Save Far Left Ideologies from the Trash Heap of History!

Ancient Athens is revered as the birthplace of both democracy and all of Western civilization. During its democratic period of the 5th and 4th century B.C. both its power and cultural achievements were at their height. Even the word “democracy” (demokratia, literally “people power”) is rooted in the Classical Greek language. But in 338, Phillip II of Macedonia (Alexander the Great’s father) conquered Athens and much of the rest of Greek world. It was under Macedonian rule off and on until 228, and democracy was never to take hold again in the Greek classical period.

Also, Ancient Rome was first ruled by a king but then also moved to a democratic, republic-form of government. But in the latter stages, power struggles amongst the elite led to the tyrannical rule of Julius Caesar. And you know what that led to from the pages of The 12 Caesars.

So, what is the point of this shockingly short and incomplete summary of the democratic periods of both ancient Athens and Rome? The reason is that the American Founding Framers took their inspiration from the Classical period in creating and founding the United States of America. They did not say, “Democracy failed in Athens and Rome, therefore we should throw into the dustbin of history.” No, they saw the good and bad parts of each period and drew from the best of their ancient liberal values.

The most often used criticism of radical leftist political philosophies is, “Communism failed in the USSR. It will never work.” But does that mean we should throw way the whole model? I do not believe so. The Founding Framers learned from the failures of the ancient democratic regimes of both Athens and Rome. Therefore, should we never try to install a radical leftist government again if we learn the lessons of the failed Communist experiments of the past?

I hope you answer, “NO!”

Communism: Learning from the Past and Present

As I have put forth in my previous posts, a socialist government is the best political system to be realized today in the interests of the 99%. But if we are going to move towards having the power taken back from the rich and given to its rightful owners, the workers, we must avoid making the mistakes made by Communist countries today and in the past.

One of the most dangerous actions taken by the radical leftist governments of the past is that they tried to realize unrealistic goals too soon. E.g., China had its “Great Leap Forward,” the Soviets under Stalin always put forth these “5 Year Plans” that hurt the Russian people at the hands of Stalin’s vain attempts at greatness, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia killed over a million of their countrymen partially due to economic reforms. And these often just occurred to catch up with capitalist countries in the areas of industry, science, military, and infrastructurevtoo fast. Foolish.

The are two reasons why this is true, namely:

  1. Revolutionaries have no idea how to run a country. This often leads to unspeakable hardships and suffering for the reasons mentioned above in the pursuit of grand ideals.
  2. The three countries outlined above, i.e., Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia, were ruled under brutal dictators, or very small groups of leaders, who ran authoritarian governments. They involved purges, gulags, and mass murders of so-called “enemies of the people.” And these things are still taking place in North Korea under the rule of the Kim family and their latest criminal, thug leader, Kim Jong Un.

But in terms of the socialist experiment in Cuba, we could learn a lot of positive things from them. The U.S. capitalist media would have you believe that the Castros are no different than Stalin or Un, but what they don’t report are the great strides towards equality taking place in the small island country. E.g., they have redistributed land to the peasants through land reform. Once the Cuban peasants were slaves to rich plantation owners, but as a result of the revolution, the land owned by the corporations and plantation owners has now been divided amongst the people who work the land. And that is just one example of the successful reforms. They have also gotten away from just being a sugar-dominated economy and even become a powerhouse in the research and development of new medicines that are often purchased, yes, by the U.S. government.

Yet this has succeeded by not having some grand goal of building a developing country into a society where they are immediately just as technologically advanced as  the U.S. These are examples of how ideas and policies could be learned from a socialist society to be translated instilled in a more equal America.

So in conclusion, the brutality of Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge is due to harsh authoritarian governments, not an attempted realization of a fully socialist society. These dictatorships had vain rulers trying to advance mostly Third-World countries into global players too fast. Yet we can look to somewhere like Cuba for positive ideas to enact here in the U.S. in pursuit of a more egalitarian society.

Strong Moves Needed During Transition to Socialism

In my previous post, I argued that a socialist system is the best form of government we can live under at this stage in history, and that we must smash the current so-called democratic system controlled by the rich.

What should the new revolutionary government look like?

The best strategy available to us at this point is to put into power what Lenin and Trotsky called a vanguard party. They will serve as a sort of transition government moving us from capitalism towards socialism. We must support these responsible leaders to take us through the ideological battle with those who will want to keep the old “democratic” system in place, namely, the rich and powerful.

But during this transition we may sacrifice some of our freedoms for a short period of time during the certain conflict with the powerful. Freedom of the press, freedom to demonstrate, and some other forms of free speech may be suppressed for a time because they are all controlled by the capitalist’s dominant ideology. This is what Trotsky put forth in his famous work Dictatorship vs. Democracy.

Yet, we must watch the vanguard leadership very closely.

The USSR tried this idea out, and it led to Communism’s greatest monster, Josef Stalin, into power. Stalin used the above suppressed rights to become an authoritarian leader who committed so many crimes against humanity they are too many to list here.

Take this warning seriously. The government of and for the people can be hi-jacked if we do not pay enough attention to what our leaders are doing in our name.

In conclusion, what the people need to do is smash the currently corrupt system and replace it with responsible leaders who can lead us through the war of ideas, and probably against a violent suppression by the 1%. And this will mean a crackdown on some of our most cherished freedoms, but they will be returned in time once the rich and powerful have their control over us destroyed. Yet we must keep our eyes on this transition party because a rising leader or group could use the loss of these freedoms to create an authoritarian governmentclaiming to be revolutionary.

This is an outline of what we need to do if we wish to make any successful revolutionary movements at this time.

Putin’s Better Than Chaos for Russians

putinhorsebannerAn interesting article in The Atlantic by Christopher Read proposing that, although sometimes overly authoritarian, the Russian people prefer the soft-dictatorship of Putin versus the chaos of the 1990’s.

Read Here.

Stalin and Modern Russia

05iht-edrachlin05-articleLargeA great piece in the NYT on how the Russian people have struggled with Stalin’s legacy over the decades. He was a tyrannical pragmatist who killed 32 million of his own people through purges, farming policies, and the NKVD, who were the secret police and forerunner of the KGB (at least Hitler was an ideologue who murdered perceived “others”). But he also industrialized the Soviet Union, built great cities, and furthered the cause of Communism. A great piece to be read.

Read Here.