November 12, 2017
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION: A WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
The week of November 5-11 witnessed two significant anniversaries. The first, November 11, 2017, was the 99th anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I. But another, more infamous and earth-shaking anniversary occurred on Tuesday, November 7, 2017: the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, when the Soviet Communists took possession of the Russian state.
Already perhaps too much has been written about that critical event in the history of the bloody 20th century. The most comprehensive study of Communism and its criminally tragic effects is arguably the incredible volume, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (1997, edited by Stephane Courtois, with a group of international scholars). Therein approximately 100 million deaths are documented and attributed to the worldwide Communist bacillus. And there are other solid and impressive studies, including works by Stefan Possony (Lenin: The Compulsive Revolutionary), Robert Conquest (The Great Terror), Simon Montefiore (Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar), not to mention the more personal accounts of experiences with and under Communism, including Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon, the collection The God that Failed (by several prominent ex-Communists), George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, and, certainly more riveting and damning, the various works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
And in the United States certainly the most stunning and critical personal account remains Whittaker Chamber’s eloquent Witness, a volume that continues to thoroughly irritate the American Left which remains totally wrapped in the sullen stubborn embrace of an historical philo-communism. One only need recall the bald-faced Soviet propaganda of New York Times writer, Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for journalism, for his glorification of the Stalinist state, a template that continued even after the brutal occupation of Eastern Europe, the 1948-1949 Berlin blockade, and the suppression of popular movements in East Germany and Hungary (1956). Voices in the West and America that raised the question of Communist infiltration here not only into our politics, but into our culture, our entertainment and our educational establishment, were shouted down as “right wing extremists” who did not respect “free speech” and who “looked for Commies under every bed,” or, more recently, as “racists” and “fascists.”
The late Senator Joseph McCarthy was pilloried and basically had his character assassinated as a “drunken and thuggish right wing extremist” who “made up facts” and used his Senate position to badger and batter innocent victims of his “rabid anti-Communism.” Yet, as we know now from the release of the revelatory Venona Transcripts (documenting Communist espionage in the United States) and the opening of the old Soviet archives, not to mention such blockbuster studies as Professor Arthur Herman’s Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator, and M. Stanton Evans’ Blacklisted by History, McCarthy was essentially correct in his understanding of the continuous, long-range infiltration and subversion of American institutions. It was even worse than he imagined….
What he did not and could not foresee were the ideological vicissitudes of post-Communist Marxism and its ironic triumph in the West, at almost the same time it was dying an ignominious death in Russia and the former Soviet satellite states in the East. Just as the Stalinist brand and its Moscow-based septuagenarian commissars, once proudly reviewing Red military might from their perches in the Kremlin, disappeared into the dustbin of history after the final desperate KGB-attempted coup in August 1991, the once-exiled and persecuted descendants of Leon Trotsky staged a seemingly miraculous rebirth—but it was a rebirth in the West, a rebirth that had been slowly and surely cultivated and solidified in the minds of thousands of educators and artists over decades.
In so many ways, superficially, it did not resemble the stodgy imagery of the creaky and bureaucratic, top-heavy Soviet state. It rejected the innate “conservatism” of Soviet Communism and the remarkably old-fashioned “morality” coming from Moscow (e.g., persecution of homosexuals, insistence on traditional marriage, etc.). It was zealously internationalist; it understood the insights of earlier Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs, that the West could not be defeated by military confrontation, but rather must be so through a cultural “long-march” through its institutions, through its schools and universities, through its entertainment industry and media, and, most critically, through the transmogrification of its very language and accepted manner of communication. To accomplish these objectives was, in effect, to win the seventy year old struggle, a victory that Soviet Communism was unable to achieve.
And, in a fascinating twist of history, the two major supposedly intellectual antipodes in American society—the openly cultural Marxist Left, with their media and political minions, and the Neoconservatives, with their media and political minions, despite their continuous shadow boxing and bickering over Obamacare, taxes, trade, and civil rights--both owe their profound origins more to that man bludgeoned to death on Stalin’s orders in Mexico City in 1940, Leon Trotsky, than to either Joe Stalin or Thomas Jefferson.
Both have joined in what at first appeared an incongruous “alliance” in manifesting a virulent hatred of post-Soviet, post-Communist Russia, and in particular, towards its president Vladimir Putin.
But is it really that incongruous?
Much of the current hatred for Russia and its president, twenty-six years after the collapse of Communism, may be attributed to what post-1991 Russia has become. Certainly, it is no model or copy of the United States or any of the Western European EU states—and that is a major part of the problem: Russia’s conspicuous unwillingness to submit to the political and economic tutelage—and control—of Bruxelles and Wall Street and the managers along the Potomac.
A much larger issue—and an issue fully realized by both the American Left and the pseudo-Right Neoconservatives—is the direction culturally in which Putin’s Russia seems headed. It is not just the news, as reported for instance by the Reverend Franklin Graham and other traditional Christians, that post-Communist Russia has experienced a revival of traditional Christianity and opened 28,000 new churches since 1991 (plus restoring hundreds closed by the Reds); it is not just the fact that Russia has criminalized homosexual proselytization among Russian youth and has enacted laws favoring the nuclear family (making same sex marriage illegal); it is not just the fact that the Russian Duma has passed the strongest anti-abortion laws of any European state; it is not just the fact that the Russian Ministry of Culture has sponsored dozens of blockbuster anti-Communist and pro-traditional Christian films; it is not just the fact that Russia has kicked George Soros’s subversive organizations out of the country.
No, it is not just any one of these actions or numerous others that have raised the ire of John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Max Boot, in virtual alliance with Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and CNN; it is all of them.
And the drowning chorus in the American media is that “Russia is violating ‘human rights’,” that “Putin is a thug and dictator” (despite national elections that independent observers found fair), that “Russia wants to re-establish the Soviet empire” (a complete misquoting of something Putin said several years ago when he commented that the sudden break-up of the old Soviet state was a tragedy economically, ethnically and socially—with millions of ethnic Russians arbitrarily consigned to new countries, and with a total disregard for economic realities—he was not lamenting the fall of the Communist state).
As we look at the anniversary of the establishment of one of the bloodiest regimes in human history and what has happened since its demise, and the curious juxtaposition of American political forces in a “united front” against its successor, Pat Buchanan’s remarkable words seem apt: “In the new ideological Cold War, whose side is God on now?” [April 4, 2014, http://buchanan.org/blog/whose-side-god-now-6337]
During the past couple of months Russian President Vladimir Putin has participated in several formal commemorations of the victims of Communism, dedicating “Walls of Grief” to the memory of millions of lives that perished under that infamy and denouncing Marxism and its crimes (i.e., Butovo, Sretenskii). He was accompanied on each occasion by leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church which in so many ways became the underground and “martyr” church under seven decades of Communist barbarity.
One such recent visit by Putin was to the newly-constructed Sretenskii Monastery in Moscow, built on the site of what once was the headquarters of the Soviet KGB and NKVD secret police, Lubyanka, now demolished. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sretensky_Monastery_(Moscow)] The monastery is devoted to the New Martyrs—those thousands of Christians murdered by Bolsheviks following the 1917 revolution. The new church’s decoration reflects this. Around the dome are illustrations of key saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, among whom are Emperor Nicholas II and his family, symbols of suffering at the hands of Bolshevism.
As Professor Paul Robinson describes it:
Behind and above the altar, one can see a depiction of Christ’s crucifixion. But around the cross are not merely the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, but also some more of the New Martyrs. On the far right are a man and his two sons who initially supported the revolution and joined the Red Guards, but who then refused to renounce their Christian faith and were shot. On the left is, among others, Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who became a nun after the assassination of her husband Grand Duke Sergei, and who was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. And on the far left is a woman who during the Great Terror brought food and clothes to those detained by the NKVD, until she in turn was arrested and shot… In May of this year, he attended the service at which the church was consecrated. Our guide spoke of Putin as the former head of the FSB, the successor organization to the Soviet secret services who executed the New Martyrs. Our guide stated that by coming to the service and bowing and praying before its altar, Putin in effect repented on behalf of those secret services and asked for forgiveness. There is little doubt in my mind that Putin understood perfectly what his presence symbolized and what message he was sending all across Russia. [https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/the-new-martyrs/]
No greater contrast and symbolism marks the tremendous changes in Russia since 199—but it is precisely those changes that so threaten the Western secularist and globalist elites and the Marxist internationalists like George Soros.To paraphrase Pat Buchanan: Who is now the real enemy of the historic traditions and beliefs of the Christian West