You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists)
Chapter 6 - Successful Techniques for Seizing Power
Successful Techniques For Seizing Power
The Communist attempt to seize power through labor union control has not yet achieved complete victory for the Communists in any country. In those countries where they have established their rule, the means employed have been quite different. The methods by which they achieved power in Russia, China, and Czechoslovakia merit special study. In each case they seized power utilizing deception, established themselves by violence, and maintained their dictatorship by totally enslaving helpless people.
Revolution broke out in Russia in February, 1917. The Czar was overthrown, and a republican order was established. The declaration of a political amnesty brought into the open the various Russian revolutionary parties. These parties were numerous, and the degree of their revolutionary fervor and devotion to violence varied considerably. The most moderate of these parties was the Constitutional Democratic Party known as the Cadets. They favored the establishment of a Parliamentary Republic and change via the ballot box.
A second was the historic Russian revolutionary party, the Social Revolutionaries whose program was agrarian reform rather than industrial development. The Social Revolutionaries were also called the populists because of their slogan, "to the people." Desiring to improve the lot of the peasants, young Russian intellectuals went out to the people with their revolutionary message. They advocated land ownership by the peasants themselves. They were not a Marxist Party and did not believe that Russia should follow the pathway of Capitalist development. As their name indicates, they favored radical action and were addicted to violence. Lenin attacked them frequently during his career.
The anarchists were another significant group. They were addicted to violence, assassination and sabotage, and had a long revolutionary tradition and a total contempt for governmental authority of every form.
The Marxists were divided primarily into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, the former being under the leadership of Lenin. As has been related, the Bolsheviks became the Communists.
Finally, there were various independent revolutionary groups, as well as individuals who owed allegiance to no party but were devotees of violent revolutionary action.
These various parties set to work, organized, and published their newspapers. They participated in common organizations knows as the soviets. The soviets were born in the 1905 Russian revolution when the historic technique of the mass strike had been tried and had failed. The soviets were committees formed in strategic areas to direct the strike and the revolution. They were called soviets of workers, soldiers and peasants' deputies. Their delegates were elected from the proletariat working in the factories, from the peasantry and from the ranks of the common soldiers and sailors. They began as completely unofficial bodies.
The soviets were re-formed in the days of the Russian Republic after the overthrow of the Czar. The Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries were well represented in these soviets. The latter were divided into two groups, Left and Right. The Bolsheviks were in a small minority in the first half of 1917. The slogan at this time was, "All power to the soviets," but Lenin, filled with a desire to seize complete power in Russia and aware that the soviets were far from being under Bolshevik control, was only half hearted in his support of this slogan.
Meanwhile, Russia was staggering under the blows of the 1914-1918 war. Enormous losses had been suffered on their western front. The soldiers, short of necessary weapons, were in a mutinous mood, while at home, the people were consumed by a desire for peace and for land. Lenin, the dynamic Marxist who seized every oppportunity to advance his cause, developed a program which promised peace and land. Everywhere he agitated for the end of the war. He urged the peasants to throw down their arms, return to their homes, and seize the fields of their landlords which, he said, were rightfully theirs. The slogan, "Peace and land," was very popular.
In adopting such a program, Lenin had contravened all the accepted standards of Marxist doctrine. Classical Marxist doctrine had been that private ownership of land was to be replaced by collective ownership. Lenin utterly reversed this policy by promising land to everybody. The other Marzist parties indignantly accused him of stealing the program of the Social Revolutionaries. This is exactly what he had done, brazenly and shamelessly. Lenin was a dynamic Marxist, a believer in the dialectic which, as we will see, allowed him complete freedom of action and policy. If his goal of power could be achieved by doing the exact opposite of what he had long advocated, then that is what he should do. The basic doctrine of Marxism-Leninism is: Come to power. The Marxist-Leninist will promise whatever is necessary in order to achieve that end. Lenin, therefore, promised peace and land. But the gift of land was merely the bait that covered the barbed hook of Communist dictatorship.
It is interesting to notice in passing how Communist policy with regard to the ownership of land varied in the years that followed. In 1917, Lenin gave the land to the peasants, but confiscated the crops when they were harvested. The disgruntled farmers lost their enthusiasm and the harvest diminished. The grain shortage became serious and a desperate famine arose. In 1921, after four years of power, the Communists were on the verge of being overthrown. To avert this, Lenin made a dramatic reversal in policy. He re-established Capitalism. He introduced the New Economic Policy which allowed private trading in grain. Many of the Communists regarded this as a confession of utter defeat and some ideological extremists committed suicide on the streets. But Lenin, regarding the situation in the light of the dialectic, saw it as a temporary withdrawal for future advance.
During the period of the New Economic Policy, the farm produce of Russia increased, and the food situation improved greatly. The Communists, meanwhile, were establishing their power in the cities. By 1928, Stalin, who had succeeded Lenin, felt that they were strong enough to put their real program into operation. He therefore reversed the New Economic Policy, and declared war on the peasants. The most prosperous of the peasants, who were known as "kulaks," were arrested, herded together, and deported to Siberia. The slogan was, "Liquidation of the kulaks as a class." The kulaks were not landlords. The landlords had been annihilated in 1917-18. The kulaks were peasants who had farmed efficiently and employed labor on their farms.
The kulak's land was made the basis of the collective farms to which the middle and poor peasants were urged to contribute their land and livestock. These peasants, however, resisted attempts to make them join the collectives, preferring to work their own land. When they were forced to join, many of them slaughtered their animals and a great famine rose in the land.
In 1931 Stalin decided to teach the peasants a final lesson. He took all the wheat from the Ukraine and dumped it down in Western Europe, leaving the Ukrainians to starve. During that fearful winter of 1931, it is reported seven million starved to death. Speaking at a meeting in California, I was informed by a young woman who had been a school child in Kiev in the Ukraine at that time that the game they had played on the way to school was counting the dead bodies in the streets. In this manner, Stalin fulfilled Lenin's policy of giving the land to the peasants long enough to consolidate Communist power as a prelude to taking it from them to establish collective ownership which had remained the real objective even while land was being distributed.
However, in mid 1917, all this was in the womb of the future. The war against Germany dragged on, and the situation in Russia became worse. The Bolsheviks gained in popularity through their "peace and land" program, and constantly increased their representation in the soviets by means of their magnificent organization. In July, 1917, they organized a revolt, but it was ill-timed and unsuccessful, and Lenin was forced into hiding. In October of that year, however, the Bolsheviks secured a small majority in the Petrograd Soviet. Lenin decided that the hour of revolution had come, for they could now speak, not only in the name of the Communist Party, but in the name of the soviet which represented the entire working class. The revolution was opposed by some of Lenin's co-workers, particularly Zinoviev and Kamenev, but Lenin's desires dominated, and the revolution was called by the soviet. The Bolshevik-led revolutionaries marched on the Czar's winter palace and arrested the provisional government which was in power until the election of a constituent assembly, and which included many Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries in its ranks.
The Bolsheviks did not have wide popular support. The only group in the soviet to stand by them at that time was the left wing of the Social Revolutionary Party. Bolshevism thus came to power with a tiny minority of the people, but they established their terror, and Lenin became the ruthless lord and master of Russia.
In all rural areas peasants' committees were formed. These were composed largely of poor peasants and criminal elements. Some were motivated by idealism, while others were motivated by hatred. These aggressive peasant bodies became a key tool of Lenin's reign of terror. He encouraged them to seize the land, kill the landlords and divide the estates among themselves. Frequently the letters ended thus: "Anyone who opposes this is to be shot without mercy."
Resistance to the Communist regime developed in every area of life. The first group to revolt openly were the anarchists who were shot down mercilessly in the streets. Following the anarchists, the Left Wing Social Revolutionaries revolted and met a similar fate.
Confronted with such problems at home, the new regime was faced with the necessity of ending the war against Germany. When the Commander-in-Chief refused to obey the Communist order to lay down arms, Lenin and Stalin telephoned his dismissal and appointed a private as general of the army to conclude the surrender.
Lenin realized that to remain in power he needed a fearful instrument of terror. The Czar had always had a secret police force called the Okrana. The Communists took it over, renamed it Cheka, and refined and sharpened it into the most fearful instrument of terror the world has ever known. Seeking for a man to head up this organization, Lenin found a remarkable young Polish Bolshevik named Dzerinski. Born of wealthy, aristocratic parents, Dzerinski had, as a child, forsaken the comforts of his home to dedicate himself to the poor of the earth as a revolutionary organizer. His teen-age years were largely spent in Polish prisons where his rule of conduct was that he, as the most enlightened and advanced, was duty bound to perform the most menial tasks. He therefore insisted on cleaning the latrines of the other prisoners as an example of enlightenment and dedication. What better man could Lenin have found to serve as a selfless instrument of murder and extermination? Motivated by his idealistic dedication, Dzerinski became the organizer of the red terror, and the master murderer of modern times.
The story is told that one day as the Bolshevik leaders sat in conference, Lenin asked Dzerinski how many traitorous Social Revolutionaries they held in prison at that time. Dzerinski replied that there were about fifteen hundred, whereupon Lenin asked for the list so that he might see which were old friends and supporters. Having read the list, Lenin marked the corner of the sheet with a tiny cross. Dzerinski took the sheet, noted the cross, looked at Lenin, and quietly left the room. The following day he informed Lenin that the fifteen hundred had been executed. The cross which Lenin had made to show that he had read the paper had been interpreted as an order for the execution of fifteen hundred people. Lenin had merely intended to indicate that he had read the document. On the misinterpretation of a doodle of Lenin's pencil, fifteen hundred people went to their death.
Communist power in Russia was consolidated by limitless, pitiless violence. Lenin had said, "What does it matter if three quarters of the world perish providing the remaining quarter is Communist!" Any act of terror was justified if it assured continuing Communist control. Group by group, the opposing forces were liquidated until at last the impossible was achieved and the Communist Party held Russia in total enslavement. When the Communist monster had devoured all other revolutionary groups, it turned and destroyed most of its own creators.
The Communist conquest of China is a classical manifestation of the five steps of Communist conquest:
- The conquest of the student mind
- The organization of the student into the Communist Party
- The scientific exploitation of group self interest to bring that party to popularity and power
- Revolutionary conquest of power
- Communist dictatorship and universal slavery.
1. The Conquest of the Student Mind
The students in China were a very special class. The scholar was always an object of veneration to the Chinese and the influence of the students was very considerable. The Communists were highly successful in recruiting students into the ranks of the Communist Party. Almost the entire leadership of the Chinese Communist Party joined that Party as students. The arguments used to recruit the student intellectual have already been discussed.
2. Organization of Students into the Communist Party
The Communist Party of China was formed on typical Leninist lines. The inner core came from the ranks of the intellectuals. The bulk of the general membership came from the peasants. The members derived from the working class were few indeed. This is a peculiar structure for a party claiming to be proletarian. The Party was formed with a single leader, Mao Tse-tung. With complete discipline the entire Party membership absorbed the thought and obeyed the orders of Mao Tse-tung.
3. Scientific Exploitation of Group Self-Interest
The disciplined, fanatical Communist cadres worked feverishly among the masses of the people. Their objective was not to convert them to the theories of Communism, but to exploit their desires and grievances. Many of the Chinese people were landless tenant farmers. A great burden of debt hung round their shoulders. Their burning desires were centered round the ownership of the land on which they labored, and freedom from their burden of debt.
The Communist approach was therefore very simple. They promised the people the ownership of the land on which they worked and the abolition of all debt. In addition, China had known the oppression of foreign power, so the Communists exploited Chinese nationalism with a program to exclude the white man from Asia. With such a program so closely tuned to the deep-seated desires of the masses of the people, it is easy to understand why the Communists achieved a certain popularity. From the peasants attracted by the Communist promises, Mao Tse-tung gathered the youth, trained them with great efficiency, and built the Chinese Communist Army.
4. Revolutionary Conquest of Power
The conquest of China was successfully accomplished through the strategy of the brilliant Chinese Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung. He developed two new techniques which were in large measure responsible for Communist success in the face of great odds. The first of these was the principle of political warfare in association with military conflict. The was was waged not only by the armed forces, but by political agents as well who always preceded the Communist soldiers into any given area. Their task was to infiltrate and to undermine the will of the people to resist. They spread rumor and utilized blackmail and terror. They took advantage of civil liberty to destroy civil liberty. They combined assassination with sabotage so effectively that many communities were neutralized and fell easy prey to the Communist military advance. No advance was made by Communist troops until the way had been prepared by the Communist political agents.
The second technique developed by Mao Tse-tung was that of guerilla warfare. By means of this art, he was able to transform strategic inferiority into tactical superiority. Although his army was outnumbered for many years, he was able to manipulate his troops with such skill that he never engaged in pitched battle unless he outnumbered the enemy by three to one. He was able to achieve this because of the superior mobility of his troops and by the technique of guerilla warfare which he perfected. He would gather together a considerable number of his soldiers in a given area, launch a lightning offensive against the enemy at a point where they were gathered in smaller number, and disappear with his troops before the enemy could rally. His soldiers would hide their uniforms, adopt the character of the surrounding peasantry, and mingle with the people. By the time the superior forces of the enemy had gathered, the Communist army was nowhere to be found. By this dual offensive of political warfare and guerilla mobility, the Chinese Communist forces advanced to victory, conquering the vast land mass of China.
In addition to the internal forces operating within China, the International Communist machine worked ceaselessly on their behalf. Russia provided military instructors and weapons. Throughout the world the Chinese Communists were pictured as benign agrarian reformers and the Chiang Kai-shek government as the epitome of corruption. The American government endeavored to achieve the impossible, establish a permanent, peaceful co-existence between Communism and the Chinese government. This played right into Communist hands and after the defeat of Japan, Russia delivered the vast weapon hoard of the Japanese Manchurian Army to the Chinese Communists, and their successful southward march began.
5. Communist Dictatorship and Universal Slavery
Once in power the Communist Party systematically set about the process of securing a monopoly over the lives of all Chinese citizens so that the Party could remain all-powerful permanently while the people were reduced to the impotence of isolated slaves. Every vestige of alternative authority was smashed. The Communist Party secured a monopoly of all police power, all economic power, all military and educational power. It became the universal policeman, employer, administrator, judge, newsman, entertainer and teacher. It imposed the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat."
The means adopted by the Communists for the conquest of Czechoslovakia differ somewhat from those used in Russia and China. Since it is closer to the method which they probably envisage for the conquest of America, it merits some attention. They came to power in Czechoslovakia by utilizing an internal Communist minority which operated in the blackmailing shadow of massive external Russian military power. Hanging like a threatening cloud over Czechoslovakia was the Red Army.
At the conclusion of the second World War, Czechoslovakia was the most industrialized, the most prosperous, and the most democratic of the Eastern European states. Communism was an insignificant force. Three years later Czechoslovakia was bound hand and foot as a Communist slave. This was brought to pass by a series of small concessions to Communism, each relatively insignificant in itself, each presented as an alternative to attack by the Red Army, and obviously to be preferred to such an attack. The cumulative effect, however, was the surrender of Czechoslovakia to Communism. This is the program for America. The concessions are to be obtained because they are preferable to an atomic war. Each in itself may appear indecisive, but each will be a step to surrender. Every time the Communists can persuade Americans the false alternative exists, that is, to make this concession as the only alternative to atomic or thermonuclear war, they win a great victory.
Within Czechoslovakia, government was administered by various departments of executive authority, each department being headed by a cabinet minister. Authority in each department of government was thus largely centralized in the hands of one man. Police power, for example, was in the hands of the Minister of Internal Security. This applied in education, communications, transportation, agriculture, justice and defense.
The first step taken by the Communist minority was to establish themselves in a coalition government with democratic and socialist parties. They then proceeded to infiltrate Communists into the top positions in all branches of government. Once the top position in each department of government was filled by a Communist, non-Communists and anti-Communists within the organization were powerless to withstand his total authority and power. When, for example, the Communists took over the police force, they used the power so gained to arrest and destroy all those who differed from them politically, including those to whom they had temporarily showed friendship. Thus did Communism take over the most democratic nation in Eastern Europe. It is to be noted that it was not done by the use of the Red Army, but simply by the threat of its use.
It is a program of this nature which the Communists probably envisage for America. When America is encircled economically, and militarily, when foreign markets are disrupted and foreign trade destroyed, when America is an island in a Communist sea, and lies under the shadow of military annihilation, the Communists believe that America will make concessions as did Czechoslovakia. Authority will be centralized and a few Communists will wield great power. At the chosen moment the final Communist assault will take place and resistance will be token and half-hearted.Back to top