Amerikkka is often presented as the global peacemaker in sympathetic circles. If we take a cursory look around the globe today, however, we can see that every single conflict has the fingerprint of the United $tates in some capacity. This imperial strategy has not brought about the solution to conflict, but rather intended to proceed with conflict until achieving absolute control.
Even minor states – North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and Iran are continuously punished for merely existing outside of the unipolar order. Amerikkka demands total subservience to its geopolitical institutions.
The strategic parity between different states could decrease the occurrence of U.S. imperial wars, if the U.S. understands that it faces the threat of potentially losing such a conflict (Amerikkkans have not yet forgotten Vietnam and Iraq).
Russia and China (along with the other BRICS states) present a counterbalance to U.S. hegemonic goals around the world.
In fact, considering the recent decision by Mr. Orange-White-Supremacist-Clown to pull out of the JCPOA with Iran, we may also begin to see the E.U. establishing a more independent geopolitical pole as well.
New contours of global power present us with new options. Instead of repeating the Cold War, we shall soon find ourselves in totally new circumstances. The new global powers – the E.U., Russia, China are catching up to the U.$.
This power is no longer substantially ideological, as all of these countries (in one form or another) subscribe to neoliberal capitalism.
As others have written, “And Russia and China are part of this imperialist camp as well; the problem is that, because they are still developing as imperialist powers, they are beginning to represent a pole that might determine the global contradiction between imperialisms in the next decade.”
Where I disagree with MLM Mayhem is on how we should delineate our support for these competing powers. By encouraging competition, we encourage ruptures in hegemony and open the space for counter-movements. We should not say Russian and Chinese imperialisms are “better” than U$ imperialism, but rather, in order to bring down Amerikkkan global domination, we must critically support its nascent challengers.
This isn’t some moralistic argument about imperialism. Rather, this is a strategic argument about how we can move to socialism: through revolutions in the Third World.
Revolutions can only occur when political and economic systems reach the limits of their contradictions. As long as capital is able to flow freely, then Amerikkka (or another country) is able to prop up puppet regimes indefinitely.
By pushing for global ruptures, we inevitably force these contradictions to reveal themselves bare. This, of course, is no guarantee of Third World revolutions, but the chances increase dramatically.
Additionally, it is inherently advantageous for smaller countries that there is competition among the superpowers. Smaller countries throughout the Cold War skillfully embraced one or another side in order to gain favor and receive beneficial (or not-so-beneficial) aid packages, military assistance, or increased sovereignty and independence.
The very establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement solidified the strength of the Third World against the First World.
Following the dismantling of the Soviet Union by three men in a forest, the global order fragmented, ruptured, and tore itself asunder. The U.$. crowned itself the sole Empire and ensured that the Third World bent to its will.
Financial institutions like the WTO and IMF grabbed the Third World by the throat and smashed their skulls against the ground. Mimicking the old colonial days, white people continue to strip the wealth from black and brown people around the globe.
Why should Amerikkkans have hegemony?
Why does everyone in the world need to think about the fascists in Washington?
Why should the racist naked mole rat in the white house have so much power?
Following one of the hundreds of mass shootings that happen in the United $nakes all the time, Amerikkkans finally had the thought, “Hey, what if we talk about this?”
These debates have reverberated among leftists and pseudo-leftists caught in the uncomfortable position of having to reconcile their seemingly contradictory beliefs that the proletariat needs to be organized and armed, but mass shootings are bad.
These narratives, however, are missing the key point – straight, white men are killing all of us.
Whether they’re cops or white supremacists, the criminals and murderers are almost always straight, white men.
And, of course, we could point to exceptions here and there in the first world – gang violence, the recent shooting at the Youtube headquarters by a woman of color, etc.
Here, however, the exception proves the rule.
It was straight, white men who criminally invaded Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It is straight, white men who control the institutions of power that criminally enforce hegemonic liberal capitalism across the world. And, in the first world, it is straight, white men who commit the vast majority of violent crimes.
After all, who owns most of the guns in the first world? White men.
The clear solution is that straight, white men need to be disarmed!
Leftists and Pseudo-Leftists alike are missing the point when they talk about the proletariat.
There is no white proletariat.
There will never be an armed socialist insurrection consisting predominantly of white people. In fact, even to identify as white is to identify as the oppressor. Oppressor culture/White culture (and Crusade Culture) will never lead to socialism or communism. It will only lead to fascism.
J. Sakai wrote about this most powerfully in “The Mythology of the White Proletariat” (that links to a pdf of the entire book).
Could we possibly imagine white rednecks in Amerikkka ditching their racism and picking up arms to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat?
The answer is no.
White people in the first world aren’t in the business of establishing communism. White people in the first world are in the business of establishing business.
Pseudo-Leftists anticipate the Euro-Amerikkkan “proletariat” in the first world is going to rise up with arms. Instead, these white men are using their guns to shoot up schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, shopping malls, and homes.
They target women, oppressed nations, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jews. And even other white men.
We have learned one thing from history.
Straight, white men are killing all of us.
If these were potential comrades, then they would be joining us already. They wouldn’t be shooting immigrants and people of color. Socialist and communist parties in the first world would be enormous forces to be reckoned with. Obviously, this is not the case.
Therefore, we must bring about a world where white people are disarmed en masse.
If Leftists want to support an armed proletariat for future revolution, then they need to support the complete disarming of the enemy: straight, white men.
The proletariat lives on – in places like India (where the Naxalites are fighting a guerilla war), in places like the Philippines (where Jose Maria Sison and the New People’s Army are fighting for freedom), and in places like Turkey (where the Maoist Communist Party maintains two armed wings fighting against the government).
Of course the proletariat must be armed. There is no question about that.
The question that these Pseudo-Leftists need to ask themselves is: where is the proletariat? Is it white people in Klanada or the United $tates?
A number of my friends have watched in horror over the past few years as I have become more and more sympathetic with the Soviet Union’s policies between 1926 and 1953.
The shorthand for this period, of course, would be the “Stalinist period”.
Despite my previous open and vigorous support from the “Leninist period” between 1917 and 1924, many of my acquaintances began to strongly protest only once I began to defend the post-Lenin Soviet Union.
In fact, even on this blog, you can watch my evolution on this topic very clearly.
However, as I’ve turned towards a more fundamentally materialist analysis of political economy and the more I’ve critically analyzed historical accounts and narratives, it’s become apparent to me that the Soviet Union through to 1953 is worth defending, at least critically.
We can start where my anarchist friends would draw their first line of trouble. They even get uncomfortable if I talk about Lenin. For them, the trouble seems to be authority – never mind the fact that “authority” becomes increasingly more difficult to define in a satisfactory way when we discuss political arrangements.
Lenin didn’t live up to very important post-Enlightenment (Euro-Amerikkkan) bourgeois values of the anarchists.
Here, I’m always reminded of Emma Goldman’s discussion with Lenin during the Civil War. She very famously asked, “What about freedom of speech? Where is the freedom of speech here?” And Lenin responded, “Do you understand that we’re in the middle of a war? We’re being attacked by all sides – we’ve been invaded by fourteen countries. We won’t allow counter-revolutionary propaganda.”
My anarchist friends (in the West) take Goldman’s position and I take Lenin’s.
These are our fundamental differences.
(By the way, anarchists in Russia are having very different conversations.)
The idealist politics of my anarchist friends reveals the core flaw in anarchism. There is no destruction of capitalism as long as there is no anti-capitalist organization. There is no victory as long as there is no authority. Anarchists in history have discovered this in their attempts to build non-state utopias in Makhnoist Ukraine or Revolutionary Catalonia, where effectively they had very authoritarian governments without calling them “governments”. This has also become clear in modern anarchist projects like Rojava, where the PYD has instituted a sort of one-party (mono-ethnic) state, without, of course, calling it a “state”.
So what is important about Lenin here?
Lenin (and the Soviet Union) represents the will to overcome this defeatist trend.
The resolve to, first and foremost, overthrow the dominant structures of capitalism and bourgeois class rule. The Leninist project was crystal clear about the need to embrace a materialist analysis of society and make conclusions that effectively flow from that premise. A materialist analysis is the thing that Trotskyists and anarchists are both lacking!
How does capitalism function?
Where can we find the bourgeoisie?
Where can we find the proletariat?
Who has, as Marx said, “nothing to lose” but their chains?
How do we organize these people to destroy global liberal capitalism?
Only by wielding the mechanics of the state do we have any hope in dismantling capitalism. The bourgeoisie are never going to willingly hand over power and give up their exploitation of the proletariat. These are central mechanisms to their existence. These are the central mechanisms of private control over the means of production.
This is why those who have always tried to do away with the state too early have found themselves reconstructing a state themselves (even if they’ve tried to hide behind semantics).
I was once an anarchist.
I was also once a Trotskyist.
Of course, one of the dominant narratives surrounding the Stalin period is the many millions of dead.
Personally, this was perhaps my largest hang-up with regards to Stalin. Despite getting beyond so much propaganda regarding other subjects (like the Russian Revolution!), I couldn’t seem to break free of this point on Stalin.
The whole thing seems unbelievably dreadful. Incomprehensibly reprehensible.
Until, of course, one really begins to dive into the Stalin period like a real historian, rather than someone reading a Wikipedia page with citations from “The Black Book of Communism” or hacks like Robert Conquest.
Once you engage with the evidence for the claims about Stalin, the whole edifice falls apart.
What was the population of the USSR in 1924 versus 1953?
What were the numbers of people who died in the Gulag system (let alone who were even in the Gulag!)?
How was legislation introduced, passed, and enforced in the Stalin period?
How did the bureaucracy function?
What was the role of the NKVD in this period and how many people were imprisoned/killed while Yezhov was leading the organization?
How about when Beria was in charge?
What about the Soviet role in other countries at this time?
Questions like this are what initially led me to embrace Trotskyism – all the fun of the revolutionary event without any of the consequences of defending the subsequent state-building process.
However, revolution is not an event; it’s a process.
Even if Trotsky advocated defending the “degenerated worker’s state” and the “deformed worker’s states” that followed the Stalinist line, most pseudo-Leftists are much more comfortable dealing with Trotskyists than they are with Stalinists.
The narrative of the tragic hero usually suffices to justify Trotsky’s position in the pantheon of pseudo-Leftist demigods.
However, Trotsky was also no teddy bear. And if you really look at history, the charges made against him in the Moscow Trials seem to be pretty accurate.
Regardless of the circumstances, all of us in the West have been fed endless anti-communist propaganda – the millions supposedly killed by totalitarian regimes. The dreadful living conditions behind the so-called Iron Curtain. The lack of “freedoms” and the evil of the proposition that everyone deserves a home, a job, and food.
After all, it is an undeniable fact that those who are currently in power have a vested interest in making sure that people associate Stalin and Mao with genocide.
It’s no wonder Stalin gets lumped in with Hitler, despite the fact that Hitler started the Holocaust and Stalin ended it.
Was the Soviet Union some sort of mystical paradise where nothing bad happened? Obviously not.
The Soviet Union was a country pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, almost literally.
In less than ten years, the USSR developed from a backward, feudal society into an industrial superpower that was able to defeat Nazi Germany in one of the most destructive events of all time. The magnitude of this accomplishment cannot be overstated.
Life expectancy doubled from around 35 years to 70 years. Literacy became nearly universal. Healthcare and education were free and available. Women were granted full legal and political equality. People of color were granted full legal and political equality. Electricity was extended beyond the cities. The population grew rapidly. The Caspian and Central Asian Republics were made fully equal republics to the Russian Soviet Republic.
What went along with this? In the Stalin era, hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned (and we’ll never know how many of them were innocent). This is often used to demonstrate that the Soviet Union was hell on earth. No one seems to care that hundreds of thousands of people were locked away in many other countries at the same time (including the United $tates and throughout Europe).
Prison is never a fun place, and it certainly was no fun in the Soviet Union.
There is no denying that fact, as the social purpose of a prison is not to be a fun place. But if we’re going to determine the value of a state in its prisons, then it’s imperative that we do the same with regards to the USSR under Lenin and Trotsky, prisons in Makhnoist Ukraine, and the extensive prison system in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War. How about the situation in Rojava right now?
The fact is (and this is an increasingly difficult fact for many pseudo-Leftists): the world is not a perfect place.
Nothing works exactly as you plan it and, following this, the Soviet Union had plenty of bad things going on.
There are also plenty of points we can use to criticize Stalin’s government. It was a government of people who made mistakes, who committed crimes, who were fallible. One thing to consider is that for almost thirty years, the Soviet Union was the only country even claiming to be socialist. While capitalism and imperialism had encircled the globe, the only active challenge to this paradigm was, in fact, Marxism-Leninism (pejoratively referred to as Stalinism).
One of the common challenges leveled by people who know nothing about communism is the bullshit cliché of “Communism looks good on paper, but it doesn’t work in real life, because of human nature.”
Many of these people also say that there are two socialisms – socialism in theory and “actually existing socialism”. The Soviet Union and “actually existing socialism” proved that socialism does work. People are not angels and, following that, we need socialist governmental structures in order to enact a socialist society.
Awful things happened under “actually existing socialism”. Do you want to know why? Because it was actual!
It’s important to remember that, beyond this, there are two “actually existing” socialisms. There was the socialism that exists/existed in countries like the USSR, China, Cuba, the DPRK, and East Germany and then there was the “socialism” presented in the West that was constructed through propaganda, lies, and misrepresentations.
Once you get past the second, the first “actually existing socialism” becomes clearer. In the USSR, people took chances, made errors, corrected or exacerbated those errors, etc. This is how things function in the real world. We shouldn’t shy away from the fact.
We shouldn’t say, “When there is a dictatorship of the proletariat, everything will be perfect!”
No. We should rather say, “We will learn from the errors made by our predecessors, but we too will make errors! And our successors will have to learn from our mistakes!”
Some anarchists say that the October revolution failed after the Bolsheviks took power over the Constituent Assembly. Some modern left communists say that the Soviet Union stopped being “socialist” after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk took them out of WWI. Some Trotskyist say that the system “degenerated” after Trotsky lost his place in the government. Some Marxist-Leninists outside the country left their parties during the 30s based on reports they received from the Soviet Union. And many other parties split after Khrushchev gave his secret speech and started the process of de-Stalinization.
Different groups of people have both supported the Soviet legacy, while criticizing the rotten elements of the Soviet Union.
And, after all, Marxist-Leninists are apt to criticize Marx and Engels, Luxemburg and Liebknecht, Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Lin Biao. They were not perfect, flawless individuals. Indeed, many of the problems of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China can be attributed to their mistakes.
The fundamental question, however, is: where do we locate the rotten elements of the Soviet Union?
I no longer locate those elements in the person of Stalin.
For, ultimately, today Stalin can be nothing more than a symbol. Joseph Stalin, like all historical figures, is nothing except a face, an image, a re-presentation.
When we construct our contemporary political paradigms, we are inevitably forced to choose the symbols that delineate the borders. When pseudo-Leftists choose to toss aside the Stalin (or even more dramatically, the Soviet project all together), they lose the ability to engage that legacy fully.
Such a simple position with regards to Stalin (either pro- or anti-) does nothing to enhance critical engagement with the communist legacy. Plenty of mouth-breathing half-wits love to go on and on about how dreadful the Soviet experiment was, despite knowing next-to-nothing about the 20th century. The Soviet Union and Stalin especially should reveal to us the necessity of taking a more sophisticated position on things that require an ounce of thought.
A few years ago, a friend pointed out to me (and this is, of course, simply anecdotal) that the Marxist-Leninist parties in the U.$. were full of people of color, whereas the Trotskyist parties were almost always just bespectacled white people selling newspapers.
I would argue that this general trend applies to anarchists as well (although without the newspapers).
And while this alone doesn’t indicate the superiority of Marxism-Leninism, it does show that there is some division between how different people see things, based on their association with a nation of oppressors and a nation of oppressed. Trotskyists, after all, still think that revolution is going to be led by the First World (as though white people in the First World could possibly be trusted with the task of building socialism).
Marxism-Leninism was the ideological underpinning to organizations like the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the Brown Berets, and the Young Lords.
Marxism-Leninism was the only broad, multinational, successful attempt to overthrow capitalism, feudalism, and fascism in the 20th century. The gains made by the Russian Revolution are incalculable, because they were so far-reaching and often went unrecognized.
We must acknowledge and defend the legacy and successes of the Soviet Union, especially now in the 21st century, when Euro-Amerikkkan capitalism and imperialism have encircled the globe.
Over the years, I have tried, from multiple angles, to find a proper way to cast my own politics in relation to that legacy, but it was only through properly incorporating Stalin that my own political constellations crystallized. Today, I stand in defense of the Soviet Union and am willing to take responsibility for both the successes and the failures – only by doing so can we begin to overcome the current state in which we find ourselves.
We are living in fascinating times. It is becoming more and more obvious that the unipolar order of the post-Cold War world is unraveling. Amerikkkan chauvinists and imperialists, in many ways, have already begun to write their own obituaries, lamenting the loss of their unchallenged empire.
Those of us who look forward to multipolarity on the world stage see the opportunity plainly. It is of the utmost importance that we are able to trace the contours of the emerging network of power accurately, in order to identify and promote desirable outcomes
Dumbass Trump is, through his sheer incompetence and immaturity, unintentionally dismantling unipolarity. It is possible that the pundits are right here (which, in and of itself, is a cause for celebration) and we are watching the decline of the Amerikkkan Empire.
Let’s take, for example, Trump’s racism.
The racism with Trump is bizarre (but certainly not unique). It’s bizarre in its overtness.
Everyone knows the Bushes, the Clintons, and the Reagans were all racist, for example. But they never openly said it. Instead, they used coded language, sleight-of-hand politics, and obscure policies to get their racism institutionalized.
Dotard Trump does not even pretend to play the classic rhetorical games of previous presidents – he does not differentiate between the general and the specific in his speeches.
When he talks about “radical Islamic terrorism”, he threatens all Muslims, not just those engaging in terrorism.
When he threatens North Korea, he threatens the entire country, not just the government.
When he lets Puerto Rico languish without power and communication, he’s making sure the Puerto Rican people suffer. Intentionally.
This is a particular type of dumbass, who doesn’t understand the hegemonic objectives of nuance and subtlety. Obviously, it would be better for White Amerikkka to have a figurehead who didn’t spew his bile all over the podium at the United Nations.
It’s more difficult for the state to function smoothly with a bloated, fascist rodent as its public face.
Trump, the least sophisticated of all mammals, has proven time and time again that he is incapable of using even basic logic and reasoning. It is clear that if he was more secretive about his wet-dream to rebuild the Third Reich, then every member of the rational bourgeoisie would be happier. He’s certainly not benefiting the United $tates, ironically enough.
This is an asset for those of us who wish to see the end of a unipolar geopolitical landscape.
Trump may succeed where countless leftists have failed.
Trump may single-handedly bring about the end of the Amerikkkan Empire.