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aries1988 : communism   16

Karl Marx, Yesterday and Today | The New Yorker

interpretation of his work made after his death by people like Karl Kautsky, who was his chief German-language exponent; Georgi Plekhanov, his chief Russian exponent; and, most influentially, Engels. It was thanks mainly to those writers that people started to refer to Marxism as “scientific socialism,” a phrase that sums up what was most frightening about twentieth-century Communism: the idea that human beings can be reëngineered in accordance with a theory that presents itself as a law of history. The word the twentieth century coined for that was totalitarianism.
politics  book  revolution  ideology  uk  19C  leader  communism  economy  capitalism  utopia 
october 2018 by aries1988
Hardliners Learn That Democracy Can Pay Off - Bloomberg
The big innovation in authoritarian governance has been this: subsequent autocratic leaders, most of all in China, have found ways of both liberalizing and staying in power.

A second development was when authoritarian leaders realized that absolute prohibitions on free speech were counterproductive, and they learned how to manage an intermediate solution.

These days, the Communist Party monitors public opinion closely, to learn what people are unhappy about (e.g., forced resettlements, pollution), so those problems can be ameliorated, or at least the government can position its failings appropriately.
opinion  autocracy  china  history  soviet  communism  democracy  howto 
july 2018 by aries1988
En direct : vos questions sur l’avenir de la Chine de Xi Jinping
Les observateurs de la politique chinoise se disent qu’il est l’homme d’une certaine rupture. Avec cette reconduction, va-t-il remodeler la direction du parti ou rester pour un troisième mandat, confortant son statut de dirigeant chinois le plus puissant depuis quarante ans ? François Bougon, chef de service adjoint au service International du Monde et auteur du livre Dans la tête de Xi Jinping, fait le point avec nous et répond à toutes vos questions en direct sur Facebook.
video  question  ama  china  chinese  politics  communism  explained  debate  2017 
october 2017 by aries1988
Red Famine by Anne Applebaum — enemies of the people
The famine was an instrument of targeted mass murder. As peasants were dying in the countryside, Stalin launched a brutal attack on the Ukrainian national idea itself. Since the 19th century, Moscow had been hostile towards national groups that challenged the unity of the Russian empire. In Ukraine, the Romanovs embarked upon a programme of accelerated Russification, suppressing local languages, gutting civil society, and depositing outsiders from remote parts of the empire into Ukraine’s towns and cities. Stalin’s “War on Ukraine” was the violent continuum of this quest for hegemony in Europe’s bloodlands. Along with the peasantry, it was directed at intellectuals, politicians, writers, priests and public officials — agents of the nation’s moral and political order.
book  russia  europe  history  1930s  disaster  politics  communism  death  debate 
october 2017 by aries1988
What Ever Happened to the Russian Revolution?

Now I’ve traveled enough in Russia that my affections are more complicated. I know that almost no conclusion I ever draw about it is likely to be right. The way to think about Russia is without thinking about it. I just try to love it and yield to it and go with it, while also paying vigilant attention—if that makes sense.

My way to travel is to go to a specific place and try to absorb what it is now and look closer, for what it was.

The Decembrists were young officers in the czar’s army who fought in the Napoleonic wars and found out about the Enlightenment and came home wanting to reform Russia.

Lenin informed his listeners that they had pioneered the international Socialist revolution, and would go forth into the world and proselytize the masses. It was an amazing vision, Marxist and deeply Russian simultaneously, and it helped sustain the despotic Bolsheviks, just as building St. Petersburg, no matter how brutal the cost, drove Peter the Great 200 years before. After Lenin, Russia would involve itself aggressively in the affairs of countries all over the world. That sense of global mission, soon corrupted to strategic meddling and plain troublemaking, is why America still worries about Russia today.

Rumor and street culture—jokes, postcards, sayings, bawdy plays performed in saloons—changed the image of the czar and the czarina, desacralized them, before and during the war. Empress Alexandra’s dependence on Rasputin, the so-called crazed monk, had catastrophic consequences. Tales of the czarina’s debauchery with Rasputin (completely untrue), and rumors of the czar’s impotence, and her supposed sabotage of the war effort because she was born in Germany, all undermined the Romanovs, until finally nobody could be too sad when the monarchy went away. People sent each other erotic postcards of the czarina with Rasputin, audiences howled laughing at plays about his supposed sexual power. It resembled modern defamation by social media, and it did great damage. I call it the ‘tragic erotics’ of Nicholas’ reign. If you loved Russia you were obliged to love your czar. People were saying, ‘I know I must love my czar, but I cannot.’

Tourists came through in a constant stream. Nearly all were holding up their phones and taking videos or photographs. Sometimes a tourist would stop in the middle of the room, hold the phone up with both hands in the air, and slowly turn in a circle so the video could pan the entire room. This slow, unself-conscious video-making rotation in the room’s center with arms upstretched happened over and over, a new century’s new dance.

In 1967, a New York Times editorial titled “Russia’s Next Half-Century” congratulated the Soviet Union for becoming “one of the world’s foremost economic, scientific, and military powers.” The Times said it looked forward to a prosperous future for the country, but added, “Russia’s leaders, surveying the changes of fifty hectic years, surely understand that the vision of a monolithic, uniform world—whether Communist or capitalist—is a fantasy.”

Whoever wrote it must have known that as an adjective to describe the Soviet half-century, “hec­tic” did not suffice. But you can also see the problem the editorial writer faced. What could be said about such horrors? The United States had never known what to make of its cruel, sly, opaque World War II ally turned Cold War enemy. America even tried to like Stalin for a while. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine 12 times.

Russia, the country itself, inhabits a spirit as well. The visible location of this spirit’s existence in the world used to be the czar. The United States is a concept; Russia is an animate being. I think Nicholas II understood this, and it’s why he believed so strongly that his countrymen needed the autocracy. Nicholas not only ruled Russia, he not only signified Russia, he was Russia.

Today, on Victory Day, marchers show up in the hundreds of thousands in every major Russian city bearing portraits of their relatives who served. These portraits, typically black-and-white photographs, keep to a single size and are attached to identical wooden handles like those used for picket signs. As a group the photos are called Bezsmertnii Polk, the Deathless Regiment.

The portraits in their endless numbers evoke powerful emotions as they stream by, especially when you glimpse a young marcher who looks exactly like the young soldier in the faded photograph he or she is carrying.

Individuals change history. There would be no St. Petersburg without Peter the Great and no United States of America without George Washington. There would have been no Soviet Union without Lenin. Today he might feel discouraged to see the failure of his Marxist utopia—a failure so thorough that no country is likely to try it again soon. But his political methods may be his real legacy.

Lenin showed the world how well not compromising can work. A response to that revolutionary innovation of his has yet to be figured out.
russia  travel  interview  city  tourist  history  today  revolution  communism  instapaper_favs 
october 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:殺無赦(上)

極權政治的最大特點之一,就是徹底改變了人類文明自古以來的種種基本道德信條,例如將「不可殺人」變成「你應該殺人」。

他們掌控的機器全都非常成功,殺人無算,而且殺得理直氣壯,冠冕堂皇。他們之所以幹得如此出色,是因為那道以界定神聖政治目標為起點程序,被精心構造成了一套雖然經不起理性考驗,但卻非常誘人,在情感上極具號召力的意識型態。

當所有奠基社會的德目一一受到質疑、衝擊、否定、和改造之後,終於,那最不可突破的最後底線也就坍塌下來了。為什麼文革時期,就連一些還在襁褓之中的嬰孩都會遭到毒手呢?那是因為他們的父母身為政治敵人,其實已經不算是人了,殺了都不能叫殺。由於這些嬰兒非人所生,所以殺害他們也就沒有道德負擔了。這不是傳統意義上的殺人,而是明智的,合理的,剷草除根的,防患於未來。
china  ethic  killing  crime  ideology  mao  revolution  communism 
september 2017 by aries1988
Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich on her fears for Russia’s ‘collective Putin’
Not only did many of the intellectuals of her generation lose their jobs, their savings and their ideals: they also experienced no catharsis, since no one from the former regime was ever brought to justice. I ask her if Russia might have turned out differently if there had been a trial of the Communist party. “I was convinced there should have been,” she says. But others, including her father, an ardent communist, disagreed. “He said it would have led to civil war,” she says. As a result there was no reckoning with the Soviet past, no Russian Nuremberg. “We missed our chance,” she says.
interview  russia  communism  intelligentsia  today  history  literature  zeitgeist  nation 
june 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:唔關我事
在特朗普身上,在香港一些年輕學生身上,我看到一種很不可思議的共通點,那就是切割。和本該不可割捨的過去切割,往昔世界工業發展的歷史和我沒有關係,二十多年前香港發生過的事情也和我沒有關係。和不可能不與之相互影響的「外部」切割,全球其餘兩百多個國家和我沒有關係,中國再怎麼樣也和我沒有關係。和我們「內部」其他人切割,凡是與我看法不一致的大企業都不能代表「真正美國人」的利益,凡是與我觀點不相通的社運組織也都不能算是站在「真正香港人」這一邊。於是那最純粹、最本真的「美國人」或「香港人」,就是經過一連串的切割之後,既沒有過去,也顧不到將來;既不與遠親為伍,復不認近鄰為友的,蒼白的、懸峙的、原子化的我了。在我看來,這就是今日右翼民粹論述的一個邏輯特點。

不過若是繼續追問下去,想要發掘更多課本所不傳的史實的話,那就會犯上「歷史虛無主義」的罪了,是妄圖以歷史否定中國共產黨領導地位合法性的重大錯誤。但只要你不問不說,假裝發生過的事沒有發生過,假裝仍然活着的兇手與受害者皆不存在,歷史就不虛無了。你的歷史觀不虛無,你就安全了,你就可以好好地活着了。所以每當香港媒體問到在港內地學生關於「六四」的事,都一定有人會答:「那是歷史上的事,和我今天的生活沒有多大關係」。
china  hongkong  chinese  identity  government  democracy  cause  local  youth  opinion  comparison  conflict  today  crisis  history  killing  communism  64  idealism  politics 
june 2017 by aries1988
Jeremy Paxman on Europe’s last wilderness - FT.com
https://www.instapaper.com/read/722133131
Romania may not be the envy of the European Union for many things, but in one it should be: the mountains of Carpathia house the last great wilderness of this prosperous, crowded continent.

Walk through the arboreal gloaming — where the air is pungent, the ground is strewn with fallen branches or thick with dried needles and leaves, and feldspar pebbles glitter silver in the streams — and you feel reconnected with some primeval sense of how the continent was before the Habsburgs and Napoleon, before even Greece and Rome.

While forests are embedded deep in the Romanians’ sense of themselves, the Carpathian Mountains marked the boundary between Transylvania and Wallachia, which held very different concepts of ownership in the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. It took years but, by the early 21st century, restitution was under way.

The history of the European continent is one of relentless exploitation of the land: civilisations have risen and fallen, leaving their mark in how they tamed the world. In the elegant explanation of the historian Sir Keith Thomas, uncultivated land meant uncultivated men.

what struck a chord with almost everyone was his talk of the tonic of wildness. In 1864, President Lincoln signed the first order creating a protected wilderness, in Yosemite, California. The patron saint of the American conservation movement, the Scots-American John Muir, wrote: Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.

This is the last place in Europe where all wildlife and forest components are present, says Promberger. Walking through these forests makes you understand your place in nature and it has become my purpose in life to safeguard them from the greedy timber mafia.

The Fundatia Conservation Carpathia, founded by Barbara and Christoph, hopes for more philanthropists, nursing an ambition to create in Romania a Yellowstone or Serengeti for Europe, in the words of a British supporter, Paul Lister. One day, they dream, the country might become the Costa Rica of Europe.
forest  nature  europe  communism  business  east-europe  timeless  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
Meet the American Who Joined Mao’s Revolution — War Is Boring
But after the outbreak of World War II, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Stanford's Army Far Eastern Language and Area School to learn Japanese. When he arrived, he chose to learn Chinese instead  —  believing that learning Japanese would mean serving in the lengthy post-war occupation.

He wanted to return to the United States  —  and his labor activism  —  as soon as he possibly could. He thought China would be a nice short adventure. He wouldn't return to America for more than three decades.

More importantly, Mao had a knack for making everyone around him feel like they brought something important to the table. "He was one of the best listeners I've ever met," Rittenberg adds.

Rittenberg believes that American officials' perception of communism as monolithic led to major miscalculations throughout the Cold War. The United States had a golden opportunity to exploit the factionalization of communist governments and movements  —  and failed to take it.

Instead, the Americans' refusal to negotiate sent the Chinese communists down the path of not just closer ties with Stalin's Russia, but toward Stalinist ideas and governance. "History could have been very, very different."

"I had been a true Leninist," he says, which meant he believed that to establish a perfect democracy one had to first create a perfect dictatorship. But his years in China led him to believe that dictatorship only leads to dictatorship, and that Mao's ascendance to power is more than enough evidence for it.
story  mao  american  communism  gaijin 
august 2015 by aries1988
How Russians Lost the War
What does Victory Day mean in a country that has enslaved its people?
opinion  russia  history  communism 
may 2015 by aries1988
余英时:中国转一个身非常困难
中国轴心时代的突破就是孔子的出现,他把中国从原始宗教的晚期提升到一个全新的精神领域。试以“天”或“天命”的概念为例:在商周时期,天命只能维系在一个人身上,就是建立了王朝的最高统治者。最高统治者进行统治的理由在于他有天命在身。而他与天的沟通是通过“巫”进行,当然也有一些统治者自己变成“大巫”,也就是“众巫之长”。孔子带来的变化在于他把天命观给改变了,不再是最高统治者一个人和他的王朝所拥有的了。他也把中国文化从过去由“巫”所控制的礼乐给解放了出来。他提到“五十而知天命”,这里面天命已经不再只是指一个王朝了,而是个人,也就是说个人也可以拥有天命。他说“知我者其天乎”,他已经承认个人和天可以沟通。这个观点后来变成了孔子的“仁”的观念,孟子解释说孔子的“仁”就是人心,“仁,人心也”。当然后来也有各家各派的解读,中国的思想史也就开始了。

我以中国的轴心突破和西方作对比,发现中国在突破后的超越精神世界是内向的,可以简称之为“内向超越”("inward transcendence"),与西方突破后的“外在超越”是两条不同的文化道路。西方的超越世界,无论是柏拉图的“理性世界”或稍后基督教的“上帝之都”,都是完全外在于人间世界,并高高在上。而中国的超越世界——“道”——则是“天人合一”的产品,即由人将作为价值源头的“天”收入“心”中。所以在“内”而不在“外”。这一文明特色的形成非常复杂,详见我的新书《论天人之际》,这里不再详论。

从某种程度上讲,中国的一些文化观念也有超过西方的,比如希腊认为奴隶制是自然的,坦然接受,直到基督教出来之后才开始被批判。可是我们汉代皇帝便有诏令,强调人不可以卖自己的孩子为奴,也不可以买别人的孩子为奴。“天地之性,人为贵”。不能说中国文化整个都是落后的。过去最大的问题就是认为如果不把中国传统文化都消灭干净的话,就无法现代化。这也是为什么我会批评激进主义。

但是在近几十年以来,在中共的统治下,中国文化中坏的部分都被加强了,好的部分都被丢掉了。这也不是我的偏见。比如过去中国人非常讲人情,做事情要合理也要合情,但中共搞阶级斗争之后,整个局面改变了,人情没有了。人与人互相猜防,三个人在一起就不敢说真话。再比如说官本位,这是中国传统中发展出来的一大弊端,但却在中共统治下达到了登峰造极的地步。今天大陆上一切都是官作主,学术界也是如此。学术领导权完全在“官”手上,真正学者反而不受人尊敬。过去我们提到蔡元培、王国维,在学术上都是令人肃然起敬的,但是现在有这样的人物吗?

这些大学生与康有为领导的举人不同,他们已成为现代知识人了,也就是西方的“intellectuals”。“士”和“知识人”的分化主要发生在1905年科举制的废止。在科举制下,士只要考中举人或进士,便已是权力系统中的一员,可以入仕了。但现代大学毕业生却在权力系统之外。所以1905年可以说是“士”与“知识人”之间的分水岭。

现在中共重视的只是些有工具价值的技术人,比如经济、贸易、和科技方面。具有独立思想和批判精神的人文社会学科方面的知识人,它不但不尊重,反而尽力压抑,这一点只要看看中共的社科院便清楚了。

答:是啊,中国是一个太大的国家,又统一了很久。不像苏联是十多个小国组成,解体后各自还能发展。中国几乎没有亡国之后各地方还能各自发展的余地。这就导致中国转一个身是非常困难的。中国共产党也是在中国转身的长期过程中出现的。但不幸这是一个天大的错误,走上反文明的歧路。这歧路走了几十年,要想转入正途,则非常不易。
china  today  history  communism  intelligentsia 
october 2014 by aries1988
麦克法考尔:毛泽东的遗产
但是赫鲁晓夫和邓小平有很大的不同,赫鲁晓夫运气好,他还可以依赖列宁。斯大林的坟墓最终被挖,但列宁的墓到今天一直存在。如果你拿掉毛泽东,有谁可以代替呢?没有人。如果有天共产党说我们要拿掉毛泽东的像,说我们不再坚持毛泽东思想了,我认为那将是共产党开始消亡的一天。
instapaper_favs  mao  legacy  china  taiwan  communism 
september 2012 by aries1988

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