In previous articles in this series, we followed the appearance of the workers’ councils (i.e. soviets in Russian) during the revolution of 1905; their disappearance and resurgence during the revolution of 1917, and their crisis and revival in the hands of the workers which led to their seizure of power in October 1917. In this article we will deal with the attempt by the soviets to wield power, a fundamental moment in the history of mankind
In the series "What are workers' councils?" we want to answer the question by analysing the historical experience of the proletariat. It isn't a case of putting the soviets forward as a perfect model for others to copy; we want to understand both their mistakes as well as their achievements, so that current and future generations will be armed with this knowledge.
In this second part, we are going to see how they reappeared during the February 1917 revolution and how, under the domination of the old Menshevik and Social Revolutionary (SR) parties who betrayed the working class, they distanced themselves from the will and growing consciousness of the worker masses, becoming, in July 1917, a point of support for the counter-revolution.
On March 2nd 1919, at the inaugural session of the First Congress of the Communist International, Lenin argued that the "Soviet system" (that's Russian for workers' councils) having previously been "a Latin phrase" to the great mass of workers, had entered into everyday language in many countries and, above all, was a more common form of struggle for workers...