So its rule is provisional, and that represents a real difference in comparison to Secondly, this scenario did envision a period of bourgeois class rule after this revolution, but it is very important not to add what is often said when this point is being made.
There is nothing in the Bolshevik scenario about a long period, nothing about a stable period of bourgeois rule. Actually, the Bolsheviks did not expect this period to be very peaceful. In fact they thought it would be very unpeaceful, and not be very long — everyone thought the world was in a period of war and revolution, after all.
They expected this period to be short, with socialist revolutions breaking out in western Europe. They hoped the successful democratic revolution in Russia would spark this off, and it would rebound back into Russia and change the situation. That was common currency, not just Trotsky. Why were limits set? Why did the Bolsheviks say they could not go all the way to socialism? And who is the class ally in this case? It is the peasants, of course, and peasants, which account for the majority of the country, are in this scenario deemed not to be ready for socialism.
I should say here that Trotsky, in his own scenario of , certainly did not deny this axiom of the class ally — the empirical fact as they thought it was that the peasants would not go to socialism. To make the story plausible here, we have to look at what the old Bolsheviks were doing in Petrograd before Lenin showed up.
This is a much misunderstood, understudied episode, and we are all paying too much attention to very partisan historians, including both Soviet historians and others, who are focusing on little snippets and ignoring the big picture.
They assumed that there were the soviets on one side, the provisional government, representing the bourgeois, reformist, liberal elite, on the other, and the soviets would eventually take over. But if we look at the old-Bolshevik scenario, then what would we predict?
That they would thwart any attempt by liberal bourgeois forces to put brakes on the revolution, and would put in a worker-peasant power to carry the revolution through. That is what we would predict, and that is what happened. Now, let me try and clear up some misunderstandings. No doubt they were correct, and Lenin did not disagree with them when he showed up. No, I do not think this is a real contrast.
The Bolsheviks were fairly confident that the provisional government would not be able to handle the problems that were arising from the revolution, the war, the economy and the carrying out of land reforms, and that it would rapidly wear out its welcome and would be tossed out.
So the replacement of the provisional government was an active, near-future perspective. Thirdly, I think from the beginning the Bolsheviks were fairly anti- soglashenie. They could make a good case for this, and I do not think we should dismiss them, but I believe the Bolshevik leaders were always against it.
Finally, I would like to draw attention to a very common and important misunderstanding. The misunderstanding arises when this is equated with saying that we are not yet at the stage of socialist revolution and therefore we must tolerate, not throw out, the provisional government.
Trotsky was one of the first to make this supposedly logical implication in Anyway, I do not want to pick on Tony Cliff, because it is a very common misunderstanding. Again, I would love to get down into who said what and when, but I think we need to look at the big picture instead.
First of all, we should consider the situation when Lenin arrives in Russia. Here was Lenin, back from exile after 10 years and very likely to be out of touch on this or that question. There would have been issues he was not aware of, even though he would have quickly picked things up, while those who greeted him probably would have known the intricacies of the situation in much more detail.
So I think we should assume that what resulted was largely a mutually respectful interaction. We should bear in mind the possibility that these people had something significant to say to Lenin. I shall give a straightforward example of this. Stalin, who was a fairly high-up Bolshevik at this time — one of the top ten leaders at least — is recorded as saying in a meeting with Lenin and others that the April theses were too schematic and that they overlooked the question of small nations.
Often, that is used as evidence that Stalin did not know what was going on, but the fact is that the April theses did not mention the national question.
Because Lenin forgot to include it. He wrote the document on a train and he simply forgot to put in anything on the national question. And I am sure that when Stalin brought it up Lenin would have said he was right and that he should write up a report about it, which is what happened. And that provoked a genuine debate, more so than on some other questions, at the party conference in April, where Lenin sided with Stalin. There are three categories of things going on in the disputes between Lenin and the so-called old Bolsheviks.
One is that there were genuine misunderstandings — between Lenin and Kamenev, for example. In the debates in April, both of them say they have cleared up some misunderstandings — hardly surprising when people had not met for so long. Otherwise it is very difficult to explain why Kamenev, who was one of those saying Lenin was wrong, was in the core of five or six people at the top of the party. Secondly, there are issues on which Lenin was wrong, and we tend to forget some of these for obvious reasons, when we look at the overall situation.
Lenin wanted to focus on agricultural wage workers, and he thought the party should be sceptical about the regular peasants and focus most of its attention on these wage workers when it came to soviets in the villages.
He thought the Bolsheviks should push for communal farming and these people should run it. Everyone else thought this was crazy, and there was something wrong with Lenin for suggesting it. And in this case the local people were right: Thirdly, we get to the more constructive part.
What was actually new in what Lenin brought for consideration? There were two new perspectives, which were adopted by the Bolsheviks. This was a metaphor Lenin used a lot, but it is not in the one-and-a-half-page canonical April theses, unfortunately. We neither disclose nor provide your private data or credentials to any third parties. Anonymity and confidentiality are our top priorities and thus they are carefully preserved.
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