1980s >> 1985 >> no-972-august-1985

50 Years Ago: Socialists and the Russian Revolution

We have been asked the following question:


  What was the proposal of the SPGB to the Bolshevik Government as to what should be the mode of procedure after the Bolsheviks had achieved political power?


The question is evidently based on a misunderstanding of the attitude taken up by the SPGB. It is not, and never has been, our view that the Bolshevik Government might have succeeded in establishing socialism in Russia, or might have succeeded in engineering world revolution, if only it had adopted some policy different from the one it did adopt. On the contrary, our case has been, right from the outset 18 years ago, that the backward industrial development of Russia, and the very small number of socialists both in Russia and in the rest of Europe, made it impossible for either of these two events to happen. It was not, therefore, a question of our telling the Bolsheviks what to do with power when they had achieved it. What we did tell them was that their hold on power would not bring socialism, however they used their power, and that they were deceiving themselves and the working class in claiming otherwise.


[From an Editorial Committee reply to a correspondent “The SPGB and the Bolshevik Seizure of Power in 1917”. Socialist Standard, August 1935.]