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Thread: 1917 -2017 The Coming Centenary of the Russian Revolution - Discussions of the Revolution

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    Default 1917 -2017 The Coming Centenary of the Russian Revolution - Discussions of the Revolution

    In 1917, at the climax of the mass slaughter of World War 1, two revolutions in Russia in quick succession shook the world, and permanently changed it.

    In February the loathsome feudal Tsarist era was ended, and in October of the same year the Russian working class, backed by the mass of poor peasants and led by the Bolsheviks, a Marxist revolutionary party, took power, withdrew from the war and ended capitalism.

    A turning point towards both the success of the Russian revolution and the extreme pressures under which revolutionary Russia was to come was the outset of WW1 in 1914.

    The massive Second International, which was made up of Marxist parties with millions of members, within which the German party was largest, collapsed into national chauvinist splinters, voting for war credits and dissolving itself to allow for the unimpeded slaughter of millions of workers by other workers.

    In Russia, the Social Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks, the Anarchists and all the bourgeois liberals backed the war. Only the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (the "Bolshevik" (Majority) founded in 1912 after final split with the Mensheviks) stood out against the war, facing illegality and suppression in Russia to do so.

    The Bolshevik stance was to call on workers to turn the nationalist war into a civil war by the working class against their own ruling class, and this is what, in due course, took place in Russia.

    Only the Russians had a party steeled in decades of party building, with Marxism as the core outlook, that was ready to do this. The fact that Tsarism was overripe for overthrow also opened up a social melting pot during WW2 opened the way for them.

    This document was presented by the Central Committee of the Party in counter to the collapse of the Second International into reformism. Vladimir Illyich Lenin was its main author. I think it remains highly relevant.

    The European war, which the governments and the bourgeois parties of all countries have been preparing for decades, has broken out. The growth of armaments, the extreme intensification of the struggle for markets in the latest—the imperialist—stage of capitalist development in the advanced countries, and the dynastic interests of the more backward East-European monarchies were inevitably bound to bring about this war, and have done so. Seizure of territory and subjugation of other nations, the ruining of competing nations and the plunder of their wealth, distracting the attention of the working masses from the internal political crises in Russia, Germany, Britain and other countries, disuniting and nationalist stultification of the workers, and the extermination of their vanguard so as to weaken the revolutionary movement of the proletariat—these comprise the sole actual content, importance and significance of the present war.
    It is primarily on Social-Democracy that the duty rests of revealing the true meaning of the war, and of ruthlessly exposing the falsehood, sophistry and “patriotic” phrasemongering spread by the ruling classes, the landowners and the bourgeoisie, in defence of the war.
    One group of belligerent nations is headed by the German bourgeoisie. It is hoodwinking the working class and the toiling masses by asserting that this is a war in defence of the fatherland, freedom and civilisation, for the liberation of the peoples oppressed by tsarism, and for the destruction of reactionary tsarism. In actual fact, however, this bourgeoisie, which servilely grovels to the Prussian Junkers, headed by Wilhelm II, has always been a most faithful ally of tsarism, and an enemy of the revolutionary movement of Russia’s workers and peasants. In fact, whatever the outcome of the war, this bourgeoisie will together with the Junkers, exert every effort to support the tsarist monarchy against a revolution in Russia.
    In fact, the German bourgeoisie has launched a robber campaign against Serbia, with the object of subjugating her and throttling the national revolution of the Southern Slavs, at the same time sending the bulk of its military forces against the freer countries, Belgium and France, so as to plunder richer competitors. In fact, the German bourgeoisie, which has been spreading the fable that it is waging a war of defence, chose the moment it thought most favourable for war, making use of its latest improvements in military matériel and forestalling the rearmament already planned and decided upon by Russia and France.
    The other group of belligerent nations is headed by the British and the French bourgeoisie, who are hoodwinking the working class and the toiling masses by asserting that they are waging a war for the defence of their countries, for freedom and civilisation and against German militarism and despotism. In actual fact, this bourgeoisie has long been spending thousands of millions to hire the troops of Russian tsarism, the most reactionary and barbarous monarchy in Europe, and prepare them for an attack on Germany.
    In fact, the struggle of the British and the French bourgeoisie is aimed at the seizure of the German colonies, and the ruining of a rival nation, whose economic development has been more rapid. In pursuit of this noble aim, the “advanced” “democratic” nations are helping the savage tsarist regime to still more throttle Poland, the Ukraine, etc., and more thoroughly crush the revolution in Russia.
    Neither group of belligerents is inferior to the other in spoiliation, atrocities and the boundless brutality of war; however, to hoodwink the proletariat and distract its attention from the only genuine war of liberation, namely, a civil war against the bourgeoisie both of its “own” and of “foreign” countries—to achieve so lofty an aim—the bourgeoisie of each country is trying, with the help of false phrases about patriotism, to extol the significance of its “own” national war, asserting that it is out to defeat the enemy, not for plunder and the seizure of territory, but for the “liberation” of all other peoples except its own.
    But the harder the governments and the bourgeoisie of all countries try to disunite the workers and pit them against one another, and the more savagely they enforce, for this lofty aim, martial law and the military censorship (measures which even now, in wartime, are applied against the “internal” foe more harshly than against the external), the more pressingly is it the duty of the class-conscious proletariat to defend its class solidarity, its internationalism, and its socialist convictions against the unbridled chauvinism of the “patriotic” bourgeois cliques in all countries. If class-conscious workers were to give up this aim, this would mean renunciation of their aspirations for freedom and democracy, to say nothing of their socialist aspirations.
    It is with a feeling of the most bitter disappointment that we have to record that the socialist parties of the leading European countries have failed to discharge this duty, the behaviour of these parties’ leaders, particularly in Germany, bordering on downright betrayal of the cause of socialism. At this time of supreme and historic importance, most of the leaders of the present Socialist International, the Second (1889-1914), are trying to substitute nationalism for socialism. As a result of their behaviour, the workers’ parties of these countries did not oppose the governments’ criminal conduct, but called upon the working class to identify its position with that of the imperialist governments. The leaders of the International committed an act of treachery against socialism by voting for war credits, by reiterating the chauvinist (“patriotic”) slogans of the bourgeoisie of their “own” countries, by justifying and defending the war, by joining the bourgeois governments of the belligerent countries, and so on and so forth. The most influential socialist leaders and the most influential organs of the socialist press of present-day Europe hold views that are chauvinist, bourgeois and liberal, and in no way socialist. The responsibility for thus disgracing socialism falls primarily on the German Social-Democrats, who were the strongest and most influential party in the Second International. But neither can one justify the French socialists, who have accepted ministerial posts in the government of that very bourgeoisie which betrayed its country and allied itself with Bismarck so as to crush the Commune.
    The German and the Austrian Social-Democrats are attempting to justify their support for the war by arguing that they are thereby fighting against Russian tsarism. We Russian Social-Democrats declare that we consider such justification sheer sophistry. In our country the revolutionary movement against tsarism has again assumed tremendous proportions during the past few years. This movement has always been headed by the working class of Russia. The political strikes of the last few years, which have involved millions of workers, have had as their slogan the overthrow of tsarism and the establishment of a democratic republic. During his visit to Nicholas II on the very eve of the war, Poincaré, President of the French Republic, could see for himself, in the streets of St. Petersburg, barricades put up by Russian workers. The Russian proletariat has not flinched from any sacrifice to rid humanity of the disgrace of the tsarist monarchy. We must, however, say that if there is anything that, under certain conditions, can delay the downfall of tsarism, anything that can help tsarism in its struggle against the whole of Russia’s democracy, then that is the present war, which has placed the purses of the British, the French and the Russian bourgeois at the disposal of tsarism, to further the latter’s reactionary aims. If there is anything that can hinder the revolutionary struggle of the Russia’s working class against tsarism, then that is the behaviour of the German and the Austrian Social-Democratic leaders, which the chauvinist press of Russia is continually holding up to us as an example.
    Even assuming that German Social-Democracy was so weak that it was compelled to refrain from all revolutionary action, it should not have joined the chauvinist camp, or taken steps which gave the Italian socialists reason to say that the German Social-Democratic leaders were dishonouring the banner of the proletarian International.
    Our Party, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, has made, and will continue to make great sacrifices in connection with the war. The whole of our working-class legal press has been suppressed. Most working-class associations have been disbanded, and a large number of our comrades have been arrested and exiled. Yet our parliamentary representatives—the Russian Social-Democratic Labour group in the Duma—considered it their imperative socialist duty not to vote for the war credits, and even to walk out of the Duma, so as to express their protest the more energetically; they considered it their duty to brand the European governments’ policy as imperialist. Though the tsar’s government has increased its tyranny tenfold, the Social-Democratic workers of Russia are already publishing their first illegal manifestos against the war, thus doing their duty to democracy and to the International.
    While the collapse of the Second International has given rise to a sense of burning shame in revolutionary Social-Democrats—as represented by the minority of German Social-Democrats and the finest Social-Democrats in the neutral countries; while socialists in both Britain and France have been speaking up against the chauvinism of most Social-Democratic parties; while the opportunists, as represented, for instance, by the German Sozialistische Monatshefte, which have long held a national-liberal stand, are with good reason celebrating their victory over European socialism—the worst possible service is being rendered to the proletariat by those who vacillate between opportunism and revolutionary Social-Democracy (like the “Centre” in the German Social-Democratic Party), by those who are trying to hush up the collapse of the Second International or to disguise it with diplomatic phrases.
    On the contrary, this collapse must be frankly recognised and its causes understood, so as to make it possible to build up a new and more lasting socialist unity of the workers of all countries.
    The opportunists have wrecked the decisions of the Stuttgart, Copenhagen and Basle congresses,[1] which made it binding on socialists of all countries to combat chauvinism in all and any conditions, made it binding on socialists to reply to any war begun by the bourgeoisie and governments, with intensified propaganda of civil war and social revolution. The collapse of the Second International is the collapse of opportunism, which developed from the features of a now bygone (and so-called “peaceful”) period of history, and in recent years has come practically to dominate the International. The opportunist have long been preparing the ground for this collapse by denying the socialist revolution and substituting bourgeois reformism in its stead; by rejecting the class struggle with its inevitable conversion at certain moments into civil war, and by preaching class collaboration; by preaching bourgeois chauvinism under the guise of patriotism and the defence of the fatherland, and ignoring or rejecting the fundamental truth of socialism, long ago set forth in the Communist Manifesto, that the workingmen have no country; by confining themselves, in the struggle against militarism, to a sentimental, philistine point of view, instead of recognising the need for a revolutionary war by the proletarians of all countries, against the bourgeoisie of all countries; by making a fetish of the necessary utilisation of bourgeois parliamentarianism and bourgeois legality, and forgetting that illegal forms of organisation and propaganda are imperative at times of crises. The natural “appendage” to opportunism—one that is just as bourgeois and hostile to the proletarian, i.e., the Marxist, point of view—namely, the anarcho-syndicalist trend, has been marked by a no less shamefully smug reiteration of the slogans of chauvinism, during the present crisis.
    The aims of socialism at the present time cannot be fulfilled, and real international unity of the workers cannot be achieved, without a decisive break with opportunism, and without explaining its inevitable fiasco to the masses.
    It must be the primary task of Social-Democrats in every country to combat that country’s chauvinism. In Russia this chauvinism has overcome the bourgeois liberals (the “Constitutional-Democrats”), and part of the Narodniks—down to the Socialist-Revolutionaries[2] and the “Right” Social-Democrats. (In particular, the chauvinist utterances of E. Smirnov, P. Maslov and G. Plekhanov, for example, should be branded; they have been taken up and widely used by the bourgeois “patriotic” press.)
    In the present situation, it is impossible to determine, from the standpoint of the international proletariat, the defeat of which of the two groups of belligerent nations would be the lesser evil for socialism. But to us Russian Social-Democrats there cannot be the slightest doubt that, from the standpoint of the working class and of the toiling masses of all the nations of Russia, the defeat of the tsarist monarchy, the most reactionary and barbarous of governments, which is oppressing the largest number of nations and the greatest mass of the population of Europe and Asia, would be the lesser evil.
    The formation of a republican United States of Europe should be the immediate political slogan of Europe’s Social-Democrats. In contrast with the bourgeoisie, which is ready to “promise” anything in order to draw the proletariat into the mainstream of chauvinism, the Social-Democrats will explain that this slogan is absolutely false and meaningless without the revolutionary overthrow of the German, the Austrian and the Russian monarchies.
    Since Russia is most backward and has not yet completed its bourgeois revolution, it still remains the task of Social-Democrats in that country to achieve the three fundamental conditions for consistent democratic reform, viz., a democratic republic (with complete equality and self-determination for all nations), confiscation of the landed estates, and an eight-hour working day. But in all the advanced countries the war has placed on the order of the day the slogan of socialist revolution, a slogan that is the more urgent, the more heavily the burden of war presses upon the shoulders of the proletariat, and the more active its future role must become in the re-creation of Europe, after the horrors of the present “patriotic” barbarism in conditions of the tremendous technological progress of large-scale capitalism. The bourgeoisie’s use of wartime laws to gag the proletariat makes it imperative for the latter to create illegal forms of agitation and organisation. Let the opportunists “preserve” the legal organisations at the price of treachery to their convictions—revolutionary Social-Democrats will utilise the organisational experience and links of the working class so as to create illegal forms of struggle for socialism, forms appropriate to a period of crisis, and to unite the workers, not with the chauvinist bourgeoisie of their respective countries, but with the workers of all countries. The proletarian International has not gone under and will not go under. Notwithstanding all obstacles, the masses of the workers will create a new International. Opportunism’s present triumph will be short-lived. The greater the sacrifices imposed by the war the clearer will it become to the mass of the workers that the opportunists have betrayed the workers’ cause and that the weapons must be turned against the government and the bourgeoisie of each country.

    The conversion of the present imperialist war into a civil war is the only correct proletarian slogan, one that follows from the experience of the Commune, and outlined in the Basle resolution (1912); it bas been dictated by all the conditions of an imperialist war between highly developed bourgeois countries. However difficult that transformation may seem at any given moment, socialists will never relinquish systematic, persistent and undeviating preparatory work in this direction now that war has become a fact.

    It is only along this path that the proletariat will be able to shake off its dependence on the chauvinist bourgeoisie, and, in one form or another and more or less rapidly, take decisivo steps towards genuine freedom for the nations and towards socialism.


    Long live the international fraternity of the workers against the chauvinism and patriotism of the bourgeoisie of all countries!
    Long live a proletarian International, freed from opportunism!



    Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/len...914/sep/28.htm
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 -2017 The Coming Centenary of the Russian Revolution - Discussions of the Revolution

    Statement of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)

    Towards the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
    (November 1917 to 2017)

    We communists, revolutionaries, proletarians and class conscious workers of the whole world joyfully celebrate the anniversary of the glorious October Socialist Revolution. With greater courage and determination in 2017 we will do this for the 100th anniversary of those historical “Ten Days That Shook the World.”

    The Bolshevik revolution was the heroic deed that announced a revolutionary dawn. The guns of the cruiser “Aurora” announced the opening of a new era: the era of the defeat of capitalism and the building of a new society without exploiters or exploited.

    With the Great October Revolution, the proletariat seized power, expropriated the exploiters, established its revolutionary dictatorship and created a State of a new type. In the words of Lenin:

    “...in Russia the bureaucratic machine has been completely smashed, razed to the ground; the old judges have all been sent packing, the bourgeois parliament has been dispersed – and far more accessible representation has been given to the workers and peasants; their Soviets have replaced the bureaucrats, or their Soviets have been placed in control of the bureaucrats, and their Soviets have been authorized to elect the judges. This fact alone is enough to cause all the oppressed classes to recognize that the Soviet power, i.e., the present form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky)

    The Soviet state showed that socialism is a superior social order, as long as it firmly follows its principles and marches towards communism.

    “Red October” radically changed the course of world history, it began a new stage of its development, the stage of the general crisis of capitalism and the transition to socialism. It marked an indelible turn in revolutionary strategy and tactics, in the methods of struggle and forms of organization, in the mentality, culture and traditions of the working class and its allies in the struggle against imperialism and capitalism, for the revolution and socialism.

    Following the revolution led by the Bolsheviks Lenin and Stalin, a wave of proletarian revolutions broke out in the imperialist and capitalist countries, of popular and democratic revolutions carried out under the leadership of the proletariat and the banners of internationalism in the dependent and colonial countries.

    The victory of the October Revolution led to the formation of communist parties worldwide and the establishment of the Communist International, in order to regroup the vanguard of the proletariat and organize the world revolution.

    With the creation of the Soviet Union and the building of socialism, the working class, peasants, women and peoples achieved great material and cultural benefits. The workers reached high levels of well-being thanks to the socialist industrialization and the collectivization of the countryside, to economic planning that put an end to capitalist relations of production and the anarchy typical of the old system.

    The working class became a technically and ideologically advanced class. Unemployment was eliminated. The process of the emancipation of women and their participation in the leadership of the country progressed as they built socialism.

    The furious attacks of the imperialists failed against the iron will of the workers and peoples not to go back to the condition of slaves; they failed because of the political power and unity of the socialist State.

    The Socialist Constitution of 1936 and the defeat of the Nazi- fascist beast, which resulted in the liberation of many countries and the establishment of people’s democratic regimes, were great achievements for the peoples of the world.

    The October Socialist Revolution was an event of great relevance today, full of valuable lessons for the struggle of the proletariat and other oppressed classes against exploitation and oppression.

    It is the practical demonstration that the revolution is not only a popular desire, it is also possible and necessary to overthrow bourgeois rule and build a new society, in which “ those who are nothing now, will be all” and will change the world.

    In the years since that great event, the fundamental contradictions and evils endemic of capitalism have worsened, while the revolutionary forces of the working class and peoples have grown objectively and internationally.
    The idea of the proletarian revolution is totally relevant given the exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of humanity, the poverty and growing inequality, the wars of plunder, the parasitism of a handful of rich people who are becoming ever richer, the elimination of the social gains won by the workers, the looting and neocolonial domination, the devastation of the environment caused by the capitalist system.

    The reasons for the revolution are more relevant than ever and its material premises are more developed. The transition to a better form of organization for human society, to a new and higher social order, is an increasingly urgent demand for the classes that are exploited and oppressed by capital. It is a “problem put forward awaiting a solution” through the struggle of the oppressed and exploited masses.

    The disappearance of the USSR and other socialist countries has been a hard blow. Socialism has suffered a temporary defeat that does not invalidate its accomplishments or the need for it. In reality it was not the October Revolution, nor proletarian socialism which failed. What failed was the betrayal, revisionism and opportunism that diverted the workers from their class interests and objectives.

    Despite the relentless anti-communist propaganda it is becoming increasingly clear that the barbarous and moribund capitalist-imperialist system can only offer exploitation, misery and war.

    We are in a period of political awakening of the working class, the peoples and youth, who no longer want to bear the yoke and baggage that capitalism and imperialism impose.

    They are advancing in the rejection and struggle against the consequences of the crisis, against exploitation, inequality, poverty, against the dictates, intervention and aggression of imperialism.

    There is growing consciousness’ that things cannot continue the way they are, that there is no salvation under capitalism, that a profound social transformation is necessary in order to put an end to economic, social, moral and ecological ruin, as well as the massacres that humanity is inevitably suffering under the rule of the capitalist monopolies that obey only one law: that of maximum profit.

    To carry out this transformation the seizure of state power by the most revolutionary and advanced class in society is essential, the leading force of the transformation at the political, practical, intellectual and moral level: the modern proletariat.

    Confronted by the revisionist, reformist and opportunist theses, which have led the proletarian class to painful defeats, the proletarian revolution affirms itself as the only solution to the exploitation and oppression of the peoples.

    The latest and profound crisis of capitalism, and the future ones, prove that society under the capitalist system is an obstacle to the development of the productive forces; therefore this dire situation can only be broken through revolution.

    The question that arises urgently is: dictatorship of monopoly finance capital or dictatorship of the proletariat?

    The victorious October Socialist Revolution showed that the working class can take power and run society without the bourgeoisie and against it; it showed that the communists can and should play a decisive role.

    Soviet October teaches us that the communists, the best elements of the proletariat, the revolutionary youth, have to take up these teachings and continue the struggle, clearly breaking with opportunism of all kinds and uniting under the banner of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

    Let us celebrate and make contemporary the 100th anniversary of Red October in each country, in a combative and unitary manner, emphasizing its enduring significance, its international importance and the profound relevance of the proletarian revolution in order to radically transform the world.

    Let us prepare to celebrate everywhere, in a dignified and unitary manner the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in 2017, with commemorations, seminars, meetings and other activities.

    Let us develop in all countries the mobilization to regroup communists, the revolutionaries, the militant workers, let us explain the need for communism, the only force that can consistently organize and lead the forces of the social revolution in all countries.

    Let invite the political, social, trade union, youth, women, peasant and indigenous Parties and Organizations of all countries that share our positions of principle, to join us to carry out in common these activities and build a powerful International Communist and Workers’ Movement.

    A century after the victorious “assault on heaven” carried out by the Bolsheviks, let us reaffirm that the only sure alternative to imperialist and capitalist barbarism is the revolution and socialism!
    Long live the Great October Socialist Revolution!
    Long live Marxism-Leninism!
    Long live proletarian internationalism!
    Quito, October 2015
    International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: 1917 -2017 The Coming Centenary of the Russian Revolution - Discussions of the Revolution

    Let us develop in all countries the mobilization to regroup communists, the revolutionaries, the militant workers, let us explain the need for communism, the only force that can consistently organize and lead the forces of the social revolution in all countries.

    Let invite the political, social, trade union, youth, women, peasant and indigenous Parties and Organizations of all countries that share our positions of principle, to join us to carry out in common these activities and build a powerful International Communist and Workers’ Movement
    .

    Is this a genuine invitation across the working class, the labour movement to rebuild Marxist parties based on the need for the working class to take power ? What are the positions of principle on which ICMLPO basis itself ?
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    The Russian Revolutions of 1917 - the October Revolution led by the Bolsheviks which followed on the heels of the 'bourgeois revolution' of February 1917 - shook the world. Breaking through and bringing a halt to World War I, the revolution brought the working class and peasants to power, under revolutionary leadership that saw itself as part of an uprising that would spread world wide and end capitalism. The new State in its initial phase abolished money, stopped the war, nationalised the main industries and 'turned the world upside down'. By mid-century, half the world was red, and the Western capitalist powers feared a 'domino-effect' in the Far East, and the possibility of revolution in the west. By 1991, the USSR fell and the massive communist / marxist parties world wide collapsed in numbers and influence.

    We already have a thread in which this collapse is discussed. This thread is for looking at the revolution itself, the year of 1917, how the revolution happened, its potential and impact in Russia and worldwide.

    https://www.marxists.org/history/uss...tion/index.htm

    In November 1917 as one of its first acts the Bolshevik Government published the Secret Treaties of the warring Powers. The Treaties were published verbatim, world wide, and showed behind the scenes plans by the Great Powers to rat on each other and carve up territories and incorporate them into their zones of control.

    The Treaties and the manner of their publication are very relevant to the situation today in the Middle East, with States conspiring together to break up States and block out the influence of rival powers.

    The Soviet Government broke through the unusally impenetrable barrier of secret diplomacy, and published the lot.
    " We sweep all secret treaties Into the dustbin," he said. " If the pressure we exert on Western Europe is insufficient, we will increase it," in order to secure a " peace of brotherly union." The documents printed in the Anarchist papers, which may or may not be authentic, include a scheme dating from the spring of 1910 for the partition of Asiatic Turkey, excluding Anatolia, between Russia, Great Britain, and France, and telegrams giving Russia's consent to the formation of a buffer-State on the left bank of the Rhine between France and Germany, on condition that Russia was left free to deal with Poland. Another document, dated 1909, is a suggestion from a Russian official for a Russo-German Treaty virtually nullifying the Russo-British Agreement of 1907" (Trotsky, Nov. 1917)

    http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1917-2/...cret-treaties/

    https://www.marxists.org/history/uss...ovember/22.htm

    At this juncture the Russian Government has published the Secret Treaties made among the Allied Governments during the earlier part of the war, and when the Tsar was still on the throne. Revolutionary Russia has repudiated all share in the policy which dictated them and has denounced them as inconsistent with no annexations and the self-determination of peoples. They have become the common property of the world, and have been published in every country, belligerent and neutral. I am not, however, aware of the publication of the full text in any British daily paper except the Manchester Guardian, and I feel certain that the following handbook, which contains the text of the treaties as accurately translated from the Russian as possible, will be welcomed by many people.
    This is a link to the first English Language published version of the Secret Treaties -

    http://www.gwpda.org/comment/secrettreaties.html
    Last edited by C. Flower; 02-01-2017 at 07:21 PM.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Isn't it funny how the so-called Marxists hate Putin?
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by riposte View Post
    Isn't it funny how the so-called Marxists hate Putin?
    Generally not in favour of oligarchs.

    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower
    In November 1917 as one of its first acts the Bolshevik Government published the Secret Treaties of the warring Powers.
    At the risk of going off topic..... the power of exposing secret deals is sadly overestimated. Remember when our hero Eamon Gilmore was caught out telling the Irish people how our rejection of the Lisbon Treaty would be respected while telling the CIA, or as they are more politely called, US diplomats not to mind the ignorant plebs.....another referendum after a bit of softening up will get the right result. Not even that sank his political career. The fker still appears now and then...he even has some role in the EU.. making peace in Columbia if you don't mind.
    OK, this is way off topic and going further and further off topic so I will put a sock in it now. It is just what sprang to mind when I read that.

    There is a thread on the shameful episode here: http://www.politicalworld.org/archiv...p/t-11077.html

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    We are not still dealing in absolutes I hope?

    Lenin is a hero for all times but surely 21st century socialism can not be the model envisaged?

    Certainly Ireland's economy would need to be shattered in a Greek like way for any sort of Vanguard party to gain real popularity.

    Are we not better off focusing on what are already radical and heretic leftwing ideas like our own currency, economic restructuring, Green Energy, Collectives, empowering Unions via the law etc. , repealing the most extreme EU treaties first?

    I am not saying look at things in isolation, simply do what Corbyn has done in his life, start radical then make the radical possible.

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by eamo View Post
    At the risk of going off topic..... the power of exposing secret deals is sadly overestimated. Remember when our hero Eamon Gilmore was caught out telling the Irish people how our rejection of the Lisbon Treaty would be respected while telling the CIA, or as they are more politely called, US diplomats not to mind the ignorant plebs.....another referendum after a bit of softening up will get the right result. Not even that sank his political career. The fker still appears now and then...he even has some role in the EU.. making peace in Columbia if you don't mind.
    OK, this is way off topic and going further and further off topic so I will put a sock in it now. It is just what sprang to mind when I read that.

    There is a thread on the shameful episode here: http://www.politicalworld.org/archiv...p/t-11077.html
    So much to be said about the Russian Revolution that I started on the Secret Treaties almost randomly. I don't think Gilmore is off-topic at all. It is a good example of how little regard the political establishment of capitalism has for democracy / the will of the people. The issue was not a small one, either - consolidation of the EU into a large, cohesive, ultimately armed bloc.

    People in World War 1 had been told they were going to fight for the rights of the small nations. The secret treaties showed that the war was in fact a war for booty and spoils, for the break up and redistribution of states between the big powers.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Generally not in favour of oligarchs.


    Before you apply the title "oligarch" to anyone it would be as well to examine the definition of of the term otherwise you might as well call him a monkey.
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by riposte View Post
    Before you apply the title "oligarch" to anyone it would be as well to examine the definition of of the term otherwise you might as well call him a monkey.
    This is true. I think it would be worth some exploration of what Putin is, politically. I think I described him once as doing a balancing act between the people and the oligarchy, but that was based on a fairly superficial study of his history. The key factor imo would be what if anything he has renationalised.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...he-gigafactory
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Piece in the Examiner questioning how Russia will observe the centenary and a brief synopsis of the revolution. For all the criticism of some of the 1916 commemorations, it is fair to say it was not shied away from. In what was a momentous global event, how will Russia deal with this year?

    As an ex-communist, Russian president, Vladimir Putin will be respectful of the revolutions of that shaped his country, but will not endorse too much freedom, says Geoffrey Roberts.


    How should a conservative government commemorate a revolution that was crucial to the foundation of its state?

    The Government’s response last year to the Easter Rising centenary was commendably open and pluralistic. The heroes of 1916 were lionised, but their victims were remembered.

    The Rising was celebrated, but respect was accorded to critics of its violence. The negative, as well as the positive, consequences of the Rising were debated. While radicals bemoaned the failure to implement the egalitarian ideals of 1916, the Government emphasised the political, social, and economic progress of the past 100 years.

    The conservative regime of Russian president Vladimir Putin faces more complex problems in approaching the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Firstly, there were two revolutions in Russia in 1917 — the February Revolution, which overthrew Tsarist autocracy, and the October Revolution, through which the Bolsheviks took power.

    (According to our Gregorian calendar, rather than the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time, these revolutions took place in March and November 1917.)

    October was the more important of the two risings: It brought to power radical socialists dedicated to revolutionising not only Russia, but the world. The Soviet system established by the Bolsheviks challenged western capitalism and imperialist activities and shaped world politics for much of the 20th century.

    The Bolsheviks seized power during the First World War and, two decades later, their communist successors fought a life-and-death struggle against Hitler and Nazi Germany. The Soviet triumph in the Second World War saved western democracy and propelled the USSR to superpower status.

    For the next 40 years, the Soviets fought the west to a standstill in a global cold war that only ended when Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s final leader, introduced democratic reforms. These undermined the communist system and led to the break-up of the USSR in 1991.

    Since Putin is neither a monarchist nor an autocrat, he has no difficulty endorsing the March, 1917 democratic revolution that forced the resignation of Tsar Nicholas II. However, the collapse of Tsarism was followed by violence, chaos, and disorder, allowing the Bolsheviks to overthrow the provisional government that had replaced the Tsar’s rule.

    Putin could condemn the Bolsheviks — and he often does — but, as a former communist, he sees much to admire in their ideals. Moreover, while the Bolsheviks introduced communism to Russia, they also defended the borders of the Tsarist empire, not least during the civil war and foreign-state interventions that followed the revolution.

    Bolshevik victory in the civil war was the foundation of the advanced industrial state that is the heritage of post-Soviet Russia.

    Yet, as a conservative, Putin favours evolution, not revolution. There is nothing he fears more than a western, state-inspired and state-sponsored ‘colour revolution’ in Russia. Such a development could topple his regime and he could suffer a fate similar to governments in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine.

    Putin will, therefore, strive to celebrate the 1917 Russian Revolution, while using it as a parable about the dangers of too much freedom and of foreigners being allowed to interfere in Russia’s affairs.

    American journalist John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World, a dramatic eyewitness account of the Bolshevik insurrection in Petrograd in November 1917, is perhaps the most famous book about the Russian Revolution.

    Reed was an idealistic socialist and portrayed the Bolshevik leaders as revolutionary heroes. He was not the only one. At the time, admiration was widespread throughout the world for both revolutions. They were considered legitimate revolts against economic and social injustice, in pursuit of fundamental civil and political liberties.

    Reed, who died in 1920, did not live to see the degeneration of this idealistic revolution into a repressive Bolshevik party dictatorship. Reed’s ashes were interred in the Kremlin wall on Red Square, in Moscow — he is the only foreigner ever to be so honoured.

    His book became the foundation for Sergey Eisenstein’s film, October (1927), a silent movie depiction of the Bolshevik insurrection that did much to consolidate its image as a popular revolution. Famously, Eisenstein’s recreation of the Bolsheviks’ storming of the Tsar’s Winter Palace, in Petrograd, caused more damage than the original assault did.


    Like the Easter Rising, the Russian Revolution had a long gestation. Some historians trace its seeds back to the liberal, so-called Decemberist Revolt of 1825, against Tsar Alexander I, the conqueror of Napoleonic France.

    Other historians focus on the destabilising effects of Tsar Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in the 1850s — an action designed to prevent a peasant revolution, but which, instead, destroyed traditional relations in the countryside, sowing the agrarian discontent in Russia that was to lodge at the heart of subsequent upheavals, including those in 1917.

    Tsarist suppression of national and ethnic minorities was another important factor. Russia under the Tsars was a multinational, multiracial empire seething with discontents — the Bolsheviks called it “the prison of the peoples”.

    Heavy-handed Tsarist attempts to pacify and unify the people, by imposing Russian language and culture — so-called Russification — rather intensified the spiralling resentments of oppressed minorities. Thus, in 1917, the centrifugal forces of nationalism came to the fore.

    The political road leading to 1917 began with the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, which was prompted by the bloody suppression of a peaceful protest in St Petersburg (later renamed Petrograd) in January of that year.

    During a demonstration demanding political and economic reforms, hundreds of people were shot dead by troops. Bloody Sunday, as it came to be called, sparked strikes and demonstrations in cities throughout Russia.

    Then, when the protests spread to the countryside, there were riots, murders, and attacks on property. An armed uprising against the imperial government took place in Moscow in December 1905.

    Unrest in the armed forces added to Tsar Nicholas II’s woes. This unrest was in part as a result of the disastrous 1904-05 war with Japan, which had begun when the Japanese launched a surprise attacked on the Russian Far Eastern Fleet, pursuant of disputes about imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea.

    Nicholas II was forced to make concessions to the protesters, through the October Manifesto, which promised a constitutional monarchy, and legalised political parties. It also established a Russian parliament, the Duma. But when the immediate crisis had passed, the Tsar returned to repression and eroded the constitutional reforms of the October Manifesto.

    Nicholas II was a stern critic of ‘divisive’ democracy and a true believer in Tsarist autocracy, as divined by god to protect Holy Russia from internal and external enemies. Prime minister Peter Stolypin led the Tsar’s repression.

    His hangings of insurgents became known as the ‘Stolypin Necktie’. But this did not prevent radicals and revolutionaries carrying out 2,000 assassinations from 1908-1912. Stolypin’s 15-year-old daughter was killed by a terrorist bomb and, in 1911, Stolypin was assassinated.

    While the bloody repercussions of 1905 meant another revolutionary outburst in Russia was highly likely, they did not make inevitable the violent overthrow of Tsarism. Nicholas II resisted political reform, but he remained open to the economic and social evolution of his empire, not least because Russia needed to compete for resources with its great power rivals in Europe and Asia.

    In the 1890s, Sergey Witte, the Tsar’s finance minister, presided over the state-sponsored industrialisation of Russia. Industrialisation was accompanied by urbanisation, an expansion of the middle classes, and the development of a more extensive and sophisticated civil society in Russia.

    According to some historians, Tsarist Russia was on the cusp of successfully completing its modernisation when it was halted by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

    Indeed, without the war, there would have been no Russian Revolution. The demands of war exposed both how the Tsarist system was deficient and the limits of its modernisation. Russia lost territory and suffered 5m casualties during battles with German, Austro-Hungarian, and Turkish armies, from 1914-1917.

    In 1915, Tsar Nicholas II took personal command of Russia’s armed forces and was blamed for subsequent military defeats. The Russian elite began to lose faith in the Tsar and, in the Duma, opposition grew to his conduct of the war.

    Rumours spread that Nicholas II was overly influenced by his German princess wife, Alexandra, who, in turn, was under the control of the mystic Russian monk, Grigory Rasputin (assassinated in December 1916). But it was the growing economic crisis that became the tipping point.

    Inflation devalued the currency, so peasants stopped supplying food to the towns, because prices were too low and there was nothing to spend money on. Food shortages in the cities sparked industrial unrest and political protestsma d 1916 became a year of strikes in Russia, with membership and support for revolutionary organisations increasing significantly.

    Events came to a head with a strike and demonstration on International Women’s Day by female textile workers in Petrograd, which escalated into a citywide strike.

    Troops sent to suppress the protests refused to fire on the workers and began to fraternise with the crowds, resulting in a soldiers’ mutiny in which some 200,000 troops of the Petrograd garrison defected to the revolt.

    Duma representatives then petitioned the Tsar to abdicate, a recommendation supported by many generals, who feared the mutiny would undermine Russia’s war effort.

    On March 15, 1917, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in favour of his brother, Grand Duke Michael. But Michael refused to accept the crown without the approval of an as-yet-unfounded Constituent Assembly, thus bringing the 300-year Romanov dynasty to an end. In July 1918, the Bolsheviks, fearing a resurgence of support for the monarchy, executed the Tsar and his family.

    It fell to a provisional government to fill the power vacuum and to organise democratic elections to a Constituent Assembly that was to be tasked with creating and adopting a new constitution for Russia. Meanwhile, Russia became increasingly unruly. Mutinous soldiers demanded the right to elect their officers.

    Peasants seized land from the aristocracy. Workers took control of their factories. The economic crisis deepened, as strikes and demonstrations continued, accompanied by widespread violence and lawlessness. The provisional government was a reformist government trapped in a revolutionary state.

    Nor did the provisional government rule alone. As the revolt spread, soviets — people’s popular power organisations that first appeared during the 1905 Revolution — were revived. The soviet in Petrograd was particularly important. It wielded the power of veto over the provisional government’s decisions and actions.

    Into this unstable system of dual power stepped Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the single most important actor in the 1917 drama. If any one person can be said to have changed the course of world history, it was Lenin.

    In exile in Switzerland when the Tsar fell, Lenin was secreted back to Russia in a sealed train provided by the Germans to transport him, and his entourage, across Europe. The Germans aimed to destabilise their Russian enemy and, in this, they certainly succeeded.

    Lenin believed the effects of war, combined with the aftermath of the Tsar’s fall, made Russia ripe for socialist revolution. He also perceived there to be a rising tide of revolution across Europe, including in Ireland. When he returned to Russia, he realigned the Bolshevik Party as the provisional government’s main opposition.

    The Bolshevik slogan was ‘All power to the soviets’. They supported the peasant and worker revolt, and demanded an end to Russia’s participation in the First World War.

    The provisional government was as much undone by the war as the Tsar had been. It supported Russia’s involvement as patriotic national duty in defending the country from its enemies. Moderate socialists, in both the government and the Soviets, supported this mission.

    Yet, when, in June, 1917, the provisional government launched a disastrous offensive against Germany and Austria-Hungary, the operation’s failure led to the collapse of the provisional government coalition. In its stead came a new coalition, dominated by moderate socialists and headed by a socialist prime minister, Alexander Kerensky, who had been war minister in the previous government.

    Throughout spring and summer of 1917, popular support for the Bolsheviks grew. More and more delegates to the increasing number of soviets across the country were Bolshevik supporters.

    The Bolshevik Revolution was not a majority revolution — the party was too weak in the countryside — but by the time they had seized power, the Bolsheviks represented a mass revolutionary movement in urban Russia. Particularly important were the high levels of support for the Bolsheviks among industrial workers and conscripted soldiers and sailors.

    In July 1917, the Bolsheviks almost overplayed their hand when large-scale clashes occurred in Petrograd between their supporters and troops loyal to the provisional government.

    When it became clear that the Bolsheviks were not strong enough to seize power, Lenin called the demonstrations off. Nevertheless, after the ‘July Days’, the provisional government began to arrest Bolshevik leaders and Lenin was forced to flee to Finland.

    The provisional government clampdown on the Bolsheviks convinced Lenin that power could only be attained by a violent insurrection to overthrow the government. Lenin’s view was reinforced when a Tsarist general mounted an attempted coup — the Kornilov affair.

    Kornilov’s troops were stopped in their tracks by striking railway workers and armed workers’ militias. The only way to avert counter-revolution, argued Lenin, was for the Bolsheviks to seize power on behalf of the soviets.

    But Lenin, although Bolshevik founder, chief strategist, and theoretician, did not have the power to dictate policy to his party. There was outright opposition to his proposed coup on grounds that it was premature and would see the Bolsheviks crushed by the provisional government.

    Others argued that the Congress of Soviets, due to meet in Petrograd at the end of October, should be asked to allow the overthrow of the provisional government.

    After much argument, Lenin’s view prevailed and, on the night of November 7-8, Bolshevik Red Guards seized control of public buildings in Petrograd and arrested provisional government ministers, although Kerensky himself escaped capture. The Bolsheviks then went to the Congress of Soviets and won support to establish a Soviet government.

    That first Soviet government was a coalition between the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, who represented militant peasants. Elections to the Constituent Assembly went ahead, but the Bolsheviks shut down the Assembly when it met in January 1918, on the pretext that it was not representative of public opinion.

    The real reason was that the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries had failed to win a majority in the assembly elections.

    In March 1918, when the Bolsheviks kept their promise to take Russia out of the war and signed the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with Germany, their coalition with the Left Socialist Revolutionaries broke up.

    The Bolsheviks’ opponents then felt free to launch a violent campaign to forcibly overthrow Lenin’s government, now Russia was no longer at war. This violent resistance to the Bolsheviks was actively aided and abetted by Britain, France, and the US, leading to the Russian civil war of 1918-1921, in which 7m people died.

    The civil war was close-run. At its height, in 1919, the Bolsheviks were corralled in central Russia, and attacked from all sides by ‘White Armies’ led by former Tsarist generals and admirals.

    The Bolsheviks won the civil war for many reasons, but most important was that they defended the continuation of the revolution, as opposed to the counter-revolution sought by most of their opponents.

    The Bolshevik victory in the civil war was, for them, an even greater triumph than their revolution. Through the processes of civil war, they consolidated their grip on power and began their experiment in socialism.

    However, success came at a high price. The civil war transformed a party of idealistic, radical revolutionaries into a group of ruthless rulers, ready and willing to deploy extreme violence in pursuit of utopia.

    The Soviet state emerging from the aftermath of civil war was authoritarian, repressive, and often terroristic. Joseph Stalin, one of the 20th century’s most notorious dictators, ascended to power after Lenin’s death, in 1924.

    During Soviet times, the anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power was an occasion of major celebration, marked by a menacing military parade through Red Square, in Moscow.

    In 2005, Putin disposed of the public holiday on Revolution Day and, instead, introduced a Day of National Unity. What unity may mean in Russia’s future will be Putin’s most important consideration in this 100th anniversary year, as he wrestles to reconcile the complex continuities and discontinuities of Russia’s recent history.

    Geoffrey Roberts is professor of history and dean of graduate studies at UCC.
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoi...ma-444832.html

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Management. Fine Gael appears to have 'managed' the centenary of 1916 so as to anaesthetise it, and us. Putin and co. will attempt the same for the centenary of 1917.

    Centenaries can be massaged and manipulated.

    Reality is not so easily managed.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Management. Fine Gael appears to have 'managed' the centenary of 1916 so as to anaesthetise it, and us. Putin and co. will attempt the same for the centenary of 1917.

    Centenaries can be massaged and manipulated.

    Reality is not so easily managed.
    I know what your saying but there was a huge diversity of talks and exhibitions throughout last year and some of it was very informative, the role of women in the Rising and independence movement, the wider international context of the Rising and the focusing on the radical politics of the individuals. Then maybe I was looking out more for those events. I know the official state ceremony wasn't radical but in fairness to Michael D in his speech he was far from apologetic and highlighted the importance of the republican ideals.

    But yes the government line was anaesthetised.

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    Default Re: 1917 - 2017 Revisiting the Russian Revolution

    This sounds interesting, an oblique way in to look at post Revolutionary Russia.

    Two American women who travel to Russia to work. A research-based novel.

    https://granta.com/qualitative-leaps/
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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