This article was published in two halves, because space was short. It was written as one, and is posted here as such.
With Respect to Marxism and Leninism
- How Leninism Killed Imperialism and Racism
- Wars of Aggression
- What Changed
- Democracy – Real or Parliamentary?
Leninism was enormously successful from the 1920s to the 1950. Then fell apart in its European versions.
Marxism as a wider theme has been enormously successful for even longer than that. It remains so in many places, most notably People’s China. And remains a gigantic cultural influence, despite the angry rants of the right. And many ideas that were once socialist or ultra-radial have diffused into the general culture and are no longer seen as such.
China is still openly Marxist, but Post-Leninist. Post-Maoist also. No longer expecting World Revolution. Accepting that Market Forces have their uses, but refusing to let them dominate.
They also refuse to call themselves wrong for what they did in the past. But treat it as a matter of history rather than a lost ideal.
By contrast, the ideas of both New Right and liberal-left have proved rubbish when applied to real societies.
There has been a sharp fall in Western influence after its high point in the early 1990s. Notable failures are:
- Losing Russia
- Reviving Sectarian Islam, even in highly Westernised Turkey
- Losing China (apart from tiny highly-privileged Hong Kong)
- Losing culturally in India, and not gaining much economically
- Facing Illiberal Democracy in Middle-Europe; the former Soviet Bloc.
The New Right could not accept that it was a heavy draught of socialism that won the Cold War for the West. They were determined that the fragments of the fallen Soviet Union must not repeat the ‘mistakes’ of actual US policy to its former foes: Italy, West Germany and Japan.
It has all gone wrong for them, and they cannot understand why.
For me, the big error by the left was the post-Stalin view that Lenin had been heroic and Stalin criminal. Lenin created the basics of the system that Stalin consolidated. Trotsky and the others all approved on the new state-machine for as long as they were in charge of that machine. And Stalin took a number of tough and controversial decisions that led to a vast expansion of Soviet power.
The New Right are even further from the truth, saying that the October Revolution was a major error and that Lenin and Stalin were equally criminal. (Yet the Trotskyist influence lingers, and it is notable that many right-wing critics still speak of a fictitious ‘Stalinism’, when every effective form of Leninism has honoured Stalin.)
The New Right cannot deny the vast liberation that the world has enjoyed compared to what we had in 1900, or even 1950. They try to evade it. If pressed, they claim that all of it could have happened without any of that nasty leftism.
In the real world, ‘nasty leftism’ was usually the driving force. Along with nice leftism, which however was often ineffective.
The establishment might say, ‘over my dead body’.
Nasty leftist might say, ‘that’s fine by us’.
This shifted attitudes very nicely.
Liberation happens, in part because of violent revolutions.
Rather more because the threat of violent revolution scared the elite into giving back. And those countries were luckier, getting the benefits for free while the pain went elsewhere.
Events since the Soviet fall shows just how badly the elite still wants to misbehave.
They have also proved ignorant they are of how real societies work. They are skilled at manipulating what exists, but bad at actually preserving it. Good at shifting the blame, but with the rise of the Populist Right it becomes clear that gullible right-wing voters are not infinitely gullible.
When it came to creating something new, they were ineffective. The basics of the Mixed Economy remain in place. All that’s changed is that most of the benefits of economic growth now go to a small ultra-rich Overclass. Much more in the US than in Britain, and more in Britain than in Continental Europe. But a common feature is the failure to creating anything viable and new.
The Internet and its Social Media were imagined as the ideal forum for Libertarian ideas. There is now heavy pressure to regulate the Social Media. It is dominated by a few gigantic corporations. Most of these started out small, but followed the classic pattern of a fast-rising industry in that some of the small grow big and the rest are swallowed up or go bankrupt.
Though the looting of Russia in the 1990s was based on greed, it was very far from being intelligent self-interest. It was entirely predictable that the sharp economic decline would alienate a Russian population that imagined it was about to get West European prosperity and peaceful security. But the looting, crime and poverty were a foreseeable result of Western advice – advice that most of them were well paid for. If some of them sincerely believed that they were creating a Capitalist Utopia, they were fools.
It was also stupid to put such vast efforts into destroying Saddam in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya and try to do this to Assad in Syria. Obviously not nice people. But the type of people who could actually defend and advance something close to Western values in countries newly emerged into the modern world. Some of us said so at the time. But even most of the left fail to fully grasp this lesson. They encourage the relatively-privileged inhabitants of Hong Kong to try to overturn a Chinese political system that had brought peace and prosperity.
The New Right messed up, but the original errors were made in Moscow. And most of the left has a confused view of the matter.
A fair turn in the 1950s would have been for the Soviet leadership to say that many of Lenin’s original aims had been achieved, so that peaceful evolution might take care of the rest. Instead, they froze the entire Soviet Bloc into what it was in the 1950s.
Lenin supposedly overthrew democracy and created a dictatorship.
Lenin was actually taking a stand against a global system that had most of Europe at war with itself. That had organised mass slaughter with the encouragement of parliaments chosen by loosely democratic votes in the core of several rival Empires.
Loosely democratic, because women had no vote – they had none in France till 1944. And many countries including Britain had property qualifications for voting in 1914. It was only in the 1880s that a majority of British men got the vote.
Within the British Empire, colonies that were mostly white and culturally Near-British got self-government under assumed Metropolitan British leadership. Malta was an exception, assuming that Maltese counted as part of the White Race, which was disputed. A meaningless dispute, because the ‘White Race’ is an imagined entity within a larger interbreeding population extending far into Western Asia and including North Africa. The less sunny the weather where your ancestors lived, the lighter your natural skin colour. But in 1917 and well into the 1950s, the idea of a White Race and several other races evolving separately from pre-humans was still respectable science. Shaped the views of much of the Centre-Right, whereas the left and Communists especially pushed Human Unity.
Local Tories in the 1960s won what had been a safe Labour seat with the slogan “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour”. It became subtler later, and they did bring in some black faces committed to defending the privileged. But the USA has become much more blatant under Trump.
The first occasion on which a black man commanded white men among armed US citizens was in their section of the Communist-inspired International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Integrating the US military took much longer. And the early astronauts including the Apollo astronauts were all-white and all male, even though there were black and female pilots who could have met the standards. The Soviets made a nice gesture by putting the first woman into space, but then privately decided she was inferior. Sent no more until the USA started it and showed they were just as good.
Britain’s military was also racist. Commissioned Officers – all ranks above Sergeant – were almost entirely White. Also mostly middle-class or upper-class, but there were exceptions who matched the fictional Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwall’s novels. Even at the lower levels, sergeants and corporals, there were very few instances of Black commanding White.
The West Indian cricket team was always mixed-race: Britain had a social hierarchy that allowed the occasional Indian Prince or other gifted individual to mix, unlike the more democratic White Racism of the USA. But it was only quite late in the day that a non-white Captain was allowed.
British Communist leader Rajani Palme Dutt was the first major British politician who would not have been classed as a member of the White Race. And it was the Labour Party who much later gave some of them senior ministerial jobs, well before the Tories did.
Communist pressure once played a major role eroding racism. And socialists are the main force continuing it.
In 1917 when Lenin sought to overturn the existing world, there was general British resistance to self-government for colonies with a non-white majority. A few enlightened Imperialists hoped to allow this, but remained a minority. And before he became the hero of the Anti-Fascist War, Winston Churchill’s main contribution had been to sabotage a highly-feasible government attempt to give India the same Dominion status that white colonies had. The Government of India Act 1935 gave much less than was originally proposed, and Indian nationalists found it unacceptable.
Churchill was also far from anti-Fascist – as a Tory minister he had caused embarrassment by loud praise for Mussolini, whom he saw as no threat to British interests. And the Polish state for which Britain went to war was little better: a right-wing dictatorship that was hostile to Jews, though unlike the Nazis it would accept converts. Churchill joined with authentic anti-Fascists on the basis of the old notion that Germany was an intolerable threat to British hegemony. Chamberlain and the other Appeasers took the more realistic view that the British Empire had a better chance of surviving in partnership with Hitler. But Hitler’s understanding of global politics was full of ignorant self-confidence. His weird decision to make a temporary peace with the Soviet Union and wage war on Britain and France was the key error that created the modern world. But it must be admitted he came quite close to succeeding, regardless. Without the accident of the stubborn Churchill taking over in Britain and without the ruthless industrialisation that Stalin had carried through, Hitler would almost certainly have won.
The British Empire that Lenin defied in 1917 was normal for its era, though France was closer to modern norms in allowing small numbers of non-whites to be fully part of the elite. They accepted a few people of mixed race – Alexander Dumas was one, and much later part-Algerian Edith Piaf. Whereas mainstream British culture treated ‘half-casts’ as an offense and an embarrassment.
India got a parliament, but it never had significant power. In World War Two, Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders were jailed because they questioned the right of the British-appointed Governor-General to commit India to that war. The ‘Cripps Mission’ by a well-meaning leading member of the Labour Party demanded unconditional support in return for a hazy promise that India would get extra powers unless the British Parliament decided they were unfit for it. Since no one then foresaw a landslide victory for the Labour Party at the end of the war, they were justified in refusing it.
Both wars saw large numbers of Indian and other colonial troops fighting and dying, but still heavily discriminated against.
European governments in 1914 convinced the voters in the various rival Empires that each of them was fighting a defensive war. This went along with a belief that this very moral action would also produce selfish benefits. Many Britons had anyway felt that Germany must be prevented from displacing Britain as the world’s strongest state, regardless. But there was also a prejudice against an aggressive war.
Two countries that both just want to keep what they hold will not go to war. Nor was this actually the case.
Each side was persuaded that the other had started the war. But it was on the Allied side that there had been a strong desire for a war for some time. And not for defensive reasons, unlike Austria-Hungary hoping to curb the Serbian desire to absorb part-Serbian Bosnia.
Tsarist Russia wanted Constantinople. Was sympathetic to Serbia taking over Bosnia, whether or not a majority of those living there wanted it. Approved of Armenians having a gigantic Greater Armenia in lands where Armenians were mostly a minority. This was indeed widely felt: Christians in territories occupied mainly by Muslims ought to be in charge.
France had also nearly gone to war in 1905 and 1911, because Germany wanted compensation for a gradual French conquest of Morocco.
France also wanted to recover those portions of the ancient provinces of Alsace and Loraine that the Germans had taken in 1871 after a war that France had started. Wanted this even though most of those living there were content to be part of Germany. They also had a hankering for the remnants of the mediaeval Crusades: the territories that became The Lebanon.
A Jewish homeland was not then seriously considered. Most Jews fought bravely for the nation where they were born, seeing this as entirely compatible with their Jewishness. But uncommitted Jews saw Tsarist Russia as the main enemy – especially in the USA, where many had been driven out from the Tsarist Empire by pogroms that obviously had official tolerance. The British ruling class had a lot of anti-Jewish feelings, but did see them useful as settlers in the Empire. They also knew that awarding mostly-Muslim territories to the global Jewish community would enrage their Muslim subject. The Balfour Declaration happened when Britain looked likely to lose the war. It was based also on an exaggerated believe in a global network of Jewish influence. The only Jew in the British cabinet at that time was against it.
The British Empire wanted the Ottoman Empire territories that became Iraq and Kuwait. They were major sourced of oil, which had replaced coal as the main fuel of the British Navy. But much more importantly, many in Britain wanted a war to break Germany because of the growth of German trade and industry. The hope was that this could be done cheaply, using French and Tsarist armies while Britain sent only small land-forces. The plan was also to blockade and starve Germany, bending rules that suggested only military goods could be legally blockaded.
Britain had secretly agreed that Tsarist Russia could have Constantinople, which they had frequently opposed before then. The original ‘Jingoism’ had said ‘the Russians shall not have Constantinople’, but now Germany was seen as the bigger threat.
When the war bogged down, Britain promised Italy chunks of Austria-Hungary. Most of it ended up as Yugoslavia, perhaps because Italy had fought badly. But it was as a supporter of this war and later as a protester at the disappointing peace that Benito Mussolini moved from socialism to a blend of socialism and nationalism that he called Fascism.
Germany itself had been content with what it had in 1914. But not willing to see Austria-Hungary broken up with its non-German and non-Hungarian peoples deciding for themselves. And quite willing to expand once they found themselves winning a war.
The ‘infamous’ Brest-Litovsk Treaty gave non-Russian territories independence from the Tsarist Empire. This included an independent Ukraine, but not including Crimea, which was only attached to Ukraine by Khrushchev in the 195s0.
Had the war ended with a German victory, territories within the Tsarist Empire in 1914 would have been split up on lines similar to what we have now. Vast numbers of wars and massacred would have been avoided. There might not have been the expulsion of vast numbers of unwanted minorities – mostly Jewish but not entirely Jewish. And the mass killing of millions of Jews and others would have been unlikely in the extreme. Even the Nazi regime had to pretend to most of its citizens that Jews were being resettled somewhere in the east.
It was the USA joining the war that ensured Germany would be defeated.
The USA, with a tradition of anti-Imperialism, had nevertheless taken over the Philippines from Spain, viciously supressing a home-grown independence movement. They also dominated nominally independent countries like Cuba and Nicaragua. Intervened to try to block the Mexican Revolution.
Everyone was agreed that China should be bullied and dominated. Japan took over those portions of China that Germany had dominated, and was given legal possession of them by the Versailles Treaty. But were offended that they could not get an official declaration that Japanese, at least, were equal to members of the White Race.
I’ve seen a serious academic history that claims it was about immigration. But Japanese would have been content to let each sovereign state make its own immigration policy. They just wanted the various White Racist powers that had won World War One would agree that Japanese, at least, were equal to the White Race.
There was good reason to doubt. The Ottoman Empire was treated as an equal for centuries, but was now being carved up and its Arab territories put under European control. Had Ataturk a few years later not successfully driven foreign armies out of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, Istanbul and large parts of the Anatolian Peninsula would have come under European control. A gigantic Armenia including much territory with a Muslim majority would have emerged.
China, as I mentioned, was nominally independent but dominated by huge foreign concessions. Only when Mao kicked them out in 1949 did China become genuinely independent.
The other notable non-white survival was Ethiopia, then more commonly known as Abyssinia. When Mussolini waged a war against it, there were only lukewarm protested. Leading British novelist Evelyn Waugh wrote two books about it – Waugh in Abyssinia which is solidly in favour of Mussolini, and Scoop which tries to treat it as a joke. It was assuredly not a joke for some of the last independent Africans to be conquered with the free use of poison gas.
As with the use of poison gas by Saddam’s Iraq, it was only treated as an unforgivable atrocity when it suited British power politics to make war on the offender.
The conquest of Abyssinia was just another stage in the conquest of sovereign states not dominated by the so-called White Race. The number of sovereign states probably reached an all-time low during the First World War. And between this and the ending of Colonialism from the 1940s to 1960s, it was mostly new sovereign states in Europe and seen as properly White.
Japan at Versailles wanted official equality with the White Race. This was not what most of the leading politicians believed. They were not going to sign up to anything that questions the dominance of the White Race.
Woodrow Wilson was a noted racist who extended discrimination in the Federal Government.
Woodrow Wilson was also not a true believer in the Self-Determination he used for propaganda. I have detailed elsewhere how even his famous 14 Points broke this principle. He planned to give the territory of other peoples to both Poland and Serbia as a reward for their part in the War Effort. Serbia expanded to be Yugoslavia, which removed the need to take non-Serb territory to give them access to the sea. But in line with Wilson, Poland got a ‘corridor’ of majority-German territory and the ancient port of Danzig was given special status. This last was the immediate cause of World War Two. Hitler was willing to concede the corridor, but wanted Danzig reunited with Germany. Poland, seeming secure with the backing of France and the British Empire, refused to give him anything.
Most socialists who had political power and Members of Parliament went along with the rush to war in 1914. They voted for War Credits, and some of them joined wartime governments. And most of those who held out favoured pacifism. Pacifism is an admirable idea, but pacifists have no hope of winning against anyone who will use unlimited brutality. No chance against various aggressive right-wing creeds that were enormously strengthened by the First World War. Fascism is the best-known of these, but they were many.
On the left-wing side, only Leninism was at all effective. And when Leninism split, only the majority movement led by Stalin counted for anything. Not one Trotskyist movement anywhere or at any time has ever been a significant revolutionary force. From equally small beginnings, Maoist movements overthrew the Old Order in Nepal, are significant in India and at one time were significant in Peru and South Arabia.
Leninism minus Stalin equals Nonsense. And it has been nonsense that has vastly damaged left-wing causes. The Trotskyist version has got everywhere, and needs to be seen as a mistake before we can get anywhere.
European Leninism was enormously successful from the 1920s to the 1950s, and then fell apart.
Fell apart because it did not acknowledge that the world-order that Lenin had rebelled against had changed massively.
Both Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt had borrowed ideas that socialists had long advanced. Ideas about economics and welfare, in line with earlier borrowings by Bismarck and others.
Roosevelt was also mildly in favour of socialist and progressive social values. He could not do much about racism: he needed the votes of Southern Democrats who would not tolerate much change. But he did what he could, while concentrating on the important matters of restoring the US economy. And then going on to get the USA to do enough to help defeat Japanese Imperialism and European Fascism.
Hitler was strongly regressive on most social issues – including being hostile to abortion among those he saw as Racially Superior. His party claimed not to be left or right. But where it counted, he was solidly right-wing. The Centre-Right found his values acceptable, and those of Leninism a massive threat. And not all traditional right-wingers like capitalism or dislike state power.
But things were different after 1945. What was done in those parts of Europe held by the Soviet armies made no sense unless the aim was to integrate them by stages into a massively enlarged Soviet Union. If we believe what Milovan Dilas says in his book Conversations with Stalin, that was exactly Stalin’s intention. It would make sense of treating other socialists as enemies in these new territories, which re-opened the bitter antagonism to Global Leninism that had subsided in the War Against Hitler.
If that was the aim, it failed. An enlarged Soviet Union as a step towards a benevolent World State would have kept alive hope and idealism. H G Wells even has a version of it in his 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come, and he was typical of his times. But Khrushchev and Brezhnev had no coherent ideas, and the idealism died. Was massively damaged by Khrushchev’s invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Brezhnev’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Czechoslovakia in particular had its own home-grown enthusiasm for socialism, and had always been fairly pro-Russian. Had even enthused for the crushing of Hungary in 1956. But over time they lost hope.
‘Back to Lenin’ was a senseless idea. And so was ‘Markets Without Capitalists’, the economic ‘reform’ tried by the dominant faction of the post-Stalin leadership. It attached miraculous properties to ‘Market Forces’, in a way that was later taken up by the New Right. But it left out what was actually the main benefit of a capitalist system. It had no provision for enterprises to start out small and grow very big if customers liked the product.
Success in the post-Stalin pseudo-markets depended on pleasing senior officials who had often been there for decades and disliked new ideas.
China is still Marxist, yet Post-Leninist. Since Marx had a low view of Parliamentary systems, it is quite consistent to keep the Leninist structures of Democratic Centralism. A hierarchy of elections, with people trusted to choose the best people from among those they know. And these in turn choosing among themselves the best people to have power at a higher level.
Liberals cheat by assuming that a multi-party parliamentary system with a regular switch between Government and Opposition must be the best system, even when it fails to work. They refuse to call any other system ‘democratic’, even if a majority of the population approve of it.
They also ignore the other meaning of ‘democratic’ – people can rise high regardless of origin. Just now, the Tory Cabinet is dominated by the children of rich and privileged parents. Even Labour has fewer members from working-class background than it once had. The Labour Left in the 1970s was horribly naïve, selecting MPs who would voice all of the approved left-wing sentiments. Many of these were from very privileged backgrounds, and later ‘returned to their roots’ to become Blairites. And as far as I know, the current Corbynist wave is also neglecting social origins, while insisting on enforceable quotas for everything else.
Liberals cheat again when a multi-party parliamentary system produces a result that offends them. As in Turkey, the Republic of India, Poland, Hungary etc.
They reject the Democratic Centralist notion of people choosing those best to hold power from among those they know. Consider their own system fine even though most voters in Western countries have little idea who they are electing.
Choosing those best to hold power from among those you know was the reality in England’s original mediaeval House of Commons. (And likewise Scotland.) This might not be the person you most liked or even trusted. People would often be chosen because they had Good Connections and could be expected to look after those who voted for them. And note that all voting was public until the 1880s, when this was sensibly changed to stop ordinary people being bullied into voting for the choices of the rich.
England’s Parliament was part of a wave of Parliamentary systems that swept through Europe in early mediaeval times, and came relatively late to England. The ‘Commons’ were elected by people who were part of the ruling class, but not individually powerful enough to be in the House of Lords.
The 1832 Reform gave a vote to maybe one-seventh of the adult males – no women till 1918. It was only in the 1880s that a majority of adult males in the British Isles got the vote – and since Catholic Irish were generally poorer, probably a majority of them had no vote till they returned Sinn Fein overwhelmingly in 1918. And it is likely that in mediaeval times, considerably less than one-seventh of the adult males were qualified to vote. Property qualifications became easier with the long slow inflation that happened even before Paper Money.
(Qualifications varied, but a common rule from 1492 was those owning freehold land worth 40 shillings. It still applied after the 1832 reform, even though 40 shillings in 1492 would have been equivalent to somewhere between £12 and £26 in the money of 1832. £10,000 to £33,000 in modern money, and that was in an era where far fewer people owned their own houses than they do today.
There were sound reasons for Marxists and Leninists showing limited respect for a Parliamentary system that was mediaeval in origin, and never designed to be democratic. There was also the horrible examples of the failed wave of revolutions in 1848, and the messy French Revolution in 1871. ‘Constituent Assemblies’ of the sort that the Bolsheviks dispersed after getting just 25% of the seats had a solid record of failure and weakness.
There is much less excuse for attempts to evade awkward outcomes in countries in which Parliaments had been functionally democratised. Where the power of monarchs had diminished to that of respectable and mostly ceremonial Heads of State. Scandinavian countries remain an outstanding success for socialism. The three of them that had traditional monarchies sensibly retained them.
But I’d not say the Marxist anti-Parliamentary view was wrong: merely outdated. The Moderate Socialist assumption that Democracy can only be Multi-Party Representative Democracy is definitely wrong. And socialists should look at the merits of other possible systems. Elections based on occupation are unfortunately associated with fascism: but the idea is much older than fascism and used to be strong on the left. It exists now mostly as Syndicalism, which I do not agree with. But Britain might sensibly move its Parliament from the increasingly-unimportant territorial seats and towards the various trades and professions.
It would also be perfectly feasible to have uneven representation. Let each MP in the new system cast a vote with the authority of just those who voted for them. So someone from an occupational group of some 50,000 but who only got the votes of 28,341 votes would case just that many votes. Another from a group of 34,000 who got 31,219 would have slightly greater weight. It might seem complex, but something as simple as a standard Spreadsheet could tot up such totals without difficulty.
Pending any such radical reform – and pending proof it could work well – we in Britain should be modest in what we demand of the rest of the world.
The Democratic Centralist system of China should be accepted as a decent functional system, rather than being hysterically denounced even by most people on the left. It is true that a few hundred top people, mostly male, have total control of the system when they are broadly agreed. That while the People’s Representatives could theoretically vote throw them out and start a new system, this is utterly unlikely to happen. But exactly the same is true in Japan, nominally a case of Capitalist Democracy. Likewise Singapore. And it is mostly the reality behind most Western systems of Parliamentary Democracy, though in messier ways and increasingly including women. And competitive political systems give undue power to rich business interests that take a much more short-termist view than any governing elite.
A system with a governing elite holding power with the consent of the majority has considerable merits. Among other things, it ensures that no one like Donald Trump could get control of the state machine. Nor the lesser examples: ‘Boris ‘Smugenough’ Johnson, or the bunch of clowns running Italy before the recent shift of coalitions. Or the actual clown turned politician now ruling Ukraine, though he is not obviously worse than the alternatives.
A system with a governing elite would also avoid a leader risen using sectarian hatred. This is undeniably true in India, previously celebrated by Western thinkers as ‘the world’s largest democracy’. Awkwardly, it turns out the ‘democracy’ means ‘what the majority want’ rather than what the Western elite think they should want.
In the case of Mr Modi in India, there is hope he will be the least bad way out of the mess that India had fallen into under previous weaker governments. There are worse examples. Sri Lanka would have been much wiser to let the Tamils have their small northern state. Former Western idol Aung San Suu Kyi has been part of a discreditable intolerance towards impoverished Muslims in mostly-Buddhist Myanmar (Burma). Rwanda and Burundi both have the minority Tutsi holding effective power, with the appalling Rwandan massacred provoked by a Western-backed Tutsi army reconquering the land they or their parents had earlier fled. And so on.
Given the mess the New Right have made of the world, and the failure of the Clinton / Blair version of leftism to improve the world, those of us from a Marxist and Leninist background have nothing we need apologise for. The world as moved on, but it was mostly our sort of people who did the positive moving.
 Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War by Margaret MacMillan