Their morals and ours

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Wed Jun 7 13:39:22 MDT 1995


I suggested Trotsky's THEIR MORALS AND OURS precisely because it focuses
discussion, in a controversial way, on the issues that Alex is raising
concerning proletarian morality.  I have no intention of defending the
assault on the Kronstadt Naval Station.

Alex, though, has not quite answered the question concerning whether the
distinction between "bourgeois morality" and "proletarian morality" is
useful and valid.  What form of moral and ethical values would be more
appropriate from an anarchist perspective?

If the Bolsheviks were ruthless not only with their class enemies but
their political rivals as well (such as the SRs), this only tells us that
there can be some dangers when one political party (a "vanguard party) in
the workers' movement claims that it is the only legitimate voice for
proletarians and their needs.  Certainly, this is an important lesson ...
but it is another -- more specific -- question.

Jerry

On Wed, 7 Jun 1995, Alex Trotter wrote:

>
> Jerry Levy should lighten up a bit about the icepick jokes. It's not only
> Stalinists who make such jokes; anarchists have their own reasons for
> rubbing salt into the wounded egos of icepick-heads.
>
> Which brings us to Kronshstadt, 1921. Is the dichotomy outlined by
> Trotsky between "bourgeois morality" and "proletarian morality" as
> clearcut as he makes it sound? How ruthless does the revolution have to
> be to prevail? Lenin argued that the Paris Communards went down in part
> because they weren't ruthless enough with their enemies (e.g., they could
> have seized the Bank of France, they could have marched on Versailles to
> smash Thiers's army, etc.). The Bolsheviks, um, didn't make that mistake.
> They wanted to make sure the working class prevailed even if they had to
> shoot the workers for their own good.
> 	It doesn't occur to you that Trotsky indulged in a bit of
> prevarication in his justification for the suppression of striking workers
> in Petrograd and the slaughter of the Kronstadt rebels? Do you seriously
> believe they were led by White Guard officers in the service of the
> Triple Entente? Look who was talking! It was Trotsky who put former
> czarist generals in positions of command in the Red Army.
> 	The more sophisticated Trotskyist argument about Kronstadt was
> that it was a "tragic necessity." I don't buy it. All the arguments along
> that line can be thrown right back in their faces (i.e., the persecution
> of Trots and other dissident Communists by Stalin was "historically
> necessary" because they were "objective allies of fascism")--get the
> picture? This kind of moral flip-flopping bothered even stalwart
> Communist intellectuals such as Bertolt Brecht in his play *The Measures
> Taken*.
>
> A hearty "fuck you" to Red Jesuits,
>
> --AT
>
>
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>


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