[OPE-L] Cajo Brendel

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Wed Jul 18 2007 - 16:40:13 EDT

I kinda like Brendel, he was a good man, a good communist, I regret not meeting him before he passed away, but I still don't agree with many of his points. I think a worker's state did exist in the immediate aftermath of the 1917 insurrection, for better or worse, and in fact Brendel himself provides evidence for it. And for example, Deutscher and the late Mandel were also critical of Trotsky's militarisation-of-labour strategy (actually Trotsky shot himself in the foot with it, since lateron, when he sought to rally the workers against bureaucratisation, they remembered his militarisation schemes and his opponents called attention to it again). 

A lot of this left-communist discussion is ludicrously out of touch with the raw situation pertaining at the time, which any leader had to grasp, to get anywhere. When you are confronted with problems of mass famine, economic dislocation and threats or acts of foreign invasion, you have to do something, and do it quick, and if you don't do it, there are consequences. And if you are fighting a military war, you cannot very well ask the enemy "if they will please consent to play by your own rules" in the interest of promoting soviet democracy! I mean, I am not a warlike person as anyone knows, I like nothing better than a bit of peace, but I do claim to have a basic understanding of what a war is.

The first Soviet government came out of a situation of war chaos, in which people were dying like flies, but people forget this, and get disappointed that a "pure workers state" corresponding to its true concept didn't arise. But if that is your reading of history, then I don't think you'll be much good at making history. In that case, you're in for a lot of disappointments, because real history just won't correspond to your concepts.
It's so easy to allot praise and blame, long after critical events testing human beings to the maximum have happened, but really it gets in the way of understanding what objectively speaking was a success and what was a failure, and why that was. Then, despite the beauty of your idea, you don't learn much from history at all.


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