Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Soviet Story

I refer the reader to a post over at Byzantine Texas where you will find a movie on the history and ideology of the Soviet Union. I can not recommend this film too strongly. It is simply the best I have seen on the subject. Anyone with any kind of leftist illusions about the pure evil of Communism and its proper place in history is going to be in for a very rude shock. IMHO the film should be required viewing in every High School in the English speaking world.

Caution: Extremely graphic images.

28 comments:

Heracleides said...

I trust you've pointed Och in the right direction???

John (Ad Orientem) said...

You have some reservation about Owen? I've never seen him sign his name in red ink. ;-)

Heracleides said...

Lol - no, not really. I'm sure his socioeconomic views will more closely align with reality as he ages. :P

Great link by the way.

The Ochlophobist said...

50 years ago, probably the most fervent rhetoric concerning the collaboration of the Nazis and the Soviets was coming from, uh, yeah, communists who were critics of the Soviets – i.e., Trots, etc. This criticism became even more acute after the invasion of Czech. in 68.

What concerns me about the film, aside from the fact that Norman Davies played a part, a man who wrote a dreadful Anglophilic history of the Welsh, is the old hat line it takes with regard to Marx/Engels and genocide. No serious Marx/Engels scholar interprets the passage which supposedly shows a Marx's approval of genocide in the manner the film does, and this is quite an old charade, McCarthyists and Berchers and the like have been misquoting and misconstruing that passage for years. Marx and Engels were using language typical for them, and there is no indication they desired anything remotely close to genocide. I don't know how anyone could read much of Marx (the man was not afraid of hyperbole and jest and disgusted rant that is obviously just rant) and make such an accusation against Marx with a straight face. That the language of Marx and Engels would be deemed dangerous is utterly ridiculous coming from the side of political conservatives. Have you ever read Churchill's more colorful language concerning the Irish? How about language used by American politicians routinely concerning the Germans in WWI and WWII? The rhetoric of Marx and Engels rarely approaches such "dangerous" rhetoric. And, sure, we can go a simplistic "ideas have consequences" route and state that Marx must bear some responsibility for the Soviets, China, North Korea, etc., but I take it then that the major advocates of capitalism and free marketism in the 19th and 20th centuries must bear all the responsibility for all the ills of capitalism.

It is interesting to actually read Marx complain about the Slavs, and particularly the Russians. He almost at times seems as if he is about to predict how ill an affair it would be would the Russian radicals to ever take over their government. Lenin's many attempts to explain it to the contrary, the Russian revolution went in pretty much the exact opposite manner that Marx outlined as the way a transition to a communist state/economy should go (the same can be said of the Chinese revolution). Had he lived two lifetimes and seen it all, one can only imagine how horrified he would have been with regard to what has been done in his name. And yes, of course Marx, like virtually all continental intellectuals of his day, was a complete snob.

The Ochlophobist said...

As to growing out of my supposedly Leftist views, (and for the record I happen to agree with Lenin on one thing - "Left" communism, such as the Trots - their good criticisms of state capitalism as seen in the Soviets and the Chinese notwithstanding - is a wash), I rebelled against my parents by moving towards and into various conservatisms in my 20s. Then I, shall we say, grew up and have returned to my father's Old Leftist with caveats more or less position. I am veering towards 40 now, with three kids and a mortgage, and I assure you that it is highly unlikely I will ever mature to a point wherein I look to libertarianism as an ideology representing anything having to do with reality.

The old paradigm of Neuhaus and the plethora of other neo-cons who were once radicals (most of the neo-cons who had been Marxists, suitably, had been Trots, though not Neuhaus) but grew out of it is long over. It became almost avant-garde for a spell to play the eccentric intellectual who fashionably moved to the supposedly unfashionable Right. But given that this card was played a thousand times over by American intellectuals, and given that the Right now is the dominant political populism in America today, appeals to the Right as being untrendy but mature political reality simply are too much a stretch for a thinking person to bear.

I consider neo-liberalism now manifestly a complete intellectual dead end, in both its neo-con and libertarian manifestations. There are other forms of conservatism and I think the better ones are those more ambivalent about mass capitalism (Red Toryism, etc.), though the area in which I am most decidedly in keeping with the Old Left is my unequivocal acceptance of the position that capitalism, in the end, is not reformable, i.e., it will always forcefully return to the path of self-destruction (Of course, one need not be an Old Leftist to hold this position, I think Tolkien may have held something close to this). It is interesting to note how the more mainstream Buckley/Friedman style "conservative" ideologies are now being argued to be utopian by Leftists, in reverse of the line conservatives have used against the Left successfully for three generations now. It may be that in ten years it is mainstream conservatism that is running from the accusation of naïve utopianism. Milton Friedman brought to popular political discourse an economic position which, at the time he started, seemed unlikely to gain the amount of ground that it did, and in the end it pretty much became the economic position held by most politicians in both major parties. It may be that Naomi Klein is the Milton Friedman of our day, and that in 30 years the dominant economic assumption is that mass capitalism is a destructive utopianism which routinely wreaks havoc in keeping with its own nature. These pendulums are bound to swing back at one point or another.

obicon said...

Owen, perhaps you could provide the proper context for the quotes from Marx and Engels found on these pages:

http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/11/socialists-for-genocide-engels-and.html

http://marxwords.blogspot.com/

http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/marxdec4.html

Do you seriously deny that Marx did not frequently talk about the necessary bloodbath that would be required to establish his socialist utopia? And how can he not be blamed when those who put his ideas into practice actually brought about such a bloodbath, in each and every case that they seized power and established a marxist state?

Anonymous said...

Naomi Klein is no Milton Friedman (unfortunately, in my view). The closest we have is Krugman.

Heracleides said...

Obicon,

I hope you enjoy the revisionist tap-dance you're about to witness.

Anonymous said...

The true measure of the ideas are the results of the application of the ideas. There are millions of Christian martyrs, and a host of other innocents, that will testify to the horrors of Marxism applied. Justifying those ideas in the name of a serious scholar's "interpretation" or of it being "just a rant" doesn't quiet the voices of the dead, or those currently suffering. Just because it can be "interpreted" as a neat-o idea, doesn't make it so. And I doubt where Marx is if he is doing much rolling over, unless it is stop, drop, and roll.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

1991 should have been the last year anybody ever believed in the labor theory of value.

The Ochlophobist said...

With the caveat that I will not be able to continue this conversation for days on end, sure, what the heck, I will bite on an opportunity to pursue revisionism (since when do conservatives complain about revisionist history? - it's their bread and butter), though I wonder about calling it revisionism as a number of orthodox (Third International) Marxists questioned the orthodoxy of Leninism from its beginnings. But anyway....


Obi,

I have read perhaps 2/3 of Das Kapital and a number of Marx’s lesser writings and letters, as well as perhaps a dozen books about Marx. This makes me not competent enough to say what I will say, but what the heck? Yes, I deny that Marx frequently wrote about bloodbaths. I have found thus far that he only infrequently writes about bloodbaths.

With regard to the sites you link to, first allow me to note the pleasure I take in your making use of Zionist materials.

After looking at the three sites, I see a fair amount of repetition of texts used, and indeed, the text in question which was in the film and which I make previous note of was used, following the translation which is disputed.

Of course I do not deny that Marx condoned violence. What I find quite implausible is that Marx conceived of anything remotely close to the scale we see in Stalin or Mao. Marx’s frame of reference for mass large scale violence would have been events such as the French Revolution and the U.S. Civil War, etc.. Like many 19th century figures Marx uses flamboyant, totalizing, bombastic language. I don’t find his passages pertaining to future violence against reactionaries and against reactionary peoples to be any more severe than the language of Sherman, or the language used by many American politicians concerning the native Americans (and later Filipinos, etc.) , or the language British unionists used toward the Irish or later with regard to the Boer War, etc. This is how people in the 19th century spoke of the meta-violence that they supported in defense of their meta-narratives. I happen to disagree with all of them on that front, including Marx, but I don’t see Marx anymore than I see Sherman or Churchill supporting the sort of mass murder one sees in Stalin and Mao, etc. Was he a jerk? Yes.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

You ask “how can he not be blamed when those who put his ideas into practice” and anon puts this thesis into the assertion “The true measure of the ideas are the results of the application of the ideas. “

Please explain how this works. Marx, in his shoddy Hegelianism, did not have a focus so much on the ‘ought’ but rather he had the rather naïve and astoundingly arrogant confidence that posited ‘this is what is going to happen.’ He believed that the transition to communism was inevitable, and while he also thought that this inevitable ought to happen, the ought was somewhat irrelevant as he was confident it was going to happen. Keep in mind that Marx viewed the transition to communism from capitalism in the same lines of historical determinism that brought about the transition from feudalism to a society structured around bourgeois mechanisms. Indeed, Marx praises the bourgeoisie for their initial improvement upon feudalism and serfdom, etc. Marx notes that the bourgeoisie, and later industrial capitalism, are necessary stages on the way to communism (which may indeed be a stage toward some other human configuration of socio-economic order). So that said, let us keep in mind that:

Marx believed that lasting communist revolution would come about in societies where the bourgeoisie, capitalism, and industrialization are fully developed, or nearly so. Marx believed that the proletariat would have to be well established, and that this would happen in a context of mass industrialization. Marx believed the proletariat would have to go through a period of growth and the development of a Marxist style of class consciousness and class struggle, which would begin via participation in bourgeois reform movements, and develop over time into a mixture of reformist and radical measures, and finally transition into a fully radical politic on the part of the proletariat. Marx believed that the transition to a proletarian control of the state would happen in symphony with a transition that would occur within trade unions and agricultural collectives, in which there would be a gradual growth from reformist control of those institutions to radical control of those institutions. The state and trade unions and ag collectives would then act as harmonious units of proletarian control, and, while the state was in the process of securing proletarian control from reactionaries, these various proletarian institutions would act as a sort of system of checks and balances in harmony and tension with each other. Marx believed that once there was, on an international level, a control of political institutions and economic institutions which was on par, in terms of systemic reach, with the control he saw capitalism having during his lifetime, and communism became the assumed and recognized as normative means of production and social organization, the state would begin to be dismantled, and replaced with various cooperative organizations. Marx believed that the means of production and the ordering of social organization would ultimately be controlled by workers, with the balance of power resting strongest at local, then regional, then international levels.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

In every instance of communist revolution in the 20th century, we can say with absolute confidence that most of Marx’s principles of a transition from a capitalist to communist economy and social order did not occur, and if we refuse to accept Lenin’s arguments with regard to how Russia’s quickie ‘development’ of the proletariat from the 1905 revolution to the 1917 revolutions still met the Marxist standard, however imperfectly (and keeping in mind that Lenin believed that Russia’s being the first successful revolution of the proletariat presented all sorts of problems, and keeping in mind that Lenin fully expected France or Germany or even Great Britain to soon have a revolution that was less bloody because of the more ‘advanced’ proletariat in those places and because of the more advanced bourgeois, capitalist, and industrial structures in those societies, and keeping in mind that Lenin believed that once a Germany, France, or England entered into a communist structure that first major western power would become the premier communist state, and Russia would fall into the international background), we can then say that none of Marx’s descriptors of a Marxist revolution applied to any of the so-called Marxist revolutions in the 20th century.

Thus perhaps saying that Marx is responsible for the Soviets is kind of like saying that St. Paul is responsible for the Crusades.

Of course, all of this begs the question, why did the so-called Marxist states of the 20th century embrace Marx? Well, it seems to me that they did because Marx was the most convenient tool at hand. If you want totalitarian control of a nation, state capitalism is the way to go, and to get from an undeveloped nation with a poorly structured proletariat (if any at all in substantial numbers) to the point of enough rapid industrialization to support state capitalism, you are going to have to have a mass movement of the working class or potential working classes. If there is no precedent for this in your own culture (which, of course, there wasn’t), then you have to go shopping somewhere else for an ideological idiom to use. Marx was the easiest idiom to grab because Marx provided the most comprehensive and ‘baseline’ critique of the dominant socio-economic ordo in the world, and Marx was widely recognized many of those ideological communities which critiqued the dominant socio-economic ordo as the place to start with regard to criticisms of capitalist horrors. Even in highly ‘undeveloped’ nations, where capitalism was not yet beyond its infancy, it was clear that capitalism was the direction which the ruling classes, oligarchs, etc. were going and thus the language and superficial form of the most comprehensive and widely acknowledged critique of capitalism is simply what one is going to grab. But, of course, this is painting with a broad brush. I think both Lenin and the young Mao really believed in Marxism and were not just using it for utilitarian purposes at first, but their approach to it became more and more stretched with time. I also think that Russian radicals were by and large the nutjobs Marx believed them to be. The idea that Marx would have supported large swaths of the proletariat and peasant classes being murdered, as we see in Russia and China, is absurd, or at least I know of nothing in Marx that would indicate this.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

Which leaves me with my summation. The great error of Marx, in my opinion, is not his critique of capitalism, which I pretty much accept with the obvious caveats related to the development of capitalism in post-industrial contexts. The great error of Marx is his historical confidence – his unfettered belief that his vision of communism is inevitable and in the process of developing. But this confidence is a political confidence shared by just about every political ideology coming out of the 19th century (not to mention scientific and technocratic and theological ideologies of the same time). Until a given political ideology was soundly defeated, it was presented by its followers as manifestly that which would guide the world into the glorious Hegelian future. This confidence very much carries into the 20th century, and can be seen right down to the rhetoric of Reagan and Dubya regarding the city on the hill keeping the light of freedom in the world and the freedom on the march making the world safe for democracy, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum. If it were such that Marx were the only confident political theorist of the 19th century, and some folks started a revolution that wasn’t going as Marx had thought it would but they continued into the madness because Marx had given them the confidence that this Marxist thing would work out as he said, then I think Marx might have more culpability than he does. But given that pretty much everybody in every political ideology of the 19th century was quite sure of the inevitability of their ideology of right government ordo prevailing (until it was eliminated anyway), then I can hardly blame Marx for such confidences. It was in the water.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

As for all of this quantitative moral weight baiting, sure, the Soviets and Maoists are evil, evil, evil, but we have to admit that more than a few are keen on very earnestly counting all of the “Marxist killings” but not so keen to count the effects of the capitalist death machine. Capitalism is older than Marxism. By the time of the American revolution there was the healthy infancy of global capital and powerful international corporations acting above the state in many instances. If we are going to count the millions of Stalin’s and Mao’s dead, we need to also count the numbers killed in the genocides committed against native Americans (North and South American) and those who died via the mechanisms of the modern slave trade, not to mention other instances of the capitalist motivated forced movings of people groups all the way down to Nestle killing infants in Africa and American chemical companies suffocating villages in India and the U.S. and multinational corporatist support of various militias and murderous regimes throughout the world, etc. Given enough time, capitalism will reach murderous parity with 20th century so-called Marxisms. Keep in mind that global capitalism was most efficiently murderous in its initial stages, and then moved to less overt and more subtle forms of oppression, while carrying on with lower numbers of murders. Given that self-proclaimed attempts at communism are only a century old it may be that attempts at reformed versions of this sort of communism are less murderous than earlier forms, though, in my opinion, neither the state capitalism of a, say, China, or traditional capitalism is finally reformable. It is a fair point to still contest that the intensity and efficiency of murder by communist states in the 20th century was greater than what one sees in capitalism, and I think that there are answers to that critique, but I don’t think the answers are found in a comparison of ideology. The capitalist exploits to the extent he can get away with it. So does the Soviet style communist (a state capitalist). The milieu of the chaos that comes from a revolution gives a highly centralized state with no checks and balances room to efficiently kill if that is what it is after, just as the milieu of a multinational corporation with the World Bank and IMF strongarming an undeveloped country in a region remote from world powers can get away with a lot. Once increases in technology and media come about, it is harder for both state or global capital to get away with those murders that go relatively unnoticed until the graves are dug up a generation or two later. The bloodbaths of the 20th century also happened at a rather unique time in history. At the beginning of the 20th century we see the technology available to give most of the world a modicum of material security. This is brought about through capitalist advances in technology, but with the increase in capitalist advance comes the necessary increase in the awareness of the exploitation that goes hand in hand with capitalism.

The Ochlophobist said...

- cont'd -

When you combine people being aware that there is now technology that can provide them with relatively stable levels of material security, and at the same time they become aware that the people who provide the sweat, blood, and effort behind this technology do not control that technology, and at the same time these masses realize that they do not benefit from the new technology in a manner which remotely compares to those who control the technology, and given that these masses become aware that they have kept those with control in their means of control and advancement for years and generations on end, well, you add all that together and it makes for some angry folks. Sometimes I think neo-liberals think that Marxist agitators just waltzed in and turned otherwise content, decently treated, and ‘well adjusted’ working class and peasant folks into dyspeptic sociopaths by holding a carrot over their heads or somesuch. Russia had been brewing chaotic madness since the mid 19th century at least. At many points along the way, the Russian elite could have maneuvered in a manner that would have rendered the revolutions of 1917 much less likely.

Le Panda du Mal said...

Translating "Weltsturm" as "holocaust" can only be seen as a deliberate mistranslation. That's enough to put this "documentary" in the trash. It does not take a pro-Marxist apologist to recognize this. As Och points out, the quote is completely misinterpreted. "WHO CARES, MARXISM IS EVIL!!!" Gosh, folks, there are enough things wrong with real Marxism that we don't need to make stuff up about it.

obicon said...

Owen, in the multitude of your musings, I did not see where you actually put any of the quotes into any context that changed their obvious meaning. Just for example: "The next world war will cause not only reactionary classes and dynasties but also entire reactionary peoples to disappear from the earth. And that too would be progress."
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/11/socialists-for-genocide-engels-and.html

That sounds like a blood bath, and that sounds like Marx and Engels thought it would be a good thing. That also sounds a lot like what Hitler and the Bolsheviks tried to accomplish. It is too simplistic to say that these were bad men who used a handy ideology to accomplish what they would have accomplished any way. This was an ideology that justified mass slaughter, and unprecedented mass slaughter resulted... the likes of which the world had never seen before. There is nothing comparable in human history.

The Ochlophobist said...

obi,

In all of the quotes I read on the three sites you link to, that is the one and only quote that could possibly be construed in a manner which suggests Marx would have supported Stalin, etc. As I use the phrase "reactionary peoples" above you can see that I am aware of the quote in question, and I believe I have addressed your concern.

Setting aside the fact that your hyper pro-Israel friends are politically motivated to find poor translations of Marx, and taking this quote at face value, I still don't think Marx conceived of anything like the scale of the slaughter of the 20th century, nor would he have argued for it. In a previous debates on my blog, some of which you may have participated in under another online moniker, good old Milton and I brought out some of the old hat quotes by American political and military leaders of the 18th and 19th centuries concerning the eradication of American Indians. Do you think they supported the full scale total slaughter of all indigenous peoples in the world?

When Marx speaks of the next world war causing whole reactionary peoples to disappear, he does not mean a complete murdering of whole peoples. We know this because Marx describes in great detail how various groups will be turned from their ideological slavery to the bourgeoisie. Marx certainly distinguished between various cultures, and he describes the working classes and peasantry in certain cultures being more beholden and sympathetic to the bourgeoisie than others - that is to say that in certain cultures the bourgeoisie had a greater stranglehold. Marx recognized than the revolutionary struggle in such cultures might be more violent, and he recognized that certain cultures were so given to anti-worker patterns of power, that these cultures would have to be dismantled in order to break the hold of the elite. Note Marx's rhetoric concerning the Jews (and he means secular Judaism as a culture, not Judaism as a religion) in one of the links you provide. Marx believes that this Jewish culture is through and through given to bourgeois patterns, and will have to be dismantled, but this does not mean he believes that all Jews had to be killed. Marx believed that the force of the elite could be broken, the amount of violence needed for this to happen from culture to culture might vary, but nowhere in what I have read does Marx, when he gets specific for how the transition from capitalism to communism will occur, and he gets specific over thousands of pages in his corpus, argue for mass slaughter in the manner you suggest. As you note, there had been nothing in human history like the terror of the Bolsheviks, and there is no reason to believe that Marx conceived of such terrors.

You assert that "this was an ideology that justified mass slaughter" but, again, Marx is very specific and goes into great detail concerning how revolutions would happen, and he addresses all sorts of contingencies, nowhere in all this specificity of Marx describing what a revolution and its aftermath will look like does he describe anything that resembles or even suggests the Bolshevik and Maoists regimes.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Does not revolution inherently involve bloodshed?

The Ochlophobist said...

Marx stated that in some places it would, and in other places it would not.

Keep in mind from Marx's perspective mass capitalism requires a fair amount of bloodshed. I don't think he conceived of revolutionary violence that was anything approaching the disproportion of capitalist violence vs. revolutionary violence that we see in the Bolsheviks. He certainly never argues for the senseless mass liquidation of working class and peasant peoples who had no truck in the revolutionary struggle, which is what we see with both Stalin and Mao.

Anonymous said...

I've read a fair bit of Marx and I think you are taking a very generous position (btw, have you read any of his verse). You might argue that Rosenberg didn't speak of the gassing of Jews either. Either way, Hannah Arendt had it right - once you commit to an overarching system of ideology, you are on the path to murder. In any case, a Christian can not be an ideologist.

obicon said...

What about these quotes Owen? Could you put these into context for us:

"...the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terrorism."
- Karl Marx, "The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna," Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 7 November 1848.

"Among all the nations and sub-nations of Austria, only three standard-bearers of progress took an active part in history, and are still capable of life -- the Germans, the Poles and the Magyars. Hence they are now revolutionary. All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary holocaust. ["world storm" ? J.D.] For that reason they are now counter-revolutionary. ...these residual fragments of peoples always become fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of their national character ... [A general war will] wipe out all these racial trash [Völkerabfälle - original was given at Marxist websites as "petty hidebound nations" J.D.] down to their very names. The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward."
- Friedrich Engels, "The Magyar Struggle," Neue Rheinische Zeitung, January 13, 1849

"Germans and Magyars [of the Austro-Hungarian Empire] untied all these small, stunted and impotent little nations into a single big state and thereby enabled them to take part in a historical development from which, left to themselves, they would have remained completely aloof! Of course, matters of this kind cannot be accomplished without many a tender national blossom being forcibly broken. But in history nothing is achieved without violence and implacable ruthlessness... In short, it turns out these 'crimes' of the Germans and Magyars against the said Slavs are among the best and most praiseworthy deeds which our and the Magyar people can boast in their history."
- Friedrich Engels, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 15 February 1849:

"… only by the most determined use of terror against these Slav peoples can we [Germans], jointly with the Poles and Magyars, safeguard the revolution… there will be a struggle, an ‘inexorable life-and-death struggle,’ against those Slavs who betray the revolution; an annihilating fight and ruthless terror - not in the interests of Germany, but in the interests of the revolution!"
- Friedrich Engels
("Democratic Pan-Slavism, Cont.," Neue Rheinische Zeitung, February 16, 1849)

obicon said...

"We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels "Suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung", Neue Rheinische Zeitung, May 19, 1849

"Society is undergoing a silent revolution, which must be submitted to, and which takes no more notice of the human existences it breaks down than an earthquake regards the houses it subverts. The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way."
- Karl Marx, "Forced Emigration", New York Tribune 1853.

"Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is an act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon, all of which are highly authoritarian means. And the victorious party must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted more than a day if it had not used the authority of the armed people against the bourgeoisie? Cannot we, on the contrary, blame it for having made too little use of that authority?"
- Friedrich Engels: "Controversy with the Anarchists", 1873

"The man is too wise. And on top of that, such offensive, vulgar, democratic arguments! To denigrate violence as something to be rejected, when we all know that in the end nothing can be achieved without violence!"
- Friedrich Engels to Wilhelm Blos, (Letter, 21 February 1874)

"Well, then, to carry out the principles of socialism do its believers advocate assassination and bloodshed? 'No great movement,' Karl [Marx] answered, 'has ever been inaugurated Without Bloodshed.'"
- Interview with Karl Marx, Chicago Tribune, 5 January 1879

http://www.orgonelab.org/MarxEngelsQuotes.htm

The Ochlophobist said...

obi,

There is no language here which has not been addressed above. As we have been through before, plenty of American "heroes" used language just as strong with regard to the elimination of native Americans. Get a grip. You are an ideologue of the first order and therefore all Marxism must mean what your talking points assert. You are incapable of even questioning the hermeneutic your allegiances provides. There is nothing which suggests that what Engels meant by "ruthlessness" is outside the context of politically motivated violence as conceived by 19th radicals.

The Ochlophobist said...

"impotent little nations" is another phrase some deem mistranslated by the way.

This whole means of rhetorical attack is forced to the point of ridiculousness. Marx and Engels believed in class warfare. They believed that the proletariat would have to, at various time and in various places, fight against the reactionaries and even against whole reactionary peoples. The proper question should be this - what 19th century writer agitating for war didn't use the sort of rhetoric Marx and Engels did? Indeed, given that the Marx and Engels warrior quote banks keep using the same few quotes over and over again, in light of the vast amount of words Marx and Engels wrote, and given that their language is rather more tame than much of the militaristic language of the 19th century, we can hardly single them out for their bloodthirst.

obicon said...

You suggested that only one quote legitimately hinted at a bloodbath, but it seems they spoke of it often. And as a matter of fact, their followers actually did it, each and every time they had a chance to do it. So let's stop presenting their views as morally superior, when in fact they are morally inferior.

The Ochlophobist said...

obi,

again and again and again, in what sense are they 'followers' if at every point they conduct a revolution in a manner not in keeping with Marx's specific description of what the paradigm of revolution would be.

Further, have you ever read anything by any historian of Marx on Marx and Engels towards the pan-Slavic "problem" as they saw it? I know of no historian of Marx who interprets these passages in the manner of your zealots. My advice,
start with the work Marx Without Myth by Maximilien Rubel.