trotsky history of the russian revolution summary

Of such men, even though they may be illiterate and crude, he is proud; and he wants us to be proud of them. 2013, from the on-line version of The History of the Russian Revolution available at the Trotsky Internet Archive. Neither the soldiers nor the workers would have voluntarily given up their arms. Dozens of histories of the Russian Revolution have been written; what makes Trotsky’s History unique is its uncompromisingly working-class, Marxist account of the totality of the process, made all the more tangible from the point of view of a participant. Its spirit of medievalism thickened under the pressure of hostility and fear, until it acquired the character of a disgusting nightmare overhanging the country.”, Trotsky’s characterization of the tsar and tsarina are hideously funny, depicting them as cruel, shallow, and utterly detached from the suffering of the millions of their subjects. Even in those very first days of victory, when the new power of the revolution was forming itself with fabulous speed and unconquerable strength, those socialists who stood at the head of the soviet were already looking around with alarm to see if they could find a real “boss.” They took it for granted that the power ought to pass to the bourgeoisie. The soldiers did not want war. The minister of finance, Tereshchenko, “was an owner of sugar factories, estates, forests, and other innumerable properties, worth some eighty million rubles in gold, president of the Military-Industrial Committee of Kiev, possessed of a good French pronunciation, and on top of it all a connoisseur of the ballet.” The one “socialist” minister allowed in this coterie of bosses and war profiteers was the Social Revolutionary Alexander Kerensky, whose radical understanding of the new regime was summed up when he said: “The policies of a revolutionary government ought never to offend anybody unnecessarily.”. That is the essence of 1917. But these same slogans were repeated again and again. Leon Trotsky's revolutionary activity as a young man spurred his first of several ordered exiles to Siberia. Members of the Bolshevik center argued against this new theory, arguing the democratic revolution had not been completed, and therefore could not move on to a socialist stage. Lenin had grown alarmed at the direction of the party center, and had written a number of letters (“Letters from Afar”) berating the comrades for their vacillation toward the Provisional Government, even threatening to split.5. With the cover provided by the moderate socialist parties, an offensive war for empire was transformed into revolutionary self-defense. Forced to defend itself from, and compete with, neighboring capitalist powers, Russia absorbed the most modern technology and industries—but it did this by grafting the most modern capitalist methods, with the aid of state aid and foreign investment, on top of the most backward rural social relations, and without overthrowing the preexisting political and social order dominated by the monarchy and landlords. While many things changed over the months of revolution, these parties stayed true to their chosen allies: the Mensheviks clung at any cost to their liberal bourgeois allies, and the Bolsheviks drew closer to the peasantry through revolutionary action. Lenin’s ability to win the party over was not based on his oratorical skills or dictatorial command of the membership. The new ministry included the nephew of the tsar, Prince Lvov, as prime minister, (who Trotsky characterizes as having “a strong dislike for excitement”) and some of Russia’s richest industrialists and landlords. [For a PDF version of this volume Click Here] Preface 1. Trotsky writes, “The war itself, its victims, its horror, its shame, brought not only the old, but also the new layers of workers into conflict with the tsarist regime. But the situation changes the moment the victory is won and its political fortification begins. Ideologically a communist, he developed a variant of Marxism known as Trotskyism. The vanguard of the class had drawn the conclusion that “individual economic strikes in the conditions of war, breakdown, and inflation could not bring a serious improvement, that there must be some change in the very foundation. Unfortunately for the rulers of Russia, they also imported the class struggle that is an essential component of capitalism. The armed demonstration against the imperialist policy of the Provisional Government has gone into history under the name of the “April Days,” whereas according to the Western calendar it happened in May. They voted in large numbers for parties that sought to undermine the revolutionary potential of the soviet. And since the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries comprised infinitely larger ranks of the intelligentsia—who came pouring in from all sides—and thus got into their hands an immense staff of agitators, the elections, even in shops and factories, gave them an enormous majority. Trotsky characterizes the coexistence of the Provisional Government (so called after March 1) as “dual power”—an unstable balance between two competing centers of class power. “ Shifts in the same order of revolutionaries called the Bolsheviks, from the masses and escalated so rapidly numbers. Continues inside the Bolshevik party into this wall erected by themselves, and escalated so their...: Progress Publishers, 1960 ), 309–310 have voluntarily given up their arms )! 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