Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Russian October Revolution (2017) – Trust in the Communist Party!

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The USSR lives on in memory and in material fact. It collapsed from the combined pressures of Trotsky, Khrushchev, Gorbachev and Western capitalism. What the USSR represented – as the first Workers’ State – is a tremendously powerful psychological and physical image that serves as a rallying point for millions of oppressed peoples around the globe. The 1917 October Revolution will always be significant because it signalled the successful rising of the Working Class and the smashing of predatory capitalism! Although there is much lying and disinformation in the West about the USSR, nevertheless, the internet allows opportunities to study that by-pass the bourgeois educational facilities, and which allows individuals and groups to find more reliable and authentic sources of information. The Cold War lies are still very much in operation, but as time goes by, and the work of people like Grover Furr, Andrew Alexander and Alexander Werth (and many others), become better known, the wholesome truth about the USSR (and its vital importance for the evolution of humanity) will move ever more to the fore-front of general perception. This positive counter-swing is strengthened by the presence of the Collected Works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao (amongst others) being readily (and freely) available on the internet. As usual, the greatest challenges above and beyond the confrontation with predatory capitalism for the Communist Party is that of successfully countering Trotskyism (i.e. ‘pseudo-Socialism’), and the crippling forces of revisionism from the left. There is a wealth of legitimate proletariat literature available in the public domain which must be logically studied from a Scientific Socialist point of view. Even if certain ‘expedient’ compromises must be made with the Bourgeois State on the surface (due to prevailing socio-economic conditions), the true (and non-inverted) underpinnings of Marxist-Leninism must always serve as the dialectical ‘prime mover’ of any Communist Movement. The Working Class must always trust the Communist Party which is a collective expression of its proletariat ‘will’. The Communist Party came to power through a wave of Revolutionary activity in 1917 – and the same Communist Party exists throughout the world today, always representing and leading the ordinary people, and continuously agitating against the capitalist system. The ‘Communist Party’ in principle did not begin with the 1917 Russian Revolution, and did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is an ongoing and unfolding process of historical materialism. Trust in the Communist Party and support it with all your proletariat being!

Materialism – A Brief Introduction

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Materialism is a set of related theories which hold that entitles and processes are composed of – or are reducible to – matter, material forms or physical processes. All events and facts are explainable, actually or in principle, in terms of body, material objects or dynamic material changes or movements. In general, the metaphysical theory of materialism entails the denial of the reality of spiritual beings, consciousness and mental or psychic states or processes, as ontologically distinct form, or independent of material changes or processes. Since it denies the existence of spiritual beings or forces, materialism typically is allied with atheism and agnosticism.’

The English word ‘matter’ has its origins in the Latin words ‘mater’ (i.e. ‘mother’), and ‘materia’ (i.e. ‘all physical things’). As existence is composed of matter, matter is viewed as the foundation of all things. Generally speaking, all matter is said to possess both volume and mass. Within the Chinese language, the concept of ‘matter’ can be expressed using the ideograms ‘物质’ (wu4zhi2). ‘物’ (wu4) is written using the left-hand particle ‘牛’ (nui2) – meaning ‘cow’, ‘bull’, or ‘ox’, and the right-hand particle ‘勿’ (wu4) – originally meaning ‘flag’. When combined together, the ideogram ‘物’ (wu4) literally means ‘matter’, ‘things’, and ‘objects’. ‘质’ (zhi2) is written using the ideogram ‘贝’ (bei4) – meaning a hard sea shell, and the right-hand particle ‘斦’ (yin2) – originally written as ‘two axes’, but also used to refer to a measure of weight equalling around one kilogram (i.e. ‘two catty’). Within Chinese thought, when taken together, the concept of ‘物质’ (wu4zhi2) represents the entirety of existence, or by implication, that physical substance which possesses  (measurable) mass and volume. Ancient India, despite its association with spirituality within popular culture, developed a school of materialist thinking named ‘Lokayata’ (लोकायत) in Sanskrit, which suggests a system of developed thought grounded in the observation (or perception) of the physical world (which is directly accessible to the senses). This school rejected all religious thought that advocated karma and karmic retribution, a belief in ‘invisible’ theistic constructs, and any notion of ‘rebirth’ or ‘reincarnation’. Therefore, the validity of inference and the authority of scripture are firmly rejected. For the Lokayata followers, only that information directly perceived through the senses is real. The Lokayata developed a theory of physical existence that involved four basic elements which combine to generate all of material reality. As a consequence of this thinking, Lokayata is associated with ‘atheism’. The origin of this school is problematic (due to the loss of primary texts), but evidence suggests a date anywhere between 600 – 300 BCE – with the possibility that the ideas associated with this school could be far older.

Whatever the case, the Buddhist Pali suttas mention the Lokayata, which is associated within the tradition of Buddhist commentary, as representing a ‘hard materialism’ (not favoured by the Buddha). However, detailed with the ‘five aggregates’ teaching of the Buddha, it is clear that his system of mind-matter integration is a form of ‘soft materialism’, which recognises a plurality, (but not a duality). This is because the Buddha’s system is premised upon ‘rupa’ (रूप) – or ‘physical matter’, which he defines as particles (paramanu) that flash in and out of existence (similar to the observed behaviour of sub-atomic particles within quantum physics). The Buddha sees the physical world as ‘existing’, but being non-substantial and changeable in nature. This ‘Buddhist’ definition of matter is different to that of the ‘Ucchedavada’ (ဥေစၧဒ) – which the Buddha criticised for assuming a permanent and unchanging physical world – despite the fact that the Buddha agreed with the Ucchedavda that there is no ‘atma’, or permanent soul. The Buddha’s soft materialism deviates away from the hard materialism of the Ucchedavada (which maybe directly linked to the Lokayata), by stressing that karma does function (in a limited, non-theistic sense), and that moral behaviour is required to escape worldly suffering.

Western scholars tend to date the Buddha as living either 563-480 BCE, or 483-400 BCE, whilst within traditional Chinese Buddhism, his date is given as 1028/29-948/49. Obviously, the Buddha’s existence, if dated accurately, would determine the antiquity of the Indian schools of materialism. In ancient Greece, however, the materialist origins of philosophy are said to have developed through the thinking of Democritus (460-370 BCE), who conceived of the universe as being composed of tiny, irreducible atoms unobservable to the naked eye. These atoms operate in a deterministic fashion, and combine to form the various forms associated with physical existence. Epicurus (341-270 BCE) – the student of Democritus, developed this thinking by asserting that every so often atoms ‘swerved’, as a means to explain unusual behaviour or happenings in the physical world. Ancient India developed a theory of materialism, whilst Buddhism developed a theory of the atom, but the (modern) Western world follows the ancient atomic models as devised within the Greek philosophical tradition. Whatever the origin, the doctrine of materialism stands in philosophical opposition to that of ‘idealism’. Idealism is usually understood as advocating that ‘mind’ is primary, and that the physical world exists only as an expression or appearance of that mind. This suggests that the physical world is not truly ‘material’, but rather ‘psychological’, or ‘mental’ in origination and nature. Within the Western philosophical tradition, theistic idealism is associated with Berkley, transcendental idealism of Kant, and the absolute idealism of Hegel. Idealism is often interpreted as being a secular version of theology, and directly related to ‘creationism’, whereby the physical world is viewed as being created by an unseen theistic entity (theology), or ‘projected’ into existence by the agency of mind (idealism), as if by an act of will and/or perception.

Within the subject of ‘philosophy of mind’, the theory of materialism has three distinct definitions, the first two of which represent ‘hard’ materialism, and the third ‘soft’ materialism:

  1. Eliminativism. This theory seeks to ‘eliminate’ entirely any notion of ‘mind’, and all theories of ‘psychology’ from modern science, on the grounds that such notions are the product of misunderstanding, and akin to ‘fairy tales’ that are the product of the residue of religious thinking. How human beings perceive their own minds is viewed as erroneous and the consequence of historical and cultural conditioning. As a consequence, as there is ‘no mind’ in reality, there can be no true experience of ‘raw feelings’ (qualia), or the exercise of intentionality. Theories of psychology are viewed as expressions of out-dated science which need to be abandoned as a necessary means to progress scientific understanding.
  2. Reductionism. In its simplest form, ‘reductionism’ reduces all psychological states to that of easily observable and measurable behaviour (i.e. ‘behavourism’). This reduces mind states to a mode of expression acceptable to modern science. Mind processes might exist as a function of the physical brain, but are viewed as knowable only through the measuring of behaviour. Other than as a producer of behaviour, the mind cannot be directly understood (because although it might generate qualia and intentionality, it does not ‘independently’ exist), and is of no further interest to reductionist.
  3. Irreducibility of mind. Although it might be accepted that ‘mind’ could exist as an apparent independent entity, nevertheless, its existence is so inherently related to matter, that this apparent ‘independence’ is not an issue. The mind is related to matter in a matter far more profound than mere causal independence. This means that the irreducibility of the mind is not a threat to the primacy of the materialist theory. Mind is a product of matter, even if the exact process of the emergence of consciousness from matter is as yet not fully understood.

Karl Marx studied Hegel’s absolute idealism, and understood it (through the work of Feuerbach) to be ‘inverted’ in nature. When turned the right way around, Marx developed the theory of ‘historical materialism’ (which replaced Hegel’s theory of ‘historical idealism’). The theory of historical materialism is ‘scientific’ in nature, and states that it is the economic reality of a society that determines the physical reality of that society. This is an ongoing historical process that does not allow for any ‘divine intervention’ in the affairs of humanity. It is through this materialist theory that Marx explains the historical reasons why it is that the impoverished working class (i.e. proletariat) exists in a subordinated and exploited manner, whilst being dominated by affluent middle class (i.e. bourgeisie), and how it is that this situation contains within itself, the seeds of its own inevitable transformation (through the agency of ‘revolution’). On this point, Marx states ‘In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.’ (Preface: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). Marx goes on to say that at some point in time, the material productive forces if become so strong that they out-grow the current organisation of society, and come into direct conflict with the existing (bourgeois) relations of society. As the workers become aware of their own material and productive powers, they mass organise and initiate an era of social revolution, eventually seizing the means of production, and radically transforming society through the agency of a socialist revolution. This is the playing-out of class antagonisms, and explains why Russian Marxist Georgi Plekhanov further developed this idea (in 1891), by referring to this process as ‘dialectical materialism’. This was developed from the work of Friedrich Engels (found in his book entitled ‘Dialectics of Nature’) whereby Engels uses the term ‘materialist dialectics’ as a means to combat and neutralise ‘idealistic dialectics’. The theory of scientific socialism as developed by Marx and Engels adopts a materialist outlook to explain human society and the human condition, but Marx and Engels rejected two forms of materialism prevalent in the 19th century, namely those of the ‘mechanistic’ and the ‘metaphysical’ variety. Marx rejected the mechanistic view because it suggested nothing could be changed, and he rejected metaphysical view because he recognised the existence and purpose of a human consciousness – even if it is generated from the brain and conditioned by outer circumstances and events. Marx views the immense productive forces of labour as the driving force behind the unfolding of history. The unfolding of the historical process is not a passive or indifferent passing of events, but is a dynamic, directing and transformative force within human affairs. Metaphysical materialism, strictly speaking denies the existence of this dialectical and historical materialism that Marx clearly sees as operating throughout human history, where it has reached a particular intensity after the Industrial Revolution. The concept of ‘dialectics’ within Marxism can also be applied to personal education, and the development of a proletariat mind that is freed of the oppression and limitations of the past, and which is collective in outlook, and thoroughly progressive and scientific in nature. This maybe taken as the use of Hegel’s dialectic of thesis, antitheses and synthesis – reworked to interpret the changes of the material world (through the negation of the negation) rather than the changes of the ‘idealistic’ (or ‘religious’) world.

 

 

Joseph Stalin on Democracy and Trotsky’s Six Errors (17.1.1924)

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JV Stalin – UK

Collected Works Volume 6 January-November, 1924, pp. 5-46

Thirteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B)1

January 16-18, 1924

I.  Report on Immediate Tasks in Party Affairs

January 17

Comrades, it is customary for our speakers at discussion meetings to begin with the history of the question: how the issue of inner-Party democracy arose, who was the first to say “A,” who followed by saying “B,” and so on. This method, I think, is not suitable for us, for it introduces an element of squabbling and mutual recrimination and leads to no useful results. I think that it will be much better to begin with the question of how the Party reacted to the Political Bureau resolution on democracy2 that was subsequently confirmed by the C.C. plenum.

I must place on record that this resolution is the only one, I believe, in the whole history of our Party to have received the full—I would say the absolutely unanimous—approval of the entire Party, following a vehement discussion on the question of democracy. Even the opposition organisations and units, whose general attitude has been one of hostility to the Party majority and the C.C., even they, for all their desire to find fault, have not found occasion or grounds for doing so. Usually in their resolutions these organisations and units, while acknowledging the correctness of the basic provisions of the Political Bureau resolution on inner-Party democracy, have attempted to distinguish themselves in some way from the other Party organisations by adding some sort of appendage to it. For example: yes, yours is a very good resolution, but don’t offend Trotsky, or: your resolution is quite correct, but you are a little late, it would have been better to have done all this earlier. I shall not go into the question here of who is offending whom. I think that if we look into the matter properly, we may well find that the celebrated remark about Tit Titych fits Trotsky fairly well: “Who would offend you, Tit Titych? You yourself will offend everyone!” (Laughter.) But as I have said, I shall not go into this question. I am even prepared to concede that someone really is offending Trotsky. But, is that the point? What principles are involved in this question of offence? After all, it is a question of the principles of the resolution, not of who has offended whom. By this I want to say that even units and organisations that are open and sharp in their opposition, even they have not had the hardihood to raise any objections in principle to the resolution of the Political Bureau of the C.C. and Presidium of the Central Control Commission. I record this fact in order to note once more that it would be hard to find in the whole history of our Party another such instance of a resolution which, after the trials and tribulations of a vehement discussion, has met with such unanimous approval, and not only of the majority, but virtually of the entire Party membership.

I draw two conclusions from this. The first is that the resolution of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. fully accords with the needs and requirements of the Party at the present time. The second is that the Party will emerge from this discussion on inner-Party democracy stronger and more united. This conclusion is, one might say, a well-aimed thrust at those of our ill-wishers abroad who have long been rubbing their hands in glee over our discussion, in the belief that our Party would be weakened as a result of it, and Soviet power disintegrated.

I shall not dwell on the essence of inner-Party democracy. Its fundamentals have been set forth in the resolution, and the resolution has been discussed from A to Z by the entire Party. Why should I go over the same ground here? I shall only say one thing: evidently there will not be all-embracing, full democracy. What we shall have, evidently, will be democracy within the bounds outlined by the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses. You know very well what these bounds are and I shall not repeat them here. Nor shall I dilate on the point that the principal guarantee that inner-Party democracy becomes part of the flesh and blood of our Party is to strengthen the activity and understanding of the Party masses. This, too, is dealt, with fairly extensively in our resolution.

I pass to the subject of how some comrades among us, and some organisations, make a fetish of democracy, regarding it as something absolute, without relation to time or space. What I want to point out is that democracy is not something constant for all times and conditions; for there are times when its implementation is neither possible nor advisable. Two conditions, or two groups of conditions, internal and external, are required to make inner-Party democracy possible. Without, them it is vain to speak of democracy.

It is necessary, firstly, that industry should develop, that there should be no deterioration in the material conditions of the working class, that the working class increase numerically, that its cultural standards advance, and that it advance qualitatively as well. It is necessary that the Party, as the vanguard of the working class, should likewise advance, above all qualitatively; and above all through recruitment among the country’s proletarian elements. These conditions of an internal nature are absolutely essential if we are to pose the question of genuine, and not merely paper, implementation of inner-Party democracy.

But these conditions alone are not enough. I have already said that there is another group of conditions, of an external nature, and in the absence of these democracy in the Party is impossible. I have in mind certain international conditions that would more or less ensure peace and peaceful development, without which democracy in the Party is inconceivable. In other words, if we are attacked and have to defend the country with arms in hand, there can be no question of democracy, for it will have to be suspended. The Party mobilises, we shall probably have to militarise it, and the question of inner-Party democracy will disappear of itself.

That is why I believe that democracy must be regarded as dependent on conditions, that there must be no fetishism in questions of inner-Party democracy, for its implementation, as you see, depends on the specific conditions of time and place at each given moment.

To obviate undesirable infatuation and unfounded accusations in future, I must also remind you of the obstacles confronting the Party in the exercise of democracy—obstacles which hinder the implementation of democracy even when the two basic favourable conditions outlined above, internal and external, obtain. Comrades, these obstacles exist, they profoundly influence our Party’s activities, and I have no right to pass them over in silence. What are these obstacles?

These obstacles, comrades, consist, firstly, in the fact that in the minds of a section of our Party functionaries there still persist survivals of the old, war period, when the Party was militarised. And these survivals engender certain un-Marxist views: that our Party is not an independently acting organism, independent in its ideological and practical activities, but something in the nature of a system of institutions—lower, intermediate and higher. This absolutely un-Marxist view has nowhere, it is true, been given final form and has nowhere been expressed definitely, but elements of it exist among a section of our Party functionaries and deter them from the consistent implementation of inner-Party democracy. That is why the struggle against such views, the struggle against survivals of the war period, both at the centre and in the localities, is an immediate task of the Party.

The second obstacle to the implementation of democracy in the Party is the pressure of the bureaucratic state apparatus on the Party apparatus, on our Party workers. The pressure of this unwieldy apparatus on our Party workers is not always noticeable, not always does it strike the eye, but it never relaxes for an instant. The ultimate effect of this pressure of the unwieldy bureaucratic state apparatus is that a number of our functionaries, both at the centre and in the localities, often involuntarily and quite unconsciously, deviate from inner-Party democracy, from the line which they believe to be correct, but which they are often unable to carry out completely. You can well visualise it: the bureaucratic state apparatus with not less than a million employees, largely elements alien to the Party, and our Party apparatus with not more than 20,000-30,000 people, who are called upon to bring the state apparatus under the Party’s sway and make it a socialist apparatus. What would our state apparatus be worth without the support of the Party? Without the assistance and support of our Party apparatus, it would not be worth much, unfortunately. And every time our Party apparatus extends its feelers into the various branches of the state administration, it is quite often obliged to adapt, Party activities there to those of the state apparatus. Concretely: the Party has to carry on work for the political education of the working class, to heighten the latter’s political understanding, but at the same time there is the tax in kind to be collected, some campaign or other that has to be carried out; for without these campaigns, without the assistance of the Party, the state apparatus cannot cope with its duties. And here our Party functionaries find themselves between two fires—they must rectify the line of the state apparatus, which still works according to old patterns, and at the same time they must retain contact with the workers. And often enough they themselves become bureaucratised.

Such is the second obstacle, which is a difficult one to surmount, but which must be surmounted at all costs to facilitate the implementation of inner-Party democracy.

Lastly, there is yet a third obstacle in the way of realising democracy. It is the low cultural level of a number of our organisations, of our units, particularly in the border regions (no offence to them meant), which hampers our Party organisations in fully implementing inner-Party democracy. You know that democracy requires a certain minimum of cultural development on the part of the members of the unit, and of the organisation as a whole; it requires a certain minimum of active members who can be elected and placed in executive posts. And if there is no such minimum of active members in the organisation, if the cultural level of the organisation itself is low, what then? Naturally, in that case we are obliged to deviate from democracy, resorting to appointment of officials and so on.

Such are the obstacles that have confronted us, which will continue to confront us, and which we must overcome if inner-Party democracy is to be implemented sincerely and completely.

I have reminded you of the obstacles that confront us, and of the external and internal conditions without which democracy becomes an empty, demagogic phrase, because some comrades make a fetish, an absolute, of the question of democracy. They believe that democracy is possible always, under all conditions, and that its implementation is prevented only by the “evil” will of the “apparatus men.” It is to oppose this idealistic view, a view that is not ours, not Marxist, not Leninist, that I have reminded you, comrades, of the conditions necessary for the implementation of democracy, and of the obstacles confronting us at the present time.

Comrades, I could conclude my report with this, but I consider that it is our duty to sum up the discussion and to draw from this summing up certain conclusions which may prove of great importance for us. I could divide our whole struggle in the field of the discussion, on the question of democracy, into three periods.

The first period, when the opposition attacked the C.C., with the accusation that in these past two years, in fact throughout the NEP period, the whole line of the C.C. has been wrong. This was the period prior to the publication of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. Presidium resolution. I shall not deal here with the question of who was right and who wrong. The attacks were violent ones, and as you know, not always warranted. But one thing is clear: this period can be described as one in which the opposition levelled its bitterest attacks on the C.C.

The second period began with the publication of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. resolution, when the opposition was faced with the necessity of advancing something comprehensive and concrete against the C.C. resolution, and when it was found that the opposition had nothing either comprehensive or concrete to offer. That was a period in which the C.C. and the opposition came closest together. To all appearances the whole thing was coming to an end, or could have come to an end, through some reconciliation of the opposition to the C.C. line. I well remember a meeting in Moscow, the centre of the discussion struggle—I believe it was on December 12 in the Hall of Columns—when Preobrazhensky submitted a resolution which for some reason was rejected, but which had little to distinguish it from the C.C. resolution. In fundamentals, and even in certain minor points, it did not differ at all from the C.C. resolution. And at that time it seemed to me that, properly speaking, there was nothing to continue fighting over. We had the C.C. resolution, which satisfied everyone, at least as regards nine-tenths of it; the opposition itself evidently realised this and was prepared to meet us halfway; and with this, perhaps, we would put an end to the disagreements. This was the second, reconciliation period.

But then came the third period. It opened with Trotsky’s pronouncement, his appeal to the districts, which, at one stroke, wiped out the reconciliation tendencies and turned everything topsy-turvy. Trotsky’s pronouncement opened a period of most violent inner-Party struggle—a struggle which would not have occurred had Trotsky not come out with his letter on the very next day after he had voted for the Political Bureau resolution. You know that this first pronouncement of Trotsky’s was followed by a second, and the second by a third, with the result that the struggle grew still more acute.

I think, comrades, that in these pronouncements Trotsky committed at least six grave errors. These errors aggravated the inner-Party struggle. I shall proceed to analyse them.

Trotsky’s first error lies in the very fact that he came out with an article on the next day after the publication of the C.C. Political Bureau and C.C.C. resolution; with an article which can only be regarded as a platform advanced in opposition to the C.C. resolution. I repeat and emphasise that this article can only be regarded as a new platform, advanced in opposition to the unanimously adopted C.C. resolution. Just think of it, comrades: on a certain date the Political Bureau and the Presidium of the C.C.C. meet and discuss a resolution on inner-Party democracy. The resolution is adopted unanimously, and only a day later, independently of the C.C., disregarding its will and over its head, Trotsky’s article is circulated to the districts. It is a new platform and raises anew the issues of the apparatus and the Party, cadres and youth, factions and Party unity, and so on and so forth—a platform immediately seized upon by the entire opposition and advanced as a counterblast to the C.C. resolution. This can only be regarded as opposing oneself to the Central Committee. It means that Trotsky puts himself in open and outright opposition to the entire C.C. The Party was confronted with the question: have we a C.C. as our directing body, or does it no longer exist; is there a C.C. whose unanimous decisions are respected by its members, or is there only a superman standing above the C.C., a superman for whom no laws are valid and who can permit himself to vote for the C.C. resolution today, and to put forward and publish a new platform in opposition to this resolution tomorrow? Comrades, we cannot demand that workers submit to Party discipline if a C.C. member, openly, in the sight of all, ignores the Central Committee and its unanimously adopted decision. We cannot apply two disciplines: one for workers, the other for big-wigs. There must be a single discipline.

Trotsky’s error consists in the fact that he has set himself up in opposition to the C.C. and imagines himself to be a superman standing above the C.C., above its laws, above its decisions, thereby providing a certain section of the Party with a pretext for working to undermine confidence in the C.C.

Some comrades have expressed dissatisfaction that Trotsky’s anti-Party action was treated as such in certain Pravda articles and in articles by individual members of the C.C. To these comrades I must reply that no party could respect a C.C. which at this difficult time failed to uphold the Party’s dignity, when one of its members attempted to put himself above the entire C.C. The C.C. would have committed moral suicide had it passed over this attempt of Trotsky’s.

Trotsky’s second error is his ambiguous behaviour during the whole period of the discussion. He has grossly ignored the will of the Party, which wants to know what his real position is, and has diplomatically evaded answering the question put point-blank by many organisations: for whom, in the final analysis, does Trotsky stand—for the C.C. or for the opposition? The discussion is not being conducted for evasions but in order that the whole truth may be placed frankly and honestly before the Party, as Ilyich does and as every Bolshevik is obliged to do. We are told that Trotsky is seriously ill. Let us assume he is; but during his illness be has written three articles and four new chapters of the pamphlet which appeared today. Is it not clear that Trotsky could perfectly well write a few lines in reply to the question put to him by various organisations and state whether he is for the opposition or against the opposition? It need hardly be said that this ignoring of the will of a number of organisations was bound to aggravate the inner-Party struggle.

Trotsky’s third error is that in his pronouncements he puts the Party apparatus in opposition to the Party and advances the slogan of combating the “apparatus men.” Bolshevism cannot accept such contrasting of the Party to the Party apparatus. What, actually, does our Party apparatus consist of? It consists of the Central Committee, the Regional Committees, the Gubernia Committees, the Uyezd Committees. Are these subordinated to the Party? Of course they are, for to the extent of 90 per cent they are elected by the Party. Those who say that the Gubernia Committees have been appointed are wrong. They are wrong, because, as you know, comrades, our Gubernia Committees are elected, just as the Uyezd Committees and the C.C. are. They are subordinated to the Party. But once elected, they must direct the work, that is the point. Is Party work conceivable without direction from the Central Committee, after its election by the congress, and from the Gubernia Committee, after its election by the Gubernia conference? Surely, Party work is inconceivable without this. Surely, this is an irresponsible anarcho-Menshevik view which renounces the very principle of direction of Party activities. I am afraid that by contrasting the Party apparatus to the Party, Trotsky, whom, of course, I have no intention of putting on a par with the Mensheviks, impels some of the inexperienced elements in our Party towards the standpoint of anarcho-Menshevik indiscipline and organisational laxity. I am afraid that this error of Trotsky’s may expose our entire Party apparatus—the apparatus without which the Party is inconceivable—to attack by the inexperienced members of the Party.

Trotsky’s fourth error consists in the fact that he has put the young members of the Party in opposition to its cadres, that he has unwarrantedly accused our cadres of degeneration. Trotsky put our Party on a par with the Social-Democratic Party in Germany. He referred to examples how certain disciples of Marx, veteran Social-Democrats, had degenerated, and from this he concluded that the same danger of degeneration faces our Party cadres. Properly speaking, one might well laugh at the sight of a C.C. member who only yesterday fought Bolshevism hand in hand with the opportunists and Mensheviks, attempting now, in this seventh year of Soviet power, to assert, even if only as an assumption, that our Party cadres, born, trained and steeled in the struggle against Menshevism and opportunism—that these cadres are faced with the prospect of degeneration. I repeat, one might well laugh at this attempt. Since, however, this assertion was made at no ordinary time but during a discussion, and since we are confronted here with a certain contrasting of the Party cadres, who are alleged to be susceptible to degeneration, to the young Party members, who are alleged to be free, or almost free, of such a danger, this assumption, though essentially ridiculous and frivolous, may acquire, and already has acquired, a definite practical significance. That is why I think we must stop to look into it.

It is sometimes said that old people must be respected, for they have lived longer than the young, know more and can give better advice. I must say, comrades, that this is an absolutely erroneous view. It is not every old person we must respect, and it is not every experience that is of value to us. What matters is the kind of experience. German Social-Democracy has its cadres, very experienced ones too: Scheidemann, Noske, Wels and the rest; men with the greatest experience, men who know all the ins and outs of the struggle. . . . But struggle against what, and against whom? What matters is the kind of experience. In Germany these cadres were trained in the struggle against the revolutionary spirit, not in the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, but against it. Their experience is vast; but it is the wrong kind of experience. Comrades, it is the duty of the youth to explode this experience, demolish it and oust these old ones. There, in German Social-Democracy, the youth, being free of the experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit, is closer to this revolutionary spirit or closer to Marxism, than the old cadres. The latter are burdened with the experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat, they are burdened with the experience of struggle for opportunism, against revolutionism. Such cadres must be routed, and all our sympathies must be with that youth which, I repeat, is free of this experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit and for that reason can the more easily assimilate the new ways and methods of struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, against opportunism. There, in Germany, I can understand the question being put in that way. If Trotsky were speaking of German Social-Democracy and the cadres of such a party, I would be wholeheartedly prepared to endorse his statement. But we are dealing with a different party, the Communist Party, the Bolshevik Party, whose cadres came into being in the struggle against opportunism, gained strength in that struggle, and which matured and captured power in the struggle against imperialism, in the struggle against all the opportunist hangers-on of imperialism. Is it not clear that there is a fundamental difference here? Our cadres matured in the struggle to assert the revolutionary spirit; they carried that struggle through to the end, they came to power in battles against imperialism, and they are now shaking the foundations of world imperialism. How can these cadres—if one approaches the matter honestly, without duplicity—how can these cadres be put on a par with those of German Social-Democracy, which in the past worked hand in glove with Wilhelm against the working class, and is now working hand in glove with Seeckt; a party which grew up and was formed in the struggle against the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat? How can these cadres, fundamentally different in nature, be put on a par, how can they be confused? Is it so difficult to realise that the gulf between the two is unbridgeable? Is it so difficult to see that Trotsky’s gross misrepresentation, his gross confusion, are calculated to undermine the prestige of our revolutionary cadres, the core of our Party? Is it not clear that this misrepresentation could only inflame passions and render the inner-Party struggle more acute?

Trotsky’s fifth error is to raise in his letters the argument and slogan that the Party must march in step with the student youth, “our Party’s truest barometer.” “The youth—the Party’s truest barometer—react most sharply of all against Party bureaucracy,” he says in his first article. And in order that there be no doubt as to what youth he has in mind, Trotsky adds in his second letter: “Especially sharply, as we have seen, does the student youth react against bureaucracy.” If we were to proceed from this proposition, an absolutely incorrect one, theoretically fallacious and practically harmful, we should have to go further and issue the slogan: “More student youth in our Party; open wide the doors of our Party to the student youth.”

Hitherto the policy has been to orientate ourselves on the proletarian section of our Party, and we have said: “open wide the doors of the Party to proletarian elements; our Party must grow by recruiting proletarians.” Now Trotsky turns this formula upside down.

The question of intellectuals and workers in our Party is no new one. It was raised as far back as the Second Congress of our Party when it was a question of the formulation of paragraph 1 of the Rules, on Party membership. As you know, Martov demanded at the time that the framework of the Party be expanded to include non-proletarian elements, in opposition to Comrade Lenin, who insisted that the admission of such elements into the Party be strictly limited. Subsequently, at the Third Congress of our Party, the issue arose again, with new force. I recall how sharply, at that congress, Comrade Lenin put the question of workers and intellectuals in our Party. This is what Comrade Lenin said at the time:

“It has been pointed out that usually splits have been headed by intellectuals. This is a very important point, but it is not decisive. . . . I believe we must take a broader view of the matter. The bringing of workers on to the committees is not only a pedagogical, but also a political task. Workers have class instinct, and given a little political experience they fairly soon develop into staunch Social-Democrats. I would be very much in sympathy with the idea that our committees should contain eight workers to every two intellectuals” (see Vol. VII, p. 282*).

That is how the question stood as early as 1905. Ever since, this injunction of Comrade Lenin’s has been our guiding principle in building the Party. But now Trotsky proposes, in effect, that we break with the organisational line of Bolshevism.

And, finally, Trotsky’s sixth error lies in his proclaiming freedom of groups. Yes, freedom of groups! I recall that already in the sub-commission which drew up the draft resolution on democracy we had an argument with Trotsky on groups and factions. Trotsky raised no objection to the prohibition of factions, but vehemently defended the idea of permitting groups within the Party. That view is shared by the opposition. Evidently, these people do not realise that by permitting freedom of groups they open a loophole for the Myasnikov elements, and make it easier for them to mislead the Party and represent factions as groups. Indeed, is there any difference between a group and a faction? Only an outward one. This is how Comrade Lenin defines factionalism, identifying it with groups:

“Even before the general Party discussion on the trade unions, certain signs of factionalism were apparent in the Party, namely, the formation of groups with separate platforms, striving to a certain degree to segregate themselves and to establish a group discipline of their own” (see Stenographic Report of the Tenth Congress, R.C.P.(B.), p. 309).

As you see, there is essentially no difference here between factions and groups. And when the opposition set up its own bureau here in Moscow, with Serebryakov as its head; when it began to send out speakers with instructions to address such and such meetings and raise such and such objections; and when, in the course of the struggle, these oppositionists were compelled to retreat and changed their resolutions by command; this, of course, was evidence of the existence of a group and of group discipline. But we are told that this was not a faction; well, let Preobrazhensky explain what a faction is. Trotsky’s pronouncements, his letters and articles on the subject of generations and of factions, are designed to induce the Party to tolerate groups within its midst. This is an attempt to legalise factions, and Trotsky’s faction above all.

Trotsky affirms that groups arise because of the bureaucratic regime instituted by the Central Committee, and that if there were no bureaucratic regime, there would be no groups either. This is an un-Marxist approach, comrades. Groups arise, and will continue to arise, because we have in our country the most diverse forms of economy—from embryonic forms of socialism down to medievalism. That in the first place. Then we have the NEP, that is, we have allowed capitalism, the revival of private capital and the revival of the ideas that go with it, and these ideas are penetrating into the Party. That in the second place. And, in the third place, our Party is made up of three component parts: there are workers, peasants and intellectuals in its ranks. These then, if we approach the question in a Marxist way, are the causes why certain elements are drawn from the Party for the formation of groups, which in some cases we must remove by surgical action, and in others dissolve by ideological means, through discussion.

It is not a question of regime here. There would be many more groups under a regime of maximum freedom. So it is not the regime that is to blame, but the conditions in which we live, the conditions that exist in our country, the conditions governing the development of the Party itself.

If we were to allow groups in this situation, under these complex conditions, we would ruin the Party, convert it from the monolithic, united organisation that it is into a union of groups and factions contracting with one another and entering into temporary alliances and agreements. That would not be a party. It would be the collapse of the Party. Never, for a single moment, have the Bolsheviks conceived of the Party as anything but a monolithic organisation, hewed from a single block, possessing a single will and in its work uniting all shades of thought into a single current of practical activities.

But what Trotsky suggests is profoundly erroneous; it runs counter to Bolshevik organisational principles, and would inevitably lead to the disintegration of the Party, making it lax and soft, converting it from a united party into a federation of groups. Living as we do in a situation of capitalist encirclement, we need not only a united party, not only a solid party, but a veritable party of steel, one capable of withstanding the assault of the enemies of the proletariat, capable of leading the workers to the final battle.

What are the conclusions?

The first conclusion is that we have produced a concrete, clear-cut resolution summing up the present discussion. We have declared: groups and factions cannot be tolerated, the Party must be united, monolithic, the Party must not be put in opposition to the apparatus, there must be no idle talk of our cadres being in danger of degeneration, for they are revolutionary cadres, there must be no searching for cleavages between these revolutionary cadres and the youth, which is marching in step with these cadres and will continue to do so in future.

There are also certain positive conclusions. The first and fundamental one is that henceforth the Party must resolutely orientate itself on, and take as its criterion, the proletarian section of our Party, that it must narrow and reduce, or eliminate altogether, the possibility of entry of non-proletarian elements, and open the doors wider to proletarian elements.

As for groups and factions, I believe that the time has come when we must make public the clause in the unity resolution which on Comrade Lenin’s proposal was adopted by the Tenth Congress of our Party and was not intended for publication. Party members have forgotten about this clause. I am afraid not everyone remembers it. This clause, which has hitherto remained secret, should now be published and incorporated in the resolution which we shall adopt on the results of the discussion. With your permission I shall read it. Here is what it says:

“In order to ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity, doing away with all factionalism, the congress authorises the Central Committee, in case (cases) of breach of discipline or of a revival or toleration of factionalism, to apply all Party penalties, up to and including expulsion from the Party and, in regard to members of the Central Committee, to reduce them to the status of candidate members and even, as an extreme measure, to expel them from the Party. A condition for the application of such an extreme measure (to members and candidate members of the C.C. and members of the Control Commission) must be the convocation of a plenum of the Central Committee, to which all candidate members of the Central Committee and all members of the Control Commission shall be invited. If such a general assembly of the most responsible leaders of the Party, by a two-thirds majority, considers it necessary to reduce a member of the Central Committee to the status of a candidate member, or to expel him from the Party, this measure shall be put into effect immediately.”

I think that we must incorporate this clause in the resolution on the results of the discussion, and make it public.

Lastly, a question which the opposition keeps raising and to which, apparently, they do not always receive a satisfactory reply. The opposition often asks: whose sentiments do we, the opposition, express? I believe that the opposition expresses the sentiments of the non-proletarian section of our Party. I believe that the opposition, perhaps unconsciously and involuntarily, serves as the unwitting vehicle of the sentiments of the non-proletarian elements in our Party. I believe that the opposition, in its unrestrained agitation for democracy, which it so often makes into an absolute and a fetish, is unleashing petty-bourgeois elemental forces.

Are you acquainted with the sentiments of such comrades as the students Martynov, Kazaryan and the rest? Have you read Khodorovsky’s article in Pravda which cites passages from the speeches of these comrades? Here, for instance, is a speech by Martynov (he is a Party member, it appears): “it is our business to make decisions, and the business of the C.C. to carry them out and to indulge less in argument.” This refers to a Party unit in a college of the People’s Commissariat of Transport. But, comrades, the Party has a total of at least 50,000 units and if each of them is going to regard the C.C. in this way, holding that it is the business of the units to decide, and of the C.C. not to argue, I am afraid that we shall never arrive at any decision. Whence comes this sentiment of the Martynovs? What is there proletarian about it? And the Martynovs, mind you, support the opposition. Is there any difference between Martynov and Trotsky? Only in the fact that Trotsky launched the attack on the Party apparatus, while Martynov is driving that attack home.

And here is another college student, Kazaryan, who, it appears, is also a Party member. “What have we got,” he demands, “a dictatorship of the proletariat or a dictatorship of the Communist Party over the proletariat?” This, comrades, comes not from the Menshevik Martov but from the “Communist” Kazaryan. The difference between Trotsky and Kazaryan is that according to Trotsky our cadres are degenerating, but according to Kazaryan they should be driven out, for in his opinion they have saddled themselves on the proletariat.

I ask: whose sentiments do the Martynovs and Kazaryans express? Proletarian sentiments? Certainly not. Whose then? The sentiments of the non-proletarian elements in the Party and in the country. And is it an accident that these exponents of non-proletarian sentiments vote for the opposition? No, it is no accident. (Applause.)

II.  Reply to the Discussion January 18

I said in my report that I did not wish to touch on the history of the question because that would introduce an element of squabbling, as I put it, and mutual recrimination. But since Preobazhensky wishes it, since he insists, I am prepared to comply and say a few words on the history of the question of inner-Party democracy.

How did the question of inner-Party democracy arise in the C.C.? It came up for the first time at the C.C. plenum in September, in connection with the conflicts that had developed in the factories and the fact, then brought out by us, that certain Party and trade union organisations had become isolated from the masses. The C.C. took the view that this was a serious matter, that shortcomings had accumulated in the Party and that a special authoritative commission ought to be set up to look into the matter, study the facts and submit concrete proposals on how to improve the situation in the Party. The same thing applies to the marketing crisis, the price “scissors.” The opposition took no part at all in raising those questions or in electing the commissions on the inner-Party situation and on the “scissors” problem. Where was the opposition at the time? If I am not mistaken, Preobrazhensky was then in the Crimea and Sapronov in Kislovodsk. Trotsky, then in Kislovodsk, was finishing his articles on art and was about to return to Moscow. They had not yet returned when the Central Committee raised this question at its meeting. They came back to find a ready decision and did not intervene with a single word, nor did they raise a single objection to the C.C. plan. The situation in the Party was the subject of a report read by Comrade Dzerzhinsky at a conference of Gubernia Committee secretaries in September. I affirm that neither at the September plenum, nor at the secretaries’ conference, did the present members of the opposition so much as hint by a single word at a “severe economic crisis,” or a “crisis in the Party,” or the “democracy” issue.

So you see that the questions of democracy and of the “scissors” were raised by the Central Committee itself; the initiative was entirely in the hands of the C.C., while the members of the opposition remained silent—they were absent.

That, so to speak, was Act I, the initial stage in the history of the issue.

Act II began with the plenum of the C.C. and C.C.C. in October. The opposition, headed by Trotsky, seeing that the question of shortcomings in the Party was in the air, that the C.C. had already taken the matter in hand and had formed commissions, and lest—God forbid—the initiative would remain with the C.C., tried, took as its aim, to wrest the initiative from the C.C. and get astride the hobby-horse of democracy. As you know, it is a spry sort of horse and could be used in an attempt to outride the C.C. And so there appeared the documents on which Preobrazhensky spoke here at such length—the document of the 463 and Trotsky’s letter. That same Trotsky, who in September, a few days before his factional pronouncement, had been silent at the plenum, at any rate had not objected to the C.C. decisions, two weeks later suddenly discovered that the country and the Party were going to rack and ruin and that he, Trotsky, this patriarch of bureaucrats, could not live without democracy.

It was rather amusing for us to hear Trotsky hold forth on the subject of democracy, the same Trotsky who at the Tenth Party Congress had demanded that the trade unions be shaken up from above. But we knew that no great difference separates the Trotsky of the Tenth Congress period from the Trotsky of today, for now, as then, he advocates shaking up the Leninist cadres. The only difference is that at the Tenth Congress he wanted to shake up the Leninist cadres from the top, in the sphere of the trade unions, whereas now he wants to shake up the same Leninist cadres from the bottom, in the sphere of the Party. He needs democracy as a hobby-horse, as a strategic manoeuvre. That’s what all the clamour is about.

For, if the opposition really wanted to help matters, to approach the issue in a business-like and comradely way, it should have submitted its statement first of all to the commissions set up by the September plenum, and should have said something like this: “We consider your work unsatisfactory; we demand a report on its results to the Political Bureau, we demand a plenum of the C.C., to which we have new proposals of ours to present,” etc. And if the commissions had refused to give them a hearing, or if the Political Bureau had refused to hear their case, if it had ignored the opinion of the opposition, or refused to call a plenum to examine Trotsky’s proposals and the opposition proposals generally, then—and only then—would the opposition have been fully justified in coming out openly, over the head of the C.C., with an appeal to the Party membership and in saying to the party: “The country is facing disaster; economic crisis is developing; the Party is on the road to ruin. We asked the C.C. commissions to go into these questions, but they refused to give us a hearing, we tried to lay the matter before the Political Bureau, but nothing came of that either. We are now forced to appeal to the Party, in order that the Party itself may take things in hand.” I do not doubt that the response of the Party would have been: “Yes, these are practical revolutionaries, for they place the essence of the matter above the form.”

But did the opposition act like that? Did it attempt, even once, to approach the C.C. commissions with its proposals? Did it ever think of, did it make any attempt at, raising and settling the issues within the C.C. or the organs of the C.C.? No, the opposition made no such attempt. Evidently, its purpose was not to improve the inner-Party situation, or to help the Party to improve the economic situation, but to anticipate the work of the commissions and plenum of the C.C., to wrest the initiative from the C.C., get astride the hobby-horse of democracy and, while there was still time, raise a hue and cry in an attempt to undermine confidence in the C.C. Clearly, the opposition was in a hurry to concoct “documents” against the C.C., in the shape of Trotsky’s letter and the statement of the 46, so that it could circulate them among the Sverdlov University students and to the districts and assert that it, the opposition, was for democracy and for improving the economic situation, while the C.C. was hindering, that assistance was needed against the C.C., and so on.

Such are the facts.

I demand that Preobrazhensky refute these statements of mine. I demand that he refute them, in the press at least. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that the commissions were set up in September by the C.C. plenum without the opposition, before the opposition took up the issue. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that neither Trotsky nor the other oppositionists attempted to present their proposals to the commissions. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that the opposition knew of the existence of these commissions, ignored their work and made no effort to settle the matter within the C.C.

That is why, when Preobrazhensky and Trotsky declared at the October plenum that they wanted to save the Party through democracy, but that the C.C. was blind and saw nothing, the C.C. laughed at them and replied: No, comrades, we, the C.C., are wholeheartedly for democracy, but we do not believe in your democracy, because we feel that your “democracy” is simply a strategic move against the C.C. motivated by your factionalism.

What did the C.C. and C.C.C. plenums decide at the time on inner-Party democracy? This is what they decided:

“The plenums fully endorse the Political Bureau’s timely course of promoting inner-Party democracy and also its proposal to intensify the struggle against extravagance and the corrupting influence of the NEP on some elements in the Party.

“The plenums instruct the Political Bureau to do everything necessary to expedite the work of the commissions appointed by the Political Bureau and the September plenum: 1) the commission on the ‘scissors,’ 2) on wages, 3) on the inner-Party situation.

“When the necessary measures on these questions have been worked out, the Political Bureau must immediately begin to put them into effect and report to the next plenum of the C.C.”

In one of his letters to the C.C. Trotsky wrote that the October plenum was the “supreme expression of the apparatus-bureaucratic line of policy.” Is it not clear that this statement of Trotsky’s is a slander against the C.C.? Only a man who has completely lost his head and is blinded by factionalism can, after the adoption of the document I have just read, maintain that the October plenum was the supreme expression of bureaucracy.

And what did the C.C. and C.C.C. plenums decide at the time on the “democratic” manoeuvres of Trotsky and the 46? This is what they decided:

“The plenums of the C.C. and C.C.C., attended also by representatives of ten Party organisations, regard Trotsky’s pronouncement, made at the present highly important moment for the world revolution and the Party, as a grave political error, especially because his attack on the Political Bureau has, objectively, assumed the character of a factional move which threatens to strike a blow at Party unity and creates a crisis in the Party. The plenums note with regret that, in order to raise the questions touched on by him, Trotsky chose the method of appealing to individual Party members, instead of the only permissible method—that of first submitting these questions for discussion by the bodies of which Trotsky is a member.

“The method chosen by Trotsky served as the signal for the appearance of a factional group (statement of the 46).

“The plenums of the C.C. and C.C.C., and representatives of ten Party organisations, resolutely condemn the statement of the 46 as a factional and schismatic step; for that is its nature, whatever the intentions of those who signed it. That statement threatens to subject the entire Party in the coming months to an inner-Party struggle and thereby weaken the Party at a supremely important moment for the destinies of the world revolution.”

As you see, comrades, these facts completely refute the picture of the situation presented here by Preobrazhensky.

Act III, or the third stage, in the history of the issue was the period following the October plenum. The October plenum had voted to instruct the Political Bureau that it take every measure to ensure harmony in its work. I must state here, comrades, that in the period following the October plenum we took every measure to work in harmony with Trotsky, although I must say that this proved anything but an easy task. We had two private conferences with Trotsky, went into all questions of economic and Party matters and arrived at certain views on which there were no disagreements. As I reported yesterday, a sub-commission of three was set up as a continuation of these private conferences and of these efforts to ensure harmony in the work of the Political Bureau. This sub-commission drew up the draft resolution which subsequently became the C.C. and C.C.C. resolution on democracy.

That is how things stood.

It seemed to us that after the unanimous adoption of the resolution there were no further grounds for controversy, no grounds for an inner-Party struggle. And, indeed, this was so until Trotsky’s new pronouncement, his appeal to the districts. But Trotsky’s pronouncement on the day after the publication of the C.C. resolution, undertaken independently of the C.C. and over its head, upset everything, radically changed the situation, and hurled the Party back into a fresh controversy and a fresh struggle, more acute than before. It is said that the C.C. should have forbidden the publication of Trotsky’s article. That is wrong, comrades. It would have been a highly dangerous step for the C.C. to take. Try and prohibit an article of Trotsky’s, already made public in the Moscow districts! The Central Committee could not take so rash a step.

That is the history of the issue.

It follows from what has been said that the opposition has been concerned not so much with democracy as with using the idea of democracy to undermine the C.C.; that in the case of the opposition we are dealing not with people who want to help the Party, but with a faction which has been stealthily watching the C.C. in the hope that “it may slip up, or overlook something, and then we’ll pounce on it.” For it is a faction when one group of Party members tries to trap the central agencies of the Party in order to exploit a crop failure, a depreciation of the chervonets or any other difficulty confronting the Party, and then to attack the Party unexpectedly, from ambush, and to hit it on the head. Yes, the C.C. was right when in October it said to you, comrades of the opposition, that democracy is one thing and intriguing against the Party quite another; that democracy is one thing and exploiting clamour about democracy against the Party majority quite another.

That, Preobrazhensky, is the history of the issue, about which I did not want to speak here, but which, nevertheless, I have been obliged to recount in deference to your persistent desire.

The opposition has made it a rule to extol Comrade Lenin as the greatest of geniuses. I am afraid that this praise is insincere and that behind it, too, is a crafty stratagem: the clamour about Comrade Lenin’s genius is meant to cover up their departure from Lenin, and at the same time to emphasise the weakness of his disciples. Certainly, it is not for us, Comrade Lenin’s disciples, to fail to appreciate that Comrade Lenin is the greatest of geniuses, and that men of his calibre are born once in many centuries. But permit me to ask you, Preobrazhensky, why did you differ with this greatest of geniuses on the issue of the Brest Peace? Why did you abandon and refuse to heed this greatest of geniuses at a difficult moment? Where, in which camp, were you then?

And Sapronov, who now insincerely and hypocritically lauds Comrade Lenin, that same Sapronov who had the impudence, at one congress, to call Comrade Lenin an “ignoramus” and “oligarch”! Why did he not support the genius Lenin, say at the Tenth Congress, and why, if he really thinks that Comrade Lenin is the greatest of geniuses, has he invariably appeared in the opposite camp at difficult moments? Does Sapronov know that Comrade Lenin, in submitting to the Tenth Congress the unity resolution, which calls for the expulsion of factionalists from the Party, had in mind Sapronov among others?

Or again: why was Preobrazhensky found to be in the camp of the opponents of the great genius Lenin, not only at the time of the Brest Peace, but subsequently too, in the period of the trade union discussion? Is all this accidental? Is there not a definite logic in it? (Preobrazhensky: “I tried to use my own brains.”)

It is very praiseworthy, Preobrazhensky, that you should have wanted to use your own brains. But just look at the result: on the Brest issue you used your own brains, and came a cropper; then in the trade union discussion you again tried to use your own brains, and again you came a cropper; and now, I do not know whether you are using your own brains or borrowing someone else’s, but it appears that you have come a cropper this time too. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, I think that if Preobrazhensky were now to use his own brains more, rather than Trotsky’s—which resulted in the letter of October 8 – he would be closer to us than to Trotsky.

Preobrazhensky has reproached the C.C., asserting that as long as Ilyich stood at our head questions were solved in good time, not belatedly, for Ilyich was able to discern new events in the embryo, and give slogans that anticipated events; whereas now, he claims, with Ilyich absent, the Central Committee has begun to lag behind events. What does Preobrazhensky wish to imply? That Ilyich is superior to his disciples? But does anyone doubt that? Does anyone doubt that, compared with his disciples, Ilyich stands out as a veritable Goliath? If we are to speak of the Party’s leader, not a press-publicised leader receiving a heap of congratulatory messages, but its real leader, then there is only one—Comrade Lenin. That is precisely why it has been stressed time and again that in the present circumstances, with Comrade Lenin temporarily absent, we must keep to the line of collective leadership. As for Comrade Lenin’s disciples, we might point, for example, to the events connected with the Curzon ultimatum,4 which were a regular test, an examination, for them. The fact that we emerged from our difficulties then without detriment to our cause undoubtedly shows that Comrade Lenin’s disciples had already learned a thing or two from their teacher.

Preobrazhensky is wrong in asserting that our Party did not lag behind events in previous years. He is wrong because this assertion is untrue factually and incorrect theoretically. Several examples can be cited. Take, for instance, the Brest Peace. Were we not late in concluding it? And did it not require such facts as the German offensive and the wholesale flight of our soldiers to make us realise, at last, that we had to have peace? The disintegration of the front, Hoffman’s offensive,5 his approach to Petrograd, the pressure exerted on us by the peasants—did it not take all these developments to make us realise that the tempo of the world revolution was not as rapid as we would have liked, that our army was not as strong as we had thought, that the peasantry was not as patient as some of us had thought, and that it wanted peace, and would achieve it by force?

Or take the repeal of the surplus-appropriation system. Were we not late in repealing the surplus-appropriation system? Did it not require such developments as Kronstadt and Tambov6 to make us understand that it was no longer possible to retain the conditions of War Communism? Did not Ilyich himself admit that on this front we had sustained a more serious defeat than any we had suffered at the Denikin or Kolchak fronts?

Was it accidental that in all these instances the Party lagged behind events and acted somewhat belatedly? No, it was not accidental. There was a natural law at work here. Evidently, in so far as it is a matter not of general theoretical predictions, but of direct practical leadership, the ruling party, standing at the helm and involved in the events of the day, cannot immediately perceive and grasp processes taking place below the surface of life. It requires some impulse from outside and a definite degree of development of the new processes for the Party to perceive them and orientate its work accordingly. For that very reason our Party lagged somewhat behind events in the past, and will lag behind them in future too. But the point here does not at all concern lagging behind, but understanding the significance of events, the significance of new processes, and then skilfully directing them in accordance with the general trend of development. That is how the matter stands if we approach things as Marxists and not as factionalists who go about searching everywhere for culprits.

Preobrazhensky is indignant that representatives of the C.C. speak of Trotsky’s deviations from Leninism. He is indignant, but has presented no arguments to the contrary and has made no attempt at all to substantiate his indignation, forgetting that indignation is no argument: Yes, it is true that Trotsky deviates from Leninism on questions of organisation. That has been, and still is, our contention. The articles in Pravda entitled “Down With Factionalism,” written by Bukharin, are entirely devoted to Trotsky’s deviations from Leninism. Why has not Preobrazhensky challenged the basic ideas of these articles? Why has he not tried to support his indignation by arguments, or a semblance of arguments? I said yesterday, and I must repeat it today, that such actions of Trotsky’s as setting himself up in opposition to the Central Committee; ignoring the will of a number of organisations that are demanding a clear answer from him; contrasting the Party to the Party apparatus, and the young Party members to the Party cadres; his attempt to orientate the Party on the student youth, and his proclamation of freedom of groups—I say that these actions are incompatible with the organisational principles of Leninism. Why then has Preobrazhensky not tried to refute this statement of mine?

It is said that Trotsky is being baited. Preobrazhensky and Radek have spoken of this. Comrades, I must say that the statements of these comrades about baiting are altogether at variance with the facts. Let me recall two facts so that you may be able to judge for yourselves. First, the incident which occurred at the September plenum of the C.C. when, in reply to the remark by C.C. member Komarov that C.C. members cannot refuse to carry out C.C. decisions, Trotsky jumped up and left the meeting. You will recall that the C.C. plenum sent a “delegation” to Trotsky with the request that he return to the meeting. You will recall that Trotsky refused to comply with this request of the plenum, thereby demonstrating that he had not the slightest respect for his Central Committee.

There is also the other fact, that Trotsky definitely refuses to work in the central Soviet bodies, in the Council of Labour and Defence and the Council of People’s Commissars, despite the twice-adopted C.C. decision that he at last take up his duties in the Soviet bodies. You know that Trotsky has not as much as moved a finger to carry out this C.C. decision. But, indeed, why should not Trotsky work in the Council of Labour and Defence, or in the Council of People’s Commissars? Why should not Trotsky—who is so fond of talking about planning—why should he not have a look into our State Planning Commission? Is it right and proper for a C.C. member to ignore a decision of the C.C.? Do not all these facts show that the talk about baiting is no more than idle gossip, and that if anyone is to be blamed, it is Trotsky himself, for his behaviour can only be regarded as mocking at the C.C.?

Preobrazhensky’s arguments about democracy are entirely wrong. This is how he puts the question: either we have groups, and in that case there is democracy, or you prohibit groups, and in that case there is no democracy. In his conception, freedom of groups and democracy are inseparably bound up. That is not how we understand democracy. We understand democracy to mean raising the activity and political understanding of the mass of Party members; we understand it to mean the systematic enlistment of the Party membership not, only in the discussion of questions, but also in the leadership of the work. Freedom of groups, that is, freedom of factions—they are one and the same thing—represents an evil which threatens to splinter the Party and turn it into a discussion club. You have exposed yourself, Preobrazhensky, by defending freedom of factions. The mass of Party members understand democracy to mean creating conditions that will ensure active participation of the Party members in the leadership of our country, whereas a couple of oppositionist intellectuals understand it to mean that the opposition must be given freedom to form a faction. You stand exposed, Preobrazhensky.

And why are you so frightened by point seven, on Party unity? What is there to be frightened about? Point seven reads: “In order to ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity, doing away with all factionalism. . . .” But are you against “strict discipline within the Party and in Soviet work”? Comrades of the opposition, are you against all this? Well, I did not know, comrades, that you were opposed to this. Are you, Sapronov and Preobrazhensky, opposed to securing maximum unanimity and “doing away with factionalism”? Tell us frankly, and perhaps we shall introduce an amendment or two. (Laughter.)

Further: “The congress authorises the Central Committee, in case of breach of Party discipline or of a revival of factionalism, to apply Party penalties. . . .” Are you afraid of this too? Can it be that you, Preobrazhensky, Radek, Sapronov, are thinking of violating Party discipline, of reviving factionalism? Well, if that is not your intention, then what are you afraid of? Your panic shows you up, comrades. Evidently, if you are afraid of point seven of the unity resolution, you must be for factionalism, for violating discipline, and against unity. Otherwise, why all the panic? If your conscience is clear, if you are for unity and against factionalism and violation of discipline, then is it not clear that the punishing hand of the Party will not touch you? What is there to fear then? (Voice: “But why do you include the point, if there is nothing to fear?”)

To remind you. (Laughter, applause. Preobrazhensky: “You are intimidating the Party.”)

We are intimidating the factionalists, not the Party. Do you really think, Preobrazhensky, that the Party and the factionalists are identical? Apparently it is a case of the cap fitting. (Laughter.)

Further: “And, in regard to members of the Central Committee, to reduce them to the status of candidate members and even, as an extreme measure, to expel them from the Party. A condition for the application of such an extreme measure to members and candidate members of the C.C. and members of the Central Control Commission must be the convocation of a plenum of the Central Committee.”

What is there terrible in that? If you are not factionalists, if you are against freedom of groups, and if you are for unity, then you, comrades of the opposition, should vote for point seven of the Tenth Congress resolution, for it is directed solely against factionalists, solely against those who violate the Party’s unity, its strength and discipline. Is that not clear?

I now pass to Radek. There are people who can master and manage their tongues; these are ordinary people. There are also people who are slaves of their tongues; their tongues manage them. These are peculiar people. And it is to this category of peculiar people that Radek belongs. A man who has a tongue he cannot manage and who is the slave of his own tongue, can never know what and when his tongue is liable to blurt out. If you had been able to hear Radek’s speeches at various meetings, you would have been astonished by what he said today. At one discussion meeting Radek asserted that the question of inner-Party democracy was a trivial one, that actually he, Radek, was against democracy, that, at bottom the issue now was not one of democracy, but of what the C.C. intended to do with Trotsky. At another discussion meeting this same Radek declared that democracy within the Party was not a serious matter, but that democracy within the C.C. was a matter of the utmost importance, for in his opinion a Directory had been set up inside the C.C. And today this same Radek tells us in all innocence that inner-Party democracy is as indispensable as air and water, for without democracy, it appears, leadership of the Party is impossible. Which of these three Radeks are we to believe—the first, second or third? And what guarantee is there that Radek, or rather his tongue, will not in the immediate future make new unexpected statements that refute all his previous ones? Can one rely on a man like Radek? Can one, after all this, attach any value to Radek’s statement, for instance, about Boguslavsky and Antonov being removed from certain posts out of “factional considerations”?

I have already spoken, comrades, about Boguslavsky.. . . As for Antonov-Ovseyenko, permit me to report the following. Antonov was removed from the Political Department of the Red Army by decision of the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee, a decision confirmed by a plenum of the Central Committee. He was removed, first of all, for having issued a circular about a conference of Party units in military colleges and the air fleet, with the international situation, Party affairs, etc., as items on the agenda, without the knowledge and agreement of the C.C., although Antonov knew that the status of the Political Department of the Red Army is that of a department of the C.C. He was removed from the Political Department, in addition, for having sent to all Party units of the army a circular concerning the forms in which inner-Party democracy was to be applied, doing so against the will of the C.C. and in spite of its warning that the circular must be coordinated with the plans of the C.C. He was removed, lastly, for having sent to the C.C. and C.C.C. a letter, altogether indecent in tone and absolutely impermissible in content, threatening the C.C. and C.C.C. that the “overweening leaders” would be called to account.

Comrades, oppositionists can and should be allowed to hold posts. Heads of C.C. departments can and should be allowed to criticise the Central Committee’s activities. But we cannot allow the head of the Political Department of the Red Army, which has the status of a department of the C.C., systematically to refuse to establish working contact with his Central Committee. We cannot allow a responsible official to trample underfoot the elementary rules of decency. Such a comrade cannot be entrusted with the education of the Red Army. That is how matters stand with Antonov.

Finally, I must say a few words on the subject of whose are the sentiments that are expressed in the pronouncements of the comrades of the opposition. I must return to the “incident” of Comrades Kazaryan and Martynov, students at the People’s Commissariat of Transport college. This “incident” is evidence that all is not well among a certain section of our students, that what they had of the Party spirit in them has already become rotten, that intrinsically they have already broken with the Party and precisely for that reason willingly vote for the opposition. You will forgive me, comrades, but such people, rotten through and through from the Party standpoint, are not to be found, and could not possibly be found, among those who voted for the C.C. resolution. There are no such people on our side, comrades. There are none in our ranks who would ask: “What have we got, a dictatorship of the proletariat or a dictatorship of the Communist Party over the proletariat?” That is a phrase of Martov and Dan; it is a phrase of the Socialist-Revolutionary Dni,7 and if among you, in your ranks, there are those who take this line, then what is your position worth, comrades of the opposition? Or there is, for instance, the other comrade, comrade Martynov, who thinks that the C.C. should keep quiet while the Party units decide. He says in effect: You, the C.C., can carry out what we, the units, decide. But we have 50,000 Party units, and if they are going to decide, say, the question of the Curzon ultimatum, then we shall not arrive at a decision in two years. That is indeed anarcho-Menshevism of the first water. These people have lost their heads; from the Party standpoint they are rotten through and through, and if you have them in your faction, then I ask you, what is this faction of yours worth? (Voice: “Are they Party members?”)

Yes, unfortunately they are, but I am prepared to take every measure to ensure that such people cease to be members of our Party. (Applause.) I have said that the opposition voices the sentiments and aspirations of the non-proletarian elements in the Party and outside it. Without being conscious of it, the opposition is unleashing petty-bourgeois elemental forces. Its factional activities bring grist to the mill of the enemies of our Party, to the mill of those who want to weaken, to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat. I said this yesterday and I re-affirm it today.

But perhaps you would like to hear other, fresh witnesses? I can give you that pleasure. Let me cite, for instance, the evidence of S. Ivanovich, a name you have all heard. Who is this S. Ivanovich? He is a Menshevik, a former Party member, of the days when we and the Mensheviks comprised a single Party. Later on he disagreed with the Menshevik C.C. and became a Right-wing Menshevik. The Right-wing Mensheviks are a group of Menshevik interventionists, and their immediate object is to overthrow Soviet power, even if with the aid of foreign bayonets. Their organ is Zarya8 and its editor is S. Ivanovich. How does he regard our opposition, this Right-wing Menshevik? What sort of testimonial has he given it? Listen to this:

“Let us be thankful to the opposition for having so luridly depicted that horrifying moral cesspool that goes by the name of the R.C.P. Let us be thankful to it for having dealt a serious blow, morally and organisationally, to the R.C.P. Let us be thankful to it for its activities, because they help all those who regard the overthrow of Soviet power as the task of the Socialist parties.”

There you have your testimonial, comrades of the opposition!

In conclusion, I would like nevertheless to wish the comrades of the opposition that this kiss of S. Ivanovich will not stick to them too closely. (Prolonged applause.)

Notes

1. The Thirteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) took place in Moscow on January 16-18, 1924. There were present 128 delegates with right of voice and vote and 222 with right of voice only. The conference discussed Party affairs, the international situation, and the immediate tasks in economic policy. On J. V. Stalin’s report “Immediate Tasks in Party Affairs” the conference passed two resolutions: “Party Affairs,” and “Results of the Discussion and the Petty-Bourgeois Deviation in the Party.”

The conference condemned the Trotskyite opposition, declaring it to be a petty-bourgeois deviation from Marxism, and recommended that the Central Committee publish Point 7 of the resolution “On Party Unity” that was adopted by the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P. (B.) on the proposal of V. I. Lenin. These decisions of the conference were endorsed by the Thirteenth Party Congress and by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern. (For the resolutions of the conference, see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part I, 1941, pp. 535-56.)

2. This refers to the resolution on Party affairs adopted at the joint meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Control Commission of the R.C.P. (B.) held on December 5, 1923, and published in Pravda, No. 278, December 7, 1923. The plenum of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.), which took place on January 14-15, 1924, summed up the discussion in the Party and endorsed the resolution on Party affairs adopted by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Control Commission for submission to the Thirteenth Party Conference (see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part I, 1941, pp. 533-540).

* In this and other references to Lenin’s Works, Roman numerals indicate volumes of the Third Russian Edition of V. I. Lenin’s Works.—Tr.

3. Concerning the document of the 46 members of the opposition, see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 408-09.

4. On May 8, 1923, Lord Curzon, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, sent the Soviet Government an ultimatum containing slanderous charges against the Soviet Government. It demanded the recall of the Soviet plenipotentiary representatives from Persia and Afghanistan, the release of British fishing boats which had been detained for illegal fishing in the northern territorial waters of the U.S.S.R., etc., and threatened a rupture of trade relations if these demands were not conceded within ten days. Curzon’s ultimatum created the danger of a new intervention. The Soviet Government rejected the unlawful claims of the British Government, at the same time expressing complete readiness to settle the relations between the two countries in a peaceful way, and took measures to strengthen the country’s defensive capacity.

5. This refers to the advance on Soviet territory by German troops under the command of General Hoffmann in February 1918 (see J. V, Stalin, Works, Vol. 4, pp. 39-49).

6. This refers to the counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt in 1921, and to the kulak revolt in the Tambov Gubernia in 1919-21.

7. Dni (Days)—a daily newspaper of the Socialist-Revolutionary whiteguard émigrés; published in Berlin from October 1922.

8. Zarya (Dawn)—a magazine of the Right-wing Menshevik whiteguard émigrés; published in Berlin from April 1922 to January 1924.

Do Not Mistake Stupidity for Revolution!

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‘We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.’

Mao Zedong

The political system in the UK is complex and multi-layered. It is not simple, and neither is it predisposed to sudden change or radical influence. It has developed over hundreds of years, and operates through representative democracy. As a historical process it is not perfect, and has been the means through which the ruling classes retain power and influence over the British Working Class, and the subjugated peoples of the British empire. In-short, the British political system has evolved to represent ‘conservatism’ in its leftist, centrist and rightist political manifestations. It is also the bulwark of a vicious, and predatory capitalist system. The British Labour Party – although founded by Marxist-influenced ‘Socialists’, and named after the very concept of ‘Labour’ that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used to assess and analysis the capitalists system, (i.e. the Proletariat can only sell their ‘Labour’, the only exploitable attribute they possess) – nevertheless, it formally and officially ‘broke’ all ties with ‘Communism’ early in its history, and always distanced itself from the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the subsequent development of the Soviet Union. Today, the Labour ideologues would have you believe that the Labour Party (which carries a Marxist name), has had no historical connection with ‘Communism’ (i.e. ‘Scientific Socialism’), and no ideological inclination toward Revolutionary Marxism or Marxist-Leninism! This is essentially a re-writing of history by the bourgeois influences that penetrated the Labour Party movement early in its history, and diverted it away from a Working Class Revolutionary path, and toward a more conservative, middle-class friendly, capitalist-supporting direction. This re-orientation moved the Labour Party away from a direct Revolutionary path, and toward one that supported the status quo, and in so doing, the imperialist and colonial tendencies of the British State. In fact, even the Labour Party’s so-called ‘Socialist’ tendencies have been influenced by Trotskyism, and correctly described by the British Maoist Movement known as the ‘Workers’ Institute for Advanced Theoretical Studies of Nature’ as being representative of ‘social fascism’.

For the freedom fighter living in the UK, a certain level of political awareness must be developed that is three-dimensional in nature, and which takes into account the material circumstances as they currently exist. The Labour Party possesses many political faults as pointed-out by many leftist groups, this is undoubtedly true and beyond question. Although it has been historically linked to Socialist Revolution, its official policies have always been to ‘preserve’ and ‘maintain’ the bourgeois status quo in the UK via various schemes of limited wealth re-distribution. In 1948, this included the development of a comprehensive Welfare State and National Health Service (ironically both premised upon the Soviet model), and which transformed Working Class existence in the UK and Northern Ireland (but in no other colonial out-post). Of course, these developments, although relieving poverty and raising levels of health to unprecedented levels, nevertheless, were designed to ‘prevent’ a full-scale Revolution in the UK, with the British Proletariat taking political power for itself, and possibly – as the People’s Republic of Britain – forming an anti-American alliance with the USSR! By and large, this ‘Socialist’ policy of Labour worked rather like a Trotskyite programme designed to prevent a Marxist-Leninist inspired Revolution in the UK. All this was made ideologically redundant with the rise of the neo-conservative Tony Blair, and his openly and blatant rightwing leadership of the Labour Party. From 1997 to 2010 – the Blairite Labour Party – acting inaccordance with Tory sentiment and the capitalist State – did not reverse one Thatcherite cut or reform, and continued to dismantle the British Welfare State and NHS.

Today, although Jeremy Corbyn has lost a General Election, his lurch back to the left has earned him a great popularity amongst the British voters – particularly the young. Although he does not advocate a Socialist Revolution, he does prefer a ‘Socialistic’ Labour policy that moves away from the social destruction associated with Tory ‘Austerity’, and back to a soft model of re-distributing wealth through a ‘fair’ and ‘compassionate’ Welfare State and NHS. Of course, this can be interpreted as ‘Trotskyite’, but the fact remains that given the limited political choices that exist for the British Working Class in the liberal, democratic system they currently inhabit, Jeremy Corbyn represents a change in fortune that relieves the poverty and oppression currently enforced by the Tory government. It might be more conducive for Marxist-Leninists to view this situation wisely through the work of Antonio Gramsci, and consider what both Marx and Lenin taught. Until the Revolution – whereby a fully empowered Proletariat seize the means of production – an expedient Revolutionary path of agitation, propaganda, support and opposition must be followed, premised upon the correct political use of the non-inverted mind, and a wise consideration of current circumstances, and the possible effects of policy directions for the future. How will decisions taken today, effect the well-being of the British Working Class tomorrow? As far a I am concerned, as a British-Chinese person living within and around the British-Chinese community whilst interfacing with and reaching out to the English community, imperialism, colonialism, fascism and racism must all be fought without quarter being given, as should Trotskyism and any other anti-Working Class ideology! Marxist-Leninists must develop ‘wisdom’ and expel stupidity as a mean to effectively make Revolution! Power to the people!

The Sangha Kommune (僧伽公社) Defined

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Ch’an Master Caotang siad:

There is nothing special to leadership – essentially it is a matter of controlling the evils of biased information and autocracy. Do not just go by whatever is said to you first – then the obsequities of petty people seeking favour will not be able to confuse you.

After all, the feelings of a group of people are not one, and objective reason is hard to see. You should investigate something to see its benefit or harm, examine whether it is appropriate and suitable or not; then after that you may carry it out.

True Record of Sushan (Song Dynasty)

The Chinese Buddhist monastic community is referred to as a ‘Sangha’ (Sanskrit for ‘spiritual community’), whereby men and women form a voluntary association premised upon following a strict set of rules known as the ‘Vinaya Discipline’. Within this community, there is ‘equality’ between all members, with the leaders being those who have followed these rules for the longest times. This is because such people are thought to have more experience at adhering to the Vinaya Discipline (which includes celibacy and vegetarianism), and are therefore able to effectively advise all others through the difficult times they my face in their practice. As those with little experience have less to share, they are not considered leaders whilst more experienced practitioners live in the vicinity. Of course, this is a relative matter depending upon the size of population of a community, and the length of time it has existed, and the quality of the masters (male or female) that have led it. Those who cannot keep the Vinaya Discipline (of over 200 rules) generally choose to leave on their own accord, with those who confess breaking the major rules being asked to leave and expelled from the monastic community (due to the bad example they set). However, the term ‘Sangha’ is often more loosely applied to the devout or dedicated lay community, the members of which follow at least 5, 8 or 10 vows as a life routine, and who regularly visit the local temple and volunteer their time in worthwhile social or charitable activities. In this manner, the monastic Sangha teach and guide the lay Sangha, and the lay Sangha applies the Buddha’s teachings of compassion, loving kindness and wise action to the outside the temple, and thereby expand the Buddha-Dharma beyond the temple. As the Buddha originally taught that there is no ‘difference’ in enlightened essence between the monastic and lay community, the monastics do not consider themselves ‘superior’ and the lay community does not consider itself ‘inferior’ to one another. The principle of ‘Sangha, therefore, denotes a sacred space defined and maintained through the principles of psychological and physical self-discipline and learning, premised upon a general attitude of mutual respect. The Sangha, in both essence and function, is a model for a ‘commune’ operating through the vigorous principles of  equality’, ‘discipline’ and ‘wisdom’. These are the principles embodied within this blog – regardless of the scope of its subject matter.

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The term ‘Kommune’ is taken from the German word for ‘Commune’, and is directly related to the principles of Scientific Socialism, as formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Indeed, within German language editions of the works of Marx and Engels, the term ‘Kommune’ is often encountered. This type of ‘Kommune’ is also a voluntary association, albeit distinctly ‘modern’ in origination, and designed to serve the Revolutionary needs of the Proletariat – or the mass of peasants forced to work in the industrialised factories produced by the oppressive capitalist system. Working 12 to 16 hours a day, strictly by the clock, whilst being dictated to by brutal managers and the movement and operation of monotonous machines, these peasants were transformed into self-disciplined and highly exploited automatons of industry, waiting for the right historical epoch to free themselves from their endless toil for little reward. Just as the collective mind is ‘dulled’ by endless hours of repetitive toil, it is ‘freed’, ‘activated’ and ‘expanded’ when encountering the strictures of Scientific Socialism, and a non-resisting ‘false consciousness’ is replace by a resisting ‘true consciousness’. Generally, when the mind is freed from the straitjacket of oppression, the body soon follows, even though it is equally true that if the body is freed by a Revolution caused by others, then the mind soon follows! In these post-modem times, proletariat ‘true consciousness’ is much more amorphous in manifestation, particularly as factory work becomes ever less prevalent in the West. Although the modes of capitalist exploitation change with the epoch, the nature of capitalist exploitation (and class distinction) remains exactly the same. Striving for the establishment of a ‘Kommunistic’ society remains the duty of all right-minded working class people across the globe, with the Marxist principle of ‘Internationalism’ replacing nationalism and racism, etc. The point is that the ‘true consciousness’ of the working class is premised entirely upon non-hatred for one another, as this hatred has been imported into the working class by the very capitalists that exploit them! By rejecting capitalism, the working class is rejecting the greed, hatred and delusion that underlies all capitalist thought and action. This working class mission is no less ‘sacred’ than its Buddhist counter-part, and shares exactly the same essence. The author of this blog strives to agitate for the peaceful achievement of both inner and outer Revolution amongst by any means necessary (to quote Malcolm X).

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Having defined two interpretations of ‘Kommune’, it is important to also emphasis the pivotal notion of ‘education’ and the training of the human mind to discern a relevant ‘truth’ in any given situation or circumstance. Learning in a classroom, through a book, encounter groups, political meetings, protest marches, meditation sessions, or the internet, are all crucial aspects of ‘refining’ the memory and ‘honing’ the intellect. The thought processes (and emotionality) must be ‘calmed’ for the sake of ‘wise’ action and non-action when young, so that avoidable errors and mistakes are reduced to the minimum, and progressive activity increased to the maximum (to selflessly benefit humanity).  This is not always easy, and the ability to recognise non-efficient thought-patterns and behaviours should also be cultivated as a means toward achieving self-forgiveness, and the forgiveness of others. The important point is that the mind should be kept in a positive frame of operation, so that the body can be used for various types of ‘enlightened’ political, cultural and social action. The physical body must be clearly (and cleanly) directed by the mind (the seat of volition), and kept physically fit through appropriate activities. This psycho-physical training sets the stage for the refined individual to understand the frequency and quality of inner and outer energy, and immediately understand the best action (if any) to take, or instantly ‘know’ when others are ‘lying’, or presenting ‘untruth’ as ‘truth’. This ability can be further used to generate ‘correct’ work that counters the lies of a society motivated entirely by greed, racism and an indifference to the suffering of humanity and other life forms. Therefore, this ‘Sangha Kommune’ blog is a work in progress that covers a bewildering array of topics, opinions, and research data. By taking a step back away from its content – the general reader will begin to understand the underlying (and motivating) paradigm. This is essentially a ‘Kommunist’ zone where all beings are automatically ‘freed’ at the point of contact. The need for money is already ‘transcended’, and the energy frequency of the Sangha Kommune should be used by all to achieve a state of permanent ‘freedom’ in all circumstances. This is a space of permanent Cyber Kommunism, and ongoing Revolutionary activity in the form of ‘exposing’ and ‘dissolving’ the bourgeois system and its redundant mode of capitalist organisation.

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Ch’an Wuzu said:

The Ch’an community is a place for the moulding of Sages and ordinary people, and for nurturing and developing potential ability. It is a source of teaching,. Even though many people are living together, gathering in kind, they are guided and made equal. Each has a transmission from the teacher.

Now in many places they do not strive to maintain the standards of the Sages of the past. Biased feelings of like and dislike are many, with people bending others to what they personally think is right. How should later students take an example?

Records of Equanimity (Song Dynasty)

Marx and Revolutionary Shakespeare

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‘As his home town is increasingly colonised by tourists, whether or not they choose to visit the theatre which bears his name, the long-suffering son of Stratford is meanwhile being picked apart by historicists, feminists, Marxists, new historicists, post-feminists, deconstructionalists, anti-deconstructionalists, post-modernists, cultural imperialists and post-colonialists. Perhaps it is time someone tried to put him back together again.’

(Anthony Holden: William Shakespeare – His Life and Work)

A contemporary Chinese language text from Mainland China, states that both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (the founders of Scientific Socialism), thought very highly of the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616). furthermore, neither advocate of Communist Revolution would have a bad word said against this thoroughly bourgeois and land-owning bard, as Marx always said that although the bourgeois (middle) class was responsible for the repugnant capitalist system, nevertheless, many individuals within that class possessed an insight that transcended the limitations of their own socio-economic conditioning, and through expressing that insight in whatever format that was applicable to these ‘progressive’ individuals, were able to ferment revolution, and facilitate the eventual over-throw of their own class dominance for the universal benefit of the evolution of humanity. For Marx, Shakespeare possessed the mantle of ‘high art’ in an age were the bourgeois class had not yet secured political power for itself, but which was definitely heading in a direction that would end with the execution of King Charles I, and the permanent usurping of the aristocracy from political power. As a potential revolutionary, Shakespeare was an outstanding dramatist and poet of the European Renaissance era. Although Marx was well-read, and had studied the works of many poets and playwrights that had written in German, French and English, his considered opinion was that the work of William Shakespeare was not only original, but existed within a transcendent (and therefore revolutionary) category of its own, very similar to the genius philosophers and poets of ancient and classical Greece. Not only this, but Marx understood that Shakespeare’s work contained a highly ‘political’ central core of expression, that was disguised or camouflaged by veneers of drama and entertainment. William Shakespeare was a revolutionary subversive of such advanced ability that he not only continued to expose and undermine his contemporary socio-economic system, but became famous (and rich) in the process. Shakespeare, through his use of dramatised historical narratives, was able to ‘entertain’ and ‘move’ all those who witnessed his plays or heard his sonnets, at the first point of contact, whilst the underlying (deconstructive) elements of his true intentions, permeated the subconscious minds of his audience without conscious resistance, to re-emerge no doubt, at a later date throughout their disparate lives.

Although it is true that neither Marx nor Engels made a specific study of any of Shakespeare’s numerous plays or sonnets, modern Chinese scholarship (which has made a study of the influence of Shakespeare within the collected works of Marx and Engels), has revealed that the plays and characters of Shakespeare were often mentioned (or quoted) throughout the work of Marx and Engels. In fact, within the writings and letters of Marx, Shakespeare’s work is referenced as many as 147 separate times (as a means for Marx to positively elaborate this or that specific point he was making). Among the 37 works written by Shakespeare, Marx cites 21 titles throughout his main work (a number that does not include Shakespeare references contained within Marx’s personal correspondence). Throughout his main work, Marx mentions 47 Shakespearean characters by name, with the most frequent being Henry VI, and John Falstaff (from ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’), which appear 32 times. This is because Marx practised the habit of quoting extracts of Shakespeare’s plays – stating more than once that Shakespeare had a better understanding of money, than did a modern German philosopher (quoting from Timon of Athens). In March of 1857, Marx satired Palmerston in his article entitled ‘The Coming Election in England’, using references from Shakespeare’s Richard III and King John – ridiculing Palmerston for the British government’s forced importation of opium into China. In defence of China -Marx asserts that this despicable British imperialist policy is ‘turning heaven and earth upside down’. In a letter to La Salle in May, 1859, Engels stated that German drama would do well to learn from Shakespeare, who wrote with a perfect combination of history and vivid imagination.

Marx and Engels existed more than 250 years after Shakespeare, and yet still affirmed the significance and value of Shakespeare’s works. Not only because Shakespeare’s works played a progressive role in the Renaissance, but also in the then stage of proletarian development. Shakespeare’s writing played a progressive role within the bourgeoisie of his time, so that even in modern capitalist society, the existent bourgeois ideological is subtly undermined. This policy has dialectical value in the development of historical forces that lead to an eventual Socialist Revolution.  Marx and Engels, from the historical reality of class struggle and the social role of literature, have historically affirmed Shakespeare’s revolutionary position, possessing both the viewpoint and method of the proletariat. Shakespeare is the ‘soul of the times’, and ‘he does not belong to any single  era, but simultaneously belongs to all eras’. In three or four hundred years, Shakespeare’s works have crossed all geographical and linguistic boundaries, and have become the common wealth of the people in all times, and in all places. Below are included two extended examples of how Marx uses Shakespeare in a revolutionary manner:

The Grundrisse (1857-1858)

(4) PRODUCTION. MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION. RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION AND RELATIONS OF CIRCULATION. FORMS OF THE STATE AND FORMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN RELATION TO RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION AND CIRCULATION. LEGAL RELATIONS. FAMILY RELATIONS.

Notabene in regard to points to be mentioned here and not to be forgotten:

(1) War developed earlier than peace; the way in which certain economic relations such as wage labour, machinery etc. develop earlier, owing to war and in the armies etc., than in the interior of bourgeois society. The relation of productive force and relations of exchange also especially vivid in the army.

(2) Relation of previous ideal historiography to the real. Namely of the so-called cultural histories, which are only histories of religions and of states. (On that occasion something can also be said about the various kinds of previous historiography. The so-called objective. Subjective (moral among others). The philosophical.)

(3) Secondary and tertiary matters; in general, derivative, inherited, not original relations of production. Influence here of international relations.

(4) Accusations about the materialism of this conception. Relation to naturalistic materialism.

(5) Dialectic of the concepts productive force (means of production) and relation of production, a dialectic whose boundaries are to be determined, and which does not suspend the real difference.

(6) The uneven development of material production relative to e.g. artistic development. In general, the concept of progress not to be conceived in the usual abstractness. Modern art etc. This disproportion not as important or so difficult to grasp as within practical-social relations themselves. E.g. the relation of education. Relation of the United States to Europe. But the really difficult point to discuss here is how relations of production develop unevenly as legal relations. Thus e.g. the relation of Roman private law (this less the case with criminal and public law) to modern production.

(7) This conception appears as necessary development. But legitimation of chance. How. (Of freedom also, among other things.) (Influence of means of communication. World history has not always existed; history as world history a result.)

(8) The point of departure obviously from the natural characteristic; subjectively and objectively. Tribes, races etc.

In the case of the arts, it is well known that certain periods of their flowering are out of all proportion to the general development of society, hence also to the material foundation, the skeletal structure as it were, of its organization. For example, the Greeks compared to the moderns or also Shakespeare. It is even recognized that certain forms of art, e.g. the epic, can no longer be produced in their world epoch-making, classical stature as soon as the production of art, as such, begins; that is, that certain significant forms within the realm of the arts are possible only at an undeveloped stage of artistic development. If this is the case with the relation between different kinds of art within the realm of the arts, it is already less puzzling that it is the case in the relation of the entire realm to the general development of society. The difficulty consists only in the general formulation of these contradictions. As soon as they have been specified, they are already clarified.

Let us take e.g. the relation of Greek art and then of Shakespeare to the present time. It is well known that Greek mythology is not only the arsenal of Greek art but also its foundation. Is the view of nature and of social relations on which the Greek imagination and hence Greek [mythology] is based possible with self-acting mule spindles and railways and locomotives and electrical telegraphs? What chance has Vulcan against Roberts and Co., Jupiter against the lightning-rod and Hermes against the Crédit Mobilier? All mythology overcomes and dominates and shapes the forces of nature in the imagination and by the imagination; it therefore vanishes with the advent of real mastery over them. What becomes of Fama alongside Printing House Square? Greek art presupposes Greek mythology, i.e. nature and the social forms already reworked in an unconsciously artistic way by the popular imagination. This is its material. Not any mythology whatever, i.e. not an arbitrarily chosen unconsciously artistic reworking of nature (here meaning everything objective, hence including society). Egyptian mythology could never have been the foundation or the womb of Greek art. But, in any case, a mythology. Hence, in no way a social development which excludes all mythological, all mythologizing relations to nature; which therefore demands of the artist an imagination not dependent on mythology.

From another side: is Achilles possible with powder and lead? Or the Iliad with the printing press, not to mention the printing machine? Do not the song and the saga and the muse necessarily come to an end with the printer’s bar, hence do not the necessary conditions of epic poetry vanish?

But the difficulty lies not in understanding that the Greek arts and epic are bound up with certain forms of social development. The difficulty is that they still afford us artistic pleasure and that in a certain respect they count as a norm and as an unattainable model.

A man cannot become a child again, or he becomes childish. But does he not find joy in the child’s naïvité, and must he himself not strive to reproduce its truth at a higher stage? Does not the true character of each epoch come alive in the nature of its children? Why should not the historic childhood of humanity, its most beautiful unfolding, as a stage never to return, exercise an eternal charm? There are unruly children and precocious children. Many of the old peoples belong in this category. The Greeks were normal children. The charm of their art for us is not in contradiction to the undeveloped stage of society on which it grew. [It] is its result, rather, and is inextricably bound up, rather, with the fact that the unripe social conditions under which it arose, and could alone arise, can never return.

An earlier example from Marx reads:

Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844

The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society (Third Manuscript)

If man’s feelings, passions, etc., are not merely anthropological phenomena in the (narrower) sense, but truly ontological [41] affirmations of being (of nature), and if they are only really affirmed because their object exists for them as a sensual object, then it is clear that:

1. They have by no means merely one mode of affirmation, but rather that the distinct character of their existence, of their life, is constituted by the distinct mode of their affirmation. In what manner the object exists for them, is the characteristic mode of their gratification.

2. Wherever the sensuous affirmation is the direct annulment of the object in its independent form (as in eating, drinking, working up of the object, etc.), this is the affirmation of the object.

3. Insofar as man, and hence also his feeling, etc., is human, the affirmation of the object by another is likewise his own gratification.

4. Only through developed industry – i.e., through the medium of private property – does the ontological essence of human passion come into being, in its totality as well as in its humanity; the science of man is therefore itself a product of man’s own practical activity.

5. The meaning of private property – apart from its estrangement – is the existence of essential objects for man, both as objects of enjoyment and as objects of activity.

By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as an omnipotent being. Money is the procurer between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me it is the other person.

“What, man! confound it, hands and feet
And head and backside, all are yours!
And what we take while life is sweet,
Is that to be declared not ours?

“Six stallions, say, I can afford,
Is not their strength my property?
I tear along, a sporting lord,
As if their legs belonged to me.”

Goethe: Faust (Mephistopheles)

Shakespeare in Timon of Athens:

“Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
No, Gods, I am no idle votarist! …
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
… Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed;
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: This is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put’st odds
Among the rout of nations.”

And also later:

“O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
‘Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen’s purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian’s lap! Thou visible God!
That solder’st close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss! That speak’st with every tongue,
||XLII| To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, thy slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!”

Shakespeare excellently depicts the real nature of money. To understand him, let us begin, first of all, by expounding the passage from Goethe.

That which is for me through the medium of money – that for which I can pay (i.e., which money can buy) – that am I myself, the possessor of the money. The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power. Money’s properties are my – the possessor’s – properties and essential powers. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness – its deterrent power – is nullified by money. I, according to my individual characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame. I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honoured, and hence its possessor. Money is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good. Money, besides, saves me the trouble of being dishonest: I am therefore presumed honest. I am brainless, but money is the real brain of all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for himself, and is he who has [In the manuscript: ‘is’. – Ed.] power over the clever not more clever than the clever? Do not I, who thanks to money am capable of all that the human heart longs for, possess all human capacities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into their contrary?

If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation? It is the coin that really separates as well as the real binding agent – the […] [One word in the manuscript cannot be deciphered. – Ed.]chemical power of society.

Shakespeare stresses especially two properties of money:

1. It is the visible divinity – the transformation of all human and natural properties into their contraries, the universal confounding and distorting of things: impossibilities are soldered together by it.

2. It is the common whore, the common procurer of people and nations.

The distorting and confounding of all human and natural qualities, the fraternisation of impossibilities – the divine power of money – lies in its character as men’s estranged, alienating and self-disposing species-nature. Money is the alienated ability of mankind.

That which I am unable to do as a man, and of which therefore all my individual essential powers are incapable, I am able to do by means of money. Money thus turns each of these powers into something which in itself it is not – turns it, that is, into its contrary.

If I long for a particular dish or want to take the mail-coach because I am not strong enough to go by foot, money fetches me the dish and the mail-coach: that is, it converts my wishes from something in the realm of imagination, translates them from their meditated, imagined or desired existence into their sensuous, actual existence – from imagination to life, from imagined being into real being. In effecting this mediation, [money] is the truly creative power.

No doubt the demand also exists for him who has no money, but his demand is a mere thing of the imagination without effect or existence for me, for a third party, for the [others],||XLIII| and which therefore remains even for me unreal and objectless. The difference between effective demand based on money and ineffective demand based on my need, my passion, my wish, etc., is the difference between being and thinking, between that which exists within me merely as an idea and the idea which exists as a real object outside of me.

If I have no money for travel, I have no need – that is, no real and realisable need – to travel. If I have the vocation for study but no money for it, I have no vocation for study – that is, no effective, no true vocation. On the other hand, if I have really no vocation for study but have the will and the money for it, I have an effective vocation for it. Money as the external, universal medium and faculty (not springing from man as man or from human society as society) for turning an image into reality and reality into a mere image, transforms the real essential powers of man and nature into what are merely abstract notions and therefore imperfections and tormenting chimeras, just as it transforms real imperfections and chimeras – essential powers which are really impotent, which exist only in the imagination of the individual – into real powers and faculties. In the light of this characteristic alone, money is thus the general distorting of individualities which turns them into their opposite and confers contradictory attributes upon their attributes.

Money, then, appears as this distorting power both against the individual and against the bonds of society, etc., which claim to be entities in themselves. It transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy.

Since money, as the existing and active concept of value, confounds and confuses all things, it is the general confounding and confusing of all things – the world upside-down – the confounding and confusing of all natural and human qualities.

He who can buy bravery is brave, though he be a coward. As money is not exchanged for any one specific quality, for any one specific thing, or for any particular human essential power, but for the entire objective world of man and nature, from the standpoint of its possessor it therefore serves to exchange every quality for every other, even contradictory, quality and object: it is the fraternisation of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace.

Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc. If you want to enjoy art, you must be an artistically cultivated person; if you want to exercise influence over other people, you must be a person with a stimulating and encouraging effect on other people. Every one of your relations to man and to nature must be a specific expression, corresponding to the object of your will, of your real individual life. If you love without evoking love in return – that is, if your loving as loving does not produce reciprocal love; if through a living expression of yourself as a loving person you do not make yourself a beloved one, then your love is impotent – a misfortune.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2017.

Chinese Language Reference:

http://wemedia.ifeng.com/282574490620879/wemedia.shtml

English Language References:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm#loc3

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/power.htm

http://marxengels.public-archive.net/en/ME0998en.html#Pa

Tucker, Robert C, The Marx-Engels Reader, Norton, (1978), Pages 102-4, 254.

Holden, Anthony, William Shakespeare – His Life and Work, ABACUS, (1999), Page 1 (Prologue)

 

Discovering Utopia: Lost Archives of Soviet Design – London (10.9.2016)

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DEDICATED TO THE SOVIET PEOPLE WHO LED THE WORLD IN WORKING CLASS REVOLUTION AND DEFEATED FASCISM AT A TERRIBLE PRICE!

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Soviet Technological Designs 1960-1980 Exhibition

By Adrian Chan-Wyles (PhD)

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Moscow Design Museum – Facebook

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) covers the time period 1917 – 1991, and marks one of the greatest and progressive epochs in the history of the developmet and evolution of humanity, the world has ever known.  Founded by Lenin (and the Bolshevik Communist Party he led), and inspired by the theory of Scientific Socialism (as developed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels), the ideology of the USSR sought to uproot and eradicate the ‘inverse’ bourgeois mind-set (that viewed reality the wrong way around), and which was the underlying and guiding principle of a ruthless and predatory capitalism (that split the world into competing classes that saw the proletariat doing all the work in poor conditions, whilst the Bourgeoisie controlled society and took all the profits of this labour for its own benefit).  The Soviet Communist Revolution put an end to society being controlled by theology, (or a historical idealism that assumed that physical matter was created as ‘an act of will’ by a theistic-entity), and replaced it with a progressive proletariat mind-set that saw the human mind used the right way around.  This non-inverted mind-set understood that the physical world was not the consequence of gods creating matter out of thin air, or of talented individuals creating, dissipating or displacing matter simply by choosing to do so, but was rather the clearly observable consequence of a chain of cause and effect events, manifesting in the material world.  Marx referred to this understanding as ‘historical materialism’.

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Reality, according to Marx, cannot be reduced to the interior of an individual brain (idealism), operating within a single skull, but is in fact the product of concrete causes leading directly to equally concrete effects manifesting in the physical world, fuelled by dialectical (class) antagonisms (materialism).  When the working class is permanently ‘freed’ from living in the state of oppression, and takes power from the bourgeoisie, (as happened in Russia in 1917), then that class takes over the means and forces of production throughout society, and is ample to start afresh, using the human mind in an entirely ‘new’ and ‘refreshing’ manner to that of the greed-infested and selfish bourgeoisie.  Instead of being hemmed-in by the concerns of exploitative capitalism with its perpetual search for profit, the proletariat mind-set is able to harness the progression of science without ideological constraint, and through the use of an enhanced imagination, seek-out and create new designs for technology that permeate the entirety of society, and which are premised on making life ‘better’ for every citizen.  This is effectively the application of the Communist ideal of ending all suffering and exploitation throughout society through the use of ‘futurism’, or the principle of formulating in theory new ways of doing things (a process unencumbered by convention), and striving to advance science as it exists today, to meet the new ‘imagined’ designs of tomorrow.  Imagination in this progressive sense, is not that associated with theology, but is rather a speculative use of the cause and effect of science (historical materialism), and the theorising without limit of how things could or might develop, given the right or appropriate creative stimulus.

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The Moscow Design Museum was founded in 2012 and charged with assembling and preserving a Soviet Era Archive that records Communist technological endeavour in both theory and practice.  This exhibition is currently being held in London at the West Wing of Somerset House, and is comprised of hundreds of black and white, and colour photographs mounted on a lighted background, with videos projected onto the wall featuring subtitled interviews with former Soviet scientists, designers and other innovators of the era.  Usually a single Russian administrator from the Moscow Design Museum over-sees the room, and is tasked with explaining each and every aspect of the exhibition to those attending.  Of course, the USSR was far advanced than its capitalist counter-parts, so much so, that at different times in history between 1960’s and the 1980’s, France and Italy collaborated with a Soviet system both country’s officially opposed, to better the design of products manufactured in the West.  It was implicitly acknowledged that the capitalist system was limited by its need to keep manufacturing prices down, whilst simultaneously attempting to manufacture a product that the exploited masses wanted to consume.

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The Soviet system did not suffer from this limitation, but instead created goods and devices that were made entirely with the well-being of the Soviet citizen in mind.  It is interesting to note that many Soviet innovations were ‘integrated’ into Western capitalist designs (making the products immeasurably more sellable), without ever acknowledging (in public) the Soviet contribution, as this would have undermined and contradicted the anti-Soviet rhetoric of the US-inspired ‘Cold War’.  The middle of the room contained cardboard chairs which were lightweight, and yet very strong.  These were developed in the USSR to accommodate large meetings of people – such as government officials – in a manner that did not unnecessarily absorb valuable resources, or descend into the bourgeois excess of pointless self-indulgence or self-aggrandisement.

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As modern Russia strives to come to terms with the collapse of the USSR coupled with the continuous anti-Russian racism emanating from the US and the EU, the message is clear – when the mind operates the right way around there exists a natural and advanced science that not only brings order out of chaos, but develops that order beyond the limits of bourgeois hypocrisy.  ACW 11.9.2016

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Police as Functional Class Oppression

The police represent the class interests of the bourgeoisie (middle class), and its purpose is to suppress and oppress the working class by upholding a system of bourgeois law that is antagonistic to working class interests.  The false justifying mythology that sustains this abusive relationship is that the police are benevolent, and have the best interests of the ordinary people at heart.  This has created the further mythology that the police are always correct, never wrong, and beyond reproach.  This is the bourgeois obsession with religion being reproduced in its notion of a ‘perfect’ police force, the members of which are believed to behave like ‘Jesus’.  In the meantime the continuous evidence is that the police readily break the law it enforces, which often involves the maiming and killing of those unfortunate enough to fall into its grasp (even the disabled are not immune from this murderous ill-treatment).  When killing and maiming is not pursued, the police retain a constant level of emotional and psychological oppression aimed at all whom they encounter.  Whereas working class people are treated with disdain, those of the middle class that comes under suspicion are treated with deference and respect.  The police are a major component of the bourgeoisie’s attempt at retaining their ill-gotten wealth (stolen from the working class), in keeping an oppressive status quo that is designed to prevent individual members of the working class uniting to effectively fight the bourgeoisie and the police it has created.  The police prevent the working class from progressing into a state of Socialism (which would overthrow bourgeois hegemony) and this is exactly the true purpose of the police.  Of course, this systemic purpose of fundamental oppression is hidden behind a veneer of imagined chivalry which many police recruits believe is true, and which serves to motivate them to join.  A police officer in a capitalist society, is fulfilling the purpose of being convener of a ‘weaponised’ legality.

Contrary to popular belief, the concept (and usage) of the ‘police’ is a relatively modern phenomenon, and that for the greater part of its history – the British Isles had no professional police force.  The concept of the modern police developed in the UK in the 19th century and was a response by the middle class to a perceived threat that it was under an increased attack from the far more numerous (and impoverished) working class.  The modern term ‘police’ stems from the Greek noun ‘polis’ which refers to the concept of a ‘city-state’.  In the context of the contemporary police, this concept refers to representatives of the modern State, which are legally empowered to enforce the law by that State.  In the UK there was much parliamentary debate about the formulation of an official police force, as it was thought by many to be unnecessary and representative of the loss of liberal rights for all people.  The police is a middle class construct that recruits its high-ranking officers from the middle class (as a means to retain middle class control over the police), and draws the majority of its ordinary constables from the working class (as these ‘officers’ carry-out the majority of the work).  The police exists to protect the middle class from the working class, so that middle class privilege, wealth and political power (acquired during the Industrial Revolution and after) is preserved without loss.  To do this, the police routinely oppress, attack, maim and murder members of the working class, whilst treating members of the middle class with deference and respect.  Working class police officers are rewarded for betraying their class through the agency of ‘immunity’ from any consequences of their actions, even in the unlikely event that the matter ends-up in court.  Police officers are routinely filmed abusing, beating and murdering people across the globe, and the yet the footage and other evidence are ignored as the officers involved are cleared of any and all wrong doing.  The middle class must pursue this privileged policy or the majority of its working class police officers might well change their loyalties to the working class from which they came.

Middle class law has been developed by the middle class and represents middle class interests, sensibilities, and codes of behaviour.  This privileged and self-indulgent legal system is assumed to be both ‘natural’ and ‘correct’, and it is the function of the police force to apply this law ruthlessly throughout working class existence.  The working class are forced to abide by a middle class legal system that does not represent their own class interests, and which oppresses them at every turn.  As a result, the police participate in the negating of true working class culture, and assist the middle class in its oppression of the working class.  Whenever a police officer beats or kills a member of the public, the verdict is that it was just a matter of ‘one bad apple’, but in reality this behaviour goes on all the time, and never ceases, despite high-profile cases exposing police brutality.  Nothing changes because the police are behaving in exactly the manner that their bourgeois over-lords insist upon.  Police kill and main because they are taught to kill and maim, and that nothing will happen to them as a consequence.  In this regard, working class police officers remain above the law they claim they are impartially enforcing.  If the police was satisfactorily held to account by the same law it enforces, then every time a member of the public was brutalised, maimed or killed, a police officer would be sacked and sent to prison.  More than this, however, the police as it exists is a capitalist sympathiser and should be abolished in a Socialist State to be replaced by a proletariat-friendly people’s militia.

Racism and Prejudice as False Consciousness

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It is not a country or nation state that is racist, but rather a privileged class of people.  This class is the international bourgeoisie which is dominant throughout most countries in the world.  Countries are racist not because they are geographical entities, but because they are run by a class that continuously perpetuates the ideology of racism as part of its strategy to prevent the international working class from realising its predicament, and effectively uniting to do something about it.  Therefore racism is a false consciousness that destroys working class hegemony, and renders each working class person into the disempowered state of isolated individual.  As the international working class is composed of many different and distinct ethnicities, religious groups and cultural identities, the dominant bourgeoisie utilises racism as a means to create a false division in the minds of the workers, and to encourage those workers to exist in a constant state of antagonism and aggression toward one another.  If the workers are busy fighting amongst themselves because of the racism imported into their mind-set by the bourgeois media and education system, then they will be unable to cognise their true situation and realise that they in fact exist in a state of permanent subjugation at the hands of the bourgeoisie.  The function of racism is to prevent insight into the real nature of reality, and it has been justified by the bourgeoisie as a ‘science’ that supposedly links the apparent differences in physicality with differences in genetic structure, etc, which assumes (falsely) that skin-colour ascribes ‘superiority’ or ‘inferiority’ to an ethnic group.  This is not science, but mythology in the service of bourgeois privilege and its maintenance.

The international bourgeoisie developed historically in the West and has evolved to represent white, European power and privilege throughout the world.  The bourgeois dominance of different societies was spread from Europe into Africa, Asia and the Americas through the agency of empire, imperialism and colonisation.  This project saw the European bourgiesie extend its influence beyond the oppression of the European working class and into other areas of the world.  This seizing of political power in other countries was accomplished through the use of military force and the demonization of non-European cultures through the use of Western Christianity.  The bourgeoisie continued to oppress the European working class through political and cultural domination, but formulated the ideology of racism as a means to dominate the non-European peoples of other countries (many of whom had not yet formed a ‘working class’).  This ideology was then educated into the minds of the European working class by the bourgeois education system, and served as the primary means of interaction between Europeans and non-Europeans.  Although working class people were oppressed by the bourgeoisie, the new lie was that at least they were ‘white’ and therefore racially superior to the ‘non-white’ peoples of the world.  This developed from the bourgeoisie encountering different peoples who possessed differing complexions, and it was this apparent ‘difference’ in skin-colour that the bourgeoisie focused upon as the main distinguishing factor when dealing with other cultures, so much so, in fact, that a highly aggressive and destructive pseudo-science developed around it.

When the European bourgeoisie oppressed the European working class, skin-colour was not an issue as both classes were of the same ethnicity, and shared a common culture.  The development of racism is solely a bourgeois class interest and nothing more, but it has been made to infect the minds of the working class who have absolutely nothing to gain from it, as it prevents their uniting in such a manner that can challenge (and over-throw) the dominant bourgeoisie.  However, it must also be understood that ideological racism is a white, European invention that has been spread throughout the world through European imperialism, and that as an ideology, it only serves to empower white people (albeit of the middle class variety).  White working class people who are racist, do not gain any political or economic power from mimicking the bourgeoisie, but are so poorly educated they do not understand this reality.  In the meantime they continue to do the bourgeoisie’s dirty work (in the form of violence, rape and murder), by blaming anyone who is not ‘white’ for the problems the working class suffer at the hands of the bourgeoisie.  This is the essence of false consciousness, and a prime ingredient in the continuation of the maintenance of bourgeois hegemony.  Bourgeois racism can be defined as ‘prejudice’ manifest through economic and political power.  This means that no matter what ignorant white people think about ‘disempowerment’, white people as an ethnic group, possess all the power within European society, despite the fact that the white working class is oppressed by the white bourgeoisie.  As the historical roots of racism is white and European, it logically follows that racism serves the economic (and political) purposes of the white, European bourgeoisie, and that non-white people cannot be ‘racist’ because they are not ‘white’ or ‘European’.  Non-white people – being as they are – victims of historical European domination and oppression, can import European negative attitudes into their minds about other non-white peoples, but this does not mean that they are being ‘racist’ if they give vent to these views.  Black and Asian people in the West do not possess any significant collective economic or political power, and so are unable to make their viewpoints work to their advantage in a system that a priori favours ‘whiteness’ over any other cultural grouping, and this is the case even if non-white people express discriminatory views about white people.  White people cannot be the victims of a racism they invented, whilst living in a society which they fully control and manipulate to their collective benefit.

This observation counters the current trend in white society of the apparent ‘equality’ of racism, which falsely asserts that white people are victims of ‘racist’ crimes.  This is untrue and ‘ahistorical’.  In fact such an allegation is the continuation and development of the bourgeoisie’s ideology of racism under the new conditions of multiculturalism.  This is the maintenance of ‘white privilege’ which seeks to hide and deny the historical presence and existential functioning of white racism within European society.  So powerful is the bourgeois instinct to dominate at the point of contact, that even the ‘victim’ status of those non-white people who suffer under white tyranny, must be took off of them and rendered null and void.  This is because Eurocentric racism assumes that only ‘white’ suffering matters, and the suffering of non-white people is of a lesser order (because they are deemed racially ‘inferior’ and not able to perceive the world as white people do).  When white commenters state that racism is natural because all ethnic groups practice it, they are wrong.  European racism only exists in other non-European groups, because European imperialists placed it there!  When non-white ethnic groups in the West are seen to attack one another, they are not being ‘racist’ but rather ‘prejudicial’, and only then because they are living under the oppression of the white bourgeoisie.  Just as it is not in the class interests of the white working class to be racist, it is equally not in the class interests of the non-white working class.  It is bourgeoisie racism that separates the world into ‘white’ and ‘non-white’ and it is exactly this ideology that must be over-thrown through the development of non-inverted knowledge and insight by the constituent members of the international working class.

 

 

Revolutionary Buddhism Crushes All Political Illusions

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Author’s Note:  Both Karl Marx and Gautama Siddharta (the ‘Buddha’) rejected mindless killing and warfare for profit.  Both also rejected the principle of the ‘Death Sentence’ and both worked to relieve the suffering of humanity.  However, what is less known or misunderstood, is that Karl Marx believed that the International Working Class had a right to protect itself from the continuous violence inflicted upon it by the International Bourgeoisie.  The Buddha, too, also recognised the practicality of a State possessing an armed force for self-defence and maintaining law and order (see the Chakkavatti Sihanad Sutta, for instance).  The Buddha and Karl Marx (both of whom expressed definite Animal Rights tendencies), believed that it was morally incorrect to maintain and perpetuate deliberate suffering throughout society, and sort through their respective rational, dialectical, and historically materialistic systems, to uproot and eradicate it from the individual mind, body, and from across society.  This is nothing short of the radical collective and individualistic transformation of existence from the base-up that leaves no stone unturned.  This is because Buddhism is naturally ‘Communistic’ and ‘Revolutionary’ in the Marxist sense – not because Marx and Engels wrote it (although they both knew, understood and admired the Buddha’s teaching) – but because the Buddha realised a profound scientific and philosophical reality prior to the ancient Greeks, and thousands of years before Marx and Engels sat-down with their quills and produced their master-piece of Scientific Socialism.  It is an interesting question as to whether Marx and Engels were motivated or influenced by the Buddha’s teachings (as transmitted to them by Karl Koppen) when they formulated their ground-breaking ‘Scientific Socialism’ for the modern age.  Whatever the case, it is impossible for a legitimate Buddhist to be rightwing in anyway (outside of Japan), but to always support the Communist and Socialist leftwing of politics.  This echoes Sartre’s famous line that ‘anyone who is not a Communist, is a dog’. The following article is part of an ongoing project that seeks to unravel and clarify the Buddha’s teachings and rescue them from the distorting bourgeois abyss they have fallen into in the modern West.  Western capitalists make use of Buddhism as just another commodity to temporarily appease their perennial greed.  Coupled with various ‘trendy’, but otherwise ‘false’ Buddhist movements in the West, the Buddha’s teachings have been made to seem as if they represent the exploitative agencies of modern capitalism (despite the fact that as a distinct body of knowledge, it was formulated during India’s feudal period).  Does the Buddha’s message represent Scientific Socialism?  The answer is definitely ‘yes’ because it seeks to undercut the very motivating greed that is the essence of modern capitalism, and in so doing, forge a new society and a new individuality based upon non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion – surely this represents the stage of ‘Socialism’ and the ultimate stateless-state of ‘Communism’ as envisioned by Marx and Engels, and put into practical reality by the great VI Lenin in Soviet Russia.  ACW 28.5.2016

Contrary to mistaken and distorted bourgeois interpretations of ‘Buddha’ and ‘Buddhism’, the Buddha interfered in ancient Indian politics all the time.  This probably stemmed from the fact that he was a high caste ‘Hindu’ (or adherent of the Brahmanic religious system), and came from a politically prominent family.  The Buddha ate, breathed and lived politics and in no way rejected the agencies of political awareness or political protest.  In fact it can be said that the Buddha played the political system of ancient India with a very high degree of astute sophistication and profound awareness.  He understood the inner-workings of the Brahmanic system and had an intimate knowledge of how the Brahmanic mind-set worked.  He knew how everyday political life was for Hindu society, and equally understood how to guide that process toward his enlightened reason that stated that all of humanity’s ill were the product of greed, hatred, and delusional habitual thought patterns emanating within the psychic fabric of the mind, and manifesting in the mind as incorrect thought, and in the environment as aberrant (and harmful) behaviours.  Furthermore, as the Buddha rejected ‘idealism’, he further stated that greed, hatred and delusion in the mind had its origin in the physical world, and in the accumulated consequences of those actions (karma) generated whilst living in that world.  He stated that gods were ultimately unreal (but appear to be real in the deluded state), and that in the state of enlightenment, even the agency of ‘rebirth’ (which should not be confused or conflated with ‘reincarnation’, which does not exist within Buddhism), is revealed as being not real.  The Buddha rejected the theology of Brahmanism (i.e. ‘Hinduism’) and created what can be viewed as the world’s first system of secular thought.

The Buddha’s break with Brahmanism was remarkably complete and in many ways more exact and precise than many secular Western philosophers, those otherwise interesting thoughts on logic and reason still retain a very distinct Judeo-Christian influence (as if they are ‘apologising’ for breaking free of Christian theology, whilst attempting to keep a foot in either camp).  Even today, many adherents of Western ‘secular’ thought, either attempt to re-integrate that thought with Judeo-Christian theological influences, or outside of their professional academic work, profess a profound ‘belief’ in the Judeo Christian theology that their science rejects in the name of reason.  The same cannot be said for the Buddha, who during the time of his life, and despite the fact that he was so deeply and profoundly invested in the caste privilege of his day, thoroughly rejected the very Brahmanic theological foundation of that privilege – because he perceived it (within meditational absorption) as being ‘wrong’, ‘incorrect’, and premised upon the use of historically ‘false’ logic  By using the meditational techniques and methods of Brahmanism and Yoga, for instance, he did set his mind (and body) free of all historically conditionality – whilst still continuing to exist within the conditionally created world.  This happened at a time when many Hindu (and other types of ascetics) settled for a ‘negation’ of the recognition of conditioned reality and refused to partake in any logical and reasonable discussion about reality.  Of course, this attitude left Brahmanic society completely unquestioned and allowed to continue as it had always done – until the Buddha came along, that is.

The Buddha rejected Brahmanic politics (along with the entire religious, political, social and cultural systems of Brahmanism) whilst continuing to live within it (albeit in modified fashion – from opulent prince to impoverished beggar).  The Buddha’s entire enlightened physical presence was ‘political’ (and continues to be so within modern, capitalist societies) because whilst affirming a different mode of profound enlightened existence, he thoroughly and permanently rejected the racism and greed of the very system that produced him, and continued to allow him to exist within its boundaries.  The Buddha’s physical presence, (and following his passing – his ‘Dharmic teachings’), serve to up root greed, hatred, and delusion not only in the individual mind (the emphasis of bourgeois interpretations of Buddhism in the modern West, obsessed as it is with ‘individualism’), but also within society as whole.  A proper Buddhist – like the Buddha – uproots greed, hatred and delusion in the mind and in society, and sees no difference between the two.  The modern bourgeois, by way of contrast, labours under the misapprehension that enlightenment can be a purely ‘personal’ affair, that the society that privileges him or her can continue unchanged by the enlightened experience.  This is a modern disease found virtually everywhere within Buddhism today that does not have its roots within authentic Indian Buddhism, but rather in the deluded minds of those who try to use Buddhism to re-inforce or justify the corrupt, and greed orientated societies that they happen to exist within.

Bourgeois Buddhism (being deluded as they are), will continue to perpetuate greed, hatred and delusion no matter where they live (East or West), and support the greed of capitalism and its hate-filled warmongering and political duplicity.  This is because the outer constructs of bourgeois society are firmly rooted within the deepest recesses of their minds.  In such a situation, a type of ‘fetish’ Buddhism is employed to justify ALL bourgeois social and political constructs, so that in reality nothing changes, other than the sham association between the bourgeois in question and the ‘new’ exotic philosophy they have discovered within Buddhism.  This rejection of true Buddhism for false Buddhism allows Western Buddhists to continue with their greed-filled and hate intensive lifestyles – bombing any country that dares to defy this world-view.  In Asia, Asian Buddhists infected with this bourgeois disease resort to such Western hatreds as Islamophobia, and other forms of inter-ethnic violence.  This is the spread of Western delusion in the Asian mind.  This is not to deny the fact that non-Western peoples have greed, hatred, and delusion in their minds, (after-all the uprooting of ‘Asian’ delusional psychology and correspondingly ‘corrupt’ social modes of existence, is the entire foundation of Buddhist philosophy), but acknowledges the power of relatively recent historical processes and events, in the form of pervasive European imperialism and colonialism.  In short, the European colonialists amassed for themselves the means of production in Asia, and set about ruthlessly exploiting her peoples, and conditioning them to unquestionably ‘accept’ without question, the premise of domination through racism, so on and so forth.  The legacy of this spread of Western delusion into Asia is that these psycho-physical traits of Eurocentric delusion hide deep-down in the mind, and only emerge when conditions are right for their expression.  Buddhists hating Muslims in Asia is simply the encoding of Western prejudices against Islam into the minds of non-Europeans, so that these ‘Buddhists’ believe they are acting out of free will when they attack and murder otherwise peaceful Muslim communities.  Perhaps an example of this Western-inspired murder in Asia is demonstrated by the fact that many of the so-called ‘protesting’ Buddhist monks hold-up placards containing anti-Islamic rhetoric written in ‘English’ when very few people in those countries would use English as a political language.  It is though these ‘Buddhists’ are communicating to the ‘new’ Western over-lords, confirming that Eurocentric racism has been effectively transmitted throughout non-European communities in the world.  In the meantime, whilst this game of deluded politics is played-out, thousands of innocents continue to die.  Obviously this is not ‘Buddhism’, but is its exact opposite.  It is not the uprooting of greed, hatred, and delusion, but rather the firm maintenance and perpetuation of greed, hated and delusion, often instigated by the members of the Buddhist Sangha – or ordained monastic community.  This is a particular problem for Asian countries which possess impoverished and poorly educated masses, which tend to ‘worship’ the ordained Sangha, and carry-out any instructions emanating from it.  This represents a corruption of Buddhism that has fallen into ‘religiosity’ where the Buddha is viewed as a ‘god’ and his ordained monks and nuns as ‘mediators’ between the ignorant laity and god (as Buddha).  This mimics, of course, the Christianity of the Western missionaries who were deliberately (and cynically) placed around Asia attempting to ‘convert’ and ‘corrupt’ all indigenous cultural modes of expression to their own use.

The Buddha’s rejection of theism and ALL political, social and cultural modes of expression premised upon it, (i.e. ALL aspects of ancient Indian Brahmanic society), was without compromise or apology.  The Buddha interpreted his expression of understanding as being the ‘right’ of a spiritual traveller who had ‘realised’ or ‘recognised’ the ‘truth’.  The difference for the Buddha, was that he firmly rejected the entire psycho-physical expression of his religious and socio-economic system.  He knew that this would exclude him from ALL religious and social structures that had previously enabled his privileged existence, and that he would have no recourse through the extant political system (that his father was so prominent within).  As it was socially acceptable to live on the edge of society and rely on begging to sustain a physical existence, the Buddha chose this existence and after his enlightenment, never again re-entered the society he had so firmly rejected.  In his mind (and in his body) he fundamentally entered a new state of being whereby ALL aspects of Brahmanic society was uprooted, analysed as incorrect (because it was the product of greed, hatred, and delusion in the mind and body), and discarded as suffering producing.  However, the Buddha’s community of ordained monks and nuns lived a ‘Communistic’ existence where even their clothing (as ‘robes’) was donated by others (usually members of the laity).  In early Buddhism, the monks and nuns would walk quietly through villages or towns with their eyes looking downward at the ground, holding a single begging bowl, into which ordinary people could put scraps of food in, if they felt so compelled.  Under no circumstance was a Buddhist monastic permitted to ‘ask’ for food, or engage the populace in any manner that would suggest ‘greed’ in operation.  The practice of ‘begging’ sustenance for the body was turned into a walking meditation practice for the Buddha and his monastics.  Often these monks and nuns would return with no food to the Sangharama or Vihara, would replace their bowls in the correct manner, and without a ‘grasping’ mind, return to seated meditation practice, or other forms of permitted Dharma-work.  The Buddha rejected the concept of ‘leadership’, and instead put the authority of the community in his teachings – or ‘Dharma’.  This is why even today, the Dharma is considered more important than even the Vinaya Discipline (the Buddhist monastic discipline).  Generally speaking, an elderly monk or nun co-ordinates Dharma practice – but is never considered the ‘head’ of Buddhism.  Lay Buddhists (whilst living within Brahmanic society), were encouraged by the Buddha to put his teachings into practice in a manner that benefitted society and reduced or eradicated all forms of suffering.  This is because the Buddha tempered his revolutionary thinking with the application of ‘loving kindness’ and ‘compassion’ toward ALL beings even those who perpetuated greed, hatred, and delusion, usually as an important first-step to transforming their minds and lifestyles.  Even when lay-Buddhists earn money (through their labour), the Buddha encouraged them to be ‘wise’ and ‘compassionate’ with its usage.  An amount should be saved, an amount should be spent on daily living costs, and an amount should be given to those in need.  Lay Buddhists living within ancient India had to ‘work’ for their living not because the Buddha thought wage-slavery was correct (he obviously did not), but because lay-Buddhists were often married with children, were not celibate ascetics, and could not access the tradition of spiritual wanderers begging for sustenance.  Lay Buddhists (usually Hindu converts) would ‘give-up’ caste if they could, or work from within it to bring it down in a gentle and persuasive manner, if they could not.  However, wherever possible, the Buddha would encourage the laity to ‘ordain’ into his monastic community, and leave Brahmanic society completely behind (which also meant the rejection of the institute of ‘marriage’, having a spouse, and raising children, etc).

The Buddha, being of high caste Brahmanic birth, was generally respected by the numerous kings and ministers that ruled India during his lifetime.  This certainly seems to be the case even after his enlightenment and his known thorough rejection of the Brahmanic system.  It is a valid question as to whether the Buddha would have been listened to, to the extent he obviously was (by high caste Hindus), if he had been born a low-caste Hindu possessing a dark complexion.  However, as the Buddha was nothing if not pragmatic, he used his influence to continuously interfere in regional politics if he thought it would reduce suffering in the world.  This is why he often interceded in conflicts with the intention of using wisdom in the place of killing (i.e. ‘military action’).  However, although the Buddha clearly states that killing is wrong (because it attracts negative karmic fruits for all concerned), and advises that both lay and monastic Buddhists should adhere to this precept first and foremost (as a means of uprooting greed, hatred, and delusion), nevertheless the Buddha’s practical approach often meant that he would approach lay existence with a certain ‘balance’ of view.  For instance, although he made it clear about the dangers of killing, he still acknowledged that for protective purposes, the State could retain an armed force, providing its soldiery were disciplined and of a high moral calibre.  This is because the Buddha understood that greed, hatred, and delusion, were so ingrained within the mind, body and society that simply proscribing an activity would not be of any use in transforming that activity.  A soldier (or revolutionary) who becomes a ‘Buddhist’ is still a soldier or revolutionary, just as a lay person (with all their cares and tribulations, are still a ‘lay’ person).  The Buddha did not agree with killing (of humans, animals or plants), but understood that lay society has a historical karmic force underpinning it, and that these waves of dialectical manifestation must be manifest and cannot be prevented from doing so.  The best way of dealing with the institutes and entities of society was to influence it for the better, rather than out rightly condemning certain manifestations of it.  This is the Buddha’s ‘middle way’ in operation.  He understood that within lay society conflict and violence might well have to occur to end greed, hatred, and delusion.  This is the Buddha’s pragmatic understanding in operation.  Although he preferred the auspices of peaceful inner and outer change, he acknowledged that lay society might well have to undergo various changes through otherwise non-peaceful means.  The Buddha’s advice is that violent actions have negative karmic responses (and therefore induce ‘suffering’), but that those people engaged in violent activity (such as soldiers or revolutionaries), should strive to purify their minds of greed, hatred, and delusion whilst in pursuance of their political ends.  This is because the Buddha interpreted the agency of karma as not just being physical actions, but as rather originating in the mind as ‘intention’.  If this ‘intention’ is infested with greed, hatred, and delusion, then it logically follows that this ignorance is perpetuated throughout the world through the agency of physical action.  However, for a fully enlightened being, all deluded ‘intention’ has been uprooted, and no further ‘karma’ is produced (in the mind and body), although such a being will still experience a diminished historical karma associated with the physical body (whilst it still exists in the world).  A lay Buddhist can attain to this state, (although it is difficult to do so), and continue to function in lay society.  Such an accomplished layperson is in a position to spread revolutionary enlightenment throughout the world, and assist in the freeing of humanity from the chains of historically conditioned oppression and exploitation.  A Buddhist – whether monastic or lay – is a true revolutionary committed to uprooting the basis of deluded society in the mind, body and environment.  This pragmatic Buddhist approach parallels the Scientific Socialism of Marxist-Engelism and Marxist-Leninism – and Buddhists are advised to study these teachings in all their manifestations (including Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong) as an important step in transforming the modern world for the better.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

 

 

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