Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died in Russia aged 89 of a stroke. A graduate of physics and mathematics, he fought in the Great Patriotic War (Second World War) as an artillery officer and was decorated for bravery. He was denounced and exiled to the gulags for criticising Stalin in a letter in 1945.

His first book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was published in 1962 after Khrushchev had denounced Stalin. The book is the account (suggested to be semi autobiographical) of one day in a labour camp. He subsequently wrote the novels First Circle and Cancer Ward and won the Nobel Prize for literature. He was exiled from the USSR and went to live in the USA though he returned to Russia in 1994. There he continued to write but also dismissed the democratic reforms of Gorbachev and Yeltsin as well as castigating Western liberalism. As his BBC obituary here shows: a most complex and interesting man.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    He wrote The Gulag Archipelago. One powerful book about a depressing and bleak place and no it’s not about Dunclug or Ballymena, hey.

    And in the next day or two the word “dissident” may appear in the news stories about this man. GYAC: (for slugger’s more excitable posters) that is not a reference to ‘our wee pravince’/’the occupied six counties’. Carry on.

  • Driftwood

    Along with Primo Levi, he’ll be remembered for courage, long after most of us. A great man.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    It seemed a remarkable decision by the Soviets to let him out of the USSR – I know the business about him having a following in the west… BUT for the Soviets to bow to Western public opinion just does not make sense to me given the barbaric way they treated their own citizens and their logic in finding justifications for it and the fact that the negative stuff he was going to be producing unhindered in the West.

  • Earnan

    Bobby Sands “One Day in My Life” reminded me of Ivan’s book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

  • RepublicanStones

    A man not averse to the odd controversy though. Anyone else think he had died years ago, or was it just me?

  • Dave

    His perspective on Russian nationalism is interesting, particularly as he cautions that its development of democracy should avoid emulating the seriously flawed EU model (which is serving to profoundly undermine respect for the concept of democracy and presenting an ever-increasing threat to the existence of the nation-states of Europe):

    http://rsnews.net/print.phtml?id=4969&lang=ENG

    Aleksandr Isayevich asked him: “I, for one, believe that Russia began building a democratic political system at an extremely inopportune moment, specifically when Western democracy, adopted as a model to emulate, ended up in a profound institutional and conceptual crisis. What is to be done in this situation?”

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “Indeed, we were acting like stupid apes. Yes, Western democracy today is in a serious crisis and it is still unknown how it will overcome this crisis. The only correct path is for us not to copy other models but, without deviating from democratic principles, work on improving the physical and moral well-being of the people.”

    For once, a complex problem has a simple solution: disband the EU. Let those states who wish to trade freely with each other do so by the simple expedient of not imposing tariffs! Simple, and no need whatsoever to ‘pool’ sovereignty in order to achieve it.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Bobby Sands “One Day in My Life” reminded me of Adolf Hitler’s book; “Mein Kampf”…both Walter Mitty-esque self-serving black propaganda…
    STAND AGAINST FASCISM! IRA/SS

  • steve

    concerned loyalist if I called you a dumb ass it would be a compliment as you have gone beyond the pail of dumb ass comments

    yeah mick yellow or red card me but sometimes the man makes himself the ball

    I remember reading this novel in grade 11 english and being moved by its message

  • Glencoppagagh

    It didn’t take long for Earnan to bring us the little Irelander perspective on things.
    Bobby Sands comparable to Solzhenitzyn?
    However, like Republican Stones I thought he had died some time ago.

  • I read Ivan Denisovich many years ago now but its a book that stays with you. Have to say I think “If this is a man” by Primo Levi is better, maybe because its purely autobiographical. Never got around to the Gulag Archipelago who here has read it and any comments on it?

  • Dk

    Yes, I have read Gulag Archipelago and it is essentially a series of anecdotes about life in the camps. At the end, he finds a copy of the USSR legal code in a shop, with lots of lovely stuff about rights to fair trial and no torture etc and concludes “the state towers over us bound in iron …there is no law”.

    Afterwards I read Dostoyevsky (sp?) prison life in Siberia under the Tsars & it was a lot of moaning about not getting their packages from their families! By comparison to the soviet gulag it, the tsarist camps were a luxury hotel. In the gulag you had comments about how so-and-so poet adopted a strategy of scavenging on the rubbish tips for food morsels in order to survive.

  • Garibaldy

    Yeah DK, the Tsar got the name Nicholas the Bloody cause was such a nice chap.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘For once, a complex problem has a simple solution: disband the EU.’

    What has this to do with Solzhenitysn ? He was a writer first and foremost, a religious -spirit -second and in his own words a political figure least of all.

    He was expelled from the Soviet Union because He undermined the official Soviet Union’s view of itself. He was exiled to the USA where he ‘annoyed ‘ the American mainstream media in his trenchant criticism of vulgar American capitalism and widening inequalities in that society . When he returned to ‘free Russia ‘ he realised very soon that Communism was being replaced not by democracy but by a corrupt oligarchy . He was also accused of being anti Semitic -anti Protestant – anti virtually everything .

    The world should be grateful for his ‘revelations’ of life in the Gulags and there’s no doubt that he helped to undermine the Soviet Union from without .

    I read all of his books many years ago when there was a real ‘threat ‘ to world peace and at a time when if a radar operative on either side of the Cold War divide mistook a flight of geese for an incoming missile then it was goodnight Vienna for hundreds of millions of people from Moscow to Los Angeles and all major population centres in between . It made for compelling reading . It was IIRC somewhat unsettling to read that the people who were managing the Gulags and the Lubyanka also had a few thousand ICBM’s targeted at London , Liverpool , New York , etc . A 1% error in trajectory arc ( easily achieved by the Soviets) would have Dublin ( where I lived) a wasteland . Not good .

    Solzhenitysn was an old fashioned Russian spiritualist /religious narodnik -a sort of cross between a Slavonic George Orwell ‘intellectual’, and politically a kind of Russian Eamon De Valera or a French Charles De Gaulle . Forever looking into the Russian soul and although aware of the fast changing world around him often oblivious to it’s meaning for the Russian future .

    For all that he’ll remain along with George Orwell , Charles Darwin , Arthur Koestler , and some others a formative influence on at least this poster’s view of the world and in particular on the potential twin ‘evils ‘ which both oligarchic capitalism and totalitarian communism can wreak on all societies when allowed to !

    RIP to a brave man and a great writer .

  • Get The Facts

    Solzhenitsyn wrote: “It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. …. That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!” I…have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2, 615-617)

  • earnan

    I happened to read the two books (Sands and Solzhenitysm) within a few months of each other. regardless of your politics, the two books struck me as very similar and both moving in their own way. Was Sands book propaganda? Of course in one sense yes, it was written to highlight those on the dirty protests situations and to elicit support, but what those on protest put themselves through was dreadful and no joke. His main motivation for writing the book was not money or fame, and neither was Solzenitysm’s (Why are Russian names so damn long!!)

    I didn’t make a comparison between the two men. I merely made an observation. People need to relax.

  • Dave

    [i]‘For once, a complex problem has a simple solution: disband the EU.’

    What has this to do with Solzhenitysn ?” – Greenflag[/i]

    It is self-evident from the quote. Solzhenitysn said that he didn’t see the solution to a problem created by the EU’s systematic perversion of Western democracy, and I pointed out that the solution to the problem is simply to remove the cause of the problem (i.e. disband the EU):

    “Western democracy today is in a serious crisis and it is still unknown how it will overcome this crisis.” – Western democracy

    The other part of the quote was cautioning against emulating the flawed EU model in regard to Russia’s de-merged states : “The only correct path is for us not to copy other models but, without deviating from democratic principles, work on improving the physical and moral well-being of the people.”

    So, just as the USSR is disbanded, it is being re-created within Europe where nationalism and nation-states are to be suppressed on the pretext of harmonisation, hence:

    “Suppressing ethnic Russians for the benefit of other ethnic groups was one of Lenin’s central, obsessive ideas: He firmly pursued it in the form of “Leninist nationalities policy.” It was continued under Stalin despite his hypocritical statements later. As for our present Constitution, the word “Russians” is not there at all!”

    The secession of the Baltic states from Russia were expressions of nationalism — the nation seeking control of its own state in which to order the nation’s affairs in accordance with the ethnicity and ethos, free from interference by an extra national power.

    The Russians already know what happens when nationalities are suppressed and their states stripped of their sovereignty and democracies in the interests of an international collective – the Europeans will find it out in due course.

  • Dave

    Typo: “Western democracy today is in a serious crisis and it is still unknown how it will overcome this crisis.” – [b]Alexander Solzhenitsyn [/b]

  • Dave

    Incidently, Greenflag, here’s a good example of how the EU project supports the perversion of democractic processes within its member states in the form of this rabidly pro-EU and completely demented commentary from Eoghan Harris in Today’s Independent:

    “Whether it’s Northern Ireland, or neutrality, or the Lisbon Treaty, the hard line is the only line to take when dealing with people who are beyond reason.

    Accordingly, in the aftermath of the referendum, all the Government has to do is show grim face to the mad nationalists and neutrality nuts, tell the people frankly that a No vote was a blow against Ireland, and get ready to run it again on real republican lines.”

    Oh dear! But this poor fool has been driven mad by being indoctrinated with anti-democratic EU fanaticism that he now spews upon the misfortunate reader, and sees nothing whatsoever wrong about demanding that democracy be cast aside because the EU has demanded that it be cast aside and replaced with its preferred model, the Robert Mugabe School of Democracy.

    “Last Tuesday, Fine Gael stupidly said it would not take part in the Oireachtas Committee on the Lisbon Treaty. The Labour Party did likewise, but nobody expected any better from a party which has lost its way. But for Fine Gael to break the bi-partisan policy on the EU is nothing short of suicidal.”

    I see, Fine Gael “stupidly” decided that it was sensible to respect democracy or, at least, to give the bogus impression that it still had some token respect for the concept and this now means that it “has lost its way”. Now what does a “bi-partisan policy” mean other than a suspension of the democratic process? It means that debate is not allowed, thereby creating the profoundly corruption impression that nobody disagrees with the policy of surrendering nation sovereignty to the EU. Sovereignty is simply the power to make decisions and act upon them. That, oddly enough, is also what democracy means.

    The sooner we rid ourselves of EU membership, the better. Do we really wish to surrender our affairs to what clowns like Eoghan Harris support and have his fascist ilk tell us what to do?

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/going-from-messing-eire-to-mise-eire-1445627.html

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    In Solzhenitysn own words

    ‘It is amazing how much gibberish has been talked about me, more so in the west than in the USSR.

    So before you commit yourself to any more gibberish have a read of some of Solzhenityn’s own words and try to remember he was a writer
    NOT a politician . These questions and Solzhenitysn’s answers give a clearer idea of his overall viewpoint . You will note that he includes the EU in what he calls the WEST .

    When asked whether in his work as a whole the spiritual or the philosophical dimension were more important than the political his reply was

    ‘First would be the literary side, then the spiritual and philosophical. The political side is required principally because of the necessity of the current Russian position. ‘

    Question

    ‘Do you feel that many of the problems in the modern world are due to an inadequate grasp of spiritual and philosophical truth by the population as a whole?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    This is certainly true. Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul.

    Question

    In Russia In the Abyss you say that “our frenzied government is stabbing to death the future of Russia”. Why did you chose to use such strong and provocative language?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    We are exiting from communism in a most unfortunate and awkward way. It would have been difficult to design a path out of communism worse than the one that has been followed. Our government declared that it is conducting some kind of great reforms. In reality, no real reforms were begun and no one at any point has declared a coherent programme.

    Question

    You have also written that “Russia has entered a blind alley and has nowhere to go”. What did you mean by this?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    The central government possesses no plan of finding the way out of this blind alley. They have been pursuing a course of simply trying to stay in power by whichever means are possible.

    Question

    Do you believe that the West is in the same blind alley and also has nowhere to go?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    Over the last twelve years I have stopped viewing Russia as something very distinct from the West. Today when we say the West we are already referring to the West and to Russia. We could use the word “modernity” if we exclude Africa, and the Islamic world, and partially China. With the exception of those areas we should not use the words “the West” but the word “modernity”. The modern world. And yes, then I would say that there are ills that are characteristic, that have plagued the West for a long time and now Russia has quickly adopted them also.

    Qustion

    You are often accused of “doom and gloom”. How would you respond?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    This is a consequence of the fact that people don’t read, they just glance through. Let me give you an example: The Gulag Archipelago. There are horrific stories in that book but throughout, through it all, there is a spirit of catharsis. In Russia In the Abyss, I have not painted the dark reality in rose-tinted shades but I do include a clear way, a search for something brighter, some way out — most importantly in the spiritual sense because I cannot suggest political ways out, that is the task of politicians, so it is simply that those who accuse me of this do not know how to read.

    Question

    ‘ Does the fact that modernity makes a virtue out of selfishness constitute one of the keys to its enduring success.

    Solzhenitsyn:

    That’s very correct. It does make a virtue out of selfishness and Protestantism made a major contribution to this.

    Question : Why Protestantism?

    Solzhenitsyn:

    Of course, one cannot declare that only my faith is correct and all other faiths are not. Of course God is endlessly multi-dimensional so every religion that exists on earth represents some face, some side of God. One must not have any negative attitude to any religion but nonetheless the depth of understanding God and the depth of applying God’s commandments is different in different religions. In this sense we have to admit that Protestantism has brought everything down only to faith.

    Calvinism says that nothing depends on man, that faith is already predetermined. Also in its sharp protest against Catholicism, Protestantism rushed to discard together with ritual all the mysterious, the mythical and mystical aspects of the Faith. In that sense it has impoverished religion.

    Question

    How would you like to be remembered to posterity?

    Solzhenitsyn: That’s a complex question. I would hope that all that has been said about me, slandered about me, in the course of decades, would, like mud, dry up and fall off. It is amazing how much gibberish has been talked about me, more so in the west than in the USSR. In the USSR it was all one-directional propaganda, and (laughs) everyone knew that it was just Communist propaganda.

  • Greenflag

    Dave

    “Western democracy today is in a serious crisis and it is still unknown how it will overcome this crisis.” -Solzhenitysn

    Yes there is a crisis but it has nothing to do with the EU . Solzhenitysn points the finger as you can note form his above answers at oligarchic capitalism and an excess of greed in the modern world or what appears to be such in his view and in indeed in many others .

    The ‘crisis of global capitalism ‘ has to do more with the overreaching multi national power exerted by large Corporations , together with diminishing energy resources and a democratic ‘deficit ‘ in all western countries with the biggest ‘deficit ‘ in the Anglospheric countries and in particular the USA where the middle and working class of society have seen a 20 year long emisseration of their economic position .

    ‘The other part of the quote was cautioning against emulating the flawed EU model’

    Russia is now virtually a one nation state so it makes no sense for Russia to emulate the EU structure . The Soviet Union was the inheritor of the earlier Russian Empire and expanded that Empire’s reach post WW2.

    ‘in regard to Russia’s de-merged states : “The only correct path is for us not to copy other models but, without deviating from democratic principles, work on improving the physical and moral well-being of the people.”’

    No problem there just common sense . Copying from other models is not a guarantee of success . Other conditions and historical and economic circumstances apply . The fact that Irish Independence has been a relative success if belatedly does not nevessarily mean that an ‘independent NI State ‘ or the Scots or Welsh would be similarly successful .

    ‘So, just as the USSR is disbanded, it is being re-created within Europe where nationalism and nation-states are to be suppressed on the pretext of harmonisation’

    Nonsense . There was no voluntary joining of the various nationalities within the former USSR . It was created and held together by a totalitarian ideology – one party rule and military power. The EU must have at least 200 political parties – 26 armies some of whom belong to the NATO alliance which includes the USA and other western powers. I don’t believe any EU country or the EU parliament receives a popular vote of 99% in elections

    As per his interview Solzhenitsyn is strongest when he criticises what he calls ‘modernity ‘. His answer to the problems being ‘produced ‘ by modernity i.e the vulgar excesses of oligarchic capitalism are not disimilar from those being put forward by Pope Benedict and other religious leaders But he does not have a ‘political prescription’ Those like yourself who presume he does are as he himself says -not reading what he actually wrote .

  • Greenflag

    “Whether it’s Northern Ireland, or neutrality, or the Lisbon Treaty, the hard line is the only line to take when dealing with people who are beyond reason.’

    Harris is correct when he states that a hard line is necessary when one is dealing with people who are beyond ‘reason ‘ . I would agree with Harris as regards dealing with militant dissidents on either side of the NI divide .

    As regards the Lisbon Treaty we need to have another referendum but in my view whats more important for the strength of our long term democracy is to make sure that a minority of the electorate should not be able via referendum send the nation down a path which suits the minority interest only . Which is what has been the effect of the June Referendum .

    As to neutrality – This is a red herring beloved of all those in Ireland who would rather that we allow Britain to defend us – if push ever came to shove . It’s in my view not a ‘principled ‘ position but a cop out and a way to save money on national defense expenditure . An increasing number of young Irishmen now enlist in the British Army as our small Defence Force does not offer the career opportunities of the latter .

    We can of course afford the cop out because of our fortuitous geographical position . Poland , Belgium , and other countries within the EU have no such ‘luxury’.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘Do we really wish to surrender our affairs to what clowns like Eoghan Harris support and have his fascist ilk tell us what to do? ‘

    As I recall it was the European Neo Fascists such as the French politician Le Pen and the Austrian People’s Party ( Hitler was not all bad ) who supported the Irish ‘NO’ vote .

    Harris is primarily a journalist despite his Senatorial elevation and has a controversial record of being accused of everything from ‘republican traitor’ to ‘revisionist historian ‘ .

    All I would say is that he speaks his mind . I think Ireland could do with more of his ‘ilk’. This does not mean I necessarily with all his ‘positions’ I don’t . But he gets it right sometimes. And on Northern Dissidents he gets my vote no question.

  • DavidD

    The works of Bobby Sands and Ireland’s relationship with the EU are proper subjects for discussion on the board but they are not the topic here and are trivialities when compared to the results of the life and work of Solzhenitsyn. This was a man who more than any other brought to the consciousness of the world the murderous horror of Communism when its powers of social engineering are unleashed on a nation. For years, decades in fact, this truth had been suppressed by some and ignored by more of those who should have known better. Marxists and the ‘useful idiots’ of the left-wing intelligentsia refused to accept the evidence of barbarity which was available to all who were not blinded by ideology. It was Solzhenitsyn who helped make this wilful ignorance not just impossible to maintain but also unfashionable.

    One further point: there have been several threads recently where no opportunity was missed to paint religious belief as bigoted and out of touch. Remember then that it was a committed Christian who had the will and character to expose the deeds of atheistic Communism while many humanists preferred to disregard them.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    As Bob Conquest said of the gulags long ago, to lefties everywhere, “See, I f*cking told you, you fools”. As far as poor, dear Bobby Sands goes – the sole point of intersection between that cruddy, delusional, self-pitying failure and the giant Solzhenitsyn lies in the fact that the latter’s jailers were also dear, wee Bobby’s armourers.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘This was a man who more than any other brought to the consciousness of the world the murderous horror of Communism when its powers of social engineering are unleashed on a nation. For years, decades in fact, this truth had been suppressed by some and ignored by more of those who should have known better.’

    Indeed – Our own George Bernard Shaw did make the point back in the 1930’s on a visit to the then USSR that he had seen the political’future’ of the world .:( Shaw was not alone among western intellectuals of the time to see a bright red future . He did’nt think of the ‘blood red ‘ future of both totalitarianisms.

    George Orwell saw through the mask of both right and left wing totalitarianism . Today we see many who turn a blind eye to the ‘unsavoury aspects’ of the Chinese Communists and others ( Myanmar , Equatorial Guinea etc ) for ‘business’ and ‘profits ‘ sake including many of the large American and European Corporations .

    ‘Marxists and the ‘useful idiots’ of the left-wing intelligentsia refused to accept the evidence of barbarity which was available to all who were not blinded by ideology.’

    And in today’s world the ‘ useful idiots’ of the neo con right also refuse to accept the evidence of barbarity which is seen by all who are not blinded by ‘free market ‘ ideology .

    We’ll pass on Iraq for now . Another not so well known example is Burma /Myanmar . Not too many people know that up to 10 years ago this ‘fascist military dictatorship’ was financially on it’s way to bankruptcy ‘

    Enter the oil industry and a gas pipeline to Thailand and an extra billion dollars a year in revenue to prop up the regime . Among the ‘useful idiots ‘ making money from the ‘deal ‘ is none other than Chevron . On the one hand Republicans call for ‘democracy ‘ in Burma and on the other their oil company supporters prop up the regime ?

    ‘there have been several threads recently where no opportunity was missed to paint religious belief as bigoted and out of touch. ‘

    Indeed and a lot of what passes for religious belief is out of touch and irrational . That said even an ‘atheist ‘ like myself can respect the genuine faith of people like Solzhenitsyn or those German Protestants who defied Hitler and died for their beliefs and others around the world . But don’t ask me to respect those ‘ money grabbing neo con bloodsuckers of the poor , the ignorant and the naive who sell the modern version of ‘indulgences ‘ under the guise of ‘God Wants you to be rich so give God (i.e the business Church ) 10% and you too will be rewarded with prosperity . One of the recent American mega churches to have hit the ‘headlines ‘ is ‘kenneth copeland ministries’.
    These so called ‘religious ‘ organisations should be treated as businesses and their accounts audited by the IRS and they should be accessible to public view !

    ‘Remember then that it was a committed Christian who had the will and character to expose the deeds of atheistic Communism ‘

    Many millions died in the USSR’s camps not just committed Christians . Many were humanists and many were of all religions -jews , catholics , protestants , many were ethnic minorities , cossacks , and anybody who ‘thought ‘ differently and could be accused of being ‘psychiatrically ‘ disturbed etc for not adhering to the party line.
    The ‘wolf’ will always find a reason for devouring the lamb .

    Solzhenitsyn got his message out through the good fortune of ‘timing ‘ . He provided a useful foil for Kruschev in his ‘struggle’ to overcome Joe Stalin’s legacy . Once outed of course his popularity was such that Kruschev could not return him to the Gulags thus his exile from the USSR and his eventual return to post communist Russia.

    Anyway this thread is moving beyond a tribute or memorial to this brave Russian writer and going into the blind alley beliefs of NI politics so I’m outta here .

  • Greenflag

    Rooster Cogburn,

    Thanks for reminding us of Bob Conquests input into the great debate or whatever is left of it in today’s world . He certainly must have found it easy (no pun intended) to ‘conquest’ the women folk having gone through 4 wives :)?. Living with an intellectual must be tough . Or as a friend of Arthur Koestler said re the latters proclivities – ‘you could’nt leave your wife in the same room as the man for 5 minutes ‘

    ‘Darkness at Noon’ should be compulsory reading for all who believe in the ‘party ‘ above the individual no matter of the extreme right or extreme left or even the ‘extreme’ centre :).

  • Dave

    Greenflag, in deference to DavidD, I’m going to keep this post short-ish (and final). You are under some curious delusion that, because Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a writer and not a politician, that his opinion on political matters is not to be trusted. This, I think, is a product of your statist mentality wherein ownership of the state, the people, and all matters political reside with the ruling political class and the people must be ignored if their will conflicts with the ruling class – which is to take precedence. This is a is proffered by the EU via a plethora of stooges in the Irish media such as Eoghan Harris and Stephen Collins, et al, so it is not surprising that others will be indoctrinated with it – that is the purpose of disseminating the propaganda after all.

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an unapologetic nationalist, was talking about “saving the nation”. He was talking about his support for nationalism and the nation-state and his opposition to those who seek to undermine them in support of other projects.

    Now it is true that anti-nationalism is a disease that transcends the EU, being spread by carriers on the liberal left. But it is also true that the EU has seized upon that disease as a means to spread its own virus of ‘integrationism’ – that the nations who inhabit the continent of Europe should surrender control of their respective states to a central authority by the dismal expedient of ‘pooling’ their sovereignty. By this expedient, they are rendered impotent as states, no longer having the power to engage in the negative aspects of nationalism, such as the power to engage in war (not applicable in neutral country like Ireland, so this argument in favour of our EU membership is null and void). Indeed, they no longer have any power to engage in the benign aspects of nationalism, either. So, positive values such as patriotism – a group of people doing the best by each other – and democracy are also discarded. Sovereignty is the power to make decisions and act upon them, and democracy is the process by which the nation selects those who will exercise that sovereignty.

    In this regard, nation-states are best seen as individual democratic units: undermine their sovereignty and you undermine their democracy. Of course, the main flaw in this deranged EU project of undermining nationalism is that it doesn’t remove the power to engage in war at all; it merely transfers that power to the new central authority who may then engage in war with the advantage of a having a very large army and no opposition to its warmongering from the newly-impotent nations who comprise the integrated entity. In time, the new country of Europe (if it is ever allowed to emerge) will understand that the peoples must share a common nationalism if the new state is to be successful, and a new nationalism of European will be artificially engineered to serve this purpose. Indeed, it is already being engineered to run concurrently with the existing national identities of the EU’s member states with the intention of supplanting them. Despite the fact that the nationality and country of Europe does not yet exist, people who have been successfully indoctrinated with this new nationalism are already transferring their loyalty to it. In order for the EU to successfully promote the transfer of democratic, sovereign powers from its member states, it must convince those member states that sovereignty and democracy are bad things that must be transferred lest their potential for harm is uncontained.

    The liberal left would like to see all peoples merged into one people in order to reduce the conflict between them (homogeneity) – or so they claim in order to justify their attempt to destroy heterogeneity and its diverse cultures. This ignores the additional conflict that they create by engaging in this process, and, more importantly, ignores the utter futility of such a process since people will always split into groups delineated by common interests (hence, you can only irradiate hooliganism between different football teams if you merge all teams into one team, thereby having the unhappy consequence of depriving said football team of any other team to play against – that is their crazy logic).

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    So, does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that nations should be stripped of their sovereign powers? No, he does not – he believes the exact opposite:

    [i]”Under Gorbachev, the concept and perception of statehood per se was discarded. Hence his numerous acts of capitulation and unconditional concessions in foreign policy which won him kudos in the West. On Yeltsin’s watch, that line was essentially continued, but it was further aggravated by the uncontrolled plundering of Russia, its property and national legacy, as well as by inaction and collusion in the face of a countrywide crisis. Under Putin, efforts were made, although not immediately, to reverse the trend and save Russia’s statehood. At first, however, some of those attempts were rather cosmetic, but then they became more focused.”[/i]

    Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that nations should be separated from control of their states? No, he does not – he believes the exact opposite:

    [i]”Indeed, ‘saving the nation’ – numerically, physically, and morally – is the utmost task for the state.”[/i]

    Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that governance should be a statist, top-down exercise controlled by a ruling elite? No, he does not:

    [i]”Parties do not grow very well on Russian soil because they are an unnatural form [of organization] for us. Our parties today are only hindering democratic development. I have on many occasions said and written that I condemn the sheer idea of ‘political parties’ as a form of ‘collective egoism,’ living off others, at somebody else’s expense. Remember Trotsky’s classic formula: ‘No party is worthy of its name if it does aim to seize power.'”

    A healthy democratic system can only evolve on the grassroots level, from local associations, stepwise, through stage by stage elections. Only this setup can ensure that reasonable and general interests – industrial, professional, occupational, environmental, cultural, educational, etc. – will prevail. This is a very difficult path since it is full of bureaucratic obstacles on many levels. I believe that a democratic system evolving from local government to Supreme Legislative Assembly is the healthiest for Russia and the most consonant with its traditional spirit.”[/i]

    Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that a liberal left agenda that promotes liberalism and secularism and is devoid of morality is beneficial to people? No, he does not:

    [i]”Addressing the 10th National Assembly, Metropolitan Kirill pointed out, quite justly, that “realization of freedoms should not jeopardize the existence of Motherland or offend against people’s religious feelings or ethnic sentiments” and that sacred things are values on par with “human rights.” Unlimited “human rights” is exactly what our cave-dwelling ancestor had: Nothing could stop him from snatching meat from his neighbor or finishing him off with a big stick. That was why every society needed governing authorities and ruling elite. Throughout the centuries, they retained full “rights” while the rights of the masses were severely limited. We have been hearing all this talk about “human rights” ever since the Enlightenment era; they have been secured in a number of countries, but not always within the bounds of moral values and principles. Yet for some reason no one has ever urged us to defend “human obligations.” Even calling for self-restraint is considered to be ludicrous and absurd. Meanwhile, only self-restraint and self-denial can guarantee a moral and reliable resolution of any conflicts.”[/i]

    Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that the nationalism of its member states must be suppressed in order to promote a collective entity? No, he does not:

    [i]”Suppressing ethnic Russians for the benefit of other ethnic groups was one of Lenin’s central, obsessive ideas: He firmly pursued it in the form of ‘Leninist nationalities policy.’ It was continued under Stalin despite his hypocritical statements later. As for our present Constitution, the word ‘Russians’ is not there at all! Over the years, therefore a feeling of bitterness and resentment has built up in the Russian consciousness.”[/i]

    You can take it as a fact, Greenflag, that your hero – an ardent nationalist – does not agree with your Euro-fanaticism but sees it as profoundly misguided.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘in deference to DavidD, I’m going to keep this post short-ish (and final).

    Not much deference then I see or is s DavidD another alter ego for Mr Ganley’s most ardent supporter ? If it takes two posts to get your anti EU phobia out then I guess we may diifer also on the definition of ‘shortish’.

    ‘You are under some curious delusion that, because Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a writer and not a politician, that his opinion on political matters is not to be trusted.’

    And you are under an even more curious delusion that somehow the attitude of SF plus the French ‘Le Pen ‘ Fascists plus the Austrian neo nazis plus the Libertas neo con nutters is somehow to be trusted above the views of the elected governments not just of Ireland but of the 26 other democratically elected governments in the EU .

    ‘Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an unapologetic nationalist, was talking about “saving the nation”. ‘

    Yes he was -he was’nt talking about the EU . He was talking about Russia which needed and needs ‘saving ‘ although since then given that the gobshite ‘friends ‘ of Libertas among others have driven the price of a barrel of oil into three figures and transferred billions of dollars to they are doing better. Given that Russia/USSR as we know from history has been through a revolution , two world wars and several famines since 1917 Solzhenitys has a point . But neither Russia nor the former USSR is the EU and it’s political and economic history is very different from that of most of the western european democracies .

    Your entire post seems to be based on the notion that the EU is RUSSIA or the USSR in waiting . Your quotations attibuted to Solzhenitysn re the EU are in your imagination – he was talking about the Soviet Union .

    As a ‘moderate ‘ Irish nationalist I find your anti EU phobia short sighted , xenophobic and completely oblivious of the greater danger posed to Irish democracy and indeed other European democracies by the friends of Libertas – and others who have ‘usurped ‘democracy’ in the USA under the guise of ‘free market ‘ economics and who use their financial clout to drown out those who would oppose a world ruled not by States but by corporate oligarchs .

    As I said in an earlier post Ireland is not Norway nor is it Switzerland . As for being a statist ? More horse manure . In an age when multi national corporations can ,and we have seen this from the behaviour many of the Anglo American oil corporations ,ride roughshod over the interests of small countries, then it behoves small countries like Ireland to belong to a multinational grouping such as the EU which has stood up to some of these interests. A sort of ‘trade union’ for small countries ‘ if you like .

    I wonder how many ‘trade unions ‘ the founders of Libertas allow to operate in their multi national neo con generated businesses ?

    The ‘nation state’ is not necessarily the be all and end all of ‘political ‘ evolution on the planet . If it were there would be 3,000 to 4,000 states instead of 200 . The EU is part of political evolution as are other multi national regional ‘unions ‘. But Germans will still be Germans and the Irish will still be Irish come 2500 AD. And there will always be an England too . There’ll even be Nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland and Czechs and Slovaks not to mention French and Spaniards. The fact that they all call themselves Europeans will be neither here nor there just as modern Scots (some of them ) are also British.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ”Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that a liberal left agenda that promotes liberalism and secularism and is devoid of morality is beneficial to people? No, he does not: ‘

    Are you asleep ? The ‘ahem ‘ liberal left and secular parties in Ireland were OPPOSED to the Lisbon treaty .

    You may not be aware but freedom of religion and religious belief is underwritten as per the European Court of Human Rights. There are believe it or not Mosques in Dublin , Berlin , Bradford and Paris as well as Synagogues , Protestant and Catholic Churches . The fact that people choose not to attend the latter in the numbers they used to is a matter for individuals exercising their freedom.

    ‘Does Alexander Solzhenitsyn agree in principle with the EU project that governance should be a statist, top-down exercise controlled by a ruling elite? No, he does not: ‘

    Again here you are twisting Solzhenitysn’s accurate and deserved ‘criticism ‘ of the former USSR ‘s top down control under a system in which the ruling elite could not be voted out of power, with a 27 member European Union in which each government can be voted out of power at an election .

    Apart from choosing other politicical parties within their own States _EU citizens get to choose which ‘party ‘ they send to the EU Parliament .

    As for your ‘morality ‘ whinge . There is IMO a lot more ‘morality ‘ in a mainly secular irreligious EU country like say Holland than in a a more churchgoing backwater like say Northern Ireland or Mississipi !

    The Dutch are just a lot more in the open and practical as to what ‘constitutes’ ‘morality ‘ Which could be why their health care , neo natal care , infant mortality rates and life expectancy are all of a much higher standard than in those countries where the ‘individual ‘ is still presumed to be ‘sovereign’ and the ‘nation ‘ sacrosanct .

  • DavidD

    Dave, when you promised, with due deference, to keep your post shot(ish) I did not expect that this meant splitting it into two parts – neither of which were exactly pithy anyway. Still it did, I suppose, show a certain degree of imagination so for that I award you two marks out of ten. Greenflag gets 3/10 but only because no promise was broken. Perhaps both of you could present yourself in my study at break time tomorrow for additional lessons in grade one précis writing and would you also ask your parents to phone my secretary to arrange a meeting with me.

  • Dave

    DavidD, my mother told me never to meet strange men from the Internet, so I will respectfully decline your invitation. In fact, she’d be very alarmed if she saw he talking to Greenflag.

    Declan Ganley is extremely pro-EU, Greenflag. In fact, it’s a misnomer to call him a Eurosceptic. He is pro-EU but anti-Lisbon Treaty, believing it does little to redress the democratic deficit in the EU. The main differences are:

    Ganley does not oppose the transfer of sovereign powers to the EU in principle, whereas I do. It is wholly illegitimate to transfer the sovereignty of the nation to those whom are not elected by or accountable to the nation – and aren’t even members of the nation. So, even if membership of the EU was an advantage to our prosperity rather than a handicap to it, there still wouldn’t be any justification to dissolve the nation-state and transfer its sovereignty to others.

    Ganley wants to make the EU more democratic, whereas I want to make Ireland more democratic. The EU is not a state (despite its attempt to become one) and it doesn’t have any citizens, so it is nonsense to even use the word democracy as a positive attribute. The proper use of that word in relation to the EU is to prefix it with “undermining” or “perverting.” Democracy and sovereignty are inextricably interlinked. As I said, sovereignty is the power to make decisions and act upon them, and democracy is the process by which the nation selects those who will exercise that sovereignty. The EU exists by separating sovereignty from democracy: it acquires the power to make decisions without acquiring a mandate from the people. In transferring sovereignty to those who are not elected by us and are not accountable to us, we are undermining our own democracy. Sorry, kid, but having 0.8% sovereignty over our internal affairs when we should have 100% sovereignty over them within our national legislature is not democracy.

    Ganley wants the EU to continue its neo-imperial agenda, whereas I want to disband it and replace it with an accord between nation-states on the continent of Europe similar to NAFTA, wherein free trade does not involve any diminution of sovereignty and wherein protectionism isn’t dressed-up as standardisation.

    In short, Ganley is an ass. To his credit, however, understands that treaties are binding, and that there is no mechanism to succeed from the EU. Once those sovereign powers are transferred to it, you’re never going to get them back unless the EU agrees to let you withdraw from membership. So, wisely, he exercises caution. A wiser man would, however, never give others control of his sovereign affairs.

  • Dave

    Typo: “…there is no mechanism to [b]secede[/b]from the EU.” – but no mechanism to to succeed under it, either 😉