Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Information in early November 2016.

Like always, Donald Trump is considering a collection of reactionary, corporate criminals, and war hawks as part of his cabinet. His advisors represent Wall Street interests and corporate elites that he hypocritically claims to oppose. Many of the proposed leaders have experienced scandals for their extremism and bigoted comments. Trump is a disgrace to propose Steve Bannon as a lead advisor in his cabinet. Bannon is the leader of the alt right Breitbart News Network. Breitbart is known to promote white nationalism, anti-black lies, Islamophobia, and openly reactionary views. Their articles celebrate the Confederate flag and criticized Bill Kristol in anti-Semitic terms. Bannon has expressed support for right wing racist nationalist movements in the world like the far right National Front. He supports the Hindu nationalists in India. Also, it is important to note that the President and many Democrats are not criticizing the racists and reactionaries at Trump’s inner circle. The President is incorrect to describe Trump as pragmatic not ideological. We must not be conciliatory to a sexist bigot like Trump. We must oppose his agenda. Ironically, some moderate Republicans are criticizing Trump more so than some Democrats now. "The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office," said John Weaver, the Republican strategist who directed Gov. John Kasich's campaign for the GOP nomination. "Be very vigilant, America." Donald Trump is an overt fascist. Trump is totally ideological. He views on trade is similar to the isolationism that many people of the early 20th century.

Trump has claimed to oppose the Iraq War, but wants more militarism in the Middle East now by opposing the Iran nuclear deal and supporting torture. Many of the proposed members of his cabinet like Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton are ardent supporters of the U.S. war in Iraq. Both of them are neocons who believe in aggressive military involvement worldwide. Giuliani wanted American troops to steal the Iraqi oil reserves. He lied and said the following words:  "Of course it's legal. It's a war. Until the war is over, anything is legal." Bolton wants to expand NATO. Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker-turned-hedge fund manager is on the media's short list for Trump's Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin was also CEO of OneWest Bank, which in the aftermath of the Great Recession distinguished itself for aggressively pursuing foreclosures, especially in communities of color, in order to fatten its bottom line. When OneWest tried to foreclose on one Long Island family, a judge ruled against it, calling the bank's behavior "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive." Michael Flynn is being considered too and he’s an Islamophobe and made an anti-Semitic remark (which he issued an “apology” for). Jeff Sessions is considered to be the new Attorney General, which is ludicrous. His views on racial justice, immigrant rights, and police brutality are antithetical to progressive activism. So, we know what Trump represents. He’s a reactionary extremist.

Before understanding about the history of the Russian Revolution, it is important to mention information about the corruption, the tyranny, and the brutality of the Czars of Russia. Russian czars were arrogant and were filled with extravagance. They wanted power and opposed opposition with a consistent ruthlessness. Before the revolution, 4/5s of the population were peasants. The structure was a feudal nobility. There was massive economic inequality. The Czars used his nobles to dominate the Russian region. Many Czars were overtly anti-Semitic. Many innocent Jewish people were victims for a long time of pogroms. In his History of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky illustrated the corruption of the old order by describing Tsar Nicholas II himself: “This dim, equable and "well-bred" man was cruel--not with the active cruelty of Ivan the Terrible or of Peter, in the pursuit of historic aims...but with the cowardly cruelty of the late born, frightened at his own doom. At the very dawn of his reign Nicholas praised the Phanagoritsy regiment as "fine fellows" for shooting down workers. He always "read with satisfaction" how they flogged with whips the bob-haired girl-students, or cracked the heads of defenseless people during Jewish pogroms...This "charmer," without will, without aim, without imagination, was more awful than all the tyrants of ancient and modern history.”

In places like St. Petersburg, Moscow, and in other locations, workers experienced low wages, bad conditions, and other struggles. People resisted the Czars during the 19th century too. Army officers revolted in 1825. Alexander II was a more progressive Czar and created reforms. Still, he was assassinated by revolutionaries who wanted more radical change. The Czars after Alexander II were reactionary extremists. The Czars refused to enact radical change. Alexander III in 1881 refused to enact progressive reforms in Russia. Alexander III was an autocrat. He labeled people who are dangerous who worshiped outside of the Orthodox Church and didn’t speak Russian. He imposed censorship, monitored teachers, expanded spy agencies, and used pogroms against Jewish people. Nicholas II came after him. He started his reign in 1894. From 1863 to 1900, Russia also rapidly industrialized. More factories were built, a navy grew, and industries expanded. Nicholas II expanded steel resources and he raised taxes. In 1900, Russia had the fourth highest producer of steel (under the United States, Germany, and Great Britain). The Trans-Siberian Railway was completed in 1916 which connected European Russia to Siberian Russia in the Atlantic Ocean. In the midst of this expansion, oppression against the peasants by the Czars continued.

The growth of industrialization in Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries didn’t end oppression. Many workers suffered bad working conditions, lax pay, and other issues. There was child labor and the banning of labor unions too. So, discontent grew among the poor and working class in Russia. That is why many workers organized strikes in order for change to come about. During this time, many revolutionary movements develop in response to economic problems and the despotic actions of the Czars. One revolutionary group was the Marxists in Russia. They followed the views of Karl Marx in terms of economics and politics. Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” changed the world. Karl Marx believed that workers must unite in overthrowing the capitalist rulers and instituted a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The proletariat means the workers of the world. By 1903, the Marxists divided into 2 major factions in Russia. One faction was the moderate Mensheviks who wanted a broad case of populist support of the revolution. This faction included socialists, social democrats, and moderates. They wanted to form a more democratic government in Russia. The other faction was the Bolsheviks. They were more radical than the Mensheviks. They wanted to sacrifice everything in order for the Tsarist system to be eliminated and a workers’ state to be instituted. Major leaders of the Bolshevik movement were Lenin (or Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) and Trotsky. Lenin was a great organizer and a powerful speaker. By the early 1900’s, he escaped into Europe to avoid arrest by the czarist regime. He still contacted other Bolsheviks to fight against the Czar Empire. He would wait until he would return to Russia in safety (with help from the German authorities). From 1904 to 1917, Russia experienced many events which inspired the development of the Russian Revolution.

By Timothy

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