2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture
2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (GOSR) - known in the West as the Russian Revolution of 1917 - and the passing of a century seems an important time to assess its significance, etc.

The Russian CP noted the following ...

CPRF wrote:
Next year the CPRF, together with all the fraternal parties and movements, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia in October 1917 was the key event of the ХХ century. It radically changed the course of humanity’s development. Thanks to the Great October Revolution the world’s first socialist state came into being. It provided an inspiring example for the working people of all countries who rose to fight the yoke of capital. The October Revolution found its continuation in the deeds of the builders of Socialism, in the heroism of anti-Fascists, in the defeat of Hitler’s Germany and militarist Japan, in the collapse of the colonial system, the inspiring Cuban Revolution, the courage of Che Guevara, Salvador Allende and Hugo Chavez and today’s successes of China and Vietnam.

Even the conservative President of Russia, V. V. Putin, noted the importance of this recently ...

TASS: Putin calls for honest assessment of 1917 revolution in Russia

Quote:
"We all know what consequences the so-called great upheavals usually have. Unfortunately, our country had to face many such upheavals in the past century. 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution and the October Revolution. On this occasion we could once again asses the causes and the essence of Russian revolutions. Not only historians, but the entire Russian society needs an honest, deep assessment of those events," the president said.

Related: More than $3 million allocated for repairs of Aurora cruiser — symbol of 1917 revolution

Quote:
The Aurora was first used as a war ship in the Battle of Tsushima during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war. During WWI it took part in military operations in the Baltic area.

But the ship went down in world history after it fired a historic cannon shot in St. Petersburg in 1917 which heralded the beginning of the 1917 October armed uprising followed by a storm of the emperor's Winter Palace in St.Petersburg.

After the socialist revolution the Aurora was used as a training ship. During WWII the Aurora crews fought against Nazis who besieged Leningrad.

In 1948 the ship was moored at the Petrograd embankment on the Neva. It had been used since as a training base of the Nakhimov naval school until 1956 when the ship was turned into a museum.

Naturally, Russians will form their own conclusions about the historic events of 1917. But it's also a topic of general interest.

 

 

Issues Pages: 
6079_Smith_W

Of course, an interesting parallel to current events is the role played by the German high command in sending Lenin across the border in the hopes that he would destabilize their enemies.

As the article says, Churchill often had the best lines:

Quote:

Full allowance must be made for the desperate tasks to which the German war leaders were already committed… Nevertheless it was with a sense of awe that they turned upon Russia the most grisly of weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/10/lenins-long-train-ride-into-history/

 

lagatta

We remember that Churchill was deeply reactionary, imperialist, racist and antisemitic. It is just that the Austrian fellow was worse...

The revolutionary fervor also saw a great blossoming of the arts, despite the difficult circumstances.

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?

6079_Smith_W

I was there. It was amazing. I also remember being amazed that they disassembled the entire building and hauled it away again.

It wasn't too many years after that that they sent over a collection of space hardware - Soyuz and landers - that was equally impressive. I assume it went across Canada, but it did come to Winnipeg.

And in capturing the German perspective, Churchill was absolutely right. That was their intent, and that is what happened. Of course Lenin was not the only factor, and of course sending him in it did a good deal more than just end the war.

Of course there is also the story of how Trotsky got back there, which some also blamed on the Germans, and some conspiracists even blamed on the illuminati.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/na0712-trotsky

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

We remember that Churchill was deeply reactionary, imperialist, racist and antisemitic. It is just that the Austrian fellow was worse...

The revolutionary fervor also saw a great blossoming of the arts, despite the difficult circumstances.

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?

Apparently the building is in very bad condition and now falling apart.

6079_Smith_W

No, that one is gone. They disassembled it at took it away.

https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/expo/0533020213_e.html

 

ygtbk

You've got admit that it was pure marketing genius to call the smaller faction of the RSDLP "the Bolsheviks".

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/bolshevik-menshevik-split

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

lagatta wrote:

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?

I was there the last week Expo was open and indeed I remember it.  I was sixteen at the time so the most memorable part of the fair for me was spending closing night in the Bavarian Beer Gardens "restaurant" with my older brother and our cousins from Montreal. Best October Fest ever.

lagatta

Yes, we also remember that Trotsky was a (left) Menshevik. at the time averse to Lenin's conception of the party.

Of course he became "more Catholic than the Pope" for a while, or more Leninist than Lenin...

Kropotkin, I was younger than you, and still managed to get some drink there. No, I didn't get drunk; it was more a matter of being able to do so.

Hmm, you have an OAP now? While I'm in no hurry to get any older (and thus, closer to the inevitable) I'd sure like to have that security.

Back to Cuba, at what age to they get their OAP? So many countries have raised the age in recent years.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

lagatta wrote:

Kropotkin, I was younger than you, and still managed to get some drink there. No, I didn't get drunk; it was more a matter of being able to do so.

Hmm, you have an OAP now? While I'm in no hurry to get any older (and thus, closer to the inevitable) I'd sure like to have that security.

Back to Cuba, at what age to they get their OAP? So many countries have raised the age in recent years.

I remember at the time that the Montreal police seemed to leave it up to the host countries to set the rules. So I guess the Germans figured since their are no age restrictions in Germany why should they need them in Canada.  I looked on line and it was the largest of the "restaurants" with 750 seats, strangely it always seemed to be full at night. The place was wall to wall on closing night with people literally dancing on the tables to the oompah band. 

Indeed the OAS was the best birthday present I got this year. Its the gift that keeps on giviing every month. 

What little I have read tells me that their pension scheme is more like our CPP and is a type of defined benefit plan.  I am not sure what the current ages of retirement are although they used to be low.

jjuares

Too bad it didn't work out with the Gulag and all. On the other hand the price for beating the Nazis was largely paid in Soviet blood, something that seems to be virtually unknown in the west. So for that we all owe a debt to the Soviets.

sherpa-finn

On the tangent that is the Cuba pension question: 

1. One of the first pieces of Raul's economic reform package back in 2008 was to raise the retirement / pension age by 5 years, - to 60 for women and 65 for men.

2. FWIW, one of the best sites for tracking social benefits around the world is maintained by the US Gov't. Here is the Cuba page with the details of their pension and other social benefit plans (dated 2011):

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/americas/cuba.html

3. Its been over a year since I have been in Cuba but I think it is fair to say that all people on wholly or relatively fixed incomes seem to be struggling to deal with the inflationary trends inevitable in a more open market, particularly given the 'distortions' of the two-currency system. A relatively accurate picture (IMHO) is painted in this article from NACLA which is a generally progressive information source on the Americas. http://nacla.org/news/2014/11/10/cuba%E2%80%99s-retired-population-strug...

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming ....

KenS

Now I know I'm getting old. No, I dont remember the October Revolution.

But I gave a speech at the 100th May Day- was pretty seasoned then. And here we are already- another 100 year milestone.

How do we like the glorious march so far?

KenS

ikosmos wrote:

2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (GOSR) - known in the West as the Russian Revolution of 1917 - and the passing of a century seems an important time to assess its significance, etc.

The Russian CP noted the following ... 

I am guessing that is a reference to a Russian Communist Party.

Fancy that, who knew there still was one.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

KenS wrote:
I am guessing that is a reference to a Russian Communist Party.

Fancy that, who knew there still was one.

The CPRF is the 2nd largest party in the Russian Duma or Parliament. That makes the Russian "left" a great deal larger than our own "left" in the Canadian Parliament: the latter being a left that censors expressions of solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinians, acts as a horrific apologist for the brutal Israeli regime, is too cowardly to identify with the dreaded "working class", and was recently trounced in an election by a Liberal Party that out manoeuvered them by campaigning to the left of this "left" party. So left? uh, no. 

This also undermines the endless lying narrative, mostly spouted by conservatives and other right-wingers (including right-wing NDPers), that the current conservative (actually classical liberal would be a better description) Russian President is some nefarious, can't-help-himself, subterranean Communist.

If Putin was a Communist then he'd have an enormous and well-represented CP to join. Which he ain't about to do.

eta: I would argue, and I have argued here on babble, that the remarkable foreign policy under this conservative President owes a great deal to the enduring legacy of the "evil" Soviet regime in terms of support for developing countries that are oriented in an anti-imperialist way. This conservative is, in terms of much of Russia's foreign policy, to the left of the party we call "left" here in Canada.

Does that make him "left" ? Not really. But it does reflect rather badly on "our" left.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

You'll find a more critical (although a bit dated) view of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation by Russian Marxist Boris Kagarlitsky in Green Left Weekly here.

 

lagatta4

Indeed. I'd love to see an update to that.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

lagatta4 wrote:
Indeed. I'd love to see an update to that.

Kagarlitsky is pretty prolific. A quick review finds some denouncing him as a Kremlin stooge but, since anyone who criticizes US foreign policy is viewed in some quarters as such, I don't put much stock in claims like that that are poorly backed up. 

I didn't find much from him on the Russian CP lately, but I did find an interesting piece or two from him at the Valdai Discussion Club.

Valdai Paper #13: Marxism in the Post-Globalization Era from Valdai 2015

A good piece, if a little light on more details, on the enduring usefulness of Marxism that is applied properly to social life. 13 pages.

Where have all the robots gone? Globalization and labor relations

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I got a kick out of Kagarlitsky's article  "Crimea Annexes Russia"

Particularly:

Quote:
The liberal press is now setting out to frighten the public with the threat of economic sanctions on the part of the West, but the main danger to our economy stems precisely from the fact that there will be no such sanctions. If the West were in fact to impose serious sanctions, this would open up enormous opportunities, creating the preconditions for a growth of employment, for wage increases and for creating new jobs. Suspending Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization would be a gift to our industry. Placing a blockade on technology transfers would make it necessary to revive Russian enterprises.

We are in acute need of sanctions, since they would provide a chance for us to restore our industry, to diversify production, to wage a struggle against capital flight and to conquer our own internal market. But the ruling layers in the US and European Union have no intention of aiding Russia, so there will be no serious sanctions, merely symbolic acts aimed at calming public opinion in the USA and Europe and at giving moral support to the “patriotic” pretensions of the Russian elite.

lagatta4

Thanks, radiorahim. Green Left Weekly wouldn't publish a "Kremlin Stooge" (or a Wall Street one). Those articles look very interesting.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Here's what I would say we should take from the October Revolution:

The original transformative spirit of 1917, the example of the "popular organization" and the initial emphasis on workers' control are the main things of value, coupled with the original support of freedom of expression and artistic innovation.

After 1921 and the suppression of the Kronstadt Uprising, everything turned towards bureaucracy, reaction, repression, anti-intellectualism and the replacement of the original internationalist vision with Great Russian Nationalism.

While we can hail the heroism of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War, everything else that happened in the USSR after 1921 was a betrayal and should be discarded by any future socialist revolution.

Yes, the Revolution was under external and internal threat.  But were repression, centralization, closed borders and "preserving the leading role of the party" the only way to protect it from overthrow?

And was it absolutely necessary to force every CP in the rest of the world to unquestioningly defend everything the USSR did, including the purge trials and the executions?  And to reduce the defense of the Revolution to preserving a regime for the sake of preserving the regime?

The need is to get back to the original Bolshevik vision...and discard most of what was done after 1921.  That is the only way make anything of value from the legacy of October.

 

Unionist

October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 

6079_Smith_W

Ken Burch wrote:

While we can hail the heroism of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War, everything else that happened in the USSR after 1921 was a betrayal and should be discarded by any future socialist revolution.

I wouldn't say that, any more than I would say that you can boil the west down to capitalist exploitation, or that the French rrevolution was nothing but the Terror. It is completely untrue.

I don't think that revolution was the most important event of the 20th century, because it was not the only example of that kind of reform, and in the long run it was not the most successful. As for what came after, like all other societies, Russia was far more complex than its hierarchy, or even the one totalitarian leader it had the misfortune to suffer under. And despite the way things went so terribly wrong there, they did challenge things, and make lasting changes that other societies did not. 

In fact, the success of the revolution very much parallelled the success of the war. Both were a case of what happens when things get as bad as they can possibly be. Both were less a case of a brilliant plan than the only thing they could possibly do to survive.

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 

I would add a third thing.   For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

jjuares

The surprise for me was the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. I felt at the time that now the left would flourish because it would no longer be burdened by a negative image of socialism associated with the USSR. I also felt that we could not spend as much on armaments because we would have friendlier relations with the Russian successor state. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Unionist

radiorahim wrote:

Quote:
October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 

I would add a third thing.   For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

I agree.

6079_Smith_W

Though that in itself was a form of proxy war, just as it was for the U.S.

Of course empires seem friendly and helpful when they are trying to make a foothold, or upset someone else. Even Hitler played that game, in India. China is doing it right now in southern Africa.

And of course they bring some good things, and fight bad things until they have a degree of influence.

What is telling is not Ethiopia, Angola, or Cuba, but places a bit closer to home, like Spain, Greece, and Afghanistan.

So while I'd agree the Soviets brought some good things to the rest of the world, well they all bring some good things, and none of it is free. I don't see this as one of the things that sets them apart as a better example because they easily abandoned that principle when it suited them.

 

6079_Smith_W

I think their greatest legacy has less to do with any national alliances or struggles (especially reducing it to just a battle with the U.S.) than how they changed global perception because they were some alternative to the major European powers. I think it is very significant that they showed someone else could build a world power, coming from a place of grinding poverty, and without corporate control.

Even though in practice it was just as much a sham as American "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", they did show that some utopian ideals could be put into practice - challenging corporate, royal and church power, and to a lesser degree equality for all, including workers and women (though unfortunately other cultures, and particularly the people they colonized, became the scapegoats and suffered genocide).

The French revolution burned out much faster, and was followed by dictatorship, but still left legal, political and philosophical differences that last to this day. I think it is hard to see clearly what the Soviet legacy will be because of how things currently are, but I see it as having at least as much influence, if not more.

Their biggest shortcoming? That they insisted on framing it as a war. Wars need enemies. I'd be really curious what might have been had they not set the stage for someone like Stalin. Lenin did, after all, ask for him to be removed.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
The surprise for me was the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. I felt at the time that now the left would flourish because it would no longer be burdened by a negative image of socialism associated with the USSR. I also felt that we could not spend as much on armaments because we would have friendlier relations with the Russian successor state. I couldn't have been more wrong.

For about a week there was talk of a "peace dividend".    Still waiting for it to be paid a quarter century later.

Instead the world got neo-liberal capitalist "shock therapy".

6079_Smith_W

x

 

6079_Smith_W

radiorahim wrote:

For about a week there was talk of a "peace dividend".    Still waiting for it to be paid a quarter century later.

Instead the world got neo-liberal capitalist "shock therapy".

Yeah, I think the clearest way that played out was in Germany, where the takeover was just assumed, and ultimately bribed with deutschmarks being traded at par, and later, former East German politicians were targetted because of presumed bias.

Kind of ironic that the mantle of leader of the western world has fallen to someone who grew up in the east.

And ironic that neo-fascist politics has its strongest foothold in the land where people were taught most to fight it.

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Soviet historians used to periodize using the GOSR as the signal event of the 20th century. And they categorize the military defeat of fascism as simply an important event of the 20th century, ascribing the lion's share of the effort to their own country, which I agree with, akin to the National Liberation Movement (particularly after WW2) in importance. However, I think I might reverse roles here, and place the military defeat of Hitlerite Germany, and her allies, as of higher importance.

Socialism is important, but peace is more important.

Anyone who is a serious student of (world) working class history knows that the first establishment of working class power was not in Russia in 1917 but, rather, in Paris in 1871. And Marx was alive, desperate to be in contact with those Communards, and he gifted us with, as best he could, an analysis of that first, perilous attempt at working class rule. His generalizations are still precious: that the working class cannot simply "lay hold" of the bourgeois state apparatus, but must smash it, mercilessly, and create anew; and so on. His comments are still worth reading.

So, for me, while Paris was first, Russia was second, and their perilous attempt was more enduring. One must see the forest for the trees here. The GOSR therefore figures as the most successful, to date, of any attempt at working class power or socialism. It's a bookmark of our transitional era from one socio-economic system to another. It's a high water mark. It only means something more, however,  if we go beyond it.

The Great October Socialist Revolution, as the Russians have every right to call it, is simply the biggest landmark to date of the historical transition between capitalism and some version of socialism. And the complex of global problems has simply gotten bigger, perhaps because we haven't accomplished what we should have accomplished, so that the contradictions are greater in number and complexity today.

See, e.g., David Harvey's 17 Contradictions and the End of Capitalism

We should learn from the GOSR, all of it, and find those broad, sunlit uplands and horizons that await us.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

Did/do they similarly support national liberation struggles in their own former colonies?

Because it seems like if Lithuania stages a big "show of force" military parade with their five tanks, that's some huge slap in the face to Russia.  If they can support the independent dreams of The Congo, why not Latvia too?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

To clarify my intent, by "discarded" I didn't mean left unexamined and unstudied.  Of course what came after October needs to be studied.

The things from that legacy that I'd say(and don't claim to be the first ever to have said, being influenced by Rosa Luxemburg, The Maknovites-who themselves made some indefensible choices, such as using rape as a method of combat-the Left Opposition and the unsuccessful attempts to restore democracy and humanity to the Soviet model in East Germany(1953), Hungary(1956), Czechoslovakia(1968), the late Soviet era under Gorbachev and the ORIGINAL Solidarnosc program(which was based on things like finally establishing workers' control of the means of production before that "movement" degenerated into antisemitic right-wing Catholic nationalism), as well as May '68 in France and the post-Occupy "Next Left", as I call it) are the original insistance on empowering the workers and democratizing the workplace, encouraging vibrant cultural expression on the artists' terms in the new revolutionary society, and the prioritization of feeding, housing and liberating the people and moving away from the insanity of war.

That vision still has incredible power.

There were good things in the post-1924 USSR, but we need to find the way to claim those without in any way defending the horrible things that happened at the same time.

Things like the purge trials(and the accompanying rounds of mass imprisonment and mass executions), the insistence on censorship and surveillance, the rigid control of artistic expression and the imposed creation of "socialist realism"(the puerile "Heroic Ivan Of the Tractor Farm" school of art which represented the ONLY model of visual or literary creation that was permitted in the USSR for most of its existence), the decision by Stalin to swap the wheat crop for additional weaponry for the Red Army, the closed borders, and the insistence on regimenting or controlling every aspect of life.

Yes, there were good things in the USSR...but is there any reason to replicate ANYTHING I listed in that last paragraph?  And was there any excuse for that state ever becoming more repressive than the regime it replaced? 

Keep the good...never replicate the bad. 

That's all I meant.

And even in saying that, I totally opposed every aspect of the Cold War...the melodrama about the Wall, the "if only they believed in God" sanctimony from the church, the support of right-wing dicatorships in the Americas and apartheid in South Africa on "anticommunist" grounds, the senseless waste of resources, weaponry and life in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, etc., and the paranoid insanity of the Red Scares of the post World War One and Two eras. 

lagatta4

The problem is, I agree about the historical importance of the October Revolution (hey, useless degrees in labour and migration history) but I can't abide that kind of rhetoric.

Edited to add: Ken and I were cross-posting. I wasn't referring to what he was saying, in general I agree.

It is just as important to remember the defeats, in particular the Spartakist uprising in Germany, and, in a more protracted frame, the Biennio rosso in Italy.

A great many Western historians also agree about the key role played by the Soviet peoples in turning the war around, and that the Soviet Union didn't get the credit it deserved for it. Personally, I think that was despite Stalin (and the damage he did to the Red Army leadership) not because of it, but that's just me...

I see NO reason to use the achievements, or the failures, of the USSR as a framework for judgement of Putinist Russia. Whether or not the restoration occurred earlier, it had certainly happened by then.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Indeed.  The Putin regime has no connection whatsoever to the heroic, still-unrealized vision of Red October.  Putin himself is simply a right-wing Great Slavic Nationalist autocrat, and would have naturally allied himself with the Cadets(or possibly the Romanovs) in 1917.

Sean in Ottawa

radiorahim wrote:

Quote:
The surprise for me was the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. I felt at the time that now the left would flourish because it would no longer be burdened by a negative image of socialism associated with the USSR. I also felt that we could not spend as much on armaments because we would have friendlier relations with the Russian successor state. I couldn't have been more wrong.

For about a week there was talk of a "peace dividend".    Still waiting for it to be paid a quarter century later.

Instead the world got neo-liberal capitalist "shock therapy".

There certainly was a peace dividend. I think you might have missed who it was paid to.

Here is a clue: http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/growth-of-wealth

Top 0.01 % saw a 700%+ growth in wealth from 1980 to 2012

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

Did/do they similarly support national liberation struggles in their own former colonies?

Because it seems like if Lithuania stages a big "show of force" military parade with their five tanks, that's some huge slap in the face to Russia.  If they can support the independent dreams of The Congo, why not Latvia too?

This is just a red herring. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (along with Poland and fascistic-like Ukraine) have been characterized by a virulent, pathological Russophobia, carrying out discriminatory policies against their Russian-speaking minorities, inviting their new NATO overlords (including Canada in Latvia currently) to carry out "exercises" on the Russian border for "practice", and, in general, behaving in the most ignorant way possible. 

The Russians could give a shit about the Baltic regimes. Sure, they're probably concerned about memorials to the defeat of the Nazis smashed and replaced with statues honouring Nazi collaborators, or marches honouring Nazi collaborators generally, or Russophobic pogroms, but they can't do much. These regimes are literally cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

These economies are a spray of piss compared to the enormous bucket of the Russian economy. It's just not in their interest to bother about them. I suppose it makes for good politics domestically, but let's see what happens if/when President elect Trump says, "bugger off", or "carry your own weight", etc., and they have to actually have trade and good relations with all of their neighbours.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I'd really be intererested  to read a litany like Ken's above for the "sins" of capitalism, what its cost humanity over its centuries, and self satisfied remarks about keeeping the "good" and rejecting the "bad".

Actually, Eduardo Galeano did one for Latin American. He called it Open Veins of Latin America. Goya covered it in one painting. He called it Saturn Devouring His Son. But capitalism will always get a free pass from some quarters. I wonder why.

ygtbk

Just did a search on this thread for "Kerensky" - no hits. The first post did acknowledge the February revolution, but we seem to be missing the actual details of how the Czar was overthrown (hint, not by Lenin).

See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kerensky

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lenin-returns-to-russia-from-exile

KenS

ikosmos wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

Did/do they similarly support national liberation struggles in their own former colonies?

This is just a red herring. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (along with Poland and fascistic-like Ukraine) have been characterized by a virulent, pathological Russophobia, carrying out discriminatory policies against their Russian-speaking minorities, inviting their new NATO overlords (including Canada in Latvia currently) to carry out "exercises" on the Russian border for "practice", and, in general, behaving in the most ignorant way possible.

 

While real enough, this is trumped up about what the Baltic States do to thier Russian minorities. And crazy not to expect it.

But I agree that magoo is dropping a red herring. It is just stupid to expect Russia to be as supportive of the Baltic states breaking away, like they are just another national liberation struggle. And expect Russia to be happy about NATO on thier doorstep? ...c'mon now.

For what ist worth, I also feel that the one silver lining we might get out of Trump, is to let some of the air out of the saber ratting and hysteria about Russia. Trump and others trivialize what Russia does. But looks to me like it could be a useful antidote.

 

KenS

... on the other hand ...

ikosmos wrote:

These economies are a spray of piss compared to the enormous bucket of the Russian economy. It's just not in their interest to bother about them.

That naivete would be funny... except it is hard to believe it can really be naivete.

Russia "doesnt bother" about the Baltic States ?  ?!?   They DO bother; and would be even if the US and EU were not in there poking the bear.

KenS

v

KenS

ygtbk wrote:

... but we seem to be missing the actual details of how the Czar was overthrown (hint, not by Lenin)....

 

... and ...   what is the material significance of the full story, as you see it ?

ygtbk

KenS wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

... but we seem to be missing the actual details of how the Czar was overthrown (hint, not by Lenin)....

... and ...   what is the material significance of the full story, as you see it ?

That in an alternate history in which Lenin was not returned to Russia, Russia might have become a democracy rather than a dictatorship. I say might because counterfactuals are always tricky.

lagatta4

Actually, I doubt Ken would have the slightest problem with Galeano's book. I think it is a splendid denunciation of US imperialism in the countries to its south. I read it a long time ago, so I don't remember how much it had to say about Spanish and Portuguese colonialism - and genocide and enslavement of First Peoples, and the importation and enslavement of Africans, or French imperialism in Mexico, British imperialism in Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil, etc. I know Galeano has written eloquently about all of these, but I don't remember in which book or essays, as I've also read essays by Galeano in Uruguayan and Argentine media until his death. Guess I'm due for a re-read of the Open Veins.

It is entirely possible - and in my view necessary - to speak out against imperialism (which is NOT ONLY USian, counter to the "Empire" crap) and to speak out against Stalinism and the betrayal of socialist principles.

I'm looking forward to the anniversary. I think there will be interesting studies and conferences, and lots of new angles.

lagatta4

I don't really see the point in such "what if" histories. Obviously the Czar wasn't overthrown by a single "great man".

One could also speculate that if Soviet Russia hadn't been invaded by several powerful armies, they could have had more space to foster Council (Soviet) democracy.

6079_Smith_W

Agreed, despite what I said near the beginning of this thread. Lenin was a key figure, but not the only one.

I actually made that point less in reference to events 100 years ago, and more about the events of last month.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

ikosmos wrote:

 

This is just a red herring. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (along with Poland and fascistic-like Ukraine) have been characterized by a virulent, pathological Russophobia

I don't approve of much of what the Baltic states have done since independence, but isn't it only to be expected that they'd be "Russophobic", given that they had been forced to be part of the Tsarist empire for centuries(the Bolshevik programme of 1917 called for independence for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), and were then incorporated into the Soviet Union against their will as part of the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, after barely two decades of independence?

How kindly would YOU feel towards a nation that had treated your homeland like that?  How trusting would YOU be toward people in your country who were ethnically related towards that nation and who went on to play an active role in re-subjugating your nation after a brief period of independence?

It's just not as simple as saying "their mean to ethnic Russians".

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

My point was that these brutally bigotted regimes are outliers (go ahead and disprove that about Ukraine atm, lol) , as characterized by their virulent and irrational Russophobia, egged on by the Empire, natch, and do not disprove the enormous and universally recognized assistance that the old SU gave to the NLM.

Do you really want to compare the "solidarity" of Yanqui imperialism with the "solidarity" of the former SU to the NLM? What have you been smoking?

What a waste of time, when simple facts are noisily shouted down.

6079_Smith_W

So they are all outliers, and not their nearest neighbours who used to live under their control.

 

 

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