From February to October!

- Workers Socialist Party/ 10.12.2012

This is the third write-up in the series of articles by WSP, directed against Stalinist-Maoist 'praxis collective', which has presented two papers which contain bogus analysis of revolutionary experience in the last century and has mischievously attempted mud-slinging upon the great leader of the International proletariat, Leon Trotsky. For part one and two, click here:

In earlier two parts we demonstrated how ‘praxis collective’ imposes, dishonestly and falsely, it’s own home-grown assertions upon Trotsky, in order to carve out an imaginative conflict between the position of Trotsky and Lenin and in doing this treachery how they totally conceal the positions of Mensheviks, the same positions from which they are criticising Trotsky.

‘Praxis Collective’ condemns Trotsky for his eternal sin of ‘permanent revolution’, assumedly posed against Lenin’s formula of ‘democratic dictatorship’. Through his theory of permanent revolution, as counter-posed to Menshevik ‘two stage’ theory of revolution, Trotsky summarising the experience of 1905, had predicted in his book ‘Results and Prospects’ in 1906 that in Russia, a backward capitalist country, the democratic revolution under proletariat would un-interruptedly grow over to socialist revolution. In its first article, ‘Praxis collective’ says this: “....but the same February revolution, arrived upto October revolution through an un-interrupted process....” and takes caution by adding, “....for which some exceptional conditions were responsible”.
One cannot fail to see the demagogy of this Maoist band. One cannot fail to see that ‘praxis collective’ has endorsed position of Trotsky, while condemning Trotsky for indicating this in advance in 1906. What more proof we need to endorse the perspective of ‘permanent revolution?
Except cut-paste of quotations of Marx and Lenin from here or there, out of context, and adding irrelevant comments to them ‘praxis collective’ in fact says nothing on the issue of February or October revolutions. ‘praxis collective’ failed to throw light as to what was the understanding and attitude of Bolshevik Leaders in February? Why the whole Bolshevik leadership had opposed Lenin? What were the differences of Lenin with Bolshevik leaders? Was it possible to advance to October, had Lenin not arrived in Russia in April? What would be the scene had Lenin present in Russia in February? ‘praxis collective’ would never dwell upon that. It deals with February and October both in less than half paragraph.
Understanding of the path from February to October 1917, is one of the most important lessons to be learnt by revolutionists of today. Different hypothesis of revolution were tested through this revolutionary upheaval as the great mass of workers and peasants entered upon the stage of history as conscious actors.

‘praxis collective’ says February reached October, ‘uninterruptedly’! This is absolute Menshevik lie, a conscious attempt to hide the facts.

Great democratic revolution had unfolded itself in February,1917 in Russia, chiefly as a peasant war of rebel village headed by the armed proletariat in city. Though none of the parties had anticipated and prepared themselves for the moment of uprising, but it was no surprise for Marxist revolutionaries who had predicted that long before.

Within no time, few days at the most, the whole dynasty of Romanovs crumbled before the armed uprising. But this presented straight the question of power before the parties of revolution.

Lenin and Trotsky, both were abroad and were prevented by force of political circumstances from reaching the land of revolution, in time.

Mensheviks and Bolshevik leaders behind them- Stalin, Kamenev, Muranov, agreed between themselves upon the bourgeois-democratic character of the revolution, which both understood as – ‘democratic revolution and not socialist’. Socialist revolution was a task of tomorrow for them, not of today. As according to them revolution was not socialist, so working class need not establish its dictatorship against all other classes, inside and outside the revolution. So none of them summoned the working class, which had armed itself to the teeth and organised in its own soviets and held all real power in its hands, for independent class action and to establish its dictatorship forthwith, over and above all other social classes.

The agreement was so complete that the two opposite camps of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks planned to re-merge into a single party. Several local committees of these parties had even started to merge.

Mensheviks, who sanctioned a dictatorship for bourgeois in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, threw their weight behind capitalists-landlords, and assisted in establishment of capitalist-landlord government under Prince Lvov, thereby bringing a dual power in existence. This 'dual power', though, by itself, was not a special feature of February. In all revolutions of past and present, dual power existed, without exception, for short or long durations in transition to complete triumph of one and defeat of other class, depending upon the balance of class forces. Of importance, were the facts that the provisional government under Lvov, was absolutely under domination of capitalists who were frightened by the force of revolution, it was totally toothless and powerless at that time and depended upon the armed soviets of workers and peasants for execution of its orders, it did not srung up from the new forces summoned by reolution but was carved out of the old Duma, rostrum of capitalists and landlords and thus was a potential instrument of counter revolution.

What was the attitude of Bolshevik leaders to this provisional goverment and to the February revolution in general? Bolshevik leaders, were in agreement with mensheviks as to the 'revolutionary' character of the provisional government, and deemd it instrument of revolution. As to their own role, Bolshevik leaders were clear that the revolution being democratic in nature, bolshevik party, which in their estimation was party of the socialist revolution, had to assist the provisional government and defend it. In their estimation, the 'democratic republic' which Lenin had proposed in his 'two tactics...." was already in place. These bolshevik leaders joined Mensheviks in appealing to workers and soldiers to support the capitalist government, under their innocent but fatal belief that the provisional government was the organ of revolution. With active assistance of Bolshevik leaders, Mensheviks subdued the soviets of workers and soldiers into submission before the government of capitalists, made them virtual appendage of bourgeois and made the powerless government of capitalists, omnipotent.

Bolshevik leaders falsely imagined the provisional government as embodiment of ‘combined dictatorship of proletariat and peasantry’ in the form of soviets of workers and soldiers and threw their support behind it. Taking advantage, capitalists virtually seized the state power, leaving 'all powerful' soviets politically powerless.

Lenin’s opposition from abroad, to this capitulation of Bolshevik leaders, went unheard. His ‘letters from afar’ which ran counter to this bolshevik capitualtion to reaction, were suppressed by Stalin and Kamenev, except one which too was edited by them before publication in Pravda.

Travelling through impossible route, Lenin arrived on April 3 in Petrograd and rebuked the Bolshevik and Menshevik leaders for their support to capitalist government, through his 'April Theses'. On his proposal, ‘all powers to the soviet’, which demanded a radical break of honeymoon between bolshevik leaders and the capitalist government and instead called for head-on confrontation with capitalist government for power, Lenin faced stiff opposition from menshevik and bolshevik leaders as well and isolation inside the party.

After great persuasion of Lenin and on arrival of Trotsky from abroad, a section of Bolshevik leaders finally came over to support the position of Lenin. Time had come for revolution to advance once again! Under leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolshevik party took sharp turn once again to the revolution.

Half million workers responded to the call of Bolsheviks to protest in demonstration on the roads of Petrograd against the capitalist government. As Lvov ordered firing situation was mature for instant uprising. But Bolshevik party had not planned it as it never imagined such a huge response from workers and soldiers. Bolshevik leaders were arrested. Lenin fled to Finland. Revolution took a pause. Dual power evaporated into thin air and capitalists demonstrated that it were they who held the real power.

Political crisis grew, which Lvov was not able to handle. SR Kerensky took over command of capitalist government. In August, party of SRs split into two, with left SRs joining Bolsheviks. Lenin adopted agrarian program of Left SRs and with their support called for preparation for uprising.

Barring what the armed masses had achieved with force of arms in first few days, the provisional government declined to fulfil any of the democratic demands- from 8 hour day to pulling out of the war. It scuttled the revolution first and then turned it into a counter revolution.

It is so clear that the February revolution that had opened itself as ‘democratic revolution’ under the leadership of working class, did not ‘reach the October socialist revolution’ as our ‘praxis collective’ says, but was headed off by the counter revolution, within no time. Whatever it could achieve in initial days was due to swift and powerful action by the armed workers and soldiers.

What could not be achieved by February, was achieved by October! Revolutionary democracy could be realised only in October as the proletariat established its dictatorship followed by peasantry and ruthlessly destroyed all remnants of medievalism within no time, while growing over to revolutonary socialism. February opened as democratic revolution under the force of armed proletariat followed by peasantry, but could not accomplish itself, as the proletariat failed to establish its dictatorship over it. First a dual power appeared and then counter revolutionary bourgeois dictatorship took over it.

The capitalist government was not issued by the revolution, but was borrowed from the old Duma, and was instrument of the counter revolution issued by the forces of old society. This government came to power not because it was turn for capitalists in history, not because this government represented the revolution, not because proletariat did not possess the power to establish its dictatorship, but only because proletariat did not contend for power against it. Because the then leaders of the proletariat, Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, sanctioned the provisional government.

If proletariat could not come to power in February it was only for the reason that it was not prepared for it by its leadership, which thought that the impending revolution was democratic and not socialist revolution and thus instead of contending for power proletariat must enter into coalitions. February revolution failed to advance and turned into a fiasco, into dictatorship of the capitalists, which suffocated the revolution.

The revolution could breathe again with the shot of ‘April Thesis’ of Lenin, which reversed the whole course that Bolshevik leaders followed since February. With the clarion call of ‘All Power to the Soviets’ it came back to life. Again took a pause in July and after split in SR party, it again rushed to October.

Had Lenin been present in Russia in February, February would have turned to October and there would have been February; and had Lenin not succeeded in returning back in April, there would have been no Ocotber at all!
The course of revolution in Russia, from February to October, demostrated that the appearnce of dictatorship of the proletariat, did not depend upon the level of development of capitalism, but directly rested upon changing correlation of class forces inside it. Level of development of capitalism only determined the tasks before the dictatorship of the proletariat, after it was established in October.

It is Menshevik illusion of ‘praxis collective’ that February revolution was democratic revolution and October was Socialist. The fact is, October revolution also opened itself as bourgeois democratic revolution and then grew over to socialist revolution. It is this dual nature of October, which Lenin had pointed out in his address to party congress in March 1919:

‘In October 1917 we seized power together with the peasantry as a whole. This was a bourgeois revolution, inasmuch as the class struggle in the rural districts had not yet developed.’

And further:

‘In a country where the proletariat was obliged to assume power with the aid of the peasantry, where it fell to the lot of the proletariat to serve as the agent of a petty-bourgeois revolution, until the organization of the Committees of Poor Peasants, i.e., down to the summer and even the autumn of 1918, our revolution was to a large extent a bourgeois revolution.’

So when ‘praxis collective' says that the October was socialist in Russia, as democratic revolution was realised under 'dual power', it only shows that it neither understands October nor February. Lenin, talked about democratic revolution taking place in February, only to repel the persistence of the ‘old Bolshevik’ opposition, that party should fight to realise the old Bolshevik slogan of ‘democratic dictatorship’ and should not advance to take power through uprising.

With its opening, the October revolution immediately realised the long cherished democratic demands of the workers and peasants- 8 hour working day, radical land reforms, self-determination of nationalities, pull-out of the war etc. etc. and then grew over to a socialist revolution. October was the most democratic revolution that human history had seen by now.

The slogan of Lenin, ‘democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasantry’ which failed to realise itself in February, as February grew over to bourgeois counter revolution in no time, ultimately realised itself in the victorious October revolution. This realisation however, was subjected to small and insignificant correction by history- dictatorship that issued from October Revolution, was the dictatorship of the working class followed by peasantry. October, however rejected the vulgarisation of formula of Lenin, by the old Bolsheviks counter-posing the “democratic dictatorship” against “socialist dictatorship” and realised the two together and at once. Looking back now we know well that in October, dictatorship of the proletariat stood at coalition of proletariat and peasantry both inside and outside of the state.

Failure of February revolution and triumph of October revolution proved it beyond doubt that ‘democratic dictatorship’ is possible only through ‘dictatorship of the proletariat, followed by peasantry’. This conquest of power by the proletariat and establishment of its dictatorship, however, would not complete a revolution, but only open it. Under conditions of dominance of capitalism on world arena, this opening of revolution would mean civil war inside and revolutionary war outside. So building of socialism in one country, would be out of question, not by choice or its economic viability, but by force of inevitable circumstances.    

Preaching of Stalinists-Maoists goes against all historical experience, so far as it sets up the democratic revolution against socialist revolution in backward countries, and proposes unrealizable regime of democratic dictatorship counter-posing it to dictatorship of the proletariat. Trapped in incubus of Maoism, ‘praxis collective’ fails to understand that proletariat can establish its dictatorship in a country, long before that country would be mature for socialism.

Not surprising then that the recipe of 'democratic' alliance, served by Stalinists-Maoists, invariably blends into it, sections of national bourgeois. By accepting the sections of national bourgeois, inside the folds of democratic revolution in backward countries, in China, India, Indonesia and everywhere, they had destroyed the very soul of Lenin's politics based on workers-peasants alliance and its perpetual hostility to the bourgeois. This false policy of Comintern has resulted in defeat after defeat and castration of revolution in all countries.
‘Praxis Collective’ fails to understand this all, as it refuses to understand the revolution and revolutionary ideas in their dynamism and continues to churn our quotations devoid of their historical context. We all, including Lenin and Trotsky, continue to ascend ever new heights in history and in our conception. So if we want to look at the October through the prism of 1906 writings of Lenin or Trotsky, refraction would be blurred. On the contrary we must judge these writings from the standpoint of live experience of February and October and for guidance must look through the writings of these great revolutionists that are produced at the revolutionary climax of October.

Great thinkers present hypothesis based on concrete analysis of existing realities, which are then tested in actual course of practice and are trimmed to generate new experiences and lessons. In any case one cannot resort to churning out quote after quote and then to fit reality in its moulds.

‘Praxis Collective’ is mistaken when it says that bourgeois after coming to power, in a backward country, whether India, China or Russia, can resolve the agrarian question, fully or even partially. Under the conditions of imperialism, the bourgeois rule would further intensify the crisis and not resolve it. This explains the widespread and unprecedented hike in farm suicides in India due to agricultural debts. Similarly, the rule of the bourgeois, would not and cannot resolve the crisis in any sphere of social economic or political life.

But as maoist ‘Praxis Collective’ insists to credit the bourgeois rule with development through Prussian Path, we deem it necessary to point out that in absence of manorial economy in India, Prussian Path is out of question. This is how Lenin put it. However, we point out that even through ‘Prussian Path’, the bourgeois cannot resolve the agrarian crisis.

‘Praxis Collective’ makes the fragmentation of peasantry a pre-condition for the proletariat to take power. Here Maoists again take a pedantic view of the whole matter. They forget what Lenin said about the October: that in pre-dominantly peasant countries the proletariat takes to power as agent of the peasant mass. That means a peoples’ democracy’ a ‘workers and peasants’ democracy’ through dictatorship of the proletariat.

They pose irrelevant material conditions for proletariat to come to power in different countries, distorting and falsifying the lessons of February and October. This they do to clean their own historic trajectory through the Stalinist-Maoist path, to wash out the real sins of Stalinists and Maoists in becoming complacent to sections of bourgeois in India, Indonesia and China and everywhere on the earth.

WSP says that after emergence of proletariat onto the political scene of the world and specially after advent of imperialism in 1900, at no corner of the earth it remains anymore the turn for the bourgeois to come to power. It is everywhere the turn for the proletariat to come to power, and establish its dictatorship at the head of workers-peasants alliance, unless it is not held back and betrayed by its false leaders- Stalinists, Maoists and social democrats. However, the tempo of advance would be different in different countries after the revolution. The task however, of this dictatorship of the proletariat, would not be to build socialism inside the isolated shells of their countries, but to advance for world socialist revolution, through destruction of world capitalism.

It is very clear that the whole edifice of the windbag of ‘new socialist revolution’ prepared by ‘praxis collective’ has nothing of the sort of ‘new’, ‘socialist’ or ‘revolutionary’ inside it, it is the same old road to complete destruction of the International working class and its revolution.

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