Saturday, 30 July 2016

Saul Alinsky Hated Capitalism, But He Also Hated The Liberals

Saul Alinsky believed that reason has nothing to do with practical politics, principles are meaningless, and the only value worth achieving is the destruction of capitalism.

He hated the liberals because he thought that they were moderate leftists and they did not hate capitalism as much as he did. In his book, Reveille for Radicals, published in 1946, he gives a comprehensive account of the reasons behind his hatred of the liberals.

He refused to call himself a liberal, preferring the term “radical” for himself and his acolytes. He saw clear lines of distinction between his ideas and that of the liberals. In Reveille for Radicals he has devoted many pages to criticize the liberals for their soft politics. Here’re a few excerpts:
Liberals regard themselves as well informed and well balanced. They refer to Radicals as “cranks.” They forget, however, that the definition of a crank is an object which makes revolutions.
Liberals charge Radicals with passionate partisanship. To this accusation the Radical’s jaw tightens as he snaps, ‘Guilty! We are partisan for the people. Furthermore, we know that all people are partisan. The only non-partisan people are those who are dead. You too are partisan—if not for the people, then for whom?’”
Liberals have distorted egotistical concepts of their self-impor­tance in the general social scheme. They deliberate as ponderously and as timelessly as though their decisions would cause the world to shake and tremble. Theirs is truly a perfect case of the moun­tain laboring and bringing forth a mouse—a small, white, pink­ eyed mouse. The fact is that outside of their own intimate asso­ciates few know of or give a hang what these Liberal groups decide. They truly fit the old description that ‘A Liberal is one who puts his foot down firmly on thin air.’” 
Alinsky believed that the liberals like to indulge in sterile wishful thinking, which makes them incapable of acquiring or wielding absolute political power. He suggests that the liberals must submit to the will of the radicals. He is convinced that unless his radicals are able to dominate the liberals, the capitalist system cannot be overthrown.
A fundamental difference between Liberals and Radicals is to be found in the issue of power, liberals fear power or its application. They labor in confusion over the significance of power and fail to recognize that only through the achievement and constructive use of power can people better themselves.” 
Radicals precipitate the social crisis by action—by using power. Liberals may then timidly follow along or else, as in most cases, be swept forward along the course set by Radicals, but all because of forces unloosed by Radical action. They are forced to positive action only in spite of their desires.
Alinsky was of the view that his radicals are engaged in an all-out war against the capitalist society and it was obligatory for them to use every means to vanquish the enemy.
In our war against the social menaces of mankind there can be no compromise. It is life or death. Failing to understand this, many well-meaning Liberals look askance and with horror at the viciousness with which a People’s Organization will attack or counterattack in its battles. These Liberals cannot and never will be able to understand the feelings of the rank-and-file people fighting in their own People’s Organization any more than one who has never gone through combat action can fully grasp what combat means.” 
The nihilistic and violent ideas of Saul Alinsky make it clear that he advocated a harsh treatment for anyone who doesn’t join his political movement. If the Alinsky radicals manage to seize absolute power, they will have no moral qualms about using coercive and violent methods for fundamentally transforming the society. Great purges and mass terror will become the official government policy.

Why did the Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre, the Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin, and the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot become mass murderers? All things considered, these tyrants were motivated by nihilistic ideas—they were immune to reason, they lacked principles, and they denied values. Saul Alinsky was motivated by the same ideas. Therefore his ideas have the potential for inspiring the rise of political forces that are as destructive as any mass murdering regime in history.


Related:

The Nihilism of Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals

The Infernal World of Saul Alinsky: Reveille for Radicals 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Jean-Paul Sartre: The Intellectual Henchman of Tyrants

Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre & Che Guevara
(Havana, March 1960)
The intellectuals never tire of talking about freedom, world peace, fair wages, and human rights, but they are hand-in-glove with the worst mass murdering regimes.

Jean-Paul Sartre in particular is a case-study of the type of intellectual who is a life-long supporter of tyranny. He promoted the farce called existentialism. He was a communist and in bed with the Soviet regime. He even had a role to play in Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge nightmare.

In the early 1950s, when Sartre returned from his first trip to Stalin’s Soviet Union, he declared that the workers of USSR had the “entire freedom to criticize.” He also claimed that the workers in USSR were capable of criticizing their government in much more effective manner than the average French worker.

Eventually he would admit that he always knew that Stalin had turned the entire Soviet Union into a deadly concentration camp and was massacring millions of citizens.

During the 1940s and 1950s the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge, including the dreaded “brother number one” Pol Pot, were educated and indoctrinated as communist party members in France. It is well-known that Sartre’s ideas inspired the Khmer Rouge leaders.

In his essay, "The Heartless Lovers of Mankind," historian Paul Johnson writes: “The events in Cambodia in the 1970s, in which between one-fifth and one-third of the nation was starved to death or murdered, were entirely the work of a group of intellectuals, who were for the most part  pupils and admirers of Jean-Paul Sartre -- ‘Sartre's Children,’ as I call them.”

Sartre was an admirer of Ernesto Che Guevara, the brutal henchman of the Castro regime who oversaw the execution of thousands of people in post-revolution Cuba. Guevara had read Sartre’s works in his youth and was inspired by his ideas. In March 1960s, Sartre went to Cuba to meet Castro and Guevara. When he was back in France, Sartre wrote several newspaper articles praising Castro and Guevara for the work that they were doing in Cuba.

When Guevara was killed by Bolivian soldiers in 1967, Sartre declared him to be "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age.” He called Guevara the "era's most perfect man." He complimented Guevara by declaring that "he lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story and the story of the world ran parallel.”

Even in France, his own country, Sartre called for violent overthrow of bourgeoisie society. During the Algerian war he supported the killing of Europeans. In his preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre wrote: “It is necessary to kill. To shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to eliminate at the same time an oppressor and oppressed.”

It is not surprising that Sartre inspired and supported tyrannical leftist regimes such as the Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge  Castro’s Cuba and others.

His existentialism is based on the principle of the meaninglessness of existence and it offers a nihilistic account of liberty—instead of freedom from the government, existentialism proposes freedom from reality. When someone denies reality, he can close his eyes to the terror and bloodshed, and become an apologist for the worst dictatorships.

In The Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre has denied individualism—he asserts that freedom is only possible when men act collectively and that it is the moral duty of the government to impose collectivism through a reign of terror.

Sartre’s writing is entirely devoted to justifying terror and bloodshed. When you read about his totalitarian ideas, his extravagant endorsements of the tyrants, you wonder how it is possible for someone who is widely regarded as a brilliant intellectual to be so venal.

Related:

Khmer Rouge: The Marxists Who Sacrificed Millions To Establish An Agrarian Utopia.

Khrushchev’s Secret Speech On Stalin’s Crimes

Ayn Rand On ‘The Butcher Of The Ukraine’

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Infernal World of Saul Alinsky: Reveille for Radicals

Reveille for Radicals
Saul Alinsky
Vintage

In “The Nihilism of Saul Alinsky,” I discuss the coercive and violent methods that Soul Alinsky has described in his book Rules for Radicals for bringing capitalist society to a standstill.

Alinsky was a nihilist, and nihilism, being a rejection of philosophy, precludes the development of any political ideas. That is why we don’t find any philosophy, any political ideas in Rules for Radicals; the sole purpose of the book is to describe the methods for destroying the system.

But the question remains: Why does Alinsky reject philosophy and political ideas? The answer to this and related questions can be found in Reveille for Radicals, his first book, which was published in 1946, twenty-five years before Rules for Radicals.

In Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky does not make any attempt to prove, logically and through evidence, that his ideas will lead to the development of a better world for the people. He arrogantly asserts that when the goal is to destroy capitalism it is justified to use any means.

He sermonizes like a messiah who is exhorting his followers to struggle for the achievement of some goal, without questioning if that goal is worth achieving. In his flowery language you can detect the illogical zeal of a messiah who is propagating a religion. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter, “The Crisis:”
“The chance to work with the people means the opportunity for the fulfillment of the vision of man. It is the opportunity of a life for mankind of peace, happiness, security, dignity, and purpose. An opportunity to create a world where life will be so precious, worthwhile and meaningful that men will not kill other men, will not exploit other men, either economically, politically, or socially; where values will be social and not selfish; where man will not be judged as Christian or non-Christian, as black, yellow, or white, as materially rich or poor, but will be judged as a man. A world in which man’s practices will catch up with his ethical teachings and where he will live the full consistent life of practicing what he preaches. A world where man is actually treated and regarded as being created in God’s own image, where “all men are created equal.” That is the opportunity. Dare we fail?”
Only a madman or a fanatic will think of developing a political movement for creating a world where man is regarded as being created in God’s own image. Alinsky was not religious—in the book he has criticized the conservatives for their religious beliefs. When he talks about creating man in “God’s own image,” it is not the God of religion that he is referring to. Perhaps the local thug or radical can be the role model for Alinsky’s God!

Alinsky hates the concepts of individualism and liberty—the political ideas that he describes in Reveille for Radicals are a heady cocktail of socialism, mysticism and anarchism. He believes in the central Marxist tenet of common ownership of property. In the chapter, “Where is the Radical Today?” he writes:
“Radicals want to advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization.They hope for a future where the means of economic production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative hand­ful. They feel that this minority control of production facilities is injurious to the large masses of people not only because of eco­nomic monopolies but because the political power inherent in this form of centralized economy does not augur for an ever expanding democratic way of life. Radicals want to see the established polit­ical rights or political freedom of the common man augmented by economic freedom.” 
However, unlike the Marxists, Alinsky does not aspire to build any kind of utopia through a swift and brutal revolution; nor does he advocate a complete government takeover of the economy. His is a long-term project spanning several decades for slowly strangulating laissez-faire capitalism by organizing a series of agitations at the local level in the name emotive issues like social equality, racial harmony, multiculturalism, free healthcare and education, and basic income for all.

He is advocating anarchism of the worst kind when he proposes a greater role in the society for the people’s organizations which will be controlled by his radicals. He suggests that the people’s organizations should have the power to decide who gets to benefit from the taxpayer funded welfare schemes. He also proposes that the people’s organizations should have the muscle to extort financial and political privileges from the citizens, businesses and even the government. But what are the people’s organizations?

In the chapter, “Conflict Tactics,” he explains:
“A People’s Organization is not a philanthropic plaything nor a social service’s ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people. It recognizes the existence of the vicious circle in which most human beings are caught and strives viciously to break this circle. It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups. This is one of the reasons why a Peo­ple’s Organization will find that it has to fight its way every foot of the road towards its destination—a people’s world.”
It is noteworthy that Alinsky does not care to clarify what he means by a people’s world? Is he vying for a dictatorship of his chosen people? Does he want a totalitarian socialist state! A chaotic and violent anarchy! While he does not provide any clue to what he means by a people’s world, he makes it clear that his ultimate goal is to stop all development activity.
He abhors the modern industries, claiming that the industrial civilization has led to “the rise of forces of so menac­ing a character that today they threaten the very foundations upon which rest the hopes of those committed to the democratic way of life. These destructive forces are unemployment, deteriora­tion, disease, and crime. From the havoc wrought by these forces issue distrust, bigotry, disorganization, and demoralisation.
Seriously, he blames capitalism for, above all things, deterioration and disease. He blames capitalism for such things even though it has led to a massive rise in human life expectancy!

Reveille for Radicals, in its 256-pages of soaring assertions, offers a glimpse into the infernal world of Saul Alinsky where there is absolute hatred for capitalism. He arrogantly attributes to himself and his radicals the mandate for fixing all the wrongs that he thinks capitalism has done to the world. The book is full of mistakes, contradictions and madness, but it also has many ideas for motivating the modern nihilistic left to band together for attacking laissez-faire capitalism.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Did Hayek cause a rift between Ayn Rand and Mises?

Ayn Rand; Ludwig von Mises
The interviews about Ayn Rand in 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand by Scott McConnell are useful for drawing an impression of how she was in real life.

One thing that comes to light from a few of these interviews is that Ayn Rand never compromised on basic principles. She consistently and logically lived by her philosophy.

Friedrich Hayek was an important economist (a Nobel Prize winner)—most people believe that he was a defender of liberty. But Ayn Rand had strong disagreements with Hayek; she regarded him as a statist. According to Harry Binswanger, Rand has recommended the works of Ludwig von Mises, but never of Hayek.

In 100 Voices there are three interviews that throw some light on:

1. Ayn Rand’s rejection of Hayek’s ideas
2. How Rand viewed Mises
3. The impact that Rand had on the Austrian school

Interview with Richard Cornuelle
Richard Cornuelle is described in 100 Voices as a writer who was acquainted with Rand during the early 1950s. In response to a question from Scott McConnell, Cornuelle says:

I was home in California and she called me one day, which was the last contact I had with her. She said that she’d been at a party at Hazlitt’s with Mises and “We had the following argument.” It was an argument about the draft. She was opposed to it and it didn't surprise me in the least that Mises disagreed.

According to Richard the draft had something to do with Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Rand thought that Hayek was a statist because he was making too many compromises on issues related to state authority, social security and few other things. She did not regard him as a defender of liberty. But Mises was in favor of overlooking the errors in Hayek’s economic theory.

Richard claims in the interview that “the dispute probably led to a freeze between Ayn and Mises.”

Friedrich Hayek
Apparently in the phone conversation Ayn Rand asked Cornuelle to make a choice between her and Mises. Here’s how Richard remembers the conversation:

I was in the Mises seminar at that time and she said, in effect, “Here’s his position and here’s my position. Whose side you are on? You have to choose. You have to make a decision.” I said, “Well, I’d rather duck.” She said, “You can’t,” and that was it. I never spoke to her again after that.

Interview with Sylvester Petro
Sylvester Petro is described as a writer and a law professor specializing in trade unions. He attended meetings in Rand’s apartment during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his interview to Scott McConnell, Petro says that Von Mises had “a tremendous influence on Ayn Rand.”

He claims in the interview that Ayn Rand told him that  “I don’t agree with him [von Mises] epistemologically but as far as my economics and political economy are concerned, Ludwig von Mises is the most important thing that’s ever happened to me.

Interview with Scott Stanley
Scott Stanley was the former managing editor of the conservative magazine Insight (published by the Washington Times). He knew Rand in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his interview, he describes the great influence that Ayn Rand had on Austrian School:

I’m sure that, without her advocacy and influence, the free-market economics of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian School would never have gone beyond that small coterie of lower-case libertarians associated in the 1950s with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Freeman. What she did was to lead free-market economics out of the stuffy business community and put it into a community of artists and philosophers and intellectuals. And that was vital. They attracted to it a dimension of youthful support, which was vital as well, making it possible to raise up heroes of creativity among the business leaders who followed the age of mechanics to create electronics and high tech.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Nihilism of Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals

Rules for Radicals
Saul Alinsky
Vintage

“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

~ Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals (chapter: "The Purpose")

Saul Alinsky was inspired by communism, but unlike the communists he was not intent on replacing capitalism with a dictatorship of the proletariat, or even with a dictatorship of the have-nots. He was not motivated by the dream of building a socialist or communist empire. In Rules for Radicals he does not promise to build an utopia. His only motivation was to shake the foundations of capitalism by waging an unrelenting war of attrition.

He has no higher goal when he exhorts his radicals to rouse the backward communities by propagating all kinds of false grievances. He has no intention of helping the backward communities (the have-nots); he only wants to organize them into groups through which destructive assaults can be launched on the life and livelihood of those who get perceived as the haves.

It is noteworthy that in the 224-page book, Alinsky has not cared to explain why people must take power away from the haves and hand it over to the have-nots. What makes the have-nots eligible to exercise political power over the haves? Alinsky wants to smash capitalism, but what will he replace it with? Will the economic condition of the have-nots improve if they are granted political power?

Alinsky completely evades the moral implications of his political ideas. He wants agitation for the sake of agitation, destruction for the sake of destruction, protests for the sake of bringing society to a standstill. He wants to project an unending list of imaginary grievances to instigate suspicion and hatred between groups. This is nihilism of the worst kind.

Even though Alinsky was an atheist, he mentions Lucifer in the book’s dedication page:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.

He calls Lucifer, or the mythical Satan, the first radical which in the context of his book means the first Alinsky radical, or the first Alinsky community organizer. He praises Lucifer for rebelling against the establishment to win his own kingdom. But what was the kingdom that Lucifer won: It was the mythological hell! One is justified to ask why should anyone aim to win a hell?

Alinsky's intention is to create a crop of radicals who, like the acolytes of Satan, will propagate evil ideas, and create on earth a new hell in which both the haves and the have-nots will suffer. In his book, he has not even tried to defend his ideas—he does not claim that his ideas will lead to better social, political, and economic outcomes. He must have known that his ideas are absurd and useless. But he continued to propagate his ideas because he was a nihilist.

It doesn't matter to Alinsky that the communists have slaughtered more than 140 million people in the last 100 years. He is inspired by communism and he holds the communist leaders in high esteem. Lenin, Mao, and Castro are his heroes. He fondly refers them as the great world leaders of change. He uses Mao’s famous saying, “Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun,” to make a case for a Leninist political strategy. Here’s an excerpt:

‘Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!’ is an absurd rallying cry when the other side has all the guns. Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned to what was then Petrograd from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot but would reconsider after they got the guns! Militant mouthings? Spouting quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara, which are as germane to our highly technological, computerized, cybernetic, nuclear-powered, mass media society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport?

In the typical Marxist fashion, Alinsky insists that people must seize power. “In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people.” But who are the people? It is clear that for Alinsky, the people who deserve to gain power are those who have discarded their individualism and joined his collectivist groups.

The communists used to believe that mankind is divided into two-parts: the bourgeoise and the proletariat. But Alinsky proposes a three-part division: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a- Little, Want Mores. By the Have-a- Little, Want Mores, he is referring to the middle class in a rather contemptuous way. He also describes the middle class as do-nothings, and as “social, economic, and political schizoids.”

He exhorts his radicals to overlook the ethical or legal issues in their quest for power. He is of the view that when the goal is to overthrow capitalism, it is justified to use any kind of means, even the most criminal and immoral ones. He justifies all kinds of corrupt practices:

To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.

The community organizer has a central role to play in Alinsky’s overall political strategy, but he also seems to be highly contemptuous of the community organizers. He compares the role of the community organizers with that of a septic tank. He writes: “He [The community organizer] acts as the septic tank in the early stages—he gets all the shit. Later, as power increases, the risks diminish, and gradually the people step out front to take the risks.”

Alinsky’s methods are being extensively applied by the modern leftists (progressives) to mobilize the backward communities into groups whose agenda is to create chaos and lawlessness. His nihilistic political strategy enables the leftists to jump from one divisive issue to the next and put immense pressure on citizens, businesses and the government. Many leading leftist (progressive) politicians are Alinsky’s followers—their political campaigns are full of Alinsky trademarks.

Rules for Radicals is a useful book for those who wish to understand why the leftist (progressive) politicians speak or act in ways that they do.

Related:

The Infernal World of Saul Alinsky: Reveille for Radicals

Saul Alinsky And Labor Unions—A Love-Hate Relationship

Saul Alinsky Hated Capitalism, But He Also Hated The Liberals

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Book Review: Nietzsche And The Nazis

Nietzsche And The Nazis
Stephen R. C. Hicks
Ockham’s Razor Publishing 

In Nietzsche And The Nazis, Stephen Hicks meticulously exposes some of the common misconceptions about the Nazis.

He rejects the idea that the Nazis were a group of deranged people who lucked or manipulated their way into political power. Millions of voters in a democracy can be wrong, but all of them cannot be deluded.

It was through democratic and constitutional means that the Nazis developed from a fringe political movement into the party that enjoyed total power to transform the nature of German politics and society. Hicks shows that long before Hitler’s rise to power, the Nazi ideas were being propagated in Germany by many leading intellectuals. Over the course of several years, these intellectuals did some kind of groundwork for making the Nazi ideology acceptable to the people.

National Socialism was a philosophy intensive movement. The who’s who list of powerful minds and cultural leaders who supported the Nazi political movement included Nobel prize winners, professors, and popular authors.

Hicks thinks that it is important for us to fully understand what motivated National Socialism, because even though the Nazis lost the war, it was a close call and we can’t be sure that it won’t happen again. He points out:

“The Nazi intellectuals were not lightweights, and we run the risk of underestimating our enemy if we dismiss their ideology as attractive only to a few cranky weirdos. If your enemy has a machine gun but you believe he only has a pea shooter then you are setting yourself up for failure.”

The book’s purpose is to explore Nietzsche’s writings to find out the extent to which his ideas were responsible for the rise of Nazism. Nietzsche was certainly not a Nazi, but his ideas are often blamed for creating the cultural environment in which Nazism could arise and prosper.

“Nazis have often cited Nietzsche as one of their philosophical precursors, and even though Nietzsche died thirty-three years before the Nazis came to power, references to Nietzsche crop up regularly in Nazi writings and activities.”

The top leaders of the Nazi party were enamoured by Nietzsche. “In 1935, Hitler attended and participated in the funeral of Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth. In 1938, the Nazis built a monument to Nietzsche. In 1943, Hitler gave a set of Nietzsche’s writings as a gift to fellow dictator Benito Mussolini.”

Joseph Goebbels was a great admirer of Nietzsche—in his semi-autobiographical novel he drew a connection between the novel’s protagonist and Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Hicks takes a broad look at Nietzsche’s works to discover the nature of the ideas that the philosopher could have planted in the minds of the German intellectuals, academics, politicians and cultural leaders. While there are a few similarities between Nietzsche’s ideas and the Nazis, many of his ideas are at loggerheads with Nazism.

The most significant point of difference between Nietzsche and the Nazis is that Nietzsche was not an anti-semitic. He believed that the most repulsive sign of Germany’s decline is the country’s irrational hatred of the Jews.

Nietzsche is often regarded as an individualist philosopher, but Hicks is of the view that Nietzsche’s commitment to individualism is overrated. There are certain elements in Nietzsche which seem to advance strongly collectivistic and anti-individualistic themes.

Nietzsche believed that individuals are the product of their biological heritage. He had a complete “contempt for the vast majority of the population, believing them to be sheep and a disgrace to the dignity of the human species.” He believed that it would be an improvement if the general population were sacrificed or slaughtered.

Both Nietzsche and the Nazis have dismissed capitalism as a dehumanizing economic system. Though Nietzsche has not articulated his political views clearly, the Nazi party had a strong commitment to socialism.

In his 1927 speech Hitler declared: “We are socialist, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

The Nazi Party was an intellectual project; its intellectual foundations were so strong that when the Nazis came to power, they had full knowledge of the policies that they had to enact to fundamentally transform Germany from a constitutional democracy to an authoritarian dictatorship. As the intellectuals had already convinced the general population that Nazi ideas were good for the world, Hitler faced negligible opposition to his policies.

While the rise of the Nazis has been analyzed in thousands of publications, Nietzsche and the Nazis is unique because it looks at the monumental evil of Nazism from the perspective of philosophy. The book is compact and eloquently written; its arguments, stated in clear, straightforward language, are quite convincing.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Ayn Rand On ‘The Butcher Of The Ukraine’

Nestor Lakoba, Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrenti Beria & Aghasi Khanjian
during opening of the Moscow Metro in 1935 
In “Khrushchev’s Secret Speech on Stalin’s Crimes,” I discuss Nikita Khrushchev’s speech of February 25, 1956, in which he denounced Josef Stalin as a brutal despot. His speech was nothing less than a sensational, count-by-count indictment of the dictator’s crimes.

But the question remains: What was Khrushchev’s role in Stalin’s mass terror campaigns against the Communist Party members and the general population?

Before addressing this question, I want to point out that Ayn Rand has called Khrushchev “the butcher of the Ukraine.” In her article “To Dream the Noncommercial Dream” (The Voice of Reason), Rand wrote:

When Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959, he was interviewed on various television news programs, usually through the voice of a translator: but on one occasion his answers were broadcast in Russian (with the English translation following). He was asked about the grounds of his faith in the ultimate triumph of world communism. And suddenly this cynical old brute—this Big Boss, feared by the whole world, known in Russia as “the Butcher of the Ukraine” for the mass slaughter that raised him to prominence—began to recite the credo of dialectic materialism in the exact words and tone in which I have heard it recited at exams, in my college days, by students at the University of Leningrad. He had the same uninflected, monotonous tone of a memorised lesson, the same automatic progression of sounds rather than meaning, the same earnest, dutiful, desperate hope that the sacred formulas will come out correctly. But in the face and eyes of a large television closeup, there was a shade more intensity than in the faces of the poor little college robots, more superstitious awe, and less comprehension: it was the face of a man performing a magic ritual on which his life depends. This man, I thought, believes it; he is compelled to believe it; he does not know what it means—but he knows that if this string of sounds were taken away from him, he would left to face something more frightening than death.

When Stalin was alive, Khrushchev used to support him without any reservations. In the speech that Khrushchev gave at the Ukrainian Party Congress in 1926, he endorsed Stalin’s repressive measures against political rivals such as Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev and others.

In December 1929, Stalin announced the policy of liquidating the kulaks, whom he regarded as class enemies. (In the Soviet Union, the rich peasants were labeled as kulaks.) It is believed that between 1930 and 1931 close to 2 million kulaks were uprooted and deported to slave camps, where many of them perished. Khrushchev played a major role in the destruction of the kulaks.

During the 1930s, when Stalin was terrorizing Soviet Union with his mass terror campaigns, Khrushchev used to lavish extravagant praise on him. Impressed by Khrushchev’s loyalty, in 1938 Stalin made him the first secretary of the Communist Party in Ukraine. Here Khrushchev distinguished himself by ensuring that more people were killed than Stalin required. He unleashed terror campaigns in which tens of thousands of Ukrainians were liquidated.

The entire leadership of the Ukrainian Soviet government and the Communist Party was liquidated on Stalin’s orders. All the top ministers of the state were arrested and executed by the middle of 1938. Khrushchev had a major role to play in the planning of these killings. It’s believed that around 40% of the Ukrainian Communist Party was purged during this period.

While Khrushchev was at the helm of Ukraine, the infamous Vinnytsia massacre took place in which thousands of people were branded as enemies of the state and executed. 66 mass graves with hundreds and in some cases thousands of bodies were discovered in 1943, during the German occupation of Ukraine. Given the lack of complete data, it is difficult to establish the total loss of life in Ukraine. But most estimates suggest that the percentage of Ukrainian victims, in the millions who were killed in Soviet Union, was disproportionately high.

As to the role that Khrushchev played in the liquidation of millions of people in Stalin’s Soviet Union, consider these facts:
1. After Lenin died, Khrushchev was one of Stalin’s most loyal and enthusiastic supporters.
2. Khrushchev endorsed the purge of Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinovyev, and Lev Kamenev.
3. Khrushchev played a major role in the destruction of the kulaks.
4. Khrushchev was an eager participant in Stalin’s great purges during the 1930s.
5. During the 1930s, the largest massacre in Soviet Union happened in Ukraine where Khrushchev was in control. 
Khrushchev was indeed the butcher of the Ukraine. He is known to have remarked that he was "soaked in blood, up to his elbows.”

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Khrushchev’s Secret Speech On Stalin’s Crimes

Nikita Khrushchev and Joseph Stalin, January 1936
February 25, 1956: Nikita Khrushchev shook the foundations of the Soviet Union with his four-hour-long, angry speech denouncing Josef Stalin as a vicious despot who had ruled by terror for 30-years.

He delivered the speech at a secret session of the Soviet Communist Party’s 20th congress, where the audience was senior officials who had some knowledge of Stalin’s crimes, but now for the first time they could see the detailed picture.

Ostensibly, Khrushchev’s intention was to draw the Communist Party towards Leninism by destroying the Stalinist cult that was still powerful three years after Stalin’s death. His real motivation, however, was to consolidate his power. By exposing Stalin’s crimes, he hoped to sideline the Stalin loyalists such as Vyacheslav Molotov with whom he was engaged in a power struggle.

Khrushchev was a staunch communist. His speech glosses over Stalin’s campaigns of mass terror in which millions of Soviet citizens were starved to death, or were unjustly taken into custody, and tortured and liquidated. He condemned Stalin only for the crimes which he had committed against the members of the communist party.

But Khrushchev could not have foreseen that even a speech, which dwelled on a small fraction of Stalin’s crimes, would unleash forces that would eventually destroy the Soviet empire.

Inside the Soviet Union, Khrushchev’s speech was published in 1988, some 32 years later. But it got leaked to the outside world within a month. By June 1956, the speech had been published in a number of newspapers of USA and Europe.

The idea that Stalin misused his great power for more than three decades had a dramatic impact in Eastern Europe, where people became restive to gain freedom from Soviet communism. There were revolts in Hungary and Poland in the later part of 1956. Even though the revolts were quickly crushed by the Warsaw Pact troops, it was a blow for Khrushchev because the Stalinists were able to claim that the policy of rejecting Stalin was flawed.

The Soviet communists continued to support Khrushchev's “de-Stalinization” campaign because they feared that if he lost power, the post of Soviet premier could go to another tyrant like Stalin. However, in 1964 Khrushchev was forced to step down, and this paved way for Leonid Brezhnev’s twenty year reign, which was marked by stagnation and a partial return to Stalinism.

But Khrushchev’s speech of 1956 was never forgotten by many communists. One was Mikhail Gorbachev, who in 1956 was a student at Moscow University. He came to power in 1985 and tried to reform the Soviet society. He didn’t succeed. Stalin’s Soviet Union proved impregnable to reforms, and the empire was dissolved on December 26, 1991.

Here’s a look at the highlights of Khrushchev’s speech:

Lenin's Testament and Remarks by Nadezhda Krupskaya 

Khrushchev recalled Lenin’s Testament, a document that Stalin had suppressed for three decades, in which Lenin has warned that Stalin must be removed from the post of General Secretary because he was excessively rude, lacked tolerance, kindness and considerateness toward his comrades, and was likely to abuse his power.

Khrushchev read from several letters that Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya had written to complain about Stalin’s bad behavior. On December 23, 1922, Nadezhda Krupskaya wrote to Lev Kamenev, who was at that time head of the Politburo, complaining that Stalin had been excessively rude with her.

In March 1923 Lenin sent a harsh letter to Stalin:

Dear comrade Stalin! 

You permitted yourself a rude summons of my wife to the telephone and a rude reprimand of her. Despite the fact that she told you that she agreed to forget what was said, nevertheless Zinoviev and Kamenev heard about it from her. I have no intention to forget so easily that which is being done against me. I need not stress here that I consider as directed against me that which is being done against my wife. I ask you, therefore, that you weigh carefully whether you are agreeable to retracting your words and apologizing, or whether you prefer the severance of relations between us. 

SINCERELY: LENIN, MARCH 5, 1923

Stalin’s Concept of “Enemy of the People”

Khrushchev revealed that in the late 1920s, Stalin introduced the concept of enemy of the people which granted the penal organs of the state the absolute power to deploy extreme methods for annihilating political adversaries. Khrushchev said:

“Stalin originated the concept “enemy of the people.” This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven. It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had bad reputations. The concept “enemy of the people” actually eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight or the making of one’s views known on this or that issue, even [issues] of a practical nature. On the whole, the only proof of guilt actually used, against all norms of current legal science, was the “confession” of the accused himself. As subsequent probing has proven, “confessions” were acquired through physical pressures against the accused. This led to glaring violations of revolutionary legality and to the fact that many entirely innocent individuals – [persons] who in the past had defended the Party line – became victims.”

The Great Purge of 17th Party Congress

Khrushchev shocked the audience by revealing that in Stalin’s great purge of the 1930s thousands of innocent communists were arrested on false charges and were subjected to brutal torture to force them to confess that they had conspired against the state. In most cases the executions were carried out after the confessions had been extracted.

There was indignation in the hall, when Khrushchev said that “of the 139 members and candidates of the Central Committee who were elected at the 17th Congress, 98 persons, i.e., 70 percent, were arrested and shot (mostly in 1937-1938).” Further, Khrushchev said, “The same fate met not only Central Committee members but also the majority of the delegates to the 17th Party Congress. Of 1,966 delegates with either voting or advisory rights, 1,108 persons were arrested on charges of anti-revolutionary crimes, i.e., decidedly more than a majority.

The Murder of Kirov and the Subsequent Purge

Khrushchev alleged that Stalin had ordered the assassination of one of his most trusted aides Kirov in 1934. But Stalin falsely claimed that Kirov was killed by counter-revolutionary members of the Communist Party because he wanted to use the murder as a pretext for passing a new directive which gave unlimited powers to the intelligence agencies and the judicial organs to arrest people and execute them after obtaining confessions through torture.

According to Khrushchev, many senior members of the politburo were arrested and subjected to terrible torture to extract the confession that they were involved in Kirov’s killing. He said: “Many thousands of honest and innocent Communists have died as a result of this monstrous falsification of such “cases,” as a result of the fact that all kinds of slanderous “confessions” were accepted, and as a result of the practice of forcing accusations against oneself and others.