Monday, February 28, 2005
What is Neo-Bolshevism?
I’m holed up in a hotel in St. Louis writing my book (still almost done! I keep finishing exactly half of what I have left to do!) and visiting Nick, but I’ve learned that Alex at Color Me Impressed (a cool blog which, for all its lack of color, is really quite impressive) has been called a “Neo-Bolshevist” by You-Know-Who. Those of you who’ve been faithfully reading the comments on this blog (see Saturday’s post) know that Alex has now promised to purge him some neo-Menscheviks, and even to defeat Alexander Kerensky sometime this afternoon. The Sons of Lenin salute you, Alex!
But beyond all this purging and routing, fun as it is, there’s an important theoretical point at stake here. What, precisely, is the meaning of Neo-Bolshevism today? The debate has begun on Alex’s blog, featuring some of the left’s leading Neo-Commenters. Corndog asks how a Neo-Bolshevist differs from a Trotskyite, and Chris Clarke replies that “a Trotskyist rejects the ‘Socialism in one country’ strategy. By way of contrast, a Neo-Bolshevist recognizes that all so-called ‘countries’ are merely part of the Matrix, and rejects accomodationist elements in the Zion People’s Revolutionary Councils.”
Well, we know a thing or two about Left theoretical disputes and The Matrix at this leather-clad blog, so we chimed in to disagree with Chris: “Don’t forget the lesson of Matrix Revolutions-- ‘Neo-Bolshevism’ rejects compromise with the Zion People’s Revolutionary Councils only to sell us out by making a separate peace with the machines in the end, preserving the Matrix on a ‘purely voluntary’ basis. Don’t go down that road, Neo-- you’ve been there before, you know where it ends.” But now I think this reply raises more questions than it answers. Would a Neo-Stalinism involve signing a nonaggression pact with Agent Smith? Would a Neo-Kerensky have been able to fly through the air in a long black coat at Pulkova, defeating the Bolsheviks in hand-to-hand martial-arts combat? (We know that a Neo-Gramsci would still have cool glasses.) And what about Trinity-Bolshevism and Morpheus-Bolshevism? Most important, where does Monica Bellucci fit into all this?
Deep, disturbing questions. Ah, can’t answer them now-- that’s the phone ringing.