How Vodka ruined Russia

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Tagore2
How Vodka ruined Russia
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How Vodka ruined Russia

What do you think about this? What should the Communists' policy be on this? Drug addiction organized by the state...

Tagore2
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Everyone knows how the Revolution smashed the wine cellars of the czar, and poured the wine into the gutters. It is not so well known, perhaps, that this act was not a mere protest against wine, but an act of desperate self-defence, in order to preserve discipline in Petrograd.

"We should have preferred to save the wine and sell it abroad," said Trotsky to me, "for it was valuable stuff. But it was a definite policy of the counter-revolution to try to create disorder and anarchy and wreck the discipline which seeking to establish. That kind of thing is dangerous in a revolution. It starts with the dregs of the population, but it draws in next the less stable of the workers, until a whole population is corrupted.

"The men who wanted that wine were so mad for it that even machine guns would not keep them back. So the comrade in charge turned the machine guns on the bottles and destroyed them. The wine rose to the tops of his hip-boots so that he was wading in it. He used to be a drinker himself before he became a Communist, and it hurt him to see that good wine destroyed. But it was necessary to preserve order in Petrograd."

[...]

But the bootlegging wave this past winter made evident the need for more organised action. This is taking place now in a temporary way in the special raids by the police. One-fourth of all court cases in Moscow are bootlegging cases. More correlated action may be expected as general organisation improves in Russia.

"The enforcement of this question is too scattered," said Trotsky to me in a conversation late in December. "It is no longer sufficient merely to prohibit; we must organise both repressive and educational measures. We must get together the representatives of health and police and army, who are handling the question now, and form a joint programme." I learned later through other sources that he had called such a committee together.

"We must consider what we are able to enforce at present with our present means. In the scattered villages, where the peasants are making it at home, it is impossible to use repressive measures on every house. But this industry develops like other industries. Very soon some man, richer and shrewder than the others, begins to make it for sale. He becomes a petty exploiter of vice, a corrupter of his village. The children and the women hate him for taking their food by debauching their men folk.

"Men like this we can arrest and punish. They are more dangerous than ordinary home-brewing peasants and fewer in number, with public sentiment already somewhat against them. They are the weakest spot in the enemy's ranks and can be attacked with our present resources. As our strength in organisation grows, we can carry our repressions farther.

"But no repressions will solve the problem at the root. The basic cause is the emptiness of the peasant's life and this must be Filed by higher standards of culture, by education and recreation and wholesome social life."

[...]

As for state manufacture of vodka, about which rumours from time to time arise, the words of Lenin himself laid down the government's attitude. When the new economic policy was under discussion and the question was raised in the conference of the Communist party how far they were prepared to go in making concessions to the peasants, Lenin outlined the policy as follows:

"Whatever the peasant wants in the way of material things we will give him, as long as they do not imperil the health or morals of the nation. If he asks for paint and powder and patent leather shoes, our state industries will labour to produce these things to satisfy his demand, because this is an advance in his standard of living and 'civilisation,' though falsely conceived by him.

But if he asks for ikons or booze--these things we will not make for him. For that is definitely retreat; that is definitely degeneration that leads him backward. Concessions of this sort we will not make; we shall rather sacrifice any temporary advantage that might be gained from such concessions."

Anna Louise in The First Time in History (1925)ch. VIII. The War with Alcohol

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There are two big facts which have set a new stamp on working class life. The one is the advent of the eight-hour working day; the other, the prohibition of the sale of vodka. The liquidation of the vodka monopoly, for which the war was responsible, preceded the revolution. The war demanded such enormous means that czarism was able to renounce the drink revenue as a negligible quantity, a billion rubles more or less making no very great difference. The revolution inherited the liquidation of the vodka monopoly as a fact; it adopted the fact, but was actuated by considerations of principle. It was only with the conquest of power by the working class, which became the conscious creator of the new economic order, that the combating of alcoholism by the country, by education and prohibition, was able to receive its due historic significance. The circumstance that the “drunkards’” budget was abandoned during the imperialist war does not alter the fundamental fact that the abolition of the system by which the country encouraged people to drink is one of the iron assets of the revolution.

Vodka, the Church, and the Cinema, Trotsky, 1923.

The new vodka of capitalism is now psychiatric drugs, psychotropics and other opioids.

d-man
It's not exactly news that

It's not exactly news that alcoholism is a problem, especially in slavic countries, and traditionally socialists have seen it as such (eg it was an agenda-item for the planned 1914 Vienna congress of the Socialist International, for which its chairman Emile Vandervelde prepared a document).

I'm not aware of any specific communist, or just scientific-rational, objections against a general policy of discouragement, up to banning of alcohol and other drugs. If we plan and organise production of foods, then we'll make choices too, eg whether the mass production of refined sugars is justifiable. Assuming we all agree on this, then perhaps your question is about the most effective policies to tackle alcoholism? "Abolishing" the brewery industry would require to train its employees into something else. Perhaps they can bottle some more healthy drinks instead.

Communist
d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

It's not exactly news that alcoholism is a problem, especially in slavic countries, and traditionally socialists have seen it as such (eg it was an agenda-item for the planned 1914 Vienna congress of the Socialist International, for which its chairman Emile Vandervelde prepared a document).

I'm not aware of any specific communist, or just scientific-rational, objections against a general policy of discouragement, up to banning of alcohol and other drugs. If we plan and organise production of foods, then we'll make choices too, eg whether the mass production of refined sugars is justifiable. Assuming we all agree on this, then perhaps your question is about the most effective policies to tackle alcoholism? "Abolishing" the brewery industry would require to train its employees into something else. Perhaps they can bottle some more healthy drinks instead.

 

I'm a communist and I love a pint of Guinness. I'm not the only one.  I think that 'banning' something isn't really compatible with a stateless or classless society. We can't just be concerned with having an 'egalitarian' revolution, it must also be experienced as a liberation from restrictions and prohibitions.

d-man
Duffless

In season 4 of The Simpsons there is an episode about Homer trying to stay sober. One joke (clip) has him watching a baseball game, and he realises how boring a game it is.

So, if you hanging out with friends is really so much fun, then also without alcohol it should be fun. Or, if the fun can be only "artificially" induced, then hanging out with your friends was not actual fun.

Communist
d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

In season 4 of The Simpsons there is an episode about Homer trying to stay sober. One joke (clip) has him watching a baseball game, and he realises how boring a game it is.

So, if you hanging out with friends is really so much fun, then also without alcohol it should be fun. Or, if the fun can be only "artificially" induced, then hanging out with your friends was not actual fun.

Telling other people what their 'fun' should be. 

Heard this stuff many times before from people with all different perspectives 'oh well if you gotta have drink/drugs either you as a person, or your hobbies are boring/unworthy/not really fun/shameful'.

It's not particularly original. Sound more like a priest if anything.

Maybe hanging out with one's friends is fun, and also having out with one's friends plus a big bottle of something nice is even more fun?

d-man
I didn't propose a definition

I didn't propose a definition of 'fun'. Perhaps your reproach is that I (personally) do not know what fun is. I don't think you would try such a cheap insult. Or perhaps your reproach is that we (in general) don't have a definition of fun? That can't be it either, because trying to define what fun is, would probably be considered an authoritarian way of thinking for you, or maybe it's just impossible to provide a definition of such a broad activity as 'liking' to do things. But if it's impossible to define, then how does one know alcohol-consumption is 'fun'? Perhaps it's not 'fun' really, but 'fun' is just a cover, that no reasonable people could oppose. Who would oppose 'fun'? Answer: only bad people. The bad people are trying to take away the fun...

Communist
No insult meant

Apologies - I didn't mean to suggest that you don't know what fun is - we've all got our own notions of what fun is, and personally I think that if you're not directly hurting others then all should be allowed to fulfil their desires, however silly. 

I've got friends who to be honest, 90% of the time when I see them its in the pub. They're still my friends though and I don't think the fact that i see them within an alcohol context detracts from that.

Pub life, drinking - his is just how some people live - drinking/pubs are an essential part of their social life. Some people might think that's shit but it is what it is. Maybe one day that will change, but until then the few comforts people have, that help them get through life, however trivial, shouldn't always be condemned

Communist
Apologies again

d-man wrote:

I didn't propose a definition of 'fun'. Perhaps your reproach is that I (personally) do not know what fun is. I don't think you would try such a cheap insult. Or perhaps your reproach is that we (in general) don't have a definition of fun? That can't be it either, because trying to define what fun is, would probably be considered an authoritarian way of thinking for you, or maybe it's just impossible to provide a definition of such a broad activity as 'liking' to do things. But if it's impossible to define, then how does one know alcohol-consumption is 'fun'? Perhaps it's not 'fun' really, but 'fun' is just a cover, that no reasonable people could oppose. Who would oppose 'fun'? Answer: only bad people. The bad people are trying to take away the fun...

Having read over your original comment again, I think I defintiely overreacted! All you did was provide an anecdote from The Simpsons which is a show I love.

I stand by the rest of what I said though, whilst also recognising that the mentality I criticise isn't neccessarily 'your' mentality.

 

d-man
working class culture?

Is pub life/drinking an essential part of the working class' social life? If I recall correctly in Weimar Germany the taverns were a place where the Nazis exercised their influence in neighbourhoods. But on the other hand, perhaps the large "Beer Halls" (in contrast to tiny pubs) were indeed good places for political organising, ie for socialists. I don't know for the past, but for today, I mostly don't associate them with places for organising. When I maintain that such "social places", where one can have "fun", can exist without alcohol, then I should address, how the pub will make money? Most pubs, I would guess, don't make much money already. In communism such places will not have to worry about making money, and so they would not need to sell alcohol (as their prime business).

Communist
Pubs/ 'Working class culture'

d-man wrote:

Is pub life/drinking an essential part of the working class' social life? If I recall correctly in Weimar Germany the taverns were a place where the Nazis exercised their influence in neighbourhoods. But on the other hand, perhaps the large "Beer Halls" (in contrast to tiny pubs) were indeed good places for political organising, ie for socialists. I don't know for the past, but for today, I mostly don't associate them with places for organising. When I maintain that such "social places", where one can have "fun", can exist without alcohol, then I should address, how the pub will make money? Most pubs, I would guess, don't make much money already. In communism such places will not have to worry about making money, and so they would not need to sell alcohol (as their prime business).

Certainly, the pub, up to a year ago occupied an important place in the community amongst my friends and family, and as soon as we're allowed in then it will regain this significance.

Obviously, however, if I was from a Muslim background then I'd be far less likely to care for pub clulture/drinking.

So I don't think it's right to speak of a 'working class' mono-culture. Ultimately, we aim for a classless society and a community of freely associated individuals to me this will mean the great explosion of many, many different ways of living and 'cultures'. These should be allowed to develop/wither-away organically, without anyone getting to decide does this have a 'place' in communist society. 

But yeah, putting the pub in the crosshairs of examination, it's gonna elicit a few knee-jerk reaction from folk like me

d-man
Can you explain the appeal,

Can you explain the appeal, ie what does alcohol add to the fun of a company of friends? I don't get it. Surely you had lots of fun with childhood friends, before you became of drinking age? And you mention family, but presumably pubs are not okay for children, and how many mothers (single or even married) are in the pub?

Communist
d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

Can you explain the appeal, ie what does alcohol add to the fun of a company of friends? I don't get it. Surely you had lots of fun with childhood friends, before you became of drinking age? And you mention family, but presumably pubs are not okay for children, and how many mothers (single or even married) are in the pub?

Does it have to be explained really? Either you like it or you don't. I'm sure you've perhaps got some hobbies/interests which wouldn't appeal to me, but I wouldn't expect you to have to justify them. And sure perhaps you feel pubs arent okay for children ( I was in one enough times as a child, btw), but does absolutely everything everywhere need to be PG Friendly fun for all the family? 

With regards to mothers in the pub, I would guess it's harder to be in the pub if you've got 24/7 childcare responsibilities. Perhaps in a less patriarchal society, with a better 'work/life' balance or even an end to such dichtomies, maybe mothers would go down to the pub more often. 

In the interests of humoring you I will tell you why I like drinking in the pub - as a place, I like it as it enables you to see people in your community - not just your friends but also other acquaintances who you might not otherwise contact. The truth is booze does, in my experience, loosen people up, and having a drink with my pals in the pub, well it's fun to me.

Human beings have been collectively getting mashed on drink/drugs for a long long time - it's not just a product of capitalism - although I would argue that the more extreme cases of addiction are indeed a product of the alienation inherent in capitalist society.

Maybe my love of the pub is sad and pathetic, but so what? 

Let us have our 'lumpen' pleasures :)

d-man
It's just a question, thanks

It's just a question, thanks for humoring me with your answer. You mention that alcohol "loosens" people up, but what does that concretely mean? Just before, you mentioned that the pub enables you to see people, that you might otherwise not contact. Is that really so, and why is that contact more enjoyable when drunk? I don't know. By "loosing up" I could imagine just increased talk, more talkative, likely in the form of rambling conversation, ie bullshit, that is forgotten the next day. Perhaps you just like having the attention of a listening ear to your ramble, or you like being the ear for someone else's ramble. Perhaps these contacts convey significant information about the community life, that is, gossip, but then, that can be done by sober old church ladies, ie "spilling the tea" as it is called. If you think drinking alcohol is so much fun, then it should be a pleasure to have the opportunity to express some deeper reflection on it.

Communist
Fair enough - you're not far wrong tbh

d-man wrote:

 By "loosing up" I could imagine just increased talk, more talkative, likely in the form of rambling conversation, ie bullshit, that is forgotten the next day. Perhaps you just like having the attention of a listening ear to your ramble, or you like being the ear for someone else's ramble. Perhaps these contacts convey significant information about the community life, that is, gossip, but then, that can be done by sober old church ladies, ie "spilling the tea" as it is called. If you think drinking alcohol is so much fun, then it should be a pleasure to have the opportunity to express some deeper reflection on it.

You're not far off - yes there's a lot of chit chat, mutual rambling - but it doesn't have to be stupid. I'd often have the same types of conversation I'd have on here in the pub. Or not. Or maybe just play a game of pool. Or maybe drink so much you end up singing and dancing and making a fool of yourself.

The truth is I am as militant about daftness, about silliness and good humour and all sorts of reckless abandon, as I am in my political attachment to the communist movement. 

I'm sure there's actually quite a humorous account out there of one of Karl Marx's own pub crawls across london...

d-man
It's possible to play pool,

It's possible to play pool, sing and dance, without alcohol. Making a fool of yourself is not difficult either without alcohol. I do not think alcohol is required in order to enable singing, dancing and chit chat, to make these activities "more fun", or in order for them to become classified as "reckless abandon" /making a fool of yourself. I think nowadays in themselves these activities (singing, dancing, chit chat, and so on) are considered ridiculous/embarrasing. That is, if a sober person now would sing and dance, you would consider them deranged (/schizo) – because how can a sober person be so happy in this world. We rarely see people sooo happy, that they dance/sing/chit-chat whilest sober. Genuine, non-artificially induced, fun, is considered perhaps even a threatening sign of sociopathy/harassment.

Communist
When Adam delved and Eve span who then was the lord

d-man wrote:

It's possible to play pool, sing and dance, without alcohol. Making a fool of yourself is not difficult either without alcohol. I do not think alcohol is required in order to enable singing, dancing and chit chat, to make these activities "more fun", or in order for them to become classified as "reckless abandon" /making a fool of yourself. I think nowadays in themselves these activities (singing, dancing, chit chat, and so on) are considered ridiculous/embarrasing. That is, if a sober person now would sing and dance, you would consider them deranged (/schizo) – because how can a sober person be so happy in this world. We rarely see people sooo happy, that they dance/sing/chit-chat whilest sober. Genuine, non-artificially induced, fun, is considered perhaps even a threatening sign of sociopathy/harassment.

In the kindest way possible, what point are you actually trying to make here? That you can have fun without alcohol - yeah absolutely I agree. Some people just prefer to do all them things AND have a drink. Let them have their fun. 

And no, I wouldn't consider anyone deranged for any of the above.

'Genuine, non-artificially induced fun' - who gets to decide what is 'genuine'?

I appreciate, that yes, perhaps discouraging alcohol is a good thing. But alcohol/drugs are not the only intoxicants.

I would also class the following as intoxicants of sorts:

Religion, Unhealthy food, POLITICS (even this one - we all have our political views, wishes and activities, but it gets tiring, being 'switched on' all the time), TV, even the pursuit of knowledge and truth become intoxicants.

If we start acting as arbiters of 'fun' or 'morality' we'll have an endless and fruitless task.

How should we live? It's so hard to say - for me all we can do is strive for a world which allows for the free development of all. 

d-man
As far as I understand, your

As far as I understand, your argument in defense of alcohol is, that drinking increases (or brings one quicker at) the fun, that a sober person is able to have. That seems like you rank genuine/sober fun lower on the fun-o-meter, though you give assurance, that you personally don't look down on sober singing/dancing/etc. as odd or deranged. You mentioned singing/dancing(/or whatever) as examples of reckless abandon/daftness, which is 'loosened'/unlocked in the person by alcohol. It is good that you concede that a non-deranged person can arrive at such maximum level of loosening/fun as singing/dancing/making a fool of yourself, without alcohol. My point though was, that if there exists here a social stigma, it would perhaps be more attached to these 'fun' activities (singing/dancing/daftness) in themselves, and not to alcohol-consumption as such. If this is correct, gathering the courage to do these stigmatised 'fun' activities would be required to overcome psychological hurdles/real social obstacles, and not grabbing alcohol. By using alcohol you don't yourself have the courage to overcome the psychological hurdle to have fun, and you use alcohol as a crutch to apologise (in society's eyes) for your having fun (like: 'I can't help the silly/fun things I'm doing, because I'm out of control-drunk').

 

Communist
My defence

My defence is that basically that people should generally get what they want. For as long as people want booze there will be booze. For as long as people want pubs there will be both.

If, as you say, drinking culture is a way of overcoming social stigmas, then I'm sure we can agree it's important to look at the conditions of that society - ie capitalist society.

If we accept that drinking culture is a product of an alienated existence within capitalist society then surely a revolutionary change in that society would, over time, see the love of drinking/pub culture gradually disappear. So be it, if that is the case, but it should be allowed to happen organically.

Personally, I'm not so sure it is merely a product of an alienated existence within capitalism. Sure that's part of it, but humans have been drinking as a communal activity for a long long time so perhaps some people within the field of anthropology might have more interesting answers than I, just some bloke who likes the pub!

Even in more tribal/indigenous societies, which exist on a kind of primitive communism, different types of communal intoxication exist. It's an old old thing, us humans been doing it a long time (some of us anyway)

Nonetheless, I appreciate your critique insofar as its given me thought about my own behaviour.

d-man
When you insist that 'people'

When you insist that 'people' should get what they want (as your defence), and that this want should only 'organically' change/disappear, it seems you conceive what the culture/society wants (/accepts/teaches) is automatically determined by (economic/social) conditions, and that in communism people cannot make choices about how they determine the society. Or, if I misinterpret you, and you do grant autonomy in this field (and I cannot see otherwise, for planning of production is set by the people), then, like I said in my OP in this thread, of course 'we the people' can decide to stop production of alcoholic beverages. So far I see only advantages for a decision to abolish alcohol industry.

Btw, now the total worth of the alcoholic beverage industry (as world market) is worth quite more than the total worth of the pharmaceutical industry, so think how much resources would be freed up.

Communist
d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

When you insist that 'people' should get what they want (as your defence), and that this want should only 'organically' change/disappear, it seems you conceive what the culture/society wants (/accepts/teaches) is automatically determined by (economic/social) conditions, and that in communism people cannot make choices about how they determine the society. Or, if I misinterpret you, and you do grant autonomy in this field (and I cannot see otherwise, for planning of production is set by the people), then, like I said in my OP in this thread, of course 'we the people' can decide to stop production of alcoholic beverages. So far I see only advantages for a decision to abolish alcohol industry.

Btw, now the total worth of the alcoholic beverage industry (as world market) is worth quite more than the total worth of the pharmaceutical industry, so think how much resources would be freed up.

What I mean is, there will always be people who want alcohol, thus the industry would remain, even if in a reduced form. As I see it, the only way in which the industry would stop is if absolutely nobody wanted any part in it - that ain't gonna happen. 

I don't see prohibiton going any better than in did in 1930s USA, and ultimately would unnneccessarily alienate people. 

But I'm not trying to convince you of the benefits of alcohol - I'm just saying even in a communist society there will still be people wanting a drink. At that point all that matters is that there are enough people wanting to actually work in the industry.

d-man
The existence of people with

The existence of people with a certain opinion, doesn't in itself validate that opinion as correct. Here we're talking about preference of consumption (+resource allocation for production), not an opinion, or is a consumption-preference actually an opinion, or more precisely, is a consumption preference/liking based on an opinion (ie argument)? You answer, that a preference/liking should not require an argument (/justification/opinion). Perhaps the question is, do (in reality) preferences have an underlying opinion/reasoning. Btw, when you appreciate this discussion for having given you 'thought about your own behaviour', you herewith classified consumption as a form of behaviour, though it is not just a behaviour (of yourself), but also of others (namely social resource allocation toward alcohol production). If what you preferred was to do merely an activity (eg sing and dance), it would require no resource allocation. So does a preference for resource allocation (ie planning production) require any justification? When you said that these decisions should be made 'organically', then it means, without conscious reasoning?

 

Communist
d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

The existence of people with a certain opinion, doesn't in itself validate that opinion as correct. Here we're talking about preference of consumption (+resource allocation for production), not an opinion, or is a consumption-preference actually an opinion, or more precisely, is a consumption preference/liking based on an opinion (ie argument)? You answer, that a preference/liking should not require an argument (/justification/opinion). Perhaps the question is, do (in reality) preferences have an underlying opinion/reasoning. Btw, when you appreciate this discussion for having given you 'thought about your own behaviour', you herewith classified consumption as a form of behaviour, though it is not just a behaviour (of yourself), but also of others (namely social resource allocation toward alcohol production). If what you preferred was to do merely an activity (eg sing and dance), it would require no resource allocation. So does a preference for resource allocation (ie planning production) require any justification? When you said that these decisions should be made 'organically', then it means, without conscious reasoning?

 

I gotta be honest d-man I can't keep up with the intensity of this debate

Communist
Resource Allocation

d-man wrote:

The existence of people with a certain opinion, doesn't in itself validate that opinion as correct. Here we're talking about preference of consumption (+resource allocation for production), not an opinion, or is a consumption-preference actually an opinion, or more precisely, is a consumption preference/liking based on an opinion (ie argument)? You answer, that a preference/liking should not require an argument (/justification/opinion). Perhaps the question is, do (in reality) preferences have an underlying opinion/reasoning. Btw, when you appreciate this discussion for having given you 'thought about your own behaviour', you herewith classified consumption as a form of behaviour, though it is not just a behaviour (of yourself), but also of others (namely social resource allocation toward alcohol production). If what you preferred was to do merely an activity (eg sing and dance), it would require no resource allocation. So does a preference for resource allocation (ie planning production) require any justification? When you said that these decisions should be made 'organically', then it means, without conscious reasoning?

 

With regards to resource allocation I suppose it depends on what degree of centralisation you forsee. I don't think it'd be like something where a central committee has control over all the booze-producing resources and then responds to an application with a yes/no. 

In communism, It won't just be a case of rational resource use - I think also we will also see people getting together to pursue all sorts of frivolous things, innovations etc... some will be great, some won't. 'Waste' will still exist to some extent. The difference will be that these 'means of production' finally become available to all - not just a group of capitalist owners or even 'proletarian' central planners however 'democratically' said planners have been elected.

d-man
One cannot so easily propose

One cannot so easily propose frivolous experiments when it is a question of health (eg dubious medications by pharmaceutical companies). People deserve good food, and even from within a pro-alcohol standpoint, most beers probably are poor-quality.

Tagore2
Lots of discussion since I

Lots of discussion since I was away! Here is my response to Communist:

This is because you do not view "recreational" mind-altering drugs as weapons of war. During the Vietnam War, the Vietcong favored drug trafficking within the US military in order to degrade, weaken and demoralize it.

Recreational psychotropic drugs are chemical weapons, like insecticides used against ants. To combat the ants, you use a special drug, poisoned honey, which makes the ants addicting. The ants bring the poison back to the anthill on their own, and when the queen eats it, the anthill is ruined.

So the question is, what is the social and military function of alcohol within the framework of the class struggle? Health issues, often put forward by the bourgeoisie, are actually quite secondary to political and military considerations.

When the class struggle intensifies, recreational psychotropic drugs will necessarily be used as weapons of war. Prohibition becomes a necessary protective measure of the military, as a helmet can stop a shrapnel. Alcohol and psychotropic drugs, in times of intense stress, are a powerful means of dissolving the army. Alcohol consumption, or on the contrary prohibition, has often been a decisive factor in military operations. For example, during the capture of the Winter Palace, the Red Guards captured completely drunk White Guards.

Outside of periods of intense class struggle, notably civil war, alcohol and psychotropic drugs are less problematic. That's why I wouldn't blame you for going to the pub if it makes you happy. I just want to bring the discussion to the political, military and class struggle levels, because that is where the issue interests me.

Communist
Tagore2 wrote:

Tagore2 wrote:

Lots of discussion since I was away! Here is my response to Communist:

This is because you do not view "recreational" mind-altering drugs as weapons of war. During the Vietnam War, the Vietcong favored drug trafficking within the US military in order to degrade, weaken and demoralize it.

Recreational psychotropic drugs are chemical weapons, like insecticides used against ants. To combat the ants, you use a special drug, poisoned honey, which makes the ants addicting. The ants bring the poison back to the anthill on their own, and when the queen eats it, the anthill is ruined.

So the question is, what is the social and military function of alcohol within the framework of the class struggle? Health issues, often put forward by the bourgeoisie, are actually quite secondary to political and military considerations.

When the class struggle intensifies, recreational psychotropic drugs will necessarily be used as weapons of war. Prohibition becomes a necessary protective measure of the military, as a helmet can stop a shrapnel. Alcohol and psychotropic drugs, in times of intense stress, are a powerful means of dissolving the army. Alcohol consumption, or on the contrary prohibition, has often been a decisive factor in military operations. For example, during the capture of the Winter Palace, the Red Guards captured completely drunk White Guards.

Outside of periods of intense class struggle, notably civil war, alcohol and psychotropic drugs are less problematic. That's why I wouldn't blame you for going to the pub if it makes you happy. I just want to bring the discussion to the political, military and class struggle levels, because that is where the issue interests me.

Oh sure yeah - I get you mentioned it in a different context. I was responding more to d-man who was talking about a communist society. 

d-man
Tagore2 wrote: Alcohol and

Tagore2 wrote:
Alcohol and psychotropic drugs, in times of intense stress, are a powerful means of dissolving the army. Alcohol consumption, or on the contrary prohibition, has often been a decisive factor in military operations. For example, during the capture of the Winter Palace, the Red Guards captured completely drunk White Guards.

Have you any source for this claim about arrest of completely drunk "White Guards" (like eg the women's battalion)? I think if reliance on alcohol during normal times is common, then during intense periods like civil war, it's inevitable that alcohol will be consumed. If workers during normal times already have the habit of not drinking, then they will be less tempted to start drinking during revolutionary period (and not be so easily tempted to take drugs, even if the devious enemy provided access to drugs almost for free).

Tagore2
Quote:

Quote:

In the palace the junkers were taking up positions in the corridors, on the stairway, at the entrances, and in the court. The outside sentries clung along the fence and walls. The building would hold thousands, but it held hundreds. The vast quarters behind the sphere of defence seemed dead. Most of the servants had scattered, or were hiding. Many of the officers took refuge in the buffet, where they compelled those servants who had not yet made their getaway to set out continual batteries of wines. This drunken debauch of the officers in the agonising palace could not remain a secret to the junkers, Cossacks, cripples and women soldiers. The denouément was preparing not only from without but from within.

Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, Chapter 45, The Capture of the Winter Palace

Tagore2
In the event of a revolution:

In the event of a revolution: do not hesitate to deliver alcohol free of charge to the police or to the white guards, under the pretext of going to "give them courage", to "party" while waiting for the "definitive" victory of the counter-revolution. The more alcohol, the better.

Conversely, warn the Red Guards and the workers against alcoholism, warn them that the police will send provocateurs with alcohol and/or alcohol mixed with sedatives and/or poison, because it is how war works, it is how the enemy prepares the ground before a military offensive.

If someone comes to the workers with alcohol, drive him out, and if the revolution is well advanced, shoot him as a counter-revolutionary spy.

Tagore2
Workers and red soldiers can

Workers and red soldiers can relax as they wish, as long as: the activities they organize do not weaken the workers' movement or the Red Army, in one way or another, in one time or another. Which means that certain precautions must be taken. Beyond these strict precautions, leisure is free.

d-man
I assume you did not forget

I assume you did not forget the title of your own thread ('How vodka ruined Russia') and the quotes by Lenin and Trotsky against policy of alcohol production. What occurs during leisure time affects the fighting/work (and during work/fighting itself I assume most bourgeois regulations already prohibit alcohol, as a matter of course).

Tagore2
> and during work/fighting

> and during work/fighting itself I assume most bourgeois regulations already prohibit alcohol, as a matter of course

Think again: alcohol consumption in the workplace is authorized in France. Alcohol consumption is encouraged by bosses and officers. It is a way of making workers and soldiers more docile.

I have an acquaintance, a cook, who reported to me that the boss always offered large quantities of alcohol to his workers, who, in return, stayed longer in the kitchen to work.

Alcohol has always been one form of in-kind payment for undeclared overtime. Cigarettes are also used.

When you want to do illegal work, it is not always possible to use conventional money, at the risk of getting caught. So they use commodities as currency, easily exchangeable, easily consumable. It is then very easy to remove the evidence of the offense, by smoking the cigarettes or drinking the bottles.

d-man
I doubt that say a surgeon

I doubt that say a surgeon doing operations, is allowed to drink on the job. Also, when drinking, it is already prohibited to drive in leisure time (so let alone if truck driver or bus driver).