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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:10 pm

ERISS wrote: I don't think so, the difference would be on the Party, it would change nothing for people in Russia or in the world. Stalin did not invente the purges, Lenin and his Cheka made as many deaths than Stalin per year, but Stalin applied them on the party too, not just on others.


The Cheka was abolished by the Soviet government in February 1922. It was replaced by the GPU but the powers of the Cheka were not transferred to it. The GPU was only concerned with political cases and it did not have the power to sentence or execute prisoners. It was only after Lenin had died (in 1924) and Stalin had begun to tighten his grip on power (from 1924 onwards) that the GPU started to increase its power.

The other point is that you can only understand the nature and scope of the Red Terror during the civil war if you understand it as a response to the White Terror, something that has not been mentioned very much in the discussions on this forum. And the first example of what might happen if the White counter-revolution was successful occurred in Finland in the first half of 1918 where up to 23,000 Reds were murdered during and after the civil war. Most historians, even those hostile to the Reds would accept that the Red Terror did not really get underway until the second half of 1918 (after the failed assassination attempt on Lenin in August by Fanny Kaplan).

"The greater the terror, the greater our victories. We must save Russia even if we have to set fire to half of it and shed the blood of three-fourths of all Russians." General Kornilov

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Re: What if they had kept Lenin in exile

Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:32 am

ERISS wrote:
stockwellpete wrote:So you would be a supporter of Makhno at this time then?

I would be volountary to continue the WW1 lol! in French Army at Odessa, doing here some propaganda with my collegue soldiers, but I'm not sure I'll deffect to makhnovists (if there's an opportunity), as I would be some suspicious on this movement which was few known. At least, sure I would not fight against them if I'm ordered. Many anarchists did not support makhnovism at this time, for they had better be told of bolshevism. But the more they knew what really was bolshevism, the more they liked makhnovism, but it was too late...
I've been used by United Nations in ex-Yugoslavia, april to september 93, in a same way. I didn't see a better way than being volountary in French Army to try to help here.. It may not been very usefull..



Later some kids of the war were in Egypt a bit later after the war was with full of hatred. Serbian were not speaking with Croat or Bosnian even with similar language. They ignored each other.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:08 pm

stockwellpete wrote:The Cheka was abolished by the Soviet government in February 1922. It was replaced by the GPU but the powers of the Cheka were not transferred to it. The GPU was only concerned with political cases and it did not have the power to sentence or execute prisoners. It was only after Lenin had died (in 1924) and Stalin had begun to tighten his grip on power (from 1924 onwards) that the GPU started to increase its power.

Yes, in 1922 Lenin had eliminated all what was not bolshevik, he didn't need any longer the badly reputed Cheka. Yes, Stalin used the GPU to clean the Party like Trotsky and Lenin did on people.

you can only understand the nature and scope of the Red Terror during the civil war if you understand it as a response to the White Terror,

Like Trotsky said, "at last the Soviet Power washed anarchism from Russia with a broom of iron". For Trotsky, what he wrote, makhnovists were Whites, they faked their fanatism against them. They didn't really fought against the Whites...
15 years later, no difference, Stalin did the same in Spain. Telling that anarchists (and now trotskists too..) were Nazi, they didn't really fought against Franco...
The difference was only the washing in the Party, why many bolsheviks don't like Stalin. For common people, Trotsky in power or Stalin, it was quite the same.

"The greater the terror, the greater our victories. We must save Russia even if we have to set fire to half of it and shed the blood of three-fourths of all Russians." General Kornilov

It could be a quote from Trotsky too. Whites and Reds were both against Green, common people. But you're right, the White terror was not very told about in this forum.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:42 pm

ERISS wrote: Yes, in 1922 Lenin had eliminated all what was not bolshevik, he didn't need any longer the badly reputed Cheka. Yes, Stalin used the GPU to clean the Party like Trotsky and Lenin did on people.


I don't think it is remotely credible to blame Lenin for the situation in Russia in 1922. The country had undergone nearly 5 years of civil war and had been invaded by all the main imperial powers. The country's infrastructure was very badly damaged, particularly its industry, and so it wasn't possible for the system of soviets that had emerged during the course of 1917 to survive. Not only did the Soviet government have to fight the White reactionaries and the imperialist powers, but they also had to fight the Mensheviks and both wings of the Social Revolutionary Party (they were banned from participating in the soviets only when they took up arms against the workers' state), as well as Makhno, the Greens, and hundreds of localised peasant uprisings (it was usually to do with food requisitioning because the cities were starving).

The dwindling of soviet democracy during the war led to increased bureaucracy of both the government and the Bolshevik (Communist) Party. In 1919 Lenin said something like, "the truth is we have the dictatorship for the proletariat, not of the proletariat". Right-wing historians often blame this dwindling of democracy on Marxist theory (e.g. Bakunin and Trotsky on substitutionism), but for me the main reason this happened is foreign intervention. Without the support of the various foreign powers the Whites would not have resisted for very long. Most of the workers and peasants just did not want them back at all. So in my view, the conditions in Russia after the civil war that were quickly to lead to the rise of Stalin (his power base was precisely within the bureacratised structures of both the party and the state) were not at all the fault of Lenin. It was western imperialism (primarily) and the chaos that it caused that paved the way for Stalinism.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:07 pm

stockwellpete wrote:Not only did the Soviet government have to fight the White reactionaries and the imperialist powers, but they also had to fight the Mensheviks and both wings of the Social Revolutionary Party (they were banned from participating in the soviets only when they took up arms against the workers' state), as well as Makhno, the Greens, and hundreds of localised peasant uprisings (it was usually to do with food requisitioning because the cities were starving).
this dwindling of democracy for me the main reason this happened is foreign intervention. Without the support of the various foreign powers the Whites would not have resisted for very long. Most of the workers and peasants just did not want them back at all.

There was no 'democracy' since bolsheviks took the power: They wanted to legitimate the taken by the votes, but the Socialists won*. So bolsheviks cancelled the votes, and later tampered the counts (Stalin invented nothing, he just applied this in the Party too). SR soon fought the bolsheviks for this.

* At this time, Socialists had like 60% in the soviets, and bolsheviks some like 25%,
the remaining is my guess: maybe 10% for Mensheviks, and 5% for anarchists (who usually didn't nominate, for they are theorically against these a-la-bourgeois representative votes)

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:49 pm

ERISS wrote:There was no 'democracy' since bolsheviks took the power: They wanted to legitimate the taken by the votes, but the Socialists won*. So bolsheviks cancelled the votes, and later tampered the counts (Stalin invented nothing, he just applied this in the Party too). SR soon fought the bolsheviks for this.


Do you mean the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly here? Because democracy in the soviets definitely did continue after the October revolution.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:44 pm

stockwellpete wrote:Do you mean the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly here? Because democracy in the soviets definitely did continue after the October revolution.

Yes, and those soviets, of all Russia (at least), voted for a bourgeois-like State (I'm not pleased to write that) in very end 1917, not for a dictatorship, even of 'workers'. Some anarchists, very start of 1918, asked by bolsheviks, where happy to destroy this state, they didn't see it was giving all the power to bolsheviks for their dictatorship, as bolsheviks were now talking like anarchists (before that, bolsheviks were rather spitting on them).
Maybe the soviets, voting for a bourgeois-like state (i.e. give their own power to some master), were in the propaganda of France. Even now, many say we are in a democracy, despite the French Revolution (and the American too) was made against it!!! 'Democrat' was a bourgeois insult in these times.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:36 am

ERISS wrote:Yes, and those soviets, of all Russia (at least), voted for a bourgeois-like State (I'm not pleased to write that) in very end 1917, not for a dictatorship, even of 'workers'. Some anarchists, very start of 1918, asked by bolsheviks, where happy to destroy this state, they didn't see it was giving all the power to bolsheviks for their dictatorship, as bolsheviks were now talking like anarchists (before that, bolsheviks were rather spitting on them).
Maybe the soviets, voting for a bourgeois-like state (i.e. give their own power to some master), were in the propaganda of France. Even now, many say we are in a democracy, despite the French Revolution (and the American too) was made against it!!! 'Democrat' was a bourgeois insult in these times.


Sorry, but that is not correct. The 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets (November 1917) voted and confirmed the transfer of power from the Provisional Government to the Congress of Soviets (not to the Bolshevik party!) There were around 650 delegates present, about half of them representing local soviets. The Bolsheviks had 390 delegates and the left-wing of the Social Revolutionary Party (the party was in the process of splitting) had about 100 delegates giving them a clear majority in the Congress. The Right SR's had about 60 delegates, the Mensheviks 72 and there were 27 others. So 505 delegates voted for the transfer of power to the soviets; and then they elected the Council of People;s Commissars with Lenin as the head of the government. The Mensheviks and Right SR's walked out of the Congress when they saw that they were defeated. As late as July 1918 when the 5th All-Russian Congress was held, there were still over 1100 delegates in attendance (the Left SR uprising began at about this time).

It is this context that the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in early 1918 must be understood. The working class had already taken power and the Whites under Kaledin (with the Right SR's and right-wing Mensheviks) had already raised the banner of counter-revolution in the south which included the demand of a Constituent Assembly. It would have been utter madness for the new worker's government to have allowed the Constituent Assembly to function in these circumstances. Furthermore, the Right SR's had planned for a coup to take place when the Assembly opened but this was aborted at the last moment.

The Constituent Assembly did meet briefly but it was dispersed without violence by the Red Guards. Victor Serge recounts that Zheleznyakov, an anarchist member of the Red Guard, approached Chernov (Chair of the Constituent Assembly) and said, "The guards are tired. Please leave the hall." Although there was great international outrage about the dissolution, there was very little reaction to it in Russia itself.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:30 pm

It was the bolsheviks who wanted a Constituant Assembly, they had it 2 times, and each time they were not elected, the Socialists won. The Whites wanted the bolsheviks to apply what the bolsheviks did ask!
Bolsheviks had always mocked the soviets, and as they saw they could not be elected in their wanted Constituant Assembly, they suddenly praised the soviets, which do were popular. So bolsheviks momentarily did the reverse of their usual party program, they took the anarchist sayings, but countrary to them they took the power too.
Then once they were in power, they returned to their usual constituant politic, built their own constituant assembly with the use of the soviets, labeled it Congress of Soviets, it was the end of the power of people soviets.
Anarchists saw firstly that bolsheviks were traitors to soviets, that's why they were the 1st to be battled by Cheka.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:29 pm

ERISS wrote:It was the bolsheviks who wanted a Constituant Assembly, they had it 2 times, and each time they were not elected, the Socialists won. The Whites wanted the bolsheviks to apply what the bolsheviks did ask!


The Bolsheviks, along with the other socialist parties, were demanding a Constituent Assembly BEFORE the October revolution. This was because "The demand for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly was a perfectly legitimate part of the programme of revolutionary Social-Democracy, because in a bourgeois republic the Constituent Assembly represents the highest form of democracy." (Lenin) The Provisional Government refused to let this happen because they wanted to continue the war and did not want to address the question of land reform.

But once the revolution had taken place this demand quickly became redundant as more and more people saw the soviets and Sovnarkom as the legitimate government. By early 1918 the only people seriously agitating for the Constituent Assembly were the counter-revolutionaries (e.g. White generals, Kadets, Rights SR's and Right Mensheviks). It would have been completely bonkers for the worker's government to have allowed a pro-capitalist institution (whose main parties had taken up arms against the new state) to operate freely AFTER the revolution had succeeded.

I am not understanding what you mean about "2 times" and the "socialists winning". The Constituent Assembly only met once in January 1918 for a few hours and then was dissolved. There was nothing in common between the Whites and the Bolsheviks. If the Kornilov coup had succeeded then the Bolsheviks would have been massacred, just like they were in Finland in 1918.

Bolsheviks had always mocked the soviets, and as they saw they could not be elected in their wanted Constituant Assembly, they suddenly praised the soviets, which do were popular. So bolsheviks momentarily did the reverse of their usual party program, they took the anarchist sayings, but countrary to them they took the power too.
Then once they were in power, they returned to their usual constituant politic, built their own constituant assembly with the use of the soviets, labeled it Congress of Soviets, it was the end of the power of people soviets.
Anarchists saw firstly that bolsheviks were traitors to soviets, that's why they were the 1st to be battled by Cheka.


I don't know where you get these ideas from. The Bolsheviks did not "mock" the soviets at all (they certainly did mock some of the right wingers who went there!). There was a short period in the spring of 1917 when Lenin wondered whether factory councils might be a more appropriate vehicle for the realisation of the workers aspirations (because the Mensheviks and Right SR's had a very tight grip on the Soviets at that point). But the Bolsheviks never boycotted the soviets, like they did with the Duma, the Democratic Conference and the Constituent Assembly. The All-Russian Congress of Soviets continued in existence from 1917 to 1925. The first Congress was held in July 1917, the second just after the revolution in November. Four more were held in 1918, in January, March, July and November.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:35 am

"The demand for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly was a perfectly legitimate part of the programme of revolutionary Social-Democracy, because in a bourgeois republic the Constituent Assembly represents the highest form of democracy." (Lenin)

I think that all is said here...
Was he serious? I understand what he was meaning, but that's insulting democracy, here he continues the bourgeois propaganda, I don't see any difference. Try: Read this but replace Lenin by other common bourgeois president... Perfect republican propaganda.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:24 pm

ERISS wrote:Was he serious? I understand what he was meaning, but that's insulting democracy, here he continues the bourgeois propaganda, I don't see any difference. Try: Read this but replace Lenin by other common bourgeois president... Perfect republican propaganda.


Yes, he was serious. He was talking about the sort of slogans the Bolsheviks should have used in the period before it was sensible to raise the demand for a second revolution (i.e. to begin the process of creating a fully-fledged socialist society). I don't see anything insulting about it at all.

Anyway, we have had a good discussion this week even though we agree on very little! :hat:

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:56 pm

stockwellpete wrote:The Bolsheviks, along with the other socialist parties, were demanding a Constituent Assembly BEFORE the October revolution. The Provisional Government refused to let this happen because they wanted to continue the war and did not want to address the question of land reform.
But once the revolution had taken place more and more people saw the soviets and Sovnarkom as the legitimate government. By early 1918 the only people seriously agitating for the Constituent Assembly were the counter-revolutionaries (e.g. White generals, Kadets, Rights SR's and Right Mensheviks). It would have been completely bonkers for the worker's government to have allowed a pro-capitalist institution (whose main parties had taken up arms against the new state) to operate freely AFTER the revolution had succeeded.
I am not understanding what you mean about "2 times" and the "socialists winning". The Constituent Assembly only met once in January 1918 for a few hours and then was dissolved.

But the bolshevists said they were taking the power to let the Constituant Assembly to happen, as they said the SR wanted to forbid it. So, after the 1st Assembly, that they had asked before their coup, but where the SR won the votes, the bolsheviks wanted the 2nd Assembly to happen, but still again the SR won the votes, so the bolsheviks used the anarchists to dissolve the assembly.

In the 2nd Congress of Soviets, it's the 1st time the bolsheviks won the votes, but it was without the main paesantry votes. When they asked by telegram what about, only half of them were for the new power. So, at their greater popularity, the majority of the bolshevists was very light, as numerous people wanted still a capitalist power. And still I'm not pleased to write that. You could tell that people had to be pleased, they soon had both: a bolshevik capitalist power.
Last edited by ERISS on Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:35 am

For what it is worth I recommend A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Viking, 1997 as a source to weigh the debate which has been ongoing in this thread.
Many events are yet to be definitive in what actually happened despite so much time and documentation. This source adds much insight.

For a great review prior to purchase:
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=1735

I have been enjoying this discussion very much. Thanks to all.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:08 am

Durk wrote:For what it is worth I recommend A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Viking, 1997 as a source to weigh the debate which has been ongoing in this thread.
Many events are yet to be definitive in what actually happened despite so much time and documentation. This source adds much insight.

For a great review prior to purchase:
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=1735

I have been enjoying this discussion very much. Thanks to all.


Sorry, but I cannot agree with you about "A People's Tragedy" by Orlando Figes. In my view, it is a scandalously dishonest account of the revolutionary period in Russia (although he does write beautifully and the book is very easy to read). I just looked up this review (1996) by a socialist writer, Mike Haynes, who has himself written a number of books and articles on the revolution. He writes,

"In fact this is a dreadful book, based on lamentable scholarship which, despite its claims to archival research, adds nothing substantially new but draws for effect on hostile gossip and anti-Bolshevik accounts which previous and better historians treated with caution.

Throughout 1917 Russian workers grew in self confidence to challenge not only capitalism in Russia but a world system that was killing someone in a world war every 15 seconds. In its place they wanted to build a united socialist world in which real expression could be given to the best human wants and desires.

Figes, however, tries to negate this in four ways. Firstly, he systematically eliminates the international elements, reducing the revolution to narrowly Russian confines. Secondly, he all but eliminates capitalism and the role of the bourgeoisie in Russia. Thirdly, he paints a picture of a revolutionary movement built on excesses with Lenin bent on power . . . Typically the evil Lenin's whole strategy is to use the soviets as a front to seize power while later on in the book it's to ditch the soviets when they stand in his way. Finally, he paints a picture of the popular movement in 1917 as one driven by class conflict but one in which only a few reach class consciousness. In his view, the majority of workers, peasants and soldiers merely have their bloodlust awakened and, legitimised by Bolshevik support, descend into an orgy of mob violence. "

http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk ... eviews.htm (you need to scroll down the page to find the whole review)

Now, of course, you may say that this is just the view of a supporter of the revolution and that would be true. Nearly everything that happened in the revolutionary period in Russia is still contested bitterly. The books I would recommend (for starters) as a corrective to people like Orlando Figes, Robert Service and Richard Pipes are "Leninism under Lenin" by Marcel Liebman (the best book on Lenin that I have read), Issac Deutscher's trilogy on Trotsky, John Reed's "Seven Days That Shook The World" and Victor Serge's "Year One of the Russian Revolution".

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:31 pm

You can remove Victor Serge books, he tells here many lies on his own past (evidences are in his past writings in anarchist papers, where he already shown not being very sincere*), surely to not being shot by his bolshevik friends and keep his warm new job, so his writings are very doubtful, seeming praises and bad justifications.

* I guess that, as he was becoming mistrusted by anarchists, he prefered to join another side where he was not very known and could continue here telling 'poetry'.

Reed writings too are dubtfull for me. I don't know about the others.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:02 pm

ERISS wrote:You can remove Victor Serge books, he tells here many lies on his own past (evidences are in his past writings in anarchist papers, where he already shown not being very sincere*), surely to not being shot by his bolshevik friends and keep his warm new job, so his writings are very doubtful, seeming praises and bad justifications.

* I guess that, as he was becoming mistrusted by anarchists, he prefered to join another side where he was not very known and could continue here telling 'poetry'.

Reed writings too are dubtfull for me. I don't know about the others.


I know some anarchist writers are very critical of Victor Serge, particularly of his autobiographical "Memoirs of a Revolutionary", but I still find him a very compelling eye-witness of the revolutionary period. I think he understood that the material circumstances in which the Bolsheviks were situated forced them to make decisions that were far removed from what they wanted to do (e.g. they did not want to forcibly requisition grain from the peasantry but they had to because the cities were starving; they did not want to ban other working class parties from the soviets but they had to when those parties joined the Whites and tried to overthrow the workers' state). Some anarchist writers ignore the historical context and just try and pretend that these actions were always part of Bolshevik doctrine. It is just very dishonest, in my view.

"Year One of the Russian Revolution" is available at the Marxist internet Archive . . .

https://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/ ... /index.htm

Also available there if you go to the main Victor Serge page are the excellent "From Lenin to Stalin" and two of his novels including "Conquered City", which is set in Petrograd in 1919/20. Not there but definitely worth reading is his most famous novel "The Case of Comrade Tulayev". He also wrote a novel called "Midnight in the Century", which was re-issued in 2015.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:26 am

stockwellpete wrote:the material circumstances in which the Bolsheviks were situated forced them to make decisions that were far removed from what they wanted to do. Some anarchist writers ignore the historical context

That's bolsheviks who, to take the power, ignored the historical contexts and situated themselves badly. They took the place of bourgeois to build their 'worker state' republic, and so had to soon act like them. Few years after nice speaches of Lenin (I hear violins here..), he had made the total reverse, worst than the bourgeois states. In 1922, under Lenin, begin the trials with police means worst than the tsar. Stalin invented nothing, all was set for him.

"The bourgeois revolution can be great in Russia, being the prolog of the world socialist revolution, a small step in its direction. Socialism can't directly and immediatly win in Russia.", Lenin. But he so wanted the power.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:38 am

ERISS wrote:That's bolsheviks who, to take the power, ignored the historical contexts and situated themselves badly. They took the place of bourgeois to build their 'worker state' republic, and so had to soon act like them. Few years after nice speaches of Lenin (I hear violins here..), he had made the total reverse, worst than the bourgeois states. In 1922, under Lenin, begin the trials with police means worst than the tsar. Stalin invented nothing, all was set for him.

"The bourgeois revolution can be great in Russia, being the prolog of the world socialist revolution, a small step in its direction. Socialism can't directly and immediatly win in Russia.", Lenin. But he so wanted the power.


You are arguing a Menshevik position here (the same position that the Bolsheviks took prior to Lenin's return to Russia in April 1917), The problem that you have is that this position (the idea that there had to be a long period of capitalism before the creation for socialism could be put on the agenda) did not have very much support by October 1917. The Mensheviks were losing support rapidly among the urban proletariat and the Bolsheviks were gaining it; and the Social Revolutionary Party began to split into "left" and "right" tendencies as the peasantry became increasingly radicalised. Once Kornilov had made his abortive coup attempt more and more people realised that Russian society faced just two options - going forwards towards a second revolution or going backwards under Tsarist reaction. So far from ignoring the historical context, the Bolsheviks understood it very well.

The other thing I would emphasise here is that the Bolsheviks were internationalists and they had concluded that revolution was on the agenda elsewhere in Europe because of the impact of the war. They did not believe that they could survive in Russia if successful revolutions did not occur elsewhere, particularly in Germany. They were correct in this assessment and revolutions did occur in both Germany and Hungary and there was much increased levels of class conflict and working class radicalisation in many other parts of the continent (e.g. Italy). Unfortunately, because of foreign intervention in the civil war, the Bolsheviks were not able to provide assistance to these other revolutionary movements.

You are also ignoring the wretched and devastated condition that Russia was in after the civil war had ended. The country had been brutalised by the civil war and its people had suffered great psychological trauma. Then there was drought and famine in 1921 (over 5 million perished). Industry had collapsed in many places and soviet democracy had been replaced by a bureaucratised party and state. In terms of the Bolshevik party itself (now renamed the Communist Party) workers represented only 10% of the membership while 60% worked in either the party or state bureaucracies. With regards to the Cheka there were all sorts of renegade elements in it (who had often committed dreadful crimes and killings without proper authority).

You have slandered Lenin yet again by saying that he was "worse than the tsar" and he "so wanted the power" but the opposite is true. After the civil war had ended the Cheka was dismantled and replaced by the GPU. The rotten elements were cleared out. The powers of the Cheka were also not transferred to the GPU and it was only after Lenin had died (in 1924) and Stalin began to consolidate his grip on power that the GPU started to re-acquire those Cheka powers again. Lenin's last struggle was against the bureaucracy that had developed in the Soviet Union and he made it clear that Stalin should be removed from any leading position in the party (the Left Opposition carried on this struggle). So to blame Lenin for what happened later on under Stalin is plainly ridiculous, in my opinion - the material conditions for the rise of Stalin were undoubtedly created by foreign intervention.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:02 pm

stockwellpete wrote:You are arguing a Menshevik position here (the same position that the Bolsheviks took prior to Lenin's return to Russia in April 1917), The problem that you have is that this position (the idea that there had to be a long period of capitalism before the creation for socialism could be put on the agenda) did not have very much support by October 1917.

Yes, it's a quote from Lenin in March 1917, who had never believed in the power of soviets. He suddenly took the anarchist speeches when he saw he could gain the power (anarchists were the sole to believe in the people soviets power since the start, 1905 and before, and even in the end when bolsheviks erase them).

Edit: I forgot Trotsky. Trotsky is a particular case. Against his menshevik party, since the start he believed in the soviet power, why he was against the socialist substitutionism (substitutionism that did the bolsheviks, it made stalinism). But in 1917, while menshevik was saying that soviets were not democratic (because soviets didn't vote for them..), Trotsky seeing the fail of the menshevik strategy, joined Lenin, and soon was an adept of substitutionism (party over people, bureau over party, chief over bureau), he bult what he had warned against before, but that's Stalin who profited..

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:34 pm

ERISS wrote: Yes, it's a quote from Lenin in March 1917, who had never believed in the power of soviets. He suddenly took the anarchist speeches when he saw he could gain the power (anarchists were the sole to believe in the people soviets power since the start, 1905 and before, and even in the end when bolsheviks erase them).


Of course Lenin believed in the power of the working class, whether they were organised in soviets, factory committees or trade unions. And I don't think he needed much help from the anarchists when formulating his ideas either!

Edit: I forgot Trotsky. Trotsky is a particular case. Against his menshevik party, since the start he believed in the soviet power, why he was against the socialist substitutionism (substitutionism that did the bolsheviks, it made stalinism). But in 1917, while menshevik was saying that soviets were not democratic (because soviets didn't vote for them..), Trotsky seeing the fail of the menshevik strategy, joined Lenin, and soon was an adept of substitutionism (party over people, bureau over party, chief over bureau), he bult what he had warned against before, but that's Stalin who profited..


In 1904 Trotsky criticised Lenin's What is to be Done? (written in 1902) as "substitutionist" on the basis that “the organisation of the party substitutes itself for the party as a whole; then the Central Committee substitutes itself for the organisation; and finally the ‘dictator’ substitutes himself for the Central Committee”. Lenin had argued in "What is to be Done?" for a professional and centralised party at that time because the revolutionary left in Russia was easily penetrated by the Okhrana (Tsarist secret police) and they kept on being exiled to Siberia, which was very disruptive. Lenin also argued at that time (and he was in error) that workers could only achieve trade union consciousness in struggle and that they would need leaders with a higher consciousness to lead them. This idea is obviously elitist claptrap and Lenin abandoned it completely in the course of the 1905 revolution when he wrote about workers spontaneously reaching socialist consciousness and building a mass, democratic revolutionary party (see Marcel Liebman "Leninism Under Lenin" pp29-53). Trotsky never again made that argument against Lenin.

So to try and pretend that Lenin's discarded ideas from the period 1902-5 are somehow responsible for the rise of Stalinism twenty years later is not very credible, is it?

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:49 am

stockwellpete wrote:Of course Lenin believed in the power of the working class, whether they were organised in soviets, factory committees or trade unions.

He believed in the power of a government class over soviets, he was for power of a party over people, what he did.
He lied when he was suddenly telling the countrary of his party, when he went to the anarchist "All power to the soviets/No power over the soviets", as he took the soviet power for his own government, many anarchists immediatly saw the treason of this 2nd Soviet Congress removing the soviet power for a government power even if labeled 'soviet' (like bourgeois label 'democracy' their state, despite it was built against it). He was still in his belief of only some professionnal can lead the revolution for people, despite those bolsheviks so-professional of revolution were late, had not see the rise of soviets, as those bolshevik professional of revolution had hoping for votes in the Constituant Assembly power in a bourgeois state.
In bolshevik power, soviets, factory committees or trade unions, the power of the working class, were soon forbidden.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:59 am

ERISS wrote:He believed in the power of a government class over soviets, he was for power of a party over people, what he did. He lied when he was suddenly telling the countrary of his party, when he went to the anarchist "All power to the soviets/No power over the soviets", as he took the soviet power for his own government, many anarchists immediatly saw the treason of this 2nd Soviet Congress removing the soviet power for a government power even if labeled 'soviet' (like bourgeois label 'democracy' their state, despite it was built against it). He was still in his belief of only some professionnal can lead the revolution for people, despite those bolsheviks so-professional of revolution were late, had not see the rise of soviets, as those bolshevik professional of revolution had hoping for votes in the Constituant Assembly power in a bourgeois state.In bolshevik power, soviets, factory committees or trade unions, the power of the working class, were soon forbidden.


I think that we have gone as far as we can with this discussion. What you have written here is completely untrue and ignores the very basic points that the Bolsheviks were a democratic political organisation and that Lenin did not possess dictatorial powers. Just to give one of very many examples that can be found to contradict what you are saying, Lenin said this at the All-Russian Trade Union Congress in January 1919,

"In this greatest revolution in history, when the proletariat has taken state power into its own hands, All the functions of the trade unions are undergoing a profound change. The trade unions are becoming the chief builders of the new society, for only the millions can build this society. In the era of serfdom these builders numbered hundreds; in the capitalist era the builders of the state numbered thousands and tens of thousands. The socialist revolution can be made only with the active and direct practical participation of tens of millions in state administration. That is our goal but we are not there yet."

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:44 pm

please delete this, i was pressing quote instead of edit by accident.
Last edited by deidaraakatski on Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:45 pm

please delete this, i was pressing quote instead of edit by accident.
Last edited by deidaraakatski on Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:47 pm

ERISS is right, Lenin believed only special political elites could effectively lead and be admitted into the party, and originally the majority votes went to SR socialist revolutionary but abolished the Constituent Assembly when he realized that even though his political faction and himself were popular, it wasn't enough to win a majority. From then on he took power in an authoritative method as wikipedia wrote " Lenin is viewed by Marxist-Leninists as a champion of socialism who achieved justice for the working class, while critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of a authoritarian dictatorship responsible for numerous violations of human rights."

Also from wikipedia " Lenin was the posthumous subject of a pervasive personality cult within the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991."

I will add I don't think Lenin wanted to seize power in the method he has done (authoritive and oppressive)but I think he did it because he believed he knew what was best for the "revolution". Since the failed attempt on his life his poor health prevented him from finishing what he started. I have read also on wikipedia that he did not like the cult like method (worshipping or applying deity qualities) that socialist have attributed to him.

However, because of his oppressive methods and the later unwanted successor ,Stalin, who seized power from Trotsky, cause many socialist countries that were influenced by the Soviet Union to take the same steps and methods of political and social oppression and isolation.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:44 pm

deidaraakatski wrote:ERISS is right, Lenin believed only special political elites could effectively lead and be admitted into the party,


No, he didn't. The Bolshevik party was a mass working class party at the time of the October revolution in 1917. It was also a very democratic political organisation. The "elitism" of Lenin that you are referring to is only a charge that can be levelled at him with reference to his writings of "What is to be Done?" (written in 1902 in a completely different political context). He had discarded these ideas by 1905.

and originally the majority votes went to SR socialist revolutionary but abolished the Constituent Assembly when he realized that even though his political faction and himself were popular, it wasn't enough to win a majority. From then on he took power in an authoritative method as wikipedia wrote " Lenin is viewed by Marxist-Leninists as a champion of socialism who achieved justice for the working class, while critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of a authoritarian dictatorship responsible for numerous violations of human rights."


Events overtook the elections to the Constituent Assembly. One of these events was rather important and that was the October revolution. The working class and poorer peasants took power in October 1917 and the Bolsheviks and the incipient left-wing faction of the Social Revolutionary Party had a clear majority in the Congress of Soviets. After October 1917 it was the Mensheviks, the Right SR's and the forces of the counter-revolution that were gathering under the banner of the Constituent Assembly. So, of course, the new government quickly dissolved the Constituent Assembly in January 1918 when it refused to recognise the Congress of Soviets as a higher body. The first Soviet government was actually a coalition of Bolsheviks and Left SR's, there was nothing authoritarian about it at all at that stage.

Also from wikipedia " Lenin was the posthumous subject of a pervasive personality cult within the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991."


Not his fault then if it was posthumous, is it?

I will add I don't think Lenin wanted to seize power in the method he has done (authoritive and oppressive)but I think he did it because he believed he knew what was best for the "revolution".


Lenin was very happy that the working class and poorer peasants took power in October 1917. Lenin was the leading theorist in the Bolshevik party but he was also a democrat, albeit a very ruthless one at times. There were many other Bolsheviks, including Trotsky, who had the confidence to challenge him when they disagreed. Even the decision to launch the revolution was voted on by the Bolsheviks and Kamenev and Zinoviev voted against. They remained in the party even though Lenin wanted them to be expelled (he could not win enough support for this position).

However, because of his oppressive methods and the later unwanted successor ,Stalin, who seized power from Trotsky, cause many socialist countries that were influenced by the Soviet Union to take the same steps and methods of political and social oppression and isolation.


Trotsky never held the most powerful position in the Bolshevik party (because he only joined it in 1917). Stalin was General Secretary of the party and was becoming increasingly powerful while Lenin was still alive. Unfortunately, Lenin's health deteriorated badly in 1922 and he died in January 1924. Had he have lived even just a few years longer Stalin would have been removed from any leading position in the party (see Lenin's Last Testament which was suppressed by Stalin). I do agree with your last sentence. The brutal authoritarian system that was built under Stalin did serve as a blueprint for many other so-called socialist countries after 1945.

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Aremy

Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:05 am

“socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people” (Lenin, arround October 1918??)
If Henry Ford were to be president of USA, he would be a socialist like Lenin.
I don't think that capitalism is democracy, like bourgeois want to make us believe, and leninists too.
A monopoly, from a state or not, is by definition without competitor, I don't see why it would want to benefit others (even crumbles are false).
In the bolshevik hand, it mainly benefited the Red Army, an army of mercenaries: the soldier (150 rubles/month) was paid 10 times that in the Komoutch (15/month), and the red officer or comissar was even paid 20 times the red soldier! (3000 rubles per month). Even in France nowadays the army officers are not so well paid: if they were in a french bolshevik army, nowadays they should be paid arround 25,000 € per month (300K a year), instead of IIRC 6,000 € (edit: 9,000€ per month for uttermost general).
In Lenin power, some were more 'whole people' than others..
So, lenin capitalism was made to the benefit of Army (like in US today), rather than workers or paysants.
Lenin was the Robespierre, who had killed the just born democracy in France, behind his kind speeches.
Last edited by ERISS on Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:05 pm

"benefit the whole people"
The intelligentsia, the base population of the Bolshevik party (and other socialist parties), made general strikes immedialty at the October coup! They thought (mainly the mensheviks), that leninists had become anarchists and that they'll immediatly remove the bourgoisie and their waged labor, from where the intelligentsia is priviledged.
It almost broke the bolsheviks: will they really end the priviledges from the bourgeoisie, from what so many bolsheviks are profiting? No, they made the russian bourgeois to survive, they never abolished the waged labor, and to hide this the bolsheviks had to show bourgeois everywhere where they were not and kill those for they don't prove the countrary, being poor or simple worker.
Bolshevism went the reign of intelligentsia, hidden bourgeoisie, their police and army, over very though waged workers and paysants.
Despite Lenin did spit on intelligentsia since long... So, Lenin or not, it would be the same here.

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Re: What if they kept Lenin in exile?

Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:03 pm

ERISS wrote:"benefit the whole people"
... will they really end the priviledges from the bourgeoisie, from what so many bolsheviks are profiting? No, they made the russian bourgeois to survive, they never abolished the waged labor, and to hide this the bolsheviks had to show bourgeois everywhere where they were not and kill those for they don't prove the countrary , being poor or simple worker.
Bolshevism went the reign of intelligentsia, hidden bourgeoisie, their police and army, over very though waged workers and paysants.
Despite Lenin did spit on intelligentsia since long... So, Lenin or not, it would be the same here.


This sounds quite familiar in todays politics. :) Imagine a party lacking public support and fighting against an ideology not only a party shaped by it. Yesterday it was bolshevism, today something similar to it in terms of full government control. And once, a century earlier and today they were accused of jacobinisme roots. When rulers get spoiled; hide under a popular ideology they get more corrupted.

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