February 17, 2003

The New Leninism

I have a dream. The Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square has been purchased by an American foundation and carefully moved to Washington to take its place among the monuments of the nation’s capital. It has been situated in the center of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and special stone walkways have been constructed to rise from the bottom of the pond and provide access by foot for state dignitaries on special occasions, such as the anniversary of the revolutionary leader’s birth on April 22nd, when wreaths are laid and solemn tribute is paid. The vision of US Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and a long line of international statesmen all standing before the red constructivist edifice, heads bowed and hands on heart, is the picture that captures the true essence of historian Francis Fukuyama’s "end of history."


Historians have generally associated Lenin, nee Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, with Communism, because Lenin successfully established a regime proclaiming adherence to the ideology of Karl Marx, who articulated something called "Communism" in his theoretical volumes. "Marxism-Leninism," then, was "Marxism made concrete," and after Lenin seized power in Russia in 1917, historians frequently neglected to draw bold lines between "Communism" on the one hand, and "Leninism" on the other. This was true even for historians highlighting the fact that Lenin played fast and loose with the official ideology, and conceding the possibility of being a Communist without being a Leninist or, theoretically, vice versa.

Leninism represents progress, but not necessarily Marxist progress. It sees state power as a tool of progress on a global scale, as summed up by Lenin himself in the simple equation, Communism = Soviet [i.e., state] power + electrification of the whole country – not a Marxist definition of Communism, whatever its meaning in terms of left and right. As an ideology devoid of left-right content, Leninism could be defined as adherence to a purely political-tactical set of principles, like "the end justifies the means" (i.e., use any means necessary to achieve a desired outcome), "the worse, the better" (i.e., fundamental change only comes when conditions are so bad that social transformation is inevitable), and "give them enough rope" (i.e., political elites will bring about their own demise by their greed and corruption). But even these tenets do not capture the fundamental essence of Leninism.


Central to Leninism, as opposed to Marxism, was the concept of the "Party." As British wine critic Roger Scruton wrote in his book An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture:

Despite his intellectual mediocrity, Lenin has been a more decisive influence on social and political ideas in Western Europe than any other modern thinker, since it was his conception of the party which offered to intellectuals their clearest vision of their social role. The Leninist party is the new "exit" sign. All and only intellectuals can pass through its golden gates and into the social stratosphere. And in doing so they are released from earthly ties and obligations and given absolute sovereignty over the world and its goods. They rediscover their priestly role, and with it the gift of prophecy.

The "Party," not Marxism or Communism, forms the core of Leninism. Lenin understood something fundamental about humans, or at least most humans, and that is that they want to "belong." Those with a desire to "belong" can be relied upon to command others to build the new order, the others being outside history and reliable swallowers of whatever is put in front of their faces. The humans desirous of belonging fear exclusion from the Party, where lies uncertainty, loss of prestige, social unacceptability, and even material scarcity, and so they agree to define themselves collectively by means of identification of an "enemy." The shrill and inhuman rhetoric among many in the current Party, for example, is a manifestation of their desire to say and do whatever is necessary to remain among those with "sovereignty over the world and its goods." Scruton is himself a Party member at heart, as evidenced by his recent book about the West and Islam.

Whether or not orthodox Marxism had primacy in the birth of Leninism, Lenin found the ideology useful because of its "progressiveness," a seductive force for modernity that pulled large numbers of Scruton’s "intellectual mediocrities" into its swirling vortex and away from the un-sexy old monarchical, parliamentary-democratic order. Tsarist Russia was an empire of outhouses, and the new order promised industry, electricity and technology. With the abstract vision of modernizing transformation in their heads, they embraced the Party’s mission of sweeping away resistance to the new world, and of sweeping the current world into a rubbish tip.

Many of the intellectual mediocrities had only a tenuous grasp of the formal ideology itself, just as now – when picturing societies on the other side of the world they have never visited – War Party members casually embrace the eradication of backward cultures in favor of the great modernizing might of the Party. Whether what actually remains after the razing of these "backward" societies they’ve never seen are desolate, ruined dumps of humanity is of no concern. People in countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania do not become more prosperous and "free" by virtue of their homelands’ admission into Leninist institutions like NATO, the EU or the WTO, but they do achieve "progress," something all Party members appreciate even from a great distance.

Part of Leninism is what the neo-conservative writer, Party member and high priest Michael Ledeen has termed "creative destruction" in his latest book, The War Against the Terror Masters:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. We must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

This is "cultural" Leninism, and indeed Lenin had no time for the view that culture should be a social force on a par with politics and economics. He allowed people to pursue their individual cultural interests, as long as they did not organize on a broad scale on the basis of common culture, and in a way that threatened the supremacy of the Party. So it is with the current Leninists.

Some may argue that, because "progress" can be viewed differently, the Party can be a different priesthood from a Leninist one, pursuing different ends by different means. Indeed, the concept of the Party was also central to the Fascists and Nazis, who had their own view of progress. But fascism is a strain of Leninism, and Roger Scruton has described Nazism as a "perverted outgrowth of the Russian Revolution." Fascism is "perverted Leninism" because – from the point of view of a political class with designs on power over the whole world – it is a crackpot ideology.

Right Leninism (fascism) is racist, and therefore inevitably alienates large numbers of people, people who otherwise be politically utilized were it not for the exclusivity – and hence mean-spiritedness – of the race-based, ruling Right-Leninist Party. Desiring "sovereignty over the world and its goods" like any Leninists, the Right-Leninist Party must ultimately deal with the excluded population, even if it simply transports it to a far-away place geographically in the short term. Under Left (or Pure) Leninism, the excluded population (dissenters) can be "assimilated" by ideological indoctrination. Those who resist will of course have to be physically eliminated even under Pure Leninism, but it is assumed they will number far fewer than the victims of Right Leninism’s "holocaust."

In the case of America, Right Leninism is not built into the political system in a way that would allow it to facilitate world conquest, and indeed America is not exporting racial or religious dominance with its global interventionism. The places that America has invaded, bombed, and turned into dumps of international administration have not become mono-racial theocracies. Pure Leninism, however, is comfortably accommodated in America’s political system in such a way that it can form the motivating force in American foreign policy.

Lenin, a lawyer by profession, appreciated the potential for America – founded on the principle of egalitarianism – to experience internal social and economic tensions. Even leaving Marxist dialectics aside, the natural tendency of any nation-state to seek an accumulation of material wealth abroad by force and imperialism already applied visibly to America by the time Lenin sent Trotsky and Bukharin to New York in 1916 to see what the place looked like. Lenin said that imperialism was the "highest stage of capitalism," a Marxist euphemism for "give ‘em enough rope," and Lenin predicted that America – poorly designed for imperialism – would embark on imperialism anyway, and stagger inexorably toward the same grave all empires before it had fallen into.


Those with unshakeable faith in "democracy" will dispute the view of Lenin triumphant at the end of history. They will say that parliamentary democracies are now the formal norm throughout the industrialized world, whereas Lenin was not, in the final analysis, a democrat. For these people, Fukuyama’s complacent view of the "liberal democracy" as the endpoint of mankind’s historical struggle, the resolution of the historical conflict between conflicting ideas of social and political organization, remains unsullied. But to assert that the New World Order will not be one, big, happy, multi-party "liberal democracy" is not the same as saying it will be a dictatorship.

Lenin was not a democrat, but he was not a dictator either, unlike his crude successor Stalin. Lenin tolerated dissent within the un-elected Party, and did not order the execution of Party members who disagreed with him. In fact, Lenin even conceded loss when outvoted on the Politburo. Party members were purged during Lenin’s tenure, but there was not the macabre culture of political show-trials of Stalin’s era, the most high-profile show trial during Lenin’s leadership being the trial of the SRs (Socialist Revolutionaries). The SRs were not Bolsheviks, but only shared power briefly with Lenin’s Party in the government after the Revolution, and ultimately proved untrustworthy. There were of course wars of conquest throughout the territory of empire under Lenin, but these were pacifying and unifying wars, just as there are plenty of pacifying and unifying wars now in the world of victorious "liberal democracies" at the end of history.

In much the same way as Lenin’s Party did, the War faction of the current Party also tolerates dissent from within its ranks, and so far has not shot any dissenters. Antiwar.com and other opponents of the march to war can rant and rave all we like from outside the Party, and demonstrators can gather by the hundreds of thousands in cities all across the West, but these manifestations of popular will do not threaten the War Party as long as they do not represent a rival Party, tightly organized according to Leninist principles.

Instead of Communism, the War Party uses the progressive ideology of "freedom, democracy, and universal human rights" to advance its cause internationally. This is of course a lie, a tactic used by Hitler but also by Lenin, and to more lasting effect than by the ex-corporal and Austrian WWI veteran. To the less zealously religious, the nation is shown as a force for tolerance, modernity and freedom around the world. In fact, the War Party’s ideology is simply power – the power of the New World Order exported by force under the guise of lofty, bogus language about liberation. The real ideology is about destruction, occupation and control. It is about reshaping, uprooting and emptying out of populations and societies. And it is about crushing reaction or sentimental resistance. It is about Leninism. Anybody with ambitions to be anybody wants to be on the side of the Party, the destroyer. The others are irrelevant.

Inside America, meanwhile, an ideology is presented that is more crude, more akin to Right Leninism. Muslims are depicted as an enemy at the gates, desirous of killing Christians. Since most Americans are Christians, this plays well. Many Americans can be made to believe that Islam is evil because people like Pat Robertson and Cal Thomas – who they enjoy watching or reading with their morning coffee – tell them so. These are the good Americans who never go anywhere and have never been the guest in the home of a Muslim in a Muslim country.

When the Party speaks, these good people swallow the line with their eggs and bacon, or their cheeseburgers and fries at lunchtime. The church is still down the road, and the godlessness of the New World Order hasn’t taken over their little neighborhood yet so they don’t care who gets bombed to pieces five thousand miles away. Saddam Hussein is an "evil man," so why not drop a bomb on him "over there"? "He’s a long way away, so please just take care of him and let me get back to the sports section." Most of these people are Christians, but are oblivious to the fact that the vicious slime in the columns of syndicated pundits about wiping out Muslims worldwide is appealing to the very worst in their own human nature.

Lenin understood the newspaper readers – their hypocrisies, their timidity, their helplessness and their malleability. He also grasped their short memory spans. He knew that the average person anywhere in the world can experience the tearing apart of the settled life he or she has come to know, and the transformation of his or her familiar surroundings into a dump, but will inevitably pick up the pieces and adjust. Destroy their gods, their myths, and the little sentimental things they cherish, and do it by force, resolutely, before they have time to think. Is Leninism evil? After all, we may think the dictator Saddam Hussein and his flaky regime are monsters, but they are after all nothing as compared to the destructiveness of the Leninist New World Order. Yet, in the end, perhaps there is a strange sort of peace under Leninism, extended across the entire globe, with the Party sitting on top of the world. So maybe Leninism really is "justice" after all.


A Christian acquaintance recently expressed the sentiment to me that America should wipe out all Muslims around the world and "let God sort ‘em out." When I inquired gently as to how America would conquer, occupy and pacify all the states that are home to the world’s billion or so Muslims, he responded: "One at a time." He was fully willing, from his home in Richmond, Virginia, to entertain the idea of American armed forces smashing non-Christian enemies across the globe one-by-one, because it was "them or us." He even quoted passages of the Koran as evidence that Muslims are duty-bound by faith to murder Christians.

If this demented view prevails, and it looks as if it may, then one of two things will happen. Either America will succeed in conquering and controlling the whole world, imposing peace under the terms that its political elite desires, or else America will fail, in which case it will recede into non-superpower status. Under either imperial scenario, Leninism wins.

Under the first scenario, the world is united under "peace American-style" – no state religion, no sovereignty of nation-states, and humanity united in a brotherhood of "universal human rights." Sure, there may be reports coming in constantly of a war somewhere off in the distance, a war to make the world "safe for freedom," and there will be tales of the latest fate to befall the troops in their never-ending battle against some eternally threatening enemy. There may also be a network of domestic citizen-informers to uphold state security. But core areas will be peaceful from day-to-day. Under the second scenario, American economic power recedes, and the political elite in the rest of the industrialized world – made up as it is of Leninists by virtue of their former membership in Leninist parties (followers of the conceited Trotsky and so forth) – sets the agenda in concert with Leninists from the once-powerful United States.

Eventually, imperialism destroys the imperialist nation-state, and one way or another the "liberal democracy" of America will be rendered unrecognizable by its foolish imperial adventure. In countries where ordinary people have guns, such as America, even if the country as a whole cannot secede from the New World Order, there may be pockets of rebellion against the New World Order as that country’s own gods and myths are being destroyed. Resistance will not be based on a highbrow ideology – trendy Gramscian socialism, non-Leninist Marxism, anarcho-syndicalism, etc. – since esoteric ideas cannot unite and save the common man. It will be only a recognition of the need to protect what he honestly believes is good and true about his life and his community in the place where he lives, and the will to join with others to fight to protect it.

In 1871, the Paris Commune lasted just over two months before it was crushed by troops of the French government imposing peace on the terms of the victorious Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War. Its rallying cry was not social revolution but popular self-government. Resembling an admirable attempt to "secede" from the New World Order, it failed not only because it lived its short life under constant siege, but because the men who fought to defend it lacked effective leadership and experience in administering government. Scholar Hans-Herman Hoppe, in his book Democracy – The God That Failed, writes idealistically of secession from the New World Order thus:

The process of centralization has resulted in the formation of an international, U.S.-dominated government cartel of managed migration, trade, and fiat money, ever more invasive and burdensome governments, globalized welfare-warfare statism and economic stagnation or even declining standards of living. Secession, if it is extensive enough, could change all this. The world would consist of tens of thousands of distinct countries, regions and cantons, and of hundreds of thousands of independent free cities such as the present-day "oddities" of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Greatly increased opportunities for economically motivated migration would result, and the world would be one of small liberal governments economically integrated through free trade and an international commodity money such as gold. It would be a world of unheard of prosperity, economic growth, and cultural advancement.

Prof. Hoppe does not explain the means by which a region or canton is to secede, but it may be that the spirit of the Commune – a non-Leninist form of Communism – is what is required of any community facing imminent destruction by the Leninist muscle of the New World Order. To survive, such a community would have to be united by a bond of resistance, and led by men able to conceive of the enemy as evil. At the same time, it would have to think in a Leninist way in order to beat the Leninism threatening it. Almost no one seriously entertains the belief that this is possible, any more than they entertain Prof. Hoppe’s sunny vision. This only goes to show Lenin’s unmatched understanding of humans, and why Lenin was right.


In 1988, I visited the Lenin Mausoleum for the first time, when there was still an immaculate and elite honor guard posted outside it at all times, and the changing of the guard ceremony was a perfectly executed ritual. The line to get in was very long but moved surprisingly quickly. It was cold, and I wore a fur hat along with the other visitors. But as I was about to enter the tomb, an armed guard reached forward and pulled my hat off, ordering me to show a little respect.

Descending the steps into the chamber, I wondered why it had been designed so grimly. The marble walls were a mixture of black and deep red on either side of the steps going down, and in the little room at the bottom, the body of a physically small man in a black suit was lying in a glass case under red lighting that made his pointed goatee and the remnants of hair around his crown glow bright crimson. There was no chance to stop, only to look while moving, and in moments I was climbing back out of the satanic setting into the light.

The dark, constructivist tomb still sits in the place of honor where it was built, but there is no changing of the guard ceremony and not even any elite guards. Only a few regular uniformed police stand watch. I hear tourists can still visit, as I did a few years after the break-up of the Soviet Union, but the Mausoleum today is treated as little more than a tourist curiosity in its host country these days. With the mafia-led Russian government ready to sell off loyal outposts of empire piece by piece, as evidenced by the slow strangulation of the Kaliningrad enclave on the Baltic coast, perhaps the Kremlin will flog the Mausoleum to a Leninist US foundation for a reasonable price. Then the architectural offering to Lenin’s memory can move to a place in which the ideas of the diminutive man who’s body it occupies are truly respected, to World Leninism’s new headquarters: America.

– Chad Nagle

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Write to Chad Nagle

Chad Nagle is a professional writer and lawyer. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Washington Times, and several other periodicals. Mr. Nagle traveled extensively throughout the ex-USSR from 1992-97 as a research consultant. Since mid-1999, he has traveled widely in the former Communist bloc on behalf of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group.

Previous articles by Chad Nagle

The New Leninism

How the War Party Put Iraq on the Side of the Angels

Day of Preemptive Protest Appeals to Patriotism

House Panel Rushes to Join the (War) Party

Will Congress Rubber-stamp an Unpopular War?

A Sensible China Policy For The American People

Hainan Dim-Sum: Feeding a Bully's Sinister Agenda

The Revolution Comes to Ukraine

Red Dawn in Moldova?

Musings On The New Imperialism and Post-Western World Government

Soros: False Prophet-At-Large

Belarus: Oasis In The Heart Of Europe

Serbia Joins the West

Death of a Patriot

The Twilight of Sovereignty in Azerbaijan

The Ukrainian Model of Democracy

The Slow Strangulation of Democracy in Slovakia

Patrick Buchanan and the American Reformation

The Betrayal of Democracy in Post-Soviet Georgia

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