quinta-feira, 12 de junho de 2014

Society was subordinate to the state which was controlled by party which in practice was ruled by a few people.

"When the cataclysm of war finally ended in eastern Europe in 1921, Lenin and his revolutionaries had to regroup and think. Deprived by the Poles of their European triumph, the Bolsheviks had no choice but to douse the revolutionary conflagration and build some sort of socialist state. Lenin and his followers took for granted that they should hold power; indeed, the failure of the European revolution became their justification for extraordinary aspirations to political control. Power had to be centralized so that the revolution could be completed, and so that it could be defended from its capitalist enemies. They quickly banned other political parties and terrorized political rivals, dismissing them as reactionary. They lost the only competitive elections that they held, and so held no others. The Red Army, though defeated in Poland, was more than sufficient to defeat all armed rivals on the territory of the old empire. The Bolsheviks’ secret service, known as the Cheka, killed thousands of people in the service of the consolidation of the new Soviet state.
Lenin’s state was a political holding action for an economic revolution still to come. His Soviet polity recognized nations, although Marxism promised a world without them; and his Soviet economy permitted a market, although communism promised collective ownership. When Lenin died in January 1924, debates were already underway about when and how these transitional compromises should yield to a second revolution. And it was precisely discussion, in the new Soviet order, that determined the fate of the Soviet population. From Lenin the Bolsheviks had inherited the principle of “democratic centralism,” a translation of Marxist historiosophy into bureaucratic reality. Workers represented the forward flow of history; the disciplined communist party represented the workers; the central committee represented the party; the politburo, a group of a few men, represented the central committee. Society was subordinate to the state which was controlled by party which in practice was ruled by a few people. Disputes among members of this small group were taken to represent not politics but rather history, and their outcomes were presented as its verdict."

Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Basic Books, 2012,  pp. 10-11.

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