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This proved to be optimistic in the extreme. We concentrate on the Bolshevik’s relations with the urban working class as this was their favored class and the class the new State was meant to ensure was the ruling class. It might be outdated or ideologically biased. The notion that it was a semi-State or some-such cannot be sustained for from the moment of the Bolsheviks seizing power the soviets were marginalized from decision making and transformed from “working bodies” into talking shops while all around them a “new” bureaucracy grew at a staggering rate and the regime created regular armed forces, a specialized armed political police force with its own prisons, etc. The latter want to abolish the state completely overnight, not understanding the conditions under which the state can be abolished. Notes on China's New Left. Whatever limited forms of workers’ control or management remained were replaced by one-man management and so the perspective of 1918 continued with Lenin in 1920 stressing that “domination of the proletariat consists in the fact that the landowners and capitalists have been deprived of their property” The “victorious proletariat has abolished property” and “therein lies its domination as a class. Of course, the anarchist position may be wrong and Lenin’s right. And these new organs would they not have to be created by the workers themselves, in their unions, their federations, completely outside the State?” [31]. Revolution in … [66] So the vanguard party is centralized like the capitalist system it claims to oppose. Sonali Pahwa, Jessica Winegar In: 263 (Summer 2012) The Arab uprisings have brought major challenges, as well as unprecedented opportunities, to the culture industries. By April 1918, faced with the growing economic crisis which Bolshevik power had not improved, Lenin turned on the factory committees by channeling Engels article “On Authority” – with its confusion of agreement with authoritarianism, co-operation with coercion – and demanded “[o]bedience, and unquestioning obedience at that, during work to the one-man decisions of Soviet directors, of the dictators elected or appointed by Soviet institutions, vested with dictatorial powers.” [86] In short, capitalist relations in production in which workers were once again mere order-takers: “Firstly, the question of principle, namely, is the appointment of individuals, dictators with unlimited powers, in general compatible with the fundamental principles of Soviet government? The continued mass working class protests from the spring of 1918 onward (that is, during and after the civil war) indicate that there was a social base upon which an alternative could be based. While for Lenin Marx had “tried to draw practical lessons” from and so “‘learned’ from the Commune,” (344) in fact anarchists provided a deeper analysis of the revolt. We discover this through practice so we need to look at what happened after the Bolshevik party seized power and started to implement their vision of socialism. The transformation of the Red Army and the creation of the Cheka confirm anarchist predictions that the ruling party would need an armed force to defend it against the people. Women, the State and Revolution book. […] revolution demands – precisely in the interests of its development and consolidation, precisely in the interests of socialism – that the people unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of labor.” [87], This was part of “our task” which was “to study the state capitalism of the Germans, to spare no effort in copying it and not to shrink from adopting dictatorial methods to hasten the copying of it” and prefigured in The State and Revolution (as Lenin himself latter stressed against opponents within the Party). Can the state be taken over because it is a neutral space or does it have to be overthrown? The Bolsheviks ensured their majority in the congress and so a Bolshevik government by “electoral fraud [which] gave the Bolsheviks a huge majority of congress delegates” by means of “roughly 399 Bolsheviks delegates whose right to be seated was challenged by the Left SR minority in the congress’s credentials commission.” Without these dubious delegates, the Left SRs and SR Maximalists would have outnumbered the Bolsheviks by around 30 delegates and this ensured “the Bolshevik’s successful fabrication of a large majority.” [90] Deprived of their democratic majority the Left SRs assassinated the German ambassador to provoke a revolutionary war with Germany. Only anarchists having a firm social basis would have meant the Unknown Revolution becoming victorious against both Red and White authority. They failed. The core of Lenin’s argument rests on the Paris Commune of 1871 and the lessons Marx and Engels drew from it. Discussions will sharpen our critical focus on the capitalist state of the 20th and 21st centuries and the tasks of today’s revolutionaries. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. [88]. [109] Unless, like the Bolsheviks, you have a dogmatic belief that centralization is always more efficient and, moreover, a principle of socialism. Women, the State and Revolution Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917–1936. During the civil war, labor unrest continued […] the Bolsheviks generally reacted by rushing in emergency supplies and by arresting the leaders of the protest, who were often Mensheviks or Left SRs […] they did not scruple when they deemed it necessary to deploy armed force to suppress strikes, to confiscate ration cards or even to dismiss strikers en masse and then rehire them selectively. Thus “the specific form” becomes “the nearest approach”! To quote Bakunin: “Workers, no longer count on anyone but yourselves […] Abstain from all participation in bourgeois radicalism and organize outside of it the forces of the proletariat. The work may therefore be viewed in two fairly distinct formal … sobr. Lenin, like Marx and Engels, join those who “believe that after having brought down government and private property we would allow both to be quietly built up again, because of a respect for the freedom of those who might feel the need to be rulers and property owners. Indeed, Lenin quotes Marx on how the Commune “was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at any time.” (339) After the initial (spontaneous) insurrection on March 18th the Central Committee of the Paris National Guard refused to take power itself and instead called elections to the existing municipal council with its members elected from the existing municipal wards by means of (male) universal suffrage. The young revolutionary bureaucrat was already emerging as a type. (385), Lenin’s work was directed against two main opponents in the Marxist movement, the Opportunists and the Kautskyites. [46] Nor does Lenin mention that these few – which, sadly, included Kropotkin – had rejected Bakunin’s position (turn the imperialist war into a revolution) in favor of Engels’ defense of the fatherland while, ironically, Lenin went the opposite way. In State and Revolution (1917), Lenin asserted that socialism corresponds to Marx’s first phase of communist society and communism proper to the second. It consistently resurfaced as the image of a peacetime political system as well.” [100] This was to be expected for Lenin had long argued that centralized, top-down organisation were the model for the revolutionary State and, once in power, he did not disappoint. So, for example, in Petrograd the Bolshevik Soviet confirmed new regulations “to help offset possible weaknesses” in their “electoral strength in factories.” The “most significant change” was the “numerically decisive representation” given “to agencies in which the Bolsheviks had overwhelming strength, among them the Petrograd Trade Union Council, individual trade unions, factory committees in closed enterprises, district soviets, and district non-party workers’ conferences.” This ensured that “[o]nly 260 of roughly 700 deputies in the new soviet were to be elected in factories, which guaranteed a large Bolshevik majority in advance” and so the Bolsheviks “contrived a majority” in the new Soviet long before gaining 127 of the 260 factory delegates. This was not only the opposite of the example given by the Paris Commune but also made clear the party’s pre-eminence over the soviets. Taking Lenin’s The State and Revolution as a focus, this text compares the rhetoric of Lenin to the reality of the regime that was created – comparing the theory to the practice. As the latter acted as the executive of the soviet executive, Lenin’s promises in The State and Revolution did not last the night. Worse, a mere four days later the Sovnarkom unilaterally give itself legislative power simply by issuing a decree to this effect. Finally, there is a major irony in this standard defense of the Bolsheviks for Leninists usually (and falsely) attack anarchists for not recognising the need to defend a revolution. By creating a new centralized social structure, Marxists create the conditions for the birth of a new ruling class – the bureaucracy. Marxists think that a State – whether a suitably transformed republic (Kautsky, Lenin before 1917) or a new soviet-State (Lenin in 1917) – can be the instrument of the majority, of the working class, for it is simply “a special force for the suppression of a particular class”. The key aspect of the Commune for Lenin is summarized by this quote of Marx: “One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that ‘the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes’…” (336) Marx is also quoted on how it “was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the same time” (341) It, Lenin summarized, “replaced the smashed state machine ‘only’ by fuller democracy: abolition of the standing army; all officials to be elected and subject to recall” (339) and “was ceasing to be a state since it had to suppress, not the majority of the population, but a minority (the exploiters). 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