Month: February 2018

Bolshevik opposition to Lenin: G. T. Miasnikov and the Workers’ Group – Paul Avrich

During Lenin’s years in power, from October 1917 until his death in January 1924, a number of groups took shape within the Russian Communist Party-the Democratic Centralists and the Workers’ Opposition are the best known-which criticized the Bolshevik leadership for abandoning the principles of the revolution. The revolution, as sketched by Lenin in The State and Revolution and other works had promised the destruction of the centralized bureaucratic state and its replacement with a new social order, modeled on the Paris Commune of 1871, in which the direct democracy of the workers would be realized. The cardinal feature of this “commune state,” as Lenin called it, was to be its repudiation of bureaucratic authority. The workers themselves would administer the government through grass-roots organizations, of which the soviets were the foremost example. Workers’ control, through factory committees and trade unions, would function similarly in economic life, replacing private ownership and management with a system of industrial democracy and self-administration in which the rank and file would shape their own destiny. Mistakes would be made, Lenin conceded, but the workers would learn by experience. “The most important thing,” he declared, “is to instill in the oppressed and laboring masses confidence in their own power.”‘ Such was Lenin’s vision before October. Once in power, however, he saw things from a different perspective. Overnight, as it were, the Bolsheviks were transformed from...

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Women members of parliament – Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst argues that the election of women to parliament won’t overcome the bankruptcy of parliamentary politics. The return of eight women to Parliament marks an advance in public opinion. People have realised at last that women are persons with all the human attributes, not merely some of them and that women have an equal right with men to take part in making the social conditions under which they live. This country has not been first in admitting women to political equality with men: other countries preceded us in admitting women to the legislature, and we have not yet reached political equality in the franchise here, although the women of this country led the way in agitating for political and legal equality. It is interesting to observe that the legal barriers to women 5 participation in Parliament and its elections were not removed until the movement to abolish Parliament altogether had received the strong encouragement of witnessing the overthrow of Parliamentary Government in Russia and the setting up of Soviets. Those events in Russia evoked a response throughout the world not only amongst the minority who welcomed the idea of Soviet Communism, but also amongst the upholders of reaction. The latter were by no means oblivious to the growth of Sovietism when they decided to popularise the old Parliamentary machine by giving to some women both votes and the...

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