We will now start to look at the foundations of a movement that considers the church to be a critical enemy needing to be eliminated. This movement didn’t start just yesterday but has been made up of the efforts of many who strive for world domination. It has even taken a stand against non-Communist dominators and come out on top. Its leadership is not easily discouraged. Our church leadership cannot pass it off as a temporary trend. It is then that it makes most of its gains. Communism will continue to struggle as long as the church is strong.
So how did this world threat come about? Who launched Marxism in Russia in 1868? Why did Marx consider ‘man’ his enemy? What kind of environment produced Nikolai Lenin? Why was his brother hung? Who organized the Bolsheviks? What is the background of Leon Trotsky? Why did he oppose Lenin in 1903? Why did Lenin and the Bolsheviks oppose the ‘October Manifesto’ which promised the people representative government? What kind of home did Joseph Stalin come from? Why was he expelled from seminary where he was being trained as a priest? The origins of this repressive form of government is complicated but we must understand it if we are to avoid it in a nation such as the United States. Even today we have some politicians and educators who are willing to ‘play around’ with its principles. This is dangerous and the citizens and churches must be able to recognize when this ‘cancer’ is starting to infuse itself into our society. There is no time to watch and observe. The time to act is now!
In 1885, a US citizen, Andrew White, returned from a tour of duty as attaché in the American Embassy at St. Petersburg and described the Russian situation as such: “The whole government system is the most atrociously barbarous in the world. There is on earth no parallel example of a polite society so degraded, a people so crushed, an official system so unscrupulous.” [Letter from Andrew D. White dated at Berlin, 9 Nov 1885]. When White made this statement, the population of Russia was slightly over 70,000,000. Of these, 46,000,000 were in virtual captivity as serfs. The Russian serfs were not only starved, exploited, and pauperized, but they were subjected to an iron-clad system of feudal political suppression. There was the plague of the secret police, the threat of arrest and sentencing to forced labor camps in Siberia, and cruel indecencies imposed on them by the Tsar’s ever-present military. A Russian serf seemed to enjoy no sacred immunities whatsoever, neither in his person, his possessions, his children, nor sometimes his wife. All were subject to the petty whims of grasping officials in the Tsar’s corrupt bureaucracy. Between 1861 and 1866 (during the time of the United States civil war) Tsar Alexander II attempted to do away with the institution of serfdom by approving several acts of emancipation. However, for all practical purposes the impoverished lives of the peasants continued to be insecure, harsh, and austere. These circumstances were leading to a revolution in the making.
Marxism came to Russia in 1868 when Bakunin’s translation of Capital escaped the Tsar’s censors and was passed among liberals and radicals like a choice morsel of spiritual meat. It meant: “Let the ruling class tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains…!” (Communist Manifesto). By 1880 Marxism could be described as definitely taking hold. The first significant violence came in 1881 when Tsar Alexander II fell dying beneath the shattering impact of a bomb which was hurled into the royal carriage by Ignatius Grinevitsky, a member of a revolutionary group called “The People’s Will”. The successful murder of the Tsar led many Marxists to feel that the hour for unrestricted revolution might be near. The aging Marx, living in London, began receiving inquiries from his Russian disciples. They wanted to know whether or not it might be possible to have a revolution in Russia, even though the Russian economy had never passed through the capitalistic development Marx had said was a prerequisite. Of course, Marx came up with a reason to skip that requirement.
It was ironical that the Russian Marxists had remained loyal to Marx and his theories in spite of the verbal and editorial abuse he had heaped upon them. This was never truer than in the case of Bakunin, the first Russian Marxist, who promoted the theories of Marx and Engels with such zeal, that they both feared he might take over the First International. They, therefore, marked him for political liquidation. In 1876 Bakunin laid down the burden of his life while the younger persons to whom he bequeathed Marxism were already making their appearance. In 1870, Nikolai Lenin was born, and in the year 1879, there arrived on earth both Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. They would do what Marx was never able to do for himself. These three would convulse a great nation in a revolution that would serve as midwives at the birth of the world’s first Communist dictatorship.
Lenin was born on April 22, 1870, in Simbirsk, on the Volga. Hardly of the material one would expect of a Communist dictator. His father was a Councilor of State with a hereditary title of nobility while his mother was a German of Lutheran faith. Originally, Lenin was named Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, but “Nikolai Lenin” is the revolutionary pseudonym under which he became famous…notorious. His father died when he was fifteen and his older brother was hanged, after agreeing with several University of St. Petersburg associates to construct a bomb which would be used to kill Tsar Alexander III. Lenin had lost his religious faith and was becoming reconciled to the cynicism of the Marxist interpretation of life. His brother’s death helped to speed up his revolutionary determination. In the midst of one of his promising campaigns, a police agent betrayed his group and Lenin found himself sentenced to exile in far away Siberia. With bitter resignation he accepted this interruption in his revolutionary career. Soon after his arrival in Siberia, Lenin was joined by a Marxist girl named Nadezhda Krupskaya. She was allowed to come at Lenin’s request but only on the condition that they get married. This violated their Marxist principle of “abolition of the family”; but they consented. They had no children as they felt that their mission in Communism would be encumbered by children. He was released in 1900. He had become a cautious, calculating, full-fledged conspiratorial revolutionist. He headed for Munich, Germany, where he started printing a paper called The Spark, which was smuggled into Russia. He and his wife thus began seventeen years of almost continuous exile in Western Europe. On occasion they traveled secretly to Russia. They lived modestly and traveled light, as they were waiting for the voice of history to assign them to their revolutionary roles.
Next week we will take a look at the origins of the Bolsheviks. By 1903, Lenin and his wife had set up headquarters in London. Marx had been dead for seventeen years. It was now time to put Marx’s theories to work. Liberal/progressive/communist proponents are patient. So we can not expect them to just go away. We had best be ready to both be on our knees and ready to take a stand.
America is in the midst of a civil unrest we have not known for many decades. Rioting, upheaval, and violence seem to have eclipsed the virus with frequent reports and video footage of communities being trashed, burned, and pillaged all in the name of freedom and equality. Many of those who have expressed disagreement with these means are labeled as bigoted, racist, and right-wing loons; thus, the hatred and violence that instigators are incurring on our nation is camouflaged. In the meantime Satan and his minions are celebrating victory after victory. Perhaps Americans, including many Christians and church leaders, are looking in the wrong places for answers. Scripture has a way of providing simple solutions to seemingly difficult problems. The world’s answer today for this is: socialism, social justice, so-called tolerance, changing views on gender and sexuality, New Age thought, radical feminism, and now Marxism through Critical Race Theory. All coming right out of the Communist ‘playbook’.
“The process of standing firm in the midst of a troubled world begins with the love of God for humankind.” Ray Stedman (Hope in a Chaotic World)