Monday, January 30, 2017

"What Is To Be Done?"

Time, I guess to dredge up Lenin and fight fire with fire.

"What Is To Be Done" is Lenin's 1902 consideration of how to mobilize the working class to oppose and ultimately defeat the Czar and his capitalist minions. It is said that the eminence grise of the Trump regime, one Steve Bannon, ex-Breitbart "News" -- is a Leninite and is political advice to the regime is driven more by Lenin than by Hitler. That remains to be seen.

The recent threat-power display by the regime -- which now refers to the action as a "travel ban" -- was very much in the mold of a Hitler rather than a Lenin, but we'll let that pass for the moment. The point was to exert arbitrary power over a "despised minority" and incite chaos in the process. Worked beautifully. They're probably having quite a chortle over the success of the exercise in inspiring fear, panic, and inchoate "resistance."

There will be many more shocks of this nature, as the regime consolidates its grip on the awesome power of the United States Government.

Czarist Russia had far fewer opportunities for resistance than the US does today, despite the many restrictions on protest and the militarized response to protests considered "serious" by the State -- cf. Standing Rock.

Yet the Czarist state was brittle and fragile and came tumbling down almost without an effort in 1917 when the Mandate of Heaven (ie: the will of the Petrograd proletariat) was withdrawn. Without the ability to command obedience from the Rabble in the Capital, the Czar's rule was suddenly and completely over.

Among my many papers, I have contemporary documents from the (March) Revolution that demonstrate how completely stunning the fall of the Czar and the collapse of Czarist rule was to those who engaged in the Revolution. Their victory was a shock, and they were clearly unprepared to take the reins of the Empire. Interestingly, they were curried by Britain and the US, in order to convince them to continue the war with Germany, because apparently that was all that really mattered to the Allies; the Czar could go to hell.

When Kerensky announced that Russia would continue the war, despite the fact that the war was the proximate cause of the Revolution, it made the overthrow of the Provisional Government by the Bolsheviks a necessity. For the sake of the Russian People, the war had to end.

Trouble was, once the Bolsheviks were successful, they found themselves riding the tiger and facing invasion and civil war which almost brought them down before they had a chance to consolidate their own Revolution.

Such are the vicissitudes...

Anyway, what we have in this country is a very weak "provisional government" based in part on Leninite principles but not ruling on behalf of the People -- despite its populist veneer and propaganda.

The provisional government has demonstrated that it can and will exercise arbitrary power, and in doing so, it tested its authority over the security apparat. Must have been satisfying all in all.

At least the Customs and Border Protection agents at the airports are all in with the Trump regime and will follow their orders without question, regardless of public protest and court orders to desist.

Having demonstrated that, they can move on to the south, imposing arbitrary power to detain and turn back Mexicans and others who arrive at the southern border. This will be even more chaotic and disruptive, as travel between Mexico and the United States at the southern border is far more massive than that between the US and the 7 Countries. Millions of crossings every day.

But they've shown that just detaining a few hundred is enough to put the fear in the remainder.

The chaos that ensues is useful, too.

So. How do we actually confront and counter this -- or do we?

This is the question, and this is why it's time to get out our Lenin -- and Mao for that matter -- and study up. We're in for a bumpy ride.


  1. Hey,Ché,

    Hope you and yours are well.

    The world would have taken a turn for the better if the libertarian socialists had won in 1917. If the vision of the Paris Commune of 1871 had won the day -- See Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross.

    Trump and Bannon represent fascism, xenophobia and nazism instead. Opposite end of the spectrum, as you know. Hope the resistance in the streets is a real sign of a left-insurgency. Finally!!

    In solidarity!!

    Cuchulain . . .

  2. Hey Dude,

    Yes indeed.

    Through all of this, I keep thinking: "The hippies (or their equivalent) are almost always right."

    The numbers in the streets and their persistence are astonishing. The Trump defenders, especially among the so-called online left, dismiss it at their peril. It looks to me like a genuine uprising, involving a very diverse political community, all opposed to Trump, but so far led by no one. That could change very quickly, and the situation could turn very ugly very fast. All I can say about it right now is that it is very serious.

    Those who can should study up on revolutionary theory, but I don't think most people care. They just want this nightmare to end.

    I think we knew it would come to this sooner rather than later; but I sure didn't think I'd live to see it!

    Solidarity, indeed. Very good to hear from you.