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Bolshevism -  John Spargo -191

In the following pages I have tried to make a plain and easily understandable outline of the origin, history, and meaning of Bolshevism. I have attempted to provide the average American reader with a fair and reliable statement of the philosophy, program, and policies of the Russian Bolsheviki. In order to avoid confusion, and to keep the matter as simple and clear as possible, I have not tried to deal with the numerous manifestations of Bolshevism in other lands, but have confined myself strictly to the Russian example. With some detail too much-some of my readers may think I have sketched the historical background in order that the Bolsheviki may be seen in proper perspective and fairly judged in connection with the whole revolutionary movement in Russia. Russia. Whoever turns to these pages in the expectation of findng a sensational "exposure" of Bolshevism and the Bolsheviki will be disappointed. It has been my aim to make a deliberate and scientific study, not an ex-parte indictment.

Bolshevism-John Spargo-1919    

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During the first months after the conquest of political power by the proletariat in Russia (October 25 [November 7), 1917) it might have appeared that the tremendous difference between backward Russia and the advanced countries of Western Europe would cause the proletarian revolution in these latter countries to have very little resemblance to ours. Now we already have very considerable international experience which very definitely shows that some of the fundamental features of our revolution have a significance which is not local, not peculiarly national, not Russian only, but international. I speak here of international significance not in the broad sense of the term: not a few, but all the fundamental and many of the secondary features of our revolution are of international significance in regard to the influence it has upon all countries. No, taking it in the narrowest sense, i.e., understanding international significance to mean the international validity or the historical inevitability of a repetition on an international scale of what has taken place here, it must be admitted that some of the fundamental features of our revolution do possess such a significance.    
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News of the outbreak of the revolution, the establishment of Soviets in Petrograd and Moscow, the abdication of the Tsar and the formation of the bourgeois Provisional Government reached Lenin in Zurich, Switzerland, through the extra editions of the local newspapers on March 15, 1917 . The following day he wrote to Alexandra Kollontai in Norway that "the `first stage of the first revolution' bred by the war will be neither final nor confined to Russia" and observed that, although the workers, supported by the revolutionary soldiers, had carried through the revolution, state power was seized by the bourgeoisie according to "the same `old' European pattern."    
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THE question of the state is acquiring at present a particular importance, both as theory, and from the point of view of practical politics. The imperialist war has greatly accelerated and intensified the transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism. The monstrous oppression of the labouring masses by the state-which connects itself more and more intimately with the all-powerful capitalist combines-is becoming ever more monstrous. The foremost countries are being converted-we speak here of their "rear"-into military convict labour prisons for the workers. The unheard-of horrors and miseries of the protracted war are making the position of the masses unbearable and increasing their indignation. An international proletarian revolution is clearly rising. The question of its relation to the state is acquiring a practical importance.    
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The Paris Commune of 1871 arose victoriously from the ruins of the Second Empire and, after seventy-two epoch-making days, it succumbed heroically under the hail of bullets of the Versailles counter-revolution. The Commune was, in a far higher sense than the June insurrection of 1848, the "most tremendous event in the history of European civil wars" (Marx) in the nineteenth century. It marked the violent conclusion of the "pre-history" of the proletarian revolution ; with it begins the era of proletarian revolutions. It was the brilliant culmination of the romantic "Sturm and Drang" period of the revolutionary proletariat, which was glorious in heroic deeds and bloody defeats, in bold initiative and growing attempts. But chiefly it was the first dress rehearsal in world history of the socialist revolution of the working class, which, at the head of all oppressed and exploited classes, for the first time set up its power by its own might with the purpose of setting the whole of society free from the system of enslavement and exploitation, as well as securing its own political and social emancipation.    
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Lenin arrived in Petrograd from his exile in Switzerland April 16, 1917. The following day he presented his views at a meeting of Bolshevik members of the national conference of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies in the form of theses published afterward under the title "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution" (pp. 32-36). These theses, known in Bolshevik annals as the "April Theses," were in the main a succinct formulation of the views expressed in his "Letters from Afar." (See Little Lenin Library, Vol. 8.)    
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What Is To Be Done? is one of Lenin's outstanding revolutionary writings. It has long been a classic in its field. The first generation of Russian Bolsheviks, which includes many of the present Soviet leaders, have been brought up on this brilliant exposition of the policies and tactics of the revolutionary Socialist movement. Its uniqueness in Russian Marxist literature is due to the way it treats the role of the Party in the revolutionary struggle-a subject to which slight attention was paid up to that time. The subtitle, "Burning Questions of Our Movement," which Lenin gave to this brochure, indicates how deeply he felt the need of calling attention to the problem of organization.    
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Hate is at flood tide in the world today, a hate born of the doctrine that man is arrayed against man in an irreconcilable conflict of classes. It is a hate more deep-rooted and terrible than that of international war.--- The story of these pages is not intended to aggravate by ever so slight a degree this desperate malady of hate. Political principles and social theories must clash. It is one of the few inexorable necessities of man's life on this planet that they should do so. But hate beclouds understanding and weakens whatever case is darkened by its unseeing passion.    
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The Great October Socialist Revolution ushered in a new era in the history of mankind, the era of the downfall of capitalism and the establishment of communism. Socialism has triumphed in the Soviet Union and has achieved decisive victories in the People's Democracies; socialism has become the practical cause of hundreds of millions of people, and the banner of the revolutionary movement of the working class throughout the world.    
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There is the program-the plan of Professor Weishaupt, the founder of "Illuminism" from which came the Marxian Serpent that is leaving its slimy trail across our literature of today.---That is why the author of "Sinister Shadows" knows the Book will be decried. The order will go out and "decry it." America, however, has a way of making up its own mind when facts are in her possession. She does not need the assistance of critics who "decry" everything not lending itself to destructive propaganda.    
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I write this Foreword for the American edition as I have revised this book, to the accompaniment of the physical and mental horror of modern warfare . The wailing of air-raid sirens, the thud of guns, the vicious zooming of war-planes, the earth-trembling explosion of bombs which, as all the world knows, are at this moment a daily (and nightly) part of existence in Southeastern England. From this peaceful Deanery garden, bright with summer flowers and secluded behind the ancient city wall, little children, one moment happy at their work and play, have seen the falling bombs. Terror stricken they have flung themselves to the ground and then fled, as others did centuries ago, to the sanctuary of the Crypt of this great and lovely Cathedral.    
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Trotskyism_And_Terror-The Strategy_Of_Revolution-R

In the wake of the Socialist Workers Party's suit to halt surveillance of its activities by the FBI, there has been a steady flow of media comment suggesting the party is simply a group of peaceful "Socialists," of no particular danger to anybody.--- A recent example is the August 8, 1977 issue of The New Yorker, containing a long article by Richard Harris on the alleged misdeeds of the FBI in its dispute with the SVVP . Harris depicts the Socialist Workers Party as "a small, peaceable, and wholly ineffectual political party," shamefully harassed by the FBI. He goes on to describe the SWP as "these Socialists," and to assert that, "despite the SWP's harmless political efforts, the FBI did its utmost to destroy The Party . . . . "    
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