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Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:39 am
by Liz
dharma_bum wrote: The quote Gemini found is a perfect fit:
Busy remaking the world, man forgot to remake himself... Andrei Paltonov

We will be discussing this quote in a later question.

dharma_bum wrote:I think TPAOL is a cautionary tale, but not about communism. It is about the kind of flawed but charismatic people that rise from a landscape scorched by rapid waves of social, political and physical change.

I think this is true, and Samarin is a prime example.

suec wrote:Quote:
There are shades of barbarism in twentieth-century Europe which would once have amazed the most barbarous of barbarians...

Future historians, therefore, must surely look back on the three decades between August 1914 and May 1945 as the era when Europe took leave of its senses… When choosing the symbols which might best represent the human experience of those years, one can hardly choose anything other than the agents of twentieth-century death: the tank, the bomber, and the gas canister: the trenches, the tombs of unknown soldiers, the death camps, and the mass graves.

Suec, I disagreed with her on the Dickensian ending also. As with you, my first thought when I read the quote in question was not that it was about Communism but somewhat of a prediction of what would happen in Europe over the next few years. I think the passage from your European history book expresses it quite well.

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:26 pm
by Parlez
Agreed ~ I don't think Meek was aiming at Communism as his target for this story but rather what happens to human behavior when 'old' restraints are thrown out the window and anything goes.

In your history book quote, suec, and its reference to modern warfare, I was reminded of the NOISE that the Hussar commander suspected would affect Balashov so much. He warned Anna about it and urged her to keep Bal out of the fighting. Then Bal goes anyway, with his shiny sabre, and watches his guys (and the horses) get slaughtered by cannons - BOOM - just like that. It seems to me that the guns and cannons and machines of warfare were another symbol in the book, maybe representing a shift from hand-to-hand combat (where you could get up close and personal with your enemy) to the impersonal, instant, and much louder style of killing the 'new' weaponry afforded.

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:33 pm
by Angelina
Parlez wrote:The professor wasn't talking about nationalism as part of the October Revolution specifically...

Thank you, Parlez, for your explaining of professor's words, I see it better now. But, anyway, I can't agree with some positions.
he was talking about a shift that took place in general around that time period, when allegience to a ruler/monarch changed to allegience to a government, and politcal systems replaced 'the crown'. As the people became more aware and involved in their countries' political systems, feelings of nationalism and patriotism started to arise because the systems held certain ideals the people felt strongly about. Apparently that was rather new in the course of history in Europe...?

I think – no, absolutely. The patriotism and the nationalism are very old things, I don't think, they have a bond with a degree of an involving of the people into political systems. The nationalism (in its first forms) we can see even in the primitive society: you are another or you are the alien, so I hate you and want to kill you. I don't think, "the ideal" is somewhere close here - on the contrary, the nationalism rather is one of the most primitive feelings of the people.
I get what you're saying about Communism wanting to wipe out nationalism, but that was part of the ideological struggle, was it not: Communism vs Nationalism? They were both ideals as well as political systems.

I think, not exactly. It's an interesting point, both Communism and Nationalism could seems like ideals for members of those political systems, but I mean "the ideal" with a general, a humanity point of view. Internationalism as a part of Communism more corresponds to humanity ideals, than Nationalism, but I agree – both of them is only an ideology.
And I think, we can see here a very important moment. It always was the easier way to manage the people with a help of some ideology. You could apply to their low feelings (nationalism, xenophobia, a selfishness, a greediness) or present to their a high ideals (the protection of a belief (Christian, Islam, whatever); the enlightenment and the civilization; the freedom, the equality and the fraternity; the communism; the democracy). But, if an ideology, the noble or not, leads to the violence, the result is identical – the crime. And intentions of that ideology lose their meaning in this case.
I want to say, in the case with Communism it was easy to be deceived for the people, Communism is a humane ideology in the whole; but it doesn't abolish the fact, in Russia with that banner were accomplished the crimes.

Liz wrote:Angelina, we will be discussing Samarin again and again during this discussion. I think it would be OK, though, for you to share your explanation now.

Thank you, Liz, so I'll try. Before I start, I want to say, I completely agree with Dharma_bum too:
I think Stevenson is trying somehow to make a leap of faith Meek never makes… that Samarin’s vision of paradise is somehow the same as the brutal and oppressive reality of Stalin’s communism. I don't think they were remotely close.

I think, Samarin was not heading to Stalin's Russia, because he wasn't Bolshevik or a communist in general, and he didn't sympathize with intentions of Bolsheviks Revolution (and Stalin presented himself as the heir of Bolsheviks). His belief and his fight were another.
I was very glad, when I read the tidbit of Liz # 11 "Cathehism of a Revolutionary" – really a great find! Samarin wasn't a Bolshevik, he was an anarchist, the follower of Bakunin and the representative of party, which really confessed a complete destroying and used the terrorism as a method. Although in Russia the sources of anarchism, the terrorism, and Bolshevism were the same in the main – it was a wishing to fight with injustices of tsar's regime and a wishing to change the regime with a revolutions way - the revolutionaries despite their identical sources were different. Bolsheviks dissociated themselves from terrorists and anarchists in the 1880-1890's, and the terror and the complete destroying didn't interested them (in the start, at least). I feel a remorse here again – I had to add it in that tidbit.
Samarin, in his part, stayed a convinced anarchist, and we saw in TPAOL, Bolsheviks considered him as a criminal (it was told in the telegram, which Mutz got from Bolsheviks). Samarin and other anarchists wanted to use the Revolution as a start of the Big World Revolution, which will destroy all – the states, frontiers, classes and conditions. And personal anarchism of Samarin was special, it was based on our Russian soil, and James Meek did a really great job (especially for foreign author) to show it in his book.

So, Samarin, most probably, was prosecuted of Bolsheviks power; I can see, he left Russia after all and for the end of his days he searched the different terrorists brigades and acted with them together (almost like Che Guevara, whose portrait, by the way, Mr.Johnny Depp wears on his neck).

So, as Dharma_bum said:
TPAOL is a cautionary tale, but not about communism. It is about the kind of flawed but charismatic people that rise from a landscape scorched by rapid waves of social, political and physical change.

I agree - and, may be, TPAOL is about us, the people, who are able to be fascinated by some beautiful ideas or by bright persons, don’t musing we can find a really awful monster in the end.

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:10 pm
by Liz
I always felt that he was working for a group that was an offshoot of the Bolsheviks—a renegade faction, as it were. I just wasn’t sure exactly what that meant exactly. A “Big World Revolution”, as you say, Angelina, makes sense. Again, thanks for your input.

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:56 pm
by Parlez
Agreed! Angelina, you are right-on about Samarin, and, as always, you've put it in beautiful words! You've understood his character and role perfectly ~ he's an anarchist. Now I know what that term means! THANK YOU!!