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#13 – The Bolshevik Myth, Alexander Berkman BOOK REVIEW

January 29, 2018

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve lost interest in Daygame, but no. This is simply Project High Value Man limping it’s way to the finishing line in month one. I’ve had this book on my shelf since my second year in university but never got round to reading it. Wish I had, as it would’ve ended my experiment with Leftism a few years earlier. What’s fascinating is throughout his time describing Moscow, Kiev and Odessa I have actually walked many of the same streets as he did.

Berkman Bolshevik Myth

My parents are Leftists. My mother is a low-information champagne socialist who hasn’t studied a single page of socialist theory or real world history in her life. That doesn’t stop her from routinely saying “I wish someone would shoot him” while watching the BBC trashing Donald Trump. My dad is less retarded and less hateful, our conversations going like this:

Me: Trump is draining the swamp. Today, [say something fact-based from an actual event currently hitting, such as Devin Nunes giving an interview on #ReleaseTheMemo]
Dad: *shakes head dismissively* No Chance.
Me: What don’t you like about Trump?
Dad: I don’t like him.
Me: What is it don’t you like? What policy of his do you oppose?
Dad: I just don’t like him.

My father prefers the ostrich’s head-in-the-sand approach. Usually I let it pass, but once in a while I’m a little exasperated and I’ll say what I really think, such as:

“Dad, you’re just hoping you can make it to the grave without ever suffering the humiliation of knowing your world view is completely wrong and that you’ve always voted for the maximum evil every chance you cast a ballot.”

Harsh, I guess.

My parents are living in a carefully-constructed delusion bubble and I frequently see the anxiety in their eyes when reality presses too close. They have restricted their information about the outside world to just two sources, the Bolshevik British Broadcasting Corporation and The Grauniad Guardian. Their response to reality is to hide from it and double down on their self-inflicted gas-lighting.

“Dad, you’re like a battered wife. Every single time the BBC and Guardian lie to you, I tell you in advance of the lie. I prove it to be a lie. You still dismiss it. Then within a week I’m proven right and what do you do? Run right back to the people lying to you.”

Harsh, I know.

It is from dealing with my parents, and from spending several years around fringe Far Left politics as a teenager [1] that I’ve come to understand Leftism as a mental illness rather than a political ideology. There are two types of Leftist:

  1. Lenin’s “useful idiots”. My parents and most of the Far Left foot soldiers fall into this category [2]. They are low-information, easily swayed by emotional and overly-simplified appeals, and completely oblivious to human psychology.
  2. Alinksy‘s “radicals”. These are the self-aware organisers and political fixers, like Cuffy Miegs in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. They know Leftism is bullshit but understand it’s utility for giving themselves power. These people are truly evil. See also: Hillary Clinton.

I include this long preamble because Alexander Berkman is a high-functioning useful idiot and The Bolshevik Myth is the story of him getting raped by reality. He began in high hopes:

“Without exaggeration I may say that the happiest day of my existence was passed in a prison cell – the day when the first news of the October Revolution and the victory of the Bolsheviki reached me in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. The night of my dungeon was illumined by the glory of the great dream coming true.” [page 327]

This quote is from his post-facto analysis in which he’s thoroughly disillusioned and yet can’t quite give up on the Leftist dream. He’s seen exactly what terrors it creates, how utterly hypocritical its radicals are, and yet he still believes it was simply socialism done wrong. He devotes the last chapter (“Anti Climax”, not in the original edition) to a theoretical analysis of where it went wrong and, precise though it is, he just can’t let go of his commitment to Leftism.

It’s Leftism that is wrong. It’s fundamentally broken. This is because at its very centre it is built on theft, which requires totalitarianism, which then requires lies. This has never – in the entire history of Leftism – been proven wrong. Every single time, Leftism begins with theft, proceeds to totalitarianism, and is covered in lies. Berkman remained a battered wife to his grave, lamenting that socialism just needed one more chance.

Few people today grasp how evil the Alinsky Left is. Not ‘mistaken’ or ‘deluded’ but outright evil. Those people would do well to read Orwell’s Animal Farm as it draws out the tragedy of the Bolshevik revolution. However, although Orwell is biting in his satire and perceptive in his observation of trends, his book is ultimately about pigs, sheep and wolves. If you read Berkman’s The Bolshevik Myth you get an unvarnished account in human form. This is real-life starvation, corruption, mass murder, and ideological fanaticism. It’s in your face, horrifically bleak, and 342 pages of data points collected from first hand experience of how evil the Left is.

The book begins with the author’s deportation form the USA just before Christmas 1919. Interestingly, Alexander Berkman is a Leftist Jew himself. Exactly the sort of person who should’ve been deported. Just look at this biography from the introduction (by a sympathetic editor):

Fucking Jews

And people wonder where the reputation comes from….

Every. Damn. Time.


This review is not, however, about how you should never allow Jewish intellectuals into your country [3]. It’s simply to set up the key theme of this book: disillusionment. Berkman is as Left as they come and a lifetime agitator for Anarchism. He was extremely excited to be sent to Russian a year after the revolution because he wanted to help the revolution. This book is written by a man absolutely sympathetic to the cause of the Russian Revolution. The book then describes the most harrowing experience a Leftist can ever suffer: reality.

Ayn Rand was inspired to write Atlas Shrugged because of the same period in Russian history, which she too experienced first-hand before escaping to the USA. From 1919 to 1921 was a period of utter incompetence from the Bolsheviks. She makes a great deal in Atlas Shrugged of how most deprivation and tragedy occurs not due to sneering evil-doers actively hurting people but instead due to the utter incompetence of the Left once in charge. Many of them sincerely believe running an economy is easy. You just have to kick the capitalists out, tell everyone to work hard, and then decide where the products go [4]. Ludwig von Mises absolutely destroyed this argument in his book Socialism, written in 1922, and in particular with what he terms the ‘problem of economic calculation’.


Can someone give me the cliff notes?

As is clear from Berkman’s book, we didn’t need to wait for Mises. Back in 1919 everyone in Russia knew exactly what the problems were. It’s just the Bolsheviks were too busy murdering and betraying everyone for it to be stopped.

I’ve long believed that the only difference between the actions of SJWs now and the Tcheka in 1920 Russia is opportunity. The psychology is exactly the same. These are self-serving narcissistic personalities with hair-trigger amygdala. Total hyprocrites. Capitalism rewards the kind of people who effectively deal with reality. The Bolsheviks created a system that perfectly selects for dangerous murderous hypocrites and then encourages them to get even worse. Berkman’s book is very long on the examples. That SJW reporting you to Facebook and conducting a whispering campaign behind your back is the Commissar who would have you summarily executed without trial for ‘speculation’ if it was 1920’s Russia. Same people. Vermin. Evil.

Berkman presents a world of utter chaos and a population too tired from starvation and terror to do anything about it. He arrives in Petrograd when the White army is still fighting the Reds, and the Mahknovists in Southern Ukraine are still taking territory. The West has an economic blockade on and my oh my do the Bolsheviks make use of that as an excuse.

The narcissist never accepts responsibility for his failures. Berkman shows us this throughout his examples. At a high level, the problem is “the blockade” or “the speculators” or “the counter-revolutionaries”. It’s never ever the Bolshevik policy. At a street level the chaos is always blamed on somebody else. Commissars and functionaries spend most of the day shirking responsibility [5]

At times I felt like I was reading a Sven Hassel novel.

Hassel wrote a pseudo-memoir of his time fighting in a German penal battalion on the Eastern Front in WWII. His books are full of chaos. Commissars and SS officers barge into villages and press-gang conscripts for suicide missions. There is an ever-present fear on both sides of the military police because they are constantly arresting people on trumped up charges and executing them without trial. Quartermasters steal the foot solider’s stores so the infantry are left bartering secretly with peasants to survive. Political fanatics rant and rage, looking for people to abuse, always blaming their own errors on everyone else. Caught in the middle of it all is the oppressed masses, waiting for the madness to end.

The whole time I read these Hassel books I thought, this is a bit overly-dramatic. It’s not very believable.

Bolshevik trial

This could easily be a scene from a Sven Hassel novel, or modern US university campus

Berkman’s book reads just like Hassel, without the battle scenes. The Bolsheviks really were that crazy, that incompetent, that fanatical, and that evil. They betrayed everyone who ever helped them. Just like Vox Day describes SJWs as following the ever-changing narrative like a school of fish changing direction, Berkman depicts the Bolsheviks as shifting alliances on pure expedience. Evil people.

We are left with a country in the grip of madness. A hell on earth. The Bolsheviks take control of a city and murder the opposition. They install themselves as leaders and steal everything ‘for the people’. They then set impossible targets for production but make the bureaucracy so unwieldy that no-one can even get a permit to work. The factories are idle so they need to blame somebody and shoot some workers. Then they raid the markets and imprison or shoot some local traders, the very people keeping the population alive. By now the peasants have had everything stolen so they aren’t planting the food needed to keep the cities alive. So the Bolsheviks shoot the peasants.

It’s a horror show but…. if you’ve ever watched the Left run organisations nowadays in the West, you’ll see they do exactly the same thing, limited only by their lack of power and access to guns. The Left always eats its own.


Just another mass murderer worshipped by the Left

I’ve said before that it’s always Year Zero with the Left. There’s a reason Orwell said: “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.â Everything the Alinsky Left touches they destroy. They are pure evil. The only way they can keep singing their ruinous siren song to the next generation of useful idiots is by airbrushing and falsifying the history of what they did last time. [6]

I read an illuminating book by Anthony Flew when I was at university, called Thinking About Thinking. In it, he introduced the logical “No True Scotsman” fallacy. It goes like this:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.

We can make the logical structure of the fallacy clearer by changing the topic from murder to porridge, and from Hamish to Angus

If Angus, a Glaswegian, who puts sugar on his porridge, is proposed as a counter-example to the claim âNo Scotsman puts sugar on his porridgeâ, the âNo true Scotsmanâ fallacy would run as follows:

(1) Angus puts sugar on his porridge.
(2) No (true) Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.
(3) Angus is not a (true) Scotsman.
(4) Angus is not a counter-example to the claim that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.

Rab C Nesbitt

A true Scotsman, yesterday

If Bolshevism, a socialism, is a criminal racket of theft, murder, torture and lies, is proposed as a counter-example to the claim “Socialism is the highest expression of human society”, the “No true Socialist” fallacy would run as follows:

(1) Bolsheviks are evil thieves and murderers.
(2) No (true) socialist is an evil thief and murderer.
(3) Bolshevism is not (true) socialism.

This is why no amount of examples, in China, Venezuela, Cuba and so on, will ever persuade a Leftist that socialism is evil. No amount of predictive and accurate economic and social analysis (i.e. Mises) will persuade them. No amount of Democrats getting caught red-handed trying to build a Bolshevik state, or of Labour flooding the country with third world savages will ever persuade them.

War is Peace. Diversity is Strength. Refugees are Welcome.
Four legs good, two legs bad. No human is illegal.

Berkman’s book is fascinating not just because of the powerful critique it lays against socialism but also because of the degree of self-delusion as Berkman simply cannot leave the partner who is beating him. He can’t escape the gas-lighting and keeps doubling down on his No True Socialist fallacy until finally he collapsed and died. It’s sad too, because this book positively drips in Berkman’s essential humanity. He’s a fundamentally good guy who desperately wants what is best for the people and puts himself at personal risk repeatedly to alleviate what suffering he can. He’s in anguish at the sufferings the Bolsheviks subject the Russian people to. [7]

Naturally, the idealist loses and Cuffy Miegs wins.


The Workers Paradise, yesterday

If you think I’m smart and write intelligently about smart stuff, you’ll fucking love Daygame Infinite. It’s proper smart. Or, if you are curious about how the Former Soviet Union is now, post-Bolshevik, for clacking tarts then you’ll like my memoir Adventure Sex. It’s in the same place as The Bolshevik Myth but there’s waaaaaay more shagging.

[1] And watching Monty Python’s Life Of Brian
[2] As did I until about my mid-twenties. It takes a long time to shake off the narcissistic abuse of living in The People’s Republic Of Northern Britain.
[3] I might do a post on that later. Almost every ideology or administrative act to destroy Europe and the USA has a Jewish intellectual behind it somewhere.
[4] Nothing has changed on the Left since because they never ever learn from history.
[5] And the other half feathering their nests with stolen goods. The 1920s equivalent of Patreon accounts and Government jobs, basically.
[6] It’s no surprise that people who adhere to an ideology based on lies would also be shameless liars themselves. Look at how many times Hillary Clinton has been caught at it and yet her supporters simply don’t care. They all embrace the lie.
[7] Even though he’s a Jew. There are several chapters which are the usual Jewish belly-aching where they are apparently the worst victims. Sigh…. don’t care

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Title #13 – The Bolshevik Myth, Alexander Berkman BOOK REVIEW
Author krauserpua
Date January 29, 2018 5:23 PM UTC (6 years ago)
Blog Krauser PUA
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You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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