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50 Years Ago: Russia Puts the Clock Back

In the first flush of Bolshevik victory radical parties all over the world acclaimed the victory and gave them generous support, even where they had doubts on some of the methods adopted. The German Social Democratic Party, when threatened, sent to Russia the writings of Marx and Engels and other archives for safe-keeping, believing that Russia was now a budding free Socialist state where writings and documents would be safe from interference. How wrong they were!

It soon became evident that Russia was not embarked upon even a democratic society. The secret police and the concentration camp were on the way.

The mass of the Russian people knew nothing about Socialism; most of them could not even read. The peasants, who formed the bulk of the population, wanted land, and all wanted peace and bread. It was on the basis of the peace, bread and land programme that the Bolsheviks were enabled to seize power.

Once in power the Bolsheviks established what they misnamed the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. In fact, it was nothing of the kind. It was not even the dictatorship of the Bolshevik party (which again they misnamed the Communist Party), but the dictatorship of a small inner group with Lenin as the guiding star. They established a system of treachery and terrorism, first against opposing elements and eventually internally against those who would not abjectly submit to the dictates of the inner circle. In the end this led to members of the inner circle trying to destroy each other. It reproduced the position in the French Revolution when one group ate another until finally Napoleon was left at the top. First Trotsky, then Kamenev, Zinoviev and Radek fell victims to the terrorism they had built up. Fortunately for him, Lenin died before he could become a victim of the system in which he was the leading actor.

(From article by Gilmac in Socialist Standard, June 1962)