No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Marxism

The Samizdat remains the same

The failure of new generations of Leftists to actually build anything that could be described as Left-wing has started to be noticed by at least some Leftists.

Here in New Zealand the likes of “Bomber” Bradbury have been railing about the uselessness of Ardern’s Labour government to actually solve homelessness, and poverty, despite almost five years in power, the last two with an overwhelming majority in Parliament. Moreover “neo-liberal” capitalism is still here, smashing house prices through the roof and killing young people’s chances of home ownership – with all that implies for starting families.

Moreover, Bradbury notes that even as these failures pile up the fighting over woke politics grows ever more vicious:

I see a woke activist base who act more like a cult protecting dogma than agents of progressive change. I see a Green Party that is next to fucking hopeless on anything other than the delivery of woke empty gestures welded to their own middle class pretensions.

The material issues that truly matter have been dumped in favour of middle class identity politic virtue signals that are parroted by the Twitter mob and anyone who breathes differently gets cancelled.

But it’s a global phenomena. Environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, in his article, What happened to ‘Yes we can’?, bemoans what has happened to the dream of progressives on issue after issue:

For all of my adult life I have identified as a progressive. To me, being a progressive meant that I believed in empowerment…But now, on all the major issues of the day, the message from progressives is “No, you can’t.”

From climate change to drugs to homelessness and racism, Shellenberger sees what Bradbury sees, an ideological and political movement that has gone off the rails:

The reason progressives believe that “No one is safe,” when it comes to climate change, and that the drug-death “homelessness” crisis is unsolvable, is because they are in the grip of a victim ideology characterized by safetyism, learned helplessness, and disempowerment.

This isn’t really that new. Since the 1960s, the New Left has argued that we can’t solve any of our major problems until we overthrow our racist, sexist, and capitalistic system. But for most of my life, up through the election of Obama, there was still a New Deal, “Yes we can!” and “We can do it!” optimism that sat side-by-side with the New Left’s fundamentally disempowering critique of the ­system.

That’s all gone. On climate change, drug deaths, and cultural issues like racism, the message from progressives is that we are doomed unless we dismantle the institutions responsible for our oppressive, racist system. Those of us in Generation X who were raised to believe that racism was something we could overcome have been told in no uncertain terms that we were wrong. Racism is baked into our cultural DNA.

So too does the more hardline Leftist, Matt Taibbi in this article, The Vanishing Legacy of Barack Obama, which starts off in typical Taibbi fashion:

On the road from stirring symbol of hope and change to the Fat Elvis of neoliberalism, birthday-partying Barack Obama sold us all out

Ouch! It only gets nastier from there as he starts with Barack’s fabulous 60th birthday bash in his “Who’s Afraid of Climate Change” $12 million mansion in Martha’s Vineyard:

… advisers prevailed upon the 44th president to reconsider the bacchanal. But characteristically, hilariously, Obama didn’t cancel his party, he merely uninvited those he considered less important, who happened to be almost entirely his most trusted former aides.

There’s a glorious moment in the life of a certain kind of politician, when either because their careers are over, or because they’re so untouchable politically that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they finally get to remove the public mask, no pun intended. This Covid bash was Barack Obama’s “Fuck it!” moment.

I must admit that I laughed out loud at that last bit. Closer observers of Obama had already noticed that aspect of his personality years ago:

Obama was set up to be the greatest of American heroes, but proved to be a common swindler and one of the great political liars of all time — he fooled us all. Moreover, his remarkably vacuous post-presidency is proving true everything Trump said in 2016 about the grasping Washington politicians whose only motives are personal enrichment, and who’d do anything, even attend his wedding, for a buck.

Heh. Trump spoke a great many truths about The Establishment in D.C.

How do these Leftist betrayals keep happening? The thing that Taibbi, and the German Critical Theorists and Gramsci and all the rest of these fabulous Marxist theorists continue to miss is that no matter how you dress up the pig, it’s still a swine, as Tom Wolfe waspishly noted years ago in The Intelligent Co-Ed’s Guide to America, writing about Solzhenitsyn’s coming to America:

With the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and the invasion of Czechoslo­vakia in 1968 it had become clear to Mannerist Marxists such as Sartre that the Soviet Union was now an embarrassment. The fault, however, as tout le monde knew, was not with socialism but with Stalinism. Stalin was a madman and had taken socialism on a wrong turn. (Mis­takes happen.) Solzhenitsyn began speaking out as a dissident inside the Soviet Union in 1967. His complaints, his revelations, his struggles with Soviet authorities—they merely underscored just how wrong the Stalinist turn had been.

The publication of The Gulag Archipelago in 1973, however, was a wholly unexpected blow. No one was ready for the obscene horror and grotesque scale of what Solzhenitsyn called “Our Sewage Disposal System”—in which tens of millions were shipped in boxcars to con­centration camps all over the country, in which tens of millions died, in which entire races and national groups were liquidated, insofar as they had existed in the Soviet Union. Moreover, said Solzhenitsyn, the system had not begun with Stalin but with Lenin, who had im­mediately exterminated non-Bolshevik opponents of the old regime and especially the student factions. It was impossible any longer to distinguish the Communist liquidation apparatus from the Nazi.

I always have to laugh at the trajectory that Leftists follow in this descent. People like Gorbachev and Dmitry Volkogonov at least had the excuse of having grown up in a brainwashed system, but not their Western counterparts:

Yet Solzhenitsyn went still further. He said that not only Stalinism, not only Leninism, not only Communism — but socialism itself led to the concentration camps; and not only socialism, but Marxism; and not only Marxism but any ideology that sought to reorganize morality on an a priori basis. Sadder still, it was impossible to say that Soviet socialism was not “real socialism.” On the contrary — it was socialism done by experts!

Intellectuals in Europe and America were willing to forgive Solzhe­nitsyn a great deal. After all, he had been born and raised in the Soviet Union as a Marxist, he had fought in combat for his country, he was a great novelist, he had been in the camps for eight years, he had suf­fered. But for his insistence that the isms themselves led to the death camps — for this he was not likely to be forgiven soon. And in fact the campaign of antisepsis began soon after he was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. (“He suffered too much — he’s crazy.” “He’s a Christian zealot with a Christ complex.” “He’s an agrarian reaction­ary.” “He’s an egotist and a publicity junkie.”)

I vividly recall that this was still the standard take on the man when I was at varsity in the 1980’s.

Solzhenitsyn’s tour of the United States in 1975 was like an enormous funeral procession that no one wanted to see. The White House wanted no part of him. The New York Times sought to bury his two major’ speeches, and only the moral pressure of a lone Times writer, Hilton Kramer, brought them any appreciable coverage at all. The major tele­vision networks declined to run the Solzhenitsyn interview that created such a stir in England earlier this year (it ran on some of the educa­tional channels).

And the literary world in general ignored him completely. In the huge unseen coffin that Solzhenitsyn towed behind him were not only the souls of the zeks who died in the Archipelago. No, the heartless bastard had also chucked in one of the last great visions: the intellec­tual as the Stainless Steel Socialist glistening against the bone heap of capitalism in its final, brutal, fascist phase. There was a bone heap, all right, and it was grisly beyond belief, but socialism had created it.

But the betrayals of Obama and Clinton and Blair and Brown and Ardern (“Wonder Woman”) and Clark and Lange and all the rest, don’t matter. The next leader of the Centre-Left parties will be hailed as the new saviour, and the entire hideous personality-cult-plus-central-control process will start all over again. These are the same people who will tell you earnestly to your face that there’s no way a modern Lenin, Stalin or Mao could arise because the Left would never make that mistake again.

The Zombie Returns

While the USSR collapsed in 1991 – fittingly on Christmas Day as if in a final tip-of-the-hat to the Christianity against which it had so long fought – and while this followed on from the collapse of all its little Mini-Me’s in Eastern Europe a couple of years earlier, there were still plenty of Marxists around, even if they seemed a little “off” from a traditional Marxist perspective:

Nominal communist regimes still exist, but they are knock-offs, systems determined to survive by being different. There is little Marx in China. Cuba also has gone to market to try to save itself. North Korea has enshrined Asian monarchy rather than European philosophy. But no one has attempted to remake Soviet communism.

Aside from those examples True Marxists (self-proclaimed) have soldiered on in the West, even gaining some traction with movements like Antifa and Burn Loot Murder, discontent with “neo-liberal capitalism” and certainly engaging in struggle sessions in many areas.

As this article, Zombie Marxism, makes clear, there’s a lot going on to once more modernise ancient Marxist ideas. That article looks at the two basic pathways to yet another socialist revolution: practical grassroots organising; and destroying a society’s ideas about itself. That last is mainly about Italian communist Antonio Gramsci:

Writing in the 1920s and ‘30s, after the failure by Italy’s workers to set up a communist state in 1918, Gramsci said the proletariat was consenting to his own enslavement. How so? He buys into the cultural trappings of his bourgeois oppressor—the church, the family, the nation-state, etc.

The communists at the turn of the 20th century had struck similar problems as the industrialised nations of Europe failed to undergo “natural” communist revolutions. Lenin’s answer was a Vanguard Party to lead the clueless workers. But Gramsci saw that outside of Russia that wasn’t working either. Something else was needed, and his key insight was that:

popular beliefs and similar ideas are themselves material forces.’ Gramsci upheld the assertion that a successful revolution would ultimately require the overthrow of the bourgeois state…However, because the capitalist hegemony does not function through state violence alone but that it also mobilizes civil society in order to promote oppressed peoples consent to and participation in the system, a successful revolutionary movement would first have to engage in a long-term effort to undermine that consent.

Screw economics in other words, the focus of Marx and Engels. Gramsci proposed that the things a civil society believes about itself, its culture, buttressed by its institutions, all the things that the oppressed foolishly believed in, would need to be torn down and rebuilt embedded with Marxist theory.

Which is where the German Critical Theorists come into the picture. They had the tools to enable the destruction, starting with the harmless, innocuous world of academic Western literature and then spreading beyond that to other parts of academia and from that into society, even into the ranks of the professional/managerial classes – with the NYT’s “educational 1619 Project, designed to tear down the myth of 1776 and replace it, being the most prominent example. As one modern Marxist, Harmony Goldberg, admiringly said:

Revolutionaries would themselves have to engage in the long-term battle of ideas in order to clarify the need for revolutionary transformation.” All-out ideological war is needed. A crisis can be used to overthrow a society, but the long-term subversion of a culture must come first.

Remember that when you strike idiot Right-Wing politicians who insist that “they don’t do culture wars”.

Aside from the ideas needed to destroy all those things there’s also the practical organising – which is where the likes of Burn Loot Murder come into the picture (and here you were thinking they were about Blacks being brutalised by the Police). The creators of BLM are people like Alicia Garza and Patrice Cullors:

 In 1996 Harmony Goldberg founded the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL). This is the same place where, seven years later, Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, then 22, began her Marxist training [in “community organising”].

In Cullors’s case, the ideological mentor was Eric Mann. He is a former member of the Weather Underground who founded the Labor-Community Strategy Center in LA (which Mann jokingly calls “the University of Caracas Revolutionary Graduate School”).

These bastard organisations may die off, as the murderous Weather Underground did after the early 70’s, but their poison lives on to create new horrors like BLM. Mann had already developed the key insight that in America Gramsci’s cultural attack would work best if it was boiled down to racism, the great fault line in America. The training of Cullors, Garza and others like them would also focus on a group of people not necessarily “working class”:

Early on, Mann settled on Los Angeles bus riders as more easily organizable and indoctrinated than factory workers. They were more destitute, more black, Latino, and Asian, and more female, than the average worker. “At a time when many workplaces have 25 to 50 employees, an overcrowded bus has 43 people sitting and from 25 to 43 people standing,” he wrote. “Ten organizers on ten different buses can reach 1,000 or more people in a single afternoon,” That’s why his Center pioneered the creation of a Bus Riders Union.

Remember this also the next time you read the likes of old time Leftist Chris Trotter sneering about the mindless, lower-class of the “lumpenproletariat“, as he did about the Wellington protestors. By contrast Mann and company see such people as equally valuable for their revolution, perhaps more so than the Working Class that buys into the capitalist dream.

So far it’s been quite successful: Critical Theory has laid waste to academic fields, and the most prominent outcome of BLM has been the Defund the Police movement. The article also points out the MSM has been brought into the picture in just the last few years, with a tenfold increase in the use of CRT terms such as “White Privilege”, “Systemic Racism”, “Racial Privilege and so forth. How helpful!

The thing is that the likes of Lenin, while they may not have been as focused on this stuff as a primary driver of revolution, effectively ended up doing the same thing after the revolution, as a rather surprising modern political figure confirms:

Cambodia’s Year Zero was not new or unique.

As much of a concern as these efforts are in their trashing of our Western civilisation, they’ve also turned out to be almost as much of a disappointment as their forebears in building the new Heaven On Earth, luckily without as much blood being split. For example the Defund The Police movement is rapidly collapsing as frightened Democrats back away from the massive surges in crime that have resulted in cities stupid enough to follow the advice of BLM, and US university enrolments are in long-term decline in areas such as English, Sociology, and History where Critical Theory has dominated.

But like old Communism, even as they fail they can be incredibly damaging. In the article Confessions of a student Marxist, we get some insight into this wasteland, as described a man who spent his teenage years “immersed in Marxist and anarchist circles and literature”, before getting to Cambridge University where he’s thrilled to discover others like himself and it all gets very exciting – for a while:

The college was a bucket of crabs and happiness itself suspect, a mark of privilege, as with the rugby lads who had the audacity to actually enjoy themselves. When there was laughter it was heavy and jarring, filled with irony and bitterness, never light or free. …Though we were aware of our enormous privilege we contrived to see our time at Cambridge as some grim fate foisted upon us.

Unhappiness brings with it power over others. Where compassion is the highest virtue, this power is almost limitless. Misery also provides the motive to wield this power, and mental blindness to one’s own culpability in its exercise. 

Eternally oppressed victims. There can be no uglier oppressors. He writes about seeing clips of people expressing their mental distress of oppression – “They are there in the voice, constantly on the point of breaking, in the incredulous, widening eyes, and in the earnestly furrowed brow” – and that when he sees BLM using the same “therapeutic language”, it makes his skin crawl.

Social theorist Mark Fisher described from first-hand experience the manipulation of this scene as a Vampire Castle which “feeds on the energy and anxieties and vulnerabilities of young students, but most of all it lives by converting the suffering of particular groups — the more marginal, the better — into academic capital. The most lauded figures in the Vampire Castle are those who have spotted a new market in suffering — those who can find a group more oppressed and subjugated than any previously exploited will find themselves promoted through the ranks very quickly.” The Vampire Castle recruits on the promise of community and self-healing. The reality is an ouroboros of emotional manipulation…

Emotional manipulation has become the primary, in some ways the only, driver of our politics: Jacinda Ardern is a leading example, including the fact that she is a wealthy, Middle-Class person:

The emotional manipulation developed in elite institutions has developed a motte-and-bailey style of argument (superbly analysed by Jacob Siegel) which is impossible to push back against without seeming callous. And every institution, public or private, has simply buckled.

the embrace of this movement by the rich, and the profound philosophical break it represents with the old order, suggests it has a logic and a momentum of its own and its potential is without limit. It is a politics of negation and renunciation and there is no end-point. There is always more work to be done.

That part about the rich jumping onboard with the bullshit shows both its danger to Western society as well as it weakness. Critical Theory and all the Gramscian stuff is doing a great job of tearing things down, but when it comes time for building they’re still stuck with Marxism, which only builds vast systems of centralised command and control that degenerate and then collapse.

But in this case, the approach has also produced, not a generation of hardened revolutionaries but a bunch of privileged cry-bullies: emotionally fragile people who, like their theories, can tear down but not build.

Seemingly on the cusp of victory (Defund the Police) they crap out in the face of reality (increased crime), and in the case of even the trained Marxists, it turns out that they love money and owning houses, having bought into the cultural trappings of their bourgeois oppressors.


Written by Tom Hunter

March 17, 2022 at 6:00 am

Bureaucracy vs. Robber Barrons

“When propaganda is the goal, accuracy is the victim.”

I recently came across two articles from past years that I’ve had bookmarked and which I’ve enjoyed reading again over this summer.

First up is some humour that author J K Rowling may be treating more seriously in her ongoing fight with the Trans community, especially after getting her name removed from the Harry Potter movie franchise by Warner Brothers as they launch a 20th anniversary celebration of the first HP movie.

The humour comes from an essay written in 2006 for the Michigan Law Review, which analyses what Rowling is effectively saying in her HP books about bureaucracy, government and the media, Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy:

The critique is even more devastating because the governmental actors and actions in the book look and feel so authentic and familiar. Cornelius Fudge, the original Minister of Magic, perfectly fits our notion of a bumbling politician just trying to hang onto his job. Delores Umbridge is the classic small-minded bureaucrat who only cares about rules, discipline, and her own power… The Ministry itself is made up of various sub-ministries with goofy names (e.g., The Goblin Liaison Office or the Ludicrous Patents Office) enforcing silly sounding regulations (e.g., The Decree for the Treatment of Non-Wizard Part-Humans or The Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery).

Rowling even eliminates the free press as a check on government power. The wizarding newspaper, The Daily Prophet, is depicted as a puppet to the whims of Ministry of Magic.

Sounds appropriate for our times. I don’t know how many of you have read the series, likely to your kids or even grandkids, or perhaps a guilty pleasure for yourself, but you may recognise some of this from the abstract.

I did not have to re-read the books to see all this, as it had jumped out at me when I read them originally, even if it went over the heads of my kids. I was hardly the only parent who speculated on what Rowling’s experience with government and bureaucrats had been in real life as she wrote her novels in poverty. Having said that it seems that Gen Z kids themselves continue to re-read the books now as they age into their twenties and thirties, where they likely also draw similar parallels:

it seems likely that we will see a continuing uptick in distrust of government and libertarianism as the Harry Potter generation reaches adulthood.

One can only hope. Which brings me to the next article, about a world almost completely at odds with the first, the Gilded Age of America, otherwise known as the time of The Robber Barrons.

More accurately The Myth of the ‘Robber Barons’. It turns out that it was created less at the time (despite cartoons such as the one above) than in the 1930’s, just when it was needed by the US Left, as described by historian Burton W. Folsom in his book about the subject.

It will surprise nobody to find that Far Lefters were behind it and that they were very ignorant about economics – and many other things. The main culprit was one Matthew Josephson, who quite literally wrote the best-selling book, The Robber Barons, after being inspired by Charles Beard, America’s foremost progressive historian, first at varsity and then years later during the Great Depression:

Josephson, the son of a Jewish banker, grew up in New York and graduated from Columbia University, where he was inspired in the classroom by Charles Beard, America’s foremost progressive historian—and a man sympathetic to socialism…“Oh! those respectable ones,” Beard said of America’s capitalists, “oh! their temples of respectability—how I detest them, how I would love to pull them all down!” Happily for Beard, Josephson was handy to do the job for him. Josephson dedicated The Robber Barons to Beard, the historian most responsible for the book’s contents.

Writing in the inspiring times of 1932 Josephson reached back fifty years in time to explain it all, but the following comments provide a clear idea of the quality of “analysis” he brought to the subject:

In a written interview for Pravda, the Soviet newspaper, Josephson said he enjoyed watching “the breakdown of our cult of business success and optimism.” He added, “The freedom of the U.S.S.R. from our cycles of insanity is the strongest argument in the world for the reconstruction of our society in a new form that is as highly centralized as Russia’s. . . .”

One is tempted to snigger but today we live with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Occasional-Cortex, who believe the same shite about socialism and its Siamese Twin, giant centralised government.

He did little research and mainly used secondary sources that supported his Marxist viewpoint. As he had written in the New Republic, “Far from shunning propaganda, we must use it more nobly, more skillfully than our predecessors, and speak through it in the local language and slogans.” Thus he wrote The Robber Barons with dramatic stories, anecdotes, and innuendos that demeaned corporate America and made the case for massive government intervention.

Ah yes. As with today’s “journalists” the Narrative is everything and is best supported by dramatic stories. As Folsom points out in the article, that means there are lots of mistakes: “On page 14 alone, Josephson makes at least a dozen errors in his account of Vanderbilt and the steamships.” As Folsom says, “When propaganda is the goal, accuracy is the victim.”

But the main error – actually showing up on that page – is that Josephson never differentiated between market entrepreneurs like Vanderbilt, Hill, and Rockefeller and political entrepreneurs (i.e. government subsidy harvesters) like Collins, Villard, and Gould, even as he was honest enough to praise aspects of the former and lash the latter:

He quotes “one authority” on the railroads as saying, “The Federal government seems . . . to have assumed the major portion of the risk and the Associates seem to have derived the profits”—but Josephson never pursues the implication of that passage.

While the book hit the best-seller lists for six months Josephson was running around Russia praising bloody Stalin and his system. He missed the gulags, the farm collectivisations and all their horrors, especially in the Ukraine, and saw only the factories and other “glamorous” things:

He attended official dinners and even talked with select Russian writers and artists. He was ecstatic. The Soviet Union, Josephson said, “seemed like the hope of the world—the only large nation run by men of reason.” … Josephson also never realized that the Soviet factories he saw were often directly copied from Western capitalist factories—and were funded by Stalin’s confiscatory taxation. Instead, Josephson thought he had stumbled into a workers’ paradise, the logical result of central planning and superior leaders.

This book would go on to be more than just a best-seller: it had huge influence in the worlds of high schools, academia and journalism for decades:

Historian Thomas Brewer, who in 1970 edited The Robber Barons: Saints or Sinners? observed that the majority of writers “still adhere to the ‘robber baron’ interpretation.” Historian David Shi agrees: “For well over a generation, The Robber Barons remained the standard work in its field.” For many textbook writers, it still is. In the main study guide for the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam for 2015, the writers say:

America [1877-1900] looked to have entered a period of prosperity with a handful of families having amassed unprecedented wealth, but the affluence of the few was built on the poverty of many.

2015 FFS? It’s a wonder that Silicon Valley exists at all with this sort of high school education, though perhaps it wasn’t as bad when the likes of Zuckerburg, Gates, Bezos and Steve Jobs were passing through it, and of course Musk was educated in South Africa.

Folsom explains that this success, despite all the sloppy errors in the book, comes down to two reasons.

First, it was tailor-made for the Progressives of the 1930’s eager to blame the new generation of robber barons for the Great Depression. I always laugh at those Lefties who claim that Righties pined for President Herbert Hoover: it’s even in the opening song for All In The Family because of course it is. See how this cultural shit works? In fact:

Those harmful federal policies include the Federal Reserve’s untimely raising of interest rates, making it harder to borrow money; President Hoover’s blundering Farm Board; his signing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, the highest in U.S. history; and his disastrous Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which dispensed massive corporate bailouts to political entrepreneurs. Finally, Hoover muzzled investment by repealing the Mellon tax cuts and promoting a huge tax hike.

Including income tax rates that went up to 70%, which FDR criticised, but which he cunningly kept after getting elected. Oh yeah, we Righties love that Herbert Hoover. Actually the admiration is for “Silent Cal” Coolidge, his predecessor, who could have run for office again in 1928 and would have handled all of the above very differently (of Hoover he said, “That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad.”)

The second reason is that a bunch of Marxist historians who influenced a lot of the post-WWII historical profession, loved the book and made sure it was embedded in the curriculums of their students, starting with Richard Hofstadter:

“My fundamental reason for joining [the Communist Party],” Hofstadter said, “is that I don’t like capitalism and want to get rid of it.”

He still desired that after quitting the Party. He’s also the guy who wrote the nasty little polemic about the US Right-Wing, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Great guys communists, whatever profession they are they’re still communists, with all the toxic nastiness and fanaticism involved.

Folsum’s book, The Myth of The Robber Barrons
Also, The Forgotten Man

Written by Tom Hunter

January 4, 2022 at 6:00 am

Karl Marx’s Christmas Present

Thirty years have passed since this wonderful moment, fittingly occurring on Christmas Day. I recall sitting in Chicago watching this on TV in amazement.

The Cold War was over.

The following two articles that seem appropriate to the fall of the USSR.

First up is Peter Hitchens amusing anecdote, The last Noël in the USSR. It captures the bleakness of the time:

But when she came to rip open her gifts, the parcels did not contain the things she had hoped for. Instead, they were full of pale, oddly coloured and sometimes faintly dangerous Soviet products, breathing the last enchantments of the 1930s. Mrs Hitchens had queued fiercely to buy these delights in the colossal ‘Children’s World’ department store which stood just across the road from KGB headquarters.

But also the little joys, as well as the knowledge that having tried so hard, the atheistic determination to wipe out Christianity had failed:

Young Pioneers no longer patrolled the wintry streets searching for subversive Christmas trees, as they had done in the early years of the Leninist state. The air no longer trembled with the sound of cathedrals being dynamited, or of great bells being torn from their towers and spitefully smashed, as it had done in Stalin’s day… The League of the Militant Godless, once a huge semi-official organisation dedicated to mockery and hatred of God, of priests and believers, had quietly vanished during the war against Hitler. God had, during that odd period, proved a useful Comrade, at least as long as the war went on.

Looking for a Christmas turkey his wife finds an old woman selling a goose in a side-street. A nervous peasant dressed all in black, fearful of the Russian Mafia that even then was appearing as the KGB faded. The old woman gets more roubles than she can imagine.

I have never in my life eaten a more delicious goose, like a giant wild duck, not greasy as western geese are, tasting as if it had been reared in a snowy forest — because it had been.

The dark afternoon and evening still glitter in my memory. Outside, the brown slush and dirt of Soviet modernity, and the yelling, fist-pounding politics of an evil state (and it truly was) flailing in its death agony. Inside, a distillation of all that was good in our culture and theirs, and crowned with a small and defiant remembrance of the greatest enemy tyranny ever had, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

December 25, 1991: USSR down at 7:32pm – Russia up at 7:45pm!

The second is an article that shows that, Things could have ended a lot, lot worse:

On December 8, 1991, two communist apparatchiks, Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk, and relative political neophyte Byelorussian Stanislav Shushkevich, met at a hunting lodge near the Polish border on December 8. They signed the Belavezha Accords, named after the enveloping forest, dissolving the Soviet Union…Eight more signatures were added to the agreement in the following two weeks. On December 26, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time. 

Although the U.S.S.R.’s collapse looks inevitable today, the dissident leaders feared arrest as traitors. Indeed, years later, local KGB head Eduard Shirkovsky said he wished he had done so. Shushkevich dismissed the idea: “I don’t think there was such a threat, given Gorbachev’s cowardice; at least I didn’t feel it.”

I think that’s a very harsh and unfair judgement on Gorbachev, though I understand how detested he is nowadays by his own people for having allowed an empire to be destroyed. He knew that he could have unleashed a still potent KGB and Red Army, invoking vast amounts of bloodshed as his predecessors had, not just in the USSR but in the Warsaw Pact nations. Certainly some of their scumbag leaders had been demanding such for three years, even as they went into the ash heap of history (in the case of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu into the cold soil, courtesy of Christmas Day bullets). But in the end he decided that, Marxist to the core though he was, it just was not worth it.

Nominal communist regimes still exist, but they are knock-offs, systems determined to survive by being different. There is little Marx in China. Cuba also has gone to market to try to save itself. North Korea has enshrined Asian monarchy rather than European philosophy. But no one has attempted to remake Soviet communism. For this, we should thank Mikhail Gorbachev, inadvertently or not one of freedom’s best friends

Zombie Marxism still exists in other places too, most notably in the heart of American academics and Left-wing activism, but that’s a story for the New Year.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm

K… K… K… Karl Marx and his never-ending story

Way back on October 8 I wrote a post about Biden’s nominee for the position of Office of Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova:

The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

I titled that post, Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital, since that was the title of her Masters Thesis at Moscow State University in the late 1980’s. I left it at that. The comments section closes automatically after two weeks to avoid spam.

Probably a good thing, because since then the bloody post has shown up every single day in the stats. I can only assume that around the world people are tapping the title of her thesis into their search engines in the hope of finding the original document, and ending up here at No Minister.

Sorry folks. I looked for it too at the MSU archives but no luck, and Ms Omarova is keeping her copy under lock and key. I don’t know why though as it couldn’t be any more damaging than what is already known about the Commie fanatic.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 19, 2021 at 11:02 am

A Scholar of the Cultural Revolution on the USA

I have not watched the whole interview, but clearly in this section the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) interviewer was fishing for a desired response from the interviewee.

She got something very unexpected from Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and political activist who is a scholar on authoritarianism, specifically dealing with Mao’s cultural revolution.

A “CUT THE MIKE” moment.

He points out that to be authoritarian requires more than sounding off on Twitter and saying stuff that sounds authoritarian. You need to be supported by a system, and that system – specifically the Federal Administrative State – rejected Trump’s demands but fully accepts Biden’s.

Yet that is also supported by too many ordinary people, such as David Farrar over at Kiwiblog, who thumped the table and loudly denounced Trump’s demands for some of his enemies to be investigated, yet is completely silent about things like the FBI and DOJ going after the parents of school kids as “domestic terrorists”.

But it’s what Weiwei goes to say next that should be getting the attention of a lot of people. He claims that the United States is actually in an authoritarian moment, just not in the way the Left believes. Instead, he brings up the fact that people unifying around certain “political correct” ideas denotes a “dangerous” trend.

Those on the left desperately want everything they oppose to be “authoritarian.” That’s why you get constant, irrational claims about their need to “save democracy.” Yet the left’s attempts to erase history and suppress “improper” speech are actually the hallmarks of authoritarianism as evidenced by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, something Weiwei is very familiar with.

What brings about tyranny is a societal shift that tears down the past and viciously dictates the future via threats of financial ruin and violence. It is not the Right that wants to destroy statues of Thomas Jefferson and put in place “hate speech” laws. Instead, it is the left that forces people from their jobs for wrong-think while insisting that it’s acceptable to “punch” Nazis. And surprise, everyone they don’t like is a Nazi.

Between this guy and the comments about US universities made by North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park, after graduating from Columbia University – “Even North Korea is not this nuts” – you’d think the Left would pause.

But they won’t. They can’t.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 18, 2021 at 6:00 am

Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.

That’s the title of an economic thesis written decades ago at Moscow State University by an American student, attending courtesy of something called the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.

The person is one Saule Omarova, who is now a law professor at Cornell Law School. After graduating from Moscow in 1989 she returned to the USA where she got a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She’s also still in love with the USSR:

“Until I came to the US, I couldn’t imagine that things like gender pay gap still existed in today’s world. Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always ‘know best,’” she tweeted in 2019.

Ms. Omarova thinks asset prices, pay scales, capital and credit should be dictated by the federal government. In two papers, she has advocated expanding the Federal Reserve’s mandate to include the price levels of “systemically important financial assets” as well as worker wages. …

In a recent paper “The People’s Ledger,” she proposed that the Federal Reserve take over consumer bank deposits, “effectively ‘end banking,’ as we know it,” and become “the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a modern economy.”

Perhaps she’s not aware that the USSR lost the Cold War and fell apart, revealing to the world what a complete sham its communist economy had always been.

By escaping the USSR she’s managed to live the typical wealthy lifestyle of a professor at one of America’s premier universities and is now ready to move on to other things.

Like running America’s banking regulatory system.

Joe Biden has nominated Saule Omarova to be Comptroller of the Currency. It is an important position. According to the Comptroller’s web site:

The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Because of course this is what moderate, slighty left-of-centre Democrat Presidents do.

This is insane. Her nomination should be rejected with prejudice.

Is there anybody out there who still thinks it was a great idea to swap President Trump for Joe Biden?

Written by Tom Hunter

October 8, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Freedom and other anti-government slogans

Sheesh, no sooner do I give some plaudits to a couple of MSM sources for actual journalism and Speaking Truth To Power, than the usual suspects return to their true beliefs.

I’m sure your first take on reading that title would be to assume that it’s just me having a bit of mocking fun against our Superior Betters who are constantly trying to run our lives for us (drugs and sex aside).

But no. It derives from protests that have erupted in the last couple of days in Cuba:

Yet here’s how Ye Olde New York Times chose to cover the story.

Yes, Freedom is certainly dangerous to totalitarians. The Chinese Lung Rot lockdowns, crap economy and food shortages are symptoms but every living Cuban knows that it’s the Communist system of the country that’s the disease.

Then there’s that phrase “anti-government”. WTF? The word “dictatorship” too strong for the pussies of the NYT? Too truthful is the answer.

Unfortunately one of the potential replacements for our dying MSM, Social Media, is pretty much up there with them on this story, as Twitter showed in reinforcing The Narrative:

There were more than a few American flags flying in the Cuban crowds as well, as was the case with Hong Kong in 2019. They even protested in front of the Communist Party HQ in Havana, and yelled abuse at the officials.

Notably the Miami Herald had a slightly different take on the protests, likely due to the substantial numbers of Cuban escapees living there and the increasingly Republican nature of Florida:

In an unprecedented display of anger and frustration, thousands of people took to the streets Sunday in several cities and towns in Cuba, including Havana, to call for the end of the decades-old dictatorship and demand food and vaccines as shortages of basic necessities have reached crisis proportions and COVID-19 cases have soared.

Cuba apparently developed their own Covid vaccine but then found that they did not have enough syringes for the population. Communism in a nutshell.

But Communist juntas around the world have learned a few things over time, the Number One lesson coming from 1989-1991 where you crush protests as fast as possible and don’t mess around with nonsense like Perestroika, Glasnost and other liberal tomfoolery. As a result the latest news does not surprise:

The communist Cuban dictatorial regime began cracking down on pro-freedom protesters on Sunday that stormed the island nation’s streets. Numerous arrests were reported as widespread internet outages spread across the nation.

Of course more control will just make things worse economically and every other way as well but the junta will survive another day… week… year. In this case the Castroists have not even learned the lesson that Deng Xiaoping did of unleashing capitalism but not democracy. Maybe they think that can only work in a conformist society like China?

Since I started with the NYT on Cuba I’ll finish with them as well by linking to an article about how they helped Castro’s Glorious Revolution back in 1959:

Castro’s group used the articles as proof of their growing strength, and in time both fundraising and recruitment benefited substantially from them. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who was already with Castro in the Sierra when the interview took place, said that Matthews’s work was more important to the rebels than a victory on the battlefield

His heroic portrayal of Castro as a scruffy mountain rebel leading an insurrection of Cuban youths against Batista was the image on which American perceptions of the revolution would be widely based for several years. By highlighting Castro’s promises to restore Cuba’s constitution and hold free elections, his articles and their prominent display in The [NY] Times (two of them on the front page, a third inside, and all three heavily promoted within the paper) increased pressure on Washington to stop shipping arms to Batista.

It’s only mentioned in passing in that academic article but while being interviewed by the NYT’s Matthews, Castro got his small band of troops to march through the camp in a great circle, swapping weapons and clothes to make it appear he was much more powerful and popular than he was. Matthews fell for it, despite being an experienced war reporter. Another aspect of The Narrative: the journalist wants to believe it also.

Gaslighting. Always gaslighting. See Lefty talking points on CRT, Antifa, BLM, etc, etc….

Written by Tom Hunter

July 13, 2021 at 11:48 am

Your daily WSW

White Supremacy Watch that is. I’m thinking of making it a series, given how much White Supremacy we’re drowning in across the Western world.

So here’s your first daily dose of this focused news, with two good ones to share. First are fireworks and gun smoke.

Then there’s this from San Francisco, where one of the Liberal Luvvies who’s probably voted Democrat all her life, expresses a Bad Opinion…

… and finds herself in the crosshairs of her very own Democrat Party representative, Kate Chatfield, a senior director at the San Francisco DA’s office.

The DA is one Chesa Boudin, the son of legendary Weather Underground terrorists and convicted murderers, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert. He was raised by their friends, the un-convicted Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in Chicago. If you’re thinking this might be a John Banks situation you would be wrong. Chesa has swallowed all the theories of Society As The Real Criminal and is trying to decriminalise a lot of crime in SF and release as many prisoners as possible.

Still, the SF crime increase seems to be more around theft of all types, plus muggings and general assault so I think “Michele” is being a bit OTT. In Chicago that’s all regarded as “meh”. If local DA, Kim Foxx, ever gets tired of the job maybe Chesa can swap places, since she thinks the same way as he does about crime and criminals.

They jumped the gun a bit on that and should have checked with the most trustworthy and accurate source for Chicago crime data, HeyJackass.com (“Illustrating Chicago Values”). The toll for the past weekend is now 104 shot and 19 killed. Luckily, when Mayor Lightfoot is not being insane with her staff, she’s on the job explaining how 99% of the questions she gets come from a source of racism and sexism.

American Billionaires go long on China

This doesn’t shock me of course, but it does sadden me that three men who owe almost everything they’ve got to the American system of capitalism and democracy could be so ignorant of that fact, to the extent that they don’t seem to care if it crashes.

In this case it’s three billionaires in particular, but given the circles they run in you can bet there’s plenty more where they came from.

Charlie Munger

First up is one Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman (net worth $US 2 billion):

The Chinese Communists did the right thing. They just called in Jack Ma and said, “You aren’t gonna do it, sonny.” 

He’s actually talking about Chinese billionaire and entreprenueur Jack Ma, a former schoolteacher who co-founded the gigantic Albaba e-commerce firm. To be fair, Munger does go on to say the following:

I don’t want the, all of the Chinese system, but I certainly would like to have the financial part of it in my own country.

Thank goodness for that much. However, this genius apparently cannot see that you don’t get to have one part of such a system without having the rest. Munger also doesn’t seem to have noticed that if the CCP can take out Jake Ma (net worth $US 50 billion) then they could take out Munger and company too were he to step into areas of disagreement with the CCP.

Michael Bloomberg

Then there’s Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of NYC and 2020 Democrat Presidential candidate (net worth $US 60 billion):

“The Communist Party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public . . . Xi Jinping is not a dictator.”

If I recall my history correctly even Stalin listened to his critics and would occasionally follow their recommendations – while at the same time putting extra eyes on them, readying them for the counter-revolutionary trials if he felt like it.

Then there’s the richest of the three, Bill Gates ($US 150 billion) giving a thumbs up to China’s Covid-19 response:

“What China did is helping the rest of the world.”

“China did a lot of things right in the beginning,”

China must be over the moon about such things. Who needs the Peoples Liberation Army, Navy and Air Force, or even the Confucius Institutes to help “educate” American youth about China, when you’ve got people like this on your side.

To have the most effective critics of America placed not in Beijing but in America itself; in corporate boardrooms, campuses, newsrooms, Hollywood, Wall Street, and now even the Pentagon. That’s one hell of an achievement and the funny thing is that the Chinese really had very little to do with it.

But they certainly are taking advantage of it:

The opening salvo in this all-out campaign was fired at the U.S.-China summit in Alaska on March 19. The Chinese delegation, besides publicly humiliating the Biden administration, used the summit to accuse the U.S. of “deep-seated” racism. Chinese representatives referred to the propaganda put out by the BLM movement to accuse the U.S. of ‘slaughtering’ Black Americans.

The same day, China used the floor of the U.N. General Assembly to make similar claims. China’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dai Bing accused the U.S of “deep-seated problems of racial discrimination, social injustice and police brutality.”

It’s no surprise that US Secretary of State Blinken sat silently through that Alaskan beating by the Chinese, for what response could he actually make to accusations that his own Democrat Party, indeed his own fucking President, had made about his own nation.

Many of the ideas adopted by the Alinsky-inspired New Left in the 60s and 70s came from the violent Cultural Revolution instigated by Mao Zedong in China between 1966-76. Thus ‘political correctness’ is not a woke concept developed by Western academics in Princeton or Harvard, but a notion rooted in the doctrine of Maoism. Today’s woke mob derives its intolerant instincts to ban ideas, cleanse the language, or purge its opponents from their ideology steeped on genocidal Marxism and Maoism.

Thus comes the full circle.

Still, throughout history, smart people have been notorious for making very dumb mistakes, for there is a difference between being smart and being wise. As the following Spectator article by Melissa Chen points out, the CCP may have recently moved too far and too fast:

But the party’s increasing insecurity about its grip on power led China to turn inward and ultimately, with the rise of Xi Jinping who purged corruption in the politburo to preserve loyalists and removed presidential term limits, it fell back to a personality cult not seen since Mao. Steadily in the last few years and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, China has turned the world against it by proving itself to be an irresponsible world actor.

After a century of existence, the CCP has made a strategic mistake and played its hand too early, revealing the game and the true nature of the party. How should we respond in the next century?

That last is a question the likes of Bloomberg and company have not even asked from the perspective of 2020/21. They’re still stuck in the early 2000’s with regard to China.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 6, 2021 at 2:30 pm