09/07/2017 by socialistfight
From John Marot:
Lih thinks the lessons the Bolshevik learned from the 1905 Revolution — Old Bolshevism’s ‘logic of hegemony’ — can serve as a guide to understand what the Bolsheviks did in 1917. They can’t. That is because those lessons do not take into account the extraordinary novelty of the February 1917 Revolution, to wit: Every Social Democrat prior to 1917 thought *one* government — *a* Provisional Government (PG) — would succeed Tsardom. But, in February 1917, *two* governments arise — the Soviet and the PG — and that throws everyone for a loop.
Lih does not understand the significance of this unprecedented and cardinal feature — but Lenin bends over backwards to analyse and bring out its significance in the April Theses. Furthermore, prior to 1917, the Bolsheviks expected they would dominate the (one) Provisional Government, making it a Revolutionary Provisional Government. But — lo and behold — this Provisional Government is dominated by the Kadets, a, in the Bolshevik view, *cowardly* liberal bourgeois party that could not be expected to lead anything — letting alone leading (formally) the bourgeois-democratic revolution!.
But, this is what, incredibly, has happened. Lih does not understand how this astounding turn of events has thrown the Bolsheviks for another loop! Lenin writes in an excised passage: “Let us not make the mistake of those who—like certain “O.C.” supporters or “Mensheviks” who are oscillating between the Gvozdev-Potresov line and internationalism and who only too often slip into petty-bourgeois pacifism—are now ready to extol “agreement” [soglashenie] between the workers’ party and the Kadets, “support” of the latter by the former, and so on.
In conformity with the old (and by no means Marxist) doctrine that they have learned by rote.” Here, Lenin is also implicating those Old Bolsheviks who are seeking a rapprochement with the Mensheviks and, therefore, a rapprochement with their policy of critical support to the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government. Lih does not understand this.
Part 3 of Lars Lih’s series ‘All Power to the Soviets’
By Lars T. Lih. The standard “rearming the party” interpretation of Bolshevism in 1917 is a gripping and highly dramatic narrative that goes something like this: Old Bolshevism is rendered irrelevant by the February revolution, the Russian Bolsheviks flounder until Lenin returns home and rearms the party, and the party is subsequently divided over fundamental issues throughout the year. Party unity is restored—to the extent that it was restored—after the other leading Bolsheviks cave in to Lenin’s superior force of will. Only by these means was the party rearmed by a new strategy that proclaimed the socialist nature of the revolution—an essential condition for Bolshevik victory in October.
Observers with strikingly opposed political viewpoints all had their reasons for supporting some version of the rearming narrative. This story seemed doubly confirmed when it became known in the…
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