Pravda: America has gone Marxist
It has been awhile since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. So, a bit of background may be in order: In 1921, the Soviet communists founded Pravda as the official newspaper of the ruling Central Committee of the Communist Party. “Pravda” is Russian for “truth.”
Recently, Pravda, which has come back to life as an on-line publication, ran this headline: “American capitalism gone with a whimper.” The tone of the Pravda article was to chortle over what Pravda sees as the rapid descent of the United States into Marxism.
Speaking of Obama Administration bureaucrats, Pravda columnist, Stanislav Mishin, wrote: “These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights duties and powers of the American Congress. Again, Congress has put up little more than a whimper to their masters.”
Because Mr. Mishin lived under communist totalitarianism and also experienced the post-1991 violence of oligarchs-run-wild, he does have the benefit of first-hand experience. So, living now as we do in the: post-modern, post-partisan, post-Christian, post-racial, post-gender, post-industrial, post-rational, post-moral, post-mortem, post-capitalist Era, we might be well-advised to stop thinking about dead, white guys in knee-britches such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton (no relation).
Instead, we might want to pay more attention to some of the founders of Marxist-socialism who also happen to be dead, white guys: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Jean Jaures, Eduard Bernstein, Ramsay MacDonald and Eugene Debs, to mention only a few.
These remarkable men had more opinions than a law library. Some were motivated by love of humankind. Some were moved by hatred of the existing order. Often torn between allegiance to the Socialist International and their native land, many were draft dodgers. But some of the French socialists, hoping to get Alsace-Lorraine back from the Germans, favored an army of draftees. (They felt draftees would be less likely to fire on their own people.)
German socialists tended to be pacifists; however, along with the Prussian militarists, they shared a fear of Russia and France. Consequently, some were willing to don the uniform. The Anarchist –socialists wanted no part of any order, old or new. Like the Islamic jihadists of today, the Anarchist-socialists blew up people, public transportation and buildings.
Actually, socialism was a necessary invention of the late 19th Century. Capitalism was working for the upper class; however, the middle class was barely hanging on. The working class was slaving away down in the coal mines, tilling the soil and tending the farm animals. Many were starving, and dying of disease.
At the end of the 19th Century, England was a land of about 45 million people, ruled by a well-fed aristocracy of only about 2,500. The same was generally true in Germany and even in post-revolutionary France. Ironically, pressure from the socialist Left had a beneficial effect upon capitalism. As the 20th Century progressed, Adam Smith’s “unseen hand” began to adjust capitalism in ways that increased the size of the middle class and started to lift the poor out of poverty.
As the late President John F. Kennedy might say, a rising capitalist tide began to lift all boats. As a result, the Marxist prediction of violent revolution against the English, French and German governments did not occur. Only in Tsarist Russia did that happen.
Socialists rarely let facts get in the way of emotion. When one of Germany’s leading socialists, Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932), published data showing all classes of Germans, even under the Kaisers, were getting sufficient beer and brats, he was summarily ejected from the German Social-Democratic Party.
Today, the question remains: Is Pravda really the “truth?” Or, is America just flirting with Marxism?
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
©2009. William Hamilton.