The recent death of the Russian poet with whom I was acquainted, Yevgheny Yevtushenko, prompted these considerations of the role of poets in social-cultural-political progress in general and in a particularly spectacular fashion in Russia. In few other countries have poets played a more significant than in Russia. Nonetheless, for centuries Russian poets have been harassed, persecuted, and punished for their songs. Dostoevsky imprisoned, Pushkin exiled, Yesenin, Mayakovsky and Tsvetaeva suicides, Mandelshtam and others perished in the cultural events of 1937. Poets seldom lead easy lives anywhere. The poet sees the ideals but he must flee from the world in order to rejoice in them and he cannot remain unaffected by the caricatures of these ideals around him.
At age 90, Fidel Castro passed away after decades of heroic struggle for social justice, not just for his native Cuba but for all people around the world. Even in his final decade of illness, the iconic revolutionary was still actively fighting; writing articles on international politics and upholding the cause for socialism.
I want to speak about the big picture in terms of what happened last Tuesday, Nov. 8, with Trump’s election. That event is important for a party like ours, a revolutionary communist party at the center of world imperialism. Yes, U.S. imperialism is weakening, but it is still the center of world imperialism.
The Determinant Class of Contemporary Russian History
Russia! What a marvelous phenomenon on the world scene! Russia!—a distance of ten thousand versts (about two-thirds of a mile) in length on a straight line from the virtually central European river, across all of Asia and the Eastern Ocean, down to the remote American lands! A distance of five thousand versts in width from Persia, one of the southern Asiatic states, to the end of the inhabited world—to the North Pole. What state can equal it? Its half? How many states can equal its twentieth, its fiftieth part? … Russia—a state which contains all types of soil, from the warmest to the coldest, from the burning environs of Erivan to icy Lapland, which abounds in all the products required for the needs, comforts, and pleasures of life, in accordance with its present state of development—a whole world, self-sufficient, independent, absolute. — Mikhail P. Pogodin- 1800-1875, Russian historian, journalist, intellectual of the Slavophile movement who held to the Norman theory that the Rus people from whom Russians descended, were Scandinavians.
“The state is an organ of class domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another; its aim is the creation of ‘order’, which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the collisions between the classes…”
The Marxist Theory of the State and the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Revolution
First published in 1917, Lenin’s “Imperialism. The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, his major theoretical work, shows imperialism as a “direct continuation of the fundamental properties of capitalism,” a primary manifestation of capitalism in its late stages.
Above all, due to the grave obstacles it must overcome, the party of the working class must be a party of disciplined, professional revolutionaries…nothing short of this can succeed in acquiring and defending people’s power…
In his work “Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution”, Lenin discusses a vexing Russian pre-revolutionary problem similar to the problem facing American left radicals today. For Russia of that epoch the question was one of timing and tactics: Was the classical Marxian bourgeois revolution leading to a democratic republic as a first step toward the Socialist Revolution necessary, and even possible, considering the pusillanimous nature of the Russian bourgeoisie at the time? Or could Russia bypass bourgeois capitalism altogether and leap directly from backwardness into advanced socialism? Today, more than a handful of people ask: What will be the nature of the long overdue Great American Revolution?
In Lenin’s “Left-wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder”, written in 1920 as a polemic against Dutch and British groups in the new Third International meeting that year in its Second Congress in which strategy and tactics were debated. His target was the West European ultra-left communists who had come out against Marxists working in trade unions or running for public office and sitting in bourgeois parliaments.
[Note: this is the revised version]
Brief, partial, and necessary critical reviews of some of the stars of American Left: Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Richard Wolff, Stephen Resnick, Noam Chomsky, and Chris Hedges
“To leave error unrefuted is to encourage intellectual immorality.” — Karl Marx
“Dug up a mountain, looking for gold. Only found a mouse. Even that was dead.” — A proverb of South Asia.
“…Fuller of words and emptier.” — Holderlin
As someone who was among the thousands of youth on Sept. 17 when the occupation of Zuccotti Park began; as someone who attended some of the early General Assemblies prior to that historic day; as someone who was arrested as part of the OWS Martin Luther King Day actions; as someone who is currently involved in the continuing occupation of Union Square in preparation for the May 1st General Strike, I must say loudly and clearly that you, Chris Hedges, do not speak for me.
As a follow-up to Patrice Greanville’s article, “The Soviet Union—Environmental Degradation: Some Historical Antecedents“, I have presented here excerpts from some of my own articles written during the Gorbachev perestroika period, plus notes and reflections concerning Mikhail Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and Chief of State of the USSR, and his role in the history of Socialism. As an intermittent correspondent in Moscow for a West European newspaper during the Gorbachev era I covered some of the evolving crisis in Russian Communism in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Continue reading
Please turn off your TV. Forever. ~ DS
Peter Pan on Sep 21, 2011
Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky demolish one of the central tenets of our political culture, the idea of the “liberal media.” Instead, utilizing a systematic model based on massive empirical research, they reveal the manner in which the news media are so subordinated to corporate and conservative interests that their function can only be described as that of “elite propaganda.”