bolsheviks russian

anonymous asked:

What are the core "tenets" of Trotskyism? Most lefties I know just rag on them and the Wikipedia entry doesn't really clarify anything for me

Basically its Marxism-Leninism, with a few adjustments and a very different perspective on the history of the USSr than typical MLs have, although similar to that of mlms (less tankie mlms, at least). Basically, Trotskyists see the decline and fall of the USSR as the result of a decline in party democracy and the solidification of the bureaucracy into a new ruling elite.

Part of the reasons trots have a reputation for “splitting” (forming several different groups that all say basically the same thing but hate each others’ guts) is that we tend to be at cross purposes because we value both party discipline and party democracy, and its can be very hard to balance the two. This is in stark contrast to say, Juche or Hoxhaism, where the authority of a party elite is outright celebrated. “In a genuine Bolshevik organisation, the only authority a leadership can have is a moral and a political authority. You cannot demand authority on the basis of positions and titles: “full-timer”, “leading comrade”, “CC member”, “EC member” or even “General Secretary”. All this means less than nothing unless it is built on the correctness of your ideas and your ability to convince and inspire with political arguments.” This is ignored by many modern day mls and mlms, who seem to take the distorted vision of the vanguard party as some unassailable monolith “above” the people - a distortion propagated by anticommunists - at face value. For a better understanding of what a true Leninist vanguard is meant to do, see:

Trotskyism has a lot of anxiety about the movement and its marxist-leninist principles becoming “submerged” within another tendency, be that bourgeois nationalism, bureaucratic elitism, or social democracy, but also sometimes practice “entryism,” that is entering larger socdem parties as a means of converting them to our purposes from within.

Permanent revolution is a big deal but is often misunderstood; Trotsky simply drew on Marx to say that a bourgeois revolution could quickly become socialist, as was proven true in Russia in 1917, rather than the “stagism” of Stalinism. Also there is the law of combined and uneven development, saying that revolution will first emerge on the periphery of the capitalist system because the international capitalist division of labor retards these nations growth and prevents them from fully developing to the level of mature capitalism, necessitating social revolution to increase prosperity (see Cuba for another example of this). This is because these countries undergo an awkward development in which multiple tendencies, some bourgeois some feudal, emerge under the aegis of empire, meaning smashing both simultaneously becomes the essential task of the revolution. - a fuller explanation of the concept - an application of the concept by trotsky himself to Russian conditions

Also Trotsky himself was not the only theorist of Trotskyism, it is a rich intellectual tradition of its own, my fave being Ernest Mandel, though not without its share of right and left deviationists, like any movement. I myself am fond of some ex-Trots turned leftcoms/marxist-humanists, like Victor Serge, CLR James, and Raya Dunayevskaya. Below I’ve’ included some representative writings from

Ernest Mandel:

Victor Serge:

Raya Dunayevskaya:

(James isn’t included because his writing tends to be a bit more long-winded than is fitting for an article at the end of a link)

Hope that helps clear things up! :)

Zinaida Serebriakova (1884-1967)
“House of Cards” (1919)

At the time of this painting, just 2 years after the October Revolution of 1917, Serebriakova’s husband had died of typhus, contracted in a Bolshevik jail. She was left without any income, responsible for her four children and her sick mother. All her husband’s reserves had been plundered, so the family suffered from hunger. “House of Cards” depicts her four children.

Ludendorff Agrees to Send Lenin to Russia

Parvus (left) with Trotsky (center) and Menshevik leader Leo Deutsch (right).

March 25 1917, Bad Kreuznach–The revolution in Russia opened up hope for the Germans that Russia, no longer expecting a great imperial victory, could be removed from the war diplomatically.  However, the first indications out of the Provisional Government were that they intended to honor their commitments to the Allies and continue with the war.  In fact, some Germans incorrectly believed that the revolution had been organized by British agents to remove the unpopular Czar and put the war effort on a stronger, more democratic footing.

A Marxist revolutionary, Alexander Helphand (codename Parvus) was working for German intelligence in Copenhagen.  He had been friends with Lenin since 1900, and thought that now would be the perfect opportunity to send Lenin back to Russia from exile in Switzerland.  He told the German ambassador in Copenhagen that Lenin was “much more raving mad” than the leaders of the Soviet or the Provisional Government, that he would create “the greatest possible chaos,” seize power himself, and conclude a separate peace with Germany.  

The German government was soon convinced, though they took little interest in Lenin or Bolshevism itself; copies of his articles sent to Berlin were never read.  The question now was how to get Lenin to Russia, which would almost necessarily require transit through German territory.  On March 25, after meeting with Parvus, Ludendorff agreed to send the Bolsheviks in Switzerland by train through Germany to the Baltic coast, from where they would then travel to Russia via Sweden.  Lenin, however, still took some convincing, insisting that he be sent on a “sealed train” so that there would be a legal fiction that he never legally entered Germany and thus did not collaborate with the Germans; he ultimately agreed on March 31, and would depart Switzerland on April 8.

Today in 1916: British Attempt to Strike Back at Zeppelins
Today in 1915:  UK Colonial Secretary Issues Memo on “The Spoils”

Sources include: Robert B. Asprey, The German High Command at War; Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution.


Drunken Bolsheviks and the Greatest Hangover in History,

On October 25th, 1917 Bolshevik soldiers and sailors stormed the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, former home of the Russian Czars.  Among the wealth and grandeur of the palace, the revolutionaries stumbled upon perhaps the greatest treasure of the Romanov Dynasty; Nicholas II’s personal wine cellar, which housed the largest collection of fine wines, liquors, and cordials in the world.

Having thousands of heavily armed men and civilians in the proximity of the largest cache of booze on the planet was certainly a big problem for Bolshevik officers and politicians.  Already Bolshevik soldiers were carting out kegs and bottles, beginning a Bolshevik boozing spree that would quickly get out of hand.  At first Bolshevik leaders considered blasting the cellars with high explosives, however it was feared that this would severely damage the palace.  Finally Bolshevik leaders ordered the cellars be barricaded and placed under heavy guard while the booze was disposed of.  At first the booze was hauled out in crates to be dumped, however convoys tasked with this duty were ambushed by drunken soldiers and civilians. Finally it was decided to simply pour the booze down the drain.  This plan failed when people by the thousands gathered around the palace drains with buckets.

Finally, the large drunken Bolshevik mob stormed the Winter Palace a second time, easily overwhelming the guards and overrunning the cellar.  Immediately, St. Petersburg erupted into an orgy of drunken rioting and looting.  Boozed up Bolsheviks began fighting or having sex in streets. Rape and murder was common, so were brawls and shootouts among heavily armed soldiers. Many people were killed by stray bullets as soldiers fired their weapons into the air in celebration.  Martial law was declared and a Bolshevik army was dispatched to gain control over this situation.  However, this did little as many of the oncoming soldiers joined in on the fun. After about a month of alcohol induced chaos, the booze ran out, and order was restored in St. Petersburg.  The resulting hangover must have been terrible.


December 30th 1916: Rasputin killed

On this day in 1916, by the new style calendar, Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin was killed in St. Petersburg, aged 47. Born to a peasant family around 1869, Rasputin received little formal education, and joined a monastery with the intention of leading a monastic life. However, he soon left the monastery, and travelled extensively around Europe and the Middle East, ultimately arriving in St. Petersburg. There, Rasputin cultivated a reputation as a mystic and a faith healer, and found a place in the Russian court of Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin acted as an adviser to the tsar’s wife Alexandra, who sought help for her son Alexei’s hemophilia, which the mystic appeared to help alleviate; he thus secured a place as Alexandra’s personal adviser. As the credibility and popularity of the tsar’s rule began to wane, his critics used the position of the peasant ‘mad monk’ in the court to call for reform. While Rasputin’s influence over the Romanovs was limited, Alexandra’s defiant defence of him gave rise to rumours of impropriety and, even, an alleged affair between the tsarina and the mystic. On the evening of December 29th 1916, a group of conspirators invited Rasputin to the palace of Prince Felix Yusupov, who had cultivated a friendship with Rasputin, intending to kill him in order to save the monarchy. They fed him poison, which had no effect, then shot him, which he initially survived, and finally shot him in the head and threw his body into a river in the early hours of the morning. Rasputin’s body was found a few days later, with his hands frozen in a raised position, giving rise to rumours that he was still alive while underwater and had tried to untie the rope on his hands, only to finally die by drowning. A few months later, in March 1917, the tsar’s government was toppled by Bolshevik revolutionaries, and, the next year, Nicholas, Alexandra, and all their children were executed. The remarkable story of Rasputin’s murder is the final chapter in a peasant monk’s rise to become one of the most influential and notorious figures of Russian history.

LITHUANIA. Vilnius. September 1, 1991. A young Lithuanian girl sits on the toppled statue of Russian Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin after the monument was removed from the centre of the Lithuanian capital. Lithuania was the first SSR to declare its independence from the USSR and restore its sovereignty.

Photograph: Gerard Fouet/AFP/Getty Images

Hail the women!
Hail the International!
The women were the first to come out on the streets of Petrograd on their Women’s Day.
The women in Moscow in many cases determined the need of the military; they went to the barracks, and convinced the soldiers to come over to the side of the Revolution.
Hail the women!
—  Pravda (after the February Revolution 1917)

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia; canonized as Holy Martyr Yelizaveta Fyodorovna; 1 November 1864 – 18 July 1918) was a German princess of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, and the wife of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, fifth son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Princess Marie of Hesse and the Rhine. 

She was also a maternal great-aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Elizabeth II. Granddaughter of Queen Victoria and an older sister of Alexandra, the last Russian Empress, Elisabeth became famous in Russian society for her beauty and charitable works among the poor. 

After the Socialist Revolutionary Party’s Combat Organization murdered her husband with a dynamite bomb in 1905, Elisabeth publicly forgave Sergei’s murderer, Ivan Kalyayev, and campaigned without success for him to be pardoned. She then departed the Imperial Court and became a nun, founding the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent dedicated to helping the downtrodden of Moscow. In 1918 she was arrested and ultimately executed by the Bolsheviks. In 1981 Elisabeth was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and in 1992 by the Moscow Patriarchate.


December 6th 1917: Finnish independence

On this day in 1917, Finland formally declared its independence from Russia. Located in-between Sweden and Russia, Finland had long been the object of these two major powers’ imperial machinations. In 1809, Sweden ceded Finland to Russia, with Finland’s nominally automonous government now subject to final approval by the tsar. The first years of Russian rule were relatively peaceful, with the Finns accepting Russian initiatives such as the relocation of the capital to Helsinki. However, there was evidence of an incipient Finnish nationalism, though this did not reach the mainstream until Finland was dragged into the Crimean War on Russia’s side. The Finnish government became increasingly assertive, issuing its own currency and introducing universal suffrage, making Finland the first European country to grant full political rights to women. Popular grumblings against Russian rule found a convenient outlet when Russia was rocked by communist revolution in October 1917. Seizing on the tumult in Russia, and inspired by the Bolsheviks’ professed support for self-determination, Finland formally declared independence on December 6th, 1917. The new Bolshevik government of Vladimir Lenin soon recognised the nation’s independence, though the path to autonomy was not entirely peaceful, as a year later Finland descended into a bloody civil war. The war was fought between the working class Reds, who desired a socialist revolution like Russia’s, and the conservative, nationalist Whites. Aided by Germany, the Whites were victorious, and swiftly established a monarchy led by a German prince. However, Germany’s defeat in the First World War led Finland to embrace a republican system of government. This anniversary, celebrated in Finland as Independence Day, marks a pivotal moment in Finnish history, beginning the process towards the free and independent Finland of today.

“The century-old desire for freedom awaits fulfilment now; Finland’s people step forward as a free nation among the other nations in the world”
- Finnish Declaration of Independence

American troops parading in Vladivostok during the Russian Civil War, August 1918

The American Expeditionary Force Siberia was devastated by the Siberian weather and did not fight in any battle before returning. Their mission in Siberia was to provide protection for American-supplied property, help the Czechoslovak Legions evacuate Russia and support White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army. As a result of this expedition, which failed but became known to the Bolsheviks, early relations between the United States and the Soviet Union would be low.

“Bütün ülkelerde onlarca yıllık deneyimin gösterdiği gibi küçük burjuvazi(…) işçilerin ilk yenilgisinde ya da yarı yenilgisinde paniğe kapılır, aklını kaybeder, sağa sola atılır”


Görsel : Unknown Artist