Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shootout in Mukachevo

   The Mukachevo Shootout and It's Consequences

A clash between the fascist Right Sector paramilitary group and local mafia over smuggling set off a chain of events that could further destabilize Ukraine. The dangerous impunity that fascist paramilitaries were granted in post-maidan Ukraine has once again provoked separatist tendencies but this time in the west of Ukraine both in the fascist stronghold of Lviv and the transcarpathian region home to a Hungarian and Rusyn minority and apparently ruled by organized crime like much of Ukraine. However in the short term the fascist right sector uprising has been quickly put down and Dmitry Yarosh their leader has been forced to make a humiliating surrender to Poroshenko. Thus for the second time this year Poroshenko has put down a fascist coup attempt and has emerged stronger then ever. Of course this has only been an individual power struggle although right sector may be temporarily humbled Fascist ideology has become so mainstream in Ukraine so central to justifying the current war that it's influence will only grow as Ukraine slowly disintegrates. Ukraine has become a poster child for the empire of chaos and may be destined to be deliberately balkanized in the future like Yugoslavia, Sudan, Iraq, or the DRCongo. The recent crisis revealed that the Novorossians, and those regions like Khakov or Mauripol that are only kept from joining them by a terror campaign of torture and murder are not the only ones unhappy with the new Ukraine. Transcarpathia and even fascist stronghold Lvov are starting to consider breaking away as well although for now such developments are unlikely. Still with Ukraine's economy collapsing and it's disastrous war on Novorossia likely to last for years there is no telling what the future might hold.

   It all began with a shoot-out on July 11 in Mukachevo in the Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine. The town has no industry it's only sources of income are remittances sent back from  locals working abroad in Europe or Russia, tourism and the smuggling business. Transcarpathia borders Hungary and Slovakia. The populace is largely unsympathetic to to the Fascist form of Ukrainian nationalism now holding sway in Kiev because it has a diverse ethnic mix including Hungarians and Rusyns. Instead it is organized crime which is the main power and even in Ukraine the most corrupt nation on the planet, Transcarpathia stands out for it's over the top corruption. Even the local right sector are really just a cover for local organized crime. In Transcarpathia right sector serves gangster oligarch Viktor Balogo who has the entire local governemnt on his payroll. The clash erupted when his right sector goons confronted his former patron and Deputy Parliament member Mikhail Lano. Right sector shot one of his guards in the face then threw some smoke grenades and disapeared in the confusion. Next they ran into two police cars and they opened fire with rocket propelled grenade launchers and Machine guns destroying both vehicles. Next they took an 11 year old boy hostage while they made their escape into the nearby forest. Total casualties from the incident were 3 people dead and 11 injured. Unfortunately for right sector who are generally allowed to get away with anything they want, not even Kiev could turn a blind eye to their turning western Ukraine into a war zone. Poroshenko and his fascist interior minister Akavov decided to come down hard on them declaring an anti-terror operation sending in armored vehicles and Ukrainian Spetsnaz special forces to crack down on them.

  Right Sector responded by demanding the government back off or they would stage a coup. They set up checkpoints around a number of cities in western Ukraine which is how the founding of Novorossia began. Of course Yarosh seemingly threatens to stage a coup every month but this time he badly miscalculated. Poroshenko was not amused and merely sent even more armored vehicles and spetsnaz to secure the towns and the fascist uprising was soon completely on the defensive.Right Sector are cowering in the forests around Mukachevo surrounded by APC's helicopters and special forces. Yarosh who only hours before had called for the disbanding of the Supreme Rada and the resignation of president Poroshenko was quickly forced to change his tune. Instead he now begged that the right sector members involved be granted allowed amnesty and join the Ukraine armed forces where he promised they would redeem themselves by dying on the battlefield. The future of Right Sector now lays in Poroshenko's hands which actually means no doubt the decision is in the hands of his american advisers. Will they finally disband this embarrassing group or are they still too useful for putting pressure on the Poroshenko regime. Right Sector is after all a CIA project formed by joining 5 separate fascist organizations together. One of these organizations UNA-UPSD were basically CIA mercenaries in it's dirty war on Russia in Chechnya, among other places. Thus it will be interesting to see Poroshenko is forced to allow  an independent right sector despite the danger they might one day pose to him or whether they will finally be fully integrated into the Ukrainian army and police instead. After all the CIA has long favored the use of paramilitary forces as death squads since they allow their client regimes plausible deniability for their crimes. From Vietnam, to El Salvador, to Colombia, and Iraq they have again and again used the same tactic of allowing death squads to go on a rampage while denying that the host government or the CIA were involved. (See My April 2015 "The Phoenix Program" )Thus I wouldn't be surprised if Right Sector are allowed to survive. For now however they are on the defensive and we can only hope that the government takes a hard line and decides to teach them a lesson. It is certainly a joy to see the Ukrainian army forced to battle the fascists instead of terrorizing the people of Novorossia. The whole situation is a win win scenario for Novorossia and has exposed right sector yet again as not merely murderous fascists but corrupt criminals.

   Meanwhile the whole incident has given encouragement to Transcarpathia to dream of following the Novorossian example and to break away from Ukraine. Of course Kiev was already aware of these dangers which is why they encouraged the growth of fascist groups like right sector and the Carpathian Sich in the area to intimidate the locals. All the same the locals are not happy about the new Fascist kiev regime since many of them aren't even Ukrainian. They themselves could become future targets of serious repression on Ethnic grounds. The recent crisis motivated some to demand autonomy from Ukraine. Back in the 90's the region had voted for a special autonomous status by a majority of 70% but their vote was ignored by Kiev. Last year as Ukraine began mobilizing troops the Rusyn minority forcibly resisted and with their hands full in Novorossia Kiev decided to quietly give up conscripting them. Instead they sent a Busload of Right Sector thugs to exact revenge but the locals apparently managed to beat them in a street fight forcing them to flee. When right sector attempted to seize towns by setting up check points they went on a drunken rampage terrorizing the locals and threatening revenge. Thus many locals have sent a petition demanding greater autonomy. Apparently for whatever their many faults the Minsk agreements do have the advantage of giving other regions the same idea.

   Not only is Transcarpathia demanding autonomy so apparently are some in Lvov the center of fascist influence in Ukraine. This has exposed a strange and embarrassing paradox about "Ukrainian" Fascism. Many of the hard core believers don't consider themselves Ukrainian at all who they regard as a bunch of dumb slavs. Instead they see themselves as Galicians and not only would some like to break off from Ukraine they also dream of tearing a big chunk of Galicia out of NATO member Poland. Ironically Poland is one of the leaders of the Rusophobic faction of NATO along with the Baltic countries like Estonia (another hotbed of Fascism.) Actually in a now mostly forgotten episode during the Maidan Coup when it looked like Yanukovych might not fall the Ukrainian fascists were the ones threatening to secede in Galicia. Just imagine things might have been very different imagine if Yanukovych had not fallen the US might be the ones funding a breakaway Galicia and instead of ignoring the plight of the people of Novorossia the media would be screaming about the suffering of the people of the people of Galicia (while ignoring their nazi sympathies). A fun exercise in what might have been. Perhaps if the Kiev Junta falls the US may one day back a breakaway Galicia. It could also use the issue of Galician nationalism to launch some sort of false flag attack on Poland as an excuse to bring NATO into the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile on the information war front Russia doubtless hopes to create tensions between Ukraine and Poland. So far those these tensions have mainly involved battles between polish nationalist soccer hooligans and fascist Ukrainian soccer hooligans. Apparently not everyone in Poland has forgotten the massacres of Poles by the Fascist Stephan Bandera's OUN-B death squads. Yet the Polish government continues to be one of Fascist Ukraine's biggest supporters and has even sent large numbers of Polish mercenaries to wage war on Novorossia. Hopefully the people of Poland will demand an end to this folly before they themselves become the victims.

   In the meantime because Right Sector was busy with it's crisis in Mukachevo it was unable to carry out it's threats to stop supporters of Galicia independence from marching through the streets of Lviv. However for now an independent Galicia is merely a remote future possibility although it would have the virtue of ridding Ukraine of a large number of it's craziest citizens. However with Poroshenko more firmly in control then ever after inflicting a humiliating defeat on Right sector such a possibility is more unlikely then ever for the moment. Kiev is doubtless firmly on guard against any such possibilities both in Transcarpathia or Galicia. Rather their significance is that they show cracks are beginning to form in Ukraine and that Ironically the stress of waging war to reconquer Novorossia could one day cause the whole country to break apart. Their is no telling what sinister plans the US really has for the future of Ukraine and I could easily see them deciding to destroy Ukraine if they no longer think they can control it. They may even want to break it up Yugoslavia style so that it can never again serve as a bridge between Russia and Europe. Only one thing is certain Ukraine is well on it's way to becoming a failed state.            


On the issue of right sector definitely check out the book "Neonazis & Euromaidan" by Stanislaw Byshok and Alexey Kochetkov which I discussed in my November 2014 article "recommended reading"

An Account of the shootout at Mukachevo and the corruption in Transcarpathia

Slavyangrad translated Col Cassad on the capitulation of Yarosh

A letter from a Rusyn about tension in Transcarpathia

Transcarpathian activists call for autonomy


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lessons of the Russian Revolution

        Thoughts on the Russian Revolution

   First a disclaimer this is not going to be a full account of the Russian Revolution. That is  probably to large a topic to be dealt with in a single article and far to ambitious a topic for me to  write on at the moment. It was literally only yesterday after all that I finally finished the classic "The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923" by E.H. Carr. Reading the book I realized just how little I  know about the Russian Revolution. It is a topic needing many years of intense study. My Real reason for writing this is rather to encourage you to begin that study for yourself. Trust me there is no more dangerous subject on the planet then the history of revolutions. No more dangerous science then Marxist-Leninism. Unfortunately at least in America almost no one bothers with studying either topic. Thus the left is a truly laughable and confused state. Yet once things were different the Black Panthers made it a point that every member had to study revolutionary theory  one or two hours a day. J. Edgar Hoover called them the greatest threat to national security in the country. As usual with such statements they are both laughably false but contain a grain truth. While a few thousand armed Black Panthers posed no real military threat to the Massive  american war machine, their example was dangerous. Just like Venezuela poses no military threat to the united states but it's example alone has been enough to inspire states throughout Latin America to follow their lead to resist the insane Washington consensus and to move towards Socialism. The Black Panthers also provided a dangerous example and if only the masses had begun to follow their example and to study revolutionary theory for two hours a day the world might be very different and I might be writing from the United Socialist Soviet States of America.  Instead they were killed, imprisoned, on false charges forced into exile. However they did serve to inspire such groups as the Red Army Faction in Germany, and Latino and Indigenous groups in the US and radicals in general. Others on the other hand who made a study of Lenin and the Russian Revolution would prove more successful. Mao Tse-tong Kim Il Sung, Ho Chi Minh, were all able to adapt Lenin's theories to their own situations and launch their own revolutions. Their revolutions in China, North Korea, and Vietnam are equally deserving of study. As are the writings of their leaders. This is why I am quite justified in saying that the study of the Russian revolution is the greatest danger for the system. It was not just the communist revolutionaries of Asia that were inspired by Lenin (and later Mao himself.) The African revolutionaries who fought heroically for independence were also inspired by it. Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, and Amilcar Cabral all studied the Russian Revolution and Lenin's writings. And of course the Cubans, the Nicaraguans, the Venezuelan's were all inspired in part by Lenin and of course by the cuban revolution itself. The Russian revolutionaries themselves made close studies of the French revolutions, the Paris commune, the failed revolutions of 1848 and the Irish Easter uprising.

    Thus the real purpose of writing this article is in the hopes of inspiring you to follow the example of past successful revolutionaries and actually study both the theory and practice of past revolutions and to read the writings of past revolutionaries. Because while it may seem impossible now I guarantee you that a time will come when revolution will be not only possible but actually likely. This is because the disastrous path of imperialism that the US and it's allies will inevitably lead to overextension. In fact it seems as if this is their strategy as I've remarked to literally wage war on the entire planet at once. Meanwhile ever since the 80's and particularly since the fall of the soviet union the west has pursued the same ruthless form of hyper-capitalism launching an attack on all the gains the people have made in the 20th century. Most of the planet live in or will soon live in giant slums. Starvation hunger and disease are on the march along with war endless war. In America itself there have been two uprisings in the past year alone inspired by poverty and police brutality. Even increasing numbers of white americans have learned that they are regarded as the enemy by their own government although for many they think the disease itself is the cure. I'm speaking of libertarians who seem not to have noticed that our current problems are the result of the "free market" that since Reagan we have put more and more of these free market policies into effect. As a result every year of my life that I can remember it has been the same refrain the rich are getting richer the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is steadily shrinking. Yet some seem to think that more of the same poison will miraculously cure us. Only by destroying capitalism can we ever be free. Only by destroying capitalism can we end war. Only by destroying capitalism can we end poverty, disease, and ignorance. But only by studying past revolutions can we move from mere activism to the possibility of actual radical change. Haven't we learned the folly yet of asking the system to be other then what it is? Only by adopting a new system can anything change. Capitalism inevitably leads to imperialism. Imperialism automatically leads to racism and war. Thus don't expect black lives to matter in a system that built itself on slavery. Don't expect them to give peace a chance when the entire economy is geared towards war. Don't expect bankers to stop robbing you blind merely because you ask them to be a little less greedy. They will never change until we seize power and force them to change or punish them for their crimes depending on our mood and the necessities of the moment. History has shown that only a tightly organized movement schooled in the ideology of revolution has any chance of success.

Now  with that long introduction out of the way let us turn to the figure of Lenin. Well first I must state the obvious and say that Lenin was himself inspired by Marx. Of course it is vital to study Marx as well. He along with Engels originated the whole theory of Marxism. Based on his study of society, economics, and history he saw that the system itself was producing it's own downfall. Revolution would inevitably emerge out of the contradictions of modern capitalism. Apologies but that extremely simplified version is all I have time for since Marx would obviously require a series of articles or books in his own right. I'll put some links in the resource section and you can read him for yourself. So just in case you didn't go to college or if they have stopped teaching him altogether I'll just throw out two terms The Bourgeoisie the Capitalist class the owners and the Proletariate the workers. To put it in more recent terms the Bourgoise are the 1 percent (actualy.001% the proletariate are the 99%  An immense simplification hopefully those who unlike me spent years studying this will instead of laughing at me realize the immense need for popularizers the sad truth is that there is an immense knowledge gap in the populace with a small number of people well versed in theory (also of course one must find the few with genuine revolutionary spirit left sad to say many have sold out long ago) versus a growing number of people with a purely emotional attachment to communism but who yet haven't done the necessary homework. Those who know and still care must take the sad task of teaching political literacy the ABC's of Marx, Lenin, and Mao just as the revolutionaries in Russia, and later Vietnam, Cuba had to actually go out and teach people to read and write. Now is the time! Well actually it is a case of rather late then never for first Ferguson and now Baltimore in the US have shown that conditions are already becoming intolerable.  Paris and London too have seen their revolts in recent years not to mention Greece. And above all Latin America has shown the time is approaching. People everywhere feel that something is terribly wrong all that is needed is to teach them the tools to understand their condition. Unfortunately it will take decades to raise the level of class consciousness in any given country so if like me you haven't devoted enough attention to theory begin your studies now and if you've already done your homework then begin teaching now.

Another long tangent to return to Marx one could say broadly speaking that he gave birth to two separate forms of Socialists. One group sought to reform society within the confines of democracy. Unfortunately they would be either cheated of the chance of power in places like France and Italy. (See my June 2014 Operation Gladio article where I discuss the terror and treachery used to keep communists from coming to power democratically.) Equally often upon entering power they would be so compromised as to betray their principles. Notoriously the German Social democrats sided with the proto-Fascists in the violent suppression of the failed  revolutions in Germany. Although Social Democrats did manage to make some important reforms by our own day they would become largely useless. Lenin was inspired in resistance to this tendency he wanted to seize genuine power and declare a dictatorship of the proletariate. He called the system we in the west live under Bourgeoisie democracy. Although he saw it as progress over the previous system he knew it was anything but "democratic." Democracy means rule by the people. Bourgoisie democracy is actually founded on insuring the right of a tiny minority to exploit the majority. It only provides the illusion of freedom and control. This fact was hard for people in the west to understand in the past however hopefully the hundred years of disappointments since culminating in the US with thr Obama presidency and now in Greece with Syriza will begin to awaken people to this fact. In the US especially we are given a choice between two war mongers who are bought by corporate interests, and who serve the interests of a small group of the rich, while ignoring the demands of the majority. They differ only in style and degree of madness.

   While Marx provided the necessary analytical framework lenin was able to launch the second communist revolution. The first in many ways was the commune in France of 1871. Russia itself had not even reached the stage of Bourgeoisie Democracy. It was still a feudal monarchy. Any form of political resistance was largely illegal and as a result Russia swarmed with revolutionaries of many kinds. This topic would require an article or book in it's own right. So I'll just mention that Lenin's elder brother a Narodnik (they hoped to inspire revolution among the peasants) was involved in a failed plot to assassinate the Czar and was executed. Lenin became a Marxist. Ironically a sort of theoretical marxism had been allowed to spread because many of them saw the introduction of capitalism in Russia as an important step towards socialism. Anarchism Nihilism, and mysticism were also popular at the time. What separated Lenin from many of his contemporaries was continual dissatisfaction with the revolutionary forces in Russia. Lenin would come to prominence over the controversy surrounding his book What is to Be Done. In it he advocated the need for a revolutionary organization composed of well trained professional revolutionaries. This question would split the Russian marxists some favored a much broader party.This lead to the birth of the two factions the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks who would engage in an endless controversy until the revolution itself broke out. Many Mensheviks would bitterly oppose the October revolution. To read Lenin is to constantly be immersed in these  disputes and nearly everything he wrote was born of bitter controversy.

    Lenin was a fighter. He was in truth a man of many contradictions. A theorist with the genius for seeing the reality around him. Both a man of strict principle and when necessary a cunning opportunist. Ruthless and kind.  A born organizer. He was a visionary. He was also the first Marxist to go beyond a narrowly Eurocentric view of the struggle. Lenin wrote Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism (You can find this and all of Lenin's writings online for free)  and was the first to see that one must form alliances with the colonized people in the struggle against imperialism. In fact Lenin's attitude was directly responsible for the Vietnamese revolution. The future Ho Chi Minh had become a socialist but was disgusted to find that most european socialists didn't take any interest in the colonial question. Then he discovered that Lenin had called for the liberation of all colonized people in Asia and in Africa. He traveled to Moscow to attend the third international and would later live and teach for years in the Soviet Union, educating vietnamese revolutionaries From a special university founded in the USSR dedicated to spreading revolution across Asia. Thus I cannot resist quoting Ho Cho Minh himself as cited  by the great Carlos Martinez who I have been reading obsessively of late and who I couldn't help stealing a couple ideas for the present essay from. Hear is Ho Chi Minh on reading Lenin

  What I wanted most to know was: which International sides with the peoples of colonial countries? I raised this question – the most important in my opinion – in a meeting. Some comrades answered: It is the Third, not the Second International. And a comrade gave me Lenin’s ‘Thesis on the national and colonial questions’ published by l’Humanite to read. There were political terms difficult to understand in this thesis. But by dint of reading it again and again, finally I could grasp the main part of it. What emotion, enthusiasm, clear-sightedness and confidence it instilled into me! I was overjoyed to tears. Though sitting alone in my room, I shouted out aloud as if addressing large crowds: ‘Dear martyrs, compatriots! This is what we need, this is the path to our liberation!’

After that, I had entire confidence in Lenin, in the Third International. Formerly, during the meetings of the Party branch, I only listened to the discussion; I had a vague belief that all were logical, and could not differentiate as to who were right and who were wrong. But from then on, I also plunged into the debates and discussed with fervour. Though I was still lacking French words to express all my thoughts, I smashed the allegations attacking Lenin and the Third International with no less vigour. My only argument was: ‘If you do not condemn colonialism, if you do not side with the colonial people, what kind of revolution are you waging?’

Yes reading Lenin isn't easy full of strange names and forgotten controversies. But stick with it and remember that the important thing is the ideas and attitudes that he is attacking that are important. Also of course context is everything. Usually he battles against complacency, sell outs, laziness, disconnection from the masses. Sometimes however he is forced to argue against the opposite tendencies people who are too revolutionary people's who have the right idea at the wrong time,  or who refuse to seize opportunities. (See his "Left Wing Communism an infantile disorder" for one example) He was both a grand strategist and a tactician. For years he was marginalized hated not merely by Czarist Russia, and capitalist Europe but as mentioned by his fellow marxists.  When world war one emerged he was again marginalized as he foresaw that the war would bring about conditions necessary for revolution he demanded that workers should be mobilized to help bring about defeat and revolution. Most Marxists in Europe refused to follow such an extreme and unpopular example. Instead they helped mobilize the masses as canon fodder in one of histories most bloody and senseless wars.  By 1917 Lenin's position had proven prophetic in Russia at least. Now he had another brilliant idea. Traditionally marxists had believed that Russia would have to go through a long period of western style democracy which would lead to the expansion of capitalism which would then create the proper conditions for a revolution. Lenin foresaw that with the revolutionary mood in Russia where society was collapsing due to the strain of war it might be possible to quickly move from western style democracy to a Proletarian revolution. He hoped and believed that the Russian example would inspire the people's of western Europe to also rise up and overthrow their governments. Russia would then build socialism with the aid of already industrialized and newly socialist western Europe. Of course history has shown that he proved wrong about western Europe.Although revolutions did spread west they were quickly destroyed or successfully prevented. However he was right about the first part Russia was ready for a socialist revolution and thanks to the cynicism and desperation of wartime Germany he was smuggled back into Russia in the belief that he would be able to pull Russia out of the war.

  Russia had already had it's first revolution by then installing a western style democracy. This is known as the February revolution. The new provisional government stubbornly refused to withdraw from the war however which gave Lenin his opening. Upon arriving in Russia he declared that it was time to begin preparation for a new revolution. One that would truly give power to the people. One truly capable of changing society forever. Even many of the Bolsheviks thought he was crazy at first but he began to win more and people over. While the intellectuals may not have been ready the people themselves who had nothing to lose were ready. All across the country they were organizing themselves into Soviets a form of direct democracy dating back to the earlier failed revolution of 1905. While the central government was continuously discrediting itself with the usual indecisiveness, corruption, and clownishness that characterize "democracy" in every land (I ask you who but comedians still pay attention to the antics of parliaments no one else can bear it) the central government began to loose more control to the power of the soviets. Soldiers soviets would refuse to fight. Peasants soviets demanded redistribution of land. Workers soviets were seizing control of their factories. Lenin became their voice demanding peace land and bread. He also demanded all power to the soviets. In June before even he was ready group of soldiers marched into st. petersburg then the capital sought out Lenin so they could swear their loyalty to the new revolution he was  preaching. They were put down and Lenin was forced to go into hiding but events had already taken on a momentum of their own. He began to organize the revolution and since his party steadily grew in popularity the once marginal figure was listened to by more and more people. The secret of course was that only Lenin had bothered to listen to what the people wanted and he was also the only one who would dare to give them exactly what they wanted. Even where he knew that in the long term some of their ideas were wrong (on land reform he favored big efficient collective agriculture for instance while he knew the peasants wanted land of their own) he was willing to go along with them give them what they wanted and hope they could learn from their mistake. Above all he saw that by demanding power for the soviets he could break the power of the provisional government and launch in what was in many ways the first true revolution. This is because unlike past revolutions it aimed not to replace one exploiting class with another but to do away with exploitation altogether.

    Another example of his brilliance was his stance on the national question. Russia was an empire. At the same time it was in many ways also a laboratory for neo-colonialism.  Russia had a dual nature and history that survives to this day both an imperial country and a victim of imperialism most recently and obviously during the Yeltsin era when Russia nearly became a US colony in all but name. Thus Russia has a talent for both great power politics and for understanding and  aiding movements for national liberation. Lenin with the same genius that saw how he could accomplish his goals by putting his support behind the people's soviets also declared that any group wishing independence from the Russian empire was welcome to it in the hope that instead of separating they would eventually unite in friendship. During the "Civil War" where "white" counter-revolutionaries backed by all the worlds imperialist powers tried to destroy the revolution this strategy would again bear fruit as the territories occupied by "white" generals who were imperialist to the core decided they would rather be equals with the soviets then resubjugated under a new russian empire. Thus after loosing control of almost the entire massive land of Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, etc. at one point, they would eventually regain control of all of it. Not only that but Lenin's anti-imperialist views would one day inspire a revolution in the largest country on the planet China. Incidentally contrary to popular belief China owes it's spectacular growth not to free market capitalism but to central planning. Thus while the people of the west were bought off with the spoils of empire frustrating all the hopes for revolution there the rest of the world was far more receptive as I mentioned at the beginning. Billions of American dollars and millions killed in counter-insurgency wars could not prevent the spread of revolution around the world.

   Yes all those wonderful revolutions and struggles from around the world in Asia, in Africa and in Latin America. Even the west had it's revolutionaries if not it's revolutions. All of this history must be unearthed and celebrated. So many great names Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Amilcar Cabral, Daniel Ortega (thankfully alive and back in power) A whole alphabet of heroic revolutionary groups. FMLN, SWAPO, MK, PFLP. The 20th century was the century of revolution there is no doubt of it. Yet seemingly most of this has been all forgotten wiped from the pages of history. Or if not forgotten vilified.

   Yes no revolution has been slandered as much as the Russian revolution. Yet if we have learned anything in the 21st century it is the extent to which conventional wisdom is often so much nonsense and how the MSM will shamelessly lie about everything turning truth on it's head. Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, DRCongo we have been fed lies on all these countries that turned truth on it's head. Thus it is foolish to take at face value what we have been told about the Russian revolution because much of it is pure propaganda. Unfortunately it is propaganda that fits into the mindsets of even many in the alt-media and I have many times heard people who display the proper skepticism about the war on terror unthinkingly repeat cold war propaganda as if it was the absolute truth. We live in the heart of a capitalist and imperialist society do you really think that the media is going to tell you the truth about Communism? Yes people were killed, people were imprisoned. But there is reason to be suspicious of vastly inflated numbers. Conversely no one mentions the millions known to be killed by the counter revolutionaries who had inflicted all the brutalities of fascists and ISIS in their futile attempt to reinstate the rule for the benefit of aristocrats and capitalists. To give one example a white general gave orders not only for the murder of every communist and their family they could find but for the murder of every jew. The Russian Civil war was in many ways a preview of world war 2 Russia was surrounded by enemies from 14 countries and put under a brutal blockade. Thus if the soviets were forced to adopt tough tactics it was not because they were power crazed paranoid lunatics as we are so often told rather it was because the situation demanded it. The Bolsheviks did what was necessary to prevent what we have come to know so well any independent or socialist country is targeted for destruction. From Iran to Guatemala, to Chile, to Libya. In Latin America the US is simultaneously trying to Overthrow the Venezuelan government and every other left wing government in latin America,  They are currently plotting a coup against the government of Ecuador. The Russian revolution did inspire two briefly successful revolutions in Hungary and Bavaria, and a couple unsuccessful ones in Germany but they were all brutally crushed. Thus it is silly to be naive about such things. The instant you have a revolution you will be under siege if you are not willing to fight to defend it, if you are not vigilant about CIA plots you will be destroyed. My main point is it is only after long study that we will be able to determine exactly what did or did not happen during the history of the USSR. Meanwhile we should keep in mind that they had every reason to be on their guard.

I mention this because in reading E.H. Carr's History which is actually more of a 3 volume analysis of different aspects of soviet society I realized that I didn't really know anything about the Russian revolution. I merely thought I knew about it. The political structure the soviet union it's actual economic policies, it's foreign policies had all been unknown to me instead I had the cartoonish image implanted in me in college of a small band of ruthless men seizing power. The initial fighting was actually quite insignificant they would never have been able to "seize" or hold onto power if they didn't have the support of the vast masses of people. It really was a people's rebellion the revolution spread across the country because everywhere people were inspired to carry it out themselves they seized the factories, and the land they refused to fight and formed themselves into peoples councils. It was only the emergency of war and the necessity to better organize the economy that lead to the gradual centralization of power. While the Bolsheviks acted in the capital it was the Russian people who spread the Russian revolution like wildfire across the country. It was resistance behind the lines that would inevitably doom the Counter-revolutionaries during the civil war. Whatever power Lenin had rested mostly on his prestige as the prophet of revolution and the voice of the people. When Lenin wanted a policy carried through he had to sit down and write a piece explaining why he was right and hope that he could convince people. This is what most of his writings were. Contrary to popular mythology the Russian revolution was a time of endless lively debate and controversy.

Now to backtrack a little to discuss the revolution itself. Ironically the revolution would divide once again the Bolsheviks from the Mensheviks. It revealed the embarrassing fact that when the time for revolution came many marxists sided with the bourgeoisie provisional government and against the revolution. Some so called socialists would rather anything other then a genuine revolution and many in their fear of the masses sided with the counter revolution. Only when it was clear that the revolution would be successful did many of them come around and begin to support the new soviet government. This is yet another lesson of the Russian revolution many so called leftists would doubtless react the same way today. There are many who would rather do anything other then change the world comfortable in lucrative gigs as controlled opposition. This is also why it is necessary to go back to reading revolutionary classics most people in the west have completely forgotten how to act and think in a revolutionary manner.

Lenin was a master of exposing the fakes, the cowards, the traitors that for all their rhetoric were blocking the path of the revolution. This is really what the revolution was all about the provisional government had to be overthrown because despite being packed with socialists it actually served as a puppet of the imperialist western allies, and was a bulwark against genuine revolution. It discredited itself by refusing to end the war, or to quickly enact land reform. Lenin captured the loyalty of the masses by promising to immediately carry out both policies and unlike the politicians in our democracies he did exactly what he said he would. The revolution occurred when the Soviets composed of workers, peasants, and soldiers voted in favor of disbanding the provisional government and taking power into their own hands. They were able to seize the winter palace with barely any resistance because the provisional government fled. Much of the military already in open rebellion sided with the revolution. Against all the odds and attacked by 14 different countries the Russian revolution survived and the west was eventually forced to accept it's existence although it's plots to destroy the soviet union would continue resulting in world war 2 when 27 million soviets would die defeating the fascist monster planted in Europe for the purpose of preventing the spread of communism and in the hopes that fascism would destroy communism. Then came the cold war aka world war 3 although this time millions of in the third world would die as imperialism sought to stop the spread of communism around the world. Korea Vietnam, Indonesia, El Salvador, and Guatemala were a just a few of the targets of the monstrous crimes committed during this era. Then with the fall of the soviet union imperialism merely intensified it's rampage no one knows exactly how many wars are being waged right now From Iraq to DRCongo, to Mexico, to Ukraine to Afghanistan and Yemen. Even the fall of the soviet union was not enough for the empire the mere idea of an independent or united Russia is apparently intolerable to them. All this is my usual topic but I will mention in passing that the Russian civil war had a quite fascinating history in Ukraine which E.H. Carr discusses.

Yes the soviet union eventually fell but it lasted for over 70 years an inspiration to revolutionaries around the globe. The reasons for it's decline and fall will have to wait for another day. (if Your interested I dealt with the topic in My June 2014 article "Russia from Gorbachev to Putin" also check out "socialism betrayed" by Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny) However with the fall of the USSR the idea was put out that communism was dead. Of course in Cuba and North Korea it never fell at all while China is a hybrid. However the idea that the fall of the soviet union means that we must never again try to build a just society is an absurd one. After all the paris commune only lasted months. Yet people didn't abandon all hope after it fell. The Soviet Union fell as a result of the disastrous attempt to institute free market reforms. It fell because for some insane reason the soviet leadership thought it could make peace with the west. How could anyone believe mass murderers like Reagan and Bush could ever want peace. Instead the naive traitor Gorbachev was replaced by the drunken clown and puppet Yeltsin. Although Putin is an immense improvement over Yeltsin we can still dream that one day Russia may see a return to revolution. Down with the Oligarchs who stole what it took generations to build.

Meanwhile all over the world we must work to revive the revolutionary history, the revolutionary ideology, and revolutionary spirit of the past. We should be studying the revolutions just as intently as we pay attention to the events of today. Of course we must not only study the past we must also find creative ways to apply what we discover to the present day. So long as society is based on the exploitation of the few by the many the spirit of revolution will never die. The biggest lie of all is that we are powerless to change the world. That is the most important lesson of the Russian revolution it is possible to build a new kind of society. Our day will come so long as we work tirelessly to make it happen. We are in a far better position then before despite appearances for we have the lessons of nearly a hundred years of revolutions and socialist experiments to draw on. Not to mention many thousands of years of histories for the pre-modern socialist societies. Plus the centuries long history of resistance to imperialism slavery and genocide. Yet they tell me history is boring. It certainly is the way it is taught today with all the shocking bits taken out, all the rebellion and excitement intentionally removed. True history is many things both horrifying and inspiring but above all when studied correctly it is extremely dangerous. The world must reclaim it's revolutionary history. Don't be afraid of theory especially when that theory has been successfully employed again and again if the newly literate vietnamese peasants and Russian workers who grew up in semi-feudal villages were able to master it so too can you. Together we can destroy capitalism and imperialism. Long Live the revolution!


First much of what I said was inspired by reading Carlos Martinez check out his excellent site for  his great articles on revolutionary history and theory. Hopefully after ten more years of hard study I'll be able to write articles like his.

And here is his article on Ho Chi Minh. I'll have to stop myself from posting more of his articles or I'll never finish. Clearly I'll have to write a new alternative Media spotlight to do his site justice.


Now on to the books I recommend John Reed's classic "Ten Days That Shook the World" as an introduction. Thanks again to @RedKahina for the recommending the next two selections. Read  the "Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin" by E.H Carr. This provides a much shorter version of his massive history of soviet Russia. Then move on to the three volume "The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923" by Edward Hallet Carr.

Of course you also need to read Marx and Lenin. Start with the communist manifesto by Karl Marx. Then read "what is to be done" by Lenin. There is a massive free archive of their writings and many more at  here

I've been watching a lot of great lectures of late from various events put on by CPGB-ML party  check out their proletarian TV youtube channel their site is here. They are strong supporters of Novorossia, Syria and any country resisting imperialism.

Well This is more the  enough to keep you busy for months or even years. I'll end by dedicating  yet another article to my friend and Comrade Luci Frank fighting on against all the odds as @justfightX thank you for all your tireless support.