Chomsky on Madison

Michael Pugliese debsian at
Fri Mar 31 14:22:18 PST 2000

CB: As Herbert Aptheker points out "factions" are political parties, and the Founding Fathers were against a multiparty system. Ironic , since the U.S. makes mulitiple parties an acid test of democracy when it wants to make war on some country.

Aptheker is a better historian on slave revolts, than as a political theorist. For his belief in multi-party democracy see his polemic of 1957, "The Truth About Hungary, " Surprise, the CPUSA historian says the Hungarian rebels, some Communists, some anti-Communist, all lied to by the radio broadcasts of Radio Free Europe that the Dulles "Rollback" liberation was coming, were fascist counter-revolutionaries.

and for CB and CC here is an excerpt from an article in Telos by L. Pellacani entitled, "Modernity and Totalitarianism, " on comrade Lenin on terror and democracy. Sorry the EBSCO database chopped off, the footnotes, at fn. 53, but I have a hard copy of the issue of Telos, that contains the citations from Lenin's Collected Works.

Michael Pugliese, social democratic running dog, Woof, Woof! I am not now, nor I have ever been a consultant for the National Endowment for Democracy, as an election observer, or for the Carter Center or the American Enterprise Institute. A Trotskyist friend tells me, that an ex-boyfriend of a friend, employed by the State Dept. as a "temp" on a contractual basis, is helping to write the constitution of one one of the more remote republic's in the fSU, Turkmenistan, I think he said. Jeez, not even a career foreign service officer, a temp! I'm with the wrong agency!

Magazine: TELOS, SUMMER 1998

MODERNITY AND TOTALITARIANISM, L. Pellacani ...> Contrary to the legend spread by the Marxist-Leninist Left after the

XXth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.(n62) Stalinism was not a degeneration of Leninism or a system extraneous to the communist tradition. Rather, it was the logical outcome of Lenin's program. In Lenin's writings, the revolution in power has the task of "clean Russian soil of any damaging insects -- fleas, scoundrels,bedbugs, the rich, etc."(n63) Russia is a "moral morass"(n64) that must be disinfected by resorting to "systematic violence against the bourgeoise and its accomplices."(n65) This is a merciless operation, but one absolutely necessary it the "greed, the sordid, hateful, frantic greed of the money bags"(n66) is to be uprooted. At any rate, what rights have filthy "parasites,"(n67) who live like "vampires"(n68) feeding on the workers' blood? To eliminate them is a moral duty.

Lenin's chilling "moral legacy" is consistent with all this. In 1922, he

wrote to Stalin: "we will purify Russia for a long time."(n69) In the

same year, he sent Kutsky the following brutally frank instructions: "To

highlight a thesis of principle, correct on the political level (and not

just in a strictly juridical sense), motivating the essence and

justification of terror, its necessity and its limits. The tribunal must

not eliminate terror; to promise that would mean deluding oneself and

others; it must be justified and legitimated on the level of principles,

clearly, without falsity and without embellishments. The formulation

must be as wide as possible, since only revolutionary justice and

revolutionary consciousness will decide the conditions of its more or

less long application."(n70)

According to Lenin, having achieved the "bloody extermination of the

rich,"(n71) the Bolshevik Party had to institutionalize a permanent

civil war. The declared objective was the "implacable annihilation(n72)

of the petty bourgeoisie and the land-owning peasants. Here Lenin's

prose is brutally frank once again. Immediately after adopting the NEP to avoid the total collapse of production, he wrote: "The enemy is no longer a horde of white guards at the command of the big landowners, supported by all the Mensheviks, the Social Revolutionaries and the international bourgeoisie. The enemy today is the daily economic reality of a country of small peasants, a country in which big industry is in ruins. The enemy today is the petty bourgeois element that surrounds us like the air and penetrates deeply into the files of the proletariat."(n73) Thus the "final struggle" -- an expression that in the Bolshevik lingo had the same meaning as the "final solution" for the Nazis -- had to be unleashed against small entrepreneurs who grow into large entrepreneurs and thus become potential regenerators of capitalism. This was because Lenin was convinced that "small industry incessantly generated capitalism and the bourgeoisie, every day, every hour, spontaneously and on a mass scale."(n74) Hence, his declaration of war against the small entrepreneur: "The Kulak is a ferocious enemy of Soviet power. Either the Kulaks will exterminate an infinite number of workers, or the workers will implacably crush the Kulaks' revolts. There cannot be a middle road .... The struggle against the Kulaks is the decisive and final struggle .... The Kulaks are the most ferocious, brutal, savage exploiters .... These poisonous spiders have fattened up at the expense of the peasants ruined by the war, at the expense of starving workers. These bloodsuckers have drunk the blood of the peasants, getting richer as workers suffered from hunger in the cities and in the factories. These vampires have grabbed and continue to grab the land ... and enslave poor peasants once again. Implacable war against these Kulaks. To the death! Hate and loathing towards the parties that defend them: right-wing Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and the present left-wing social-revolutionaries. The workers must put down the revolts of the Kulaks with an iron hand."(n75)

A terrorist state, the communist state is also permanently mobilized

both on the internal as well as the external front: internally, in order

to eradicate what Bucharin used to call the "spontaneity of the

capillarily-diffused petty bourgeois," but also externally, since the

final aim of the palingenic revolution cannot deviate from the "global

dictatorship of the proletariat."(n76) Otherwise, the omnipresent and

omnipervasive bourgeois spirit would return to infect those men

tirelessly regenerated by the "party of the pures." In short, the

peculiar nature of the communist project -- to "clean up the spectral

old world"(n77) on the basis of the Satanic principle that "everything

that exists must perish"(n78) -- requires that the "new society" be

organized as a "fortress under siege" and that in it everything be

organized along military lines.(n79) Furthermore, it requires the

annihilation of all external powers that, by their mere presence,

prevent the "reconstruction of the world"(n80) through the reshaping of "human material created by bloody and filthy capitalism."(n81)

The sacred texts of the revolutionary gnosis prefigure a model of the

state which is the exact opposite of the modern state. According to

Marx' and Engels' classical definition, the modern state "has civil

society as a natural base, the individual of civil society, i.e., the

independent person, bound to others only by the link of private interest, of unconscious natural necessity, the slave of work for profit, the slave both of selfish need and the selfish needs of others. In the universal rights of man, the modern state recognizes that this is its

natural foundation: ... modern, civil society, the society of industry,

of general competition, of private interests all freely pursuing their

aims, of anarchy, of natural and spiritual individuality."(n82) While

the modern state is based on law and acknowledges the autonomy of civil society, the communist state is "bound by no law."(n83) It pursues, with all the means at its disposal and at whatever cost, the annihilation of the corrupt and corrupting petty bourgeois. That subsequently the Soviet state obsessively pursued the development of its productive forces by using the scientific and technological know-how created by Western civilization does not mean that it has been, as many continue to believe, a totalitarian variant of the modern state.(n84) It only means that the Bolshevik Party sought to create an industrial economy by adopting a political organization which, in a masterful essay written immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution and anticipating Wittfogel's thesis, Marcel Mauss defined as "byzantine."(n85) However, an. industrial economy directed by a "byzantine" state, one characterized by bureaucratic centralism, the administrative control of production and distribution, the lack of guarantees, etc., is a contradiction in terms. In order for an economy to undertake self-propelling development, certain juridical pre-conditions are essential. These can be fully guaranteed only by the modern constitutional state. Of course, such a take-off is possible even within the context of an authoritarian political system. Yet the politics of development have succeeded only in countries where the state has recognized property rights, has allowed private parties ample freedom to buy and sell, and circumscribed its jurisdiction in order to allow the full application of the law of supply and demand. All of this was categorically rejected under a communism controlled by the myth of the superior rationality of the central plan. As a result, there was an economic bankruptcy of global dimensions, which has shown that it is not possible to institutionalize the means of

industrial production by destroying the market and suffocating the

spontaneous development of civil society.(n86) This means that the

totalitarian state, which "corrects, plans and constructs all on the

basis of a single criterion"(n87) and has as its objective the

regeneration of the social body through "a war of extermination"(n88)

against every form of spontaneity, is not only incompatible with

modernization but also with industrialization.

The conclusion must be drawn that totalitarianism is not a manifestation of modern instrumental rationality but, on the contrary, a type of domination in which, to the extent that it remains true to its vocation of destroying "all forms of capitalism,"(n89) is bound to clash with ratio. This is obvious as soon as one realizes that ratio is closely and inextricably tied to the market(n90) and that in order to carry out its

role as a propelling force of development, the latter needs "laws that

can be applied like a machine."(n91) But abstract rational law is

precisely what the totalitarian state cannot tolerate. The

soteriological mission with which it sees itself entrusted -- the

purification of society through cathartic terror-- is incompatible "with

any material or formal limitation of its power. Therefore, permanent

conflict between the functional imperatives of ratio and the ideological

imperatives of the Party, which typified the concrete modus operandi of communist states -- a conflict that, in the long run, resulted in what

has been called the "Grand Failure."(n92) This was not a historical

accident attributable to the unfavorable circumstances or human error

but the inevitable outcome of a program of social reconstruction based on permanent war against the values and the institutions of modern civilization.

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