Sergey Kurginyan speaks on November 7, 2017
Grigory Fadeev © Rossa Primavera News Agency
November 7, 2017.
When the course of events began, that gave rise to the Great October Socialist Revolution, the victory in the Great Patriotic War, spaceflight, and many other things, there were much fewer people who initiated the chain of successive events.
Comrades! Take a look around. Remember how they said in 2011-2012, that we would not be around in six months.
We, Essence of Time, are practically the only organization today, which celebrates the 7th of November for real. This does not make us happy. We would rather see another 50 or 100 such organizations. But we have what we have.
We have gathered in this hall with the firm resolve to celebrate with dignity a great event of world history: The Great October Socialist Revolution, its one hundred year anniversary.
One hundred years: it is not just the passing of a certain amount of days and hours. It is a kind of enormous loop of time, within which something is revolving. I personally want to believe that somewhere here, close to us, are those who brought this revolution to life, who built our country, who left it in our hands. And that they at least understand that they are not forgotten, that we, the descendants do not say that it is all in the past, so let it be.
A little later, I shall deliver an address, as is fitting of a ceremonial gathering. Then, there will be a concert, as is also fitting of a ceremonial gathering. But now, let us begin with what is now entirely forgotten, but what was an inalienable and highest tradition for those who created this revolution, and then built the country.
We begin it all with that anthem, under which the revolution began, and under which its greatest deeds were done.
[Everyone sings “The Internationale”.]
I want to say, opening this ceremonial gathering, that people of many generations are present here. It is wonderful that there are those here who can pass along the tradition, and those who can accept it: there is a great many youth here.
When the course of events began, that gave rise the Great October Socialist Revolution, the victory in the Great Patriotic War, spaceflight, and many other things, there were much fewer people who initiated the chain of successive events. But they set very ambitious goals before themselves from the very start. They believed that they would accomplish them.
And ultimately, they did accomplish them. Because they were ready not to abstractly fantasize on the subject, not to dream, be it lying on the couch, or being engaged in some sort of “lukewarm” activity; they were burning with that fire; they believed that they were right. They were strong people, and as they met their goals, they accumulated more and more strength.
Those who have gathered here are to determine what this undertaking is to amount to the creation of one of several civic foci, which would be capable of slightly heating up today’s situation, which is dissipating its heat, or something greater. It is impossible to assume anything in advance here. One may wish to dream of many things, but what people are capable of depends on these very people.
But something gathered them here. Something gathered them here six years ago. Something gave them the strength to do what they have done over the course of these years. And it is good to take a look here, both at the path travelled, and at its meaning. Because the meaning of any celebration is to look back in order to see what lies ahead.
At the moment when the communist worldview began to gather strength, in the form of a movement based on a certain kind of scientific character, which Marx had introduced, the world (I mean the Western world, which at time was the only one to lead the historical process somewhere) came under the reign of a certain form of despair. This despair was begotten by the fact that the great slogans of the French Revolution, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” had brought upon the triumph of forces, which were predatory and merciless with regards to the disenfranchised. These people could experience no equality, no fraternity, and even no liberty. A monstrous and merciless exploitation had begun.
It suddenly turned out that the destruction of the barriers between the estates and the Great French Revolution’s other accomplishments had not led to happiness or justice. In a certain sense, exploitation had only grown stronger. Moreover, the bourgeoisie, as is written in the Communist Manifesto, had drowned, “in the icy water of egotistical calculation”, everything that warmed humanity. People had stopped believing in history. They stopped believing that history is moving towards a meaningful and virtuous result.
Furthermore, Hegelianism, which emerged on the philosophical and worldview arena, for it was indeed Hegel who became the successor of classical religiosity in the sense of setting further goals for humanity, was, in fact, full of profound pessimism. Because it spoke of an end of history: the world historical spirit, having done a certain work, was to conclude it in the form of a new spirit, and then everything was supposed to fold in upon itself. And when words today are being ominously uttered regarding an end of history, an end of art, an end of Man, and so forth, these words are born of Hegel and his students, Kojève, Fukuyama, and others. This was a school in world philosophical history which, as it would seem, wholeheartedly glorified historical progress, but it was actually filled with a colossal pessimism.
The romanticists, who seemed at that moment to have privatized, speaking in contemporary terms, the despair regarding that the French Revolution ended with nothing in terms of happiness for humanity; they partially condemned the bourgeoisie and partially dreamed of a return to the past. A so-called reactionary romanticism emerged, in the framework of which it was said that feudalism is better than capitalism, and that let us somehow return to the past, to chivalry and the like.
Marx appeared in this historical context. He appeared at a moment of profound intellectual and spiritual despair which came about, because it seemed that this was it; history has no virtuous substance. And if history lacks it, then why live?
Marx became a great historical optimist and Hegel’s main opponent. Having come out of the Young Hegelians and having taken something from his teacher in the sense of dialectics and everything else, Marx challenged Hegel’s finality, and therefore, his historical pessimism, with what he introduced: the possibility of limitless and endless human history, when all the barriers, in the form of what he called “alienation”, would be torn down. The alienation of people from the products of their labor, the alienation of people from one another, and the alienation of people from the higher creative meaning: this is what was to be torn down, according to Marx, as the barriers, which capitalism had set on the path of historical development, would be overcome.
Marx dreamed of this supreme goal, as did those who followed him. No great historical movement that begets grand results can ever be petty. It can never be consumed with little things, even if such a little thing is human being’s right to a piece of bread (and this is a holy right), even if such a little thing is the right to education. The great creators of a great new world never stop with such things; they go further, and they proclaim something more. And of course, the Marxists proclaimed the infinite possibilities of the liberated Man and liberated labor, the endlessness of history, the ultimate triumph of Man in the Universe and the world, which is permeated with historicity.
We know much more about this now than we did in the times of Marx, for everything is historical: matter is historical; in this sense of forward motion, everything living is historical, and all the more everything human; the mind is historical. But it was said even then: we will light a new sun; we will overcome the second law of thermodynamics. The universe will not cool down. Man will become God; he will solve all of the problems, which had been relegated to God. This liberated Man, who has created a fraternity of humanity, is capable of anything, and it is for the sake of this supreme humanistic result that we go into battle.
This is what the founders of it all said. They believed in the limitless capabilities of humanity, which must be liberated.
This is one aspect of what happened, but there is a second aspect.
In Gori, where Stalin and many others were born, there once (when the future young revolutionaries were 10 or 12 years old) was a horse race: a contest between men of the Caucasus for who would come first to the finish line. And one of the dukes, who wanted to win the horse race, told a young man, who was just about to start a family, “Listen, I know you raised this stallion. You fed him milk. You nourished and cherished him. He is quite mighty, but don’t even think of finishing first in the races! Don’t even think about it; I will be first! If you do not submit, then things will end badly.” Then the young man said, “Listen, then forbid us from riding alongside you. We are men. We are in the Caucasus. We can’t do this.” The other replied, “Just don’t even think about finishing first!”
The young man finished first. Then, the duke with his servants and with his guard, or let’s say his gang (what is a duke in Georgia?) raped that young man’s bride. The bride of a simple, unknown guy from the Caucasus. In response, that young man and his blood-brother killed the duke with shotguns. And all of Gori believed that they did the right thing, and that they would get, at most, 5 years of hard labor.
They were sentenced to death, these two boys. Their appeal reached the Emperor, himself. The Emperor confirmed the fairness of the sentence, and he said that the execution must be public. All of Gori came to the square where these two Georgian boys were to be executed. The boys sang a song. They pushed away the hangmen, put on the nooses themselves; and before kicking away the stools, they said that if Gori would not avenge them, then let it be damned.
In this crowd stood some boys: Simon Ter-Petrosian (the future Kamo), Stepan Shaumian, and tens of others like them, including the young Gorky. There also stood the young Stalin, who had run away from the seminary for a day. And it was clear that the boys who saw all of this would seek vengeance, because a howling injustice had been perpetrated in front of their very eyes. They were told, “You are slaves. Either you recognize this, that you are slaves in the full sense of the word, or you rise up, one of the two.”
A few years later, all of these boys (Stalin taught Simon Ter-Petrosian, the future Kamo, Russian; they were neighbors) led demonstrations numbering many thousands in Baku and other cities. The government could think of nothing better, than to execute those young men. As soon as this was done, everything came full circle. It was said, “We are not slaves; slaves we are not.” [Which is the homophone of “We are not slaves; slaves are mute” in Russian – translator’s note] It came together, this firm understanding, that if you do not fight, then you will be crushed to the very end, that you will be cast into such slavery that you will not have the right to your bride, nor the right to a fair victory, nor any rights at all…
It is inside all of this that the wave of the Russian Revolution was born. On the one hand, a great hope for absolute good, on the other hand, the feeling of hell on Earth, which is being built. This is what the girls and boys went to fight against: Simon Ter-Petrosian led his sisters to join the Revolution, who were not adults by modern standards, much less so by the standards of those days. The people went, inspired by great fury and a great dream. It was that fury about which was later said, “Let the noble fury boil over like a wave”.
This is a special quality of the ruling class: to deny those whom they rule the right to be humans in the most elementary and final sense of the word; this is the hell, which was being built and against which the people rebelled. And their great dream is the heaven on Earth, which they were striving for. They were very strong people, people who had rapidly educated themselves, people who had created a profound brotherhood amongst themselves, people ready for hardships.
Let us now look at the present day and at that, which happened after the Red project collapsed. It is entirely clear that those who were consumed by historical optimism, an absolute faith in the abilities of liberated Man, and who called themselves Marxists for this reason, they possessed something other than a theory. They had their own theology or teleology, it doesn’t matter how we call it. Teleology is goal-setting, theology is hope in God. They had faith. The faith that moves mountains. The faith without which there can be nothing at all.
Inside this faith was a cult of Prometheus, which Lafargue, Marx’s son-in-law and a faithful Marxist, professed. Marx himself was to a degree involved in it. Lenin revered the Lafargues, and he told Stalin about this.
But this is not all there was. Marx firmly believed in one thing: that capitalism is the last stage of the concentration of absolute darkness. Darkness gathers until the end, and, according to the religious code, the religious foundation, which sat deep inside the minds of these boys, no matter how much they spoke about atheism, after darkness concentrates to the extreme, a bolt of lightning must strike, and everything will be purified, and everyone must see the light – a new earth and a new heaven.
This is called eschatology; this is what the end of the world looks like for a religious person. And to Marx, the last stage of the concentration of darkness was capitalism. Marx firmly believed that once the lightning strikes, be it through blood, but everything will be purified. And then the sun will shine.
What do we see? Did capitalism turn out to be the last stage in the development of this concentration of darkness? We see that it did not. We clearly face a certain configuration of the world, or, to be more precise, a configuration of the Western world, which certainly does not bear the traits of classical capitalism, no matter how broadly we define it. We clearly see that capitalism has managed to create something that can be called post-capitalism. It managed to save itself through self-termination, through rejecting all of its own fundamental human invariables, which, after all, possessed humanism and a certain human substance.
Yes, Kipling, the champion of British imperialism, said, “Take up the White Man’s burden.” Yes, he praised colonialism with these words, but he said next, “Bring them everything.” Bring them the light of progress, the light of ascension, the light of new science, the light of enlightenment. Even the most sinister voices of imperialism still believed that they walk under the banner of progress and humanism, that they are heading towards a new stage of human development.
Classical capitalism carried this with it. Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, about which Lenin wrote, carried this with it. Something humanistic existed in this and inside of it, after all.
When capitalism saw communism next to itself, and it realized that communism is destined to emerge victoriously, capitalism did something which no one expected from it. It rejected all of its basic foundations.
Engels wrote The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Family, private property, and the state are the primary foundations of class society. But what is happening in the modern West?
A merciless, no-holds-barred attack on the family, which makes the notion of “capitalism” itself problematic. Because the last hope for something good in this capitalist system was that powerful dynasties will be created, and then the owners of factories will think about their production lines in terms of 50, 100, 1000 years, because there will be dynasties. But families are destroyed. The family as such is destroyed. What is the foundation for the inheritance of private property if the family is destroyed? There is none. There is no sense in this category.
The state. We keep hearing about the crisis, the collapse of the Westphalian system. What does Westphalian system signify? It is the system of nation states. This means that the nation state is collapsing. Is it collapsing on its own? We see how in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and everywhere else even the most imperfect national statehood is being mercilessly destroyed. For the sake of what? What is actually being brought to power? Claims that democratic forces are being brought to power there are meaningless. This means that the darkest of medieval forces are being brought to power there. The forces of Islamic radicalism, which have nothing to do with the world religions. And not just radicalism.
What do we see in Ukraine? We see how forces that had no right to stand on the modern Western stage have openly declared their ascension to power there. They should have lasted there for no more than three days! In the first three days Poland had to act to prevent building a Ukrainian state based on Bandera Nazi ideology, for the memory of the Bandera Nazis’ atrocities against the Poles will remain for another thousand years, if the Polish people will continue to exist. But they allowed this! They embraced the bloody butchers of their people! Not the butchers of communism or Russians, but of their own people. How strong then is the demand that not just some abstract anti-Russian democratic forces, but specifically the Bandera Nazi scum assume the leading role and lead this process in a certain direction! Why is this needed?
The Europe we now see, the entire West that we now see, is in transition. The West is moving from pseudo-democracy, which destroys all of the foundations of humanism, into a new kind of fascism, perhaps one that is even more merciless than the one that came before.
10, 20, 30, 40 years will pass, and scientific progress, which moves on its own, which nothing can stop, and which will end up in the hands of these sinister forces, will allow three to four hundred million people to shower the whole world with their products in unlimited quantities. A serious question will emerge: what do the remaining billions of people do? If they were always necessary in order to exploit them, then they will no longer be needed for exploitation. Why, then, are they even necessary? Sooner or later, the force that moves in this direction will ask itself: why are these billions of people necessary, if they are not needed for production? If production is the only goal, then these people are not needed at all! It is possible to justify the elimination of these people only through rejecting the unity of the humanity itself, only through dividing humanity into non-overlapping species. The tradition closest to this, that we know of, is the Gnostic tradition: pneumatics, psychics, and hylics cannot move from one category to another.
This means that the most basic elements of humanism are coming under attack within the existing process. Why are they coming under attack? Only in order to then start eliminating the “extra people” in one way or another. What then will the minority that eliminates the majority turn out to be? Will it stay humanistic, will it stay democratic, will it stay human, at least in some way? It moves into darkness, into the absolute and complete darkness, and it is doing so rather quickly.
Recently, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China took place. The head of the Chinese state and the leader of the Party acted very precisely, carefully, and considerately, and he said very correct, restrained, polite things. He said that China does not aspire to any kind of hegemony, that China will be simply one of the countries in the world, that China will very slowly, over the course of 30-40 years, provide for the full well-being of its population.
Do you imagine how these words were listened to in Washington and in other places? Can you even imagine a China, which would, through honest labor, avoiding any kinds of war (and the Chinese do not like to go to war), receive everything that European or US citizens receive? That every Chinese person would receive a single-family house, two cars, electricity for this house, and everything else. Can the current world order provide for this? Especially considering the fact that the Indians, looking to the fraternal China, will follow the same path. When I ask serious experts from the US about this, experts who matter more than Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, and others, they respond as one, “This will never happen! We will not allow this to happen!”
All of China’s polite words mean nothing, because in reality, China is rapidly assuming the role of the number one power in the world. Can the US allow China to become the number one power? The US cannot let anyone take even second place to then challenge the first place, because they will immediately fall to the 3rd, 4th, or 5th place. Having fallen to the 3rd, 4th, or 5th place, they will lose their state. They have fattened their people to such a state, that when they will fall from first place, they will have nothing with which to feed their people. We will see such revolts in the United States, in relation to which India or Africa will seem like paradise.
The Anglo-Saxon elite will not surrender power, but their economic capabilities are diminishing. We are literally in the same situation in which Europe found itself prior to World War I, because World War II was ideological, while World War I was that war of the uneven economic development, which Lenin wrote about, and through which Germany was not allowed to surpass Great Britain. Now China will not be allowed to surpass the United States. How this will be done is a different question, but it will be done.
Russia has declared the number one enemy. After 20 years of saying, “Russians, perestroika, new Russians, a part of the European world, my God, we love you so much…”, to then include Russia in a list of three evil countries, where the other two are North Korea and Iran (which means that Russia is certainly the greatest “evil”, since Russia is the only country in the list with strategic nuclear weapons); this can be done only in order to then start acting.
One does not simply make such an addition into “the list of evil” for no particular reason. The elite in the United States has not degenerated to such an extent as to start playing such tricks for no reason. Yes, it has significantly degenerated since the 1940s, but this does not mean that it degenerated to such an extent as to leave such words without actions, and these actions will follow. Whether they will be carried out this year or next year is a different question, but they will be carried out. By some strange historical force, in spite of everything that happened in it in the past 20-25 years, Russia has suddenly stepped to the forefront of opposing the United States. Not China, which has much larger economic power, not someone else, but Russia. Why?!
How could it be that after such a defeat, after such fellows like Kozyrev [the first Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs under President Boris Yeltsin from October 1991 until January 1996, whose policy was to unquestioningly appease the West – translator’s note], who picked up handkerchiefs from the floor to be of service to the Americans, that after all of this it was specifically Russia that said, “Waaait… this isn’t right. Your rotten hegemonism… You’re doing something wrong; you’re not abiding by the rules… Everything is so bad with you; you are no brothers to us; for us, you are the main forces of evil.” They hear this every day on the other side.
This means that gradually, after Crimea, Donbass, and everything else, the elite that won the Cold War is being stripped of its main prize: this victory. This victory cost (in modern prices) trillions of dollars. Entire generations worked for it. It was seen as the most desired thing there could be: to win and to put your foot on the enemy’s head. Now, each day they are being shown that there is no victory. And there is nothing more luscious to the victors than power. Not only do they growl about this with restraint, they are full of endless hatred, which will certainly take the form of certain political actions. But this too is not all.
What is Volume III of Capital? It is pieces, fragments of Marx’s writings, which Engels compiled. Engels understood something in Marx, though he understood less than many think. But he compiled something somehow.
Nietzsche’s sister who compiled his main historical work, The Will to Power, did not understand anything in it. She took the drafts, put them together somehow, and this is what is known today as the greatest work of Nietzsche’s life.
However, all this was quite clear to Heidegger, a German philosopher who was rather congenial to Nietzsche, and who was quite close not just to conservatism but to fascism. Heidegger explained what Nietzsche wrote about: Nietzsche wrote that if there is no metaphysics, none at all, then the will to power will be the last metaphysics. After metaphysics, the will to power will remain. An absolute will to power stripped of anything else.
It is this will to power in a world devoid of metaphysics that is emerging now. However, the will to power is a will of the master to oppress the slave. The world is moving towards this will to power. This is because the higher meaning has disappeared with the collapse of communism. Religious meaning remains, and it warms major groups of people, but it is insufficient to warm all of humanity, which is secular to a large extent.
We are moving towards post-capitalism, which quite clearly bears the features of the Kingdom of Darkness, which is dramatically worse than capitalism, which stems from the elites’ desire to retain their power even at the cost of destroying all the humanistic constants of capitalism, which existed, even if they were few. We are moving to this darkness, which a religious person certainly sees as the end of times, and thus the coming of Evil.
But even for a secular person… How should a secular person listen to Fukuyama’s words about the advent of the end of history? Or Danto’s words that the end of art is coming? Or the postmodernists’ words that the end of the Project of Humanity is near, that this Project of three centuries is over? How should a secular person listen to this, if he believes in history, and if he understands that history is humanity in development? What is ending? The development of the humanity is coming to an end. What then is beginning?
We know what Fukuyama is. He is not terribly clever, although he is a student of Kojève, who was smarter and much more ominous. Then why did Fukuyama’s work receive such attention in 1991, if it is empty? Because someone had to articulate the idea of the end of history. Why could they not say that they had removed the communists as the main obstacle on the path of history, and that now history can move forward faster without the communists? Indeed, they said the exact opposite. Why? Because they indeed want history as humanity’s creative development to end, and they are doing everything possible to achieve that, all that makes a religious person rise in revolt, because he sees Sodom and Gomorrah in it. For a secular person, all this means the destruction of all the basic constants of humanness in general.
Humanity is based on certain foundations. People are mercilessly destroying these foundations, who claim that they are bringing the Project of Humanity to an end. This means that these people have declared their anti-humanism de facto, and that anti-humanism becomes their ideology. This is what they have declared it de facto. When will they bring this to its conclusion and claim their right to it de jure? Is the purpose of Bandera in Ukraine not in opening the door to similar Banderas appearing everywhere? Is this not an incubation site for a certain virus? Otherwise, why do they [the West] tolerate it?
It is not only about the Polish people who suffered, and who tolerate this. The Jewish people suffered terribly [from the Bandera Nazis]. Not only Russians suffered; many people did, and they all tolerate this [Bandera’s glorification in Ukraine].
When the Bandera Nazis planted a grove of trees in Israel, members of a certain movement, which I will not name, and whose members may now be present in this hall, cut all the planted trees down in one night. The conservative part of the state welcomed this action, and no one was prosecuted for committing it. But someone had planted those trees. Who are these lunatics?
Now let us discuss what position we (and the left-wing forces collectively) can and must take in this process. The terrible defeat of communism could never have happened without the fault of the Communist Party itself. I have said this before, and I will repeat: no one but the authorities is to blame for the collapse that follows after they are overthrown. One person is responsible for the collapse of the Russian Empire: Nicholas II; he is personally responsible for this collapse. For the collapse of communism, the ruling party is responsible.
Any speculations that the CIA or the world imperialist system contributed to this may only add something to this picture. Of course, they contributed. Why should the CIA not do so? Why? The USSR was the main geopolitical opponent [to the USA], so they did their job. But why did the KGB not destroy America?
When the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR had already been formed, and it was suggested at the Congress that the Article 6 of the Constitution [on the authority of the CPSU as the ruling party – translator’s note] should be repealed, the young guys who often did not belong to the party, but who came to the Congress on the wave of the Perestroika-related democracy refused to do this. They said, “We will not destroy the basis of our state! No!”
What did Gorbachev do? He gathered a plenary meeting of the party, which voted to repeal Article 6 of the Constitution with one vote against, and thus they condemned themselves. Then the party leaders came to the Congress and said, “Listen, Congress: the party wants to dissolve itself. Why are you hindering us?”
To this day, strange gossip circulates about the Tbilisi events [you can find the extended comment on this situation here: http://eu.eot.su/2017/04/21/essence-of-time-chapter-3/], where our guys, who were not professional killers but who were conscript paratroopers, allegedly chopped women and children in half with entrenching shovels and pursued them across all the squares; and most importantly, that they pursued old women and could not catch up to them. Then an old woman jumped up to the second story, a paratrooper followed her there, and he chopped her to pieces… Today, this gossip causes a strange feeling in our society; but in those days, it raised some kind of an upsurge. I remember Bibler, who gave lectures in my organization that time, shouting into my face that it was truth, and that Mamardashvili told him that it was so.
Then, at the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR, we provided each Congress member with all the evidence: from the military prosecutor who denied that it all happened, and from the International Red Cross which said that the victims only died from asphyxia caused by compression of the rib cage but not from slashing injuries. All our materials were distributed, and even Nevzorov, who then was in a different condition than today, produced a short film about it. We put these materials on every desk at the Congress.
The hall was shining with generals’ stars. However, only a few people voted for the reality, for the military prosecutor’s version; all the others voted for Sobchak’s version with the entrenching shovels. This means that the top army leadership voted for self-elimination.
Finally, regardless of what the events of 1991 represented everyone knew in 1993 ― everyone! ― that the new authorities were robbing them and throwing them into poverty, because the years 1991 and 1992 had demonstrated that. And so what happened? At the referendum in 1993, when nothing could have been rigged (because in order to rig something, one needs a powerful system that knows how to do so), Yeltsin won majority support. When the Supreme Soviet was dispersed in a blatantly illegal way, when all the leadership of the Supreme Soviet along with the Vice President and everyone else raised, so to say, their flags and banners to call, “People, we need you support!” no more than 20 thousand came to support them.
In essence, the situation we find ourselves in became possible because wide groups both in our population and in the elites contributed to it. Anti-Sovietists came to power. They had various worldviews. Some of them were pseudo-democrats; this is a kind of a liberal fascism, which calls itself democracy for some reason. Some of them were pragmatic technocrats; some were nationalists; some were outright fascists. They all hated communists, and they came together. When the so-called democratic group started losing its influence, other groups of the same elite began to take its place.
Is it really strange that our country’s authorities do not celebrate the 7th of November? This is quite predictable. This is determined by both the ideology of the victor and a special reluctance to discuss the revolution. Because for the victor, any revolution is an “orange” revolution. Therefore, every time that revolution is mentioned, it makes them think about whether or not another revolution is coming.
What attitude can and should one have towards this in the current situation, standing in opposition to the victorious authorities?
At that time, I was told, “Give up your book, Post-Perestroika, say it was a joke, and join the cabinet as a minister. You don’t want to be among the losers, do you? Indeed, they are going to remain losers all your life.” I said, “I would rather be with the losers all my life, but not with you.”
What attitude can and should one have towards this?
By 1994, we would already hear in the corridors of the new victorious authorities that Chubais is worse than Basayev. [you can find the extended comment on this situation here: http://eu.eot.su/2017/11/09/essence-of-time-chapter-9/]
They came to me and said ‘Come on, support Basayev against Yeltsin. This whole system will crash, and new possibilities will emerge’. I told them firmly that I would not support Basayev against the existing government, and I effectively supported what the Russian army was doing in Chechnya.
One of the invariables of the new communist movement must be that the communist movement in Russia cannot play the game called “[First] the destruction of this state, and then we start acting.” This type of game is impossible in the current situation. It was an extremely risky and genius game on the part of Lenin, which took place in the context of the World War, which had paralyzed the forces of capitalism in many ways. Then and for this reason, this risky game ended with victory. But if the state is now paralyzed for even 20 minutes, then the Americans will be here after 30 minutes. And they will stay here forever.
This is why we state that our first priority is to fight for a fundamentally different project to be realized in our country. But first of all, we shall not fight for it through destroying the state, neither shall we do so through an alliance with blatantly pro-Western forces. This will not happen. And this is not a hollow statement.
This is exactly what we did in 2011, when we brought people to VDNH, and to Poklonnaya Hill in 2012. We did so consciously and with a clear understanding of who was trying to scream, “Overthrow the bad authorities!”. We understood that these people were even worse than these authorities, and that it is often the case that the Americans are behind them.
We know that before the events on Poklonnaya Hill, it was officially stated, so to speak, by the liberal towers of Kremlin, that if Russia falls in a state of chaos, then the Americans will be asked to take our nuclear facilities under control. We clearly saw that few more powerful people, like the Patriarch or Zyuganov, making one more step towards the “Swampy” Maidan [Bolotnaya Square, the main gathering point for the pro-Western pseudo-liberal protests in 2011-12, means “Swamp Square” in Russian – translator’s note], meant that this carnival, this maidan in Moscow would have turned into the total surrender of our sovereignty and our total enslavement.
And then we supported people who did not want this to happen; but at the same time, we did not assimilate into their ranks in any way. I was the first one to speak at Poklonnaya Hill, and I began my speech with, “People with different beliefs have gathered here,” was my first phrase, “both supporters and opponents of Putin. I am an opponent of Putin’s policies. I call for all to unite and to destroy the maidan scum.” And so we did, and the maidan in Moscow failed.
But a new maidan is being prepared. I have been told that Navalny has spent an insane amount of money on advertisement a year in advance. Things like this do not just happen. New events lie ahead for us. And the situation which will materialize in 2017-2018 will be more precarious than the one in 2011-2012. And we need to be ready for this.
However, certain theoretical and strategic invariables stand behind these political actions, which I must speak of in light of the centennial of the Revolution. Here they are.
Today’s number one contradiction is the contradiction between the powers of classical capitalism and the global post-capitalist darkness. This is how the forces are arranged on the international arena. This is precisely why Mubarak is being destroyed, why Assad is being destroyed, and it does not stop there. The darkest kind of global post-capitalist oligarchy sees the bourgeois nation-state as such as its enemy. In the midst of this conflict, we cannot but extend the hand of alliance to the classical national-bourgeois forces, i.e. to the conservatives. We must offer them an alliance, while making it clear that we do not share their views.
At the end of the day, we as communists bear the responsibility for the fall of communism. But Russia is our country, and it is more important to us than ideology. We must defend it. This was the main motivation for creating, and I will stress it once more here, in front of this audience, and maybe for the first time with such force, of a left-conservative alliance, an alliance of left and conservatives. We believe that the future in the coming decade belongs to this very alliance.
Our alliance with the Church or, more precisely, with the healthy forces in the Church, is exactly the same thing. We understand that the Church has many grievances against communism, and that it contains different forces including very anti-communist ones. But we extend the hand of alliance to the Church.
When we were fighting against the forced foster care system, Orthodox grannies, looking back at all the red flags, were shouting “Christ is risen!”, and the communists would reply “Truly, He is risen!”. After that, the communists would shout, “USSR 2.0!” and the grannies would reply “Truly, 2.0!” maybe they did not fully understand what they were saying, but they said it.
Inside the Church, in many dioceses, reasonably pro-communist moods are taking form. We do not understand at all why we cannot use the experience of Fidel Castro and others; moreover, it is perfectly clear that it was by no coincidence that Castro created Liberation Theology, the Leopoldo Zea Institute, and much more. As a Jesuit alumnus, he knew what he was doing.
Why is it so necessary to alienate the Church from communist forces at this stage? Why can we not extend our hand to all of the forces of historical Christianity, historical Islam, historical Buddhism, to everyone who, like us, dreams of history? Left-wing forces have always existed within those movements. Why can we not unite with them? If we do not unite with them, we then indeed become sectarians and fundamentalists, who fail to admit that there were mistakes inside the Red project itself; and that without correcting those mistakes, it is pointless to begin a new advance. That in this new advance, we must pay attention to the new arrangement of historical and post-historical forces.
Our objectives are to ally with healthy forces in the Church, to ally with healthy conservative forces, to form this left-conservative alliance, and to rectify the Red project in such a way, that it would become the new heir of the Soviet project’s great and victorious substance, but not the embarrassment of Brezhnev’s stagnation and Gorbachev’s treachery, that betrayal by the party elite, which decided to cancel communism. Which decided to tear down the superstructure, precisely because it desired to privatize the base, but it failed to do even that properly. Unlike the Chinese, who have accomplished much more without rejecting anything.
These are our principal objectives. For the sake of these objectives, we are pursuing a certain policy.
We firmly believe that the darkness of the post-capitalist oligarchy has indeed appeared on the horizon, and that we must declare war against it, to the last drop of blood. We are talking about a very real war. Our comrades in Donbass are fighting not a symbolic, but a literal war, and they are at war precisely with this Bandera Nazi darkness, which embodies a much greater darkness, a much greater one… Who created this anti-Russian Ukraine? The Jesuits. Who did they create there – the Basilians, the Greek Catholics, and so on. Who did they aid in the West? They aided the fascists. German Nazis and others, who were not dealt the final blow, lurk somewhere very close these Bandera Nazis, and they await their hour.
We believe that the complete and inevitable collapse of the pseudo-humanistic tolerance, which is characteristic of contemporary Western civilization, and which mocks the foundations of real humanism, will lead to a revenge by these very post-capitalist forces. And if we do not stop this revenge in time with the help of left-wing and conservative alliance, then we are worth nothing.
This is one aspect of the issue. But there is another one. What do very many of today’s leftists embody? These are leftists who support perversion; these are leftists who support some sort of gender-identity disturbances; soon enough, one will be able to self-identify not only as a man or a woman, but as a rooster, a peacock, a snake, and who knows what else. How far shall this madness go? These leftists speak of such a tolerance, that if the founders of Marxism: Lenin, Stalin, and others, as well as Marx and Engels heard this, they would roll over in their graves.
Who are these leftist degenerates? These leftists are just as postmodern, as the right and all the rest! Everything is degenerating in front of our very eyes. We do not see a readiness to defend the real classicism and the real communism. The few remaining Stalinist parties are purely retro in nature. These are people who reject the most important of what we recognize, that without rectifying the Communist project, without a new stage in its development, any talk about communism’s return onto the historical arena is meaningless. Meaningless!
First, this rectification, real proof that it has taken place, and a demonstration of certain capabilities not in word, but in deed, and then everything else!
Next. Do you really think that under the present political circumstances, having the opportunity to gather like this, and to use all the capabilities of civil society, Lenin would refuse to use them?! He would never have refused something like this! Never! We exist in a new situation, where civil society has new capabilities, we must use these capabilities not to 100%, but to 1000%! And we must protect them from dictatorship, which constantly looms over the country. Because all of Strelkov’s meddling [Igor Girkin played an infamous role in first gaining popularity within the Donbass resistance movement and then sabotaging it by surrendering the city of Slavyansk and half of the territory held by the Donetsk People’s Republic to the Ukrainian Army and neo-Nazi volunteer units – translator’s note] and others in Donbass were, in fact, one of a series of attempts to impose a White dictatorship [militantly anti-Soviet – translator’s note] onto the country. There was Lebed’s [a former army general, who served as Secretary of Yeltsin’s Security Council – translator’s note] attempts before, and such attempts will continue!
It is clear where our interests and those of the authorities coincide. The authorities want to run in the election, and to be elected by winning legitimacy from the majority. But their competitors want a White dictatorship, and a White dictatorship means the destruction of everything that exists now. They will impose anti-communist attitudes not in the way they do now (and these constants are now being imposed in such a way that 89% of our population is pro-Soviet); they will impose their position with a complete lack of mercy. And all this talk about how people should welcome this dictatorship quite obviously contradicts the interests of both the Red movement and of the country.
They serve the interests of a small top brass of oligarchs, inside which, believe me, sooner or later the radical monarchists and the radical “liberals” will unite in a fraternal embrace. Nothing separates them from one another. And the most dreadful thing about these monarchists of ours, who are willing to glorify anything and everything is not that they are anti-communists, but that they have sold their souls to the CIA such a long time ago, that there is nothing left. They are no longer domestic forces; they are international forces. Therefore, we indeed support the left center, and we support the democratic development of the processes, and this is also our objective.
And finally, we firmly believe that the new historical result can be achieved only through civil struggle and civil resistance against the absolute darkness. We are talking here about our adherence to the Antonio Gramsci’s ideas, according to which, in the particular situations, communists should seize the post, the telegraph and the telephone; while in other situations, they must seize the clubs, the schools, and the mass-media resources. Today’s order of business is to use Gramsci’s theory for our purposes, because this theory gives Russian civil society the opportunity to develop.
As soon as someone closes these opportunities down, the issue will be put on the agenda differently, far more mercilessly and radically. But now these opportunities exist, and in accordance with these opportunities, we put the issue of this kind of struggle on the agenda. Our resistance is a cultural resistance, an informational resistance, a social resistance, a civil resistance and, in some sense, a metaphysical resistance, for we see that we are facing absolute darkness.
The communists were dreaming of a New Man, but by the end of Brezhnev era, this idea of a Renaissance Man, the New Man, the sublime was replaced by consumption. Effectively, we created a Soviet type of consumption; it was more innocent than the Western one, but it was the same “nom nom” society, which one wolf could slaughter, as one friend of mine used to say. And it slaughtered!
Here and now, in the framework of this reality, we are searching for an answer to the question of how to find and to create this New Man in real life. We are creating communes. We are saying that a particular part of the youth sees the life around them as an absolute abomination, and they distance themselves from it, but without distancing themselves from social activism on a national level. And we see the results of this.
We are setting the task of a new intellectualization on the agenda, the task of creating a new patriotic intelligentsia. Our enemies have called a certain category of people “the New Russians”. Let us call the new category that we are creating “the Newest Russians”. We are creating the newest patriotic intelligentsia. We urge our allies to master and develop their knowledge of the humanities, to self-educate, just like the students of the party school in Longjumeau and in other schools were urged to in the age of Marxism.
But we have bigger opportunities. For our predecessors studied in prisons and while doing hard labor, while we have the opportunity to study in such auditoriums. And we will study!
In celebrating the Centennial of the Great October Socialist revolution, we must not, we could not, we had no right to limit ourselves to just saying how much we love the Soviet Union, to sing some songs, and then to leave.
Of course, we must do all of this, and must do so optimistically.
But we must also do something more. You hold the first issue of the journal called Historical Notebooks. Every month for four years, we will publish such historical notebooks based on your research, based on the research of 200 people from Essence of Time who have delved into the humanities, and who have achieved results.
There will be more of these people. We will be expanding this into the field of mass media side and elsewhere. We will tear their lies about Soviet history into shreds. They will be objectively and finally exposed! Our children and grandchildren will not study by the lies of Solzhenitsyn, who had also proclaimed that there will be “not a drop of untruth,” and who then lied about everything that was possible relating to Soviet history. This will not be!
We do not want to be witch hunters. Solzhenitsyn is a prominent Russian writer. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Matryona’s Place, An Incident at Krechetovka Station were published here, and some other works were later published abroad. Fine, read it, just like everything else. Solzhenitsyn is not a writer in Sholokhov’s league. My mother, a prominent Soviet philologist, said that he might grow into a new Chekhov. But he did not grow into a new Chekhov. He chose a different fate. So let his literature be read. But we must say once and for all that every number written by Solzhenitsyn is a blatant lie, that it is anti-historic data, and that this person must be removed from the historical podium. This must be set as the first and foremost goal.
You probably understand that if this goal will be accomplished, other goals will be accomplished along with and following this. The anti-Soviet landscape without Solzhenitsyn as a pseudo-historian is not the same anti-Soviet landscape that exists today.
Problems must be solved step by step; once we solve this one, we will see what comes next. But we do not discuss this simply by screaming “Down with it, down with it!” and gathering letters; we can do that, but that is not the point. We publish our own works; we involve our own historians. We want to be in the intellectual avant-garde of Russian society, in that new intellectual avant-garde that will turn the processes in the humanities in a new direction, and not just be a group of people immersed in crying and nostalgia.
Down with nostalgia! Long live the atonement for the guilt of those who put out the Red flame, of those who extinguished the Red fire. And long live the new Fire of the great renewed Red project in the 21st century, which humanity is in such need of!
This is the translation of the Sergey Kurginyan’s opening speech at the ceremonial gathering of Essence of Time activists dedicated to the Centennial of the Great October Socialist Revolution (first published in the “Essence of Time” newspaper issue 253-254 on November 18, 2017).