The Russian Revolution

I've decided to transfer a few articles and reviews about the Russian Revolution, as I've just finished a new review of an excellent book about the Bolshevik's first year in power by Alexander Rabinowitch. My review summarises the key information in it -- it is well worth reading. It covers the gerrymandering of the soviets to secure Bolshevik power -- an awkward fact that at least two Trotskyist reviews did not bother to mention!

The biggest piece is my critique of the SWP's standard account of the failure of the Russian revolution, Chris Harman's "How the Revolution was Lost". As will become clear, that account has not stood up well since it was first written (in 1967) and it distorted some of the material available then as well. My general rule of thumb is always double-check any book quoted by a Leninist. There is a good chance that the quoting will be selective! This is currently been published in Black Flag (over 3 issues).

Then there is a summary of the Kronstadt rebellion (Kronstadt 1921: the end of the Bolshevik Myth), refuting some of the more common Leninist inventions and claims. Also there is a review of Israel Getzler's essential book on the Kronstadt soviet, Kronstadt 1917-1921. It explodes quite a few Bolshevik myths about the Kronstadt soviet and the rebellion of 1921 itself.

Also included is a general introduction to the anarchist case against Leninism (The Bolshevik Revolution: A legacy better rejected) as well as a review of Jonthan Aves' essential book on labour protest during the revolution, Workers Against Lenin. This is a great book.

Finally, I've posted an account of the 1905 Russian Revolution, which refutes Rosa Luxemburg's critique of the anarchist general strike, as well as a joint review of Goldman's My Disillusionment in Russia as well as a great collection of essays by Kropotkin. Both essential reading for all anarchists and revolutionaries (as is Goldman's "Trotsky Protests Too Much", on the Kronstadt rebellion.

I'm probably do my various articles about Bakunin next.

Addition: I forgot to post this critique of an ISO attack on the Makhnovists yesterday, as I planned to. It refutes a somewhat selective diatribe against the Makhnovists (while, sometimes, equating personal attacks on Makhno with a critique of a social movement). I should say that when writing this, I really appreciated having AFAQ around. I could summarise my argument and just link to the appropriate section of the FAQ to back it up. That saved so much time, energy and words! I should also say that i think that Leninist hatred for the Makhnovists is due, fundamentally, to the awkward fact that they showed that Bolshevik authoritarianism was not the only possibility, that a democratic approach was possible. Which suggests that Bolshevik ideology, plus support for statist and centralised forms organisations, played their part in the failure of the Revolution. This is confirmed by the fact that Bolshevik authoritarianism predates the civil war.

And it would be remiss of me not to link to this great Onion article on the US economy. It sums up the actual experience of neo-liberalism, whose faltering growth has been boosted by bubbles from the start.

Comments

There is a free tag 'Russian

There is a free tag 'Russian Revolution' which I'm adding to these articles, see http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/using-tags in the forum for an explanation of how these exist and which are already created. They are pretty powerful providing we can ensure consistent use across authors and articles While I'm at it I'm unchecking the 'show summary in full view' box as in all cases your article starts after the summary so while its useful for the index page it probably isn't for the article view?

  


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