Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Afternoon Cigar

The winter is over! The winter is over!

This Rocky Patel Sun Grown was so anxious this afternoon, it lit itself! We puffed in celebration of responsible governance in the great state of Wisconsin, and in anticipation of seeing Wisconsin Democrats being dragged into the chamber for a vote. Frankly, there just aren't enough cigars for this moment!

We are reading Oliver H. Radkey's The Unknown Civil War
in Soviet Russia. One sentence jumped out at us on Page 157:

Communists complained continually about weapons in the possession of the people.

The Tambov insurrection is a fascinating story. Likely the largest peasant revolt in history, this ten-month battle against Lenin shortly after the revolution shows how weak the Bolsheviks really were. They had Poland and their own Civil War with the Whites in 1920, and in July/August a bunch of peasants South East of Moscow start killing the food-requisition thugs, killing Soviet soldiers, and attacking trains on one of the most important rail lines in the country.

While we are big fans of the Kronstadt rebellion up near Petrograd at the exact same time (Feb-Mar 21), the Tambov insurrection comes closer to the modern-day tea party in the areas of organization and purpose. The sailors at Kronstadt issued the demand that Lenin allow the other socialist parties to participate in the government as had been promised in the Revolution. The Tambov peasants, on the other hand, fought ferociously only on the principal that they rejected Communism. They didn't have any specific demands, or none that survived the Soviet Union, that stated what they did want.

In other words: they saw Communism for what it was - evil. 1920 was their third year of forced food requisitions and they had had enough. They knew what they didn't want, but did not necessarily agree on what they did want.

The Tambov peasants had survived the Tsars and could see their improving economic progress. Communism presented a return to the slave past, and likely worse. These peasants were not going to allow that to happen to them, nor their children. Hence - the tea party similarities.

Another trait unusual for a rebellion within a Communist state - guns. The Tambov leader, Antonov, saw Communism for what it was as early as 1918. As the militia leader in the area, he followed Soviet orders to disarm Czech soldiers as they passed through his district. But unlike his orders, he didn't turn those weapons in to the authorities. Instead, he stockpiled them and used his role to network with neighboring villages. When it came time to fight, his men had the means. And the quote above sums up the feelings on the other side.

Another Timeless Lesson at, brought to you by Rocky Patel!

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