Who was not responsible for the Russian Revolution, and who was?


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HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.
About the author
 RAMIN MAZAHERI, Senior Correspondent & Contributing Editor, Dispatch from Paris

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

RAMIN MAZAHERI—The basis of the 1917 revolution is epitomised in the work of Nikolai Chernyshevsky, author of the inspirational work What Is To Be Done, from which Lenin cribbed the title for his famous book, in homage. In his diary, Chernyshevsky crystalised – again, not “created” – the mood of the 1860s “social revolutionaries” who were more mature than the “liberal romantics“ of the 1840s


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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Who was not responsible for the Russian Revolution, and who was?

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3 thoughts on “Who was not responsible for the Russian Revolution, and who was?

  1. Ramin Mazaheri raises important historical issues in this first-class article on the Russian Revolution of October 1917, of particular isignificance for readers interested in the question of ho w a revolution comes about. Which is more important: the body of the working class or a professional revolutionary leadership? In the textile industry strikes that began in Gastonia, NC in 1927, then swept the country, before ending in failure because as worker leaders themselves claimed was because they lacked proper leadership. Mazaheri in this article breaks a lance in favor of the workers movement itself. It goes without saying that without a great enough revolutionary body, no professional leadership, the head, so to speak, will ever suffice to make a revolution. I read the following about the number of workers in Russia in 1917 online: At the beginning of World War I, the number of urban wage labourers is estimated at between 12 and 22 million, roughly half of them being employed in factories, small-scale enterprises and construction. Nearly 4 million worked in large industrial enterprises. (for those who insist on sources in journalism which I do not on all occasions, nor would I normally offer one here, these numbers were included in a research article by Gleb J. Albert in his article “Labour Movements, Trade Unkions and Strikes (Russian Empire ” easily located online. Workers were also divided: some were patriotic and supported Russia in the WWI massacre in opposition to Bolshevik whose program was centered on an anti-war effort. Then many in dustrial workers were militarized, some even drafted and sent back to the factories. Others were lukewarm on war and behaved well so as to avoid the draft. Yet srikes did spread out from the capital of Petrograd (later Leningrad) to the point that hundeds of thousands came out on strikes. Workers had set up factory committees and workers soviets (councils) which the Bolsheviks then supported and harnessed to their anti-capitalist efforts. However, it is historically doubtful that the workers councils alone, without “professional” leadership which had ben developing in Russia since the 1860s, would have ever succeeded. Ramin thus raises the key issue in how to make a revolution in a developed industrial society.

  2. Hi Gaither,

    Your point about the Gastonia strikes is a good one. That does seem to contradict my overriding belief that “the times make the man”, and that a movement will always find its leaders.

    But I stick with it – did Gastonia have the 50+ years of ferment like in Russia which you mentioned, which would have created a truly robust movement? I don’t think so.

    So I don’t doubt that a lack of leadership may have sparked the failure of Gastonia – I really am not qualified to say – but I’d suggest that the failure was cultural, and not due to the lack of, say, 1-200 good leaders. I think that if socialism was as firmly rooted in the body of Gastonia/the US, then the head would have sprouted out of a truly-solid body.

    Che going to Congo to create an “African Vietnam” and failing, is an example of good leadership failing due to a lack of popular support/cultural preparedness. I think it’s a combination of the two – without good leadership, things can founder easily. But I’d say that mass movement on the scale of millions – like in Russia 1917 or Iran 1979 is tough to beat and very difficult to generate at will.

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