Thread: The 1917 Bolshevik coup d'etat - Socialist Studies - Sunday 8 October

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  1. #21
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    How can anyone be "outside" the working-class unless they are members of the ruling-class? They can't. What Lenin proposed and carried out was elitism.

    It's *not* elitism because there was *popular support* for the Bolshevik agenda, which was solid and correct:

    [The October Revolution] followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year, which overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand Duke Michael, brother of Tsar Nicolas II, who declined to take power after the Tsar stepped down. During this time, urban workers began to organize into councils (Russian: Soviet) wherein revolutionaries criticized the provisional government and its actions. After the Congress of Soviets, now the governing body, had its second session, it elected members of the Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to important positions within the new state of affairs. This immediately initiated the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first self-proclaimed socialist state. On 17 July 1918, the Tsar and his family were executed with Lenin's approval.

    The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary Committee began the occupation of government buildings on 7 November 1917 (New Style). The following day, the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia), was captured.

    A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies, protests and many strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks ("Ones of the Majority") led by Vladimir Lenin who campaigned for an immediate end to the war, land to the peasants, and bread to the workers. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions were able to exploit virtually universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers' militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.[1]

    I'll also note that, objectively, there has to be *some* kind of initial initiative -- how else is insurrection to be accomplished -- ? This is most expediently done with a hierarchical *vanguard* of some sort, where leaders emerge organically, and people get to know their politics thoroughly and can 'sign-off' on the political personage in the revolutionary power structure ('party') to do their thing.

    I don't defend hierarchy and specialized professional political offices *absolutely*, though, because that kind of arrangement *is* elitism since it substitutes for bottom-up mass decision-making when it objectively *doesn't have to*, given prevailing empirical conditions.
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