100 Years of (Mis)Understanding

Thu Nov 23 11:40:21 MST 1995

     Louis responds by providing us with a four item
reading list.  I note that Rosa Luxemburg is not on this
list, although she was on his previous list of those involved
in developing the alleged "100 years of revolutionary socialist
understanding of democracy."  Everyone knows that she criticized
Lenin for his "democratic centralism" within the vanguard.
     I note that one of the books on this list is Lenin's _State
and Revolution_, once one of the most widely read books in the
world.  I guess Louis wants to go back to those days, but this
is one of the worst books Lenin ever wrote.  Although he claims
in it to support "universal suffrage," once he was in power he
proceeded to abolish the legislature elected after the Bolshevik
coup d'etat and instituted rule strictly by his small vanguard group.
It was Lenin who began the policy of executing critics and putting
people in gulags, although not on the scale of Stalin.
     The REAL Russian Revolution was the February one.  Lenin
hijacked it to horrible ultimate consequences.  Kerensky was a
Social Democrat and it is an interesting and very serious counterfactual
what would have happened in Russia if he had not been overthrown.
I note the example of Finland.  Finland was a part of Tsarist Russia
and not especially better off.  It got out and was never a part of
the Soviet system.  I would contend that today, Finland, a functioning
social democracy with a high proportion of state ownership of the
means of production, is economically, socially, and politically better
off than any state that was under Soviet rule at any point.  It has
also never been criticized by Amnesty International.
     So, get real out there.  Socialists who push "Leninist" ideas
of democracy will remain as marginalized as they deserve to be.
Barkley Rosser

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