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Book Review: Joshua Rubenstein, Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life

[ 70 ] November 30, 2011 |

Joshua Rubenstein provides a nice, quick overview to the life of Leon Trotsky that I would recommend for anyone interested in learning a bit more about this enigmatic figure of 20th century radicalism. Often, shorter biographies tend to eschew a unique point of view. Rubenstein avoids this pitfall, firmly placing Trotsky’s life within a Jewish context, no doubt to an extent Trotsky himself would be uncomfortable with.

Among his many hats, Rubenstein is Northeast Regional Director of Amnesty International USA, a background which strongly colors his view of Trotsky. He is completely open about this and I respect him for this. Writing about leftists still leaves authors open to ideological attack and Rubenstein meets this head on. He respects Trotsky on one level, but also sees him as fully capable of murderous violence who used the system he revolted against in order to maximize Soviet power. By the time I read of Trotsky’s opposition to Stalin, I wanted to root for Trotsky, but it’s hard to forget his own actions in the Kronstadt Rebellion, where he brutally crushed sailors protesting the new regime, killing 2000 outright and thousands more slowly in concentration camps.

Trotsky is the easiest Soviet revolutionary to romanticize. His fall from power and subsequent life in Mexico where he was sleeping with Frida Kahlo and getting killed by an ice axe to the back of the head make him like an earlier version of Che Guevara. No one is going to look bad on anyone who stood up to Stalin. Trotsky has missed some of the criticism directed at Lenin’s own murderous leadership. Trostkyism because a communist alternative to CPUSA Stalinism. Plus Trotsky is just so damn interesting. Unlike the dullard Stalin or the single-minded Lenin, Trotsky seems like a guy you’d like to spend some time with. He charmed people everywhere he went.

But as Rubenstein reminds us, while maybe Trotsky would have been less brutal than Stalin, maybe he wouldn’t have been. He was as committed an ideologue as Lenin or Stalin and clearly showed his willingness to engage in massive violations of human rights to achieve his goal. As Rubenstein states, it’s almost impossible to put ourselves in the political mindset of the early twentieth century, but it’s striking how utterly narrow-minded the communists were. They were so convinced of their own doctrinaire correctness and the destiny of history that flexible thought seemed impossible.

What makes this book different than other Trotsky biographies is its explicitly Jewish focus. Trotsky, born Lev Bronstein, grew up in the atmosphere of official late 19th century anti-Semitism. But he never identified as a Jew. One of the most interesting parts of the book was seeing the communists and the Zionists interact–Russian Jews had many options open to them: emigration, Zionism, revolution. Trotsky rejected his own Judaism and chose the latter as a Russian. But Rubenstein also shows that radical movements were full of Jews seeing violence as their only defense and that Trotsky surrounded himself with Jews all his life. Not to mention that Stalin moved against Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev through stirring up anti-Semitism.

If anything, Rubenstein may overplay the Jewish angle a bit given Trotsky’s own discomfort with it. Sometimes, it feels tacked on. On other hand, the book is part of Yale University Press’ Jewish Lives series. In any case, this is a minor critique. It’s a fine and very readable overview.

An Afterword: A few years ago, I visited Trotsky’s home in Mexico City where he was killed. I was hoping for blood stains on the wall, but alas no. It was a very cool tour however. I peaked into the bathroom. I wondered if that was Trotsky’s toilet. I didn’t ask though. I have a sort of fascination with historical toilets. Not long ago, I put a picture on Facebook of a chamber pot in Albert Gallatin’s Pennsylvania home that I visited earlier this year.

Of course, it’s not the toilets themselves I am interested in (though the one in Martin Van Buren’s house is actually pretty cool). I think the interests comes from being not totally comfortable with great man history. The toilet humanizes these individuals. This is more salient in the history of radicalism. Trotsky’s life is supposed to be the story of people rising up against oppression, but like communist rule around the world, it became about a few extraordinarily powerful individuals. Even much of the history of the American labor movement tends toward celebrating Haywood and Lewis and Gompers. It feels like a betrayal. The toilet helps me deal with the failure.

Comments (70)

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  1. Malaclypse says:

    As Rubenstein states, it’s almost impossible to put ourselves in the political mindset of the early twentieth century, but it’s striking how utterly narrow-minded the communists were. They were so convinced of their own doctrinaire correctness and the destiny of history that flexible thought seemed impossible.

    I’d argue against this. Rosa Luxembourg was consistent in denouncing the Bolsheviks’ anti-democratic tendencies. Had she and Liebknecht not been murdered, and had revolution come to Germany, our ideas of what “communists” were like would be far different.

    Also, Trotsky’s own works are well worth reading, both as history and as literature. My Life and History of the Russian Revolution are flat-out fascinating. And the Deutscher three-volume biography is also a good place to start.

    • Malaclypse says:

      Oh, and this is not to argue against the narrow-minded doctrinaire correctness of the Bolsheviks, but just to point out that in the 1920s, there were still non-Bolshevik versions of Marxism.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      “I’d argue against this. Rosa Luxembourg was consistent in denouncing the Bolsheviks’ anti-democratic tendencies. Had she and Liebknecht not been murdered, and had revolution come to Germany, our ideas of what “communists” were like would be far different.”

      I’m skeptical. The period was full of dictators of all stripes. Hard to see German communists being all that different. Though who can tell.

    • Rosa L. would have gotten a shiv in her back the moment the German Communists consolidated political power. She would have been the Communist version of Roehm.

      • Matt_L says:

        Exactly right. Rosa Luxemburg was an awesome theoretician and activist, but she would not have had the backing of the rest of the KPD.

      • gmack says:

        Right. I have no idea precisely what would have happened to Luxembourg, but it isn’t difficult to imagine that she would not have become the leader in a German communist regime. But who knows? I didn’t imagine that it could happen that communism or South African apartheid collapsing peacefully, or that the OWS/Wisconsin protests this year would occur, so maybe my imagination is more stunted than it should be.

  2. shah8 says:

    Revolutionary movements needs thugs. Therefore, thugs got to determine the boundaries of what they were willing to fight for. Given that thugs are narrow-minded, that usually means that the revolution is narrow-minded. No thugs? Then the existing power structure either disposes of you, or you’re up against the wall in the aftermath-Reign of Terror

    Not gunna change from 44 B.C., 1848, early 20th, or now.

    • Revolutionary movements needs thugs.

      So the Big, Giant Brains of the revolution bring in some thugs, and they’re always surprised when the Stalins and Saddams they created end up crossing them and taking over.

    • chris says:

      1776?

      I guess the revolution’s chief “thug” did become one of its early political leaders as well, but that didn’t make him set himself up as a dictator.

      • DrDick says:

        On the other hand, the American Revolution is one of the few examples of a revolution that did not end on a violent bloodbath and massive repression. It is one of the reasons I am not a revolutionary socialist.

        • Bill Murray says:

          did not end on a violent bloodbath and massive repression.

          as long as you don’t count its effect on the natives

          • dave says:

            Yah, the Indians, the slaves and 100,000 Tories might beg to differ, for different values of ‘massive repression’, obviously.

            • DrDick says:

              There is really little evidence that there would have been much difference over the medium term in the treatment of the Indians or slaves (the latter would have been freed sooner, but not until well into the 19th century). Again, my point was in terms of dealings with the Tories, and I have not seen reports of mass incarceration or executions of them, in contrast to the French, Russian, Chinese, or pretty much all other revolutions. That is not to say they were necessarily treated well, just not as badly as most.

              • Malaclypse says:

                As I understand it, Tories were mainly punished by tar and feathering, which is a really really horrible thing, often followed by exile. Not as horrible as execution, but still pretty bad.

              • Bill Murray says:

                IIRC one issue in the Am Rev was that the British weren’t or weren’t going to let the Colonists take new Native lands like they wanted too.

                • DrDick says:

                  It was one of the issues, but not because the Crown was opposed to expansion of the colonies. They just wanted to control the locations and timing of expansion. In particular, they wanted to pay off the Seven Years War (i.e., the French and Indian War in the colonies), which the colonists had precipitated, before engaging in more expansion.

              • (the latter would have been freed sooner, but not until well into the 19th century)

                It’s also quite possible that Britain would have ended slavery even later than it did if it had controlled the growing plantation regions of its southern American colonies during the 19th century.

              • Ed says:

                (the latter would have been freed sooner, but not until well into the 19th century).

                Those slaves who dashed for the British lines probably had an idea which way the wind was blowing.

                Had the colonies stayed in, slavery would likely have ended sooner, with compensation for the slaveowners.

          • DrDick says:

            My reference was in terms of the internal opposition, given that an estimated third of the colonists were Tories. Dealings with the Indians (which is my specialty) were part of foreign affairs at the time.

            • Bill Murray says:

              I doubt that made much difference to the people killed and exploited

              • But since we’re not talking about the feelings of the people who were killed, but rather, the effect of the revolution on whether people were killed, this little emotional appeal doesn’t really tell us anything.

                I’m sure the people who were killed in the Caucasus by Soviet imperialism didn’t like it very much, but that doesn’t mean that their lot would have been meaningfully different than it would have been under the czars, or that their deaths are appropriately blamed on the revolution.

                • As opposed to the “kulaks,” whose lot was indeed quite different under the Soviet regime than under the czars, and whose deaths can therefore be attributed to the revolution.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Which people in the Caucasus are you talking about? The ethnic cleansing of the Cossacks in the 1920s would not have occurred under the Tsars. As for the native population it is difficult to tell. But, it is doubtful that Tsar Nicholas II would have been able to repeat the mass expulsion of the Circassians done under Alexander the II with any other groups. It is merely speculation, but given the existing trends I am doubting that any surviving Tsarist regime could have repeated the genocide committed against the Circassians with the Chechens or any other Caucasian group. That was something that really did require somebody like Stalin by the middle of the 20th century.

                  Stalin did manage to deport for 12 years all the Chechens, Ingush, Karachays, and Balkars from the Caucasus and killed about a third of them in the process. He managed to permanently remove the Meskhetian Turks from Georgia. I am pretty sure regardless of what a surviving Tsarist government would have done that the horrors inflicted on these people can be laid squarely at the feet of the Stalin regime. A regime that would not have come to power absent the 1917 Revolution.

                • I am doubting that any surviving Tsarist regime could have repeated the genocide committed against the Circassians with the Chechens or any other Caucasian group.

                  Well, we’re talking about a counter-factual in which the czarist regime was strong enough to not get overthrown in the first place.

                  You’re getting a lot more specific that I intended. I was observing that the imperialist, pacifying, Russianizing mission in the Caucasus that took place under the Soviets was a consistent with the history under the czars, not something novel that the revolution brought about.

                • You’re right, of course, that revolutions can change not just a state’s character, but its capabilities.

                  That just wasn’t where I was going with the example.

              • DrDick says:

                The current conversation is in regard to internal repercussions, not foreign policy. I completely agree that US federal Indian policy is an ongoing disgrace (Native Americans is my specialty and my son is half Cherokee), but that does not really have direct bearing on the current discussion. It is also worth noting that British Indian policy was far from benevolent and the long term consequences would not likely have been significantly better.

                • DrDick says:

                  I would add that the federal government provided an important buffer against many of the states, especially Georgia, in the Early Republic. Interestingly, they largely adopted policies similar to those of the British prior to the Revolution (mostly for the same reasons – they could not afford an Indian War right then).

  3. Malaclypse says:

    Trotsky’s life is supposed to be the story of people rising up against oppression, but like communist rule around the world, it became about a few extraordinarily powerful individuals.

    And now that I read your afterward: Read History of the Russian Revolution. While my memory may be wrong, as I have not cracked it in 20 years, I remember being struck at how very many individuals were in his narrative.

  4. J. Otto Pohl says:

    On the Jewish issue I think there has been some movement recently to integrate Soviet Jews and Soviet history rather than just portray them as victims of the regime. Yuri Slezkine’s, _The Jewish Century_ a few years back gave a strong push to this move to look at Soviet Jews not just as Jewish communities in the USSR, but also participants in the Soviet government and a larger Soviet society. There was before Slezkine a lot of reluctance by Jewish historians to admit to a Jewish role in the Soviet government and an emphasis on Jews as special victims of the USSR. Now there are people like Rubenstein who are not afraid to note that the Jews like every other nationality in the USSR had a more complex history.

  5. ploeg says:

    Often toilets are an essential part of the repressive state apparatus. Lyndon Johnson in particular was known for ruling from the throne.

  6. Karl Radek says:

    <emAs far as the prohibition of other Soviet parties is concerned, it did not flow from any “theory” of Bolshevism but was a measure of defense of the dictatorship in a backward and devastated country, surrounded by enemies on all sides. For the Bolsheviks it was clear from the beginning that this measure, later completed by the prohibition of factions inside the governing party itself, signalized a tremendous danger. However, the root of the danger lay not in the doctrine or the tactics but in the material weakness of the dictatorship, in the difficulties of its internal and international situation. If the revolution had triumphed, even if only in Germany, the need of prohibiting the other Soviet parties would have immediately fallen away. It is absolutely indisputable that the domination of a single party served as the juridical point of departure for the Stalinist totalitarian regime. But the reason for this development lies neither in Bolshevism nor in the prohibition of other parties as a temporary war measure, but in the number of defeats of the proletariat in Europe and Asia.
    The same applies to the struggle with anarchism. In the heroic epoch of the revolution the Bolsheviks went hand in hand with genuinely revolutionary anarchists. Many of them were drawn into the ranks of the party. The author of these lines discussed with Lenin more than once the possibility of allotting the anarchists certain territories where, with the consent of the local population, they would carry out their stateless experiment. But civil war, blockade and hunger left no room for such plans. The Kronstadt insurrection? But the revolutionary government could naturally not “present” to the insurrectionary sailors the fortress which protected the capital only because the reactionary peasant-soldier rebellion was joined by a few doubtful anarchists. A concrete historical analysis of the events leaves not the slightest room for the legends, built up on ignorance and sentimentality, concerning Kronstadt, Makhno and other episodes of the revolution.
    http://wsws.org/articles/2008/oct2008/stal-o20.shtml

  7. Randy Paul says:

    I used to know Josh back when I was NYC Area Coordinator for Amnesty International and Josh was Northeast Region Executive Director. He’s a good guy and I’m glad to see him get this out.

  8. Helen says:

    ” I wondered if that was Trotsky’s toilet. I didn’t ask though.”

    Also, did the change of diet give him the Trots, I wonder?

  9. LeeEsq says:

    To say Trotsky found is Jewishness uncomfortable is an understatement. He and Rosa Luxembourg routinely expressed coldness to the plight of the Jews and distanced themselves from Jewish issues as much as possible. Of the non-Zionist and non-Bundist Jewish radicals of the era, regardless of country or continent, only anarchist Emma Goldman made no attempts to distance herself from her Jewishness.

  10. Karl Radek says:

    <emThe issue of Trotsky’s original name is of both historical and political significance. It is well known that references to Trotsky as Bronstein, a name that he had not used since 1902, became increasingly common in the mid-1920s as the Stalinist bureaucracy intensified its campaign against the Left Opposition. References to Trotsky as Bronstein (and to Zinoviev as Radomyslsky and Kamenev as Rosenfeld) became part of the stock-in-trade of the Stalinists. During the Moscow Trials, Trotsky drew attention to the anti-Semitic sub-text of the proceedings, in which so many Jews were among the defendants. Curiously, many bourgeois liberals of Jewish origin in the United States, including the politically prominent Rabbi Stephen Wise, denounced Trotsky for calling attention to this aspect of the trials. This willingness to maintain a polite silence on the anti-Semitic stench emanating from the Kremlin reflected the indulgent attitude of liberals toward Stalinism during the era of Popular Frontism.
    http://wsws.org/articles/2009/dec2009/serv-d15.shtml

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      Except the show trials of prominent communists such as Kamenev and Zinoviev were very small portion of the Great Terror. The vast majority of the nearly 800,000 people shot by the NKVD in 1937-1938 were workers and peasants not communist party officials. Out of the various national operations which claimed some quarter of a million lives there was a German operation, a Polish Operation, a Greek Operation, a Latvian Operation, and a Finnish Operation. But, there was not a Jewish operation. Primarily because at that time Jews had no independent state outside the USSR they could be linked to as foreign spies. The Poles, Germans, and Latvians on the other hand were disproportionately targeted precisely because the Soviet government had a racialized concept of ethnicity that primordially linked nationalities to their ancestral homelands. This also explains why official anti-Semitism in the USSR really only arises after 1948 when there is a Jewish state in Palestine.

  11. bobbyp says:

    On the other hand, the American Revolution is one of the few examples of a revolution that did not end on a violent bloodbath

    It was more of a civil war than the type of revolution that is viewed through the prism of class. Our revolutionaries were the home grown political and economic elite, hardly the stuff of the revolt of the masses. That, and they won.

  12. chris says:

    Russian Jews had many options open to them: emigration, Zionism, revolution. Trotsky rejected his own Judaism and chose the latter as a Russian.

    I wonder whether you would similarly describe Jews living in, e.g., the United States as “rejecting their own Judaism”? (Or is that Rubenstein’s phrasing?)

  13. Anderson says:

    Yah, pity for Trotsky is like pity for Ernst Roehm. Evil bastards all. Even if it’s understandable that Lenin is an ambiguous figure in Russians’ minds.

  14. Lee says:

    When I was younger and involved a soc.history.what-if, I once proposed an alternative history where young Lev Bronstein read Pinsker’s Auto-Emancipation and Hess’ Rome and Jerusalem rather than the works of Marx and became an ardent Zionist rather than a an ardent Marxist. Bronstein/Trotsky in the Labor Zionist movement would be interesting.

    • Anderson says:

      Yes, we might have seen an Israel that ruthlessly oppresses its Palestinian residents and denies civil rights to Arab quasi-citizens.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        How is that different from what actually happened?

      • Lee says:

        You are aware that George Kara, an Arab-Israeli, prosided over a trial where the defendant was the Jewish President of the Jewish State and the crime was rape. You are aware that Arabs sat in the Knesset, have sat in the Israeli cabinet, and hold positions all over the Israeli government.

        Meanwhile, the recently liberated Libyan masses rallied together to pick on one Jewish refugee from Libya who attempted to observe Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in the land of his birth. The Egyptians and other Arab countries are trying to kick out their Christians just as they kicked out their Jews decades ago even though the Arabs insist that they are merely anti-Zionist rather than anti-Jewish though their actions betray them. The media of Muslim countries is filled with Jew-hate that rivals Der Strummer but thats okay because its Israel that is the source of all evil in the Middle East.

        You anti-Zionists live in fantasy world where without Israel the Middle East would be a secular democratic multicultural place despite all evidence to the contrary. The Arab nationalists, whether Christian or Muslim, had no intentions of including the Jews of the Middle East in their states just like the European nationalists. The Islamists definetly had no use for Jews other than as second class citizens. Yet all of this is okay with you. You would just twiddle your thumbs and find excuses for the persecution of the Jews.

        • You are aware that George Kara, an Arab-Israeli, prosided over a trial where the defendant was the Jewish President of the Jewish State and the crime was rape. You are aware that Arabs sat in the Knesset, have sat in the Israeli cabinet, and hold positions all over the Israeli government.

          So, therefore, the Israelis don’t oppress the Palestinians in the territories, and Arabs aren’t denied civil rights in Israel.

          Meanwhile, the recently liberated Libyan masses rallied together…

          So, therefore, the Israelis don’t oppress the Palestinians in the territories, and Arabs aren’t denied civil rights in Israel.

          The Egyptians and other Arab countries…

          So, therefore, the Israelis don’t oppress the Palestinians in the territories, and Arabs aren’t denied civil rights in Israel.

          The media of Muslim countries is filled with Jew-hate that rivals Der Strummer but thats okay because its Israel that is the source of all evil in the Middle East.

          So, therefore, the Israelis don’t oppress the Palestinians in the territories, and Arabs aren’t denied civil rights in Israel.

          You’re babbling.

        • Hogan says:

          Jew-hate that rivals Der Strummer

          Hey, let’s not drag The Clash into this. They were with the good skinheads.

  15. Karl Radek says:

    Thermidor and Anti-Semitism:

    <emSome would-be “pundits” have even accused me of “suddenly” raising the “Jewish question” and of intending to create some kind of ghetto for the Jews. I can only shrug my shoulders in pity. I have lived my whole life outside Jewish circles. I have always worked in the Russian workers’ movement. My native tongue is Russian. Unfortunately, I have not even learned to read Jewish. The Jewish question has never occupied the center of my attention. But that does not mean that I have the right to be blind to the Jewish problem which exists and demands solution. “The Friends of the USSR” are satisfied with the creation of Birobidjan. I will not stop at this point to consider whether it was built on a sound foundation, and what type of regime exists there. (Birobidjan cannot help reflecting all the vices of bureaucratic despotism.) But not a single progressive, thinking individual will object to the USSR designating a special territory for those of its citizens who feel themselves to be Jews, who use the Jewish language in preference to all others and who wish to live as a compact mass. Is this or is this not a ghetto? During the period of Soviet democracy, of completely voluntary migrations, there could be no talk about ghettos. But the Jewish question, by the very manner in which settlements of Jews occurred, assumes an international aspect. Are we not correct in saying that a world socialist federation would have to make possible the creation of a “Birobidjan” for those Jews who wish to have their own autonomous republic as the arena for their own culture? It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will not resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very well be that within two or three generations the boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of many other national regions, will be erased. I have neither time nor desire to meditate on this. Our descendents will know better than we what to do. I have in mind a transitional historical period when the Jewish question, as such, is still acute and demands adequate measures from a world federation of workers’ states. The very same methods of solving the Jewish question which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and reactionary character (Zionism), will, under the regime of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary meaning. This is what I wanted to point out. How could any Marxist, or even any consistent democrat, object to this?

  16. wengler says:

    I don’t think tackling Trotsky from the point of his Jewish backgound could be that illuminating. It would be almost as if you came at Ayn Rand in the same way. The only people who cared that they were born into Jewish families were oppositional propagandists.

    Trotsky was kind of late to the Bolshevik party. That he was able to become a number two to Lenin after the Revolution was probably the most impressive thing about him, as well as his organizational skill as basically the head of the War Ministry during the Civil War.

    From there it would be hard to separate his own brutality from Lenin’s. This post mentioned Kronstadt which is of course a big massacre of anarchist sailors at the end of the war, but routine massacre originated from Trotsky’s office including really draconian stuff like using Red Guard detachments to decimate peasants who wouldn’t serve in the Red Army.

    Trotsky is an interesting historical figure, but a lot of people seem to cast him in an alternative role as someone who could’ve saved the Soviet Union. Lenin and Trotsky bathed it in blood. It might’ve not been the creation of a paranoid monster like Stalin, but there would’ve been blood either way. And Stalin actually softened the ideological tone rather than stiffening it.

  17. And Stalin actually softened the ideological tone rather than stiffening it.

    Again, like Saddam. They were just thugs who were along for the ride, ideologically.

    • Anderson says:

      Stalin didn’t give a rat’s ass about ideology, except insofar as (1) his prestige depended on seeming to master it (see Short Course) and (2) his opponent of the moment could be portrayed as deviating from it.

  18. Ralph Hitchens says:

    Good review; I agree that he would probably have been about as bad as Stalin in many respects.

    Re. toilets…. Back in the 70s when I was in the Air Force & stationed in Germany I went into the Burgerbraukeller in Munich, & reflected, in the men’s room, that I might well be pissing where Hitler pissed. Cheap thrill.

  19. Karl Radek says:

    An exchange on Bolshevism and revolutionary violence:

    Trotsky discussed the fate of the Czar in entries in his diary from April 1935. He explained that the executions took place when he was at the front, in this most critical period of the Civil War. He found out when he returned to Moscow that the decision had been made by the Bolshevik leadership under Lenin. “[T]he decision was not only expedient but necessary,” Trotsky wrote. “The severity of this summary justice showed the world that we would continue to fight on mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Tsar’s family was needed not only in order to frighten, horrify, and dishearten the enemy, but also in order to shake up our own ranks, to show them that there was no turning back, that ahead lay either complete victory or complete ruin.”

    This was not the first time that such measures of revolutionary terror had been required in history, and it had nothing to do with acts of individual terror, which Marxists irreconcilably oppose. Extraordinary measures are sometimes needed in civil war conditions. Without the ruthless measures of the Bolsheviks, the counterrevolution would have triumphed, with incalculably tragic consequences for the worker and peasant masses. The Bolsheviks were fighting an international counterrevolutionary conspiracy, in which all the imperialist powers, including the United States, were determined to strangle the Revolution at birth. The Bolsheviks were no more “immoral” than Abraham Lincoln, under whose command General Sherman marched through Georgia in 1864 in a campaign of calculated and ruthless destruction designed to demoralize and shatter the Confederacy….

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/exch-d271.shtml

    • wengler says:

      Using Confederate propaganda in an attempt to take the Bolsheviks off the hook is amusing to read.

      Hell, Lincoln could’ve had a real disloyalty problem in his officer corps but he didn’t bother to use political officers to blow off the heads of any of those he suspected. Weak bastard.

  20. [...] to have (reasonable bathrooms to begin with. But where’s the art in the toilet. And yes, we are back to my toilet obsession). Still, provocative argument worth [...]

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