actions of historical individuals.  The absence of evidence about their intentions gives rise to mutually exclusive theories, and not infrequently to sharp polemics.  The evidence adduced here can  be treated both as Trotsky’s urge objectively to facilitate “the forces of reaction”, placing his own personal needs at the head.  But such interpretations should not be regarded as feasible within the framework of the current article.

“Yeah, so I’m a white whale too. Whatcha lookin at?”

Thus, let us underscore two moments, on which this research was constructed:  First, the political conduct of Trotsky in his relationship to the Committee to Defend Leon Trotsky, the Socialist Party of the U.S., the Dewey Commission and the Dies Committee, flowed from his [Trotsky’s] misunderstanding of specific and at the same time very important aspects of American political life and political culture.  This is not surprising, given that we are dealing with a convinced revolutionary who had come of age in the unique conditions of the political culture of Russian Social-Democracy and Bolshevism.  The experience and knowledge obtained by Trotsky in the bosom of these movements, turned out to be useless in America.  The use of any (available) public forum for propaganding his cause or for unmasking enemies, was a stark characteristic of the political tactics of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.  Trotsky, the U.S. government, the members of the Defense Committee and the Dies Committee, might well have a common enemy in Stalin; but Trotsky’s (continued) adherence to his revolutionary convictions and methods rendered vain all his attempts to use (these forces) for his own purposes.  The government of the U.S. was scared of his revolutionary philosophy.  Trotsky’s friends from among the American liberals and radicals, for whom the means were just as important as the ends, were disillusioned by his sectarian tactics and stopped trying to help him.  [yalensis:  This is erroneous.  Actually, most of these fellow-travelers didn’t quit the movement until Molotov-Ribbentrop.]  The tactics which had proved so effective in revolutionary Russia and the USSR, didn’t work in America.

Trotsky greets Dewey Commission people in Mexico

Secondly, Trotsky’s attempts to receive an entry visa in the U.S. should be seen in the light of the unusual dilemma facing him.  Trotsky was a hunted man, the object of uninterrupted persecution from the side of Moscow and the Communists; a target of political assassins.  He quite rationally feared for his life.  But together with that, he was the symbol of a political movement:  Trotskyism.  Which was hated in both Washington and Moscow.  To judge by any normal standards, his willingness to testify before the Dies Committee (HUAC) and hand over information to an “imperialist” government in the hope of obtaining a visa, should be counted as hypocrisy.  [yalensis:  I do agree with that, if such was the actual quid pro quo, which Professor Chase has not proved.]  For Trotsky himself, his personal and political interests were one and the same.  How to draw a line between these (personal) interests of Trotsky and his political ambitions?  That is one more headbanger of a question for an historian.  How is one to interpret the behavior of people, when it is inseparable from their ideological convictions?


Good Tsar Bad Boyars

So, how do I actually end this series?  I know not how.  Tomorrow is Victory Day in Russia.  A day which celebrates the truly glorious victory of the Soviet Union over the forces of evil.  Comrade Stalin was a vital component of that victory, he served as the national leader and Commander-in-Chief during those years of extraordinary trial and effort.  By winning the war and helping to save the Soviet people, the Jewish people and actually all of humanity, Stalin achieved a certain Redemption, which is NOT the same thing as Vindication.  The glorious victory did not prove (as current Stalinists insist to this day) that Stalin had been right about everything, all along.  The What-If Time Travel machines of the Furries and their ilk, tell them that Stalin had to, say, whack Tukhachevsky and the others in the 1930’s in order to set the timeline right for the future victory, as was proved by the 1945 victory:  That’s just a hilarious form of circular-teleological thinking.  My own What-If Time Travel machine, which is calibrated different from theirs, tells me that the victory might have been a heck of a lot easier if Tukhachevsky and the others had not been purged.

Banquo: “Don’t I get a drink, at least?”

And even if these various executions made zero difference to the timeline, well, it’s just not nice to frame people for crimes they didn’t commit.  It’s even less nice to torture people, force them to grovel, and force them to betray their friends.  Such behavior just has to be wrong, in any ethical system that anyone might contrive, regardless of the class structure of society.

Still, one cannot deny that this flawed and violent individual (=Stalin), when crunch-time came, stood up to the plate and batted it out of the park, on behalf of the people that he led.  Therefore it is right and fitting that veterans should carry Stalin’s portrait, and that statues should be erected, and all that jazz.

It’s just that, like the ghost of Banquo at Lady Mac-Scottish-Person’s dinner party, there will be other ghosts marching in the parade as well.  Past the portraits of the guy who bumped them off, march the small army of bumpees…  And one wonders when these ghosts will finally get their chance for rehabilitation and redemption?

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