Quote of the Day: Red Terror VS Stalinist Totalitarianism

Quoth Slavoj Zizek:

Even in the most violent phases of the Leninist dictatorship, when those who opposed the revolution were brutally deprived of their right to (public free) speech, they were not deprived of their right to silence: they were allowed to withdraw into inner exile. […]For Stalinism, however, even such silence resonated too much. Not only were masses of people required to show their support by attending big public rallies, artists and scientists also had to compromise themselves by participating in active measures such as signing official proclamations, or paying lip-service to Stalin and the official Marxism. If, in the Leninist dictatorship, one could be shot for what one said, in Stalinism one could be shot for what one did not say. This was followed through to the very end: suicide itself, the ultimate desperate withdrawal into silence, was condemned by Stalin as the last and highest act of treason against the Party. This distinction between Leninism and Stalinism reflects their general attitude towards society: for the former, society is a field of merciless struggle for power, a struggle which is openly admitted; for the latter, the conflict is, sometimes almost imperceptibly, redefined as that of a healthy society against what is excluded from it—vermin, insects, traitors who are less than human.

Amirably shows the brutal increase of mind control required to maintain control of the system. It admirably shows that Lenin was no saint either.

(h/t Plagal)


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