We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Democracy for the people, not for the money-bags
Campbell uses the upcoming centenary of the Russian Revolution to review the real significance of that event which shaped profoundly most subsequent events of the 20th century and of many events into this century. She focuses on the ideological significance of Lenin's thoughts about real democracy which is in sharp contrast what most of us have been taught through capitalist ideological institutions--schools, corporate media, and corporate entertainment.
The Russian Revolution exposed common people to ideas that exposed the exploitative nature of class rule and affirmed ideas about a classless, truly democratic rule of, by, and for the people over every institution of society. Of course, in this new ideology no significant private ownership/control of the economy was permitted. The people would decide all important issues. Such ideas were a profound shock to Western capitalists, and there developed among these ruling classes a visceral hatred for these ideas which fundamentally challenged their rule, their wealth, and their privileges.
They immediately tried to crush the revolution: 13 capitalist nations invaded Russia immediately following their revolution and many of these nations also funded the White armies opposing the Bolsheviks. Since then Western countries have launched wide ranging campaigns in every ideological sector to censor, distort, fabricate, and counter such ideas in order to prevent these ideas from taking hold in their own countries and influencing working people to make their own revolution. During the 1930s Western capitalists started funding the Nazi Party (see this, this, this, and this) when they determined that they could use it as a vehicle to expand eastward and destroy the Soviet Union. Also, the fascist parties across Europe were very useful in countering the influence of socialist type parties in existing capitalist countries.
Meanwhile under such severe pressure from the West and widespread disease and famine following the revolution, Soviet rule deteriorated into an authoritarian, top-down, bureaucratic class rule which eventually proved unable to counter the growth of the US-led Empire.
Immediately following WWII with all rivals in a weakened state the US ruling capitalist class saw a great opportunity to impose their rule on the world, and immediately embarked on imperial adventures starting with the Korean War to counter the socialist forces in that country which had been struggling for nearly 20 years against Japanese colonial-capitalist rule. Then the fascist section of the ruling class joined with the entire ruling class and attempted and largely succeeded in reversing some of the labor rights legislation of the FDR administration and purge progressive people on the left (McCarthy period) from Hollywood, education, and media who had been active in left wing movements of the 1930s; in foreign affairs they used mostly the CIA (Operation Gladio) and propaganda media to suppress very popular left-wing movements most especially in Europe and to a lessor, but significant extent in other areas of the world under US control or influence. At the same time the Cold War began in earnest.
Since then, the US Empire, using the CIA, toppled one government after another which were too independent; funded armies to overthrow other governments the Empire didn't like; directly engaged in the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War; in smaller countries they used military operations against nations like Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti; and now in the 21st century we are witnessing never-ending wars.
Lenin's embryonic ideas about real democracy are still alive today in the imagination of all revolutionary-minded people, and ruling capitalist classes are still trying to crush such ideas. You can see this in the current attempt to suppress alternative media that frequently present reports that counter their many lies. This battle will be fought until either a tiny fascist-capitalist class rules the world or the people rule. In the meantime while these battles are being fought, capitalist addiction to relatively cheap fossil fuels and their obsessive drive for more profits are destroying the habitat that can support the lives of humans and many other species on our planet Earth.