The Bolshevism’s Phenomenon
Whether it was a political revolution or Trotsky’s bloody counter-revolution, Leninism and its Bolshevik’s resistance no longer saw the Soviet Union as a workers’ state. He still could not escape the paradox between how Stalin was the source of the problem or how many Russian workers blamed Lenin and the Bolshevik leaders. Lenin, his mythology as the creator and support of the Russian revolution, was dying of the Leninist group.
As the Soviet archives became more exposed, it was more challenging to defend Lenin’s legacy until the West avoided and faked debates about Lenin. On the other hand, the Trotskyists tried to convince the workers that Lenin was not just leading opinion on Stalin. The discussion is also still based on slander, falsification of history, to the phenomenon of Bolshevism in 1918. The question is: what elements of the formation of Stalinism? When did Stalinism first appear on the field? What rhetoric for the falsity of history?
The antithesis of Leninism and its Bolshevik’s resistance begin from Stalinism. Stalinism is, fundamentally, defined by many characteristics. From these characteristics, it is tough to find Lenin’s central leg. Stalin’s foreign policy was also the idea of a peaceful co-existence with the West. Building socialism in the Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union often presented as an extreme opponent of Stalinism. Subsequently, Lenin is presented as a person who will be full of any risk of realizing a mission and vision. However, Stalinism, complicated, includes the formation of a one-party state. Further, the absence of control over the economy by the working class and the dictatorial power of the masses of society are the reasons why socialism in one country appears back and forth.
The Role Model
The Soviet Union is an antithesis, a role model at the same time for other European nations. They have torn apart, impoverished, and enslaved Africa. Just as the French Revolution’s spirit encouraged Haitian slaves to break free, the Soviet Union inspired the colonized people to finish off feudalism, imperialism, and capitalism. The role model of Leninism and its Bolshevik’s resistance stands when the Bolshevik Revolution began to erupt and led to workers and soldiers occupying government offices in Petrograd before taking the Winter Palace.
The first revolution, in 1905, succeeded in forcing the Tsar to establish the Duma Parliament, proclaimed by Tsar Ivan VI in 1721. February 1917, the second revolution erupted and succeeded in overthrowing the monarchy and replacing it with a republic. The Communist Revolution, or the third revolution, managed to save Russia from the threat of a military dictatorship. Apart from putting out World War I, the October Revolution did more than just shock the capitalist world order. The Marxists participated in the trigger and questioned Marx’s thesis, followed by most Russian socialists, on transitioning from a revised capitalist to a socialist society.
From October 1917 to January 1924, Lenin was in power until his death. Several groups formed themselves within the Russian Communist Party, and they criticized the Bolshevik leadership for the principles of revolution. As described by Lenin in the State and the Revolution and various other works, the main feature of the communist state is a rejection of bureaucratic authority. To clarify, the workers themselves take care of governance through grassroots organizations. The control of the workers of factory committees and unions has a similar function in economic life. Apart from replacing private ownership with an industrial democratic system, Lenin acknowledged that workers would learn more through experience. In other words, he declared to inject the working masses’ oppression, self-confidence, and power on an individualist basis. This was Lenin’s vision before the October Revolution exploded.
Gavril Myasnikov, the revolutionary of the Bolshevism movement, represented a flagrant violation of Bolshevik promises. The achievements of October reinstated the hierarchy and discipline of the workers about winning. However, the next step is what if the class enemy returns to operating the factories and becomes the workers’ ruler. This proletarian Myasnikov also put aside democratic principles and believed in revolution with his whole life. Its aim is to eliminate capitalistic forms of exploitation, thereby freeing workers’ creative energy and establishing mutual dignity and equality conditions. Lenin saw this opposition as inverse, and Myasnikov again launched open and boisterous protests against all Bolshevik tendencies. In contrast to denouncing the emergence of bureaucratism in the party, he scoffs at every attempt to reconcile the old rules and other capitalist method forms.
Trotsky and the Mensheviks
In the History of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky said that if the West’s barbarians settled in Roman culture ruins, the Slavs in the east could only stare at the land’s empty expanse. The ancestral level of the Slavs was even lower than that of the European barbarians. There is no parliament and a strong capitalist class. For centuries, no prince could adequately oppose the centralization of power under the Tsar in Moscow. On the other hand, Russia has radical peasants. Since the second half of the 19th century, peasants’ radicalization took place along with the blooming ideas of agrarian socialism, manifested by acts of anti-Tsarist terrorism. Ending with Alexander II’s assassination, Lenin and the main protagonist of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1887 were hanged for being involved in a murder conspiracy.
For decades, Leninism and its Bolshevik’s resistance have the radical peasants wanted the dissolution of the monarchy and the destruction of modern industry. The birth of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party was divided into Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. The effect is to shift the discourse of agrarian populism as the dominant ideology of the Russian left movement. Apart from replacing the peasants with workers as agents of the revolution, the Bolshevik faction believed in the bourgeois revolution stage. The orthodox Marxists would bring about liberal democracy. Not only because of Russia’s experimental conditions, the leading players of capitalism and the bureaucracy are also far from being effective. The agenda for the monarchy’s destruction and the political revolution is being shaken by the industrial proletariat’s shoulders.
At the Ninth Party Congress, the setback prompted one-man management and hiring technical specialists that Myasnikov became suspicious of. Lenin usurped the most basic revolutionary conquest of the working class. The manifesto declaration was continued purely bureaucratic and without the direct participation of the middle class. The manifesto demands industrial management of the middle class from each factory. Therefore, the middle class saw the manifesto as increasing their power and privileges.
In this way, too, there can be attacks from all sides of arrogance and hypocrisy. The lip slogan of the socialist phrase is immediately considered a lie and emphasizes bourgeois ambition. Machajski, a radical Polish at the turn of the nineteenth century, spoke of the emergence in the new intellectual class’s name of socialism and specialists determined to ride the workers’ struggle. Myasnikov also got a brand of Makhaevism and was influenced by Machajski’s ideas; besides, there is no evidence apart from the similarities between their’ bureaucratic and sacred ideologies.
Myasnikov and Bureaucratic
On the other hand, Lenin adhered to an administrative solution to reject any proposals about the fresh air of democracy through the party apparatus. He considers that triggering democracy is more dangerous than bureaucratism itself besides relying on bureaucratic reform. Myasnikov actually denied this because Lenin failed to target a root cause. For Myasnikov, he believed real reform could only emerge, possibly, from below and call for all-out capitalism both at home and abroad. Refusing to cooperate with moderate socialists, insist on limited economic benefits weaken the proletarian revolution, and divert socialism’s primary mission will overthrow the capitalist system. This will begin the October Revolution’s eruption in the next phase of Leninism and the Bolshevik’s resistance.
The October Revolution
In less than two months, the October Revolution erupted. As a result, the rest is history in the hands of the Bolsheviks. In addition, the defeat of Russian troops on several World War I fronts sparked demoralization among the army, draining domestic resources and dragging the Romanov dynasty. Just as Russia’s failure to Japan in 1905 triggered a political crisis, the February 1917 Revolution erupted after a series of protests and labor strikes at Petrograd. Women workers from textile factories also took to the streets to mark International Women’s Day on February 23.
The Mensheviks, for several months, succeeded in issuing many progressive policies such as guarantees of freedom of the press, the right of association, and the right to vote for women—eight months of instability in the Provisional Government. Given the Bolshevik Party’s opportunity, Alexander Kerensky, the Provisional Government’s prime minister, passed thousands of weapons to the workers. On the other hand, the Petrograd army, already under Bolshevik influence, attempted to thwart a military coup.
Russia’s allies during World War I until enemies like Germany united to disturb the revolution. In other words, they all occupied parts of Russia. In many countries, the anti-communist sentiment was rampant and found the most extreme form of German fascism. The Civil War broke out, lasted for four years until the communist camp was won by officially proclaiming the founding of the Soviet Union on December 22, 1922. Simultaneously anecdotes circulated where Lenin danced in the snow celebrating the age of revolution. His fears of a crushing process ended with Russia’s victory in the Civil War in 1922. Still no better for the Paris Commune, where there were radical leftist movements worldwide after the October Revolution.
From 1918 to the 1920s, Bavaria in Germany, Finland, Hungary, and Iran, proclaimed a red republic until it lasted not long. Regardless of beaten by military elements of the right, an understanding was born that the proletarian revolution couldn’t exist only in one country. They must fight for parts of the world simultaneously. Leninism and the Bolshevik’s resistance, the rest of the Bolsheviks, held a Congress of Eastern Nations in Baku’s city in 1920 attended by Arab countries. Certainly, the decision of the communists fully supports the radical nationalists in the colonized countries for independence.
- Brovkin, V. N. (1991). The Mensheviks after October: Socialist Opposition and the Rise of the Bolshevik Dictatorship. Cornell University Press.
- Meyer, A. G. (2013). Leninism. Harvard University Press.
- Rabinowitch, A. (2004). The Bolsheviks come to power: The revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Pluto Press.
- Suny, R. G. (1983). Toward a social history of the October Revolution. The American Historical Review, 88(1), 31-52.