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American Communists explicitly committed themselves to a systematic effort to promote and expand Communism throughout the world, with the violent, nondemocratic, totalitarian leadership in Moscow the guiding light of that effort. Of this, there is no question whatsoever. It was especially true of those who were actual members of the Communist Party LISA (CPUSA), but applied even to some who never joined the party but were dedicated small "c" communists.
Of course, it was in the interest of American Communists to publicly deny this bold ambition, which patently ran contrary to U.S. interests. They scoffed at claims of any global ambition, so as to try to diminish the American public's fears, and to frame their accusers as paranoid. And they realized early on that they could count on many liberals/progressives to defend them against charges raised by anti-Communists.
Even to this day, much of the American academy downplays, if not outright denies, the Communists' international objective. Rather, it is the claims of the anti-Communists that are immediately held suspect, and tend to be rejected almost out of hand. That is to say, a Lillian Hellman or Earl Browder is reflexively given the benefit of the doubt, whereas a Whittaker Chambers or Ronald Reagan is not.
Yet the international objectives of the Communists are undeniable. The historical record on this matter is abundantly clear. It is unfortunate that space needs to be devoted to illustrating the most basic facts regarding the Communists' global ambitions. It would be like beginning a book on Hitler and World War II with a lengthy chapter trying to establish that the führer had expansionary designs on Europe. Tragically, the gross failure to teach these most elementary realities about Communism requires such a treatment.
The World According to Marx and Lenin
From the outset, Marxism-Leninism was expansionary, openly calling for Communism throughout the world. Even the typical college freshman can probably recognize the bumper-sticker slogan of Karl Marx: "Workers of the world, unite!" These triumphant final words of The Communist Manifesto (1848) are immediately preceded by Marx's proclamation that the proletarians of the revolution "have a world to win."
In his 1850 Address of the General Council to the Communist League, Marx candidly explained, "It is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far-not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world."
There was no mistaking the universality of Marx's project, or that of Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in their October 1917 revolution. Richard Pipes, emeritus professor of Russian history at Harvard and the author of seminal books on the Russian Revolution and Communism, emphasizes that the Bolsheviks took the reins in Russia only because that country happened to be a ripe target of opportunity. They never had any intention, writes Pipes, of staying strictly within those borders. Quite the contrary: the Bolsheviks were convinced that the capitalist powers would quickly snuff out their revolution unless it rapidly spread to the industrial countries of the West.
Lenin himself frankly explained that Communism must extend beyond Russia's borders: "We have always emphasized that one cannot achieve such a task as a socialist revolution in one country." Indeed, he said that "the final victory of socialism in a single country is impossible."
In a decree published in December 1917, only a few weeks after launching the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin and cohort Leon Trotsky announced that they would appropriate the huge sum of two million rubles "for the needs of the revolutionary internationalist movement." At the time their own revolution was far from secure, with the treacherous Russian Civil War (1918-21) imminent. Still, the urgent need to protect themselves did not deter them from their paramount priority: global revolution.
In a major speech in 1920, Lenin could not have been clearer about the international scope of his and his party's ambitions: "[In October 1917] we knew that our victory will be a lasting victory only when our undertaking will conquer the whole world, because we had launched it exclusively counting on the world revolution." When he gave this speech, the Bolsheviks were embroiled in the Russian Civil War, but tellingly, Lenin defined victory as occurring when Communism had triumphed not only in Russia but around the globe.
Comrades immediately endorsed Lenin's words. Trotsky, who himself professed the "proletarian world revolution" and the goal of "overturning the world," declared that in regard to the Bolsheviks' ultimate objectives, "more unassailable testimony could not be asked."
America in the Communists' Crosshairs
For decade upon decade of the Cold War, the American Left angrily denied a point made by many sources on the right, from National Review to President Ronald Reagan: Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks had their eyes not only on Europe but even on America.
Of course, that point should hardly be controversial. After all, Lenin spoke of world revolution, as had Marx. But given the many times this elemental point has been challenged over the years, it is worth revisiting exactly what Lenin and others said on the subject.
As early as August 1918, less than a year after seizing control in Russia, Lenin took the time to write an open letter to American workers. The remarkably frank letter, laden with his notorious bile, was a classic Lenin diatribe. He railed against America's so-called imperialists and multimillionaires, who, he said, were "disgusting" hypocrites, slanderous "vultures," "scoundrels," "sharks," and "modern slave-owners" who arrogantly wallowed in "filth and luxury," holding Americans on the verge of "pauperism." "Every dollar" they earned was "stained with blood."
Yes, said Lenin, these Americans might think that they are "geographically the most secure" of the world's "bloodsuckers," but, alas, assured the Bolshevik, invoking revolutions from Jacobin France to Bolshevik Russia, they were not secure from his "invincible" proletariat: "The American workers will not follow the bourgeoisie. They will be with us, for civil war against the bourgeoisie." He urged: "We are banking on the inevitability of world revolution.... We are in a besieged fortress until other armies of the world socialist revolution come to our aid."
This was a direct appeal to the worker-troops of the United States of America. And violence would be necessary: "The truth," explained Lenin, a moral relativist, "is that no revolution can be successful unless the resistance of the exploiters is crushed." A few months later, in November 1918, Lenin warned that "Anglo-French and American imperialism will inevitably strangle the independence and freedom of Russia unless world-wide socialist revolution, unless world-wide Bolshevism, conquers." He insisted that "the Soviet government triumph in every advanced country in the world," particularly over "Anglo-American imperialism." "One or the other" must triumph. "There is no middle course."
There it was, in the plainest language, addressed to Americans: global revolution and conquest, worldwide Communism and Bolshevism, capitalist encirclement and confrontation. There was never any doubt about Lenin's intentions, or his belligerence.
Violence Is Necessary
The language that Lenin and his followers used-seeing the opposition "crushed," calling for Bolshevism to "conquer," "overturning the world"-is instructive. Lenin, Trotsky, and others insisted that to achieve the Bolsheviks' goals, force was necessary, from sparking revolts to fomenting full-scale civil wars. As early as January 1919, Moscow instigated a revolt in post-World War I Germany, though it was quickly quelled. By July 1920, the Communists had sparked uprisings in Hungary, Finland, and Poland. Lenin, Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, and Grigori Zinoviev all excitedly signed a manifesto announcing that "world Civil War" was the "watchword" and "the order of the day."
Lenin went so far as to favor another world war to advance his cause, precisely the strategy Stalin adopted in 1939. It is uncanny to read secret Lenin missives from the 1920s on spreading Communism to Poland, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and other countries, and then to read Stalin's secret speech to his Central Committee advocating the same two decades later. Stalin was truly Lenin's disciple.
Lenin, like Stalin after him, foresaw inevitable military conflict with the West. He forthrightly explained this view in a March 1919 report to the Eighth Party Congress: "We live not only in a state but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with the imperialist states for an extended period is unthinkable. In the end either one or the other will conquer. And before this result, a series of horrible conflicts between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois states is inevitable." One cannot casually skip over the phrase "horrible conflicts," which was no small statement. Lenin had deduced that "as long as capitalism and socialism exist, we cannot live in peace: in the end, one or the other will triumph-a funeral dirge will be sung either over the Soviet Republic or over world capitalism."
Later, in a major 1946 article for Life magazine, the prominent liberal historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. underscored this crucial Lenin quotation. Schlesinger noted that Lenin and his followers, including Stalin and his associates, were bound to regard the United States as the enemy not because of a particular American deed but because of the "primordial fact" that America was the leading capitalist power and thus, by "Leninist syllogism," unappeasably hostile. Lenin assumed that America would seek to oppose, encircle, and destroy Soviet Russia. Perhaps Schlesinger hoped to spare his fellow liberals the embarrassment of denying such obvious facts, particularly since Republican anti-Communists they disliked were loudly citing the Communists' frank statements. Like Schlesinger, other esteemed men of the left wrote candidly of the Communists' ambitions at the time. A notable example was George F. Kennan in his historic "X" article, in which he outlined the policy of containment.
Not surprisingly, Lenin frequently expressed a favorable view of war. "To reject war in principle is un-Marxist," he wrote in July 1914, knowing full well that Marx himself said the same. Lenin also stated: "Who objectively stands to gain from the slogan 'Peace'? In any case, not the revolutionary proletariat." He reaffirmed this one year later, in July 1915: "We cannot support the slogan 'Peace' since it is a totally muddled one and a hindrance to the revolutionary struggle."
Lenin and Trotsky fondly harked back to the most barbarous group of killers prior to the Bolsheviks: the French fanatic Maximilien Robespierre and his guillotine-dropping Jacobins, who beheaded forty thousand French citizens from 1793 to 1794, with special attention to persecuting the religious. "It will be necessary to repeat the year 1793," wrote Lenin. "After achieving power, we'll be considered monsters, but we couldn't care less." Lenin and his self-described group of "glorious Jacobins" would monstrously do just that, and, indeed, could not care less.
Here one sees a commitment to world revolution at truly any cost, including any carnage necessary. Lenin biographer Dmitri Volkogonov, a former Red Army general, stated that "world revolution" was "a matter to which he [Lenin] devoted unprecedented effort." The unprecedented effort required unprecedented means.
Establishing the Comintern
To achieve his "full-fledged political project: world socialist revolution," Lenin established the Communist International (Comintern) in March 1919. Writing in Pravda at the time, Lenin declared, "The founding of the ... Communist International heralds the international republic of Soviets, the international victory of communism." In his concluding speech to the congress at which the Comintern was established, Lenin proclaimed that "the victory of the Proletarian revolution on a world scale is assured."
The Comintern was centralized under Moscow leadership, which was to have "uncontested authority" over the Communist parties that would soon be established all over the world, including in the United States. The entire physical apparatus for the Comintern, which included several buildings and the radio school that served as its all-important source for mass communication, was located exclusively in Moscow. Every country with a Communist Party would have a representative stationed in Moscow.
The USSR's leadership was to be the conductor of the global Communist symphony, orchestrating an international association of Communist parties, all dedicated to the goal of a global revolution. Those parties were to march in lockstep with Moscow. The master's foreign-policy goals were to be theirs.
By 1919, already impressed with the "dizzying speed" of the Communists' progress, Grigori Zinoviev, the first head of the Comintern, confidently predicted that "in a year all Europe shall be Communist. And the struggle for Communism shall be transferred to America, and perhaps Asia and other parts of the world."
The military-minded Trotsky described the Comintern as the "General Staff of the World Revolution." Lenin himself left no doubt that he envisioned the Comintern as (in Richard Pipes's words) "a branch of the Russian Communist Party, organized on its model and subject to its orders." The 1920 Comintern Congress made this clear, demanding that its foreign delegates enforce "iron military discipline" on party members in their home countries. Directing delegates to take over mass organizations and especially trade unions in their home countries, Lenin said that Communists should, by "necessity," not hesitate to "resort to every kind of trick, cunning, illegal expedient, concealment, suppression of truth."
The Comintern made clear that any members of Communist parties around the world who did not give total subservience to Moscow, "who reject in principle the conditions and theses put forward by the Communist International, are to be expelled from the party." The 1920 Congress spelled out the necessity of total fealty to Moscow with the following stated condition for admission to the Comintern: "Every party which wishes to join the Communist International is obligated to give unconditional support to any Soviet republic in its struggle against counter-revolutionary forces."
Here we see the pattern established: members of Communist parties around the world, including in the United States, would see themselves as loyal Soviet patriots. The slogan, in effect, was "Moscow first." Soviet interests reigned supreme, holding sway over those of any other regime. "Party discipline" would become an infamous trademark of Communist parties everywhere, including in the United States. Discipline was harsh, more fiercely dogmatic than any religious excommunication.
In keeping with Lenin's goals, the 1920 Comintern Congress explicitly stated that violence was central to the Communist mission. It instructed its delegates to support "armed insurrection" against non-Communist governments in order to supplant them with Communist regimes. As Pipes notes, these Communist regimes "would ultimately fuse into a worldwide Soviet Socialist Republic." And among the twenty-one requirements for membership that the Comintern Congress issued, point seventeen declared bluntly, "The Communist International has declared war on the entire bourgeois world."
The Comintern continued that pledge after Lenin departed this world. In 1924, a year that began with the Bolshevik godfather's death in January, the Fifth Congress reiterated the Comintern's global objectives: "The ultimate aim of the Communist International is to replace the world capitalist economy by a world system of Communism." The "successful struggle" for the "dictatorship of the proletariat presupposes the existence in every country of a compact Communist Party, hardened in the struggle, disciplined, centralized and closely lined up with the masses."
Excerpted from Dupes by Paul Kengor Copyright © 2010 by Paul Kengor. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted March 11, 2011
For me the book was really priceless - it helped me to understand not only how consistently and effectively generations of Americans were duped by the supporters of Communism, but also how we, Russians, were duped by our own propaganda, who was yelling up to the very last minute of the USSR about the fiery US anti-communism. Thus, eager friends of CPUSA, ACLU, Weather Underground, Black Panthers and all kinds of "anti-war" subversive movements were actively supported both in the US political life and in Kremlin. Thanks to Professor Kengor's book I was finally able to understand the riddle of another most thrilling volume: "US intelligence perceptions of Soviet Power 1921-1946" by Leonard Leshuk. I just couldn't understand why the American intelligence was so helpless, ridiculously childish and blind to the Soviet plans - now I know that with the Stalin's helpless, ridiculously childish and blind Dupes-in-chief like FDR or Woodrow Wilson it was only logical. This excellent book is quite tragic also, as far as it clearly shows all the danger of substituting freedom by permissiveness - nearly all the "progressive" traitors, be it Corliss Lamont, Jane Fonda or Frank Marshall Davis, were never kept publicly answerable for their actions and words. Hence, even such a fiend as Bill Ayers with his plans "to eliminate 25 million Americans in reeducation centers" could happily exclaim "Guilty as hell, free as a bird! America is a great country!" A great country, indeed - but, to judge from the "Dupes" (and from reality), the progressive cancer of ever-winning Left makes America more and more great only for the likes of Ayers. Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
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Posted December 31, 2010
Eighty Five pages of footnotes and reproduced documents; that is how Mr. Kengor backs up his premise: that many Americans willingly acted as agents of The Soviet Union to promote Marxism, Socialism, and Liberal Progressivism. Some, like Progressive icon John Dewey got a look at the abyss and had second thoughts. Others like New York Times reporter Walter Duranty were so in love with Worldwide Socialism that they could ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands of political opponents, and millions of starving Ukranians, just to bask in Stalins glow. Others took up the torch during the Cold War, and even today, so called intellectuals and apologist are unable to acknowledge this simple fact: The philosophy that they embrace, promote, excuse as misunderstood, is simply evil incarnate.
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Posted March 24, 2013
Posted October 1, 2010
If you happen to be presented with the choice of reading this book or plunging white-hot knitting needles into your eyes, choose the knitting needles. Kengor is a far right-wing Republican hack who lacks any talent as a writer or historian and, apparently, any shame as well. How much of a hack? This is the same guy who wasted hundreds of pages on writing a spiritual biography of Ronald Reagan. You know, the same Reagan who consulted astrologers and psychics while in the White House? In his latest tribute to feeding like a remora off the largess of whichever sociopathic billionaire feels like funding this crap, Kengor writes about how commies and fellow travelers have controlled the Democratic Party for the last century. He takes potshots at the usual suspects, as well as bold new assaults on the reputations of pinkos like John Dewey. The irony inherent in this refreshing dip into the cesspool of right-wing paranoia and the lying liars who perpetuate it, is that if you'll look just to the right of Kengor's odious doorstop, you'll find a copy of Jill Lepore's new book, <i>The Whites of Their Eyes:
The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History</i>. It's a cheaper buy and you'll be treated to some real American history and an interesting look at how that history is weirdly distorted to support modern political ideologies. Say, like the fantasies Kengor reels out.
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Posted December 4, 2010
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Posted January 2, 2011
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Posted October 24, 2010
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