Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lenin: "The revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry"

Having finished this work, I now have some sort of understanding of what it is that he is trying to say, although Lenin insists that no one who is a member of the Bourgeois is capable of gaining such an understanding.  Of course Lenin himself came from the Bourgeois classes, as did all the other communist leaders, but we must let this bit of cognitive dissonance pass or we won't get through things.

Much of the thesis that Lenin is putting forward is that the Mensheviks want to have a democratic assembly and work with the liberal democrats (i.e. capitalists), and Lenin sees a hidden hypocritical agenda in this:  The Mensheviks will necessarily be coopted and assimilated into the Czarist/Bourgeois agenda, and the proletariat will be cheated out of their revolution.

Then there are the anarchist who see revolution as the end, and that action must always be from the lowest levels.  This Lenin sees as problematic.  The revolution isn't the end.  The revolution is the means to the end.  The end must have unlimited power to reform, thus, it must end in dictatorship.  The end must also have complete legitimacy, hence, it must be a democracy, never mind that democracy and dictatorship are mutually exclusive.  Lenin tries to merge these two by noting that dictatorship need not be that of an individual, and by extension proves that the dictatorship can include everyone, provided they are all empowered.  Finally, it must specifically enumerate who the dictatorship is allegedly for, and who it is not for.  Thus, it is for the factory workers and the peasants.  Only.  Don't ask any more questions.  Period.

Some of this discussion reminds me of America's persistent problem with RINO's (Republicans In Name Only).  They seem to have a somewhat opposite mentality to what Lenin claims will happen with the Mensheviks in that the RINO's routinely compromise with the Socialists, although Lenin honors the Mensheviks more by implying that they would need to be coopted first, whereas the RINO's don't even need that as an incentive.  The parallel breaks down if you go any further, because Lenin and the Anarchists are for completely overthrowing the legal framework, whereas America's Tea Party is for restoring the legal framework.

Another thing I sense from these writings is that the socialist in various groups have been brooding over power for a very long time, and this has caused them to carefully study history and generate a vocabulary for themselves.  The French Revolution figures very high on this, as well as the Paris Commune and the German Revolution of 1848.  Thus, to really put their thinking into perspective will require a more careful study of these events, along with the writings of Marx and Engels.

A final note is that there is not one reference to Christianity or the church in all these writings, which if I recall correctly was true to Trotsky's "From October to Brest-Litovsk" also.  This contrasts strongly with Leo Tolstoy's hatred for Christianity in his religious writings that were done towards this period.  Where was the church?


Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Of course, Lenin and his ilk came from the bourgeoisie - their mentor Karl also came from there and that didn't stop him from writing the several pieces of trash he did.

What is interesting is that Lenin didn't prove that dictatorship can include everyone, on the contrary: he and those after him proved, by the existence of a communist elite, that those who know that dictatorship and democracy are mutually exclusive were right. It's impossible to empower everyone at the same time.

The Tea Party if for restoring the legal framework: but does it keep up with the times? If not, could the Tea Party be compared to the Salafists who also want to restore the Islamic legal framework?

Good question: where was the church? I have to look into the church's role in the Pogroms and perhaps that could shed some light into all of this.

In sum, Socialism, communism etc is a big intellectual milk-shake.

Thanks for the link, will read it.


Looney said...

Hello Max,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, Lenin didn't make much of an effort to prove his point, but he did use a weak, inductive style argument.

Regarding the Tea Party, whatever they believe is largely irrelevant, since they will never have a governing majority. But I am curious: In the US, the RINOs, Libertarians and Democrats all seem determined in one way or another to have fiscal, economic and social chaos. Is it possible for one to "keep up with the times" and be responsible at the same time?

The Russian history I read a few months back mentioned Pogroms once or twice. My impression is that it was usually driven by a weak Tsar stirring up nationalist rage, with little direct church involvement. Of course this might be wrong, so it is on my list of things to do to investigate things more fully. If you run across original sources for these events, I would very much like to read them.

I am also wondering that leftists activists of the 1960's and early 1970's would carefully study and reflect on their scriptures, whereas it seems to me that this is not the case today. Since conservative notions were deleted from the curriculum more than half a century ago, they are up against a largely uneducated opposition, so perhaps it is not necessary for leftists to be more than lightly educated today. Any thoughts on similar trends in the EU?

Have a good holiday season!

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

My pleasure. Typical of the left to use weak arguments.

If they are determined to have fiscal, economic and social chaos it's because they're benefitting from it. Yes, it is possible to keep up with the times and be responsible - it's called being honest in one's profession while adapting to new challenges :).

I found this online (but haven't finished reading it yet; but we can discuss it later on):
I will look for other sources and if I find anything useful, will share it.

In the EU the left is highly ignorant and driven by emotion. Long gone are the days when the left was educated and difficult to beat in any argument - today it is so easy to refute them that it's become boring. The right win is more educated (because most of them receive their education either in Catholic schools or in any other private institution, where the left hasn't been able to hijack the system) but corrupt, in my opinion; they will sell their own mother if needed be in order to advance their own interests. Of course, this is in general terms because there are exceptions on both sides of the aisle.
Europe is losing itself little by little. You were right, many years ago when you told me that the Union was bound to fail (I countered you then, but now I see that you were right).

"Have a good holiday season!"

Thank you. God Bless.


Looney said...


Thanks for the link. I have read most of it now and may post some reflections. There is another set of audio books with links to the original texts on this subject that I have loaded into my car's sound system for my commute:

I don't think any of this really gets into the mindset of a Pogrom, which is what I feel obliged to study at some point.

Looney said...

Max, I should have thanked you earlier for noting that I was correct on a prophecy for once!

When I thought I had finished the article, I noticed that there were three more pages!

My first comment is just an observation: The NAZI's blamed the Jews for being a bunch of vile capitalists. The author of the article notes that today's Russians are more inclined to blame the Jews for the horrors of communism. In the US, they are noted for both communism and capitalism, with Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg being outstanding examples of the communist sort. But there are plenty of non-Jewish, destructive fanatics of all sorts as well.

Max Coutinho said...


You're welcome. Looking forward to your reflections.
(Thanks for the link)

I agree, it doesn't get into the mindset of a Pogrom (and I am wondering why the Orthodox Church is being so coy about it - is it shame or unaccountability?).

Max Coutinho said...

Looney, no problem - but you're welcome :).
lol oh my, yes indeed...chapters 2, 3 and conclusion: shame on me. However, regarding chapter 1: a very philosophical text but I'm struggling with the idea of Israel and Christianity being one because, in my opinion, Jesus came for two purposes (1- help improve Judaism, 2- divide the tribes to form a new Jewish group [later on Christianity]) and although his purpose may lead to the idea that Israel (Jews) and Christianity are one - which would make sense - Jesus' followers made sure that they'd distance themselves from Judaism as far as they could. They made that distinction and therefore made themselves different and separate. In this sense, Jesus' followers MAY have deviated from God's plan...not sure.

The author seems to suggest that anti-Semitism is primarily based on jealousy. Maybe he was right.
True, there are destructive fanatics of all sorts as well...look at the alleged children of Ishmael.

Looney said...

Max, I did an initial post to put my toe into the water of this subject. It is quite involved and I have not yet educated myself on much of what has happened!