Sabotage In Petrograd

Orlando Figes’ magisterial history of the Russian Revolution mentions accusations of “sabotage” by Petrograd industrialists. Now, that word derives from discontented workers smashing the modern machinery that replaced them. So what would it mean for the employer to commit sabotage? As far as I could see, and I would have appreciated greater detail, the Bolsheviks meant that the manufacturer was running down production. Why he should do this in the middle of a losing war was unclear, but I assume they were claiming sinister reasons of personal profit.

One is reminded of the current mania for “financialisation”, which seems to involve getting rich while not actually producing anything, by means that would once have been called “projection” (by Swift), “speculation” or “corruption”. The key to this new century appears to be that when you dismantle anything, you can sell the pieces for more than the functioning whole had been worth. In which case there must have been something amiss with our previous valuation.

This has all happened before. When the Franks smashed the Byzantine Empire in 1204, they parcelled out the wreckage to freebooters. The operation has been compared to taking a hammer to a fine watch and then auctioning the components separately. It obviously worked out for certain individuals. In something of the same way, under Thatcher the obsolescent British industry inherited from a century of imperial distraction by overseas profits was not refurbished but annihilated. Meanwhile, the Koreans and their neighbours seemed to be doing exactly the opposite.

Were it really to be the case that a hegemonic China were to take an interest in making things to dig with, while the old West cared only about taking apart the spade in order to do derivative financial acrobatics with the handle and the blade separately, then our tame media will have to work harder on the Sinophobia. Because otherwise the “ordinary minds” in our population will tend to take the Chinese side.

Posted on September 7, 2009 at 09:28 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Age Of Enron-cence

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