The Socialist

The Socialist 15 February 2017

March to save our NHS

The Socialist issue 936

Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels


March to save #OurNHS

Resist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'

Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre

Save child refugees, fight the cuts

Prison deaths scandal

Super-rich subsidised


Spain: clear win for left at Podemos conference!

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria - towards unification

Izquierda Revolucionaria central committee meeting

French presidential election

France: police attack triggers protests

Yemen solidarity


United fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake

"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers

Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

Ultimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton

Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine's Day strike

PCS union pledges to fight Jobcentre job losses

Workplace news in brief


Anti-trade union laws used against 'Trees Action' protesters

Support floods in for the Cardiff no-cuts three

The Socialist: 20 years old and more important than ever

Toxic fracking could start in England in 2017

May Day greetings in the Socialist

New Socialist Party press


No, Trumpism is nothing like Leninism

Foreign aid's not the problem - it's capitalist thieves

Vivid visual account of the Paris Commune

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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No, Trumpism is nothing like Leninism

Lenin addresses a demonstration in Moscow, May 1920

Lenin addresses a demonstration in Moscow, May 1920   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Chaffey, Socialist Party Southern region

Steve Bannon, chief strategist to US President Donald Trump, once called himself "a Leninist" - to the delight of Victor Sebestyen, a journalist for the Times, Spectator and Standard.

Sebestyen puts Bannon and Lenin together in a 'Comment is Free' article for the Guardian to demonise his two foes by showing their alleged similarities. "Bannon has an assortment of Leninist political tactics that could have come from the Bolshevik leader's playbook."

How could Steve Bannon, investment banker, former vice-president at Goldman Sachs and founder of 'alt-right' blog Breitbart News, call himself a Leninist? Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Russian revolution that ended Russian capitalism and formed the first democratically elected workers' government in history!

In 2013, Bannon apparently said: "Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that's my goal too." Bannon seems to see the capitalist state as an obstacle to maximising the capitalists' profits.

But for Lenin, the capitalist state ensured the capitalists' economic interests were maintained. The goal of the first workers' state was instead to ensure that the majority ruled in the interests of the majority. Through the 'soviets', democratic workers' councils, elected representatives from workplaces formed a government at local, regional and national levels.

Traditional conservatives like Sebestyen fear the right-wing populism of Trump, with his blows against the institutions of capitalism such as the judiciary, press, and free trade agreements. Trump's populism threatens their control.

But they are even more fearful of the insurgent left. Bernie Sanders' campaign against the billionaire class threatened the Democratic establishment of Hillary Clinton and her Wall Street allies. They fear the renewed interest in socialist ideas, growing mass protests, and struggles like the fight for a $15 minimum wage.

But how could Sebestyen conflate such diametrically opposed ideas? The title of his latest book, 'Lenin the Dictator', makes his intentions clear.

This is a familiar rehash of the view that the vicious Stalinist bureaucratic counter-revolution that emerged after the death of Lenin was inevitable, and a seamless transition. It ignores the material basis for this, following the isolation of the Russian revolution after the destructive years of civil war, and the defeat of other revolutions, especially in Germany from 1918 to 1923.

From here, the first democratic workers' government in history is slanderously heaped together with Stalin's forced labour camps. Sebestyen adds in a dose of unsubstantiated character assassination in his attempt to bury Lenin and the Russian revolution.

Lenin was committed to the international struggle of the working class to replace the capitalist system of war, poverty and inequality with a socialist world - one where working class people democratically own and plan production to meet the needs of all. He was committed to building a mass revolutionary party with a clear Marxist understanding of capitalism, the Bolsheviks.

The Bolsheviks alone put forward a programme to satisfy the needs of the masses; "peace, bread and land." Their decisive leadership - while other political forces made compromises with the capitalists - led them to win a majority in the soviets, and end Russia's involvement in the bloodbath of World War One.

Lenin was critical of all that stood in the way of the working class; the capitalists themselves, their media allies, and their shadows in parts of the leadership of the workers' movement. His 'guilt' is his role in the abolition of capitalism and landlordism in Russia, and the example it offers today in this new era of capitalist crisis and revolution.

  • History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky, 20
  • Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed, 7
  • In Defence of October by Leon Trotsky, 1
  • The April Theses by VI Lenin, 2
  • National Liberation, Socialism and Imperialism by VI Lenin, 7

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In this issue


What we think

Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels


Socialist Party news and analysis

March to save #OurNHS

Resist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'

Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre

Save child refugees, fight the cuts

Prison deaths scandal

Super-rich subsidised


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: clear win for left at Podemos conference!

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria - towards unification

Izquierda Revolucionaria central committee meeting

French presidential election

France: police attack triggers protests

Yemen solidarity


Workplace news and analysis

United fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake

"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers

Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

Ultimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton

Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine's Day strike

PCS union pledges to fight Jobcentre job losses

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Anti-trade union laws used against 'Trees Action' protesters

Support floods in for the Cardiff no-cuts three

The Socialist: 20 years old and more important than ever

Toxic fracking could start in England in 2017

May Day greetings in the Socialist

New Socialist Party press


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

No, Trumpism is nothing like Leninism

Foreign aid's not the problem - it's capitalist thieves

Vivid visual account of the Paris Commune

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 February 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Related links:

Russian revolution:

triangle75 years since the publication of Animal Farm: From 'two legs bad' to 'two legs better'

triangle100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Russian Revolution's 'July Days'

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Russian Revolution 1917

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Lenin:

triangle80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination

triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"

triangleLenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today

triangleBradford Socialist Party: 'The State and Revolution'

Revolution:

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangleReform or revolt? How was the slave trade abolished?

triangleHow the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution

Workers:

triangleStop NHS meltdown

triangleGreek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

Russian:

triangleSpooks step up surveillance of left

State:

triangleBelarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime

Trump:

triangleUS: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

Trotsky:

triangleTrotsky online rally - watched across the world

Bolsheviks:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Mother

Russia:

triangle'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

Press:

triangleContact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

Stalin:

triangleChinese revolution of 1944-49: 'The second greatest event in human history'

Poverty:

triangleDoncaster: Vigil for murdered women

Marxist:

triangleSouth Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

Counter-revolution:

triangleCounter-revolution in Sudan

Donald Trump:

triangleUSA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests