Some aspects of the concept of totalitarianism

Every person, even if defiantly dissociated from «dirty» politics, must have come across the term «totalitarianism.» The meaning of this formidable word, growling, like a hungry beast, is rather vague and eludes our gaze; the essence of totalitarianism, if it is touched upon in liberal publications and speeches, is touched upon only in passing. On the other hand, there is a constant opposition between totalitarianism and democracy, i.e., it turns out that totalitarianism is a system opposite to democracy, or pseudo-democracy. Meanwhile, the understanding of democracy in the West differs significantly from our understanding. If we, in the Slavic countries, talk about democracy, we mean the direct government by the majority of the population, but in the West it is different: when liberal intellectuals talk about democracy, they mean pluralism and political rivalry, which eliminates the situation when «the loser certainly loses once and for all.»

“If the winner prevents the vanquished from trying their luck again,” as R. Aron writes in his book Totalitarianism and Democracy, “he goes beyond Western democracy, because in this case he declares opposition illegal.”

Such a concept as “the people” does not appear among Western liberal theorists; it is not important for them whether power is exercised by the majority of the population or a minority, the main thing for them is, firstly, that laws are observed, which, apparently, fall from heaven, because the questions by WHOM and in WHOSE interests they are adopted are not considered in any way, and secondly, that civil consensus is respected in society. The same Aron states the following:

“One-party regimes [we are talking about the communist parties in the countries of the socialist bloc — R.O.] are turned to the future, their highest justification is not in what was or is, but in what will be. Being revolutionary regimes, they are associated with elements of violence. One cannot demand from them what constitutes the essence of multi-party regimes — respect for the rule of law and moderation, respect for the interests and worldviews of all groups.”

The bourgeoisie is always trying to pass off its class interests as the interests of the whole society, so the bourgeois ideologist disguises the interests of a particular class–the bourgeoisie–under the interests of some faceless «groups;» again, «legality» means, in fact, the right to private property. Indeed, isn’t Mr. Aron trying to assert that revolutionary legality is being violated in socialist countries!? No, what is at stake is precisely the violation of bourgeois legality, the basis of which is the inviolability of private property, i.e., the alienation of the means of production and, consequently, the entire surplus product in favor of a pathetic bunch of people.

When liberal thinkers write about democracy, they mean bourgeois democracy. Many naive citizens believe that democracy is a non-class concept, that democracy is a mechanism that ensures harmony between classes, «citizen consensus,» or, as Aron put it, «respect for the rule of law and moderation, respect for the interests and worldviews of all groups.» However, it is not. What is bourgeois democracy? First, it often happens that the so-called «servants of the people»—deputies of various calibers, mayors, governors, senators, prime ministers, presidents—belong to the bourgeois class, or use their appointment as a springboard to jump to lucrative positions in banks and corporations. Even if the “servants of the people” were guided not by selfish, but good intentions, how could they know the aspirations of the common people if they live in a completely different world, infinitely cut off from the people?

Secondly, capitalism repels a significant section of the masses of the people from politics:

“Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so
crushed by want and poverty that ‘they cannot be bothered with democracy,’ ‘cannot
be bothered with politics,’” — Lenin, «State and Revolution.»

In fact, when a person crawls home from work and has only enough strength to turn on the TV, watch some brainless series while drinking beer, and then immediately go to bed, there is simply no time left for politics. Under capitalism, work for a person is like a punishment; a person works not for his own pleasure, but because of need; it often happens that a young person learns a particular profession, not because he likes it, but because it is in demand on the labor market. A person is not interested in the results of his work, because they enrich the owner-capitalist and not himself, therefore, he treats his work aloofly, and such work greatly depletes a person not only physically, but also spiritually. Also, a person in a market economy is forced to constantly compete with other people. This struggle also sucks all the strength. Is it possible for the masses under all these circumstances to lead an active political life? Definitely not.

It must also be borne in mind that bourgeois propaganda deliberately instills apoliticality in society, arguing that, say, politics is such a dirty thing that it is better to stay away from it. Indeed, watching all the vileness of bourgeois politics with its loud scandals, unbridled venality, all kinds of machinations, speculations, and continuous lies, normal citizens become disgusted; they do not want to have anything to do with this abomination and run away from political life like the plague.

Thus, bourgeois democracy cuts off a significant section of the population from real participation in public life. Consequently, bourgeois democracy is the power of the minority over the majority; it is a kind of «democracy» in which the oppressed are allowed to decide once every few years which of the representatives of the oppressing class will represent and suppress them in parliament!

But back to totalitarianism. To begin with, it will be useful to briefly outline the conditions in which the concept of totalitarianism arose.

At the beginning of the last century, liberalism–the ideology of the ruling class of capitalists–was plunged into a grave situation; the reason for this was the October Revolution. The fact is that from the point of view of the liberals, communism was an absolutely unrealizable phenomenon, because it was believed that without a market, the normal functioning of the economy is simply impossible. However, communism in the USSR, contrary to liberal theory, not only existed, but developed rapidly, confusing market economists. The Great October Revolution set fire to Europe, crushed by the imperialist slaughter, with its sparks: the influence of the Communist Parties sharply increased, the revolutionary proletariat was ready to give the bourgeoisie the “last and decisive battle,” and Germany and Italy were on the verge of revolution. In this situation, the European capitalists understood that they would no longer be able to lead the proletariat by the nose with the help of parliamentary games, as they did in the USA. It was urgent to put out the fire of the revolution. In addition, there was another task: the capitalists, eager to regain their lost colonies, needed new «cannon fodder,» the recruitment of which caused many problems: after all the horrors of the war, gas attacks, and mortar attacks, the labor masses were clearly not eager to crawl into the trenches under the old slogans about the «defense of the fatherland.» The social demand of the imperialists gave rise to a proposal–Italian fascism and German Nazism, which was supposed to lead the revolutionary fervor of the masses into a harmless channel for the capitalists and prepare them for a new war.

The ideology of fascism, which is still the same right-wing conservatism, but under a new sign, was aimed at the layman, i.e., the petty bourgeois, the shopkeeper. The petty bourgeois, being an intermediate link between the proletariat and the «real» bourgeoisie, does not love the state and is afraid of it, but in moments of despair, when on the one hand he is crushed by big capital, and on the other, he is frightened by the revolutionary proletariat, the shopkeeper appeals to the state as to formidable deity. He demands the maximum strengthening of the state so that it protects it both from the «reds» and from big capital, so he enthusiastically supports the fascists. The oligarchy, on the other hand, uses the enraged shopkeepers for their own purposes, turning them into fanatical stormtroopers to expand their colonies.

Fascism is the dehumanization of upright mammals; fascism appeals to the base instincts of the crowd, raises brute, animal strength to a pedestal; profiting from philistine prejudices, fascism shamelessly calls for the plunder and enslavement of other, «lower» peoples. Unfortunately, in addition to the petty bourgeoisie, a significant part of the proletariat followed the fascists. This was due primarily to the betrayal of the European Social Democrats and the insufficiently high scientific and theoretical level of the leadership of the communist parties.

The term «totalitarianism» itself originated in 1923 from Giovanni Amendola’s critical characterization of Mussolini’s regime, and this term did not bother Mussolini at all: he proudly called his state totalitarian. But the concept of totalitarianism was born much later, in 1951; it was a reaction to the crisis of bourgeois ideology associated with a sharp increase in the influence of the USSR and the world communist movement after the Second World War.

The world bourgeoisie, undoubtedly, had high hopes for fascism; they saw in it salvation from the «Bolshevik plague.» It was not for nothing that such a significant political event as the Olympic Games was held in the Third Reich! However, fascism did not justify the hopes placed on it. If earlier the ideas of fascism were very popular, not only in Europe, but also in the USA, then when the Workers’ and Peasants’ Army defeated the German military machine, the world community suddenly learned that, it turns out, fascism is not a complacent unity of the nation, but the overt terror of the oligarchs.

The defeat of fascist Europe was a strong blow to imperialism. Father-benefactor Hitler, defender against Bolshevism, was forced to shoot himself. Soldiers of the Red Army were everywhere welcomed as liberators, all progressive mankind looked to the USSR with delight–what, under these conditions, could the oligarchs of the USA and the British Empire do? Then, along with some other anti-communist concepts,such as the «cold war» and «flexible response,» the concept of totalitarianism appeared.

With the destruction of the USSR and the collapse of the world system of communism, the imperialists were in no hurry to write off the concept of totalitarianism from ideological weapons. For example, in 2005, CIA Director James Woolsey stated in an interview with Borsa & Finanza that the United States was waging war against «three totalitarian movements, which is reminiscent of the situation of the Second World War.» These three «totalitarian movements» are represented by: Ba’athism, Shia Islamic fundamentalism, and Sunni Islamist jihadists. Is the director of the CIA trying to accuse religious fanatics of communism? Most likely not, but the word «totalitarianism,» through the efforts of bourgeois propagandists and the secret police, has become a promoted «brand;» now any country that has fallen under the sight of Anglo-American imperialism—be it Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Syria—is declared totalitarian or semi-totalitarian, on which it is not a sin to throw a couple hundred “democratic” bombs.

The concept of totalitarianism is a set of petty-bourgeois, i.e. philistine illusions, thickly mixed with crude anti-Soviet myths. Despite all its deceit and outright speculativeness, this concept shows amazing vitality, and even now, when the citizens of the former Soviet Union took a sip of market «freedom,» so much that for many it ended in death, the concept of totalitarianism continues to be rooted in the minds of a considerable part of the population, especially the liberal-minded intelligentsia. Why?

It has long been established that the more educated a person is, the harder it is to inspire him with a lie, no matter how sophisticated the propaganda methods used are. This was well known to the Spanish inquisitors, so they zealously ensured that educational literature did not enter the colony and the printing business itself did not even arise. I.e., propaganda itself is not enough, a certain condition of ignorance in society is necessary. Capitalists would be happy to simply burn “harmful” literature, like the Spanish inquisitors or the fire brigade from the novel Fahrenheit 451, to keep wage slaves under their control, but, alas, the growth of labor productivity requires more and more qualified personnel, and this means that the capitalists are compelled to give their future workers some kind of education. Therefore, the so-called «Bologna education system,» the purpose of which is to churn out highly specialized blockheads, completely weaned from thinking. Raising the question of the reasons for the stability of lies in the minds of the proletarians of mental and physical labor, Comrade Podguzov writes:

“…The essence of lies is generally adequate to absurdity, but perceived as truth, since it includes isolated moments of truth. Absurdity therefore becomes a lie, because the majority of modern voters, investors, and equity holders cannot distinguish absurdity from truth. Therefore, the existence of a lie is always conditioned not so much by the strength of the intellect of the creator of the lie, but rather by intellectual weakness, i.e. credulity of the victims of deceit, numb before the ‘scientific’ phrases of political swindlers, just as the simple-hearted philistines from the famous film ‘Chasing Two Hares’ were numb from the speeches of the ‘scientific’ Pan Golokhvastov.”

And it’s true, the writings of the theorists of “totalitarianism” are in many ways similar to the “arguments” of Pan Golokhvastov, only its emptiness is plentifully powdered with academic phraseology, with which the illiterate Kyiv barber was not familiar!

So, if we consider the concept of totalitarianism in the most generalized form, we will find that this concept rests on two pillars: the first is the condemnation of revolutionary violence, and the second is the distortion of the essence of political power, an attempt to pass off the dictatorship of the proletariat as the dictatorship of the party or leader. Let’s take a closer look at each of these two pillars.

I. Revolutionary Violence

As an illustration of the liberal condemnation of revolutionary violence, we take the book of the founder of the concept of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, entitled The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951. I note that the capitalists very quickly appreciated the anti-Soviet potential of this «creation»: the CIA actively distributed this book, generously paying for its translation into as many languages as possible.

The general essence of this book lies in the author’s attempt to unite Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on the basis of violence as two varieties of one phenomenon, so-called «totalitarianism.»

At the beginning of the book, much attention is paid to the topic of classes, however, Arendt, as a true liberal, interprets classes in a purely political and psychological way: supposedly, classes are groups of people united to protect their corporate interests within the walls of parliament. In other words, for example, it is not the ownership of the means of production that makes the bourgeoisie a class, but political activity, the desire to «make politics for themselves.» Arendt writes:

«The rise in the importance of class in society has always been accompanied by the education and preparation of a certain number of its members for politics as a profession, for paid (or, if they could afford it, free) service to the government and class representation in parliament.»

And elsewhere:

«The collapse of the class system automatically meant the collapse of the party system, mainly because these parties, organized to protect certain interests, could no longer represent class interests.»

As we can see, deceit is laid from the very beginning, when the class division of society is identified with the parliamentary system. Naturally, in these circumstances, the entire class struggle is reduced to the struggle of various parties, and the state is portrayed as a non-class phenomenon.

Using Marxist, i.e. scientific class theory, we understand that the causes of political phenomena should not be sought in the minds of people (because any ideas, however spiritualized and mystically garbed, are only a reflection of social being), but in their economic position. Putting production at the forefront, not exchange as vulgar economists do, we will come to the conclusion that production exists and operates under certain social relations.

“…Marx put an end to the view of society being a mechanical aggregation of individuals which allows of all sorts of modification at the will of the authorities (or, if you like, at the will of society and the government) and which emerges and changes casually, and was the first to put sociology on a scientific basis by establishing the concept of the economic formation of society as the sum-total of given production relations, by establishing the fact that the development of such formations is a process of natural history.”(1)

Considering the essence of social phenomena through the prism of certain production relations, we can quickly see that society is split into two main groups–the owners of the means of production (whether they are slave owners, aristocrats, confessors, or bourgeois) and people who are deprived of access to the means of production and, therefore, fall into direct dependence on the former. It also becomes quite obvious that the interests of each social group (class) are determined by its place in the production system, and this interest, accordingly, is transformed into a certain political demand, and then into a certain idea to be inculcated in society. Let us suppose that the obvious class interest of the proletariat is to shorten the working day, while the interest of the bourgeois is to lengthen it. And the bourgeoisie, through the mouths of their lackeys–journalists and professors–begins to inculcate in society the idea that if the working day is shortened, the workers will become lazy, productivity will drop sharply, enterprises will begin to close, the masses will be impoverished, and the entire national economy will collapse. By the way, this example is by no means an invention: in the 19th and 20th centuries. bourgeois economists in all seriousness predicted the collapse of the economy in the event of a reduction in the working day from 12-14 hours to 8, which was for the first time carried out in Soviet Russia.

But back to Arendt and her book. She declares the condition for the emergence of the so-called «totalitarian movement» the existence of a classless society, or in her language, «unstructured mass society,» because:

“Totalitarian movements are aimed at the masses and have succeeded in organizing the masses, not the classes,” because: “the masses are by no means united by the consciousness of common interests, and they do not have that distinct class structure, which is expressed in certain, limited, and achievable goals.”

She argues that, after the First World War, in Germany and Russia, class society collapsed. Even if we take into account the distorted interpretation of classes, it is still impossible to speak of any “unstructured mass society”: in Germany, both the capitalist class (which, in fact, brought Hitler to power, which Ms. Arendt herself does not hide) and the working class waged a most active political struggle; in Russia, the political maturity of the workers reached such a level that they organized the Soviets (for example, on the eve of the October Revolution, there were 1,429 Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, 33 Soviets of Soldiers’ Deputies, and 455 Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies.(2)) The Soviets regulated all aspects of urban life, and sometimes were obeyed more willingly than the bodies of the Provisional Government. I.e. a fierce class struggle was observed both in Germany and Russia, but Arendt completely ignores it. Among other things, this Madame manages to constantly contradict herself. For example, she claims: “Totalitarian movements are mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals.” This is, as the Latins said, contradictio in adjecto, that is, a contradiction in definition: if isolated individuals merge into a mass organization, then they are no longer isolated! However, liberal people tend to get confused in their own thoughts.

The whole essence of totalitarianism for Arendt comes down to the violent destruction of as many people as possible, so that “only where huge masses of the population are redundant or allow avoiding the disastrous results of depopulation, is totalitarian rule possible at all.” Arendt says:

“There is a permanent, systematically carried out mass terror, under the fear of which the population of the whole country lives, which means that there is totalitarianism. If there is no such ‘totalitarian complex,’ there is no totalitarianism itself.”

It is noteworthy that Arendt specifically emphasizes that repressions are carried out against obviously innocent people; this is how she distinguishes totalitarianism from despotism: the despot destroys those who threaten his power, and totalitarians destroy everyone in general, indiscriminately:

“They [Khrushchev and his associates; we are talking about the XX Congress of the CPSU — R. O.] downplayed the unheard of criminal nature of the Stalinist regime, which, after all, consisted not so much in the slander and murder of several hundred or thousand major political figures and artists, who can be ‘rehabilitated’ posthumously, but in the destruction of literally countless millions of people whom no one, not even Stalin, could suspect of ‘counter-revolutionary’ activities.”

In one of the footnotes, Mrs. Arendt specifies the number of «innocently killed»:

«To the victims of the first five-year plan (1928-1933), whose number is, according to various estimates, from 9 to 12 million, we should add the victims of the Great Purge — up to 3 million executed, as well as from 5 to 9 million arrested and deported.»

Who the victims of the five-year plan are, no one knows, but we must admit that the total of 24 million victims is rather modest compared to the 40 or 80 million that dissidents R. Medvedev and Antonov-Ovseenko «counted»! At that time, they still did not know how to “correctly” count the victims: they did not take into account the “demographic losses.” However, Arendt is clearly not satisfied with 24 million–this is somehow serious or impressive enough–so she makes a clarification:

“However, all these estimates, apparently, fall short of the actual numbers. They do not take into account the victims of mass executions, about whom nothing was known until the German occupying forces discovered a mass grave in the city of Vinnitsa containing the bodies of thousands of those executed in 1937 and 1938.”

Well, the messages of the German occupation authorities are, of course, a trustworthy source! In general, Arendt took an interesting position: by her own admission, she does not have reliable sources about Soviet Russia, and so, gossip, fables, rumors, and other dubious information “at least giving the impression of plausibility” can be used. In response to the naturally occurring protest against this kind of «method,» Ms. Arendt states:

“Some historians seem to think that the opposite method, namely, to exclusively use any available material supplied by the Russian government, is more reliable, but this is not the case. In the official material, there is usually nothing but propaganda.”

Interesting, did she not hear anything about the method of comparative analysis?

Well, it’s time to get close to the topic of violence. Capitalism is a world of constant, uninterrupted, crude, and cruel violence. Capitalism is inconceivable without violence: without the police, the gendarmerie, the national guard, the special forces, the army, security agencies–without a multitude of armed and specially trained people. If suddenly all these armed people disappear, spontaneous economic equalization will immediately begin, which we can observe in European countries: when the police lose control over some districts for just a few hours, people begin to smash and loot stores, and burn cars that they do not have the power to expropriate.

“In other words, under capitalism we have a state in the proper sense of the word, that is, special machinery for the suppression of one class by another, and of the majority by the minority at that. Naturally, for the successful discharge of such a task as the systematic suppression by the exploiting minority of the exploited majority, the greatest ferocity and savagery of suppression are required, seas of blood are required, through which mankind is marching in slavery, serfdom, and wage labor,” wrote Lenin.

Yes, even if for now, at least in developed countries, there are no executions of the masses, nevertheless, during any public unrest, even those that do not pose a danger to the ruling class are suppressed extremely harshly, without any attempts to resolve the situation peacefully. For example, in the United States, when unrest begins somewhere, even in a small town, the National Guard is instantly brought in with heavy weapons and armored vehicles, and personally I have no doubt that the guards, on the first order, without hesitation, will fire on the crowd. The use of so-called «less-lethal» weapons–batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons–when dispersing demonstrations and rallies in all democratic countries has long been the norm. It may seem at the first glance that the use of, say, tear gas is a humane means of dispersing a demonstration. In fact, this gas causes great suffering and sometimes serious harm to health; not to mention that a stampede can begin in the blinded crowd, which also leads to injuries and death. Interestingly, the use of chemical weapons against enemy soldiers is considered a crime, but the use of chemical weapons, even if not lethal, against their own citizens is not! And rubber truncheons! Even a light blow with this “stick” is extremely painful, yet the police wield them with all their might, without particularly considering who is hit: women, pensioners, or teenagers.

Any capitalist state maintains the bourgeois order in society by measures of criminal repression. The system of violence is built in such a way as to punish the lowest strata of the population as painfully as possible in order to instill fear in the proletariat of the criminal-legal mechanism of the state. If a person gets into the prison system, his life is guaranteed to be crippled. And it does not matter whether he is guilty at all, committed a crime out of necessity to survive, feed his family, or is a real enemy of society. The highest goal of criminal repressions by the bourgeois state is the maintenance of order by fear. And not just order, but the dominance of the sacred right of property. To this end, all major states subject 1-3% of their population to permanent criminal repression. Liberals consider it the order of things, as if there was no political background or political sense to this.

In addition, if a representative of the ruling class is indicted, he can always count on the leniency of the court, regardless of the severity of the crimes committed, while the “little” person always receives bourgeois “justice” in full.

In addition to state violence, under capitalism there is an invisible civil war of all against all, known as «healthy market competition,» which often leads to murders, including massacres. Embittered by the loneliness of individualism and the schizophrenia of the capitalist order, a person grabs a weapon and inflicts reprisals on his offenders, competitors, or simply takes out his anger on random people. Mass executions in schools, universities, offices, and on the streets have long become commonplace for Western countries.

Thus the world of capital is the world of violence. In the lower phase of communism, organized violence persists, but has a completely different character:

“Furthermore, during the transition from capitalism to communism suppression is still
necessary, but it is now the suppression of the exploiting minority by the exploited
majority. A special apparatus, a special machine for suppression, the “state,” is still
necessary, but this is now a transitional state. It is no longer a state in the proper sense of the word; for the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the wage slaves of yesterday is comparatively so easy, simple and natural a task that it will entail far less bloodshed than the suppression of the risings of slaves, serfs or wage-laborers, and it will cost mankind far less. And it is compatible with the
extension of democracy to such an overwhelming majority of the population that the
need for a special machine of suppression will begin to disappear.”

And further:

“Lastly, only communism makes the state absolutely unnecessary, for there is nobody to be suppressed–“nobody” in the sense of a class, of a systematic struggle against a definite section of the population. We are not utopians, and do not in the least deny the possibility and inevitability of excesses on the part of individual persons, or the need to stop such excesses. In the first place, however, no special machine, no special apparatus of suppression, is needed for this: this will be done by the armed people themselves, as simply and as readily as any crowd of civilized people, even in modern society, interferes to put a stop to a scuffle or to prevent a woman from being assaulted. And, secondly, we know that the fundamental social cause of excesses, which consist in the violation of the rules of social intercourse, is the exploitation of the people, their want and their poverty.”

Revolutionary violence is inevitable and just, because it is directed against a bunch of exploiters who are eager to regain their privileges, to regain the «right» to parasitize on the labor of others, and for this they are ready to commit any crime. Let’s look at a historical example. The October Revolution took place quite easily and with relatively little bloodshed; this circumstance inspired many irresponsible comrades to believe that there was no need for revolutionary violence, that socialist transformations could be carried out exclusively by peaceful means. For example, in January 1918, the Petrograd Revolutionary Tribunal considered the case of one of the leaders of the Black Hundreds, a former deputy of the State Duma, Purishkevich, and members of the counter-revolutionary organization he had created. The tribunal limited itself to sentencing Purishkevich to forced labor for four years on probation! The rest of the members of the counter-revolutionary organization were sentenced to even milder penalties. The tsarist officials-saboteurs declared enemies of the people were punished with a general boycott, and the Kadet party was placed under public surveillance. The exploiting classes responded to this with the assassinations of prominent Bolsheviks, armed rebellions, and terror. After the Yaroslavl rebellion, Pravda wrote:

“When we defeated the insurgent White Guards in the October days, we generously released thousands of cadets and officers, as soon as the sharpness of direct combat clashes subsided. We tried Purishkevich and his accomplices for officer-cadet mutinies, and Purishkevich remained safe and sound. He is even free now… Krasnov, also pardoned by the generous winners, is now paying in lead… No mercy for the White Guards! Remember what the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets said: ‘Soviet Russia must respond to all the crimes of the enemies of the people with mass terror against the bourgeoisie.’”

However, formidable appeals remained, for the most part, only on paper. Things went so far that in June 1918 Lenin telegraphed indignantly:

“We are compromising ourselves: even our resolutions threaten mass terror, but when it comes to action, we slow down the entirely justified revolutionary initiative of the masses. This is im-poss-ible! The terrorists will think we’re milksops…”(3)

I would like to say that it is difficult to imagine that the bourgeois state would be ashamed to use weapons against terrorists and arrange mass arrests of all those who could allegedly be associated with them, with the subsequent curtailment of civil liberties. On the example of some countries, we know that terrorists are destroyed by heavy artillery, along with cities. Only after a daring assassination attempt on Lenin on August 18 and the assassination of Uritsky, the chairman of the Petrograd Cheka, was the decision of the Council of People’s Commissars «On the Red Terror» finally adopted, and the Cheka headed by Dzerzhinsky was formed, which was able to give a worthy answer to the counter-revolutionary forces. All this pseudo-humanism cost the working class too dearly; if immediately after the revolution a lightning-fast red terror was carried out against the enemies of the revolution, who, by the way, were known by name, many lives would have been saved and such large-scale devastation would have been avoided.

Now with regard to the so-called «Stalinist» repressions. Liberal insinuations about the “fact” that Stalin deliberately initiated unfounded repressions in order to assert his power are gross slander. The real reason for the use of repression was the intensification of the class struggle. Stalin explained:

“First, the wrecking and diversionist-espionage work of agents of foreign countries, among whom a rather active role was played by the Trotskyists, affected more or less all, or nearly all, of our organizations-economic, administrative, and Party.

Second, agents of foreign countries, among them the Trotskyites, penetrated not only into lower organizations, but also into certain responsible posts.

Third, some of our leading comrades, both at the center and at the periphery, not only failed to discern the face of these wreckers, diversionists, spies, and killers, but proved to be so careless, complacent,and naive that at times they themselves assisted in promoting agents of foreign states to responsible posts.

These are the three incontrovertible facts which naturally emerge from the reports and the discussions on them.”

How are we to explain, Stalin asks, the fact that our leading comrades, having a rich experience in the struggle against all sorts of anti-Party and anti-Soviet currents, proved in the present case to be so naive and blind that they were unable to discern the real face of the enemies of the people, that they failed to recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing and were unable to tear away their masks? Being carried away by economic affairs, intoxicated by the successes of the Soviet government and the victories of socialist construction projects, they forgot that

“Soviet power was victorious in only one-sixth of the world, that five-sixths of the world are in the possession of the capitalist states. They have forgotten that the Soviet Union finds itself encircled by capitalist states. We have an accepted habit of chattering about capitalist encirclement, but people don’t want to ponder about what this thing is-capitalist encirclement. Capitalist encirclement-it is not an empty phrase, it is a very real and unpleasant phenomenon. Capitalist encirclement-it means that there is one country, the Soviet Union, which has established at home a Socialist order, and that there are, besides, many countries, bourgeois countries, which continue to carry on the capitalist form of life and which encircle the Soviet Union, waiting for the opportunity to attack it, to crush it, or, in any case-to undermine its might and to weaken it.”

Stalin reasonably asks:

“The question arises, why should the bourgeois states treat the Soviet Socialist state more gently and in a more neighborly manner than towards bourgeois states of the same type? Why should they send to the rear of the Soviet Union fewer spies, wreckers, diversionists, and killers than they send to the rear of the bourgeois states akin to them? Where did this assumption come from? Would it not be more true, from the point of view of Marxism, to assume that the bourgeois states would send to the rear of the Soviet Union two and three times more wreckers, spies, diversionists, and killers than to the rear of any bourgeois state?
Is it not clear that for as long as we have capitalist encirclement, we shall have wreckers, spies, diversionists, and killers sent to our rear by agents of foreign states?”

At the same meeting, Stalin made an extremely important theoretical conclusion, which was later ridiculed and thrown out by Khrushchevite revisionism:

“We must destroy and cast aside the rotten theory that with every advance we make the class struggle here of necessity would die down more and more, and that in proportion as we achieve successes the class enemy would become more and more tractable.

This is not only a rotten theory but a dangerous one for it lulls our people, leads them into a trap, and makes it possible for the class enemy to rally for the struggle against the Soviet government.
On the contrary, the further forward we advance [here and below it is my emphasis — R. O.], the greater the successes we achieve, the greater will be the fury of the remnants of the broken exploiting classes, the sooner will they resort to sharper forms of struggle, the more will they seek to harm the Soviet state and the more will they clutch at the most desperate means of struggle, as the last resort of doomed people.
It should be borne in mind that the remnants of the broken classes in the U.S.S.R. are not alone. They have the direct support of our enemies beyond the bounds of the U.S.S.R. It would be a mistake to think that the sphere of the class struggle is limited to the bounds of the U.S.S.R. While one end of the class struggle has its operation within the bounds of the U.S.S.R., its other stretches to the bounds of the bourgeois states surrounding us. The remnants of the broken classes cannot but be aware of this. And precisely because they are, they will continue their desperate assaults in the future.
This is what history teaches us. This is what Leninism teaches us. We must remember all this and be on our guard.”

Khrushchev and his gang, rejecting this very important lesson of Leninism, announced that, allegedly, the exploiting classes had been defeated, and the unconditional victory of socialism in the USSR had come, thereby rejecting the dictatorship of the proletariat and, consequently, politically disarmed before the world bourgeoisie. In this case, is it any wonder that such outspoken enemies as Andropov, Yakovlev, Gaidar, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and many others have infiltrated the top leadership positions? It is also noteworthy that as market relations grew in society, the level of violence also increased. If back in the 60s bandits were seen only in films about life in the West, then already in the 80s, youth gangs began to appear one after another, cruel and daring; along with this, the police gradually learned to take bribes and apply psychological and later traditional torture to detainees–in a word, they turned into bourgeois police.

Liberals still pretend that the scale of the so-called “Stalinist repressions” is a mystery behind seven seals, but the archives have long been open, and anyone can personally verify that there were no “countless millions” who were shot and tortured. The most sane liberals, speaking of «innocent victims,» make the clarification that we are talking about those convicted «for politics,» that is, under Article 58 for «counter-revolutionary action.» It should be noted that Article 58 included such crimes as: treason, espionage, terrorism, and sabotage of production. Separately, it is worth highlighting the «anti-Soviet propaganda»:

“58-10. Propaganda or agitation containing a call to overthrow, undermine or weaken Soviet power or to commit individual counter-revolutionary crimes (Articles 58-2 — 58-9 of this Code), as well as the distribution, production, or storage of literature of the same content, shall entail imprisonment for a term not less than six months. The same actions during mass unrest, with the use of religious or national prejudices of the masses, in a military situation, or in areas declared under martial law shall entail social protection measures specified in Art. 58-2 of this Code».

As we can see, we are talking about a call for the overthrow of the system; about what use of religious and national prejudices leads to, I think, it is unnecessary to speak. Thus, to judge a person «for an anecdote» is a gross violation of socialist legality. It is curious that hardly anyone from the liberal fraternity considers the Rosenberg spouses, who were executed in the electric chair for transferring the drawings of an atomic weapon to the USSR, as political victims, but they shed their crocodile tears for Marshal Tukhachevsky, who transferred the plans of the General Staff to the German side, declaring him an innocent victim of the regime!

However, during the repressions, some honest party members and Soviet people really did suffer. For the most part, these were not excesses, it was the deliberate destruction of honest citizens, which was carried out by Trotskyists who penetrated administrative bodies. They pursued a specific goal–to sow hatred for the Soviet government and Stalin among the working masses. Thus, they prepared the ground for an armed overthrow of the Bolsheviks. Comrade Podguzov aptly remarked:

“Why would KGB officials, if they were sincere communists, need to persuade other honest Soviet people to recognize themselves as enemies of communism and only after that make their life in the camp bearable? Honest reflection on this issue would lead to honest, but not «pro-Western» conclusions. A correct conclusion is possible. Even Kerensky admitted in his memoirs that his erroneous policy towards the tsarist gendarmerie led many gendarmerie investigators and detectives to defect to the Reds, although they remained their enemies in their souls. Therefore, after the fall of Kerensky, they, having penetrated the Cheka, waged a subtle and effective struggle against promising young Bolshevik cadres. Nothing else can explain why such a large number of people, whom the dissidents themselves called honest communists, ended up in prisons and camps and why French-speaking investigators beat confessions of anti-communism out of them.”

Of course, the reader may wonder: how could it happen that the punitive organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat ended up in the hands of the enemies of the people? The whole point is that the class struggle is going on not only in society, but also in the depths of party and state bodies. The Menshevik-Trotskyists, being representatives of the bourgeois-kulak classes, always waged a fierce struggle against the Bolsheviks, spokesmen for the interests of the working class: during the Civil War they fought against the Bolsheviks and the workers with weapons in their hands; after the war, they tried to seize power in the Party and Soviets, using the levers of democratic centralism, but they did not succeed, and switched to a terrorist struggle.

Thus, we sum up: 1) revolutionary violence is necessary and just; 2) revolutionary violence will be carried out as long as the exploiting classes exist; 3) classes will exist as long as, firstly, there is a capitalist environment, and secondly, as long as commodity-money relations exist within society itself, which invariably give rise to crooks, speculators, thieves, robbers–in a word, potential Berezovskys and Khodorkovskys.

Let the liberals moan about repression, let them shed tears over the graves of counter-revolutionaries, but there is no doubt that when the poor in their countries come out of their ghettos–»black» neighborhoods, depressed cities and start fighting for their rights, the liberal «humanists» will answer them with mass repressions, the very ones that they are now hypocritically condemning! I think it would be appropriate here to recall these words of Lenin:

“Their servants accuse us of resorting to terror. . . . The British bourgeoisie have forgotten their 1649, the French bourgeoisie have forgotten their 1793. Terror was just and legitimate when the bourgeoisie resorted to it for their own benefit against feudalism. Terror became monstrous and criminal when the workers and poor peasants dared to use it against the bourgeoisie! Terror was just and legitimate when used for the purpose of substituting one exploiting minority for another exploiting minority. Terror became monstrous and criminal when it began to be used for the purpose of overthrowing every exploiting minority, to be used in the interests of the vast actual majority, in the interests of the proletariat and semi-proletariat, the working class and the poor peasants!”

II. The essence of power

As mentioned at the outset, the world oligarchy made sure that Arendt’s little book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, received the widest circulation, but this ideological tool quickly fell into disrepair. After the death of Stalin and the takeover of party levers by the Khrushchev gang, «mass terror» was no longer found in the USSR, and Arendt was forced to admit that «the Soviet Union can no longer be considered a totalitarian state in the strict sense of the term.» However, she warned that the USSR “may at any moment fall into totalitarianism without any special shocks,” but this could hardly convince anyone: Khrushchev’s “revelations” were in full swing in the country, from the stands and newspapers there was chatter about the so-called «universal values,» and a dissident movement was rapidly emerging. In this situation, it was necessary for the imperialists to update the anti-Soviet concept. C. Friedrich and Z. Brzezinski undertook the casting of a new ideological projectile for the bourgeoisie. In 1956, they sent to print their joint work: «Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy.»

In essence, Friedrich and Brzezinski have reshaped Arendt’s totalitarianism. If earlier the concept of totalitarianism was reduced to equating fascism with communism, by identifying the repressions that were carried out in Nazi Germany and the USSR, of course, with complete disregard for the form and content of these repressions, now repressions are relegated to a third-rate plan, and the definition of totalitarianism is greatly expanded. So, for example, Friedrich and Brzezinski pay attention to the economic aspect. They highlight the planned economy as one of the features of totalitarianism, however, now there is a problem with the definition of fascism as a totalitarian regime (after all, fascism retains the right to private property and, therefore, the market economy), but they don’t care, because their task is to unite the Khrushchev USSR, Maoist China, and all of Eastern Europe under the guise of totalitarianism.

But the main point is that the one-party system has come to the fore as a definition of totalitarianism. The anti-Sovietists interpret the one-party system in two versions: the first is the dictatorship of the party, the «class of bureaucrats,» over the proletariat, over society; the second is the dictatorship of one person–the leader of the party–over society. These options are not mutually exclusive, since both proclaim that there was supposedly no dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR.

The left-wing fools, who joyfully pick up the liberal theses about the «Soviet dictatorship» are not at all worried by the fact that among the classics two concepts quietly coexist together: proletarian democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The great lie of liberalism lies in the opposition between democracy and dictatorship, for every power, including democratic power, is a dictatorship, i.e. the iron power of one class or another. The second big lie of liberalism is the identification of power with control. Let’s take a closer look at what power is.

During the period of primitive communism, there was no power. As Engels pointed out in Anti-Dühring, the «power» of the leader and elders was based not on a club, not on violence, but on the deep respect of fellow tribesmen. The leader, being the strongest and most courageous member of the community, and the council of elders, as the oldest, and therefore wisest people, managed the community, but did not rule over it. However, when private ownership of herds and land was formed, and the community was stratified into the haves and the have-nots, the need arose for the forcible retention of the established order of things–for power. In order to keep the poor masses from expropriating the robber-proprietors, the state was created–an apparatus for the implementation of violence. The state is not a source of power, as it seems to the inhabitants; the state is only an instrument of power. The source of power is property, which is why, when a Marxist speaks of power, he means economic power, for economic power gives rise to political power as inevitably as the grinding of two pieces of silicon against each other with a certain force gives rise to a spark.

It seems to the philistine consciousness that non-class, individual power is possible, a power that is exercised in the interests of only one person–the despot. However, such extra-class power is an illusion. This illusion is born because of the philistine notion that power allows the minority to rise above the majority, while the real order of things is the opposite–for the existence of power, it is necessary that there be a minority living at the expense of the working majority; in other words, power is a tool for maintaining such a position in society where a minority can parasitize on the labor of the majority. Any despot, if he wants to stay on the throne longer, is forced to reckon with the interests of the ruling class, but if the despot forgets about this, then, as history shows us, such a despot is quickly killed, and by his own bodyguards at that. On the other hand, a despot may sincerely believe that he acts purely in his own interests, but at the same time be an objective spokesman for the interests of the ruling class, given that the despot himself is most often a representative of the ruling class.

Now, with regard to the Soviet state. As Lenin pointed out, the Soviet state is no longer purely a state, it is a dying state. Many opportunists distorted this Marxist proposition: the state should immediately begin to wither away, therefore, when the strengthening of the state began to take place under Stalin, he was accused of betraying Marxism. Such an accusation is sheer nonsense.

“Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists have disappeared,
when there are no classes (i.e., when there is no distinction between the members of
society as regards their relation to the social means of production), only then ‘the
state… ceases to exist’, and ‘it becomes possible to speak of freedom,’” explains Lenin.

In other words, the withering away of the state is possible only economically, by reducing market relations, and when potential crooks and speculators have no opportunity to realize their parasitic inclinations. Naturally, as the resistance of the overthrown classes intensifies, the proletarian “state” will grow stronger, but this strengthening means improving the methods of suppressing the exploiters, i.e. the minority of the population. In this context, to talk about the revival of the state without quotation marks is simply absurd. The real revival of the state began along with the growth of market relations, when the Soviet bourgeoisie and black markets arose. Strictly speaking, Soviet power was no longer purely power. After all, its goal was not to maintain the dominance of the working class forever and ever, on the contrary, its goal was the liquidation of all classes.

Let us now pass to the question of the Party, the leaders, and the masses. The opposition of the party or leaders to the masses is the oldest liberal and opportunist trick. In fact, such speculations do not stand up to scrutiny. The masses are divided into classes, as we have already been able to verify, while the classes in all more or less civilized countries are led by political parties. The parties themselves do not fall from the sky, of course, they come out of the depths of one or another politically mature class. I think this is clear enough. But what about leaders? In «What is to be Done?» Lenin answers us like this:

“Take the Germans. It will not be denied, I hope, that theirs is a mass organisation, that in Germany everything proceeds from the masses, that the working-class movement there has learned to walk. Yet observe how these millions value their ‘dozen’ tried political leaders, how firmly they cling to them. Members of the hostile parties in parliament have often taunted the socialists by exclaiming: ‘Fine democrats you are indeed! Yours is a working-class movement only in name; in actual fact the same clique of leaders is always in evidence, the same Bebel and the same Liebknecht, year in and year out, and that goes on for decades. Your supposedly elected workers’ deputies are more permanent than the officials appointed by the Emperor!’ But the Germans only smile with contempt at these demagogic attempts to set the ‘masses’ against the ‘leaders’, to arouse bad and ambitious instincts in the former, and to rob the movement of its solidity and stability by undermining the confidence of the masses in their ‘dozen wise men’. Political thinking is sufficiently developed among the Germans, and they have accumulated sufficient political experience to understand that without the ‘dozen’ tried and talented leaders (and talented men are not born by the hundreds), professionally trained, schooled by long experience, and working in perfect harmony, no class in modern society can wage a determined struggle. The Germans too have had demagogues in their ranks who have flattered the ‘hundred fools’, exalted them above the ‘dozen wise men’, extolled the ‘horny hand’ of the masses, and (like Most and Hasselmann) have spurred them on to reckless ‘revolutionary’ action and sown distrust towards the firm and steadfast leaders. It was only by stubbornly and relentlessly combating all demagogic elements within the socialist movement that German socialism has managed to grow and become as strong as it is. Our wiseacres, however, at a time when Russian Social-Democracy is passing through a crisis entirely due to the lack of sufficiently trained, developed, and experienced leaders to guide the spontaneously awakening masses, cry out ,with the profundity of fools: ‘It is a bad business when the movement does not proceed from the rank and file.’”

The leader, or rather, the candidate for leader, by his word and deed proves his right to lead the masses; when practice proves that the decisions of an individual lead from one victory to another, the masses recognize such an individual as their leader and follow him. This is the difference between a leader and a boss. Of course, theoretically, a boss can be a leader for his subordinates, but they usually obey a boss not because they feel his decisions are correct, but for fear of a stick. So is it possible for a leader to force the party to obey him with sticks? No, after all, the party, its center, is precisely «two dozen wise men who have ripened,» i.e. the leader and his comrades-in-arms! Ordinary party members, on the other hand, understand that without leaders, “the steadfast struggle of a single class is impossible in modern society,” therefore, they obey them. But is it possible for the Party to dictate to society? Can the Party use the fear of the stick to force the masses to obey? Again, no. In order for the masses, the proletarian masses, to follow the party, it must prove its vanguard role. The Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin proved it; that is why the masses followed the party, obeyed it unquestioningly, and fought desperately for it on the fields of the Civil and Great Patriotic Wars. When Khrushchev’s coup happened and the party turned from «a dozen ripe wise men» into a dozen ripe fools and traitors, it lost its vanguard role. The Party objectively acted in the interests of hostile classes. As we have already figured out, no matter how many years have passed since the socialization of the means of production, the defeated exploiting classes do not disappear; they simply go into the shadows, quietly waiting in the wings, and in 1956, they came out of the darkness and joyfully clung to Khrushchev like a wasp to the flesh of a watermelon. Feeling like a significant figure, Khrushchev began to try to portray himself as the leader of the working class, but received nothing in return but biting anecdotes, because the working class saw what this “leader” was worth.

To sum up: 1) power is the struggle of the exploiters to maintain their rule; 2) power is always the dictatorship of a certain class; 3) Soviet power is no longer entirely power; 4) the non-class dictatorship of one person is anti-scientific demagogy based on a philistine understanding of power; 5) the dictatorship of the party over the proletariat is also nonsense, for “the Party cannot be regarded as something cut off from the surrounding people. She lives and labors within her environment.”(4) The party consists of the proletariat, i.e. the majority of the population; it is the true core of the proletariat and by no means some kind of bureaucratic machine fenced off from the people–at least, if it is a party of the working class, and not a party of renegades. Consequently, the party cannot force the majority, for it is itself the majority, but one should not understand the “majority” too mechanically: “After all, the Soviets represent only 20 million people organized by them, but thanks to their organization they lead the entire population.”(5) The organized force is followed, in the end, by the rest of the passive part of the population.


We have examined the two pillars on which the concept of totalitarianism rests. This miserable, deeply anti-scientific nonsense has taken such deep root in the minds of the proletarian masses only because of the incredible ideological weakness of the Communist Parties. Today, the leftists, especially in the West, are terribly afraid of accusations of totalitarianism, because the well-fed and polished philistines, to whom they so diligently pander, will turn their backs on them, so they cowardly tuck their tails between their legs and tirelessly repeat to the philistine public: “We are against totalitarianism! We are for kind socialism, without violence and repression! We are for socialism with a human face!” etc.

The concept of totalitarianism initially consisted of equating fascism with communism, but this was not enough, and the «signs» of totalitarianism began to expand and be refined endlessly depending on the political zigzags of the CPSU, until, in the end, they expanded to such an extent that the liberals themselves were forced to recognize the speculative nature of the concept of «totalitarianism.»

Today, any person or social force that opposes the liberal economic model of «a free fox in a free chicken coop» can receive a «terrible» accusation of totalitarianism. Moreover, those who stand for the scientific transformation of society can also get a “black mark” (even the very appeal to science looks suspicious in the eyes of the liberal police). The most cynical liberals (for example, Talmon in his Origins of Totalitarian Democracy) define totalitarianism as «the very idea of an autonomous system from which evil and misfortune are excluded.» That is, the reactionary bourgeoisie is declaring a «holy» war, not even against communism, but against the simple striving for social harmony!

Along with all this, fascism is being quietly brought out from under the edge of criticism. No, of course, there are routine phrases about the death camps and the horrors of Nazism, but they reek of such an official, bureaucratic smell that they can hardly be taken seriously. If earlier fascism and communism were presented as identical forces, two sides of the same coin, now, on the contrary, a red stripe is drawn between them; fascism is increasingly singled out by a separate term–authoritarianism, moreover, it is emphasized that authoritarianism is a much lesser evil than totalitarianism (i.e. communism), because it allows private property. Imperialist contradictions are growing, and it is becoming more and more difficult to control the proletariat with the help of traditional, bourgeois-democratic measures, so the oligarchs understand that over time they will again need to resort to an open terrorist dictatorship, and they gradually, step by step, whitewash fascism. You can often hear that, allegedly, Stalin himself was preparing an attack on Europe, and Germany only dealt him a preemptive strike. In the Baltic countries and Ukraine, there is a frank rehabilitation of fascist accomplices, and in Russia, albeit shyly, they justify Vlasovism.

Friedrich and Brzezinski wrote in their book:

“Ideology has become so much a part of the flesh and blood of the citizens of the USSR that they have become unconsciously guided by it in their thoughts and actions.”

Truly, it is the rarest case when the liberals flatter the Soviet Union! In fact, alas, the majority of citizens «learned» Marxism only at the level of quotations and newspaper slogans; for them, Marxism was precisely an ideology (i.e. a set of dogmas and slogans), not a science. It was precisely because of the deepest ignorance that the workers of the Union joyfully welcomed market reforms and, with their mouths open, listened in fascination to stories about the «command-administrative system,» and then about totalitarianism.

A person who has firmly mastered the essence of such phenomena as «power,» «party,» «masses,» and «classes» on the basis of diamatics, what the ratio of all these phenomena is, how they interact, etc., will instantly expose such charlatans as Arendt, Aron, Brzezinski, and others, no matter how ornate a label they apply to their poisonous lies.

R. Ogienko

1. V. Lenin, «What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats»
2. Great Soviet Encyclopedia, «Soviets of Workers’ Deputies»
3. V. Lenin, CW vol. 50, letters May-June 1918
4. I. Stalin, CW vol. 13, “Report to the XVII Party Congress on the work of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b)”.
5. I. Stalin, CW vol. 3, «Speeches Delivered at an Emergency Conference of the Petrograd Organization of the RSDLP (b)»


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