Bolshevism/Russian nationalism.

April 2024 Forums General discussion Bolshevism/Russian nationalism.


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    Editorial: Where Bolshevism Fails.

    Where does Bolshevism fail?


    1917 in Russia was indeed stirring but we have to distinguish the difference between the February and the October events.

    There is no doubt that February was the start of a social revolution. There is, however more debate about October with questions about if it was a Bolshevik coup or putsch, a mere power-grab.

    There are differing opinions on some issues within the SPGB. Some think Lenin and his party were genuine socialists who were inevitably bound to fail to introduce socialism because the conditions weren’t there for this and that their method of minority dictatorship was wrong. While other members believe the Bolsheviks were elitists (Jacobinists or Blanquists) determined by the whole of their past histories and ideological roots, and they could not have acted otherwise than they did. That it was inevitable they were always going to establish the rule of a new elite even though they labelled themselves socialists.

    Another view is the tradition of the Bolsheviks is not based on the 2nd International but rather on the Narodnik principle of a professional revolutionary organisation. The Bolsheviks created their particular, typically Russian type of political organism.

    The essence of the debate is simple, did the Bolsheviks desire the working class to control its own destiny or did it simply use the working class as stepping stones to political power and a totally different agenda from one of workers’ self-management?

    Was the Bolshevik elitism a product of the decision to build state capitalism in Russia in the aftermath of the October revolution. Or was it the other way around, the decision to build state capitalism was an inevitable product of the Bolsheviks’ elitism.

    Contrary to some of my comrades I do not doubt the Bolsheviks’ sincerity, only their judgement when it came to choices.

    (1) To share power with bourgeois parties
    (2) to entrench themselves in intransigent opposition and decline the responsibilities of power
    (3) to try to seize power by force.

    Number 3 was the Bolshevik answer and it was ultimately a failure. It failed to produce socialism and necessarily failed to do so because even in power and ruling by diktat, the Commissars of the people, still found themselves face-to-face with hard economic reality.

    But the course of history could have been very different.

    It was Lenin’s April Theses that set the Bolshevik party on the road to the October insurrection but prior to Lenin’s return, the Bolshevik leadership was pursuing a policy of critical support for the Provisional government, holding the view that since the Russian bourgeoisie was incapable of bringing about a bourgeois revolution, this task would have to be carried out by the proletariat supported by the peasantry, but that the revolution could not go immediately beyond the stage of establishing a bourgeois republic.

    In February, the Petrograd proletariat had carried out this “bourgeois revolution” with the support of the peasant soldiers. Now that the bourgeois republic was in place, the next stage was not the immediate struggle for working-class power, but a period of bourgeois democracy.

    (a) Lenin abandoned this stageist view which he had himself defended under the slogan of “the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry”, and argued for no support for the Provisional Government, and for agitation for power to the Soviets. It was not inevitable that his view prevailed. The Bolshevik party might have continued its policy of critical support for and pressure on the February regime.

    (b) Having steered the Party on its new course, Lenin had to fight again in October to commit the party to insurrection against the opposition of Zinoviev, Kamenev, etc. It is not inconceivable that Zinoviev and Kamenev might have carried the day and there would have been no October.

    (c) Even after October there was the possibility of a viable coalition Bolshevik-Menshevik-SR government, based either on the Soviets or a combination of the Constituent Assembly and the Soviets as organs of local power and administration. This opportunity foundered against the mutual intransigence of the Bolshevik hardliners on one side and the Menshevik and SR right-wing on the other. But in both camps there were conciliatory wings, the Menshevik Internationalists and some Left SRs and the Bolshevik “moderates” – Kamenev, Rykov, Nogin, etc.

    A coalition government of Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and SRs, having a much broader-based support than a purely Bolshevik one, would have been able to confront the White Armies more successfully, and thus shortened the ensuing civil war and reduced the destruction of the economy.

    What would the SPGB have done if in such a situation?

    In my view, the point of a revolutionary movement in a pre-revolutionary situation is always to ensure the growth of proletarian power and to defend that class.

    The Bolsheviks failed to do so, emasculating what workers’ organisations and democratic processes that arose.

    Our case is that the revolution was inevitably capitalist, and so the issue then as framed by Martov was to make it as much democratic as it could be made, something that was not possible in a scheme of a minority party seizing power.

    Lenin opportunistically and temporarily favoured the soviets rather than the parliamentary system because he knew that he could achieve a majority under the former but not the latter. It was precisely because they were the best-organised and most disciplined group that the Bolsheviks finally emerged as the government of revolutionary Russia following the collapse of the Tsarist regime – and they came to power by successfully manipulating the soviets.

    The takeover of political power by the Bolsheviks obliged them to adapt their programme to those undeveloped conditions and to constantly compromise and make continual concessions to the capitalist world around them.

    In the absence of the world socialist revolution, there was only one road forward for semi-feudal Russia, the capitalist road, and it was the role of the Bolsheviks to develop industry and commerce through state ownership and the forced accumulation of capital.

    The SPGB would classify the Russian Revolution as a bourgeoise revolution without the bourgeoisie.

    The SPGB argument is that the material conditions in Russia meant the development of capitalism, which the Bolsheviks were unable to avoid. In fact, they became its agents.

    The Bolsheviks, finding Russia in a very backward condition, were obliged to do what had not been fully done previously, i.e. develop capitalism. The Bolsheviks, however, thought it possible for an active minority, representing the aspirations of the workers, to gain political power before the capitalist revolution itself had been completed.

    But what would happen if such a minority gained a political victory over the capitalist classes?

    Briefly, in those circumstances, the minority becomes merely the tools of the capitalist class, which has not been potent enough to gain or hold power. Such a minority finds itself in the position of having to develop and run capitalism for a class unable, at the time, to do it successfully itself. In running capitalism, the minority will be compelled to use its power to keep the working class in its wage-slave position.

    The SPGB argue that Lenin far from changing the course of history, it was the course of history which changed him. Lenin made a great miscalculation. He believed that the working masses of the western world were so war-weary and were ready to overthrow their governments. Unfortunately, for various reasons with the exception of these masses had neither the knowledge nor the organisation necessary for such a movement and no response was given to the call although it did appear the time was ripe.

    Russia could not escape its destiny.

    But as Victor Serge pointed out, the Russian Revolution had the seeds of Stalinism within it but it also had many other different seeds that could have sprouted.


    The followers of Leninism and Bolshevism are worst than the Evangelicals, everything is written on the works of Lenin, Stalin, Mao,Trotsky, and Enver Hoxha and still they do not believe the adverse and anti communists ideas written by them, specially the concept where Lenin accept that the Soviet Union was a state capitalist economy and his last writings when he accepted that the Soviet state was equal to the prior state of the Zarist, you can show them the pages, the citations, and the volumes and they will not accept it , at least some evangelicals read the Bible. I do not pay attention to their arguments anymore, I continue like Johnny Walker


    All the Bolsheviks leaders ( excluding Trotsky ) knew the meaning and the definition of socialism, and the conditions needed to establish a new society, and despite that they lead a coup and they continued with the lies of a workers state until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and without that lies socialism would have been in a much better stand in our times.

    When they were isolated and they knew that a socialist revolution never took place in France and Germany they created the concept of socialism in one country and it was one of the worst theory created by them, and most of their theories were elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin, and Lenin was like a vacuum cleaner, and he took conceptions from different sources, He was not ambivalent, he was just an opportunist

    As we have written Bolshevism is just the combination of the vanguard party to lead and the theory of the permanent revolution, and both came from Karl Kautsky ( second international, Ferdinand Lasalle, and Jacobin ) and Trotsky distortion of Marx speech on the permanent revolution, and both theory are wrong, therefore, the whole political platform of the Bolsheviks was completely wrong since the very beginning, and their initial slogan were populists


    She was also wrong because capitalism never collapsed, they broke away from Trotsky but they never left trotskyism, and they broke away from the vanguard party but they never left Leninism, and Trotsky was the worst theoretician of the Bolsheviks, he never knew what socialism really is like the other leaders


    Which would absolve Trotsky from being the wilful distorter that the others were, were he not a killer of workers.


    He was part of the massacre of the marines, and he was a despot when he was the head of the red army, and proposed the militarization of the work place. He did Lenin did works while Lenin was in France, He has been anointed by his followers, and the only different between him and Stalin was the style of state management of how to dominate, exploit and control the working class. We have several articles about him which show that he was not an altar boy ar a Boy Scout


    I know. He was also called the Butcher of the Ukraine.


    I once did an informal talk on Trotsky for my branch

    My notes can be read at my personal blog


    Thanks. My father told me that before the Russian Revolution, Trotsky had attended one or two of our meetings in London. Is that true?
    I know Harry Young had met Lenin and others in Moscow the same time John Reed was there.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Thomas_More.

    Harry Young dismissed the claim he met Lenin. He says he saw him at a conference.

    Well worth a listen to him name-dropping a lot of left personalities

    Did Trotsky attend any SPGB meetings?

    I have not read if he had. If he did it was at the very beginning of the Party as he lived in London from 1902 when he met Lenin for the first time in person in October 1902

    And went back to Russia for the 1905 Revolution in February.

    Nor did John Lennon write Imagine after hearing an SPGB speaker. I have heard that one too.


    The Marxist Humanist they do not use the term Permanent revolution, they use the term Revolution in permanence, but in essence it is the same concept of Trotsky, socialist revolution in under developed countries, the same thing as Maoism, Castroism and Guevarism, the same dogs wearing different collar. If you remove that element from Leninism or Bolshevism you only have one element left which is the vanguard party to lead, and if you remove both you are destroying Leninism, or bolshevism

    Essay: Revolution in Permanence: Trotsky, Marx, Dunayevskaya


    Got my Xmas reading sorted:

    Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.


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