Skip to main content

The Power Question

The Spanish and Russian Revolutions

When I first got involved in "radical" politics, I quickly learned that the Spanish Revolution was the "good" revolution and the Russian Revolution was the "bad" one. While the big names of the "anti-authoritarian" left do a wonderful job of explaining the positive gains in social and property relations during the Spanish Revolution, as well as putting the acts of violence in context, they seem to agree with the Capitalists' version of history regarding the Russian Revolution.

Yes, it is easy to write off such a monumental event if Stalinism is a direct result of "Lenin's vision" and the conflict between Trotsky and Stalin was essentially a conflict of individual personalities. Only understanding the "anti-authoritarian" and Capitalist version of the events, I tended to romanticize the Spanish Revolution (which failed) and had no interest in the Russian Revolution (which succeeded). This didn't allow me to put the our historical situation in its proper context. I, no doubt along with a countless number of others, was setting myself up to expect failure. It is true that both Revolutions were extremely complicated, messy, violent, and full of contradictions; but after reading several accounts of both it is clear the class independent leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, along with the Bolsheviks' willingness to take power, pushed the Russian Revolution forward to success while the class collaborationist leadership during the Spanish Revolution, and their outright refusal to take power, led to its failure.

The "anti-authoritarian" left rightfully wants to distance themselves from the awful degeneration of Stalinism, but in doing so they forfeit the legacy of the greatest event in the history of humanity. This isn't to say the Russian Revolution is a template all subsequent Revolutions must fit into (the Revolution in Venezuela, a Revolution which I fully support, doesn't exactly fit this format), but it does mean that we can learn both positive and negative lessons from the way it was carried out, and it's eventual betrayal.


Power, Leadership, and the Working Class

Power isn't bad. Leadership isn't bad. Although both can be bad, they aren't inherently bad. Like other tools that can be used to restrict the actions of another, they need to be held directly accountable by those who they could potentially affect. Despite the hundreds of essays and books deconstructing both words to the point of them meaning whatever the so-called "expert" desires, the concepts of leadership and power are easily grasped by the average worker. There is no controversy here.

Many also recognize there is a politically advanced layer of the working class. This is an objective fact. For whatever reason, certain people have drawn certain conclusions while others haven't. This doesn't mean the advanced group is better, smarter, or anything of the sort. They do, however, have a more defined role to play. They must be on the front lines making demands Capitalism can't fulfill and simultaneously explain why these demands are only "unrealistic" within the confines of a system that allows a few people dictatorial control over all of industry. It is not their job to "make a revolution." As factory occupations, "bossnappings," and Soviets (worker councils) have shown, workers come up with all sorts of ingenious solutions for their situations. In order to coordinate and best implement these revolutionary changes, the working class needs leaders who are willing and able to take power. Again, despite the babble so many intellectuals have made a career out of spewing, this is common sense to many working people.

It appears for many on the left, largely because of the Stalinist caricature of Socialism, power and leadership have become taboo, something to be avoided. This is a recipe for failure. If our leaders aren't one hundred percent ready to take power, and use that power to implement Socialism, we are forever doomed to activist groups and autonomous movements that offer little more than book opportunities for the usual suspects within leftist circles.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Someone get the CDC a thesaurus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.9280df07ab70 I feel like this may be one of those stories that is quietly walked back in a week or so. Government bureaucracies are nothing if not committed to absolutely staying the same, and they can get around a word ban with little change in intent. Trump is hilariously committed to breaking brains of the liberal pundit class and his half-wit base loves it. It’s really all he has, as he hasn’t been able to get much else done. (Please don’t remind me of the tax bill that is all but certain to become law.)

The Piss Test

I find some perverse solace in knowing someone has to handle my piss, right there in front of me, in order to tell if I've been a good clean boy, or whether I've been dirty and bad. I hope there's at least a brief moment of " good god, what the fuck am I doing" (now she's tipping the capped piss container on its side in order to write something I assume is highly technical medical jargon on it.) Is it warm enough? Like baby formula, you have to warm up fake piss in the microwave before you can pass it off as your own. (The microwave wattage is important. I don't think altitude matters though.) I don't even know of any gods who care about piss temperature.  I know it's not her fault. It's a job. But holding piss, even if you label it a "specimen," is still a depressing way to sustenance. It's only slightly better than being a bill collector, a stock broker, or the President. We do share a bond. An unspoken understan
  I voted for Joe Biden and hope he wins. I’m also alarmed at the increasingly transparent alliance between the Democratic Party and influential sectors of corporate America, namely media conglomerates and the technology industry. (Their relationship reminds me of the Republican Party and the energy industry.) It’s true there are conservative media outlets that are not friendly to Democrats, but it’s far less certain how objective the “paper of record” and other “serious” media would be to a post-Trump and post-COVID Biden administration that is politically and ascetically their peer. (I would say we are at a point of competing Pravdas, but that would be a slander against the Soviet newspaper’s pre-Stalinist period when it was a battleground of ideas.) Perhaps even more damning is the Democratic Party’s relationship to the technology industry, particularly when companies like Twitter and Facebook have shown they are prepared to unilaterally decide what’s true and what’s false. Not many