arcadian

Russian government has quietly informed US embassy in Moscow it will postpone the ban on employing Russian staff that it introduced with a lot of hype as a reprisal for “unfair” expulsions of Russian diplomats in response to GRU activity on the ground and on the Internet.

It seems like Kremlin quickly stepped back as soon as US embassy said it will only offer services to US citizens and suspend issuing visas to Russians. Russian bargain position seems to be quite weak in such international sabre rattling, as it's still Russians that need to travel to USA more than Americans to Russia. Many wealthy Russians, including government officials, are investing their profits in USA or EU, while people from these countries investing their savings in Russia are yet to be seen.

Kremlin is making exactly the same mistakes it was making back in 20th century, which ultimately took it to a collapse of the whole country. Its power relies entirely on military force, which it certainly mastered. But military is expensive, and is developed at the cost of other branches of economy. The US suffers from the same problem, but the difference is US can afford it (if barely) while Russia cannot.

Russia's economy is still largely based on exports of hydrocarbons (~40%) and other natural resources (~20%). And because Kremlin couldn't resist from controlling and then weaponizing the exporters (as it did many times), everyone started considering it to be a cheap but unreliable partner. This led to a wave of diversification efforts among Gazprom customers – as of 2020 even Germany, largest importer of Russian gas in EU, only secures ~50% imports from Russia and the trend is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Russia's leadership certainly realizes the current model is not sustainable. This apparently results in perception of lack of safety, which in turn results in obsession of control, both internal and external. And Kremlin seems to understand only one tool in foreign policy – force.

Some of the Russian military interventions were clearly a desperate struggle for a few more years of gas sales (like in Syria, whose sole purpose was to prevent building a pipeline from Quatar to EU), most of them did not make any sense from the point of view of Russian economy. The war in Ukraine or Georgia made absolutely no sense from business point of view,it seemed to be mostly about turning some areas into military-controlled blackholes. Russia certainly is controlling the territory of DNR/LNR... and what?

And while many countries (US, but also France, UK or even Poland) took part in similarly stupid dick contests in 20th century, most of them simply could afford it in terms of their economic performance. They came out of these adventures bruised, at huge human and financial cost (Vietnam) but recovered. Russia, then Soviet Union, and now Russia again tends to end up in different outcomes.

Soviet dogmatism

Now, what was the point of 1979 Soviet invasion in Afghanistan? It was utterly pointless and stupid operation, that ultimately got USSR stuck there for 10 years and hundreds of thousands killed on both sides.

Now, if you think about the foreign policy of modern Kremlin, it's just repeating exactly the same steps.

Back in 1953 the East Berlin uprising was not about politics – it was about working conditions and Soviet-imposed work quotas. Same repeated in 1956 in Hungary, 1968 Czechoslovakia and 1981 in Poland.

All of these were suppressed by military interventions – just note, uprisings started not because they wanted to leave Eastern Bloc, but merely because they wanted better living conditions. And they were all suppressed, with hundreds of civilians killed.

What was the point of these interventions? None, apart from obsession of control and “teach them lesson”, in spite of all evidence clearly witnessing to the inefficiency of Soviet economy, which led to stagnation and then ultimately to a tragic collapse in late 80's.

Repeating the history

Back in 2000's Ukraine wasn't at all obsessed on joining NATO – mass protests (Orange revolution, then Euromaidan) had primarily economical background, which is understandable if you look at this:

GDP per capita PPP chart for Russia, Poland, Ukraine

Back in 80's, on the ground in countries like Poland, everyone understood we were part of Eastern Bloc. But the economic situation was so dire that reforms were required – and they were not at all directed at the “road to socialism” directed by USSR (and nobody really believed in it anywhere). The postulates of the strike committee in Gdańsk Shipyard in 80's were literally as if from a socialist party leaflet.

The expectation was that USSR will at least not interfere, because... it was simply unreasonable thing to do. When people can't feed their children, this is when revolutions break out.

So what did USSR do? Of course, they interfered, and suppressed the reforms – in 1953, 1968, 1981, and then on much smaller scale in each country separately, as protests broke out literally every 5-10 years.

Not because that would somehow hurt its economy or “road to socialism”, but out of the obsession of control, and “teach them a lesson”.

Exactly the same thing happened again in Ukraine in 2014...

Leaving aside the fact that Ukraine is a sovereign country whose independence is recognised by Russia, and it has the right to join whatever alliances it likes, back in 2014 Ukraine was not interested in joining NATO. It was merely interested in economic cooperation with EU – if you don't understand why, once again just look at the GDP per capita chart above.

Did it hurt Russia? Quite the opposite, as economic growth in Ukraine would only increase its trade with Russia.

The only thing it did hurt were the feelings of the Russian elites who believed that their Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was an actual alternative to EU. And as usual, instead of just proving that simply by being economically successful and viable alternative (which it wasn't), they chose to force the potential breakaway country into submission.

What followed was only a logical chain of consequences, with sanctions and counter-sanctions, and GRU operations in Sofia, Vrbetice, and sanctions for these.

Does the current Kremlin policy have any future?

Clearly not. The view that Russia has some kind of invisible “zones of influence” that must be respected is only present in Kremlin, and in some European capitals and I guess it's mostly out of kindness. I haven't met anyone in Russian province who would actually care if Ukraine or Georgia joins EU – if anything, they'd welcome it as EU would be then closer to them.

And now, as result of Russian intervention, Ukraine wants to join NATO.

And it wants to join NATO in the very same way as the whole of Eastern Europe promptly jumped into it after seeing what was going on in Russia in early 90's, with at least three further military interventions, KGB coup and numerous calls to “restore USSR in its previous borders”. Readiness to join NATO (which is otherwise quite costly) is proportional to the perceived threat from your neighbour...

Is there a way forward for Russia?

The problem is that any sector that gets successful in exports is immediately weaponized by Kremlin, either for bullying other countries (Gazprom, Rosatom) or simply for racket (Nginx).

If that goes away, and I think it's entirely doable, Russia has plenty of things to be proud of – Rosatom, Gazprom, highly competitive IT industry, new prospective hydrogen energy projects and many more. In most of its parts, Russia is a quickly developing and modern country whose potential is thwarted by a close circle of paranoid and backwards-thinking Cold War leftovers.

I'm pretty sure Putin's circle does realize that perfectly well. After all, most of them travel a lot and most have property abroad – usually in the same USA and EU that they officially condemn as “decaying”. It's not in their slightest interest to further close Russia and turn it into some kind of North Korea, and people in Russia won't allow it.

In the upcoming decade we will hopefully see Putin going away in a peaceful manner, with formal continuation of power preserved, and Russia opening up again.

There are two primary groups of people who talk about #China being a “communist” country and for both it had replaced USSR as the archetype country – an absolute evil of “central planning” for US neoliberals, and a modern “socialist utopia in making” for diehard communists.

The opinions I've see in discussions with the latter indicate quite clearly that the picture of China as “success of #communism” is being actively distributed by some left-wing activists. Just as in case of neoliberals, whose semantic confusion about socialism I discussed in the past, China – although formally ruled by a Communist Party of China – is as far from communism as practically possible.

State-owned-enterprises (SOE), which could be considered one way of “collective ownership of means of production”, are a significant part of Chinese economy and control strategic sectors, but in total they account for just 40% of GDP.[^1] The remaining 60% is output from a very broad spectrum of micro, medium and large private enterprises. It's hard to call a country “communist” if more than half of its enterprises is privately owned...

Second argument I've heard is that China maybe departed from communism in 70's but is now gradually nationalising its economy again, and thus is “on its way to communism”. Indeed, since then the People's Bank of China has gradually nationalised most of the private banks as they defaulted in wild-west economy. With entry of China into WTO however, banking market had been significantly liberalised and has a number of banks fully privately owned such as China Merchants Bank.

As an anecdotal evidence, do watch this Voice of China (posted by Channel 4 in UK, 2011) where students from China talk quite openly about what does work in their home country, and what doesn't:

China is facing difficulties internally, when people from outside look at China, they just see 8% growth, but people inside China see unemployment, inflation, increasing cost of houses.

Notably, under communist doctrine unemployment cannot even exist![^2]

Lastly, if the objective of communism is increasing income equality then China had departed from it by light years: Gini index for China is 0.385 (per WolframAlpha), only 7% smaller than... USA (0.414), a model capitalist economy. In 2010 income inequality in China peaked at 0.44, beating USA and Russia. For comparison, Czechia income inequality is just 0.249, but nobody calls it “communist”.

China is certainly a country with high share of state enterprises in the economy, but this is no way a criterion of economy being communist or not. I have already discussed the postulates of communism in detail, and very few of these are even present in modern China.

[^1:] WEF How reform has made China's state-owned enterprises stronger, 2020 [^2:] USSR dealt with unemployment simply by... mandatory employment: everyone had to be employed somewhere by law. Housing on the other hand was “given for free” in a very Soviet way – they were neither given, as people were allocated as tenants in state-owned houses, nor for free, as they paid a basic rental. Families also could wait 20 years to get an allocation due to never-ending “temporary shortages”, and they could be kicked out of the state-owned flat if they engaged in opposition activity.

If you were ever wondering how it was even possible that well-educated people in Eastern Bloc countries for over a half century denied the basic facts about the reality that surrounded them and marched towards a predictable failure, the answer is Marxist #dialectics. It was an intellectual instrument designed specifically for that purpose.

As a philosophy “dialectics” has many definitions, some of which describe useful or at least interesting techniques of confronting arguments. In #Marxism however dialectics was used predominantly as a tool for blocking basic reality checks and logical constraints that every human being develops in order to survive in life. Dialectics allowed die-hard Marxists to believe they're just a few steps from communist utopia when everything around witnessed to the opposite, gave a helping hand in breaking all promises they made previously to themselves, and justified radical course changes down to its complete reversal.

At the base of the technique lie “laws of dialectics” invented by Marx and Engels and claimed to be fundamental laws of nature, remaining beyond even laws of physics. Some of the laws (words capitalised to indicate highest respect) include:

  • The Law of Transformation of Quantity into Quality
  • Everything is Unity of Opposites
  • Everything Changes

If these don't sound extremely innovative to you, that's because they aren't. Leszek Kołakowski in “Main currents of Marxism” rather brutally described these as a mix of “tautologies, banal and nonsense”. As used by Hegel to describe high-level evolution of abstract ideas, these certainly could make some sense. When applied by Marx and Engels to describe the physical world, they were effectively just another pseudo-scientific mysticism, not any different from mesmerism or homeopathy.

Just like homeopathy draws people with serious conditions away from actual life-saving therapies, Marxian dialectics had drawn its believers away from life-saving reality checks, sending them into a deadly spiral of delusion.

Ignore today, see into future

What was equivalent to denial of the surrounding reality, dialectical thinkers believed that the reality is not what you see around you, but what will be surrounding you in future, assuming of course the utopia materializes. The latter however was never doubted due to another set of “iron laws” called historical materialism.

Polish logician and philosopher Józef Maria Bocheński explained this thinking with the following example:

When you say: this is an old, badly painted wall, you judge it metaphysically, extract the instant state. When you say: this is a nice, shiny and new wall, you're of course wrong from current perspective, because the wall isn't like that at all. But from dialectical point of view you are right, because it will be made such tomorrow.

And then he moves to a more specific case of Soviet reality:

If you said Soviet people live in old houses infested with pest, you would be lying, even though this is usually the case. If you however say Soviet people live in new, shiny houses you're telling the truth, even though in reality very few actually live in such conditions. To see today what will be tomorrow – it's to see dialectically. Communists in the first place admit any lies are moral as long as it serves the Party, and secondly, they tend to see things “dialectically”, or to claim they are today what per their doctrine they become only in future.

This technique effectively prevents any learning process – if you always see things as they would be if your theory was right, any corrections in the course are obsolete.

Twisting words for the win

Philosopher Alexander Zinoviev introduces a much more popular use of the “dialectic technique” in Homo Sovieticus:

Do not even try to understand. There are things that by their nature cannot be understood. Just wait. And from many of such cases you will learn the habit of taking this specific position about current events. And you will be never wrong. The wonder method is called: Dialectics. Dialectics is a method of walking blind, in unknown empty space filled with imaginary obstacles, moving without a place to stand, without resistance, without aim.

What Zinoviev describes here is a habit fundamental for survival in Soviet society: don't ask, don't question, don't think and don't logically analyse. Simply accept what is said, including sudden changes of meaning of words and policy.

You don't have a political majority support? No problem (Kołakowski, “Main currents of Marxism”):

Because communists never had majority behind them, they claimed the majority they have is a deeper, dialectical concept: the latter can never be falsified as it's deduced from theory that claims that communism by its very nature represents the interests of humanity.

Want to prosecute a political opponent who hasn't broken the law? No problem (Tony Judt, “Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 1944–1956”):

The desire to grant all possible privilege to Stalin was based on complex, abstract arguments – the “dialectical thinking”. If Kostov pleaded guilty, then he was guilty. If he pleaded not guilty (which he obviously tried), then it proved the trial was fair and he was guilty anyway. In the same way, rationing of food in France was a “restriction”, but in [communist] Poland it was “widely accepted practice”.

Revolutionary dialectics uses the same trick as Scientology language – it tends to use terms that have well-established meaning, but redefines them in its own unique way.

Crude propaganda

At the end of this spectrum, dialectics has been used simply as a technique to obscure double standards and simple lies, yet another technique of propaganda and manipulation of ideas.

Arthur Koestler in “Scum of the Earth” describes his 1939 shock of learning that USSR, who so far presented itself as the main world's anti-fascist force, has just signed a pact with the Third Reich:

Next morning, August 24th, the news had spread from the third to the front page. We were spared none of the details. We read about von Ribbentrop’s lightning visit to Moscow and about his cordial reception—and I remembered what fun our Party papers had made of the ex-commercial traveller in champagne who had been promoted chief diplomatic salesman of Genuine Old Red Scare, bottled in Château Berchtesgaden. We learned all the picturesque details of how the swastika had been hoisted over the Moscow aerodrome and how the band of the revolutionary Army had played the Horst Wessel song—and I remembered the whispered explanations of the Party officials after the execution of Tukhachevsky and the other Red Army leaders. The official explanation (Version A, for the pious and simple-minded) stated that they were ordinary traitors; Version B (for the intelligentsia and for inside use) informed us that, although not exactly traitors, they had advocated a policy of understanding with the Nazis against the Western Democracies; so, of course, Stalin was right to shoot them. We learned of the monstrous paragraph 3 of the new treaty,1 a direct encouragement to Germany to attack Poland—and I wondered how this time the Party was to explain this latest achievement of Socialist statesmanship to the innocent masses.

Apparent contradictions, change of course? If you were a Soviet citizen, Zinovievs recipe applies – don't question, just accept. Koestler however was an European communist, and they demanded a more convincing argument. Dialectics to the rescue:

Next morning we knew it: Humanité, official organ of the French Communist Party, explained to us that the new treaty was a supreme effort of Stalin to prevent the threatening imperialist war. Oh, they had an explanation ready for every occasion, from the extension of capital punishment to the twelve-year-old to the abolition of the Soviet workers’ right to strike and to the one-party-election-system; they called it ‘revolutionary dialectics’ and reminded one of those conjurers on the stage who can produce an egg from every pocket of their frockcoats and even out of the harmless onlooker’s nose. They explained everything so well that, during a committee meeting, old Heinrich Mann, at one time a great ‘sympathiser,’ shouted to Dahlem, leader of the German Communists: ‘If you go on asking me to realise that this table here is a fishpond, then I am afraid my dialectical capacities are at an end.’

But Soviet leadership had a good teacher in dialectics. On 15 August 1857 no one else than Karl Marx himself chuckled in a letter to Engels about how he outwitted any possible criticism of this political analysis:

As to the Delhi affair, it seems to me that the English ought to begin their retreat as soon as the rainy season has set in in real earnest. Being obliged for the present to hold the fort for you as the Tribune’s military correspondent I have taken it upon myself to put this forward. NB, on the supposition that the reports to date have been true. It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way.

🤷🏻

There's an excellent Russian-language political podcast called “Атлас мира” (Atlas of the World). In the last February episode “Султан нервничает” (Sultan getting nervous) , journalist Mikhail Magid gives what I believe is probably the best description of the role the internal judiciary systems play in international relations Magid starts with the general introduction into the current state of affairs:

Right now Turkey goes through a severe economic crisis. Interestingly, most of the 18 years Erdogan has been quite positive in economic terms. Turkey managed to bring large foreign investments, establishing for example strong car manufacturing industry. At the same time huge amounts of money were invested into country's infrastructure, education and many Turks for the first time got access to modern medicine. This is what Erdogan's popularity was founded on.

So what happened?

Since 2018 this system started degrading. Mass-scale political repressions and arrests of tens of thousands of people turned courts into an instrument of repression controlled by the ruling party. This alarmed foreign investors, partially because the courts started to actually make judgements in favour of the party leadership and business close to Erdogan. This led to capital flight Turkey.

The core lesson here is that you can't make judiciary controllable just in one domain, like political. Once the law enforcement, public prosecution and courts are taken under control of politicians, demand to use it appears among all those who can. And they use it for any topics, including disputes between business partners.

This is precisely why Eastern Europe countries had to make an significant effort and laboriously work through reform of their judiciary in late 90's as a condition of their membership in European Union. Large investors don't really care about freedom of speech that much, as they care about the safety of their investments. But a side effect for us, citizens, was a massive improvement in the quality of law enforcement and decrease in corruption that we witnessed in

Arthur Koestler, “Scum of the Earth”, 1941

When, on August 23rd, I saw the inconspicuous Havas message on the third page of the Eclaireur du Sud-Est, saying that a treaty of non-aggression had been signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, I began beating my temples with my fits. The paper had just arrived. I had opened it while we were walking down to the St. Sébastien for lunch. ‘What is the matter?’ said G. ‘This is the end, I said. ‘Stalin has joined Hitler.’ He would,’ said G., and that was all. (...)

Next morning, August 24th, the news had spread from the third to the front page. We were spared none of the details. We read about von Ribbentrop’s lightning visit to Moscow and about his cordial reception—and I remembered what fun our Party papers had made of the ex-commercial traveller in champagne who had been promoted chief diplomatic salesman of Genuine Old Red Scare, bottled in Château Berchtesgaden.

We learned all the picturesque details of how the swastika had been hoisted over the Moscow aerodrome and how the band of the revolutionary Army had played the Horst Wessel song—and I remembered the whispered explanations of the Party officials after the execution of Tukhachevsky and the other Red Army leaders. The official explanation (Version A, for the pious and simple-minded) stated that they were ordinary traitors; Version B (for the intelligentsia and for inside use) informed us that, although not exactly traitors, they had advocated a policy of understanding with the Nazis against the Western Democracies; so, of course, Stalin was right to shoot them.

We learned of the monstrous paragraph 3 of the new treaty, a direct encouragement to Germany to attack Poland—and I wondered how this time the Party was to explain this latest achievement of Socialist statesmanship to the innocent masses. Next morning we knew it: Humanité, official organ of the French Communist Party, explained to us that the new treaty was a supreme effort of Stalin to prevent the threatening imperialist war.

Oh, they had an explanation ready for every occasion, from the extension of capital punishment to the twelve-year-old to the abolition of the Soviet workers’ right to strike and to the one-party-election-system; they called it ‘revolutionary dialectics’ and reminded one of those conjurers on the stage who can produce an egg from every pocket of their frockcoats and even out of the harmless onlooker’s nose.

They explained everything so well that, during a committee meeting, old Heinrich Mann, at one time a great ‘sympathiser,’ shouted to Dahlem, leader of the German Communists: ‘If you go on asking me to realise that this table here is a fishpond, then I am afraid my dialectical capacities are at an end.’

As of 2020 in the political discourse on social media there seems to be only two paths: “socialist” or “capitalist”. In reality, the true choice lies between pragmatism and dogmatism, but the line of division between these two is not exactly where most people expect it to be.

What can we learn from rise and fall of USSR?

There's little doubt that USSR was “socialist”, as it not only had “Socialist” in its name, but also, and most importantly, pursued policies of socialist thinkers, specifically #Marx, #Engels and #Lenin. In their socialist economy private for-profit trade was replaced by a transitional solution to #communism, still involving prices and money, but with state owned means of productions and central planning. For-profit private trade was actually a crime (of “speculation”), punished under article 154 of criminal code of USSR.

As result, #USSR experienced a fast growth, shortage of goods, strong industrial production, flourishing black market, free high education and public health, stagnation and secret loans from the “imperialist” powers it condemned in official propaganda.

An important checkpoint was the New Economic Policy of 1922, when Lenin decided to relax the ideological position of the Soviet state and allowed for-profit enterprises, specifically with the objective of stimulating economy.

That certainly was a pragmatic decision and it resulted in accelerated growth of agricultural and industrial production.

Then however #Stalin decided it was too much of a “compromise” and reintroduced harsh collectivisation and nationalisation in all sectors. This step marked USSR's return from pragmatism back to dogmatism.

Was USSR policies dogmatic? Certainly so, placing all private trade and production in criminal code was dogmatic. Was it sustainable? At the time of its dissolution in 1991 USSR owed over $70m to the Paris Club, and was unable to pay not only installments, but even salaries and pensions internally.

Capitalism... or what exactly?

While Marxism-Leninism was a very detailed, even prescriptive ideology that described both social and economic relations at every level of society, most definitions of “#capitalism” are based on presence of a few typical features: private ownership of means of production and for-profit trade.

There's however nothing in “capitalism” that precludes operations of other forms of economic activity: cooperative, state-owned, non-profit enterprises are all widespread and coexist along with private for-profit ones. Pragmatic “whatever works” approach seems to be at the very core of capitalist economies.

As result we have extremely diverse world of economies, that are very different in their social and political organisation, but all share the common features of capitalist economy: Russia, USA, France, China, India and practically all others.

Wait... communist #China? Yes, China is an interesting case because in spite of the country being run by Communist Party of China, it's hard to argue that a country with 60% of GDP produced in small and medium private for-profit enterprises is indeed “communist”. It just defies all postulates of communism, at least in the economic sphere.**

As result of this diversity, when talking about “capitalism” we need to be quite precise which one we mean: French, Russian, some other? Because all of these systems differ dramatically in their policies on income and inheritance tax, social welfare, social housing, public healthcare and dozens of other policies.

A frequent counter-argument here is that Western Europe was forced to introduce socialist elements as result of Soviet Union inspiring workers in the West. In the first place, it's not quite true as social policies predate Soviet revolution by a century.*** But even if it was the case, so what? These policies were introduced specifically because of the “whatever works” attitude and lack of any specific ideological rigidity as seen in USSR.

Dogmatism in capitalist economies

Make no mistake, capitalist economy can drift towards dogmatism just as well: US political discourse is the best example of it.

When people start talking about “#socialism” or “#communism” in response to any suggestion that barely mentions the word “public” (as in “public healthcare”), you know that they have abandoned the pragmatic approach and turned into ideology.

Now, if it's done against outcomes of process efficiency analysis (“ok, at this point having public healthcare might be actually cheaper”), then we are facing precisely the same bias that led USSR to ban private trade against all the experience that suggested otherwise.

This particular bias has its own name and it's called “#neoliberalism”.

Footnotes

  • * Nikolay Shmelyov “Credits and debts” (1987) explains in great detail the state of Soviet economy in mid-80's.
  • ** China started to abandon its hard Marxist-inspired economic policies starting from 80's, shortly after death of Mao. These changes were said to be inspired by Soviet NEP, and are a great example of economic pragmatism that made China the industrial power it is today.
  • *** In case of UK, first labour and what we would today describe as welfare laws were introduced in 18-th century. Public schooling and healthcare were proposed by no one else than Adam Smith around half century before Marx.

A spectre is haunting Europe – a spectre of political ignorance*. And those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it**.

I'm stumbling upon these phrases again and again: alt-right is accusing #BLM movement of being “Marxist”, while less perceptive BLM supporters innocently ask “what's wrong with it, #Marxism is for equality after all”.

As often, both claims have some clue but completely miss the point. One of BLM founders, Carol Swain, said in an interview she's a “trained Marxist”. Politfact ran a pretty good fact-check on all these “he said, she said”, but then it does what everyone does today:

Marxism usually means analyzing social change through an economic lens, with the assumption that the rich and the poor should become more equal

Sorry, but no.

Marxism, as conceived by Marx and Engels, had a number of very specific postulates that distinctively differentiated it from other socialist movements in mid-19th century.

Marx and Engels specifically, and categorically, required that two things happen in order:

  • violent revolution,
  • dictatorship of the proletariat.

As result of these two, the #bourgeoisie would be destroyed as a class, the state would “wither away”, and only then whoever was left alive would be equal. These items were subject of fierce debates between Marx, Engels and social democrats, who believed an evolutionary way to equality is indeed possible without violence.

These specific features of Marxism — fixation on violent #revolution and class conflict as some kind of “cleansing agent” for society were its distinct and fundamental postulates.

Each time you propose “evolutionary Marxism” or something like that, Marx and Engels turn in their graves, as you are undermining the very basics of what they were arguing for their whole lives.

How does Marxism fit BLM?

In short, it does not, not even slightest.***

For BLM to be Marxist, it would need to propose a violent revolution of Black people against White (and insist on it categorically), dictatorship of Blacks over Whites and eventually eradication of White people as a race.

If this sounds like nonsense regardless of you being a supporter or opponent of BLM, it's because it is. Nonsense created by mixing a century-old radical political philosophy that responded (poorly) to then-challenges, with a modern political movement operating in a society created almost entirely to the recipe of Marx's primary adversaries — the social democrats.

Footnotes

  • * Paraphrase of the starting sentence of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”
  • ** George Santayana
  • *** Black Lives Matter UK has a nice summary of BLM postulates: “Those of all ethnicities and from all nations who believe in racial equality are anti-racists, they stand together, can choose to kneel together in peace and solidarity asserting black people are treated as equals to white people and is a human right to receive racial equality, social and criminal justice”.

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