Bolsheviks

How not to quote Lenin

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 12/06/2019 - 09:08
lenin

“The October Revolution is an imperishable page in the history of the great movements of the masses to take their destiny into their own hands that began with the French Revolution.

“It was the second stage of the elemental upsurge of the Russian masses that began in February.

The Bolsheviks: mistakes and limits

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 10/04/2019 - 10:51

Barry Finger's review (Solidarity 497) of In Defence of Bolshevism quotes approvingly Max Shachtman's statement, in Shachtman's 1943 article on "The Mistakes of the Bolsheviks", that "we must... defend Bolshevism".

In its last sentence, though, it declares: "The Bolsheviks themselves – Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin — nevertheless 'took the theoretical lead', in Hal Draper's words, 'in gutting socialism of its organic enrootment in the mass of the people' paving the 'juridical' framework for the counter-revolution in class power."

The Russian civil war, 1917-22

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 20/02/2019 - 11:59
civil war

A discussion of Jean-Jacques Marie's book La guerre civile russe, 1917-22

Notice the dates: 1917-22. Jean-Jacques Marie, in his history, establishes that the conventional account, according to which the civil war was over by the start of 1921, and all the “emergency” measures by the Bolsheviks after that stemmed only from the Bolsheviks’ supposed lack of democratic understanding, is false.

The historians and the Bolsheviks

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 13/02/2019 - 10:53
civil war

On Tsarism, the bourgeois liberals under Tsarism, the Provisional Government in 1917, the Whites in the Civil War, and even the Mensheviks and the SRs, what Figes has to say is pretty much what the Bolsheviks said of them. Thus, for example: “Trotsky described Martov as the ‘Hamlet of Democratic Socialism’ – and this is just about the sum of it… [His qualities] made him soft and indecisive when just the opposite was required”.

Bolshevism, the civil war, and Stalinism

Submitted by martin on Mon, 04/02/2019 - 12:40
civil war

A review of Samuel Farber, Before Stalinism (Polity Press, 1990), re-posted from here.

Sam Farber, justly respected for his critical Marxist writings on Cuba, sums up his attitude in this book by quoting Victor Serge, an anarchist who rallied to the Bolsheviks after October 1917, became an activist in the Left Opposition, and then parted ways with Trotsky over his, Serge’s, rejection of Trotsky’s criticisms of the POUM in the Spanish Civil War.

A deviation from the road

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 30/01/2019 - 11:20
IDoB cover

“The force of things and the behaviour of men have contradicted all Lenin’s optimistic forecasts, his hopes in a superior democracy as much as his semi-libertarian ideas expressed in the State and Revolution and other writings of the same period, at the dawn of the revolution. Nothing in the individual theses of Trotsky has stood the test any better, in particular his wordy and abstract theory of the ‘permanent revolution’.” — Boris Souvarine, Stalin. A Critical Survey of Bolshevism, 1939.

Rosa Luxemburg and imperialism

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 23/01/2019 - 10:46
Luxemburg speaks

Rosa Luxemburg considered her most important contribution to be her book, The Accumulation of Capital, published in 1913.

The legacy of the Polish­-German revolutionary socialist leader who was murdered by a right­-wing militia operating under the aegis of a Social­ Democratic government just over 100 years ago has come down to us through a haze of sentimental misrepresentation and selective republishing, but now can and should be reconsidered.

Reading about Rosa Luxemburg

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:33
RL reading

As we go to press on 15 January 2019, it is exactly the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Polish¬German revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg. She was killed by a right-wing militia operating under the Social¬Democratic government which was heading off the German workers’ revolution.

We have a pamphlet in production on Luxemburg and the German revolution. Readers can also find a good summary of Luxemburg’s political work in two articles, from 1935 and 1938, by Max Shachtman.

In defence of Ernest Erber

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 10:35
lenin

Russia was ruled by 130,000 landowners. They ruled by means of constant force over 150 million people … And yet we are told that Russia will not be able to be governed by 240,000 members of the Bolshevik Party – governing in the interests of the poor and against the rich. – V.I. Lenin, Will the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?, 1917

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