Pre-revolution riots 3

… attacks on businesses, invasion of restaurants, arson, looting, random killing led up to the Russian Revolution.

It is the pattern of what is happening in 2020 in the United States.

Gary Saul Morson writes at First Things:

Between 1900 and 1917, waves of unprecedented terror struck Russia. Several parties professing incompatible ideologies competed (and cooperated) in causing havoc. Between 1905 and 1907, nearly 4,500 government officials and about as many private individuals were killed or injured. Between 1908 and 1910, authorities recorded 19,957 terrorist acts and revolutionary robberies, doubtless omitting many from remote areas. … Robbery, extortion, and murder became more common than traffic accidents.

Anyone wearing a uniform was a candidate for a bullet to the head or sulfuric acid to the face. Country estates were burnt down (“rural illuminations”) and businesses were extorted or blown up. Bombs were tossed at random into railroad carriages, restaurants, and theaters. Far from regretting the death and maiming of innocent bystanders, terrorists boasted of killing as many as possible, either because the victims were likely bourgeois or because any murder helped bring down the old order. A group of anarcho-­communists threw bombs laced with nails into a café bustling with two hundred customers in order “to see how the foul bourgeois will squirm in death agony”. 

… Sadism replaced simple killing. … One group threw “traitors” into vats of boiling water. Others were still more inventive. Women torturers were especially admired.

Not just lawyers, teachers, doctors, and engineers, but even industrialists and bank directors raised money for the terrorists. Doing so signaled advanced opinion and good manners. A quote attributed to Lenin—“When we are ready to kill the capitalists, they will sell us the rope”—would have been more accurately rendered as: “They will buy us the rope and hire us to use it on them.” True to their word, when the Bolsheviks gained control, their organ of terror, the Cheka, “liquidated” members of all opposing parties … Why didn’t the liberals and businessmen see it coming?

That question has bothered many students of revolutionary movements. Revolutions never succeed without the support of wealthy, liberal, educated society. Yet revolutionaries seldom conceal that their success entails the seizure of all wealth, the suppression of dissenting opinion, and the murder of class enemies.

In educated Russian society . . . by no means every view [could] be expressed. A whole school of thought . . . [was] morally forbidden, not merely in lectures but in private conversation. And the more “liberated” the company, the more heavily this tacit prohibition [weighed] on it. …

Though some liberals recognized their differences from the radicals, most acted like [radical] wannabes who were unwilling to acknowledge, even to themselves, that their values were essentially different. [They were] socialized to regard anything conservative as reprehensible—and still worse, as a social faux pas

These liberals illustrated how moral cowardice develops, while love of truth and intellectual daring are extinguished. Captivated by public opinion, they signed petitions they did not agree with and excused heinous acts, always observing the rule: Better to side with people a mile to one’s left than be associated with anyone an inch to one’s right. Educated society knew that one could not just abolish the police, as the anarchists demanded, and that socialism would not instantly cure all ills, but they assured themselves that progressive opinion must be right …

When a party is willing to push its power as far as it can go, it will keep going until it meets sufficient opposition. … In Russia, Stalin proclaimed “the intensification of the class struggle” after the Revolution, entailing an unending series of arrests, executions, and sentences to the Gulag. What meets no resistance does not stop.

The Democratic Party is threatening continued and intensified violence. It has become the terrorist party. 

Opposing it is as urgent as defending the country against invasion by a foreign power.

Posted under revolution, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 21, 2020

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