Monday, August 31, 2009

Foreign poicy flunks left-wing history

Foreign Policy magazine has a fascinating selection of photos from David King's Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from the Revolution to the Death of Stalin.

But in the caption for the first photo, FP has a world-class howler. They write

Lenin stands on the left side of the bottom step with comrades at a Marx Day rally in Moscow's Red Square in 1919. On a gramophone record, Lenin mercilessly lambasted the leaders of Karl Marx's First International and the Third International organizations, saying: "They betrayed the workers, prolonged the slaughter, became enemies of socialism, and went over to the side of the capitalists." [emphasis added]
In reality, the First International, in which Marx and Engels had played leading, had ceased to exist in 1876 . It was the Second International, home of the reformist socialist and labor parties of the world, which Lenin attacked. It was Lenin himself who demanded the formation of the Communist, or Third International.

Don't let FP's howler divert you from King's book. If you are interested in Soviet history, it is something you will want to check out. King is the author of The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia, a classic.
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