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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



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

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 -
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

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。





china  today  history  communism  intelligentsia 
october 2014 by aries1988
instapaper_favs  mao  legacy  china  taiwan  communism 
september 2012 by aries1988

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