The Bolsheviki - Who They Are and What They Believe
This article was originally titled "The Bolsheviki, who they are and what they believe" and appeared in a publication called World's Work, in October of 1918. The unnamed writer of the article, and apparently the publication itself, certainly have Bolshevik sympathies. Of course, Bolshevism failed miserably, living up to none of the hype offered up in this and other early writings. Marxist doctrine fails whenever it is tried, and has never succeeded anywhere. Yet the article is very informative, telling us exactly the nature of the people behind Bolshevism. Thanks again to Mr. Jerel Mosley, who provided this document from his personal library. - WRF
THE BOLSHEVIKI, WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY BELIEVE
Nearly all the Leaders Jews from New York - How Smolny Institute, the Capitol of Russia,
Is Conducted - The Economic Doctrines of the Bolsheviki
This article is compiled from the first-hand experiences of a New York business man, whose name is withheld for obvious reasons.- THE EDITORS
THERE are three questions that constitute the puzzle of the day. They are:
Who are the Bolsheviki leaders?
What do they believe - just what is their theory of government? Is it Socialism or Anarchism or what?
Just exactly how do they administer the government?
I have just returned from Russia. I was there when the Bolsheviki came into power. I attempted to do business in Petrograd, Moscow, and Kiev for a year. First and last I have met and had dealings with most of their leaders, hundreds of their underlings, and talked to every "workman and soldier" I could. Keeping scrupulously to facts within my own observation and experience, I will attempt to answer these questions plainly and directly.
Leon Trotsky is a Russian Jew. Grusenberg, who ought to know, says he represents a type that is the result of Czarism - a man perpetually exiled, to whom every nation is a railroad station - a nomad, with no home and no country. I know the man. Unlike the majority of half-crazy exiles that swarmed back to Russia last year, he is an able man. He is clever and sharp. In spite of the fact that he walks the streets of Petrograd made up to impersonate the exaggerated popular idea of an anarchist - with long hair and bushy face, string tie and slouch hat - he does not belong to the impoverished and distracted class that he represents. He comes of a wealthy family. His uncle, Jivotoffsky, is a man of means and power. He was an important purchasing agent for the Allies in Russia under the Empire. And far from suffering the fate ordained for the “bourgeois,” when I last saw him was on an important mission for the Bolsheviki in Stockholm, selling Russian mines, materials, and boats to the German Government. I have been reliably informed by bankers in Sweden that Mrs. Trotsky has since joined him with cash running well into the millions.
That Trotsky comes of a strong mercantile strain, is very significant. I t explains in a word why he is at the head of this movement. He has the training and business sense and acumen that is so conspicuously absent in the ranks of his organization. This total lack of any practical ability - without which even a pirate crew could not hold together overnight - explains why it is that the control of the Bolsheviki and all their high offices are in the hands of Jews, the prevailing element of whom are from New York. These men alone, of all the fanatics, dreamers, desperadoes, and theorists born of Russian oppression and . international propaganda, have been sufficiently in touch with the commercial world and the discipline of practical affairs to be able to conduct the operation.
I have a great deal of respect for Nikolai Lenine. He impresses one as an honest and sincere dreamer. Any business man would know at a glance that he was constitutionally and preposterously unfit to undertake any affair among men. He has a theory. If it doesn't work, he is hopeless. Two statements of his, made in Petrograd while I was there, revealed him to me. They were both solemn statements, uttered with profound conviction.
One was: "All the education any statesman needs is the three R's (reading, writing, and arithmetic.)"
The other: "We make a Russian Revolution on German money. Then we will make a German Revolution on Russian money."
Insofar as the Bolsheviki, as represented 'by Lenine, are sincere, it is nonsense to reproach them with having sold out to Germany. They recognize neither Germany, nor France, nor any line on the map. To reproach them with putting ignorant men in control is a compliment. It is intentional-a part of the creed.
Volodarsky, "Tavorisch " (comrade), Minister of Publicity - in Bolsheviki-land there are no ranks, everyone is "comrade" - is a Philadelphia Jew. His first assistant also came from Pennsylvania, and had such training as he possesses on a Philadelphia newspaper.
Vritzsky is Minister of the Interior. He is another returned exile, a professional agitator. Although a Jew himself, he takes the greatest possible pleasure in persecuting the Jews. He denied them the right to celebrate the Passover last year - a thing the Czar never did. His role is that of the man baiter. One day he issued an order for every Romanoff in the kingdom to appear in Smolny. Of course they did. So did everyone else, to enjoy the show. He lined these gentlemen and ladies up and thundered out that they would have just eight hours to take to their allotted destinations. He provided the destinations. No possible argument could convince anyone present at the scene that this man is anything at all but a beast. Rhinestone, who is in charge of the propaganda in foreign countries, was 'a druggist in the United States. His son-in-law still runs a pharmacy in Buffalo.
Kameneff, one time Minister of Interior, who was accredited Bolsheviki Ambassador to Paris while in jail in Finland, is Trotsky's brother-inlaw. He is a heavy-built, tall, bearded, pleasant and intellectual Russian Jew from Poland. I had quite a talk with him. He is a fanatic upon international propaganda. The Interior, or nothing else on earth had any interest for him what ever. He had to agitate or die. He told me that the Red Revolution would spread all over the world, particularly in America. He was on his way to Sweden with a lot of money to carry the faith. As a matter of fact, he did raise a big commotion. He scattered diatribes and spoke to such purpose that they had to put a big guard around the Royal Palace. His conception of Bolshevikism was as plain as a broom-handle. I t consisted simply in creating universal revolution. As soon as one had been pulled over, his idea was to leave the good work and go pull off another. The conduct of the countries in the mean time interested him not a little.
Furstenburg-Gonetzky is a power in Bolsheviki councils. During the Kerensky regime he discovered a new and lucrative business. It was in selling fake passports, credentials, permits, etc. He thrived upon this to the extent of 7,000,000 rubles. He constituted himself official bribe receiver for Russia. When caught at it Kerensky put him in jail and confiscated such of his stolen treasure as could be found. From his secret hoard, however, he supplied the Bolsheviki with 50,000 rubles for their campaign. The figure is exact and authentic. The consequence was that when they came into power he was not only released but his booty was returned to him.
A VISIT TO SMOLNY
While I was in Russia the Bolsheviki conducted all their administration from the old Smolny Academy. This was a fine old building, set back among gardens and flowering shrubs and manicured grounds upon the outskirts of Petrograd. It had been a private school for the children of royalty. It had been seized upon by the Bolsheviki at the fall of the Czar, and now within its learned walls contained every single atom cf the working regime. If an Empire wished to make a treaty or a beggar wished to get a bread ticket, they both had to go to this identical building. If a man wanted protection or a woman wanted to put out her house afire, they had to do the same. I came because I wanted a passport from Zalkind, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Machine guns, cannon, and a tatterdemalion soldiery littered the approach. Inside I was allowed to pass by a' genial little peasant damsel of seventeen, engrossed in a flirtation with some top boots. The sight I then saw was astonishing. Through corridors I passed, looking into open doors - the executive offices of a kingdom of 180,000,000 souls - at least so it was claimed. I may as well be plain. It was disgusting, it was so filthy. The men were sitting at desks, presumably conducting mighty matters of state. But in every room there were beds - none of them made up - piles of ammunition, the refuse of abandoned meals, and endless groups of soldiers sitting and eating and drinking, or lounging about or sound asleep. It looked like what it was - a barracks minus a kitchen police or a sanitary squad.
I made my way to Room 77, the Foreign Office. There was a great palaver going on. What was being said was not half so -interesting as how it was being said. These officials conversed almost exclusively in English and German. They were not Russians. They were Jews. They did not talk Russian - they talked Bowery.
While waiting my turn with the secretary, in paraded an unmistakable character - an American Negro. Abandoning all business and decorum the functionary sprang from his seat and yelled:
"Hello, Johnny, what can I do for you?"
The darky returned the greeting, and was nothing if not democratic. I ventured to hail him as a fellow New Yorker, hoping thus to expedite my business. He was delighted, and assuming command agreed to shove things through for me.
"What Ministry do you belong to," said I.
He grinned. "To all the ministries. I am a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee."
No wonder the secretary hopped about. This committee was the executive and autocratic head of the Smolny government, and was superior to all ministers and all cabinets. It was the inviolate and ultimate authority.
A NEGRO CABINET MINISTER
"Johnny" was glad to tell me all about his rise in the world. In New York he had joined the I. W. W. and had been one of their end men and agitators. He was an associate of Max Eastman. "Johnnv" would have made an excellent South Carolina Senator under the carpetbagger regime. He confided to me that he was for Anarchy without any frills. Since that time the Bolsheviki have become too conservative to suit him, and he is now the recognized head of the Anarchists of Russia.
To return to the personnel of the Bolshevik regime:
Martoff, who at present is accredited Minister to Siam, and at that time was deep in the councils of the Revolution, became quite an acquaintance of mine. He had also come from the East Side of New York-a voluble little opportunist. When I first met up with him in Russia he was working on the Daily News. I saw him at the hubbub in the Cirque Moderne, when the crowd gathered there to protest against the Mooney trial in San Francisco.
He told me that in the United States he was a believer in the Industrial Workers of the World. and he was working with the Bolsheviki because they hold the same ideas. "Well, what ideas specifically? "
"We've had enough of capitalists, and- United States Ambassadors and injustice. The workmen will now seize all the factories, and we will run them ourselves."
That was the gist of his proposition. I pointed out that this was syndicalism pure and simple, but that did not disturb him at all.
In this whole building of Smolny there was not one single man of standing or recognized capacity. Russia, like every other country, has its honorable and able bankers, lawyers, jurists, philanthropists, 'Socialists, students, and business men. There is not a single man of character that I met during my stay that had anything in common with the Bolsheviki. This includes most emphatically the Jews. For this regime, this outcast organization enlisted not a single one of the great numbers of educated and talented Jews in the Empire.
I emphasize this, because the question, "Who are the Bolsheviki" can only be answered by saying who are not Bolsheviki. An exact parallel would be obtained in the United States if Max Eastman were made President, Tannenbaum vice-President, and the Flynn" Girl" taking the role of the Kollantay " woman "-a cabinet minister. Not one single member of the present administration, and not one single reputable and able leader of either business or reform would be found in their administration. Pershing would not command our army. It would be commanded by an anarchist corporal. Krylenko, a corporal (proposchick) was at the time Commander-in Chief of the Red Guards.
THE ABLE BOLSHEVIST PROPAGANDISTS
But there are very capable men bearing Bolsheviki commissions. They are to be found in the field conducting their principal businesses-selling their tangible assets to Germany and conducting foreign propaganda. These two transactions entice all the talent, because they constitute all that makes the affair a going concern. From one they get all their money. On the other they spend it all.
Some people think I am making a startling statement When I say that the Bolsheviki leaders are selling everything they can to the Germans. But they make no secret of it at all, themselves. It is as open as daylight in Stockholm. Being a lucrative business, the agents there are of a great deal higher ability than can be found in Smolny. When I was in Stockholm the group consisted of:
Mitki Rubenstein, who was at the head of the Franco Bank of Petrograd.
Pollack and Gourevitch, the identical agents who originally arranged the conference between Max Warburg, the Kaiser's financial henchman, and Protopopoff, vice-President of the Duma, when these two attempted to cook up a surrender in November, 1916. They were there with Levenson and Olaf Aschberg, selling stock and mines and supplies of every description to the Germans. They were also receiving cash from them. The whole business went through Aschberg's bank, the Nya Banken, as the whole world now knows. I saw the original German orders including a telegram from a concern in Hamburg, a step in the negotiation for the taking over of one of Russia's largest steamship companies. I tell this as a sidelight I obtained upon Trotsky's personal associations. All of this, of course, is well known.
Dr. Rakowsky was another Bolshevik propagandist who was commissioned to go to Rumania and start a proletariat revolution. The Smolny government appropriated 5,000,000 rubies for this purpose. Rochel had previously been sent to the same place for the same purpose, but had been killed there.
Zalkind, with a capital limited by nothing but the supply of paper - (l Was told by the director of the mint that 8,000,000 rubles of paper money were printed the first two months of the Bolsheviki rule) - went forth to Sweden, and was headed for France and England on the same errand.
The United States is not immune. r came over on the steamer with Tunarasev, of the Bolsheviki staff. This man is a Russian, and nobody's fool. He used to be a minister under the Czar, and a minion of the Germans. He framed the tariff giving the preferentials to Germany. Well, he is now working this revolutionary propaganda for the Bolsheviki. He is a leading Bolshevik.
As I said, he was on the way to the United States when I met him last April. He and Jonas Lied, backed by Trotsky and Lenine, got up what they called the Siberian Steamship Company. This was camouflage to gain an entree here for their propaganda. To insure his reception Tunarasev came as Norwegian Consul. On board r asked him up and down if he had a personal interest in the Bolsheviki. He said he had.
Well, these that I have named are the leaders of the Bolsheviki.
THE BOLSHEVIST DOCTRINES
The people that tangle up the Bolsheviki doctrine of government and economics with the general liberal movement and tendency, manifest almost anywhere in the world nowadays, do so because they lack three or four definitions and distinctions that are elementary to any student of Socialism or social reform, or any responsible number of the labor party. There are three conceptions that have no more in common with each other than they have with the old shellback High Tariff Capitalism (so-called). They are:
Revolutionary Socialism and
When one says Socialism to-day, what is meant to all rational and practical thinkers, and also what is considered in the main violently radical by the electorate of this country is state ownership of industries-the gradual appropriation by the whole people through their government of the surplus wealth created by labor in the concrete form of factories, railroads, etc. The very essence of the doctrine is that it shall be done gradually and by an orderly method. Moreover, as advocated by serious students of real affairs, it presupposes that the industries shall have been organized to the point where they can profitably be taken over, and more particularly that the people shall have been educated and trained to the point where they are soberly able to resume the responsibility. It has one more condition of vast importance - that when the time comes for the public to operate the industries, positions in those industries shall be allotted to men strictly in order of merit and ability.
The Revolutionary Socialists advocate the same governmental and economic order, but they want to bring it about overnight by an actual physical revolution of the old gunpowder kind.
The Syndicalist is another kind of fellow altogether. He wants all the industries to be seized out of hand, not by the Government, but by the individual workmen that happen to be working there. Seizure by individuals, by violence, if need be, and the elimination of all men of special training or ability (a necessary corollary of the complete ownership and control by the lowest grade of workman) is the pith of it.
In the light of these definitions, what do the Bolsheviki believe? Their statements are so many and so tangled and conflicting - ranging anywhere from Socialism to frank anarchy - that the answer has to be sought in their practices.
BOLSHEVISM IS PRACTICAL SYNDICALISM
They took over the banks, munition works, the railroads and some municipal plants for .the Government. At any rate, the commissaries put in charge were supposed to represent the Government. This was done at the point of a bayonet. In these actions they might fairly be said to be making an effort to experiment in Revolutionary Socialism. But even the most radical Revolutionary Socialist would heatedly deny that they had given his proposition a fair chance. For they neglected the one final requirement - that the positions be scrupulously given to the ablest men. They were given without a single exception to the most ignorant and unskilled - office boys, peasants, soldiers. A large railroad system is now headed by a conductor.
But in innumerable other instances the stores, factories, and farms were handed directly over to the laborers or the neighboring peasants by direct order from Smolny. This also, of course, was accomplished by violence or threat of violence. That is Syndicalism. It is exactly the doctrines of the I. W. W. That is, it is what they have preached, and are now inclined to deny. It is I. W. W. or worse.
They have abolished all police, all courts, all firemen, all street cleaning.
This is a part of the doctrine of anarchy. It may be a necessary by-product of Syndicalism. It has no place in the programme of any Socialist or labor party.
All business, public and private, as well as regular governmental activities, are conducted by individuals with no previous training or experience. And it is a fact so well known - the universal experience - that it needs no elaboration, that every transaction, legitimate or otherwise, can only be consummated by personally bribing the official in charge.
This is not the part of any philosophy at all. It is reducing the discussion to an absurdity, and heaping ridicule upon the monumental life labors of Karl Marx, to mention them in the same category. There is no name to give their practices. Hence, when discussing them, no sincere advocate of the liberal movement, no leader of labor, no champion of Socialism would tolerate his creed being used in that connection. So let us trail an entirely new kind of society, and government and economy, easily grasped by anybody, however ignorant, that walks on two legs. And we will simply call it "Bolshevism."
And though Bolshevism is bad enough of itself, it is a crowning absurdity to attempt to apply it in a country like Russia, in which the industrial population is only eight per cent.
From what I have said above, the reader may perhaps gather the idea that the Bolshevist movement represents the opinion of the Jewish race in Russia. Nothing would be farther from the truth. Ninety-five per cent. of the Jews are bitterly opposed to the Bolsheviki and all their works. I t so happens that the Jews are, on the average, the best educated and politically the most conscious group in Russia. Naturally a large percentage of the leaders of any political movement - in a Russia free to express itself - would be Jews. But the Jews of Bolshevism are a small group, and wholly misrepresentative of the great body of their racial brothers.