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Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 at 9:46 PM
Right now, the entire world's banking system is being pressed to the limit of what it can do to prevent a worldwide crash of the capitalist system due to what one European banker called "a complete evaporation of liquidity" [Source: "ECB reportedly weighs dollar swap with Fed", MarketWatch.com, 13 August, 2007]. In layman's terms, that means that the world's banking system is running out of the funds needed to keep the capitalist credit system running.
"Old Europe" Bails Out Idiot-run Free-Market US Government - Again
A Rant about the Latest Crisis of the Capitalist System, by Varlet
In what has become practically a once-a-decade event, the European Central Bank has rushed to the barricades to defend the structural integrity of a world capitalist system brought to its knees by the shortsightedness, corruption and downright stupidity of the United States Government, its legislators, its idiotic capitalist class and their pigheaded adherence to free-market capitalist philosophy.
Right now, the entire world's banking system is being pressed to the limit of what it can do to prevent a worldwide crash of the capitalist system due to what one European banker called "a complete evaporation of liquidity" [Source: "ECB reportedly weighs dollar swap with Fed", MarketWatch.com, 13 August, 2007]. In layman's terms, that means that the world's banking system is running out of the funds needed to keep the capitalist credit system running. Banks are refusing to lend money to even their longtime trading partners for fear that they might not have enough money on hand to defend themselves from demands for immediate payment from their own creditors, or to bail out their own subsidiaries which are hemorrhaging money due to the popping of the US real estate bubble.
The whole crisis can be traced to the United States and its bribed, corrupt government that has allowed its own banking system to be run by pigs who think of nothing but making themselves rich regardless of how their actions could jeopardize the entire capitalist system. In the 1980s and 1990s, the "Greed is Good" philosophy of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations led, first, to a US S&L crisis and then to the biggest stock market crash in US history, as trillions of dollars were pumped into the stock market to fund a generation of corporate swindlers who threw out the past 400 years of economic logic and declared that a "new paradigm" era of capitalism had begun. These capitalist criminals declared that we now lived in an era in which it no longer mattered if a company held valuable assets or even made profits, so long as its' ideas were interesting to websurfers, whose eyeballing of the websites of Dot-Com companies would somehow make everyone in America rich beyond their wildest dreams. The newspapers and magazines were full of utopian rubbish about how the "New Economy" would usher in a new era of everlasting prosperity under capitalism. No longer would the stock market be in danger of crashing - it would just continue to go up and up - forever. Never mind that this "New Paradigm" philosophy was utterly false and that it stood in stark contradiction to 400 years of experience with the capitalist system. It was well known (though systematically downplayed) by every capitalist economist in the world that economic crises like recessions and depressions are as much a part of capitalism as feathers are part of a bird.
It was a wild dream, all right, as millions of American workers found out when their high-flying stock portfolios, once collectively worth trillions of dollars were revealed to be propped up by nothing but a load of free-market capitalist hubris, gross incompetence and outright fraud. All during the run-up to this disaster, the business schools run by free-marketeers at Harvard and University of Chicago were cranking out MBAs as fast as they could, all steeped in the empty phraseology of 18th-century economic philosopher Adam Smith, whose utopian ideas were (and are) long-discredited. "The rich ... divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal proportions among all its inhabitants"; "The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition ... is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations"... and hundreds of other inane, unscientific Enlightenment philosophical philistinisms presented as immutable laws. But it all still sounds great to today's capitalist class, especially in the United States, where the idea of rational regulation of the capitalist system is seen as an abominable idea that could only be preached by godless communists.
In the wake of the 1990s Dot-Com debacle, the main criminals responsible for the mess were allowed to pay infinitesimally small fines (compared to the billions they swindled from the investing public) to avoid jail time. Aside from a handful of highly publicized jail terms meted out to a few capitalists who apparently hadn't bribed enough Senators and States Attorneys during their years of swindling, the vast majority of corporate criminals were allowed by our bribed, corrupt government officials to continue with their depredations, pretending to "reform" and given permission to "police themselves". They paid their pitiably small fines and went right back to their swindling ways almost immediately. This time, though, it wouldn't be just worthless stock they'd sell, but the land and real estate that we need to live on!
So, these greedy scumbags set forth to make themselves richer than Midas by driving up real estate prices through the process of conspiring with their lackeys in Congress to relax the banking laws to remove restraints on moneylending so that "everyone in America" could "own their own home". Our bribed corrupt congress paid back the bankers who hired them to run for public office by allowing all sorts of clearly economically unsound credit scams to be promulgated to the unwary and undereducated working class. These capitalist criminals lent money to people who had no way of ever paying back the loans, offering low interest loans to buy houses. These loans would have low interest rates to start with, but after a short period of time, the interest rates on these loans would skyrocket, making it impossible for the borrower to ever pay the loan back.
"Our" Senators and Representatives, along with their employers the real estate interests, the big bankers and the so-called "subprime" mortgage lenders made billions of dollars selling real estate to people who could barely pay their rent, let alone afford to buy a house. Oftentimes, the lenders didn't even check to see if the borrowers had a job, let alone the economic means to pay back the loan. But the bankers didn't care: they were getting paid very handsomely for the number of deals they made; no one was monitoring them to ensure that the transactions were based on sound, time-tested economic principles. The corrupt Democratic and Republican legislators at the local, state and national levels had called off the banking watchdogs and were making millions of dollars from these swindles, too: either directly, through investments they themselves made in banking and real-estate interests; or indirectly through bribes paid to their election and re-election campaign accounts. The oversight of the banking industry by the US House and Senate consisted of the occasional beetling of brows, hypocritical tongue lashings and wrist-slappings while the great swindle went on and on.
This scam, like the Dot-Com swindle that went before it, created a phony sense of prosperity among the workers of the United States. You bought a house with very little or no money down; easy credit terms allowed all your friends and family to do the same. With millions of workers buying up houses at an unprecedented pace (along with a great many speculators engaged in the disgusting practice of "flipping" properties), the principle of supply-and-demand kicked in, driving the cost of housing into the stratosphere. Homes that in the 1980s were valued at -80,000.00 were soon being reassessed at two or three times that value - or more. Rents skyrocketed. Homeowners were encouraged by the thieving bankers, in defiance of sound economic principles, to treat the increased value of the homes as if it was a bulging piggybank full of cash, just begging to be smashed open and spent. Workers were allowed to take out second and third mortgages on their homes in order to "tap the equity" well - long before they had actually made enough payments to cover the interest on their initial mortgage. And so the ball was set rolling. Once again, we were told by the bribed lackeys of the capitalist news media that real-estate values would go up and up forever. You could buy a house or a condo today and rest assured that its value would go up 17% a year, for the rest of eternity! And since you could be absolutely certain that your home would increase in value every year, you should not hesitate to repeatedly take out mortgages on hour home so you could buy all kinds of junk you didn't need: swimming pools, expensive vacations, new cars, fancy clothes, whatever! Spend and spend some more! You are keeping the economy buzzing, and helping to make everyone rich! It was, indeed, the best of all possible worlds. Too bad it was all a gigantic hoax.
It was as if the 1990s Dot-Com disaster had never happened. Barely a decade later we were being fed a steady diet of the exact same bullshit that we were being stuffed with before the Dot-Com Boom went Bust.
Like a child who believes in Santa Claus, the American worker believed this myth because... he wanted to believe it. The chimerical idea of perpetual prosperity under capitalism is like the siren's song calling sailors to a watery grave. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - no one wants to hear their names today. Haven't their ideas all been discredited? That's what the bourgeois press keeps telling us, anyway. Yes, the bourgeois (capitalist) press. The same gang of liars that told you that if you put all your money in Pets.com you'd be a millionaire by age 30.
Over the past couple of months, the central banks of the world have lent out well over 200 billion to the bankers who are responsible for the collapse of the Great US Real-Estate Swindle. All this money has been needed not to purchase anything useful, but just to keep enough money in the banking system to allow basic economic activity to continue. Adding "liquidity" to the world capitalist banking system, like adding oil to a car's engine, allows the necessary economic processes to take place - borrowing and lending money between banks and their debtors and creditors. How much money it will take to keep the engine of the world's capitalist system from "seizing up" is anyone's guess. But if the crisis continues to deepen and spread far beyond the US subprime mortgage industry, there may not be enough money/oil to keep the entire engine from being destroyed. A world-wide depression is a very real possibility at this point.
The ultimate irony? Once again, it is the capitalist class of "Old Europe"- that continent that the utterly incompetent and venal Bush Administration has ridiculed for being so "out of touch with reality" - that must now come to the rescue of the US by pumping 150 billion Euros into the world's economy in order to keep a US banking scandal from toppling world capitalism! It'd be funny if the lives and futures of 6.7 billion people weren't being threatened with an economic crisis that could easily plunge the workers of the world into a situation that would make the Great Depression look like a Sunday School picnic.
"Old Europe" - yeah, those stupid, backward Europeans with their continent-wide rapid transit systems... with their 35-hour work weeks, and 5 weeks of paid vacations a year... with their universal health care systems and cheap college tuition, all initially fought for and now defended by their socialist, anarchist and communist working classes. And with their "old school" parliamentary system that allows for discredited, hated governments like the Bush Administration to be immediately kicked ass-backward out of office via a simple vote of "no confidence"!
It is this vastly-more-responsibly-run-and-egalitarian-than-the-US capitalist Europe that must now dig into their pockets and bail out the "free-market" "get- government-off-the capitalists' backs" imbeciles in Washington. Because, once again, the free-market idiots in DC have caught their nuts in the wringer with their corrupt government allowing a massive banking swindle to occur that now threatens the stability of the entire world capitalist system.
The US government can also be thankful that "Communist China" has not seen fit to start selling off dollars, because if they did, the result would be that the US dollar would take a plunge like a brick thrown into the Marianas Trench. Maoist China holds a hand full of Aces right now as the US tries to bluff the Chinese into devaluing their currency. In fact China holds all the economic leverage and the US is holding its nothing but its breath.
Of course, the ungrateful pigs in the Bush Administration think that the Europeans owe them an eternal debt for the US capitalist class making big bucks off WWI and WWII, and the Chinese owe the US... well, nothing at all. You won't read much in the US press about how thankful the US capitalist class should be that the Europeans and Chinese are (so far) willing to save the US economy from the US Government's utterly incompetent management of this mortgage lending scam. The fact is that the European Central Bank had to do most of the heavy lending because the US is, basically, flat broke. Yesterday (Monday, 13 August), US banks submitted requests to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for an additional billion dollars in loans. The Fed agreed to lend merely billion! The mismanagement of the US economy under successive Democratic and Republican administrations for the last 30 years has led to a situation where the US is the world's biggest debtor, by far. The money is simply not there. The US economy is being held together with Elmer's Glue and cheap twine made in China. The illusion of American prosperity is going to come crashing down to reality one of these days and it ain't going to be pretty. We have mortgaged our national House too many times over, and the day of reckoning is nigh.
If there's one rule of thumb under capitalism, it might be that when a worker hears a capitalist tell her something is no good for her and has been totally discredited - like socialism - she should assume the opposite is true, or at least take the time to check it out for herself. How much longer is the American working class going to heed the advice of the bribed, corrupt, beholden-to-the-capitalist-class Democratic and Republican politicians who keep telling you to seek gold at the end of every rainbow? When will the American workers get wise to this fantasy of eternal prosperity under capitalism and start fighting for a workers government that will put an end once and for all to the insane quest for personal wealth at the expense of the vast majority of the world's population?
The working class can create a society that can ensure prosperity for everyone on the planet - for real. But it won't be under the capitalist system, it will only be under socialism. It won't be accomplished because we finally discover a new economic philosophy at the end of a rainbow. The philosophy we need, thankfully, exists already - nothing new has to be created. The socialism of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky is the real-world solution to the long-postponed but looming and inevitable world-wide economic catastrophe that we face under this horribly mismanaged, corrupt, war-mongering capitalist system. The longer we wait, the more severely we will be punished for our lassitude and our foolish adherence to a criminal economic system that seeks to plunder the planet and each and every one of us so that a handful of people can become ultra-wealthy.
If you want to fight to build a better world for your children and grandchildren, you have to take the time to do the hard work of reassessing the principles of socialism. You have been told that the capitalist system is providing you with "the best of all possible worlds" when in fact you KNOW that you do not believe that things are getting better in this world under capitalism and you do not expect your children to be better off that you were in your lifetime.
The basic principles of socialism stand in stark contrast to the principles of capitalism.
The socialists say: "All men are brothers and should join together internationally to help build a better world. Racism must be opposed with all our strength - it is poison for the working class, intended to make it impossible for us to join forces with our brothers and sisters around the world. Nationalism, too, is a deathtrap for the working class. One country cannot prosper while the rest of the world starves. Workers of the World, Unite!"
The capitalist says: "Every man for himself! The workers of other countries are your enemies and want to steal your job!" They spread racist hatred and mistrust among the working people, in order to make it easier to exploit all the working people. To hell with the rest of the world, and your fellow workers. Look out for number one!"
The socialist says: "We will make food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care free and universal for everyone on the planet. Our #1 goal is to end starvation and homelessness worldwide - to eliminate poverty and hunger completely from the face of the planet".
The capitalist says: "We mill make food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care available only to those who can pay for it. Everyone else can fend for themselves as best as they can. As for ending starvation and homelessness completely - it can't be done; and we're not even going to try."
The socialist says: "We are for full equality for men and women, in every way - economically, socially and politically."
The capitalist says: "We are for inequality everywhere. We maintain a system of racist discrimination that allows us to make the greatest profits possible. We pit black and brown-skinned workers against white, immigrants against the grandchildren of immigrants, male against female. We have a system that guarantees that women make less money and have fewer rights than men; that immigrant workers make less money and have fewer rights than citizen-workers; that the rich will stay rich and the poor, poor. We fight every attempt by the workers anywhere to organize themselves into multiracial unions in order to raise their wages and living conditions, which costs us money".
So, fellow worker - which side are you on?
How do we, as workers, find our way out of this impasse? It's clear that "voting for the lesser of two evils" is a strategy that has gained us nothing at all, as the only real difference between the two capitalist parties (Democrats and Republicans) is over tactical questions of how best to maximize profits through the exploitation of the working class domestically, and by waging war internationally to "protect American interests". If you vote for a pro-capitalist candidate, you are voting against your own, working-class interests.
Clearly, we need to build a working class party that represents OUR interests and fights for a type of government under which we can make long-term plans for the future of our families without having to live in constant fear that we could be cast into poverty because of illness or natural disaster, or simply by the "downsizing" of the company we slave for.
There are a number of small socialist parties that have been working for decades to create just such a political movement of the workers, but they have been ignored by the mass of working people for a variety of reasons. Primarily, the US capitalist class has been very successful at creating and maintaining the illusion of prosperity for the workers of the US, and in convincing us that if we aren't rich, it's because there's something wrong... with US! Most working people have been able to keep their heads barely above water economically through all these post-WWII years. But it's getting harder and harder to keep a roof over your head and everyone fed and clothed with every passing year. Real incomes of workers have been steadily declining for 30 years, and for a lot of people, even working two or three jobs isn't increasing their standard of living at all. They are slowly sliding into poverty.
We should not wait until we are faced with homelessness to take action in our own defense by started the hard work of building a workers party that can fight like hell to defend the interests of ourselves, our families and our working-class brothers and sisters. We need to get off our asses and MAKE THE TIME to go out to the demonstrations and seek out these political activists who have built what are the nuclei of a future, powerful, revolutionary workers movement here in the US. Much of the groundwork has already been done - it's up to us as workers to go out there and take a stand with the workers parties of our choice. Until we dump the Democrats and Republicans, we're just going to continue going around in circles politically.
To find out what political activities are taking place in or near your town go to the Independent Media Center website at http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml
From here you can find links to your state and local political organizations that are organizing forums and events where you can learn more about how to get involved in issues that you're interested in, and the fight to build a workers party. Look under the "Calendar" listings.
A few words before I set forth a basic reading list for honest workers who are interested in learning more about socialism.
You will never learn anything truthful about socialism by asking pro-capitalist professors and lying bourgeois journalists and politicians about it. They hate socialism because it is in their own self-interest that the capitalist system should continue to exist. They make their bread and butter by pulling the wool over the eyes of the working class. They make money by making the capitalist classes' greatest thieves into national heroes. You have to determine for yourself what is true and what isn't. You have to read this information and make up your own mind about it.
All these men whose writings you'll find below - Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky - put all their life-energy into the struggle for the emancipation of the workers of the world. They did this not to enrich themselves - none of them ever could be accused of self-aggrandizement by anyone other than a compulsive liar - they did their work solely for the reasons they declared while they were alive - to smash oppression wherever it reigned. You can read their works absolutely certain that you will not find a single sign of duplicity, falsification or lying - this cannot be said of any capitalist politician, living or dead.
That being said, they are not saints, or gods, but men. They made mistakes - sometimes very serious ones - and they all erred more than a few times. But they were honest mistakes, made either out of ignorance or because of the pressures of time allowed to make momentous decisions in a period of Civil War. What is astounding about these men is not how often they were wrong (amazingly, they weren't wrong very often at all), but how often they were right. And when they made a bad decision or erred politically, they had the guts and decency to admit it publicly and make the necessary apologies and corrections. They were honest men in a world of deceit and intrigue, and they lived their lives honestly and in full public view.
It's hard to believe, for working people growing up in the United States or elsewhere in the capitalist world today, to believe that there once was a political movement whose leaders were hardworking, honest and truth-telling revolutionaries who wholeheartedly stood for precisely what they claimed to stand for - the emancipation of the working class. But such were the early anarchist, socialist, and later, the Bolshevik and early Communist parties. The Bolsheviks came to power because they dared to speak the truth to the working class, and they earned the respect and support of the workers through their tireless efforts on their behalf. It's hard to believe it today, but it was just that simple. You have to read this story and study it to believe it, because all you'll ever hear from the pro-capitalist blowhards are lies and distortions intended to convince you that the idea of a successful workers revolution in the United States is a utopian fantasy. You will never know the truth unless YOU seek it out. No one is going to hand you this information on a platter, and it won't be on HBO or the History Channel, either.
These four men are among the most traduced, maligned and lied about figures in modern history, and all because they dared to attempt to organize the working people of the world to overthrow the capitalist class and capitalism, and to take away the rich man's money and power. It pains me physically whenever I hear a working man or woman repeat the lies of pro-capitalist ideologues when they speak of these men. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky are four of the finest human beings who ever walked the face of the Earth. They gave their lives to the service of mankind and did the very best they could to bring forth a world without war, hunger, superstition and suffering. If you are an honest worker who wishes to build a better world for your fellow human beings, then you owe it to yourself to become acquainted with the writings of these men, because it will enlighten you to the hidden history of working class struggle and it will provide you with a firm basis for understanding that a better world can, in fact, be fought for and won by the working people of this world.
1) "Ninety Years Of The Communist Manifesto" by Leon Trotsky
Foreword by Leon Trotsky to the Communist Manifesto on its 90th anniversary. Explains without explaining why Marxism is not a dogmatic philosophy but a scientific one, and points out the weaknesses and strengths of the Manifesto and how well the vast majority of its critique of capitalism has stood the test of time. One of the best things Trotsky ever wrote, and brief.
2) "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Any worker who has not read this small pamphlet cannot consider him or herself to be politically literate. The most brief and fundamental exposition on socialist principles there is. Many, many people have read "excerpts" from this tiny pamphlet in their Political Science classes in college, where the professor misinterprets and/or ridicules every page of this simple and straightforward treatise. Far too often students have to suffer through thinly (or not) disguised anti-Marxist diatribes from their Poli-Sci professor-hacks. "You can teach the philosophy of all the great Marxist thinkers - so long as you make it absolutely clear that they were WRONG." - Advice to a new professor of Political Science - Monty Python
3) "The Revolution Betrayed" by Leon Trotsky
Why did the Soviet Union collapse? Was it because the entire concept of Marxism was fatally, fundamentally flawed, or is the answer to the question more complicated?
Trotsky shows how the economic basis for a planned, collectivized economy created economic growth in the early Soviet Union unrivalled before or since in capitalist countries, in spite of incredibly bad and criminally corrupt mismanagement by Stalin and his allies. How the brutal Stalin regime acquired power and maintained it through savage repression is described, as well as how the Stalinist thugs came to power by winning a protracted and bloody political struggle in the early Soviet Union, not by natural evolution as all the pro-capitalist intellectuals assert.
Trotsky led the anti-Stalin faction. If Trotsky's side had won, we'd be living in a very different world today.
A well-written, excellent book.
3) "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism" by V.I. Lenin
"It is proved in the pamphlet that the war of 1914-18 was imperialist (that is, an annexationist, predatory, war of plunder) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital..." "This pamphlet will help the reader to understand the fundamental economic question, that of the economic essence of imperialism, for unless this is studied, it will be impossible to understand and appraise modern war and modern politics." - Lenin
Though it was written in 1916, this pamphlet remains a very valuable analysis of the world capitalist economic system and of the concentration of wealth into the hands of an extremely small number of people. The pamphlet explains how the capitalist system, by the eve of WWI, had exhausted all possibility of its further positive development, and had reached a stage where it could only continue to grow through the destruction of its' rivals' empires. Conquest of new markets and natural resources could only be achieved by the threat of, or actual war, which placed the working people at a fork in the road that could lead either to socialist revolution or a descent into capitalist world war and barbarism.
The incredible slaughter that took place during WWI brought about the conditions that led to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The failure of the Spartacist Uprising in Germany, and the later disastrous political failures of the Stalinized Communist Party of Germany paved the road for the rise of Hitler and WWII. The rise of the USSR as the world's mightiest military power at the end of WWII created a 44-year period of armed truce amongst the traditionally warring states of the capitalist world, in order that they might join forces to crush the common enemy: the USSR, and later, China and the smaller Stalinist states - North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fundamental choice that faces the working people of the world today is, once again - socialism or barbarism, as the capitalist world powers have begun to increase the size of their military forces in order to be able to secure their access to critically needed and declining stocks of vital natural resources.
4) "The State and Revolution" - by V.I. Lenin
"The question of the state is now acquiring particular importance both in theory and in practical politics. The imperialist war has immensely accelerated and intensified the process of transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism. The monstrous oppression of the working people by the state, which is merging more and more with the all-powerful capitalist associations, is becoming increasingly monstrous. The advanced countries - we mean their hinterland - are becoming military convict prisons for the workers...
"The elements of opportunism that accumulated over the decades of comparatively peaceful development have given rise to the trend of social-chauvinism which dominated the official socialist parties throughout the world. This trend - socialism in words and chauvinism in deeds...is conspicuous for the base, servile adaptation of the "leaders of socialism" to the interests not only of "their" national bourgeoisie, but of "their" state, for the majority of the so-called Great Powers have long been exploiting and enslaving a whole number of small and weak nations. And the imperialist war is a war for the division and redivision of this kind of booty. The struggle to free the working people from the influence of the bourgeoisie in general, and of the imperialist bourgeoisie in particular, is impossible without a struggle against opportunist prejudices concerning the 'state'.
"...We examine the theory of Marx and Engels of the state, and dwell in particular detail on those aspects of this theory which are ignored or have been distorted by the opportunists... The question of the relation of the socialist proletarian revolution to the state...is acquiring not only practical political importance, but also the significance of a most urgent problem of the day, the problem of explaining to the masses what they will have to do before long to free themselves from capitalist tyranny." - Lenin, from the Preface.
What is the state? How did it arise? Can the state be reformed, or is it necessary to overthrow it, and if so, why? Why can't the state be merely "abolished" immediately, as the anarchists claim? Well-written and brief examination of all these questions and more.
5) "What Is to Be Done?" by V.I. Lenin
Why do the workers need a revolutionary political party at all? What invaluable resource does a revolutionary party provide to the working class that no other type of organization can? The importance of a revolutionary program as the distillation of the historical experience, the successes and the failures of the workers movement.
1) "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" by Friedrich Engels
2) "The History of the Russian Revolution" by Leon Trotsky
One of the greatest works of history of the 20th century, written by a principal leader of the Russian Revolution and the Founder of the Red Army.
You think that's hyperbole? If you enjoy reading history, you'll love this book.
Check out the chapter on "The Tsar and the Tsarina" at
"Nicholas II inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire, but also a revolution. And they did not bequeath him one quality which would have made him capable of governing an empire or even a province or a county. To that historic flood which was rolling its billows each one closer to the gates of his palace, the last Romanov opposed only a dumb indifference. It seemed as though between his consciousness and his epoch there stood some transparent but absolutely impenetrable medium."
"This dim, equable and 'well-bred' man was cruel – not with the active cruelty of Ivan the Terrible or of Peter, in the pursuit of historic aims – What had Nicholas the Second in common with them? – but with the cowardly cruelty of the late born, frightened at his own doom. At the very dawn of his reign Nicholas praised the Phanagoritsy regiment as 'fine fellows' for shooting down workers. He always 'read with satisfaction' how they flogged with whips the bob-haired girl-students, or cracked the heads of defenceless people during Jewish pogroms. This crowned black sheep gravitated with all his soul to the very dregs of society, the Black Hundred hooligans. He not only paid them generously from the state treasury, but loved to chat with them about their exploits, and would pardon them when they accidentally got mixed up in the murder of an opposition deputy. Witte, who stood at the head of the government during the putting down of the first revolution, has written in his memoirs: 'When news of the useless cruel antics of the chiefs of those detachments reached the sovereign, they met with his approval, or in any case his defence.' In answer to the demand of the governor-general of the Baltic States that he stop a certain lieutenant-captain, Richter, who was 'executing on his own authority and without trial non-resistant persons,' the tzar wrote on the report: 'Ah, what a fine fellow!' Such encouragements are innumerable. This 'charmer,' without will, without aim, without imagination, was more awful than all the tyrants of ancient and modern history."
"Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador at Petrograd during the war, a refined psychologist for French academicians and janitresses, offers a meticulously licked portrait of the last tzarina: 'Moral restlessness, a chronic sadness, infinite longing, intermittent ups and downs of strength, anguishing thoughts of the invisible other world, superstitions – are not all these traits, so clearly apparent in the personality of the empress, the characteristic traits of the Russian people?' Strange as it may seem, there is in this saccharine lie just a grain of truth. The Russian satirist Saltykov, with some justification, called the ministers and governors from among the Baltic barons 'Germans with a Russian soul.' It is indubitable that aliens, in no way connected with the people, developed the most pure culture of the 'genuine Russian' administrator.
"But why did the people repay with such open hatred a tzarina who, in the words of Paléologue, had so completely assimilated their soul? The answer is simple. In order to justify her new situation, this German woman adopted with a kind of cold fury all the traditions and nuances of Russian mediaevalism, the most meagre and crude of all mediaevalisms, in that very period when the people were making mighty efforts to free themselves from it. This Hessian princess was literally possessed by the demon of autocracy. Having risen from her rural corner to the heights of Byzantine despotism, she would not for anything take a step down. In the orthodox religion she found a mysticism and a magic adapted to her new lot. She believed the more inflexibly in her vocation, the more naked became the foulness of the old régime. With a strong character and a gift for dry and hard exaltations, the tzarina supplemented the weak-willed tzar, ruling over him."
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