As Trump’s Senior Advisor, and possibly the most powerful person next to Trump, he could reshape the US Government and the World Order
Steve Bannon once proudly declared: “I am a Leninist.” He was talking to a New York university academic who had written extensively on communism and the former Soviet Union. “What on earth do you mean?” the professor asked him.
“Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too,” replied Bannon. “I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
“I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Based on Trump’s campaign and first four weeks in the White House, it appears Steve Bannon has employed many Leninist political tactics derived from the Bolshevik leader’s playbook.
Two days after Lenin seized power in Russia he began an assault on the press – which continued under Soviet rule for 70 years. In the few months between the overthrow of the Czar and Lenin taking power, a relatively free press had sprung up. Almost all of it vigorously opposed Lenin, who was written off as a dangerous demagogue.
When his Bolshevik party mounted a successful coup and Lenin became the dictator of Russia, one of his first acts was to censor the press, which he called “a weapon no less dangerous than bombs or guns aimed at us … Why should we place it in our enemies’ hands?”
Lenin was brilliant at explaining a complex problem so that anybody could understand.
Three days after Donald Trump’s inauguration Steve Bannon told the New York Times: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen … I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They do not understand this country.”
Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” are not entirely different from the “objective truth … the greater truth” that Lenin used to call for to justify state-run newspapers. Lenin was brilliant at explaining a complex problem so that anybody could understand. Much of Lenin’s political style and strategy can be seen in the present day Trump.
He was nearly always domineering, abusive, combative, and downright vicious. He battered opponents into submission with the deliberate use of violent language. He did this not because he himself was personally vicious.
Lenin depended on constant conflict and drama. He deliberately used shock tactics. He was nearly always domineering, abusive, combative, and downright vicious. He battered opponents into submission with the deliberate use of violent language. He did this not because he himself was personally vicious. But he used it as a technique “calculated to evoke hatred, aversion, contempt … not to convince, not to correct the mistakes of the opponent but to destroy him, to wipe him and his organization off the face of the earth”.
The fact that Steve Bannon is influential, and possibly calling the shots in the White House is terrifying. Breitbart, the website Bannon created, and the hate-filled language of alt-right politics, are Leninist in tone. Above all, Lenin needed to invent enemies he had to be seen to defeat. In post- revolutionary Russia it was the kulaks – richer farmers who were “sucking the blood” of poorer peasants, bankers who were war profiteering, the “elite” (a word Lenin used frequently) who treated the majority with contempt. He despised so-called “experts” who claimed a monopoly of knowledge. He often said that a worker with five days’ training could run a government department. He scapegoated opponents and labelled them “enemies of the people”.
Lenin needed to invent enemies he had to be seen to defeat. He scapegoated opponents and labelled them “enemies of the people”.
Lenin abolished the existing legal system and started afresh. Within a few weeks his regime closed down the first freely elected parliament in Russia’s history – and the Soviets never allowed another one. The unprecedented twitter wars between the administration and the judiciary over the president’s executive order on immigration has echoes of Lenin.
It’s important to understand Lenin today, not because of his flawed and bloody answers, but because he was asking questions similar to those we are asking today. In his quest for power, Lenin promised people anything and everything. He offered simple solutions to complex issues. He lied unashamedly. He justified himself on the basis that winning meant everything; the ends justified the means. Lenin was the godfather of post-truth politics. One can see the similarities in Trump and the people who have gravitated to Trump, now surrounding him as his top advisers.
More information: See The Guardian