Suggested reading on Lenin and the 1917 revolutions?

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Mark.
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Jan 19 2010 00:12
Cleishbotham wrote:
Sticking with anti-semitism, I have no doubt that there were similar (though on lesser scale given the greater size of the Bolshevik Party) "incidents" in Bolshevik ranks (given 8 centuries plus of domination by the Orthodox Church) but the Bolsheviks did have an exemplary record in opposing pogroms

Is there any information out there on how the Bolsheviks dealt with anti-semitism within the ranks, or how much of a problem it was?

posi
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Jan 23 2010 08:44

I’m quoting from another thread here, but since it’s very old and the topic of this thread is (allegedly) relevant I’m posting it here as well.

berrot wrote:
there are quite a few other texts which deserve/demand attention, notably Alexander Rabinowitch's "The Bolsheviks Come to Power" (written in the 70s, before HE switched allegiance in his recent opus)

I have just finished his first two books and found them very useful. Can anyone say how his allegiances or perspective changes in his final book, the Bolsheviks in Power? I was going to read it next.

Anarcho
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Jan 23 2010 23:38
posi wrote:
I have just finished his first two books and found them very useful. Can anyone say how his allegiances or perspective changes in his final book, the Bolsheviks in Power? I was going to read it next.

By "changes" in allegiances, it is meant that the book contains facts about the Bolsheviks which the person dislikes and cannot square with their idealised vision of them. I would suggest reading the book and not worrying about people making dubious claims of changing allegiances. It is very good. Here is my review from Black Flag:

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/review-the-bolsheviks-in-power

He presents substantial evidence on how the Bolsheviks, facing lose of popular support, simply destroyed soviet democracy and working class liberty to remain in power. It also discusses how the new "workers" state drew increasingly isolated from the workers. Both of which confirms anarchist perspectives on the Russian Revolution and on the so-called "workers state":

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/the-paris-commune-marxism-and-anarchism

I should also note that the Bolsheviks had to use state power to break working class resistance to their dictatorship (and how their policies made things much worse):

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secH6.html

Still, read the book -- then it will be up to you to either accept the facts or dismiss them and bemoan the changing "allegiances" of the historian...

ernie
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Jan 25 2010 21:05

The CWO have done an interesting review of this book Posi but I cannot find it on their website! May be someone could provide a link.

Cleishbotham
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Jan 26 2010 17:21

Ernie Its here

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2009-11-24/learning-from-the-revolutionary-experience-in-russia

posi
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Jan 26 2010 17:27

That's a review of a different book, but thanks anyway.

Cleishbotham
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Jan 27 2010 11:07

Sorry Posi, another senior moment I am afraid. I should have done

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2008-03-01/the-first-years-of-soviet-rule-in-petrograd

Cleishbotham
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Jan 27 2010 15:10

And yet another

double post

posi
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Jan 27 2010 15:19

thanks Cleishbotham, will keep that perspective in mind as I'm reading.

Cleishbotham
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Jan 29 2010 14:52

JH wrote

Cleishbotham wrote:

Sticking with anti-semitism, I have no doubt that there were similar (though on lesser scale given the greater size of the Bolshevik Party) "incidents" in Bolshevik ranks (given 8 centuries plus of domination by the Orthodox Church) but the Bolsheviks did have an exemplary record in opposing pogroms
Is there any information out there on how the Bolsheviks dealt with anti-semitism within the ranks, or how much of a problem it was?

I thought it would be easy to find material on this but apparently not. I just posted on the Makhno myths thread a reference to Chamberlin (which I was re-reading to try to answer your question as it was based on my original speculation). The same chapter shows that anti-semitism seems to have been adopted by Red Army units when they were deserting back to the Whites or Ukrainian nationalists. R. V Daniels' The Conscience of the Revolution has passages to show that the some SRs sometimes used it to weaken Bolshevism (and Chamberlin shows that this was a deliberate strategy of the Whites). Daniels also shows that Stalin used it in 1927 in a very clever way, insisting that his faction was not opposed to the United Opposition of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trosky because they were Jews but because they were wrong. In other words by mentioning this he makes it an issue. And of course there is a logic to this as the Whites identified the "internationalism" of the Bolsheviks with the Jews. Stalin, as a supporter of "National Bolshevism" and Great Russian chauvinism, took up the same thread. All those of Jewish origin, apart from Lazar Kaganovich (a loyal Stalinist) as far as I can find out, were purged in the 1930s and after the Second World War Stalin began an anti-semitic campaign with the ideological attack on "cosmopolitanism". Not really an answer to the issue but the best I can get so far...

Mark.
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Jan 31 2010 00:15

I just came across part of a Channel 5 documentary about Kronstadt on youtube. It actually seems quite good.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Cleishbotham
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Jan 31 2010 15:31

"The very complex relationship between the people as a whole and the Bolsheviks dates from 1917. It cannot be reduced to the simple polarities of either an overwhelmingly pro-party nation as presented by Stalinists nor as a totally hostile population pinned down solely by terror as presented by the more bilious of anti-communists"

Christopher Read (who is quoted several times in this dire, oversimplified, video) in "From Tsar to Soviets - the Russian people and their revolution 1917-21". (UCL Press 1996) p. 8 The book (which shows how the Bolsheviks degenerated) is worth a thousand such videos.