Revolution: Marx and Misunderstanding
The only thing that would pacify the people now is the introduction of the Land Value Taxation system of Henry George. The land is common to all; all have the same right to it. Solving the land question means the solving of all social questions... possession of land by people who do not use it is immoral – just like the possession of slaves.
In Russia, despite Leo Tolstoy’s pleadings to Czar Nicholas II and the Russian government to take Henry George as Russia’s guide, history turned. Tolstoy could see trouble coming and he was right. In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution swept everything away in Russia, creating the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Inspired by the high ideals of Communism, they soon made the Soviet Union a vast, zealously policed, prison camp. Socialism, under pressure internally and externally, soon became an oppressive security state. Henry George had predicted that Marx’s teaching would lead to tyranny.
The men who had led the revolution, this sacred act, needed to defend the revolution from all who would destroy it and, for them, enemies were everywhere. And so survival of the revolution came to depend on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The peoples’ will would rule absolutely, as expressed through the wise leadership of the guardians of the revolution, who embodied the will of the people.
A monstrous era would descend, in which brutality and murder on a mass scale was conducted for the advancement of society as a whole, and the individual disappeared completely as if into a massive cold grey concrete block. And behind it all there was an intense air of academia, planners plotting the future. Engels, close to Marx, had used the term Scientific Socialism.
The Soviet Union (USSR) with its ordered and immiserated inmates stood slowly corroding, shaping the world’s history with the force of its gravity, until it just started to crack, and it became clear that lots of water had been used in the concrete mix.
It had to change, and the pace of change ran out of control. It was forced change, and it was all too much to dismantle in a hurry. In the end, everything was chaos, the national assets were appropriated, and then the state renewed strict authority. Everything became much as before except that all that was previously theoretically owned in common was now owned by a handful of men who had moved swiftly and ruthlessly.
China had gone the same way of totalitarian rule in the name of the workers, and suffered some surreal turmoil driven by the personalities of the leadership which arose. Early in the century, China could almost have achieved Georgist wisdom through the leadership of Sun Yat-Sen (more of which later.)