File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1996/96-11-13.154, message 5

Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 19:56:42 +1000
Subject: M-I: Re: Elections under a bourgeois system

Re a number of Rob Schaap's questions on the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Can I
suggest Rob you read the book Red Petrograd: Revolution in the factories
1917-18 by S.A. Smith (Cambridge Uni Press). 

This is one of the best studies of working class organisation in the
revolution. Smith while far from being an uncritical supporter of the
Bolsheviks shows a) that the Bolshviks won overwhelming support in the working
class            b) that the workers created a whole series of mass democratic
organisation which the Bolsheviks won control of democraticly
                 c) shows why the Mensheviks became totally isolated in the
working class
            d) dispells all the myths about the Bolsheviks being this
monolithic super disciplined party on stalinist lines. Far from it different
sections of the membership operated on quite different tactical lines.
            e) shows that the anarchist nonsense that the Bolsheviks simply
abolished the democratic factory committees is just that nonsense.

The book is also relevant to the whole question of how the working class today
could exert democratic control of society and replace the institutions of
bourgeois power.

Mick Armstrong
Socialist Alternative

superdisciplined monolithic party on Stalinist lines. Quite the reverse
different sections of the party membership were operating on different tactical

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