Russian revolution October 1917

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Mike Harman
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Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 28 2007 12:58
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One of the things about revolutionary politics Catch, is you have to keep repeating yourself - there's nothing wrong with that. And a public discussion is just that. Goldner's text was a refreshing and, more importantly, eminently concrete (though he apologised for it) position on decadent capitalism, the development of imperialism and the development of debt and credit. I don't think revolutionaries, Marx, Luxemburg amongst others could have imagined that capitalism would go on for so long but on the other hand we have over a hundred years of concrete and practical lessons on the development of capitalism from the early 1900s. Of course there should always be ways to develop analyses and theory, lessons to be learned from texts and earlier struggles, as wellas the manipulations of the bourgeoisie, but there's a concrete experience of nearly one hundred years to draw on. I thought that Mikus hijacked the discussion and became so obscure that he became incomprehensible.

Well given that Goldner's essay was in part a reexamination of Luxemburg, a discussion of that theory doesn't seem like a hijacking. The discussion wasn't especially fruitful once it got to that point, and reminded me of Paxman vs. Howard, but still there's something to be said there. Also Mikus appeared to be primarily counterposing the 'velocity of money' (which seems like quite a straightforward concept to me - especially that given modern financial transactions it can move so fast that it actually stays still) against limitations in the money supply - I don't think this is so obscure.

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Similar for the discussion on the Russian Revolution. No one has looked at, discussed and written about the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and the mistakes of the Bolsheviks more than the ICC. Not from a working class point of view anyway.

What's a "working class point of view"? Is this the proletarian camp again? I've just discovered the Brovkin/Rosenberg/Smith/Rabinowitch (and others) groups of academics, and they made/make a serious attempt to look at the revolution from precisely the working class perspective that's been missing in Alf's posts on this thread - which sees so much through the prism of Lenin. Much of that research (although I'm just starting to dip into it) cuts through a lot of the old arguments between anarchists and Leninists - which have been very simplistic on both sides - partly as a result of limited historical data during the cold war as much as ideological entrenchment. I believe this came up before in fact (or I just have deja vu).

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Basing itself on criticisms from opposition inside Russia to developments in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Britain, the ICC has developed a profound critique of the failure of both the revolution and the Bolshevik party. What makes sense to me is that out of this discussion on theory flows practice, real practical lessons for organisation. I will try to look at the posts you suggest though I have a limited time on the internet. If you could try to sum up your position on organisation today, and the question of organisation fully belongs to any discussion on the Bolsheviks, it would be very useful.

If I get time I'll reread that thread as well.