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I agree that Russia and the 'Stans weren't in favour of a dissolution. Azerbaidjan is more complicated due to the war. Ukraine on the other hand voted 90% for independence in December 1990. The shift from March to December was, I suspect mirrored to a lesser degree in at least some of the other republics. It was a very fluid situation.

If a person whose political ideal was the empire is lamenting its demise, then that fact is relevant. Just as it will be relevant in a few years time when neo-cons adopt the incompetency dodge while praising the noble, mismanaged Iraq project, lamenting its failure, and stressing the negative sides of the American withdrawal. (And for the record, the Bolsheviks in their early period killed far more people, using far more indiscriminate violence than the Americans in Iraq. So the analogy is a bit unfair to the neocons.)

by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:02:30 PM EST
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True enough.

The neo-con to bolshevik analogy is fair at root, I think. In my view, while there was clearly far more indiscriminate loss of innocent life in the Soviet Union in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, we have to also contend with the historical context - general war in Europe, an absolutist monarchy overthrown, a resulting civil war. These are mitigating, or at least explaining, circumstances.

The neo-cons have no such mitigating circumstances and, what's more, the ideological basis for their thesis of spreading progress is disputable at best. Far less so in 1917.

(A better analogy though might be 1789...)


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:18:29 PM EST
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The general war aspect is a mitigating circumstance, a huge one. The rest works the other way - the Bolsheviks overthrew those who overthrew the absolutist monarchy, and the civil war followed the October, not the February Revolution. The spreading progress part I might agree with if it weren't for the fact that the Bolsheviks favorite revolutionaries were Robespierre and Saint Just... they positively admired the Terror.
by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:33:06 PM EST
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Well, I took you to mean the entire early period, with not all the civil wars being the fault of the Bolsheviks, thinking of those anarchist revolts in particular.

As for the favorite revolutionaries, suspect the attitudes were colored by the times, which were not the best of times for average Russians by any means, generalized war in Europe or no.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did mean the entire early period. To stretch the analogy a bit more, imagine that the Baathists had been overthrown and a new, semi-secular, fragile multiparty government had been created. Plenty of instability, some revolts, some theocratic threats, but the latter not enough to takeover. Then imagine the neo-cons launching their invasion because it wasn't neoliberal and anti-Islamist enough - and then all hell really breaking loose.

My point about their admiration for the Committee of Public Safety is that the mass murder and torture of real, 'objective', and thoroughly imaginary enemies was a feature, not a bug. Analogizing some more, the Bush-Cheney executive branch power grab was not simply an ad hoc stumbling in reaction to 9/11, but rather the use of 9/11 as an excuse to do what they had long wanted.

by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:36:08 PM EST
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I understood you to mean this, and I agree. I simply point out that different times produce different leaders, and times of divine rights of oblivious tsars and starving peasants are times when less than humanitarian leaders tend to rise to the fore.

Following your most excellent analogy re Bush and co. further, let's assume an environment where divine right of CEOs continue to flourish, as usualy via the barrel of a gun, where conscription returns to supply to grist for their wars, and where real people not only start getting hungry, but starving as well while the neolib emperors play mpegs of violin concertos in their McMansions.

I suspect in that environment, there will be more than a few who deem peaceful, democratic change to be a less than satisfactory route of redress.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:48:55 PM EST
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Yup. And it is the same sort of thought that makes me so hostile to the more radical, revolutionary folks on this site (and beyond) - violent, radical revolutionaries don't have a particularly positive twentieth century track record. Non-violent moderate ones may have often failed, but as it turned out that still often beat their radical cousins' success.
by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:55:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Point me to the revolutionaries!

The non-violent moderate ones, of course ;)

Happy people, you mean.  People who aren't always waiting for death, destruction, misery, or revenge...

Let's make some more!  Let our shagging be between minds, birthing clever, intelligent, witty humans, who know how to look after each other...don't have points to score or moves, well they have moves aplenty, working their angle...I'm butting in, but I haven't met the violent, radical wing of ET yet, I was wondering if you could drop some hints...point me in that direction...you know, just to see if it's as bad as they say it is...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 08:09:46 PM EST
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There was a diary the other day favourably quoting from an article calling for armed revolution in the US. A couple people reacted negatively, more people reacted to them saying they were overreacting.  There's also the occasional grotesque opinion that the US is the equivalent of Nazi Germany; something which caries certain implications within it, just as the mirror image use of the analogy on the right does (Vichycrats, Chirac as Laval, appeasement, Munich, Osama as Hitler, islamofascism, etc.)
by MarekNYC on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 01:14:47 PM EST
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You mean this?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 01:28:00 PM EST
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I agree with you on the failure of violent radicalism.

But you do have a problem of seeing radical revolutionalism in people that, in reality, is far from it in their opinions. (Or so it seems to me at least.) Seriously, I can't think of any hard left people being regulars at this site.

by Trond Ove on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 08:32:23 AM EST
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