PDA

View Full Version : Belorussia.



Vera
11-16-2004, 09:56 AM
Slap me if I misspelled the name of the country, the Finnish word for it is entirely different so I'm not sure about the spelling of the English word.

Anyway. This country is the only remaining dictatorship in Europe. I recently read an article and it's just a very sad state of things over there. They recently had an election and oop-di-doo, Lukashenka won again. When people turned out to vote, some of them found their voting coupons already filled out for them. Surprising, indeed.

What is there to be done? Will the revolution come tomorrow or the day after? Discuss.

wheelchairman
11-16-2004, 10:06 AM
There is no revolution to come. The opposition is impotent, and Lukashenko's support comes from the ultra-conservative peasantry.

The last demonstration had about 500 students in it, not nearly enough for any kind of social change to happen.

We can only wait for enough people to grow sick of Lukashenko's police state. Although it's hardly an evil oppressive dictatorship, I spent two weeks there. The people are taken well care of. I fear though that there are likely many oppressive policies that we don't see.

Either way, corruption is wide spread.

Vera
11-16-2004, 11:06 AM
Oh, that's too funny. I'm sorry, it's just that your idea of "people taken care of" reminds me of your "But they give rice to the North Koreans!"-arguments. Too funny.

The lack of freedom of speech is just appalling though. Nobody in Belorussia will ever know anything about anything better when all the media and television are controlled by the government.

There's hope in youth.

wheelchairman
11-16-2004, 11:52 AM
I'll ignore the glaring irrelevance of your first sentence and just state, that as far as I could tell (and I met people from the opposition movements, they are good people.) Free speech doesn't really motivate them. But then, this is considering that the closest democracy is the Russian Federation, which is about as democratic as Lukashenko. They just hide it better. And then there are countries like Bulgaria, where the former monarch is also now an elected head of state.

In a decade, there may be enough momentum in the youth movement, but the only place where opposition truly exists is in Minsk, and they aren't exactly supported by the people. However just their cause.

wheelchairman
11-16-2004, 02:44 PM
hmmm Vera do you consider Russia a democracy now? Or Bulgaria (who just had their former Monarch elected as head of state)?

Jasonstanton83
11-16-2004, 06:18 PM
You find a country without freedom of speech as an acceptable state of affairs?

my my you really are a true commie!

Anyway...back to the real world, i hope one day soon belorussia will be liberated either internally or externally in order to free a "cared for people" without an american style involvement of course :)

good thread vera. :cool:

wheelchairman
11-16-2004, 11:30 PM
You find a country without freedom of speech as an acceptable state of affairs?
Where in this thread have I said that? Do not distort my words.



Anyway...back to the real world, i hope one day soon belorussia will be liberated either internally or externally in order to free a "cared for people" without an american style involvement of course :)

good thread vera. :cool:
liberated externally is just a fancy way to stay conquered or invaded.

SicN Twisted
11-17-2004, 12:34 AM
There are European countries with more repressive policies then Beloroussia (I actually have no idea how it's spelled either). The Russian Federation is a perfect example. Croatia doesn't have a real democracy either, nor does Bulgaria, as previously mentioned.

Vera, what are you trying to convince him? WCM obviously does not value freedom of speech because Communists consider it a sign of decadence - people don't need it, because in a revolutionary government, nobody would have anything to critisize!

wheelchairman
11-17-2004, 01:49 AM
Wow, you people don't hesitate to use your baseless propaganda.

Vera
11-17-2004, 09:59 AM
Vera, what are you trying to convince him?
Absolutely no idea. The topic basically spurred from me having read a long article about the situation over there. A girl I know is from the country and one of her old friends is a part of an activist group called Zubr and the girl got beaten up by the police when she got caught spreading leaflets.

I was quite affected by that, the girl is like 15...

Our baseless propaganda? I laughed at that out loud. Good one.

SicN Twisted
11-17-2004, 10:47 AM
Do you value freedom of speech, wheelchairman? If you say yes, then you're so misguided I don't even know why I bother arguing with you. If you say no, I disagree with you but with respect because you're intelligent and understanding of the world.

15 year old girls getting beat up by the police can happen in republics also. So many cases like that occur here in the US that it amazing me that I'm not watching taped propaghanda about Russia durring the cold war.

wheelchairman
11-17-2004, 12:19 PM
Free Speech I approve of full-heartedly, but for who? to say what?

People can say whatever they want in our western societies. Doesn't mean it will get printed. In (what I envision a marxist society should be like immediately after the revolution), should be a worker's press. A revolutionary press, not the reactionary lamentations of the petty-bourgeois and the bourgeois. They can say all they want to, doesn't mean we should have to read it.

SicN Twisted
11-17-2004, 05:54 PM
So you don't believe in freedom of speech. Freedom of speech means everyone has the right to voice their opinions publicly. Why shouldn't the bourgeois deserve to be represented? They make up a huge amount of the population and contribute to society just as much as the workers. One of the most rediculous thing about Communism is that it doesn't acknowledge the validity of an entire class of people. I come from a petty bourgeois family - my parents work in schools, they don't really exploit anybody. Just like any other same self respecting people, they'd probably want to be able to publicly voice their opposition to the state they're opposed to, but your ideal utopia would land people in jail for that. I have a feeling that what I'm saying is going in one ear and out the other. I guess you'll never truly understand unless to aid a communist revolution in Denmark, and then you're promptly killed to set an example against middle class decadence in a cultural revolution type thing.

You're obviously middle class - most communist leaders are because they hypocritcally believe that they're justified to represent the workers while in reality they're oppressing them.

wheelchairman
11-18-2004, 10:49 AM
So you don't believe in freedom of speech.
Incorrect, I love freedom of Speech. I don't believe Freedom of the Press in most cases.


Freedom of speech means everyone has the right to voice their opinions publicly.
Agreed.


Why shouldn't the bourgeois deserve to be represented?
Why should they? This is a worker's state. The bourgeois state has fallen. (In the hypothetical situation of a revolution.)


They make up a huge amount of the population and contribute to society just as much as the workers.
Revolutions happen when the divide between Bourgeois and Worker (divide in terms of material conditions) is at it's largest. (So that means for example, a socialist revolution in Europe would not happen until a disastrous economic crisis happened. The EU may help that though, with it's neo-liberal based policies.) So after a revolution, the bourgeois will represent a very small portion. However even today, the Bourgeois represent only but one of the smallest fractions of society. How you can say they represent a huge faction I do not know. And the bourgeois contribute nothing. The worker's contribute everything, I can quote you saying that. I believe you are confusing bourgeois and petty-bourgeois at the moment.


One of the most rediculous thing about Communism is that it doesn't acknowledge the validity of an entire class of people.
It's the same in a capitalist society.


I come from a petty bourgeois family - my parents work in schools, they don't really exploit anybody. Just like any other same self respecting people, they'd probably want to be able to publicly voice their opposition to the state they're opposed to, but your ideal utopia would land people in jail for that.
Where have I said that? Not printing what they say, is not the same as not allowing them to voice their concerns to the politicians.


You're obviously middle class - most communist leaders are because they hypocritcally believe that they're justified to represent the workers while in reality they're oppressing them.
Currently my family's income, allows me to recieve the highest student stipend possible in Denmark. (Your stipend depends on the income of your parents. Having the highest possible means you come from a poor family.)

In fact in America, I grew up wearing my cousin's hand-me-downs. However it was a good gamble to take, most theoreticians come from the middle class.

Now how I would envision the opportunity for the opposition to get it's voice heard. Well in every communist state criticism is necessary, and debate. Without criticism and debate the communist state will become stagnant and decay. That is why it would be necessary to get the opposition's criticisms and debate out. And argue with them. My best friend is aConservative, we discuss and debate many things. He's gained a large respect for the communist movement through our debates. (I too have respect for conservatives, although only respect.)

SicN Twisted
11-19-2004, 03:34 AM
You talk about healthy debate, yet you praise North Korean Communism. You refer to yourself as a Marxist-Leninist, which means you obviously advocate the Soviet style communism that Lenin envisioned and created. The Soviet Union imprisoned and murdered people for independently distributing anti-Communist zines. Do you believe that even in a revolutionary state, someone should have the right to publicly oppose Communism? Lenin certainly didn't; moreso, he had the Mensheviks murdered in record numbers - not only do you have to be a socialist, but you have to be the exact breed of socialist.

Why is it that you and other Marxists believe the workers are adequetly represented in Communist countries? The Soviet Union had a central committe comprised of the bourgeois-elite that undemocratically created and enforced government policy. How can you say that it was a workers state if the workers were not allowed to hold elections? Russian workers were prevented from unionizing, given fixed wages and murdered for striking. The reason workers weren't allowed to actually have any say in the way the government worked is because most of them would chose democratic pro-union capitalists over the Communists who oppress them. The Soviet Union, and virtually every other Communist state was a class society in every sence with an elite party vanguard that recieved the highest salaries and had complete control over the workers, who were not represented at all.

The definition of bourgeois, which includes petty bourgeois, is someone who ends the year with more money then they started the year with, thus accumulating savings. This accounts for the majority of the people throughout western europe and the United States. Some factory workers in Germany and Switzerland even fall under this category. The working class generally makes up a minority, even though they were the majority in Tsarist Russia and other states where revolutions occured. Every single Communist revolution in the history of the world was led by the middle class, who presumed to take control of the "workers state." It's unnessesary that you bring up parellels with capitalism, because I'm not arguing in any way for capitalism. I think that both capitalism and communism are inherintly horrible because they take people with souls and turn them into commodities. I'm actively an anarchist, so I obviously don't consider capitalism to be a succesful, fair system. History has just proven to me that workers revolutions certainly are not the answers to these inequalities, because they all turn into to brutal dictatorships.

Sexy Panda
11-19-2004, 04:06 AM
It's at times like these that I realise Europe is a very different place to Australia.

wheelchairman
11-19-2004, 10:02 AM
You talk about healthy debate, yet you praise North Korean Communism.
Quote me on that please. I've merely stated that they have done good with their geographical conditions and the 50 year long foreign policy of America bearing weight on them. I've hardly heaped lavish praise upon Dear Leader.


You refer to yourself as a Marxist-Leninist, which means you obviously advocate the Soviet style communism that Lenin envisioned and created.
Lenin didn't live long enough after the Civil War to create the type of communism he envisioned.


The Soviet Union imprisoned and murdered people for independently distributing anti-Communist zines.
Oh yeah during the civil war when violent attacks happened at whim, it would be dandy to have people be lied to and then riled up and turned into a mob. (which was the fear at the time.) Besides there was criticism of the state at the time, and often. I mean even inside the party there was harsh criticism.


Do you believe that even in a revolutionary state, someone should have the right to publicly oppose Communism? Lenin certainly didn't;
Incorrect. There is a difference between publicly opposing and actively working to overthrow the state.


he had the Mensheviks murdered in record numbers
They were becoming Whites in record numbers. In a civil war you generally kill the opposing side.


Why is it that you and other Marxists believe the workers are adequetly represented in Communist countries?
More adequately than in Capitalist countries. It all depends on who is serving which class purpose. There has unfortunately been a tendency in communist states to deviate from Worker's interests.


The Soviet Union had a central committe comprised of the bourgeois-elite that undemocratically created and enforced government policy.
This is true of every country after a revolution. Elections don't happen immediately. However the Soviets were quite a direct and democratic line to the top in the beginning.

It seems odd to me, that the bolsheviks, the ones who worked so hard to organize the workers, the ones who basically won the revolution on the backs of the workers. The ones with the most active workers in the party, suddenly became oppressive of the workers. This is unlikely and I would have you check your sources on that one. If you are referring to after Lenin's death, then I wouldn't be incredibly surprised.

Also your definition of bourgeois is completely fallacious. I can't believe you haven't even questioned your own definition, since it defines workers as bourgeois as well. No, it is not correct. In essence, the bourgeois are those who own means of production in society.

SicN Twisted
11-20-2004, 02:51 AM
You have no idea what bourgeois means. Teachers and doctors, by your definition, are not bourgeois.

Soviet tyranny did on only occur durring and immediately after the civil war, they occured throughout the Soviet Union's existence. Lenin was a tyrant also, he created the gulags and murdered all his opposers. The fact that you don't think their should be elections, and the fact taht you support a one party system obviously shows that you don't value democracy. Of course there should immediately be elections, because the workers who revolted should obviously have a say in who their leader is, and definately not be imprisoned for opposing their leader. You claim you believe in freedom of speech, but I can hardly understand what you see as free speech since you seem to consider leaflet distribution means of overthrowing the state. You need to accept that the reason the Soviet Union was so tyranical was because the majority of people, workers included, did not support the communist regime. Why do you think unionizing was completely illegal (capitalism tramples unions, but it doesn't prohibit them).

The idea of a one party system is essentially flawed and contradicts the revolutionary claims of working "for the people," because the people can't even chose their own leaders and determine their own fates.

wheelchairman
11-20-2004, 12:04 PM
I would never call teachers bourgeois. Doctors take bourgeois attitudes because their class interests are to serve the bourgeois (they can extort a whole lot more money from them. But this is only in America. Countries with nationalised health care have doctors who are distinctly not bourgeois.)

You can hardly claim that the people were anti-Soviet. I would say they were unsatisfied with the conditions. (Even during the Civil War, it was tough times, but they had been having tough times since 1914.)

However, even after the 'phony' communism of Gorbachev collapsed, there were many supporters of 'communism.' (Including the '91 coup and the fact that elections generally return high results for the communists.)

Now as for a one party system, I generally think it was necessary under the conditions of Russia at the time. (you can't work with a party (the mensheviks) when half the party is fighting with the whites.)

In Denmark's conditions, I don't think you could apply the same conditions. (Marxism is fluidic, it does not have a dry set of rules, you keep trying to act like it does. But Marxism must change itself with the times and geography of a region.) Would I have multiple parties. Very likely, the party I am a part of DKP-ML, has always had a very open attitude with cooperation, even with the left-wing of the Social Democrats when it comes to Union issues.

SicN Twisted
11-21-2004, 02:08 AM
So again, why shouldn't people be allowed to elect their leaders? Dictatorship been a tenent of every single Communist government. The Bolcheviks should have worked with the Mencheviks because the Mencheviks, and even the whites, represented a portion of the Russian population and are just as valid as the bolcheviks. Of course their will be a civil when a minority group violently seizes a huge country. For some reason you think that that repression only occured durring the civil war, but it occured throughout the history of communism all over the world. Stalin didn't have a civil war, he just wanted to ensure his power. How can you say that a party vanguard truly represents the majority of a country, since their desisions have always been for the most part self serving?

Also, if the majority of Russia did support Communism, then how come elections were never held. How come people were forcibly stopped from leaving the country? I still can't understand the rationality that a small group of people having absolute power over a nation is justified in any way, whether in the name of socialism, fascism, or capitalism? Workers were an oppressed commodity under communism just as much as they were in the west - they forcibly seized Poland from the Communists! Workers don't enjoy being prohibited from unionizing (for the third time, you haven't responded to this point yet) and having their wages and futures fixed by a priveleged minority, be is the party or the corperations. Oppression is oppression by any name, and workers are abused and enslaved both in capitalist class societies and communist dictatorships. In a real workers state, unions would have democratic representation and be given power in negotiation with the companies they work for because of their benefits. Switzerland is much closer to this then any Soviet style dictatorship (which is reflected by it's exponentially higher standard of living, for all classes). Is it a coincidence no Communist revolution has ever occured in western country? Communism is what happens when disgruntled workers are manipulated by power hungry into revolting again poor agrarian dictatorship. While I am in no way a supporter of western capitalism, the west has never given it's lower classes bad enough conditions to revolt in the name of Marxism. Name a democracy that fell to a Communist revolution... you can't, because it's never happened. People don't revolt when they can simply change the system in voting booths. I'm all for Marxism in a democratic context. For instance, Salvador Allende won Chile democratically, and made Marxist developements by earning the trust of his people while competing with other parties that were fairly representetive of the other political wings in Chile. Ho Chi Mihn, who I forgot to mention in the thread, was immensly popular in Vietnam and would have recieved more then 90% of the vote had the US not blocked Vietnam's elections. If he had been elected, Vietnam could have thrived as a democratic socialist nation where people willingly except socialism is the fairest and most efficient system for them. The United States forced Ho into the arms of the USSR and made him a dictator, which caused the isolation from the western world that's kept Vietnam poor to this very day. Violent revolution has historically produced tyranny.

wheelchairman
11-21-2004, 05:12 AM
I don't address the oppressions done by Stalin because I do not uphold Stalin, so I do not defend him. I can send you to several people who uphold Stalin and you can discuss Stalin with them. I however do not.

Now you say that the Bolsheviks should've collaborated with the Mensheviks, despite the fact that mensheviks were fighting against the bolshevik government.

That would be like saying that the US government should collaborate with the KKK. I mean the KKK represents a part of the population, they have many sympathizers down south. Especially in the larger poorer areas. Under a communist revolution, the communists will have to go up against them, that's almost without question, but should we also work with them?

Now to a point I agree with you, the left wing of the Mensheviks sympathized with the Bolsheviks. And many of them joined the bolsheviks. Though many stayed, they most easily could've struck up some kind of deal. Same goes for the Left Revolutionaries. Although as I've said before, during a civil war this would be a difficult matter.

Now you say the Bolsheviks were supported by only a minority in seizing power. If this had been true, they would've lost the Civil War, and most certainly cracked under the foreign intervention.

After the country stabilized, elections were held in the local soviets. I wouldn't justify these because I do not uphold the leaders at this time. However if we must be accurate, there was a form of voting. Often they only had one choice, or else they had two identical choices (this is basically about as democratic as America is today.) However they also had the right to recall, and that had been used.

As for unionizing, I asked you to give me a link to base this. I find it hard to believe. And remember I want it to have happened under Lenin's rule.

As I've said somewhere else before, revolutions can happen through elections as well. Allende is a good example of this. And some (not me) would say a good example of why electoral revolutions will fail.

The Communists elected after WW2 were generally all elected on a fair basis. (Even in Western Europe the Communists got huge returns because of their efforts against fascism.) The people were told to elect an anti-fascist government and the communists were often elected. However the communists did then consolidate their power and stopped having those open elections afterwards. And most of them simulated old-style sovet bureacratism.

SicN Twisted
11-21-2004, 10:36 AM
That's what we're getting at here. The Soviet Union was about as democratic as America today, which proves my point then Communism and Capitalism are both inherintly flawed because they deny people their basic freedoms, which are put in the hands of borgeois bureaucrats. You still haven't addressed my point with the majority of Communist leaders were bourgeois.

Lenin didn't allow unions, because unions independent of the state were considered to be capitalistic because they represented groups of workers instead of the Russian proleteriate as a whole, thus created conflicting interests. Also, why bother having unions if the nation IS a union - which is certainly wasn't because workers were NOT represented. One of the reason Trotsky was exiled is because to a certain extent he supported independent unionizations. One thing Communists don't understand is for unions to actually represent factory workers, they need to be independent of the state, especially in such a huge country. The entire working class of Russia consisted of so many different groups with so many different conditions, representing them as a whole and not allowing them to unionize only showed how the revolutionary government turned them into commodoties just as much as the companies they work for do. Look up Lenin's policy on unionization, you'll find that I'm being truthful.

Also, teachers are bourgeois. There's basically three classes in western society (if one would group bourgeois and petty bourgeois together as Lenin did), the working class, the middle class, and the upper class, although the upper class has been withering away because even the wealthiest enthusiasts need to produce something for tax benefits. Teachers are bourgeois, because they finish their years with capital. They're paid in the racket of bourgeois, and they have the bourgeois culture. So are doctors and lawyers (Castro was a lawyer).

wheelchairman
11-21-2004, 12:09 PM
Oh I agree with you, the Old USSR, the bureaucratic mess that it became, was about as democratic as the US. I never said that it wasn't. I believe I have explained myself poorly because you are still under the impression that I uphold all periods of Soviet History. So I will go through it bit by bit and offer my thoughts on it:

1917- to roughly 1924 (Lenin's Tenureship)- I generally uphold this period, with the limitations of the time things were done alright.
1924-1953 Stalin's Tenureship- Stalin interpreted Marxist theory in a brutal way, and in an utterly social-conservative fashion as well. While industrializing the nation, he oppressed people (a bad method of handling contradictions among the people, goes with the classic 'you can kill the men but not the idea.' Conservative ideas such as homophobia, and oppression of avant-garde artwork happened under heart which was tragic as well. I can go on, the closing of the comintern, the lack of congress' all bad things.
1953-1964 Khruschev's tenureship. Turned the economy into a state-capitalist one. Ending whatever little hope for socialism that Russia had at this point. This can be argued as good or bad. A flamboyant leader who made many mistakes, but also inspired people as well. (Ranks in the Komsomol increased vastly under Khruschev).
1964-1980 Brezhnev's tenureship. This is what most communist parties in Eastern Europe are fighting for. Relative calm on the political scene. Decadence everywhere else.
For about one year Andropov was in power, and Gorbachev afterwards. I personally can't say much about these leaders, I have not read enough. Both interest me.

So as I'll tell you again and again, I only uphold Lenin's tenureship.

As for communist leaders. Yes many of them are bourgeois, or come from the upper class. However the life of the revolutionary is spartanous at best. I would say it's quite obvious that before the revolution none of them lived extravagantly, and none of them had the same class interests as the bourgeois.

hmm interesting, I've never studied the Unions Post Revolution question in detail. Would you mind giving me the names of some works by Lenin?

Personally I do think unions are and will always be necessary, perhaps even eventually as a form of government. However the Soviets after the revolution seemed to be a good form for worker's representation. The problem is, the USSR was the first worker's state in history. Mistakes were bound to be made. Whether this too was a mistake, seems likely but I don't feel comfortable making a verdict until I read more.

As for teachers, I find it hard to believe they can possibly be bourgeois. My dad is a teacher here in Denmark, and that's basically the reason why the household income is so low. Teachers can hardly be bourgeois, they can certainly be petty bourgeois. And in America I know teaching conditions are even worse. Or so I've heard at least, and it seemed to correspond with what I've seen in America.

SicN Twisted
11-22-2004, 12:28 AM
Petty bourgeois is a low form of bourgeois. It's still the same class, they just make less money.

I'm happy that you don't consider the Soviet Union and it's satelites legitimate Marxist states. I still think you're misguided about Lenin - he invented the party vanguard and set the standard for Stalin's dictatorship. He even admitted before his death that he had brought the Soviet Union down the wrong path in a document that Stalin had censored so he could take power.

What do you think of Trotsky? Although I disagree with Marxism as an ideology, I have alot of respect for Trotsky as a person.

wheelchairman
11-22-2004, 06:22 AM
Trotsky is a difficult question. I disagree with him on the national question for instance. However it is possible that the experience with modern communists states have proven him right on his Permanent Revolution theory. However I'd like to think not. He was clearly an intelligent man and a valuable theoretician.

As a man he was an egoist, bitter, womanizer. However for a man who knew nothing of military tactics he did quite well in the Civil War. And it was good that he stood up to Stalin. However according to most memoirs he didn't do it at the most significant time.

wheelchairman
11-22-2004, 06:33 AM
I never said they were illegitimate Marxist states. I merely said that mistakes were likely to be made.

SicN Twisted
11-22-2004, 03:53 PM
A marxist state in a dictatorship of a proletariate. The Soviet Union was run by a select few who completely controlled the fates of workers and did not give them any say in their fates. This is not legitimately Marxist.

wheelchairman
11-22-2004, 04:17 PM
Yes, but they certainly tried. They tied their incomes directly to that of the workers for instance. I believe it was an honest attempt. It's obvious that the vanguard theory isn't perfect. But it was practical for perfecting the worker's revolution.

SicN Twisted
11-22-2004, 08:53 PM
That still doesn't make it legitimately Marxist, since workers had absolutely no say in who their leaders were. That is far from a "dictatorship of the proletariate."