Authoritarianism in Socialist Countries - Michael Parenti

mercenary armies destruction of the productive facilities of the society more invasion more sabotage economic boycott economic embargo monetary embargo technological embargo which have distorting effects upon a society in May of 1921 Lenin got up before the Bolshevik Party convention and he said we've had enough with the workers opposition let's get rid of them now the workers opposition were loyal Bolsheviks they were communists they were in the Bolshevik Party they were in the Communist Party when the constat rebellion came the workers opposition did not side with the crime step sellers they sided with the party in the civil war they was the party throughout all the struggles the workers opposition with the party but they had formed a self-conscious caucus that had decided that it would represent the particular interests of the industrial proletariat against the party itself at time and after all this invasion all this destruction all this terrible death and and and struggle we're Lennon once said Soviet Russia is like a man with a desk fever just hanging on by an inch of his life after all that Lenin Ternan said we've had enough opposition the feeling very much was that that opposition was a wedge and opening it invited our enemies our mortal enemies to come in and attack us and divide us and the party convention uproariously supported him and said no more workers opposition no more factions within the party so right there that emphasis on a monolithic party and by the way that same month or the month before in April Lenin call for a strengthening of the trade unions and for more worker representation on the Central Committee of the Communist Party so it wasn't that he was moving anti worker it was that he was moving against opposition the right thing you see the seeds you see of a of a system that could not develop naturally with an opposition would check with internal debate and argument a system that began to strain for uniformity for siege for lockstep cooperation emphasis being on organizing getting the thing done stop asking too many questions because everything was a life-and-death issue when the Sandinistas came to power in Nicaragua ten years ago filled with ideals and hopes for their nation and their people they discovered a very awful thing and it wasn't about themselves even though they had to do it to themselves it was about that capitalist encirclement they discovered that they needed a secret police they discovered that they needed a security police because all around them coming in from two borders and within their own society were acts of sabotage espionage attack mercenary invasion and the like and they understood that if the revolution was going to survive it would have to build up instruments of state power instruments of coercion even and these instruments by the way can make mistakes and these instruments can not only make mistakes they can commit some serious crimes although in Nicaragua the impressive record is how few crimes there were given the utterly dire conditions they will under so that kind of that that that capitalist encirclement which goes on unrelenting attacking any existing socialist communist you don't want to cry the way some of you don't want to call those society socialists don't call them socialist call them window shades of camels whatever you want to call them as long as you know what I mean that I mean I mean be I mean the public ownership of the means of production using capital in a different way not for capital accumulation per se is an end in itself a strong social wage free education free medical care and subsidized housing subsidized food subsidized bread all those things that the Hungarians and poles are now complaining about losing that's what I mean by social said you don't want to call that social that's not with real social real socialism is something that's going to exist someday when the world and people are better and different and it's going to come down and be in a much better form than those things were that's fine but in this world see I believe socialism is not that real beautiful goal in that society participation harm I believe that socialism is a process of struggle to achieve that thing so so so so just go along with my vocabulary if you have even if you have trouble with it those socialist or communist societies suffered terrible distorting effects if there's been no invasion there been no espionage if there'd been no attack if there'd been no white guard armies burning villages there wouldn't have been a red army of that size there wouldn't have been a Stalin there wouldn't have been a KGB they hadn't been a CIA they wouldn't been a KGB if they hadn't have been if there hadn't been a and NATO encirclement they wouldn't have been a Warsaw Pact and to lose sight of that fact is to lose sight of an essential force of what was going on over those seventy years or ten years and if you want to know what the Soviet Union went through in its early years just look at what Nicaragua has went through in these ten years and then multiply that by ten every single one of those countries was targeted they were targeted by missiles they were targeted by acts of espionage they were targeted by as I say economic embargo and all sorts of other forms of aggression they were targeted by incredible propaganda by Rogers and the like unrelenting unremitting the most targeted socialist country in the world as of a couple years ago and actually still to today is not Nicaragua was not Nicaragua not even Cuba it was the Soviet Union all those missiles were pointing to the USSR they still are and they're still building those missiles and they're refusing to negotiate those missiles at the sea based missiles which is where the US has 75 percent of its first strike force they've announced that they will not negotiate that 75 percent of the first strike force only their 25 percent which is land-based and the Soviets of course 75 percent of their force is land-based and only 25 percent is sea bass and not of it none of it working very well because they've got just a few choke points and they don't have that much access to sea and they don't have all the fueling stations and harbors and whatever else that the US has around the world so that kind of encirclement is still there and that kind of thing is still going on and so if you want to understand something about and that's why Gorbachev is one of the reasons he's trying to normalize international relations even at the risk of giving away the whole store

  1. Actually who or which institution or society is NOT authoritarian? Our parents were, the schools and college headmasters were, the cops are, the government and it's penal and jail system is, so are powerful juntas which manufacture consent and predominant ideas (mostly bogus) of order and virtue .. All are authoritarian. How else is human society kept under control? Via fear, punishment and exclusion.

  2. I totally agree with this video about socialism, because it’s exactly what happened to national socialist Germany in WW2!

  3. We wouldn't have had to oppress our own people if there was simply no opposition from those evil capitalists and those annoying dissenters in our own party.

    I guess this is the marxist equivalent of "the devil made me do it".

  4. Convenient reasoning, but how are we to know for sure that Stalin wouldn't have been that authoritarian? Even Lenin warned against letting Stalin take power. You can be tough on foreign aggressors without subjecting your own innocent population to starvation at the expense of military development, or without throwing your own innocent citizens into the gulag on suspicion of cooperating with the enemy.

  5. Right wingers be like "lol socialism fails"
    Also right wingers * attacks everything socialist *

  6. Why don’t most socialist/communists make this point?! It really explains authoritarianism history, but much more. Hits ya right in the gut!

  7. Can we get some subtitles in Spanish , want to start sharing this to my Spanish speaking revolutionaries vive Nicaragua

  8. MIchael Parenti is one of the brightest minds in political affairs world wide.
    Extremely LUCID, articulate and easy to understand. He defines u.s. foreign policy to a T.

  9. What utter crap. Any fascist or socialist society must have a dictator because the identity group, whether it is the race or the proletariat, can have only a single leader. That single leader is the voice of the people and there can be no other voice. Other voices are traitors to be liquidated by the NKVD or gestapo.
    Note that after the American revolution America had the crown province of Canada to the north, in the Caribbean and found it's shipping and capital under attack by the British. But America never created a secret police because it was representing not repressing it's populace. America made do with an army of citizens. Socialists and fascist societies need secret police forces because they are slave societies and the rulers need overseers to keep the slaves in line.

  10. The best of communists – a helicopter ride over the Pacific. Nothing that is built to instill hunger and poverty can stand up against the prosperity that Capitalism brings. Humans rightfully resent rationing. They won't have their food rationed, nor their home spaces, nor their time.

  11. So… "socialist" nations back in the day had to oppress the fuck out of their people because…

    "Well, there were a bunch of capitalist enemies looking to take out the Communist gov't any chance they got. THEY HAD NO CHOICE!"?

    no. Parenti is just making excuses for totalitarianism! Sickening

    If this guy would stop kissing Stalin's, Mao's and Fidel's asses, maybe he'd realize that there's a *better way*?

    To be as narrow-minded and blind as this guy… Apparently there's "no room" for freedom and civil liberties in a 'socialist' state in Parenti's eyes?

  12. Caleb I'm cracking up because I love Michael parenti that's not the reason why I'm laughing… It's just that I thought you know Caleb Maupin could be the modern-day Michael parenti in some way maybe I should send him the video. LMAO and I realize you had posted it quite some time ago I got a reply today that's why I'm back to it. I did share it again. Oh my goodness I'm cracking up at my own short-term memory but boy I can tell you what I did in study hall in 8th grade on a Tuesday. Take care

  13. Parenti is one of the most piercing intellectual forces of our time, and of the previous 40 years. This man has been speaking truth to power, for a long, long time!!

  14. Lenin knew what Marx and Hegel meant by "opposition" or contradiction…and the difference between crude ahistorical claim/counter claim, pro/contra disputes and debates…and existential historical dialectical thinking. This crude "opposition" can be highly damaging and destructive in any event. There are plenty of good reasons to reject such an approach and not least in the context of revolutionary socialist politics. For example, what is the opposite of being helpful? Causing trouble. What is the opposite of the truth? False. What is the opposite of existence? Non-existence. Ultimately, this crude "opposition" is just another one order to break free from …and there are plenty of other, more productive and instructive, forms of order to choose from. Real human beings are never so crudely opposed as some would have you believe. All Hail The Scarlet Banner!

  15. Parenti is right here, the Corporate Junta absolutely will not stand for any demonstrably successful government, especially a socialist one because IT WORKS.  The economies of scale can always be cheaper and more effective than the monopolies that occur and the slowdown in progress that occurs under capitalism.  Capitalism is the road back to the Pharaohs and pyramidal societies, always.  They have to destroy communist, socialist or even really democratic societies because they work and if that ever gets out it would be the permanent death of these monarchists and aristocrats.



  18. Humans actions are based on the conditions they find themselves in. It is impossible to take ideology and idealism out of historical context. This is the basic principle of dialectical materialism.

  19. The left is to addicted to defeat and martyrdom. The genius with Lenin was that only a revolution should be our ultimate priority.

  20. I live for Michael parenti. I haven't heard anything recently did he pass away? I know that's a stupid question and I could probably just check for myself.

  21. Why not talk about royal/imperial/tzar system before the socialism? Those countries which are now socialism had the oppressive dictatorial souverein system. The UK and European nations still have the royal families who don't really have the actual power to control or dictate their subjects any more. In Russia, the Tzar system had to be thrown away by the communistic revolution, as the handful of people who were political had to revolt, having enough of the concentration of power to one person. However, communism didn't work, as it also ignores individuality and human nature to crave for freedom in any aspects. No one can control anyone, even religions cannot. Look at the Muslims in 20th century, they all are rampant individual with carnality and animalistic instinct. The moral teaching doesn't do anything good to even the submissive Muslims. So long as a person is blinded and indoctrinated, deceived by his own belief, there is no true freedom. A frog in an old well needs to see the ocean, if it is really wanting to be freed from the deception that the society continues to teach.

  22. Where did he even do these speeches? Surely Reagan's government would have been hostile to University speakers like him doing it?

  23. Anyone who suggest that capitalism needs, protects or guarantees NON-authoritarianism needs to 1) explain China 2) read "The Menace of Trump and the New Authoritarianism" @ 3) view "Totalitarian Culture in a Free Society" @

  24. Lol I don't think anyone is arguing that real socialism is some utopian world where everyone gets along. The long-term utopian vision for most of the world's socialist movements has been communism– a stateless, moneyless, marketless society where goods are produced and distributed from each according to ability, to each according to need. Libertarians like myself aren't arguing that the USSR or Venezuela or China should've magically transitioned to fully-formed communism. Our criticism is that socialism means that *workers control the means of prodction*. To me, that means workers directly participating in management (decision-making) in the institutions where they work, and that they have a real stake in them. That is the social revolution– the shift in social relations from a society in which one tier gives orders and one tier takes them to one in which all people are free AND free from exploitation. 
    However, even assuming that state ownership is in some sense "ownership by the workers," it only translates to worker control of the economy (the means of production) if normal workers have some influence over the decisions that the state makes about the economy they live in. If, as in the USSR, a small council of unquestionable "professional revolutionaries," little more than bureaucratic functionaries, makes the important decisions, then 99.9% of the workers just have to obey or be declared counterrevolutionary and jailed or worse– if the only segment of the population with a voice are the party members who agree with the Central Committee– then you don't have "worker control." You have some sort of bureaucratic command economy that amounts to the state acting as one monopolistic corporation with a board of directors and one dictator serving as CEO, often struggling AGAINST large parts of the working class (even the revolutionary working class). This was the complaint of council communists like Pannekoek and Gorter in the Soviet Union, the complaint of anarchists like Emma Goldman who truly wanted to believe in the USSR (and indeed worked for the Bolshevik state), and it's still the complaint of the whole libertarian left today. We don't have delusions that you don't have to account for material conditions– there were jails in anarchist Catalonia and there are police in communalist Rojava, even though our ideal opposes them. But in both cases, workers were direct participants in the revolution, whether they were Leninists or not. Unfortunately, Stalinist exploited this opportunity to participate in the Spanish revolution in order to subvert it from within, and the Bolsheviks crushed the peasant-led Makhnovist Free Territory, and the workers' uprisings in Germany and Hungary. But, while that's an important story, it's another subject for another time.

  25. ok, but even if this is the explanation, that choice was the downfall of those societies in the consciousness of many, because many people will not want to live under any system of tyranny, regardless of the prevailing economic ideology. people need a fair say in how their society function just as they need a fair access to their portion of economic resources. few people appreciate being dominated by others, whether on a personal level, a social level, an economic level or a political level. people have a natural need to be treated fairly and equally. unfortunately, many people also seem to have a natural need to dominate and exploit others, which is at the core of most problems facing humanity. if we can figure out how to overcome or control that drive to dominate and exploit, perhaps we will find the solution to much of humanity's, and now the planet's problems.

  26. We can understand why the Ussr did what it did, but we cannot pardon it. The authoritarian derive of these countries destroyed the credibility of socialists all around the world and the possibility for a change

  27. What lecture is this from? The comments mention its related to the Blackshirts book, but it's part of which speech (available on YouTube)?

  28. Well-explained, Dr. Parenti. If the U.S. and West were to not 'bullie' the USSR, Stalin would not have to be that 'authoritarian', I believe.

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