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Russian Peasants

Editorial: Where Bolshevism Fails

Ten Years that prove our case.
It may appear paradoxical to write of the failure of a movement which has controlled the political machinery in the largest country in Europe for a decade. Success or failure, however, must be measured in relation to the avowed object of the movement. In England we have had, for generations, a movement (known as the Co-operative) which claimed to supersede capitalism. In fact, it has developed into a department of capitalist society. Similarly the Soviet Government employs wage slaves (like any other State), produces commodities for sale at a profit and arranges concessions with other capitalist concerns, private or national; at one time feared and execrated by capitalist politicians it is now treated on level terms at World Councils of the Powers. Why?
The Bolshevist coup of November, 1917, was no miracle.

Bolshevism and the Russian Peasants

 In the early days of the Bolshevik regime, when we were giving Bolsheviks full credit for the magnificent efforts they were making on behalf of the working class, we met with violent abuse from many 100 per cent. revolutionaries, who, fresh from supporting the war, had just discovered that Kerensky whom they hailed was no better than President Wilson whom they hailed before him.

 They were unable to understand that it is not wise, nor even helpful, to credit men with actions which are in the nature of the case impossible. We said then that, with the best will in the world, the Bolsheviks could not establish Socialism in Russia; certain other things they could do and did do. In particular we said that the peasants, the great majority, did not understand Socialism, and did not want it. It was also quite apparent that nothing fundamental could be done without their consent.

Democracy and Dictatorship in Russia

 The unflagging interest in Russian conditions is forcing a wider discussion of the implications of Socialism. On the one hand the 100 per cent. Bolsheviks, as they style themselves, accept everything done by the Soviet Government as the best of all policies, and invite the rest of workers of the world to follow out the same policy. On the other hand, the open enemies of the workers, together with the more insidious agents bought by the master class, claim that everything the Bolsheviks have done is wrong and opposed to progress, liberty, and the rest of the cant phrases of our masters.

 The leaders and supporters of Bolshevism, however, are attempting to defend in discussion many of their methods which cannot be justified from the Socialist standpoint. These methods, viewed in the light of what limited knowledge the “freedom of the Press” allows us, seem to to be due to—

    Capitalist intervention and counter-revolution.

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