by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker blog
Turning to Trotsky to help analyse the Yellow Vests is indispensable not because I am a Trotskyist but because Trotsky is the foremost socialist architect, describer and critic of the actual waging of political revolution.
(This is the seventh chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)
In October 1917 Trotsky was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, the revolutionary centre of Russia. He directed the organisation of the October Revolution’s uprising against the Provisional Government, which had followed after the monarchy’s toppling in the February Revolution. Trotsky knew what he was talking about, and perhaps more than anyone of his era he could accurately say what a revolutionary group needs to do to actually seize power.
The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism. He rejected making his name synonymous with the actual waging of progressive revolution, almost bewilderingly lamenting: “To reaction and its agents ‘Trotskyism’ is the international menace of the socialist revolution.”
The two are not and must not be synonymous. Trotsky would surely berate his 21st century adherents for the primary complaint leftists make against his followers: To modern Trotskyists it’s not “revolution” unless it’s “Trotskyism” and only “Trotskyism”.
The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism, it’s Trotskyists.
If Trotskyism used to be synonymous with revolution but it no longer is – which is certainly the case – then who should be blamed more than the followers who take his name? French presidential elections inevitably feature multiple Trotskyist candidates – they even cannot get along with each other, much less other leftists.
Trotsky is different from his modern followers in that he saw conditions in the 1930s as ripe for revolution – even overripe – and he was shocked that others couldn’t see that what he helped effectuate in Russia was actually possible elsewhere, and right then. From November 2018 until June 2019 the Yellow Vests undoubtedly agreed that conditions were – at a minimum – ripe for a major break with the mainstream practices of Western Liberal Democracy, and they were also shocked that French leftists couldn’t see that.
Yellow Vest: “We have to bring France to its knees, because that is all that our governments understand. We will block the entire economy for as long as it takes. The fight against capitalism is heating up around the world, so the Yellow Vests are not the only ones demanding huge changes.”
(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)
A big reason for their absence from the most revolutionary situation in France since 1968 is that today’s Trotskyists are so discredited that they wouldn’t have been welcomed by the Yellow Vests.
Today’s Trotskyists seemingly live in a state where it is perpetually September 1917 – they cannot possibly support the few global nations who have selfishly “jumped the gun” and taken power in their own country without the Trotskyists, and allegedly at the expense of the global revolution. If Trotskyists could realise that monarchy still plays a huge role in the world they would realise that living in a state where it is perpetually January 1917 would be far, far more useful in actually pushing socialism (and not just Trotskyism) forward.
What I will call Trotsky’s definition of a revolutionary country is concise and clear, and any country fulfilling these requirements obviously deserves the fullest support:
“Meanwhile the hypothetical government (Trotsky is referring to a Western Liberal Democratic government which actually stood up to fascism) would give nothing either to the workers or to the petty-bourgeois masses because it would be unable to attack the foundations of private property; and without expropriation of the banks, the great commercial enterprises, the key branches of industry and transport, without a foreign trade monopoly, and without a series of other profound measures, there is no possible way of coming of the aid of the peasant, the artisan, the petty merchant.”
Above is the most basic condition for socialist-inspired revolution on behalf of the people, and yet Trotskyists all over France and the West perpetually condemn any country which has made this critical first step on the road to citizen empowerment. Please note that Iran has not given up the Iranian people’s control over all the “profound measures” listed above. Please also note that today’s French Trotskyist groups usually incorrectly lump small merchants in with CEOs, instead of with the proletariat and farmers, while the Yellow Vests do not make that mistake.
Perhaps the most common word with Trotsky is “expropriation”. Without the expropriation of the private property of the 1% then there is no movement which can make any type of socialism – or the barest amount of Socialist Democracy – possible.
This definition is so useful because it illustrates how the establishment of banking power fits into the economic history of Europe since 1492. With the start of Western Liberal Democracy in 1848 and the establishment of France’s 2nd Republic all wealth joined together to “become bourgeois”: royal landed wealth, commercial & New World colonisation wealth, and industrial & Old World colonisation wealth (such as from Algeria beginning in 1830) had united their political forces in oligarchy. Their economic forces became united in the power of the modern bank. By the 1930s “the banks” of oligarchical Western Liberal Democracy had become first on the list of Trotsky’s opponents of progressive politics, and both the socialists and the fascists came to power by promising to gut their power. Fascists then joined with Western Liberal Democrats after World War II, with many of their key ideas becoming subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy just as the ideas of royalism have been subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy. One of the fascists’ ideas would be encapsulated in the structures of today’s pan-European project, as the coming chapters will illustrate: fascism’s alliance of autocratic political power with corporate/banking power.
Non-socialist readers may be alarmed by Trotsky’s phrase “attack the foundations of private property”, as though they alone had a trade monopoly, a key branch of any industry or a great commercial enterprise. Such persons simply like to fancy themselves budding bourgeois, and thus don’t want a ceiling to limit their all-but-certain rise, as bourgeois culture inculcates them to want to do. Giving the masses control of these key mega-economic entities – and not control over your home and the objects inside, nor your small business – is what modern socialism is, and it’s also what it takes to win stability, control and peace for the masses.
Today’s Trotskyists are not on the front lines, and they don’t support any serious fronts anywhere
Trotsky today would surely demand a redefinition of what “Trotskyism” is because for modern Trotskyists it apparently doesn’t include demanding control of the means of major production or armed anything. Trotskyism in the 21st century has become subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy because they now limit themselves to working within it, not against it.
More than any other aspect of his personal thought these remarks he made in 1935 when talking of France encapsulate what Trotsky was fundamentally all about:
“This is why the most immediate of all demands must be for the expropriation of the capitalists and the nationalization (socialization) of the means of production. But is not this demand unrealizable under the rule of the bourgeoisie? Quite so! That is why we must seize power.” (emphasis his)
Any discussion cannot gloss over that point or this one below, which today’s Trotskyists certainly ignore, seeing as how they reject any country which has actually enacted socialist-inspired revolution and nationalisations, such as China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.:
“How can one come to soviet (workers’ committees) power without an armed insurrection? How can one come to an insurrection without arming the workers? How can one defend oneself against fascism without arms? How can we achieve armament, even partial, without propaganda for this slogan?”
Trotskyist propaganda today is totally devoid of such propaganda, and this is even though Trotsky’s writing is full of denigration for peaceniks who refuse to fight for their rights. Such militarism is, of course, very different from a militarism which clamours for invasion:
“The more successful the anti-militarist agitation becomes, the more rapid will be the growth of the fascist danger. Such is the actual and not fanciful dialectic of the struggle.” (emphasis his)
By the 1960s the Western left had adopted anti-militarism as an almost iron law. Such history-ignoring nonsense translated into political nonsense which ultimately amounted to: reformism of the status quo at a snail’s pace and with the ephemeral quality of a flower’s existence. Western “Flower Power” didn’t change the social pyramid, and Trotsky would not have been surprised at the political impotence of switching away from anti-militarist agitation while trying to win socialist-inspired changes.
A fundamental question which must be posed is: Why did Trotskyists never come out in favor of arming the Yellow Vests for their own self-defense? Every one knows they were getting attacked every Saturday by police. If today’s Trotskyists are merely content to be tiny, ineffectual parties within Western Liberal Democracies, can’t they at least promote a defensive militarism to defend the mere rights of Liberalism, such as freedom of assembly? Surely this would be the bare minimum Trotsky would have promoted as regards to the Yellow Vests.
This is a question which requires far more reflection because it strikes at the hypocritical heart of Western Liberal Democracy, which is truly more accurately called “Western Liberal Autocracy”. The Yellow Vests show how the West refuses to accept even the barest Liberal Democratic rights of 1789, and in addition to rejecting all the egalitarian measure promoted by Socialist Democracy. It will be discussed in the chapter What the Yellow Vests can be: a force which can protect Liberalism’s rights, at least.
A perfect time for France’s Trotskyists to provide defensive assistance was during the Yellow Vests attempted establishment of a permanent camp near the Eiffel Tower in March 2019. Of course, they also needed defensive help every Saturday for months, as well.
The primary propaganda organ of Trotskyism – the World Socialist Web Site – never made such calls to action even though they are based in the United States and thus out of the reach of French intimidation and repression! The WSWS did correctly stress the need of the Yellow Vests to remain apart from the totally-discredited political establishment, such as parties and unions, (though this point was already non-negotiable to the Yellow Vests) but only to finally insist that they needed to be led by the political perspective of a Trotskyist vanguard provided by the International Committee of the Fourth International. Reject everyone else but me – it’s typical modern Trotskyism.
Trotsky would have disavowed his namesakes for failing to seize the once-in-century moment provided by the Yellow Vests, and this is proven by his own writings.
For example, in 1936 Trotsky appeared to be apoplectic with France’s leftists: 1.5 million out of 10 million French people voted communist and – to a guy who made a revolution with much less – that should have been enough to make a revolution in France.
“When one and a half million voters cast their ballots for the Communists, the majority of them mean to say thereby: ‘We want you to do the same thing in France that the Russian Bolsheviks did in their country in October 1917.’”
In the West the Yellow Vests are the first popular political force operating on essentially socialist-inspired ideas since 1936. They are the first political force willing to operate under repressive and hotly-debated conditions since 1936. They are the first French progressive political force to have even more popular support than the combined leftists did in 1936: polls showed the Yellow Vests as having 75% approval rating and always – even after so much propaganda and repression – as having a majority approval rating in a country where such popularity is considered unachievable.
In 1936 Trotsky dismissed the vote results for not only the Radicals (it’s a misleading name – they were “Reformists” of Western Liberal Democracy) but the further left Socialists as well: he didn’t care about their score because they were not a working class party in composition or policy like the Communists were. The Yellow Vests are working class in composition and policy, but where were/are the Trotskyists? The Yellow Vests’ fault was not being openly Trotskyist, obviously.
Trotsky would diagnose the problem today as one of poor leadership, which was his most common refrain. However, the worst leadership among Western leftists is among the Trotskyists because they clearly do not even champion the essentials of Trotskyist thought.
Yellow Vest: “So many of these types have been bought off by Macron and are happy to stay in his pocket. Pensioners, the jobless and public workers have been marching for seven months and our so-called intellectuals spit on us! We are getting beaten and gassed, and they criticise us!”
In 2022 I believe Trotsky would have backed countries like Iran because of to whom he pointed his vast criticism when discussing France: the proponents of Western Liberal Democratic measures, and those who seek appeasement via measures which fall short of expropriation. From the multiple French Trotskyist parties to the US-based WSWS they spent more time boosting their own parties than the Yellow Vests, which is to say that they are totally committed to working within the framework of Western Liberal Democracy.
Western Trotskyists are not revolutionary – they are waiting for that laughable “hypothetical government” which Trotsky himself noted would fail even if ever installed, and he was proven right by the failure of France’s 1936 Popular Front, as the previous chapter discussed. Marxist-inspired analysis of history make it clear that the Western Liberal Democratic framework will never create permanent programs which guarantee a permanent redistribution of political power and wealth which aims at boosting the lower and middle classes – not in wartime, pandemic-time or any other hypothetical time.
The absurd contradictions and hypocrisies of the modern Trotskyist movement pale so enormously when held up with the actual achievements of Stalinist-inspired (i.e. USSR-inspired) movements which Trotsky famously rejected.
We should not blame heroic and committed Leon!
We should wrest him away from today’s declared Trotskyists, as they refuse to actually put into practice his ideas while claiming his mantle, and we should redefine Trotskyism to describe more accurately what his necessary contributions were to leftism.
Trotskyism: A line of socialist thought which emphasised the need of a politically-advanced vanguard party to encourage taking power, while always remaining in dialogue with the masses, by force from Western Liberal Democracy in order to expropriate their political power and economic wealth for the benefit of the masses.
The above definition retains Trotsky’s beloved notion of a vanguard party, but it can clearly include Cuba, China, Iran, Hezbollah and others – this is how Trotsky can be wrested from Trotskyists. Trotsky didn’t want his name becoming synonymous with socialist revolution, but he sure wouldn’t want it affiliated with today’s totally unTrotskyist Trotskyists!
As with Napoleon Bonaparte, the well-being and understanding which socialist analysis has to offer insists on the political rehabilitation of a person whose adherents have distorted and disgraced him. The revolution does not have to eat its young, as counter-revolutionaries insist. By first fully dispatching the oldest enemy of Socialist Democracy – the autocratic oligarchy embodied by monarchy, whose ideals have been subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy – we will first clear the way to end arrogant imperialism and elitism, and indispensable first step towards demanding socialism at home.
But we should wrest Trotsky not just from the adulation which he himself opposed but also from Trotsky himself. Consider the perspective of W.E.B. Dubois, certainly the greatest African-American political writer of his era and maybe ever:
“He (Stalin) early saw through the flamboyance and exhibitionism of Trotsky, who fooled the world, and especially America. The whole ill-bred and insulting attitude of Liberals in the U.S. today began with our naive acceptance of Trotsky’s magnificent lying propaganda, which he carried around the world. Against it, Stalin stood like a rock and moved neither right nor left, as he continued to advance toward a real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered.”
Trotsky believed that Stalin had no sincere care for the working class, only for the “bureaucracy” – that’s false. The Trotskyist blame towards Stalinism for abandoning the Western workers/leftism totally ignores his and the USSR’s decades of leftist agitation, as the previous chapter detailed. The blame goes towards the forces of just-ended autocracy and the oligarchy of Western Liberal Democracy, not fellow communists and socialists.
In his consternation that others were not as ardently revolutionary Trotsky rejected the comparatively minor intra-socialist compromises which allowed for a continuing “advance towards a real socialism”, even if only in one country at a time. Trotsky’s war on the USSR – on “Stalinism” – is often viewed as a betrayal of the socialist movement, and today’s Trotskyists make this same mistake as regards to China, Iran, Venezuela and – if they progressed further – probably the Yellow Vests, too.
What socialism cannot lose from Trotsky is the idea that armed revolution is the only path to an actual revolution in the aristocratic elite’s property holdings – what it can lose is “flamboyance”, “exhibitionism”, acting as though one is “ill-bred” and being “insulting”. Trotskyism seduced the individualist West in large part because both over-rely on the individual singularity of a vanguard party. There is an anti-democracy inherent in Trotsky’s most constant complaint – the poor leadership of the leftist movement – as though if only Trotsky were still in charge, then all of Europe would be socialist today. The disregard of Trotsky’s primary ideas has led to a situation where the far-left on the Western political spectrum has comported itself with the faux-noble airs of the far-right, i.e. aristocrats, which Trotsky himself was accused of.
I have presented a balanced view of Leon Trotsky here because a history of leftist movements is not possible without Trotsky, but a leftist history where Marx, Engels and Trotsky are the only leftists is an ineffectual and distorting absurdity. A history where Napoleon Bonaparte is not a leftist, where the 1848 Revolutions were not the Counter-Revolutions of 1848, where the rise of fascism is both socialism’s fault and yet has nothing to do with socialism, where the Yellow Vests are not French leftism reborn, etc., are ineffectual and distorting absurdities.
Both those extreme views are dangerous because the parallels between France today and the 1930s is of vital importance, and thus recalling Trotsky’s assessments of France provides us with the wealth of parallels which are necessary to make in order to show how the problems of Western Liberal Democracy today are unchanged since 90 years ago, just as re-reading Marx reminds us the problems are unchanged since 170 years ago.
Trotsky’s failure to see Western Liberal Democracy as unable to subsume the ideals of fascism
Trotsky has so much right – above all, his refusal to concede anything to Western Liberal Democracy – but let’s focus on the few things he got quite wrong.
Trotsky’s writings unmistakably reveal that he really thought Western Liberal Democracy/parliamentarianism/free marketism was truly dead. To Trotsky the only fight remaining was against fascism. It’s a mistake many leftists have made since 1850 – incorrectly assuming that Western Liberal Democracy is dead.
Apparently Trotsky thought fascism really was a “third way” – it was neither autocratic Western Liberal Democracy nor Socialist Democracy – but in the 1930s no non-Westerner would agree that jingoism, racism, authoritarianism and the myriad petty dictatorships of their leader class is something which only came to the fore in the West during their fascist era of the 1930s? Of course, they had been experiencing it in their own colonised countries! To non-Westerners the oligarchy of monarchism, Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is distinguished only in style and not function.
The lack of emphasis on the socio-cultural effects of industrial-era imperialism caused Trotsky to underestimate the jingoism, racism, social and economic regimentation, oppression of dissent and “dictatorship of the leader class” (i.e. the five features of the commonly-accepted definition of fascism) in Western Liberal Democracy, and to falsely assume these were only attributes of fascism.
Another problem may have been that socialists in the 1930s were aghast that fascists were using Marxist tools to accurately critique Western Liberal Democracy – this unneeded concern was discussed in the previous chapter. Today we see that socialists should have been lumping fascism and Western liberal democracy in the same boat, and some did. Stalin correctly said that fascism and Social Democracy (i.e. reformists of Western Liberal Democracy) were twins, and we are now correct to say that fascism, Social Democracy and Western Liberal Democracy are triplets.
It’s no facile exaggeration – all three of these political schools of thought clearly united themselves after World War II against Socialist Democracy. The squabble between fascism and Western Liberal Democracy was even more short lived than the squabble between the houses of Bourbon and Orleans! All the rich factions of 1848 France famously “became bourgeois”, per Marx, to unite in the new “Party of Order”, just as fascism and liberalism unites in contemporary Western Liberal Democracy.
Western Liberal Democracy survives because of its ability to unite in adapting its right-wing solutions – its brutal version of class warfare – and in contrast with the left’s inability to unite while operating out Western Liberal Democrats. They are much more effective at class warfare in large part because they have so many fewer people to organise/collude.
What Western Liberal Democracy took from fascism is that economic planning must be limited to the military, its obsession with security and its emphasis on xenophobia in order to distract from open discussion of its obvious pro-aristocratic class warfare. The two ideologies already agreed on anti-socialism, competition (one largely fixed at the beginning) and elitism, which are also three long-time beliefs of autocracy and oligarchy. The only real squabble was between choosing a cosmopolitan globalist elite, dominated by new money, or a sovereign national elite, dominated by old money.
Proof that Trotsky didn’t understand the existing similarities between Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is encapsulated in his complaint about Stalinist/Comintern communism in 1936. I think every reader will be shocked at either his naiveté or his impossible demands upon the USSR: “If the Soviet trade unions had given a timely example by boycotting Italy (for invading Ethiopia), the movement would, like a prairie fire, have inevitably embraced all of Europe and the whole world, and at once become menacing to the imperialists of all countries.”
The entire world was going to get set alight over Ethiopia, really?
Again, we cannot blame Leon: he is truly personally alight over the invasion of Ethiopia. But Trotsky is a progressive humanitarian and politically-active person – nobody else really cared about Ethiopia. Today neither Palestine, nor chemical weapons used against Iranians in the 1980s, nor the starvation of Yemen, nor any other blatant Western imperialist violence is setting the world alight. As the incredibly hypocritical double-standards regrading the 2022 refugees from Ukraine proves – the West only cares about White people, and even then only when either useful or of the proper class.
From 1789 to 2022 non-Europeans see the same racism, deadly abuse of power and privilege, haughty disregard and disinterest, and closed opportunities in both Western Liberal Democracy and fascism. Trotsky goes on to complain, as usual, that this is a proof of failure in revolutionary leadership – but the leaders are not the problem but the people: the good people of the West have been governed by Western Liberal Democracy for too long, and thus by it’s false, elitist, over-competitive and bigoted precepts.
Trotsky also failed to foresee the monarchical-like expansion of the 21st century Western executive branch (initially justified, as in 1830, by a need to dominate Muslims), which makes it even more similar to authoritarian fascism.
It was perhaps myopia – being too deeply within Western culture and too unexposed to the non-Western viewpoints of the colonised. A Third Worlder didn’t feel any real change in policy before, during or after the Western fascist era – the violence is less brutal in its cultural presentation, but the violence is still brutal. A Syrian heard about the victory over fascism in Europe on May 8,1945, but he certainly more deeply felt the shells which Charles de Gaulle dropped on him on May 29, in order to forestall any independence (freedom) movements. The French waged the Sétif and Guelma massacres in Algeria on V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day – May 8, 1945), and aided by the American army. How is this morally superior to Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia?
“Is it not too late? No, everything shows that it is not too late. In France there is no powerful fascist party. Indeed, in France there will not be an organisation as large as Hitler’s party even before the conquest of power: it is against the traditions and customs of the country.” That was not a Western Liberal Democrat talking about the West’s superior values – that was Trotsky in 1935, and he would quite soon be wrong about half the country, i.e. Vichy France.
Trotsky was especially wrong in the first part – how can a country occupying Algeria (making it “France”) not have a powerful fascist party? Is it not “fascism” because it’s happening to non-Europeans? He was also wrong in the second part: there is no fascist party in France, the UK and the US because their Western Liberal Democracies were already quite fascistic. The idea that their traditions are anti-fascist is nonsense to those they were currently colonising.
That quote is not Trotsky being racist, because of course he was not, but merely of Trotsky both succumbing to European ethnocentrism and to not realising that France’s traditions and customs were also filled with elitist, racist autocracy. The French Revolution was overthrown by European monarchs, Leon!
Trotsky was quite disproven, and almost a century later our goal is to explain why: He did not realise that France’s impressive but relatively minor experiences with social revolution have been drastically outweighed by the fascism inherent in the “traditions and customs” of monarchy and, after 1848, Western Liberal Democracy.
As coming chapters will demonstrate, the rights and redistributions won by the Western masses in the postwar period (1945-1975) have been under constant attack in the third restoration of Liberalism (1975-today) and thus serve as an exceptional era in the anti-worker history of Western liberal Democracy.
The idea that there has been neither revolution nor fascism is the trick of Western Liberal Democracy, which openly allied with fascism’s supporters against socialism immediately upon the cessation of WWII hostilities in order to fight Socialist Democracy around the world. It was absurd – Jim Crow-era United States assumed leadership of the “free world” while also being an Apartheid state – but imperialist Western Liberal Democracy controls the means, therefore they have the tools to employ and pay for the massive propaganda to uphold this idea.
How can Trotsky’s great leaders lead a leaderless movement?
What’s certain is that Trotsky would be somewhat at a loss with what to do with the leaderless Yellow Vests because he did not live in a leaderless time.
The Yellow Vests insist that they could not have sprouted successfully if they had acclaimed a leader precisely because all of France’s leadership (Trotskyists included) are so discredited. However, this did not preclude France’s Trotskyist parties nor the Trotskyist partisans in their several other prominent leftist parties from humbly, patiently and methodically forming a bond with the Yellow Vests. The problem is entirely in the domineering attitude of today’s Trotskyists.
Trotsky would have likely said this, and I am forced to agree: The Yellow Vests are a “pre-revolutionary movement” which will be routed.
They were definitely routed every Saturday, and they were a revolutionary movement in ideal, but they have not yet progressed to the actual waging of revolution, nor have they fully grasped that only a revolution away from Western Liberal Democracy can ever allow them to achieve their core demands.
The Yellow Vests are thus a harbinger of coming revolution, we can safely predict.
What the Yellow Vests are doing is creating political enlightenment at every rural roundabout, urban march and Facebook page, and Western Trotskyists must either get on board or declare that they are not in favor of Socialist Democracy but Western Liberal Democracy. If they continue to work more with Western Liberal Democracy than with the Yellow Vests then they are not Trotskyist, who wrote, and the emphasis is his: “There can be no greater crime than coalition with the bourgeoisie in a period of socialist revolution,” and this is what they done so far during the Yellow Vest era.
Because they live in a leaderless times the Yellow Vests are the ones introducing clarity into the political consciousness of the struggling masses – I believe Trotsky would have called them the vanguard party of France today, and not France’s Communist or Trotskyist parties.
If the Vesters lack one thing it’s in fully knowing that, “Without a complete overturn in property relations – without concentration of the waning system, the basic branches of industry, and foreign trade in the hands of the state – there is no salvation for the petty bourgeoisie of the city and country.” There is no salvation because, again, the era of 1945-75 appears as a short anomaly compared the modern eras of 1848-1944 and 1976-2022 – the short era of Social Democracy in Europe was easily overturned.
The USSR, China and Iran overturned property relations, but this overturning is actually not among the Vesters’ demands, which were first made public in December 2018. Of course, many Yellow Vests knew that nationalisation is the only way, even if only instinctually.
Yellow Vest: “How Macron has handled these privatisations reveals exactly what we have been denouncing since the start. How can Macron sell off our national inheritance without even consulting the opinion of the people? This is exactly why we are demanding regular citizen referendums. Why are we selling something like the airport of Paris now, when it will certainly be worth much more in the years to come, and especially if we invest some money into it? Despite what the government is saying, we are losing money with this sale, and with other privatisations.”
In their bones and in their deeds the heroic Yellow Vests are revolutionary – it’s the fault of other Western leftists to not have joined them, and to have feared joining them starting after the incredible police brutality and intimidation on May Day 2019.
The Yellow Vests suffer from a similar defect as Trotsky did: without a disciplined bureaucracy there is no way to institute the practical demands of the revolutionary masses. Trotskyism refused to support just such a bureaucracy in the USSR, and for that people like DuBois admired Stalin, the USSR and “real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered” – the “sham” being revolution without a bureaucracy to install or preserve it.
Trotsky and his scourge of bureaucratism is similar to the Yellow Vests insistence on being a leaderless movement which also makes a boogeyman of establishing a formal bureaucracy. The fault in both is that they think everyone is as politically advanced and committed as they are when they are not – they are vanguards.
Make no mistake, the Yellow Vest movement was ultimately not checked by poor leadership or a disdain for disciplined bureaucracy but by total war against it. Had this war been waged by a President Marine Le Pen it would have been called “fascist”, but because it was waged by a President Emmanuel Macron it was whitewashed. This absurdity can be easily recognised by seeing that Western Liberal Democracy is fascism, has allied with fascists for nearly a century, has subsumed key tenets of fascism into contemporary liberal democracy – is fascism.
Trotsky really thought “imperialist democracy” and “parliamentary democracy” was totally discredited and smashed for good in 1939 – it was not.
It is ultimately most accurate to say that Trotsky correctly saw, but did not correctly describe, that Western Liberal Democracy and fascism were interchangeable and needed to be discredited and smashed for good – why don’t you see this?
Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!
Publication date: July 1, 2022.
Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.
Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.
Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.
Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.
Chapter List of the new content
- New book announcement – ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s best values’ – March 15, 2022
- Introduction: A Yellow Vests’ history must rewrite both recent & past French history – March 20, 2022
- The UK’s endless reaction: 1789 & feudalism’s end creates modern conservatism – March 25, 2022
- Glorious Revolution of 1688: England declares ‘death to all other revolutions’ – March 29, 2022
- Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary – April 2, 2022
- The ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’ stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy – April 7, 2022
- Louis-Napoleon: The revolutionary differences between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy – April 11, 2022
- The Paris Commune: The true birth of neoliberalism and EU neo-imperialism – April 17, 2022
- Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the ‘fascism’ of the 2020s – April 23, 2022
- On ‘Leon Trotsky on France’ in order to reclaim Trotsky from Trotskyists
- The Yellow Vests’ childhood: Seeing French elites, only, swayed by neoliberalism
- No one here is actually in charge: How the EU empire forced the Yellow Vests
- The radicalisation by Europe’s ongoing Lost Decade: the Great Recession changes France
- To Yellow Vests he’s the radical: Macron and ‘Neither Right nor Left but the Bourgeois Bloc’
- Yellow Vests: At worst, the most important French movement for a century
- Who are they, really? Ask a reporter whose seen a million Yellow Vest faces
- Yellow Vest Win: Ending the West’s slandering of all popular movements as far-right xenophobes
- Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western anarcho-syndicalism & unions as leftism’s hereditary kings
- Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western parliamentarianism as the most progressive government
- Yellow Vest Win: Reminding us of the link between fascist violence & Western democracy
- What the Yellow Vests can be: a group which can protect Liberalism’s rights, at least
- The 2022 vote: The approach needed for ‘Before’- what came ‘After’ polls closed
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.
Thanks for clearing things up about Trotsky. I liked what you wrote about Napoleon too.
Is this sort of what Stalin meant when he said “Cadres are everything?”
We’ve got to reclaim Trotsky, the Bonapartes, 1848, 1936, the Yellow Vests – everything from 1789 until today.
The undemocratic establishment of the pan-European project – and what they have wrought since its complete installation in 2009 – throws into clear relief the true trends of French & European history, and the history of Western Liberal Democracy.
I took “Cadres decide everything” to mean that if the mid- and upper-officials aren’t devoted, then (any) government is run poorly. In China, Cuba and Iran the level of oversight of officials is intense and constant as they rise from the bottom, thus its very hard for cadres to rise unless they prove both devotion and ability.
Marx is reputed to have said he was not a Marxist. Probably examining the squabbles already taking place among his proclaimed followers. Trotsky might well have thought the same thing.
Most of the things I said, I never said – Yogi Berra sums it up!
Nice mishmosh from Mazaheri.
Trotsky died in 1940. Let him rest. He cannot help us now!
He was caught in a maelstrom of events. He did his best.
By the numbers:
In the Beginning:
1. Russia lost 2 wars within 12 years. In the first (1905), Russia lost most of her Navy – in one battle.
2. In WW I, Russia’s government joined the other imperialists in a huge bloodletting. In 1914, Samsonov’s entire army surrendered to a smaller number of German troops. Trotsky came to the fore with some clear suggested cures for Russia – after Russia’s surrender in 1917.
Trotsky’s best political moves:
1. Joined his Mensheviks with Lenin’s Bolsheviks.
2. Helped organize the Red Army, (which enabled Russia to survive to the present).
3. Wrote “The Revolution Betrayed,” (his best book – which PREDICTED the disintegration of the 1-Party 1-Dictator (prime recipe for corruption), of the Russian socialist revolution. George Orwell’s novel, “Animal Farm” is based on Trotsky’s “Revolution Betrayed.”
Other Trotsky moves of note:
1. We will not dwell on Trotsky’s advocacy of ‘Military Communism.’ Lenin thought Trotsky had gone mad.
2. Trotsky had an affair with Frida Kahlo (Diego Rivera’s wife). Actually, that was one of his best moves (just kidding).
3. Trotsky had a tenuous but supportive relationship with the small American “Socialist Worker’s Party.” He kept them honest/revolutionary. When Trotsky died, they abandoned all thought of Revolution, and quickly degenerated.
4. Trotsky was assassinated by the same political forces who assassinated the Kennedys, M L King, Malcolm X, and the musical Lennon. These same forces were behind the earlier attempted assassination of Lenin.
5. Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) was a fascinating Political and Revolutionary figure, who in a tantalizing way personally resembles Ernest Hemingway. Both worked as news correspondents in eastern Europe Before WW I. Hemingway was a supporter of Eugene Debs (a decent American Socialist & Union leader – who was jailed for 4 years, for opposing American entry into WW I).
Let him go. He is no more of use to us, than Djugashvili, or John Belushi.
* Yes, the Gilets Jaunes must arm themselves, and fight, if they are to offer any serious opposition to the Zionist Oligarchs (who are already armed & killing). Let them fight to Restore the Republic of Charles DeGaulle. That will be a beginning. In America, we must fight to Restore the Republic of John F. Kennedy. That will be our beginning, our rebirth. From there, the Heavens await us!
Dr. Peter J. Antonsen – nom de guerre, Durruti
Just as a point of correction, Malcolm X was assassinated on the orders of Elijah Mohammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. One of his assassins was released from prison in 2010 and has spoken openly about it – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hagan. It was not the same forces involved in the other assassinations.
Trotsky/Bronstein was amongst the most despicable political figures of the 20th century, I am not going to now cite a litany of his crimes, of which there are a deluge, much less the Kronstadt massacre which was ordered by Trotsky personally. Trotsky, & the Bolsheviks could not give a damn about the working class, working people more generally, or socialism/communism. Trotsky, Lenin & their gang were about 2 things & 2 things only, taking power & destroying Russia. Trotsky, like Lenin was an extreme Russophobe, an anti-Russian racist of the Nazi variety, he was a red fascist, a mass murderer. Trotsky & Lenin not only had no interest in developing a socialist system, no sooner had they ravaged Russia by instigating a civil war, they began to invite Wall St investors to come into Russia for an asset seizure akin to what took place later in the 1990s under Yeltsin, it was Stalin who put a stop to this. Trotsky did what pretty much all self-proclaimed Marxists have always done, they use socialism as an ideology to cultivate critical mass support, it doesn’t have to be a large segment of society, but large enough comparatively to take create chaos & take power by force, as in a colour revolution, like the Kiev Maidan in 2014. The Bolshevik revolution was a coup d’état, arguably it was the first colour revolution. The author of this piece buys into the myth of revolutionary socialism, a subversive ideology cultivated by the Marxist movement to destroy countries from the inside, Marxism never had anything remotely to do with working class emancipation, absolutely nothing. The worst oppressors of working people, alongside privately owned corporations in the so-called “capitalist” oligarchic west, were Marxist regimes. Being a worker in a supposed communist country was never any better than being a worker in a supposed capitalist country. These were all delusions & mythologies of the 20th century & it is a good thing that these ideologies are dead, some would like to see a resurrection of Marxism, it will never happen, it has been exposed for the fraud it always was. Last word on Trotsky, it is a fact that Trotsky was financed for the Bolshevik coup by some of the biggest names on Wall St, Warburg & Schiff to name two such, that is not conspiracy theory, that is fact. Now ask yourself a question, what does a supposed “revolutionary socialist” like Trotsky have in common with Wall St bankers?
Thanks for making far more sense than Ramin Mazaheri, who I usually have a lot of respect for. Writing stuff like “The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism, it’s Trotskyists” is case of a circular argument where you end up staring up your own backside.
My best understanding of Trots, comes from the likes of Thierry Meyssan quoting, not just historical examples, but real examples, now in power via infiltration, and what a horrific mess they are still making.
“Russia declares war on the Straussians”
“A brief history of the Straussuians
Let us stop for a moment to consider this group, the Straussians, about whom Westerners know little. They are individuals, all *redacted*, but by no means representative of either American *redacted* or of *redacted* communities worldwide. They were formed by the German philosopher Leo Strauss, who took refuge in the United States during the rise of Nazism and became a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. According to many accounts, he had formed a small group of faithful students to whom he gave oral instruction. There is no written record of this. He explained to them that the only way for the *redacted” not to fall victim to a new genocide was to form their own dictatorship. He called them Hoplites (the soldiers of Sparta) and sent them to disrupt the courts of his rivals. Finally, he taught them discretion and praised the “noble lie”. Although he died in 1973, his student fraternity continued.
The Straussians began forming a political group half a century ago, in 1972. They were all members of Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s staff, including Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. They worked closely with a group of Trotskyite journalists, also *redacted*, who had met at the City College of New York and edited the magazine Commentary. Both groups were closely linked to the CIA, but also, thanks to Perle’s father-in-law Albert Wohlstetter (the US military strategist), to the Rand Corporation (the think tank of the military-industrial complex). Many of these young people intermarried until they formed a compact group of about 100 people.”
I doubt any of these people have any compassion or empathy. They seem to be fueled and filled with hatred, first towards Russians, but ultimately to the entire human race.
Trotsky/Bronstein, for example, was resident in New York when the so-called “revolutionary” (see putschist) agitation began in Russia in the middle of a war (World War 1) which Russia was winning – it does not get more subversive or treasonous than this. Trotsky, on route to Russia, was briefly held by the Canadian authorities but released on the intervention of the British government. This is no different essentially to the manner in which Lenin was financed lavishly by Germany & sent to Russia to overthrow the government, & have the Tsar & his family – including his children – murdered. What is despicable about articles like this that glorify mass murderers like Trotsky is how they ignore – conveniently – their huge crimes, & claim these people to be heroes of the “people”, don’t you know, emancipators of the “workers”. It is pathetic. Look at the comment above by Dr. Peter J. Antonsen – nom de guerre, Durruti where he says this idiotic remark: “Trotsky’s best political moves…Helped organize the Red Army, (which enabled Russia to survive to the present).” Now, it is difficult to come up with something quite as stupid as this, but there are all sorts of people in the world. I refer to Putin & his fantastic speech on the eve of the SMO, the creation of Ukraine was the work of Lenin (& Trotsky) & these people, along with the Bolshevik terrorist group – no different to the Azov’s in Ukraine today – were intent on destroying Russia. Had Stalin not defeated Trotsky in what the Anglo-Zioinst world likes to call a “purge” – because the AZ Empire are big big fans of Trotsky/Bronstein & very much appreciate Lenin as well – Russia would almost certainly not exist today. Just like Yeltsin, if a Yeltsin type government succeeded him, say Chernomyrdin &/or Nemtsov, Russia would be dissolved by 2010. Trotsky – like all Marxists – used the plight of working people & socialist/communist dogma to propel himself to power. Most damning of all for Trotsky & Lenin were the fact that when they consolidated power by 1921, they had actually destroyed all the burgeoning socialist institutions in the country, they militarily supressed workers co-ops & workers councils, & the icing on the cake was the Kronstandt massacre. Anyone interested in the truth of Trotsky & Lenin, & just how psychotically criminal they were should read up on the Kronstandt rebellion, read the declaration of the Kronstandt rebels, it is an authentically socialist as it gets – & Trotsky & Lenin declared it “counter revolutionary”. These people were absolutely disgusting – Trotsky & Lenin that is, &, Trotsky ended up with an ice axe in his head & died a slow painful death for numerous days. Now that is karma, & I would not normally celebrate someone’s death, but Trotsky received the justice he deserved.
Thank you, Srbalj. I was acquainted with evil elites in greater Los Angeles in the 1970s, in entertainment, medicine, and academia. Each and every one admired Trotsky, hated Christians, America, and populism. Their inbred woke children are the ones running the US/NATO now.
Trotsky/Bronstein..wanted permanent revolution/wars same as American Neocons/Neolilbs/MIC/Russian haters there been only less than 30 yrs of peace since 1776…. who lead them currently….Nuland/Kagan/Blinken….joos
1776 – the British Empire was put on notice. 1783 – they lost with the help Lafayette, from France, at Yorktown, in his twenties. 1789 France replicates 1776. Regime change, a Maidan pre-run scuppered it – the Bastille storming is an exact script for Maidan.
And to think practical, pragmatic Americans, French, Germans, and Russians, think there is not British Empire!
The UK Foreign Minister Liz Trust reminded the world who is in charge – Ukraine is Our War.
“Trotsky/Bronstein..wanted permanent revolution/wars same as American Neocons/Neolilbs/MIC/Russian haters . . . . .” You nailed it on the head. The TRUE heirs of Trotsky are whom we call in the collective West, especially in the USA, as NEOCONS (paradoxically, as “New Right” since the 70s and 80s, neocon becoming the term dejure from Iraq War I onward). Also called “Stausians” in other circles> Dr. Ron Paul, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, and so many others have exposed these nefarious psychos in abundant writings.
Putin and Russia are battling the heirs of an old nemesis (and their patrons, the Western globalists who patronize other groups like neo Stalinism, neo nazism, etc. Whatever works is needed to get a job done.) that did so much harm to Russians since end of WW I, and even after the Cold War, continued its oppression over Russia and Slavic world.
“…the myth of revolutionary socialism, a subversive ideology cultivated by the Marxist movement to destroy countries from the inside, Marxism never had anything remotely to do with working class emancipation, absolutely nothing.”
I agree with you. Marx, aloof, distant, was not even from inclination a Jewish man concerned about the poverty of the proletariat (Gentile) masses. Since when! The whole “philosophy of history” ending up in the communist fantasy was all camouflage for what you say: “…and the Marxist movement to destroy countries from the inside, Marxism never had anything remotely to do with working class emancipation, absolutely nothing.”
However, other Jewish communists were sincere communists, I believe. I’m not well-versed like commenters here on Russian history. Not Lenin in my opinion. He allegedly received German money and his relationship with Armand Hammer invites a conspiracy theory too. I think Stalin was not eventually, just based on his interaction with the novelist Bulgakov (Stalin’s acceptance of his critical work). I only skimmed though some of Trotsky’s writings; he looks sincere in his autobiography. Stalin killed a lot of communists, another sign to me that he didn’t care for communism privately.
Many thanks for shedding some light on Trotsky. He was a Jew turned Bolshevik and people know what they committed, and he was assassinated in Mexico.
To understand Zionism is to understand these people, for it matters not one wit who they elect to power, for they always control the purse strings. As a Rothschild commented centuries previous: “who controls the money controls the power”.
China has no problem dealing with this never ceasing threat; the question is would Putin get rid of the rest of them in Russia?
I hope one realizes that Cheney, NeoCon Kristol, the AEI and Hudson Inst. are all neo-Trotskyist?
The Trotsky “permanent war, permanent revolution”, well known from his writings, is from Parvus Helphand, and both come from Odessa, and the Okhrana, along with Jabotinsky. Parvus, a London Venetian Party operative.
Some further research here , see page 13 :
Cheney Revives Parvus ‘Permanent War’ Madness
In other words the Empire’s endless sequence of permanent wars are pure Trotsky.
So when UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss clearly said to Lavrov that the UK does not respect sovereignty, it was the truth.
When Truss said this very weekend that the Ukraine War is our war, it is again the truth.
This is Parvus with high heels.
With the shift from colonialist permanent war, permanent-revolution, to global financial tyranny, it became permanent regime-change. Ukraine alone has been put through 3.
These regime-changes are never intended to end, just to continue. Afghanistan went on for decades, not to ‘win’.
NATO’s Ukraine strategy is not to ‘win’ but to keep it going to the last Ukrainian, and merc, and any idiotic Continental army that wants to feed cannons again.
Specific example – Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable to take the defeated Wehrmacht and immediately again attack the USSR is pure Parvus, Trotsky permanent-war, permanent-revolution. Stalin found out.
NATO is Trotsky on steroids!
The Yellow Vests should immediately demand a NATO exit, Vive La France, mais La France Libre!
” seeing that Western Liberal Democracy is fascism.”
If only that could be true.
Unfortunately, it’s not. And that is mainly because of that big differentiating factor that stands between Fascism and (so-called) Liberal Democracy: namely, democracy.
Governmental shapes are never really taken into consideration in your writings. I wonder why.
Apart from that, it is to no avail to stick with anachronistic terminology like “fascism” or “revolution” or “socialism”.
A new Vocabulary is needed, in order to clean the table from rotten remnants. Or else… you are going to repeat the same concepts again and again, bumping like a fly in a jar.
Trotsky was dead wrong re: the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pack, a.k.a., the “Hitler-Stalin” pact that bought Russia just enough time to change the track gauge of all railroads leading from west into USSR and move all industries east into deep heart of Russia. Sorry, dear Fourth-Internationalists, but Stalin was never “Hitler’s vassal” and USSR was never a “fascist” state. Trotsky had 20/20 hindsight, but foresight not so much.
This is remarkable writing. Because generally, any person within the orbit of Russian influence has been genetically so debased by Stalinism that they can’t think straight at all when it comes to Leon Trotsky.
It is exactly true that the problem isn’t Trotskyism but rather those calling themselves Trotskyists. After spending a few decades inside Trotskyist organizations or around them I came to see and learn how corrupt this fake lot are. Not there aren’t plenty of sincere and honest Trots about but that their groups degenerate into rackets and cults.
Trotsky squared off against James Burnham over the bureaucracy. I have originals of their writings. Alas, Burham’s arguments about the entrenched power of manager-bureaucrats has been validated by time. Witness the recent lying, scamming, budget-boosting miasma of ‘public health’ liars pushing their agenda against the public interest. All the Trots groups lined up with the capitalist state against the working class in this venture.
There is great value in Trotsky and we may need that quickly. What are we for? But the organizations of the far-left and the Trotskyists in particular are rotten and must be avoided. Time to re-found.
Anyone trying to ‘recover’ Trotsky that does not see this report is unfortunately tip-toeing through tulips (there is a song about that).
The Great Reset: How a ‘Managerial Revolution’ Was Plotted 80 Years Ago by a Trotskyist-turned-CIA Neocon
Burnham, as some here reference is a classic case study.
Don’t fall for Trotsky. He ran 100% on a ticket and on the money of the globalist financial oligarchs. He is a forerunner of Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset as well as of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s permanent war. He was just as much a parasite on the workers’ movement as the Trotskyists are today. Trotsky’s declared goal was to light up the world and every reason was right for it. For him, the Russian revolution was merely a tool to bring down the Russian Empire, destroy Russia and make it his golem, with the help of which his permanent revolution was to put the world in fire and ashes. The ashes from which the New World Order should somehow emerge, unhindered by nations, family ties, religions, traditions etc. He is rightfully on the garbage heap of history. That’s where he belongs and that’s where we should let him rot in peace.
Modern Trotskism and Trotskists are a natural and inevitable products of Trotsky.
So I don’t get it – am I to write with more consideration for governmental shapes or are these just useless anachronisms?
I think I have bent over backward to make clear and differentiate between Western Liberal Democracy, Socialist Democracy, Social Democracy, monarchy and fascism. Over and over I’ve specifically pointed out how this or that result/pattern/goal/historical outcome is caused by/aimed at by each of these different ideologies.
I’ve done that because I totally disagree that we should make a new vocabulary, as you suggested. We cannot make up entirely new definitions for words – we cannot start calling a fork a spoon without creating problems at the dinner table. What we can do is redefine our understanding of concepts, but the concepts themselves have clear outlines. Lumping all 5 of these concepts as being all the same is pernicious historical nihilism.
I think what you may be saying is that ideas of what is left and what is right have changed, and that’s entirely my point with writing things like “Western political history makes no sense if Napoleon Bonaparte is not a leftist revolutionary” – Napoleon was a leftist of his day, but leftism has changed since then. Being a constitutional monarchist used to make one a radical leftist and would get your thrown in jail, but being a constitutional monarchist now that makes one an elitist conservative. Concepts haven’t changed – our understanding/interpretation of them can, however, and for better or worse.
What’s needed is not giving up on the idea that words can represent complex political concepts, but that we can clearly define these words in order to understand their meaning in THEIR historical context AND ours. This leads to the fullest understanding of political history and our political present.
To give an example of today: Le Pen is currently refusing to ally in the legislative elections with Zemmour because she says she wants only patriots of both the left and right and does not want to be only right-wing. Now that’s not what a far-right person would normally do. Perhaps Le Pen is changing but what is left and what is right has not changed much since the April 24 vote 8 days ago. What’s needed is constantly improve our understanding, not entirely new words for concepts 2+ centuries old or older.
Today it is to be a NATOist or patriot.
Exactly as between 1840-1870 when Britain and France, the First NATO, divided the world up :
Macron said in 2019 that NATO is brain-dead, and LePen promised to leave NATO as DeGaulle did.
That is common ground, and the Yellow Vests’ opening flank, if they are not lost in Marxist dialectic word salad.
@Ramin: first of all, thank you very much for the attention you gave me, and for your thorough answer. It’s a pleasure debating with you even though we do not always agree.
I understand I need to clarify my position.
Let’s start with your point: “What’s needed is not giving up on the idea that words can represent complex political concepts, but that we can clearly define these words in order to understand their meaning (in THEIR historical context AND ours.)”
That is also my point (parenthesis excluded), but in order to “clearly define words” everyone should use unambiguous terms and be theoretically consistent. This is possible retaining some general terms which are rooted in ancient ages and, in our case, part of the traditional western political philosophy (i.e. aristocracy, monarchy, tetrarchy, etc.), because they had been clearly defined by those who first coined them and didn’t need to change a lot.
It becomes more difficult with terms like “democracy” or “liberalism”, because their meaning changed over time and place, so in that case a proper, precise and explicit definition is needed from those who use them.
It becomes almost impossible with terms like “left”, “right”, “fascism”, “socialism”, etc., because their meaning range has become so wide, so ambiguous, so imprecise up to the point of rendering them not only useless, but also counterproductive. These generators of ambiguity do an awful service to those who aren’t able to build a decent, alternatve, up-to-date vocabulary. In addition to this, these terms are pretty recent, and the emotions correlated to them are still active within a lot of readers’ brains, and authors as well. Emotions are always an obstacle to rational thinking (and writing).
So, at least the last group, NEEDS TO GO. No question.
Second point: “So I don’t get it – am I to write with more consideration for governmental shapes or are these just useless anachronisms?”
Don’t make confusion here, please: “useless anachronisms” refers to TERMS (back to point one), while “governmental shapes” refers to CONCEPTS that those terms mean. It is not the same.
I just wondered why you don’t usually dive into the theoretical aspects of government types (no big deal with that: every author chooses his arguments as he pleases!), but now I see you tend to throw very different things into the same sack.
For example, “Social Democracy”, “monarchy” and “fascism” are definitely NOT the same kind of things (=not apples to apples): “monarchy” being the only pure governemental shape here, while “Social Democracy” is a specific, historically limited, kind of “democracy”; “fascism” is also different: it’s a broader ideology, so it just may include its specific kind of “monarchy” (namely: “dictatorship”).
You see what I’m saying, and the reason why previously I didn’t understand you? There’s no theoretical consistency in that terminological mess.
If you do not agree with my points (and I bet you won’t, especially the first one), my resolution will be, from now on, not to be so strict with your way of expressing things when I read your articles (which I am going to do again with pleasure), because now I understand how your starting point is different (and incompatible) from mine.
(But I’m right :P).
You are correct that I don’t agree with your first point, LOL.
As far as the second point: have you read this book from the start? I don’t believe there is theoretical inconsistency – “Over and over I’ve specifically pointed out how this or that result/pattern/goal/historical outcome is caused by/aimed at by each of these different ideologies.” And this also means I have given clear definitions of what these ideologies are.
I have tried over and over to not have a terminological mess. The final book will include a Glossary to give the clear definitions of these terms, and that will allow readers to know more precisely what I am referring to.
The first step to disorder is the failure to define things – Confucius
The essence of large scale property holding which is at the heart of both oligarchical capitalism and the various forms of state capitalism called socialism or communism to taste arises from the 19th century industrialization.
It is economies of scale which became dominate in production in this era and which demanded large scale production units which gave birth to the centralized state. Such production needs centralization so it offers opportunities to the aggressive and power hungry to claim political power.
Find technologies that demonstrate decreasing economies of scale and the great states will melt away for rebellion will become cheap and easy People will do most production as individuals and small groups because they can and will not require more.
From the point of view of military technology what value great organization when using a thoroughly small scale technology anyone can build at home a device that can shatter the planet? Of course this is an extreme example of the meaning of small and decreasing scale economy but it should suffice to make the point.
Ultimately socialists, honest ones anyway, are struggling against economies of scale. Look not to social solutions in the present but to technical ways to increase production with smaller capital outlays and a decentralized social system will follow as people adapt. Spend more time on declining economies of scale and how they may be made dominant over increasing economies of scale.
Trotsky was a violent thug and murderer. He took banker’s money and established a new aristocracy, the nomenklatura. The trotskyites today are religious fanatics, virtue signaling because they are :pure” followers of their religious prophet.
The bankers probably backed Lenin and Trotsky precisely because they were very violent men who would scare many people, especially religious types against the atheist USSR. Think of all the religious types who voted for Capitalist parties against their economic self interest because of fear of Atheist bolshevism. Trotsky in the end was a tool of the bankers who set back socialism for decades
Very interesting article. Unfortunately all the tired old tropes are brought out and dusted down. Let’s just say the LT actually founded the Red Army (Guard) and conducted the civil war in Russia against the imperial interventionist powers – as well as the indigenous White Guard led by Kolchak and Denikin 1918-20, so he wasn’t all bad.
But I am more interested in contemporary milieux . I joined the Young Socialists in the UK Labour party when I was 17. I didn’t realise it at the time but the Labour Party was a terminally useless organization which had sold its soul to the bourgeois establishment. So I joined the Young Communist League – similar outcome.
But the most ‘interesting’ experience was when I later joined the Socialist Labour League which was the British section of the Trotskyist 4th International.
This organization was frankly little more than a religious cult with its high-priests who ruled with a rod of iron. These God-like leaders demanded that the followers satisfy their leaders every whim. True to form in so many cases of this type, it didn’t take long for the narcissists within the cult to ‘require’ their followers to engage in sexual activities with them.
I left the organization whilst my sanity was still in one piece. So Mazaheri was right. It’s not Trotskyism which is the trouble, it is Trotskyists.
Latterly I would consider myself to be an independent socialist but definitely not a member of any left-wing organization. I learned the hard-way