visionary and racist
on the origin of communist violence
it is being maintained that the difference between the two totalitarian
and tyrant systems that have destroyed the lives of so many in our century,
fascism and communism, lies in the original intention that they were born
of. Whereas fascism has its cradle in an absolute hatred and disrespect
of any democratic or liberal institution, communism is said to be originated
from a basically good and philanthropic pursuit of a "paradise on earth".
All variations of Marx' "pure" doctrine that have shaken our times, that
have inflicted pain, injustice and death on millions of human beings in
communist states all over the world, were but misperceptions, "socialism
with a humane face" was to be only around the corner, we are blamed for
never having it given a chance to show us its benefits. Stalinism and all
other forms of dictatorships justified with the course of history as interpreted
by Marx, allegedly have no right to name him as their ideological father.
So, let's see what Marx and Engels have to tell us !
emerging world market and "globalization" were already evident in 1848.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels describe this phenomenon in their "Communist
"The Bourgeoisie is chased over the globe by its need for a constantly expanding consumption of its goods. (...) The ages old national industries are being pushed aside by new industries, the development of which becomes a question of live and death for all civilized nations, pushed asideSo much for Marx and Engels. And yet, we know that this accurate analysis became a component of one of the most repressive systems of world history. So, where is there the Wrong in the Right? What ammunition is hidden in their texts that was prone to be abused later-on by radical, left-wing, totalitarian ideologues?
What is striking, is the military touch of Marx' and Engel's vocabulary. The market's forces are weapons to them, with which overdue circumstances are being destroyed like a fortress' walls. The creation of new terms of production are like a mobilization of armies for the two theoreticians of Communism.
This has absolutely nothing in common with the "Bourgeoisie's self-image: Their ultimate objective was banning violence from public life, enjoying peace between nations, reducing and containing the military and bureaucracy, freedom from authoritarian intrusion on the free expression of thoughts and ideas. That was what they were lobbying for. These were their interests. The basis of a functioning market is a peaceful and free environment.
Marx and Engels to the contrary drew a picture of a military supreme command, who used the different sectors of the economy and industry as their armies. "Masses of workers, huddled in the factories are organized like soldiers. As industrial soldiers they are being submitted to an entire hierarchy of sergeants and lieutenants."
This has nothing to do with the actual course of the Industrial Revolution - instead, one is inclined to think of the construction of the soviet industry.
Marx and Engels were
at their best when denouncing all moderates. To them, the revolution had
to follow the pace the French Revolution had taken and finally bring the
most radical party -their own party- to power. A means to achieve this
goal was an all-out destructive war against "counter-revolutionary" classes
Those who downplay this as being typical for the contemporary style of political publishing, understates the spirit of the fathers of Marxism that longed for a generalized view of things. They came up with a theory of "rubbish peoples", that were doomed. Engels writes:
"The next world war will make not only reactionary classes and dynasties disappear from the face of the earth, but entire reactionary peoples as well. And this is also to be considered progress."Thus he demanded an
"inexorable struggle for life and death with the Slaves who betrayed the Revolution; destructive fight and ruthless terrorism. (...) To the sentimental phrases about brotherhood (...) our answer is that the hatred of Russians had been and still is the first revolutionary passion of Germans; that since the Revolution the hatred of Czechs and Croats has been added to it."Engels disrespected the anarchist Bakunin and his arguing on behalf of the Southern Slavs that were being oppressed by the Hungarian revolutionary government. To the contrary, the Hungarians were much too gentle towards the Croats, Engels argued, that is counter-revolutionary.
For the two philosophers of revolution the slavish peoples -with the exception of the Poles- is a single huge "Vendée" (during the French Revolution, peasants from the Vendée region revolted against the jacobinian regime). Following the example the Jacobinians set, one would have to eradicate the Slavs violently and thoroughly.
Marx and Engels did not necessarily mean physical eradication but "only" terroristical suppression of the Eastern European nationalist movements and Panslawism. They distinguished between advanced nations who possessed a right to exist and "peoples without a history" who merit nothing but the yoke.
To what extent this
can be considered a prelude to justifying the elimination of entire ethnic
groups and nationalities, is an interesting question. Stalin, Mao Ze-Dong,
Pol Pot and Mengistu eradicated "counter- revolutionary" classes and peoples
without expressively invoking Marx.
One must consider it a crime, "that at a time when the big monarchies became a 'historical necessity' in Europe, the Germans and Magyars (Hungarians) forced all these small, crippled nations into a great empire, thus enabling them to take part in an historical development, to which they would have remained totally foreign, if left to themselves. Certainly, these things cannot be implemented without stomping down some little fragile national flower. But without violence and iron ruthlessness nothing gets done in history."At another point in his writings, Engels confirms his verdict:
" All history of Austria up to our times proves, and the year 1848 has emphasized the fact: Among all those tiny nations of Austria only three have actively influenced the course of history and are still capable of existing - the Germans, the Poles, the Magyars. That is why they are now revolutionary. All other small tribes and peoples have first and foremostIn 1851 Engels takes the last Slavic nation out of his Pantheon: "The Poles have done nothing in their history but playing brave, annoying stupidity. One cannot even mention a single moment when Poland (...) successfully represented progress or did anything of historical importance."
In all this the old
absolutist system -as opposed to the civil system of checks and balances,
of sharing and limiting power- becomes evident, a systems that condemns
any opposition to the ruler (or ruling group!) as a crime deserving the
In the c ore of the
world's burgeoisie the outbreak of revolution had been averted by clever
and constant reforms. Free competition in the marketplace was secured by
a legitimate competition in the ballots, in the political life. Later Tory
Prime Minister Disraeli lauded the "healthy and sanitary control by a constitutional
opposition." The ballot reforms, the abolition of protective tariffs, the
laws on working conditions, outlawing slavery were not achieved "on the
battlefield" but by changing coalitions, progressive aristocrats, clergymen,
moderate unionists and realistic industry leaders.
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