Need some basic understanding of Trotskyism

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Leo
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Apr 12 2008 20:25
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The Paris Commune was defeated too....isolation, yes.
But it didn't mechanically became the ultimate counterrevolutionary central.... guess why. Hint: the Commune was not defeated by the "proletarian vanguard".

I'd say because it was weaker, so much that it couldn't manage to spread even to the suburbs of Paris, let alone the whole France, and of course there wasn't an international revolutionary wave to support to commune in any way.

Had the revolution in Russia been more isolated, it would not have been defeated by an "internal" counter-revolution but by the White counter-revolution.

Communard
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Apr 12 2008 22:11
Alf wrote:
You didn't exactly answer the question, communard. Were the councils ever in power in Russia?

for a short time, in some place, before the Party made empty boxes of them....or smashed them, like Kronstadt.
Russia was an undeveloped country, with few proletarians.
In these conditions, without a revolution in europe, the russian revolution couldn't be anything but a bourgeois one.
Lenin knew that, and decided to be the leader of this bourgeois revolution.... at this time, it started the worst counter revolution ever.
I think that without stalinism, the natural consequence of bolshevik theory and practice against workers (in the name of socialism, of course), today, 2008, this forum would not exist, because capitalism would not be anymore.

Nowadays, probably 99,9% of proletarians think that "communism" is a fascist regime, a super police state lead by the Party. So they are anti-communists. Can you blame them? they've been screwed up by "communists parties" for 100 years.
It's an hard work tell them that Marx is not the theoretician of the State power against workers.... thanks comrade Lenin! you did a great job!

The russian revolution couldn't be a communist one.... it's not a Lenin fault, in few words it's a matter of means of production...and of isolation, of course.
But the bolsheviks fault is another....and it's huge. Stalinism was not a necessary material consequence....normally, other countries did their fucking bourgeois revolution without a "communist" ideology that destroy every movement toward communism worldwide, throwing tons of shit over Marx's thought.
You bolsheviks left communists are the best product of that, you are also victims of stalinism.....and its absurd that you still preach for "what is to be done?" with his second international crap, the theoretical roots of stalinism.

i hope you got what i mean, my english is poor.

DJ-TC
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Apr 12 2008 22:41
Leo Uilleann wrote:
Had the revolution in Russia been more isolated, it would not have been defeated by an "internal" counter-revolution but by the White counter-revolution.

But what's "more isolated"? There was no physical (geographic) contact with the European mainland anyway.

I'm more inclined to beleive that it was the bolshevik actions in government that led counter-revolution to rise, because bolshevik goverment and its party machinery suffocated mass action, pulling it down with bureaucratic ties, and especially the spreading of confusion and conflict in the countryside. In the process, Revolution lost its ability to cut the reaction in the but. Precisely because massive self-activity was suffocated, counter-revolution could spread.

P.S.

How's it going Leo? grin

Communard
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Apr 12 2008 22:48
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Had the revolution in Russia been more isolated, it would not have been defeated by an "internal" counter-revolution but by the White counter-revolution.

do you think that the "internal" red counter revolution (started years before stalin) was inevitable?
In wich way that level of isolation determined kronstadt? The less they were isolated, the more they (bolsheviks) were counter revolutionary?
is it a kind of substitutionism (not of the class, but of the White army)?
Is bolsheviks counter revolutionary politics and stalinism the only possible mechanically determinated product of the dialectical interaction between relation of production and material forces of production at that stage of development?

What is better for communist movement?
a normal bourgeois revolution (the only possible revolution in russia) or a red onehundredyearslong counter revolution?
What the bourgeoisie would prefer?
Without stalinism, maybe revolution would have been started in europe.
Now workers think that "communism" is tons of policemen with red stars on their hats beating workers.

And the few, insignificant revolutionaries persist in playing Lenin's mantra "What Is To Be Done?".
Isn't it ironic?

DJ-TC
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Apr 12 2008 23:02

Communard, those weren't the only options.

Communism was also a possibility, because it manifested itself as an actuality through a movement of the working class. Russia was indeed lacking "material conditions" in the formal sense, but they weren't nonexistent. Industry was sitll pretty big. Russia had biggest factories in the world precisely because of the peculiar development of capitalism in that country, and it developed a concentrated industrial proletariat, young and radical. It manifested its radicality and creativity in 1917 and 1918. Peasantry was also quite radical and anti-satist, and its own land-division project via local peasant councils was of no danger to workers' control movement in the cities; on the contrary.

If the bolsheviks haven't stopped the wheel of the social revolution, it surely would have a much larger effect on - first Poland, and then Europe.

Communard
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Apr 12 2008 23:19
DJ-TC wrote:
Communard, those weren't the only options.

Communism was also a possibility, because it manifested itself as an actuality through a movement of the working class. Russia was indeed lacking "material conditions" in the formal sense, but they weren't nonexistent. Industry was sitll pretty big. Russia had biggest factories in the world precisely because of the peculiar development of capitalism in that country, and it developed a concentrated industrial proletariat, young and radical. It manifested its radicality and creativity in 1917 and 1918. Peasantry was also quite radical and anti-satist, and its own land-division project via local peasant councils was of no danger to workers' control movement in the cities; on the contrary.

If the bolsheviks haven't stopped the wheel of the social revolution, it surely would have a much larger effect on - first Poland, and then Europe.

Maybe you're right, but in my opinion the revolution was stopped first of all by the lack of material conditions....russia had big factories, but the big majority of the people was peasants.
The bolshevik party surely has "stopped the wheel" jailing and killing revolutionaries....it's what every bourgeois government would have done...the difference is that they called themselves the "vanguard" of world proletarian revolution.....with the disastrous consequences that we know still today.
Anyway, without a revolution in europe, the wheel would have been stopped, sooner or later.... the matter is HOW.
As the history shows, the bolshevik way was the worst possible for the world communist movement.

DJ-TC
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Apr 12 2008 23:28

It doesn't matter if the majority of the population were peasants, because there was more or less developed industry, and peasants themselves organized and moved in such ways that could correspond to revolutionary goals. Look at the exaple of Aragon within Spain in 1936 - it turned out that peasants crossed the greatest distance.

Now, Bolshevik government didn't stop the wheel by shooting people at first, because the shooting started on April 12th 1918 (I think most people know what I'm talking about), and it took some time to develop. It stopped it by turning everything into a procedure that had to be controled and dirrected from above. Classic example is the Nobel factory incident described by Voline.

Quote:
Anyway, without a revolution in europe, the wheel would have been stopped, sooner or later.... the matter is HOW.

Isn't it possible that if the Russian wheel continued to turn, that the European one would have had more strength to keep on moving?

Communard
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Apr 12 2008 23:58
DJ-TC wrote:
Isn't it possible that if the Russian wheel continued to turn, that the European one would have had more strength to keep on moving?

Maybe... surely the second/third international parties held down the revolution in europe.....

Beltov
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Apr 13 2008 08:25
Virindi wrote:
Looking to understand Trotsky better...

You could start with Trotsky's autobiography, My Life, which is online in PDF here:
http://marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/index.htm

There are copies for under £6 on Amazon.

Communard: On the question of the failure of the Russia Revolution, do you accept that the First World War and the revolutionary wave that followed it demonstrated that capitalism had entered a new phase of its development? One which the Third International declared to be "The epoch of the break-up of capitalism, of its internal collapse. The epoch of the communist revolution of the proletariat"?

This is an important key to unlocking the 'Russian enigma' because it helps to explain the development of Stalinism, which you seem think had its roots in Bolshevism and that evil Lenin. On the contrary, because the world market had been finally divided up by the great powers. At the military level, if a country wanted to expand its sphere of influence this could only be done at the expense of other rival powers. Hence the massive industrialisation of warfare, the harnessing of the entire nation's resources for 'total war'. At the economic level, capitalism had shown a weaker ability to recover after the First world war, and the Depression of the '30s showed how sick capitalism had become. In fact Trotsky himself had noted how the nature of capitalism was changing in his report on the World Economic Crisis to the Third congress of the Third International:
http://marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-1/ch19.htm

Both of these factors, which were acting globally on all national capitals, called for the development of strong, centralised state control, of the development of state capitalism. This global tendency took different forms in different countries: Fascism in Germany; the 'New Deal' and the 'Welfare State' in the western 'democracies'; Stalinism in Russia, etc. etc. They were all expressions of the underlying need for capitalist states to wage war against each other and manage the economic crisis. Wouldn't you agree?

Finally, yes, the ruling class has shovelled tons of mud on communism and the name of Marx, but that does not mean that we should give up the fight to clear the muck away. One of the central themes of the bourgeoisie's campaign against communism is the lie that that Stalin=Lenin, which you seem to have accepted. I see that your tag is from Johannes Climacus, "de omnibus dubitandum est", (everything must be doubted), which is a good approach to take. Maybe you should apply it to your position on Lenin and the Bolsheviks?

B.

Leo
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Apr 13 2008 08:46
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But what's "more isolated"? There was no physical (geographic) contact with the European mainland anyway.

What I mean is the isolation of the revolution. A marginalized example of being "more isolated" for example would be if the councils were in power in Petrograd while, say, the Whites ruled Moscow and the revolutionary movement in Petrograd was isolated and it didn't even have enough support in Russia, nor internationally.

Quote:
I'm more inclined to beleive that it was the bolshevik actions in government that led counter-revolution to rise, because bolshevik goverment and its party machinery suffocated mass action, pulling it down with bureaucratic ties, and especially the spreading of confusion and conflict in the countryside. In the process, Revolution lost its ability to cut the reaction in the but. Precisely because massive self-activity was suffocated, counter-revolution could spread.

And why do you think that happened? I believe that is the question. Did it happen because the party was evil and dirty? Did it happen because they had a secret agenda and had been planning to become the new ruling class?

I don't think so. I believe most were sincere revolutionaries and did, in the end, pay this with their lives, as bloody as they would have if the white counter-revolution prevailed.

I think the problem was that revolution couldn't spread, and the party, which had merged with the state, started degenerating, and thus became the most suitable nest for the inhabitance of the new rising bourgeoisie.

Bolsheviks errors did, without a doubt, contribute to this, however this did not make most of the Bolsheviks the agents of the class which was "leading", or conducting the counter-revolution, indeed most of the Bolsheviks were murdered because of it.

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How's it going Leo?

smile I'm fine man, how are things with you? We should start chatting more frequently.

Leo
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Apr 13 2008 09:51
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do you think that the "internal" red counter revolution (started years before stalin) was inevitable?

If the revolution did not expand, then ultimately yes.

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In wich way that level of isolation determined kronstadt?

Kronstadt the uprising or the suppression of Kronstadt?

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And the few, insignificant revolutionaries persist in playing Lenin's mantra "What Is To Be Done?".
Isn't it ironic?

I think Lenin was trying to defend the correct line (that is for having a revolutionary organization with more political unity against the Menshevik - and indeed mainstream social democratic - position of "mass parties") while using gravely mistaken arguements (on the infamous class consciousness thing) and borrowing arguements from very wrong people (such as Kautsky).

The ICC and left communists do not fetishize, and do not restrain from harshly criticizing Lenin or the Bolsheviks, but they are accused of doing so because they don't see Lenin or the Bolsheviks as the incarnation of Satan and his legions on Earth.

Regardless, I think the irony is when left communists to be labeled "insignificant" by a councilist as if councilism is is an ideology of millions of workers now. It obviously is not the case, and both councilists and left communists today are not "significant" in that they can't change the direction of history directly with their actions. Hopefully that won't stay as it is in the future.

DJ-TC
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Apr 13 2008 12:52
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And why do you think that happened? I believe that is the question. Did it happen because the party was evil and dirty? Did it happen because they had a secret agenda and had been planning to become the new ruling class?

I don't think so. I believe most were sincere revolutionaries and did, in the end, pay this with their lives, as bloody as they would have if the white counter-revolution prevailed.

I think the problem was that revolution couldn't spread, and the party, which had merged with the state, started degenerating, and thus became the most suitable nest for the inhabitance of the new rising bourgeoisie.

Of, course, there was no actual secret agenda, because everything the Bolsheviks did they did it openly and publically. You know, even Tchekist raids were brought to public via regular bulletin.

The problem lies in the fact that revolution was massive, and that it started almost out of nothing. That's why it took time to develop, so it was rather "slow" (of course, slow in the sense that we're talking about 160 million people). Practice had to develop according to the needs of the workers and peasants, so organizational forms started to change and to be invented, and the consciousness had to follow, so the new goals were formulated, over time. It was a huge and a slow process, but we can see it develop it the dirrection of communism.

Now, vis a vis the mass movement, the Bolshevik Party was the only political organization that was able to catch up with the movement, and eventually use it to capture state power -- this was no hidden agenda, the capture of state power was the cornerstone of the Leninist programme. Basically, the Party ran faster than the movement, so it imposed its own goals and principles upon it. After that, it tolerated nothing else apart from its own command.

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I'm fine man, how are things with you? We should start chatting more frequently.

Yeah, definately, but I don't have the YM installed any more. I'm using PSI (it's safer).

Communard
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Apr 13 2008 13:21
Leo Uilleann wrote:
Quote:
do you think that the "internal" red counter revolution (started years before stalin) was inevitable?

If the revolution did not expand, then ultimately yes.

it's obvious! but that was not my question!
point the focus on the words "internal" and "red".... has the inevitable counter revolution had to be lead by "communists"?
The answer is yes, if "communists" are "professional revolutionaries" organized in a party acting as dominant class against workers councils.
The counter revolution would have been lead by whoever was the dominant class....in that case, bolsheviks.

Quote:
Quote:
In wich way that level of isolation determined kronstadt?

Kronstadt the uprising or the suppression of Kronstadt?

we're talking about the counter revolutionary actions lead by bolsheviks....and the differences between the Commune failure and the Russian one.
look at this:

Leo Uilleann wrote:
Communard wrote:
The Paris Commune was defeated too....isolation, yes.
But it didn't mechanically became the ultimate counterrevolutionary central....

I'd say because it was weaker, so much that it couldn't manage to spread even to the suburbs of Paris, let alone the whole France, and of course there wasn't an international revolutionary wave to support to commune in any way.

Had the revolution in Russia been more isolated, it would not have been defeated by an "internal" counter-revolution but by the White counter-revolution.

remember?
you were saying that the stronger the revolution is, the more the counter revolution is lead by "communists"....it's a funny law.

this is my point: the Party as it was in Russia was not an unimportant variabile.
be dialectical and think at the issue as a whole, don't cut away "details" like the Party nature and his role in that particular form of counter revolution.
A Party based on second international theories....ultimately a bourgeois party, despite the counsciousness of his leaders.
That Party, born from that theories (theories rooted in some very moments of the development of capital and proletariat) , when materials conditions ask him, turn into the counter revolution leadership. Hard to explain, without materialism.

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The ICC and left communists do not fetishize, and do not restrain from harshly criticizing Lenin or the Bolsheviks, but they are accused of doing so because they don't see Lenin or the Bolsheviks as the incarnation of Satan and his legions on Earth.

in my opinion your criticism is still an idealistic one....it totally misses the point.
"some people -leaders- did some MISTAKE....but they were compelled to do those human MISTAKES because material conditions and isolation"

ok, you are nearby it, so lets go forth: they took the bourgeoisie role, they acted like every bourgeoise goverment would have done....because every class government would have been compelled to put down workers movement.
But they had red flags and their beautiful ideology saying they were the "workers vanguard"....like Kautsky used to say till 1914.

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Regardless, I think the irony is when left communists to be labeled "insignificant" by a councilist as if councilism is is an ideology of millions of workers now. It obviously is not the case, and both councilists and left communists today are not "significant" in that they can't change the direction of history directly with their actions. Hopefully that won't stay as it is in the future.

you're right, i didn't want to be offensive....it was just a realization.
surely i'm more insignificant than ICC.
But IMHO i don't think that any organization linked to Lenin's thought will have a strong relevance... the historic role of leninism had been already accomplished during the XX century.

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Alf
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Apr 13 2008 14:41

The question posed by the October revolution was this: should the working class in Russia take power as the first step towards the world revolution, or not. This was the guiding principle which Lenin defended and which sets him apart from any bourgeois politician who sees only the interests of ‘his’ nation. The establishment of proletarian power in Russia was conceived as an active moment of the world revolution which, correctly, he understood to be brewing.

At that point, the seizure of power by the proletariat was seen as the party of the proletariat taking power through the soviets. Not just by the Bolsheviks, but in much wider layers of the class. Remember the worker quoted by Trotsky who shook his fist at the ‘Conciliators’ and said: ‘take the power you bastards when we hand it to you’. Remember the Spartacist programme which said that the Spartacists would not take power ‘except with the unambiguous will of the German proletariat’.

It was a mistaken conception and immediately led to problems in the relationship between party, class, and state. These problems qualitatively accelerated under the pressure of the civil war and the isolation of the revolution.

For councilism, the answer to the problem is, generally, to conclude that there can’t be a proletarian party, that the councils are sufficient to make a successful revolution. But this approach can only disarm the working class in a revolutionary situation, where there is still a vital need for an organisation of revolutionaries that can defend a clear revolutionary orientation in the face of all the confusions, hesitations, and influences of bourgeois ideology that will be present in the class and will be actively sustained by any number of false working class parties. In short, if those who are for the power of the workers councils and the international extension of the revolution are not organised and united, they will be defeated by those who will act inside the councils to detroy them, like the social democrats did in 1918 in Germany.

Communard
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Apr 13 2008 14:44
Beltov wrote:
Communard: On the question of the failure of the Russia Revolution, do you accept that the First World War and the revolutionary wave that followed it demonstrated that capitalism had entered a new phase of its development? One which the Third International declared to be "The epoch of the break-up of capitalism, of its internal collapse. The epoch of the communist revolution of the proletariat"?

It's 2008 now, capitalism is still expanding....dont be "atlantic-centric", look at Asia and its huge development.....a proletarization speed never seen before in history.
I didn't notice about any proletarian revolution....(but the few ones suppressed by communist parties, of course), neither "internal collapses"...
am i missing something important?

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This is an important key to unlocking the 'Russian enigma' because it helps to explain the development of Stalinism, which you seem think had its roots in Bolshevism and that evil Lenin.

Wait. No one is "good" or "evil" for me. These are idealistics categories.
Lenin could have been the sweetest person of the world, or a children rapist....i don't care. I care about his historic role in that very moment in Russia.

Quote:
[...]
Both of these factors, which were acting globally on all national capitals, called for the development of strong, centralised state control, of the development of state capitalism. This global tendency took different forms in different countries: Fascism in Germany; the 'New Deal' and the 'Welfare State' in the western 'democracies'; Stalinism in Russia, etc. etc. They were all expressions of the underlying need for capitalist states to wage war against each other and manage the economic crisis. Wouldn't you agree?

the fact that "capitalism state" ruled by "communists" happened in Russia , does not mean that was the only one inevitable necessity of history.
Don't be mechanicist....
In most of the countries there were a "normal" bourgeois democracy....in some others state capitalism was an interesting option....
fascism in italy was a consequence of "biennio rosso", 2 years of strong class struggle betrayed by "socialist" organizations.
Nazism in germany has also economic roots, of course.... etc etc....

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Finally, yes, the ruling class has shovelled tons of mud on communism and the name of Marx, but that does not mean that we should give up the fight to clear the muck away.

It's hard to clear the muck using a muck spreader.
i suggest to read Marx, THEN Kautsy-Lenin.... you'll find out some interesting things.

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One of the central themes of the bourgeoisie's campaign against communism is the lie that that Stalin=Lenin, which you seem to have accepted.

I don't think Stalin=Lenin....I think stalinism is not a "mistake" or a "fatality" like idealists use to say, it's the natural consequence of the bolshevik theory and praxis in that historical moment, with that
It's not JUST because the Bolshevik Party (like some councilists/anarchists use to think), It's not JUST because that historical-material moment (like left-communist-leninists use to think). In very few words, it's because both. Be dialectical and think at the "totality".
otherwise....how do you explain Stalinism? A very bad guy took power?

Quote:
I see that your tag is from Johannes Climacus, "de omnibus dubitandum est", (everything must be doubted), which is a good approach to take. Maybe you should apply it to your position on Lenin and the Bolsheviks?

i've already done it.... i was an ultraleft "leninist".
i hope you'll apply the "de omnibus dubitandum est" too, comrade smile

bye!

Communard
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Apr 13 2008 14:56
Alf wrote:
In short, if those who are for the power of the workers councils and the international extension of the revolution are not organised and united, they will be defeated by those who will act inside the councils to detroy them, like the social democrats did in 1918 in Germany.

History shows that during XX century workers councils were dismantled and/or killed off by parties/organizations.
Lenin's Party is an interesting example of power against working class.
Bolsheviks took power AFTER workers councils born....then, from 1918 too Kronstadt '21, we know what bolshies did with them.

A political organization detaining power (suppressing workers councils) who slaughter prolets revolutionaries, can be called "proletarian"? How? Just because they had red flags?
It's still a revolutionary organisation, but it's a bourgeois one, according to his theory (Kautsky) and the needs of that very historical moment.

I'm not a councilism priest. I think that councilists were right against Lenin in many issues....and history shows us this.
but they don't have the holy truth, as no one has.

DJ-TC
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Apr 13 2008 15:15
Alf wrote:
The question posed by the October revolution was this: should the working class in Russia take power as the first step towards the world revolution, or not.

But the power was not taken by the working class, but by "The representatives of peoples' interests."

Quote:
Remember the worker quoted by Trotsky who shook his fist at the ‘Conciliators’ and said: ‘take the power you bastards when we hand it to you’. Remember the Spartacist programme which said that the Spartacists would not take power ‘except with the unambiguous will of the German proletariat’.

When the worker shouted at Chernov "Take power you stupid bastard", it was a plural that meant the Soviet. Workers wanted for the city Soviet to take power, under which local Soviets and factory committees could freely operate. Let's not equate non-equal things.

capricorn
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Apr 13 2008 15:39

I go away for a couple of weeks and come back to find half the theory and history threads taken over by the International Cricket Conference. Is this what they mean by "intervention"? Whatever, it's clearly organised and pre-planned. Is this in order? Haven't they got their own forum?

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Alf
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Apr 13 2008 17:31

Perhaps you're exaggerating. Half the theory and history threads? Half of how many? And what does "taken over" mean? That people are having a discussion with us? I don't understand your problem.

dave c
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Apr 13 2008 19:37

Communard wrote:

Quote:
Russia was an undeveloped country, with few proletarians. In these conditions, without a revolution in europe, the russian revolution couldn't be anything but a bourgeois one. Lenin knew that, and decided to be the leader of this bourgeois revolution. . . .The russian revolution couldn't be a communist one.... it's not a Lenin fault, in few words it's a matter of means of production...and of isolation, of course.

After having written this, Communard is then said to characterize Lenin as "evil" by Beltov, or to imply that the Bolshevik party was "evil and dirty" as Leo writes. This is very common in these discussions, and it is strange. If one does not defend the Bolsheviks on account of their "proletarian positions," it does not follow that one considers them to have evil intentions, especially if one has stated the opposite! The essence of the council communist perspective was simple: a "party dictatorship" is not a mere mistaken tactic, nor proof of an evil will, but it is bourgeois, period. Communard's perspective is identified as "councilist," but then accused of blaming everything on Lenin's evil intentions. But the "councilist" perspective places so much less importance on Lenin's positions than the left communists, and they know it!

And if they don't know it, here is a bit of a refresher:

Here is Paul Mattick, in 1936:

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The influence of Lenin, the policy of the Bolsheviks, stand revealed as a great capacity for adapting itself to the necessary course of development, in order, as the Bolshevist Party or as genius, to stay in power, which can only be the power of necessity. Had Lenin attempted to carry through a communist policy, his greatness would have been reduced - or elevated, as one likes, - to that of a tipsy Utopian. http://www.kurasje.org/arkiv/9200t.htm

Here is Cajo Brendel in 1971:

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The Kronstadt workers pinned their hopes on 'the third revolution', just as thousands of Russian proletarians hoped for that third revolution in Kronstadt. But that which was called 'the third revolution' was in the agrarian Russia of that time, with its relatively small working class and its primitive economy, nothing but an illusion. 'In Kronstadt', Lenin said at a time when the construction of the Kronstadt legend had hardly begun, 'they don't want the power of the white guards, they don't want our power. But there is no other power'. Lenin was right to the degree that at that moment there was no other choice, at least not in Russia. But the Kronstadt workers, like the German workers, had shown the possibility of another form of power. With their commune and with their freely elected councils, the workers, not the Bolsheviks, provided the prototype of a proletarian revolution and workers' power. http://libcom.org/library/1921-kronstadt-proletarian-spin-russian-revolution-cajo-brendel#footnote10_ipx2oow

And welcome back, capricorn. smile

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Alf
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Apr 13 2008 19:44

When the worker shouted at Chernov "Take power you stupid bastard", it was a plural that meant the Soviet. Workers wanted for the city Soviet to take power, under which local Soviets and factory committees could freely operate. Let's not equate non-equal things.

I agree that the idea was for the soviet to take power. But the understanding of what this meant was still pretty immature in the class as a whole. There was the widespread notion that the majority party in the soviets would be the 'government' . That this is a confusion between soviet and parliamentary forms may seem evident today, but it was not so evident then.

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Alf
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Apr 13 2008 20:25

Dave C - I'll try to respond later.

I was just wondering whether Virindi is still following this. Where are you from?

capricorn
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Apr 13 2008 20:25

My problem is that you are always defending Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks after all they did to the workers.

Communard
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Apr 13 2008 20:30
Quote:
After having written this, Communard is then said to characterize Lenin as "evil" by Beltov, or to imply that the Bolshevik party was "evil and dirty" as Leo writes. This is very common in these discussions, and it is strange. If one does not defend the Bolsheviks on account of their "proletarian positions," it does not follow that one considers them to have evil intentions, especially if one has stated the opposite!

smile
it's not so strange, if you think that ultimly, kausty-leninism is full of idealism... idealists feel comfortable explaining history with categories like "evil"/"good"....it's quite normal to project your own weltanshaung to your interlocutors. When they're talking about how i think "lenin is evil", they just do that.... revealing their way to look at history.
no matter what Lenin/Trotzky did in practice, they were in the "proletarian camp" also if they ruled a State as dominant class and suppressed workers power with the army.
why? nobody knows.... wait, they had red flags and labelled themselves "communists".

Communard
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Apr 13 2008 20:34
Alf wrote:
Dave C - I'll try to respond later.

i've written a few posts waiting for someone to reply too.... wink

Alf's picture
Alf
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Apr 13 2008 22:30

Sorry communard, it's late....will return to your points as well when i can

Leo
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Apr 13 2008 22:55
Quote:
point the focus on the words "internal" and "red".... has the inevitable counter revolution had to be lead by "communists"?
The answer is yes, if "communists" are "professional revolutionaries" organized in a party acting as dominant class against workers councils.

First of all, I don't think "party organization" has anything to do with this. Anarchists in Ukraine were not, for example, less "authoritarian" than the Bolsheviks. Also the Bolshevik Party indeed had not initially intended to take power itself but for the workers councils to take power and for the party to participate in the councils. The party did end up being more and more merged with the state, which was happening because the isolation of the revolution was forcing it, yet this was above all what killed the party and eventually turned it into a tool of the counter-revolution. It would have happened to almost any party or in fact any political organization in the same situation. Furthermore, I don't think your point really shows why all this happened as it seems to me that it boils down to a loop such as something like this: "why did the counter-revolution happen? because of the bolsheviks. why because of the bolsheviks? because the counter-revolution happened".

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remember?
you were saying that the stronger the revolution is, the more the counter revolution is lead by "communists"....it's a funny law.

I think you misunderstood the whole point I was making. What I said was that if the revolution is strong enough to defend itself from direct military attacks of the bourgeois reaction but not strong enough to spread, then it eventually will degenerate and will be subjected to a counter-revolution internally. This has got to do with basic logical analysis of material conditions, this is what's bound to happen and it ain't got nothing to do with whether it's the Bolsheviks or anarchists or councilists who become the tools of this process.

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A Party based on second international theories....ultimately a bourgeois party

Marxism in that period was based on this or that second international theory I'm afraid, be it Lenin's, Luxemburg's, Pannekoek's or Kautsky's or others... Yet, however, the Second International did not ultimately join the camp of the bourgeoisie because of it's mistaken orthodox theories, but because it supported the first imperialist war (and obviously Lenin was among those who most firmly opposed to this, so much for his "Kautskyism") and assumed the role of the most bitter counter-revolutionaries after the war.

I do understand those who argue that the Bolsheviks "went to the other side" when they they supported national liberation (obviously a horribly disastrous policy, leading to the death of thousands of workers and communists, although a policy they obviously had not seen in practice before, if there is any excuse before), although I disagree with them and find them too harsh. I however think that arguements such as "the bolsheviks were bourgeois because they were councilists" to be both historically false and idealistic.

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in my opinion your criticism is still an idealistic one....it totally misses the point.

So taking a position which says the Bolsheviks shouldn't be fetishized as good or evil but should be critically examined is idealistic?

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they took the bourgeoisie role, they acted like every bourgeoise goverment would have done

I think you are missing an important point here: they have acted in the interests of the bourgeoisie (and thus have committed objectively counter-revolutionary actions) in several cases, but it only acted in such way is specific cases, not all the time.

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how do you explain Stalinism? A very bad guy took power?

A class took over the institutions established by another class and turned them into institutions of it's own. It's a situation that exceeds individuals, or even single institutions like the Bolshevik party.

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I think that councilists were right against Lenin in many issues

Actually, I think the council communists of the time were right against Lenin in many issues which they argued about: national liberation, trade-unionism, parliamentarianism, and also of course about their warnings in regards to the degeneration of the Russian revolution. Obviously at those years, an overwhelming majority of them were not arguing that the Bolsheviks were bourgeois counter-revolutionaries.

I don't however find disillusioned and for the most part isolated council communists writings later on the past about the Russian Revolution to be particularly healthy analyses.

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Russia was an undeveloped country, with few proletarians. In these conditions, without a revolution in europe, the russian revolution couldn't be anything but a bourgeois one.

This of course was the Kautskyist and Menshevik position itself on this question, later on used by comrade card-index himself in his propaganda work.

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Lenin knew that, and decided to be the leader of this bourgeois revolution. . .
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After having written this, Communard is then said to characterize Lenin as "evil" by Beltov, or to imply that the Bolshevik party was "evil and dirty" as Leo writes. This is very common in these discussions, and it is strange.

I can't see why it is strange. Obviously when arguements like "evil" or "dirty" are used, they don't actually mean that the person in question actually thinks Lenin or whoever ate babies or didn't take regular showers. It is to imply that an argument resembles such ideas.

Obviously no one political is going to use Lenin's breakfast diet or how regular he showered as an argument. I do, however think that phrases such as "Lenin knew that and decided to be the leader of this bourgeois revolution" to be as close as it gets. This obviously is exactly the opposite of everything Lenin said and defended in the period. He called for a proletarian revolution and he said that it was a proletarian revolution that was necessary, not a bourgeois revolution as the age was one of "socialism and barbarism". Now I'm sure Communard knows that this was not really Lenin's position, so then of course the logical conclusion of why Lenin was saying all these things about proletarian revolution when what he actually wanted was a bourgeois revolution would be that he was lying, and when someone is lying they lie for some sort of hidden personal agenda, some sort of personal gain.

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It's 2008 now, capitalism is still expanding....dont be "atlantic-centric", look at Asia and its huge development.....

Posting from Asia (though not "far" but "near") I'll say it ain't really so but I think I'll leave that to another discussion.

dave c
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Apr 14 2008 03:43

Lenin actually had a somewhat more nuanced view of the Bolshevik's role than the modern left communists:

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The proletariat must carry through the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the end, not allowing itself to be “bound” by the reformism of the bourgeoisie. The Bolsheviks formulated the alignment of class forces in the bourgeois revolution as follows: the proletariat, winning over the peasants, will neutralise the liberal bourgeoisie and utterly destroy the monarchy, medievalism and the landlord system. It is the alliance between the proletariat and the peasants in general that reveals the bourgeois character of the revolution, for the peasants in general are small producers who exist on the basis of commodity production. Further, the Bolsheviks then added, the proletariat will win over the entire semi-proletariat (all the working and exploited people), will neutralise the middle peasants and overthrow the bourgeoisie; this will be a socialist revolution, as distinct from a bourgeois-democratic revolution. (See my pamphlet Two Tactics, published in 1905 and reprinted in Twelve Years, St. Petersburg, 1907.) . . . .The question which Kautsky has so tangled up was fully explained by the Bolsheviks as far back as 1905 [summarized above]. Yes, our revolution is a bourgeois revolution as long as we march with the peasants as a whole. This has been as clear as clear can be to us; we have said it hundreds and thousands of times since 1905, and we have never attempted to skip this necessary stage of the historical process or abolish it by decrees. . . . The victorious Bolshevik revolution meant the end of vacillation, meant the complete destruction of the monarchy and of the landlord system (which had not been destroyed before the October Revolution). We carried the bourgeois revolution to its conclusion. The peasants supported us as a whole. Their antagonism to the socialist proletariat could not reveal itself all at once. The Soviets united the peasants in general. The class divisions among the peasants had not yet matured, had not yet come into the open. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/subservience.htm (my bold)
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In point of fact, however, already the 1905 Revolution revealed that the vast majority of the peasants in Russia, members of village communes as well as homestead peasants, were in favour of nationalisation of all the land. The 1917 Revolution confirmed this, and after the assumption of power by the proletariat this was done. The Bolsheviks remained loyal to Marxism and never tried (in spite of Kautsky, who, without a scrap of evidence, accuses us of doing so) to “skip” the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The Bolsheviks, first of all, helped the most radical, most revolutionary of the bourgeois-democratic ideologists of the peasants, those who stood closest to the proletariat, namely, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, to carry out what was in effect nationalisation of the land. On October 20, 1917, i.e., on the very first day of the proletarian, socialist revolution, private ownership of land was abolished in Russia. This laid the foundation, the most perfect from the point of view of the development of capitalism (Kautsky cannot deny this without breaking with Marx), and at the same time created an agrarian system which is the most flexible from the point of view of the transition to socialism. From the bourgeois-democratic point of view, the revolutionary peasants in Russia could go no farther: there can be nothing “more ideal” from this point of view, nothing “more radical” (from this same point of view) than nationalisation of the land and equal land tenure. It was the Bolsheviks, and only the Bolsheviks, who, thanks only to the victory of the proletarian revolution, helped the peasants to carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution really to its conclusion. And only in this way did they do the utmost to facilitate and accelerate the transition to the socialist revolution.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/subservience.htm (my bold)
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Our victory was made much easier by the fact that in October 1917 we marched with the peasants, with all the peasants. In that sense, our revolution at that time was a bourgeois revolution. The first step taken by our proletarian government was to embody in a law promulgated on October 26 (old-style), 1917, on the next day after the revolution, the old demands of all the peasants which peasant Soviets and village assemblies had put forward under Kerensky. That is where our strength lay; that is why we were able to win the overwhelming majority so easily. As far as the countryside was concerned, our revolution continued to be a bourgeois revolution, and only later, after a lapse of six months, were we compelled within the framework of the state organization to start the class struggle in the countryside, to establish Committees of Poor Peasants, of semi-proletarians, in every village, and to carry on a methodical fight against the rural bourgeoisie. This was inevitable in Russia owing to the backwardness of the country. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/mar/comintern.htm (my bold)
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In October 1917 we seized power together with the peasants as a whole. This was a bourgeois revolution, inasmuch as the class struggle in the rural districts had not yet developed. As I have said, the real proletarian revolution in the rural districts began only in the summer of 1918. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/rcp8th/06.htm (my bold)
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At present we must combat the survivals of disorganisation, chaos, and ridiculous departmental wrangling. This must be our main task. We must take up the simple and urgent matter of mobilising the literate to combat illiteracy. We must utilise the books that are available and set to work to organise a network of libraries which will help the people to gain access to every available book; there must be no parallel organisations, but a single, uniform planned organisation. This small matter reflects one of the fundamental tasks of our revolution. If it fails to carry out this task, if it fails to set about creating a really systematic and uniform organisation in place of our Russian chaos and inefficiency, then this revolution will remain a bourgeois revolution because the major specific feature of the proletarian revolution which is marching towards communism is this organisation—for all the bourgeoisie wanted was to break up the old system and allow freedom for the development of peasant farming, which revived the same capitalism as in all earlier revolutions. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/may/06.htm (my bold)
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We have consummated the bourgeois-democratic revolution as nobody had done before. We are advancing towards the socialist revolution consciously, firmly and unswervingly, knowing that it is not separated from the bourgeois-democratic revolution by a Chinese Wall, and knowing too that (in the last analysis) struggle alone will determine how far we shall advance, what part of this immense and lofty task we shall accomplish, and to what extent we shall succeed in consolidating our victories. Time will show. . . . We expected—or perhaps it would be truer to say that we presumed without having given it adequate consideration—to be able to organise the state production and the state distribution of products on communist lines in a small-peasant country directly as ordered by the proletarian state. Experience has proved that we were wrong. It appears that a number of transitional stages were necessary—state capitalism and socialism—in order to prepare—to prepare by many years of effort—for the transition to communism. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/oct/14.htm (my bold)

One thing is clear: Lenin recognized, as did Gorter, that the Russian revolution had a dual character. He was not such an idealist as to believe that the dawning of the new "age" magically swept away the material conditions of Russian society. But he saw the Bolshevik's state-capitalist measures as building a road to socialism. Gorter was more skeptical.

Communard
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Apr 14 2008 10:09
Quote:
Furthermore, I don't think your point really shows why all this happened as it seems to me that it boils down to a loop such as something like this: "why did the counter-revolution happen? because of the bolsheviks. why because of the bolsheviks? because the counter-revolution happened".

Leo, you didn't really read what i wrote about counter revolution causes.
should i quote my points or can you read them on your own?

Communard
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Apr 14 2008 10:38
Quote:
of course the logical conclusion of why Lenin was saying all these things about proletarian revolution when what he actually wanted was a bourgeois revolution would be that he was lying, and when someone is lying they lie for some sort of hidden personal agenda, some sort of personal gain.

omg, I don't think that Lenin was a liar smile
Read Lenin, my dear leninist friend!
but, first of all, read Marx's "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"....it's very useful to overcome idealism.

What's important to judge an historical event? is it what "actors" represent to themselves with their ideas (no matter if they're lying or not, of course), or is it what really happen at the material level?