Why did Lee Harvey Oswald kill Kennedy?

Lee Harvey Oswald is the most misunderstood character in U.S. history. Why? Because he is a Martian to most Americans.

Oswald is often portrayed as some pathetic loser who killed Kennedy because he was jealous of him. Or that he had “delusions of grandeur.” Or that he wanted to impress Castro so he would be permitted to go live in Cuba, in “communist utopia.” These are all false.

Yesterday a document was released by the U.S. government which included a report showing that Oswald had met with the known director of the KGB assassination group in Mexico City prior to the killing of Kennedy.[1]

The documents released support the Operation Dragon book. Oswald became a Soviet asset in 1957 while serving in the military in Japan. He was responsible for feeding the Soviets the information which led to Gary Powers being shot down. Oswald was meticulously screened for his job in the military, which included radio, electronics, radar, etc.

Oswald briefly lived in the Soviet Union, where he was further trained in marksmanship (he also had training in the U.S. military). He was “assigned” a Soviet wife.

Khrushchev had a terrible temper. He was also vindictive. He was responsible for the killing of 30,000 renegade class enemies during the Great Purges. He also ordered several international assassinations, which made the Soviet government look bad. He engaged in hairbrained schemes, such as his promotion of corn in areas where it didn’t work. He introduced market reforms which would lay the foundation for the black market, which helped destroy the planned economy. His market reforms also laid the foundation for the collapse of the planned economy. During his “Secret Speech,” he used Stalin as a scapegoat to consolidate his own power.[2] He sent a message to other officials that if they stuck with him, their “past crimes” wouldn’t be a problem. He told many lies about Stalin.[3] It was a political coup away from socialism.

Khrushchev HATED Kennedy. His meeting with him didn’t go well. Kennedy was a prick. Everyone hated him except his brothers. The “Camelot” myth was a PR stunt that worked.[4] Kennedy brought the world to the brink of nuclear war for political reasons, to “look tough on communism” for the next election.[5] Khrushchev backed down during the Cuban Missile Crisis to prevent WWIII. But doing so sealed his fate as leader. Kennedy also approved of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which had threatened the Soviet allies’ government but was thwarted.

After the disastrous meeting with Kennedy, Khrushchev ordered the building of the Berlin Wall.

Khrushchev decided to be rid of Kennedy. So he ordered Oswald to assassinate him.[6] Oswald agreed. Later, however, he came to his senses and Oswald was ordered to cancel the mission. Oswald refused.[7] Oswald had liked Kennedy before the Bay of Pigs. Or at least he didn’t despise him. Oswald saw how Kennedy was working to destroy communism, and he wanted him dead, too.

Oswald wrote to the Soviet Embassy in an attempt to relocate to the Soviet Union with his wife and family. He made careful arrangements prior to the shooting, just as he did before the trial run with Walker. The KGB had him engage in a “trial run” to see if he could pull off an assassination. He got away with the first run, although the bullet missed Walker at the last moment. The KGB was shitting its pants that Oswald might actually kill Kennedy and cause WWIII. They couldn’t Clinton him on U.S. soil, so they decided to play the disinformation game. They arranged for Oswald to infiltrate an anti-Castro group. That didn’t work out because he wasn’t believable. They tried to distract him with becoming involved in the Cuba and U.S. political sphere, but that didn’t work, either. After Kennedy was killed, they began a disinformation campaign, claiming that it was actually U.S. oilmen who were right wingers, the CIA, and the FBI who killed Kennedy. They had an article in an Indian newspaper published regarding the matter, knowing it would be picked up by Western news services and repeated. This included the “at least three shooters” claims.

One of the major reasons Khrushchev was fired and essentially under house arrest the remainder of his life was because of the Cuban Missile Crisis and his order to kill Kennedy (even though he withdrew the order).

There is a book written by James Woolsey, former CIA director and Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service and the “highest-ranking intelligence official from an enemy country ever granted political asylum in the United States” called “Operation Dragon.” While there are thousands of books about the killing of JFK, this one is a bit different because it relies on the knowledge of those who know how to interpret the codes used by the KGB in communicating. This means they are able to interpret archival documents in a more comprehensive way. Many of the Warren Commission documents are tough to synthesize. Further, these two intelligence top officials have superior knowledge than most authors.

Nevertheless, Woolsey too fails to understand the psychology of Oswald due to his own biases. To understand Oswald, you have to be a Marxist.

Understanding Oswald

Oswald was serious. History has never taken him seriously. It should. He was smart, competent, and someone who pulled off an extremely difficult task on his own. He killed Kennedy because Kennedy was a threat to worldwide Marxism. Oswald gave the information which enabled Gary Powers to be shot down. This man was no joke. The mafia, Texas oilmen, the John Birch society, the FBI, and the CIA had nothing to do with it, although they probably threw a party when they heard the news Kennedy was dead.

Lee Harvey Oswald grew up under tough circumstances. His mother never spent time with him. He didn’t have a father figure. Oswald was angry, and felt unloved. He also had a high IQ, and was a voracious reader. He had a strong sense of justice.

This 13 year old, well built, well nourished boy was remanded to Youth House for the first time on charge of truancy from school and of being beyond the control of his mother as far as school attendance is concerned. This is his first contact with the law.

Below is a psychological report on Oswald written by a psychologist:

He is tense, withdrawn and evasive boy who dislikes intensely talking about himself and his feelings. He likes the give the impression that he doesn’t care about others and rather likes to keep to himself so that he is not bothered and does not have to make the effort of communicating. It was difficult to penetrate the emotional wall behind which this boy hides and he provided us with sufficient clues, permitting us to see intense anxiety, shyness, feelings of awkwardness and insecurity as the main reasons for his withdrawal tendencies and solitary habits. Lee told us: “I don’t want a friend and I don’t like to talk to people.” He describes himself as stubborn and according to his own saying likes to say “no.” Strongly resistive and negativistic features were thus noticed but psychotic mental content was denied and no indication of psychotic mental changes was arrived at.

Lee is a youngster with superior mental endowment functioning presently on the bright normal range of mental efficiency. His abstract thinking capacity and his vocabulary are well developed. No retardation in school subjects could be found in spite of his truancy from school. Lee limits his interests to reading magazines and looking at the television all day long. He dislikes to play with others or to face the learning situation in school. On the other hand he claims that he is “very poor” in all school subjects and would remedial help. The discrepancy between these claims and his actual attainment level show the low degree of self evaluation and self esteem at which this boy has arrived presently, mainly due to feelings general inadequacy and emotional discouragement.

Lee is the product of a broken home as his father died before he was born. Two older brothers are presently in the United States Army while the mother supports herself and Lee as an insurance broker. This occupation makes it impossible for her to provide adequate supervision of Lee and to make him attend school regularly. Lee is intensely dissatisfied with his present way of living, but feels that the only way in which he can avoid feeling too unhappy is to deny to himself competition with other children or expressing his needs and wants. Lee claims that he can get very angry at his mother and occasionally has hit her, particularly when she returns home without having bought food for supper. On such occasions she leaves it to Lee to prepare some food with what he can find in the kitchen. He feels that his mother rejects him and really has never cared very much for him. He expressed the similar feeling with regard to his brothers who live pretty much on their own without showing any brotherly interest in him. Le has a vivid fantasy life, turning around the topics of omnipotence and power, through which he tries to compensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations. He did not enjoy being together with other children and when we asked him whether he prefers the company of boys to [that] of girls he answered “I dislike everybody.” His occupational goal is to join the Army. His mother was interviewed by the Youth House social worker and is described by her as a “defensive, rigid, self-involved, and intellectually alert woman who finds it exceedingly difficult to understand Lee’s personality and his withdrawing behavior. She does not understand that Lee’s withdrawal is a form of violent but silent protest against his neglect by her and represents his reaction to a complete absence of any real family life. She seemed to be interested enough in the welfare of this boy to be willing to seek guidance and help as regards her own difficulties and her management of Lee.[“]

Neurological examination remained essentially negative with the exception of slightly impaired hearing in the left ear, resulting from a mastoidectomy in 1946. History of convulsions and accidental injuries to the skull was denied. Family history is negative for mental [?] disease.

SUMMARY FOR PROBATION OFFICER’S REPORT:

This 13 year old well built boy has superior mental resources and functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth House. No finding of neurological impairment or psychotic mental changes could be made. Lee has to be diagnosed as “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive – aggressive tendencies.” Lee has to be seen as an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster who suffers under the impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection, absence of family life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted mother. Although Lee denies that he is in need of any other form of help other than “remedial” one, we gained the definite impression that Lee can be reached through contact with an understanding and very patient psychotherapist and if he could be drawn at the same time into group psychotherapy. We arrive therefore at the recommendation that he should be placed on probation under the condition that he seek help and guidance through contact with a child guidance clinic, where he should be treated preferably by a male psychiatrist who could substitute, to a certain degree at least, for the lack of a father figure. At the same time, his mother should be urged to seek psychotherapeutic guidance through contact with a family agency. If this plan does not work out favorably and Lee cannot cooperate in this treatment plan on an out-patient’s basis, removal from the home and placement could be resorted to at a later date, but it is our definite impression that treatment on probation should be tried out before the stricter and therefore possibly more harmful placement approach is applied to the case of this boy. The Big Brother Movement could be undoubtedly of tremendous value in this case and Lee should be urged to join the organized group activities of his community, such as provided by the PAL or YMCA of his neighborhood.[1]

Oswald received rifle training in the U.S. military

Oswald with his wife in Minsk, USSR

Conclusion

Kennedy may have been a piece of shit, but he didn’t deserve to be killed. I disagree with his killing because he had children who were forever robbed of having a father. Further, assassinating world leaders can lead to nuclear war. Or world war, considering WWI. It is bad practice.

Oswald was a formidable force that acted alone to kill Kennedy.

Footnotes

[1] https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2021/docid-32106382.pdf

[2] https://ia802707.us.archive.org/5/items/pdfy-nmIGAXUrq0OJ87zK/Khrushchev%20Lied.pdf

[3] https://ia802707.us.archive.org/5/items/pdfy-nmIGAXUrq0OJ87zK/Khrushchev%20Lied.pdf

[4] The Dark Side of Camelot

[5] The Real Cuban Missile Crisis

[6] Operation Dragon: Inside the Kremlin’s Secret War on America – Kindle edition by Pacepa, Ion Mihai. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

[7] Operation Dragon: Inside the Kremlin’s Secret War on America – Kindle edition by Pacepa, Ion Mihai. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

On our favorite Pied Piper of Quora

It is sad that people make claims against me that are inconsistent with what I have written. I have called for the killing kulaks who were violent, not the entirety of them.

As for Dima, he believes in nothing, so it is easy to give him a free pass. And he dishonestly chopped up one of my answers and misrepresented it. I had to post the full answer on my own. Dima likes to take cheap shots. He’s nothing more than a snake charmer or Pied Piper.

Dima is all style, little substance. He serves Denny’s food at the Ritz Carlton and people lack the good taste to tell the difference. People who think they are clever because they are getting in on the “inside scoop” are naïve and foolish. Telling Westerners what they want to hear and letting them decode it for themselves is a very cute trick that works wonders for making people believe you are a genius.

And the “he lived it, I didn’t” I have already addressed. I have no interest in rehashing it.

How to NOT study history

  1. History is not properly understood by grabbing one textbook, reading it, and then assuming you know what happened. Even worse, reading a Wikipedia article. Terrible idea. If you double check the citations on Wikipedia, you will find biases. This should not be surprising, considering Wikipedia is literally edited by the FBI and CIA for propaganda purposes. You need to read more than one account. Authors have biases. Find out who the author is and look up their biographies. Are they being funded to write? By whom? Does that foundation have an agenda?[1]
  2. “Fact-checkers” are usually just propaganda pretending to be objective. You need to fact-check the fact-checkers. Social media use fact-checkers to censor non-Western liberal ideas they don’t like.
  3. We learn more about the past with new sources of evidence. Synthesizing this information is not bad. It is good. Those who are against “revisionists” are being factually ignorant on purpose. Why? What is their cognitive bias?
  4. Always check citations. And then double check the footnotes. This is very important.
  5. Primary sources are the best. Find them. For example, there are letters from former slaves to their former masters during the Civil War. Highly recommended.
  6. Look up information from both sides of an issue. This is important. Play devil’s advocate.
  7. Do not listen to the manipulative technique of poisoning-the-well. Not exploring ideas because it is labeled as “Russian propaganda,” “Soviet apologism,” etc. is dumb and designed to keep you ignorant. It is about power and control. Find out the truth. This means listening to those on the other side. Guilt manipulation, virtue signaling, identity politics, and shaming have nothing to do with learning the truth. They are enemies of the truth. Don’t be dumb.
  8. You must be open minded and non-judgmental. If not, you are so biased and focused on your own moralism that you cannot possibly learn anything. Just stop. Pretend you are a child who doesn’t know anything and go from there.
  9. Stop judging those form the past by modern standards. People didn’t think the way we do. They weren’t as aware of human rights. That was their culture. Get over it. We can acknowledge slavery is wrong because it is. And we must condemn it. But cancelling historical figures is incredibly stupid. Here’s an example. I am 45. When I was growing up, people used phrases like “that’s gay,” “don’t be a faggot,” etc. Those are reprehensible things to say. But people didn’t think about it. They weren’t trying to be hurtful most of the time, they just weren’t as aware as they are now. We need to give people some historical leeway. If not, we will cancel everybody. And that is reactionary and crypto-fascist.
  10. Stop moralizing. Nobody cares about your feelings regarding history. I think it is really sad how people have to virtue signal all the time. Can’t we just assume that people are against atrocities? Do we really need to see who can be the most offended and upset? Please. Also, we should be able to discuss war, which involves killing, without having a meltdown over it. Nobody cares if you are offended by someone else expressing an idea. That is different from targeting an individual for not being woke enough, which is actually worse, because that is making it personal.

Footnotes

[1] The Hoover Institution

Why haven’t I killed myself?

Why haven’t I killed myself?

I am a member of Generation X. We are like the Silent Generation, in that we kind of slipped between the cracks. The Boomers grew up during America’s economic golden age. After WWII, America’s competition was flattened. The industrial capacity of the U.S. was built up to produce arms for the war. Times were good. Consider the songs of the age—they were mostly about self-discovery and finding meaning. The Millennials don’t have time for self-discovery. They are too busy scrapping out a meager existence in the wake of America’s brutal neoliberal capitalist hellscape. They never grew up with the promise of the American Dream. It has been a nightmare for them.

My generation grew up in between these two worlds. We were the latchkey kids with divorced parents. We grew up living the American Dream, all the while knowing it would not be possible for us. We watched as America’s manufacturing industries were shipped off to Mexico and China so the value of people’s portfolios would skyrocket. But we were too young to own stocks. We sat at truck stops and coffee shops, smoking cigarettes and discussing how the shitshow would unfold. We didn’t have the Internet or cell phones, so we could actually be present with others during meals and conversations. That is long gone now.

I foresaw the bleak wasteland that America would become, as the middle class would be wiped out. I foresaw America as moving from a developed country to a Third World nation in which several jobs and side hustles would punctuate the crushing poverty of future generations. Of course we were depressed. Hope was a balloon that the elites punctured and we were forced to watch as it deflated into oblivion.

Personally, my life has been shit. In fact, I have had several Quorans ask me why I haven’t killed myself. A few suggested I should. One person said I was “cursed” for being “evil.” I wonder that, too, considering the level of personal tragedy that has been my life:

  1. When I was in elementary school, I suffered a case of misdiagnosed acute glomerulonephritis and nearly died. While in the hospital, a sadistic nurse slammed needles into my legs when I cried out in pain.
  2. My parents divorced when I was older.
  3. My father had MS, and this made him depressed. He got mean because he refused to take antidepressants because “those were for crazy people.” So he emotionally abused us until my parents divorced.
  4. My first wife cheated on me and ran off with a co-worker. She told me she did it to “get back at me” for not “paying enough attention to her” while I was in law school.
  5. My mother, age 47, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was my best friend. I had to watch her suffer and die a horrible death.
  6. My father had a debilitating relapse of MS at this time, so I had to help care for him.
  7. After my mother died at age 49, I developed inflammatory arthritis, which has reduced my qualify of life radically. It has been relatively treatment resistant. One of my rheumatologists said I had “the hardest to treat” case he had ever seen, and he practiced for 30 years.
  8. The medications I take make me very sick. The methotrexate I take upsets my stomach and I get tired and nauseous.
  9. I helped care for my father with MS from 2002 to 2013. In 2013, he had to go into skilled nursing care because he could no longer walk. Prior to this, I helped take care of him, which meant helping bathe him, cleaning up the poop and pee he spilled all over the bathroom, walls, and carpets, and picking him up off the floor when he fell. This was made a bit harder because he was so mean when I was a kid. He was nicer as he got older, however. In fact, we developed a close relationship.
  10. In 2020 my emotionally abusive family, run by my narcissistic grandmother, literally banned me from the family. This was after decades of scapegoating. I don’t miss them.
  11. My father died in 2020 after developing pressure ulcers which he got due to nursing home negligence. He got MRSA, osteomyelitis, and ultimately died from pneumonia.

So why haven’t I done like a dozen people from my graduating high school class and blown my brains out? I came close one time after my mother died and my wife left. I wrote about this, here:

Is Alexander Finnegan a Catholic? If so, doesn’t it contradict the materialist philosophy of Marxism-Leninism?

https://www.quora.com/Is-Alexander-Finnegan-a-Catholic-If-so-doesn-t-it-contradict-the-materialist-philosophy-of-Marxism-Leninism

A little sliver of hope remained in me. I dared to hold on. A few years later, I would meet my wife, Cynthia. She is the opposite of my first wife. She is loyal, honest, and good. We married after dating a few years. We tried to have children, but we faced infertility due to my wife having benign tumors in her abdomen. We tried to have kids for four years. Every month I cried when we saw that we wouldn’t be having children. It was so hard. And it often felt hopeless. But we kept trying.

The reproductive gynecologist told us that our only viable chance to have children was to do IVF. But this also meant my wife having surgery which would make having children naturally impossible, as the fallopian tube would be capped off. My wife only had one ovary and one fallopian tube because benign tumors had damaged them and were surgically removed. My wife had five surgeries in total, between the cancer surgeries and one fertility procedure to repair the damaged fallopian tube (which failed). She was a real hero on this. She also has Type 1 diabetes so we had to figure out how to control her blood sugars or she could have a miscarriage or there might be birth defects.

We did one round of IVF. We ended up with three viable embryos. That is a low number compared to most.

In 2014, we had twin boys. It was the happiest day of my life. In 2017, our daughter was born.

Life has been shit. But there have been some good things, too. I haven’t killed myself because I dare to hope. It is good I do (and did), instead of pulling the trigger back in 2002. My kids are running around the house and playing now. They are happy. They wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have hope. My wife wouldn’t have someone to love her, and I love her unconditionally.

I suffer a lot with pain. My physical existence is not so good. I am taking Remicade now, which is an infusion biological medication which calms down the immune system. It is helping. I still feel sick from my medications, but I do have good days.

I am glad that I have given a future to three little people, who will one day have their own families (or maybe not, that is their choice). I have done some good with my law work, and crushed some bastards who deserved it, which is gratifying. I have made friends here on Quora, and I enjoy writing, which is something I can still do, despite my physical limitations. If Quora goes down, I will go to Medium or wherever. I also have a large following on Facebook, but I am not a big Facebook user, at least not now.

Life is like going to movies. You have high expectations that the film is going to be amazing, but then you get there and it turns out to kind of suck. You could leave, but you might as well stick it out, considering you already paid for the ticket and you are there. Maybe it will even get better. Often it does. You might even learn something from it, even if it is “what not to do.”

A lot of people from my class aren’t around anymore. Nor is Chris Cornell, who was a real poet and artist. Same thing with Kurt Cobain.

Not everyone made it.

I’m still here.

Why is Putin misunderstood?

Most male Russian and Soviet leaders are misunderstood. Quiet. Strong, soft-spoken. Carrying the weight of their nations on their shoulders. They are seen as strong. And they are. But who is there for them? Fundamentally, they are alone. Like some tragic super-hero, living a life apart. Even when they have wives and children, they aren’t seen in public often. It isn’t the Russian or Soviet way to parade around one’s family for political purposes.

Vladimir Putin looks like the kind of man who never cries—unless it is for his country, and that is due to patriotism. That is one of the few things that can stir his heart.

For the West, he has always been The Big Bad Putin,™ a monster who is to be resisted, stared down, politically targeted, and, ultimately, singled out for extinction. He is The Other, a beast, someone who only deserves hate, scorn, and contempt.

For his people, he is a non-ideological moderate, a lion tamer of oligarchs, a man who is inextricably bound up with the Russian system that to lose him would to cause the entire system to collapse. He is someone the Russian people know. He is a familiar face in an age of uncertainty. He is the father of a nation.

But who is the real Vladimir Putin. There was an interview with him, and the speaker asked of his family. But, for a moment, a warm smile. One a few days later, on TV, there was an American psychologist who said that they had hired to study Putin’s face for any weaknesses to exploit. She came up with a weakness—his love for his children. Within one more week, I saw an article in the paper which said that the government was focusing on sanctioning Putin’s daughters.

How ghoulish. To target a man by studying what he loves most. Reasons like this is why I hate the West down to a cellular level. It is evil. That’s not Putin propaganda. That is a profound hatred for fundamental decency. There is nothing more beyond the grace of God than the West.

Putin is misunderstood by because the attempt to understand him isn’t honest. It isn’t made in good faith. Nobody knows the real Putin, except those who dare to try. I did. This was several months ago.

We can understand anyone if we dare listen. But how many dare? Almost none do. I doubt few will.

Is the experience of aging anything like you imagined?

I’m at mid-life, age 45.

Here is what I didn’t expect:

  1. I thought I would be invulnerable to aging in the sense that I would age very well—in great shape, full head of lightly peppered hair, etc. It didn’t work out that way. Instead, I am aging similar to how my father aged. Hair has thinned but not grey, and weight gain. I have been unable to reduce my prednisone levels due to very aggressive inflammatory arthritis, so this is likely a big factor.
  2. I didn’t expect both of my parents to be dead yet. I expected them to live normal lifespans. My mother died at 49 and my father at 67.
  3. I didn’t expect life to have given me so many beatings. I am not sure how I would have managed it had I know what was to come. That is why I wouldn’t want to know the future now. Because things could be the same, better, or worse.
  4. Today, strangely, I noticed my myopia went away, and I don’t need glasses anymore. That was one of the few benefits of aging.
  5. I feel like I became “the person I was meant to be” in full around 40. You reach an age where you have no more fucks to give. The bag is empty at 40. And you are set free. Forever.
  6. The challenge of age is to get through the losses, the tragedies, the humiliations and betrayals without becoming bitter. It is to never lose your sense of hate for injustice. When you have “accepted” things as they are, you have truly grown old.
  7. I am more focused on enjoying the present, and not so concentrated on the future. I can savor the moment far better.
  8. I don’t have the energy to go back to the beginning. I’m too tired.
  9. I can understand my father better each day, as I live each year he lived.
  10. I will never get over the death of my parents. Never.

What is realpolitik?

What are some good examples of realpolitik?

Some have said it is evil. It’s not. It’s amoral, meaning it doesn’t make moral judgments. For example, those who espouse liberal democracy believe in a set of values which embody that ideological system. It puts ideals first, and then it tries to place these over the diplomatic situation. There are intrinsic goals which are sought. It is ideological.

A holistic view of the situation, strategic, seeking balance

For example, the values of liberal democracy include fundamental human rights such as the freedom of speech, the right to have elected representatives, etc. Further, neoliberal capitalism posits that human beings are rational, self-interested and self-maximizing actors who, when acting together via the market, improve the lives of everyone. To be clear, you can have a liberal democracy which does not have the excesses of neoliberal capitalism. But, since 1980, the two have often gone hand-in-hand. Liberal democracy enables neoliberal capitalism.

In America, we believe that everyone has the “right” to a government based on liberal democracy, so we are incentivized to bring freedom and democracy to others. The problem, however, is that you cannot force someone to be free. The inherent values of liberal democracy clash with some of the values inherent in a society which is more traditional and religious. For example, some countries have patriarchal systems which revolve around the family, and religious attendance. The religious community and the family are the focus. In Muslim countries, there isn’t as much of a focus on the individual, or an individual’s “rights,” because people think in terms of how the family, the people of one’s community, and the larger whole operates.

Realpolitik is the notion that it is impossible to use a prefabricated set of ideological frameworks and impose them on someone who doesn’t want them. Further, it amoral. The concentration is on what is happening in “real life,” in a non-judgmental way. It isn’t tied to any one ideological system, as it is focused on what works.

For example, the present conflict in Ukraine v Russia is illustrative here. In 2014, the U.S. government funded organizations which helped foment a right wing coup in Ukraine. Prior to this, the President, Yanukovych, was pressured by the IMF to impose austerity on the people. This is a typical neoliberal, Western type practice. Heating assistance for people was slashed, and health and education services were cut. The purpose? To prepare the country for neoliberal capitalism and liberal democracy.

The problem was that the people hated it, and pushed back. Apparently, people don’t like being cold in the winter. Yanukovych reversed direction, and tried to “Russify” the economy, reversing the neoliberal course. But the West didn’t like this, because it was foiling their attempt to make money. So John McCain and his contacts, via NGO’s, and with the assistance of the Azov Nazi brigades, fomented the arrest which caused President Yanukovych to flee during the Maidan Protests, which became violent.

A right wing, neoliberal, corrupt government was set up. Fast forward to 2019. The oligarchs picked a comedian named Zelensky to be the front for their government, in an attempt to shield them from the Nazi problem they were facing, because the Azov Nazi brigades are integrated into the military. The oligarchs themselves aren’t Nazis. And Zelensky isn’t a Nazi. The oligarchs are right wing. In fact, the U.S. faced pressure about this, as it was directly paying them. Congressman Ro Khanna worked in legislation in an appropriations bill to get this stopped. It passed. Now the payment is less direct, but still there. Zelensky was intimidated by the Nazis, who reminded him of what would happen if he didn’t go along with them doing whatever the hell they wanted.[1]

In the background, we have Russia. Russia under Putin is moving away from the West. This is due to political and economic realities. Russia is a semi-democratic, oligarchic state. Putin is also corrupt, as are the oligarchs. Kind of like the U.S., actually. Mentioning that, Biden is knee deep in this mess. So is his son, Hunter.

Neither side here are saints. But the balance of power around the planet has been disturbed since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It became a unipolar world. And so the worst excesses of a system are revealed. The threat of socialism after WWII pressured Europe and America toward social democracy, which is a détente between labor and the oligarchs who actually own the nation. This enables a middle class.

The Soviet Union provided housing, education, guaranteed employment, universal healthcare, etc. These pressures helped the West also adopt some of these things. Social democracy was formally abandoned in 1980 in the U.S.. New advances in information technology began to make logistics more accurate. In time, multinational corporations would work to chase cheap labor markets around the globe, under the guise of “free trade.” Tell that to the Mexican farmers who had to compete with U.S. grain growers that are taxpayer subsidized. Mexican farmers lost their traditional way of life, and moved North after NAFTA was passed, causing the immigration problem.

The problems of unipolarity really heated up after 1991, under Bill Clinton. Russia was defeated. Under Yeltsin, the “Harvard Boys” from the West came to Moscow. Highly corrupt, Yeltsin went along with it, as the nation was subjected to “shock therapy,” or austerity. Social services were cut, the oligarchs swallowed up the means of production, and the people were left in utter desolation. Millions died. Millions of girls forced into prostitution, organized crime, and older people evicted from their homes, freezing in the winter. People would take a blanket and put all of their things on it, selling all their worldly goods, including their wedding rings, just for food.

In time, Yeltsin banned his opposition. He eventually died from the effects of years of alcoholism and age. Putin succeeded him. There was an oil boom. Putin managed to tame the oligarchs, and restored many of the lost social services. Things were looking up. People felt safe again, and they felt some national pride was restored.

During the time of Gorbachev, Russians were deceived. They were made to believe that they could keep the benefits of the Soviet system, such as guaranteed employment, free housing, universal healthcare, and free education, while also working and becoming rich like Americans on TV who work at coffee shops and live in New York City penthouses.

This is a description of why the Soviet Union collapsed and what happened after:

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Alexander Finnegan · Mar 29

Has Russia been able to fully pull away from communism?

1. Under Stalin incompetent and ideologically opposed leaders were removed from office. This ended after his death. People stayed in the Politburo forever. They became uninterested in expanding the economy away from primarily the military and heavy industry. Consumer goods are more complicated to plan…

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Gorbachev was led to believe by Thatcher and Reagan that if he turned the system to social democracy, the West would also give him loans and watch his back if he faced opposition. These were all lies. A fool, he went ahead and rapidly tried to enact change, from a planned economy to a social democracy. His planners warned him it would cause a cataclysmic systemic crash. He ignored them. Over a short span of a few years, he wrecked the economy. This led to increased nationalism in the republics. Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika were failures.

The people weren’t ready to hear pro-capitalist propaganda, nor hear about the “horrors of Joseph Stalin and Lenin,” which was disseminated by U.S. paid propagandists. Everyone was promised the Promised Land, and ended up in Hell. The reason? The U.S. will never let Russia enter NATO, because the U.S. military-industrial complex needs a rotating “bad guy” to justify its overinflated budgets. With no Soviet Union, China and Russia will do. Russia serves the important role of scapegoat. For example, Hillary Clinton’s disastrous Presidential campaign in 2016 against Trump needed a scapegoat. Could it be her campaign? Oh no. Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia. That’s who.

Fast forward to the present. In the West, we have those who favor liberal democracy. They argue that Ukraine is sovereign, and that it can join NATO if it wants, and nobody has a say in it but them.

On the other hand, we have the Sun Tzu modelThis is the realpolitik model. It analyzes this situation and sees the as a larger power, Russia is facing encirclement. It is similar to the way the U.S. deals with the Monroe Doctrine. It posits that there is a balance of power that keeps the equilibrium between the West and Russia.

The 2014 coup destabilized the region. War is the result, as it restores equilibrium. From this perspective, the “rights” of the Ukrainians, when exercised, will mean the Russians will begin a war, because for them, this is their red line.[2] This is their security. And Putin and Medvedev have been saying for years that if NATO expands into Ukraine, there will be war. And, if necessary, nukes will be used. For them, this is the hill they—and we—will die on.

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Alexander Finnegan · Mar 9

If Putin is indeed the real aggressor in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict, wouldn’t it be just another imperialist war, indifferent from the US (aggressor’s) war on Iraq or Vietnam?

This is a long piece. So strap yourself in. The TLDR answer is: No. Long Answer: Russia is said to be an imperialist world power, one in conflict with the imperialist superpower, the U.S. Russia has been characterized in this manner both during the period of the Soviet Union, and after the Soviet Union…

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This answer deals with the issues of imperialism and Marxism-Leninism regarding this situation. Also, it is more detailed than this answer.

Using the realpolitik model, the answer is to implement the terms of the Minsk Agreements, or something along those lines, which have been ignored for years, because the U.S. disrupted the balance of power by also making Zelensky believe they would pay and fight the Russians for him. The U.S. even made this promise after the Ukrainiane surrendered its nuclear weapons. However, there was also a promise made after the fall of the Soviet Union not to expand NATO, which as been done 4x. So the U.S. breaks its promises.

If I were Biden, using a realpolitik model, I would tell Zelensky to order Ukraine to surrender, using peace talks to try and get as many concessions as possible. The problem, however, is that because he waited so long, his leverage is used up. From the perspective of Putin, he might as well keep going until he gets terms of absolute surrender with no preconditions. As we speak, the Russians have surrounded the Nazis in Mariupol, who are using Grandma and the kids as human shields. This is also why arming the public was a terrible idea, because now they are considered legitimate targets.

It makes sense for Putin to starve out the Nazis holding hostages until they surrender. I would setup a puppet government, one that is neutral and pro-Moscow. Joining NATO would be permanently off the table. The breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk would be recognized and militarily protected by the Russian military. Ukraine would not be annexed.

The problem is holding it. The U.S. will fund resistance, dragging this on for years. The U.S. wants Russia to be weak. So prolonging this, causing a bloody civil war, is what the U.S. will do. Of course, it will all be blamed on Putin.

If we followed the liberal democracy model, we would fund the Ukrainian insurgents after Russia conquered Ukraine. As much blood and guts as possible, just like Syria. Putin will be forced to play hardball with the insurgents like he did in Syria. Again, more conflict. The West wants to wear down the Russians so much that they give up, with economic and political pressure mounting at home.

Russia must be clubbed into submission, just like Vietnam was, for daring to go its own way. Further, this improves Biden’s polling numbers, which the Democrats need for the upcoming Congressional elections.

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Alexander Finnegan · 1y

What is the meaning of neoliberal capitalism?

It is best described by this chart: Neoliberalism began in 1980 with the Reagan and Thatcher administrations. It is also called the Washington Consensus. The results have been an increase in radical inequality, wage stagnation for low earners, a collapse of the middle class, the deindustrialization o…

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Liberal democracy model: “The Ukrainians have the right to have a completely sovereign government, elected representatives of their own choosing, independent judiciary, separation of powers, and to have a military and make military alliances at will. Any infringement of this is intolerable. Human rights are being violated.”

You can see where this is going. If the U.S. didn’t get involved, the insurgency would be far less effective. This would provide time for the Russians to dialogue with the Ukrainians and try to win hearts and minds. To build bridges. This is important. But fighting insurgents will create more insurgents.

I just want peace. I want this to be over with. The public pays the price of these conflicts. Kids, older people, and others just trying to live their lives. History is the story of psychopaths playing chess. It is tragic.

And, judging by the lizard brain type reactions we are seeing—tribalism, xenophobia, Russophobia, binary thinking, “us” vs. “them, etc., war will never end.

We must be able to see our enemies and listen to them as human beings. We must take seriously their grievances. We have no right to impose morality on our enemies. Unless you have bigger and more guns, you aren’t in a position to be making demands.

We must see our “enemies” and the situation as they are, not as how we demand they be. That is realpolitik.

Footnotes

[1] How A Jewish President Was Forced To Support Nazis

[2] What Putin Really Wants in Ukraine

I was bullied. Should I fight back?

When I was growing up, my father used to say,

“If someone is bullying you, punch them right in the face.”

Nowadays, kids get in trouble for fighting back. That’s not right. When you are being bullied, you MUST fight back, because doing nothing, or just getting upset, have no effect. Also, it enables bullies to create a toxic environment.

Bullies tend to be psychopaths, narcissists, and those on the Dark Triad. They also tend to be very resentful, contemptuous, and insecure. My policy is that if I am punched, I return a kick. Those who participate in it or upvote bullying content are blocked. Upvoting spreads it. Why would I want to pal around with someone who just got done joining in with the chanting of hatred and jeering? No thanks.

In real life, fight back against bullies. Make them regret it.

They love to gaslight, say you are “thin-skinned” aka victim-blaming, and accuse you of being the bully. They do this to Russians and Putin, too. Putin is “unhinged,” and “ a bully.” He’s not. And if your narrative is “A attacked B=Bad” you’re being obtuse.

“They accused Germany of the things they were doing.”

Aka, “They blame you for what they, themselves are doing.”

What are the 10 truths we should accept in life?

  1. As children we are encouraged to “Be ourselves.” We certainly can do this, but if we do, don’t expect others to always like us. We may lose friends, career promotions, and be alienated from family. The truth is that people often prefer the fake versions of us, depending upon whether we naturally have an agreeable personality or not.
  2. The Boy Scouts of America just went bankrupt and dissolved due to lawsuits based on tens of thousands of incidents of sexual abuse of young boys. Pedophile priests and pastors ran rampant in the Catholic Church for decades. The truth is you cannot trust your son or daughter with strangers, even members of your own family.
  3. There are some people who are dead inside. There is no hidden good person inside of them.
  4. Many people cannot realize the absurdity of the rat race until they have completed the maze.
  5. Some people are scapegoated by their families for no reasons of their own. So many years and tears are wasted trying to “resolve” differences which have nothing to do with what the scapegoat has done. He/she hasn’t “done” anything. They are victims of an unwinnable lottery. If you are a scapegoat in your family nothing you say or do can change that. You cannot “work out your differences,” “lay out your heart,” and have it change anything. In fact, they will use your vulnerabilities against you. There is only one way out—get out and don’t look back.
  6. As a parent with three children you see the enormous power of genetics. Parents help nurture their children, but 80% of who we are is the product of the random combination of genes. My fraternal twins might as well be from different planets—looks, height, intelligence, hair color, and interests—all radically different.[1] Studies of identical twins reared apart show the huge influence of genes on several aspects of our personality, intelligence, height, preferences, etc.[2]
  7. One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.
  8. Trust your gut. It usually ends up being right, and you realize this after you ignore it and give ______ suspicious person your trust.
  9. Everything is politics—even your family. Next, you can be the most competent person in the world, but if you aren’t political, you will be passed over, bullied, or ignored.
  10. The strongest form of violence is mass quiet assent.

Update:

#5 does not mean every family scapegoats. Most don’t. But for those that do, sometimes the only resolution is leaving. Next, many family conflicts are caused by misunderstandings that can be resolved. I am referring here to those which cannot be resolved by “talking it out.”

#8 Trusting your gut doesn’t mean all people are bad. Nor does it mean that your gut is always right. Some people have poor instincts related to people so their “guts” are not very good guides. I am referring to your average person.

#9 means the interaction between people. Politics is “us,” not just what happens in Washington DC or London. It is the dynamics of human interaction.

#10 Mass quiet assent is what enables the few or many to conduct acts of violence. It was the neighbors of Jews in Eastern Europe calling on their Jewish neighbors to be arrested and taken to concentration camps. It was the silence of the German people. It is the silence of American citizens (and the outright support) of children being separated from their parents at the Southern border.

Footnotes

[1] Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research

[2] Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research

On Authority, or Why Vaush is Wrong

“On Authority” by Friedrich Engels.

A number of Socialists have latterly launched a regular crusade against what they call the principle of authority. It suffices to tell them that this or that act is authoritarian for it to be condemned. This summary mode of procedure is being abused to such an extent that it has become necessary to look into the matter somewhat more closely.

Authority, in the sense in which the word is used here, means: the imposition of the will of another upon ours; on the other hand, authority presupposes subordination. Now, since these two words sound bad, and the relationship which they represent is disagreeable to the subordinated party, the question is to ascertain whether there is any way of dispensing with it, whether — given the conditions of present-day society — we could not create another social system, in which this authority would be given no scope any longer, and would consequently have to disappear.

On examining the economic, industrial and agricultural conditions which form the basis of present-day bourgeois society, we find that they tend more and more to replace isolated action by combined action of individuals. Modern industry, with its big factories and mills, where hundreds of workers supervise complicated machines driven by steam, has superseded the small workshops of the separate producers; the carriages and wagons of the highways have become substituted by railway trains, just as the small schooners and sailing feluccas have been by steam-boats. Even agriculture falls increasingly under the dominion of the machine and of steam, which slowly but relentlessly put in the place of the small proprietors big capitalists, who with the aid of hired workers cultivate vast stretches of land.

Everywhere combined action, the complication of processes dependent upon each other, displaces independent action by individuals. But whoever mentions combined action speaks of organisation; now, is it possible to have organisation without authority?

Supposing a social revolution dethroned the capitalists, who now exercise their authority over the production and circulation of wealth. Supposing, to adopt entirely the point of view of the anti-authoritarians, that the land and the instruments of labour had become the collective property of the workers who use them. Will authority have disappeared, or will it only have changed its form? Let us see.

Let us take by way of example a cotton spinning mill. The cotton must pass through at least six successive operations before it is reduced to the state of thread, and these operations take place for the most part in different rooms. Furthermore, keeping the machines going requires an engineer to look after the steam engine, mechanics to make the current repairs, and many other labourers whose business it is to transfer the products from one room to another, and so forth. All these workers, men, women and children, are obliged to begin and finish their work at the hours fixed by the authority of the steam, which cares nothing for individual autonomy. The workers must, therefore, first come to an understanding on the hours of work; and these hours, once they are fixed, must be observed by all, without any exception. Thereafter particular questions arise in each room and at every moment concerning the mode of production, distribution of material, etc., which must be settled by decision of a delegate placed at the head of each branch of labour or, if possible, by a majority vote, the will of the single individual will always have to subordinate itself, which means that questions are settled in an authoritarian way. The automatic machinery of the big factory is much more despotic than the small capitalists who employ workers ever have been. At least with regard to the hours of work one may write upon the portals of these factories: Lasciate ogni autonomia, voi che entrate! [Leave, ye that enter in, all autonomy behind!]

If man, by dint of his knowledge and inventive genius, has subdued the forces of nature, the latter avenge themselves upon him by subjecting him, in so far as he employs them, to a veritable despotism independent of all social organisation. Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself, to destroy the power loom in order to return to the spinning wheel.

Let us take another example — the railway. Here too the co-operation of an infinite number of individuals is absolutely necessary, and this co-operation must be practised during precisely fixed hours so that no accidents may happen. Here, too, the first condition of the job is a dominant will that settles all subordinate questions, whether this will is represented by a single delegate or a committee charged with the execution of the resolutions of the majority of persona interested. In either case there is a very pronounced authority. Moreover, what would happen to the first train dispatched if the authority of the railway employees over the Hon. passengers were abolished?

But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will nowhere be found more evident than on board a ship on the high seas. There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous and absolute obedience of all to the will of one.

When I submitted arguments like these to the most rabid anti-authoritarians, the only answer they were able to give me was the following: Yes, that’s true, but there it is not the case of authority which we confer on our delegates, but of a commission entrusted! These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world.

We have thus seen that, on the one hand, a certain authority, no matter how delegated, and, on the other hand, a certain subordination, are things which, independently of all social organisation, are imposed upon us together with the material conditions under which we produce and make products circulate.

We have seen, besides, that the material conditions of production and circulation inevitably develop with large-scale industry and large-scale agriculture, and increasingly tend to enlarge the scope of this authority. Hence it is absurd to speak of the principle of authority as being absolutely evil, and of the principle of autonomy as being absolutely good. Authority and autonomy are relative things whose spheres vary with the various phases of the development of society. If the autonomists confined themselves to saying that the social organisation of the future would restrict authority solely to the limits within which the conditions of production render it inevitable, we could understand each other; but they are blind to all facts that make the thing necessary and they passionately fight the world.

Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough?

Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians don’t know what they’re talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction.[1]

Also:

“Left Anticommunism: The Unkindest Cut” by Michael Parenti

In the United States, for over a hundred years, the ruling interests tirelessly propagated anticommunism among the populace, until it became more like a religious orthodoxy than a political analysis. During the Cold War, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them.

If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum.

Genuflection to Orthodoxy

Many on the U.S. Left have exhibited a Soviet bashing and Red baiting that matches anything on the Right in its enmity and crudity. Listen to Noam Chomsky holding forth about “left intellectuals” who try to “rise to power on the backs of mass popular movements” and “then beat the people into submission. . . . You start off as basically a Leninist who is going to be part of the Red bureaucracy. You see later that power doesn’t lie that way, and you very quickly become an ideologist of the right. . . . We’re seeing it right now in the [former] Soviet Union. The same guys who were communist thugs two years back, are now running banks and [are] enthusiastic free marketeers and praising Americans” (Z Magazine, 10/95).

Chomsky’s imagery is heavily indebted to the same U.S. corporate political culture he so frequently criticizes on other issues. In his mind, the revolution was betrayed by a coterie of “communist thugs” who merely hunger for power rather than wanting the power to end hunger. In fact, the communists did not “very quickly” switch to the Right but struggled in the face of a momentous onslaught to keep Soviet socialism alive for more than seventy years. To be sure, in the Soviet Union’s waning days some, like Boris Yeltsin, crossed over to capitalist ranks, but others continued to resist free-market incursions at great cost to themselves, many meeting their deaths during Yeltsin’s violent repression of the Russian parliament in 1993.

Some leftists and others fall back on the old stereotype of power-hungry Reds who pursue power for power’s sake without regard for actual social goals. If true, one wonders why, in country after country, these Reds side with the poor and powerless often at great risk and sacrifice to themselves, rather than reaping the rewards that come with serving the well-placed.

For decades, many left-leaning writers and speakers in the United States have felt obliged to establish their credibility by indulging in anticommunist and anti-Soviet genuflection, seemingly unable to give a talk or write an article or book review on whatever political subject without injecting some anti-Red sideswipe. The intent was, and still is, to distance themselves from the Marxist-Leninist Left.

Adam Hochschild: Keeping his distance from the “Stalinist Left” and recommending same posture to fellow progressives.

Adam Hochschild, a liberal writer and publisher, warned those on the Left who might be lackadaisical about condemning existing communist societies that they “weaken their credibility” (Guardian, 5/23/84). In other words, to be credible opponents of the cold war, we first had to join in the Cold-War condemnations of communist societies. Ronald Radosh urged that the peace movement purge itself of communists so that it not be accused of being communist (Guardian, 3/16/83). If I understand Radosh: To save ourselves from anticommunist witchhunts, we should ourselves become witchhunters. Purging the Left of communists became a longstanding practice, having injurious effects on various progressive causes. For instance, in 1949 some twelve unions were ousted from the CIO because they had Reds in their leadership. The purge reduced CIO membership by some 1.7 million and seriously weakened its recruitment drives and political clout. In the late 1940s, to avoid being “smeared” as Reds, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a supposedly progressive group, became one of the most vocally anticommunist organizations.

The strategy did not work. ADA and others on the Left were still attacked for being communist or soft on communism by those on the Right. Then and now, many on the Left have failed to realize that those who fight for social change on behalf of the less privileged elements of society will be Red-baited by conservative elites whether they are communists or not. For ruling interests, it makes little difference whether their wealth and power is challenged by “communist subversives” or “loyal American liberals.” All are lumped together as more or less equally abhorrent.

Even when attacking the Right, the left critics cannot pass up an opportunity to flash their anticommunist credentials. So Mark Green writes in a criticism of President Ronald Reagan that “when presented with a situation that challenges his conservative catechism, like an unyielding Marxist-Leninist, [Reagan] will change not his mind but the facts.” While professing a dedication to fighting dogmatism “both of the Right and Left,” individuals who perform such de rigueur genuflections reinforce the anticommunist dogma. Red-baiting leftists contributed their share to the climate of hostility that has given U.S. leaders such a free hand in waging hot and cold wars against communist countries and which even today makes a progressive or even liberal agenda difficult to promote.

A prototypic Red-basher who pretended to be on the Left was George Orwell. In the middle of World War II, as the Soviet Union was fighting for its life against the Nazi invaders at Stalingrad, Orwell announced that a “willingness to criticize Russia and Stalin is the test of intellectual honesty. It is the only thing that from a literary intellectual’s point of view is really dangerous” (Monthly Review, 5/83). Safely ensconced within a virulently anticommunist society, Orwell (with Orwellian doublethink) characterized the condemnation of communism as a lonely courageous act of defiance. Today, his ideological progeny are still at it, offering themselves as intrepid left critics of the Left, waging a valiant struggle against imaginary Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist hordes.

Sorely lacking within the U.S. Left is any rational evaluation of the Soviet Union, a nation that endured a protracted civil war and a multinational foreign invasion in the very first years of its existence, and that two decades later threw back and destroyed the Nazi beast at enormous cost to itself. In the three decades after the Bolshevik revolution, the Soviets made industrial advances equal to what capitalism took a century to accomplish–while feeding and schooling their children rather than working them fourteen hours a day as capitalist industrialists did and still do in many parts of the world. And the Soviet Union, along with Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, and Cuba provided vital assistance to national liberation movements in countries around the world, including Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in South Africa.

Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).

Slinging Labels

Those of us who refused to join in the Soviet bashing were branded by left anticommunists as “Soviet apologists” and “Stalinists,” even if we disliked Stalin and his autocratic system of rule and believed there were things seriously wrong with existing Soviet society. Our real sin was that unlike many on the Left we refused to uncritically swallow U.S. media propaganda about communist societies. Instead, we maintained that, aside from the well-publicized deficiencies and injustices, there were positive features about existing communist systems that were worth preserving, that improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people in meaningful and humanizing ways. This claim had a decidedly unsettling effect on left anticommunists who themselves could not utter a positive word about any communist society (except possibly Cuba) and could not lend a tolerant or even courteous ear to anyone who did.

Saturated by anticommunist orthodoxy, most U.S. leftists have practiced a left McCarthyism against people who did have something positive to say about existing communism, excluding them from participation in conferences, advisory boards, political endorsements, and left publications. Like conservatives, left anticommunists tolerated nothing less than a blanket condemnation of the Soviet Union as a Stalinist monstrosity and a Leninist moral aberration.

That many U.S. leftists have scant familiarity with Lenin’s writings and political work does not prevent them from slinging the “Leninist” label. Noam Chomsky, who is an inexhaustible fount of anticommunist caricatures, offers this comment about Leninism: “Western and also Third World intellectuals were attracted to the Bolshevik counterrevolution [sic] because Leninism is, after all, a doctrine that says that the radical intelligentsia have a right to take state power and to run their countries by force, and that is an idea which is rather appealing to intellectuals.” Here Chomsky fashions an image of power-hungry intellectuals to go along with his cartoon image of power-hungry Leninists, villains seeking not the revolutionary means to fight injustice but power for power’s sake. When it comes to Red-bashing, some of the best and brightest on the Left sound not much better than the worst on the Right.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/submitting-to-moral-blackmail-kristen-ghodsees-the-left-side-of-history/5463659

At the time of the 1996 terror bombing in Oklahoma City, I heard a radio commentator announce: “Lenin said that the purpose of terror is to terrorize.” U.S. media commentators have repeatedly quoted Lenin in that misleading manner. In fact, his statement was disapproving of terrorism. He polemicized against isolated terrorist acts which do nothing but create terror among the populace, invite repression, and isolate the revolutionary movement from the masses. Far from being the totalitarian, tight-circled conspirator, Lenin urged the building of broad coalitions and mass organizations, encompassing people who were at different levels of political development. He advocated whatever diverse means were needed to advance the class struggle, including participation in parliamentary elections and existing trade unions. To be sure, the working class, like any mass group, needed organization and leadership to wage a successful revolutionary struggle, which was the role of a vanguard party, but that did not mean the proletarian revolution could be fought and won by putschists or terrorists.

Lenin constantly dealt with the problem of avoiding the two extremes of liberal bourgeois opportunism and ultra-left adventurism. Yet he himself is repeatedly identified as an ultra-left putschist by mainstream journalists and some on the Left. [Notably Chris Hedges, accused him often of “highjacking the revolution”, whatever that means.—Eds) Whether Lenin’s approach to revolution is desirable or even relevant today is a question that warrants critical examination. But a useful evaluation is not likely to come from people who misrepresent his theory and practice.

Left anticommunists find any association with communist organizations to be morally unacceptable because of the “crimes of communism.” Yet many of them are themselves associated with the Democratic Party in this country, either as voters or members, seemingly unconcerned about the morally unacceptable political crimes committed by leaders of that organization. Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist Party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic Party protected racial segregation and stymied all anti-lynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic Party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism. [And the Democrats are full responsible, as integral parts of the imperialist machinery, for all the crimes of the US empire in at least a century of continuous expansion, crimes detailed by many scholars, and compiled—inter alia—in books such as Rogue State (Bill Blum).—Ends]

Pure Socialism vs. Siege Socialism

The upheavals in Eastern Europe did not constitute a defeat for socialism because socialism never existed in those countries, according to some U.S. leftists. They say that the communist states offered nothing more than bureaucratic, one-party “state capitalism” or some such thing. Whether we call the former communist countries “socialist” is a matter of definition. Suffice it to say, they constituted something different from what existed in the profit-driven capitalist world–as the capitalists themselves were not slow to recognize.

First, in communist countries there was less economic inequality than under capitalism. The perks enjoyed by party and government elites were modest by corporate CEO standards in the West [even more so when compared with today’s grotesque compensation packages to the executive and financial elites.—Eds], as were their personal incomes and life styles. Soviet leaders like Yuri Andropov and Leonid Brezhnev lived not in lavishly appointed mansions like the White House, but in relatively large apartments in a housing project near the Kremlin set aside for government leaders. They had limousines at their disposal (like most other heads of state) and access to large dachas where they entertained visiting dignitaries. But they had none of the immense personal wealth that most U.S. leaders possess. {Nor could they transfer such “wealth” by inheritance or gift to friends and kin, as is often the case with Western magnates and enriched political leaders. Just vide Tony Blair.—Eds]

The “lavish life” enjoyed by East Germany’s party leaders, as widely publicized in the U.S. press, included a $725 yearly allowance in hard currency, and housing in an exclusive settlement on the outskirts of Berlin that sported a sauna, an indoor pool, and a fitness center shared by all the residents. They also could shop in stores that carried Western goods such as bananas, jeans, and Japanese electronics. The U.S. press never pointed out that ordinary East Germans had access to public pools and gyms and could buy jeans and electronics (though usually not of the imported variety). Nor was the “lavish” consumption enjoyed by East German leaders contrasted to the truly opulent life style enjoyed by the Western plutocracy.

Second, in communist countries, productive forces were not organized for capital gain and private enrichment; public ownership of the means of production supplanted private ownership. Individuals could not hire other people and accumulate great personal wealth from their labor. Again, compared to Western standards, differences in earnings and savings among the populace were generally modest. The income spread between highest and lowest earners in the Soviet Union was about five to one. In the United States, the spread in yearly income between the top multibillionaires and the working poor is more like 10,000 to 1.

Third, priority was placed on human services. Though life under communism left a lot to be desired and the services themselves were rarely the best, communist countries did guarantee their citizens some minimal standard of economic survival and security, including guaranteed education, employment, housing, and medical assistance.

Fourth, communist countries did not pursue the capital penetration of other countries. Lacking a profit motive as their motor force and therefore having no need to constantly find new investment opportunities, they did not expropriate the lands, labor, markets, and natural resources of weaker nations, that is, they did not practice economic imperialism. The Soviet Union conducted trade and aid relations on terms that generally were favorable to the Eastern European nations and Mongolia, Cuba, and India.

All of the above were organizing principles for every communist system to one degree or another. None of the above apply to free market countries like Honduras, Guatemala, Thailand, South Korea, Chile, Indonesia, Zaire, Germany, or the United States.

But a real socialism, it is argued, would be controlled by the workers themselves through direct participation instead of being run by Leninists, Stalinists, Castroites, or other ill-willed, power-hungry, bureaucratic, cabals of evil men who betray revolutions. Unfortunately, this “pure socialism” view is ahistorical and nonfalsifiable; it cannot be tested against the actualities of history. It compares an ideal against an imperfect reality, and the reality comes off a poor secondIt imagines what socialism would be like in a world far better than this one, where no strong state structure or security force is required, where none of the value produced by workers needs to be expropriated to rebuild society and defend it from invasion and internal sabotage.

The pure socialists’ ideological anticipations remain untainted by existing practice. They do not explain how the manifold functions of a revolutionary society would be organized, how external attack and internal sabotage would be thwarted, how bureaucracy would be avoided, scarce resources allocated, policy differences settled, priorities set, and production and distribution conducted. Instead, they offer vague statements about how the workers themselves will directly own and control the means of production and will arrive at their own solutions through creative struggle. No surprise then that the pure socialists support every revolution except the ones that succeed.

The pure socialists had a vision of a new society that would create and be created by new people, a society so transformed in its fundamentals as to leave little room for wrongful acts, corruption, and criminal abuses of state power. There would be no bureaucracy or self-interested coteries, no ruthless conflicts or hurtful decisions. When the reality proves different and more difficult, some on the Left proceed to condemn the real thing and announce that they “feel betrayed” by this or that revolution.

The pure socialists see socialism as an ideal that was tarnished by communist venality, duplicity, and power cravings. The pure socialists oppose the Soviet model but offer little evidence to demonstrate that other paths could have been taken, that other models of socialism–not created from one’s imagination but developed through actual historical experience–could have taken hold and worked better. Was an open, pluralistic, democratic socialism actually possible at this historic juncture? The historical evidence would suggest it was not. As the political philosopher Carl Shames argued:

How do [the left critics] know that the fundamental problem was the “nature” of the ruling [revolutionary] parties rather than, say, the global concentration of capital that is destroying all independent economies and putting an end to national sovereignty everywhere? And to the extent that it was, where did this “nature” come from? Was this “nature” disembodied, disconnected from the fabric of the society itself, from the social relations impacting on it? . . . Thousands of examples could be found in which the centralization of power was a necessary choice in securing and protecting socialist relations. In my observation [of existing communist societies], the positive of “socialism” and the negative of “bureaucracy, authoritarianism and tyranny” interpenetrated in virtually every sphere of life. (Carl Shames, correspondence to me, 1/15/92.)

The pure socialists regularly blame the Left itself for every defeat it suffers. Their second-guessing is endless. So we hear that revolutionary struggles fail because their leaders wait too long or act too soon, are too timid or too impulsive, too stubborn or too easily swayed. We hear that revolutionary leaders are compromising or adventuristic, bureaucratic or opportunistic, rigidly organized or insufficiently organized, undemocratic or failing to provide strong leadership. But always the leaders fail because they do not put their trust in the “direct actions” of the workers, who apparently would withstand and overcome every adversity if only given the kind of leadership available from the left critic’s own groupuscule. Unfortunately, the critics seem unable to apply their own leadership genius to producing a successful revolutionary movement in their own country.

Tony Febbo questioned this blame-the-leadership syndrome of the pure socialists:

It occurs to me that when people as smart, different, dedicated and heroic as Lenin, Mao, Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Ho Chi Minh and Robert Mugabe–and the millions of heroic people who followed and fought with them–all end up more or less in the same place, then something bigger is at work than who made what decision at what meeting. Or even what size houses they went home to after the meeting. . . .

These leaders weren’t in a vacuum. They were in a whirlwind. And the suction, the force, the power that was twirling them around has spun and left this globe mangled for more than 900 years. And to blame this or that theory or this or that leader is a simple-minded substitute for the kind of analysis that Marxists [should make]. (Guardian, 11/13/91)

To be sure, the pure socialists are not entirely without specific agendas for building the revolution. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, an ultra-left group in that country called for direct worker ownership of the factories. The armed workers would take control of production without benefit of managers, state planners, bureaucrats, or a formal military. While undeniably appealing, this worker syndicalism denies the necessities of state power. Under such an arrangement, the Nicaraguan revolution would not have lasted two months against the U.S.-sponsored counterrevolution that savaged the country. It would have been unable to mobilize enough resources to field an army, take security measures, or build and coordinate economic programs and human services on a national scale.

Decentralization vs. Survival

For a people’s revolution to survive, it must seize state power and use it to (a) break the stranglehold exercised by the owning class over the society’s institutions and resources, and (b) withstand the reactionary counterattack that is sure to come. The internal and external dangers a revolution faces necessitate a centralized state power that is not particularly to anyone’s liking, not in Soviet Russia in 1917, nor in Sandinista Nicaragua in 1980.

Engels offers an apposite account of an uprising in Spain in 1872-73 in which anarchists seized power in municipalities across the country. At first, the situation looked promising. The king had abdicated and the bourgeois government could muster but a few thousand ill-trained troops. Yet this ragtag force prevailed because it faced a thoroughly parochialized rebellion. “Each town proclaimed itself as a sovereign canton and set up a revolutionary committee (junta),” Engels writes. “[E]ach town acted on its own, declaring that the important thing was not cooperation with other towns but separation from them, thus precluding any possibility of a combined attack [against bourgeois forces].” It was “the fragmentation and isolation of the revolutionary forces which enabled the government troops to smash one revolt after the other.”

Decentralized parochial autonomy is the graveyard of insurgency–which may be one reason why there has never been a successful anarcho-syndicalist revolution. Ideally, it would be a fine thing to have only local, self-directed, worker participation, with minimal bureaucracy, police, and military. This probably would be the development of socialism, were socialism ever allowed to develop unhindered by counterrevolutionary subversion and attack. One might recall how, in 1918-20, fourteen capitalist nations, including the United States, invaded Soviet Russia in a bloody but unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the revolutionary Bolshevik government.

The years of foreign invasion and civil war did much to intensify the Bolsheviks’ siege psychology with its commitment to lockstep party unity and a repressive security apparatus. Thus, in May 1921, the same Lenin who had encouraged the practice of internal party democracy and struggled against Trotsky in order to give the trade unions a greater measure of autonomy, now called for an end to the Workers’ Opposition and other factional groups within the party. “The time has come,” he told an enthusiastically concurring Tenth Party Congress, “to put an end to opposition, to put a lid on it: we have had enough opposition.” Open disputes and conflicting tendencies within and without the party, the communists concluded, created an appearance of division and weakness that invited attack by formidable foes.

Only a month earlier, in April 1921, Lenin had called for more worker representation on the party’s Central Committee. In short, he had become not anti-worker but anti-opposition. Here was a social revolution–like every other–that was not allowed to develop its political and material life in an unhindered way.

By the late 1920s, the Soviets faced the choice of (a) moving in a still more centralized direction with a command economy and forced agrarian collectivization and full-speed industrialization under a commandist, autocratic party leadership, the road taken by Stalin, or (b) moving in a liberalized direction, allowing more political diversity, more autonomy for labor unions and other organizations, more open debate and criticism, greater autonomy among the various Soviet republics, a sector of privately owned small businesses, independent agricultural development by the peasantry, greater emphasis on consumer goods, and less effort given to the kind of capital accumulation needed to build a strong military-industrial base.

The latter course, I believe, would have produced a more comfortable, more humane and serviceable society. Siege socialism would have given way to worker-consumer socialism. The only problem is that the country would have risked being incapable of withstanding the Nazi onslaught. Instead, the Soviet Union embarked upon a rigorous, forced industrialization. This policy has often been mentioned as one of the wrongs perpetrated by Stalin upon his people. It consisted mostly of building, within a decade, an entirely new, huge industrial base east of the Urals in the middle of the barren steppes, the biggest steel complex in Europe, in anticipation of an invasion from the West. “Money was spent like water, men froze, hungered and suffered but the construction went on with a disregard for individuals and a mass heroism seldom paralleled in history.”

Stalin’s prophecy that the Soviet Union had only ten years to do what the British had done in a century proved correct. When the Nazis invaded in 1941, that same industrial base, safely ensconced thousands of miles from the front, produced the weapons of war that eventually turned the tide. The cost of this survival included 22 million Soviets who perished in the war and immeasurable devastation and suffering, the effects of which would distort Soviet society for decades afterward.

All this is not to say that everything Stalin did was of historical necessity. The exigencies of revolutionary survival did not “make inevitable” the heartless execution of hundreds of Old Bolshevik leaders, the personality cult of a supreme leader who claimed every revolutionary gain as his own achievement, the suppression of party political life through terror, the eventual silencing of debate regarding the pace of industrialization and collectivization, the ideological regulation of all intellectual and cultural life, and the mass deportations of “suspect” nationalities.

The transforming effects of counterrevolutionary attack have been felt in other countries. A Sandinista military officer I met in Vienna in 1986 noted that Nicaraguans were “not a warrior people” but they had to learn to fight because they faced a destructive, U.S.-sponsored mercenary war. She bemoaned the fact that war and embargo forced her country to postpone much of its socio-economic agenda. As with Nicaragua, so with Mozambique, Angola and numerous other countries in which U.S.-financed mercenary forces destroyed farmlands, villages, health centers, and power stations, while killing or starving hundreds of thousands–the revolutionary baby was strangled in its crib or mercilessly bled beyond recognition. This reality ought to earn at least as much recognition as the suppression of dissidents in this or that revolutionary society.

The overthrow of Eastern European and Soviet communist governments was cheered by many left intellectuals. Now democracy would have its day. The people would be free from the yoke of communism and the U.S. Left would be free from the albatross of existing communism, or as left theorist Richard Lichtman [pictured right] put it, “liberated from the incubus of the Soviet Union and the succubus of Communist China.”

In fact, the capitalist restoration in Eastern Europe seriously weakened the numerous Third World liberation struggles that had received aid from the Soviet Union and brought a whole new crop of right-wing governments into existence, ones that now worked hand-in-glove with U.S. global counterrevolutionaries around the globe.

In addition, the overthrow of communism gave the green light to the unbridled exploitative impulses of Western corporate interests. No longer needing to convince workers that they live better than their counterparts in Russia, no longer restrained by a competing system, the corporate class is rolling back the many gains that working people have won over the years. Now that the free market, in its meanest form, is emerging triumphant in the East, so will it prevail in the West. “Capitalism with a human face” is being replaced by “capitalism in your face.” As Richard Levins put it, “So in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies had held at bay” (Monthly Review, 9/96).

Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don’t get it.[2]

Footnotes

[1] On Authority

[2] Left anti-communism: The Unkindest Cut by Michael Parenti