As promised, the return of the STL Propaganda Image Post of the week! This week has an ACAB theme with these five new ones.
Be back same day next week for more!
In previous posts I have advocated for some rather radical societal changes: smashing capitalism, fighting off cultural hegemony, etc. But let me explain how the essence of a new, better society also needs some restraint.
First, I have advocated for a vanguard party to lead us at first, or a small group of revolutionaries who will rule in the interests of the working class, what’s called the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” as Lenin proposed. But we must learn from history that we must put some legal/constitutional regulations on this group of leaders. What can happen is, like what happened with Stalin in the old USSR, a single leader may wrestle from the people far too much power and enact a totalitarian government serving only their interests. We must hold their feet to the fire as the people.
Second, we must not make any change too fast for the people will rebel against the new society, as happened during the French Revolution. We must not have economic “Five Year Plans,” or “Great Leaps Forward,” or how Khmer Rouge emptied the cities of Cambodia and shipped all the citizens to the countryside to work in collective farms. That would be insane. We can’t make such mistakes as these as far leftists have done in the past. Revolutionaries have not always known how to run a country. We must read the people and act accordingly maybe even welcoming a period of Thermidor.
What will be enacted right away, though, in the interest of a new, better, revolutionary society is enacting far leftist social changes. We must remove all wage discrimination between women and men. We must remove all hindrances for LGBTQ citizens from gaining equal rights. We must address the issue of reparations for both the Native American and African American communities. These must be addressed immediately. Capitalist WASP’s want to divide us through these differences. If we can make these changes we will realize that the only thing that separates us is class. Than all will become apparent.
Comrades, here’s another set of five graphics added to the album over at Google. I’ll just add to it now and then since the blog is active again.
I know, I know, it’s a day late and I apologize. But here are 5 graphics!
Tell your friends!
Wow, I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything and I must apologize. But here’s five new images for Sunday 12/15/2019!
Tell your friends!
So sorry again for posting these so late in the day but life under capitalism can keep you occupied.
This past week I finished reading the book Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize winning effort. I found this book compelling with its first-hand accounts of the brutal and deadly conditions some 8 million Soviet citizens experienced as they passed through the Gulag system over the decades. And I found no problem with the book except for a couple of points.
First, she equates the concentration camps of Lenin and Trotsky to what the phenomenon later became under Stalin. Camps were in existence during the Russian Revolution, and Lenin did express the thought that maybe kulaks (rich, land owning peasants) and former White Army officers could use a good lesson in hard, manual labor. But those early concentration camps are nothing like the true Gulags under Stalin. Applebaum even relates this fact in the introductory portion of the book. But she should have realized that Stalin is the real monster here, not Lenin and Trotsky.
Second, Applebaum asks why so many memorialize and lionize the old Soviet system with the Gulags as part of its history. She even condemns Russia’s experiment in a radical leftist ideology with the belief that the Gulag was inherent in the Communist system. She further equates the Gulag system with the German death-camps of the Nazi’s. Some far leftists will wear a hammer and sickle t-shirt, but no one would almost never, where a shirt with a swastika on it, she argues.
Now I admit that the two can be equated, and, in my opinion, they both possessed the same level of brutality which I cannot believe ever took place in as late of a period as the 20th century. But the goal of exterminating the Jews and other minority groups in the 30’s and 40’s was a major tenet of the Nazi ideology. The Gulag system was just a deformed system of punishment used by a totalitarian government. The Soviets did not want any group of people to suffer and die in Gulags. It was just the form of punishment Stalin desired as a result of his uncontrollable paranoia and its brutal crackdowns. In the introduction Applebaum even covers the fact that labor camps for criminals were a part of Czarist Russia. It seems that the concentration camp, not the suffering, was Russian, not Soviet. And a strict form of genocide was not a truly cut out goal of the Gulag system.
In conclusion, after reading this book my belief that Stalin was one of history’s greatest monsters is confirmed, and I still refuse to express my belief in a Marxist system with Stalin’s words or image. But on the other hand, I have no problem with the use of Lenin, Marx and Engels, and the hammer and sickle emblem. They are not inherently related to the. Marx never wrote, “There is a specter haunting Europe, and let there be Gulags.”
I still recommend this book.
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!”
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:
- 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.
- 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.