Lecture 6 (Communism and Fascism)
Western democracies definition of itself is in stark contrast with Communism and Fascism
Liberalism and its Crisis
Over the course of the 19 century, Britain demonstrated the epitome of structured, liberal
Liberal institutions developed even where social basis was not obviously present, such as
Liberalism and the Working Class
There was an ever widening of the right to the vote. The right to vote used to be based on social
status, race, property ownership and etc… The working class was being granted the right to vote.
Rise of social democracy in Western Europe. Evolutionary socialism and reconciliation with
liberal democracy: electoral socialism.
This was largely the story of Western Europe.
What about the Revolution?
However in Eastern Europe, a much different ideology was being cultivated. Karl Marx was a
big advocate of getting means of production to the working class.
Lenin: revolutionary movement under conditions of authoritarianism – Russia
Lenin’s answer was that if you were to rule under an Autocracy and try to form a revolution you
would have to do so with a secret police and under conspiracy.
Workers left on their own would never achieve their own social consciousness. Workers were
only capable of “trade union consciousness”.
Lenin believed this social revolution would not just happen naturally but rather needed a party to
guide its ideology. Russia at this time was still primarily a country of illiterate peasants. It was in this context that
the revolution occurs. Lenin had to make the working class understand that this new party was
working towards the needs of the working class.
The revolutionary proletariat was not playing a role but rather occupying a status.
At the time of 1917, a World War had been waging and thus Russia was in a weakened state.
Lenin steps down as Tsar and a provisional government is established. Germany later sends
Lenin back to Russia.
In October of 1917, Lenin’s party stages a cout d’états and takes power from the provisional
World Revolution or World Power
The world “worker” revolution failed to materialize in the rest of the world. By 1921 it becomes
very clear that Communism would not be a worldwide revolution.
From insurrectionism to statism – supporting communism means supporting the Soviet Union.
What was once a political ideology was now a fully fledged political party that subjugated
Lenin: “Communism = Soviet Power + Electrification”
But Lenin’s biggest issue was how to create a modern sustainable economy without the use of
conventional capitalist means.
Stalinism: Terror and Progress
- Lenin knew that Communism would take a while to becoming truly embraced. He knew
that they would first have to help the peasants grant means of production, become rich,
and move to urban areas. In order for this to happen, industrialization would ne