Revolution in Russia 2: The Struggle Within; Bolshevism or Menshevism? | First World War Hidden History

Years prior to the Bolshevik seizure of power, Lenin and many other young  revolutionaries who voiced their opposition to the backward Czarist regime were condemned to exile in Siberia. Among them was Leon Davidovitch Bronstein, alias Leon Trotsky, who was sentenced to four years in the frozen wilderness. Trotsky was a Marxist, like Lenin and knew him well, but he initially sided with a softer faction socialism rather than Lenin’s hard-line Bolsheviks. He later switched his allegiance to Lenin when both were financed by western bankers to seize power in October 1917. Thereafter, he became second in command of the Bolsheviks, founded the Red army, and was every bit as infamous as Lenin.

Trotsky was born in 1879 in a small rural village, Yankova, in southern Ukraine. His father, although illiterate, was a relatively wealthy farmer. Resourceful and acquisitive, Bronstein senior owned over 250 acres of land and became a substantial employer. Both of Trotsky’s parents were Jewish, but unlike his agrarian father, his mother was an educated and cultured city dweller from Odessa. Religious observance was of little importance to either, but they sent Leon to a beder, a Jewish school. [1]

In 1902 Trotsky escaped from exile in Siberia, leaving behind his wife Alexandra and their two young daughters. According to Trotsky, it was Alexandra who had insisted that he put his duty to revolution before family. [2] Trotsky blamed ‘fate’ for their separation, but his actions suggested unbridled pragmatism and ‘an urge to free himself from a burden in order to move on to higher things.’ [3] Soon after abandoning his wife and children in Siberia, he divorced Alexandra and married Natalia Sedova, daughter of a wealthy merchant.

In the early years of the century numerous other revolutionaries, who had either completed their exile or escaped from Siberia, left Russia for cities in Western Europe. Many thousands more made their way to New York where they formed a powerful revolutionary group in exile. Banned from St Petersburg, Lenin and a fellow activist, Julius Martov, settled in Munich in Germany where they promoted the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Lenin believed the party had to be run from outside Russia. The RSDLP called its journal Iskra (The “Spark”) believing that from that spark, the flame of revolution would spring: ‘The agents would distribute it, spread party propaganda through local cells and channel information to the Central Committee. The journal would help create a cohesive party that until then had consisted of a series of independent groups.’ [4] Lenin firmly believed Karl Marx’s dictum that capitalism would inevitably disintegrate in Russia and elsewhere because it carried within it the forces of its own destruction. Thereafter, power would be grasped by the workers, the men and women who had been exploited by capital. So the theory ran.

Friends together before the 1903 split. Trotsky seated left, Lenin seated centre and Martov seated to the right.

In late 1901, harassed by the Munich police, Lenin and the Iskra editors moved to Finsbury in London where they were joined for a time by Leon Trotsky. Arguments about the best means of instigating revolution in Russia and elsewhere led to ever increasing conflict, especially between Lenin and his friend and comrade, Julius Martov. Internal wrangling exploded at the 1903 party congress which began in Brussels in July, but was suspended after pressure by the Russian embassy led to fear of police persecution and forced the delegates to complete their business in London. It was ‘the first major conference that was truly representative of party delegates from Russia and all over Europe’.[5] The congress was attended by representatives of 25 recognised social-democratic organisations who had two votes each. For some reason each representative of the Jewish workers organisation, the Bund, had three votes ‘in virtue of the special status… accorded to it by the first congress.’ [6]

The congress was dominated by the Iskra group, but Lenin realized that he could not carry the party forward in the way he desired, so he deliberately split it. Consequently, the revolutionaries divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions. Lenin wanted clear-cut, perfectly defined relationships within the party, and behind the scenes there was a struggle for the support of every individual delegate. Lenin tried to convince Trotsky that he should join the ‘hard’ faction, but he refused. [7]

Lenin in his younger years.

The ‘hard’ faction was led by Lenin who proclaimed his followers to be the bolshinstvo, the ‘men in the majority’, and thereafter they became known as the Bolsheviks. Marxist intellectuals and those of a less intense ideology were attracted to the ‘soft’ faction while the hard Bolshevik group, although it had its share of intellectuals, was favoured more by provincial party workers and professional revolutionaries: “the bacteria of the revolution” as Lenin called them. Basically, the ‘softs’ favoured debate while the hard- line Bolsheviks were militants who considered themselves exclusively the champions of the Russian working class.

Lenin wanted a party he was able to control tightly, and did so through a team of highly disciplined secret workers employed in a semi-military fashion. It was his brainchild, his party, and above all it was his aim to make it the instrument for revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy, despite the knowledge that ‘it could not be achieved without countless victims.’….

Read More: firstworldwarhiddenhistory.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/revolution-in-russia-2-the-struggle-within-bolshevism-or-menshevism/

Author: Poor Dick

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.

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