I wish I would have seen Yulia Latynina’s Moscow Times editorial earlier. I would have found someway to incorporate it into my post on the Ukrainian election. No matter, the op-ed stands on its own. The beauty of Latynina’s rant, Letting Poor People Vote is Dangerous, is that she’s basically saying what I think every Western liberal wants to say, but can’t because it’s politically incorrect. I guess this is one reason why we should actually thank Latynina. Such honesty, no matter how despicable, is nonetheless refreshing. It’s a rare moment when class war toward the poor hangs all out at a time when its Western warriors shroud their class turpitude with identity politics.
Here’s a snippet to get a taste of her raving class hatred:
Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election — not unlike the victories of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler — once again raises doubt about the basic premise of democracy: that the people are capable of choosing their own leader. Unfortunately, only wealthy people are truly capable of electing their leaders in a responsible manner. Poor people elect politicians like Yanukovych or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
When the Orange Revolution hit Ukraine five years ago, the people arose in a united wave and did not allow themselves to be deceived by the corrupt elite. That elite had reached an agreement with the criminals and oligarchs of Donetsk to make a minor criminal, who could not string two sentences together, the successor to former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
I love this. Blame the poor. Grouping Allende with Ahmadinejad and Hitler!? WTF!? That’s okay. It’s not like Latynina was ever considered very smart. Fake-rage isn’t necessary here. It’s better to read between the lines to get at her true message. Only wealthy people, she says, are truly capable of electing leaders in a responsible manner. That’s true. Time and time again they use their wealth and influence “responsibly” (i.e. according to rational self-interest) to get leaders elected who will bend over backwards to protect their wealth and influence. The wealthy are not the most class conscious for nothing. Therefore, if this is truly the case, then such concrete class based materialism should be met with equally concrete class based materialism. This is why, as Zizek recently wrote, “Our Thesis 11 should be: in our societies, critical Leftists have hitherto only succeeded in soling those in power, whereas the real point is to castrate them . . .”
Then there is this comment, wholly based on the imagined America so fantasized by Russian liberals: “Can you imagine U.S. voters putting a leader in the White House who is a puppet of the ruling elite and criminal clans?”
Hey, Yulia, as the American people–from Tea Partyers to progressive dreamers–are starting to realize in their own particular ways: Yes, we can imagine it. It happens every election. Our leaders are just more adept at hiding the strings.
Let us not worry dear readers, Latynina isn’t completely down on the dark masses. They do have some role to play in the world-historical class struggle.
Poor people are capable of feats of bravery and revolution. They can storm the Bastille, overthrow the tsar or stage an Orange Revolution.
The rabble play their mob role well. But actually trust them with power? No way, apparently that is only for more civilized people.
With Latynina’s missive, it’s nice to see that Russian liberalism hasn’t matured since the nineteenth century. That’s a good thing because in the absence of reification is the presence of immediacy. It’s no wonder the muzhik was so happy to string up Russia’s liberal intellgenty when the opportunity arose and accept the excesses as mere collateral damage. Frank editorials like this prove that another good stringing appears to be in order.