Аннотация: (some theoretical roots and practical fruits)
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THIS ESSAY IS DEDICATED TO THE LOST GENERATIONS OF THE SOVIET YOUTH
"...so you think you can tell
heaven from hell,
blue skies from pain...
Do you think you can tell?"
Waters, Gilmour (Pink Floyd), "Wish You Were Here" (1975)
The idea to write an essay about pseudo-socialism was born in January 1992 when I found out about the price of Moscow
- New York air flight ticket. It was 186,945.00 roubles, the equivalent of 160 my monthly salaries, or 14 years of nutrition with spiritual food only.
Why? Why I have to live like a slave at the end of the XX century? Am I a slave? And what about most of the people around me. Why they live in this serfdom and like it?
Or do they? What if they never had any other choice? What if they never had any kind of freedom of choice? Is it their fault to be born in the closed system? System with no choices and alternatives whatsoever. Unique system where it is normal to choose just one from just one. This is all I have got. Plenty, isn"t it?
At that period of time everywhere in newspapers, and books, and magazines I could read: "Communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR has failed because ...communists did not understand the basic nature of a man, ...communists mistrusted the power of the free market, ...communists ignored incentives, democratic elections, human rights, private property, the profit-and-loss system, and market prices..." and so on and so forth.
So, what is by the way "communism"? What does this word mean? I opened Webster"s Encyclopedia: "communism - (French commun "common, general")- socialism imposed by revolution, based on the theories of the political philosophers Marx and Engels, emphasizing common ownership of the means of production and a planned economy. Politically, it seeks to overthrow of capitalism through a proletarian revolution. The first communist state was the USSR after the revolution of 1917."
Hm, "communism" means "socialism" is just the same as "table" means "chair". They are different. Moreover, not one but two revolutions (in February and in October) happened in Russia in 1917. Also, the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was formed in 1922 (not in 1917). Besides, in 1917 only 3% of the whole population of Russia were proletariat (workers).
Let"s look further. So, what is "socialism"? What does this word mean? "Socialism - movement aiming to establish a classless society by substituting public for private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange."
Hold on. Is capitalism also a movement? "Capitalism - an economic system in which the principal means of production, distribution and exchange are in private (individual or corporate) hands and competitively operated for profit."
How come? Capitalism is an economic system but socialism is just a movement? Probably, socialism is an economic system also? What if it is a system where classes existed? What if it is a system in which the principal means of production, distribution and exchange were in private property of a new class? And operated for the profit of this class non-competitively? And the name of this class was partocracy - party aristocracy and bureaucracy? Communist partocracy? In this case it is impossible to call this system
"socialism". Definitely this system should have the other name because it has totally different features behind its real meaning. Today I am convinced that the real name of this system should be "pseudo-socialism", never "socialism" or "communism".
Even Frederick Engels mentioned cautiously somewhere in the book "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific": "The separation of society into an exploiting and an exploited class, a ruling and an oppressed class, was the necessary consequences of the deficient and restricted development of production in former times. So long as the total social labor only yields a produce which but slightly exceeds that barely necessary for the existence of all; so long, therefore, as labor engages all or almost all the time of the great majority of the members of society - so long, of necessity, this society is divided into classes. Side by side with the great majority, exclusively bond slaves to labor, arises a class freed from directly productive labor, which looks after the general affairs of society: the direction of labor, State business, law, science, art, etc. It is, therefore, the law of division of labor that lies at the basis of the division into classes. But this does not prevent this division into classes from being carried out by means of violence and robbery, trickery and fraud. It does not prevent the ruling class, once having the upper hand, from consolidating its power at the expense of the working-class, from turning its social leadership into an intensified exploitation of the masses." Bravo Frederick!
As Larry Gambone once mentioned in "The Fallacy of Labels" ( July 30, 2003): "Socialists, including Marx and Engels, had long warned of a pseudo-socialism arising and displacing the genuine article, a kind of coocoo"s egg
laid in the Socialist nest."
Nowadays it is very interesting to watch how such a nice theoretical utopian fairy tale was totally ruined along the way of its practical incarnation. It is very intriguing to see how theoretical socialism (communism) became pseudo-socialism in practice.
What "socialism" means is still an open question in the political and academic world. Usually politicians use the US definition of socialism and it is a synonym to "dictatorship" and "totalitarianism". In the academic world "socialism" usually means "state control of the economy". But today there many countries in which there are some socialist features used and they are nor dictatorships nor totalitarian and do not have too much state control of the economy.
Some would say that the US has become socialist because workers in this country have 40-hour work week and a minimum wage. Most of the workers have some medical and dental benefits paid by their companies or business owners. Also all workers are guaranteed to have Social Security retirement income. We accept those things today as normal political issues, but in reality, they're all from the socialist agenda, and things which were once considered too radical for a capitalist democracy. World has changed dramatically since 1917. Maybe it is time to find a new definition for socialism? Especially if real idealistic socialism did not exist at all.
Of course, we all know that mushrooms are valued as good food and certain species are considered delicacies. Many species of mushrooms are edible, but proper identification is essential to avoid illness and even death by toxic mushrooms. Some of them can be very poisonous and psychotropic. They look the same, they taste the same, but the pseudo-mushrooms, false mushrooms can kill you.
So, many forms of socialism, or some socialist features are edible and can be very useful for people and governments. Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia have socialist economies, but are all free democracies. France currently has a socialist prime minister and some other Western European countries had and still have socialists in power, but they are still capitalist democracies. Britain is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch.
Nevertheless very toxic psychotropic pseudo-socialisms (Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, USSR) can still kill you without any warning. For example, Libya has attempted to combine revolutionary socialism with Islam. How you can know, how you can trust to power? What type of mushrooms and coocoo"s eggs are on your plate tonight?
So, what "pseudo" means? It is a prefix with the meaning "false". Pseudo-socialism means false socialism. To have a pseudonym means to have a false or invented name.
Who is a pseud? Pseud is a short for pseudo-intellectual, a person who pretends to be an intellectual, but he is not really as he pretends to be. Also there is a mineral with the name "pseudomorph". This mineral is well-known for replacing the original mineral from inside out and taking the external crystal shape of it. Just like socialism was replaced by pseudo-socialism and took the shape of it in reality.
Lenin is a pseudonim for Vladimir Ulyanov (1870-1924), educated as a lawyer, russian revolutionary, the first creator and theoretician of pseudo-socialism, the first leader of the USSR. Easy to remember, he is the first pseud of pseudo-socialism, pseudomorph.
What do we know about this guy? Not much. Ulyanov (Lenin) was born on April 22(or 21?) in Simbirsk, little town in Russia on the banks of the river Volga. His older brother Aleksandr Ulyanov was executed in 1897 for attempting to assassinate Tsar Aleksander III. (Probably, that"s why all Tsar Nikolas II Romanov"s family members were executed in 1918 when Lenin got all the power?)
I have no doubt that a young Mr. Ulyanov re-read "Das Kapital", classical theoretical thriller written by Karl Marx, hundreds times before going to sleep. Lenin not only read the book but brought many modifications (some nasty little things of his own) to the traditional Marxist doctrine to fit specific democratic, economic and political traditions of Russia. Lenin"s modifications became known as Marxism-Leninism, the basis for pseudo-socialist (communist) ideology, partially the basis for most of the terrorist actions of the 20th century.
Lenin, Marxist since 1889, member of the Russian Social Democratic Party (RSDP). In 1903 at the London party congress he became a leader of Bolsheviks (radical revolutionary majority RSDP). Mensheviks (minority of RSDP) were against fast radical revolution. After the failure of the revolution of 1905 in Russia he lived in Switzerland, Germany, Finland and returned to Russia in April 1917 following the first democratic socialist February Revolution in which he did not take part.
Lenin was the leader of the second anti-democratic Revolution in October 1917. Bolshevik workers and sailors seized control of the government during a coup on the night of October 25. This dark night of October 25, 1917 is the date when a fragile infant democratic socialism was killed forever and a pseudo-socialism was born.
"Revolution, - wrote Lenin about October 1917, - in certain cases means a miracle... A miracle came out...". So Lenin thanks to a miracle, an insignificant coincidence of circumstances, a lucky chance obtained the power.
How well and how smart did he use it?
It is hard to call a "miracle" the destruction of the half-destroyed Russian state with the help of angry soldiers and sailors. The possibility of another fair better life for all people, a life without classes of rich and poor with democratic freedoms and human rights for all could be a real miracle. Instead the falesness and vagueness of the goal - Building of Communism in the world - led to the absolutism of violence, demanding flexible lies in its justification.
From the beginning of the pseudo-socialist regime Lenin
(and Stalin in the USSR, and Putin in Russia nowadays) always relied on a strong secret police. It was called the Cheka and was established in December 1917 "as a temporary institution". Yes it did change the names from Cheka to GPU, then to NKVD, then to KGB (Komitet Gosudarstwennoj Bezopasnosti = Committee of State Security) but its main fanction remained always the same - to control the state and to punish the dissents. So what do you think who (what class or what group) controls the power in Russia in 2003?
The first decree of Lenin about peace followed by a long thoughtless Civil War with internal and external enemies, with those who had disagreed with the communist dictatorship.
The second decree of Lenin about land for all was just a false statement to get the attention and support of Russian peasantry. During the whole XX century land in Soviet Union was the property of the state. Only in January 2003 Russian government addopted a law about land as private property.
In 1918 Russian people for the first time (and the last time) in their history had a chance to elect democratically officials to a parliamentary assembly. But the results were unfavorable to Lenin (of the 703 deputies chosen, only 168 were communists). Lenin ordered his troops to bar the deputies from convening. The assembly was permanently disbanded. Socialism has died forever. This is the first main sign of pseudo-socialism - there is no democratic elections whatsoever.
Next, in the years immediately following the revolution Lenin took all the repressive measures to prevent new regime from cracking down by opposition and alternative ideas starting from the total eliminating of this political opposition (including politicians, scientists, philosophers, great thinkers, writers, poets, artists, just simple people opposed new regim). The suppression of any intellectual criticism, books, ideas, opinions, newspapers became a permanent policy. Such suppression can be the second main sign of pseudo-socialism.
A large number of intellectuals (former supporters of Lenin) felt betrayed in their idealistic belief that the socialist revolution would bring a free society with all the freedoms and equal human rights. Most of them were sent to prisons and concentration camps (Lenin"s main pseudo-socialist invention, by the way) or out of the country.
Lenin wrote at that time: "Intellectuals are not the brain of the Russian nation but piece of sh...t". So no wander that post-psedo-socialist ex-Soviet Union still can not get this lost brain back in the 21st century. No wander. Eliminating the intellect is the third main sign of pseudo-socialism.
According to traditional Marxism, socialism is just a transition between capitalism to communism state system. In socialism, the democratic state (or democratic government) still exists, and is in control of all the property. In communism there is no state at all. No control. All people have equal democratic human rights and freedoms. In pseudo-socialism there is no democratic state (or democratic government), no human rights and freedoms. Everything - land, means of production and distribution, every human life - is controlled by partocracy (or KGB behind it).
Lenin"s decree about freedom of press completely removed one more freedom. It was Lenin who proclaimed that all works in science, art and literature should be based on the communist party spirit. Pseudo-socialist lies were just flowing from the new bold Russian dictator: "Soviet power is the new type of state, state without bureacracy, without police, without constant army, with a replacement of the bourgeois democratism with a new democracy, which puts forward avant-garde of working masses transforming them in legislators, executors and military guard creating a new state machinery which can re-educate masses." (March, 1918). Or there is even better Lenin"s phrase exists:
"Personal dictatorship is absolutely incompatible with soviet democratism."
In real life (not pseudo-socialistic) in truth Lenin"s gang owerthrew nor the Romanov monarchic dynasty , nor the government of landowners and capitalists but the democratic government of two socialist parties social-revolutionaries (Essers) and social-democrats (Mensheviks). So we can say that the first in the history of humanity real socialism (socialism of Thomas More, Marx and Engels) has died at a very young age in its infancy with the death of the democratic government of Essers and Mensheviks. From this death a new totally anti-democratic totalitarian pseudo-socialism has emerged with a new ruling class - communist partocracy, with a new type of bureaucracy - communist partocracy, with a new more cruel and numerous secret police Cheka (NKVD, KGB), with a huge army, with a new type of soviet democratism - "democratism of personal dictatorship".
In 1918 Lenin wrote: "Our main enemy is petty bourgeoisie, its habits, its economic position." But petty bourgeoisie at that time were the overwhelming majority of the country. Interestingly, what class was the Lenin"s friends? The class of "conscious proletariat" ( I still do not understand the meaning of this term) which composed about 3% of all the population in Russia in 1918.
Italian politician Niccolo Machiavelli in his most famous political writing "The Prince" (1513) once mentioned about rulers, their interests and often amoral manipulation of other people around them: "From all the beasts a Prince should be similar to two of them: a lion and a fox. The lion fears traps and the fox fears wolves, therefore a Prince should act as a fox to avoid traps and act as a lion to frighten wolves."
It is interesting what a beast Lenin was? And what traps he was afraid of? It seems to me that the most terrible trap for Lenin was his opposition ideas, words and thoughts. Lenin hated alternative thinking that"s why he had just enough power to build pseudo-socialism instead of a real socialism.
In the writing "Dictatorship of Proletariat" (1918) Karl Kautski, a political leader of the German Social Democrats, noticed that the word "dictatorship"means the annihilation of any democratic features, that a class can only dominate not rule, that workers should become owners of plants and factories, that peasants should become owners of land".
Lenin was shivering from such thoughts of Kautski crying out: "Kautski demands revolution without revolution, revolution without furious struggle and fight, revolution without VIOLENCE!!!". So here you are. Kautski wrote about the features of democratic socialism. Lenin was protecting anti-democratic dictatorial pseudo-socialism.
Poor Lenin was afraid of the main trap - bitter truth and was hiding behind the fence of epithets and his favorite word "million". Here is his response : "Yes, bourgeois democracy provided some historical progress if we can compare it with the Middle Ages. Nevertheless this democracy always remains weak, cut down, false, hypocritical, a paradise for rich men and a trap for poor men. Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy. Soviet system of power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic."
Thanks to such powerful "million times soviet democracy" when people were completely alienated from the democratic power of elections, most of them are still getting confused about capitalism, socialism, communism and pseudo-socialism.They just never had a chance to see any real democratic achievements to learn what actually democracy means.
In 1919 the system of forced labor camps was established in the new pseudo-socialist Russia. It received the name GULAG (Glavnoe Upravlenie Lageryami = Main Directorate for Corrective Labor). By 1934 GULAG had several millions inmates. Prisoners included murderers, thieves along with political dissenters. GULAG prisoners costructed the White Sea - Baltic Canal, the Moscow-Volga Canal, Baikal-Amur railroad line, many strategic roads and industrial enterprises in remote regions of the Soviet Union. Also many of them were mining coal, copper and gold. By the way, forced labor camps in Soviet Union continued to exist even into the Gorbachev period, till the end of 1980s. Real slaves of pseudo-socialist system, slaves of the 20th century.
After the death of Lenin in 1924 a new pseudomorph took charge of a pseudo-socialist state. His pseudonim was Stalin, former Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili (1879-1953), russian revolutionary born in Georgia, the son of a shoemaker, the second theoretician of pseudo-socialism, the second leader of the USSR. Easy to remember, he is the second pseud of pseudo-socialism, pseudomorph. Under his cruel ruling (1922-1953) not only all the opposition inside the Communist Party was elliminated but tens of millions of simple soviet people were perished. Till today, October 2003, nobody knows how many people were killed by Stalin"s regime. Leninism-Stalinism is a true symbol of pseudo-socialism.
Stalin was the only leader of both party and state, the leader of a new class in the Soviet Union with the name partocracy. He gained the absolute power by employing police repression against any opposition real or imagined even inside the elite of the Communist Party. His first victims were Leon Trotskii, Grigorii Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Nikolai Bukharin. They were opposing the policy of forced collectivization and rapid industrialization.
Stalin just like Lenin believed that literature and art could be exploited for ideological, political and educational purposes. Stalin just like Lenin himself learned everything from books. The Soviet censorship system was created in 1922. Alternative creative thinking was banned till the end of 1980s (for 60 years!!!).
In 1928 the Central Committee took total control over literature and art. Only a new special style called socialism realism was allowed. All the rest was banned. As the result, again intellectuals, politicians, famous writers, scientists, and artists became new victims of the Great Terror of the 1930s (then 40s, then 50s, then 60s, then 70s, then 80s...).
Yes, during the war against Nazi Germany writers and artists were permitted to infuse their works with patriotism, but the victory in 1945 brought a return to repressions. Such great poets as Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak and the writer Michail Zoshchenko were labeled "anti-Soviets" and their books were forbidden in 1950s.
Also in 1950s the noted filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and great composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dmiri Shostakovich were denounced for "neglect of ideology and subservience to Western influence". Again the attacks extended to scientists and philosophers in 60s, 70s, 80s.
Stalin"s "revolution from above" sought to build socialism (now we know that actually it was pseudo-socialism) by means of forced collectivization and industrialization, programs that entailed tremendous human sufferings and lost of lives. The only real freedom what soviet people had in the state of Stalin"s pseudo-socialism was the freedom to suffer.
As the result of Stalin"s policy of forced collectivization in 1932-1933 (to increase agricultural productivity?!) from six to seven million soviet people died because of the severe famine and repressions. By 1940 approximately 97% of all peasant households were collectivized and private property was almost entirely eliminated. Human costs of such a great achievement were incalculable.
Recently, a group of French scholars made a first attempt to add up the numbers who died in pseudo-socialist revolutions, concentration camps, artificial famines and mass murders. The result, entitled "The Black Book of Communism" (I could call it "The Black Book of Pseudo-Socialism") produced a total figure of about 100 million. The former Soviet Union appears the greatest monster of all. Soviet pseudo-socialism killed near 61 million of its citizens in the XX century.
Democracy is literally "rule by the people for the people". Without any doubt in my mind people all over the world can improve their lives when they are empowered to exercise control over how they are governed. Also the lives of people can be miserable if they do not have any power to control how they are governed.
The main question is still remains "How you can separate socialism from pseudo-socialism?" When pseudo-socialism looks like socialism, it tastes like it, but it is deadly. Also, does capitalism ensure freedoms? Does socialism ensure totalitarianism? There is no doubt in my mind that pseudo-socialism ensures dictatorship and totalitarianism, and kills all the democratic freedoms.
Probably the answer is somewhere in the amount of government control of economy and people"s private lives? Maybe, for example, the US government 2003 also should reduce its intrusions into the economy of the country and private life of its citizens? Otherwise it can become increasingly anti-democratic and totalitarian in the future.
I hope that as long as there is some democratic elections and free market in the country, enough to allow a middle class to grow, then freedom is assured in the long run, because the middle class will eventually get educated, demand political freedom, and will be able to overthrow the dictators or one-party rulers.
In one of the soviet newspapers with the name "Arguments and Facts"(Number 29, 1989, page 6) you could find the comparative numbers of the class structure in the US and USSR at the end of 1980s after 70 years of pseudo-socialism (percentage of population):
Wealthy..........3 (USA)......2 (USSR)
Rich..............17 (USA).....0 (USSR)
Middle-Class...60 (USA)....11 (USSR)
Poor..............20 (USA)....87 (USSR)
This is the main result of all the pseudo-socialism achievements in the country where there is no place for a personality, intellect and progress in the triangle of state power, state property, and state planning. By the way who all those 2% of wealthy people in the former USSR? Do they still have the power to control? Sure, they do.
In the book "The Road to Serfdom" written in 1944 Friedrich Hayek concluded that too much socialism would always require dictatorship. I could say that not socialism but pseudo-socialism will always require dictatorship for sure. The question which still remains: "How much socialism or pseudo-socialism is too much?" This question is still an open question.
Pseudo-socialism has failed because this system not only killed people systematically to support its regime, but also pseudo-socialism annihilated free-market economy, private property, middle class, freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, creative alternative thoughts and ideas, human spirit and intellect. Pseudo-socialism is the father of Leninism-Stalinism, nazism and world terrorism. It"s ideology must be condemned and prohibited to be propagated everywhere in the world.
I disagree with anybody who can say that socialism (communism) has failed at the end of the XX century. How something what never existed can ever fail? But I am sure that pseudo-socialism has failed big time. Why it is very important to know the difference between capitalism, socialism (communism) and pseudo-socialism in the 21st century? Because it can affect your future, it can affect your life, your freedoms and human rights. Capitalism still works. Socialism (communism) did never exist. Pseudo-socialism is based on terror, and always will fail sooner or later.
Newtopia Magazine Volume II, Issue 14 November/December 2003: