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ERISS
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Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:17 pm

Charles wrote:you have yet to post one fact to support your theory that the Soviet governement deliberately sabotaged the 1918-19 german revolution.

I did not say that about germany. I said they were waiting. I can add they were cowards, and vultures hoping to finish off a wounded victor.
And you have to post one fact to support your theory that the Bolsheviks helped the revolution in germany at this time. The german communist party (those friends with the bolsheviks) did nothing for the ongoing revolution (they waited the revolution dying before doing strikes). They said that was not time for a revolution in germany. They let the frankurps kill the revolutionnaries. If that was not time, later that would be worst to have a chance as the werhmacht would reorganize after the defeat of WW1 (and they did, the freikurps went else paramilitaries paid by nazi party, or real military units).

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ERISS
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Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:03 pm

Charles wrote:This is what allowed Lenin to push through his "New Economic Policy" at the Party Congress in 1921. This a 180 degre change from before since the NEP basically brought back a free market economy to Russia.

"NEP" was the 11th point in Kronsdatd on 15. Lenin did nothing about the 14 others.
They wanted liberty, egality (the bolsheviks were more equal than others), real soviets (not controled by tcheka), the end of waged labour (bolsheviks didn't forbid it!!), and so.

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Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:00 pm

ERISS wrote:There were no problem with kulaks, as they almost no longer exist in 1917, the revolution already shared the most of their properties. That's the bolsheviks who went the problem as kulaks, as they became the greater land owners.
They even became capitalists as all was becoming the property of the party.


You mean they became " capitalists" after NEP. Bolsheviks should use the term "gulaks" also after the black market referring as "enemies of the regime", who gained some financial benefits form high prices. But who were controling the black market appeared in farmlands after Novaya Ekonomicheskaya Politika? I have read they were controlled by some individuals,groups.. some were former bolsheviks or few jews? Solyenitzin also confirming that. So you mean new "gulaks" were from former bolsheviks who took control the farmlands or production after elimination of owners.

ERISS wrote:They wanted liberty, egality (the bolsheviks were more equal than others), real soviets (not controled by bolsheviks).


Bolsheviks can not be equal to others I guess. It is not practical at that time because if there was an opposition to bolsheviks other than "enemies of the system", they would want "liberty and egality" to themselves also.. Other groups representing revolutionary left would use the same privilege of power if they were in power.

There must be some possiblity of another civil war if they were more relaxed. Because it is whether do or die situation.

But the problem is did Lenin(died early) prepare a good political environment(some balance of power) to next generation of leaders of the Soviets. .

It is unlucky that next leader of the Soviets would be Stalin whether Lenin's fault or coincidence..

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:34 am

caranorn wrote:I wonder whether this discussion couldn't be refocused to topics pertinent to the game. The last few days it seems to have drifted ever more...

This forum was set up to allow historical discussions that don't necessarily always have direct bearing on the game :)
caranorn wrote:This game is about the military and to a much lesser degree economic sides of the October Revolution and following Russian Civil War. It is not about Lenin, Trosky, Stalin or anyone else as politicians, the truthfullness of bolshevics or other groups in general. While open discussion can be good, I fear this one will likely turn sour rapidly. It's like having a hypothetical discussion about the pros and cons of slavery under the AACW topic, it's going to become ugly fast...

So far, people have been good at focusing on issues, as people on these forums generally are, and I see no reason why that shouldn't continue. :)

If, for some reason, thing should turn sour and ugly, we'll deal with it appropriately :cwboy:
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Charles
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:06 pm

Baris wrote:
But the problem is did Lenin(died early) prepare a good political environment(some balance of power) to next generation of leaders of the Soviets. .

It is unlucky that next leader of the Soviets would be Stalin whether Lenin's fault or coincidence..


The traditional view was that somehow Stalin "betrayed" the Revolution, but I am not convinced it would have made a huge difference whether Lenin had lived longer or if Trotsky or someone else had succeeded him. They were all committed marxists and had no scruples about using violence to achieve their aims. If anything, Stalin was one of the most practical of the bunch in terms of what was feasible in the real world.

The one big difference I see is that we might not have had the great purges in 1936-39, or at least not to the same extent, if someone else was leader.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:41 pm

On a semi-related note, does anyone have any info on the development of the Red Army? All my material is on WW2 and there does not seem to be much info on the early years.

From what I have been able to glean, it all started with the Red Guards which appear to be a para-military unit setup by the Bolsheviks and which played a key role in the Oct. 1917 coup, although I also see references to another parallel unit called the "Latvian Riflemen".

In 1917-18, the decision was taken to disband the old Imperial Army and replace it with a Red Army, based on the Red Guards, which would be totally loyal to the party. Although, at that point, soldiers in the Imperial Army were deserting en masse, many to go back to their villages to claim the plots of land which were being distributed, so the disbanding looks more like the recognition of a factual situation rather than a conscious decision.

Lenin named Trotski as head of the Red Army in march 1918. On top of forming the Amy, his main goal was to ensure grain shipments back to Moscow and Petrograd, which was already becoming a problem.

The early plan was to form an army composed only of committed communists, but this was not workable since too few had any military expertise. The decision was then taken to form a dual structure, former Imperial Army officers would be hired to provide the expertise (they were known as "military specialists") and the committed communists would serve as "political commissars" to assist (and spy on) the Specialists. As an additional precaution, hostages were taken from the families of officers to ensure their loyalty.

Trotski appears to have had the most military sense. Lenin was always calling for immediate attacks or offensives. Trotsky would back his generals and refuse, if the generals had valid military reasons for demanding more preparation time.

Trotski also imposed a brutal discipline system. Commissars and officers of Regiments which did not fully carry out orders or retreated witout orders could be shot. Regiment of soldiers who deserted were subject to the Roman punishment of Decimation. Under the Roman method, 1 soldier in 10 was chosen by lot and killed. No idea how it worked in the Red Army during the war. However, I have previously read an example from the Stalingrad campaign in 1942, in it the Division commander walked between the rows of soldiers standing at attention with his pistol and arbitrarily shot 6 soldiers, each with one bullet to the back of the head.

Stalin was often used as a front commander during the Civil War. He was first sent as a front commander to Tsaritsyn (later Stalingrad) in 1918 as an observer, but he quickly took charge. He had no military sense, ordered wasteful attacks, intimidated, arrested or executed anyone who did not carry out orders to his liking and generally terrorised everyone from his own troops to the civilian population to, sometimes, even the enemy forces. But, he got the job done, he consolidated Soviet power in the region and sent the grain back to Moscow.

By 1919, that model of having one Party representative on the ground, with total power over the Army forces and the civil administration in the region had been adopted as standard practice.

Stalin was one of Lenin's chief troubleshooter during the war and was sent to various fronts whenever a crisis occurred in that sector.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:20 pm

Charles wrote:The traditional view was that somehow Stalin "betrayed" the Revolution, but I am not convinced it would have made a huge difference whether Lenin had lived longer or if Trotsky or someone else had succeeded him. They were all committed marxists and had no scruples about using violence to achieve their aims. If anything, Stalin was one of the most practical of the bunch in terms of what was feasible in the real world.

The one big difference I see is that we might not have had the great purges in 1936-39, or at least not to the same extent, if someone else was leader.


Agree with that, name should not be so much important as the dialectic of the environment. Both soviets leaders grew in same environment at that time.

If some Bolsheviks were new gulaks than purges against the "traitors" can be justified.But Bolsheviks in Stalin time frame were more "equal" and more referring to "origin" and helped to form new "Nomenklatura" class. Kruschev denied his politics long after that.

Red army mostly I guess(officers and war techniques) are inherited from Tsarist Army. Bolsheviks should have Infiltrated into some ranks. But the other groups were as you said should be Red guards and some volunteers. More than artilerry or other equipment cavalry was more common I read. But I dont think it is disciplined at Lenin's time frame.

But which groups are more volunteered or how they did maintain the organization is a question mark as Russia is a big land with many ethnic and religous groups.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:07 pm

Baris wrote:You mean Bolsheviks became " capitalists" after NEP.

No. Bolsheviks were capitalists: They were the boss owning the factories, the lands, and workers had to work for them. That was a State capitalism, not so different than private one (think about Ford and his workers).
What you mean is Bolsheviks allowed some economical liberalizm with the NEP.
Bolsheviks should use the term "gulaks" also after the black market referring as "enemies of the regime", who gained some financial benefits form high prices.

The black market was born before the NEP: the bolsheviks destroyed the economy, and the rarity made the black market. Bolsheviks were responsible of the black market.
For the bolsheviks, the NEP was a try to reduce the blak market they couldn't control.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:21 pm

ERISS wrote:The black market has born before the NEP: the bolsheviks destroyed the economy, and the rarity made the black market. Bolsheviks were responsible of the black market.
For the bolsheviks, the NEP was a try to reduce the blak market they couldn't control.


I understand that :) but who were arranging prices of output in farmlands during black market? Bolsheviks are a reason for black market I understand. Because they get the output by force during "war communism".

Ok I understand, somehow capitalism but state controlled.

It is interesting that as Yugoslavia example farmlands were more independent from communist system. They were more free about the rules...

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Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:03 pm

I have been reviewing old and new material on the Russian Civil War and it keeps bringing me back to the same question, namely:

Why did the Reds win?

The odds were certainly stacked against them. Lenin quickly imposed one-party rule, stamped out democratic institutions and civil rights, all ruthlessly carried out by the Cheka secret police. The Bolsheviks were painted as "foreign" by the whites because most of their leaders were jewish. The Bolshevik's economic policies led to a collapse of the industrial and financial sector, widespread unemployment and a migration from the main cities. Their "grain requisition" policies ignited widespread peasant rebellions.

The Red Army was started from scratch in 1918 with raw conscripts, most of which were peasants. Most of the officers were ex-Tsarist army officers whose loyalty was questionable. It was short of all kinds of weapons, equipment and supplies. It was beaten hands down by the Polish army in 1920, which itself was only created in 1918.

Based on all that, the Bolsheviks should have quickly lost all popular support, the Red Army should have had massive desertions, the ranks of the White Armies should have been swelled by tens of thousands of volunteers to liberate mother Russia from the Red oppressors and they should have swept through the demoralized Red soldiers to recapture Petrograd and Moscow. And yet..the Communists won.

I can think of a few theories:

theory #1. The Reds were more ruthless.

one theory is that the Bolsheviks were much more ruthless than their enemies, had no qualms about killing anyone who stood in their way and won because of that. While true, there are some problems with that theory. First, the White forces were also very violent in putting down peasant rebellions and executing Red prisoners. It certainly was not a "white glove" war. Secondly, terror alone does not win wars. In WW2, the Germans unleashed a reign of terror on occupied Soviet territory without ever totally controlling it.

theory #2. The Reds were more popular.

Another theory is that the Reds represented popular opinion and had popular support. Although they may have had a certain amount of good will in oct. 1917, the actions of Lenin and co would have quickly turned off everyone but the most committed communist believer. Considering that in 1917, the Bolsheviks only had 45,000 members out of a population of 167 million, that is a small number of people.

theory #3. The Reds were the lesser of two evils.

One theory which seems to make the most sense to me is that the Reds, while not necessarily being popular were seen as more palatable than the Whites. The Reds, for better or worse, were still seen as a movement which promised a better future after the war while the Whites represented a return to the past. While all the emphasis in history books is put on the urban worker class, it seems to me that the peasants were the key to winning the war.

During the RCW, about 80% of the population was rural. Literacy among adults was around 40%, presumably higher in the cites and lower in the country. The average peasant would have been semi-literate and rarely traveled away from his native village. They were happy that the Reds had broken up the big estates and parcelled out the lots, but were unhappy with the "grain requisitioning. On the other hand, a white victory could have brought back the big landowners to reclaim their lands from the peasants. So perhaps the Reds were seen as the lesser of two evils which is why their sons continued to fight in the Red Army. Some support for this comes from the fact that once the NEP was brought in 1921 and "grain requisitioning" was scrapped in favout of a tax, all the peasant rebellions faded away.

just my 2 kopecks. ;)
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Baris
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Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:27 am

[quote="Charles"]



I should agree with the last part. Popular ideology at that time after the devastating wars must be Marxism...

But a question comes to mind. Why was it more popular with the countries that have high ratio of peasants against citizens and industrial workers.? How can one explain the common factors inviting communism say in China,Yugoslavia and Soviets apart from the leaders that had an influence on the revolution.

According to some references as a percentage(in Russian Empire before revolution) loyal to Orthodox church(%70), Roman catholics %8 and muslim population is %8. Historically also Russian Empire was very cosmopolite. Some slavic,tatar,scandavian,Finno-Ugric(I guess siberia and Ural mountains, should be from central part asia speaking languages apart grom Fins,) and many more.. so wide variety of languages, tradition and ethnic groups...

Contradiction is in some refererences tells that these ethic groups melted in a pot to form Russian society. Honestly I dont think it is telling the truth. Tzar or Russian monarchy should form a state(Elite) but I guess it had some faults about wide-reaching to people or to peasants. But why monarchy didnt reach peasants? My theory is late industrial(or lack of) revolution in Russia. Lack of industry or industrial workers should prevent class-dependency to different social classes. As they were more independent from the "system" they should be more "ignorant" about the superstructure.

As peasants mostly (at that time) have different world and tradition it should be hard to influence them with the superstructure called Nationalism...

As a man who knows what he is doing Lenin must have observed the situation.

As Marx said history about class struggle, Lenin's foresight about uniting Mother Russia with communism should be true when you consider Great empires torn apart at that time because of a superstructure called nationalism...

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:02 am

Charles wrote:The Reds were the lesser of two evils.

the Reds, while not necessarily being popular were seen as more palatable than the Whites. The Reds, for better or worse, were still seen as a movement which promised a better future after the war while the Whites represented a return to the past. While all the emphasis in history books is put on the urban worker class, it seems to me that the peasants were the key to winning the war.

, a white victory could have brought back the big landowners to reclaim their lands from the peasants. So perhaps the Reds were seen as the lesser of two evils which is why their sons continued to fight in the Red Army. Some support for this comes from the fact that once the NEP was brought in 1921 and "grain requisitioning" was scrapped in favout of a tax, all the peasant rebellions faded away.

Yes.
Even, Makhnovists save Moscow two times, and send them food.
They were for the people living under the Bolsheviks, and hopped they could see the truth and send the bolsheviks away. But Lenin was a so good politician that makhnovists, deluded too, agreed allying with the Reds (but Makhno personnally, after hesitating, did vote against) even the bolsheviks were traitors.
Without the makhnovists, the bolsheviks would have lost.

The average peasant were happy that the Reds had broken up the big estates and parcelled out the lots,

No. The peasants did make the sharing. Then the bolsheviks took the better lands from the peasants.

To make short, the bolsheviks lied to please the peasants (free soviets), and secretly prepared the thievery with the Tcheka (wich was rapidly only scoundrels and vengefull tsarists against people).
The bolsheviks took strategical positions (Moscow hub, rails, telegraph, ..)
In the same time they were destroying all political alternatives (mainly by killing all socialists and anarchists)*.
So, the peasants were between the Tcheka and the Whites, but the peasants knew the Whites and didn't want them. So they fought against the Whites, using the Red army.
Once the Whites were vanquished, the peasants were 'alone', divided without political means (as their soviets were abusivly controlled by Tcheka), against the strategically centralised bolsheviks.
The Tcheka force them to continue the fight in the Red army, reluctantly against their rebeling neighbours.
As the peasants went desesperate and were about to really all fight against the bolsheviks, Lenin agreed their main claim.

* The Lenin terror, everage per year, made at least as many deaths as the Stalin one when he was in power... The Tcheka worked really hard..

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:46 am

ERISS wrote:Yes.
Even, Makhnovists save Moscow two times, and send them food.
They were for the people living under the Bolsheviks, and hopped they could see the truth and send the bolsheviks away. But Lenin was a so good politician that makhnovists, deluded too, agreed allying with the Reds (but Makhno personnally did vote against)
To make short, the bolsheviks lied to please the peasants (free soviets), and secretly prepared the thievery with the Tcheka
The bolsheviks took strategical positions (Moscow hub, rails, telegraph, ..)

So, the peasants were between the Tcheka and the Whites, but the peasants knew the Whites and didn't want them. So they fought against the Whites, using the Red army.
Once the Whites were vanquished, the peasants were 'alone', divided without political meanings


I replied :) There is correctness in your post about bolsheviks.
In summary Kropkin and Makhno(even he couldnt convince some makhnovists partizans, and Soviet people) start to see the that bolsheviks start to become corrupt due to power and didn't approve bolsheviks and Lenin after that.

But as the Russian revolution was the biggest project(include many ethnic groups containing) of Marxist ideas, there was some discussion about whether to go to communist stage or Socialist stage first before the revolution I have read.Like Kropkin, Mensheviks(left part of the group) favouring communism without a state was opposing bolsheviks. Bolsheviks or other group was favouring "state".

I don't know about intentions of Lenin or how could he convince makhnovists(did he lie about non-state?) also but the think is Marx foresight was the revolution would become true with industry workers and in the nations with heavy industry and capitalism. So Lenin(without knowing his intentions) should think that better to have state then non-state communism as the country were consist of mostly peasants and low industry.

Because there is really a big question mark whether the peasants or other people at that time will form idealist society under socialist-anarchist freedom about having the unlimited output of production according to their needs.

I think it would result in total chaos in Soviets when considering many ethnic and big landscape.

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:38 am

Baris wrote:Because there is really a big question mark whether the peasants or other people at that time will form idealist society under socialist-anarchist freedom about having the unlimited output of production according to their needs.

I think it would result in total chaos in Soviets when considering many ethnic and big landscape.

At first, peasants were very disappointed by Socialists (when they removed equalized private property) the few times they had some power just before the Bolsheviks.
So, when, using some anarchists, the bolsheviks removed the socialists just born government, nobody cared as the socialist popularity rating was shattered and the (real ones) soviets could, if they could met, work good without a government.
The bolsheviks did bring chaos, when they used the need-for-the-soviets-to-meet to steal their power (as I said in a past post).
Yes, peasants were some selfish, so at first they didn't need anarchists ideas. But, as they were enslaved by bolsheviks, they turned to listen carefully anarchists who were telling them to count only on themselves in unity, as they went effectivly alone now! So, to make the anarchists ideas live, the peasants had 'just' to cooperate with each other (as politically and economically the soviets were aggreed praised by some anarchists), and that went compulsory to fight against the bolsheviks.
Peasants already anarchists were those who understood the unity need before, when they had revolted against the tsarists or german invaders.

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:48 am

ERISS wrote:

No. The peasants did make the sharing. Then the bolsheviks took the better lands from the peasants.

To make short, the bolsheviks lied to please the peasants (free soviets), and secretly prepared the thievery with the Tcheka (wich was rapidly only scoundrels and vengefull tsarists against people).
The bolsheviks took strategical positions (Moscow hub, rails, telegraph, ..)
In the same time they were destroying all political alternatives (mainly by killing all socialists and anarchists)*.
So, the peasants were between the Tcheka and the Whites, but the peasants knew the Whites and didn't want them. So they fought against the Whites, using the Red army.
Once the Whites were vanquished, the peasants were 'alone', divided without political meanings (as their soviets were abusivly controlled by Tcheka), against the strategically centralised bolsheviks.
The Tcheka force them to continue the fight in the Red army, reluctantly against their rebeling neighbours.
As the peasants went desesperate and were about to really all fight against the bolsheviks, Lenin agreed their main claim.

* The Lenin terror, everage per year, made at least as many deaths as the Stalin one when he was in power... The Tcheka worked really hard..


ERISS, if I understand your post, we both agree that: 1) the peasants hated the Whites more than the Reds during the RCW; and 2) that their main problem with the Reds was solved when they dropped their Grain requisitioning policy.
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Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:16 pm

ERISS wrote:At first, peasants were very disappointed by Socialists (when they removed private property) the few times they had some power just before the Bolseviks.
So, when, using some anarchists, the bolsheviks removed the socialists just born government, nobody cared as the socialist popularity rating was shattered and the (real ones) soviets could, if they could met, work good without a government.
The bolsheviks did bring chaos, when they used the need-for-the-soviets-to-meet to steal their power (as I said in a past post).
Yes, peasants were some selfish, so at first they didn't need anarchists ideas. But, as they were enslaved by bolsheviks, they turned to listen carefully anarchists who were telling them to count only on themselves in unity, as they went effectivly alone now! So, to make the anarchists ideas live, the peasants had 'just' to cooperate with each other (as politically and economically the soviets were aggreed praised by anarchists), and that went compulsory to fight against the bolsheviks.
Peasants already anarchists were those who understood the unity need before, when they had revolted against the tsarists.



You can't on the one hand idealize Makhno's anarchist movement while on the other you vilify the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks and the Makhonites both believed and tried to implement the same communist economic policies.

The main difference was the anarchist's dream that you could live without a state goverment, but that was unworkable. A real anarchist Ukraine would have been quickly conquered by neighbouring state.
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Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:24 pm

Charles wrote:2) that their main problem with the Reds was solved when they dropped their Grain requisitioning policy.

It divided the peasants. The cowards, greedy, or those just too bored with the war, took the Lenin offer and let the bolsheviks do otherwise. Many continued the fightings, at least until 1923, but were not enough to win this civil war. Some even were seen fighting in 1930.

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:26 pm

live without a state goverment, but that was unworkable.

You're right, for the bolsheviks did make it unworkable. It would have been workable if the bolsheviks did not destroy this living (the makhnovists did live in, even they were at war!).
Charles wrote:A real anarchist Ukraine would have been quickly conquered by neighbouring state.

I don't think so. The so called democracies (or not) would try invading it, with some result as in Afghanistan today..
To military win, foreign governments would have to politically lose: The invader government would to be paid expensivly by foreigners to maintain, not being overthrowned.

That's just a people choice: Do we want liberty or not?
If liberty is not the goal, then yes anarchy (liberty, equality, fraternity) can't be as people would let it destroyed.

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:19 pm

ERISS wrote:
That's just a people choice: Do we want liberty or not?
If liberty is not the goal, then yes anarchy (liberty, equality, fraternity) can't be as people would let it destroyed.


I see you are a believer in anarchic communism. :)

We are deep in political theory now. I had looked at it in the past. I remember it was very fashionable in the 70s and 80s with Marxists who were disillusioned with the centralised statism of the USSR.

I personally don't see how it would be workable in a modern industrialised society to have direct worker control of the means of production. It would require a complete restructuring of social interactions.

On a more fundemental level, whether anarchic communism could work also depends on whether you subscribe to the classical liberal notion that man is inherently generous/good, but is corrupted by the rules imposed by society or the classical conservative notion that man is inherently selfish/bad and it is only the rewards/punishment of society that keeps him in line.
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Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:56 pm

ERISS wrote:
To military win, foreign governments would have to politically lose: The invader government would to be paid expensivly by foreigners to maintain, not being overthrowned.

That's just a people choice: Do we want liberty or not?
If liberty is not the goal, then yes anarchy (liberty, equality, fraternity) can't be as people would let it destroyed.


Correct. The desicion about equality and liberty can only be destroyed by internal factors. Like what we want? Who want liberty or don't need equality.

First primary factor should be Sociology of society.Class relationship , who creates the superstructure by owning means of production. How is output of production effecting the society and class structure.

Secondary factor should be personality of society.(Greedy, selfish, kind...) But is very hard to define those in society as all relative to perception..

Anarcho-communism may be, can work in small societies rather then countries but it should be an utopia for larger communities.

Kropotkin or Makhno's anarchist ideas should't be so practical for Soviets. Lenin should think that after considering previous century, nationalist ideas divided many empires. Some strong autocracy should be essential as the society I imagine is not very self dependent. So by giving suddenly freedom to use output of production according to "needs" could have resulted some political and inner problems for Soviets. But it should be mentioned Cheka arrested and exiled some writers and intellectuals just after few years of revolution . I imagine instead of improving great Russian Literature and thought, Bolsheviks very quickly restricted any kind of thinking opposing to theirs with totalitarian mind just in short time.

Anarcho-communism no doubt is the best "idea" or system man has thought. Best shortcut to physical heaven without the need of abstract heaven..


Charles wrote:
I personally don't see how it would be workable in a modern industrialised society to have direct worker control of the means of production. It would require a complete restructuring of social interactions.

On a more fundemental level, whether anarchic communism could work also depends on whether you subscribe to the classical liberal notion that man is inherently generous/good, but is corrupted by the rules imposed by society or the classical conservative notion that man is inherently selfish/bad and it is only the rewards/punishment of society that keeps him in line.


Marxists says that men are good. It is the result of capitalist society or class structure made them greedy and not honest..

Today should be different from yesterday about re-structuring society..
In yesterday(begining of century) many countries had some social-engineering about moral values and class-structure by eliminating previous generations. So it should't be so difficult.

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ERISS
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:00 am

Charles wrote:The Bolsheviks and the Makhonites both believed and tried to implement the same communist economic policies.

No. The difference is Bolsheviks are capitalists.
With the soviets and the fall of the government, the revolution had just succeded! But the Bolsheviks destroyed it for they thought the economy had to be capitalized first, and they thought they must be the boss of this capitalism. They had to cheat whole people, and kill those seeing the cheating, to impose it. In the beginning, the people could have easily destroyed the bolsheviks, but people didn't understand Bolsheviks were a new tsarist power (as Lenin told what the people wanted to hear), and people too felt the need of unity was very important. The Bolsheviks used this need as a protection to take the power and grow. And then it was too late.

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Charles
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:41 pm

ERISS wrote:No. The difference is Bolsheviks are capitalists.


That does not make much sense, if Lenin was a capitalist, he would have been a liberal or a social-democrat trying to reform the system not replace it. Read Lenin's writings from the 1890s or look at his actions after 1917. Lenin was as marxist as Makhno, the only difference is that Lenin's ideas were more practical than Makhno's.

It's easy with hindsight to try idealize history's losers like Trotsky or Makhno. Since they never had power, supporters can imbue them with all sorts of noble ideas. However, theory and practice are two separate things. If Trotsky or Makhno had won, they would probably have turned out to be as despotic as Lenin.


ERISS wrote:With the soviets and the fall of the government, the revolution had just succeded! But the Bolsheviks destroyed it ...


Nothing had been achieved in february 1917: the provisional government was just continuing the Tsar's policies, the Soviets were trying to impose decisions from below and the economy was in shambles.

It was a temporary situation that could only last a short period of time before total anarchy broke out or a new central government, either White or Red imposed order.

Don't forget the White general Kornilov tried to stage his own coup in august 1917.

The Russian Civil War quickly came down to a stark choice: life or death, Whites or Reds, there was no middle ground.
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ERISS
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:34 pm

Charles wrote:That does not make much sense, if Lenin was a capitalist, he would have been a liberal or a social-democrat trying to reform the system not replace it. Read Lenin's writings from the 1890s or look at his actions after 1917.

Bolsheviks were social-democrats, but Lenin went corrupt and prefered the power to its very ideas.
He did became the boss of workers, trying to amass their wealth.
Lenin wrote and said everything and anything, he was a politician. He told something, and if it didn't bring him the power he went telling its reverse.
Lenin was as marxist as Makhno, the only difference is that Lenin's ideas were more practical than Makhno's.

Then Lenin was not marxist.

Lenin's ideas were very less pratical, as when he was actually doing the true bolshevik platform (i.e. social-democrat), its party counted less than 10% in popularity. They never were elected with their true ideas. When the bolsheviks took the power, they were betraying their true ideas.

Mahkno did was elected. When the soviets could exist, they did vote for him as commander (but not his staff, ok). And he had to not so betray its ideas (but he did told none army could be anarchist).
It's easy with hindsight to try idealize history's losers like Trotsky or Makhno. Since they never had power, supporters can imbue them with all sorts of noble ideas. However, theory and practice are two separate things. If Trotsky or Makhno had won, they would probably have turned out to be as despotic as Lenin.

They did had power! They were commanders!
Trotsky was despotic, see Cronsdadt.
Nothing had been achieved in february 1917: the provisional government was just continuing the Tsar's policies, the Soviets were trying to impose decisions from below and the economy was in shambles.

It was a temporary situation that could only last a short period of time before total anarchy broke out or a new central government, either White or Red imposed order.

Don't forget the White general Kornilov tried to stage his own coup in august 1917.

What? The soviets were not an achievment??!? They were the revolution! The government almost didn't had power, the soviets were taking it.
The economy was not in shamble, it was living. The bolsheviks did make the economy in shamble when they controlled or destroyed the soviets, and they made far worst than the tsar.
The soviets WERE the ORDER. They were the order of a living and at last FREE economy (i.e. with free MEN, not only free products as liberalizm economy).
That was the order of a somewhat anarchy: men ORGANINZING themselves.
Central government was useless and dangerous, as the bolsheviks proved.
The Russian Civil War quickly came down to a stark choice: life or death, Whites or Reds, there was no middle ground.

For the Reds (Bolsheviks) killed the so 'middle ground'.
We can even say Bolsheviks were the true middle-gound (they were social-democrat). The bolsheviks had to kill the revolutionnaries, to become the new extremists. They killed their Left to no longer be the middle-ground.

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Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:43 pm

ERISS wrote:Bolsheviks were social-democrats....

...Lenin was not marxist.


It seems a bit odd to argue that the Bolsheviks were not committed communists when all the evidence points to the contrary. Look at the policies they implemented:

In one fell swoop the market was declared illegal. Private trade, the hiring of labor, leasing of land, and all private enterprise and ownership were abolished, at least in theory, and subject to punishment by the state. Property was confiscated from the upper classes. Businesses and factories were nationalized. Surplus crops produced by the peasants were taken by the government to support the Bolshevik civil-war forces and workers in the towns. Labor was conscripted and organized militarily. Consumer goods were rationed at artificially low prices and later at no price at all.


Looks like communism to me.. :) .

The problem was not the fact that they were not committed enough, it was that pure communism does not work, never has and probably never will. Of course, a pure free market economy does not work either, a real working economy is too complex to be reduced to a simple theory. Any workable economy will always be a mix of collective and private enterprise.




What? The soviets were not an achievment??!? They were the revolution! The government almost didn't had power, the soviets were taking it.
The economy was not in shamble, it was living. The bolsheviks did make the economy in shamble when they controlled or destroyed the soviets, and they made far worst than the tsar.
The soviets WERE the ORDER. They were the order of a living and at last FREE economy (i.e. with free MEN, not only free products as liberalizm economy).
That was the order of true good anarchy, men ORGANINZING themselves.
Central government was useless and dangerous, as the bolsheviks proved.



The Soviets is another utopean idea which sounds great on paper: Worker's control! Direct democracy!, but is unworkable in real life. The Soviets were nothing more than mob rule, great to paralyse an economy with strikes, but useless to form any type of stable government. It was only a matter of time before a strong government, either White or Red, cracked down on them.
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Charles wrote:It seems a bit odd to argue that the Bolsheviks were not committed communists

YOU said it: "Lenin was as marxist as Makhno".
As Makhno was NOT marxist, then for you Lenin wasn't.

The Soviets is another utopean idea which sounds great on paper: Worker's control! Direct democracy!, but is unworkable in real life. The Soviets were nothing more than mob rule, great to paralyse an economy with strikes, but useless to form any type of stable government. It was only a matter of time before a strong government, either White or Red, cracked down on them.

That was not utopia, as it worked. Bolsheviks were utopian: they had to kill people to fold reality to their dreams.
Strikes are in a capitalist (private or state) economy: in soviets there can't be, as "mob rule". When people rule they have not to fight against a boss (liberal or communist): So, no strikes with soviets. Economy runs.
And you're right, they don't need a government, as they govern themselves.
You're right too as, Red or White or other, all government are dictatorship: Soon or later they will attack the soviets as they are free and prove we can live without a government. But liberty as a price: The fight for it.
Again, being free or not is a people choice. And those wanting to live on people's back make all they can to forbid the people to learning freedom.

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Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:08 am

ERISS wrote:YOU said it: "Lenin was as marxist as Makhno".
As Makhno was NOT marxist, then for you Lenin wasn't.



Makhno was marxist, he said so himself:


Anarchism aims to turn today's bourgeois capitalist society into a society that will guarantee working people the fruits of their labour, freedom, independence and social and political equality. This society is Anarchist Communism. It is in Anarchist Communism that there will be the fullest expression not only of social solidarity, but also the idea of free individuality, and these two notions will develop together closely, in perfect harmony.

Anarchist communism believes that the sole creator of all social assets is labour - physical and intellectual - and, as a result, that only labour has any entitlement to manage the whole of economic and public life. That is why Anarchist Communism in no way justifies or countenances the existence of non-working classes.

If these classes survive and co-exist with Anarchist Communism, the latter will recognize no responsibility towards them. Only when the non-working classes decide to become productive and wish to live within the social system of Anarchist Communism on the same footing as everyone else will they occupy a position in it, i.e. the position of free members of society equal to everyone else, enjoying the same rights of this society and having the same general responsibilities.

Anarchist Communism seeks the eradication of all exploitation and violence, whether against the individual or against the working masses. To that end it creates an economic and social basis that fuses the country's economic and social life into a harmonious whole and guarantees every individual parity with everyone else and affords the maximum well-being to all. This basis is common ownership in the form of the socialization of all of the means and instruments of production (industry, transport, land, raw materials, etc.) and the construction of national economic agencies on the basis of equality and the self-management of the working classes.

Within the parameters of this self-managing workers' society, Anarchist Communism lays down the principle of the equal worth and equal rights of every individual (not of "abstract" individuality, or "mystic individuality", or the concept of “individuality as an idea”).

It is from this principle of the equal worth and equal rights of every individual, and also the fact that the value of the labour supplied by each individual person cannot be measured or established, that the underlying economic, social and juridical principle of Anarchist Communism follows: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs".




http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/newplatform/general.htm

;)
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Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:22 am

Charles wrote:

Quote:
In one fell swoop the market was declared illegal. Private trade, the hiring of labor, leasing of land, and all private enterprise and ownership were abolished, at least in theory, and subject to punishment by the state. Property was confiscated from the upper classes. Businesses and factories were nationalized. Surplus crops produced by the peasants were taken by the government to support the Bolshevik civil-war forces and workers in the towns. Labor was conscripted and organized militarily. Consumer goods were rationed at artificially low prices and later at no price at all.


Looks like communism to me.. :) .



Well not to me :) It should be very shallow explanation about what is Marxism...

Businesses and factories were nationalized- check-
Surplus crops produced by the peasants were taken by the government to support war- check
Consumer goods were rationed at artificially low prices- check
Labor was conscripted and organized militarily- check

Those sentences are absolutely correct in some 3rd world countries. No need to mention names. Bread prices was very much lowered after some revolts.. as an example. But they were not Communists...

Explaining communism should be more different and needs different aproach to thinking rather then few sentences like command or free economy, is theory of equality that simple in words?..



Charles wrote:
The Soviets is another utopean idea which sounds great on paper: Worker's control! Direct democracy!, but is unworkable in real life.




Workers can have control. But the problem is will they able to control efficiently if the right to command given? Marxist thought is somehow in future even an ordinary worker will have the knowledge and quality to give desicions about the society and himself(like an educated man). But if we describe Lenin a Marxist then Im not sure about that is practiced in Soviets.

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Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:42 am

Charles wrote:Makhno was marxist, he said so himself:

No he didn't. You prove you don't know what is marxism. I don't think you wanted to insult.
Makhno did not believe that using a party in a bourgeois democracy was a mean to abolish wage labor, and he wasn't for the dictatorship of a so-said workers government.
You have to learn the history about the 1st International.

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Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:51 am

ERISS wrote:No he didn't. You prove you don't know what is marxism.


no need to get personal, we are just having a friendly discussion.

I have studied Marxism for many years at university and on my own. I know a marxist when I see one. Makhno was true believer just like Lenin, he would have made a nice addition to the Party.

The only difference I see is the means of how to achieve Socialism.
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Charles
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Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:55 am

Baris wrote:Well not to me :) It should be very shallow explanation about what is Marxism...

Businesses and factories were nationalized- check-
Surplus crops produced by the peasants were taken by the government to support war- check
Consumer goods were rationed at artificially low prices- check
Labor was conscripted and organized militarily- check

Those sentences are absolutely correct in some 3rd world countries. No need to mention names. Bread prices was very much lowered after some revolts.. as an example. But they were not Communists...

Explaining communism should be more different and needs different aproach to thinking rather then few sentences like command or free economy, is theory of equality that simple in words?..




yes, but remember the Bolsheviks were politicians trying to implement socialism in 1917 Russia. They were just making it up as they went along since no one had ever done it before and no one knew what would work or not.
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