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Trotsky's Appeal
November 11, 2007 8:21 PM   Subscribe

"Trotsky lived on after Stalin, and to some extent is still alive today, not because young people want the world he wanted: a phantasm that not even he could define. What they want is to be him."
posted by Firas (75 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The idea that Trotsky wouldn't have produced a more refined and effective revolutionary legacy is old hat, but I find this piece interesting both for the throwaway idea that Trotsky wasn't as smart as Lenin and also (for those of us who've always had a soft spot for him) explaining his appeal in terms of character traits rather than an actual opinion on him vs. Stalin
posted by Firas at 8:27 PM on November 11, 2007


Heh. And here I was thinking that young people wanted to be Johnny Depp.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:30 PM on November 11, 2007


I would be surprised if more than one in a thousand young people in the US even know who Trotsky was.
posted by facetious at 8:34 PM on November 11, 2007


And I thought Trotsky had a lot of whuffie. You learn something new every day.
posted by jayder at 8:38 PM on November 11, 2007


I would be surprised if more than one in a thousand young people in the US even know who Trotsky was.

Right. I don't think his sentence is suggesting that Trotsky is a figure in the mainstream imagination anywhere. Just that among those who're sort of aware of the matter, there has always been a contingent who think of Trotsky as a sort of tragic and "what-if" figure.
posted by Firas at 8:40 PM on November 11, 2007


Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
posted by genghis at 9:09 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


So that explains the chin-beard-plus-glasses hipster meme.
posted by Kinbote at 9:15 PM on November 11, 2007


Thanks for that. It got me to reread the Clive James essays. For some reason when they were originally coming out they infuriated me. Reading them again I have no idea what it was.
posted by Kattullus at 9:31 PM on November 11, 2007


Yeah I got the Cultural Amnesia book a few weeks ago and think it's awesome. The only intruding agenda is an anti-Fascist/anti-Communist one, but all the connections and musings he attaches to his disparate subjects make for great bite-sized reading.
posted by Firas at 10:32 PM on November 11, 2007


Totally on point. And this goes double for Che Guevara, obviously.
posted by nasreddin at 10:47 PM on November 11, 2007


Has James ever written an essay with a point beyond namedropping? Ooh, Mazzini! Ooh, de Vlaminck! Ooh, Golo Mann! Can I visit your library, Clive?

The same capacity for tacit endorsement is shown by Trotsky's admirers, who even today persist in seeing him as some sort of liberal democrat

Name a Trotskyist who would describe Trotsky as "liberal". And what on earth is this about:

Trotsky's idea of permanent revolution will always be attractive to the kind of romantic who believes that he is being oppressed by global capitalism when he maxes out his credit card.

Two things are apparent here: that James doesn't know what "permanent revolution" means, and that he thinks Trotsky is an inspiration only to middle class dilettantes. But there's a more flagrant namedropper even than James, and this one's much more important in real politics:

Among the new ministers to be incorporated into the government Chavez also pointed to the new Minister of Labour, José Ramón Rivero, which he described as "young and a workers' leader". "When I called him" Chavez explained, "he said to me: 'president I want to tell you something before someone else tells you... I am a Trotskyist', and I said, 'well, what is the problem? I am also a Trotskyist! I follow Trotsky's line, that of permanent revolution."

For James, the debate about Trotsky's legacy is a consumerist-intellectual catfight about which poets, painters, and journalists it's still cool to like, and in which it's taken as given that the worst structural violence that liberal democracy can commit is credit card debt. But the argument is a little more urgent in the global South, home of the poor darling peasants that James sheds a dignified tear over in his essay, and there Trotsky seems to be winning.

James likes politics when it's guys like him chatting about how, gosh, isn't it awful, all this stuff that's going on, and how does it relate to the art and architecture of the day; but whenever someone tries to change things, and people get hurt, James recoils in horror. Weird that he quotes Mazzini as an authority in his essay condemning violence aimed at creating political utopias, as Mazzini spent his entire activist career trying to instigate violent uprisings, and Mazzini's crazy, unworkable utopian dream (a democratic, unified Italian peninsula) exists now, with any alternative considered pretty much unthinkable.
posted by stammer at 11:55 PM on November 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?"

In the library with an ice-axe. In Mexico City. In the 40's. After partying with Diego Rivera.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:12 AM on November 12, 2007


Technically, the correct answer is "He got an ice-pick that made his ears burn".
posted by Grangousier at 1:48 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


or those of us who've always had a soft spot for him

A soft spot. For Leon Trotsky.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2007


As a think piece, it's terrible. It fails utterly to deal with Trotsky, repeating the tired liberal / anarchist hobbyhorse about Kronstadt (Trotsky's view) and then launching into a name-dropping tirade about how Trotsky wasn't really a great dilettante. That, of course, is because Trotsky was a tireless revolutionary. Professional intellectuals trying to align themselves with Trotsky have always run into frustration because, well, the old man was principled and didn't let them save face. James Burnham was particularly badly burned on that account.

Still, I'm glad that Trotsky's still relevant enough that pieces like this need to be written.
posted by graymouser at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2007


I'm kinda thinking that James is looking at a really small (an not particularly mainstream) subset of "progressives" and extrapolating in a way that would get you lacerated, incinerated, electrocuted or otherwise disfigured if you did it with books from the "technical sciences" part of the library.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:40 AM on November 12, 2007


Technically, the correct answer is "He got an ice-pick that made his ears burn".

It was a mountain climber's axe! Can't I get that through your skull!?
posted by backseatpilot at 5:48 AM on November 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


What they want is to be him.

As opposed to all the currently influential right-wingers who actually were Trots?

Clive gets it exactly wrong here. These days, the only truly influential people who still cherish the notion of "permanent revolution" are the likes of Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist, and Ron Paul.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:07 AM on November 12, 2007


octobersurprise:

Most of the "ex-Trotskyist" neoconservative types come from a very specific lineage, which is the wreckage of the left-liberal following Trotsky's American supporters won in the Socialist Party in the late '30s. James Burnham, a public intellectual who wound up in the leadership of the Socialist Workers Party, and Max Shachtman, an old Communist who was a great writer but was never solid on a lot of questions of principle, led an opposition to Trotsky's defense of the USSR during the Hitler-Stalin pact. They led the opposition out of the SWP. Burnham quickly exited the new party, while Shachtman went through a more prolonged right turn.

Essentially, Shachtman and his followers decided during the '50s and McCarthyism, that the current period only allowed for the struggle for democratic rights. This led them to embrace the United States, and Shachtman joined the Socialist Party, this time forming its right wing. These people were known as "State Department Socialists" during the '60s due to their well-right twists and turns, although vestiges of Shachtman's old ideas remained. This led to the most disgraceful conclusions, where the SP was in favor of the Vietnam War and Shachtman was endorsing Nixon on the verge of his (Shachtman's) death.

Most of the neoconservative "ex-Trotskyists" come from the crop of "State Department Socialists" rather than any kind of principled following of Trotsky. Just a bit of history.
posted by graymouser at 6:19 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Genghis: right here, baby
posted by leotrotsky at 6:37 AM on November 12, 2007


I often like Clive, but this little squib is tiresome ranting, and I can't tell who the intended audience is. The few people who still model themselves after Trotsky aren't going to care what the bourgeois esthete has to say in the unlikely event they read it, and the few people who read it who already know anything about Trotsky already agree with him (I can see a gouty gentleman in a London club having a waiter read the piece to him and chuckling in approbation—"yes, yes, that Trotsky was a nasty piece of work!"). Trotsky was a nasty piece of work (and it saddens me that the only people in this thread who dislike the linked article do so because they think Lev Davidovich was peachy keen), but I'd think that 67 years after his death you'd have to do more than say so (incoherently) to get a publishable piece out of it.

Why "incoherently," you ask?

If Stalin's emissary had not managed to smash Trotsky's head in, his jokes might have made the Moscow show trials sound less convincing.

Uh, Trotsky died in 1940, the peak of the show trials was 1937. If he had any jokes to make, he'd had plenty of time to make them.

Pablo Neruda was instrumental in smoothing the assassin's path but never wrote a poem on the subject: something to remember when reading the thousands of ecstatic love poems he did write. They are full of wine and roses, but no ice ax is ever mentioned. Admirers of Neruda don't seem to mind.

I have absolutely no idea what this is about (and would appreciate explication from anyone who does), but besides "love poems" Neruda also wrote odes to Stalin. Octavio Paz wrote, very justly:
Cuando pienso en Aragón, Eluard, Neruda y otros famosos poetas y escritores estalinistas, siento el calosfrío que me da la lectura de ciertos paisajes del infierno. Empezaron de buena fe, sin duda. ... Experimentaron un impulso generoso de indignación ante el mal y de solidaridad con las víctimas. Pero insensiblemente, de compromiso en compromiso, se vieron envueltos en una malla de mentiras, falsedades, engaños y perjurios hasta que perdieron el alma.

When I think of Aragón, Eluard, Neruda, and other famous Stalinist poets and writers I feel the gooseflesh that reading certain passages of the Inferno gives me. No doubt they started out in good faith ... They felt a generous impulse of indignation at evil and solidarity with its victims. But insensibly, commitment by commitment, they saw themselves wrapped in a mesh of lies, falsehoods, deceits, and perjuries, until they lost their soul.
And greymouser, Trotsky's view of Kronstadt is exactly parallel to Bush's view of Iraq. I'd be happy to debate the matter with you if I thought you had the slightest interest in facts as opposed to Communist talking points.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat:

Oh, get off it. The hue and cry over Kronstadt was and is just an excuse for the petty bourgeois left to justify reviling the Bolsheviks in the pressure to take the "decent" position, and it's raised by James in exactly that context. It was a revolutionary war, and actions had to be taken that don't sit well with the petty bourgeois dilettantes. If you have any new or meaningful critique of Kronstadt that wasn't addressed by Trotsky in the '20s or '30s, I'd be glad to address it.
posted by graymouser at 7:05 AM on November 12, 2007


Trotsky was a nasty piece of work (and it saddens me that the only people in this thread who dislike the linked article do so because they think Lev Davidovich was peachy keen)

Well, I for one certainly don't think he was peachy keen. He was, at times, an advocate and enforcer of brutal state terrorism (as I remember, even Lenin thought Terrorism and Communism went a bit too far). I just think it's too easy for us to wash our hands and condemn Trotsky as a potential alternate-universe Stalin when most of us have the luxury of political irrelevance; when Trotsky made a mistake, got too bossy, or didn't think his argument through, thousands of people died, and nobody really came out of the Russian civil war smelling like roses.

Far worse crimes have been committed by figures now ensconced in the liberal-democrat catalogue of saints, forgiven because the stakes, in whatever context, were so high. I think it's important to remember that the stakes were pretty high in the Russian Civil War, too, and, even if the Russian revolution ultimately ended up being a disaster for socialism, by that point it surely would have been even worse if the Tsarists won (not least for Russia's Jews).

Political violence is a tricky subject - obviously too tricky for James! - and I think equating Kronstadt to Iraq is pretty facile. (I'm open to argument, though.) Trotsky may have been wrong, but in my view he was still righter than most.
posted by stammer at 7:25 AM on November 12, 2007


It was a revolutionary war, and actions had to be taken that don't sit well with the petty bourgeois dilettantes.

I'll cop to being something of a petty bourgeois dilettante myself--so feel free to dismiss me on that basis--but I'm pretty sure that argument is exactly how Christopher Hitchens--for one--persuaded himself to support the invasion of Iraq.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:06 AM on November 12, 2007


The hue and cry over Kronstadt was and is just an excuse for the petty bourgeois left to justify reviling the Bolsheviks in the pressure to take the "decent" position

You Commies are so cute!

It was a revolutionary war, and actions had to be taken that don't sit well with the petty bourgeois dilettantes
anyone with a shred of moral decency.

If you have any new or meaningful critique of Kronstadt that wasn't addressed by Trotsky in the '20s or '30s, I'd be glad to address it.

Trotsky's piece is a tissue of lies and evasions, which is natural, because addressing the facts of the matter would have made him and the brutal dictatorship he served look as bad as they in fact were. Here are some facts for you:

Kronstadt didn't revolt on its own behalf but on behalf of the Petrograd workers, who took to the streets in February 1920, as they had three years earlier, after the way they were treated became unbearable: in January the authorities closed all factories and mills, in mid-February they cut the workers' rations by a third. Some economic perpective: at the end of 1920, real wages were less than a tenth of what they had been in 1913, while the price of bread had risen a thousand percent in 1920 alone; between January and February 1921 the prices of potatoes and rye bread nearly tripled, the price of a pound of butter inceased by more than 2,000 rubles, and the cost of a pound of sugar rose by a third to nearly 20,000 rubles in that same month. People were starving and freezing as a direct result of the government's lunatic economic policies.

The workers demanded that the Bolsheviks "answer before the representatives of the people for their deceit, their robberies, and all their crimes." The Bolsheviks (who had taken power supposedly in the name of these very workers) called out the military cadets and suppressed the street protests; since the workers were weak, demoralized, and terrorized by the Cheka (which was far more terrifying than the tsars' Cossacks) and the authorities far more willing to be brutal, the protest failed. But when word of the protests reached Kronstadt, the sailors Trotsky had called "the pride and joy of the revolution" back when they were on his side had had enough and demanded freedom of assembly, speech, and press, and the liberation of all peasants, workers, sailors, and soldiers "imprisoned in connection with worker and peasant movements" as well as of "all political prisoners belonging to socialist parties"; they called for new elections "in vew of the fact that the present soviets do not express the will of the workers and peasants" and asked that equal rations be given to all working men and women.

Shocking demands! Clearly counterrevolutionary and worthy of bloody suppression!

The Bolsheviks sent good old "Papa" Kalinin to talk to the Kronstadters, they gave him an honor guard and escorted him back to the station, but didn't accept his explanations. The thirty delegates they sent back with him to investigate conditions in Petrograd were arrested as soon as they got there were arrested immediately and never heard from again. The sailors elected a new Soviet, and from March 2 they were treated as counterrevolutionary. Note that none of them wanted the tsar back or approved of the Kadets or other bourgeois parties; all they wanted was that the Revolution fulfill its promise of genuine democracy rather than placing the Communist Party in charge of everything and suppressing all dissent.

I can quote endlessly from issues of the newspaper they published (the Izvestia vremennogo revolutsionnogo komiteta) to prove that their goals were noble, but somehow I don't think you're interested. I could point out that when Tukhachevski's thugs finally occupied Kronstadt they shot hundreds of people and sent thousands to die in Solovki and other early islands of the Gulag (and after luring people who'd managed to make it into exile back with promises of amnesty, sent them there too), but you'd just shrug and talk about "revolutionary justice." I could quote the outrage of Voline (who was instrumental in founding the very first Soviet back in 1905)—"Lenin understood nothing—or rather, did not want to understand anything—about the Kronstadt movement. The essential thing for him and his party was to maintain themselves in power at all costs"—but you'd just shrug and say "He's an anarchist and a loser, who cares what he thinks?" So what would be the point?

By the way, anyone who thinks Trotsky was such a tactical genius needs to explain why he suddenly demanded the Czechs (who wanted only to leave the country) surrender their weapons in May 1918 ("every Czech who is found carrying a weapon anywhere along the route of the railway is to be shot on the spot"—how the Communists loved that phrase, "to be shot on the spot"!), turning the Czechs (the only armed and organized force in Siberia) against the Reds and kick-starting the Civil War. Brilliant, Lev Davidovich!

Far worse crimes have been committed by figures now ensconced in the liberal-democrat catalogue of saints,

Who exactly did you have in mind?
posted by languagehat at 8:11 AM on November 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'll cop to being something of a petty bourgeois dilettante myself--so feel free to dismiss me on that basis--but I'm pretty sure that argument is exactly how Christopher Hitchens--for one--persuaded himself to support the invasion of Iraq.

It's entirely possible. Hitchens comes out of the left-Shachtmanite wing of Trotskyism, after all. He was around the International Socialists (which may have renamed itself the Socialist Workers Party by then) before he began his own personal rightward swing. There's something of a sad commentary in all of that.

But there is really no comparison. Look: the Bolsheviks weren't making decisions from a moral blank slate. They were trying to win a revolution, to overthrow an injust social order, for the first time in the world. Their only example was the Paris Commune. The Communards lost to the counter-revolution, and paid for it in blood. It was a bloodbath. They knew that the restoration (and the revolt at Kronstadt meant a capitalist restoration, no matter how radical the slogans it draped itself in sounded) would mean massive death and repression. They made a stand. It cost lives. I'm not going to pretend that it was pretty or wonderful; war is not pretty or wonderful. But the fight was on the side of historical progress.
posted by graymouser at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2007


They were trying to win a revolution, to overthrow an injust social order, for the first time in the world

SCARE BLAU or BLEAU of BLUE. really the FIRST time.
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2007


Wow, graymouser, I thought stooges like you died out in the '60s. I know they did in Russia.

Seriously, you don't get to call people "petty bourgeois" until you're in a basement somewhere making Molotov cocktails. And not on MetaFilter.

They were trying to win a revolution, to overthrow an injust social order, for the first time in the world.

Oh, right, I forgot: 1642, 1776, 1789, and 1848 were all about bourgeois reformism.

Also, you won't be a very effective cadre until you learn how to spell "unjust" correctly.
posted by nasreddin at 8:53 AM on November 12, 2007


They knew that the restoration (and the revolt at Kronstadt meant a capitalist restoration, no matter how radical the slogans it draped itself in sounded) would mean massive death and repression.

Boy, I'm glad Russia dodged that bullet.
posted by nasreddin at 8:57 AM on November 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


clavdivs:

Yep. The social order I'm referring to is, you know, capitalism. The French Revolution (which didn't even try to overthrow capitalism) was a massive step forward – even with the Terror and Napoleon and all that. And the Russian Revolution was a massive step forward – even with the civil war and Stalin and all that.

(And it's interesting to note that absolutism seemed indominable and democracy at best a remote possibility in large portions of the world back in 1879, which was just as far from Bastille Day as we are from the October Revolution.)
posted by graymouser at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2007


democracy at best a remote possibility

By "democracy" I take it you mean "direct rule by the Communist Party, with dissent forcibly suppressed"?
posted by languagehat at 9:29 AM on November 12, 2007


By "democracy" I take it you mean "direct rule by the Communist Party, with dissent forcibly suppressed"?

No, I mean rule by organs of direct popular participation in every level of society. Unfortunately, every time people have tried to implement this, from Paris to Russia and throughout the 20th century, they have been directly and murderously attacked by capitalist and/or imperialist forces. This has caused distortions or deformations which have grown to monstrous proportions (e.g. the Soviet Union, where the bureaucracy needed to run a semi-nationalized economy in a horribly backward country took control). But the soviets represented, in embryonic form, a far higher and deeper form of democracy and a world worth fighting for.
posted by graymouser at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2007


But the soviets represented, in embryonic form, a far higher and deeper form of democracy

Which is why the Bolsheviks (not capitalist and/or imperialist forces) forcibly suppressed them.
posted by languagehat at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2007


Which is why the Bolsheviks (not capitalist and/or imperialist forces) forcibly suppressed them.

If you're implying that this was what Kronstadt was about, you're simply wrong, and I'm not going to pursue a point-scoring contest with you. Soviet democracy was a casualty of the later consolidation of power by the bureaucracy, who for the most part weren't Bolsheviks before the civil war. You're can continue laying down the typical anti-communist line as long as you like, but that won't change anything for people who look at material reality rather than idealism. The rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy was not the inevitable result of Bolshevism, but rather the long-term outcome of the emergency measures the Bolsheviks took because of the devastation from the civil war. The fight against this bureaucracy and for Soviet democracy consumed the remainder of Trotsky's life. More's the pity he didn't succeed.
posted by graymouser at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2007


languagehat: re: Neruda I have absolutely no idea what this is about (and would appreciate explication from anyone who does)

Well, according to the wikipedia page on Neruda he arranged a Chilean visa for David Alfaro Siqueiros after he had attacked Trotsky's residence with machine guns in 1940.
posted by Kattullus at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2007


greymouser: The Bolsheviks began suppressing the soviets immediately after their seizure of power in Oct./Nov. 1917, because the soviets (many of which had Bolshevik majorities back when the Bolsheviks were promoting "All Power to the Soviets") were coming to be dominated by Mensheviks and SRs. It is one of the great ironies of history that the "Soviet" Union took its name from the experiment in grassroots democracy it crushed at the very outset (not after your bugbear "Stalinist bureaucracy" came to power).

Kattullus: Thanks!
posted by languagehat at 10:59 AM on November 12, 2007


If you're implying that this was what Kronstadt was about, you're simply wrong, and I'm not going to pursue a point-scoring contest with you. Soviet democracy was a casualty of the later consolidation of power by the bureaucracy, who for the most part weren't Bolsheviks before the civil war. You're can continue laying down the typical anti-communist line as long as you like, but that won't change anything for people who look at material reality rather than idealism. The rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy was not the inevitable result of Bolshevism, but rather the long-term outcome of the emergency measures the Bolsheviks took because of the devastation from the civil war. The fight against this bureaucracy and for Soviet democracy consumed the remainder of Trotsky's life. More's the pity he didn't succeed.

No, you're wrong. The neutralization of the soviets was a key part of Lenin's revolutionary strategy. After the February revolution, most of the soviets across the country were controlled by the SRs and other "bourgeois" parties. Lenin, of course, only liked the soviets when they were on his side. So he created the "Northern Region Congress," stuffed it with Bolshevik stooges, and demanded that it be given the right to make the law by fiat. The Bolshevik-controlled soviets that were part of the NRC were very much a minority among all the Russian soviets, which were quickly made powerless as Lenin's revolutionary strategy unleashed a wave of intimidation and repression.

This whole "blame Stalin" routine as a defense of Soviet Communism is so cliche and obviously untenable, not even the Russian Communist Party clings to it anymore.

I'm a fan of Robert Anton Wilson's dictum: "A militant is a liberal who cuts out the diagram of the Molotov cocktail from the New York Review of Books, hangs it on his bathroom wall, and jacks off in connection with it."
posted by nasreddin at 11:08 AM on November 12, 2007


On preview: languagehat said it better than I could.
posted by nasreddin at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2007


languagehat: I understand your grasp of anti-communist historians is very good. Like I said, I'm not trying to win some point-scoring debate with you. There is a lot of money in the United States for anyone who'll take the word of any reactionaries who left Russia during or after the revolution at face value. There always has been, and you're well read in the output of these writers. I'm not going to debate their writings with you (or nasreddin for that matter).
posted by graymouser at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2007


There is a lot of money in the United States for anyone who'll take the word of any reactionaries who left Russia during or after the revolution at face value. There always has been, and you're well read in the output of these writers. I'm not going to debate their writings with you (or nasreddin for that matter).

I am a Russian. I was born in Russia, and I lived there for half my life. My great-grandfather was friends with Stalin. There is no one in Russia that denies the facts languagehat and I set forth in this thread. Of course, in your cushy New Jersey "Socialist Worker" circle-jerk you can feel free to pretend that the hellish travesty that was Leninism was all fine and dandy and "To be young was very heaven," but you never lost family members and friends to NKVD sailors knocking on the door in the middle of the night and taking them away in a black car never to be seen again. Another great-grandfather of mine was in the Gulag. My mother's side of the family lost everything when NEP ended and the state decided that middle-class Jews were no longer allowed to own printing shops. Blather on, one more tired lie won't change much in this world.
posted by nasreddin at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2007


This has been a fascinating discussion, but graymouser, when you say

There is a lot of money in the United States for anyone who'll take the word of any reactionaries who left Russia during or after the revolution at face value. There always has been, and you're well read in the output of these writers. I'm not going to debate their writings with you (or nasreddin for that matter).

are you not basically saying "I refuse to argue with people who disagree with me"?
posted by Ndwright at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2007


are you not basically saying "I refuse to argue with people who disagree with me"?

Of course he is; all historians who don't parrot the party line are "anti-communist historians" and by definition stooges of the capitalist-imperialist bourgeoisie. The only truth is Marxist-Leninist truth. I'm not so much arguing with graymouser (I long ago gave up trying to have serious discussions with party-liners) as presenting basic facts for the benefit of anyone who might happen on this thread.
posted by languagehat at 11:42 AM on November 12, 2007


A militant is a liberal who cuts out the diagram of the Molotov cocktail from the New York Review of Books ...

I've been a regular reader of the NYRB for years and I don't remember ever seeing a diagram of a Molotov cocktail in their pages. Maybe I missed that issue.

(As hucksters go, I always preferred Ron Popeil to RAW.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:51 AM on November 12, 2007



I've been a regular reader of the NYRB for years and I don't remember ever seeing a diagram of a Molotov cocktail in their pages. Maybe I missed that issue.


Well, it's from Illuminatus! so presumably that issue appeared sometime in the late '60s-early '70s.
posted by nasreddin at 11:58 AM on November 12, 2007


languagehat and nasreddin are presenting, here, a fundamentally falsified view of history. There is a long tradition of falsification with regard to the Soviet Union, unfortunately going on both sides (the Stalinists and the anti-communists), that tries to equate Leninism and Stalinism. The Stalinists wanted the credibility of the early years of the Bolshevik revolution, and as more information became available about the corruption and degeneration of the Stalin regime, the game was joined by imperialists. Most of the major historians on the question today are committed to this interpretation, since it pays much better than the opposite view. (Note that the attacks here try to lump me in with the Stalinists, when I am not and never have been.)

Trotsky was, for a decade and a half, a living refutation of this point of view. He showed, through continuous work in extremely difficult circumstances, that the bureaucratized thing in Moscow had nothing to do with the original Bolsheviks. His historical legacy is this: that the masses can have the real revolutionary and democratic content of the Russian Revolution for their own.

Revolutions don't go in straight lines. Stalin didn't come as the natural result of Leninism; it wasn't even theoretically possible. Most of the historic cadres of the Bolshevik Party were physically destroyed (i.e., killed by White armies) in the civil war following the October Revolution. There was something like a 99% change in who was in the RCP(B) from 1917 to 1924. The people (not phantoms of anyone's imagination, they were a real social layer) who joined were bureaucrats, administrators and technicians. And they presided over a state that was, in Lenin's word, deformed; in Trotsky's, degenerated, from its basis as a workers' state. Stalin fought, from 1923 to 1938, a vicious internal battle against his enemies in the Bolshevik Party. Why was this necessary – why was it even possible in the conspiratorial view of the Bolsheviks presented by languagehat and nasreddin? If Leninism led straight to Stalinism, why was every member of the 1917 Bolshevik Central Committee dead by 1940, with the exception of Stalin? Why did the Stalinists try to rewrite history to exclude Bolsheviks who'd fallen out of favor? It was because there was a historic disconnect with the real content of Bolshevism, which both Stalinists and anti-communists have tried to bury.

Again, let me reiterate: I don't deny that the Bolsheviks had to take a lot of often harsh measures to win a war when their country was invaded. That's the nature of a civil war, which they didn't start and didn't want. The Bolsheviks won, but in many ways it was a pyrrhic victory, costing both sides tremendously in human lives, and bleeding the country white. Like the Jacobins before them, the Bolsheviks had to make questionable decisions just to stay alive. And, like the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution suffered its own Thermidor at the hands of the Stalinists.

Both of these revolutions reflected the worlds they came out of – worlds of horrors, of absolutism and repression. And neither created the utopia that seemed possible in the early days. But both presented ways out of the old regimes, the old world. That's what Trotsky was about.

And that's about all the Trotskyism Metafilter can probably take for the day. Ta.
posted by graymouser at 12:27 PM on November 12, 2007


"Soviet democracy was a casualty of the later consolidation of power by the bureaucracy, who for the most part weren't Bolsheviks before the civil war."

NO NO NO.

Lenin was open about the intentionally brutal suppression of any form of popular democracy as necessary to the dictatorship of the proletariat. He is EXPLICIT in his pre-revolutionary tract "What is to be Done?"

While I am perhaps more sympathetic to the idea that Kronstadt could be justified from the point of view of the Bolsheviks crusading against counter-revolutionaries than Languagehat (though I would note that the Trotsky piece you linked to carries far more invective than argument), attempting to paint the rejection of the violence of totalizing structures as bourgeois capitulation marks you as someone who has chosen ideology over humanity.

That same failure of values was what led to both fascism and the totalitarianism of Russia in the 20th Century (communism, state socialism, Sovietism—all both lack the necessary viciousness to be descriptive and unnecessarily tar other movements with the thick pitch of militarized bureaucracy).

That said, this was a shit essay by someone who I've only ever seen through Metafilter, and who strikes me as a particularly fourth-rate thinker.
posted by klangklangston at 12:45 PM on November 12, 2007


"If Leninism led straight to Stalinism, why was every member of the 1917 Bolshevik Central Committee dead by 1940, with the exception of Stalin?"

Because Leninism led straight to Stalinism. Lenin started the first Red vs. Expert battles (better known through Maoism), and his emphasis on the dictatorship was what party clerk Stalin learned best.

Or, more simply, Leninism led to Stalinism through the massacre of "counter-revolutionaries" at Kronstadt.
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on November 12, 2007


There is a long tradition of falsification with regard to the Soviet Union, unfortunately going on both sides (the Stalinists and the anti-communists), that tries to equate Leninism and Stalinism.

No, that's not what I'm doing. Leninism was bad. Stalinism was worse. They used different methods and approaches, but the results were qualitatively the same.

Most of the major historians on the question today are committed to this interpretation, since it pays much better than the opposite view.


"American gold" is a banal and ancient indictment. Personally, I've encountered far more historians on the Left than on the Right, Robert Conquest excepted. Give me some figures on this interpretation "paying better"--what does that even mean?

Trotsky was, for a decade and a half, a living refutation of this point of view. He showed, through continuous work in extremely difficult circumstances, that the bureaucratized thing in Moscow had nothing to do with the original Bolsheviks. His historical legacy is this: that the masses can have the real revolutionary and democratic content of the Russian Revolution for their own.


What did Trotsky actually do after slaughtering the sailors? I thought he was fucking Frida Kahlo and trying not to get killed (unsuccessfully).

Stalin didn't come as the natural result of Leninism; it wasn't even theoretically possible.


What does this sentence mean? We're not all committed to dialectical materialism around here.

Most of the historic cadres of the Bolshevik Party were physically destroyed (i.e., killed by White armies) in the civil war following the October Revolution.

No, that's not true. Most of the Bolsheviks stayed nice and warm in Moscow and St. Petersburg, while the actual fighting was done by peasant conscripts and Makhno.

There was something like a 99% change in who was in the RCP(B) from 1917 to 1924.

Cite, please.

The people (not phantoms of anyone's imagination, they were a real social layer) who joined were bureaucrats, administrators and technicians. And they presided over a state that was, in Lenin's word, deformed; in Trotsky's, degenerated, from its basis as a workers' state.

When was the USSR ever a workers' state? Explain the NKVD!

Why was this necessary – why was it even possible in the conspiratorial view of the Bolsheviks presented by languagehat and nasreddin?


It would be ludicrous to assert that there was no internal dissension within the CPSU: one group of vicious bloodsuckers fighting another. If I think Hitler was an asshole, it doesn't mean I think Ernst Rohm would have been any better.

If Leninism led straight to Stalinism, why was every member of the 1917 Bolshevik Central Committee dead by 1940, with the exception of Stalin? Why did the Stalinists try to rewrite history to exclude Bolsheviks who'd fallen out of favor?

Because when one group of bloodsuckers defeats the other, it wants to suppress everything that remained of it?

I don't deny that the Bolsheviks had to take a lot of often harsh measures to win a war when their country was invaded. That's the nature of a civil war, which they didn't start and didn't want.

The only reason the Bolsheviks won the Civil War was that the SR front in the southeast was opened from inside, possibly through treason or bribery.

Both of these revolutions reflected the worlds they came out of – worlds of horrors, of absolutism and repression.

Russia in 1917 was not an absolute monarchy. You clearly have no historical sense at all.

-----

Every Trot I've ever met has been a dramatically uninspired mediocrity, and graymouser has done little to disprove this impression.

See you at the Rage Against the Machine show!
posted by nasreddin at 12:56 PM on November 12, 2007


I've been a regular reader of the NYRB for years and I don't remember ever seeing a diagram of a Molotov cocktail in their pages. Maybe I missed that issue.

It was the Aug. 24, 1967, issue, about which Time (Aug. 18, 1967) said in its inimitably snarky way:
The cover of the New York Review of Books, a biweekly publication that offers highly literate book reviews to highly literate readers, normally carries nothing more than large-type announcements of what is inside. What is inside is words, with a sprinkling of pen-and-ink caricatures with oversized heads by David Levin. Last week, to the wondering eyes of its white, middle-class readers, Review devoted the lower third of a cover dealing with books on Negro rebellion to a detailed, do-it-yourself diagram of a Molotov cocktail. Some were amused, some were startled, none were likely to make much use of the blueprint. What was meant to give everybody a bang turned out to be just a little pop art.
languagehat and nasreddin are presenting, here, a fundamentally falsified view of history.

I understand you think my entire view is false, but just out of curiosity: do you dispute any of the actual statements in my vicious reactionary screed above? Incidentally, it may interest you to know that Trotsky's history of the revolution occupies an honored place on my bookshelf, alongside his superb book of reportage on the Balkan Wars, which I always recommend to people who want to read about that sad precursor to WWI. Trotsky was a great writer; too bad he had to go into politics. Same goes for Milyukov and a bunch of other people.

While I am perhaps more sympathetic to the idea that Kronstadt could be justified from the point of view of the Bolsheviks crusading against counter-revolutionaries than Languagehat

Um, in what way were the Kronstadt sailors "counter-revolutionaries"?

OK, gotta go collect my check from the Capitalist Society for the Suppression of History! (Hey nasreddin, has your check been arriving late? I'm getting a little pissed. Here I am tirelessly propagandizing for The Man, and he can't get the checks mailed on time?)
posted by languagehat at 1:06 PM on November 12, 2007


OK, gotta go collect my check from the Capitalist Society for the Suppression of History! (Hey nasreddin, has your check been arriving late? I'm getting a little pissed. Here I am tirelessly propagandizing for The Man, and he can't get the checks mailed on time?)

Yeah, it was way better back when I was working for the International Union of Freemasons, Catholics, and Jewish Financiers. Wiping the working man's blood and sweat from the gold bricks was a pain in the ass, though.
posted by nasreddin at 1:18 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


What is inside is words, with a sprinkling of pen-and-ink caricatures with oversized heads by David Levin.

Ha! I was trying to work Levin[e] into a joke somehow.

none were likely to make much use of the blueprint.

Apparently, some people got a bang out of it.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Um, in what way were the Kronstadt sailors "counter-revolutionaries"?"

In that they were opposed by the revolutionaries?
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on November 12, 2007


Dude, they were all revolutionaries. There probably wasn't an actual counterrevolutionary to be found within 50 miles of Petrograd by 1921. Anyone whose faith in the tsarist system had survived WWI had fled or been killed by then. You're not seriously going to tell me that if the Communist Party called somebody counterrevolutionary, that's good enough for you? The Kronstadt sailors were the strongest supporters of the revolution; they were the ones the Bolsheviks relied on to suppress opposition in 1917 (them and the Latvians, who for some reason were the hardest-core of hard-core Bolsheviks). They had come to the conclusion that the Bolsheviks had betrayed the revolution. You're welcome to disagree, but calling them counterrevolutionary is counterhistorical.
posted by languagehat at 3:16 PM on November 12, 2007


Thanks to nasreddin and languagehat for your excellent comments.

I was intrigued to discover a defence of the Kronstadt repression ("A Tragic Necessity", Socialist Worker Review 1990) by Abbie Bakan — I imagined people like this had died out long ago, but Bakan is alive and well (why's there never a good purge when you need one?) and in fact a professor of politics somewhere in Canada.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:30 PM on November 12, 2007


Oh, go to any demo and you'll see lots of Trots. There's something irresistibly heady about being a Trotskyite; Lev Davidovich is still a dangerously seductive figure, like Che. (You don't see many cults of Kamenev or Zinoviev.)
posted by languagehat at 3:46 PM on November 12, 2007


lh: you made a passing mention to Makhno above. I've always found him fascinating, though my knowledge of him is mostly limited to a very slim biography I read in college, and some scenes in Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius books. Any recommendations for something more in depth?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:10 PM on November 12, 2007


"You're not seriously going to tell me that if the Communist Party called somebody counterrevolutionary, that's good enough for you?"

Good enough for me to understand fervent Bolsheviks killing them, yeah. Once the violence started against the Mensheviks, which was what, around 1920-21, it became a political necessity for Bolsheviks to eliminate all alternate revolutionary projects, doubly so because of Lenin's vanguard theories.

But, like I said upstream in reference to graymouser, this was ideology over humanity.
posted by klangklangston at 4:24 PM on November 12, 2007


(You'll note that after the first reference, "counter-revolutionary" goes with scare quotes.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on November 12, 2007


Oh I knew there are still plenty of Trots — the Trotskyites still had influence in mainstream British politics throughout the 80s, via Labour's 'Militant tendency' (and during that time Tony Blair claimed to have been inspired to socialism by a biography of Trotsky, or so I read recently). What I didn't know was that people still went around defending things like Kronstadt on grounds of ideological necessity.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:51 PM on November 12, 2007


Hee hee, everyone's getting excited about Makhno! Makhno, the drunken terrorist mini-Bolshevik, is guilty on a smaller scale of everything Trotsky was - massacres of civilians, conscription, suppression of political threats on the left - but gets away with it in the imagination of anarchists, because, like Trotsky, he was defeated, but unlike Trotsky he never wielded significant power, which apparently makes him ultra-pure.

Lentrohamsain, here's a good little overview of Makhno from a Bolshevik perspective. It has a pretty extensive bibliography which includes all the classic anarchist works.
posted by stammer at 5:15 PM on November 12, 2007


lh: you made a passing mention to Makhno above.

Actually, that was nasreddin, my fellow hireling of the International Bourgeois Capitalist Conspiracy. But we speak as one, so I will answer for him.

Lentrohamsain, here's a good little overview of Makhno from a Bolshevik perspective.

And hey, what better perspective, right? But on the off chance that for some strange reason you want a different perspective than that of his bitter enemies, here's the Nestor Makhno Archive, here's a good set of links, here's an anarchist Makhno FAQ, here's a defense of Makhno against Communist attacks that also discusses Kronstadt, and here's the Google Books version of Alexandre Skirda's Nestor Makhno—Anarchy's Cossack: The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine, 1917-1921. I hope you find them useful. (Gee, I shoulda done a Makhno post, but I've got a cold and am feeling lazy.)
posted by languagehat at 5:55 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I understand you think my entire view is false, but just out of curiosity: do you dispute any of the actual statements in my vicious reactionary screed above?

I said repeatedly that I'm not interested in a point-scoring contest on this, so no, I'm not going to go into it. It's a pointless exercise to go back and forth infinitely on internet forums, and I don't have the time or inclination for it. You've written an account worthy of the ideologists of capital who loathed the October Revolution since it began. I think you're a smart guy who buys into a very well developed ideological hegemony that has been built very purposefully with the intent of discrediting the Russian Revolution. I don't, and I stand by Trotsky's analysis of the early Soviet Union. Like I said when this thread was still discussing the article at hand, Trotsky has this habit of embarrassing intellectual types who want him to have been a liberal democrat.
posted by graymouser at 6:15 PM on November 12, 2007


You have just enough time and inclination to drop by and tell us you don't have time or inclination to dispute my facts! But I understand, you have revolutions to foment and petty bourgeois conspiracies to root out. Go with Marx, comrade, and may the winds of permanent revolution be always at your back!
posted by languagehat at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2007


In case anyone actually believes graymouser's tripe about the capitalist smear campaign, here's Emma Goldman's account of the USSR in 1920-1921.

And if you think Emma Goldman is a capitalist running dog lackey, there's no hope for you at all.
posted by nasreddin at 7:11 PM on November 12, 2007


A highly apropos quote from my link (the preface to the omitted chapters):
Mr. Alsberg believes that the present title of my book is more appropriate to its contents than the name I had chosen. My disillusionment, he asserts, is not only with the Bolsheviki but with the Revolution itself. In support of this contention he cites Bukharin's remark to the effect that "a revolution cannot be accomplished without terror, disorganization, and even wanton destruction, any more than an omelette can be made without breaking the eggs." But it seems not to have occurred to Mr. Alsberg that, though the breaking of the eggs is necessary, no omelette can be made if the yolk be thrown away. And that is precisely what the Communist Party did to the Russian Revolution. For the yolk they substituted Bolshevism, more specifically Leninism, with the result as shown in my book-a result that is gradually being realized as an entire failure by the world at large.

Mr. Alsberg also believes that it was not "grim necessity, the driving need to preserve not the Revolution but the remnants of civilization, which forced the Bolsheviki to lay hands on every available weapon, the Terror, the Tcheka, suppression of free speech and press, censorship, military conscription, conscription of labour, requisitioning of peasants' crops, even bribery and corruption." Mr. Alsberg evidently agrees with me that the Communists employed all these methods; and that, as he himself states, "the 'means' largely determines the 'end"'-a conclusion the proof and demonstration of which are contained in my book. The only mistake in this viewpoint, however-a most vital one-is the assumption that the Bolsheviki were forced to resort to the methods referred to in order to "preserve the remnants of civilization." Such a view is based on an entire misconception of the philosophy and practice of Bolshevism. Nothing can be further from the desire or intention of Leninism that the "preservation of the remnants of civilization." Had Mr. Alsberg said instead "the preservation of the Communist dictatorship, of the political absolutism of the Party", he would have come nearer the truth, and we should have no quarrel on the matter. We must not fail to consider that the Bolsheviki continue to employ exactly the same methods to-day as they did in what Mr. Alsberg calls "the moments of grim necessity, in 1919, 1920, and 1921."

We are in 1924. The military fronts have long ago been liquidated; internal counterrevolution is suppressed; the old bourgeoisie is eliminated; the "moments of grim necessity" are past. In fact, Russia is being politically recognized by various governments of Europe and Asia, and the Bolsheviki are inviting international capital to come to their country whose natural wealth, as Tchicherin assures the world capitalists, is "waiting to be exploited." The "moments of grim necessity" are gone, but the Terror, the Tcheka, suppression of free speech and press, and all the other Communist methods enumerated by Mr. Alsberg still remain in force. Indeed, they are being applied even more brutally and barbarously since the death of Lenin. Is it to " preserve the remnants of civilization," as Mr. Alsberg claims, or to strengthen the weakening Party dictatorship?
posted by nasreddin at 8:00 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pssst, nasreddin— Trotsky dismisses Goldman as a product of her class in the first link from Graymouser.
posted by klangklangston at 8:01 PM on November 12, 2007


Pssst, nasreddin— Trotsky dismisses Goldman as a product of her class in the first link from Graymouser.

Glad that's settled, then.
posted by nasreddin at 8:16 PM on November 12, 2007


Elsewhere on Metafilter: Bookfilter: Recommend a good book on Leon Trotsky and Trotskyism.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:52 PM on November 12, 2007


"Glad that's settled, then."

Well, we were gonna vote, but that promulgates trade unionism.
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 PM on November 12, 2007


Because when one group of bloodsuckers defeats the other, it wants to suppress everything that remained of it?

I usually agree with you nasreddin, but this is a bit off the mark. The contrast between Trotsky and Stalin is not just in terms of whether or not one was more ruthlessly allied to ideology over humanity, or the difference in their specific plans (collectivization, NEP, permanent revolution, etc.). They were very different as persons. I think even a cursory examination of their concurrent careers would show that Stalin was almost Shakespearian in his villiany; he's one of the most flagrant backstabbers in history.
posted by Firas at 4:18 AM on November 13, 2007


Firas, you're succumbing to the fallacy of personality (which, granted, is hard to avoid in this personality-soaked culture). Sure, Trotsky and Stalin had different personalities; so what? If Trotsky had risen to the top instead of Stalin, the details would have been different (he presumably wouldn't have decimated the officer corps before WWII, for one thing), but nothing fundamental would have changed. Power corrupts, and the Communist system was set in stone by 1920. Here's what Trotsky had to say in that year:
The organization of labor is in its essence the organization of the new society: every historical form of society is in its foundation a form of organization of labor. While every previous form of society was an organization of labor in the interests of a minority, which organized its State apparatus for the oppression of the overwhelming majority of the workers, we are making the first attempt in world-history to organize labor in the interests of the laboring majority itself. This, however, does not exclude the element of compulsion in all its forms, both the most gentle and the extremely severe. The element of State compulsion not only does not disappear from the historical arena, but on the contrary will still play, for a considerable period, an extremely prominent part...

The introduction of compulsory labor service is unthinkable without the application, to a greater or less degree, of the methods of militarization of labor. Why do we speak of militarization? Of course, this is only an analogy—but an analogy very rich in content. No social organization except the army has ever considered itself justified in subordinating citizens to itself in such a measure, and to control them by its will on all sides to such a degree, as the State of the proletarian dictatorship considers itself justified in doing, and does. Only the army—just because in its way it used to decide questions of the life or death of nations, States, and ruling classes—was endowed with powers of demanding from each and all complete submission to its problems, aims, regulations, and orders.
There's the essence of the Communist system: "demanding from each and all complete submission." It has nothing to do with personality.

(Incidentally, I'd be curious to know what graymouser thinks of his hero's concept of the "militarization of labor"; maybe after he gets back from suppressing counterrevolution in the New Jersey Barrens he'll tell us.)
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on November 13, 2007


Incidentally, Stalin himself suggested a much more reasonable view of things:
Our disagreements are about questions of the means by which to strengthen labor discipline in the working class, the methods of approach to the mass of the workers who are being drawn into the work of reviving industry, the ways of transforming the present weak trade unions into powerful, genuinely industrial unions, capable of reviving our industry.

There are two methods: the method of coercion (the military method), and the method of persuasion (the trade-union method). The first method by no means precludes elements of persuasion, but these are subordinate to the requirements of the coercion method and are auxiliary to the latter. The second method, in turn, does not preclude elements of coercion, but these are subordinate to the requirements of the persuasion method and are auxiliary to the latter. It is just as impermissible to confuse these two methods as it is to confuse the army with the working class.

A group of Party workers headed by Trotsky, intoxicated by the successes achieved by military methods in the army, supposes that those methods can, and must, be adopted among the workers, in the trade unions, in order to achieve similar successes in strengthening the unions and in reviving industry. But this group forgets that the army and the working class are two different spheres, that a method that is suitable for the army may prove to be unsuitable, harmful, for the working class and its trade unions ...

Disregarding the irrelevant talk about "Kautskyism," "Menshevism," and so forth, it is evident that Trotsky fails to understand the difference between labor organizations and military organizations, that he fails to understand that in the period of the termination of the war and the revival of industry it becomes necessary, inevitable, to contrast military with democratic (trade-union) methods, and that, therefore, to transfer military methods into the trade unions is a mistake, is harmful ...

Democracy in the trade unions, i.e., what is usually called "normal methods of proletarian democracy in the unions," is the conscious democracy characteristic of mass working-class organizations, which presupposes consciousness of the necessity and utility of systematically employing methods of persuasion among the millions of workers organized in the trade unions. If that consciousness is absent, democracy be comes an empty sound.
posted by nasreddin at 7:08 AM on November 13, 2007


*weeps tears of joy at the genius and mercy of the Great Helmsman*
posted by languagehat at 8:19 AM on November 13, 2007


Yeah, I guess you're right languagehat, the institutions and structural patterns that became Stalin's were also favoured (even moulded) by Trotsky.
posted by Firas at 3:38 AM on November 14, 2007


My great-grandfather was friends with Stalin.
he had no friends and why even mention this, i'd be ashamed, like saying your dad was hitlers cook.

Why did the Stalinists try to rewrite history to exclude Bolsheviks who'd fallen out of favor?
why did David start painting people out the revolutionary mural?.
posted by clavdivs at 8:24 AM on November 14, 2007


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