Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Blue Bolsheviks

Commentary by Martin Kelly
September 24, 2004

There are few studies more likely to induce deep sleep than trying to follow the doings of Communists. The core of their beliefs is the rejection of God and the exaltation of man, but being human they cannot erase their spirituality completely, so they must find new gods, and the gods of Communism, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Mao, have been the most unattractive, fractious and bloodthirsty divinities until the advent of Osama.

In such difficult times as these, for nobody should doubt that these are truly historic times, it’s maybe pertinent to ask ourselves, what became of anti-Communism? Why has a movement that so energised society for decades withered on the vine? Did we really think that Communism died with the Soviet Union? It surely hasn’t. Our difficult times are being directed and influenced by people who at some time in their lives have either been Communists or who have no compunction about using Communist language. Red Bolshevism is dead as a political force in sane societies. What has taken its place is equally dangerous – the Blue Bolshevism of neo-conservatism.

A useful essay outlining the Trotskyite roots of neo-conservatism is Stephen Schwartz’s 'Trotskycons', published in the June 11 2003 edition of National Review Online. Schwartz is a popular Internet pundit who has worn many hats during the course of his life, which have been duly recorded by his long-standing antagonist Srjda Trifkovic. As well as being a convert to Islam, something he doesn’t usually tell his readers, he has admitted to involvement with the KLA in Kosovo. Therefore, when reading him, one must be careful to determine whether it is Stephen Schwartz, Suleyman Ahmed or Comrade Sandalio that’s speaking. He’s probably cultivating crossover appeal.

These aren’t guys who queue at the job-window, waiting for some Johnny Friendly to shout ‘Everybody works today!’ Instead, they began life as Trotskyites in the ‘30’s in the school advocated by the philosopher Max Shachtman – according to Schwartz, ‘they belonged to or sympathized with a trend in radical leftism that followed the principle of opposition to the Soviet betrayal of the revolution to its logical end’. In layman’s terms, this began as a house fight with the Stalinists.

According to Schwartz, the first individuals to formally break from Trotskyism were James Burnham, a founder of National Review, and Irving Kristol of Encounter. Described by the hatchet man David Frum as the only person willing to take the title of ‘neo-conservative’, Irving Kristol is the father of Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, along with National Review the main ideas-engine of neo-conservatism. The Weekly Standard is published by News Corporation, the ultimate owners of Fox News. No doubt in the interests of the ideological purity all Bolsheviks crave, Schwartz absolves Bill Kristol, Richard (‘The Five Million Dollar Man’) Perle and Paul Wolfowitz from any taint of Shachtmanism.

Having left Trotskyism, the neo-conservatives gravitated firstly to the Democrats. However, they still could not tame the fractious beasts within, and started to leave the Democrats in 1972, in opposition to the nomination of George McGovern. Using the classic Trotskyite tactic of ‘entryism’, they began to fill more and more positions of influence within the Republican Party, until now they have come to dominate it. Not bad for people who only started voting Republican in 1980.

For Schwartz, Trotsky is not an ambivalent figure. He lauds Burnham and the Elder Kristol for the fact that ‘they did not apologize, did not grovel, did not crawl and beg forgiveness for having, at one time, been stirred by the figure of Trotsky.’ That’s nice. He’s even more forthcoming on his own opinion of Trotsky as it stands at the moment, describing him a figure of ‘moral consistency’ who, ‘if nothing else, took responsibility for the crimes of the early Bolshevik regime.’

One of those crimes was, of course, the massacre of White Russian military that he orchestrated at the Kronstadt naval base outside St. Petersburg. This is Schwartz’s spin on Kronstadt –

“It is certainly true that Trotsky’s role at Kronstadt was abominable. It is also true that very few people today know or care about Kronstadt, which may or not be bad.’

That as chilling a sentence as I can remember reading. However, he really gets into his stride when he gets going on the subject of the Blue Bolsheviks not of the past, but of the present, and the role they played in supporting interventionist Iraqi War. Step forward that onetime most ardent of Bolsheviks, Christopher Hitchens.

For the life of me, I can’t work out what voodoo Hitchens has worked on you guys over there. He once wrote a column on the subject of Churchill for The Atlantic Monthly called ‘The medals of his defeats’. He made reference to his father’s service as a naval officer on H.M.S. Jamaica and the role he played in helping sink the German destroyer Scharnhorst during the Battle of the Atlantic. He described it ‘a far better day’s work than any I have ever done’. I wouldn’t disagree with that for a second.

However, because of a brilliant skill with words developed at an English public school and the University of Oxford, Hitchens has achieved a level of recognition that his beliefs or former beliefs do not merit. Like Stephen Schwartz, like David Horowitz, like all Bolsheviks Red or Blue, the natural flow of his temper is toward the extreme. It doesn’t matter what extreme. In Horowitz’s case the extreme can be reached after years of soul-searching and repenting what he believed before, his massive learning and energy then channelled into fighting his four noblest of fights, for academic freedom, for the defence of Israel, against the spread of radical Islam and the dirtiest one of all, against the people he once admired and associated with, but it’s still extreme.

It’s hardly surprising then that Hitchens should attach himself to the war against radical Islam with the gusto that he has – it’s a competing ideology. To the mind of Hitchens, Osama is a threat to the hearts and minds of Muslims who would otherwise be attracted to the doctrine he has devoted his life to. Their insistence on the promotion of the rational at all costs means that when a crazy like Osama crosses their path, they can’t get it into their heads that this guy can’t be reasoned with. Many of them say they do get it, but they don’t really. It’s hardly surprising, then, that an extremist like Hitchens has been a lecturer at a White House that’s full of them. It’s hardly surprising that Horowitz has given him the airtime he’s had on Front Page Magazine, which has also carried the thoughts of Comrade Sandalio on a regular basis.

Anyone who is still proud to call themselves a Dutch Reagan or Margaret Thatcher anti-Communist needs to oppose these people. These guys have nothing new or exciting to offer, only war, ideology and then some more of the same. The man whose coat tails many of them rode, Dutch Reagan, was a liberal New Deal Democrat who became the most committed anti-Communist of all time, ending it up largely smashing it. But Dutch never followed Trotsky. He didn’t ever try to justify Kronstadt or sing ‘The Internationale’. The ‘Internationale’, when sung in English to the tune of ‘O Tannenbaum’, ends with the phrase,

‘When cowards flinch, and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the Red Flag flying here’.

Neoconservatives called the Spanish people cowards after the Madrid bombing. David Frum calls conservatives who oppose his beliefs ‘unpatriotic’. Is all of this familiar?
With apologies for my bad Russian, it’s time they followed their mentor’s advice and consigned themselves to the dustbin of history. Dosvedanye, Tovarischi.