Need some basic understanding of Trotskyism

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Mike Harman
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Apr 24 2008 09:43
Alf wrote:
But iis it not significant that the SWP doesn't give rise to organised proletarian currents out of the thousands who leave it and out of all the leftist splits within its ranks? That's not to say it is impossible- and you're right to say it's connected to the level of class struggle - but unlike the splits within the Bolshevik party any such current would not be able to claim continuity with the original positions or perspectives of the organisation.

To be honest I don't think it's all that significant, no.
The Workers Group is the only group you mentioned I have any real interest in (although I don't know much about Workers Truth so make that one and a half), I'm not sure that says anything significant about the Bolsheviks either - in fact I'd say it's significant as the exception which proves the rule. Unfortunately it wasn't an exception in the way they were dealt with, but this 'claim of continuity' is a weakness, not a strength - the problem with so many of those groups was they didn't make a complete break from Bolshevism.

Later workers' insurrections - at Teikovo, Vichuga in 1932, in Novercherkassk in 1962, were in many ways hamstrung by their 'authentic Leninism' - they claimed continuity with Lenin and 1917, and a fundamental, latent loyalty to the party was at least in part what led to their massacring and/or imprisonment within hours or days of the uprisings.

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The Workers' Opposition was certainly the weakest of the groups I mentioned but surely you can see the pattern?

Repression and imprisonment of oppositional groups? Bureaucratic factional infighting?

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Alf
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Apr 24 2008 12:20

No, you can't see the pattern. A proletarian organisation degenerates and gives rise to a myriad of organised proletarian reactions.

Leo
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Apr 24 2008 12:26
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Later workers' insurrections - at Teikovo, Vichuga in 1932, in Novercherkassk in 1962, were in many ways hamstrung by their 'authentic Leninism' - they claimed continuity with Lenin and 1917, and a fundamental, latent loyalty to the party was at least in part what led to their massacring and/or imprisonment within hours or days of the uprisings.

So are you saying that they wouldn't be massacred or imprisoned if they did not claim continuity with Lenin and 1917?

That's a strange idea.

Mike Harman
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Apr 24 2008 13:30

Leo, no not like that. In both cases, most of the workers had an ideological attachment to Bolshevism and the RCP - although this was to Lenin and 1917, it also made them underestimate the measures that Stalin/Kalinin and Krushchev would be prepared to take. Often they considered the local factory managers and party organs to be corrupt, whilst appealing to the centre for concessions and to deal with corrupt local officials, who in turn were sending (or had already sent) military units to enforce order. In both cases this had them organising protests marches and/or delegations to centres of power which made them easy targets for arrests and/or shootings - in Novocherkassk they had red banners and portraits of Lenin at the head of the march only minutes before they were machine gunned. This doesn't mean a massacre wouldn't have occurred, but (for example) staying in industrial areas and digging in for a long strike might have forced concessions since, and again this holds true to an extent for both '32 and '62, there was a very real risk to the Communist Party of class struggle spreading rapidly to elsewhere, and an extra day or few would have massively increased this risk.

Alf, I thought that might be what you were suggesting. I think my two patterns are more illuminating though.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 24 2008 13:59
Mike Harman wrote:
Demogorgon303 seems to be at best ambivalent on the position of the party and strikes between 1917-1921.
Alf wrote:
Demogorgon made it clear that he was against the proletarian dictatorship using repression against strikes. That doesn't mean that all strikes would automatically be a positive development once the working class had taken power. It depends on the situation. In most cases it would express the fact that the dictatorship was weakening and the workers had to take action to defend their basic interests. In some cases it could express a backward and narrow attitude on the part of groups of workers. But in neither case would the problem be solved by repression, but only through collective debate.

Alf is right. I completely condemn the use of force by the Bolsheviks to suppress strikes. I don't necessarily think it's wrong to oppose strikes in such circumstances though. But opposition is not repression, even if it is not a step to taken lightly. If it was felt that the action of a group of workers was against the collective interest of the proletariat, this would have to be discussed through the councils. I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect a group of workers to call off a strike in a proletarian bastion if the majority of the council called for it. The problem as far as the Bolsheviks were concerned was that, by taking power, they immediately began to defend state interests as opposed to proletarian ones. Even a so-called "semi-state" is open to diluting the needs of the working class with those of other strata - peasants, petit-bourgeoisie, etc. and its ultimate goal is social stability. This didn't happen all at once, but some signs appeared right away.

The Bolsheviks' use of force in their dictatorship was also a sign of the weakness of the working class in Russia, exacerbated by the dire economic situation which got worse throughout 1917-1918. Workers naturally went on strike to resist this deterioration but what was required was the working class taking steps to begin managing the economy. The failure of this effort led the Bolsheviks to take over this management on behalf of the working class, first as emergency measures, then as part of the war economy and finally because the working class had been so decimated the revolution was effectively dead. The motivation of the Bolsheviks was "hold on, at all costs" - with hindsight of course, we can see that the costs destroyed what they were trying to hold on to.

Mike Harman
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Apr 24 2008 14:06
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But opposition is not repression, even if it is not a step to taken lightly.

A lot of policing doesn't require the use of actual force, but the threat is still there. If a court rules a strike illegal you don't think this is repression?

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 24 2008 14:38
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A lot of policing doesn't require the use of actual force, but the threat is still there. If a court rules a strike illegal you don't think this is repression?

Of course, because a court is backed up by the police, the threat of force. I would say right away that a political party or revolutionary organisation has no business in ruling if a strike is illegal, in any case. The fact that the Bolsheviks got themselves into this situation is a demonstration of the folly of "taking power" in the first place. Such disputes should be discussed within the councils and if no concensus agreement can be reached they must be decided by a binding majority vote. I fail to see how an individual, or group of workers, or party arguing against (or for) a position within the councils is repression. In some respects, the fact that a strike is taking place in our semi-hypothetical proletarian bastion at all would mean this process has already broken down because the striking workers have felt it necessary to go against the decision of the council.

I'm not automatically saying that workers who strike in such circumstances would be in the wrong but it's also clear that they're not necessarily to be supported no matter what, either. The fact remains that when the working class confronts the devastation of post-revolutionary society there will be all sorts of disputes throughout the working class about what to do. At many points, some workers may feel hard-done-by or that things aren't progressing quickly enough, whatever. How can the proletariat mediate these disputes? It goes without saying that the Bolshevik attempt failed. Do you have an answer?

Mike Harman
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Apr 24 2008 14:48
Demogorgon303 wrote:
I fail to see how an individual, or group of workers, or party arguing against (or for) a position within the councils is repression.

Me neither, but that's not what happened with regards to Kronstadt, or the strikes before or afterwards, and you know this full well.

I don't think the Bolsheviks were trying to mediate disputes against the class, not at any point. At all times they viewed the self-activity of workers as merely an adjunct to gaining or maintaining political power - and said as much.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 24 2008 15:11
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Me neither, but that's not what happened with regards to Kronstadt, or the strikes before or afterwards, and you know this full well.

I didn't say it was. I was answering your point about courts and non-violent policing and trying to see how this might fit into a post-revolution society. The Bolshevik suppression of Kronstadt, etc. was clearly a completely different animal and I thought we'd moved on to something else.

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I don't think the Bolsheviks were trying to mediate disputes against the class, not at any point. At all times they viewed the self-activity of workers as merely an adjunct to gaining or maintaining political power - and said as much.

So it's just a case study for a Nietzchean will to power? The problem for this viewpoint is that bourgeois fractions who are vying for power don't generally advocate any workers self-activity at all. Instead they pander to the prejudices of the masses in order win them over and manipulate them. If you were talking about the fraction around Stalin and Kamanev who were in charge of Pravda before Lenin's return and who effectively gave critical support to the Provisional Government, you may have a point. Stalin was always on the opportunist wing of the party.

But Lenin's fraction took minority positions and were, initially, completely isolated in the proletariat which was still largely supporting the war in one guise or another.

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Tojiah
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Apr 24 2008 15:43
Demogorgon303 wrote:
So it's just a case study for a Nietzchean will to power? The problem for this viewpoint is that bourgeois fractions who are vying for power don't generally advocate any workers self-activity at all. Instead they pander to the prejudices of the masses in order win them over and manipulate them.
...
But Lenin's fraction took minority positions and were, initially, completely isolated in the proletariat which was still largely supporting the war in one guise or another.

But surely anti-war sentiments were actually in the majority among the peasantry and the soldiery, who were actually the majority of the masses leading this revolution? To claim that Lenin was proletarian based on him advocating a minority viewpoint among the proletariat seems to beg the question.

(edited to clarify objection)

Leo
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Apr 24 2008 15:44
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Leo, no not like that. In both cases, most of the workers had an ideological attachment to Bolshevism and the RCP - although this was to Lenin and 1917, it also made them underestimate the measures that Stalin/Kalinin and Krushchev would be prepared to take.

This is I believe a fair point, but it is not against but indeed supportive of the position as it basically says to me that Kalinin / Stalin / Krushchev was not the continuation of 1917 and that there was not a direct link between them, although the workers saw such link due to the propaganda of the Russian state.

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In both cases this had them organising protests marches and/or delegations to centres of power which made them easy targets for arrests and/or shootings - in Novocherkassk they had red banners and portraits of Lenin at the head of the march only minutes before they were machine gunned.

On a completely different note, in 1923 Myasnikov either did organize or was planning to organize a march exactly like this one you are defining.

Protest to centers of power doesn't, I don't think, really have much to do with illusions about those who are being protested or other authorities but perhaps illusions about ones own strength.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 25 2008 08:20
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But surely anti-war sentiments were actually in the majority among the peasantry and the soldiery, who were actually the majority of the masses leading this revolution? To claim that Lenin was proletarian based on him advocating a minority viewpoint among the proletariat seems to beg the question.

There was an instinctive hostility to war, that's true enough. But there was also a great deal of confusion as well. The Kerensky government carried on the war on the basis of "denfencism". Other parts of the bourgeoisie called for "democratic peace". Most of the working class was disorientated by these ideologies. The All-Russia Conference of Soviets held in Petrograd in March-April 1917 was dominated by Mensheviks and SRs and the conference voted to support the Kerensky government. The Bolsheviks, who were under the dominance of Stalin and Kamenev supported this line.

To be fair, Stalin and Kamenev did draw the justification for their position from Lenin's previous positions, but proved themselves incapable of adapting to new circumstances. Lenin, on the other hand, was moving towards Trotsky's position of "permanent revolution" i.e. the working class should take power immediately without waiting for some intervening bourgeois regime that would modernise capitalism in Russia. Both Trotsky and Lenin were on the far left of the workers movement - Trotsky more so on "permanent revolution", Lenin more so on calling for the actual defeat of Russia in the war and splitting from the 2nd International.

All these left-wing positions were in a minority within the working class and in the revolutionary camp. There's no doubt though that once these positions became known there was a strong resonance within the working class that built more and more throughout the year.

baboon
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Apr 25 2008 10:36

Catch earlier blames the defeat of the 1962 strike in Novercherskassk on Lenin (and the Bolsheviks?). It's desperation once again, going to silly levels.
The workers weren't beaten by a ghost of Lenin but by their isolation and the overall balance of class force in Russia. Catch's "anwer" from his 'Lenin is the root of all evil' analysis: they should have stayed put and dug in for the long strike. Just like the miners in Britain in 1984 and a host of other of other strikes during the 70s and 80s that were primarily defeated by isolation.

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OliverTwister
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Apr 25 2008 10:49
baboon wrote:
Catch earlier blames the defeat of the 1962 strike in Novercherskassk on Lenin (and the Bolsheviks?). It's desperation once again, going to silly levels.
The workers weren't beaten by a ghost of Lenin but by their isolation and the overall balance of class force in Russia. Catch's "anwer" from his 'Lenin is the root of all evil' analysis: they should have stayed put and dug in for the long strike. Just like the miners in Britain in 1984 and a host of other of other strikes during the 70s and 80s that were primarily defeated by isolation.

Ha. This is the most ridiculous misreading I've ever seen.

Mike Harman
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Apr 25 2008 11:01
baboon wrote:
Catch earlier blames the defeat of the 1962 strike in Novercherskassk on Lenin (and the Bolsheviks?).

Eh? No I said some very partial blame might be placed on the faith put in Lenin and a kind of nostaligic loyalty to the party which caused them to underestimate the lengths to which the party, KGB etc. would go to crush the strike. Of course the party's method of dealing with strikes had changed very little since Lenin - describing the workers as bandits and petit-bourgeios, wiping them out to prevent contamination into other areas, all very familiar.

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It's desperation once again, going to silly levels.

No the desperation is in your constant and dishonest attempts to misrepresent the views of just about every poster on this site rather than dealing with their actual arguments.

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The workers weren't beaten by a ghost of Lenin but by their isolation and the overall balance of class force in Russia. Catch's "anwer" from his 'Lenin is the root of all evil' analysis: they should have stayed put and dug in for the long strike.

Not at all what I said. I said they might have had more luck concentrating on their factory occupation, industrial area and spreading the strike to other workers in different towns compared going on an ill-fated protest march to the administrative centre several miles away marching through lines of tanks to a square surrounded by machine gunners. The next time the SWP or Unison tries to divert a strike into a Saturday protest march I'll expect to see you praising this enthusiastically.

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Red Marriott
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Apr 25 2008 11:19
Mike Harman wrote:
No the desperation is in your constant and dishonest attempts to misrepresent the views of just about every poster on this site rather than dealing with their actual arguments.

It's like this every time you argue with him - the worst kind of derailing.

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Tojiah
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Apr 25 2008 12:53
Demogorgon303 wrote:
There was an instinctive hostility to war, that's true enough. But there was also a great deal of confusion as well. The Kerensky government carried on the war on the basis of "denfencism". Other parts of the bourgeoisie called for "democratic peace". Most of the working class was disorientated by these ideologies. The All-Russia Conference of Soviets held in Petrograd in March-April 1917 was dominated by Mensheviks and SRs and the conference voted to support the Kerensky government. The Bolsheviks, who were under the dominance of Stalin and Kamenev supported this line.

To be fair, Stalin and Kamenev did draw the justification for their position from Lenin's previous positions, but proved themselves incapable of adapting to new circumstances. Lenin, on the other hand, was moving towards Trotsky's position of "permanent revolution" i.e. the working class should take power immediately without waiting for some intervening bourgeois regime that would modernise capitalism in Russia. Both Trotsky and Lenin were on the far left of the workers movement - Trotsky more so on "permanent revolution", Lenin more so on calling for the actual defeat of Russia in the war and splitting from the 2nd International.

All these left-wing positions were in a minority within the working class and in the revolutionary camp. There's no doubt though that once these positions became known there was a strong resonance within the working class that built more and more throughout the year.

Yeah, great, terrific, that's a lovely rant, too bad it doesn't actually respond to the message it pretends to constitute a reply to:

tojiah wrote:
But surely anti-war sentiments were actually in the majority among the peasantry and the soldiery, who were actually the majority of the masses leading this revolution? To claim that Lenin was proletarian based on him advocating a minority viewpoint among the proletariat seems to beg the question.

It doesn't matter whether or not the working class was confused or disoriented or what its positions are unless you assume that this was a working class revolution, and that it did in fact manifest a dictatorship of the proletariat. You're begging the question, again.

Sean Siberio
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Apr 25 2008 21:08

This whole thread boils down to a very stark difference in what the words "error" and "mistake" mean. To some, obviously, a "mistake" is like passing gas in polite company; you didn't mean to do it, but everyone should just ignore it and continue on. The other side has it correct; that these "mistakes" and "errors" were not Freudian slips of the tounge, or dalliances with absurdity, but the supported, conscious, and willful decisions of what now amounts to gloriously huge fuckups.

We wouldn't accept such weaseling out from right-wing fascists, and we shouldn't accept it from people cause they carry a red flag and call themselves Communists. Frankly its of little issue to me at what point the switch was hit and Trotsky and Lenin became despots; the road to hell after all, is paved with good intentions, so their words mean a whole shit ton less than their actions.

And many of the other comments essentially boil down to "material" or "social" conditions, which is a buzz word for our description of the times doesn't allow for anything more than a reductive "us against them" mentality. You see it in Demo's bizarre rants about how strikes may be counter-revolutionary, or (even more bizarrely) a sign of the "Weakness" of the working class, which can only be the furthest away from the truth. The strike, especially the militant ones found within the Russian Revolution, were a sign of the strength and the unity of the working class in opposition to both the Whites and the Bolsheviks.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 25 2008 21:10
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It doesn't matter whether or not the working class was confused or disoriented or what its positions are unless you assume that this was a working class revolution, and that it did in fact manifest a dictatorship of the proletariat. You're begging the question, again.

The Congress definitely included representatives from the soldiers councils and, I think, the peasants too. That was the Congress that voted to support the Provisional Government. But the driving force certainly did come from the working class. You look at the epicentres of discontent and they were the main urban centres where the proletariat was strongest, especially Petrograd.Certainly, the peasantry were in the majority in terms of the population of Russia as a whole ... that doesn't mean they were the driving force of the revolution. Although the revolution couldn't have been made without the peasantry (and soldiers don't constitute a class, they were essentially workers and peasants in uniform), it was the proletariat that provided leadership for all the oppressed and non-exploiting classes in society.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 25 2008 21:25
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Demo's bizarre rants about how strikes may be counter-revolutionary

So the strike of the civil servants, deliberately designed to frustrate every effort of the working class to reorganise society wasn't reactionary? What about the strikes of engineers, doctors, teachers, etc? How about the strike at the State Bank where the workers there refused to release funds so that thousands of refugees could be fed and workers get paid? How about the way the bourgeoisie of the banks and the former provisional government continued to pay these people while they were on strike in order to maximise the disruption?

I guess you're right. There's no way that any of these strikes could be at counter-revolutionary.

Sean Siberio
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Apr 25 2008 23:43
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I guess you're right. There's no way that any of these strikes could be at counter-revolutionary.

Oh you know full-well what strikes I was talking about, the same one's everyone has been going back and forth about on this very thread. Strikes for higher wages, against the militarization and heavy handedness of party bureaucrats, and against the destruction of the Soviets. All of which, as everyone else has amply illustrated here, were suppressed with vigor by the Bolsheviks and their twin idiot leaders, Lenin and Trotsky. These were all routinely put down as "counter-revolutionary"; the problem with letting that cat out of the bag, like the words "infantile" and "bourgeoisie". is they get thrown around so much as to be meaningless.

baboon
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Apr 26 2008 10:39

Sorry about that Catch - too quick a misreading.
I basically agree with your analysis of that strike but not with the amalgam of Lenin (or the Bolsheviks) always representing working class repression.

jaycee
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Apr 26 2008 11:02

i think your reading of what is meant by mistakes is a bit stupid Sean Siberio. It is not denied that many of the mistakes made by the Bolsheviks were a result of deep running confusions in the Bolshevik (and workers movement generally at the time); not least the idea that the party with the most votes in the Soviets should take power (an understandable position to have, but fundamentally incompatible with true workers control). However the point is that these mistakes were not complete abandonments of revolutionary positions but could have been overcome and worked out had conditions been different, mainly if the revolution had spread to Europe.

Also it was the conditions of the time which drove lenin and Trotsky towards more and more reppressive and anti-revolutionary actions, you must at least admit that the pressures of the Civil War, economic collapse, loss of land and resources, a complete economic embargo and international pressure must have had an effect on the Bolsheviks mind set and made weaknesses in the Bolshevik theorectical outlook much more distructive towards the revolution.

yoshomon
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Apr 26 2008 14:15
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Also it was the conditions of the time which drove lenin and Trotsky towards more and more reppressive and anti-revolutionary actions, you must at least admit that the pressures of the Civil War, economic collapse, loss of land and resources, a complete economic embargo and international pressure must have had an effect on the Bolsheviks mind set and made weaknesses in the Bolshevik theorectical outlook much more distructive towards the revolution.

Yes, difficult times often lead the state to increasing the intensity of anti-working class repression.

As Trotsky always said, when times get tough, the tough shoot workers down like partridges.

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 26 2008 14:19
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Oh you know full-well what strikes I was talking about, the same one's everyone has been going back and forth about on this very thread. Strikes for higher wages, against the militarization and heavy handedness of party bureaucrats, and against the destruction of the Soviets.

Except I've never claimed otherwise. In some cases, the working class probably was justified to go on strike - more and more so as the revolution degenerated. The problem is that the visceral anti-bolshevism takes absolutely no account of the circumstances. In the six months after the revolution, unemployment in Petrograd rose to over 60%. Factory committees established armed guards to keep the unemployed out! In such a situation, when the mass of the population was literally starving, the most immediate necessity was for the working class to get the economy (which was still fundamentally capitalist and couldn't be otherwise) functioning again. In such a situation are you seriously suggesting it was always right in every case for workers to go on strike for higher wages??

The militarisation which was imposed by the Bolsheviks - and just to be absolutely clear here, I don't defend this, it was a terrible error - took place in a context of almost complete economic chaos. The widespread looting and black marketeering, while it was a perfectly human response to the drastic conditions, was making the entire situation worse for everybody. And everywhere the rump of the bourgeoisie did its best to aggravate the social discontent.

The destruction of the Soviets as organs of class rule began when workers began to retreat into Menshevism which called for the re-establishment of the old municipal authorities (i.e. the bourgeois state). These were the very organs that the working class had itself destroyed (and, incidentally, it was anarchist sailors that "led the charge" in shutting down the Constituent Assembly) only a few months before and now they were calling for them back!

I note that you didn't condemn the use of force to disperse those strikes that I mention in my previous post. Was this an oversight on your part? Do you condemn any use of force against any segment of society, immediately after the revolution? Or do you think its necessary for the proletariat to use force against other strata in certain circumstances? The Bolsheviks were determined to use force against anything they saw as threatening the revolution - the problem was that as the situation developed, the main threat to the revolution was the retreat of the working class. This was a problem that the Bolsheviks never foresaw - although Lenin recognised that the party may have to take a hand in running things due to the chronically low cultural development of the Russian proletariat (in terms of education, etc) he drastically underestimated the difficulty the workers faced in making workers control a reality. This was a rude awakening for the party whose first decree was to institute workers control in the factories.

jaycee
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Apr 26 2008 19:54

yoshomon i don't know why you keep making references to kronsdadt because everyone here icc included condemns the action of the bolsheviks. the debate is how that situation came to be, was it the logical conclusion of the bolsheviks coming to power and ideology or was it the result of a degeneration of what was once a proletarian and revolutionary movement.

Sean Siberio
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Apr 27 2008 06:38
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i think your reading of what is meant by mistakes is a bit stupid Sean Siberio. It is not denied that many of the mistakes made by the Bolsheviks were a result of deep running confusions in the Bolshevik (and workers movement generally at the time); not least the idea that the party with the most votes in the Soviets should take power (an understandable position to have, but fundamentally incompatible with true workers control). However the point is that these mistakes were not complete abandonments of revolutionary positions but could have been overcome and worked out had conditions been different, mainly if the revolution had spread to Europe.

They were not "deep running confusions". They were explicit positions and decisions that represented not merely an "abandonment" of revolutionary positions, but the intrinsic trajectory of the Bolsheviks, and their leaders. The concept of "Degeneration" presumes theres something ideal to deviate from; there was nothing of the sort.

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Also it was the conditions of the time which drove lenin and Trotsky towards more and more reppressive and anti-revolutionary actions, you must at least admit that the pressures of the Civil War, economic collapse, loss of land and resources, a complete economic embargo and international pressure must have had an effect on the Bolsheviks mind set and made weaknesses in the Bolshevik theorectical outlook much more distructive towards the revolution.

This is even more ridiculous. None of us on here would tolerate such absurd justifications for repression from the right in times of crisis; in fact, I imagine all of us here explicitly call bullshit. Repression during times of crisis are never stem from the crisis itself., but rather merely opens up a breach for already existing, and dormant, repressive actions to be taken, ostensibly justified by whatever is going on.

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Or do you think its necessary for the proletariat to use force against other strata in certain circumstances? The Bolsheviks were determined to use force against anything they saw as threatening the revolution - the problem was that as the situation developed, the main threat to the revolution was the retreat of the working class.

You conflate, with a very quick rhetorical juke, the violence mediated by the state and party apparatus of the Bolsheviks with "the proletariat". Either way, your statement on the Bolshevik's position is quite true, but probably not for the reasons you intend it to be; the Bolshevik's were concerned with anything that threatened THEIR revolution.

In fact this is why the dissolved Menshevik majority Soviets, a fact you mention as the "workers becoming more conservative". You either willfully or otherwise ignore, the autocratic form that the Bolshevik's had already taken. When people voted them out, there is no doubt as to who was "more conservative" in actions and deeds. For their troubles, workers saw their Soviets abolished, stuffed with party bureaucrats, or otherwise superseded by equally stacked "regional" bureaucracies. This also presumes that workers weren't voting for other, left-oriented parties, which they were. Those too, also got the boot, so clearly it was not merely because of "Menshevik" conservatism, though that might have been a convenient scape-goat.

But then again, we see this consistently throughout Lenin's works; a paranoid fear of the "vacillation" of the workers, of the masses. His solution; implement the program in the "interests of the proletariat" even if they were presumably too stupid to choose it. And shoot the bastards if they disagree. This paranoia was not created by, nor fueled by, the Civil War. This was strain of thought runs clearly through all of Lenin's works, even before he took power. Someone who clearly thinks so incredibly little about the potential of people to make their own choices can hardly be called a communist.