THERE IS NO FORTRESS THAT CANNOT BE CONQUERED BY BOLSHEVIKS
(Niet takich krepostei kotorych bolsheviki nie smogli by wziat) What made Bolsheviks so different from other social engineers? What made them so efficient?
Unlike other leftists, they viewed themselves as militarily-organized professional revolutionists. Strict top-to-bottom discipline was a precondition for membership; Lenin believed that capitalism could not be defeated without violence. Progressive improvements of capitalism were not on the Bolshevik agenda. That is reflected in expressions they often used, such as: basic battle plans, storming the fortress of capitalism, mobilizing masses, seizing the initiative, strongholds of reaction, temporary alliances, final smashing, etc. etc.
A related topic has to with moral judgments. According to Lenin and Stalin, morality should be subordinated to the ideology of proletarian revolution. Denying the validity of religion-based morality, they wrote: what is useful to us is moral, what is harmful to us is immoral. Morality is a weapon in class struggle. Party and Komsomol members were drilled to accept that position, and to act accordingly. Bolshevik morality sanctions anything done “in the interest of class struggle.”
The justification was simple. The world is full of injustice and immorality. We want to replace it by a much better “scientifically designed” social structure -- communism. That is why what we do is right, by definition. Here is a good illustration. An act of torture committed by our enemy should be exposed as unspeakable barbarism. We do this to gain sympathy and support of naive people believing in “bourgeois morality.” But an act of torture committed by us to punish an enemy of revolution is not immoral. It is a historical necessity. Likewise, slave labor and killings in German camps were considered immoral while slave labor and killings in Soviet gulag camps were considered moral. In that way communist morality was not at all better (as claimed) than morality practiced by other despotic rulers. Stalin declared that the gulag camps served the interests of revolution and this made them moral.
1) Ludwik Kowalski, "Hell On Earth: Brutality And Violence Under The Stalinist Regime;"- Wasteland Press, 2008, Shelbyville, KY, USA. See excerpts at:
2) Michael Solomon, ''Magadan'', A Vertex Book, Princeton, 1971