why the russian revolution?

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lem_
why the russian revolution?
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hi,

this actually does come up, at least in my head, sometimes.

i assume i am right that the russian revolution, as opposed to cuban, chinese or whatever, had a lot more potential, was proletarian etc.?

for what reason is that said?

jk1921
In Russia (and in Germany and

In Russia (and in Germany and a number of other places around the same time) the proletariat was actually organizing itself in workers' councils and challenging the bourgeois state. In China, Cuba. et. al. there weren't really revolutions from below, but the seizure of power by part of the bourgeoisie, which appropriated certain Marxist phrases and symbols to make themselves look radical and to endeer themselves to the Soviet bloc.

lem_
i am not disagreeing :-)how

i am not disagreeing :-)

how do you identify bourgeois as opposed to proletarian? the existence and support of workers' councils??

 

 

edited to add that i guess it's a confluence of factors. theory, militant history of the contending parties, the existence of workers' councils, all sorts. a basic / simple question, that could i suppose lead to a full - if not revealing, answer.

mhou
The active involvement of the

The active involvement of the working-class as a class for starters. The vanguard of the Chinese proletariat had been massacred; the peak of which was the bloodletting at the Shanghai Commune in 1927. By the 1930's, the Communist Party of China was in the hands of those who sought to chart a non-communist course, in line with the direction of the Soviet Union and Stalinist Comintern. The model of the Soviet Union, following the degeneration of the revolution, became what each of these so-called 'socialist' or 'workers' states, following a civil war, national liberation war or coup d'etat, would try to emulate and install. The command economy and one-party-state is an inefficient way to organize production; but it did have a specific purpose in the context of decadent capitalism. Decadence theory tells us that no new nation-states could develop independently the way the original, advanced capitalist nations (the central capitalist nations- Western Europe, US, Japan was the last to join this small group)- all of these underdeveloped or colonized regions and nations were at the mercy of the central capitalist nations (imperialism). By following the Soviet model of a command economy presided over by a one-party-state, these nations could rapidly industrialize- but at a tremendouos cost (including internal contradictions- the kind that disintegrated the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia when they tried to carry out reforms necessary to capital accumulation).

China, Cuba, and all of the other states had to accelerate development within the boundaries of what is possible in decadent capitalism.

But in none of these cases, China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc. were the working-class acting as a revolutionary class (self-organized, taking over production and distribution, organizing self-defense by mass arming of workers, etc.). In each case a small group seized state power on the backs of popular discontent over the terrible conditions imposed on peripheral nations or regions. Armies were raised from peasants based on the traditional bourgeois agrarian reforms, the type carried out a century earlier in most central capitalist nations: promises to break up the landed estates and give land to the tiller. Mao wrote extensively in the 1930's, before the successful capture of all of mainland China in 1949, that areas under the control of the Chinese Red Army were instituting the kinds of agrarian reforms that bourgeoisie had traditionally offered. Trotsky was right about 1 thing- in the peripheral nations, the national bourgeoisie was not in a position to carry out the tasks of the bourgeois revolution. He was wrong that these tasks can be carried out by the organized working-class when its party has state power.