Tea Party Bolshevism


Today is a good day to reiterate the essential nature of the Tea Party and contemporary GOP political impulse in practice. As even Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell calls on House Republicans to compromise and pass the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, we need understand not how, but why we got here. What we are seeing, too, is not just played out in the fierce, uncompromising true-believerism of the House Pubs, but also in the the post-2010 American Legislative Exchange Council formulated gubernatorial policies of that year’s GOP electoral winners: Scott Walker’s and John Kasich’s heavy-handed assault on labor unions in Wisconsin and Ohio and Rick Snyder’s assumption of dictatorial powers in Michigan.

In The Tea Party Bolsheviks & the National Debt, I wrote,

An important point to remember about Bolshevism is that it was not an ideology, but a method. The ideology was Marxism. Adjusted to circumstance and extended as Leninism, it was Marxist-Leninism. Bolshevism was about how they pursued the revolution and how they ruled after it. The name itself, which means “majority,” contrasted with the minority “Mensheviks,” the designations arising from an intra-party squabble (within the existing Russian Social Democratic Labor Party) about the basis for membership in the party and the guidance of the revolution.


About many things – matters of ideology and policy – the Bolsheviks were ever changeable (and rationalizing) in the face of events and circumstance: brute material and economic reality, it became fittingly apparent to them, is an unconquerable disputant in historical debate. But about two matters the Bolsheviks were unchanging and immoveable. First, whatever was the party line at any time (no matter what it had been yesterday or would come to be tomorrow) was absolutely and indisputably true. Second, compromise with anyone outside the party who differed with Bolshevik truth was an unforgivable sin. To advocate compromise with anyone who differed was an unforgiveable sin. No characteristic has ever more consistently represented the Bolshevik frame of mind.

We’ll see if contending foreces even in their own party can this time engineer a strategic retreat: the Bolshevicks were tactical realists, but always, over long years, retained their vision of the ends they pursued.

So it is ever thus with the fanatic true believer, who would rather tear down to its studs and foundation the whole edifice then compromise with the compromised in the service of what they perceive to be a falling architecture. The Bolsheviks never sought to reform Russia. They wished to overturn it, to tear it down, to begin again. They wanted revolution. They didn’t care if Russia was defeated in the First World War. They wanted out of the war, the whole imperialist sham fought for the profit of the capitalist and that further enslaved the working class. Let the walls come tumbling down. We’ll tear them down.


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