When Terrorists Become State Leaders, Part II

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Hazani reflects on the universal “semi-religious quality” of the radicals’ desire to regulate the natural laws.  Here, again, the Bolsheviks carried on the tradition demarcated by the French Revolution.  Politics aside, its visionaries sought to control infinity by defining “September 22, 1792—the beginning of the first year—as the zero point of time.”  Romme’s “decreter l’eternite” aspired “to arrest the temporal flux—i.e. to conquer death.”109 To do so, the person must disappear as a conscious being:  “The more perfect individual of the future highly-cultural society will feel like one of the necessary elements” of nature, and himself “will be automatic, like nature.”110

Victorious Bolshevism, a “self-consciously secular movement” in power, replicates the larger phenomenon of “active apocalyptic millennialism.”111 Illustrative indeed is Trotsky’s belief in the impending victory over physical decay in the soon-to-be-built social paradise.  He concluded his Literature and Revolution (1924) with “a rhapsodic vision of the new man” born in communist revolt:  “Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical.  The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic.  The average human type will rise to the heights on an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx.  And above this ridge new peaks will rise.”112

The Communists were proposing no less than “a salvationist religion,”113 featuring a guarantee of eternal life on earth—the issue of more than cursory preoccupation also for many Nazis, particularly in the SS.  Aside from their involvement with occult practices, fascination with black magic, uncanny forms of paganism, and pseudo-scientific experiments with reviving the deceased, the Nazi version of repudiated death presupposed a form of mystic fusion with the racially pure “body of Germany;” similarly, the Bolsheviks conceptualized self-negation within the “victorious proletarian class” as secular salvation.

The conquest of death is inseparable from the totalistic mindset, with its distinction between the faithful, the potentially immortal true believers, and the abominable, the embodiment of a designated evil.114 Thus, “Islam . . . is the only Divine way of life which brings out the noblest human characteristics, developing and using them for the construction of human society. . . . Those who deviate from this system and want some other . . . are truly enemies of mankind!”115 Against them any means are justified, as they were against enemies of the Bolsheviks, whose totalitarianism represented “the modern secular form of the coercive purity.”  The existential essence of their project barred a compromise, rendering immaterial any negotiations.  Its adherents, the “disappointed secular zealots surpassed even the most terrible forms of religious millennialism in the violence and destruction they brought to those they sought to ‘save’” by way of terror.  In the same way, across the globe “Promethean messiahs would carve the millennial kingdom onto the body social.”116

Notes:

[73]  Mayer, The Furies, 235.

[74]  For example, Dzerzhinskii, a Pole, in his youth wanted to “exterminate all Muscovites” (Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 802).

[75]  “Sergey Nechayev 1869 : The Revolutionary Catechism,” http://www.marxists.org/subject/anarchism/nechayev/catechism.htm

[76]  For numerous examples see T. I. Vulikh, “Osnovnoe iadro kavkazskoi boevoi organizatsii,” 7, Nic. 207-11; Pozner, ed., Boevaia gruppa pri TsK RSDRP (b), 170n; Aleksandr Sokolov-Novoselov, Vooruzhennoe podpol’e (Ufa, 1958), 39n; Kh. I. Muratov and A. G. Lipkina, Timofei Stepanovich Krivov (Ufa, 1968), 111; Soldaty leninskoi gvardii (Gor’kii, 1974), 201, 204; Soldaty leninskoi gvardii (kniga vtoraia) (Gor’kii, 1977), 310, 313, 316-17; V. Iakubov, “Aleksandr Dmitrievich Kuznetsov,” Katorga i ssylka 3 (112) (Moscow, 1934):  134, 138; G. Shidlovskii, “O. G. Ellek (Pamiati starogo bol’shevika),” Katorga i ssylka 9 (106) (Moscow, 1933):  143-44.

[77]  Leggett, The Cheka, 269.

[78]  T. S. Krivov, V leninskom stroiu (Cheboksary, 1969), 110-12, 128; S. M. Pozner, “Rabota boevykh bol’shevistskikh organizatsii 1905-1907 gg.,” PR 7 (42):  85; Ivan Myzgin, So vzvedennym kurkom (Moscow, 1964), 21; G. Z. Ioffe, Krakh rossiiskoi monarkhicheskoi kontrrevoliutsii (Moscow, 1977), 149-151; Nikolai Ross, ed., Gibel’ tsarskoi sem’i.  Materialy sledstviia ob ubiistve tsarskoi sem’i (avgust 1918-fevral’; 1920) (Frankfurt, 1987), 586; Richard Haliburton, Seven League Boots (Indianapolis, Indiana, 1935), 120, 140; “Kommentarii V. I. Nikolaevskogo k knige L Shapiro, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union” (1958 manuscript), p. 4, Nic. 519-30B; letter from B. I. Nicolaevsky to T. I. Vulikh dated 25 May 1956, Nic. 207-16.

[79]  For examples of former terrorists of various ideological trends using their past experience for the benefit of Soviet organs of repression, see:  William J. Fishman, East End Jewish Radicals, 1875-1914 (London, 1975), 291; Henry J. Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia from Its Origins to 1905 (Stanford, 1972), 348; R. M. Aslamova-Gol’tsman, “Svetloi pamiati I. Ia. Bartkovskogo,” Katorga i ssylka 48 (Moscow, 1928), 158-59; Zavarzin, Rabota tainoi politsii, 157; “Vospominaniia byvsh. okhrannika,” Bessarabskoe slovo (1930), Nic. 203-25.

[80]  Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (Harper & Row, Publishers:  New York, 1951), 83.

[81]  Vladimir Brovkin, Behind the Front Lines of the Civil War (Princeton University Press, 1994), 408-409.

[82]  Cited in Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 32.

[83]  Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 793.

[84]  Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 384.

[85]  Osorgin, Vremena, 575, 578.

[86]  Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 188.

[87]  Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 822.

[88]  Cited in Budnitskii, “’Krov’ po sovesti’,” 209n.

[89]  Cited in Leggett, The Cheka, 114.

[90]  Iu. M. Steklov cited in Budnitskii, “’Krov’ po sovesti’,” 207.

[91]  Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 829, 832, 836, 790.

[92]  Unnamed author of memoirs “The Death Boat,” cited in Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 190.

[93] Richard Landes, “Totalitarian Millennialism: The Bolshevik Apocalypse,” Heaven on Earth:  the Varieties of the Millennial Experience (upcoming in Oxford University Press).

[94]  Introduction in Lion Feuchtwanger, Moscow 1937.  My Visit Described for My Friends (Viking Press: New York, 1937).

[95]  Chomsky cited in Paul Hollander, Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society (Transaction Publishers:  New Brunswick, NJ, 1998), XXXVIII.

[96]  Sartre cited in Landes, “Totalitarian Millennialism: The Bolshevik Apocalypse,” Heaven on Earth; Dmitrii Radyshevskii, “Liberaly za dzhikhad,”  http://www.jerusalem-korczak-home.com/np/rad/09/np167.html

[97]  Michail Ryklin, “On the Trail of Red Pilgrims,” interview to Caspar Melville, New Humanist, http://newhumanist.org.uk/1995

[98] Michael J. Thompson’s review of Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism by Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson (University of Chicago Press:  Chicago, 2005), Democratiya 1 (Summer, 2005), http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d1Thompson.pdf

[99]  Radyshevskii, “Liberaly za dzhikhad,” http://www.jerusalem-korczak-home.com/np/rad/09/np167.html Individually, each also fears “exile from the community of true believers that had given his life so much purpose,” the fate of writer André Gide, a renegade Soviet sympathizer, who dared make public his disillusionment with Communism in Retour de L’U.R.S.S. in 1936  (Landes, “Totalitarian Millennialism: The Bolshevik Apocalypse,” Heaven on Earth).

[100]  Title of the French philosopher Raymond Aron’s 1955 masterpiece, L’Opium des intellectuels—an inversion of Marx’s denigration of religion as “the opium of the people.”  (Cited in Roger Kimball, Raymond Aron and the Power of Ideas,” New Criterion (May 2001), http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3345/is_9_19/ai_n28839622/

[101]  Detailed discussion in Mikhail Ryklin, Kommunizm kak religiia.  Intellektualy i Oktiabr’skaia revoliutsiia (“Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie:” Moscow, 2009).

[102]  Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 351.

[103]  Reich, ed.,Origins of Terrorism, 31, 33.

[104]  Iurii Karabchievskii, Voskresenie Maiakovskogo (“Strana i mir:” Munich, 1985), 183-184.

[105]  Cited in Eliot Borenstein, Man without Women:  Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917-1929 (Duke University Press: 2001), 29-30.

[106]  Cited in Kirk Rodby, The Dark Heart of Utopia:  Sexuality, Ideology, and the Totalitarian Movement (iUniverse, Inc.:  New York-Bloomington, IN, 2009), 203.

[107]  Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, New Myth, New World:  From Nietzsche to Stalinism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 188.

[108]  Cited in Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 137.

[109]  “Ce Romme est un métaphysicien obscur,” remarked perceptively a contemporary opponent of this effort to rule over time by “un alchemiste politique” (Edmond Biré, Journal d’un bourgeois de Paris pendant la Terreur, vol. 4 (Perrin: Paris, 1794), 51, http://books.google.co.il/books?id=jsLSAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA51&dq=decreter+l%E2%80%99eternite%E2%80%9D%2BRomme&hl=en#v=onepage&q=&f=false

[110]  E. Poletaev, N. Punin, Protiv tsivilizatsii (Petrograd, 1923), 22.

[111]  Landes, “Totalitarian Millennialism: The Bolshevik Apocalypse,” Heaven on Earth.

[112]  Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (Russell & Russell: New York, 1957),  256

[113]  Donald D. MacRae, “Bolshevik Ideology: The Intellectual and Emotional Factors in Communist Affiliation,” Cambridge Journal 5 (1951), 167.

[114]  Moshe Hazani, “Apocaliptism, Symbolic Breakdown and Paranoia:  An Application of Lifton’s Model to the Death-Rebirth Fantasy,” in Apocalyptic Time, ed. Albert I. Baumgarten (Brill, 2000),29.

[115]  Syed Qutb, “The Characteristics of the Islamic Society and the Correct method for its Formation,” Milestones, http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/qutb.htm

[116]  Landes, “Totalitarian Millennialism: The Bolshevik Apocalypse,” Heaven on Earth.

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  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    A sobering thought http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/forums/index.p
    Victor Laslow

  • USMCSniper

    What about when court jesters become leaders, like Obama? "The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to an electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The public can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." And they might just do it again in 2012!
    Author unknown

  • waycoop1

    What is this about obama giving nuclear secrets about Britin away to Russia in return for their signing the "start" treaty?

  • crackerjack

    Dear Mrs Geifman.

    In your list of terrorists-become-state-leaders, you forgot Israel's Menachim Begin. Begin was leader of the ETZTL terrorsquads that later became LIKUD. He was responsible for the infamous King David Bombing, the perhaps first organized and premeditated political terror attack in the Midd-east. begin went on to become Israels primeminister and won the Nobel Prize.
    Seeing that Begin proved beyond a doubt that you CAN gain your goals with therror, I believe that he sould be mentioned here.

    • MixMChess

      Actually, the Irgun, Menachem Begin was a part of, was a paramilitary group formed in the aftermath of the 1929 Arab riots, in which over 100 Jews were murdered and hundreds others injured and maimed. The Irgun's original purpose was to protect Jews from the murderous Arab Mobs, not terrorism.

      The King David Hotel bombing was an obvious aberration among the early Zionist. So much that the Irgun was disbanded and outlawed at Israel's founding in 1948.

      Of course, you conveniently ignore the FACT that the Palestinians attacked and sabotaged the British in a pattern of TERRORISM, long BEFORE the Jews directed any animosity at the British.

      During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, "British patrols were cut down by snipers, the new [British] airport at Lydda was burned, troop trains were derailed, and the oil line from Mosul to Haifa was badly damaged. As the killings and sabotage increased, so did British reprisals….From July to November 1938…perhaps 16,000 local and imported guerillas were engaged in the insurrection, and they succeeded almost completely in paralyzing civil authority outside the nation's larger cities and in the Jewish agricultural areas. All interurban transportation was prohibited at night, as Arab infiltrators laid mines and explosives along roads and highways."

      In fact, in a 1936 the British prepared the, "Report by His Majesty's Government to the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and Trans-jordan," which stated the following: "There have been widespread acts of murder and other outrages by [Arab] gangs of armed terrorists. Apart from attacks in which British soldiers, airmen and police as well as many Arabs and Jews have lost their lives, the activities of these armed gangs have included repeated attempts to disorganize the means of communication, cutting of telegraph and telephone wires, derailing of trains, and attempts to prevent roads from being used by traffic. Considerable material damage has been done seriously affecting the economic life of the country and several attempts have been made to damage and set fire to the oil pipe-line between Haifa and `Iraq."

      Whoops, looks like the Palestinians have always been originators of premeditated political terror in the Middle East, huh?

      • crackerjack

        Sorry, but it was Etzel, not Irgun.
        http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/Stat

        And was any other terror leader as successful as Begin? Today US senators and presidents gather in Washington under the banner of the Etzel follow-up Likud to praise his nobel deeds, while memorial stones are erected at the scenes of his atrocities.
        Let's be honest. In the terrorists-become-state-leaders awards, Begin must be a prominent nominee.

        By the way. – Modern terror ( Irregular warfare) was introduced to the Midd-East by the British with Lawrence of Arabia and his Beduin irregulars against the Ottoman Empire.

  • vicfedorov

    That we don’t know this, or perhaps, apply its assertion; indicates the kingdom of God.

    The Kingdom of God is a formidable idea, the enslaved trade of journalism seems to have the job of obscuring it of denying it, though it be vital for limpid politics. It must be cited that whereas the gospel introduced the term vital to articulate what saves us, the Koran uses the term not once. Judeasm is shown to be in a pagan tradition whereby direct acknowledgement of Truth is not necessary as the jews and pagans has a sufficient tribal structure, focusing on the causes of culture and fortune

  • crackerjack

    I'm sure Hamas will be thrilled to learn that strict immigration rules , the confiscation of documents and the apprehension of followers condone terror bombings.

    All your arguments reseble to the word the arguments Arab terrorists bring forward to legitimize their actions.

    Arafat and Begin were brothers in arms.

    • MixMChess

      Strict immigration which resulted in the murder of millions. No one is condoning the King David bombing, just putting it in context. The Palestinians inflicted far worse terrorist atrocities against the British than the Jews. The King David bombing was a clear aberration among the early Zionists, whereas the Palestinians clearly adopted horrific terrorism as part of their culture starting in the 1920's (and continues to this day).

      • crackerjack

        Apparently, one mans freedom fighter is the other mans terrorist. Condoning Begin's actions while condeming Arafat's actions is walking a thin line, to say the least.

  • RiF

    Apparently the "aberration" you refer to is nothing of the sort. British solders there during the Mandate era were killed routinely, and in some cases strung up at crossroads by Zionists who felt threatened by the fact that the British were trying to divide up the land between Jewish settlers and the long-time Arab occupants in as fair a way as they could. They initially attempted to do this using Ottoman land law and eventually had to adopt a more equitable English system. This was exploited by a well-organised Jewish Agency and ended up working to the disadvantage of the Arabs (for whom the Mandate was originally set up to allow a transition to stable self-rule). In many cases Arabs were disenfranchised because under the Ottomans they went from being land owners to feudal serfs under a Turkish landlord, and then had their land bought out from under their feet when the Jewish Agency purchased the stolen land from the Turks. It is also true that some Arabs sold land that was not theirs either, making some Arabs as bad as the Turks. All in all, though, Arabs were victims in this process and the British, whose Empire was falling apart and who were demoralised by WW1, Ghandi etc and suffering reverses, just gave up on the process at the end of WW2.

    Source: Personal contact and papers. A Great Uncle of mine was at one time President of the Court of Jerusalem and Jaffa.