Tuesday, August 30, 2016

An Idea

It started with an idea.
A partner.
A book.
Someone read the book. Was inspired. Shared the ideas.
The ideas planted firmly in sparse and fertile soil. The ideas were strong enough to survive opposition.

It started with a small group of people. Thirsty for change.
In 1897 the Socialist Democratic Labour Party formed in Russia. The Tzars arrested, jailed and exiled the proponents of change, but eventually they lost. It took 20 years, but in that time, Marxist ideas had grown deep roots.

In the beginning, one of the believers, the doers, a revolutionist for change, Leon Trotsky had given everything to the idea of revolution. In one of the first uprisings in 1905, he was sentenced to Siberia where he served until 1907 before he escaped. He fled to Vienna, to Paris, to New York where he continued with hope in the ideas of communism. When he learned Tzar Nicholas II had been de-throwned, he hurried back to the motherland to participate in an overthrow of the provisional government. The feverish want for communism had been burning for 20 years. When the communists did overthrow the government, they'd succeeded because Trotsky had helped raise an army of 200,000 to 5,000,000. He had fought at the side of Lenin and Stalin, two of the biggest game changers of the 20th century for better or for worse.

I have to believe they started with the best of intentions. Their beloved country had been under the poor leadership of aristocracy for 300 years. The Romanov legacy had proved its lack of care for the peasants. In the ideals of Marx and Engels rested a possibility of a just society, and at all costs they would see the possibility through.

It didn't take long for opposition within the revolutionists to rear its ugly head. Only seven years later when Vladimir Lenin died and Joseph Stalin took over, did the blood and horror begin. Two thirds of his comrades who fought for communism were either arrested, shot, or exiled. Then the artists and the scientists, because they too knew how to think. The top military generals were persecuted next--because they possessed two weapons: the ability to think and attack.
Leon Trotsky. Him too. In 1927 he was banned to the outer USSR. A few years later, he was banned from the country he'd so invested in. He roamed from Turkey to France, to Mexico City where he persisted in fighting with his ideas, with his writings, the evils of Joseph Stalin. In 1940, his health failing, he sat at his desk, when an assassin came from behind and bludgeoned him with an ice ax.

In that 30 years following the Russian Revolution, between 17 and 22 million people died from the effects of an idea.