The followers of Moscow are beginning to cut a rather ridiculous figure; doubt has permeated their ranks; they no longer possess the arrogance of old; they are commencing to reap the harvest they have sown; the tactics of opportunism and compromise caused them to march in a circle in unemployed parades, etc., and now they are either forced to abandon their leader or line up in support of the imperial policy of Stalin and Co.
The late Prince Kropotkin stated at the outset of the Russian revolution : “The Bolsheviks are not what the Western workers think they are.” He was correct. The Western workers thought them to be Socialists; they were mistaken.
Socialism is the noblest cause that ever appealed to the world or to man; the Bolsheviks defamed those who would not accept their leadership and have dragged the working-class movement into the sewers of opportunism and corruption; they used their organisation, the Communist Party, as a means of enabling them to influence the Labour movement of the Western world in the interests of Soviet Russia; the Communist Party became the foreign office of the bureaucracy of the Kremlin, and now, under the dictatorship of Czar Stalin, functions as the ruthless tool of imperialism.
The worker who investigates stands aghast when he discovers what lies behind the purges; he is fast arriving at the conclusion that he has been fooled : “those fellows are not to be trusted.”
The Bolsheviks were more influenced by Bakunin than by Marx; they worked on the principle “the end justifies the means” ; they did not aim at freedom. “Freedom,” said Lenin, “is a bourgeois prejudice.”
He also said, “Socialism is Soviet power plus electricity,” and many other things which indicated he used a Socialist vocabulary in an attempt to gain his imperial ends. Sometimes he spoke the truth; it is on record that he stated he was the logical successor of Peter the Great. “Only by a dictatorship can humanity be brought to happiness,” was the idea held by the leaders of the Russian revolution.
Marx said that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself, but this did not fit in with Bolshevik aspirations; the Bolshevik leaders got themselves free from oppression. Stalin and Co. are now oppressing the proletariat.
Let us look at the foundation of this peculiar mentality. First I will quote E. Preobraschenski, a pupil and follower of Lenin and the founder of Bolshevik ethics: —
“Whereas in a society in which there are no classes, lying is a disadvantage in itself, because it compels the members of the society to use their energy in discovering the truth, the case is quite different in a society based on class. In the struggle of an exploited class against their enemies, lying and deceit are often very important weapons; all the subterranean work of revolutionary organisations actually depends on over-reaching the power of the State. The Workers’ State, surrounded as it is on all sides by hostile capitalist countries, finds lying very necessary and useful in its foreign policy. Therefore the attitude of the working class and the Communist Party of the open recognition of the right to lie is quite different from that of the Western European Socialists, those God-fearing petits bourgeois who are systematically treated as fools by the representatives of capital.”
How a “Socialist” can hope to create a form of society worth living in out of, or by means of, trained liars is a conundrum, but there it is.
Lunacharski, one of the brightest minds the revolution produced, stated, when referring to Fedor Dostoevski, the writer: —
“Russia goes forward on her thorny but glorious way, and behind her stand her great prophets, who bless her on her path. Among them, the most enthralling and splendid of all, rises the figure of Fedor Dostoevski.”
In reading Dostoevski you get the key to the understanding of Bolshevism. Let me quote from one of his novels, “The Possessed” : —
“Since it is absolutely necessary to fix the social order of the future now, at this very moment, since we are at last preparing to act, to avoid future uncertainty, I put forward my own system for a new world order. … I must first point out that my system is not yet completed, not yet entirely worked out. For I have become entangled in my own arguments ; my final conclusion is diametrically opposed to my original idea. Although I started from the notion of unrestricted freedom, I arrived at the end at absolute despotism. I may add, however, that there can be no possible solution but mine. . . .”
The above is a statement by one of the characters, named Shigalev, a member of a secret society. His remarks are commented upon by another member : —
“Mr. Shigalev has devoted himself too conscientiously to his task, and is also much too modest. I know his book. In it he proposes to divide mankind into two unequal parts. Only the smaller part, about a tenth of the whole, will enjoy personal freedom and unrestricted power over the other nine-tenths. These nine-tenths must entirely renounce all personality and become, so to speak, a herd, in order, through absolute obedience, by a series of regenerations, to regain their original innocence, almost like the old Garden of Eden, although, as may be remarked in passing, they will have to work. The measures proposed by the author for depriving nine-tenths of humanity of their personal will and for turning them into a herd by means of a new education during whole generations are uncommonly remarkable and are, in addition, based on the facts of nature and are highly logical. …”
Now we have Peter Verkhovenski speaking to Stavrogiri on Shigalev’s ideas: —
“One thing about his book is good, the idea of espionage. In his idea, every member of the society spies on the others, and is bound to inform against them when necessary. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. . . . First of all, the level of education, science, and innate natural talent, falls. A high intellectual level is possible only to superior talents. Superior talents have always seized power for themselves and led to despotism. Men of talent cannot help becoming despots, they have always done more harm than good; therefore they are driven out or put to death. . . . Slaves must be equal; without despotism there has never yet been freedom or equality; but in the herd all must be equal, that’s Shigalevism. Does that seem extraordinary to you ? I am for Shigalevism. . . . Listen, Stavrogin; to level mountains is a fine idea, not a ridiculous one. Education is not necessary and we have enough science. Even without science we have material enough to last for a thousand years, but first we must enforce obedience. The thirst for education is an aristocratic impulse; with family and love you have the desire for property. We will destroy this desire; we will spread drunkenness, slander, espionage; we’ll spread incredible demoralisation; we’ll murder every genius in infancy. Everything will be reduced to a common denominator, complete equality will be enforced. . . . Only the indispensable is indispensable; henceforth this is to be the motto of the universe. But it needs shocks; we’ll provide for them, we the directors. Slaves must have directors. Complete obedience, complete impersonality; occasionally, however, every thirty years or so, Shigalev will let them have a shock, and then they will begin to suddenly devour each other, of course only up to a certain point, for the sole purpose of preventing boredom. Boredom is an aristocratic feeling; there will be no desires under Shigalevism. Desire and suffering for us, Shigalevism for the slaves.”
The above was written in 1871. The reader will perceive how the ideas of Dostoevski have found expression in Bolshevism; in them you have a forecast of what is developing in the only “Socialist” country in the world.
In 1879 Dostoevski gave us the following, in “The Brothers Karamazov” : —
“Oh, we shall convince them that they cannot be free till they renounce their freedom in our favour and submit to us. … Too well, all too well, will they know the value of submission once and for all! Men will be unhappy till they grasp this. However, the flock will collect again and submit once mere, and then it will be for ever, for ever. We will give them a quiet, modest happiness, the happiness of feeble creatures such as they were created. Oh, we shall convince them at last that they have no right to be proud. . . . Yes, we will force them to work, but in their free time we will make their life like a game, with songs, choruses, and innocent dances. Oh, we will even permit them to sin—for they are weak and feeble—and they will love us like children, because we allow them to sin. We shall permit or forbid them to live with wives or lovers, to have or not to have children—according to whether they have been obedient or disobedient, and they will submit to us gladly and joyfully. . . . And they will all be happy, all the millions, except the hundred thousand who rule over them. For we alone, we who guard the mystery, we alone shall be unhappy. There will be thousands of millions of happy children and only a hundred thousand martyrs, who have taken on themselves the curse of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Read the Russian writers who influenced the ideas of the revolutionists, study Russian history and you will understand why this Bolshevik religion, for that is what it is, has failed to obtain control of the Western mind; it is alien and foreign and blind to the real aspirations of the modern world.
In order to win freedom we must prove ourselves worthy, we must show that we have developed in the working class the knowledge and the ability to enable society to function on a higher plane. We must appeal to the best that is in the human make-up. Bolshevism appeals to the worst.
The sands of capitalism are running down in the glass : the world may not for long be solidly established upon the economic basis of production for sale.
The common ownership of the means of life and the establishrnent of a system of production for use is the next stage in human development; the war cannot end satisfactorily until the working class carry out their historic mission.
Let them take their stand openly and honourably for Socialism; history is on their side; the emancipation of mankind is involved in the issue.