Disaster In Red: The 100th Anniversary Of The Russian Socialist Revolution

Authored by Richard Ebeling via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

November 7, 2017, marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Russian (or Bolshevik) Revolution in Russia that happened on that date in November 1917, which lead to the communist “dictatorship of the proletariat” and ushered in an epoch of totalitarian tyranny and mass murder both in Russia and in every other country where socialism was put into practice.

Historians estimate that as many as 150 million people, if not more – innocent men, women and children – were killed in the name of building the collectivist utopia.

They were shot, tortured, worked or starved to death in prison cells, in interrogation rooms, in labor camps, or just in the places where they lived.

“Socialism-in-practice” created a chamber of horrors in which the individual was reduced to a mere expendable “cog in the wheel” to serve the collective good, or made into “enemies of the people” to be eliminated as the prelude to building the “bright, beautiful communist future.”

Power, Privilege, and Terror as Socialist Reality

In the name of a “classless society,” communism created the most minute and granulated system of privilege, favor, and power, depending upon where the individual stood in the hierarchies of the Communist Party and the management of the vast central planning bureaucracy. “Special” food and clothing stores, “special” clinics and hospitals, “special” apartments and country houses, “special” resort and recreational facilities and vacation sites, “special” opportunities (with Party permission) to visit the forbidden and decadent “West,” and to bring back some of the “bourgeois” goods unavailable in the “workers’ paradise.”

The Communist Party did all in their power to control and confine the minds of those over whom they ruled into narrow corridors of knowledge and belief so little or no doubt could arise that theirs was the best of all worlds, and far more “socially just” and materially better than anything existing in the reactionary and corrupted capitalist parts of the globe.

If for a younger generation born after 1991 – the year the Soviet Union disappeared from the face of the world map – this all seems like ancient history that has no relevance or meaning for their lives (and especially so since so little is told about that Soviet chamber of horrors in school history books, or the mainstream opinion magazines and newspapers), its significance is no less important to know and a lesson not to be forgotten.

Prophets of the Socialist Destruction and Dictatorship-to-Come

Six years before Karl Marx and Frederick Engels published their famous, The Communist Manifesto, in 1848, the renowned German poet, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), wrote the following in 1842:

Communism is the secret name of the dread antagonist setting proletariat rule with all its consequences against the present bourgeois regime. It will be a frightful duel. How will it end? No one knows but the gods and goddesses acquainted with the future. We only know this much: Communism, though little discussed now and loitering in hidden garrets on miserable straw pallets, is the dark hero destined for a great, if temporary, role in the modern tragedy . . . Will the old absolutist traditions reenter the stage, though in a new costume and with new cues and slogans? How could that drama end?


Wild gloomy times are roaring toward us, and a prophet wishing to write a new apocalypse would have to invent entirely new beasts . . . The future smells of Russian leather, blood, godlessness, and many whippings. I would advise our grandchildren to be born with very thick skins on their backs.

Others gave warnings about what would be in store if the false fantasies of socialism were to be followed and introduced into any society. The nineteenth century French classical liberal economist, Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916), gave warning in his important work, Collectivism (1885):

How can liberty exist in a society in which everyone would be an employee of the state brigaded in squadrons from which there would be no escape, dependent upon a system of official classification for promotion, and for all the amenities of life! . . . The employee (and all would be employees) would the slave, not of the state, which is merely an abstraction, but of the politicians who possessed themselves of power.


A heavy yoke would be imposed upon all, and since no free printing presses would exist, it would be impossible to obtain publicity for criticism or for grievances without consent of the government. The press censure exercised in [Imperial] Russia would be liberty itself compared to that which would be the inevitable accompaniment of collectivism . . . A tyranny such as has never been hitherto experienced, would close all mouths and bend all necks.

Never were there prophecies more prescient than Heine and Leroy-Beaulieu’s many decades before the Bolshevik Revolution. The stench of oppression and death surrounds the notion of how socialism views man and mankind. The noted Russian mathematician, Igor Shafarevich (1923-2017), who spent years in the GULAG labor camps for his opposition to the Soviet regime, concluded his study of The Socialist Phenomenon (1975) with this telling interpretation of the nature of the communist system:

To begin with, most socialist doctrines and movements are literally saturated with the mood of death, catastrophe and destruction . . . The death of mankind is not only a conceivable result of the triumph of socialism – it constitutes the goal of socialism . . .

Understanding socialism as one of the manifestations of the allure of death explains its hostility toward individuality, its desire to destroy those forces which support and strengthen human personality: religion, culture, family, individual property. It is consistent with the tendency to reduce man to the level of a cog in the state mechanism of non-individual features, such as production or class interest.

It is often rightly said, “Never Again,” when pointing to the madness and mass murders, especially against the European Jews, under German National Socialism (Nazism). This is equally as true when pointing out the horrors and mass murders of Marxian socialism and Soviet communism.

Indeed, one of the reasons why the Marxian variations on the socialist theme appealed to so many around the world was due to its more universal attraction compared to National Socialism. The Nazi ideal was reserved for a “racially pure” German people, with the rest of humanity viewed as genetic inferiors to be slaughtered or enslaved for the benefit of a “master race.”

Marxian-type socialism, on the other hand, claimed to be speaking for the large mass of humanity  — against a handful of profit-oriented exploiting capitalists (the “one percent”). Thus, it called upon all people, everywhere, suffering under the minority of property owning capitalists, to rise up in the name of “social justice” and a collectivist utopia that promised a “better world” for all mankind (except for the minority of “exploiters” everywhere who were to be expropriated and liquidated).

National Socialism was never going to attract followers, fighters and fanatics outside of those who were classified and identified as among the chosen, based on “genes” and “blood” making them part of the German master race.  But Marxian socialism called upon all people, everywhere, who were “the workers” forced to be “wage slaves” at the command of the narrow “social class” of capitalist owners of the means of production to rise up and throw off their “chains” in a revolution for a “workers’ state” of collective ownership and central planning for the benefit of “the masses.”

This is what made Marxian socialism in its manifestations of political states such as the Soviet Union a universal threat to individual liberty and economic freedom. Its followers could be and were everywhere. Their ideological fanaticism on behalf of totalitarian collectivism made them place no value on truth, humanity or individual life, even their own. Sacrifice for “the collective” made them and all others expendable for the utopia to come. This is what led to the willingness to kill tens of millions. If the group – the “social class” – is what really exists and has meaning and value, then the individual is the illusion and has no worth and significance. On to the ash heap of history go those who must be sacrificed for wonderful world to come.

Though Soviet communism came to an end slightly more than a quarter of a century ago, the ghost of the spirit of communism lives on around the world. It is not so much that many people intentionally want to be straightjacketed within the confines of a Soviet-style totalitarian state, or that they wish to wait on the tiring and unending lines at “people’s” retail stores for meager supplies of everyday necessities of life as was the case behind “the Iron Curtain,” or exist in fear that it could be tonight that the secret police might come to take you away to an unknown but frightfully imaginable fate.

Most people, especially in the United States, don’t see this as the inescapable future of a socialist system fully imposed and implemented because so few have any knowledge or awareness that this was how tens of millions, hundreds of millions lived under socialist regimes as the coerced and controlled worker bees in the collectivist hive commanded by the ruling Communist Party “vanguard of the revolution.”

The “specter” of communism, nonetheless, continues to haunt the world in the form of the Marxian critique of capitalist society: Workers are exploited by the capitalist employers; profits are ill-gotten gains at the expense of the rest of society; a handful of property owning capitalists rule over the mass of society with no benefit for “the people” from their manufactured and marketed goods; the capitalist property owners plunder the earth and spoil the environment; the capitalist system is inherently racist and sexist in its structure and methods. The list could go on and on.

The battle between the ideologies of freedom and individualism versus political planning and collectivism, therefore, continues in slightly different forms and permutations than those expressed in the communist slogans and ideological language of 1917 and after. But the combat is no less real and is no less the same at its foundational basis.

*  *  *

I have written a series of articles on the illogic of and danger from Marxism and socialism as ideas and as the reality of Soviet socialism-in-practice. May I suggest that they might usefully serve as a guide to share with others for an understanding of the nature of socialism in the twentieth century, and the underlying ideas and concepts behind collectivism that still threaten liberty and prosperity in the twenty-first century in their new and various forms:

“Karl Marx, the Man Behind the Communist Revolution”

“Karl Marx’s Misconceptions about Man and Markets”

“Karl Marx and a Presumption of a ‘Right Side’ to History, Part I”

“Karl Marx and the Presumption of a ‘Right Side’ to History, Part II”

“Socialism: Marking a Century of Death and Destruction”

“How Lithuania Helped Take Down the Soviet Union”

“Witness to the End of Soviet Power – 25 Years Ago”

“The 25th Anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union”

“Barack Obama and the Meaning of Socialism”

“The Austrian Economists Who Refuted Marx (and Obama)”

“American Progressives are Bismarck’s Grandchildren”

“Democratic Socialism Means the Loss of Liberty”


Infinite QE Thu, 11/09/2017 - 05:04 Permalink

"Historians estimate that as many as 150 million people, if not more – innocent men, women and children – were killed in the name of building the collectivist utopia."A true holocaust. Not the fiction the jews peddle.

vato poco bigdumbnugly Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:00 Permalink

it's gonna happen again. you think all the woke little marxists in education/government/law/media all over the world don't jack off to the thought of USSR 2? location is irrelevant: here, europe, asia ... they wanna make people do what they say. the hundred million they'll have to kill to make that happen is just sexy sexy gravy

In reply to by bigdumbnugly

Amendment X J S Bach Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:02 Permalink

Indeed! A heavily disproportionate number of key people in the Bolshevek revolution were "Jews". The same species run amok in the land of the free. ZH's may want to check out Kevin McDonald's The Culture of Critique, An oldie and not an easy read, but worthwhile to understand the root causes of western civilization's problems. They never stop their warfare against individual freedom & sovereignty. 

In reply to by J S Bach

gaoptimize VinceFostersGhost Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:06 Permalink

Did anyone notice the juxtaposition of the pension bailout story to this one?  Socialism has been creeping in for over a century via bills like the Brown bill (Great Society, Obama Care, etc.)  making a majority of Americans increasingly dependent on Government.  THANK YOU Zerohedge.  By running stories like this, you are putting up an intellectual firewall.

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

fockewulf190 VinceFostersGhost Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:16 Permalink

We were all required to read Animal Farm in early HS. I wonder how my fellow Gen-Xers, those who are now pushing the SJW mantra like the plague that it is, were so easily turned to the dark side. Long Island was not radical left when I grew up there, but the fucking hippies were entrenched in academia...mostly in the colleges and state universities. They planted the seeds, and the results are what we are seeing today. Animal Farm was even made into cartoon format. I wonder if the kids of today could even stomach that without bleeding “safety!” every other minute. I can’t even imagine what the next generation of teachers is going to infect into the minds of the children alive now. Some seriously frightening shit!

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

Cloud9.5 VinceFostersGhost Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:03 Permalink

We don’t need to go on any holy crusades or mass executions of Marxists.  We simply need to heed Solzhenitsyn’s warning and do two things.  We need to arm up, and then when they come for us we need to kill them.  We need to do this as individuals.  We must make every effort to insure that each person we know understands what his options are under a Marxist state.  He needs to understand full well that he cannot save himself or his family by submitting.  He can either violently resist or he can submit to slavery and inevitable death.  More than likely that death will come from starvation.Attempts at organization will simply lead to infiltration and execution.  The organized militia that met on Lexington Green in April, 1775 was shot to pieces by the British Regulars.  What followed next was a swarm of several thousand militia men.  They shot up the British regulars and forced them back into Boston.  Then the swarm besieged Boston forcing the British to withdraw from the city.In the colonial period, towns formed up their own militias for local defense. To equate these groups as hardened military units like the modern day National Guard is a mistake.  The militia of the time consisted of able bodied males with a gun willing to defend their neighbors.  Those were the men who defeated the British Army  

In reply to by VinceFostersGhost

Snípéir_Ag_Obair vato poco Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:35 Permalink

"There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terrorism." ?- Karl Marx, "The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna", Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Nov. 7, 1848.

"Among all the nations and sub-nations of Austria, only three standard-bearers of progress took an active part in history, and are still capable of life -- the Germans, the Poles and the Magyars. Hence they are now revolutionary. All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary war-storm. ... [A general war will] wipe out all these racial trash down to their very names. The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward." ?- Friedrich Engels, "The Magyar Struggle," Neue Rheinische Zeitung, January 13, 1849.

"We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action." ?- V.I. Lenin, "Lessons of the Moscow Uprising", Proletary, No.2, 29 August 1906.
"For us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the 'sacredness of human life'. ?- Leon Trotsky, Terror and Communism 1920 (Toned-down for the Western audiences as Dictatorship Versus Democracy, Workers Party of America, 1922, p.63.)


In reply to by vato poco

Dutti Infinite QE Thu, 11/09/2017 - 05:51 Permalink

Whether it's called National Socialism (nazi) Stalinism or Maoism etc. these lefty ideologies had very little regard for human life, they killed of all opposition, even though they pretended to work for the good of all. In the end even the pliable masses suffered.On the other hand, a guy like Napoleon was not perfect, but he also brought a lot of progress to the world.

In reply to by Infinite QE

Dutti SmackDaddy Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:54 Permalink

I guess you read some other history books -  here is what I learned:His legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts stated, "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".Among many other achievements he also introduced the metric system to Europe.

In reply to by SmackDaddy

escapeefromOZ Infinite QE Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:08 Permalink

Today the so called " democratic governments "  use " gangstalking to harass , molest , destroy citizen , often guilty of knowing too much or not believing the BS the governments peddle as History . http://www.gangstalkingmindcontrolcults.com/1992-lawsuit-john-st-clair-… http://www.gangstalkingmindcontrolcults.com/the-silent-massacre-electro…SILENT MASSACRE / ELECTRONIC STALKING AND MIND CONTROL IN THE USAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcPUJ5sxi2cEric Karlstrom "Multiple Agencies Of Government Are Gang-stalking Those Who Challenge The System."

In reply to by Infinite QE

escapeefromOZ Infinite QE Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:09 Permalink

Today the so called " democratic governments "  use " gangstalking to harass , molest , destroy citizen , often guilty of knowing too much or not believing the BS the governments peddle as History . http://www.gangstalkingmindcontrolcults.com/1992-lawsuit-john-st-clair-… http://www.gangstalkingmindcontrolcults.com/the-silent-massacre-electro…SILENT MASSACRE / ELECTRONIC STALKING AND MIND CONTROL IN THE USAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcPUJ5sxi2cEric Karlstrom "Multiple Agencies Of Government Are Gang-stalking Those Who Challenge The System."

In reply to by Infinite QE

The Reich Thu, 11/09/2017 - 05:07 Permalink

History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books - books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?

P Christmas Carole Thu, 11/09/2017 - 05:09 Permalink

I was disussing the revolution with some college kids and they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.  Their majors are LBTQS or something, so go figure.  Don't even know what that is.

BritBob Thu, 11/09/2017 - 05:12 Permalink

Ruskies haven't changed much.Russia tells Britain give back the Falklands before telling US what to do.RUSSIA has told Britain it should "clean its conscience" and give back the Falkland Islands before it criticises them over their involvement in Ukraine. Moscow's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin made the shocking remarks when responding to his British counterpart Matthew Rycroft at a UN security council meeting in New York. (Daily Express 4 Feb 2017) They forget that a lot of territory was 'taken' in the 19th century (much of a norm). That doesn't excuse their actions in the 21st century. Falkland Islands – The Usurpation (1 pg): https://www.academia.edu/34838377/Falkland_Islands_The_Usurpation