At the beginning of July, a new assault, far broader in scope and under more resolution slogans. On November 13, ousted liberal politician Aleksandr Kerensky tried to retake Petrograd with loyal troops. From being leader of the Red Army and hero of the civil war, Trotsky was vilified as the agent of counterrevolution within the international communist movement. An overwhelming majority of the workers, Menshevik, Social Revolutionary and non-party, supported the Bolsheviks at the moment of direct grapple with tsarism. Few political characters have gotten their comeuppance so fully and so quickly. Trotsky defeated Kerensky, and the … I know the number of years because my elder brother inscribed each of the three volumes with “To Jeff on his 20th birthday”. 2017 … Horribly lagging behind technologically, Russia’s sole contribution was cannon fodder: “The one thing the Russian generals did with a flourish was drag human meat out of the country.”Fifteen million men were conscripted into the army, and five and a half million of them were killed, captured, or wounded in the three years of war. Decisive within the working-class vanguard were “workers who had thought over the experience of 1905, criticized the constitutional illusions of the liberals and Mensheviks, assimilated the perspectives of the revolution, mediated hundreds of times about the question of the army, watched attentively what was going on in their midst—workers capable of making revolutionary inferences from what they observed and communicating them to others.” (The Mensheviks Trotsky refers to, and to which we will return, were the moderate socialists who allied themselves with the liberals.) Section Three: The Attempted Counter-Revolution, 14) The Counter-Revolution Lifts Its Head, 25) The Wavering Continues inside the Bolshevik Party. Early in October, Trotsky introduced a resolution into the Bolshevik-controlled Petrograd Soviet that called for the formation of a military committee to prepare the “revolutionary defence of Petrograd”. The Bolsheviks, to be sure, were asserting that the government wanted the war prolonged for the sake of robberies. The proletariat and the Peasantry 4. The conflict within the party was brewing before Lenin arrived in Russia, but would not have been resolved in a decisive enough manner to take advantage of the moment. A Food Commission formed, a decision was made to occupy the state bank, the mint, and the treasury. With the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries formally working in unity with the Liberals, “every soldier that expressed a little more boldly than the rest what they all were feeling was so persistently shouted at from above as a Bolshevik, that he was obliged in the long run to believe it.”, As the politicization of the armed forces progressed, the possibility of victory shrank: “When enlightened pacifists try to abolish war by rationalistic arguments they are merely ridiculous, but when the armed masses themselves bring weapons of reason into action against a war, that means the war is about over.”, While the army was seething and tearing itself apart at the front, Petrograd became the scene of a different type of confrontation as the competing parties measured the depth of their loyalty among the masses. Leon Trotsky: 6 facts about the disgraced Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky opens up about Stalin, NY and the Revolution 4 reasons to watch 'Trotsky' on Netflix 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. A prolongation of the war could give the Russian people nothing but new victims, humiliations, disasters—nothing but an increase of domestic and foreign slavery. The minimum demand: remove Miliukov. Meanwhile, in the working-class heartland of St. Petersburg, the Vyborg district, cadres of the Bolshevik Party raised demands of “All Power to the Soviets” against the Mensheviks and their own leaders. But our hands tremble.” The masses, having not yet fully embraced the notion of overthrowing the Provisional Government in favor of soviet power, attempted to use “their” leaders to hold the Liberals’ feet to the fire. History of the Russian Revolution is a two-volume book by Leon Trotsky on the Russian Revolution of 1917. Unfortunately they were the hands of Stalin and Kamenev, and they were firmly conservative. Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast: 1929–1940 (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), 219. At first the bourgeois politicians of the Duma dismissed the massive outpouring of bitterness in the streets, hoping the tsar would smash it. Trotsky gives a brilliant analysis of the instability of the competing authorities: The political mechanism of revolution consists of the transfer of power from one class to another. He was involved in establishing the Soth Russia Workers Union (1897) and the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (1898). It is thus natural in the February fights the worker-Bolsheviks occupied the leading place. In the chapter “Shifts in the Masses” Trotsky assesses the course of 1917: A revolution teaches and teaches fast. It would have been necessary to employ force against them. The spring of 1917 was an intractable tangle of interrelated crises for the oppressed classes: the war, the land question, hunger, rising prices, and fuel shortages. Despite utter dependence on foreign loans and technology, Tsar Nicholas’ court refused to embrace modernity: “On the contrary, it withdrew into itself. Trotsky describes the logic of Tseretelli’s demand: To carry the Compromise policy through to a successful end—that is, to the establishment of a parliamentary rule of the bourgeoisie—demanded the disarming of the workers and soldiers. At breakfast after Mass long faces were noticeable among many…. The April demonstrations were the first outbreak of resistance that targeted the workers and soldier’s “own” leaders. Thus the initial stage of the revolution was characterized by the most militant, direct action tactics in battle against the tsar—including revolutionary organs of power, the soviets—and the political dominance of parties who opposed workers’ power and the key demands of land and peace, and who handed power over to the bourgeoisie. A procession of women marched on the local Duma (city council) demanding bread, which “was like demanding milk from a he-goat.” Among the banners appeared slogans for the overthrow of the tsar and the end to the war, but the day passed peacefully. different events that took place as the revolution developed but also explains the main processes and laws of revolution that The weather was fine…. But the offensive backfired and became the final blow against military discipline: A century of taunts and violence had burst to the surface like a volcano. At the level of the shop floor, the worker-cadre fought Menshevism, but in the Tauride Palace, the party center was pulled toward the petty bourgeois slogan of “defense,” and critical support of the Provisional Government. z Leon Trotsky, 1920 © Trotsky was a key figure in the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, second only to Vladimir Lenin in the early stages of Soviet communist rule. Tzarist Russia in the War 3. The officers hastened to separate their patrol from the workers, and, abandoning the idea of dispersing them, lined the Cossacks out across the street as a barrier to prevent the demonstrators from getting to the center. The Coalition Government, formed in May, immediately came under pressure from its allies in the Entente to initiate an offensive on the Eastern front. In other words, the revolutionists can create a break in the soldiers’ mood only if they themselves are actually ready to seize the victory at any price whatever, even the price of blood. 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. His birth name was Leib Davydovich Bronstein and was born on November 7, 1879, in Southern Ukraine. The victory of the Bolsheviks was all the more biting because it “was won on the arena and with the weapons chosen by the enemy.” The most militant workers, regardless of formal party affiliation, were flocking to the Bolshevik slogans and pulling further away from the Compromisers’ influence. With the onset of World War One, their partnership moved from economic to military. Page numbers refer to the Pluto Press 1979 edition. The role of personality arises before us here on a truly gigantic scale. At the factories they began insistently to question deputies about foreign policy, the war, the two-power system, the food question; and as a result of these examinations Menshevik and SR delegates were more and more frequently replaced by Bolsheviks…Sukhanov estimates that at the beginning of May the Bolsheviks had behind them a third of the Petrograd proletariat. Michael Ratner interviewed by Anthony Arnove, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Within the soviet, the Compromisers grew furious over the affront to their power. The demand “All Power to the Soviets” rang out in demonstrations, newspapers, shop committees, soldiers’ committees, and land committees. America, the new entrant to the carnage, offered $75,000,000 in credit to the Provisional Government if they would undertake a new offensive. 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