Intro to State And Revolution – by Amanda S. Green
After a couple of months reviewing HRC’s book, What Happened, I needed a break. I’d promised Sarah I’d continue posting on Thursdays for her (I’m a fan of her fiction and will do just about anything to give her a little extra time to feed my reading habit). But that left me with the question of what to blog about next. I’d initially considered doing Donna Brazile’s book but, to be honest, I simply couldn’t look at another book related to the 2016 election. So that leaves out the latest book blasting Trump and his administration. So, what to do? What to do?
It turned out the question wasn’t all that difficult to answer. It also turned on the 2016 election cycle, not to mention some of our current headlines. I’ll be honest. I’m not sure the results of the election would have been the same if the fix hadn’t been in. If Bernie Sanders had been the candidate or if Clinton had been smart enough to share a ticket with him against Trump, we might have seen a very different result and that scares the crap out of me. Why? Because all those who fall to their knees at Sanders’ feet don’t understand the reality of what he’s preaching. They don’t understand that socialism doesn’t work. They fail to recognize it quickly becomes a society of more equal among equals.
And that, my friends, is what set me down the path of the next few posts.
No, I’m not reviewing the new book today. Instead, I want to explain why I’ve chosen a book I doubt few of you would have guessed would be in the running. That book is State and Revolution by Vladimir Lenin. Yes, that Lenin. I first read it in the original Russian years ago. My Russian’s not that good any longer, so I spent time finding an older translation that hasn’t been updated to reflect modern “sensibilities”. I chose it so that the words of one of the founders of modern socialism and communism can be considered and discussed.
But those words need to be put into context. Russia in 1917 was rife for revolution. Tsar Nicholas II was anything but a strong, much less wise, leader. His wife, Alexandra, would do anything to save their son who suffered from hemophilia. The family fell under the sway of the “Mad Monk” Rasputin. At the same time, the country was going to hell in the proverbial handbasket and had been for some time. That is all historical fact and I won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty detail.
Where our understanding of Russia and Soviet communism and socialism fail is in how it manifested over the years and the kind of force that was required to keep it alive. No one disputes the fact that Josef Stalin was a tyrant. Yet, to listen to many, you would think the Soviet Union was a social and economic paradise. There are claims of no unemployment. The state provided medical coverage to one and all. You got your education. It was wonderful.
This is the portrait of Soviet society so many of our young people have swallowed. It is the basic portrait of a society that we could have here according to Bernie and his followers.
And it scares me to death.
A friend of mine was born in the Soviet Union. She spent much of her formative years there before her parents managed to escape. A man I respected more than most anyone and who I would trust with the lives of my loved ones spent much of World War II posing as a Muscovite peasant – without the Soviets knowing. I’ve been behind the Iron Curtain and talked with men and women who had to watch as their countries were turned over to Stalin and his friends as part of the Pottsdam Conference.
Much of what happened is on us and on Great Britain. Our leaders sat down with Stalin and drew a line on the map, giving him what we called Eastern Europe – and East Germany. It didn’t matter what the people living in countries like Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia and others wanted. We gave Uncle Josef what he wanted. Whether as a means of thanking him for taking our side against Hitler or to appease him and protect our Western European allies, it doesn’t matter. It is up to us to learn from what happened to those countries and their citizens after 1945 and learn from it.
No matter what anyone tries to say, those countries weren’t willing partners in the Soviet bloc. When Hungary rebelled in 1956, the USSR acted swiftly and decisively. By the time the revolution was quashed on November 10, 1956, more than 2,500 Hungarians had been killed and more than 200,000 had fled. The new government, the Soviet backed government, made sure there would be no other such rebellions.
Czechoslovakia waited until 1968 to try to fight for its freedom. They failed. Overnight, troops from the Warsaw Pact (USSR, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and East Germany) rolled in. 137 Czechs were killed. More than 500 were wounded and the Soviet Union once more tightened its noose around the country’s neck.
Think about that. Think about having the boot of Communism bearing down on your neck, cutting off your pride, your freedom, your sense of individuality.
Let’s look at some of the misconceptions about life under Soviet communism/socialism. No unemployment. Pardon me while I call bullshit. What that meant was they had people sitting in chairs in museums sleeping. Or walking up and down the trolley lines with a stick. Sometimes those stooped old men and women might dig some dirt out of the tracks but mainly they trudged back and forth, a glassy look to their eyes. You had a job, but that didn’t mean you were “employed”. It just meant you were out of the house – maybe. And since all you had to do was show up and get paid, the USSR wasn’t producing much, so where did the money come from to pay all those “workers?” Well, sometimes they didn’t’ get paid at all, but salaries and resources were largely appropriated (read: stolen) from those considered “rich” who weren’t part of the “more equal among equals”.
Alcohol abuse ran rampant. Hell, you could buy vodka out of machines on the sidewalk, just as you could water. There is a problem when a country has the level of alcoholism the USSR did. The people used liquor to escape their miserable lives, and when they couldn’t buy vodka, they used whatever drugs they could get their hands on to forget where they were and how awful their existences were. By the time glasnost came about under Gorbachev, the USSR had one of the highest substance abuse rates in the world.
Medical care there was archaic compared to what we had here. The hospital I visited while there was one of the country’s best. Yet it reminded me of what our hospitals looked like 50 years earlier. Use of anesthesia for many surgeries was unheard of. My friend had both adenoids and tonsils removed as a child while she was awake and fully conscious. Think about that and tell me socialized medicine is something you really want.
But it didn’t stop there. Sanitization was a myth. I watched doctors and nurses performing procedures like changing dressings without gloving up. Heck, they didn’t even wash their hands after entering the room, touching the door, shaking hands, etc. I prayed I didn’t get sick while there because I did not want to risk Soviet medicine.
Of course, as with many nations with socialized medicine, there was another level, a higher level of treatment, available if you were high enough in the Party or had enough money (which meant being high enough in the Party). That medical care included things like anesthesia, better facilities, drugs appropriate to your symptoms and not having to wait until you risked death for treatment. It was another instance of being the more equal among equals.
Your quality of life in the Soviet Union, especially if you lived in the city, depended on your role in the Party. And, yes, Party membership was pretty much mandatory. But there was a Catch-22. Even though party membership was basically mandatory, it wasn’t automatic. If you were considered too bourgeois, or if your family had a history of being trouble for the Party, membership could and would be denied. That meant finding a job could be next to impossible. Want better housing? Forget about it. The Party had you by the short ones and there was little, if anything, you could do about it.
But even if you were “lucky” enough to be a member of the Party, that didn’t mean life was much easier. If you weren’t high enough in the Party, you got to join all your neighbors standing in line for bread or other things we take for granted. You couldn’t practice the religion of your choice. The only recognized religion was devotion to the State. Everything you owned was the State’s. Protests weren’t tolerated, and it wasn’t unusual for people to disappear from their homes at night, never to be heard from again.
This is the sort of world the Left wants us to move toward. Oh, they try to make it sound enticing by talking about all the “equality” and “freedom” we’d have. After all, who wouldn’t like to be worry-free when it comes to medical care, etc.? But reality is often very different from theory and that is especially true when it comes to socialism and communism. Why? Because people are people. Some of us have ambitions and want to do our best. Others want power and will do anything to gain it. Others are spiritual and want to be able to believe what they want and worship when and where they want without government interference. All of which means true socialism can never exist.
So, starting next week, I’ll do a couple of posts on Lenin’s State and Revolution. I have no doubt, I’ll be comparing what he wrote with what Bernie and his followers preach.
[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to Send the woman a drink– And her Amazon author page is here -SAH]