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Where Russia Stands

After the Bolsheviks had obtained possession of power their outlook and tactics underwent certain fundamental changes.

Before the upheaval Lenin had set out certain propositions, absolutely essential, in his opinion, as a programme for the Russian Communist Party. These propositions are contained in a pamphlet entitled: "Towards Soviets. Thesis and a letter on Tactics." ("International Library" 14, published by the late British Socialist Party.) In order to illustrate some of the changes in views and methods practice forced upon the Bolsheviks, we will deal with some of the propositions mentioned. On page 6 appears the following :

"While we are in the minority, we carry on the work of criticism and explanation of mistakes, urging at the same time the necessity of the transfer of all power to the Councils of Workers' Deputies, in order that the masses may free themselves from mistakes by actual experience."

Where Russia Stands. Our Attitude Supported by Latest Literature

A large quantity of literature now exists in connection with the Russian question. While much of the information is contradictory, and a confused assortment of statements, still we can glean sufficient from it to enable us to make a fairly accurate survey of the general position, although details of certain matters, such as the method of taking the vote, are still lacking.

Conditions Favoured Bolshevists

From this literature we can see what the conditions were that enabled the Bolsheviks to obtain possession of power, and to retain their hold upon it up to the present time.

The Force of Conditions

How correct was Marx’s deduction from his social studies, that a society

   “can neither clear by bold leaps nor remove by legal enactments the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development. But it can shorten and lessen the birth pangs." (Preface to Capital.)

is shown by the present position in Russia. When the Bolsheviks had obtained control of power it was pointed out that the economic conditions of a country still largely in a feudalistic state, with the bulk of its population consisting of peasants, prevented the establishment of social control of the means of life. The blind followers of the Bolsheviks answered by pointing to the vast mass of propagandist literature circulated among the peasantry—8o per cent.

Where Russia Stands

 < continued from June 1921

On the question of whether a Socialist Revolution is possible without, as a prerequisite, a majority of the population understanding Socialism, and being in favour of it, we have contradictory views expressed by the Bolsheviks. We will quote some opposite statement as examples of their confusion.

Lenin states on one occasion :

"The first problem of any rising political party consists in convincing the majority of the population that its program and politics are correct. … The second problem of our party was the conquest of political power and the suppression of the resistance of the exploiters." (The Soviets at Work, p. 10.)

He puts this point of view even more strongly in Left Wing Communism, as witness the following:

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