In July 1936, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev were brought to Moscow to be interrogated for being part of Trotsky-led conspiracy. The pair had been part of the ruling triumvirate, along with Stalin, after Lenin was incapacitated with a stroke, but they had sided with Trotsky in the power struggle that followed Lenin’s death. As a result. their status had declined in the party. In 1932, they were found to be complicit in the Ryutin Affair and were expelled from the Communist Party.
Stalin ordered Nikolai Yezhov, who later was head of the NKVD during the purges, to interrogate the two as part of a larger conspiracy involving Trotsky loyalists. Yezhov appealed to their devotion to the Soviet Union. They were, of course, subjected to physical and psychological pressure. Yezhov told Kamenev he had evidence against his son, which could result in his execution. Inevitably, they agreed to participate in what would be the first of many show trials against Stalin’s enemies.
The bargain Zinoviev and Kamenev struck with the Politburo was that they would testify against their comrades in exchange for their lives and their family’s lives. Stalin himself agreed to the deal in person, on behalf of the Politburo. They were tried with fourteen other defendants in the House of the Unions, which still stands today. All sixteen were found guilty of plotting to kill Stalin and other Soviet officials. They were promptly executed in the basement of Lubyanka Prison.
This would be the pattern throughout the Great Purge. Political enemies would be turned against one another through a combination of terror, torture and the promise of forgiveness if they cooperated. The real purpose of forcing friends to denounce friends and family members to denounce other family members was to create an atmosphere in which no one could trust anyone. As Montesquieu noted, the motor that powers every despotic regime is a general fear of the ruler.
In the West, of course, the Left defended the trials as proper and necessary. In America, Progressive big shots signed onto a statement celebrating the trials. “The measures taken by the Soviet Union to preserve and extend its gains and its strength therefore find their echoes here, where we are staking the future of the American people on the preservation of progressive democracy and the unification of our efforts to prevent the fascists from strangling the rights of the people.”
You’ll note the familiarity of those words. Despite being written 82 years ago, the sentiments are the same as those of the modern Left. Other than the reference to the Soviet Union, those words would sound familiar on the college campus on in the halls of the New York Times. Modern Progressives see themselves as the defenders of the people against the enemies of democracy, by which they don’t mean elections, but rather the cooperative society of equals they imagine.
It is therefore no surprise that as the woke revolutions rolls on, the Left is now dreaming of show trials of their own. Instead of forcing their opponents to confess to imaginary crimes against the revolution, they want to drag their victims in front of the television cameras and force them to confront their racism. Undoubtedly, they will want to force these people to denounce their ancestors too. For good measure, maybe denounce some friends and family members as racists.
It may all seem ridiculous, but that is the way it goes with ideological movements running unchecked through a society. The original Bolsheviks who were eventually murdered by Stalin never saw it coming until it was too late. The Ukrainian farmers who supported the revolution never imagined the Holodomor. The Girondins, who had been the radicals of the French Legislative Assembly in 1791, became the conservatives of the Convention in 1792. They were purged and executed in 1793.
In this revolutionary moment, we went from protesting the police to toppling statues within weeks. Words like “plantation” have been erased from the language and companies are demanding employees submit what amount to loyalty oaths to the new woke religion. If corporate monopolies feel free to fire those deemed insufficiently enthusiastic, how long before they are demanding employees rat out fellow employees for speaking against anti-racism?
Revolutions are not just the violent replacement of the old with the new. They quickly become purification rituals. As Joseph de Maistre noted, “The whole earth, perpetually steeped in blood, is nothing but a vast altar upon which all that is living must be sacrificed without end, without measure, without pause, until the consummation of things, until evil is extinct, until the death of death.” This is what leads the radical to go from revolutionary to executioner.
Make no mistake. The New York Times to did not commission that demand for show trials because they needed to fill space. They have gone through their own form of the Ryutin affair, along with the rest of elite media. The Bari Weiss resignation letter and Andrew Sullivan’s final column are repeats of the Boris Nicolaevsky’s Letter of an Old Bolshevik, in which a loser in the great struggle for the revolution describes the divisions that formed in the revolution.
Take the time to read that New York Times piece. The writer is barely literate. The text reads like something from a hip-hop performer or maybe a slam poet. The words are not intended to convey literal meaning. Instead, the column should be read out loud to the sound of jungle rhythms. It is a call to war by the savages of the revolution, who can only be satisfied by the sight of blood. It’s the woke revolution’s declaration of war against western civilization.
This being a feminized age, even the vulgar revolutionaries lack the stomach to follow through on their desires. The woke women of the revolution can bully the soft men off the stage, but they will not be hanging anyone. Instead, this revolution will be satisfied to humiliate and harass. Women are much more vicious than men, so they will not have the decency to execute their enemies. Instead, ritual humiliation will be the end point of the coming show trials.
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