MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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The `socialists' and revolution

The insurrection took place on October 25, 1917. The next day, the `socialists' made the Soviet of the Peasants' Deputies pass the first counter-revolutionary motion:

`Comrade Peasants! All the liberties gained with the blood of your sons and brothers are now in terrible, mortal jeopardy .... Again a blow is being inflicted upon the army, which defends the homeland and the revolution from external defeat. (The Bolsheviks) divide the forces of the toiling people .... The blow against the army is the first and the worst crime of the Bolshevik party! Second, they have started a civil war and have seized power by violence .... (The Bolshevik promises) will be followed not by peace but by slavery.'

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Kerensky,  op. cit. , pp. 450--451.

Hence, the day after the October Revolution, the `socialists' had already called for the perpetration of imperialist war and they were already accusing the Bolsheviks of provoking civil war and bringing violence and slavery!

Immediately, the bourgeois forces, the old Tsarist forces, in fact all the reactionary forces, sought to regroup and reorganize under the `socialist' vanguard. As early as 1918, anti-Bolshevik insurrections took place. Early in 1918, Plekhanov,  an eminent leader of the Menshevik party, formed, along with Socialist Revolutionaries and Popular Socialists, as well as with the chiefs of the bourgeois Cadet (Constitutional Democrats) party, the `Union for the Resurrection of Russia'. `They believed,' wrote Kerensky,  `that a national government had to be created on democratic principles in the broadest possible sense, and that the front against Germany had to be restored in cooperation with Russia's western Allies'.

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Ibid. , pp. 479--480.

On June 20, 1918, Kerensky  showed up in London, representing this Union, to negotiate with the Allies. He announced to the Prime Minister, Lloyd George: 

`It was the aim of the government now being formed ... to continue the war alongside the Allies, to free Russia from Bolshevik tyranny, and to restore a democratic system.'

Hence, more than seventy years ago, the bloodthirsty and reactionary bourgeoisie was already using the word `democracy' to cover up its barbaric domination.

In the name of the Union, Kerensky  asked for an Allied `intervention' in Russia. Soon after, a Directorate was set up in Siberia, consisting of Socialist Revolutionaries, Popular Socialists, the Cadet bourgeois party and the Tsarist generals Alekseyev  and Boldyrev.  The British and French governments almost recognized it as the legal government before deciding to play the card of Tsarist general Kolchak. 

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Ibid. , pp. 492, 500--501, 506--507.

Hence the forces that had defended Tsarist reaction and the bourgeoisie during the civil war in Russia were all regrouped: the Tsarist forces, all of the bourgeoisie's forces, from the Cadets to the socialists, along with the invading foreign troops.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb   wrote:

`In 1918 the authority of the Soviet Government was far from being firmly established. Even in Petrograd and Moscow, there was the very smallest security of life and property .... The deliberate and long-continued blockade maintained by the British fleet, and supported by the other hostile governments, kept out alike food and clothing, and the sorely needed medicines and anaesthetics .... Presently came the armies of the governments of Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy and the United States, without any declaration of war, actually invading, at half a dozen points from Vladivostok and Batoum to Murmansk and Archangel, the territory of what had never ceased to be technically a ``friendly power''. The same governments, moreover, freely supplied officers, equipment and munitions to the mixed forces raised by Denikin,  Kolchak,  Jedenich (Yudenich)  and Wrangle, who took up arms against the Soviet Government. Incidentally, the Germans and Poles ravaged the western provinces, whilst the army formed out of the Czecho-Slovakian prisoners of war held an equivocal position in its protracted passage through Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.'

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Webb,   op. cit. , pp. 536--537.

From 1918 to 1921, the civil war killed nine million, most of them victims of famine. These nine million dead are attributable essentially to foreign invasions (British, French, Czechoslovakian, Japanese, Polish, etc.) and to the blockade organized by the Western powers. The Right would insidiously classify them as `victims of Bolshevism'!

It appears to be a miracle that the Bolshevik Party --- only 33,000 members in 1917 --- could succeed in mobilizing popular forces to such an extent that they defeated the superior forces of the bourgeoisie and the old Tsarist régime, upheld by the `socialists' and reinforced by the invading foreign armies. In other words, without a complete mobilization of the peasant and working masses, and without their tenaciousness and their strong will for freedom, the Bolsheviks could never have attained final victory.

Since the beginning of the Civil War, the Mensheviks denounced the `Bolshevik dictatorship', the `arbitrary, terrorist régime' of the Bolsheviks, the `new Bolshevik aristocracy'. This was 1918 and there was no `Stalinism' in the air! `The dictatorship of the new aristocracy': it is in those terms that social-democracy attacked, right from the beginning, the socialist régime that Lenin  wished to install. Plekhanov  developed the theoretical basis needed to uphold these accusations by insisting that the Bolsheviks had established an `objectively reactionary' political line, going against the flow of history, a reactionary utopia consisting of introducing socialism in a country that was not ready. Plekhanov  referred to traditional `peasant anarchy'. Nevertheless, when the foreign interventions occurred, Plekhanov  was one of the few Menshevik leaders to oppose them.

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Jane Burbank, Intelligentsia and Revolution: Russian Views of Bolshevism, 1917--1922 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 13, 36, 42, 44.

The socialists' alliance with the bourgeoisie was based on two arguments. The first was the impossibility of `imposing' socialism in a backward country. The second was that since the Bolsheviks wanted to impose socialism `by force', they would bring `tyranny' and `dictatorship' and would constitute a `new aristocracy' above the masses.

These first `analyses', made by the counter-revolutionary social-democrats, who fought against socialism weapons in hand, are worth studying: these insidious attacks against Leninism  would later be crudely amplified to become attacks on `Stalinism'.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995