Lenin, Bolshevism, and Social-Democratic Political Theory by John Marot

By John Marot

Historic Materialism, quantity 22, factor 3-4, pages 129 – 171
DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341370

Lars Lih has contributed to our wisdom of Russian Social Democracy in recent times. despite the fact that, severe methodological flaws bedevil this boost in wisdom. Lih’s total procedure monitors a really static knowing of political rules on the subject of political routine. within the first part, ‘Lenin, the St Petersburg Bolshevik management, and the 1905 Soviet’, I problem Lih’s place that Lenin by no means replaced his brain approximately bringing socialist attention into the operating category ‘from without’. within the moment part, ‘Lenin, “Old Bolshevism” and everlasting Revolution: The Soviets in 1917’, I problem Lih’s revisionist view that previous Bolshevism’s pre-1917 objective of ‘democratic revolution to the end’ drove Lenin’s partisans to make a working-class, socialist revolution in 1917. in this singular account, Lenin’s April Theses, which known as for the overthrow of the Provisional executive and the move of all energy to the soviets, was once basically one more expression of outdated Bolshevik politics, no longer a holiday with it, as has virtually universally been held.

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Stephen F. Cohen, Robert English, Michael Kraus and Robert Sharlet 2011, ‘Robert C. Tucker, 1918-2010’, Slavic Review, 70,1:242-5. Luxemburg, Rosa, 1971 [1906], The Mass Strike: The Political Party and the Trade Unions, translated by Patrick Lavin, New York: Harper Torchbooks. 3 - 4 (2 0 1 4 ) 12 9 -1 7 1 L EN IN , BO LSHEV IS M , AND S O C IAL -D E M OC RAT IC POLIT IC AL THEO RY 171 Marot, John Eric 2013a, The October Revolution in Prospect and Retrospect: Interventions in Soviet and Russian History, Historical Materialism Book Series, Chicago: Haymarket Press.

It can easily imply support for a government th at is not imperialist, specifically, one that will end the war within the framework of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. Lenin’s formula, ‘All Power to the Soviets’ bars all such implications. ‘We need to step back from some very transient disputes over political tac­ tics and rhetoric’, which have mesmerised historians, and instead ‘examine the consensus’,75 Lih says. Again this is a false opposition, a topsy-turvy way of look­ ing at the April Debates.

H ISTO R IC A L M A TERIA LISM 2 2 . 78 If Old Bolshevism did mandate this, then the desire of some Old Bolsheviks to cooperate with the Mensheviks becomes inexplicable. Lenin said the new circumstances mandated fresh thinking and not rote repetition of formulas learned by heart, drawn from a decade-old scenario, as some Old Bolsheviks were doing, like Stalin and Kamenev. Lenin did not have to name names. De tefabula narratur. The reason why many Mensheviks and some Bolsheviks in March 1917 are animated by the ‘spirit’ of unity and accommodation with each other - not division and epic conflict - is obvious: The goal for which all Social Democrats have fought for so long has at long last been realised: Tsarism is gone.

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