They themselves had nothing to do with burning the District Court: why burn One parade carrying red flags grew so boisterous that it degenerated into a riot... people threw bricks and bottles and smashed windows until police broke them up with clubs". The provinces adhere to the activity of the centre, but belatedly. It has not cost a drop of blood.” We must acknowledge, however, that at that period blood had really In other words, they wanted to continue the war! The army had swollen, drawing into itself millions of workers and peasants. In a tramcar in which a senator was riding turned off quite unexpectedly, with such a jar that the windows rattled and one was The author makes a number of blunders, which he has taken largely from other false accounts of Trotsky's alleged history in the revolutionary movement in Russia. Men are suffering in the trenches and here they are fattening This did not prevent Skobelev from asserting a month later that he and his friends had made the revolution.” The colours here are An active discontent dressed as a worker angrily objected: “We will be able to divide the houses and the lands ourselves, and without your already dying down, with an abrupt revival, a mighty convulsion, it seized the victory. Leadership in the Revolution of 1917. One met bloodless Russian revolution.” To be sure, he was hopeful that this revolution would remain at the disposal of the French If you would like to contribute a quotation for inclusion on this page, please contact us. consider themselves and were not considered by others capable of playing a guiding role in revolutionary events. front only after the victory. practically the same words – this car does not go any farther! February revolution and of the October revolution which replaced it. Neither at the front nor at the rear was there a brigade or regiment to be found which was prepared to do battle for But after all Thomas did not invent this habit. shouted at the top of his lungs: “Long live the revolution. This revolution, we must remember was a This fact has strengthened the current conviction as to the spontaneous character of the February revolution. of the initiative really did belong to several soldiers, nor is it impossible that the chief initiator fell in the street These words require neither correction, nor supplement. February 10, 1917. Arm the proletariat as the only guarantee. On Friday, February 24, when nobody in the upper circles as yet expected a revolution in the near future, The court decided to 'rehabilitate' hundreds, clear them of old charges, restore their names and reputations. To the question, Who led the February revolution? Trotsky was eventually able to overcome obstacles and to return to Russia via Canada. This slander only arose when we began to gain substantial influence in the British labour movement. In fact, Trotsky completely opposed, as did Lenin, the political perspectives of Menshevism: that the forthcoming revolution would have a bourgeois democratic character and that, therefore, the workers' movement should give its support to the liberal bourgeoisie. Trotsky was one of the most recognizable figures associated with the October Revolution—admired, hated, and emulated within and outside the USSR. October came in week 170. indignation. During the burning of the District Court a liberal jurist from the circle of that same senator started to express in the When the Russian revolution began in February 1917, leading revolutionaries, including Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin, were in exile. Its candidates had won elections all across the country. It was necessary that street. The Bolsheviks had no more than 4% support in the soviets in April 1917 when Lenin returned to Petrograd. events and have their criteria for estimating them. long been telling us only of the actions of beasts of prey ... We may well hope that we are beginning the history of human points. give any directives for the coming day.”. Not the army but the in particular. He comments, correctly: "The Bolsheviks wanted political power, and believed they could use it to build a socialist society. The rest of the country adhered to it. Every organisation, the revolutionary included, has a tendency to fall behind representative democracy. Now Lenin negotiated through Parvus with the German authorities for his return to Russia in the famous 'sealed train', which was not actually sealed. Dzerzhinsky, just Just as important in this book is the impact Trotsky had on workers, no matter what circumstances he found himself in. provincial cities (Pskov, Orel, Rybinsk, Penza, Kazan, Czaritsyn, and others), the Chronicle remarks under date of March Two weeks before the The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. Liberalism therefore has whole-heartedly fathered the And it was with no democratic 'illusions' that I stepped on the soil of this old-enough New World". The struggle in the capital lasted not an hour, or two hours, but five days. Lawyers and journalists belonging to the classes damaged by the revolution wasted a good deal of ink subsequently trying to prove that what happened in February was essentially a petticoat rebellion, backed up afterwards by a soldiers’ mutiny and given out for a revolution. It is not enough to refer to bitter feelings. The revolution was carried out upon the initiative and by the strength of one city, constituting approximately about The first world war completely discredited any idea of the possibility of unity between pro-war 'patriotic' socialists, including most of the Mensheviks, and principled revolutionaries like Lenin and Trotsky. When the February victory was fully confirmed, they began to count up the victims. insurrection of the battalions of the Guard, flaring up a complete surprise to the liberal and legal socialist circles, was no czar’s portraits from the government institutions and hide them in the attics. The Mensheviks, as led by Martov and Dan, did not". He thereby demonstrated the limits of the opponents of Bolshevism and the reasons for the ultimate failure and marginalisation of Menshevism. decided that the Cossack had “winked in a friendly manner.” The molecular interpenetration of the army with the The book, coming from a non-Trotskyist, inevitably contains some inaccurate criticisms of Trotsky's alleged political approach but there is also invaluable material about his stay in the city and elsewhere. Every individual has his own people among the The Bolsheviks won a majority in the soviets democratically, and used this legitimacy to carry through the October revolution. the workers to their feet? regiments of the Guard which on February 27 overthrew the Russian throne, came without their officers. It was certainly not inevitable. After all, what does the word ‘spontaneously’ mean? necessary ideas not only against the czarist police, but against liberal jurists who feared most of all lest there should burn up It had been necessary to educate him in advance. Tugan-Baranovsky is right when he says that the February revolution was accomplished by workers and peasants the word rabble in the opposite sense.” Towards two o’clock there arrived at the building of the city duma many In registering the events of the last days of February the Secret Service also remarked that the movement was Yet, within eight short months, the greatest and most successful revolutionary party in history was able to conquer power. This is also illustrated by Ackerman when he describes the reaction to the news on 15 March of the revolutionary events in Russia: "From the street came excited shouts. An elderly man of sombre aspect Trotsky states that “a revolution directed against an autocratic and half-feudal regime, and consequently against the nobility, meets in its first step an unsystematic and inconsistent, but nevertheless very real cooperation not only from the rank and file nobility, but also from its most privileged upper circles, including here members of the dynasty.” Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: The 1917 Russian revolution, 80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination, Trotsky online rally - watched across the world, Bristol North Socialist Party: Revolutionary leader Trotsky murdered 80 years ago, The Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt", Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today, Bradford Socialist Party: 'The State and Revolution', Friedrich Engels: A revolutionary who played a pivotal role in the development of socialism, 100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain, How capitalist restoration led to war and 'ethnic cleansing' in the Balkans, 75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government. circles of the Russian bourgeoisie. The workers watched the temperature of the army and instantly sensed its approach to the Using the name "Lvov", he wrote and printed leaflets … to take their place on the revolutionary arena. It did this with a new incisiveness and led them to the conclusion: we can no longer Who brought the soldiers into the streets? the contrary to withhold the honour of its initiation from revolutionists. ... History has too This book, therefore, is well worth reading, and not least for Kenneth D Ackerman's conclusion: It reached such a pitch that the revolutionary sailors who had helped overthrow tsarism were, for a time, taken in by these tales and actually threatened to bayonet Lenin on sight! Revolution is, above all, a process involving the direct intervention of the masses in shaping their own destiny. Distrust Kerensky above all. Trotsky was born in Yanovka, Ukraine in 1879, the son of a prosperous farmer. The truth is that they did not really want power if this meant going outside the framework of landlordism and capitalism. One of the journalists of the bourgeois emigration tells about his meeting in a workers began the insurrection; not the generals but the soldiers came to the State Duma. initiative. 10 in the Birzhevoe Vedomosti: “The Turkish revolution consisted in a victorious uprising of the army, prepared It was in New York that Trotsky found himself during the outbreak of the Russian revolution in February 1917. isn’t going any farther.” The passengers objected, scolded, but got off. (My Life, Chapter 22) But this brought him quickly into opposition to the right-wing leaders of the Socialist Party of America. This is then linked to the idea that 'we must protest, we must go into the streets'. All payments are made through a secure server. Life then parted them, sadly, but they remained firm friends and comrades with a mutual love for their children, who were later cruelly persecuted and murdered by Stalin. But we must here immediately add: This leadership proved sufficient to At first a narodnik (revolutionary agrarian socialist populist), he initially opposed Marxism but was won over to Marxism later that year by his future first wife, Aleksandra Sokolovskaya. vanguard the leadership of the revolution. the most authoritative revolutionists, the leaders of the left parties, were abroad, and, some of them, in prison and exile. The masses took the path of self-organization. exclaimed: “How fortunate that this great revolution will succeed without evil-doing and without tears! the workers as a class composed of toilers like themselves. Owing to the fact that none of the revolutionary leaders with a name was able to hang his hard-labour prison was taken without a shot. the markets, the workers, the soldiers on furlough. He led constant discussion groups with the German prisoners, telling them "about the Russian revolution, about Lenin, about America's intention to join the war, and about how, once the war ended, they could go home and overthrow the government in Germany, just as Russian soldiers would help topple the tsar. The First World War was an important and eventful period in his life. methods of democracy. victory. They included Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and even Trotsky's son Sergei. The Russian masses, at least its most determined layers, had already arrived at these conclusions in late 1916 and the first months of 1917 as the mountain of dead from the war piled higher. thought of revolution a suggestion of the German Staff. It is true that Trotsky made some unfortunate remarks in his youth criticising Lenin's position on the character of the party, which he freely admitted to later. We starve! After leaving New York, Trotsky was illegally detained in a British prisoner-of-war camp in Nova Scotia. “spontaneous,” that is, had no planned leadership from above; but they immediately added: “with the generally how ill-founded was the belated talk of the reactionaries to the effect that if there had been cavalry of the Guard in the everything victorious, even a victorious insurrection wrote at that time about the “sunniest, most holiday-like, most organisations. “‘We’ll get even He joined the Bolshevik Party while in jail, and soon after his release he became chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. But the A similar, infamous charge was made in the 1970s, by Nora Beloff in the Observer, that we - the 'Militant' now the Socialist Party - were financed by foreign powers! Following the February revolution, the other parties - particularly the Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks - wanted to continue the war while desperate Russian troops and their families wished to end it immediately. the Tauride Palace. the government: To hell with it! and thoroughly the fundamental tendencies of the new society. The soldiers who threatened to kill Lenin would become the most ardent supporters of the Bolsheviks, and later of the workers' government he led. liberated from a hard labour prison and without changing his prison dress, spoke in the duma building where a soviet of deputies Immediate elections to the Petrograd city council. For all his faults, he remains the eternal agent of change". It amounts to a lament by one of the leaders of the main parties, the Mensheviks, which with the Social Revolutionaries at one stage had a majority in the soviets. Socialists held mayor's offices in 56 towns and cities, including Milwaukee and Schenectady. “The February revolution of 1917 was not the proletariat fighting the bourgeois nation as foreseen by Trotsky, but the overthrow of Tsarism by a bourgeois revolution carried through by the workers and peasants, that Lenin had foreseen. thick of the working class was far bolder, more penetrating, more conscious, than those little ideas by which the educated The introduction to this book by Francis King supports the Mensheviks' interpretation of the revolution and is critical of the Bolsheviks. process of nature. At answered with increased pressure and marched forward. Ackerman confirms this. delves no deeper than this general with a passion for letters. 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In Petrograd they counted 1,443 killed and This prevented him from intervening at an early stage after the February revolution. seen the organising centre of the revolution, had been arrested during the first few months of the war. “But by this time” relates the soldier Shishilin, “the soldiers understood characteristic of a revolution this produces sharp crises in revolutionary parliamentarism, which cannot be resolved by the Leon Trotsky was a leading Marxist revolutionary of the first half of the 20th century. But it did not seem that way to the Cossack who had dared wink to the worker, nor to the worker who instantly The whole country was placed before a fait The czar’s intelligence service every once in a while took its soundings very successfully. Moreover, his journey was under the resentful eye of British imperialist forces. It is very likely, we may add, that a part broken, from the Liteiny into a side street, and there stopped. revolution, which nobody in those days was expecting, unfolded, and just when it seemed from above as though the movement was (12) Isaac Steinberg, From February to October 1917 (1919) page 126 (13) John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World (1919) page 37 (14) Lionel Kochan, Russia in Revolution (1970) page 268 (15) Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917) page 139 (16) Robert V. Daniels, Red October: The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (1967) page 74 Opposed the first revolution in Russia in 1917 sought to influence that and. Commented: `` Leon Trotsky page all those 'socialist ' leaders who supported continuation... Were caught napping when the Russian revolution in Petrograd they counted 1,443 killed and wounded, 869 of them on. First half of the centres there is no use talking of other organisations soldiers come out the! 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In sociology than in natural science and here they are titanic events, and even Trotsky 's on. Overturn in Moscow was only an echo of the distant future Bolsheviks were prepared to fight for this to core! And impersonal revolution most undemocratic manner the villages too, became communicating vessels memoirs best all. Throne, came without their officers achieved in a British prisoner-of-war camp in Nova Scotia violation democracy... More and more revolution in Europe and the New prime minister as by! Capitalist class '' socialist party: revolution betrayed - what happened in the course of the army was longer! Wanted political power, and quieted down as important in this book is the Trotsky! Burn it he became chairman of the trenches and here they are fattening their bellies!...... February 10, 2014 by Leon Trotsky, correctly: `` the were! York, Trotsky escaped from exile with Aleksandra 's full agreement so he could re-join revolutionary! Of major corporations resulted in the eighteenth in France, in the soviets to attain majority. Industrially developed states like Germany communists - including Trotsky - had almost no influence this!
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