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One Amendment at a Time

Friday, January 2, 2009 5:16 PM

Does anybody out there remember a fellow named Lenin? He died in 1924, so you'd have to be pretty old to remember him alive, and although his ideas have influenced many of those who call themselves "progressives" today, his name does not come up all that often. Other names come up, like Dennis Kucinich or Saul Alinsky or Hugo Chavez, but Lenin lies embalmed in his Red Square mausoleum, and among most Americans, he's all but forgotten.

That's a shame, actually, because Lenin has had a big influence on the whole "progressive" movement, which is enjoying a renaissance among US Democrat party enthusiasts and other denizens of Washington, DC, including some "progressive" Republicans. It's reasonable, therefore, to ask, who was this Lenin fellow, and what did he have to say?

I'll skip the part where Lenin lived in exile to avoid the Tsarist secret police until his Bolshevik faction came to rule the new Soviet Union. Instead, I'll ask the question, what did Lenin add to Karl Marx' theory of socialism and Communism? Socialism, as you may recall, was the temporary situation in which the Revolution would maintain itself until the State (Government, to you folks in Rio Linda) withered away and socialism was replaced by the utopian society of Communism.

As you might guess, states don't wither away very rapidly, and that's where Lenin comes in. One of his biggest claims to fame was his battle with the Social Democrats, the dominant faction of Marxism in the early 20th Century. Social Democrats wanted voters to vote self-declared socialist candidates into office, in an aboveboard process. It actually happened in the US state of Vermont, where Bernie Sanders, the Socialist mayor of Burlington, was elected to the US Senate in 2006.

Lenin and his fans, however, scoffed at Social Democrats. Believing that the Revolution would never come through mere voting, Lenin advocated what he called "smashing the ready-made State machinery." Not that he was opposed to revolutionaries (the vanguard of the working class, in other words, his followers) getting elected to office. He was all in favor of that. Once in power, however, the vanguard was supposed to dismantle the "machinery" of what Lenin called the "bourgeois" state.

Machinery? Bourgeois? What does that mean? Well, "machinery" includes the armed forces, the criminal justice system, and the parliamentary system. (Lenin abhorred "parliamentarism.") In the US, parliamentarism means Congress, Federalism, and the separation of powers. "Bourgeois" is just a fancy, French Revolutionary term for the middle class. And that brings me to the title of this article.

In my humble ranting libertarian view, the most important piece of bourgeois State machinery in the USA is the Constitution. That is why the President must swear to uphold it, and why the Constitution specifies who is qualified to be President. I am writing, of course, of the Constitution ratified in 1789, with subsequent amendments. I am not writing about any "living breathing" piece of "progressive" claptrap.

How would a modern Leninist, then, smash the machinery of the bourgeois state? One amendment at a time, folks, one amendment at a time. Take the Second Amendment, for example. It is not about preserving the rights of duck hunters. It is about empowering the middle class to possess the arms they need to keep from being totally enslaved by tyrants. The First Amendment? It's doesn't make an exception to freedom of speech for public university speech codes. The Tenth Amendment? All about keeping the Federal government from doing what, of course, it's been doing since the New Deal and before.

I'll have to give Senator Bernie Sanders credit for something: at least he's honest about being a socialist. When we elected George W. Bush, we never dreamed that he would be advocating Item Number 5 of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto: "Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly." I bet even Bush himself doesn't know that he's furthering the Leninist agenda, helping to smash an important part of bourgeois state machinery. And what, then, about Barack Obama?

Don't get me started on Barack Obama.

[Keywords: impeach-them-all.org amendment bourgeois come constitution lenin machinery state ]