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De Waal, Thomas

The dominant factor in the decline of Plekhanov was the outbreak and impact of the first Russian Revolution. Plekhanov had been the first Marxist theoretician to anticipate the emergence of the working class in Russia as a revolutionary social force. The outbreak of revolution in confirmed his assessment of the decisive role of the working class in the democratic revolution. But it also raised critical political questions about the relationship between the struggle for political democracy, the overthrow of the capitalist class, and the establishment of socialism—questions that contradicted key elements of the perspective that Plekhanov had developed over the previous quarter century.

His adherence to a political perspective that had been overtaken by events set into motion a long process of decline, culminating in outright betrayal. Nor does the ultimate refutation of significant elements of his perspective mean that there is little to gain today from a study of his political writings. As is often the case with geniuses—whether they labor in the realm of politics, science or the arts—they leave behind many hidden jewels for later generations to discover.

This is certainly the case with Plekhanov. His weaknesses and failures are well known, and their study has served as a cautionary tale for several generations of revolutionaries. But in searching through his work today, Marxists will find much in his theoretical and political legacy that is of great value for the revival of a revolutionary movement of the international working class.

His knowledge of the history of philosophy was encyclopedic. The contemporary reader cannot help but wonder whether there existed any major philosophical text that Plekhanov had not mastered. Writing in , Plekhanov took the French historian Taine to task for employing the false concept of race to explain historical processes. However historical aesthetics can only suffer great detriment therefrom. We do not know a single historical people that can be called a people of pure race; each of them is the outcome of the very lengthy and intensive interbreeding and crossing of various ethnic elements.

Social science stands to gain very, very much if we finally shed the bad habit of ascribing to race whatever seems to us incomprehensible in the spiritual history of any particular people. Racial characteristics may have had some influence on that history, but such hypothetical influence has probably been so minute that the interests of research call for it to be considered equal to naught, and for features noted in the development of any people to be regarded as the outcome of the specific historical conditions in which that development has taken place, and not as the result of the influence of race.

As the foremost defender of philosophical materialism, Plekhanov crossed swords with innumerable advocates of various schools of subjective idealism. His opponents, who included such European intellectual luminaries as Benedetto Croce, Wilhelm Wundt and Thomas Masaryk, generally emerged from these encounters with deep and bloody gashes. It is often claimed that Plekhanov did not understand Hegel and was indifferent to the dialectical method.

This reproach is particularly common among followers of the Frankfurt School and postmodernism, whose criticisms prove only that they have not bothered to read Plekhanov and that they have a very poor understanding of Hegel, not to mention Marx. Plekhanov explained:. The philosopher chafed against this limitation. In the sphere which interests us here, i. But he found that source not in the absolute spirit, but in the same economic development to which, as we saw above, Hegel too was forced to have recourse when idealism, even in his powerful and skilled hands, was a powerless and useless instrument.

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But what in Hegel is accidental, a guess of greater or lesser genius, becomes in Marx a rigorous, scientific investigation. This is best answered by calling attention to the words of the master himself:. A mistake in results will inevitably be noticed and corrected by further application of the correct method, whereas an erroneous method can only in rare and individual cases give results not contrary to this or that individual truth. But there can be a serious attitude to questions of method only in a society which has had a serious philosophical education.

Indeed, the materialist explanation of history is one of the main distinctive features of Marxism, but that explanation comprises merely a part of the materialist world-outlook of Marx and Engels. That is why critical research into their system should begin with a critique of the general philosophical foundations of that world-outlook. The writings of Plekhanov on art and aesthetics revealed a depth of understanding and sensitivity that rested on immense knowledge. Aesthetic judgment, he insisted, requires historical knowledge and social insight. The critic should judge both content and form ; he should be both an aesthetician and a thinker.

Gautier not only maintained that poetry does not try to prove anything, but that it even does not try to say anything, and that the beauty of a poem is determined by its music, its rhythm. But this is a profound error. On the contrary, poetic and literary works generally always say something, because they always express something. The artist expresses his ideas in images; the publicist demonstrates his thought with the help of logical conclusions.

And if a writer operates with logical conclusions instead of images, or if he invents images in order to demonstrate a definite theme, then he is not an artist but a publicist, even if he does not write essays or articles, but novels, stories or plays. All this is true. But it does not follow that ideas are of no importance in literary works. I go further and say that there is no such thing as a literary work which is devoid of idea. Even works whose authors lay store only on form and are not concerned for their content nevertheless express some idea in one way or another.

To evaluate a work aesthetically means to determine the extent to which the content corresponds to the form; in other words, the extent to which the content corresponds to objective artistic truth. For the artist thinks in images: the image must be artistically true, i. In this lies perfection and beauty in the work of an artist. A false idea, a false content cannot find a perfected form, i. And if we say: the idea is incorrect, but it has found a beautiful form—then this must be understood in a very narrow sense.

Everything that Plekhanov said, did, or wrote interested him very much. He became all ears whenever Plekhanov was mentioned. He was among the first in the late s to initiate the struggle against the anti-Marxist revisionism of Bernstein. He was the founder of the revolutionary political movement of the Russian working class. Of course, the movement from to was characterized by convulsive political conflicts, which arose from deep-rooted contradictions in the development of Russian and world capitalism.

The critical questions are: What is the relationship between the political theory that Plekhanov elaborated on his way from populism narodnichestvo to Marxism in the early s and the perspective of the October Revolution?

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Is there any connection between the theory of permanent revolution and the conceptions elaborated by Plekhanov in the s? Did not the triumph of the Bolsheviks in , based on the theory of permanent revolution, more or less imply a complete repudiation of the entire political legacy of Plekhanov? It was he who 34 years before October proved that the Russian Revolution would only triumph in the form of a revolutionary movement of workers. He strove to place the fact of the class movement of the proletariat at the root of the revolutionary struggle of the first circles of intellectuals.

The coming to power of the Bolsheviks in October became possible only because of a specific socio-political orientation—the theory of permanent revolution, first elaborated by Leon Trotsky in the years of the First Russian Revolution, —, and its immediate aftermath. According to this theory, the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution abolition of the remnants of feudalism, declaration of equal constitutional rights and freedoms for all citizens, and so on could not be solved in the epoch of imperialism except through the seizure of power by the working class, the establishment of a proletarian dictatorship and the introduction of measures of a directly socialist character.

The answer that Trotsky provided to the problem of Russian social development, in the epoch of world imperialism, represented an immense advance beyond the conceptions of Plekhanov. But I am beginning to think that getting the base knowledge, the start of communications is the vital knowledge. Once all the Zellos, HAM radios etc break or stop working, people are going to have to revert back to the basic comms and that brings me to the last story in this book. These are the communications that I need to explore because these are the ones that have been tested and used over time, they work.

I would have said that I like the first story the best but this last story is the one that really exposed were I as a person need to focus. I know what is needed and am researching where to start. IMO this is the most important story because after all the fancy communications are no longer an option, now what do you do?

Motomom34 , Sep 9, Waiting for other to catch up before sharing thoughts that might contain spoilers. I will say that the thought of the world turning out less like a Mad Max movie is a bit refreshing. Out of curiosity do we ever find out in the series just what the Chernyi was? Ganado likes this. About the Chernyi - in the first book, there is a strike from deep space. The explanation was offered as a sub-text in the original V1.

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Based on feedback from my Beta readers and some folks who purchaser the book, those parts were removed to enhance the 'mystery' - any old world-wide disaster would have worked, but the idea of the equivalent to a drunk Guamanian in a '53 Chevy sideswiping the planet held a certain appeal. And now, with 6 books out, it's a bit late to re-do the cause of the disaster If nothing else, it is better that alien space bats in orbit DKR , Sep 9, Good way to meet folks, score a cool sweatshirt maybe and expose you to the chaos that always seems to exist at the start of any of these events.

Sounds like it could be fun. As for the other, it's a hobby for me and I got paid to play with radios and comm gear for most of my adult life. Still seems like magic that I can have a conversation with some random dude on the other side of the planet using less energy than a flashlight Last edited: Sep 9, Motomom34 and 3M-TA3 like this. DKR You never know - I might find the seeds of a hobby here as I am a techno junkie if not a big talker.

I do have to give Tales credit for giving me the inspiration to get off my arse and get my license. DKR and Motomom34 like this. Flyaway by DKR posted Sep 9, at DKR , Oct 1, I like the way that the stories in Tales are interwoven as are the first three books in the series. As to Lyle and his adventures, we start be seeing that enough time has passed for a normalization of sorts has happened. People have become much more self reliant and are using methods that pre-date a dependence on electricity and for the most part powered machinery.

Because many devices such as the motorcycle still rely on gas or diesel there must be some oil refinement going on since this is well past the storage life for either. Enough technology in the form of vehicles, arms, and communications equipment has survived that they can be leveraged. The operational parts of the legacy technology are used sparingly, but are still being used enough that spare parts are slowly being used up as devices and machines are cannibalized to keep things going.

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Later he ordered Molotov and Mikoyan to come back. Though many thousands were arrested and shot, it was not terror which quenched the panic. It was the news… that the Germans were withdrawing under blows from the newly arrived Siberian and Far Eastern troops.


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On November 7, , the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin ordered a traditional military parade at Red Square in Moscow. It was organized cautiously, in secrecy, and was an important statement of resistance at a time when Hitler had planned his own victorious parade in Moscow. Additionally, there were military parades in the cities of Kuibyshev, where the main governmental organizations and foreign diplomats had been evacuated, and Voronezh, where many Ukrainian organizations had been evacuated from Kiev.


  • World Socialist Web Site.
  • At the Moscow Gates - Smersh: Stalin's Secret Weapon, Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII.
  • D.K. Richardson (Author of World of the Chërnyi).

In Moscow it was a very cold, snowy day. If Stalin believed what he said, he was completely out of touch with reality. The troops standing in front of the Mausoleum were skeptical. The fierce Soviet defense, combined with a crumbling German supply line, finally halted the German advance on November 21, After regrouping, the Red Army began advancing west on December 5.

Amazingly, Berlin received information about the chaos in Moscow much later, and then only from the intelligence services of other countries. On the same day, the wives of Tukhachevsky, Uborevich, and some other executed Soviet officials were also shot. The others were shot a few days later in Saratov. Although the counteroffensive had started, many Red Army detachments that fought near Moscow experienced serious problems.

Field OOs and Abakumov personally informed Beria about numerous problems. In November , the just-formed 1st Shock Army began its successful attack against German troops. Sometimes servicemen do not receive hot food for 5—6 days… On November 25, the 18th Ski Battalion did not have food at all… The army does not have the necessary number of vehicles.

For instance, the 71st Rifle Brigade has only 20 trucks instead of In general, losses in the military equipment were enormous.

Boris Korczak

By July 9, , the Red Army lost 11, tanks, and by the end of , it lost 6. From December 1, to January 20, , total of 77 tanks were lost. Of them, 33 were destroyed by the enemy, 4 tanks drowned while crossing rivers and in swamps, and 42 tanks were disabled due to mechanical problems…. From November 20 [] to January 21, , vehicles were lost. Of them, 70 trucks were lost or abandoned, 91 trucks were disabled due to mechanical problems, and the enemy destroyed 69 vehicles….

Of the total number of tanks taken from the enemy no tanks were repaired, and of 1, [enemy] vehicles only 59 have been repaired and are used now. In fact, the situation with vehicles was catastrophic.

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Of , that the Red Army had before the war and , that were taken for the army from civilian organizations, , were lost in battles before August There were other problems. As a rule, after the telephone connection has disrupted, radio transmitters are rarely used. Our men do not like transmitters and do not know how to use them… All detachments have good radio transmitters, but in insufficient numbers. There is a lack of radio operators, and some of them are poorly trained. Soon the Western Allies helped to solve these and other problems.