The Communists’ of Russia today still gather in St.Petersburg to hold their utopian dream. 1917 Revolution was the start in Russia, that Lenin and followers got the control of a revolution and began a social experiment that effected much of Eurasia for most of a century.
The decline in WW I, got an end by the Russian Revolutionary of October 1917. The motive force of this revolution was the desire of the peasantry in entire Russia. Just before the the Russian Empire’s decline in 1917, the people were demorilized and cold, looking for a savior. Millions of troops were sended out along the frontier to west, in order to fight with the Germans and Austro-Hungarians. The Russian Empire faced with the collapse with the great effect of the revolutionary groups. The Tsar Nicholas II could not hold himself and lost the empiring power, also his brother, Michael, refused the crown.
A new provisional government, stepped in and replaced with the tsar in March 1917. The new government combining a council of people’s commissars elected by the Russian Congress of the Soviets that was from the workers, soldiers, and peasants, which was spread throughout the county. The government was led by a marxist working class party, and The Bolsheviks which is later called as communists. The Soviet Government headed by the Bolshevik leaders Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky prochlaimed Russia the world’s first socialist republic.
“Three centuries of rule by the Romanov family had finally ended. From that moument Lenin’s aim was to overthrow the provisional government and replace it with Bolshevik rule.” (national geographic. Oct.1992, p 114)
As the author says in National Geographic Lenin had really good thoughts about his counties future. He embraced and followed marxism and thought that it would lead a backward Russia into the modern world. When a new century started Lenin and his friends, who are the other activists joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, that is split into two parts, the Menshevik meaning minority, and Bolshevik meaning mojority. Lenin headed the Bolsheviks who were not more than 10,000. But this small group was controlled and disciplined very good, in order to use in force when necessary to achieve power.
The way that they wanted to change Russia as a country “where there were no injustice, where each worker was a master of his own, and a master of the factory, where privite property was forbidden, where each citizen would share the wealth equally.” (National Geographic. Oct 1992, p 118)
The Bolsheviks, actuly they were known by this name between the years 1903 and 1918.bolsheviks were the strongest radical group of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Their main idea was to spread the teachings of Marx and Engels among the industrial workers, peasants, labourers.
Lenin was at the head of the Bolshevik group who are more extremely Marxist. At the beginning of the 20th century he was the chief editor of the journal Iskra(Spark).Iskra was the organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (R.S.D.L.P). In 1903 during a congress of the party Lenin and his followers were known as the Bolsheviki(majority) because of emerging as a major group in the party. (Collier’s Encyclopedia, p 345)
Although during the Russian-Japanese War in 1905 some of his followers joined the Mensheviki (Minority), and Lenin found a way and started to publish the journal Vperyod (Forward) with his own struggle in order to keep his party together. They gave many efforts to show the different way of them from the Mensheviks, but it did not work out. Although they separate farther and farther apart, in 1910 emerging as two different political ideologies.
When Lenin has completed his teaching ‘What Is To Be Done’ in march 1902 and puplished in the same month, the ideas of him were ready to reach the revolutioners. In his work he defined a Marxist Revolutioner party, and its functions, in order to give the idea of marxist socialism concept to the labourers and peasants. In his writing his main thought was to change social order rather than fighting only for the agreeable conditions of selling out the labour. At this moument he was not expecting any worker to stay against the regime rather than only putting the ideas teorically. Because he knewed that they needed to get socialized from a center, and also knewed that they can not have democratic idea among each other. Lenin explains this in ‘What Is To Be Done’ with these words: “there could not have been social-democratic consciousness among the workers. It could only have been brought to them from without.” (p 98). This idea of Lenin cleary shows that he has a good vision of the future to set a socialist regime. Another thing was that an armed rebellion was the only way to break through the regime. Lenin’s plan did not showed any difference between now and during the start of the WWI, he also stayed beyond the idea of ‘war against the war’ and change the war into a revolution.
The Bolshevik movement aimed total war against the bourgeoisie, and the dictatiorship of the proleteriat. “Whereas the Mensheviks accepted the principle of change and concentrated their struggle on the replacement of tsarist absolutismby parlimentary constitutionalism.” (collier’s encyclopedia, p 608).
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE CIVIL WAR
Finally in March 1917 the Bolsheviks and the Red Army of Trotsky fighted as well disciplined group and a force to carry out the Russian Revolution in order to set the proleteriat dictatiorship.
Lenin, the great leader of a nation which was looking for it’s future. 1917, the year that the Bolsheviks and their leader Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin set themselves the goal of ‘overthrowing the world’ and creating perfect social system. Now as then, a huge empire was collapsing, there was chaos in the streets, the economy was terrible, military discipline was dissolving, and a civil war had already started around the edges of the country. The government was week and begging the world for help.
Within these situations Lenin and his friends undertook through their dreams. Actually the conditions were all set for an social revolution. And it was not very easy to lead such a big country’s revolution, and of course a great Leader was ahead to carry out the people. And always in the history the great revolutions had great leaders. And ofcourse as we said before the Bolsheviks were the true hereos of this revolution. The workers, peasants, showed a great heroism within the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky carried the Russia to world’s first socialist republic.
The next thing was, ending the war and nationalizing the land. The great power were the peasants in this revolution. The great majority of them had historically asked nationalization, instead of total privization of the land for two big reasons. The first one was that the land corresponded with the collective ownership for centuries. Second, it was a legal claim by the former nobility for their compensation of their title to the land. When the nationalization provided, the peasants got the their own land, and own their products. This transformed rural Russia into a land of small peasant proprietors.
Dividing the land among the peasants had two great effect. First the well-managed large estates were easily broken apart, the productivity of agriculture declined. Second, the established private farmers had the greatest influence in the villages, they were able to get the greatest share of the landlords’ property, espacially the moveble equipments such as animals and machines. The rural Russia emerged that with a new idea of inequality. 2 million well offered farmers at top, about 15 million small farmers in the middle, and more than 10 million peasant families still landless or without enough land to support themselves.
The Soviet government now was facing with an economic decline. They did not at first attempt to socialize the industry. Only the most large enterprises in banking, grain purchasing, transportation, oil, and munitions were nationalized. However in the year 1918 the civil war had broken out in most of the country, including Ukraine, Siberia, Transcaucasia was in the hands of tsarist counterrevolutioners with the help of Germa, Frensh, and British forces. Expecting the restoration of the old regime. Most industrialists and manegers are refused to cooperate with the Soviet government. Workers went far beyond and attempted to manege enterprises by themselves.
(collier’s encyclopedia, p 608)
The communists felt forced to attempt the centralized control over economy. All large and medium and some small bussines was nationalized during the second half of 1918. As the government could only finance itself by printing money, forced them to collect grains from the peasant to keep off the starvation in the cities, but the peasansts resisted and a black-market had started to occur. Food had being exchanged with the household assets of the middle-class and the industrial goodss that workers received as pay instead of worthless rubles. Industrial and agricultural production declined as in living standards. The Communist Party in 1919-1920 saw this siege in economy and Trotsky was to define ‘War Communism’ as ‘systematic regimentation of consumption in a besieged fortress’. As a first step to communist economy. This was an illusion at first but the essential fact is that War Communism did enable the Bolsheviks to mobilize the sufficint recources to win the Civil War.
THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP)
By the spring of 1921 the Red Army headed by Trotsky won the victory over tsarists(whites). The Soviet government had secured its control over the traditional Russian lands. However the economic situations were not so good. Although Trotsky had a year earlier proposed a major relaxation of War Communism, the party was still unsure of survival to abandon total economic control. But this was only the control of a shrunken economy. The industrial production was only 14%, the famine was all around the country.
Soon Lenin’s new course had started to known as NEP (new economic policy), was to ‘improve the conditions of the peasantry and to increase their productive forces’. The key measure at the start of NEP was to end forced collection of grain and substitute for it a paid as a proportion of each farmer’s output in excess of his own family.
NEP was immediately successful. By 1925 industrial production had recovered 75% of its level, and agricultural production had almost fully recovered. However, the very success of NEP compared the ruling Communist Party (since 1921 the only legal party in the Soviet Union) with a new and fateful set of economic and social problems.
Can There Be Equality Between The Exploied And The Exploiters?
The exploiters represent only a small minority of the population (The proleterian Rev. and Renegade Kautsky, p 14)
Taking this as the starting point, what we should argue about? Some may argue in a Marxian way, in a socialist way, taking as a relation between the exploited and exploiter; or some may argue in liberal way, in a bourgeois-democratic way, taking the relation between the majority and the minority.
First we will look out from the Marxian window. The thing we should say among everything is that, the exploiters transform the state into an instrument for the benefits of their class, and the exploiters rule the majority, therefore the democratic state had to lose its justice for the exploited. The state of the exploited must fundamentally differ from such a state; it must be democracy for the exploited, and
If we argue from a liberal way, we have to say that the majority decides the minority. Those who do not obey this should punished. That’s it. Nothing else can be talked within this. Because we do not want to argue about the class character of the state in general, or about ‘pure democracy’ in particular.
Why should the rule of the proletariat assume, and necessarily assume, a form which is incompatible with democracy. (The Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky, P 21)
Therefore it seems that the relation between the exploited and the exploiters in Kautsky’s argument, and all that remains is majority in general, minority in general, democracy in general, the ‘pure democracy’ which we already familiar.
As a summary the action covered, social and economic conditions just before the revolution, the effects of tsarist regime, the rise of Bolsheviks, the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the economic chaos in the first years of new regime, struggle with the counterrevolutionaries, the NEP course of Lenin, and a birth of a successful socialist state. But also the exploiters and the exploited had to be argued, concerning the equality or inequality between them. This argument had to be at the end, after examining the
revolution in Russia. Because the actual reason of this event was the inequality between the classes, and it must be avoided from the Russian Revolution.
Dooder, Dusko. National Gegraphic. Washington D.C, october 1992 ed.
Kautsky, Renegade. Proleterian Revolution And Reneade Kautsky. London, 1988.
Lenin,Vladimir. What Is To Be Done. Trans. Joe Fineberg and George Hanna. London,
Mage, Shane. Collier’s Encyclopedia. 1992 ed.
Vucinich, Wayne S. Collier’s Encyclopedia. 1992 ed.