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
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Workers power in action
She summarizes the history of worker struggles against capitalism from a Marxist perspective. My only comment on this part is to add my view of what went wrong with the Russian Revolution. Her reasons are perfectly valid--the armed invasions by 14 capitalist countries and the starvation and disease resulting from the invasions (and WWI).
But she seems to idolize the Bolsheviks while claiming it was all Stalin's fault. Stalin was a long standing Bolshevik and did not become a dictator all by himself.
She writes correctly about revolutions, "...what strikes you is how rapidly people's consciousness change, compared to how slowly it can move in normal times." But I argue that the consciousness of many Bolsheviks, like all revolutionaries before them, did not change in some respects. They still held to authoritarian methods of rule that preceded them under the Czars. They did not trust workers to rule themselves. They saw themselves as having an exclusive knowledge of socialism. They were the "vanguard"! Hence they immediately took power away from the Soviet worker councils and Soviet society eventually degenerated into the concentrated rule of Stalin alone.